How to Earn FREE Gift Cards with Swagbucks

Interested in earning FREE gift cards from your favorite places? It’s easy and fun with Swagbucks

Anyone can sign up to join Swagbucks. Registering is quick and simple. And you can start earning right away.


Basically you complete different tasks to earn points (called SB) that may be redeemed for FREE gift cards.


1 SB is pretty much equal to 1 cent. You are allowed to start redeeming your SB for gift cards once you’ve earned at least 300 SB (essentially $3).


You don’t have to spend a whole lot of time using Swagbucks in order to build up SB. There are so many fun ways to earn SB, and you can just do tasks in your spare time.


Different tasks you complete will be worth a different number of SB.

Here are a few examples of the things you might do on Swagbucks to earn SB:

  • Answer the Daily Poll
  • Use the Swagbucks Search Engine to search the internet
  • Take interesting surveys
  • Install apps on your phone
  • Explore fun web content
  • Sign up for various special offers
  • Print out manufacturer coupons to save $ on products you buy at the store
  • Watch videos
  • Shop online and earn SB back
  • Refer your friends & family and earn a percentage of their SB for life

You won’t earn a full-time income with Swagbucks, but it can be a great way to turn otherwise boring downtime into something profitable.

Swagbucks is 100% legit. I have used it myself to earn FREE gift cards.

Swagbucks offers gift cards for MANY of your favorite places like:

  • Amazon
  • Wal-Mart
  • Starbucks
  • JCPenney
  • EBay
  • PayPal cash
  • Cracker Barrel
  • Old Navy
  • Dunkin Donuts
  • Bass Pro Shops
  • and TONS more!

So far my Swagbucks earnings have gone toward buying Kindle books I wanted from Amazon. You might decide to use your SB to save up for a special date night at your favorite restaurant, a new outfit, or extra Christmas shopping money. Maybe you just need funds for fueling your coffee drinking habit. Swagbucks is perfect for that!

The absolute easiest way to start racking up SB is to simply use the Swagbucks Search Engine to do all your online searching. You won’t earn SB for every search, but you can expect to be rewarded with SB 2-3 times per day by searching.

The amounts randomly awarded for searches vary widely. I earn anywhere from 3 to 30 SB each time I am rewarded for conducting searches. You never now exactly when you’ll get rewarded or exactly how much it will be. But using the Swagbucks Search Engine and earning a few cents is better than using another search engine and earning nothing in return, don’t you think? You know you’re going to be searching the web anyway, so you might as well get rewarded for it!


Another quick way to earn 1 SB each day is by answering the Swagbucks Daily Poll. These are usually silly, and a new one is posted each day.


Surveys can be worth a lot of SB, but you may not qualify for all of them. Most surveys take just 10-15 minutes. If you happen to have some time to spare, give the surveys a try. I have made as much as $3 in one day just from trying the surveys.


And I like flipping through various interesting slides and pictures in the Discover Web Content area. These are just quick things you can click through over and over and earn 1-3 SB each time you do it.


There are plenty more ways to earn like shopping, printing coupons, signing up for offers, installing apps, finding and enterring special Swag Codes, or watching videos.


Just sign up for FREE and take a look for yourself what you can get with Swagbucks!


You have absolutely nothing to lose. You could earn FREE gift cards from your favorite places, and you might even have some fun along the way!


Try Swagbucks TODAY!


Yes, the links on this post are my personal Swagbucks Referral Links. If you sign up using my links, I will receive Bonus SB when you earn. BUT don’t worry, this does not affect your earning whatsoever. And once you’ve signed up for Swagbucks you can start referring your own friends and family and earn even more! So it’s a Win-Win for everybody! Thanks a bunch!!




How You Can Spread Joy This Christmas Through Operation Christmas Child


It’s a simple gift: just a shoe box filled with toys, school supplies, and hygiene items.

But these shoe box gifts, packed with love and prayer by caring people like you, are making a difference in the lives of needy children around the world thanks to Operation Christmas Child.

I have overseen the packing of hundreds of shoe box gifts for Operation Christmas Child since I was a teenager. This is a wonderful service project for individuals, families, churches, clubs, business organizations, schools, and anyone else who wants to help others.

How you can get involved

Image courtesy Samaritan's Purse
Image courtesy Samaritan’s Purse

Packing shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child is one of the easiest service projects you can do.

1. Find an empty shoe box

This can be as simple as the box from the last pair of shoes you bought, or you can use a shoe box sized plastic bin with a lid. Just be sure your box is the size of a standard shoe box and not a huge boot box. You may also order pre-printed OCC boxes here.


2. Decide whom your gift is for 

You will want to designate your gift as being for either a boy or a girl, and you will also want to determine the age range for which your gift will be best suited (2-4 years, 5-9 years, or 10-14 years).


3. Go shopping 

This is the fun part! Go on a shopping spree and find gifts you think a needy child would love. Remember, your gifts need not be expensive. You can often find great deals on good items at your local dollar stores. Many people also enjoy crafting or creating fun and useful shoe box gifts of their own. Use your imagination, and have fun.

If you are stuck, here are a few quick ideas to get you started shopping for great Operation Christmas Child gifts: crayons, markers, stickers, small picture books, balls, stuffed animals, jump ropes, pencils, notebooks, erasers, socks, hats, toy cars, wash cloths, toothbrushes, dolls, and small games.


4. Pack your shoe box 

This can be the tricky part. Fitting all those amazing gifts into one little shoe box can be challenging. It is like trying to complete a complicated puzzle. If you find you have entirely too much stuff to fit into one box, consider putting some items in a second box and blessing another child.


5. Include a picture or personal note

There are lots of ideas out there for doing this.

OCC provides a nice coloring sheet for children to fill out and put in shoe boxes, and you can find that here.

A simple card or a hand written note is fine, too. It is a nice touch to include your picture so the child can see that a real person cared enough about him or her to fill send this wonderful gift.

I have also seen many creative ideas such as decorating the underside of the shoe box lid with a special message or simple game for the child to enjoy after opening the gift.

If you are comfortable with it, you might also consider including your mailing address in case the child would like to correspond to thank you personally for your gift to them. (My younger brother once made friends with a little boy in Malawi this way!) However, most children will be unable to respond, so do not be disappointed if you never hear back from the child.


6. Include $7 to cover shipping

This needs to be included for each box you donate. You may either include a check in an envelope placed on top of the contents of your box, or you may donate online. I recommend donating online because then you have the Follow Your Box option!


7. Follow Your Box

Choosing this option allows you to print out a special bar code label to place on the lid of your shoe box gift. Just make sure you do not tape directly over the bar code on your label. You will receive an email telling you the country where that box is sent.

Usually we get these emails sometime around Christmas, but boxes are actually distributed throughout the year all over the world.

In the email you will also learn more about the country.

This option was not available when I first started packing shoe boxes, and back then unless you received a letter from the recipient you had no idea where your gifts ended up going. Now you can have that information if you donate online and print out the Follow Your Box tracking label.

Sending more than 1 shoe box? No problem! Just donate $7 for each box and print out as many copies of the  label as you need. If your boxes are sent to different countries, you will receive a separate email informing you about each country.

Click here to find the Follow Your Box option!


8. Drop off your gift during National Collection Week  

Shoe boxes are always collected the week prior to the week of Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. The 2016 National Collection Week is November 14-21.

Most areas have several convenient drop off locations which are run totally by volunteers. Click here to find the Drop Off Location nearest you.

From this drop off location, your shoe box gift will travel by truck to a processing center where it will be checked for any dangerous items or other forbidden items that will not ship well (such as liquids). From the processing center your box will travel by whatever means necessary (plane, ship, camel, boat, or elephant!) to reach the child who needs it.


9. Pray

Franklin Graham (son of evangelist Billy Graham, and founder of the organization responsible for OCC, Samaritan’s Purse) says the most important item that you can pack inside your shoe box gift is a prayer for the child who will receive it.


10. Get others involved


Operation Christmas Child is such a great project. Tell others about it, and consider leading the project with your church, family, or group.


OCC offers free promotional materials for project leaders. You can order free brochures, posters, DVDs, and more to help you introduce Operation Christmas Child to others.


A fun way to get others involved is to host a Shoe Box Packing Party. Ask everyone to bring gift items and empty shoe boxes to the party. Then order pizza, maybe play some games, watch some OCC videos to educate your party-goers about the project, turn on some Christmas tunes, and have fun working together to fill boxes for needy children across the globe.

Want to participate but you are just way too busy to go shopping? Check out the Build Your Shoebox Online option!


Did you miss National Collection Week? No problem. Any time of year you may send your shoe box to Samaritan’s Purse Headquarters at 801 Bamboo Road, Boone, NC 28607.


Are you a blogger? Take a look at the Operation Christmas Child Blogger Program. You will have access to videos, pictures, and other promotional information about this project to use on your website. Use your writing talents to spread the word and get more people involved in packing shoe box gifts.


Join with me this year to bring good news and great joy to children who need it worldwide. 


Support Operation Christmas Child.


Image courtesy Samaritan's Purse
Image courtesy Samaritan’s Purse

One Thing You Must Have if You Are in a Walking Boot (That Your Doctor Probably Doesn’t Even Know Exists!)

If you have been prescribed a walking boot due to a foot or ankle injury, you don’t need me to tell you how awkward and uncomfortable it can be.


But there is one thing that can make your life with a walking boot so much easier…and your doctor probably does not even know about it!


Here is my story…


Last spring I was diagnosed with severe tendinitis in my right ankle. I was ordered to wear a walking boot and undergo an hour of physical therapy three times a week.


The pain of the injury was intense, but dealing with the awkward gait and uneven hips the huge boot caused was just as bad or worse. 


I felt like my whole body was twisted, and after wearing the boot for just two days I could no longer walk normally. Every time I would try to make a step, I could not do it without my entire upper body swaying from side to side.


I began having pain in my hips and back in addition to the original ankle pain that had put me in the boot in the first place.


I asked my orthopedist and my physical therapist, but neither knew of any remedy for this terrible problem. I contacted a local medical supply store hoping they might have something that would help, but they just laughed and basically told me to deal with it.


My PT informed me that most people require several extra weeks of therapy to try to correct the gait long after the original injury has healed. Some folks even require surgery or intervention from a chiropractor because of the damage done to the back and hips from walking with the gigantic boot.


Now I don’t know about you, but I lead a busy life. I had no desire to endure this awkward gait for months or to be tied down to even more PT appointments trying to correct this issue.


After many tears and a lot of Googling, I finally found the solution to this common problem.


The Evenup Shoe Balancer!

This simple device was my life saver.


The Evenup Shoe Balancer is easily worn on your unaffected foot. It gives your normal shoe the perfect boost it needs to match the height of your walking boot. It brings both your hips to the same level so you no longer have to deal with a lopsided gait.


When I walked (very normally) into my next therapy appointment after getting my Evenup Shoe Balancer , my PT was amazed. She called all the other PTs and assistants over to check out my device. They took notes so they would be able to recommend these devices to all their patients in walking boots.


When my injury was healed up and I was able to get out of my boot, my PT said,


“That little device has saved you likely 6-8 more weeks of therapy to correct the gait issue and treat the back pain your boot would have caused. I can’t believe we had never heard of these things before!”


So now I want to make sure others know about The Evenup Shoe Balancer! Why these are not standard issue with every prescribed walking boot, I do not know. Orthopedists and physical therapists everywhere should be ordering these for their patients.


Sure, having a foot injury and wearing a walking boot is never going to be fun. But it can be made easier on you. With the Evenup Shoe Balanceron your other foot, your quality of life will definitely improve.


Important Note: I am not a medical doctor or physical therapist, so I cannot give you medical advice. The purpose of this article was simply to share my personal experience and a product that helped me deal with a very uncomfortable problem.


This article contains affiliate links. If you click one of these links and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. This has no affect whatsoever on the price you pay. Thanks!


Facebook Friday Finish the Story Game

I started something fun for you on the Facebook page yesterday.

Every Friday, I will post a new Finish the Story Game. This is a fun little exercise to build community, encourage creativity, and practice writing skills.

Anyone can play. The more the merrier! 

You can find full instructions and this week’s Finish the Story Game post here

After you have added your part to the story, don’t forget to share the post so your friends can enjoy the story and play along.

So hop on over to the Facebook page now and join this week’s fun story game!

How to Create & Manage a Blog or Website Using a Smartphone


Can you create and manage a blog or other website if your only internet access is your smartphone?


Yes, you can.


For the past three years, my Android smartphone has been my only internet connection at home. But that has never stopped me from doing anything I wanted to do online.


Basically, you can use your smartphone to accomplish anything you could do with a computer online. I have used my smartphone to conduct business on eBay (buying and selling), create and manage several websites, email work to clients, create graphics for blog posts, and share content on social media. It might take a bit more time and some creativity now and then, but you do not have to let the fact that you have to do it all from your phone hinder your progress in working online.


There’s an app for that…


The top blogging platforms like Blogger and WordPress have apps you can download to your phone, and these can be a life saver. Even if you don’t do most of your work on your phone, I still recommend having a blogging app installed on your phone so that you can stay connected on the go. The apps are free and so easy to use.


I run several free sites on the Blogger platform. While Blogger has it’s own app, I prefer to use an app called “Bloggeroid” for my Android smartphone. Bloggeroid is super simple to use. I like it better than the regular Blogger app because it allows me to place multiple graphics within a blog post, and I can place graphics anywhere I would like them to appear in the post. The Blogger app only allows for one graphic to be placed at the top of the post. Bloggeroid syncs nicely with your Blogger account so you can easily update all your blogs from one location.


I love the WordPress app, and I use it to post on this website. I will never start another blog on the Blogger platform again! WordPress is definitely the way to go. So if you are trying to get started and can’t decide between these two, go with WordPress.


The WordPress app allows me to see my websites stats, run numerous sites from one spot, and create  webpages and blog posts very quickly.


Both apps also allow you to easily view and manage comments on your website without a huge hassle.


To create graphics for my articles and blog posts, I have a neat free app called Phonto that allows me to take any image (either taken with my phone’s camera or downloaded for free from a public domain site like and put text on it. There are all kinds of free or inexpensive photo editing apps you can download for creating great looking graphics right on your phone.


Other apps that help me out with my work online are Polaris Office (for creating or opening Microsoft Word documents and more), Adobe Acrobat (for opening and sharing .pdf files), and social media apps (like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest) so I can quickly share my content with the whole world.


While I am most familiar with Android apps because that is what I have always used, I am sure Apple has many of the same (and probably more) apps for you iPhone users.


Apps make creating and managing blogs and other websites so much easier on your smartphone.



Use your phone browser


To set up a new blog using either the Blogger or WordPress platforms, you can simply go to or using your smartphone’s web browser and set up your account from there. Both of these sites are easily navigated by mobile devices (although I must say using the WordPress platform on my phone browser is so much easier than Blogger).


While designing this site, I have connected to my WordPress dashboard on their mobile site. I can easily upload graphics, play around with different designs, create menus, install plugins, and so much more with just a few simple taps. I have yet to find anything I needed to do on this website that could not be completed from my smartphone either using the WordPress app or my browser.


But what about all that typing?


Yes, I will admit typing long articles and blog posts on a phone is tortuous. Although I have posted many an article or webpage that was typed out on my phone, I have improvised a quicker way to type using my laptop.


Bluetooth is awesome for this.


Pretty much every smartphone, tablet, and laptop out there these days has Bluetooth connection capability. This can really be a life saver!


Simply connect your laptop and smartphone via Bluetooth. Then you can type your posts on your laptop, send the document wirelessly to your phone, and do an old fashioned copy and paste to post the content onto your website. Sure it takes an extra step, but one advantage is that you have backup copies of your articles, posts, webpage content, etc. saved on your laptop should your phone run out of storage space or bite the dust.


You will just need to make sure you have some sort of app installed on your smartphone (such as Polaris Office) that will open the documents you are sending from your laptop.


After you copy and paste, you can quickly add in your graphics and links before you publish.


And it is really as simple as that!


No internet access? No problem! Smartphone to the rescue.


So I am curious now.


Does anyone else primarily use their smartphone to create web or blog sites or to conduct other business online?


If you do, how do you make that work for you?


Share your comments or questions below!


Welcome to!

Welcome to my official website and blog!

I am so excited to have my very own site, and I have big plans for it.

Although I have (anonymously) run 3 different blogs using free Blogger subdomains for about two years now, this is my first experience using a self-hosted WordPress site. Learning the ropes for a totally new site is a challenge.

But I am LOVING it!

If I had known how amazing WordPress is, I would have been using it all along. If you are new to blogging or creating web pages, I heartily recommend you give WordPress a try.

So what can you expect to find on in the future?

  • Information about my freelance writing career
  • Helpful tips for other writers
  • Samples of my writing
  • Blog Posts on a host of different topics
  • E-books & other products
  • …and more!

You could think of this site as being my own personal writing portfolio, my business card, and my creative outlet all wrapped up in one!

If you have not yet, make sure you follow me on Facebook and Twitter for more updates and great content.

Thanks for reading my first post. Now I am off to brainstorm ideas for a magazine article I have been asked to write.

I love to connect with my readers, so feel free to leave comments. Tell me what you think of my writing, how I could improve, what you think of the website, or anything else!

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