Frugal Crafting Fun: Easy Spring Wreath

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Let’s bring some color into our spaces, shall we? There is no better way to do this than this easy peasy spring wreath. You can make your own wreath just like this using less than $5 in supplies and in just minutes. Yes, minutes! You don’t need to be super crafty, you don’t need a lot of time, you just need a few supplies and you can adorn your door, space, or even office area with a wreath that screams WARM WEATHER IS HERE! So are you ready to get crafty? Take a look below at how to get started!

Supplies needed:
Grapevine wreath
Spray paint (optional, only if needed)
Mini paper drink umbrellas
Hot glue, glue gun

Directions:
1. Begin by spraying your grapevine wreath the color of your choice. We found precolored wreaths at our local Hobby Lobby Store for under $4 that worked perfectly. If you can’t find something similar, find a grapevine wreath at your local dollar store and give it a coat or two of the color of your choice.
2. Once your wreath is dry, and you want to be sure it is totally dry, you are going to add your drink umbrellas. Open your umbrellas up so they are nice and full. Apply some hot glue to the stems of them and press them into your wreath. Hold them in place so the umbrellas attach and stay attached to the grapevine.
3. Don’t cover the entire wreath, just apply umbrellas to the corners of it in clusters and bunches.

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When you are done, you can add a ribbon for hanging or just display your wreath as is. As you can see, it is the perfect pop of color to a bland space or any space that needs the look and feel of spring.

So are you ready to craft your own? Go for it! Then, share your creation with us on the Facebook page or Community Chat page. We want to see how crafty you are!

Have a great day, friends!

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New Years Eve Traditions for GOOD LUCK & MONEY!!

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A NEW YEAR IS UPON US!!

New years eve traditions

How do you bring in the New Year??

New Years Eve is a day of celebration, letting go of the past and looking forward to the future.  Many people host huge parties with friends and family while others attend celebrations at local venues to ring in the new year!

For many years we have chosen to stay home and have a little fun of our own by participating in some of the age old traditions that are supposed to bring good luck and fortune to you in the new year!  I have been asked by many people to write out all of the things that I do each year for fun and why!  All of the children in my family know of these traditions because I do them pretty much every year.  One year I didn’t and lets just say it wasn’t the “best year of my life” so I never skipped even one after that!!  Some call them traditions, others call them superstitions, but whatever you call them, it can make your New Years Eve a ton of fun and fire you up for the new year!!

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I don’t know where each of these traditions originated but here they are the reasons why I do them!

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PREPPING FOR MIDNIGHT:

  • Place SEVEN coins (heads up) in each window sill to guarantee that money will come into your home in the coming year.
  • Fill one pot of water sometime during the day for each person in your household and have it ready for midnight with a big spoon (more on that later), the water should sit throughout the day.  Some people believe that you should mop your floors and keep the dirty water for this same purpose.
  • Gather TWELVE GRAPES for each person in the household (don’t eat them yet), each one will signify a full circle of good luck for each month in the year.  If you hate grapes, you could do peas, I know that sounds gross but it is the price you pay for not eating grapes 😉
  • For peace in the coming year wear WHITE on New Years Eve, for fortune and money make sure you wear YELLOW.   You are supposed to wear RED underwear but I have no idea why but do it just in case I forgot something important 🙂
  • Get your suitcase out and unzipped and leave by your front door (more on this later)!
  • Have a broom sitting by your front door (more on this later too), just get it ready, yes really!
  • Make SURE that you have some money in your wallet or purse, even if it is only a dollar, this is to make sure that money will flow throughout the year!
  • While waiting for the new year to hit with your Dollar Store party hat on (this is a MUST), grab a note pad and tear off  TWELVE pieces of paper.  On each piece of paper write out anything negative that has been weighing on you the past year, one for each piece of paper.  Keep it short and sweet.  IMPORTANT:  Don’t get all ninny-pooperish and start talking about everyone that annoyed you or it will ruin your good time, just write each thing down swiftly.  Once you have written each down it is now time to BURN EACH ONE!  I prefer to throw them in a bon fire, but a simple plate with a lighter will work too if you don’t have a bon fire.  It is time to LET IT GO.. each and every one of them to start the new year with a fresh start.   Say whatever it is you have to say to make yourself laugh while you burn each one.  I personally like the phrase “GOOD RIDDENS YA DIRTY RASCAL” when letting go.   This is really cleansing, you can thank me later 🙂

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GET READY FOR
MIDNIGHT!

AT THE STRIKE OF MIDNIGHT THIS IS WHAT YOU DO IN THIS ORDER:

  • Watch the ball drop in Times Square on TV
  • Kiss the people you love that are close to you (make sure they are cool with that first)
  • YELL HAPPY NEW YEAR!
  • Grab your grapes, you must eat ALL TWELVE in the FIRST MINUTE of the new year!  Note:  Don’t try to shove them all in your mouth at one time, TRUST ME, it doesn’t end well, take your time, you have thirty seconds left, get on it!
  • Run and grab your pot of water, THROW THE WATER out the front door and yell “OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW!”  and beat on your pot with your big spoon while yelling HAPPY NEW YEAR loud enough for the entire neighborhood to hear you!
  • Go back inside and grab your suitcase, walk out the front door and back inside with your suitcase, this will bring you travel opportunities throughout the coming year.  If you prefer to stay home all year skip this step 😉
  • Next, take the broom and sweep out towards your front door, this is symbolic of sweeping out all of the negativity in the previous year.  I say something like “OUTTA HERE NEGATIVITY!” while I’m sweeping.  Make sure you pass the broom to anyone else in the house so they can do the same thing.
  • Square dance and dosey-doe at the front door as you are going back in.  JUST KIDDING on that one, I just thought it was a funny visual to add, haha

Happy Dance Laurel and hardy

If you complete all of these tasks you are SURE to have a new year filled with GOOD LUCK and PROSPERITY!!

NEW YEARS DAY FOODS TO SEAL THE DEAL

First let me say that I am from the South.  My mother was born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana and I was raised on southern cooking.  I am sure that there are other traditions in different parts of the country, but I have always been told that eating certain things on New Years Day is a MUST so I never ever skip out on these traditions:

Black-eyed peas and Corn Bread

This is a MUST, if you don’t do anything else, you MUST eat your black-eyed peas and cornbread.  This is a well known tradition to attract good luck and financial good fortune.  Beans symbolize money or coins.  The Corn Bread resembles a block of gold, some people will add corn kernels to their corn bread which is symbolic of gold nuggets for extra fortune.    We cook our leftover Christmas Ham or ham bone with our black eyed peas and we love sweet vadalia onions with ours as well.

Pork on New Years Day

We cook a pork roast on New Years Day but there are many ways to cook pork to your liking.  It is said to eat pork on New Years Day but NEVER eat chicken or cow.   The reasoning is that a chicken scratches backwards, a cow stands still but a pig roots forward.  It is symbolic of moving forward in your life in the upcoming year!

Greens are a must for money!!

Turnip Greens, Collard Greens, Spinach, any green will do!   Greens are symbolic for money, so if you want to have money in the new year make sure you eat your greens!!  If you aren’t used to eating greens it is best to cook them WAY down.  We like to put fresh turnip greens in a big pot and cover with water, we lightly fry up about a half of a package of bacon and throw it in the pot with the greens, add some salt and pepper and cook them way down for flavor.  I personally like to put a little bit of tabasco sauce on mine but my husband loves them just the way they are.  Eat all of the good luck foods together, it is a perfect combination for your taste buds!

Cabbage and Potatoes

We cook down a full head of cabbage.  This is for good health in the new year.  I didn’t do my cabbage last year and learned my lesson so I will be eating a big bowl this year, haha!  We cook ours very simply.  We quarter a head of cabbage and break it down in a large stock pot.  I use two 32 oz cartons of chicken broth and add more water to cover the cabbage completely.  We cut up a few potatoes (the rounder the better since it is symbolic of a full circle) and add those to the pot with some salt and pepper.   We cook it WAY down until it is soft and has almost a soup consistency but the cabbage is still in decent size pieces.

Dessert:  Ring shaped cake

We don’t personally bake our cake, we usually buy one from Publix.  A ring shaped cake symbolizes that you have come full circle.  I have heard of people baking trinkets into their cake but I have never done that myself.   Not a bad idea, but you could end up with a tooth repair which wouldn’t be fun to start off the new year if ya know what I’m sayin’ 😉

So that’s it folks!!  Simple and fun ways to celebrate the new year and maybe even get a little bit of good luck and money thrown your way at the same time!!

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Do you have any new years traditions that you do every year?  I would LOVE to hear about it!!

Make sure you check in on our facebook fan page or our facebook chat page to say hi and hang out with all of couponing friends! We are having a blast over there!

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What I did different in 2016 and how I restarted my life…

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What I did different in 2016 and how I restarted my life…

It is a New Year which is the perfect time to let go of all of the old things weighing you down and experience a fresh start, but how do you do that exactly?   I came up with a plan of action that worked for me and would love to share it with all of you.

For those that know me personally, you will agree that 2015 was one of the most difficult years of my life.  I was under extreme stress, had a major health crisis that lasted almost the entire year, had two unexpected deaths in my family and was betrayed on a very deep level personally.  It was a year of many painful moments and I just couldn’t seem to get my footing back and was at one of the very lowest points in my life.   I knew that I had to do something and was not willing to do another year of “chaos & heartache”.

By November 2015 my husband and I were both at a point in our lives that we had to make some decisions moving into the next chapter of our lives.  No matter what the conversation was about, it seemed to always circle back around to how hurt we were about things that had happened through the year or those that had hurt us or things that had happened and we would relive it all again.   This was affecting our health and our happiness.    We decided that enough was enough and we committed to doing something about it.   That “something” was taking our lives back and finding our personal happiness again.

With the new year approaching we spent most of December 2015 reflecting on the goals and dreams that we had for ourselves that had been shelved for most of the year.   We decided that as each painful moment or thought surfaced we would stop and write it down on a piece of paper and fold it up and put it into a box and leave it there.  One after another sometimes on a daily basis a negative thing would come to mind and we would quickly write it down and put the note in the box.     We also had a separate box where we would put notes of ideas or dreams that we had that we would like to accomplish in 2016.   By the end of December the “painful box” was full and the “dreams and idea box” had just a handful of notes.   It was clear that in 2015 negativity and pain had taken over and we needed to change that cycle.

 

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On New Years Eve 2015 we sat out on our front porch with home made party hats on and  a large candle lit on the table with commitment to let go of ALL of the negativity and leave it in 2015.   From 11:00 pm – 11:59pm we would take out one negative note at a time, read it out loud, allow ourselves only a short moment to feel that experience but not dwell on it, say a quick prayer asking God to take this from us and allow us to let it go and then we would burn the note.   Between notes we would listen to music or chat about other things but did not “pick back up the problem” or discuss it again, it was gone, burned in the flame of the candle.   One by one, we read each note, spoke of who hurt us or of the issues we needed to let go of and one by one we burned them and let them go.   At 11:59 we said another prayer, thanking God for the blessings in our lives apologizing for focusing on things that we couldn’t change or things that shouldn’t be our focus and thanked Him for taking it from us and healing our hearts.  We then prayed for the new year and the many blessings to come and prayed SPECIFICALLY for our dreams and ideas to become a reality.

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We rang in the new year with a clear heart and mind with a commitment to let go of all of those things that were holding us back, hurting our hearts or taking our focus.   We agreed to not speak of them again, to not focus on those that hurt us or on things that we couldn’t change.  We would only focus on moving forward.

We blew out our candle at the turn of the new year and we sat for another hour discussing ideas for 2016, things we wanted to accomplish and got excited about the possibilities.  We focused on FIRST STEPS, not the big picture which seemed impossible but the very first step towards our dreams.  After all, in reality, reaching your goals always starts with one step in the right direction.  Most of the time we have no idea how it will actually work out or even what the next step will be, just stepping forward in faith and taking one step at a time leads you to your goal.

 

In 2016 we started out by writing down notes each time something GOOD happened in our lives.  We wrote down the little things and we wrote down the big things.  In January we fixed up an old camper that we had and the first person that came to look at it bought it on the spot which gave us the money to pay off a boat loan that we had been paying on for years.  There was enough money left over to buy materials for my husband to work on an old car we had sitting around for years.  In March he finished working on the old car and we sold it to the first person that came to look at it which gave us the money to work on a small property that we had that sat vacant for years and was in serious need of repair and renovations.   By May 2016 the property was repaired and cleaned out and we put a for sale sign on it and had two offers on the first day and sold it in June of 2016.   We had struggled for years making the payments, taxes and insurance on the property and finally not only did we sell it, but we had enough money to reach our FIRST DREAM of buying a small cabin in Kentucky.  This was a dream that we have had since we first got married over 20 years ago.  Through the rest of the year we documented each and every good thing that happened in our lives.  If something bad happened or negative we would allow ourselves to process those things but not dwell on them, we would discuss them but refocus ourselves on all of the good things that had already happened.  It was truly life changing to focus our attention on the POSITIVE instead of the negative.

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So here we are today, the last day of December, 2016 preparing for our New Years Eve celebration.  We will once again sit on our porch reflecting on the past year.  We will have a candle lit again, but this year we will only have one box.  This year we will keep all of the the notes in the box.  A box full of experiences and memories.  A box full of encouragement.  This year it is a box full of blessings.    Yes, bad things happened this year too, things that were unexpected and painful at the moment but we didn’t dwell on those things and they don’t easily come to mind at this point.

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Earlier today I asked my husband if there was anything that he could think of that we needed to write down and let go of before midnight and he couldn’t think of even one thing.  I couldn’t either.   This year our candle will be lit as a flame of hope and a symbol of the fire in our lives to reach for our dreams and focus on the light.  This year from 11:00pm – 11:59pm we will discuss one by one all of the positive things that happened in our lives.  We will take out each note, read it aloud and laugh about the silly things in the process or how crazy it was that it happened the way that it did.  We will say a prayer of thanks and again ask for the things that we hope for in 2017.  Our goals this year are to simplify our lives even more, to sell our home and get rid of a few of the bills that still weigh us down.  To strive for simplicity in the next chapter of our lives.  We know that it won’t always be easy but if we focus on the positive and let go of what we can’t change we can experience peace and happiness in our lives and reach our dreams one at a time.

 

How do you bring in the new year?  Do you have a strategy that works for you?  I would love to hear it!  I hope that each of you are abundantly blessed in the new year!

caroline

 

 


Daily Dose of Inspiration: Discovering What Matters

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Discovering what matters

 

Have you ever found yourself deeply involved in a task only to step back and say, “Why does this even matter?”

It seems as though we all come to that point in our lives from time to time.  The truth is, we often find ourselves so deeply involved in routines that we carry out tasks that in the long run, really aren’t that important.  These tasks can rob us from time with family and friends, and in the end even take a piece of our happiness. So what is the solution? Well that is what we are exploring today. Today, let’s talk about discovering what matters.

First, take a look at your day. I mean REALLY take a look at your day. Journal for a day if you need to, writing down your tasks as you complete them. Take special note of any task that takes you more than a few minutes.  When you find those “hot spots” re-evaluate them.  How important are these tasks?  How do they benefit you and your family? How do they make you feel?  At the end of this questioning, you should be able to see how much the task matters.

Let’s look at an example: Suppose after breakfast each day you load the dishwasher. It takes about 5 minutes and you can do it while the kids get dressed.  It helps you keep the area prepped for dinner later, and you feel more organized.  Is it worth taking the time to do this each day? I would venture and say yes.

Example two.  After dinner you fill the sink and prepare to wash dishes.  It will take about 20 minutes.  Your child on the other hand wants to read a book to you or your spouse wants you to sit down with them and talk about your day.  Sure you could read the book or sit down and chill out, but then your dishwater goes cold and you still have a mess on your hands. So what do you do?  These are the situations where you need to ask yourself what matters.  Your children are only young once, your spouse needs some together time.  Reading with your child is valuable and there will come a time (before you are ready) that they won’t want to read to you.  Bonding with your spouse is important. Final ruling?  Set the dish towel down and walk away, fill the sink back up later and start again. Now is a great time to see that taking the time to bond matters more than making sure the dishes get washed at that moment.

Life gets really busy and time passes before we know it.  Trust me, I know this first hand.  My children are now fully grown and I look back and wish that I could experience many things again.  During those years we were so busy trying to work, make it to the after school activities on time, get baths and get to bed at a reasonable hour that we could barely keep up.  Let’s face it, life is intense when you are in the midst of it all!

If I could go back, I would make a conscious effort to set aside time to really be “present in the moment”.  To stop the madness and really focus on those around me.  Although it is impossible to go back and have a re-do, the good news is that we can make those changes starting now.   Putting down the cell phone, laptop or tablet and goofing around with your spouse matters.  Sitting on the porch drinking a cold glass of ice tea and talking about your big dreams or what you would do if you won the lottery matters and might be just what the doctor ordered!

Reconnecting with those we love, listening to their dreams and ideas no matter how goofy or crazy or out of reach they may seem is an amazing way to bond.   A mentor of mine told me many years ago “never tell your children that their grand ideas or crazy dreams are silly our outlandish, what a shame it would be if they believed you.”  How true that is and it goes for all of us, not just children.  Why not dream?  Why not have outlandish crazy ideas of what you might want to do in your life or things you want to experience?  What a shame it would be if you believed that it was silly our outlandish! Dream Big!

So what really matters to you? In a perfect world how would your life look?

When you are in the process of discovering what matters, you may find out a few things.  You may find that eating dinner as a family matters more than what is being served on the plate.  You might find that letting your kids have fun in the mud on a rainy day matters more than the stains they are setting into their clothing that you will have to soak to clean.  You may even discover that you have some crazy dreams that you have tucked away since you were a little kid that some day could become a reality!

At the end of the day, when we are up in years and quietly sitting in our rocker reminiscing about our life, keeping up with the dishes or what is happening on social media will be the last thing on our mind.  The thoughts that will come to mind are the memories that  we made with those we love.  The giggling in the rain, the fun we had singing our favorite songs at the top of our lungs with our best friends, the little moments, the big moments, the moments that we thought we wouldn’t make it through but somehow did.  Those are the things that I have discovered really matter.

So how will you find what matters this weekend? When you sit back do you have any fun memories that come to mind that you will cherish when you are old and grey?  Lets talk about it on our Facebook Chat page!

Be inspired today, friends!

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Positive Inspiration: 10 Minutes to an Amazing Day!

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amazing day

Did you know that the first few minutes after you wake up can dictate the rest of your day? It is important to start the day off right by using those first few minutes after you open your eyes as positive, energizing time. If you aren’t sure how, you have come to the right place. Today, let’s talk about taking 10 minutes to an amazing day. By taking these steps those first ten minutes of your day, you will find that the rest of your day is more positive, upbeat, and productive. Let’s get started.

10 Minutes to an Amazing Day

1. Give thanks.
Before you even get out of bed, give thanks for a new day. You can say a prayer, write down a quick note of thanks in a journal, or just appreciate yourself for a moment. By being awake, alive, and being able to get out of bed, you are already ahead of the game. Acknowledge it and give thanks for 1-2 minutes.

2. Stretch.
Don’t just fly out of bed. Take a moment to stretch your limbs. Roll your neck, stretch your legs and arms, and arch your back. Warm your body up this way, make it come alive, and send it the message that it is time to get moving. 2-3 minutes is adequate.

3. Drink some water.
We seem to forget how much our body needs water. Start the day with a glass or water, cold or warm, to nourish your body and rev up your metabolism. Doing this daily can help you achieve better health and get your body functioning better. 1-2 minutes is all this takes.

4. Make your goals.
Don’t spend those precious morning minutes playing on your phone or texting. Instead, use them to evaluate your day. Jot down a brief plan for the day and at least three tasks you wish to accomplish. This will help you feel motivated and organized, all in under a 2-3 minutes.

Your ten minutes is now up, and in that time you have given thanks, woke your body up, nourished it, and organized a few tasks for the day. You are now ready to roll! See how easy that was? And, it hardly took any time!

When you wake up tomorrow, forget playing around on your phone or starring at the television. Instead, give these steps a try and experience the best morning you could imagine. You are only ten minutes away from it!

Be inspired today, friends!

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New Years Eve Traditions for GOOD LUCK & MONEY!!

All posts may contain affiliate links and/or sponsored content. Please see Full Disclosure Policy for more information.


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A NEW YEAR IS UPON US!!

New years eve traditions

How do you bring in the New Year??

New Years Eve is a day of celebration, letting go of the past and looking forward to the future.  Many people host huge parties with friends and family while others attend celebrations at local venues to ring in the new year!

For many years we have chosen to stay home and have a little fun of our own by participating in some of the age old traditions that are supposed to bring good luck and fortune to you in the new year!  I have been asked by many people to write out all of the things that I do each year for fun and why!  All of the children in my family know of these traditions because I do them pretty much every year.  One year I didn’t and lets just say it wasn’t the “best year of my life” so I never skipped even one after that!!  Some call them traditions, others call them superstitions, but whatever you call them, it can make your New Years Eve a ton of fun and fire you up for the new year!!

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I don’t know where each of these traditions originated but here they are the reasons why I do them!

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PREPPING FOR MIDNIGHT:

  • Place SEVEN coins (heads up) in each window sill to guarantee that money will come into your home in the coming year.
  • Fill one pot of water sometime during the day for each person in your household and have it ready for midnight with a big spoon (more on that later), the water should sit throughout the day.  Some people believe that you should mop your floors and keep the dirty water for this same purpose.
  • Gather TWELVE GRAPES for each person in the household (don’t eat them yet), each one will signify a full circle of good luck for each month in the year.  If you hate grapes, you could do peas, I know that sounds gross but it is the price you pay for not eating grapes 😉
  • For peace in the coming year wear WHITE on New Years Eve, for fortune and money make sure you wear YELLOW.   You are supposed to wear RED underwear but I have no idea why but do it just in case I forgot something important 🙂
  • Get your suitcase out and unzipped and leave by your front door (more on this later)!
  • Have a broom sitting by your front door (more on this later too), just get it ready, yes really!
  • Make SURE that you have some money in your wallet or purse, even if it is only a dollar, this is to make sure that money will flow throughout the year!
  • While waiting for the new year to hit with your Dollar Store party hat on (this is a MUST), grab a note pad and tear off  TWELVE pieces of paper.  On each piece of paper write out anything negative that has been weighing on you the past year, one for each piece of paper.  Keep it short and sweet.  IMPORTANT:  Don’t get all ninny-pooperish and start talking about everyone that annoyed you or it will ruin your good time, just write each thing down swiftly.  Once you have written each down it is now time to BURN EACH ONE!  I prefer to throw them in a bon fire, but a simple plate with a lighter will work too if you don’t have a bon fire.  It is time to LET IT GO.. each and every one of them to start the new year with a fresh start.   Say whatever it is you have to say to make yourself laugh while you burn each one.  I personally like the phrase “GOOD RIDDENS YA DIRTY RASCAL” when letting go.   This is really cleansing, you can thank me later 🙂

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GET READY FOR
MIDNIGHT!

AT THE STRIKE OF MIDNIGHT THIS IS WHAT YOU DO IN THIS ORDER:

  • Watch the ball drop in Times Square on TV
  • Kiss the people you love that are close to you (make sure they are cool with that first)
  • YELL HAPPY NEW YEAR!
  • Grab your grapes, you must eat ALL TWELVE in the FIRST MINUTE of the new year!  Note:  Don’t try to shove them all in your mouth at one time, TRUST ME, it doesn’t end well, take your time, you have thirty seconds left, get on it!
  • Run and grab your pot of water, THROW THE WATER out the front door and yell “OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW!”  and beat on your pot with your big spoon while yelling HAPPY NEW YEAR loud enough for the entire neighborhood to hear you!
  • Go back inside and grab your suitcase, walk out the front door and back inside with your suitcase, this will bring you travel opportunities throughout the coming year.  If you prefer to stay home all year skip this step 😉
  • Next, take the broom and sweep out towards your front door, this is symbolic of sweeping out all of the negativity in the previous year.  I say something like “OUTTA HERE NEGATIVITY!” while I’m sweeping.  Make sure you pass the broom to anyone else in the house so they can do the same thing.
  • Square dance and dosey-doe at the front door as you are going back in.  JUST KIDDING on that one, I just thought it was a funny visual to add, haha

Happy Dance Laurel and hardy

If you complete all of these tasks you are SURE to have a new year filled with GOOD LUCK and PROSPERITY!!

NEW YEARS DAY FOODS TO SEAL THE DEAL

First let me say that I am from the South.  My mother was born and raised in Shreveport, Louisiana and I was raised on southern cooking.  I am sure that there are other traditions in different parts of the country, but I have always been told that eating certain things on New Years Day is a MUST so I never ever skip out on these traditions:

Black-eyed peas and Corn Bread

This is a MUST, if you don’t do anything else, you MUST eat your black-eyed peas and cornbread.  This is a well known tradition to attract good luck and financial good fortune.  Beans symbolize money or coins.  The Corn Bread resembles a block of gold, some people will add corn kernels to their corn bread which is symbolic of gold nuggets for extra fortune.    We cook our leftover Christmas Ham or ham bone with our black eyed peas and we love sweet vadalia onions with ours as well.

Pork on New Years Day

We cook a pork roast on New Years Day but there are many ways to cook pork to your liking.  It is said to eat pork on New Years Day but NEVER eat chicken or cow.   The reasoning is that a chicken scratches backwards, a cow stands still but a pig roots forward.  It is symbolic of moving forward in your life in the upcoming year!

Greens are a must for money!!

Turnip Greens, Collard Greens, Spinach, any green will do!   Greens are symbolic for money, so if you want to have money in the new year make sure you eat your greens!!  If you aren’t used to eating greens it is best to cook them WAY down.  We like to put fresh turnip greens in a big pot and cover with water, we lightly fry up about a half of a package of bacon and throw it in the pot with the greens, add some salt and pepper and cook them way down for flavor.  I personally like to put a little bit of tabasco sauce on mine but my husband loves them just the way they are.  Eat all of the good luck foods together, it is a perfect combination for your taste buds!

Cabbage and Potatoes

We cook down a full head of cabbage.  This is for good health in the new year.  I didn’t do my cabbage last year and learned my lesson so I will be eating a big bowl this year, haha!  We cook ours very simply.  We quarter a head of cabbage and break it down in a large stock pot.  I use two 32 oz cartons of chicken broth and add more water to cover the cabbage completely.  We cut up a few potatoes (the rounder the better since it is symbolic of a full circle) and add those to the pot with some salt and pepper.   We cook it WAY down until it is soft and has almost a soup consistency but the cabbage is still in decent size pieces.

Dessert:  Ring shaped cake

We don’t personally bake our cake, we usually buy one from Publix.  A ring shaped cake symbolizes that you have come full circle.  I have heard of people baking trinkets into their cake but I have never done that myself.   Not a bad idea, but you could end up with a tooth repair which wouldn’t be fun to start off the new year if ya know what I’m sayin’ 😉

So that’s it folks!!  Simple and fun ways to celebrate the new year and maybe even get a little bit of good luck and money thrown your way at the same time!!

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Do you have any new years traditions that you do every year?  I would LOVE to hear about it!!

Make sure you check in on our facebook fan page or our facebook chat page to say hi and hang out with all of couponing friends! We are having a blast over there!

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Monday Inspiration: 10 Minutes to an Amazing Day

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Did you know that the first few minutes after you wake up can dictate the rest of your day? It is important to start the day off right by using those first few minutes after you open your eyes as positive, energizing time. If you aren’t sure how, you have come to the right place. Today, let’s talk about taking 10 minutes to an amazing day. By taking these steps those first ten minutes of your day, you will find that the rest of your day is more positive, upbeat, and productive. Let’s get started.

10 Minutes to an Amazing Day

1. Give thanks.
Before you even get out of bed, give thanks for a new day. You can say a prayer, write down a quick note of thanks in a journal, or just appreciate yourself for a moment. By being awake, alive, and being able to get out of bed, you are already ahead of the game. Acknowledge it and give thanks for 1-2 minutes.

2. Stretch.
Don’t just fly out of bed. Take a moment to stretch your limbs. Roll your neck, stretch your legs and arms, and arch your back. Warm your body up this way, make it come alive, and send it the message that it is time to get moving. 2-3 minutes is adequate.

3. Drink some water.
We seem to forget how much our body needs water. Start the day with a glass or water, cold or warm, to nourish your body and rev up your metabolism. Doing this daily can help you achieve better health and get your body functioning better. 1-2 minutes is all this takes.

4. Make your goals.
Don’t spend those precious morning minutes playing on your phone or texting. Instead, use them to evaluate your day. Jot down a brief plan for the day and at least three tasks you wish to accomplish. This will help you feel motivated and organized, all in under a 2-3 minutes.

Your ten minutes is now up, and in that time you have given thanks, woke your body up, nourished it, and organized a few tasks for the day. You are now ready to roll! See how easy that was? And, it hardly took any time!

When you wake up tomorrow, forget playing around on your phone or starring at the television. Instead, give these steps a try and experience the best morning you could imagine. You are only ten minutes away from it!

Be inspired today, friends!

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Monday Inspiration: 5 Ways to Tap Into Your Creativity

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Did you know that by being creative and engaging in creative activities, you can help release stress and strengthen mental clarity? Creative acts can help you feel more at ease while inspiring you at the same time. Does it get any better than that? If you are not naturally a creative person, you might be wondering how to tap into that part of yourself. The good news is, it is totally possible! Take a look below at 5 ways to tap into YOUR creativity, so you can start living your life to the fullest!

1. Think about when you were young.
Take a minute to think about the activities you enjoyed as a child. Did you paint? Color? Build? Like to sing? Dance? Try to remember these creative acts you enjoyed. If you enjoyed it and it relaxed and refreshed you then, chances are it will do the same now!

2. Don’t equate creativity with being “artsy.”
Not everything has to be “artsy” for it to be a demonstration of creativity. In fact for you it may look more like a simple hands on/construction project. Planning a recipe, building something for your home, or writing a few sentences about your day are all ways to release your creative energy. You can even show creativity by arranging furniture in a room!

3. Seek out the color green.
Many studies have shown that the color green instantly boosts and stimulates the creative juices in your brain. When you feel in a rut and need a little creative inspiration, look a  picture of green landscape or green flowers. They are sure to give your brain the boost it needs.

4. Let go of your fears.
People often equate getting creative with the fear of being judged. Don’t let fear get in your way of getting creative. Whether you want to create something for yourself or others to enjoy, try to let go of the fears of what others will say. How your work makes YOU feel is what is important.

5. Hang out with other “creative” souls.
It is quite beneficial to be around others who inspire you. Do you like to write? Try to spend time with other writers. Do you like to paint? Attend lectures of professional artists. Do you love to get creative in the kitchen? Read the cookbook or memoir of your favorite chef. Let the creativity of others inspire you.

In 2015, try to find a little time each day to get creative. When you do, you will find that you can feel better mentally and emotionally. You will feel inspired, and perhaps even inspired others.

So, how will you tap into your creativity this week? I would love to hear on the Facebook page or Community Chat page!

Be inspired this week, friends.

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Monday Inspiration: How to Find Hope During the Rain

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There is the famous saying in life that when it rains, it pours. And if you have ever experienced a rough patch in life, you know this saying to be true. Finding hope when life dumps rain over our heads can be challenging, but the good news it, it isn’t impossible. Below, I want to share some helpful tips on how to find hope during the rain. Finding hope when life storms on us is one of the best ways to see through the dilemma and come out clean on the other side. Here is how to get started.

1. Look at the rain as a challenge, not a roadblock.
When life dumps on you, don’t look at it as a huge boulder standing in your way. Instead, look at it as a challenge, or a puzzle even. Then, decide how you wish to solve this puzzle. By accepting the challenge, you can continue to move forward.  From some of my BIGGEST trials emerged my biggest blessings.  It is amazing how circumstances have a way of bringing us exactly to the place that we are supposed to be without us realizing it at the time.

2. Break down problems piece by piece.
Look at the storms life throws you as drizzles. When you look at problems as small pieces instead of a huge gush, you can find and feel more hope about the future. Break problems down into smaller pieces and knock one issue out a time. You will feel less overwhelmed and more hopeful this way.

3. Be around other hopeful, helpful people.
Don’t be around people who only continue to rain on you after your skies are clear.  When you do this, you throw all of your hard work away.  Instead, be around people who maintain a heart of hope and faith. They are the ones who will help you best weather the storm.  As long as you have HOPE and keep reminding yourself that “this too shall pass” you will find that it is a little easier to endure the trial.  Nothing lasts forever, just do your best to keep hopeful and positive through your trial and it makes it a whole lot easier to get through.

When you give these three tips your consideration, you can best prepare for the storms life throws at you. You can find the hope in the rain, and maybe, you might even see a rainbow!

How do you find hope in the storms of life?
Share your ideas with me on the Facebook or Community Chat page!

Happy Monday, friends!

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This is about a LOT more than coupons… here is my story, what’s yours?

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My husband and I owned a mortgage company when the real estate market crashed.  Our mission for many years was to “Inspire and Help Families in our community to own their own home”.  We kept our business small and worked directly with our local community rather than reaching out to other markets because that is where our heart has always been.

In our area, a large percentage of employment was directly related to the real estate industry, most people were either in the construction field or some form of real estate since we were just coming out of a period of rapid growth in our area.   Many of us (including me and my family) went from working long hours with regular paychecks to having absolutely no work and no income coming in.  Since I was self employed, I did not have the option of unemployment, but even for those that did, it wasn’t anywhere near what they were making prior to the market crashing.  Families were REALLY struggling to make ends meet and keep food on the table.  It was the worst that I have ever seen the economy and for a time it appeared that there was no light at the end of the tunnel.

My step daughter and her husband had just adopted two little girls and both had recently taken a substantial pay cut, my best friend who worked for a local developer took a major cut in her pay as well.   We were all struggling BIG TIME.  I had heard of this lady that bought $200 in groceries and only paid $20 after coupons and although it seemed impossible to be real, we decided to investigate this and figure out HOW to do this!

We dug deep into the resources online, called corporate offices of the local grocery stores to totally familiarize ourselves with their coupon policies and how to use coupons effectively to maximize our savings.  Together we researched how to coupon extensively and had our deals carefully planned.  We were BEYOND nervous to try it out since we were all flat broke at the time and if the coupons weren’t accepted it would be extremely embarrassing.   On our first shopping trip with coupons my step daughter Erica was able to buy $236 worth of groceries for $12.36 out of pocket and I purchased $210 worth of groceries for a little over $20.00!   We could NOT believe it!  Very quickly we were able to fill our pantries and freezers and it became very clear that we could also help others at the same time.  We went from feeling like we didn’t have enough to having more than enough and even enough to share with others that were struggling too.   We had a renewed hop to our step and a feeling of hope and excitement which we hadn’t felt for months.   At the time, we knew of NO ONE in our area that was couponing on this level.

I felt inspired to show others how to save money for their families and starting telling anyone who would listen.  Since this was so new and the coupon craze hadn’t hit the nation in full force yet, people had no idea what I was talking about.  After encouragement from a close friend to hold a class, we set up a makeshift meeting room in a vacant building using lawn chairs for seating and put out word that I would be teaching people how to coupon.   We had 21 people show up at the first class and mid way through the class two ladies began crying when it “clicked” and they realized that it WAS possible to do this and that they felt that  they would be able to afford groceries to feed their families.   It was at that moment that I realized that this was about A LOT MORE than coupons, it was about inspiring hope, encouraging others to persevere and also to create a community of those that can then reach out and help others once they were in a position to do so.

Our original meeting place could only hold 25 people, we were holding classes three times per week at our small little meeting place and couldn’t keep up with the number of people wanting to learn.   I was approached by a local church to hold a class for their congregation to help them learn to coupon for their families but also to fill their church pantries so that they could help families in need as well.   We expected a crowd of approximately 50 and had over 100 show up!  Within three days two grocery carts full of groceries were brought to their church pantry by those that had taken the class and were donating to stock the pantry!  That class led me to teaching at other Churches and schools in the area in an effort to fill up the local pantries and teach others how to help families that were struggling.

Left and right people jumped on board to walk along side of me, a teacher wanted a class for her friends, a weight watchers coach wanted to spread the word to those at her meetings,  a mommy group leader wanted to teach new mothers how to save on baby items, a local home for unwed teen mothers wanted to teach the young ladies skills to succeed and things began to flow.  Before I knew it, we had crowds of over 200 at our classes held at churches, I was traveling throughout Florida and people were pumped up, getting deals for their families and GENEROUSLY sharing with those in need, it was incredible and inspiring!

Early on I knew that it was necessary to create some form of support for everyone once they learned how to coupon so I created MyCouponExpert.com.  The site was a place that I could post easy to understand breakdowns on how to do each deal, where to find the coupons and exactly what to do to make it super easy.  Once that was up and running we needed an area that we could communicate with one another, ask questions, cheer for each others deals and inspire each other to make a difference in our community where so many were hurting financially.    That is how our facebook page and chat page started.  It grew rapidly as a place that we could all unite and work together!  As people gained knowledge and experience they would then help those coming up behind them who were just learning and this AMAZING community of giving people emerged!   Time and time again, people whom I had never met in person would step up and offer to help, jump in when someone needed help or to explain a deal, together we were making a difference and it was FUN!  Since we were all in the same boat financially, we all felt the same inspiration to help others that needed help too and united together to make a difference.  It has been nothing short of one of the most surreal experiences of my life, I am still in awe at the incredible giving spirits of so many and have seen that in ALL OF US, we have the deep rooted desire to help each other.   I have seen people come to the page with very little food in their homes and depressed who are uplifted by others and encouraged that it will get better, taught little by little how to save with coupons and before I know it, that same person is on the page pumped up and helping someone else.  It is amazing to watch and an honor to be a part of.

So here we are nearly seven years later and MyCouponExpert.com has grown by leaps and bounds.  We have people from many others states in our group and the excitement level each day on our facebook chat page is off the chain!  Our page is one of the most positive and uplifting coupon pages on the internet and I am approached regularly by large bloggers asking me how I keep the page so positive and drama free.  I have found that when people unite with a similar goal in mind and are encouraged to then share that knowledge with others and make a difference in their corner of the world people will naturally step up and do it without hesitation!   I am SO thankful for each and every one of you, together we CAN make a difference!

It truly is about a LOT more than just coupons.  Thank you all for being a part of it :)

Come on over to our facebook chat page or check out our facebook fan page and join in on the fun if you haven’t already.  I would love to hear about your story and when you started couponing.  How did you find MyCouponExpert?  Let’s talk!

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