Happy New Year!

May you all be blessed with laughter and joy, peace and love, health and prosperity in the New Year!

If you make resolutions, good luck but do not beat yourself up if you mess up a little, you are human and will make mistakes.  As for me, I gave up resolutions a long time ago, too much pressure!  I just try to be the best person I can be, I try to keep myself grounded & positive, and surround myself with healthy relationships.  I try to keep my body as healthy as possible with good food, yoga and meditation.  I struggle with fibro pain on a daily basis, and believe it or not…dealing with daily pain really keeps life in perspective for me.

I also keep God in my life, my religious and spiritual faith keeps me going.

I hope you are enjoying a new day filled with delicious food and family and friends!  HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Tips for Packing and Moving

I have moved so much over my lifetime.  I get exhausted just thinking about it!  And now that I have my offer accepted, I can begin to make my moving plans and start packing….again!

Hopefully this is my last move, not that I’m ready to call it quits on life but I am hoping this will be the home that I will live out the rest of my life.  Unless of course I win the lottery!!!  That’s an entirely different ballgame!

So, here are a few tips I have learned over the years of my moves.

1.  Hopefully before you list your current home on the market you had prepared it for the sale by cleaning out closets, organizing, etc.  The worst of the work should have been done already.

If you haven’t, now is the time to start sorting through your belongings.  You will want to put things in categories of keep, toss, or donate.  Stick to it, don’t throw things in a box and tell yourself you will get to it later.  You know you won’t!

2. Pack your boxes thoughtfully. Yanno that saying “size doesn’t matter”??  Well it does!!  Give careful thought to the size of boxes you will be packing and the contents.

Don’t fill them with all heavy or breakable items.  Boxes will be harder to lift and move if they are too heavy and things will break.  Mix your glass dishes with your plastic lighter items.  Wrap your precious breakables with bubblewrap or good sturdy paper.  I have even used plastic shopping bags for wrapping some things.  Be creative, you can use your dish towels too.

3.  Organize your packing.  By this I mean, don’t pack your everyday plates that you will need as soon as you get to your new home, with your wedding crystal that you will probably not be using until you can set up in your hutch.

For example, I used my kitchen towels with my everyday plates and glasses so that when I unpacked that box, I had everything I needed right away.

Also, organize your boxes by labeling: kitchen, dining room, bedroom (by name such as yours, kids)  bath, den, etc.  Put a large note on the bedroom doors so your movers will know what room is what.

You might want to give a quick list on the box as to the contents inside: crystal for hutch, everyday plates, glasses, etc.  put it on the top and side.  Ask your movers to place the boxes with the writing to the front so you can see what each box contains.

4.  The first thing you will want to set up is your beds, and make them!  You are going to be exhausted and its nothing like having your bed already made so all you have to do is crawl in!

Next on the list is your bathroom.  Get your necessary toiletries and towels and the all important TP set up.

And finally, your fridge.  Get it plugged in and get that ice maker ready!

5. Assign duties to your movers!  If the weather is not cooperating, give someone the job of being by the door to give things a quick wipe down so you are not having rain or snow drug through your new home.  Keep rugs by the doors so your movers can wipe their feet BUT be careful that you are not using loose materials like sheets or towels that will cause your movers to trip and fall!

6. Your pets.  This needs some thought because moving can be traumatic for them and they need to be in a safe place until you are ready for them to roam around in your new home.  Can they stay at someones house while you move, can they be boarded somewhere.  If that is not possible, you can either place them in a secure room in the house you are moving from OR move your pets first and put them in a closed room.

If you take them to the new house, let them sniff around while they are leashed.  Then place them in a safe room with food and water, maybe even some music.  Close the door tightly and put a note on the door “Pet inside, please DO NOT OPEN”.  Make sure you clearly give your movers instructions about the pet.

If you decide to leave them at your house that you are moving from, again…put them in a room with food and water, put a note on the door letting your movers know there are pets in the room and not to open the door.

You will need to check on your pet consistently.  Make sure all doors to the outside are closed before  you open their door in case they attempt to make a mad dash.  Spend some time with them and love them up so they know they are not alone and are loved! Don’t forget to take them outside for their potty breaks!!!

If your pet is a nervous and anxious little creature,  you may want to check with your vet on some moving pointers and possibly medication to calm them.

7.  OH!  And trash bags are your friend!  Not just to toss out the crap you don’t want anymore but they are great for packing!  Yes packing!  Toss in your blankets, pillows and towels to keep them clean.  Use them for handbags and clothes too.  You can also group some of your clothes on hangers, maybe about 6-8 hangers, tear a hole in the bottom of the bag to slip the curvey part of the hanger thru, just like a dry cleaner bag!!

8.  Food. I would suggest that you try to use up as much of your food in your freezer, refrigerator and pantry before you move, I really dislike wasting food!!  If you are just moving across town, pack up whats left and take it with you.  If your move is much farther you may want to donate your food items to a church or local food bank.

Now is a good time to go through your pantry items and discard items such as dried spices, seasonings and herbs that may have lost there potency.

9.  Address change!  Good grief is this a major pain!  I am always surprised when I hear someone mention that they forgot to make address changes!  Start with a list, and a cup of coffee or tea!  Relax and start thinking….  You will need to call your utilities, cable TV, any other banks other than the bank holding your mortgage, credit cards, investments, insurances.  Not to forget any subscriptions you may have.  Doctors, dentist, vets.  Don’t forget your employer!  Memberships, clubs and recreational activities, and your church will need your new information too.

Grab your bank statement and your planner and go through them to find any place you may have missed.

Most importantly, go to the post office and complete the necessary forms for an address change so that your mail will be transferred to your new address.  I believe you can do this online as well.

You might also want to let all of your friends know your new address, or at least the friends you WANT to know that you moved!

10.  Lastly, recycle your packing boxes whether it be to a recycling center OR giving them to someone else that is moving.  Recycle any paper or bubble wrap you have used.  The paper would be great for the kiddos to draw and paint on, crafts, etc.

Enjoy your new home and remember to give yourself time to unpack and get used to your new surroundings.  Drink lots of water and make sure to give yourself some much needed breaks, stretches and snacks.

Anyone else have any good tips for packing and moving?

Live well!

Cinnamon Christmas Ornaments

Looking for something fun to do with the kids this week?  Make these very aromatic ornaments!!!  You can use them on your tree as decorations or tie them onto gifts.  They are very easy to make and need about 2 to 3 days to completely dry.

Here’s the recipe (but DON’T eat them, they are NOT edible!!):

2 cups Cinnamon

1-1/2 Applesauce, NOT chunky

2 tsp ground Nutmeg

2 tsp ground Cloves

4 Tb Elmer’s Glue

Mix all the ingredients well.  When completely mixed, divide the dough in two parts,  roll out one batch between sheets of plastic wrap. Keep the dough around a 1/4″ think, if you make it too thin the ornaments will curl or break.  Using a toothpick or a small straw, put a hole in the top of the ornaments for the ribbon.  Place on cookie racks to dry.  After they are completely dry, you can carefully use a fingernail file to finish off the edges, tie a pretty ribbon in the ornament for hanging.

PINK OUT, Women’s Cancer Fund

As I do every spring, I attend the Pink Out Women’s Cancer Fund event.  It is a night that is filled with fun, friendship, food and awe.  Money is raised for the Pink Out Fund, information is  HERE.  Please make a donation!

The mansion is a beautiful piece of architecture and design in itself but it is totally decorated in pink for this event.  The girls in the committee are all dressed in a theme outfit and we are greeted at the door by Jane Rice with a hug, a hug that is one that you would give your best friend as she enters your home for a girl’s night.  The committee women’s husbands wearpink polo shirts; they direct the parking and offer you a ride to the mansion in golf carts.  There are tall pink flags waving in the evening breeze as you drive up to the mansion, gorgeous pink flower arrangements are placed throughout the rooms (donated and crafted from plastic bottles and bags and painted), tables are adorned with pink fabric and ribbons, and beautifully hand-blown glass hats and purses dress the tables outside in the backyard.  The drinks for the evening are of a pink nature of course, made with cranberry or pomegranate juices, pink plates and napkins, pink food ~ pasta with a pink sauce and salmon, even the salad dressing had a pink hue to it! 

The entire place is filled with women in pink, it looks like a pepto bismol bottle exploded!  It’s one the most wonderful things you can experience.  The sister-hood, the love, the caring.  And then you are humbled when you see someone that is obviously undergoing chemo treatments.  I ran into a friend that I hadn’t seen in a long time.  She had no hair and my heart instantly ached for her.  She told me that she shaved her head for her daughter-in-law who has breast cancer.  LOVE

Volunteers for the evening, also in a theme outfit but different from the committee girls, are walking around all evening collecting your empty plates and cups.  There is also a  silent auction and raffle drawings. 

Then Jane speaks, her story of surviving cancer is amazing and makes me tear up every time.  A guest speaker spoke last night, a young woman; I could not move from where I was standing.  As she was introduced by her friend, it was mentioned that she was a tough cookie; she also mentioned a t-shirt that this young woman wore, it read “hey cancer, you picked the wrong bitch”.  And cancer did.  This young woman’s story was shocking and heartwarming and I couldn’t help but cry.  She had a doctor appointment, had her breast exam and was given a clean bill of health, in a matter of 2 months I believe; she did her own breast exam and found the lump that changed her life.  She talked about how she wanted to “feel” what cancer was like so for a few days she didn’t take some medicine, which she said looking back was probably not a good thing, but she still wanted to feel it.  After a treatment she was so sick but still went to work, had to excuse herself and then went back to work.  She did then take the meds, and she said that she really couldn’t explain why she wanted to do that but she did.  She also told us how she would have a treatment and then go home to put on her bikini, hop on the John Deere and mow her yard.  Yea I think she might be a tough girlie!  She told us though, she was still depressed and sad BUT she was not going to let cancer live her life, she was going to learn to live her life with cancer. 

After she spoke and walked away we were asked if we remembered a young bald girl 2 years ago in a pink fluffy dress, a lot of us agreed that yes we did, that was her and she will be celebrating 2 years of being cancer free this month. 

Next, Jane asked all the women in the room that had breast, ovarian or uterine cancer to come forward.   Women from all corners of the room walked up, some beside me.  I just cried.  They held hands and stood around a tree that was decorated with names of those being remember or honored with women’s cancer.   It was so moving. 

At the end of the night as you walk outside you are greeted by the husbands in pink polo shirts again.  They help you down the steps, hand you a gift and escort you to your car in the golf cart.  They use lights to guide you out of the cart and walk you to your car, open your car door and get you in the car safely.  And finally, they tell you “get home safely”.

People that care. Friends, family.  Amazing.  Please make a donation, this is a wonderful organization.

Ladies, do your breast exams!!!