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Find tutorials, recipes, and budgeting videos from me on my Youtube Channel!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Budget-Friendly Holiday Tips and Tricks

Budget-Friendly Holiday Tips and Tricks
Guest Post by Kurt Jacobson

It’s that time of the year again when your budget goes for a toss. You want your guests to have a fun and memorable evening, but you are not sure whether you can pull it off again without burning a large hole in your pocket like last time. Your holiday décor items have lived their lives and you need something new to add that much-needed fun, warmth and cheer. And to top it all, your kids have been clamoring for a holiday trip and you don’t have the heart to say no to them. Have no fear because we are here with a list of budget-friendly holiday tips and tricks to tide you through all the hurdles you may face this season. Happy reading!
Budget-Friendly Holiday Tips and Tricks
9 Christmas Table Ideas @ Pop Sugar
Party time
  • If you have to host a party for your extended friends and family, choose to do it during the daytime to reduce your bar expenditures.
  • Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on rare, exotic ingredients and whip up fancy, new dishes to impress your guests each time. If some of your friends are known for their signature dishes, you can ask them whether they would like to make it a potluck party.
  • You can also opt for quick and cheap finger foods and appetizers that don’t take up much of your time or energy. Check out the All You website which offers dozens of budget-friendly food ideas that cost less than $1 per serving. has recipes for easy, budget-friendly holiday drinks that you can whip up without much effort.
  • If your party includes kids, set up a separate corner for them with play cards, toys, cars and books so that the adults can have some free-time without worrying about keeping them entertained.
  • Instead of buying expensive gifts or throwing a lavish party, focus on building family traditions and memories that your kids will treasure for years to come.
Budget-Friendly Holiday Tips and Tricks
Christmas Table Ideas @ Decoist
  • Sort through all the décor items that you already have and make a list of what you need to buy. You can also make your own festive decorations at home by following these quick and inexpensive décor ideas.
  • Strategic positioning of mirrors can amplify light and double the effect of whatever decorations you are going to put up.
  • Instead of emptying your wallet beautifying your entire house, focus on those areas that are likely to see the most traffic. Your guests are going to spend a lot of time in the living room and dining room – some inexpensive candles, handmade wreaths, fresh flowers and cute handmade place cards go a long way in telling your guests that you care and don’t cost a bundle either.

Budget-Friendly Holiday Tips and Tricks
Winter Break To-Do List @ Gainesville Scene
  • Plan your trip during an off-date like Christmas Day or Christmas Eve when most people choose to remain home. If you always travel by air, consider taking a road trip this time. It is much cheaper and more fun. Carry along your own water and snacks to minimize food costs.
  • Most hotels serve free breakfast buffets, so find out if your hotel is willing to include it in your hotel room rate. If your room has a tiny kitchenette or microwave, you can cook most of your meals without eating out all the time.

Kurt Jacobson is a surfing enthusiast with a background in real estate. Having moved 10 times in the past 7 years, he thrives on helping others learn from his experiences. When he's not out shredding waves he writes about homes for

Made By Dawn Renee Handmade Jewelry Giveaway...

Made by Dawn Renee | hand stamped personalized artisan jewelry

Morning lovelies! I am excited to be back again this week with another giveaway, from yet another fantastic site! Today I am featuring Made by Dawn Renee. Oh my gosh lovelies! I have been gushing today as I look at all the fabulous jewelry that Dawn creates. She has some serious talent! My favorite has got to be these stackable, hand stamped rings. I want to get a set with my kiddos names on it. It would make a great gift this holiday season ::hint hint hubby:: :)

Made by Dawn Renee | hand stamped personalized artisan jewelry

Dawn makes beautifully hand crafted pieces of jewelry. From bracelets to earrings to necklaces. She even has personalized guitar picks for the men in your life. She has everyone covered. Hand stamping is a unique metal working technique that creates a much deeper impression and definite characteristic as opposed to machine engraving. I love that everything is one of a kind, since it is not a cookie cutter piece of jewelry. The uniqueness of each piece is stunning and inspirational!

Made by Dawn Renee | hand stamped personalized artisan jewelry

Made by Dawn Renee | hand stamped personalized artisan jewelry

See what I mean? Absolutely beautiful! Going with handmade jewelry is a great alternative to the store bought stuff. It not only has beauty, but personality. I love that you can customize your orders to inspire and share with whoever you are giving the jewelry to. Order your personalized piece by December 4 to ensure delivery before Christmas:)

Today Dawn is giving away a personalized stamped necklace to one lucky Blissful and Domestic reader! Are you excited? I know I am!! Woot! Woot! Dawn is giving away one "I Love Your More" Necklace. This necklace comes with a fresh water pearl or a copper charm with initials stamped on it. You can give it to someone special or keep for yourself. I won't tell ::Wink wink::

Made by Dawn Renee | hand stamped personalized artisan jewelry

Made by Dawn Renee | hand stamped personalized artisan jewelry

Made by Dawn Renee | hand stamped personalized artisan jewelry

There are a few ways to enter this giveaway. Leave a comment for each thing that you do.

This necklace is a $41.00 value
open to US residents only

There are FOUR ways to enter to win

Leave me a comment for EACH thing you do.

Visit Made by Dawn Renee and let me know what is on your wishlist this year
leave me a comment telling me you did

Follow Made by Dawn Renee on Facebook - let her know I sent ya -
leave me a comment telling me you did

Follow Blissful and Domestic on Twitter
leave me a comment telling me you did

Follow Blissful and Domestic on Pinterest
leave me a comment telling me you did

** Don't forget to leave your email in your comment, so I can contact the winner ** 

This giveaway will end Tuesday @ Midnight  
(Pacific Time)

Made by Dawn Renee | hand stamped personalized artisan jewelry

The winner will be announced later the next day :)

Good luck lovelies!

XO Danielle

Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Cat Lover's Christmas Wishlist

Cat Lover Christmas Wishlist

This past week my little miss and I had some fun on polyvore. We decided to make up some fun wishlists for you all. We know that we are all trying to get some Christmas shopping done, but sometimes it can be hard to think of what to get that special someone. Over the next few weeks we will be sharing various wishlists, all packed with great ideas to help you get your Christmas shopping done on a budget. All of these items are under $30. Remember that all of these items are suggestions. Take them as inspiration to shop for those special people in your life. You never know what you will find on sale or at your local thrift shop. Happy shopping lovelies!

Today we are sharing a wishlist for that cat lover in your life. I don't know about you, but I tend to gush about kitties. When Libby and I made this wishlist we spent a lot of time squealing and saying "oh how cute!" These goodies are absolutely adorbs! I'm loving it! I hope this serves as a little inspiration for those cat lovers in your life.

XO Danielle

Monday, November 24, 2014

Making a House a Home on a Budget

Making a House a Home on a Budget via Blissful and Domestic Blog

When Hubby and I were in the market for buying a home, we ended up doing things that were very far from the norm. While Hubby was in the military, we had saved up over $30,000 to use as a down payment on a home. We thought Hubby would get out of the military, find a job, and then we would find our dream home. We had made a lot of plans and were excited to start seeing them unfold. Then economic crisis happened and we had to change our plans. Hubby wasn't able to find a job, so he decided to go back to school full time and get his degree. We were living in an apartment and we were going to have to start tapping into our savings to cover our rent. This is what we thought was our fate until Hubby had an idea. He said that since we had money saved up, we should see what we could get in regards to a home for only what we had in our savings account. We decided to pay cash for our home. We knew that $30,000 wouldn't buy us our dream home, but it would buy us something to live in and fix up throughout the years. We went with a Realtor and told him our plan. Only a few houses were within our very limited budget. We found a home for less than what we had in cash, which left us a bit of money to fix it up. We bought a trailer, who's previous owners had recently started renovations on. It was rough, but it was ours. Hubby worked tirelessly on that trailer, day and night. He put in a kitchen and fixed that rotten flooring that was in some some of the rooms. It wasn't perfect, but it was ours. This house would become our little family project.

I remember when Hubby first told me of his plan, I was less than thrilled. This was not what I had envisioned. Then reality hit and I remembered how thankful I should be for the situation we were in. When so many around us were foreclosing on their homes, we would be able to pay cash for one and not have any monthly mortgage payments. That in itself was enough for me to get on board. I also liked the idea of having a clean canvas to create with. No matter the current state of your home, don't get discouraged. Through a bit of creativity and hard work, you can create something beautiful.

There were a few things that helped me, as we lived in our fixer upper. Being content with what we had, being frugal, and being patient all helped us in fixing up our house without going into debt. We didn't want to have to pay for renovations years down the road because we charged them on a credit card. We shopped smart and have continued to work on our home to make it perfect for us.

Be Content with What You Have

Being content is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. Sometimes we get so focused on where we want to be tomorrow, we forget to enjoy today. If there are things that you would like to change about your home, that's fine, but don't let it consume you. Give yourself a “blessing check”. Have you heard of that before? It is where you count your many blessings and name them one by one. Doing this, puts things in focus. No my fixer upper was not absolute bliss, but my family was together and we were making things work. We all have been given so much and I think it is important to take a step back now and again to see all that we have been given.

I think it is also important to be ok with where you are at right now. I have seen so many people who are in a hurry to get a bigger and better thing, whether it be a house, car, you name it. Be content with what you have. Don't rush into things, just because you want that immediate gratification,

Be Patient

When you are wanting to redo things in your home, be patient, Rome wasn't built in a day and your home can't be fixed in a day either. Focus on the things you can change right now, rather than the things you can't. If you think your front door is looking less than fabulous, but don't have the cash to redo the door, liven it up with a fun new wreath. It is a little fix that can brighten up a dreary door and have you feeling better about your surroundings. This is something I learned as we have lived in a fixer upper. When we had cabinets without doors, I got creative and used suspension rods with curtains. When we couldn't afford that new hardwood floor I wanted, we got creative and painted our existing flooring. It is those little things that create a homey inviting space. A house does not have be dressed to the nines to become a home. It is the people living within those walls that make it home. Never forget that.

Be Frugal

When you are planning to upgrade things in your house, do it with a frugal mindset. Going into debt to fix our house, was not something we wanted to do. When we have wanted to fix things in our home, we figure out how much it will cost to complete the project, plus a little extra for the unexpected, and save up the money. Being able to pay cash for the upgrades, is a relief. It is no fun to charge an upgrade and continue paying it off months after the project is done. Be patient. It will feel even greater if you know you are not still paying for whatever project you just completed.

There are a lot of places where you can find discounted items to fix your home up with. Thrift stores sell all kinds of home goods that you can use to decorate your home with. THe majority of our home is decorated with items I made or found at thrift stores. Another place you can go to is The Habitat For Humanity Store. They sell all kinds of items to help you with your home projects. Hubby has found fencing, cabinets, tiles, and light fixtures there. Buying used and saving the difference really helps keep the cost down on projects around the house.

When we first moved into our home, I wanted to paint the hallway, but we didn't have enough money for paint. I shared this with my family and it turned out that many of them had paint cans in the garage leftover from when they painted there own homes. The paint also happened to go with our color scheme. Reusing something that someone else was going to throw away really helped us stay within a limited budget. 

No matter what, give yourself a bit fo grace. Don't try to keep up with those around you. Do what is right for your family and do it on a budget. You will never go wrong when you set a budget, pay cash, and create beautiful on less:)

I hope this gives you a bit of a glimpse into what has helped me as we create our house into a home.

XO Danielle

Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Day in the Life of Daniela...

A Day in the Life of Daniela...

Good Morning Lovelies! Today you are invited to spend a day in the life of her. 

You know that gal who you might think has it all together. The mama who seems to do it all. Well guess what? She doesn't. Let's fight those lies. This new series is an effort to get rid of the "super mom"  image that we all make for ourselves in our heads. It is a time to inspire one another even more. We do not have to always have it together to be good moms, wives, and women in sisterhood!

I have invited some wonderful women to share their story with us and to be real with y'all. They will share their struggles, their victories, their frustrations, their joys, and everything in between. It may not be glamorous, but it is real and real is absolutely beautiful 

Come walk a bit in the shoes of another....
Hey there! I am Daniela. My husband and I have been married for a little over 10 years, and have a 5 and 3 year old. I work part-time a few days a week, and am a mother and a wife 24/7. 
Come and hang out with me………….
7:43: By this time I am up, coffee’s brewing, news is on, and I’m getting ready to make my angels’ pancakes. I promised them last night I would make them pancakes as long as they went to sleep which they did and so did I! Although I should be well rested I am not. I am so tired and must put this coffee in the tank if I intend to get anything done today. While making pancakes I start my to-do list. By this time the kids are up and about, currently watching cartoons. It is freezing out (well for us “freezing” is 40 degrees) so it’s freezing inside. This cold front just came our way a couple days ago so even though we are cold it’s a nice change 

A Day in the Life of Daniela...

I’m such a morning person so I try to get mostly everything done in the morning while I have the energy.

8:55: By this time pancakes have been destroyed, milk disappeared and I had a chance to read Lady and the Tramp to my princess. Then my little angels read a book to me. I cherish these moments so much. I am thankful I get to be home with them for most of the day.

A Day in the Life of Daniela...
A Day in the Life of Daniela...
Now time to do homework.
9:40am: After homework, and watching Curious George, it’s time to TRY to get a little workout in. I don’t have much energy so I chose to do arms today. I typically run, but I need to work my arms…bad!

10:56 After working out my arms I decided to cut my own hair! YES, CUT MY OWN HAIR! I have long hair, down to my lower back. It was my first time, and I always say “hair grows back” so time to apply that saying to myself.

Right now I just finished and am getting ready to blow dry and style my hair. I kept thinking “Shoot, I effed up my hair”, but it came out pretty good. Once I curled it, it looked decent. 

Now time to get the kids in the bath and get them ready and feed them lunch.

A Day in the Life of Daniela...

A Day in the Life of Daniela...

A Day in the Life of Daniela...

2:00pm.We are finally back! We left at 11:58am and returned at 2pm. So after dropping my son at school, we then went to the convenience store, then the library. I love spending quality one-on-one time with each one of my babies. My princess and I played at the library, picked out some books and then headed home, but not before I stopped at KFC. All I had eaten was a spinach salad and coffee for breakfast so I was starving. That’s what I get for not planning; so KFC got the best of me.

A Day in the Life of Daniela...
Once at home I get started on dinner; chicken soup with veggies, and pasta, with cornbread. I can honestly say I NEVER make soup for dinner. Usually when I make it, it’s lunch for my princess, but that’s it. We LOVE cornbread, but I try not to make too many breads or sweets for that matter. I have a serious sweet tooth.

2:45: My husband is home and all is well in the Now it’s time for me to get in the shower. I am exhausted, but I have to get ready for work.
A Day in the Life of Daniela...
7:23 I am back from work. Kids are fed. Now I am reading the books we got at the library. I finish reading three books and let the kids watch cartoons before bedtime. Bedtime is at 8-830pm so they don’t have much time left. I also brush their teeth and get them in the pj’s.

While they watch cartoons I pick up the house.

9:25 Lying in bed. Bedtime did not go according to plan..and neither did picking up. Instead I sat on the couch eating ice cream, watching New Girl, but it was worth it! Hahaha…..My son threw a fit before bed so it pushed everything back. Finally, I get to hear myself breath…..I love spending some time to myself, but I get bored without my kids. I am about to wake my husband up since he’s off tomorrow so we can spend time together. When the kids are asleep it is our version of a “Date Night”.

Goodnight. Hope you enjoyed a day in my life. It’s always GO, GO, GO, and at times seems so boring (especially when writing everything down), but it’s extremely rewarding. I love my little family and would not change one thing!

XO Daniela

Saturday, November 22, 2014

VIDEO TUTORIAL: Making a Thanksgiving Turkey

Today I am in the kitchen, showing you how I make our Thanksgiving turkey. You can find the recipes in the video description as well! Happy cooking lovelies!

XO Danielle

Making Family Time a Priority...

I'm Ruth, 33, mom of two amazing kids.  My wonderful and beautiful daughter, Alyssa, is 12.  She's my best friend.  I love our special days together when it's only us. She helps me see through her eyes and understand the world. My laughing, always caring, and loving son, Blake, 10.  He's always there to wrap an arm around me and pray with me.  He makes me laugh every second of the day. I've been married for 15 years, senior year in high school, to the man of my dreams, love of my life, my high school sweetheart since our sophomore year in high school, David.  He's my rock, my logical side, my reasoning, my love.  He truly is my everything.

We've been attending the same church for 15 years and reside in Austin, Texas.  I am a stay-at-home mom and Realtor.  I have been on both sides of a full-time working mom and the full-time stay-at-home mom, so I can fully understand both sides. I am currently leaning how to speak girl teenager and pre-teen boy fluently.  It's harder than I thought! :-)

Today I want to chat with you about making family time a priority....

I always hear comments and even complaints about Family Time.  I was listening to the radio and a mom said if she could have one thing it would be to know what was going on in her kids life because they just don’t have time to talk.  This baffled me.  I couldn't comprehend the thought of not talking to my kids, not knowing what was going on each day at school, the newest crushes and breakups.

I can tell you exactly what projects my kids are working on, what class, when they are due and when they have a test coming up.  We shuffle after school activities, practices and family errands.  

Making Family Time a Priority...

Does that mean I am supermom?  No, not even close. What it does mean is that I am involved in what my kids are doing.  I take the time to ask them what is going on in their lives.  Even if that means I have to write it down to remember. :)  We talk about these things during family time…yes we have that.  

We set aside one night a week - every Tuesday from at least 7:00 - 9:00 for our family time.  No phone, no internet, no electronics, just our family.  Our kids know not to even ask to do anything on Tuesdays and if they even think of getting out a phone…well, the big ole’ mama bear comes out..and she ain’t pretty! :)

Making Family Time a Priority...

We have to be intentional when it comes to our family.  If not, then they will eventually slip away and we might sit wondering where did we go wrong?  Now, I’m not saying family time is a cure all.  Because we know it’s not.  Life happens.  Things happen.  But during that family time, during that devotion and prayer time, your children will know that you love them.  That you are seriously interested in the outcome of their lives. That you care. That no matter what every Tuesday, or whichever day and time you decide, it’s all about them.  That can never be taken away and it will stay with them throughout their matter what :)

Family time for us has become such a wonderful part of our week.  We look forward to it and actually enjoy it now (the kids thought the world was falling apart in the beginning).  :) 

XO Ruth

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ubisoft: Petz Beach Game Review #PetzBeach #CleverGirls

Ubisoft: Petz Beach Game Review

Hi guys! Today I am sharing a game review with you all. I know that it is holiday shopping season and all of us Mama's are looking for that perfect gift for our littles. Today I am excited to be able to review a new video game that may be on your little ones list this holiday season:) Today I am reviewing Ubisoft's Petz Beach video game for the 3DS.

One thing that my Miss Priss is really into....ok let me stress the REALLY role playing games...ya know those games where you get have a home, live in a village or town, and care for different animals. She loves those! When I informed Miss Priss that Ubisoft Petz Beach would be coming in the mail, she was ecstatic. She had seen the video game preview, during one of her computer turns and couldn't wait to start caring for the animals. She checked the mail almost everyday. Once it arrived she was one happy girl!

Ubisoft: Petz Beach Game Review #PetzBeach #CleverGirls

Her exact words were, "Mom look how cute!". The animals were too stinkin cute! As she continued to play, she learned that not only did she get to take care of cute little cats and dogs, but other animals were involved a certain adorable penguin (her absolute favorite!) There are over 50 different animals from dog to cats, to dolphins and whales! The environment within the game changes with the seasons, so you have fun all year long! In Petz Beach, you can also interact with friends and collect points to allow you to expand your game as you play. Libby loves being able to interact with neighbors in the game!

I have also heard a lot of talk about a zoo. I have been informed by my red heads that you get to buy animals and put them in the zoo. This was a big hit with my kids. As you play the game you are able to unlock different animals to purchase and place in the zoo. You can also go fishing, dig in the sand, go on quests to win prizes, and a whole lot of other things my kids are learning as they play this fun game!

Oh and I can not forget the camera mode. As you care for your animals, you can take pictures. For a little girl that has a 3DS full of selfies, she loved being able to take pictures of her animals friends.

Ubisoft: Petz Beach Game Review #PetzBeach #CleverGirls

It has been so fun seeing my little munchkins enjoy this game. It is rated E for everyone, which make this Mama happy. I love the learning that is involved as well. As your children go on quests, they learn about the different animals they are interacting with. I love being able to sneak that learning into game time! I definitely recommend it!

Now I couldn't end this review without getting a few quotes from the red heads who have been playing the game. Here ya go lovelies.....

Keagan's Review  

"I like it because there are lots of different types of dogs. My favorite part is everything...really everything! It's super cool Mama!"

Libby's Review
"It is awesome! There's Emperor Penguins! I love it!"

From the mouth of Babes. As you can see my 10 year old got in on the action as well. He didn't think he would like it, but his mind has been changed. They now have to take turns with the game.

Ubisoft: Petz Beach Game Review #PetzBeach #CleverGirls

Thank you guys for letting me chat your ear off today about this fun new game, Ubisoft Petz Beach. You can purchase Petz Beach on Amazon. I am eager try our Petz Countryside. It is similar to Petz Beach and has just made it to Miss Priss's Christmas list this year.

Petz Beach and Petz Countryside Product Specifications:
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Release Date: October 14, 2014
  • Platform: Nintendo 3DS system
  • Category: Pet Simulation and Adventures
  • Rating: E

What video games are your littles asking for this holiday season?

XO Danielle

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
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