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Honey Maid Go Bites Trail Mix

2015 February 5
by Emily Hill


I’m all about healthy snacking. So are my kids. Like, all. about. it. Unfortunately, those kids of mine can be pretty picky about their snacks (and breakfast and lunch and dinner). They have a favorite brand of granola bar and a specific brand of fruit snacks they refuse to eat. And here I thought those all tasted the same. Go figure.

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Honey Maid Go Bites
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Because I’m always on the lookout for new healthy snack ideas—and anything that provides whole grains without high fructose corn syrup or artificial colors or flavors—I was all over trying out Honey Maid Go Bites. I mean, letting my kids try out Honey Maid Go Bites.

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Honey Maid Go Bites
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Did you know less than 1% of children get the recommended amount of whole grains in their diets? Honey Maid Go Bites are crispy graham pockets filled with just the right amount of sweetness and made with 7 grams of whole grains and 5 grams of protein per serving. They’re available in both vanilla and chocolate, and while I usually prefer chocolate, I thought the vanilla-flavored Honey Maid Go Bites would be perfect in this (super easy) homemade trail mix.

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Honey Maid Go Bites Trail Mix Recipe - a healthy, wholesome, fun snack perfect for after school or on the go!

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On their own, Honey Maid Go Bites are pretty good, but throw in the saltiness of peanuts and cashews and the sweetness of raisins and M&Ms and you have one pretty dang delicious snack mix.

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Honey Maid Go Bites Trail Mix Recipe - a healthy, wholesome, fun snack perfect for after school or on the go!

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This trail mix is perfect as a “sneaky snack” (what my kids call their elementary school snack time), after-school snack or an energy-boosting snack during activities like swim practice or basketball games.

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Honey Maid Go Bites Trail Mix Recipe - a healthy, wholesome, fun snack perfect for after school or on the go!

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I like to pre-package it into snack-size resealable bags so kids can easily grab and go on their way out the door. Plus, a snack-size bag is great portion control for me when I get the munchies. Heaven knows I could eat an entire batch of this trail mix!

Printable recipe for Honey Maid Go Bites trail mix below. Enjoy!
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Honey Maid Go Bites Trail Mix
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: Trail Mix
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
This trail mix is super easy to throw together and provides kids with a good source of whole grains and protein per serving. Honey Maid Go Bites add some crunch and sweetness to the mix!
Ingredients
  • 1 (7-oz.) box anilla Honey Maid Go Bites
  • 1 cup M&Ms candy
  • 1 cup organic raisins
  • 1 cup lightly salted peanuts
  • ½ cup cashew pieces
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.
  2. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

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I post all kinds of yummy recipes (especially desserts!). One great way to easily check ‘em out is to browse my is this REALLY my life Pinterest board to .

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Follow Emily Hill’s board is this REALLY my life recipes on Pinterest.

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Red Velvet Pudding Cookies

2015 February 3
by Emily Hill

One of my favorite cookie recipes of all time uses pudding mix as an ingredient. I swear pudding cookies extra chewy and yummy and that more irresistible, especially hot from the oven. I’ve mixed and matched different pudding flavors and chips, from the classic vanilla pudding and semisweet chocolate chip combo to chocolate pudding and peanut butter chips like in these chocolate peanut butter pudding cookies. But I’d never tried a red velvet version, so I took it upon myself to experiment. The result? Red velvet pudding cookies just as soft, chewy and yummy as their vanilla and chocolate counterparts and a cookie perfect for Valentine’s Day.

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Red Velvet Pudding Cookies - soft, chewy and completely irresistible.

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I used white chocolate chips in these red velvet pudding cookies because it felt more traditional, but but I’m not a huge fan of white chocolate. Still, the flavors seemed to complement each other well. That being said, next time I’m totally going to try semisweet chocolate chips.

It’s all about the “real” chocolate, my friends.

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Red Velvet Pudding Cookies - soft, chewy and completely irresistible.

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I was really hoping I’d find red velvet pudding mix, but no such luck. Wanting a richer chocolaty flavor, I decided to go with a chocolate fudge pudding mix. But if that is a bit too much chocolate—or not pretty enough of a red velvet cookie—for you, try a vanilla pudding mix instead. Because I haven’t yet tried it, I can’t vouch for the outcome but how could it not be tasty?

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Red Velvet Pudding Cookies - soft, chewy and completely irresistible.

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Printable recipe for red velvet pudding cookies below. Enjoy!
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Red Velvet Pudding Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Cookie
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
 
These red velvet cookies having pudding in the mix to make 'em extra soft and chewy. Makes approximately 3½ dozen.
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 (3.4-oz) package instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ T red food coloring
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, cocoa and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Cream together butter and sugars in a large bowl. Beat in instant pudding mix until blended. Add vanilla and eggs and mix well.
  4. Add flour mixture and mix until thoroughly combined. Beat in food coloring. Fold in white chocolate chips.
  5. Drop cookies by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are set. Let cool 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Here are those chocolate peanut butter pudding cookies I mentioned earlier. You’ll want to make these too. Perhaps the same day as the red velvet pudding cookies. Just sayin’.

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Chocolate peanut butter pudding cookies

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If you’re looking for more yummy cookies, you should browse my desserts {cookies} Pinterest board.

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Follow Emily Hill’s board desserts {cookies} on Pinterest.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Now It’s Even Easier to Pack Fun Into School Lunch

2015 February 2
by Emily Hill

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Snack Pack. All opinions are 100% mine.

Livi buys school lunch nearly every day. She’s my favorite. George, on the other hand, prefers taking homemade lunch every day but the day they serve pizza rippers or cinnamon french toast. I try to pack healthy lunch options (string cheese, fruit leather, granola bar, PB&J) as often as possible, but I do find it makes his day a little brighter if I can throw in something sweet…but that doesn’t mean it can’t be on the healthier side. That’s where Snack Pack chocolate pudding comes into play.

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Snackpack

Snack Pack chocolate pudding
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What’s not to love about chocolate pudding that offers 30% of your daily value of calcium and no preservatives or high fructose corn syrup? Oh, wait. One thing. The packaging. George isn’t a fan of chocolate pudding cups in his lunch simply because those pudding packages are often tricky to open. Even this mom has struggled on occasion.

Hey, I like chocolate pudding too. It pairs well with Diet Coke.

Snack Pack must have heard about our frustration because they recently redesigned their lids to make those pudding cups easier to open. Halle-freakin-lujah!

Of course, you may want to suggest your kids wait to test the redesigned lids until after they’re done spinning those Snack Pack chocolate pudding cups.

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Snack Pack chocolate pudding

Snack Pack chocolate pudding
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Who knew Snack Packs combined such great entertainment with such a wholesome snack?

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Snack Pack chocolate pudding
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I found Snack Pack down the same aisle as other snack-related products but you can also find it in the baking aisle. For more info, visit SnackPack.com. You can find out about the latest news and promotions, check out cool recipes and discover new lunch ideas.

You know, like the one where you paint your face with Snack Pack chocolate pudding…

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Snack Pack chocolate pudding
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Visit Sponsors Site

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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What the What?! The Affordable Care Act & Choosing a Health Plan

2015 January 31
by Emily Hill

This is a sponsored post for UnitedHealthcare. All thoughts, opinions and attempts to figure out the whole open enrollment thing are mine.

When I hear someone mention the Affordable Care Act (ACA), my brain stops listening and starts planning the rest of the week’s meals or how soon I can hit up Nordstrom Rack and Sonic. We have pretty decent health insurance through Nathan’s work, so I haven’t given the Affordable Care Act much thought, but I know it’s a real source of confusion for many people because it’s all about choosing the right health plan.

With open enrollment ending February 15th for 2015, it’s more important than ever to figure out (ASAP) what it all means for you and your family. And UnitedHealthcare has some really great resources for navigating that crazy enrollment thing.

I wanted to learn a bit more about the history of health insurance, so I watched this little video and learned a couple interesting facts. For example, I didn’t know:

  • Employers started offering health benefits in the early 1940s as a way of circumventing World War II wage and price controls.
  • They were also created by an IRS ruling that said workers who received health benefits did not have to pay income taxes on them.
  • Most companies count health insurance as part of the employee’s compensation. If the employer pays a larger share, they often need to cut compensation somewhere else.

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Okay, I have to share this quick video addressing five myths and facts about healthcare. I had no idea most uninsured people (80%) are actually employed.
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Let’s take a second and put the Act in the simplest terms. Basically it claims to help more people get access to affordable health insurance. The Act also guarantees coverage for pre-existing health conditions and financial assistance for those who qualify. This may include savings on health insurance premiums via a tax credit or a government program such as Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or Medicare.

That leads us back to that open enrollment thing. This comes up every year at Nathan’s work and I usually feel too overwhelmed to figure it out, so I leave it to him (see first paragraph). I do know a few basics about choosing a health plan that is best for my family, but if you’re struggling, watch this video:
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You’ll also want to ask three important questions when choosing a health plan:

  1. Is your doctor in the plan’s network?
  2. What’s covered?
  3. How much does it cost?

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Now you’re better prepared to choose a health plan, but what are your options? Apparently there’s a whole health insurance marketplace—think of it as the Travelocity of health insurance. The marketplace helps people find health care coverage that fits their needs and ensures all plans being offered meet state and federal guidelines.

Even if you’re getting health insurance through an employer, it’s still helpful to compare how your current health plan stacks up to others offered. You never know…you might be one of the 87% of health insurance exchange applicants who saved $250 a month or more on their health insurance last year. It’s worth it to do a bit of comparing and shopping around before committing to a health plan.

Last but not least, college students. We are just over a year away from sending our first child to college and health insurance options can be tricky for college students. I remember a simple visit to the student health center leading to some tricky (and lengthy) paperwork for my parents. If you need coverage for your college student, this video is for you.
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By the way, if your head starts spinning from all those health insurance terms (OOP limits? co-insurance?), check out UHC’s health insurance glossary.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Red Velvet Rice Krispie Treats

2015 January 29
by Emily Hill

I first posted these red velvet rice krispie treats in February of 2012 thanks to Tiffany sharing the recipe. It took me three attempts to get it right but it was so worth it. Because my photography skills have improved a bit since then, I thought Valentine’s Day 2015 the perfect opportunity to revamp the recipe and the photos.

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Red Velvet Rice Krispie Treats - slight cocoa flavor with a drizzle of white chocolate. Perfect dessert for Valentines Day (or Christmas)!

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These red velvet rice krispie treats are unbelievably easy, but that’s not what I love best about them. What I love best is the light cocoa flavor thanks to a combination of Cocoa Krispies and red velvet cake mix.

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Red Velvet Rice Krispie Treats - slight cocoa flavor with a drizzle of white chocolate. Perfect dessert for Valentines Day (or Christmas)!

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Last time I made these, I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter rather than cutting them into squares. It’s totally an awesome option if you feel so inclined. Because these red velvet rice krispie treats are perfect for Valentine’s Day and Christmas, I went with a more generic shape this time. But go crazy if you want! (You can see them as hearts here.)

That doesn’t mean you can’t have a little Valentine’s Day fun with these babies. Just look at what happened when I got a little wild with the white chocolate drizzle.

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Red Velvet Rice Krispie Treats - slight cocoa flavor with a drizzle of white chocolate. Perfect dessert for Valentines Day (or Christmas)!

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Okay, maybe it’s more cute than wild, but I did have a lot of fun.

I love any dessert recipe that requires only 5 ingredients (4 required; 1 optional) and less than 20 minutes to prepare. Plus, red velvet rice krispie treats—like “normal” krispie treats—call for ingredients you usually have on hand. Double yay!

Printable recipe for red velvet rice krispie treats below. Enjoy!
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Red Velvet Rice Krispie Treats
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Red Velvet
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
 
These red velvet rice krispie treats have a hint of cocoa flavor and a drizzle of white chocolate. And they're absolutely delicious!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 1 (10.5-oz) bag mini marshmallows
  • 1 box red velvet cake mix
  • 6 cups Cocoa Krispies cereal
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Melt butter over medium-low heat in a large pot.
  2. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted.
  3. Add cake mix and stir until thoroughly combined. (I use the back of the spatula to break up any lumps.)
  4. Fold in Cocoa Krispies and stir until cereal is evenly coated.
  5. Spread in pan. Chill 15 minutes in refrigerator.
  6. Melt white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl for 1 minute at 70% power. Stir. (Chips will retain shape while microwaving, so don't overheat!) If not completely melted after stirring, microwave in 10-second increments. Drizzle over cooled treats.
  7. Keep treats tightly covered until ready to serve. (They're best if served the same day.)

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If you’re looking for more dessert-ish yumminess, check out my multiple Desserts {bars & brownies} board on Pinterest.

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Follow Emily Hill’s board desserts {bars & brownies} on Pinterest.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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Infinite Lash: Does It Really Work?

2015 January 28
by Emily Hill

This is a sponsored post for Infinite Lash. All thoughts, opinions and healthier, longer lashes are mine.

I’ve never really worried much about my eyelashes. They’re not the fullest or longest or thickest, but that’s my mascara’s job. I’ve heard of expensive eyelash serums but was never interested in forking out the money. Again, mascara seemed a much more affordable option. But for many people, mascara just doesn’t cut it and they’re looking for healthier, bigger, bolder, longer lashes. That’s where Infinite Lash Eyelash Enhance Serum comes in.
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Infinite Lash is a “unique eyelash serum infused with a blend of vitamins, minerals, polypeptides, and botanicals to nourish and rejuvenate your natural lashes and brows. Apply to lash line twice daily for 6 weeks, then nightly after. Results in only 2 weeks. Each tube is a 3-month supply.”

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Infinite Lash review - does it really work?
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But does Infinite Lash really work? You know I’m all about the honest review, and so I’m going to be completely honest.

It does.

But it takes a while. And don’t expect Jennifer Lopez-worthy lashes. (That takes a serious makeup crew.) But you can expect shinier, healthier, fuller, thicker lashes. You just gotta give it some time.

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Infinite Lash review - does it really work?
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To be honest, I was skeptical about Infinite Lash for the first couple weeks. It wasn’t until week three or four I finally noticed my lashes truly were looking longer AND I wasn’t losing eyelashes as often as I usually do. Plus, I don’t know if this is totally in my head, but I swear my mascara goes on better and smoother than before. Basically Infinite Lash gave my already awesome mascara a power boost!

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Infinite Lash review - does it really work?
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If you’re looking for a more affordable way to get amazing lashes, Infinite Lash Eyelash Enhance Serum is worth a try. Just remember to withhold judgement the first few weeks.

If you’ve tried Infinite Lash, I’d love to hear about your experience with it!

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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One Word Goal for 2015: BREATHE

2015 January 26
by Emily Hill

Today I’m on the Snap blog sharing my One Word Goal for 2015: BREATHE.

Sharing it makes me all the more accountable to achieve it, right?

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one word breathe quote

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I’d love for you to read my full post and discover how I’m hoping to take something I do without thinking and turn it into something that will help me become a better wife, mom and ME.

You’ll also discover my few exceptions to the BREATHE rule. I’m pretty sure you have a few of your own…

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If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out my “inspire me” Pinterest board.

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Follow Emily Hill’s board inspire me on Pinterest.

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ps post script

Feel free to “like” is this REALLY my life? on Facebook. It won’t always earn you an extra entry in a giveaway but it will give you warm fuzzies.

Don’t forget to sign up for free is this REALLY my life? updates via RSS or email so you don’t miss a single awesome post.
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