2014 Year In Review

I was absent a lot from the blog world in 2014. Life just got busy and by the end of the day, the last thing I wanted to do, was sit down and write a blog post. I’m hoping that things change for 2015.

In February I took a new position at work, that has me doing two different jobs. In some ways it’s lessened the stress that I had before and in other ways, I have more stress because I have less time do get things done. End the end it’s all working out and I’m enjoying it.

2014 was the year of job changes for both the hubby and I. In March he switched jobs, moving to a local, family owned company closer to home. The job requires less travel to and from work each day and gives him more responsibility and leadership than he’s ever had before. It’s a job that he’s much happier at and requires less physical stress on him. I think I had the most difficult time with his job change, as our benefits have always been through his employer. We went three months without health insurance, which stressed me out and required a lot of planning on my part to get enough prescriptions in advance and to make sure we both stayed healthy. In the end, it was the best career decision for our family.

My 2014 can be wrapped up with one word, travel. I did tons of traveling throughout the year with friends and family. Due to the hubby’s career change, that left him with no vacation time for the first year. I did a lot of jet setting without him.

In April, I was blessed to be able to travel back to Iowa to spend Easter with my family.


I had lunch with my friend Esther when I arrived in Iowa.


I got to spend time with my brother for the first time in twelve years.


I enjoyed catching up with my sister and nieces over Easter dinner.


My main reason for the trip was to spend time with my 88 year old grandmother. I got to spend time with her going through pictures and recipes and just enjoying her company. My grandparents are very near and dear to me and helped raise me. I miss them more than anything.

FlatStan1 I had Flat Stan along for the trip {for my nephew}. So of course I had to show him the views from the plane.


At the end of May, one of my best friends, her daughters, her mom and I went to Myrtle Beach. The girls were so excited to go to the beach and wanted to go with me because, “Amber goes to the beach all the time.” LOL.

Contest7 Contest8IMG_1289IMG_1470 

I also got to celebrate my 30th Birthday on our girls trip.


And spent quality time with my amazing in-laws.


My final trip of the year was in October. I flew to Las Vegas for the first time, to meet up with my mom, aunt and cousin for another girls trip. I’d never been to Vegas before. I’m not the gambling type, but I was super excited to see all of the tourist stuff.

1 2 The photographer in me loved all the beautiful, breath taking views that Vegas had to offer. I can’t wait to go back again with the hubby.


It’s always great to get to spend time with my mom, since we live 700 miles apart.


{ Over the last few years I’ve lost around 70 pounds, so I had to flaunt it ;o) }

 Beligio Flemingo PawnShop We checked out a lot of places that film in Las Vegas including Pawn Stars, American Restoration and Counting Cars.

There were a lot of ups and downs in 2014. But in the end, I’m a stronger person and definitely not the person that I was when 2014 began. 2014 brought a spiritual change to me and brought me closer to our creator and I couldn’t be happier about that.

Here’s to an even better 2015.

And more updates to follow.

Happy New Year!!


I know it’s been for.ever since I’ve dropped in, but I wanted to say Happy 12.13.14.



One of these day’s I’ll get around to writing some posts that I’ve got idea’s for.

Life has just taken over and been so busy this past year between work, traveling, and personal issues. I’ll be back shortly to recap our year.

Refrigerator Pickles


I have decided to take up canning this year. Especially since I’m going to have more tomatoes than I know what to do with, soon. In order to get the motivation going, I made the hubby’s Grandmother pickle recipe this weekend. It’s super easy.

Refrigerator Pickles

By: Hubby’s Grandma


6 cups thinly sliced pickling cucumbers {about 2 pounds}

2 cups thinly sliced onion

1 1/2 cups white vinegar

3/4 cu sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/2 teaspoon celery seeds

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced


Place 3 cups of cucumber in a medium glass bowl; top with 1 cup onion. Repeat procedure with the remaining 3 cups of cucumber and remaining 1 cup of onion.

Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan; stir well. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Pour over cucumber mixture; let cool. Cover and chill at least 4 days.

Note: Pickles may be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month

{Changes I made- I used onion powder instead of fresh onion. I also used garlic powder instead of fresh garlic. I store them in mason jars.}

{Deal Seeking} Car Insurance

We’ve all seen the commercial, “I saved on my car insurance by switching to….”.

Recently we received our yearly car insurance statements in the mail. Not much changed, so I usually glance over them and then file the papers away for reference.


This year, as I was looking through the policies, I realized that the policy had my husband down for driving more than 20 miles a day for work. Recently he switched jobs and is much closer to home. Therefore he’s only driving about 10 miles a day, round trip for work.

I always read these other blog posts about how people have saved money by calling their cable company, credit cards, etc and I have always thought, that there is no way that we can get extra money out of our budget.

Today, I made a quick two minute phone call to our very nice insurance man to let him know that my husband wasn’t driving as far for work. In that two minute phone call, he was able to save us almost $35 a year; just because of one small change in our driving habits that we normally wouldn’t have thought anything about. $3 a month savings may not seem like much but in a years time that money adds up and could be used somewhere else in the budget.

The nice insurance man tried to save money on insurance for my car when he thought that there is no way I could drive over 22,000 miles a year. But, even though I’ve made some changes to my employment, I still drive a crazy amount of miles each year.

Not only are we saving money in gas each week by my husband having a job closer to home, we are now saving on car insurance.

“I was able to save on car insurance by just making one simple phone call…”

Are you looking for areas to save money in your budget? Start by calling you car insurance company and make sure you have the best policy for you and your family.

Ultimate Blog Party 2014


Welcome to Luv, Laughter & Happily Ever After! And thanks for stopping by from the Ultimate Blog Party 2014! This is my fifth year participating and I’m super excited to be partying again this year! I always look forward to finding new blogs, Facebook Pages and Pinterest Pages to follow.

I am Amber. I have exactly two months from today until I hit the big 3-0. A lot of people fear their 30’s, but I’m looking forward to it. The hubby and I have been married for almost six years. Things haven’t always been sunshine and roses but we’re learning and becoming stronger together.


I’ve called Ohio my home for the last twelve years, when I up rooted myself from the cornfields of Iowa and started my new venture in Ohio, when I moved here for college. One of these days we’re planning on moving to Myrtle Beach to get away from the cold winters {especially after this winter} and be closer to the in-laws.

I have a degree in Criminal Justice, but have been working as a social worker for the past eight years.

Daisy1 Diesel1

We are the proud parents of two dogs, Daisy, a six year old Border Collie/Lab mix and Diesel, a 3 year old Sheppard/Chow mix. Both were rescued while I was at work.


I found this cute sign on Pinterest the other day and thought it was funny.

Actually, the real reason we don’t have children yet is due to a dumb disease called Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome {PCOS}, something I have been battling for years. We have been on our TTC journey for the last five years. It has been a long, emotionally draining process. Thankfully, we found a doctor who has given us the hope that we needed to continue going.


You can read more about Our Journey to parenthood here.

I like to keep things real around here. And with that said, I seem to find it difficult to always find the motivation to blog daily, weekly and sometimes even monthly. With battling the symptoms of PCOS and some other health problems, thrown in with every day life, sometimes I just lack the motivation to constantly sit down and write a post. And you see, I have this whole love-hate relationship with social media these days. Especially Pinterest. I feel that at times, I get overwhelmed with social media and the need to feel “perfect” with everyone posting about their “perfect lives” and “perfectly decorated and clean houses”, that I don’t feel adequate at times. It’s those times that I find myself pulling back from blogging and social media until those feelings go away. It’s taken me a while to realize that I don’t have to be a perfectionist and I don’t have to keep up with the Joneses. In that same breath, social media makes it so easy to keep in touch with everyone and share posts.

With that said, I hope you will continue to join me on my journey through life as I share recipes, crafts, coupoing, travel, photography, our adventures and our life.

You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram {where I am much more active and share tons of pictures of our furbabies and food} and Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by the party! :o)

Purex® Crystals Giveaway


I was super excited to be selected as part of the Purex® Insiders to test new products. I’ve been using Purex® brand products since I was in college {probably because I couldn’t afford the expensive stuff my mom always used}.


My favorite laundry to use the Purex® Crystals Mountain Breeze in, is  towels. I love how the scent of the crystals make the towels smell. Especially since I don’t add a dryer sheet with them in the dryer. The Purex® Crystals leave them smelling great.


I also like using the Purex® Crystals in laundry that I don’t dry in order to give them that added freshness smell and I have a lot of clothing that I don’t dry on a regular basis, so these crystals to a great job of keeping everything fresh.

The Purex® Crystals would even be great poured in a dish and used a room freshener, they smell that great!


How would you like to win your own bottle of Purex® Crystals Mountain Breeze? It’s super easy to win your own bottle. Just complete the Rafflecopter form below to enter. It’s that easy!


{The Purex® Brand provided me with a sample of Purex® Crystals Mountain Breeze exchange for a product review. However, all the opinions expressed here are my own.}

a Rafflecopter giveaway

7 Things About Me

I’ve been MIA from the blog for well over six months now and I thought it was time to make a return. Honestly, I just got overwhelmed with blogging and life. I have a love-hate relationship with Pinterest these days and got to the point where it felt like I needed to be doing things with the blog to live up to the new “blogging standards”.

When I started blogging five years ago, there weren’t all the other blogs with the perfect designs, amazing photography and I didn’t feel like my blog had to be perfect. The blogging world suddenly felt like high school all over again and I’d just lost the motivation to keep up.

I will do another post soon about what’s been going on in our world since last summer. As I have spent the last three days confined to the couch and on limited activity due to a new health problem, I found myself actually wanting to blog again. And don’t worry, I have no intentions of conforming to these new perfect standards. What you see, is what you get.

In case you have forgotten who I was… here are 7 Things You May Not Know About Me.

7 Things You May Not Know About Me

1. I have two middle names {Lynn Ashlee} and I always wanted Ashlee to be spelled with a “Y” because that’s how everyone spelled it. But now I love the way it’s spelled and hate that forms never allow enough space to use both names. Coincidentally my husband also has two middle names.

2. I love to travel. I spent two weeks in Australia and a week in New Zealand before my senior year of high school. And have been to every adjoining state from California to North Carolina. And once spent 24 hours driving from New York, to Niagara Falls, Canada to Iowa all by myself.

3. I almost got held behind in 6th grade when I missed almost a month of school at the end of the year due to having gall bladder surgery.

4. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, but I have a fear of guns.

5. I moved to Ohio for college 11 years ago, not knowing anyone & turned out that I met some of the most wonderful people whom, I am proud to call my best friends, here.

6. I have seven nieces and nephews, a great niece & a great nephew. My oldest niece is 3 months older than I am.

7. I’m the youngest of 13 grandchildren and spent every weekend from the time I was 3 years old with my grandparents, going to auctions & flea markets, digging for treasures, learning how to be frugal, learning how to be creative, making me the crazy frugal person I am today. They were more than grandparents to me.

{Bonus} I really enjoy watching trashy reality shows, including shows that my husband has got me hooked on {Fast & Loud, Orange County Choppers}, and family comedy shows.