Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year’s Resolutions

Happy 2015, friends! I hope everyone has been having a good start to the New Year. As much as I love the holidays and seeing all my family and friends, it’s nice to get back to the normal routine. With that in mind, there are things I want to improve on so I thought I’d wrap them up for my new year’s resolutions this year!

Healthy household – I spent the holidays letting my family and myself binge eat (and I loved every minute of it). Now I should really get my family back on track with a healthier lifestyle. I’m not saying no more junk food because there’s always weekends and holidays… But definitely going to try to bring more greens and fruits back in the picture!

Family first – Speaking of my family, I am looking at schedules that are busier than ever. Between everyone’s priorities (work and/or school) and extracurricular (band, choir, orchestra, sports, clubs, and so much more), I am seeing less time available for all of us to get together. I am determined though to make sure we get together at least once a week for a meal and some quality time for games or movies or just to catch up.

Financial focus –The holidays can bog me down with all sorts of spending and eating. I want to refocus and remember my love for finances and budgeting. I hope I can work on myself (and my accounts) to nurse them back to full! Budgeting, personal finance, financial planning, are just a few of things I’m looking to improve this year!

What are some of your new year’s resolutions? Share with me in the comments!

Monday, December 29, 2014

3 New Year Treat's

Wow, can you believe this year is almost over? 2015 is just a few days away. One of my resolutions each year is to eat healthier but that doesn't mean I can’t celebrate holidays! I wanted to share some treats that I’m thinking about making to ring in the New Year.

2015 crescents! – My family loves the Pilsbury crescent rolls and this is an easy one. Just grab a can of Pilsbury crescent rolls, unroll the dough. Cut each rectangle into four strips. Shape each strip (four strips) into the New Year (four numbers, 2015) and bake! These can be eaten plain or dipped in marinara sauce or a sauce of choice.

Chocolate top hats – Melt some chocolate and dip a Ritz cracker and a marshmallow. Place the marshmallow on the cracker. After creating all of these, melt some vanilla bars (or whatever color you’d like) and write “Happy New Years” or “2015” or any greetings for an easy snack.

Clock cake & cupcake numbers – I am most excited about this one. I’m baking one large cake and at least 12 cupcakes (but probably more because we love cupcakes). I will frost all the cakes white and use a piping bag of chocolate to draw clocks hands on the large cake as well as write numbers 1 through 12 on the chocolates. Then placed in the clock shape, I will easily have a clock that we can eat during the countdown!

What are some eats or treats that you like to bring in the New Year with? Share with me in the comments below.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

3 Christmas Treats to Make

As some of you may already know (or deducted), I love food and holidays. I love the big meals as well as the little treats that show off the season. I love making them as well as eating them. So now it’s time for me to share some Christmas treats for this year!

Candy sleighs – This one is good for small gifts. Glue a full sized Kit Kat bar to two candy canes (one on each side and the curve up) for the base of the sleigh. Then glue down miniature Hershey’s bars, stacked into a pyramid (four on the bottom all the way to one at the top). Really though, any of your favorite different sized candy will work. Grab a chocolate candy Santa that can usually be found at local stores and glue him to the front. Finally tie the candy cane up with ribbon and top it off with a bow.

Rudolph pancakes – This one is good for breakfast. Make a small and a large pancake and stack them on top of each other by the edge. Use scraps as ears on the edge. Fry up two strips of bacon (or just one) and cut it into four pieces, two big and two small. Use them as antlers. Finally use whipped cream (we use the spray) to make the eyes and either chocolate chips or blueberries in the middle for pupils. Finally finish it off with a strawberry or raspberry as the nose, placed in the middle of the small pancake.

Christmas tree pretzel melts – This one is quick and easy! Melt some green candy melts (from Watson) and pour the liquid chocolate into a squeeze bottle. Then make a Christmas tree design on top of a pretzel stick with the chocolate in the squeeze bottle. Be sure to put it on non-stick aluminum foil for easy removal and no breakage. Then use sprinkles (colored or white) or M&M’s or other colored candy to make the lights. Then as preference, put a star sprinkle on the top of the tree!

What are some of your favorite Christmas treats?

Monday, December 15, 2014

3 DIY Christmas Decorations With the Kids

Thanksgiving feels like it was still just yesterday to me but we’re less than two weeks away from Christmas! My house is already in the mood with the Christmas tree and lights up as well as Christmas music playing at pretty much any time of day. My kids wanted to do more DIY decorations like we did for Halloween this year so on top of our usual paper snowflakes, here are some things we made this year for Christmas decorations!

Pinecone Christmas tree – Even though we already have a big Christmas tree up, my kids wanted to put little ones all over the house. So we used some pinecones, painted them green and glued different colored pom pom balls all over them as ornaments. Now we have little trees in every room!

Snowman door – One of my kids had the great idea of using our door as a decoration this year instead of just putting a wreath on it. We cut out two large black circles for eyes, an orange triangle for a nose, and lots of smaller black dots lined up for a mouth. Any idea what it is? A snowman! We completed our snowman door with a black hat and a scarf too.

Rudolph candy canes – Candy canes are almost a staple of this holiday for my kids. They love all kinds of flavors, including the original peppermint ones! So with all the candy canes laying around, we made them into reindeer… specifically, Rudolph! We just put two googly eyes on the short side of the curve, a red pom pom ball below the eyes for a nose, and used a brown pipe cleaner, twisted and bent, for the antlers!

How are you decorating for Christmas this year? Share with me in the comments below!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

5 Tips to Keep Electric Bill Low During Winter

Winter is when the temperature goes down and the electric bill goes up. Trying to stay warm using the heater can end up costing a bunch. Here are some things I’m doing to keep my electric bill down this year.

Turn it down – The most obvious saver is turning the heater in your house down. Even lowering the thermostat one degree for 8 hours can lower your bill by 1% (the Energy Department estimates)!

Space heat it up – To combat this, wear layers around the house and get space heaters for rooms. When the sun is out, keep the curtains open to use the heat and when the sun goes down, close the curtains and cover the windows to keep the heat in.

Clean, clean, clean – Don’t forget to clean out your vents to fresh, clean air. Cleaning your filters every month can increase efficiency immensely.

The chores at night are big and bright – Do laundry and run the dishwasher when the energy is cheaper (usually at night time after 9 or 10 pm). Drying multiple loads of laundry in a row also saves money overall because the dryer is already warm.

Seal them shut – Clean up any holes or cracks around the house. Caulk them closed so that the cold cannot get in.

Many companies now offer weekends or nights free for energy. Check with your energy company to see if they have any offers and use them to your advantage. What are some things you do to help keep your electric bill low? Share with me in the comments!