Friday, February 21, 2014

Paying It Forward

Have I mentioned on here before that I may have a slight attachment to my morning coffee drink from a well-known coffee franchise?

I may or may not use the promise of said cup of coffee to motivate myself to get out of bed, get ready and drive to work some days.

What can I say...I really don't have a lot of expensive habits so I allow myself this one and if I use my rewards card, every 13th drink is free...

Well, sometimes it's more often than that and here's where the title of this post comes into play.

In the last three months, a beautiful, kind soul has bought my coffee for me in the drive-thru before work on multiple occasions.

I don't know who she is (in my mind, it's the same woman every time but I really don't know).

My first reaction is usually "oh my, did she know she was buying a $5 cup of coffee for a stranger (yes, I said $5 for a cup of's my vice...get off my back).

My second reaction is "what a sweet, lovely gesture."

My third reaction is "I need to continue to pay forward the kindness."

So, here's my question to you, my friends...If this has happened or would happen to you, do you pay for the next person's drink that day to keep "paying it forward"?

I always wait until the next time I'm go through the drive-thru and pay for someone's drink then.

Is there a correct way to do this? Do I look ungrateful when I just take my free drink and drive away?

Thoughts? Discussion? 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

3 Ways I Try and Motivate Myself

I have read organizational blogs.

I have downloaded e-books to give me daily assignments on what to organize.

I have heard lectures from my mother on if "I just do one thing a day..."

And the list goes on and on.

But I still can't seem to get motivated to stay organized and keep my house clean.

I do agree with others that everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another. I also agree with my friend Leah that some people are just BORN with the "cleaning gene" and it SKIPPED right over me. So, I decided to share three things that have helped me stay on track when trying to clean up after myself. 

I admit to my mother and the other four people who read this blog that these 3 tips haven't miraculously made my house immaculate, but they are helping me conquer the clutter.

I'd love to hear what has worked for you - or not worked for you.

Here we go...

1. Make a list. But don't make it too long. And don't beat yourself up if you don't get them all done. Think of it as a suggestion list. If I think of it as a "To Do" list, then it feels too much like a chore. I think of it as a "Challenge" list. Can I get at least one of these done before I get distracted and end up eating M&Ms and watching Seinfeld re-runs.

This fun little noteboard is on my fridge. I made the list above when I was home on a snow day recently. The good thing is that I completed two of the three items on the list completely. The bad thing is I now have two big boxes for Good Will sitting in the middle of my kitchen floor.

2. Set a timer. I find that if I give myself a 10 minute or 20 minute or even 30 minute timeframe to tackle a chore, I am more likely to stick with it and not have as many "squirrel" moments.

You know what I'm talking about...when you start cleaning off your kitchen table and go to put away something in a closet and see something in the closet that needs to be put in the Good Will pile and then wait a minute is that shirt supposed to be in the Good Will pile and all of the sudden, it's 30 minutes later and you have totally taken apart the Good Will pile and your kitchen table is still a mess.

3.  Tackle one room at a time. Have an hour between swim lessons and Bible study? Go into the kitchen and start the dishes. Then move onto sweeping the floor. Then take a quick look in the fridge and see what needs pitching. It will keep you focused and you will see immediate results.

That's it. Those are the three things that have seemed to work best for me.

Share your tips...please. Share what hasn't worked for you...pretty please. I know I'm not the only one out here who struggles with the clutter!

BONUS TIP: Make yourself do X things. I can't believe I didn't remember this one when writing this post! It is one I use all the time. I have to put away 5 things before sitting down to watch TV at night. It can be as simple as picking up the newspapers and putting them in the recyling basket or as tedious as doing the dishes - each of those only count as one thing (not each dish as one thing).

As you can notice, I have to give myself limits...yes, I know I sound like a child!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Easy Toasted Marshmallow Chocolate Dip

Last night after a huge spinach salad (IMNSLO - in my non-salad loving opinion), I couldn't help remembering a picture I saw on Facebook earlier in the day.

It was from 240Sweet Artisan Marshmallows and it was a Baked S'mores Dip...swoon. (If you have never tried their marshmallows, I suggest you do. They are delicious.) 

So after being a good girl and eating a salad for supper, I immediately went to the kitchen to see if I could make my own version of the warm, gooey treat.

My supplies were a bit limited but I think my version turned out just fine!

I used a ramekin instead of a cast iron skillet and peppermint mini marshmallows (an after-Christmas buy) in place large marshmallows.

I cranked up the oven to 450 degrees and while it was heating up, I put a layer of dark chocolate chips (use your favorite - milk, semi-sweet, white) on the bottom and topped it with a layer of mini marshmallows.

When the oven was pre-heated, I popped the ramekin in for about 8 minutes (until the tops of the marshmallows started to brown).

Don't let it cool too long before digging in!

I ate mine with pretzels but it would be great with graham crackers or with a spoon!

This was perfect for one person but probably plenty for two!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Airing My Blogging Failures

I have aspirations of being a blogger.

One who posts regularly.

One who writes posts that are useful, entertaining and/or inspiring.

Instead I'm a blogger who goes months without posting.

One who plans posts in her head and then never writes them down.

One who has big ideas of sharing fun party tips and then forgetting to take photos until AFTER the party. Ending up with just this to show for that great blog post...

Fun Fondue Fixings from the Holiday Clearance Aisle

One who tries to be crafty and ends up with a blooper reel of photos to show for her efforts...

Had to break open this kit to find a paint brush... 

Had to use this to fix the spacing of my letters...

End results...not too bad even with the wrong paint
and the wrong paint brushes

One who is going to blog funny photos and observations from her travels but never does...

Blow up decorations in a cactus garden...really?

Well, it's a new year and with it comes renewed motivation to get back on the horse (well, back to the keyboard...I don't ride horses) when it comes to blogging.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Saving Money Five Dollars at a Time

I recently shared some ideas about teaching children (and yourself) how to save money in fun ways over at Real Farmwives of America.

The post inspired me to kick start my savings for an upcoming trip to Disney World with my sisters and nieces.

A friend of mine helped fund two recent trips by simply NEVER spending a five dollar bill for almost two years.

Wow, could it be that simple?

I decided to give it a try.

Here's where I'm at after just a week of stashing away my five dollar bills.

I'm looking forward to the challenge of tucking away these bills over the next year and seeing where I end up. I am sure I won't have enough to bankroll the Disney trip, but I'm hoping I have enough to pay for some meals while there.

Of course, I may have to go Dave Ramsey style and start using cash for everything. It's kind of hard to save $5 bills when you use a credit card all the time!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Mint Chocolate Yumminess

A bag of M&Ms for $1.10...I'll take three. I can't seem to pass up a bargain on holiday candy.

Can you?

I currently have 6 bags of holiday M&Ms in assorted flavors.

I also have at least 3 bags (that I have found) of these Nestle Winter dark chocolate & mint morsels.

What's a gal to do when faced with so much holiday chocolate goodness?

That's right. Make some Mint Chocolate Puppy Chow (for humans, not dogs)!

I can't take credit for the recipe...I saw it first on Pinterest (where else) from Shugary Sweets. She actually shares several mint-inspired recipes in her post, so check it out.

My version has just four ingredients. Yes, just four!

Before I share how I made it, I do want to warn you that it's not really a recipe. I didn't do a lot of measuring so feel free to add a little more cereal or a little less.

Mint Chocolate Puppy Chow

Bag of Dark Chocolate & Mint Morsels
5-6 cups of Rice Chex (or similar cereal)
1 cup of Powdered Sugar
Bag of Mint Chocolate M&Ms (or Peppermint White Chocolate, maybe?)

Measure cereal and place in a large mixing bowl. Put powdered sugar in a large, clean plastic storage bag.

Melt a bag of dark chocolate and mint morsels (in the microwave or on the stove). I did mine in the microwave in a 2-cup glass measuring cup. I started at 45 seconds, stirred and put it back in for another 30-45 seconds. Be sure to stir well because they will melt quickly and you don't want to overcook them.

Add melted chocolate to the cereal and stir to coat all of the pieces.

Dump the coated cereal into the bag with the powdered sugar. Seal the bag and shake, shake, shake!

Spread coated cereal on sheet of wax paper until set. Add the M&Ms and store in an airtight container.

Plan to share this with family and friends because if you don't, you'll find yourself with powdered sugar down your shirt as you eat all of it yourself!

Now what to do with all of the Milk Chocolate M&Ms...

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Push Button for Bacon

Saw this while on the Purdue University campus today...

No other words needed.


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