Happy New Year!

With a new year coming soon upon us we have a chance to start fresh. There’s something totally refreshing about that! And yet, in looking ahead it can be easy to forget the positives of this past year. No matter how difficult things have been in 2008 it IS possible to find good. I’m challenging myself and each of you to think back and write down all of the blessings we’ve been given. If we don’t take time to notice the good in life we’ll end up living life always pursuing and striving and making goals and before we know it our lives will be over.

Inevitably when I start thinking of how I’m blessed my mind goes to my family. “Thank you God for blessing me with such a wonderful family! You are SO good!”
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Saving Christmas Cards

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One of my favorite things about Christmas is catching up on the lives of my friends and seeing pictures of their families. After Christmas is over though, I just hate to have to recycle or throw away all those special cards, newsletters, and pictures.
So here’s what I do: 
I enjoy scrapbooking, so each year we take a family picture and I feature that as the very last page in the scrapbook. Then I take my favorite Christmas cards, newsletters and photos and place them behind the last scrapbook page (in the page protector. I also include our own newsletter. That way later when I’m looking through the scrapbook I can get out the old newsletters and reminisce about past years. It’s fun to see how people have aged.
If saving complete cards takes up too much room, you can just take off the fronts of them and save the messages inside. But don’t feel like you’re wasting the fronts of the cards, they can be made into gift tags for next year’s presents!
Note that I don’t save ALL the cards, only those that are very special to me. Handmade cards are my absolute favorite since I know how much time and effort go into them.
If you’re not into scrapbooking you could just have an album set aside for Christmas and each year put the cards in a page protector sleeve.

Thrifty Kitchen Tip: Brown Sugar

image Are you doing a lot of holiday baking this year? Here’s a little tip to help you save when recipes call for brown sugar. My mother taught me this growing up. All you have to do to make brown sugar is pour a little molasses in with plain white sugar and voila! The more molasses you add the “darker” the sugar will be. Molasses keeps for a LONG time too. I keep mine in the fridge but you can also store it at room temperature.
On a side note, a spoonful of molasses a day can help to keep your iron levels up. I was slightly anemic while pregnant and my midwife suggested I take molasses. 

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