Tips for affordable Christmas Decorations

Christmas is just around the corner and soon everyone will start taking out their Christmas decorations and filling their houses with Holiday cheer.

All is well until, after two or three trips to the shopping center, you find your wallet empty and your bank account bleeding. Avoid being penny-less on the happiest season of the year by spending less money on your Christmas decorations.

My first tip is that you re-use old yet working garlands and lights. If they work, there’s no reason for you to go buy new ones. Do the most out of what you’ve got already. Now, here’s a list of items you might need to buy for the following ideas I’ll be giving you:

  • Hot glue
  • Ribbons
  • Different paints (preferably the color pallet you’ll choose to decorate for Christmas this year)
  • Textured white spray paint (usually sold in hardware stores, they give the surface a porous or grained feel.) Alternatively, if fake snow spray is cheaper, go for that.
  • Foam and or felt fabrics
  • Clearance or cheap present wrapping paper rolls (or old ones stored in your home?)

Re-make your Christmas tree balls: by painting new designs or gluing new patterns, fabrics or even spraying them with a different color you can already save a lot and avoid throwing away perfectly good decorations.

This activity is also a great way to start a family tradition where every member of the family takes care of creating their own special ball to decorate the tree and they’re hanged together. It’s a beautiful and creative way to make a family come together during Christmas time.

Fake/Decorative Presents Boxes: you can either use old present wrapping paper rolls, make your own patterns by covering the boxes with recycled paper and painting/spraying on them or use store bought rolls. Either way, the boxes can be shoe boxes, old boxes or just go to the back of a local store, supermarket or shopping center and take a few boxes from them.

Cover these boxes beautifully, wrap ribbons around them and you can either have adorable decorations to put under the tree and around the house or use them to actually put your Christmas presents in them.

Make your own Christmas stockings: this is where the foam, felt or fabrics come into play. This is also another activity that can be done with your family and be turned into a lovely tradition. Most stockings go from $3.99+ while making your own, for life or each year can cost you much less (specially for big families).

There’s many stocking patterns online you can search, print and used as guides for when you sew (or glue) your stockings. Make sure to fill them with candy and gifts for all! But most of all,

Coping with negative thoughts

We’ve talked about this before and I like to focus on positive thoughts often myself. It’s just not possible to always keep your mind on the positive side of things sometimes your just slip down the negative lane and when you do, it can either get very dark for you or be very hard to get out.

Let’s share some ways to change this, shall we?

  • Be realistic

There’s many times where the negative thought isn’t about reality or even related to it, you’re just thinking of the worst possible scenario and turning it into a hypothetical reality. Just like being aggressively positive does no one any good, always thinking of the worst case scenario does you no good. Try to keep things balanced between the reality and the silver linings.

  • Distract your mind

Negative thoughts are professionals at showing up when you’re not doing anything or you’re trying to relax so, try to keep your mind busy on proactive actions. Do things that allow you to get closer to your goals rather than sitting down to mop about all the things that could go wrong.

If you’ve been working a lot and you’re too tired to continue working then look for things that will make you smile or simply get distracted like watching a TV show you like, talking to someone or reading a book.

  • Identify the triggers of your negative thoughts

And avoid them! What are the subjects or things that, once you’re faced with them start to trigger these negative thoughts within you? What can you do to avoid them or control your reactions towards them? Try to identify these and work on them either change your perspective or avoid them entirely.

  • Spend more time with those you love

When negative thoughts cloud our minds, we actually tend to pull away from the family and the people we care about the most. This action either happens out of fear of being misunderstood or trying to keep your loved ones from being hurt. However, by being constantly absent. You ARE hurting them.

Instead of shutting away when you’re being attacked by negative thoughts, seek your loved ones support and company.

 

 

3 Easy Recipes to do this Halloween

You’re not much of a culinary skilled person, but want to come up with delicious food for your next Halloween party? No worries, who says cooking and baking has to be difficult?

With the following easy and fast recipes, you’ll definitely satisfy your guests’ sweet, spicy and hearty tooth. Or rather, fang?

Spicy Pumpkin Muffins

Preparation time: 15 mins

You need (for 12 pieces):

250 g wheat flour

185 g pumpkin, mashed

15 g vanillasugar

150 g brownsugar

115 g butter

2 medium eggs

2 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. bicarbonate

½ tsp. vanilla extract

70 ml buttermilk

60 g walnuts, chopped

½ tsp ginger, ground

1/8 tsp nutmeg, ground

¾ tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. salt

Mix all dry ingredients. Put all liquid ingredients in a bowl and stir. Add the dry ingredients and stir only until dry ingredients become slightly sticky.

Pre-heat oven. Fill dough into greased muffin molds and bake muffins at 180°C for 25-35 minutes.

Serve sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Polenta-Bats Baked with Cheese

Done in: 60 mins

You need (for 12 pieces):

72 g polenta

1/6 clove of garlic

1 tbsp. Italian herbal blend

½ tbsp. olive oil

30 g freshly grated parmesan cheese

A few olives

Boil 500 ml water with 1 tsp. salt. Gradually add polenta semolina while stirring. Boil to a mash for 3 minutes at low heat.

Peel garlic, press out juice and mix it in. Add herbs.

Spread a very thin layer of polenta on baking tray covered with greaseproof paper, or cover the polenta with a second sheet of greaseproof paper and roll polenta with rolling pin. Leave to cool down.

 

Preheat oven to 200°C, circulating air 180°, gas level 4.

Cut out small bats with a bat-shaped biscuit cutter or using a knife. Lay polenta bats on baking tray covered with greaseproof paper and spread a thin layer of olive oil on them.

Sprinkle bats with parmesan cheese. Slice olives into very thin wedges and lay them on the bats to look like their “eyes”.

Bake bats crispy for 10-15 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

Tomato-Mozarella Eyeball Soup

Done in: 45 mins

 You need (for 6 servings):

 1 ½ onions

3 garlic cloves

¾ bunch greens

1 ½ tbsp. olive oil

1 ½ canned tomatoes

3 tsp. sambal oelek (or more)

3 tbsp. tomato paste or ketchup

3 tbsp. sugar

750 ml vegetable broth

Salt

Pepper, freshly ground

190 g Mozarella balls

1 ½ tbsp. olives with red bell pepper filling

 Peel and dice onions and garlic. Clean greens, rinse them with water and dice them.

Heat oil in a pot, then add prepared ingredients and roast them gently. Add tomatoes (along with the liquid), sambal oelek, tomato paste, sugar and vegetable broth.

Boil soup for 30 minutes at low heat.

Mash soup with a hand-held blender until it has a fine consistency.

Add salt, pepper and more sambal oelek (if desired) to taste.

Let mozzarella drain. Slice olives and put 1 slice each on mozzarella balls.

Serve the soup in bowls and place a few “eyes” in them. Serve immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why live in San Diego?

I get tons, and I mean tons of questions from people always asking me why I live in San Diego. People I meet over the internet are just fascinated and curious as to why I l choose to live here! I do not know why but the San Diego area always garners a fair bit of attention. I blame ‘Some Like It Hot’ with Marilyn Monroe. But honestly, the San Diego area is heaven on earth; it is like being on vacation, forever! I no longer have to spend thousands of dollars to travel to an exotic location for a beach I only spend a day on. Living here I live next to one of the world’s most famous beaches. If you want any more of a reason, well here they are:

1.     Oh my god the weather

You know that sweet spot of weather? The one where it is never too hot and ever too cold? The weather some places only experience once for maybe a week in the entire year?  Well San Diego has that weather. It is a gratuitous 70 degrees all year every year. 0% humidity, can you imagine that? 0 %! Be it in the dead of December where in most states it is hard to breathe outside, I can don my swimsuit and head over to the beach for a swim or just to laze around working on my tan. It will be an absolute perfect 70 degree sun just waiting for me, whichever, month or season I choose to go.

2.     The Zoo

I do not care if I am an adult who pays taxes and bills, I will still always find time to visit the San Diego Zoo. With almost 4000 animals of 650 species you know that the inner child in you will be fascinated by each and every thing in the place. Oh and it is going to take you a lost more than just one visit to complete 100 acre zoo. Oh yeah, did I mention that it is the second best zoo in the world? With animals from every corner of the globe, from polar bears to dolphins, the San Diego Zoo has them all. Even if you are visiting San Diego, your trip there is a wreck if you do not visit the zoo!

3.     Balboa Park

When you think of America’s biggest park, you probably think of Central Park in New York right? Think again! Balboa Park is a whopping 1200 acres of Art Centers, Carousels, Miniature Railroads, Cottages and just utter beauty and greenery. It truly is Americas biggest Cultural Park. If the greenery and nature do not impress you, the architecture sure will. Inspired by Spanish and European influences, a trip here would make you feel like you are in another country. Oh and it’s quite literally next to the San Diego Zoo so you have got yourself a fun packed day if you visit the area.

4.     The Beaches are a drive away

It does not matter where you are in the San Diego area, you are always close to the beach. The beaches, are just beautiful. The scenery is like what you might read in a romance novel, shrouded corners for you to lie back in as you watch the absolutely gorgeous sun go down. It is heaven. The serene environment at sundown is an experience I think everything should see once in their life. But when the sun is up the fun never stops. Take long walks on the beach and feel the San Diego sand beneath your feet as the waves kiss your feet. Or take up a board and hit the waves, with all the safety in the world guaranteed to you by life guards.

5.     Walk Everywhere

You do not have a car? No problem, the trolleys and trains have you covered so you need not worry. Experience a night on foot in the dazzling colors of San Diego from the Seuss-esque Horton Plaza to the colorful Gaslamp Quarter with all its restaurants galore. Or if Comic Con is in town, visit the world’s biggest one! Everyone has heard of the geeky San Diego Comic Con, with movie stars, comic writers and everything else visiting San Diego for a week to attend to the fans.

So if you are not in love with San Diego now, I do not know what else to do. I love living here and I love calling it my home.

 

 

Welcome

Hello, I’m Amy from Charlotte, North Carolina where I lived in a small apartment with my husband Robert and our miniature dachshund, Brock. We now live in San Diego and love it.

I work as a freelance/ghost writer for local businesses, newspapers and bulletins. Ghost writing isn’t ideal when you want to be able to share your talent with the world but it gets the bills paid. I studied at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts on Creative Writing and a Minor on Psychology.

After graduation, I decided to take a gap year to visit different cities in Europe, Asia and South America, during my travels I learned and fell in love with different meditation techniques that I continue to use today.  I met Robert while I was staying in a small bed and breakfast in Berlin, he offered to go out for a cup of coffee and give me a tour around the city. We’ve been inseparable ever since.

Writing has been a passion of mine since I was very young and has been my lifelong pursuit to capture the human experience through my words. Sometimes it can be a burden and other times it’s a blessing to have so much to say about the smallest things in life.

That’s why I let my creative soul roam free by writing journals and keeping a personal blog. During my free time I like to take Brock out for walks, plan my next travel adventures with Robert, work on some of my personal writing projects and try new recipes I find online for the holidays.

I’ve created this blog to share content I find online, write about things that interest me, give tips to deal with different situations in life and in general, share my thoughts and knowledge with my readers.

 

 

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