Monday, December 31, 2012

13 Goals for 2013



Another new year is upon us.  Like many others, I think about my life and things I would like to change this time of year.  This year is no different.   As I get older though, I realize that resolutions are often very hard to keep. The best way to actually be successful is to make small attainable goals, instead big, broad "wishes".  A good example of this would be a resolution I have made many, many times.  I claim that this is the year I am going to be organized.  Considering I have not been an organized person for 40+ years, and have been diagnosed with ADD in recent years, just saying I am going to do it, isn't going to make it happen.   However, if I start with a few small changes and add to them as I am successful,  real change really can happen.  


I have given a lot of thought to my 13 goals for 2013. I thought I would share them with you, so you can help keep me accountable. I hope to share my successes with you throughout the year.

Most of my goals are for my blog, and definitely attainable.

   1. In 2013, I hope to update my blog design.  I have been thinking about this for a long time, I just have not had the time to do it quite yet.

   2. To keep up with my blog with life happens, (and it always does!) my goal is to schedule more posts ahead of time.

  3. I hope to post more often. This kind of goes with the scheduling goal as well.  I know there will be times when I might miss a day here and there, but I hope that make that happen less often.

  4.  I hope that I will be able to reach my people, and grow my blog. (a goal for pretty much all bloggers)

  5. I hope to make some more money with this "hobby" that I love.  If I am able to keep goals 1-4, this should be able to happen.

  6. I would like to become more of an expert in social media.  While I am on Twitter, Pinterest Instagram, and G+,  I feel there is so much I need to learn on each of those platforms.

  7. For this goal I am going to add a picture.. (One I can not believe I am showing you!!)


I actually have a craft room/ office.  I have not been able to use my so called craft room because in the 9+ years I have lived in this house, it has become the room where anything and everything goes. If you can"t find something, it is most likely in the craft/dumping room.  What you are looking at in this picture is a giant pile on 2 small desks that were supposed to be used to work on.  Instead of being used as desks,  they have been used to hold a massive amount of stuff.   This is the year I am claiming this room to be a craft room where things can actually be created, and things are easily found.  This is a massive goal, so it will need to be done in steps.  I hope to give monthly updates on my progress.

  8. Along those same lines, I hope we can update our computer desk area.  Right now we have a small basic desk unit that has  very little room. Only one person can sit at the computer at a time and everything ends up on the floor around the desk. At this very moment, the printer, some notebooks and bills are on the floor.  I have some big ideas on how to fix this problem.  Hopefully this  is a problem that is fixed this year.

The rest of my goals do not have to do with crafting or blogging...

  9.  This will be the year that I take back my health.  Some of you may know that this fall I was diagnosed with 3 autoimmune disorders, Hashimotos Thyroiditis, mild Rheumatoid Arthritis and Autoimmune Urticara (chronic hives caused by the autoimmune system)  It is thought that you can improve you autoimmune conditions by changing your diet.  While I am not a horrible eater, I know there are many things I can improve on. I am currently reading the book Wheat Belly, by William Davis M.D.  He has a lot of good points, and I hope by making some changes I will much healthier by the end of year than I am at the beginning of it.

10.  Along the lines of goal 9, is my goal of losing some weight.   With my current thyroid issues, I have gained about 20 lbs in the past year.  I am only 5'1", so 20 lbs is a lot.  During this year I hope to lose that 20,  and maybe 5 bonus lbs.  I know losing weight is a process, so I know I have to break it down into small goals. If I mess up from time to time, that's okay, I know not to give up and keep going

11. I want to save more money with  great deals and  coupons in 2013.  Throughout this past year, I have used coupons, but not always as effectively as I could have. With all the economic uncertainty going on right now,  I want to do even better with my family's budget.

12. Did you know that I write for Examiner?   I am the Frugal Family Examiner for my area.. There are times when I could definitely write articles more often.  In 2013, my goal is to write articles 3+ times a week, instead of the 1-2 that I write now.  If you think you might like to write for Examiner.com as well, drop me an email.

13.  This is probably one of the best goals to have, and should be easy to keep. In 2013, I want to give more.  One thing that is going to help me with this goal, I will be sharing in an upcoming post.

What kind of goals to you have for the New Year?


Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year's Tablescape - Feature of the Day



I have to say I am blown away by the gorgeous New Years Tablescape shared by Shabby Brocante  on this week's Dare to Share.  She shares how to make this beautiful hat centerpiece and so much more.   Everything looks so festive and fun, and the rest of her pictures are a must see. You can see what I am talking about HERE.  Thank you so much for linking up Karen. I am sure you and your guest are going to have a Happy New Year!

If you would like to be a Feature of the Day, stop by and link up to the weekly Dare to Share Linky Party.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Dare to Share # 39

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas.  The last few weeks were a blur for me. Now that things are settling down, and we have another week of Christmas break I have a bit more time on my hands.

One of the things that kept me busy last week was the last minute crafting I had to do.  Kara remembered after she was in bed that she needed to bring in a small gift for her class gift exchange. They were allowed to bring in homemade items.  She said she had to bring in it in by the next day so I allowed her to get up, and help with the crafting.  You can see how we made these quick  homemade ornaments HERE.


We also had yet another injury. During gym, Kara's class was playing a game where you tag someone so they will join your group. When you get four to your group, the group breaks into two teams of two.  Well during the time when there were three people, Kara was holding hands with two kids who were much bigger than her on each side. At one point they went into opposite directions at the same time.  Ouch!  The boy on the right side was squeezing her hand tightly near her knuckles.  When they went into opposite directions the girl on the left side was pulling hard enough to cause resistance.  The boy pulled much  harder and sprained Kara's  wrist.  The Dr felt she could also have some broken bones in her hand, so it was off to have her 4th X-ray of the year. We found out the following Monday, that there were no fractures.  She had to have her hand in a brace/wrap for an entire week while it healed.  She finally felt better just a few days before Christmas.




Other things we did right before Christmas..  Made lots of pretzel hugs for a Christmas party and for relatives.  We decorated sugar cookies for Santa.  I love how my snowman cookie turned out. We also finished our gingerbread house on Christmas Eve. I admit it, I so used a glue gun to put the house together.




The day after Christmas we got several inches of snow, which inspired me to make some Snowman Pretzel Treats.  You can see how I made them HERE

Now on to other news..   As part of my New Years Resolutions, I want to upgrade my blog.  One of the things I have done to reach my goal is to become a .com.  This week instead of having blogspot in my name, my new domain name is PamsPartyandPracticalTips.com     I also looked back at the year that was.  I shared my top 10 posts of 2012.  Some of them surprised me, some did not.   You can read about all about what made the top 10 HERE.

As we move into the new year, I want to continue to have a Feature of the Day. I will be featuring the great posts that link up to Dare to Share.  I share Feature of the Day posts on the blog,  FacebookPinterestG+, and Twitter.  While I do not require you be a following to link up to Dare to Share, I would love if you would follow in some way to see when you are featured. There is no limit in the amount of posts you can link up.     I really look forward to seeing all the great post you Dare to Share.

Link up and HAVE FUN!


Top Ten Posts in 2012

As the year comes to a close, many bloggers (myself included) look back at the year that was.  I was curious to see which of the posts I shared this year were the top ten fan  favorites. Some in the top ten surprised me, others did not.   Here they are from #10 to #1..

10. The Water Blob Experiment

Water Blob Experiment

Who knew a $2 experiment based on the water blob I saw on Ginger Snap Crafts would be so popular. We actually made a blob twice this past summer, and  it made for hours of fun!

9. Bunny Cookies

Bunny Cookies


Cookies I made for Easter out of Nutter Butters were a big hit. I will have to remember them for when Easter rolls around again  in a few months.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Snowman Pretzel Treats


White chocolate covered pretzel treats


We live in part of the country that was quite snowy today.  We were not in the blizzard area, but still got close to 6 inches of snow, and our roads are a mess. Since we were not really up to going outside in the cold to make a snowman, I decided to make a few snowmen treats in the kitchen.



Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve Reindeer Corn


Christmas Eve is here. If you have little ones who still believe, they might want to leave a treat for the reindeer, when leaving cookies for Santa.  Reindeer corn is a treat that reindeer love to eat.  I came up with this recipe last year, but it was definitely worth bringing back as an oldie but a goodie post.


This stuff was so good! I think I will have to make some now,  even though this might be the first year we do not set out cookies for Santa :(  You can see the full recipe HERE.

Last Minute Wrapping Tips

Last Minute Wrapping Tips

If you are like me and millions of others, you are just now wrapping the many gifts you bought to give on Christmas.  I had a wrapping marathon Saturday night while I  was watching The Santa Clause movie marathon. (with a few Facebook breaks everyone once in awhile)  If you do wait to the last minute and realize you forgot the bows, there is no need to worry.  You can easily and frugally make some added embellishments in just a few minutes.    The plain red paper of the present in the picture above, needed something extra.  I had some left over striped paper that I knew that would be perfect for a bow.  Use paper scraps in different sizes, and layer them. You can keep them in a straight line, or criss cross them like I did.



Last Minute Wrapping Tips

Another fun bow that I made from paper scraps is the curly paper version in this picture.  

Last Minute Wrapping Tips 

Find a long scrap and fold in in half.  Cut thin strips until you are about 1/2 inch to the fold.  Use a pair of scissors and gently run them along the strip making a curl.  The paper should curl just like a piece of ribbon.   Use a piece of tape to attach  it to the package on the flat uncut part of the paper.  

Last Minute Wrapping Tips 

Here is another version of the curly bow  that I made for a friend today.  This paper had large pattern stripes that called out to be cut.  I used one of the stripes from a scrap piece of paper  and turned it into  paper ribbon.  I  secured on the back side of the package.  I then added the curly bow made from the red part of the paper  in the center where the stripes crossed.

Last Minute Wrapping Tips 

Kara made this bow.  She attached curled scrap paper directly to the package. I think she did a great job! (and this present is for me)

Last Minute Wrapping Tips 

This gift is for Kara. (Shhh! Don't tell)  The entire gift is penguin themed.  I found two penguin movies for just a few dollars on Black Friday. (Mr. Poppers Penguins, and Happy Feet Two)  I then used paper that had penguins on it, and also a cute penguin ornament that I got from Target for only $2.  The ornament dresses up the package, and becomes part of the gift.

Last Minute Wrapping Tips 

Though it might be a little too late now, pick up a few rolls of Christmas ribbon from the dollar store.  They are great to use on presents and are  REUSABLE.  This candy version looked so pretty with the shiny red paper.

Last Minute Wrapping Tips 

 This candy cane paper was so much fun.  Instead of a bow,  I attached a real candy cane.

Last Wrapping Minute Tips 


Isn't this paper the cutest?  I wish I could remember where I found it. I love the little owls and all  other animals. Remember to watch for great designs when they go on clearance after Christmas.  I usually wait until  75% off or more since I have a pretty big supply of paper. Keep in mind all the fun things you can do to embellish your gift when you buy for next year.    Happy Wrapping!


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Where is Dare to Share?

Dare to Share will not be up tonight, due  to holiday overload.  There was just too much going on tonight, and I am now extremely tired.  Tomorrow is yet another day, especially since the world did not end. :)  Hopefully it will be up and running this weekend.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Handmade Ornaments

Handmade Ornaments 

So a couple of nights ago,  after Kara had gone to bed, she suddenly remembered she had to have a present for a class  gift exchange, and she was pretty sure it was going to be the next day.  It was already 10 p.m.! Oops!  There was no way we were going to go out and buy something at that hour.  Then she said  that her teacher told them they could  make something or buy something that is no more than a couple dollars.  Well s considering we make things all the time, we went with that option.  We decided on two homemade ornaments.

Handmade Ornaments 

To make the reindeer candy cane ornament, I cut out a head shape from a scrap piece of paper. I then cut out 2 pieces of tan felt.

Handmade Ornaments
Sorry about the picture quality, remember it was late at night and I  was in a hurry.   I didn't to spend the time sewing the head together, so I used my glue gun.  I tried to stay close to the edge as I could so it would fit over a candy cane.


Handmade Ornaments

I then use my glue gun to add antlers, eyes and a red pom nose.  The reins are made from stretchy ribbon I found at one of the craft stores.

Handmade Ornaments 

I then placed the reindeer head over a full size candy cane. To hang on the tree, I would just need to add an ornament hook,


Handmade Ornaments 

Kara went to work on the pipe cleaner snowman ornament. She rolled three  white pipe cleaners and secured them with regular glue.  She then add the arms , face and buttons and secured them on the back side of the snowman.  We added an ornament hook and it is ready to hang.  Both of these ornaments were quick and easy to make and perfect to keep the kids busy for awhile.

I will be linking my ornaments up on the following linky  parties HERE.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Countdown to Christmas - Tiered Christmas Platter


Are you having guests over for the holidays,  or having a holiday party?  If you need some festive ways to display your  food, how about making your own tiered Christmas Platter. Phaedra from Phaedra's Adventures shared how  you can easily put together a two tiered platter in minutes. It would be a great way  to display those cookies and candies.  It is also affordable to make, she found all the supplies she needed at Walmart. Thank you so much for linking up Phaedra!

If you would like to be a Feature of the Day, be sure to stop by each week and link your favorite posts on the weekly Dare to Share Party HERE.  You just might be the next Feature of the Day.

Oreo Truffles Times Two

How to make Oreo Truffles 

I planned on sharing this earlier, but things kept coming up and before I knew the entire day passed me by.  The other day we made TWO kinds of Oreo truffles. Both were extremely easy and taste really good.  My favorite is the cherry oreo truffle.  For this recipe you need a brick of cream cheese, a package of oreos, a jar of maraschino cheeries, and candy coating of your choice.  We chose to use the red candy melts.


Smash the Oreos until they crumbs. You can use a blender if you have one, if not you can use a rolling pin and a baggie like I had to use.  I double bagged about a 1/3 of the package and rolled the rolling pin over until I was satisfied.    Add the softened brick of cream cheese.  I just placed in the microwave (without the wrapper) for about 20 seconds.  Mix the Oreos and cream cheese together.   Chill in the fridge for a bit so that it is easier to form into balls.




I rolled each truffle around a maraschino cherry. They were on a bit on the bigger side to make sure that the cherry was totally covered.  Place back into the fridge a bit. You want to make sure they are chilled or they might fall apart when dipping them in the chocolate/candy coating.




Here are some of the balls after they were dipped in the melted candy coating.  If you use two forks, a lot of the excess candy will drip back into the bowl. A few of my truffles did poop a little bit, but since they are just for family and not gifts, I was okay with that.


The cherry in the middle is a sweet surprise!


For the mint truffles all you need are the mint flavored (green) Oreos, a brick of cream cheese, and the candy coating of chose.  We chose green candy melts.


I made the mint truffles in the same way, but left out the maraschino cherry. We dipped them in the green candy melts  and then  sprinkled with green sprinkles. No matter if you chose the cherry, the mint, or even plain Oreo truffles, they taste so good and make a great treat to share with friends.





Monday, December 17, 2012

Countdown to Christmas - $4 Tree Skirt


I am excited to share today's Dare to Share Feature of the Day.  Erin from Taking Time to Create share how she made a very pretty tree skirt with items from the Dollar Store.  That is my kind of Christmas craft.  Stop by her blog Taking Time to Create. HERE.   Thank you so much for linking up this great craft Erin!

If you would like to be a Feature of the Day, be sure to link up to the weekly Dare to Share Party HERE.

Cherry Vanilla Fudge

Cherry Vanilla Fudge 


This past weekend we did some baking.  One thing that we made for the first time was Cherry Vanilla fudge. It was super easy to make, and tastes good enough to give away as a gift.

I found this recipe on the Taste of Home website.

You will need
1 1/2 tsps of butter (for greaszing the pan)
1 pkg or white baking chips
1 16 oz can of vanilla frosting
1 tsp of cherry extract
red food coloring

Cover an 8 x 8 baking pan with aluminum foil and use the butter to grease it.

Kara did a great job of covering it.

 In a glass bowl, melt the baking chips in the microwave.  I used the 30 second method, stirring the chips every 30 seconds.  Once melted mix in the frosting and cherry extract.   Stir until completely mixed and pour into the baking pan.


Drop in some red food coloring in random places.  Use a knife to swirl the colors together.  In this step, I did not realize I did not get the color through all of the fudge. I ended up with a white layer on the bottom, which I actually think looks really good.  Chill the fudge for about 4 hours.



Invert the fudge pan on a cookie sheet.  Remove the pan and then the foil.


I allowed the fudge to sit at room temperature for a few minutes to make it easier to cut. Cut into small pieces.  This fudge has a sweet flavor and is quite addicting.



Share with your family or give as gifts  I bet Santa might like some as well.

I will be sharing this fudge recipe on the following linky parties HERE. Stop by and take a look.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Treat Boxes


As we come into the last few days of school before Christmas  and  have many parties to attend,  (Kara has 3 this week!)  I thought I would reshare an oldie but a goodie.  Using small containers from the dollar store, I quickly made these fun treat boxes just the right size to be filled with your favorite Christmas treats. You can read more about them HERE.



Saturday, December 15, 2012

Countdown to Christmas- 5 Minute Peanut Butter Fudge



Are you baking this weekend?  We are at our house.  Every year we like to make fudge, and this 5 minute peanut butter fudge recipe by The Thriftiness Miss, sounds like the perfect thing to try.  There are only a few ingredients, and would make a great gift. Stop by and see the recipe on The Thriftiness Miss HERE.  Thank you so much for linking up this great recipe Jessica!

Dare to Share is going strong. If you would like to be a Feature of the Day, be sure to link up on the Dare to Share Linky Party HERE.


Dare to Share #38 and Febreze Giveaway Winner


I have to admit, I am having a hard time getting into blogging today.  In addition to my daughter being injured and then having a Christmas concert tonight, I am still reeling by the news of the day. I feel so bad for the families who woke up this morning like normal, and tonight have one less family member to hug. This picture of Buddy was actually taken a few days ago, but I found it fitting to share today.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Reindeer Card and other things


I had planned on working on another project today.  As you all know.. the best laid plans don't always happen.   I was surprised by a phone call from Kara at her school at little after 9 this morning. She told me she had been injured in gym class.  She said the injury was bad enough that her gym teacher thought she might have to go home. They were playing a game where you tag someone and then join the line  If the line breaks, the tag does not count. .  She was between an athletic girl who is really into sports and a boy much bigger than she is.  Both of them had a tight hold of one of her hands and went running in opposite directions.   She said the boy had an extremely tight grip on her hand when he pulled on her arm.   She was in a lot of pain from this incident.  I called the Drs office and made an appointment just to be on the safe side. The Dr said that it was most likely just a sprain, but she was concerned about the amount of  pain in her hand. She told us she was sending Kara to have an X-ray to make sure that some of the smaller bones in her hand were not fractured.  We should hear the results  soon.  As of now she needs to keep it wrapped and she is excused from gym next week. Since she is having some trouble moving her fingers, writing might also be a challenge for awhile.






Since the unexpected medical visits took up several hours today, I am going to share a project Kara made at Girl Scouts earlier this week.  I adore this Reindeer holiday card  that she made using her thumbprints. She added eyes, a nose and antlers to each of the thumbprints. This is a simple and sweet way for your child to make cards for their loved ones.  I did not get to keep this card, it went to a local nursing home, but I am hopeful she will make me one too.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Countdown to Christmas - Snowflake Ornaments



Are you wishing for a white Christmas?  I am not a big fan of snow, but I love these snowflake ornaments  that Susie from Earning My Cape made and shared on Dare to Share.  She teaches how to crochet them step by step with a free pattern on her blog.  They would be great to decorate your home and make a nice gift.  Be sure to check out Susie's blog and her snowflake ornaments HERE..  Thank you so much for linking up Susie!

If you would like to be the Feature of the Day, link up your favorite posts to the weekly Dare to Share Linky Party and you might be the next feature.
Pin It button on image hover