Shelly's Bits and Pieces: December 2016

Monday, December 26, 2016

Happy Kwanzaa to My Friends who Celebrate!


Kwanzaa celebrated December 26, 2016-January 1, 2017

1. Kwanza will celebrate its 50th Birthday in 2016!
The holiday was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966 to celebrate family, culture and heritage, and is modeled after the first harvest celebrations in Africa.

2. The Number Seven
There are 7 Principles and 7 Primary Symbols that emphasize a unique set of values and ideals during the 7 days of Kwanzaa… also spelled with 7letters.

3. Umoja is Unity
With over 2000 languages spoken on the African continent, Kwanzaa adopted one of the many unifying languages, Swahili, which is spoken by millions on the African continent. The name Kwanzaa comes from a Swahili phrase meaning "first fruits."

4. Red, Black and Green
The colors of Kwanzaa are a reflection of the Pan-African movementrepresenting “unity” for peoples of African descent worldwide: Black for the people, red for the noble blood that unites all people of African ancestry, and green for the rich land of Africa.

5. Stamp That!
The first US postage stamp to commemorate Kwanzaa was issued in 1997. There have been 4 designs released since then, the most recent being in 2013.

6. A Universal Message
Kwanzaa is rooted in African culture, however, people from all racial and ethnic backgrounds are welcomed to join in the celebration.

7. Star Power
Celebrities who have been known to celebrate Kwanzaa every year include Oprah, Maya Angelou, Chuck D, Angelina Jolie, and Synthia Saint James (who designed the first Kwanzaa postage stamp.)

Happy Hanukkah to all Our Jewish Friends and Family!

                 

Hanukkah is being celebrated December 24, 2016 - January 1, 2017!

How is it spelled, Chanukah or Hanukkah?    In the Hebrew, Chanukah is pronounced with the letter chet. The chet’s “ch” sound is not enunciated like the “ch” in child; rather it’s a guttural, throaty sound—like the “ch” in Johann Bach—which does not have an English equivalent. The letter “H” is the closest, but it’s not really it. So while some people spell and pronounce it “Chanukah” and others settle for “Hanukkah,” they really are one and the same.

Hanukkah is the annual Jewish Festival of Lights that starts on the 25th day of Kislev as per the Jewish calendar. It is an eight-day festival of religious observance by Jews across the world. Hanukkah celebrates the victory of Jewish troops led by Judah Maccabee over the Greek soldiers, the miracle of purified oil, which lit Menorah for eight days continuously, and the rededication of Holy Temple in Jerusalem. In this article, we have compiled some interesting facts about Hanukkah.

How is Chanukah celebrated?
On each of the eight days of Chanukah, a menorah(nine-branched candelabra) is lit, after nightfall (aside for Friday afternoon, when the candles are lit shortly before sunset). On the first night one light is kindled plus the shamash (attendant candle), on the second night two lights plus the shamash, and so continued until the eighth night when all eight lights plus the shamash are kindled. The menorah lights can be either candles, or oil and wicks.
It is traditional to eat foods fried in oil on Chanukah, to commemorate the miracle of Chanukah which occurred with oil. It is also customary to eat dairy foods during the holiday.  It is customary on Chanukah to give money gifts to children, and to play dreidel games.  It is also customary to give an increased amount of charity each day of Chanukah.  Another very important aspect of Chanukah is the daily prayers and Grace After Meals.

Hanukkah for Jews is as important as Christmas for Christians

New DIY Chanukah Dessert Kits from Manischewitz

Disclosure:  Free product was provided.


Chanukah is the Jewish Festival of Lights. The holiday commemorates a time when the Jewish temple was destroyed and as a result, there was only enough oil to light the ceremonial lamp for one day, but the miracle was the oil lasted for eight days. For that reason, Jewish people celebrate eight days of Chanukah and during that time eat foods fried in oil.  To help commemorate and celebrate that, Manischewitz introduces three interactive, DIY Chanukah dessert-making kits!  The Chanukah kits include: Manischewitz Donut Mix Kit, Chanukah House Decorating Kit, and Chanukah Cookies with Decorating Icing.  All kits are nut-free and pareve and include everything you’ll need to create special treats.
 
The tradition of eating sufganiot or jelly donuts is easier than ever with Manischewitz’s Donut Mix Kit. It includes baking dough for 10-12 donuts, blue and white sprinkles, and powdered sugar.
The Chanukah House Decorating Kit allows for all of the fun with none of the hassle. The walls (vanilla cookies) come prebaked and the package includes white, dark and light blue, and yellow icing, sprinkles, edible mini-beads, menorah and mezuzah sugar decorations, and sanding sugar.

Festive Chanukah Cookies with Decorating Icing are a fun and easy activity to satisfy your cookie cravings. Each one comes with two premade cookies shaped like the Star of David or a Chanukah dreidel and includes decorative icing for custom designs.          

                                                     
We have really enjoyed each of these items.  Working together as a family was an added bonus.  The premade cookies are very tasty and the ready made icing enabled all the kids to decorate.  My kids were more interested in eating the Chanukah House than actually keeping it together, but at least they kept it together long enough for Daddy to see it.  Our most favorite item was the Chanukah Donut Mix!  Absolutely delicious is the only way to describe them!!  They were a huge hit!

If you are looking for a way to connect with your family during your Chanukah celebration, consider these items by Manischewitz!  You will not be disappointed!

Merry Christmas 2016

                         Merry Christmas!


My family and I just wanted to take a moment to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas!  We wanted to share a few last Christmas facts with you.  Enjoy!


In Poland, spiders or spider webs are common Christmas trees decorations because according to legend, a spider wove a blanket for Baby Jesus. In fact, Polish people consider spiders to be symbols of goodness and prosperity at Christmas.

Mistletoe (Viscum album) is from the Anglo-Saxon word misteltan, which means “little dung twig” because the plant spreads though bird droppings

Commissioned by Sir Henry Cole (1808-1883), British illustrator John Callcott Horsley (1817-1903) invented the first Christmas card in 1843.

The Germans made the first artificial Christmas trees out of dyed goose feathers.

According to the Guinness world records, the tallest Christmas tree ever cut was a 221-foot Douglas fir that was displayed in 1950 at the Northgate Shopping Center in Seattle, Washington.

The British wear paper crowns while they eat Christmas dinner. The crowns are stored in a tube called a “Christmas cracker.”

Alabama was the first state in the United States to officially recognize Christmas in 1836. HOWEVER, Christmas wasn’t declared an official holiday in the United States until June 26, 1870.

Christmas trees have been sold in the U.S. since 1850.  Approximately 30-35 million real (living) Christmas trees are sold each year in the U.S.

According to the Guinness world records, the tallest Christmas tree ever cut was a 221-foot Douglas fir that was displayed in 1950 at the Northgate Shopping Center in Seattle, Washington.

In 1962, the first Christmas postage stamp was issued in the United States.

During the Christmas season, nearly 28 sets of LEGO are sold every second.

It is estimated that the single “White Christmas” by Irving Berlin is the best selling single of all time, with over 100 million sales worldwide.

Many of the most popular Christmas songs, such as “White Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire),” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” were written or co-written by Jews.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Unique Gifts Found at NOVICA - Review & GC Giveaway

Disclosure:  Free product was received to facilitate our honest and unbiased review.  No monetary compensation was received.  A gift certificate prize is also being given by the sponsor.


NOVICA is a global marketplace!  It gives artisans from around the world a free platform to sell their work on the international market and reach customers on a global scale!  Many of these artisans are living in rural communities and don't have the means to sell their work this way.  The artisans have complete control and are free to raise or lower their own prices, place items on sale or even withdraw their items at any time!  NOVICA helps provide artists with a platform where they can operate a sustainable creative business.  No longer will they be forced to give up their art in favor of a more lucrative career!

NOVICA provides its' customers with unique items from artisans from places such as Bali, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Peru, Thailand, and other countries. If you are looking for hard-to-find pieces of home decor, unique apparel and purses, beautiful jewelry and so much more, look no further than NOVICA!

We received a gift certificate which enabled us to purchase some items to review!  I looked around the site for literally an hour before I chose Thai Artisan Crafted Sterling Silver Dangle Earrings, 'Linking Leaves'  and a Black and White Floral Cotton Purse, 'Thai Shadow Garden'.

The earrings are beautiful and very well made!  They are an ideal length for me and they can be worn when dressing up or dressing down!



The purse, which is no longer available, is very well made.  The stitching is wonderful and the button embellishments on it are made from coconut shell!  The bag is very sturdy and I love carrying it!

~~~GIVEAWAY~~~

NOVICA has provided me with a $35 gift certificate to give away to one lucky Shelly's Bits and Pieces reader.  This gift certificate does expire on January 31, 2017, so please keep that in mind!  Simply enter on the Rafflecopter form below and you could finish out 2016 with a WIN!

Zonderkidz Christmas Books Perfect For Kids #HGG

Disclosure:  We received copies of these books to review for inclusion in our Holiday Gift Guide.  No financial compensation was received.


It is so very hard to believe that Christmas is just a few days away. Due to unforeseen issues, my posts are running behind.  I could not let Christmas pass without making sure I shared these delightful book options with you.  We received all of these children's books from Zonderkidz and they have been such a blessing.  Each book listed below is wonderful.  When you are out doing last minute shopping, make sure you grab one of these titles for your kids.  I'm sure they will enjoy the books as much as my family.

A Night of Great Joy
Author/Illustrator: Mary Engelbreit

Description: New York Times bestselling illustrator Mary Engelbreit presents A Night of Great Joy—a delightful picture book that celebrates the season and tells the story of the nativity through the performance of the children’s Christmas pageant. This book celebrates diversity by featuring child character illustrations of many races and ethnicities. Booklist says Engelbreit’s  A Night of Great Joy is “a colorful picture book will please her adult fans while pleasing many children.”

Retail Price: $16.99
More Info & Buy Link: http://www.zondervan.com/a-night-of-great-joy



Christmas Love Letters from God
Author: Glenys Nellist  Illustrator: Rachel Clowes
Description: Christmas Love Letters from God, written by Glenys Nellist and illustrated by Rachel Clowes, is a whimsical collection of seven beloved Bible stories that focus on the birth of Jesus and include love letters from God written especially for the young reader.

Retail Price: $16.99
More Info & Buy Link:  http://www.zondervan.com/christmas-love-letters-from-god



Goodnight Manger (board book edition)
Author: Laura Sassi  Illustrator: Jane Chapman
Description: Goodnight, Manger, written by Laura Sassi and illustrated by New York Times bestselling artist Jane Chapman, tells the story of Mary and Joseph as they try to get Jesus to sleep in the noisy stable after his birth. Told in gentle, lulling rhyme, Goodnight, Manger is an adorable and tender bedtime story, for Christmas or any time of year.

Retail Price: $8.99
More Info & Buy Link: http://www.zondervan.com/goodnight-manger-1



The Berenstain Bears and the Christmas Angel
Author/Illustrator: Mike Berenstain
Description: In this newest Berenstain Bears Living Lights book, Brother, Sister, and Honey are in a hurry to get out into snow-covered Bear Country to build a snowbear. But when Honey gets bored and makes a snow angel, Brother and Sister have a better idea! The cubs make a Christmas Angel, and get a little lesson about God’s angels from Mama and Papa Bear.

Retail Price: $3.99
More Info & Buy Link: http://www.zondervan.com/the-berenstain-bears-and-the-christmas-angel



The Berenstain Bears Christmas Fun Sticker &Activity Book
Author/Illustrators: Jan & Mike Berenstain
Description: The Berenstain Bears come to life with puzzles, activity pages, and stickers in the newest Berenstain Bears sticker and activity book—The Berenstain Bears’ Christmas Fun Sticker and Activity Book. Celebrate Christmas fun with the Bear family and their Bear Country friends and neighbors.

Retail Price: $6.99
More Info & Buy Link: http://www.zondervan.com/the-berenstain-bears-christmas-fun-sticker-and-activity-book


Ready, Set, Find Christmas!
Description: Mary and Joseph are on their way to Bethlehem on Christmas night, and they need your help to find many different things along the way! Read the classic story of Jesus’ birth in Ready, Set, Find: Christmas Story, an engaging look-and-find book for young children.

Retail Price: $8.99
More Info & Buy Link: http://www.zondervan.com/ready-set-find-christmas


A Royal Christmas to Remember
Authors: Jeanna Young and Jacqueline Johnson Illustrator: Omar Aranda
Description:With the arrival of the most spectacular winter season in years and Christmas only a night away, Princesses Joy, Grace, Faith, Charity, and Hope find themselves in the midst of a dramatic scene that includes bandits, a rescue, and a royal Christmas celebration of family and God’s love.

Retail Price: $14.99
More Info & Buy Link: http://www.zondervan.com/a-royal-christmas-to-remember

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Swag Code Extravaganza: Reindeer Games! (US & CA)

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post.  I receive SB for sharing.



I love when Swagbucks has Swag Code Extravaganzas, they are one of the easiest ways to earn SB! What are SB you ask? SB are points you earn on Swagbucks, a website where you can get gift cards for the things you do online - I've gotten well over $400 in gift cards  with Swagbucks! What are you waiting for?

The holiday cheer begins on Wednesday, December 21st from 7am PDT/10am EDT to 6pm PDT/9pm EDT. All you have to do is look out for the Swag Code notifications, enter the code, and you earn SB (which can be redeemed for gift cards)! There will be 6 Swag Codes throughout the day worth a total of 30 SB
Look out for the Swag Codes all over Swagbucks!
Sign up here to grab as many Swag Codes as you can and get your first gift card even faster!

Monday, December 19, 2016

What's Going On.

Please excuse the lack of posting.  We had a death in the family and I have been having a few issues.  I have several giveaways and more items to post in the Holiday Gift Guide.  My family is trying to help me by posting for me.  Please keep our family in your prayers.  God Bless You All!

Christmas Quenchers Collector's Bills

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post.  I receive SB for sharing.



One of my favorite things about using Swagbucks is that I can get rewards for searching the web through their search engine. Every now and then they have "Collector's Bills" worth SB points that you can collect by simply searching the web. Collect them all, and you get an SB Bonus! Once you've collected enough SB, you can redeem them for gift cards to stores like Walmart, Target, and many more!

Here's all the information for this week's Christmas Quenchers Collector's Bills:

Search the web through the Swagbucks search starting Monday, December 19th at 12:01am PT/3:01am ET through Saturday, December 24th at 11:59pm PT/Sunday, December 25th 2:59am ET, and when you get a search win, you may get a special Collector’s Bill valued at either:

5 SB
7 SB
9 SB
15 SB
24 SB

When you get a Collector’s Bill you’ll receive the value of the bill and the bill will be added to your “Collector’s Bills” ledger. Collect all 5 Collector’s Bills and you’ll instantly earn a 20 SB Bonus!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Swago: Unwrap Your SB Bonus

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post.  I receive SB for sharing.



It's time for you to unwrap your SB bonus this holiday season courtesy of Swagbucks.  This month's Holiday themed Swago board offers a possible 400 SB ($4) Bonus!

What is SWAGO you ask? It's a bingo-inspired promotion run by Swagbucks, a website that rewards you with points (called SB) for completing everyday online activities. When you complete a task, watch that square change colors like a twinkling Christmas light. You can then redeem those SB for free gift cards. If you've never used Swagbucks, participating in SWAGO is a great way to learn how to use the site, and it's a lot of fun!

Here’s what you need to know to get your 400 SB Bonus:

  • Swago  will begin on Monday, December 19th at 8:01am PDT/11:01am EDT, make sure you hit “Join” otherwise you won’t get credit for completing the action items. Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete.
  • Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change color signifying the action item is complete.
  • You have a limited amount of time to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely.
  • Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value.
  • Once you’ve achieved a pattern the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely.
  • The game ends Monday, December 26th at 12pm PDT/3pm EDT. So make sure to hit “Submit” on the pattern you wish to submit. If you don’t hit “Submit” before the game ends you won’t receive your SB bonus.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Swago Shopping Edition (US)

Disclosure;  This is a sponsored post.  I receive SB for sharing!



Swagbucks is hosting another round of Shopping Swago just in time for the Holidays! What is SWAGO you ask? It's a bingo-inspired promotion run by Swagbucks, a website that rewards you with points (called SB) for completing everyday online activities. You can redeem those SB for free gift cards. If you've never used Swagbucks, participating in SWAGO is a great introduction to the site and an easy way to earn a good amount of points quickly. Plus, if you have to buy holiday gifts, might as well get an extra SB bonus for yourself, right?

Here’s what you need to know to get your 300 SB ($3) Bonus (and don’t worry, you don’t have to make a purchase to complete a pattern):

  • Shop Swago will begin on Monday, December 12th at 9am PDT/12pm EDT, make sure you hit “Join” otherwise you won’t get credit for completing the action items. Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete.
  • Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change color signifying the action item is complete.
  • You have a limited amount of time to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely.
  • Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value.
  • Once you’ve achieved a pattern the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely.
  • The game ends Thursday, December 15th at 12pm PDT/3pm EDT. So make sure to hit “Submit” on the pattern you wish to submit. If you don’t hit “Submit” before the game ends you won’t receive your SB bonus.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Team Challenge: Dashing Through the Dough (US)

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post.  I will receive SB for sharing.



Who doesn't love a friendly competition? Especially when the prize is points to redeem towards free gift cards!

Join the Dashing Through the Dough team challenge hosted by Swagbucks, a website where you can earn cash back on everyday tasks you do online. It starts on Monday, December 12th at 8am PST and goes through Friday so you have a whole week to contribute points to your assigned team. It's so much fun to see which team you are placed on, and discover all the ways you can earn SB while you contribute to your team's goal! There's so many ways to earn points for your team-  watching videos, completing surveys, shopping online, just to name a few. These activities and more will help your team get ahead. If you've never used Swagbucks before, now is a great time to join, especially if you participate in the Team Challenge because it's an opportunity to win an extra bonus for trying out the site.

All members who participate and contribute at least 400 SB to their team’s total will receive an SB bonus in the form of a rebate on their next gift card! I can’t wait to help my team come in 1st place for that 50 SB rebate.

The challenge lasts until December 16th so log in or make a free account! Pre-registration is open now!

Earn Double Cash Back or More on Holiday Shopping

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post.  I will receive SB for sharing.


If you still have lots of holiday shopping to do, I recommend you check out Swagbucks Holiday Shopping Deals, where you can get cash back on your online purchases. Who wouldn't want to earn a little extra cash for themselves on purchases for friends and family? Starting today and running through next Friday, they are offering double cash back or more at your favorite retailers like Amazon, eBay, Groupon, Gap, Macy's, Old Navy, and many more!
 
Check out the site here to see all the deals they're offering this week.

If you haven't heard of them, Swagbucks.com is an easy, quick way to earn cash back and gift cards by shopping online or doing other everyday activities like taking surveys or watching videos. When you do those things, you earn points (called SB) that you redeem for PayPal cash or gift cards to places like Amazon, Walmart, Target, Starbucks, and more!

Just for signing up through me, you can earn a $3 (300 SB) bonus if you earn 300 SB before January 1st - if you spend at least $25 shopping through Swagbucks during that time, you'll get another $2 (200 SB) bonus!

Take advantage of these great deals - signup now

Monday, December 5, 2016

Get great deals when doing your holiday shopping! (US)

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post.  I receive SB for sharing.



Now that the holidays are in full gear, you can get great deals and cash back for shopping through Swagbucks! Just go here and see all of the great cash back you can get from some of your favorite stores. Here's how it works:

1. Click here to see the stores offering deals and cash back.
2. Click through to the store(s) of your choice and do some shopping!
3. Get cash back in the form of points (called SB) that you can redeem for free gift cards so you can stretch your holiday budget even further!

As an extra bonus, if you're not a Swagbucks member and join through my link (or you've joined through my link this month), you'll get an one time 200 SB bonus when you spend $25 or more in any of the Swagbucks Shop stores before January 1st! Swagbucks is a great site where you earn SB points for doing every day things online like shopping, discovering deals, taking surveys, watching videos, searching the web, and more. The SB you earn, the more gift cards you can get, which are a HUGE help this time of year.  I got all my Christmas shopping done thanks to the gift cards I earned.  I doubled up by earning more points shopping through Swagbucks!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Get $5 When You Sign Up For Swagbucks in December!

Disclosure:   This is a sponsored post!  I receive SB for sharing.



We've reached the Holiday season, and if you haven't begun already, now's the time to start shopping for the Holidays! Since this time of year in particular is a good one for having some extra money, Swagbucks is offering a $5 bonus to people who sign up through me this month!

Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for all sorts of things you're probably already doing online, like shopping, discovering deals, taking surveys, watching videos, and more! Then you can turn your gift cards in to PayPal cash or gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, and more!

Here's how you get your bonus:

1. Sign up using this link

2. Earn 300 SB total before 1/1. You'll get a $3 (300 SB) bonus for it!

3. When you do your holiday shopping, spend at least $25 through Swagbucks Shop* and you'll get another $2 (200 SB) bonus on top of the cashback you'll get from shopping.

That's it. It's super easy, and Swagbucks is for real. I use it myself, and I've earned over $400 and spent it on Amazon.com gift cards for Christmas Shopping!

*You must receive your shopping SB before February 1st

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Get 700 SB and a chance to win $1000 with your Instagram account

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post!  I receive SB for sharing.



Swagbucks is partnering with Heartbeat to give you Instagram-ers out there the opportunity to make $7 (in the form of 700 SB points) and get entered to win a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.

To qualify, your personal Instagram account must have been active for more than 30 days and have at least 150 followers. here are the steps:

1. Click here - if you don't already have a Swagbucks account, you can create one here - it takes less than 30 seconds.

2. To earn SB, you must be a woman and complete the following: Sign-up through GetHeartbeat.co, and then take the GetHeartbeat.co quiz.

3. After you have completed the quiz, you will need to click on the "I want to earn more & share more!" button.

4. Next, a follow-up email will be sent to the email address that is linked to your Instagram/Facebook account. Follow the EXACT instructions in the email before submitting your post to Instagram.

5. That's it! Your 700 SB should credit in a few days. As a special bonus, if you're new to Swagbucks and sign up through me before you take the offer, you'll qualify for another 300 SB bonus, meaning you'll have 1000 total points - enough for a $10 gift card.

So, what's this Swagbucks I'm talking about? It's the site where you earn points (called SB) for things you're already doing online, like shopping, watching videos, discovering deals (like this one!), taking surveys, or even searching the web! Then you take your points and redeem them for PayPal cash or gift cards to places like Amazon, Walmart, Target, Starbucks, and more! I got all my Christmas shopping done thanks to all the SB I have earned this year!!