Saturday, December 5, 2015

30 Days of Christmas Cheer: Day 4 - Christmas Activities

I'm a bit sad that I won't be enjoying the Christmas lights with my friends tonight. They will be down at Naples Island in Long Beach to see the Christmas lights and decorations. My family has done this Christmas activity in the past. We would stop by the local coffee shop and get hot drinks. Then walk along the water admiring all the Christmas Cheer. It's fun. It gives us a chance to catch up with one another as well as burn off some calories. I think we always did this after Thanksgiving too. For those that are not familiar with Naples Island, here's a link to the area, click here. Imagine these beautiful homes by the water all covered in Christmas lights and decorations. It's beautiful and a hidden gem. 
That's one of many Christmas activities to do with your family that doesn't cost much. These days I'm big on finding free or as close to free as I can get activities.  As a kid my granny would take me around the block to admire the Christmas lights and decorations. This was always the start of the Christmas season for me. We'd get some snacks and hop in the car and look at all the pretty houses. I always admired the creativity. It was amazing to me what people could do with lights. I've never been but there is a neighborhood referred to as Candy Cane Lane. Candy Cane Lane is famous for their Christmas lights and decorations. This year I plan to attend. Click here for more information.
As I got older I started my own Christmas traditions. For a few years I would take my friends and family to event called, Back to Bethlehem. There was a church who turned their entire property into Bethlehem. They had the costumes, sets, animals and food. It was a great experience. As you entered Bethlehem you received Shekels, the currency of that time. With your shekels you could buy snacks or pay your taxes. The Roman soldiers were on their guard making sure that Caesar received what was his. I wish they still had it but a few years ago they stopped. 
Last but not least every year my church has a Holiday Extravaganza for the community. They give away toys, food and there are plenty of activities for the kids. As well as a vendor fair. This year they put together this cute video to invite everyone to the event, click here to watch. If your in the San Fernando Valley, then be sure to stop by. I'll be posting more of my favorite Christmas activities throughout the month. Down below please let me know what Christmas Activities you do with your family and friends. And as always thanks for reading.

Friday, December 4, 2015

30 Days of Christmas Cheer: Day 3 - Christmas at the Beach

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Me and my siblings - Christmas '97
I was born and mostly raised in Southern California. I say mostly because there were seasons when I lived in St. Louis, Missouri with my father and stepmother. As well as the small stint my mother and stepfather moved us to Las Vegas, Nevada. Outside of those two instances I consider myself a California girl. A SoCal girl at that. We lived close to the beach growing up but never on the beach. We could always smell the salt water and feel the fog roll in from day to day. You would think that for someone who grew up close to the water that it's impact would have waned. Not for me. The beach has and always will be one of my favorite places. The ocean itself is both mesmerizing and terrifying. The hypnotic current of the ocean can draw you into a tranquil state of mind. While those same waves can take you under if you are not careful. 
Nonetheless one of my favorite memories is from the time my family spent Christmas at the beach. This particular year my parents rented a 2 bedroom apartment by the water in Carlsbad, CA. We spent Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the Day After Christmas there. It was such a great time. I remember the games me and my siblings played as we were passing time. We played the laughing game. It's a super silly game where one person has to get up and try to make everyone else laugh. The first person to laugh has to get up and try their hand at making everyone laugh. It's sort of like charades but instead of guessing you are trying not to laugh. We would play for hours. I enjoyed the debates that ensued about whether a snort was a laugh. And the house rules my siblings would insist upon, sort of like playing monopoly or uno with folks. Everybody had their house rules and we had ours. One of our rules was no sound could be made while the person was up. If you did make a sound then it was considered laughing. Those were the good ole days. When our only worry was if we could make each other laugh. 
This is also the year that eating Chinese food on Christmas Eve became a family tradition. I still remember the bright white china that held the orange chicken. The heaps of steamed rice and fried rice that covered the table and bowls of beef broccoli. This was before panda express. We had our favorite little Chinese food spots and the food was good. We went to bed that night with full bellies and expectant hearts. The next morning we opened tons of presents. We received Cabbage Patch Kids, Trolls, Furby's, Bendy Wendy's, Portable CD Players and clothes from Old Navy. And of course I cannot forget the digital pets. My sisters both received Tamagotchis and this was the year that I finally got my Gigapet. Those little gadgets were all the rage and I was so excited to have one.
Reading the instructions for my Gigapet
This is also the year that I got a portable CD player and my mom bought me a ton of CDs. I received the following singles, Blue by LeAnn Rimes, 2 become 1 by the Spice Girls and Phenomenon by LL Cool J. I spent countless nights jamming to to those tunes. I've always been a night owl so music has been a constant friend. Next to television and movies. Until the faithful day one of my siblings messed with the lens on the CD player. The lens that had the tiny sign that said do not touch. Yes that lens. I never caught the culprit but I have my suspicions. I'm not bitter. LOL. Not at all. Just curious.
Anyway this was such a great Christmas for our family. Not just because of the gifts but because of the time we got to spend. One thing I always enjoyed were the conversations I had with my parents and siblings. During dinner they would ask us about our lives. Deep questions about life. They would laugh with us. I  treasure those memories in my heart and I look forward to the day that I get to make those memories with my children. Well now that you know one of my favorite Christmas memories I would love to hear about yours. Leave me a comment down below with your favorite Christmas Memory. And as always thanks for reading.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

30 Days of Christmas Cheer: Day 2 - Mrs. Kaye's Apple Cider Recipe

It's Day 2 of 30 Days of Christmas Cheer and I'm sharing my Apple Cider Recipe. I love apple cider!! I don't drink coffee so when I go to Starbucks during the Christmas season I have to get their Caramel Apple Spice. It's amazing! I also get it at kid temp so I don't burn my tongue. (Don't Judge Me!) Sorry I promise this isn't a Starbucks commercial but when I think of Apple Cider I think of theirs. It's really yummy!

Anyways a couple months ago I had a dream board party with a few friends and I served this delicious Apple Cider beverage. I think we were all jonesing for something more fall/winter-y since it was late October and the temperature outside was still in the high 80's. We wanted to at least pretend that the season had changed from Summer to Fall even if the LA weather didn't agree. I made this wonderful concoction and as we drank it, it felt like Fall. The wonderful aroma filled the house as we laughed and sipped our drinks. The recipe I used was simply apple cider and a couple spices. But if you want a more traditional flavor be sure to add orange peel and cloves to my recipe below. More traditional recipes use these additional ingredients. This process is called mulling. Here's a fun fact, apple cider is just unfiltered apple juice. Oh and Martinelli's Sparkling Apple Cider is Carbonated Apple Juice. I know I was disappointed for all of 30 seconds. I read that on wikipedia. I'm still going to drink it.

Here's my recipe, I hope you enjoy with those you love. And as always thanks for reading!

Mrs. Kaye's Apple Cider Recipe


1 64 fl oz bottle of Apple Cider (Any brand)
2-3 Tablespoons Cinnamon
1-2 Teaspoons Nutmeg
Cinnamon Sticks (Optional) 


Step 1. Pour Apple Cider into Crockpot. Add cinnamon sticks and ground cinnamon to the Crockpot and cover with lid.

Step 2. Let this goodness simmer in the crockpot on high for at least 30mins.

**Note: If you don't have a crockpot and use the stove then just make sure you keep the mixture below boil. You only want to heat the mixture.

Step 3. Once the mixture is heated, feel free to serve right out of the Crockpot or place in a thermos. Either way enjoy!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

30 Days of Christmas Cheer: Day 1 - Plan Soberly

Last night my husband asked me if my blog series was going to be 30 Days of Christmas Cheer. I just looked at him. He said, Since it's December and Christmas is the 25th. I said, "Yes I'm going to extend the series past Christmas." And then he laughed at me and said, "But Christmas will be over.". "Yes I know.", I told him. Then I thought what am I going to write? And of course like most mornings inspiration fell upon me. (Yea right.) I will just share all the after Christmas Cheer that goes on in my house. 
The end of the year is a busy time and a  fun one. Work slows down a bit for the both of us, we're either at our parents house or at home. If we're at our parents house then there is tons of food, music and dancing. If we are at home then there are lots of "Snuddles" or "Cuggles" (our combined words for cuddle and snuggle) and crafts. I am the queen of DIY. And I'm challenging myself to make crafts out of the leftover Christmas items. I will use wrapping paper, ribbons, tissue paper and whatever else I can find lying around the house. So stay tuned for all posts after Christmas to see how I pull it all off. This should be interesting.
Now for today's post! 
What do I mean by Plan Soberly? In my case every year when it comes to Christmas I get overrun with emotion and I usually overspend at the store. I get caught up in the "Tis the season to be jolly" and "It's better to give than receive" messages and I go over budget.  Not this year. I refuse. For one I have a strict budget so I cannot spend money that I do not have.  And there isn't another reason outside of one. 
This year instead of keeping everything in my head like I tend to do. I will write the vision and make it plan. I'm going to make a list and check twice. I'll even spread some Christmas Cheer to those who were more naughty than nice. But I will tell people how I feel about them more than how much I spend on them. Which means the following for me.
1. Personalized Christmas Cards - I will take time to write out how much someone means to me in a card. I won't just sign my name to the card and put it into the envelope. I will take the time to think about our relationship and how I value the person. I'll also take this time to write words of encouragement for my family and friends who had a hard year. 
2. Unique Gifts - I will take the time to think about gifts that are complementary to my friends or family's interests and hobbies. Before deciding that a lotion set or box of cookies is the best way to go. 
3. Family Newsletter - This might be a great time to start a family newsletter for your family and friends. This could be something you provide once a year or the last month of each quarter. You can share announcements, photos, prayer requests and so much more.  I wouldn't use this as a primary way to communicate to your family but as a supplemental resource.
4. Just Ask - In some cases it may be easier to just ask what your family and friends would like for Christmas. Save time and money.
This year I will write a list of all the people who are important to me. And plan soberly how I want to celebrate this Christmas with them. Christmas shopping and gift giving doesn't have to be a pain or break the budget. It can be as simple as you make it. I'm curious to know how you plan to make Christmas work for your budget. Please share in the comments how you plan soberly. And as always thanks for reading.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Knock, Knock!!

I could bore you with a corny knock knock joke but I'll just jump to the punchline. 
Orange-you glad I'm back! 
Ha Ha Ha! Get it? Woo, I'm a real riot! 
So...(Adjusts imaginary tie, clears throat.)
I took some time off to work on a few goals and prep for the direction I wanted to take my blog and other businesses. My last post was in August and one of my main goals for going on a hiatus was I wanted to complete my first e-book. To meet that goal I joined my first mastermind group. In that group I received constant support from the members and the awesome mentors. I felt confident that taking a break from writing for the blog was the best choice for me. The advice I received kept telling me to speed up. Set a deadline and write. Work your butt off for 30 days and put out a product. Don't think about it just do it. And the more I tried to fit into the mold the more difficult it became for me to write. For one I didn't enjoy it anymore. It felt like a chore and the ideas didn't flow like they had before. I wanted to write this book but the truth was, I was still in debt. I still had a negative net worth so how could I provide financial advice. The questions I was asking myself were all valid. I needed to search deeper. 
Somewhere around late September I abandoned my book idea as well as the mastermind group. I had shifted focus once again. This time I went back to soap-making. I thought maybe the business I wanted to focus on was a physical one and not online. I began making strides, filed for my DBA with the women's business center in my town. I was on my way again. This felt so right! This is what I should be doing, I just know. Well if that was the case how come I still had this nagging feeling to write. How come it is that when I'm not writing I have a million ideas for blog posts and books. As much as I wanted it to just be one thing it's not for me. 
For as long as I could remember I've always wanted to be a renaissance woman aka Jane of all trades. In High School I would talk about my dreams of becoming an actress and business owner. I wanted to diversify my reach so that in every season I could turn a profit. These were the musings of a 17 year old. I thought I had it all figured out. Heck when I think about it even in college I would work 2 or 3 jobs and I even did taxes on the side. I would charge $10-$20 per tax return. I was doing college kids taxes (1040 EZ). Most of us were only getting $100 to $200 at most so I would charge approximate 10%. I would also teach people how to do them as well. I always wanted my own business for as long as I can remember. 
My goal is is now not to limit myself but to find a way to incorporate all my talents. I must find a way to use my gifts and talents. I can't just do one thing. I've tried it and it doesn't work for me. So with that said my focus is on creativity and encouragement. I have an ebook that I'm working on that encourages those in debt to stop living paycheck to paycheck. In the book I share several reasons why you can't afford to live in a place of perpetual lack. If you know someone that could use the swift kick then stay tuned, I'll be sharing the pre-order link next week. The book is due to release January 5th! I'm excited!!! 
I'm also working on my soap business. I have filed paperwork with the women's business center and now I'm building my brand. This piece was so important to me and with these changes to my business it's going to open up so many doors. I've also started working with two awesome voice over actors who are helping me with my demo reel. This is something that I can do in my spare time to start massaging my acting skills. My hubby and I actually have both been working on our voice acting skills for the last few months. We even bought a microphone. Most of the audio is unusable but it's helped us to figure out which part of the voice acting business we'd fit best. We always do voices. ALWAYS. So why not learn the craft and get paid to do it.
With all that said I'll be blogging again on a consistent basis. Which means this December you can expect a post from me everyday, starting today! Majority of my posts from here until the end of the year will be about Christmas in some way or another. . So stay tuned for all the Christmas Cheer! Also I missed you guys. During the break so many people told me that they were reading my blog. It surprised me. I had no idea some of you were reading. Thank you to everyone who enjoys what I write and follows my journey. I do share to be a blessing to you all. So please leave me a comment below if you're glad I'm back and as always Thank You for reading.