Saturday, December 9, 2017

Cat Reunites with Family After Four Months Missing

Want an uplifting story for your weekend? Well, here's one for you. This couple Scott and Emily Faulkner were at a campground in Missoula for a music festival. Their cat, Tiger Jr. (or TJ), went missing at this very campground.

This sure isn't this cat's first rodeo. This cat has been sailing and camping with his family of four years. So this wasn't like TJ at all. For months in search of their beloved pet, they searched through Craigslist and contacted animal shelters for TJ, but to no avail.

Until the Butte Animal Shelter gave them a call. Owner of the shelter Colin Jennings had been approached by TJ who acted very wild and aggressive initially. But TJ was all cleaned up and once when Jennings was feeding other cats at the shelter, TJ approached the cat shelter owner with friendliness. That's when Jennings scanned him for a chip and found one.

Scott Faulkner, the cat man of the family, was brought to tears when he reunited with TJ. He described TJ as acting like a dog when greeting him. Read the full story over at the Missoulian

Manini's Gluten-Free Pasta [Review]

It's been quite some time since I shared a new gluten-free review with you! I had the chance to review some pastas as well as some rolls and a couple of brownies by Manini's. 

Manini's is a new brand to me and I've only just started noticing it in stores. It's been a long journey for me going gluten-free and paying attention to what ingredients agree with me and which ones don't. What makes Manini's a stand out company to me is that they are actually Non-GMO and Gluten-Free and regularly test their foods to make sure they meet certification requirements. I appreciat that so much!

I had a few different pastas to review, including the one picture above, along with a few other items -

And the following rolls and even a little brownie or two (which I devoured pretty instantly). 

The rolls were pretty amazing. I just had them as a snack with olive oil and some oregano. Yum! They warmed up nicely and had amazing texture. 

As for the pasta, I was really impressed! So many of the gluten-free pastas I try end up sticking and get gross and gummy after you heat them up. This wasn't the case at all. The texture was fantastic and so was the flavor. It will be a fantastic addition to your gluten-free dinner! I can't wait to buy their products in the store. 

Are you interested in purchasing Manini's in a store near you? Be sure to check them out online. Also follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest

I received the above items in exchange for my honest review. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

5 Tips for Mastering Holiday Party Socializing

by JLS Photography - Alaska - CC via Flickr

I'm pretty shamelessly anti-social and I usually avoid most holiday parties (despite how festive I am this time of year!). Do any of you know how to manage holiday parties even though you aren't a fan? Well, I came across this list of socializing tips sent out by ToastMasters that you may appreciate.

1) Look for a friendly face.

I think this is a great tip. Go into the room with a smile and look for the first person that smiles back. Ideally, you will be walking in with someone you know so you can cling onto them for as long as you can. Or find the one person you know and follow them throughout the party. That's what I do!

2) Watch your body language.

Toastmasters says to be aware of your body language. I think this is an excellent tip. I know when I get uncomfortable in these situations I slouch and cross my arms over my chest. Not exactly the most open stance to have in a party. But they suggest to make eye contact, put your phone away, and be an active listener.

3) Share your stories.

Basically, don't do what I sometimes end up doing and share hot button news stories and/or grim or potentially offensive things at a holiday party. Like sharing that story about a coworker who loved ranch. So share things that are PG and happy and humorous that can please a crowd. Share that stuff. And don't forget to ask about the stories of the people you are talking to. If you forget, don't worry, I do too.

4) Set your expectations.

So be ready for people not want to go into depth or great detail with you, if you happen to find someone to talk to. Things are light hearted and most likely people will be seeking out the free food and drink. And don't do what I do and back out of the party once you realize you don't have anyone to talk to. Mingle!

5) Know when to exit. 

Toastmasters suggests that before you exit make it a point to greet people you haven't had the chance to talk to yet and be sure to thank the host as well. I tend to slowly back out and assume no one will notice I've left. Don't do that either.

Do you have any tips for surviving holiday party season? 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Activity: Christmas Countdown Calendar

Kindergarten Holidays & Seasons Activities: Christmas Countdown Calendar

What You Need:

  • 9" x 12" poster board
  • Red & green construction paper, cut into 1 ¾" x 2" squares
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Glitter (optional)
  • Pen
  • Index cards, cut into strips

What You Do:

  1. Draw a table with 4 rows and 5 columns onto a piece of 9" x 12" poster board. Divide the table into 2-inch squares.
  2. Measure a table onto a piece of green and red construction paper using the same dimensions. Cut out the squares from each sheet.
  3. Have your child number the colored squares from 1 to 25 (or up to however many days are left before Christmas). If your child is not yet writing, you can type and print out the numbers, and have him glue them onto the colored squares. A third alternative is to use glitter and glue to create the numbers. (If you use the third option, give the squares an opportunity to dry).
  4. Help your child glue the colored squares onto the poster board, beginning with the number 25. Have your child apply some glue around the sides and bottom of each square and place them on the poster board in descending order. (Be sure to leave the top part of the square unglued as this will create a pocket or opening to insert the activity).
  5. Cut several sheets of index cards into strips, about 1.5" wide, where an activity will be written for each day.
  6. Write the activities onto the strips, and then place one in each pocket.
  7. Have your child help you create a header for the calendar using either glue or coloring one that you have hand-drawn or printed. Invite your child to add additional decorations, such as stickers, to the calendar if desired!
  8. Explain to your child that she will remove and complete one activity each day leading up to Christmas; watch her excitement grow as Christmas time approaches!
Here are some ideas you may want to include as activities:
  • Put up the Christmas tree and decorate it.
  • Make a keepsake ornament using some supplies around the house.
  • Prepare holiday cards. (Your child can make a great envelope stuffer or sealer and then help affix the stamps.)
  • Bake cookies.
  • Wraps presents. (Your child can help affix the tape and bows, or if she is old enough, she can fill out the gift tags.)
  • Holiday song karaoke. (This just might become one of your family favorites, as you line up your family members to sing along to some popular holiday songs.)
  • Read a story about Hanukkah.
  • Read a story about Kwanzaa.
  • Read your favorite Christmas story.
  • Pop some popcorn and watch a holiday movie.
  • Load up in the car and ride through your neighborhood to see the holiday decorations.
  • Color holiday coloring pages.
  • Enjoy some cocoa and listen to holiday music.
  • Make a string of jingle bells.
  • Stuff a sibling’s stocking with an homemade item. (If your child doesn’t have siblings, perhaps you could use this as an opportunity to have your child donate or make something for another child.)
  • A true wish list. (Many kids already have a list filled with the things they’d like to receive for Christmas, but take some time to help explain about the part that good will plays into the holiday season. Ask your child what type of things your family can do during the holiday season and throughout the year to fulfill wishes outside of your home.)
  • Seasonal charades. Play this time-honored game, but everything has to be related to something about the holidays.
  • Make some gingerbread men.
  • Make a kid’s choice for 3 of your days. (Apply your own stipulations.)
  • Turn in early! (Christmas Eve)

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Save Money Blu-Rays and DVDs with This Exclusive Christmas Sale

Looking for the right gifts this holiday season? Well, if you are planning on giving DVDs and Blu-Rays to family and friends this time of year, I have an excellent sale for you.

It's a sale happening with Entertainment Aids Alliance and you can purchase DVDs and Blu-Rays at deep deep discounts. The big Hollywood Studios donates some movies to the sale and they EAA ends up selling these to raise funds for the organization. The Entertainment Aids Alliance dedicates itself to funding research, treatment programs and prevention programs for HIV and AIDs. You can view the sale here:

Click “LOG IN” at the top of the page, select JFM from the drop down menu and use the password: eaamoms.

If you make a purchase, I'd love to know to what you bought! 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Santa Rosa Family Finds Their Missing Cat Following Wildfire

The wildfires happening in California have been so devastating and sad that hearing good news like this just warms the heart so much. So this Santa Rosa family thought they had lost their cat to the fire after having to escape their home one night. According to the local news station KPIX, Dani Stockham had to tell her daughters to get dressed and that they were leaving. 15 year old Lea had to let her cat, Thomas, go simply because he kept scratching at her and trying to get out of her arms.

When the family returned home, they thought they saw the remains of their beloved pet. They even held a funeral for Thomas.

The story didn't end there, though. A family found Thomas a quarter mile from the family home wandering around. Thanks to the microchip in Thomas, they were able to reconnect the cat with his family. Lea told KPIX that it was "the best day I've had since the fire."

Check out the video below -

And read the original story here

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

5 Things to Consider When Purchasing a New (or Used) Car

by Thomas Hawk via Flickr CC License
Sponsored post.
I don't own a car right now but I'm hoping one day soon in my future I will be able to afford to buy one. I'm so unfamiliar with the process though that for someone like me who doesn't know what they're supposed to look for that it can feel like a game of eenie-meenie-minee-moe. So instead of using that approach with buying a car, you may want to go about it the smart way. is a fantastic place to start because they not only connect you with dealers in the area that have the car you want, they also have research tools, consumer reviews, and so much more.

But if you are new to the buying car game, and want to make a smart decision, what should you be on the lookout for when it's time to buy a car?

1) If you are buying a used car, get the vehicle history report.

Places like CARFAX can help you with the vehicle history and the nice thing is when you go to, they take you directly to the Carfax report. This way you can find out the history of the car, work done on the car and any accidents that the car has been involved in.

2) Give yourself a budget.

One of the best tactics to approach when buying a car, is knowing your budget. This is best whether it's a new or used car you are buying. Keep in mind extra costs that may accrue such as vehicle inspections as well, especially if you are buying a used car. Another perk of using is that it let's you compare vehicles, so that's another huge perk of shopping through

3) Get the dealer's price.

While you can do research on this yourself, you can also ask the dealer directly. What you want to do is find out what the suggested retail price is (that's the MSRP number) and compare what the MSRP number is with the dealer's price. You can better start negotiations if you know this information.

4) Do a test drive.

Of course, this tip reminds me of that Seinfeld episode where Kramer was taking a car out for a test drive because he insisted Jerry would let him use it and wanted to see the car for himself. Anyways, you definitely want to test drive under your usual driving conditions, such as commute time or a route that you would usually take most often. Also be on the look out for unfamiliar sounds and make sure basic things like the air conditioner, heater, wipers, all work. Make sure you are also  comfortable maneuvering the car into parking spaces and check out any potential blind spots.

5) Know what you are looking for.

The nice thing about is that it lists exhaustive reviews and details about cars. From expert reviews and pros and cons. It's an excellent starting point especially if you really don't know what type of car is a good fit for you.