Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 A Year in Review

This year has been a pretty good year for my blog and my family. Overall I'm happy with how it turned out.  My blog has seen an increase in traffic and I'm praying this coming year will continue on the same track.

Here are a few highlights of our year. Enjoy and be safe if you go out to celebrate New Year's Eve tonight.

1. Gizmo
In March, we adopted a kitten, named Gizmo. He was a little ball of energy. Very cute, but gave us many heart attacks with all the stunts he performs. He likes to climb up on top of the fridge and jump off. He also likes to use our railings as a tightrope. He has started to calm down a bit since he was neutered this past month. Thank goodness!

2. Noel
Just this past month we took in a stray that we named Noel. We didn't plan on getting another animal, but she is so tiny and skittish of everything.  Our house is active with 3 kids, 2 medium sized dogs and now 3 cats. She is starting to find her spot in the clan. She loves cuddling with Gizmo and wakes me up every night around 2 a.m.

3. Lots of Canning
This past summer I did lots of canning. Mostly pickles and tomatoes. We are still enjoying the tomatoes, but unfortunately the pickles didn't last as long as we'd like. They were really good and went very fast.

4. Good Health
Not to jinx us, but this has been a pretty good year for us - health wise.  Only 2 trips to the hospital for our family - just cuts and bruises - nothing too serious. Thanks God!

5. Weight Watchers Trial
I was blessed to receive a free trial of Weight Watchers 360 this past summer. That was the first perk I've received from having this blog. I haven't really stuck to the plan, but have decided to pay to continue the program because I really, really do want to lose weight. Hubby and I have plans to restart on January 1st.

6. Vehicle Free for 6 months
While some people might think this is a negative I really did enjoy not having a vehicle for about 6 months. I wasn't tempted to go shopping. I didn't eat as much fast food.  I could actually get stuff done around the house without feeling tempted to visit with friends, shop or just get out of the house.  Not to mention paying out a lot less gasoline, since hubby was driving my fuel efficient van instead of his gas guzzler.

7.  Avon, North Carolina Family Vacation
We spent an entire week with hubby's family in Avon, North Carolina. We were a block from the beach and had a blast collecting seashells, fishing and sight seeing.

This was our year, how was yours?

Monday, December 30, 2013

My 2014 Goals Printable

The new year is only days away and I wanted to share a fun way to document your goals for the year. Whether you call them goals or resolutions, it doesn't matter. Just keep them written down and display them throughout the year to remember them.

Write in the boxes, draw or add small photos to record your goals. Then check them off once you've achieved them. Have fun with it and enjoy!

  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5VOT7zddaXUYnp0aTY4RjlzZkE/edit?usp=sharing


Feel free to print this for your own personal or classroom use and share it, however no permission is given to sell any printables on this site. All rights reserved. 


Friday, December 27, 2013

Freebies on Friday - December 27, 2013

Happy Friday everyone! Sorry this is a little late, but here are a couple freebies to get your New Year off to a great start.  Enjoy and see you all on Monday!

e-Books

52 Mondays: The One Year Path To Outrageous Success & Lifelong Happiness


How To Set Goals: Your Goal Setting Bible For Maximum Personal Achievement (Goal Setting Success Series)


Creating YOUR Plan for Weight Loss Success (How to Lose 100 Pounds)


LOA for the Real World: 7 Big Fat Clues to Getting What You Want



Samples
Dolce & Gabbana Perfume
Free Can of Friskies or Fancy Feast from Petco
25 Free 4X6 Photo Prints with shipping from Picaboo


Misc.
New Year's Goal Printable
Goal Setting Questions for the New Year from The Art of Simple
My Dreams for 2014 from EveryDayCheer.com


* Please note the ebook links are affiliate links but at the time of this publication all the books were listed as free on Amazon.com. All the remaining links are not-affiliate links and I am not compensated for sending people to any of them.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas




Enjoy this special day with your family and friends!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Locks of Love

This morning my oldest decided it was time she got her hair cut. It was getting a bit long and hard to manage.

We made our way to the mall which was really crowded on Christmas Eve. We went into Cartoon Cuts which is really a kid's hair salon, but they offer Locks of Love.

Locks of Love is a non-profit organization that provides hair pieces for children under 21 who have long term medical hair loss. Get more information about Locks of Love here.

She ended up donating 10" of hair and this is the second time she's done it. We are very proud of her and am glad she found her own way to help others.

By the way, she is still getting used to having such sort hair.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Cinnamon Roll Swirl Cake

I found this wonderful recipe in a Weis Markets coupon book. I make a few alterations to the recipe. I use margarine instead of butter and I cut the glaze recipe in half - the full recipe made way too much.

This is the second time I've made this recipe. The first time was at a family Christmas party and it turned out great.

Enjoy!


Batter
3 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup butter, melted (we use margarine)

Topping
1 cup butter or margarine, softened not melted
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. cinnamon

Glaze
2 cups powdered sugar
5 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

In a large bowl, mix all batter ingredients together except for butter/margarine. Once mixed slowly pour in the butter. Stir into the batter.  Pour batter into a greased 9 X 13 pan.

For topping, mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Drop evenly over the batter and swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Mix together the glaze ingredients and drizzle over the cake while it's still warm.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Freebies on Friday - December 20, 2013

Happy Friday everyone! I found a few freebies for you this week including one that may seem odd, but the holidays can be a little depressing for some people. If that is someone you know please pass that along. It could make a difference in their life - you never know.

Enjoy and see you all on Monday!

e-Books

A Charlie Brown Christmas


The Twelve Dogs of Christmas (All the Creatures of Christmas)


The Twelve Cats of Christmas (All the Creatures of Christmas)



8 Reasons Your Life Matters


Samples
Seven Essentials Nutritional Products
Purina Pro Plan Dog or Cat food - $5.15 coupon which makes them free.
Tropical Breeze Fragrance for Him
Ice Elements 2 Minute Miracle Gel

Misc.
Christmas Planner Pages from Botanical Paperworks
10 Really Great Christmas Printables for Kids
Beautiful Enough to be Framed Printables from The Jacobs Clan


* Please note the ebook links are affiliate links but at the time of this publication all the books were listed as free on Amazon.com. All the remaining links are not-affiliate links and I am not compensated for sending people to any of them.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Just for Fun - Cats, Snowman and Holiday Funnies

With all the stress of the holiday season I thought I would share a couple cute and funny things to lighten your spirits today. Hopefully these make you smile.  Enjoy!










Source: SnowArt.org
Source: SnowArt.org













Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Lego Minifigure Holiday Postcards


Here's a fun, free postcard your kids will enjoy creating. Make your family in Lego Minifigures.

My kids helped create themselves in minifigures and loved it. The pic above is of our whole family.

The people are fully customizable. You can choose from a variety of faces, colors, and clothes. There is also an option to add names.

You can download the finished product or share in directly from Lego's site. I plan to print it out and save it as a holiday decoration.

What will you do with yours?


Create Your Own Postcard Here

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tips to Organize Your Holiday Decorations

I know Christmas isn't over yet, but I thought I'd share some tips for organizing your holiday decorations before you put them away for the year.

Most people decorate their home pretty much the same way each year, so this will help speed up the process of putting up and taking down your decorations.

One Box Method

Put one box in the middle of each room and fill it with the decorations in that room. My Aunt Lisa suggested this one. That way each year, packing away the decorations is quick and easy.  Putting them up the next year will be easy, too. Just label the box "Living Room Christmas" or whatever room/holiday.

Label Each Box
We have accumulated a lot of holiday decorations over the years. Each year we end up going through all the decorations to see what we want to display that year. It takes a while and we end up using the same ones each year.

One way to avoid going through every decoration is to put a special symbol or even the year on a sticker on the boxes with decorations you actually used that year. Put a tree on the your Christmas decorations, a pumpkin on Halloween decor, and maybe a bunny on Easter items.

Donate
When you are getting your decorations out or when you are putting them away, donate what you no longer want or use. Let others enjoy what you no longer want and you can enjoy the fact that you don't have to store it anymore.

Please feel free to share your holiday decoration tips by leaving a comment.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Meet Little Miss Noel

Please welcome the newest member to our family. Little Miss Noel.

As I mentioned last Wednesday, I'm a sucker for strays.  We never planned to get another pet. We already have 2 medium/large dogs (12 yrs and 9 yrs), and 2 cats (16 yrs and 11 mths). Plus the five of us makes a really full house.

However, this little girl was found out in the snow last week. She came up to my hubby one night, meowing like crazy. He tried to bring her in that first night, but our kids ran to see her and she slipped out the door that was still open a tiny bit.

So we watched out for her a couple days. Feeding her and trying to get her to trust us. There was another cat with her that we thought was her mama.  On Thursday, the weather was supposed to be 15 degrees overnight, so decided they needed to come inside.

I picked up the little one and stuck her in a cat carrier we have and took her inside.  I placed her in a room and we slowly all came and met her while she was in the crate.  That night we kept her in the crate but we put her in our bedroom so she wasn't alone. We didn't want her to roam around the house and interacting with our other pets until we had her checked out by a vet.

We tried to catch the mama cat, to no avail. We managed to get her to come in by bribing her with milk, but she flipped out and just wanted out. We didn't want her running around wild in the house and possibly attacking any of the cats or dogs, so we let her out.  We placed a box with a heated pet blanket outside along with food and water in a sheltered area, so she was out of the elements as much as possible.

The next morning (Friday), I bribed her back in with milk. Then I threw a blanket over her and placed her in the cat carrier. I then took her to Animal Control to be adopted out - she was too wild for us. Turns out she was a previous catch, spay and release, so the kitten wasn't her's. It must have just been her companion. That made me feel a little less guilty by separating them.

I know that they are both going to be warm, fed and cared for. I know that they both deserve a better life than struggling to find a warm place to stay, food to eat and avoiding animals and people that may hurt them.

This little girl has been to the vet, got her first shots, received some deworming meds and will be fixed when she is old enough. She is in really good health and everyone there loved her. She is so cuddly, and will be loved and adored for the rest of her life.

As you can see from the pictures above, she enjoys being near people. She sleeps on anyone and everyone. She is still a little skittish, but is getting better every day.

We named her Noel because we found her around Christmas time. It also sounded like a pretty "girl" name, since all our other pets are boys.

As you can see from the photos below, she looks almost identical to one of our other cats. Both are tuxedo cats and adorable.

I'm sure you will see more of her in the future.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Freebies on Friday - December 13, 2013

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you all had nice week. I found a few freebies for you this week. Enjoy and see you all on Monday!

e-Books

Wrap with Love: Holiday Gift Giving with Less Stress and More Joy



Christmas Breakfast & Brunch Recipes (Breakfast Casseroles, Quiche, Muffins and Scone Recipes)



52 Easy Steps to a Frugal New You: Building a More Frugal Life One Week at a Time


Samples
Tampico Lemon Pepper Spice
Gourmet Salt Blends - Rosemary, Lemon and Garlic salt blend samples
Beef Jerky sample from World Class Jerky

Misc.
http://rufflesandtweed.blogspot.com/2011_12_01_archive.html
Christmas Gift Tags from Skip To My Lou
Christmas Advent Calendar from Living Locurto


* Please note the ebook links are affiliate links but at the time of this publication all the books were listed as free on Amazon.com. All the remaining links are not-affiliate links and I am not compensated for sending people to any of them.