3/10/16

Coping with the Loss of a Pet

I will be taking a couple of days off from posting to my blog. Yesterday, my beloved dog, Buddy, passed away. He was 16 years old and he was the best dog I ever knew. We rescued him when he was 3 years old and he was my constant companion. Buddy spent most of his time just laying at my feet or following me around from room to room. I will miss him tremendously and my heart is really hurting right now. Buddy was kind and gentle, but loved me fiercely. He was adored by everyone who met him. He was truly the perfect dog for me and when he passed away, he took a big chunk of my heart with him. I loved him more than I ever believed I could love a pet.
My home feels very empty now and incredibly quiet. The noises I hear are no longer him. My children are all grown up and moved out a couple years ago to start their own lives, so the "empty nest syndrome" has just become more real to me. I find myself a bit lost. I'm still looking behind my chair before I scoot back, or checking under my recliner footrest to make sure he's not there before I put my feet down. And each time it hits me that he won't ever be there again. I'm no hurry to wipe his nose-prints off the patio door, and it's okay with me that I'll be finding his fur on everything I own for months to come.
I'm working through my loss by slowly cleaning up his belongings to donate, gathering up what's left of his food and treats, and keeping a few small things of his, like his collar and his favorite blue ball. I'll never forget how lovingly he used to just sit and watch me, how he would nuzzle his nose up to me to have his ears and neck scratched, or how he would roll over to have his belly rubbed and point his toes when I obliged. Buddy was always so excited when I walked in the door, even if I was only gone five minutes. I know he will be waiting for me at the gates of heaven, wagging his tail, when my time has come.
Goodbye Buddy, my sweet boy. I'm so blessed to have had you in my life. I hope you know how much I loved you back. I will see you on the other side.

3/8/16

Weekly Giveaway Linky - Wednesday Wealth (March 9-15)



Bloggers Wanted! Prize Party Giveaway Hop (April 1 - 13)

Join us for the
Prize Party Giveaway Hop

April 1-13, 2016

Hosted by Planet Weidknecht
and LeahSay's Views

By adding your blog link below, you agree to the following:
Post your own dedicated giveaway for this event, from April 1, 2016 at 12:01a.m. until April 13, 2016 at 11:59p.m.
This is an "open theme" giveaway hop.
Giveaway prize must be family-friendly and worth at least $25.00.
Prizes must be new, not used. Gift card giveaways welcome.
Blogs without giveaways posted by 9:00a.m. on April 1 with all required elements will be removed from the linky list. Times are ET.
Signups close on March 29, 2016.

You aren't required to post in advance of the giveaway hop, but if you'd like to add the button to your sidebar, please link it to this post so that others may join in too.

Please also join the Weidknecht Events Facebook Group at:
http://www.facebook.com/groups/WeidknechtEvents/

Your giveaway post (on April 1) must include:
Giveaway Hop button (above)
Links (nofollow is fine) to the hosts:
     Planet Weidknecht (http://www.weidknecht.com)
     and LeahSay's Views (http://leahsaysviews.com/)
Provided linky list of all participating bloggers
Your giveaway description, photo of prize, and contest form

Giveaway Hop reminder and linky code will be provided at least one day before the hop begins, both by email and post in the Weidknecht Events Facebook Group.

Questions can be directed to LisaWeidknecht@hotmail.com

Sign up below! Please enter your blog name, main URL, name, and email address.



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Including a Casino in Your Travel Plans

Disclosure: I received compensation in exchange for my post.
Casino vacation packages are fairly common if you are searching for a vacation that includes the opportunity for gambling. There are plenty of international destinations for casino vacations - Aruba, Puerto Rico, or St. Maarten in the Caribbean, Monte-Carlo in Monaco, Sun City in South Africa, or Macau Region in China, just to name a few. In the US, the top destination for casino vacation is Las Vegas. I personally love Las Vegas and all the lights, chaos, and noise of the casinos, but after a few days I am ready to fly back to the peace and quiet of my home.

You don't have to go to Nevada if you want to include gambling at a casino as part of your travel plans. There are 34 states with Casinos in America according to wikipedia: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada (the most), New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming. Some of these states have casinos only on Indian Reservations, and others have them on waterways only. You could road-trip across the US and visit a casino in over half the states!
Many cruise ships have onboard casinos - Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Norwegian, to name just a few. You won't find casinos on the Disney Cruise line, since their focus is on family entertainment. CNN recently announced Disney is adding two more cruise ships to its fleet, but there won't be casinos on those either. When I cruised on Royal Caribbean, I was delighted to find a casino onboard, but found I actually spent less time gambling than when I went to Las Vegas, simply because there is so many other activities on a cruise ship.

On my first casino vacation, I spent way too much money. It's very easy to get sucked into the thought that if you just hit those slots again, this time you'll win. I learned quickly that Las Vegas was not built on the winners, but the losers. By setting aside a specific amount of money for gambling, and only spent that amount in the casinos, you can ensure that won't put yourself in the poorhouse on your vacation.
If you find you have a bit of extra money to gamble, but don't have the budget for an entire vacation, there are even ways you can play from the comfort of your home. Online gambling has grown over the years and you can play live casino games with live croupier (the person in charge of a gaming table). I personally haven't ever gambled online, but I do have a friend who has won at an online casino.

It's best to play casino games with an attitude of enjoying the entertainment, rather than an attitude of needing to win. If you're spending money that should have gone to pay a bill, rather than spending just your entertainment budget, then you're best off to avoid casinos. In addition, if your gambling money is coming from a credit card cash advance, it's time to go read a book instead. A casino vacation can be a wonderful idea, whether you're traveling within the US, exploring an international destination, or floating the seas on a cruise, but careful planning is important.


If you have a gambling addiction, call the NCPG Hotline at 1-800-522-4700.

3/7/16

Giveaway! Lugz Women's Sneakers for Spring #WelcomeSpringHop

Disclosure: I received product at no charge in exchange for my honest review.
Spring is just around the corner
so it's the perfect time for the
Welcome Spring Giveaway Hop!

Hosted by Karen's Got Mail
March 8-22

After you enter my giveaway, hop around to all the other participating
blogs listed below and enter to win their prizes too!
Each prize is valued at $25 or more!

I'm giving away
a pair of
Lugz Women's Sneakers!
ARV $59.99
What better way to hop into spring than in a brand new pair of comfortable sneakers? These adorable sneakers are a brand new arrival to the line of Lugz shoes. These cute Zrocs come in white/raspberry, white/mulberry, or white/yonder blue.
My new Zrocs are super comfortable and you know I love pink! This casual oxford look is perfect for wearing with jeans, shorts, and especially capri pants. The permahide upper is very sturdy for long walks in the park, but flexible enough to be super comfy all day long.
Zrocs have a padded tongue and collar, plus a cushioned insole, and there is plenty of grip on the bottom to keep me on my feet on those rainy spring days. The inner arch is low and they feel great on my feet.
I really love the shoelace tabs! Rather than just punching holes in the shoes, Lugz added silver metal tabs that look classic and sleek. There is even a metallic L logo on the outer side of each sneaker. I'm absolutely thrilled with my Zrocs!
Visit Lugz.com for great spring looks for men, women, and children! You can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Be sure to enter below to win a pair of Lugz Womens' Zrocs in your choice of color and size!
To enter, just fill in the giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to US residents, ages 18 and up. One winner will choose size and color of one pair of Lugz women's Zrocs sneakers. Giveaway ends on 3/22/16. Good luck!

Enter my other giveaways HERE.
Follow me on Facebook HERE.

ClaudiaG Collection - Start Your Own Fashion Business

Disclosure: I received product at no charge in exchange for my honest review.
The ClaudiaG Collection is a national designer brand of boutique-style handcrafted and sophisticated handbags, accessories, and on-trend jewelry. They just launched their new Spring and Summer Collection full of bold, beautiful colors and I am completely smitten with these products!
This stunning infinity scarf is a lightweight white fabric featuring a parade of scarlet red elephants. I don't often wear red, but this scarf is so pretty and unique that I used it as the base to build my entire outfit. I also selected a pair of scarlet red fashion earrings, a scarlet double-wrap infinity bracelet, and an amazing scarlet red cross body bag.
I am so impressed with the quality of ClaudiaG products! All four items that I received are perfectly constructed. The hex earrings are bold and beautiful. The earrings drops are just the right size and the angled cuts mean they catch the light every time I move. They have so many styles to choose from and tons of great colors!
The infinity bracelet is one of the top fashion trends of this year. It wraps around your wrist twice and there are three snap closures so you can make it a perfect fit. It's just one of their many bracelet choices, and they also offer gorgeous necklaces and rings!
The ClaudiaG handbag collection is incredible. The versatility of these bags goes beyond what I've seen from other designers. My favorite bag is this leather Flamingo Scarlet Red Cross Body Bag. The design allows me to use it two different ways - as a deep pocket purse or a fold-over purse.
The adjustable strap can be hooked onto the upper loops or the lower loops, depending on the look I want that day. The fringe design gives this cross body bag so much personality! ClaudiaG even includes clasp-on leather drops which I've discovered make a perfect key ring too.
The interior features an unexpected pop of purple, and offers two slide pockets and a zippered pocket. There is plenty of room in this handbag without being large and bulky. You simply have to check out the ClaudiaG handbag collection!
If you've read my blog for any length of time, you know I'm a blue-jeans gal. A simple white blouse is pretty common in my wardrobe. Adding these wonderful ClaudiaG products makes me feel like a superstar model! I just know you'll love these items as much as I do.
When all your friends ask where you got these amazing products, you can tell them you got them from your OWN FASHION BUSINESS! ClaudiaG offers the incredible opportunity for you to become a Consultant! If you've ever wanted to start your own fashion business, but had no idea how to start, ClaudiaG can help you get started with the career you desire.
CLICK HERE to find out how you can start your own fashion business! If you're not sure you're ready to commit, host a ClaudiaG party so your friends can show you just how much they love the products. You can also shop online for the ClaudiaG products I chose, or select from the hundreds of other great jewelry items, scarves, handbags, pouches, gear, hats, and even products for men!

Bloggers Wanted! Spring Delights Giveaway Hop (March 21 - 31)

Join us for the
Spring Delights Giveaway Hop

March 21-31, 2016

Hosted by Planet Weidknecht
and LeahSay's Views


By adding your blog link below, you agree to the following:
Post your own dedicated giveaway for this event, from March 21, 2016 at 12:01a.m. until March 31, 2016 at 11:59p.m.
This is an "open theme" giveaway hop.
Giveaway prize must be family-friendly and worth at least $25.00.
Prizes must be new, not used. Gift card giveaways welcome.
Blogs without giveaways posted by 9:00a.m. on March 21 with all required elements will be removed from the linky list. Times are ET.
Signups close on March 19, 2016.

You aren't required to post in advance of the giveaway hop, but if you'd like to add the button to your sidebar, please link it to this post so that others may join in too.

Please also join the Weidknecht Events Facebook Group at:
http://www.facebook.com/groups/WeidknechtEvents/

Your giveaway post (on March 21) must include:
Giveaway Hop button (above)
Links (nofollow is fine) to the hosts:
   Planet Weidknecht (http://www.weidknecht.com)
   and LeahSay's Views (http://leahsaysviews.com/)
Provided linky list of all participating bloggers
Your giveaway description, photo of prize, and contest form

Giveaway Hop reminder and linky code will be provided at least one day before the hop begins, both by email and post in the Weidknecht Events Facebook Group.

Questions can be directed to LisaWeidknecht@hotmail.com

Sign up below! Please enter your blog name, main URL, name, and email address.



Retweet the tweet below to help us reach more bloggers!

A Selfie That Saves You Money!

#sponsored post
As a homeowner, I'm always seeking out ways to save money on my energy costs. I just learned how I could save $588 a year by making some simple changes in my home! Homeselfe.com offers a FREE app that allows you to take a selfie of your home and it instantly provides the results of what changes to make and how much money those changes can save you every year. A professional home audit could cost you thousands, but Homeselfe is free!
You can even do it online if you don't have a smart phone or tablet. It took me less than five minutes to set up an account and answer the simple questions about my home. If you want to make big changes based on your free report, Homeselfe will even give you a list of contractors, and give you access to rebates for updates to your home.
My Homeselfe Report was good (as you can see above) but there are five changes I can make that will save me money! Homeselfe lists each area of concern on my report, tells me how I can improve my home's energy efficiency, and details the amount of savings those changes would give me an on annual basis.
Making these changes will not only improve my home while I live in it, the changes will also increase the value of my home if we ever decide to sell. Did you know that 30% of all energy used in buildings is used unnecessarily? Saving money can be as easy as unplugging your small appliances or turning off your power strips when you're not using them.
If you leave your chargers plugged in the wall while they aren't charging, your money is slowing draining away, because those plugs are using energy for no reason. You can also save on heating and cooling your home by keeping drapes closed. My kids always complained when I constantly told them to turn off lights as they leave the room, but now that they are adults and paying their own utilities, they understand why I insisted.
Find out how you can save hundreds of dollars on your annual energy charges! Homeselfe.com is totally free and there is no obligation. Their simple, visual program will give you instant results so you can start saving money. There's no catch! It's fun, easy, and completely free!

Get started HERE!

3/6/16

Free Crafts for Kids at Lakeshore Learning plus a $25 Gift Card Giveaway

#sponsored post
It's time for the
Magical March Giveaway Hop

Hosted by LeahSay's Views

March 7-17, 2016

After you enter my giveaway, hop around to all the other bloggers
on the linky below and enter to win prizes on each blog!

I'm giving away a
$25 Lakeshore Learning Gift Card!
If you've read my blog for several years, you know I recently retired from running a daycare. Lakeshore Learning has long been my favorite store for all things related to early childhood education. Their learning materials are high quality, fun, and educational. I had many of their products in my daycare, and even most of my classroom furniture was from Lakeshore!
I'm so excited to tell you about Lakeshore's FREE CRAFTS FOR KIDS program! Every Saturday, Lakeshore Learning Stores hosts Free Crafts for Kids events from 11:00a.m. to 3:00p.m. They provide all the materials needed for kids to create a fabulous craft every week!
March is National Craft Month, so gather up your kids and head to Lakeshore Learning Stores for some creative fun! Look what your kids can make in March:

March 12: Colorful Carp Wind Sock- Creativity will soar with these elegant wind socks!
March 19: Spring in Bloom Fence- Welcome spring with this pretty picket fence that kids will decorate using pipe stems, flowers and more!
March 26: Cheerful Chick Basket- Kids create a one-of-a-kind basket that they can fill with eggs, treats and more!
Check out this fun video too: