February 2014Back Home Again: February 2014

Friday, February 28, 2014

March Goals and February Recap

Here were my goals for February:
  • Go to church twice this month (We sadly failed at this again. To be honest, I've been thinking more and more that our current church may not be the right fit for us. We'll see how this pans out in the future)
  • Put $100 in savings We put a lot more than that with our tax return, plus we've been putting the extra money that we're saving by switching the kids' daycare into savings and will be using that excess towards projects around the house.
  • Keep $100 in savings
  • Pay off a credit card with our tax return Done!
  • Put Ewan on the waiting/interest list for preschool I visited one preschool and we're going to an Open House for our top choice this week.  
My goals for March:
  • Go to church twice this month and decide if we want to stay or start visiting other churches.
  • Get Ewan registered for preschool.
  • Get our hotel booked for our vacation.
  • Meal Plan every week. See below. My eating got WAY off track in February and my health has definitely suffered for it.
  • Get back to going to the gym three times a week. February was a bust for going to the gym. Between Alan going out of town for work and being sick half the month, this did not happen.

Going Organic on a Budget: Food Preservation

I mentioned last week that I preserve a lot of what I buy locally or get from our CSA. Basically what that means is that I either freeze or can a lot of it to use later. Doing this during the summer saved me tons this fall and winter because I didn't have to purchase canned or frozen veggies in the store. I'm just now getting to the point where I will have to buy canned green beans from the store.

Using the pressure canner my husband got my for Christmas

That's pretty easy to do during the summer months when locally grown produce is aplenty. But, now not so much.

So, I take advantage of buying things when they're on sale. When I made this tomato sauce, tomatoes happened to be on sale at my local grocery, so I bought a bunch, enough to make 5 pints of tomato sauce. Not only did I save money on tomatoes, but I saved by not buying tomato sauce in the store, which is more expensive. An added bonus is that my sauce has no sugar and tastes so much better than the store bought stuff. Something else I've canned is my own white beans and black beans. I buy the bagged dry beans in the store for super cheap, then soak, cook and can them. Yes it takes forever, but saves me in the long run. 


I've talked about canning before, but something to note is that you can can using either a water bath or with a pressure canner. I started out this summer using a water bath because that was all I had. However, it's not safe to can things such as green beans in a water bath because the temperature doesn't get hot enough to kill bacteria. Things with a high acidic content, such as pickles, tomatoes and peaches are fine in a water bath though. Or, if you don't want to can, just freeze them. Super easy!

Another thing I would like to mention is that I don't buy all fruits and vegetables organic. I stick to purchasing the dirty dozen organic and the clean fifteen conventionally. While I would love to buy all organic, I am on a budget!

Stay tuned next week when I talk about couponing organic foods!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Travel Thursday: Glastonbury Abbey

One of my favorite places I visited in Britain was Glastonbury Abbey


The abbey itself is now in ruins as it was dissolved by Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1500s. However, there is something so romantic about these ruins. I don't know if it's because they house the legendary tomb of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere, or if it was because the rain made everything seem so green or what, but it holds a special place in my heart. 


Once the richest abbey in Britain, the original Saxon/Norman church was destroyed by fire in 1184. It was rebuilt with even greater splendor. You can read more about its history here


Seeing places like this on an almost daily basis is one of the things I miss desperately about living in Britain. While we have things that are 100 years old in my town, or even 150 years, you just don't ever come across a building like this, ruins or not. 


One of these days, I will get back there...One of these days...

Welcome to The Ultimate Linky's Instagram Party!



I've been co-hosting this every Thursday along with Tammy from The Ultimate Linky where it runs every month. Our goal is to grow this party so that there will be new people linking up every week so that you can continue to get new followers!

There are two linkies in this party! You can do just one or both linkies if you wish. 


On the first linky, you will link up your Instagram URL for your Instagram profile so that you can be followed. On the second linky, link up the URL of a photo that you would like to be "liked". Please follow me and Tammy from The Ultimate Linky on Instagram (links below), add the button to your sidebar or party page, and then link up and follow the directions for who to follow/like!

Here is the button that you can add to your sidebar or party page. We also appreciate any shares that you could give! Thanks for your help in spreading the word!

The Ultimate Linky


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My Favorite Places in Indiana

Jess from Little Indiana made a comment on my 10 Places I Must See Within the US post that made me think...I could easily write a post about my favorite places in Indiana! 

I have lived in Northeast Indiana, East Central Indiana and Southwest Indiana. Not to mention the fact that I have driven all over the state. I actually prefer to take state highways and travel through the small towns, imagining what they looked like in their heyday. I guess that's why I'm in historic preservation!

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I have been going to Steuben County since before I was born. My family goes to Lake James pretty much all summer long, which is the lake on which Pokagon State Park is located. I know those trails like the back of my hand and have many fond memories of hiking to the camp store to get ice cream as a kid, not to mention going down the the toboggan track in the winter. I also remember when they had the buffalo pens!
The courthouse located in my hometown is magnificent. This building is what inspired my master's thesis. I remember when I was a sophomore in high school getting to take a tour of the building as part of my history class. At the time, it was being restored and we got to get a behind the scenes look at the restoration. So so cool. I think it would be so awesome to work in this beautiful building every day.

The confluence of the Maumee River is located in my hometown, and there is a rivergreenway that runs through the city along the three rivers. When I lived there, I would go rollerblading along it all the time. It was awesome and I have never found another trail quite like it since.


This is my absolute favorite winery. It's located not too far from Pokagon State Park and I always make a stop when we're nearby. If you ever visit, the 101 Lakes Red is my favorite :-)

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This is a nature preserve located within Evansville. I first discovered it in college and now we go walking the trails several times a year as a family. It's beautiful in the fall!

This is a quaint little town right outside of Evansville and it's quaintness has captivated me since college. We used to go down by the river and hang out. Now, we go walking on the trail down there. I love looking at all the old buildings!

I've only been here once, when I was in elementary school, but it's very cool. Who knew Indiana had dunes?

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Another quaint little town on the Ohio. We visited for class in grad school. Loved it!

Yet another Ohio River town not too far from Evansville. When Abraham Lincoln lived in Indiana, he ran flatboats out of Rockport. I like it because it's on a cliff!

New Harmony

New Harmony is a little town not too far from Evansville on the Wabash River. I had only been once during college, but wound up doing a lot of work there during grad school. It was founded in 1814 by the Harmonie Society. While I will admit that I think being in some of those Harmonist buildings is a little creepy, it's a very historic town that still shows its evolution from the simple Harmonists in the early nineteenth century to the quiet historic river town it is today with beautiful Victorian architecture.

These are just a sampling, as there are so many more things I enjoy about my state. I didn't even get into all the little festivals and whatnot that I've been too...or Philadelphia...those are posts for another day!

What are your favorite places to visit in your state?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Easy Dinners with Papa Murphy's

This post is part of a sponsored campaign with Papa Murphy's and MomSelect. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

The first time I ever had Papa Murphy's I was in grad school and my friends couldn't believe I had never heard of their take n' bake goodness. Once I tried it, I was hooked. Alan and I would get pizzas a lot during our last year of school. We were both busy with our respective thesis (theses?) and I didn't always have time to make a home cooked meal. With Papa Murphy's, I was able to at least bake it at home to give my pizza a homemade feel.


When we moved to PA and the closest Papa Murphy's was hours away, we missed it terribly. Now that we're back in Indiana, we purchase pizzas all the time. We actually had Papa Murphy's pizza at Ewan's first birthday party. 


So, when I was given the opportunity to try out their new pan pizzas, I was stoked. We decided to purchase a pan pepperoni pizza for the kids and a custom order pineapple, green pepper and onion pizza, which is one of our favorites. We also got an order of cheesy bread because we love the stuff.


I'll be honest, I'm not usually a fan of pan pizza because that's a lot of crust. But this was really good! I was a little worried that with that much dough, it wasn't going to cook completely in the center before burning the outsides, but it was perfect. The bottom was crispy from the butter and the insides were nice and soft, but not raw. The kids loved it too :-)


We had so much pizza left over that we were able to take it to lunch for the rest of the week. Not bad for a quick mid-week meal!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Going Organic On a Budget: Shopping Local

I have always shopped local when I can, but I've found that it can be pretty costly, especially when we lived in Pennsylvania. So, when we moved to Evansville, I didn't really bother with trying to find much that was locally sourced because I figured it would be ridiculously expensive. 

Eventually, I learned about our local food co-op and a natural food market, which I love for various reasons. But, they can get kind of pricey, exactly what I was hoping to avoid. So, I really didn't shop there much except to utilize the bulk spices and grains. However, this past summer, we joined our CSA and then I learned about a local real food Facebook group. Not to divulge our secrets, but people in there have the hookup on locally sourced beef, pork, chicken, eggs, cheese, raw milk...you name it, someone in there knows someone who can get it. I also love the fact that we're a little community where we help each other out when needed. Just last weekend I picked up someone's beef for them because they couldn't make the delivery.


It's awesome. 

Now, with utilizing veggies from our csa and the farmer's market (a post on how to do this will follow next week!), and purchasing in bulk from my food group and the co-op, I have cut our monthly grocery bill by almost half.

While I still spend the same amount each month as before, I'm not buying junk because I can't afford the super expensive grassfed meat or raw cheese that's in the organic section of the grocery store. This is because I'm now purchasing directly from the source. I may spend a little more up front to do so, but it lasts three times as long and therefore I'm not buying meat or cheese every other week because I have enough in my freezer to last three months.

And we're eating super healthy. Stay tuned next week for more tips on going organic on a budget!

Before you go, meet Victoria, who blogs at Lost in Boston


She started blogging last summer as a much needed outlet. She's been a journalist and in PR her entire working life and it's nice to say what she wants without edits :-)

While she likes designer clothing and NEVER leaves the house without mascara, She does rough it too...went dogmushing over New Years...there's a post here: http://www.lostinbostonblog.blogspot.com/2014/01/mushing-my-dogs-in-maine.html

She loves cooking and travel and blogs about them both often...suggestions on either topic are welcome!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Boy Behind the Blog: Valentine's Edition


1. If you could live anywhere, where would you live? I think we've done this question already... I think so too, but just in case you missed it, he loves North Carolina or Tennessee. Somewhere warmer than here!
2. Sand or snow? Snow.
3. What Winter Olympic sport would you rock at? I would probably suck, but I'm fascinated by curling. He loves curling! He wanted to join the local curling club when we lived in PA. Now he stays up all night to watch it since it's not shown during primetime during the Olympics.
4. You're cooking a romantic dinner- what is your go-to dish? I don't know how to cook. Lies! He's an awesome cook, but doesn't do it very often. He says that he doesn't want me to get used to it...men!
5. Fill in the blank: This year, I gave Holly a bunch of paper for Valentine's Day. He did. I give him crap because I have gotten flowers three times in the almost seven years we have been together so he made me paper flowers so I can never say he didn't give me flowers again :-) I love his creativity!
 
In case you missed it on my Instagram

What does your boy have to say?

 http://www.malsmiles.com/2014/02/the-boys-behind-blog-9-link-up-amazon.html

Welcome to The Ultimate Linky's Instagram Party!

I'm co-hosting the Instagram party for the month of February along with Tammy from The Ultimate Linky where it runs every month. Our goal is to grow this party so that there will be new people linking up every week so that you can continue to get new followers!

There are two linkies in this party! You can do just one or both linkies if you wish. On the first linky, you will link up your instagram URL for your Instagram profile so that you can be followed. On the second linky, link up the URL of a photo that you would like to be "liked".

Please follow me and Tammy from The Ultimate Linky on Instagram, add the button to your sidebar or party page, and then link up and follow the directions for who to follow/like!
Here is the button that you can add to your sidebar or party page. We also appreciate any shares that you could give! Thanks for your help in spreading the word!
The Ultimate Linky

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Blogging Isn't a Competition

Or is it? Sometimes I feel like it's a ridiculous competition and there's no way I can compete. We all want this or that opportunity and are left wondering why we didn't get it, or we're wondering why we've put years into our blog only to have the numbers someone who's been blogging 2 months has. I think every blogger has written a post somewhere that you should blog for you...which is true. But it's also nice to get the perks that come along with being a blogger too every now and then.

And Blogger v. Wordpress....don't even get me started on that one...ok well, now that I did start on it, I guess I am gonna go there :-) I'm so sick and tired of people telling me I must use this or that platform or commenting system. If you like Wordpress or Typepad or Blogger or whatever, then good for you! Use it and be happy with it, don't tear myself and my blog down because I don't use Wordpress and can't use your speshul snowflake commenting system. I'm perfectly happy on Blogger and have no intention of switching. A) I don't have the know how to do so B) Nor do I have the money to pay someone to switch everything for me C) I also don't have the money to purchase self-hosted Wordpress and D) I don't like change and if I'm happy with something, I tend to stick with it until I'm not. I just got in an unintentional argument about this actually, which inspired this post :-)

Also sometimes I feel like my posts have been copied by one blogger or another and that those bloggers do think it's a competition. It drives me crazy. I know that there's only so many things bloggers in my niche can blog about but when it comes across as you're trying to compete with other bloggers it's a little sad I think. Because while we are competing with each other to an extent - for things like sponsors, reviews, giveaways and other opportunities - who has the better post on a particular topic really shouldn't be a competition. It's great to share your successes, but not if you're purposefully trying to make others feel bad.

Oh yeah, also when you post something in a group or forum where people *should* reciprocate and they don't. That's just rude. I'm sorry, but if it happens often enough, you can bet that I'm not going to help you out anymore. Maybe that's too harsh of me, but if you don't scratch my back, then why should I scratch yours?

Aaaand....that's enough of my ramblings today. I had some other ramblings along these lines that I wanted to say, but it's lunchtime and they have completely gone out the window.

Hope everyone is having a better day than I am at the moment!

Crafts Galore!



Hello to all Back Home Again readers....My name is Tracy.  I blog over at Yea, I Know I'm Short. Holly was gracious enough to let me guest post for her today and I am thrilled to be here....so thank you in advance for reading.

I wish I was a crafty person.  Let me begin by saying, I try to be.  Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't.  Most of the time I don't haaaa.  I wanted a hobby to keep my brain moving and cure my appetite for some sort of art.  I have a board on Pinterest called "I could make that." Well, I like to think I could at least try anyway. 

I have made a couple things I am proud of though.  I have redone some items as well.  I bought a dresser on Craigslist for my oldest daughters room for $10 and re did it. Loved the results and so does she!  I have made lampshades, tissue balls, and wreaths and rugs. Everything I have ever made has never cost me more than $25....thats my favorite part.

It really is kinda simple if you just try...so I ask you want do you want to try, change, or do to improve your home or life?  Try it! I promise you will be proud of your results just because you tried.

Here are some of the things I have done....

My sister actually made this for my husband, its all this cigar wrapers
plastic gutters that holds kids books


Dresser After
Dresser Before
Tissue Balls
Initial Wreath
paper towel roll dipped in paint
Burlap wrapped lampshade and painted table
painted birds and paper flower
Please stop by my blog and check out any projects I'm working on or share any that you are working on!

T

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Yet Another Liebster!

I've been nominated for (I think) my third Liebster Award! Thanks Echo at Domain of the Mad Mommy for the nomination!

Since this isn't my first run around the block, I thought that I would just answer Echo's questions. Who doesn't love learning random things about people. I know I do! I especially love these because some of them are so random :-)

1. How much wood does a wood chuck chuck, if a wood chuck could chuck wood?
Me being the complete nerd that I am typed this into my Swagbucks search bar (and got 11 SB's!) and found out that it varies, but up to 700 pounds!

2. Glitter or Sequins?
This is a toughie. I love things that sparkle, but sequins so remind me of my dance costume days in elementary school. And glitter is so incredibly messy...

3. Why did you start blogging?
I've actually had a blog in some form since I was in college, say about 2000... Back then it was mainly my rantings about college and other randomness. I began my current blog when we lived outside Philadelphia to keep our friends and family informed of our adventures.

4. Is there a blogger/blog that you stalk and envy?
I read a lot of blogs pretty regularly, but I really like Casey at We Took the Road Less Traveled and Jess at Operation Skinny Jeans. Casey is living the life I wish I would've had in Europe right after I graduated college and Jess is so real about her struggles with weight loss. .


5. How do you like your asparagus? Fresh and Crispy or Canned and Mushy?
Canned asparagus is NASTY!!!


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6. Describe your family in one sentence.
Chaotic and sleep deprived, but we love each other unconditionally.

7. Show me your favorite thing on the internet right now. 
Come on, link it up! Don't be shy! (Pssst... No Porn)
I'm pretty much addicted to Bing Rewards right now. I've been getting monthly Starbucks gift cards while searching for things I would normally use at work!

8. What kind of blogs do you enjoy the most?
I like all sorts of blogs, so this is a hard question to answer. I guess I would have to say those that aren't always sunshine and rainbows, have good photos and are a mix of everything.

9. If you could teleport to any time and place, right now, but could only do it once, where/when would you go?
1154-1204, which are the years that Eleanor of Aquitaine was the Queen of England. I would love to have seen her in action. She's kind of a hero of mine, for those of you that don't know.

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10. Make me laugh. Joke? Picture? GIF? Video? I feel like a giggle.
What kind of dance do you do on a trampoline? hip hop! Lame I know, but I've been dying for a reason to tell that joke for five years.

11. Did you ever think that you would be a blogger?
Hahaha nope!

Feel free to answer these questions yourself in the comments! 
This post contains referral links. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sweets for my Sweet

I know Valentine's Day was last Friday, but since Alan reads my blog, and I didn't want him to know what I was up to, I'm just now posting what I did for him for Valentine's Day :-)


I purchased three of Alan's favorite candy bars, cut out strips of red paper and wrote things I love about him on them.


I wrapped the paper around the candy bars and since we work together, I had intended on giving them to him throughout the day. But, I woke up feeling horrible on Friday so I took a sick day and put them all in his lunch instead. 

Super simple and easy sweets for my sweet!

Don't forget about these giveaways and blogger opportunities:

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Why I Will Never Consign Again!

As I sit here typing this I am so mad I can hardly see straight. This weekend was one of the huge consignment sales at the armory and I finally decided to put a few things in it.

I was super excited, thinking that Ewan's stuff would sell because little boys clothes go like crazy when they're in good condition. 

Ha! Nope. We made $15. Are you effing kidding me?! 

We actually sold $30 worth of stuff, but with the fees taken out, it's half of our sale. Out of the 30 things I put into the sale SIX sold. I had them priced based on what I've seen at the sale myself, so I know that they were priced accordingly. If you count the money spent for safety pins, hangers, paper, ink and the gas to take the stuff to the armory and back, we might've broke even. 

Well, I go to pick up our stuff today only to find out that we're missing items! The lack of professionalism on the part of the staff/volunteers astounded me. The one lady was just like "Oops! Sorry!" and walked away. I had to find someone else to talk to and she was just like, "Well, you signed the consignor agreement and we're not responsible. We never lose stuff, I can count on one hand the number of times it's happened in 15 years. That's why we have a police officer patrol the sale." 

When I asked her if I could go look for my stuff, she told me that they double check everything and they don't make mistakes. Which means that a) my stuff was stolen b) someone screwed up and walked off with it and c) you're accusing me of lying. Which is exactly why I printed out my inventory of what didn't sell before I went.

I was livid.

1) Don't lie to me and say that it hardly ever happens. I'm sure it happens a lot because there are TONS of people there and one police officer can't watch everything.

2) When I tell you that all I'm going to do is walk through and look over the tables to see if they could be there, don't sick your police officer on me. I am NOT a thief thankyouverymuch!

So THANK YOU Consignit Moms of Evansville, Indiana for making sure that I will never visit your sale again nor will I ever put anything into a consignment sale again. I'd much rather take my chances at a yard sale. You better believe that I will blast your horribleness to everyone I know and on every social media outlet I have.

I'm glad I only put a few things in to test it out because it is SO NOT WORTH IT!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Why Main Street is Hip Again

While I think that this #2014BloggerChallenge, "High Street v. High End" is geared more towards your thoughts on designer v. mass produced, I knew immediately what I was going to write about. Historic Preservation!

The High Street (or Main Street here in the US) is readily used as the primary business district in Britain, however it is pretty much dead in many towns here in the States.

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Have you ever driven through a small town and seen those abandoned old buildings lining Main Street? They used to be hoppin' in their day and that town was the gathering place for the area, particularly in county seats. The courthouse square was extremely important for this aspect. It was the gathering place for farmers coming to town to sell their goods and for the townspeople to purchase them. They were the center of government for the county. If you wanted to know what was happening in your area, you went to Main Street or your courthouse square.  

 LaGrange County Courthouse - Indiana
Did you know that in Indiana there are only 2 counties out of 92 that do not have a courthouse square?

Unfortunately, with the advent of the interstate, suburbia, shopping centers, and big box stores such as Walmart (which is the death sentence of a small town business district!), Main Street slowly died during the mid and late-twentieth century.

There is a whole "back to the city" movement going on within this country and it's not just for local business. People are purchasing old houses and restoring or rehabbing them as well. Being "green" and sustainable is definitely in these days and these businesses and homeowners are "recycling" old buildings so they aren't demolished and we completely lose the architectural and cultural heritage located within. One of my favorite aspects of my job and something that originally drew me to historic preservation is learning about the people that lived in and worked in and built these places. Their heritage shouldn't be forgotten.

That's why it's so important to buy local and from these Main Street shops - to support this movement. So, which do I prefer, high end or high street? My answer is both. While I do shop at some big box stores, I do try to shop as local and as much as I can. A lot of the time that is more "high end" than anything you can find in a big box store.

I'm part of the #2014BloggerChallenge. Are you?

 


Don't forget about these giveaways and blogger opportunities:

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Numbers in Our Relationship

Being that it's Valentine's Day, I thought I would do something that I have seen on several blogs: Our relationship in numbers.

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But first, the short version of our love story. We met in grad school at Ball State. We were both part of the Historic Preservation program. We didn't start dating until right after our first year ended, when we were both in Muncie for our internships...and the rest is history!

Don't worry, one of these days I'll get around to the details of our story :-) But now, back to our numbers.

Numerology: Alan is a 7 and I am a 9.

6 years 8 months together
4 years 4 months married
2 apartments
1 house
3 cities (Muncie, Boothwyn, Evansville)
2 kids
2 cats
2 cross country moves (IN to PA and back to IN)
5 countries traveled to (Canada, Mexico, Cayman Islands, Belize and Honduras)
21 states traveled to (IN, MI, IL, WI, MN, IA, MO, KY, TN, GA, FL, OH, WV, PA, DE, NJ, NY, MD, VA, NC and SC)

Happy Valentine's Day!


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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Travel Thursday: The Everglades

Almost two years ago now, when I was about nine weeks pregnant with Cecily, we went to Naples, Florida for my brother-in-law's wedding. Alan and I had decided to make a vacation out of it since we knew that was the only trip we were taking in 2012 due to me being pregnant. And, since we were so close to Everglades National Park, there was no way I was going to pass up the chance to go. I have wanted to see the Everglades ever since I was little and read a book about manatees.

This alligator was just chillin' along the side of the trail

We took a cruise through the Ten Thousand Islands, which is the salt water portion of the Everglades. It's basically a huge mangrove forest along the coast. 


While I didn't get to see any manatees, we did see lots of dolphins, which is just as nice! After the cruise, we drove halfway to Miami to the Shark Valley Visitor's Center, which is in the middle of all the cattails and swamp and what you would typically think of as the Everglades. Unfortunately by this point, I was so nauseous from morning all day sickness that I didn't enjoy it nearly as much. 

 
Ewan, however, had a great time!

Welcome to The Ultimate Linky's Instagram Party!


I'm co-hosting the Instagram party for the month of February along with Tammy from The Ultimate Linky where it runs every month. Our goal is to grow this party so that there will be new people linking up every week so that you can continue to get new followers!

There are two linkies in this party! You can do just one or both linkies if you wish. On the first linky, you will link up your instagram URL for your Instagram profile so that you can be followed. On the second linky, link up the URL of a photo that you would like to be "liked".

Please follow me and Tammy from The Ultimate Linky on Instagram, add the button to your sidebar or party page, and then link up and follow the directions for who to follow/like!

Here is the button that you can add to your sidebar or party page. We also appreciate any shares that you could give! Thanks for your help in spreading the word!
The Ultimate Linky

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Woolzies Dryer Balls - A Review and Giveaway!

I received free product in exchange for this review. However, all opinions are my own. 

A few weeks ago someone in my mom's Facebook group was talking about wool drying balls instead of conventional fabric softener or dryer sheets and how great they are. I don't use fabric softener or dryer sheets on my kids' clothes and I hate that they come out feeling rough and full of static. So, when I was given a six pack of Woolzies to test out, I was super excited.


They're chemical free and therefore non-toxic and hypoallergenic. Something I like about them is that they're handmade in Nepal, giving women who need a steady source of income just that.

The packaging and the Woolzies website claim that they reduce not only static but drying time so I decided to do a little experiment. I set my dryer for less time than normal to see if this was really true.

And they really did reduce drying time by about 10 minutes!

Now Woolzies wants to give away a six-pack of dryer balls to one of my readers. The giveaway will run for one week, until February 19, and is open to US residents only. Good luck!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Weight Loss Milestone Giveaway Announcement!

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I wanted to invite you all to participate in my first ever group giveaway! To celebrate finally getting below 200 lbs, I wanted to host a giveaway to one of my favorite stores that I can now fit into again, White House Black Market.

Here are the details:

The giveaway will run the first week of March and $10 will get you 2 links of your choice, $15 will get you 3 links and $20 will get you 4+ links. Or, alternatively, you can donate your own item and receive 1 link. I think this is a great opportunity for us all to promote our blogs and celebrate an awesome weight loss milestone!

Please fill out this form if you are interested: http://ow.ly/tyYKT

Remember, the more cash, the better the winnings :-)

Thanks so much for all of your support!
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