Wednesday, January 31, 2018

2018 goals check-in January

I thought I would try to do a check in at the end of each month as to how I am doing on my goals for 2018. You can read more in detail of each goal HERE.

1. 2018 in 2018 Decluttering Challenge...
as of today, I have decluttered 915 items from my home

2. 40 bags in 40 days...this challenge doesn't start until Feb, but I have started filling bags

3. Create 365 cards...
so far I have created 32 cards

4. Try 2 new recipes/month...
1. Egg Nog French Toast
2. French Toast with Coconut Syrup
3. Scalloped Potato Roll was not impressed
4. Cranberry Buttermilk Breakfast Cake
5. Instant Pot Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes the meatloaf was "okay" but not amazing, but I loved making the potatoes and meatloaf at the same time.

5. Read 25 books...
1. Holding the Fort by Regina Jennings
2. Beneath the Prairie Moon by Kim Vogel Sawyer
3. Under a Cloudless Sky by Chris Fabry

6. Put items on Buy/Sell/Trade...still haven't gotten the nerve to do this. my goal for Feb is to take pics of what i want to sell and write up details about them and then maybe i can get up the nerve to do it

7. Completely decluttering and organizing my creative space. 
slowly working on this as I work on the rest of the house as well

8. Create/Design/Etc 2 pinned items/month that are not food related...
i did this, but can't post pics of them until the recipient has received them. :)

9. Twelve RAK's for the year...if you are unfamiliar with RAK, it stands for Random Acts of Kindness. 

1. counting this as one, but made extra cinnamon rolls when I recently had an order for 6 dozen and blessed some family and friends with the extra I made.

2. made cookies and gave to someone just because

3. made a Valentine gift box and mailed (which has the pinned items in it)

so not too bad for a start, now to see what February brings...

Saturday, January 20, 2018

You've Got Mail

I had so much fun creating these mailboxes with Cutting Cafe's Mailbox Template and Cutting File. Goodness it's been fun creating like this again! Wouldn't these be fun to create for a 'Gal'entine party? Have some girlfriends over and create one of these for each of them, filled with yummy chocolates and goodies.

I cut each one twice, once with kraft cardstock and again with the patterned cardstock and just glued the patterned on top of the kraft. It really makes this sturdy now. The patterned was a thin cardstock and I wasn't sure how it would hold up filled with goodies. The main paper is a really pretty vintage looking paper. The hearts have tiny gold foiled polka dots. I think this one is my favorite. I really love how the washi tape banners look on this as well.
The little kraft words on both of the projects is from a Tim Holtz sticker sheet booklet that I've had for a long time. Those little words keep coming in handy.

Which one is your favorite and what would you fill them with? Due to the vintage color, I'm thinking some raspberry, dark chocolate Ghiradelli candies would be good. I think I might even have some aqua tissue paper in my stash that would be perfect for this too.

Be sure to visit the Cutting Cafe Blog on the 7th and 21st of every month to see the design team's projects in which you can leave a comment to be entered into a drawing to win 3 FREE sets of your choice from the online store.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Frugal Friday 1-19-18

I had some recent good deals lately that I thought I would share:

*First, I got all of this for $3.16! Between coupons, Walmart Savings Catcher refunds, etc, I got a great deal!

* two cans pumpkin (name brand) for 25¢ each at Dollar General, marked down because it was a 'holiday' item

*4 bottles of red jimmies sprinkles for 25¢ each...again they are considered Christmas so marked down. This will be perfect for sugar cookies for Valentine's Day!

*Red wine vinaigrette 50¢....not sure why this was marked down as the date is still good. I like this on spinach salad with almonds and strawberries

*name brand pie crust 30¢...don't know why this was marked down either, but great savings to me.

*lots of various free foods from a friend that moved out of the country and had asked if I would help her pack. This was a HUGE blessing!

*marked down bags of red and pink M & M's at Party City, picked up 4 bags for Valentine's Day

*2-lb bag carrots 88¢

*2 lb bag onions 88¢

*chicken thighs 89¢/lb, this along with the carrots and onions will make a wonderful chicken soup to make during the big snow storm we have coming this weekend.

*beef roast $2.88/lb...beef is soooo expensive here and I rarely by it, maybe once or twice a year. So this will be a really nice treat.

*free Christmas gifts...I ordered some gifts for my DIL for Christmas on Nov 27....never came so the company finally refunded me saying the UPS told them it was lost. Last week it showed up! I emailed the company to let them know so they could re-charge me and they said they couldn't re-charge me and to enjoy the order.

*Walmart, Target, & Amazon gift cards earned through swagbucks and Bing.

*free books in return for my honest review from Blogging for Books, Tyndale House Publishing, and Bethany House

I think that's it....have you found any good deals? I would love to hear about them if you have.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Book Review "Under a Cloudless Sky"

Under a Cloudless Sky by Chris Fabry is a story that sucks you in from the very beginning and you don't want to put it down until the last page. This author is amazing in his writings that keep you captivated to the end and ends in a way that you didn't see coming. Those are the stories I love...when there is no way I could have guessed the ending.

This story combines happenings in two years...1933 and 2004 and intertwines them together until the end. In 1933, it begins to tell about two girls Ruby and Bean who live in a mining town. In 2004 Hollis Beasley is standing up to Coleman Coal and Energy who have been trying to buy his land on the mountain to mine coal.

I can't tell too much of the story without giving it away, but I highly recommend reading this story. I enjoyed it so much that I looked for more stories from Mr. Fabry and saw that I had read another of his books June Bug that I had enjoyed very much. I am definitely going to be searching the library for more of his books.

Goodreads title and author pages

Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book

Sunday, January 14, 2018

BFB Beneath a Prairie Moon

Beneath a Prairie Moon by Kim Vogel Sawyer is her newest book out this year. Set in the late 1800's in Spiveyville, Kansas; this story is about a group of men who wait for their mail-order brides.

But instead of their brides arriving as they think is going to happen, it's Mrs. Bingham, owner of Bingham's Bevy of  Brides and her assistant Miss Grant who show up. They tell the men they have to go through a series of classes on manners and how to treat a woman before they will be matched up to their prospective brides.

All but two men, the sheriff and hardware store owner have signed up for a bride. After a series of events including a kidnapping, Mrs. Bingham and Miss Grant see how the whole town comes together and changes their initial views of the tough exteriors of the men.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Cutting Cafe Free Template

Regina is offering a free template for this adorable mini lunch bag that she created with wrapping paper! This is free until January 16, 2018. Head over HERE to see how you can get this for free. It comes with 2 different bag designs, 4 flap designs, 4 different sentiments in 2 different designs, and the tag image!
Mini heart lunch bag

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Menu Planner

I am excited to let you know that I am back on the Cutting Cafe design team! My life took a different direction last year that allowed me to be able to come back on the team.

For our first post of 2018 the design team was challenged to create a project using any file from the Planner section. I am just this year trying out a planner and decided to go with the Weekly Menu Planner that you can find here.

I already plan my menus by the month. Around the end of each month, I create a menu plan for the following month and then watch for sales for ingredients for the meals I have planned. I used to do weekly menus according to the weekly grocery sale ads, but the past year or so, have gone to monthly's just easier for me and since we live so far from town, I can do a larger grocery haul and then just pick up milk, eggs, etc once a week as needed.

I had a $25 gift certificate to Target and while in the city this week, stopped in and they had all kinds of fun planner accessories in the Dollar Spot. I happened to go to the back where the Christmas items were marked down 90% and they had planner albums there! So I picked up an album for 50¢! I bought some fun stickers, pens, etc to decorate my planner. 

So now with Regina's files, I can print the ones I want to put in my binder and use throughout the year. 

So here is the first week of my menu planner. I don't make breakfast, lunch, dinner, so I deleted those from the file and added some fun washi tape across the top. We eat a lot of leftovers, cereal (DH not me), etc. So I usually have one main meal and then muffins, breads, snacky stuff, etc. I divided the sections into more main dish, sides/veggies, and dessert type.

Be sure to visit the Cutting Cafe Blog on the 7th and 21st of every month to see the design team's projects in which you can leave a comment to be entered into a drawing to win 3 FREE sets of your choice from the online store.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Frugal Friday 1-5-18

I decided to bring back Frugal Friday...maybe not every week, but when I have frugal things to share. I've had a few people tell me they miss it and I miss sharing good deals.

*boneless, skinless, chicken breasts 1.58/lb. any time meat is under $2/lb, it's a good deal to me. If I'm reading the ads right, this will be the price at HyVee all month long.

*eating out free...had a dr. appt Wed and a gift card to Dickies, so a great deal to not have to pay for a meal away from home

*90% off deals at Hobby Lobby...I was able to pick up some things I had been looking for to use for Ladies Night Out project (a monthly gathering I help co-host) for November and didn't want to pay full price, so now I have them for this year's November and at a GREAT deal!

*75% off Christmas items @ Walmart....another craft idea I saw on YouTube and was able to pick up what I needed at a discount for gifts for our youth group kids for 2018 Christmas

50¢ cranberry sauce and pumpkin...marked down at Dollar General...they still had some if you are local and want to pick up some cans. With the really cold weather, I'll be making some pumpkin bread. Some for us and some to bless others with. The cranberry sauce mixed with other ingredients, makes a yummy meatball sauce.

50¢ planner binder.....on the back walls of Target marked down 90%, originally $5

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Book Review: Holding the Fort

Holding the Fort (The Fort Reno Series Book #1) by [Jennings, Regina]
Holding the Fort by Regina Jennings is the first book in her Fort Reno Series. Regina has a way of putting so much fun, spirit, quirkiness in her lead women. I have read other books of hers and they make me laugh out loud at some of the antics.

This story is set in 1885 and tells the story of dance hall singer Louisa Bell and how she ended up as a governess for Major Daniel Adams' two daughters at Fort Reno. She tries to keep her true identity a secret, because if this doesn't work out, the girls will be  sent to their grandmothers.

When Daniel requested a governess from the Mennonite society, he expected an older stern woman to show up at his door.

I highly recommend this book and personally look forward to reading the other books in the series when they are released.

**I received this book for free from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.**

Monday, January 1, 2018

My Word for 2018

Since I was 19, I would choose a word, phrase, or even song that I wanted to represent my new year. Now it's a "thing" and all over the blogging world to choose one word or phrase, etc.

This year my word is Hygge. If you have not heard of this word, you are probably thinking "WHAT?!" LOL Hygge is the Danish art of happiness. I stumbled upon this word on a favorite blog of mine; The Homespun Heart. I was so intrigued that I have been researching this word and reading as much about it as I can. It 100% speaks to me and is something I want to embrace and create in my home and my life. You can read more about it here and here.

Hygge (/ˈhjuːɡə/ HEW-gə or /ˈhɡə/ HOO-gə) is the Scandinavian word for a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment. Over recent years, hygge became a defining characteristic of Danish culture.

I rarely make a list of New Year's Resolutions as they seem to get forgotten by the end of January or February. But as I have thought about all I want to accomplish in 2018, I decided to not only make a list of goals (maybe by calling them 'goals', they are more doable? LOL), and even scarier, to put them out here as a way of being accountable.

I have kept Hygge on my mind as I created this list.

1. 2018 in 2018 Decluttering Challenge...I joined a minimalism group on FB and they have a goal to declutter 2018 item in 2018. I started going through each room last year and got rid of a lot of things, but still have so much more I can get rid of, so now I will be counting them all as they hit the trash can or get put into the Goodwill bag. Decluttering the whole house will definitely make it more hyggeligt!
HERE is a link to the FB page if you would like to join

2. 40 bags in 40 days...seeing a trend here? LOL There is also a group that starts in February called 40 Bags in 40 Days. You choose the size of bags you use to count as your 40 bags. The idea is to have gotten rid of 40 bags by Easter.
THIS link will tell you more about it.

3. Create 365 cards...I have so many stamping/scrapping/paper supplies, that I can easily do this and STILL have supplies left over. Using up supplies will create Hygge in my craft room AND crafting provokes feelings of contentment...a win/win

4. Try 2 new recipes/month...I have so many pinned recipes that I want to try them and then keep them on my pinned board or delete them if they aren't 'keepers'. I am blessed to have a husband that is willing to try new food and we have found many new favorites from Pinterest.

5. Read 25 books...that is one over 2/month. Very doable and I enjoy reading. Reading is very Hygge to me and esp in the cold months like right now. Cozying up under a blanket with a hot drink and a book...perfection!

6. Put items on Buy/Sell/Trade...this one makes me nervous. The sight has so many rules that I haven't done it for fear of doing it wrong. But I want to try to learn something new, conquer the fear, and bonus, earn a little extra spending money for fun things, like taking a friend to a coffee shop, buying a just because gift, eating out (something we rarely do), etc.

7. Completely decluttering and organizing my creative space. I have so many things that I no longer use that I can sell, give away, etc and I want to make this a totally functional room. It also has NO electrical outlets in it and I want to get some installed.

8. Create/Design/Etc 2 pinned items/jmonth that are not food stated above with pinned food, I have a LOT of pinned ideas on Pinterest. I plan to go through each of my board and not only clean them up, but actually try some of the the pins.

9. Twelve RAK's...if you are unfamiliar with RAK, it stands for Random Acts of Kindness. I figure if I am making 365 cards and possibly 24 pinned projects from Pinterest, I can be intentional in randomly gifting someone a month. What better gift to receive than one that is a complete surprise and just because.

YIKES! There, I did it...I wrote it all out, will hit send and will try to update throughout the year how I am doing.
(my goal is to try the last day of each month, but we'll see how that goes)

Do you choose a word/phrase/song, etc for your new year? If so, I would love to hear about it.