Noreen's Kitchen: 12/01/2014 - 01/01/2015

Friday, December 19, 2014

No More Naked Windows! No Tools Required Window Blind Review & Giveaway!

Greetings!  I was contacted by Blinds.Com and asked if we would like to review one of their new, exclusive, No Tools Required, Instafit, Cordless, Honeycomb shades.  Seeing how Rick loves a good DIY project, how could we say no?

These blinds have a unique design that does not require that you use any tools for installation!  This exclusive design allows for the blind to be installed without hardware, tools or headaches!  This patented design is revolutionary and sure to be the perfect window blind answer for people who live in apartments, dorms or Military housing, where you are not able to put holes in walls or woodwork and especially for the Military families, you must take it with you and leave things as you found them!   This is the perfect answer for those people!

We gave our Blinds.Com representative the proper measurements for our window and they were custom made to fit.  We received our blind in a short period of time and they came in a sturdy shipping tube that was packed very well.  Everything was in tact and was easy to unpack.  There was a simple instruction sheet included with the blind, and on the website you will also find a video demonstrating the proper installation of the Instafit cordless blind.  Literally five minutes, most of which was spent unpacking was all it took to click and fit the blind into the window frame and voila'!  a beautiful blind that was ready to go!

We chose the white, light filtering honeycomb blinds, but at Blinds.Com this blind also comes in an array of colors, widths and styles.  You are sure to find something that you love that will fit your decor and your lifestyle.  If you get confused or are unsure of what to do, Blinds.com has representatives available to help with questions about measuring or ordering and they even have interior designers available to Skype call with you who will give you help and guidance to achieve the look you would love for your living space!

Thanks to Blinds.com for sending us this blind to try out.  We really like it very much and hope to add more to our home in the future.  They have also been so generous to give us a $100 Blinds.Com gift card to give away to one of my lucky followers!  All you have to do is go to my YouTube video here:


You must be a subscriber to my channel and then leave a comment.  Then you can enter the giveaway on the Rafflecopter widget here or on my website or on my Facebook page!  Be sure to subscribe to Blinds.Com on YouTube for up to the minute announcements of new products as well as instructional videos.  You can find them here: https://www.youtube.com/user/blinds  You can also check out their website where they have lots of great offerings for window coverings and ideas!  http://www.blinds.com/control/product/productID,104493

Enter to win!




Thank you again to Blinds.Com!  I hope you will support them and see if they can help you out with some window coverings for your home!  We really loved this product and hope you will give it a try if you think it is something that can help make your life easier!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Giving With Heart: The Best Gift Of All!


The time for gift giving is upon us.  Some of us are facing dire economic times and things may not seem very festive because we feel like we simply can't afford to give as much as we would like to or as much as we have given in the past.  I think we all need to re-evaluate our giving and spending habits!  Yes, without a doubt, it is lovely and wonderful to spoil those we care about and indulge them and lavish them with expensive things that they want and desire.  However, I think the time is upon us when we need to regroup and take stock and rethink how we do things.  We should be taking a page from the books of our forebears and our grandparents who lived with much less but seem to have lived much happier and simpler lives. 


Giving does not have to mean giving a lot of expensive stuff.  This should be a happy and festive time to share of ourselves and give from the heart.  It may seem trite and obvious, but a homemade gift is really the very best gift you can give.  Of all the gifts I have ever received,  I count the homemade, handmade ones to be my most treasured possessions.  A clay dog and A clay bear that my girls made when they were small and even though they have seen better days, they sit on my dresser.  A flower pot filled with tattered silk roses and a Popsicle stick recipe holder that I received one Mother's day.  A plaster "fish dish" that sits on my shelf and is where we put the money when the pizza delivery guy comes on "order out" pizza nights.  The special spice rack that you see behind me in every video introduction that my loving husband Rick fashioned out of my grandmother's cutting board.  A "scrap" afghan that my Mommom crocheted when I was small that is  full of so many colorful sections that she called it her "Joseph's Coat" afghan after the Bible story. 

Then there is the newest addition to this list which I am certain will continue to grow, is a gift I received this year, for my birthday.  You see, my family knows that my birthday is not exactly my favorite day.  I don't usually want to celebrate it, opting for a small observation.  My husband and my children always seem to find interesting ways to say Happy Birthday to me.  This year, my girls took a Mason jar and used a chalkboard sticker and some ribbon and some post it notes.  They wrote "10 Things We Love About You" on the outside of the jar and they each wrote five post it notes with messages of how they loved me.  Some were funny and some were sweet and some were simply touching in a very deep way, helping me to know that somewhere along the line, I did a pretty darn good job of being a mom.  This gift is certainly priceless. 

Giving should be from the heart, not from the wallet.  We live in a world where we always want the biggest, the best and newest stuff, and often when we get it, we find out that it isn't all it's cracked up to be.  Then the next big thing comes along and we start the process all over again.    Down size your expectation and reel in your idea of greatness and you can be a little happier.  Think smaller and simpler not bigger is better. 

Give a pan of brownies or a loaf of homemade bread with a jar of jam.  How about some hot cocoa mix or a beautiful bowl of seasonal fruit?  If you have some simple tools, you can use scrap lumber or even palate wood to fashion, rustic handmade keepsakes, like my spice rack.  You can take an inexpensive tile and pop some silicone bumpers on the bottom to make a beautiful cheese board or trivet.  Costs literally pennies and when wrapped up and given will be used and appreciated for years to come.  Every time a hot casserole comes out of the oven and placed on that trivet, the recipient will thank you and think of you!   The possibilities are endless!   Don't even get me started on what you can put inside of a Mason jar!  That is what we will be talking about next week!

If you keep a food storage and you want to keep your gifting on a strict budget, what better time to start rotating some of those number 10 can items than during the holidays?  How about a jar full of brownie mix done up right with nuts and toffee chips?  Pop a pretty ribbon on that jar and a tag with instructions on how to prepare it and that is a gift that can be made on a cold February evening when the snow is coming down.  Then you will be remembered as well as praised for such a delicious gift!  Make a delicious breakfast in a jar by layering some oats and dried fruit such as freeze dried apples or dried cranberries or bananas along with a handful of pecans or walnuts and again a bow, a tag and instructions on how to make some delicious fruit and nut oatmeal.  This is easily achieved when you step back and take a look at what you have chosen to store.  If you are like I am, you could make anything you like from sweet to savory.  Breakfast, lunch or dinner can be gifted!  Make a great basket up with a jar of homemade pasta sauce, a box of pasta and some homemade seasoning.  A jar of chili and a bag of homemade corn muffin mix, add water, stir and bake.  Who would not love receiving any of these gifts?

I have compiled a cook booklet with 12 "Gifts in a Jar" recipes to help you do this yourself!  You can down load it from my website here:  "Noreen's KItchen Gift's In A Jar Cook Booklet"

I can hear some of you saying, "I don't have a food storage and I don't craft, and I don't do anything cool what can I do?"  You don't have to make everything  yourself to make a heartfelt gift.  You can spend time with the people you love helping them to achieve a goal or complete a task.  You can simply spend more time, making a difference in the lives of the ones you care about.  The truth of the matter is,  all the stuff, is just stuff.  Memories are made when we spend time together.  Remember this above all else. 

So this year, give from the heart.  Give simply and give lovingly.  Embrace the idea of giving something that is useful and consumable, like food or drink.  This encourages people to share and sharing is what this season is all about! 

I hope this encourages you to fear not and know that giving great gifts need not be expensive when you take a bit of time to think about what really matters!

You can see how I made some of the gifts in a jar here: