Bloggy Givaways Quarterly Carnival  

I'm giving away one copy of a conservative Christian music CD, Love So Amazing. This is the newest CD release by Kevin Inafuku. I love this CD because the album is a mix of old hymns and new songs, but done in a conservative style!

You can listen to a few samples from the CD below

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
Forgive Me
Speak, O Lord

How to enter & win: Leave a comment on this post by 10pm EST January 30, 2009. The winner will be chosen at random. Be sure to leave your blog or email address so I can contact you if you win! Shipping to US (and Territories) & Canada.

Go to to enter more giveaways!


It's Tax Time!  

Do I hear a collective groan from everyone out there? Yep, it's time to gather all your financial paperwork and crunch those numbers!

Good news! Several companies offer free filing if you meet certain criteria! In years past, I have used both TurboTax Freedom and H&R Block TaxCut. Now that I own my own business, things are more complicated and I have to pay for software. Now I use TurboTax Home & Business and have been pleased with it.

TurboTax Freedom 
To qualify for free federal tax preparation and filing using TurboTax Freedom Edition 2008, you must meet one of the following criteria *

  • Earned an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) for tax year 2008 of $30,000 or less; or
  • Qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); or
  • Served Active Duty Military with AGI of $56,000 or less.
To qualify for free state tax preparation and filing using TurboTax Freedom Edition 2008, you must meet both of the following criteria:
  1. You must qualify for free federal tax preparation (above); and
  2. The state(s) must participate in the state FFA. States (AL, AR, AZ, GA, ID, IA, KY, MA, MI, MN, MO, MS, NY, ND, NC, OK, OR, RI, SC, VT, WV)
H&R Block TaxCut Free File
Free if you earned $56,000 or less AGI and were 50 years or younger on December 31, 2008. State e-file is $29.95

TaxAct freefile
You qualify for free tax preparation, printing, & efiling if your age is between 19 & 55, and your AGI is $56,000 or less. State e-filing is $13.95

You can find more free tax preparation sites on the IRS website.

Another tip - many times you can print a copy of your state taxes and mail it in. It takes a little longer, but I usually don't get enough back in state taxes to justify spending the money to e-file.

If you need more advanced tax preparation or don't meet the criteria for free preparation, here is a list of major software titles and the lowest prices I could find.

Online 2008 Standard  Free online prep (1040, 1040A & 1040EZ) and federal e-filing. State e-file  is just $13.95.
Online 2008 Deluxe $9.95 federal, optional state is $7.00
TaxAct Ultimate $16.95 free filing for federal and state.

Deluxe  direct from Intuit $29.95 (Federal e-file included, state prep & e-file additional $34.95)
$38.99 from (Federal e-file included, state e-file additional $19.95)

Premier direct from Intuit $49.95  (Federal e-file included, state prep & e-file additional $34.95)
$59.99 from  (Federal e-file included, state e-file additional $19.95)

Home & Business direct from Intuit $74.95 (Federal e-file included, state prep & e-file additional $34.95)  
$59.99 from (Federal e-file included, state e-file additional $19.95)

$10 TurboTax Rebates can be found here. It says "participating retail stores", but the FAQ indicates online stores are participating as well, but I can't find a list. It's worth a try if you have to buy the software anyway!

Premium Federal + e-file $34.95  $32.99 from (state e-file cost determined at filing time)
Premium Federal & State + e-file $49.95  $45.99 from (state e-file cost determined at filing time)
Home & Business $79.95 $70.99 from (state e-file cost determined at filing time)

Don't forget to purchase through ebates to receive 1% back from and 2% back from newegg! (plus $5 for new members)


Works for Me Wednesday - Canceled Flights  

As I was ready to board a flight last week, it was canceled due to a maintenance issue. The gate agent announced we could get in line to rebook if we had a tight connection at the next airport. EVERY SINGLE PERSON in that waiting area rushed the counter! I ended up being the very last person in line. There were probably at least 30 people ahead of me now. This is gonna take awhile! From my cell phone, I called the reservations number of my airline and found I had already been rebooked on another flight that was leaving in about 30 minutes. (The guy ahead of me in line asked for that phone number!)  If I had just waited in line, I would not have been able to catch that next flight!

I arrived at my new gate in time to sit and relax (it was delayed). After awhile I saw someone huffing & puffing and out of breath arrive at the gate. She had been siting near me at my original gate and had finally made it through the rebooking line to find out her new plane was leaving shortly. (Well, it was supposed to, but unbeknownst to her it was slightly delayed.)

Calling the airline reservations number helped relieve the stress of waiting/wondering if I was going to make all my further connections.

The rest of the story - Unfortunately my newly rescheduled flight had a few delays and complications causing me to miss the next connection so I spent 5 hours in the next airport, but that's another story!

Head over to Rocks in My Dryer for more hints and tips!