Sunday, March 31, 2013

0 Monthly Recap ~ March

It's hard to believe that today is the last day of March! Spring has Sprung!

It's my 3rd month as a new blogger. Thank you for taking the ride with me!

March Favorites




I jumped for joy when Aimee from It's Overflowing awarded me my very first feature on Kicking the 80's Out of the Guest Bathroom. I'll never forget her comment..."Your first...with many more to come, for sure!!!" Lucky for me Aimee was right! I'm so honored to have been featured NINE times this month!

I attended The Jacksonville Orchid Society Show and added some new babies to my nest.

Discovered another way to watch my favorite shows after Cutting the Cable Cord. My iPad streams to my HD TV...have I told you lately how much I love my iPad?

Favorite Friday Five was born! A new Friday tradition of my faves from the week.

After a few days of struggle, LifeAfterEmptyNest.com went LIVE! I'm thrilled to have my own domain!

This monthly reflection has put a huge smile on my face! Great things have happened in my blogging life this month. None of it would be possible without READERS like YOU!

Thank you for being a part of my life and filling my nest!

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Thanks for reading!
xoxo


Friday, March 29, 2013

0 Friday's Favorite Five



Week #2 of my New Tradition!  In case you missed it last week, Each Friday I will share my Favorite Five things from the past week.  They may be products I've tried, some way I've saved $$, an activity I did...in a nutshell ~ the top 5 things that brought a SMILE to my FACE!

My Nest Was Filled

Brianne and Shelby came home last weekend for some R & R! (and Mommy and Daddy LOVE) The weekend went so FAST but I cherish our precious "family time" whenever I can get it! We shopped, ate, talked and hung out...those little things make me so happy!
Brianne and her Daddy!



Shopping with Shelby

 LifeAfterEmptyNest.com is Mine

I bought my domain as suggested by my friend TJ. However, I had no idea this project would consume 4 days of my Spring Break! The experience was totally worth it, learned a ton and was left with a sense of accomplishment! Making the switch from Blogger to your own domain isn't as easy as they promise but if I can do it ANYONE can! Love getting rid of the ~blogspot~ part!


Dr. Jart's BB Cream

 Brianne got me started on the most AMAZING product!  Sephora describes its power better than me...

"A moisturizer, sunscreen, and treatment serum, this all-in-one product also 
includes advanced brightening properties. Ideal under makeup, its natural looking 
coverage minimizes the appearance of imperfections and evens the skintone. 
Antioxidant bio-peptides and adenosine protect skin from harsh environmental factors while restoring firmness and elasticity. This lightweight formula features mineral sunscreens to provide broad spectrum sun protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Skin is left looking smooth, perfect, and natural."


My skin looks flawless...and it is not! : ) Best $39 I've spent in a long time! Brianne and Shelby use it too...So at Any Age it's a MUST!

 

10,000 Views...Pinch Me, I MUST be Dreaming!

This morning I woke up to over 10,100 views! I know this is a SMALL number to most bloggers who might get that many in a day...However it means the WORLD to ME! I started this baby three months ago, convinced by my darling daughters, so thrilled that I listened!!

Basking in "Spring Break"

Enjoying these 10 days off from my life as an Elementary School Reading Teacher. Taking time to enjoy life with family and friends! After all, THAT is what Life is About! Creating memories with tons of laughter! I have some good stories to share...if you need a laugh read this one!

Any moments you want to share? Leave me a comment and tell me something fabulous that happened this week, or embarrassing, or touching... I'd LOVE to hear!

Thanks for Reading!
xoxo





Thursday, March 28, 2013

12 Should I Play The Lottery?

Today I met my dear friend Julie, her Mama and husband for a seafood lunch.  It turned out to be a gorgeous North Florida day, high of 66 degrees, bright and sunny... so we decided to sit outside to gaze at the boat traffic as we ate.

With the breeze it was a little chilly so we lowered the umbrella for a taste of sunshine. 

The waitress delivered our food, my steaming shrimp basket, fries and hush puppy was not the healthiest choice... but it was YUMMY!

Someone else thought it wasn't the best choice for me either...because after eating four shrimp I heard a plop and felt something splash in my face and hair....

No...please tell me a seagull has not just pooped in my shrimp basket!

Turns out it had "done its business" on the table and just splashed on my food, in my hair and on my clothes.

LUNCH OVER!

The waitress was a doll...she asked if I wanted them to make another basket...
I declined because some how I had lost my appetite.

She brought me a clean, towel moistened with warm water to clean up my hair and clothes.  She also told me it was good luck and I should go play the lottery...

Good Luck Really?

Well I just asked "Google" and apparently it is Good Luck to have a bird poo on you!
(If it's on the Internet it's true right?)

It has to do with the odds of random chance. I read that the chances of being pooped on by a bird are 1 in a billion which is almost the same as winning the lottery.

So statistically if you are able to get bird poop on you, then you should also be able to win the lottery.

Not sure what to think?  What about you?

The one thing that was LUCKY is I saved a BUNCH of calories today!!

Funny Stuff!
All I can say is I'm glad it wasn't this guy... (he came by to visit after the incident!) 

So tell me...Have you been lucky??

Thanks for Reading!
xoxo







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8 Buying Domain Name Not Easy as Promised

 New Domain Brings Happiness

 It's crazy...the little things that bring a HUGE smile to your face! The accomplished feeling of...I DID IT!!!

When I first started Life After Empty Nest....I NEVER knew what a learning experience it would be! (Can I get an "Oh Yeah!"...from my fellow blogger buddies)

As a teacher, I thrive on new learning, it is part of my soul! Well I'm getting a HUGE dose of it BABY!

My computer knowledge guru is our dear friend TJ.  This guy KNOWS his stuff! SMARTY PANTS!

While we were chatting about my blog the other day, he told me that I should buy the domain name if it was available. Well, when TJ talks (about anything web related) Sharon listens!

After TJ left I hopped online and purchased my domain name through blogger.  A few minutes later I recieved the confirmation e-mail!

LifeAfterEmptyNest.com was MINE!

Success right?? The directions in Google said it was simple and easy....the site would redirect on its own.  NOT TRUE!

So for the past 4 days I have worked on this EASY TASK!! It is ALL I have been thinking about. How can I fix this? What am I missing?

After A MILLION Google searches...
reading discussions blogs...
actually posting in a discussion blog...
(Thankfully I'm on Spring break so I didn't have to call in sick)

 

Finally Figured it Out!

Thanks to one FANTASTIC blogger out there who gives the best directions, The Real Blogger Status, I am LIVE and running!

 

Having the Same Problem?

I'll be GLAD to point you in the right direction to fix this issue.  (Mine started with the welcome email link that didn't work.)

Spring Break Resumes

I had numerous plans for posts I'd write over my break...but sometimes the best laid plans get side tracked! Now that this issue is resolved I'm off to meet some friends for lunch and see what other trouble I can get into...

Thanks for Reading!
xoxo

Monday, March 25, 2013

6 Clean Out Those Coupons

Today is my first official day of Spring Break...so what am I doing??  Some organizing and purging around the house of course! Starting with all these expired coupons!



If you started the couponing journey with me...your coupon file is getting full.  The GREAT thing about the Hanging File Folder Coupon System is it is EASY to CLEAN OUT! Read all about how to start the saving journey here!


Purge Time!

My favorite site to use for cleaning out coupons is True Couponing.  These wonderful ladies do ALL the work for you! I subscribe to their emails and they let me know when it is time to purdge!

Purge using their latest information:

~August 2012 ~

  • 8/5/12: (Purge entire file)
  • 8/12/12: Purge SS
    Keep RP
    Note: RP has 1 unexpired coupon: $2/1 Senokot Regular or S, exp. 3/31/13
  • 8/19/12: (Purge entire file)
  • 8/26/12: (Purge entire file)

~ September 2012 ~

  • 9/2/12: No Inserts (Labor Day)
  • 9/9/12: Purge RP
    Keep SS
    Note: SS has 2 unexpired coupons: $0.60/1 Pepperidge Farm Baked Naturals, exp. 12/2/13 and $2/1 Midnite Regular, Midnite for Menopause or PM, exp. 3/31/13
  • 9/16/12: (Purge entire file)
  • 9/23/12: Purge RP
    Keep SS
    Note: SS has 1 unexpired coupon: $1/1 Hidden Valley for Everything, exp. 3/25/13
  • 9/30/12: (Purge SS, P&G and Pepsi Moments)
    Keep RP
    Note: RR has 1 unexpired coupon: $0.40/1 Karo Syrup, exp. 3/31/13 

~ October 2012 ~

  • 10/7/12: Purge GM
    Keep RP & SS
    Note: RP has 2 unexpired coupons: $0.50/1 Second Nature Eggs, exp. 3/31/13 and $0.50/1 Mocha Mix Non-Dairy Creamer, exp. 3/31/13;
    SS has one unexpired coupon: $1/1 Woolite At-Home Dry Cleaner, exp. 3/31/13 (SS 10/07/12 R)
  • 10/14/12: Purge RP, P&G and Parade
    Keep
     SS Note: SS has 1 unexpired coupon: $1/1 Bear Creek Pasta Mix, exp. 4/14/13
  • 10/21/12: Purge RP
    Keep Parade & SS
    Note: Parade has 1 unexpired coupon: $2/1 Kids Cough & Fever Relief or Kids Cold & Mucus Relief, exp. 6/30/13 & SS has 2 unexpired coupons: $1/1 Olivari Olive Oil, exp. 3/31/13 and $1/1 Eight O’Clock Coffee exp. Unknown
  • 10/28/12: Purge P&G
    Keep RP & SS 
    Note: RP has 1 unexpired coupons: $1/1 Nescafe Memento Specialty Coffee Beverage, exp. 3/31/13  (SS has too many unexpired coupons to list)

~ November 2012 ~

  • 11/4/12: Purge RPKeep SS Note: SS has 3 unexpired coupons 
  • 11/11/12: Keep RP & SS Note: SS has 4 unexpired coupons; RP has 3 unexpired coupons
  • 11/18/25: Keep SS Note: SS has 1 unexpired coupon: $1/1 Sucrets Product, exp. 3/31/13
  • 11/25/12: Purge P&G

~December 2012 ~

  • 12/2/12: Keep RP & SS Note: RP has 3 unexpired coupons; (SS has too many unexpired coupons to list)
  • 12/9/12: Purge Parade
    Keep RP & SS
    Note: SS has 2 unexpired coupons: $1/1 Tone’s Seasoning or Extract, exp. 12/9/13; $1/1 Advil Children’s, exp. 3/31/13 (RP has too many unexpired to list)
  • 12/16/12: No inserts
  • 12/23/12: No inserts (Christmas)
  • 12/30/12: Keep P&G Note: P&G has one unexpired coupon: $10 MIR Crest 3D White Intensive Professional Effects, Professional Effects or 2 Hour Express Whitestrips, exp. 6/30/13

~ January 2013 ~ 

  • 1/6/13: Keep (3) SS & (2) RP (too many unexpired coupons to list)
  • 1/13/13: Keep SS & RP (too many unexpired coupons to list)
  • 1/20/13: Keep SS (too many unexpired coupons to list)
  • 1/27/13: Keep Parade, SS, P&G & (2) RP Note: Parade has 1 unexpired coupon: $5/1 Bausch+Lomb Preser Vision, exp. 5/31/13; P&G has 1 unexpired coupon: $10 MIR Crest 3D White Intensive Professional Effects, Professional Effects or 2 Hour Express Whitestrips, exp. 6/30/13 (SS & RP have too many unexpired coupons to list)

~ February 2013 ~

  • 2/3/13: Keep Parade, SS & RP (too many unexpired coupons to list)
  • 2/10/13: Keep SS & RP (too many unexpired coupons to list)
  • 2/17/13: Keep RP & Parade Note: Parade has one unexpired coupon: $2/1 Nature’s Way Alive! Multivitamin Product, exp. 4/30/13 (RP has too many unexpired coupons to list)
  • 2/24/13: Keep SS & Parade Note: Parade has one unexpired coupon: $2/1 Nature’s Way Alive! Multi-Vitamin Product, exp. 4/30/13 (SS has too many unexpired coupons to list)

What Can I Do With the Expired Coupons?

Before chucking this pile into your recycling bin, consider using them to help overseas military families. US military families who are stationed overseas can use coupons up to 6 months past their expiration date. There are several organizations like Coupons To Troops (www.couponstotroops.com) or Troopons (www.supportourtroops.org) that will help you get started supporting these families by sending them your expired coupons.

Keep Clean and Organized to Maximize Savings!

Keep those coupons organized by doing this regularly! Subscribe to TrueCouponing, or follow me on Facebook and I will let you know when it's time to clean out again! Just push the "like" button!

Hope that you have been saving tons of $$$ so far this year!

Let me know how you are doing!

Thanks for reading!
xoxo







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Sunday, March 24, 2013

13 Delicious ~ Semi Crock Pot Stew

What I Love About a Crock Pot


Nothing better, after a long day of work, coming home and smelling dinner cooking inside. No one is home but the crock pot has been busy.

I love a great crock pot recipe so when my friend Kim raved about a recipe she found on Pinterest I was eager to give it a try!


What I Hate about a Crock Pot Stew

When meat and veggies cook at the same time and temp they tend to get mushy...the potatoes taste like the carrots...the carrots taste like onions....no individual flavors..just "a" flavor.

Semi Crock Pot Beef Stew

Meat cooks in the crock pot all day 
+ 45 minutes of stove top cooking 
= Perfect Beef Stew!

I LOVE the idea that the meat cooks by itself all day creating an amazing flavor! After you get home from a hectic day....throw a few more things together....Dinner is Served!

The Evening Before ~ Prep Time

We decided to change up the original recipe (since my Hubby never follows any directions to a "T") plus we wanted to have as much prepared ahead of time as possible.



The recipe called for 2 pounds of stew meat but we used some ribeye steaks from the freezer and Todd cut them into large chunks.

Season the meat with salt, pepper and some chopped garlic.  


Brown meat on all sides in 1 1/2 TBL olive oil

Allow to cool and then place meat and all juices from pan into the refrigerator overnight.



Cut up 4-5 celery stalks and 5-6 carrots and place in zip-lock bag.
Chop 1/2 head cabbage and place in zip-lock bag
Place bags into refrigerator.


Morning ~ Prep Time

Place cubed meat into crock pot with two bay leaves.

Cover with 2 - 15 oz cans of diced tomato  (I used Del Monte with garlic and onion)

Set crock pot on low and set for 8 hours.

8 Hours Later...



 Stove Top Time

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a large stock pot

Chop 1 large onion and add to stock pot.

Add carrots and celery from zip-lock bags

Cook over medium high heat for several minutes until onion starts to soften.


Add 4-5 diced Yukon Gold potatoes
&
1 box (32 oz) of beef broth


 Let simmer for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes add beef mixture from crock pot. (minus bay leaves)

Add another box (32 oz) of beef broth.

Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium low.

Add can (15 oz) corn.

Allow soup to simmer 25-30 minutes, until potatoes are tender.

Add chopped cabbage and remove from heat.

Cover and allow cabbage to wilt for 10 minutes.

Stir and Serve!


Great meal for a cool night!

We were able to freeze two containers for future meals!
I LOVE when that happens!!




Enjoy with your favorite beverage!

I hope you enjoy this stew as much as we did!

Thanks for Reading!
xoxo







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Friday, March 22, 2013

2 Friday's Favorite Five


I've decided to start a "tradition" on my brand new blog.... each Friday I will share my Favorite Five things from the past week.  They may be products I've tried, some way I've saved $$, an activity I did...in a nutshell ~ the top 5 things that brought a SMILE to my FACE!

Here we GO...

 Free Coffee at Starbucks!


 Earlier in the week I downloaded this coupon. When I used it, the kind barista said, "Keep the Coupon because you can reuse it!"
That means FREE coffee until March 31st!

 

Daylight Savings Time!

Even though I had a harder time adjusting this year, I absolutely LOVE having several hours of daylight after I arrive home from work each day! I feel like I have more "me" time and I likey!

 

Welcome Spring ~ Hello Orchids

 I was able to add some new orchids to my collection and some of my babies have new buds! Todd is being a great sport as I drag him look at the miniscule growth on a daily basis!

Now that spring is here, I can get outside and get my hands dirty...let's see what else I can grow!


 

Rubbermaid's Bento Box ~ Great Organization Tool!

I discovered an awesome storage tool that I plan on using with my upcoming desk organization project!


These boxes have bendable sides that you can adjust depending on your needs! More to come when I showcase my Office Clean Up!

 

Lesson of the Week ~ Always Look at the World Through a Child's Eyes!

As I was walking into the Elementary School where I teach this week a 1st grade student called out to me to look...

"Do you know what this means?" he asked, "Today everyone in the whole school is going to have a great day!"
I snapped a pic with my phone to share with my students and you know what? It was a GREAT DAY!


What were your Favs this week? Leave me a comment and share!

Happy Weekend Friends!
Thanks for Reading!
xoxo
 


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

2 Feature on "Better After"

Certain things can make me smile ear to ear...that's what happened today when I got home from work...looked at one of my favorite blogs...and saw I WAS FEATURED!

The LOVE of Before and After!

Who doesn't LOVE looking at Before and After house projects?  Imagine a blog that totally focuses on the BEST Before and After Projects....Introducing Better After!


I LOVE reading Lindsey's comments about each project! I REALLY APPRECIATE that she decided to feature our guest bath remodel today! 

Remember when we Kicked the 80's Out of the Guest Bath? Boy it's hard to look back at those "Before" pictures!



 More "Before and Afters" Coming Soon!


Can't wait to share our next before and after.....we have A LOT of 80's to Kick to the CURB!!

Thanks for Reading!
xoxo


Saturday, March 16, 2013

48 My Love of Orchids

I attended one of my favorite events last weekend. The Jacksonville Orchid Society Show. I am not an orchid expert, that is why I attend events like this and read many orchid blogs.

Orchids now thrive in my care, but believe me, it wasn't always this way....

Easy Orchid Care. How to grow beautiful Orchids is not as difficulat as you may think!
An Instagram Photo taken last summer I titled, "Backyard Beauty"


Loving Them to Death

I fell in love with Orchids many years ago...I would buy them at Home Depot or Lowes, bring them home, enjoy their beauty and then KILL THEM!

I couldn't understand why??? My Mother-in-law Darlene could grow amazing orchids but I had no luck. She told me how easy they were, but...NOT for ME!

WHY...WHY...WHY???

Truth is, Orchids are EXTREMELY easy to GROW once you find WHERE they like to grow!

Location, Location, Location!

Each orchid type likes a certain living condition so I have spent years moving these babies around.

Most orchids only bloom once a year so it can take a while to determine where they thrive!

I'm finally starting to figure out where they like to live at my house. (2 years later..!)

Screened in Pool Enclosure = Orchid Oasis

In my neck of the woods, my screen enclosure, pool side, is an Orchid Oasis!  Your results will differ from mine depending where you live in this great big WORLD.  I live in Northeast Florda.
The screen provides enough UV protection so the orchids don't burn during the harsh summer months. The pool water creates constant humidity which orchids love!

Placement within the screen enclosure has determined success as well. Trial and error as they say.

 Phalaenopsis Orchids


source

Location - Attached to house within screen enclosure:

This type of orchid enjoys the morning sun it receives at this location.  It is then shaded, but in bright light, for the rest of the day.  They are backed by our homes bricks, which provides heat trapped by the morning sun.  This location is closest to the pool and their large leaves enjoy the humidity it provides. They bloom once or twice a year.

Location - Hanging within screen enclosure:

Easy Orchid Care. How to grow beautiful Orchids is not as difficulat as you may think!
Wirat Blue Orchid
Easy Orchid Care. How to grow beautiful Orchids is not as difficulat as you may think!

Easy Orchid Care. How to grow beautiful Orchids is not as difficulat as you may think!
Sharry Baby, Chocolate Oncidium

These orchids enjoy the filtered sun all day long.  The towering Oak trees provide slight shade throughout the day.   Since they are hanging their roots get the needed air circulation to thrive.  The best thing about these babies is they bloom many times during the year!

Tips I've Learned from the Experts

  •  Repot

Orchids bought from Home Improvement stores are fine but they are NOT potted properly! When they are finished blooming... repot them ASAP! There are tons of videos on the Internet to show you how to do this!

  • Fertilize

I use Better-Gro mixed in a spray bottle.  I spray the roots and leaves - but NEVER the blooms. I read this causes the spots on leaves.

  • Don't Over Water!

One of the expert orchid growers I spoke to last weekend said,

"When it Doubt, Dry It Out"

That is such a great rule to live by with Orchids.

One great tip my friend Melissa taught me is to water an indoor orchid with an ice cube.  It gets a nice slow water as the ice cube melts.

 

Enjoy a Taste of Outside ~ Inside

Easy Orchid Care. How to grow beautiful Orchids is not as difficulat as you may think!

 

I don't have a place inside my home where orchids thrive, however when they bloom outside I often bring them inside for us to enjoy! The best part of an orchid is how long their blooms last! Often a month or so! AMAZING!

Easy Orchid Care. How to grow beautiful Orchids is not as difficulat as you may think!

 

Newest Family Members

Here are the two orchids I bought last weekend!

Easy Orchid Care. How to grow beautiful Orchids is not as difficulat as you may think!


Easy Orchid Care. How to grow beautiful Orchids is not as difficulat as you may think!

Easy Orchid Care. How to grow beautiful Orchids is not as difficulat as you may think!

Some Longtime Roommates

Easy Orchid Care. How to grow beautiful Orchids is not as difficulat as you may think!

 

Birthday Present from Dear Friend and Teaching Partner, Julie




Nature Never Ceases to Amaze Me!

I'm thrilled to be surrounded by such beauty!
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I've LOVE to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for Reading
xoxo







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