Welcome, 2014!

Here we are, four days into a new year, and I’m just so excited to see how things work out for our family this year. My husband started a new job the week of Christmas that will be a big financial boost for us and, if things go according to plan, this is our year to knock out almost all of our credit card debt. What a huge burden that will lift off our shoulders.

My new blog is officially mine! I can’t wait to see what the year has in store for it. Make sure you head over and “like” it on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/GotGiveaways!

It’s also the year the Lucy will start full-day school when she moves to Pre-K in the fall. I’m actually looking forward to this. I get SO much more done on the work-front when she’s not here. It’s amazing what a difference it makes. Until then, she’ll be going to preschool 1/2 a day, five days a week.

So, I’m excited about what this year has in store for our little family. I can’t wait to see how it unfolds!

Now, onto how we finished out 2013 – fun family time at home. Next year, we may host a party for our (and Lucy’s) friends, but this year, we kept it low-key. We ate some snacks, made Shrinky Dinks, watched some TV and then rang in the new year with ball drop and some sparkling grape juice. Perfect!

Shrinky Dinks with Daddy


Failed “perfect selfie”


A better selfie


Funny faces!


Quick cat nap


Partying with AJ


What are you looking forward to this year?

Turning 4 – Princess-Style!

Wow. How has it been more than 2 months since I last posted?? I have been so completely busy with work (which is a good thing since I work for myself now) and parenting my spunky 4-year-old. I have really missed my blog, though, so my goal for the new year is to make sure I take time to keep my space on the Internets updated regularly!

I don’t even know where to begin to catch up, so I’ll start with my daughter’s fabulously fun 4th birthday party! Lucy wanted a princess party and, since I love to do parties up big, I started pinning ideas to my Pinterest board last year (yes, right after her 3rd birthday party was over!)! We have a friend who used to play Belle at Disney World, and she was thrilled to reprise her role and be the special guest at Lucy’s birthday bash!

And, since we also have a friend who makes costumes (she made the Belle dress you will be seeing – ah-maz-ing), she provided Joe with a prince costume to be Lucy’s prince. The funniest thing was when Lucy entered the room – instead of gasping at Belle, she yelled, “Oh, Daddy! You’re such a goofball!”

I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves:











What’s Cooking Wednesday: Guacamole

One of my very favorite snacks is tortilla chips and guacamole. Seriously. I cannot get enough. I call it a guilty pleasure, and my husband always points out that there’s nothing bad in guacamole. In fact, avocados are good for you. The tortilla chips though? Not so much. They balance each other out though, right?

Although I love guacamole, I can’t eat brands sold in stores. I don’t know what it is about it. I’m just weird. So, I make my own. It takes virtually no time at all (unless you’re like me and you suck at chopping). When we got back from our vacation, I was seriously craving some guac (probably because our brother-in-law made some for us at my in-laws’ cabin), so I whipped some up. It was so good. Now, I need to stop talking about it before I make my hubby drive out to the store (while we’re under a tornado watch) to get some avocados!

4 avocados
1 onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
Jalapenos (the amount will vary on how spicy you want your guac)
Garlic salt to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste
Black pepper to taste

Scoop avocados out of their shells and mash in a bowl. Add onion, garlic and spices, and mix together. Chill.

What’s Cooking Wednesday: Stovetop Popcorn

This week, I don’t have a main dish or side dish, but I do have a fun, easy recipe for you. We came up with this over the weekend and tried it last night with Lucy. She always gets a kick out of Jiffy Pop when my in-laws make it for her, so we thought we’d try to make our on popcorn on the stove. It worked wonderfully and was SO good! And, a bag of popcorn will last you a while, making this very economical.

Put a thin layer of canola oil in a sauce pan, add the popcorn kernels and turned the stove to medium high heat.

Cover the pot with a lid but leave a little bit open on one side. Then, wait for it to start popping! Once it starts to pop, cover it completely, and once it starts to pop a lot, start shaking the pot.

And then you get yummy popcorn! It’s way better than microwave popcorn.

Lucy gave it two thumbs up!

Canola oil
1/4 and 1 TBSP popcorn kernels

1. Pour a thin layer of oil in a sauce pan, add kernels and turn stove on medium-high heat.
2. Cover pot leaving a little spot open.
3. When kernels start to pop, cover pot complete and shake pot.
4. Enjoy!

Design Your Own Pre-Paid Card with Card.com

I get tired of my blue bank-issued debit card. I really want something a little more personal or fun. So, when I got the chance to try out a pre-paid card with card.com, I was pretty excited!

The first thing I noticed was the sheer variety of design options to choose from. Right now, there are fewer options than before, but there still really is something for everyone. Here are a few of my favorites:

card cassette


card dog


card garfield


Here’s how it works: sign up for an account, select the card you like and transfer money onto it, either through direct deposit, Western Union or PayPal! If you put $800 on it each month, the monthly maintenance fee will be waived.

I love that you can transfer to it from PayPal since that’s how I get paid! And, since it’s a VISA, you can use it anywhere VISA and MasterCard are accepted!

What’s Cooking Wednesday: Haystacks

In my denomination, we have several foods that are “native” to us, so to speak. One of those is my favorite — haystacks.

When I first met my husband (and my non-Adventist friends) and I suggested we make haystacks for a meal, they all looked at me like I was crazy and asked, “What??”

And so, I told them. And, they loved it. Now, haystacks is one of our favorite quick meals. It’s easy to make, it’s fun and it’s DELICIOUS. I’m going to have to put this on my menu for the week now. I will warn you, though, this can get big VERRRY quickly. I always seem to forget that, and then I have this massive pile on my plate.

We make ours with chili beans, but you can use anything. I also like refried beans on it. Yum. We also don’t use cheese or sour cream (Well, I don’t. My husband sometimes puts cheese on his.), although I’m adding them in the ingredients. Really, you can put anything that sounds good to you on this! Be creative, and make it your own. :)

Fritos (The number of bags you need will depend on how many you’re feeding. We use most of one bag.)
2 small cans or 1 large can of chili beans
Shredded cheese
Sour cream

Heat up beans in sauce pan. Put Fritos on plate, then add toppings, starting with the beans. Enjoy!