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Welcome! I invite you to join me on this journey we call Life. It's crazy, fun, silly, sad, happy, loony, dull, exciting and everything inbetween

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!
Thank you for joining me on this journey I'm on. I have enjoyed sharing with you and look forward to another year of more! For you, I hope the New Year brings you all you desire. Most of all I hope you have enough....
Enough sadness to appreciate the joy
Enough rain to appreciate the sun (and the chance to witness the rainbow!)
Enough tears to appreciate the smiles
Enough hunger to appreciate the feast
Enough thirst to appreciate the drink
Enough wind to appreciate the calm
Enough disappointment to appreciate the excitement
Enough loss to appreciate what you have
Enough ordinary to appreciate the extraordinary
Enough selfishness to appreciate how much you have to give.
Enough jealousy to appreciate how much you are cared about by the ones that matter
Enough loneliness to appreciate your friends
Enough illness to appreciate wellness
Enough hate to appreciate the love that is all around you
Enough bad to know that goodness is all around

And most of all that only a tiny bit of "enough" is all you need to appreciate all that awaits to be experienced, enjoyed, witnessed, given, liked and loved!

~*~*~*~*~
I truly pray that the New Year is all you want and need it to be! I hope you'll continue on this journey with me as we experience more, learn more and see more!

Happy 2014 Everyone! 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Amish Bread Update - Strawberry!


I am in LOVE! I was finally able to make the Strawberry Amish Bread I mentioned in my original post with the Amish Bread Recipe.
It was FABULOUS! I was baking it at 2 AM so it would be ready for a family get together and I didn't think about taking a photo of it, but I will add one to this post when I make the next batch that will be ready in a few more days. It was so good I couldn't wait to share! 
I used Strawberry Creme pudding mix and after mixing in all the ingredients in the recipe, I mixed in about a cup of frozen strawberries that I had cut and sliced into various sizes. I ended up baking it in my bundt pan and it was awesome. It was a hit at the get together and only a small bit of it came back home with me! I also made a butterscotch batch at the same time and it turned out great too. It also went to the get together and only a small bit of it remained as well. The only thing I would add to that the next time I make it, is some butterscotch baking chips. If you have started making Amish bread or are thinking of trying it and you like strawberries, I can highly recommend you try using the strawberry pudding and real strawberries!
You can find the recipe I use as well as more of my notes on my original Amish Bread post


This one wasn't as perfect as the first, but it's okay. This one is just for us! At least the one that went to the get together came out perfectly intact! :)

******~******
I'd love to hear what flavors or combinations you have tried! 

Snapshots Of Christmas Fun

Christmas is over. Well sort of. We still have one get together coming up. As much as I love this time of year, I am also relieved once the craziness is over. Then we get to move on to the next thing that creates craziness! :) The relief is always short-lived isn't it? But we had some fun....

As soon as the sound of paper ripping started, Spot dove in. We learned he really likes wrapping paper!

We learned Nerf makes a gun that absolutely can not be played with in the house!

We learned boys will use anything handy to wrap a gift! :)

Of course there had to be a new gadget to be had!



After about 45 minutes of playing in the wrapping paper and rolling a golf ball across the floor, Spot collapsed in exhaustion. As did the rest of us!
~*~*~*~*~

New Year's is up next. Do you have big plans?
We usually don't do much, but who knows... our plans are rarely set in stone, so we shall see...  

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

December 25: Final Disney Movie Rewards Code

Today is the final code! I hope you were able to get them all! 
Merry Christmas everyone!


Log into your Disney Movie Rewards account and enter today's code for 10 free bonus points!
Today's Code:

~~   CTC25Y7  ~~



If you are already a member, don't forget to check your monthly email from DMR for bonus points too! There is usually a link at the bottom right of the newsletter with Mystery Points.

Best Buy Christmas Day Saving Event - Today ONLY!

Best Buy Co, Inc.

Best Buy is having a Christmas Day Saving Event! Here are two of the deals they have:





This one is good until December 31!

Best Buy Co, Inc.

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DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links. I may earn a commission if you purchase after clicking one of the links.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Believing In Santa

I'm kind of sad that our Santa ruse is over. We quietly slipped right by the milestone of our son no longer believing in Santa. For him, I think it was more of a gradual thing. We didn't have a big reveal, a big uh-oh moment where we were caught putting his presents under the tree or a slip of the tongue that gave it away.  We were able to pull it off longer than most people though. And we had fun!
He was an infant for his first Christmas so we really didn't start the Santa deception until his second Christmas and we added to them as time went on (and he asked more questions!). One year early into the deception, my husband found some wrapping paper with Santa on it. We bought several rolls and we got the idea that Santa's gifts would be wrapped differently than all the other gifts. He noticed the different paper right away and checked the tags. Addressed to him from Santa. He was so excited!
 So every year since he looks for the special paper. By about the second year that we did that, we bought several large rolls and have used the same paper for the last several years.

When he was about three he got concerned because all the tales of Santa tell of him coming down the chimney and we don't have a chimney. He wanted to know how Santa would get in. I happened to have ordered in some pewter "Santa keys" for some door knob hangers I had painted. He didn't know about them so I pulled one out and showed him Santa's key. He took it to the front door and tried to fit it into the lock. He was upset because it wouldn't work in the lock and Santa still wouldn't be able to get in. I told him that it only worked when it was in Santa's hand. I told him we would hang it on the outside on Christmas Eve right before he went to bed and Santa would put it back on the inside for us. That seemed to satisfy him and he made sure every year to put the key out for Santa.

Another thing that I started is a letter FROM Santa. Instead of him writing a letter telling Santa what he wanted, Santa sends him a letter highlighting some of the things he has accomplished, good deeds he did and milestones reached during the year. Santa knows all about the time he helped the classmate that was in the wheelchair, the lost teeth and winning the school spelling bee. Santa also tells him a little bit about what is happening at the North Pole. Every year he would get very anxious until his letter arrived. This is one thing that sort of spiraled into crazy and it's my own fault. I began including the nieces and nephews in my letter writing.... there are seven of them!! And then I added our parents. And then I added our step grandparents. I write at least 11 Santa letters every Christmas! I don't just write them. I custom design the letterhead, they are printed on parchment paper and the edges are charred so they look like olden days. Once all of them are done I address them, put them into an envelope and mail them to the North Pole where they are each given a real North Pole postmark. The elves then mail them back to everyone. 
I honestly don't know how we kept up the ruse so long because we also taught him the other side of Christmas. The true meaning. He knows the stories from the Bible, and the real reason we celebrate Christmas. We have shown him and had him participate in donating to others so that their Christmas is good too. We've taught him about how there are others less fortunate and tried to instill in him that he can and does make a difference by helping others and giving. When we moved him to a private school, he was so helpful and generous during the charity drives. I am extremely proud of him because I see that spirit of giving and helping alive in him throughout the entire year. Giving away the toys he no longer plays with, helping a disabled person, buying lunch for a classmate that forgot their lunch card. So now that he's not a little boy anymore the focus will naturally be on those sort of things and and the true and real aspects of Christmas. 

But still...... as crazy as it all got at times, it was so much fun and I am sure going to miss it.     
We still believe in the magic and wonder this Season always brings so we will always have part of it all with us. And we have the memories.... Ahhhh the memories! 
 Merry Christmas!! 

December 24: Disney Movie Rewards Bonus Code

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Log into your Disney Movie Rewards account and enter today's code for 5 free bonus points!
Today's Code:

~~  CTC24VY  ~~


#TheNightmareBeforeChristmas released in theaters 20 years ago today!

If you are already a member, don't forget to check your monthly email from DMR for bonus points too! There is usually a link at the bottom right of the newsletter with Mystery Points.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Disney Movie Rewards Bonus Code

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Log into your Disney Movie Rewards account and enter today's code for 5 free bonus points!
Today's Code:

~~  CTC23EM  ~~

And in case you missed it, you may still be able to get 15 points for the Weekend code. It just worked for me a few moments ago
~~  CTC2012   ~~ 

#TheNightmareBeforeChristmas released in theaters 20 years ago today!

If you are already a member, don't forget to check your monthly email from DMR for bonus points too! There is usually a link at the bottom right of the newsletter with Mystery Points.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

December 19 Disney Movie Rewards Bonus Code

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Log into your Disney Movie Rewards account and enter today's code for 5 free bonus points!
Today's Code:

~~  CTC19JM  ~~

#TheNightmareBeforeChristmas released in theaters 20 years ago today!

If you are already a member, don't forget to check your monthly email from DMR for bonus points too! There is usually a link at the bottom right of the newsletter with Mystery Points.

REVIEW: Ozeri 8 Inch Green Earth Textured Ceramic Non Stick Pan

Moderna Houseware recently gave me the opportunity to review the Ozeri 8 inch Green Earth Textured Ceramic Non-Stick frying pan.
I have bought non-stick cookware before and have used non-stick pans for years so I thought "how different could this be?" Well it was as different as night is from day! I have never had a non-stick pan like this. The ultra-safe ceramic coating is 100% PTFE and PFOA free. That textured bottom? It is designed to deliver enhanced heat distribution and superior non-stick performance without ever releasing harmful fumes or toxins. The ceramic coating is scratch resistant and super easy to clean! (YEA!!)  The pan itself is made of durable, heavy-gauge, die-cast aluminum with no heavy metals or harmful chemicals. It has a magnetized, induction stove safe base for rapid heat transfer and the handle is comfortable, heat-resistant silicone coated. 


Right out of the package it looked and felt different. The package said the ceramic coating is derived from nature with none of the harmful chemicals normally used in non-stick coatings, so I really didn't know what to expect. I placed it on the stove and began preparing some eggs for our son. He like cheesy egg so I mix some cheese in while I'm mixing them up and in some of my pans the melting cheese sticks to the sides and has to be scraped off. 

I noticed a difference the moment I poured the egg mixture into this pan. NONE of it stuck to the sides. Or the bottom for that matter. As it cooked, the eggs slide easily and never once stuck. I like the tall sides as well. They work well to keep food from going over the edge when stirring or flipping. 
I had an easier time flipping the eggs and they cooked up very light and fluffy. In other pans, once I flip them, they deflate and are kind of flat looking. Once they were done, I tilted the pan over my plate, and the eggs slid right out just like on a T.V. commercial! It was beautiful! 
I didn't even have to use the spatula to move them. And the terrific part? The pan didn't have a trace cooked on egg or cheese that needed to be scraped off. All that was left was a little oil residue from the cheese and the half tablespoon of butter I used.


Not only was I thrilled with the performance of the Ozeri Green Earth Pan, I was amazed that that the results were far superior to some of my other pans with non-stick coating that are made from harsh, dangerous chemicals. Knowing I was using a pan that was safer to cook with, gave me peace of mind. The performance made me wish I had a kitchen full of cookware that was a good as this pan! They do have other pans and sets available. You can connect with Ozeri on their Facebook page and this pan and more of Ozeri's amazing products can be purchased on Amazon. 

8" Green Earth Frying Pan by Ozeri, with Textured Ceramic Non-Stick Coating from Germany (100% PTFE and PFOA Free)





DISCLOSURE: I received a product for the purposes of review, but the opinions stated are purely my own. Your experience and opinion may differ from mine

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

December 18 Disney Movie Rewards Bonus Code

ctc

Log into your Disney Movie Rewards account and enter today's code for 5 free bonus points!
Today's Code:

~~  CTC18R6  ~~

#TheNightmareBeforeChristmas released in theaters 20 years ago today!

If you are already a member, don't forget to check your monthly email from DMR for bonus points too! There is usually a link at the bottom right of the newsletter with Mystery Points.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December 17 Disney Movie Rewards Code

ctc

Log into your Disney Movie Rewards account and enter today's code for 5 free bonus points!
Today's Code:

~~  CTC17E4  ~~

#TheNightmareBeforeChristmas released in theaters 20 years ago today!

If you are already a member, don't forget to check your monthly email from DMR for bonus points too! There is usually a link at the bottom right of the newsletter with Mystery Points.

Monday, December 16, 2013

December 16 Disney Movie Rewards Code

ctc

Log into your Disney Movie Rewards account and enter today's code for 5 free bonus points!
Today's Code:

~~  CTC16BE  ~~

NOTE: The code from Friday has been extended because some had trouble getting it entered. It is worth 15 points, So if you missed that one it is:


~~   CTC133    ~~

#TheNightmareBeforeChristmas released in theaters 20 years ago today!

If you are already a member, don't forget to check your email from DMR for bonus points too! There is usually a link at the bottom right of the newsletter with Mystery Points.

Why Are Some People So Mean?


I am struggling to understand this basic question this morning. Last week I found our cat, Spot injured. I brought him in and tried to find what was wrong. There was a few traces of blood but on the ends of his fur, not a large amount.  He was favoring a leg and groaned and growled at me (which he never does to anyone). We live in a rural area and I don't have a car during the day, so I made him comfortable in his pet bed. Spot and our dogs, Cotton and Rusty, are best buddies, especially Cotton so they kept coming to the door looking in. Our initial thoughts were that Spot had either gotten attacked by one of the stray dogs that have recently showed up in our area or that he got hit by a car. Imagine my shock and anger when I found out that it was neither. Spot had been shot! Someone in our neighborhood shot him. Someone we probably know. Someone whose animals probably traverse our property regularly without so much as a harsh word. Who would do such a thing? 
Spot spent the weekend at the vet's and we still don't know if his leg will heal. The reality is he may never be able to use it again and it may have to be amputated. I am praying for a miracle.



 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Piczzle Discount Code


Good News! Piczzle has graciously created a coupon code code for 21% off all their prices, but it only good for a limited time! Create a unique gift today!

The Details:

Coupon code: TheHappyClownWithAFrown21
21% discount on all prices.
Valid until: Monday, December 16, 2013; 23:59

Simply go to Pizzle.com, choose your puzzle shape, type (cardboard, wood or magnetic), and size, then upload a photo. Enter the coupon code to get the discounted price and in a few days you'll receive your custom creation in the mail! 
Vibrant Red Holiday Design for your personalized picture puzzleElegant Gold Holiday Design for your personalized photo puzzle

Friday, December 13, 2013

December 13: Disney Movie Rewards Code


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Log into your Disney Movie Rewards account and enter today's code for 15 free bonus points!
Today's Code:

~~  CTC133  ~~

Today's code covers for the weekend so there won't be a new code until Monday.

#TheNightmareBeforeChristmas released in theaters 20 years ago today!

If you are already a member, don't forget to check your email from DMR for bonus points too! There is usually a link at the bottom right of the with Mystery Points.newsletter 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Who Was Santa Claus?


Santa, that jolly old soul. A lot of kids are first introduced to (and often terrified by) Santa at the mall or shopping center. And with all the sales and commercialization of holidays, ALL the holidays, these days, the real story gets a little lost. So who was the man behind the myth?
The legend is traced back hundreds of years to a monk who was named St. Nicholas. He was born around 280 A.D. in what is now modern day Turkey. He was admired for his piety and kindness, which led to many legends about him. After giving up all his inheritance, he traveled the countryside helping poor and sick people. Over the years his popularity spread and he became known as a protector of children and sailors. There is a feast day held on Dec 6th, the anniversary of his death. He remained the most popular saint even after the Protestant Reformation. He was especially popular in Holland. There were also other figures in history that rewarded good children: ChristKind or Kris Kringle delivered presents to Swiss and German children; Jultomten delighted Scandinavian children with gifts delivered in his sleigh drawn by goats; The English had Father Christmas; Pere Noel filled the shoes of French children with goodies.

Then idea or image of St Nicholas began to evolve. In December of 1773 and again in 1774, a New York newspaper ran pieces about Dutch families gathering on the anniversary of St. Nicholas' death. The name Santa Claus then evolved from the Dutch nick name, Sinter Klass. In 1804, John Pintard, a New York Historical Society member handed out woodcuts of St. Nicholas at the society's annual meeting. In the background of the engraved image was the now-standard stockings filled with toys and hung on the fireplace mantel. Washington Irving added to the image when he called St. Nicholas the patron saint of New York in his 1809 book, The History of New York.

In 1822 Clement Clarke Moore wrote a poem for his three daughter's called "An Account of A Visit from St. Nicholas" which we now know as "Twas the Night Before Christmas". Moore was hesitant to publish his poem because of it's frivolous nature, but it is that poem which is largely responsible for the "right jolly old elf" image we recognize today. Moore likely borrowed his imagery from many sources, but his poem helped popularize the image and the story of Santa and his eight tiny reindeer, flying from house to house, delivering presents to good boys and girls. In 1881, political cartoonist, Thomas Nast drawing on the imagery of Moore's poem, created the first likeness that matches the image of Santa that we hold today. It was Nast that drew Santa as a round, cheerful man with a white beard, holding a large sack filled with toys. Nast also gave santa the Red suit trimmed in white fur, the North Pole workshop, the elves and his wife, Mrs. Claus.
  
Shopping malls began to advertise Christmas shopping in 1820 and by the 1840's, stores printed separate sections for the holiday shopping, featuring images of the popular Santa Claus. In 1841 a Philadelphia store displayed a life-size Santa Claus and thousands of children showed up to see it. It wasn't long before stores began enticing parents and children into their stores with the promise of seeing a "live" Santa. In the early 1890's, the Salvation Army needed a way to pay for the free meals they provided to the needy, so the dressed up unemployed men as Santa and they walked the streets of New York soliciting donations and they have been ringing bells in many American cities since then. And who could forget the Coca Cola Santa? Those depictions are probably the most well know by recent generations. Coke began using depictions of Santa in their advertising in 1931. Artist Haddon Sundblom created a piece to be used each year during his 33 years with the company. His paintings were influenced and based in large part on Moore's "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" poem. The ad campaign ended in 1964 and Haddon Sundblom died in 1976, but his art lives on thanks to the Coca Cola Company who still use the images to this day.

~~*~~*~~*~~*~~
It appears that nearly every place on the globe has a legend that mirrors what we call Santa Claus. And over the many hundreds of years I am sure their image of Santa has changed and evolved with each interpretation.Whether real or fictional, it's nice to think that even throughout the passage of time, the stories of Santa inspire the spirit of giving and each year the renewed sense of that spirit gives hope to so many.

Merry Christmas!