Days of the Month: January + Photography Giveaway

Days of the month celebrate in December

Another month, another 31 days worth of celebrations! Here are January's days of the month and more fun blog post ideas, for those days when the creativity is lacking...

JANUARY
  1. New Years Day - What are your resolutions for 2016?
  2. Motivation & Inspiration Day - Share your tips for staying motivated. 
  3. Festival of Sleep Day - In need of a vacation, after your holiday break? Take the day off from blogging to rest up. 
  4. Trivia Day - Share some fun facts about yours truly!
  5. National Bird Day - Do you have a bird feeder in your back yard? Share pictures of your visitors.
  6. Cuddle Up Day - How do you like to spend a lazy day?
  7. Old Rock Day - Have you ever climbed a mountain? Share your experience and photos!
  8. Show & Tell At Work Day - Give your readers a glimpse into a day in the life of you.
  9. Play God Day - Do something good, and extra special, for someone today. Share with your readers.
  10. Cut Your Energy Cost Day - How do you reduce your carbon footprint?
  11. Clean off Your Desk Day - Do an office purge! How did it feel? What did you get rid of?
  12. Feast of Fabulous Wild Men Day - This is no joke. I give you permission to feast your eyes. 
  13. Skeptics Day - Believe in UFOs or ghosts? What are your skeptical about?
  14. Organize Your Home Day - How do you stay organized? Share your tips!
  15. Hat Day - If you could wear a different hat for a day, what would you do?
  16. Nothing Day - Take a break and relax today.
  17. National Bootlegger's Day - Share the recipe for your favourite cocktail.
  18. Thesaurus Day - Are there any words that you just don't understand? What are they and why?
  19. National Popcorn Day - Salty or sweet? Do you have a favourite popcorn recipe?
  20. Cheese Lovers Day - Have you ever had a wine and cheese pairing party? How did it go?
  21. National Hugging Day Today is the opportunity to give and receive. Give a hug, receive a hug. 
  22. Celebration of Life Day - How do you live life to the fullest? Share your bucket list.
  23. Handwriting Day - Show us your handwriting. Do a handwriting analysis. What does it say about you?
  24. Beer Can Appreciation Day - Have you ever taken a brewery tour? Share your fave local brews!
  25. Opposite Day - Play the game "2 Truths & a Lie" with your readers. See if they can guess!
  26. Spouse's Day - How do you celebrate your significant other? What's your ideal date night?
  27. Punch the Clock Day - What are your plans for the weekend?
  28. Blueberry Pancake Day - Share your favourite breakfast recipe with your readers. 
  29. International Fun at Work Day - Give us a behind-the-scenes glimpse into your career.
  30. National Croissant Day - Share a cultural recipe that you love.
  31. Backward Day - Reflect back on years past. Write a letter to your younger self. 
January is...
Creativity Month - Do you own a small business, or like to craft for fun? Show off your creativity!
Get Organized Month - How do you stay organized? Share your tips and tricks for keeping your home clutter-free.
Soup Month - Share your favourite soup recipe.
National Blood Donor Month - Have you ever donated blood? It's never too late!

This is just a small sampling of the many interesting and fun days celebrated in the month of January.  I hope you enjoy this feature, and that it brings your some inspiration when the creative juices just aren't flowing this month!

Happy New Year!

Past months: 
March  |  April  |  May  |  June  |  July  |  August  |  September  |  October  |  November  |  December

What will you celebrate this month?

New year, new hobby! Have you had an interest in getting into photography? Or maybe you want to up your photography game to help your blog or small business grow. Either way, this beginner photography giveaway is just for you! Just in time for the new year, I have teamed up with a great group of gals to be able to offer you the chance to win the ultimate beginner's photography package, worth roughly $550. Good luck!

The Ultimate Beginner's Photography Giveaway

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If you had of told me...

My word for 2015, was ENJOY.  And enjoy I sure did.


Looking back, 2015 brought many adventures and surprises for both myself and my family. If a year ago you had of told me that 2015 would have been even half the year it was, I probably would have had a hard time believing it.

If you had of told me...

That our mystery family vacation would take us to Italy... I would have said that I didn't expect Europe, but arrivederci Toronto, bonjourno Italy!  The summer was made even better when we spent a whirl-wind 2 weeks traveling through Rome, Naples and the Amalfi Coast. I'm so glad that could make the trip even better by surprising my family (on my dad's birthday) with our baby news in a little cafe, as we stuffed our bellies with homemade pasta, in Rome. Because who are we kidding, my family would have caught on reeeaaaalllll quick when I wasn't keeping up with the vino. 


That our yearly camping adventure would continue and others would jump on board... I would have told you to go take a hike. I'm happy that we were able to push our family members outside of their comfort zone, and that they enjoyed every minute of it. While we will be taking a step back from our usual canoe-in adventures and just do some car camping in late summer (as long as babe says its ok), I love that our camping gang continues to grow and is now a yearly tradition. 


That our condo construction would start in 2015... I would have laughed in your face. Considering we signed the dotted line over a year ago and things were moving very slowly because of "city delays", I didn't anticipate to receive the news until at least the beginning of the new year. But low and behold, we received the letter with those 3 little words I've been longing to hear, "construction has begun", last week.


That Christmas 2015 would be anything but white... I would have said its not possible, as I stomped my foot. For as long as I can remember we've had a white Christmas. But, apparently, there's a new norm, and I don't like it. In Toronto it was the warmest Christmas Eve on record, breaking the old record of 12.2C in 1964, even warmer than sunny Los Angeles. On Christmas Eve day I saw a man out running in shorts and a t-shirt and the car read 14C (or 60F). I don't like it one bit. 


And best of all - if you had of told me...

That we would be a family of 3 in early 2016... I would have had a slight panic, while dollar signs flashed before my eyes. But ultimately, would have said bring it on! Possibly the biggest, and best, news for our family this year was the addition of baby, and grandchild, #1. We can't wait to meet the little guy or gal at the end of March!


So, it's safe to say that 2015 was full of adventures and surprises, and that I enjoyed every. single. minute of it. 

I'm thinking 2016 will be just as exciting - moving into a new and temporary apartment, the new babe, the joys of maternity leave in Canada, camping and a trip back to Alaska, just to name a few adventures in store for us. 

Bring it on 2016!

What adventures and surprises did 2015 bring for you?

What word will describe your 2016?

Last Minute Christmas Spirit

Between the weather above freezing, the lack of white stuff on the ground, the last minute shopping and checking your list twice, it can sometimes be hard to feel merry and bright this time of the year. 

Are you in need of some last minute Christmas spirit? Today, I've gathered some of my favourite T.O. & fro Christmas posts from the past - recipes, decor ideas, DIY and other festivities galore - to help you feel merry and bright this holiday season. 

Happy Holidays!

last minute christmas spirit

Food & Drink


Pumpkin Whoopie Pies  |  No Bake Oreo Truffles  |  Apple Pie Moonshine  |  Homemade Irish Cream

Traditions, Hosting & Decor


6 Budget-Friendly Ways to Decorate  |  Tips for Hosting on a Budget
10 Christmas Traditions to Start with Your Special Someone

DIY & Gift Ideas


Wine Cork Christmas Tree  |  Bird Seed Ornaments  |  Christmas Gift Tags  |  Homemade Lotion Bars

Animals


Fun Facts About Reindeer   |  How To Keep Your Pets Safe This Holiday Season

Other Festivities


Toronto Christmas Market  |  10 Things To Do in Toronto This Holiday Season
How To Green Your Holidays  |  Favourite Christmas Movies  |  Dreaming of a 'Green' Christmas  |    


How do you get in the Christmas spirit?


No-Bake Oreo Truffles

In need of a simple, yet sweet, holiday treats recipe for your upcoming holiday office party? Try this recipe for easy, no-bake Oreo truffles. Don't let the word 'truffles' fool you - they are so easy, that this is even the perfect recipe for kids. And, they only require only three ingredients. Yes, 3! That’s it. They also look quite impressive, and in my hopes, might give people the impression that I spent hours in the kitchen whipping up these little beauties.

easy no-bake oreo truffles recipe

Each batch makes around 36 truffles, which sounds like a decent amount, but trust me, they don’t last. You maaaayyyyy want to double the batch. Enjoy!

Easy, No-Bake Oreo Truffles
Makes approximately 36 bite-size truffles

Ingredients:
  • 1 box of Oreos (regular or mint)
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • white chocolate chips or wafers
  • topping of your choice: red and green sprinkles, crushed candy canes, etc.
  • mini muffin cups (optional)

Directions:
  1. Start by crushing the Oreos. You can either put them in a plastic ziplock bag and crush with a rolling pin or use a food processor.
  2. Mix one 8 oz package of softened cream cheese with the crushed Oreos. Make sure it is blended well.
  3. Shape mixture into 36-40 balls. Ideally, you want them to be bite-sized.
  4. Refrigerate balls for around an hour to help firm them up. This will make them much easier to work with for the next step.
  5. Melt the chocolate (I used the microwave for 1 minute, stirring after 30 sec intervals) and, using two forks to help you coat them evenly, dip each ball into the chocolate. 
  6. Once dipped, placed the truffle on a piece of parchment paper or wire cooling rack. (I used a wire cooling rack to allow the excess chocolate to drip off.)
  7. Once the first coat has hardened, you may need to do a second coat of chocolate.
  8. Sprinkle with topping of your choice to make them look fancy and festive. Serve in a mini muffin cup.
  9. Store in a sealed container in the fridge. 

What is your favourite sweet treat to make during the holidays?


Stress-Free Gift Giving this Holiday Season

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #eHolidays #CollectiveBias

Stress-free gift giving

When people hear that my husband was a professional hockey player, they automatically think glitz and glam. While there were some perks to the lifestyle, such as visiting amazing places, experiencing new adventures and traditions and even creating lifelong friendships, there were also some negatives. Specifically, being away from family, missing birthdays, births and deaths, and eventually, moving away from those friendships that had blossomed over the time spent in that city.

I was fortunate to meet many incredible people throughout my husband’s career - many that I still stay in touch with to this day. Wherever he played, I was lucky enough to surround myself with a great group of girls - we went to home games together, we watched away games together, we kept each other company when the guys were on the road (often for weeks at a time) and we laughed, cried and celebrated together. Now that we’re living back in Toronto, keeping in touch can sometimes be difficult, especially around the holiday season when everyone's schedules are filled with food, fun and family time.

Stress-free gift giving

I love sending and receiving old-fashioned holiday cards, its a fun way to see what everyone has been up to throughout the year. However, sometimes a trip to the store or post office isn't always feasible. So how do I keep in touch? Enter the power of technology and digital holiday cards! 

Taking advantage of digital holiday greetings and gift cards is a stress-free gift giving option! There's no need to feel guilty about giving gift cards – nearly 50% of consumers, across all generations, chose the gift card over a physical gift of the same value. TheGiftCardShop.com makes it easy, by giving your friends and family what they really want this season. 
    Stress-free gift giving

    Do you have a friend that is planning a home renovation? The Home Depot gift card is perfect for those DIYers. How about that outdoorsman in your life? Put a smile on their face with a Bass Pro Shop or Cabela’s gift card. Or, give the gift of date night with a gift card to Olive Garden or another restaurant favourite.

    Stress-free gift giving

    TheGiftCardShop.com also offers many greeting card customizations that are all FREE with the purchase of a gift card! Tell that special someone how much you care this holiday season by adding a photo or personalized message to the greeting card.

    Stress-free gift giving

    For a limited time, receive a FREE Triple Chocolate Meltdown dessert when you buy a $25 Applebee’s Gift Card on TheGiftCardShop.com. 

    How do you stay in touch? Who would you send a greeting card from TheGiftCardShop.com to?

    It's Not Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas // Sponsor Spotlight

    So I have to admit, despite it being December 16, it does not feel like winter starts in 5 days. Even better, it doesn't feel like Christmas is just over a week away. In my neck of the woods, the temperatures have been hovering above freezing, setting records for all time highs. Warm temps = no snow. No snow = minimal Christmas spirit. 


    Fingers crossed that the snow falls soon so we can take full advantage of our favourite winter activities in the few short months before baby shows his/her face. 

    What is your favourite winter activity? 

    Swimming in Sunshine
    What is your favourite winter activity?
    We don't get a lot of winter where I'm from - but as much as I'd love to explore some snow covered peaks sometime, this is my favorite season in Florida! The crowds have come and gone, and the water is calling my name. Since the freshwater springs are a constant 72 degrees, winter really is an awesome time to dive in. On the rare occasion that the air temp actually drops below 72, the springs feel especially glorious!

    New to Swimming in Sunshine? Start here:
    Water Stories: Finding Shangri La
    Hiking Adventure: The Vandal Caves
    Hello October - Bare Bones in Monochrome

    Find Kelly here:
    Swimming in Sunshine  |  Instagram  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest

    Interested in being a part of next month's Sponsor Spotlight? Check out my Small Town sponsorship option.
    And, just in case you still have some last minute shopping to do this holiday season - make sure to enter this giveaway for $90 from Target, courtesy of Eat, Drink & Be Mary and gal pals!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway


    Last Christmas as a Duo

    I just had a realization the other day that this Christmas will be the last as "the two of us". I can already tell these remaining 15 weeks are going to fly by...

    Baby Wardo 25 weeks bumpdate

    How far along? 25 weeks - baby's due date is March 25, 2016.

    Gender? Keeping it a surprise, but I have my suspicions

    Names? We've got our lists and we're checking them twice... but we haven't settled on any real contenders yet. 

    Size of babe? An ear of corn, or 9 inches in length and a pound and a half. 

    Baby Wardo 25 weeks bumpdate

    What's going on with babe this week? Blood vessels are forming, nostrils are starting to open. 

    Cravings/aversions? My need for salt has decreased, slightly. I'm loving hot chocolate, but don't even mention chicken around me. Gag.

    Symptoms? As I near the third trimester, I have really started to feel my energy decrease again. Too bad I don't have Italy to distract me this time. Heart burn has also started to show its ugly face and I am constantly feeling stuffed up. But aside from that, the trend of no complaints continues. And let's hope it stays that way.

    Sleep? Can someone please tell me what that word means? Sleep is extremely limited. I am usually out cold by 9:30pm (and I mean so cold, I can't even form sentences if you try to wake me), and am wide awake at 11:30pm3:00am and 5:45am (of course, 15 minutes before my alarm clock). Could it be a sign of things to come?

    Baby movement? Constant and getting stronger. Someone commented at work the other day how I'm always moving and should sit and relax. Being able to relax would be nice, but between how uncomfortable I am sitting at my mini cubicle and baby telling me its time to move, I can't sit still for long. 

    Innie or outie? Half and half. I have a long torso and high belly button to begin with, so I feel like it's taking its sweet time to pop. Fine by me.

    Maternity clothes? I'm still holding on to some of my pre-pregnancy shirts. I would rather wear them into the ground now and be able to buy new clothes when I go back to work, than spend a ridiculous amount of money on maternity specific shirts. Maternity pants are unavoidable, but oh so comfy.

    How's dad? Amazing. He is so excited - talking to baby, feeling his/her kicks, asking how we are both doing. I can't wait to see him in his new role.

    Missing? Being able to stay up past 10pm. My energy. My sleep. Two cups of coffee a day.

    Looking forward to? Moving into our new apartment/temporary home in January and being able to set things for baby.

    15 weeks  |  20 weeks

    Baby Wardo 25 weeks bumpdate


    Take Me To the Mountains

    Happy International Mountain Day! Since 2003, December 11 has been observed to create awareness about the importance of mountains to life. Mountain systems cover about 27% of the world’s land surface and directly support 22% of the world’s people. From tourism-related activities such as skiing, climbing and hiking, to agricultural resources, such as coffee and spices, mountains provide opportunities to many all over the world.

    Mountains are some of the most beautiful of Mother Nature’s natural structures. They encompass some of the most spectacular landscapes, a wide variety of ecosystems, a great diversity of species, and distinctive human communities. They are tracts of relatively untouched wilderness, just waiting to be explored. 

    International Mountain Day

    Have you been to the mountains lately? What brought you there? How did it make you feel?


    Mountains give the opportunity to discover pieces of untouched wilderness far from light pollution and the noise and business of the city life, and show us what Mother Nature is all about. For me, mountains provided the opportunity to simply get outside. Whether it is to take in the view of the city from above, to set up a tent for a weekend with friends, to travel a winding road not knowing what’s at the turn ahead, or to fall asleep to the soothing calm of a rocking boat, being surrounded by towering, majestic mountains is a feeling like no other. 

    International Mountain Day
    International Mountain Day
    International Mountain Day
    International Mountain Day
    International Mountain Day

    What a flat, dull place the world would be without mountains.

    I miss the mountains.

    International Mountain Day

    International Mountain Day is your opportunity to head out and appreciate these unique landforms and all they have to offer. Is the landscape flat where you live? Instead, use this day as an excuse to get outside and explore the natural areas in your neck of the woods. 

    How will you celebrate?

    For more days celebrated this month, and throughout the year, as well as some fun blog post prompts, check out my Days of the Month series. 

    Q & A with Mae There Be Adventure

    One of my favourite things about the blogging community is getting to know people from other parts of the world. I first stumbled on Mae's blog sometime last year and we connected over our love of the outdoors and our time spent in Alaska (fun fact: Mae lived in Fairbanks as a child). After taking a bit of a break, and redefining what blogging meant to her, she is back with Mae There Be Adventure! And I am lucky enough to have her hanging out on T.O. & fro this month.  Take a moment to get to know Mae a little better, and be sure you go and say hello! 

     photo e98c9393-8864-4152-9f6f-2ef792f2ceb5_zpswneg60co.jpg

    Hi guys! I'm Mae! It's splendid to meet you all and spend some time on Mar's blog. Mae There Be Adventure is a new blog that is still trying to find it's true niche in the world wide web. I like to focus on the adventure of life, may that be hiking, traveling, or just living day to day life.

    Dog, cat or small animal person?
    Dog, dog, and did I say dog? I had a cat growing up that I pretty much forced my parents to get me. Lets just say her and I did NOT get a long. The minute a cat sees me they hiss and take off. Don't ask me why. But yeah, dogs. I love them. Especially my own dog. Have you met Opie yet? He's a turd but we love him. We actually are planning on adding another pup to our family within the next year as well! Wooohoo for fur children!

     photo 43973143-982b-448f-ab36-3e720961379f_zpst0c8oglh.jpg

    What is you favourite season?
    Fall, oh yes. What isn't there to love about fall? Wearing warm clothes, leaves, warm drinks, the smells. Hmmmm just beautiful.

    What is your favourite TV show or movie?
    Currently I am loving The Walking Dead, I am kind of a zombie weirdo. Anyone wanna talk about their zombie bug out plans? Good me either, keep that locked DOWN! (SPOLIER! Only if you're two weeks behind) Who else knew Glenn was still alive? There was no way they were just gonna let me go out that fast and not make it all emotional. Aside from that I am all about the Blacklist! We are halfway through season 2 right now. I just can't get enough of good ole Raymond Reddington.

    What is your favourite meal?
    Ya know, I never know how to answer this question. But I will say whenever we go out if Mac and Cheese or Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo is on the menu I am game! But for home meals Kyle and I love making homemade pizza on the BBQ. 

    If you were stuck on a deserted island, what are 3 things you couldn't live without?
    Haha, I'm gonna have to be not fun and realistic here. Water, sunscreen, and food. Yup, I am lame and went completely practical.

    What is your dream job?
    Ya know, that's a tough question. I'm going to have to say veterinarian or nurse. Definitely nurse. I actually have been considering going back to school to be a nurse. But I don't know, racking up student loans with the plans of being a stay at home mom in the next five years just seems contradicting.  

    If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?
    Ha! Funny you should ask that. First I would pay off my parents house so they could move up to the family ranch. Second pay off my car. Third buy a house. Fourth pay for Kyle's school. Fifth pay for me to go back to school. Than I don't know after that. I guess stick it in savings? Make bank accounts for future children? Give Kyle's parents money? Not work? Buy houses, fix them up, and sell them? I don't know. That's a lot of power! Hey, that's an idea! I'll hire someone to deal with my money so I wouldn't have to. 

    Do you have any New Years resolutions?
    Well yes I do. Check out this post here. And after you check it out, sign up! 

    What is your favourite travel destination, and why?
    That's a great question. But I don't really know how to answer it. I've really only been on three vacations. Honeymoon in the Caribbean, San Francisco for an A's vs Giants game, and Indy for a game against the Broncos (all hail Peyton Manning). Out of those three Indy was my favorite. But I'm gonna have to say if I were to truly go on a vacation again I would love to go back to the Caribbean. 

    Any travel plans for 2016?
    Sort of. We are moving from Nevada to Montana. Does that count? Other than that nothings planned. Kyle is starting PA school in July so I feel traveling is coming to halt for the next two years. 


    New to Mae There Be Adventure? Start here:

    Visit Mae here:



    Blast from the Past: Alaska

    Tomorrow is Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day! If you could time travel, where would you go? I would love to go back in time to the days of my past generations to see how they lived. Or, maybe check out past decades like the roaring 20s, the swinging 60s or even the disco era. If I had the ability to time travel, I would love to go back in time not to redo, but to relive. To relive some of the special moments and experiences in my life. 

    Today, I'm putting a different spin on time travel and sharing a blast from the past of some of my favourite Alaskan adventures. I hope you'll come along for the ride.

    Favourite Alaskan Adventures

    The Moment My Life Took A Turn  //  The day that I found out we were moving to the Land of the Midnight Sun.

    moving to Alaska

    A Valdez Adventure  //  Also known as 'what happens when you attempt an adventure without snacks or general preparedness'.

    Alaskan Marine Highway

    Denali National Park  //  My favourite photos from our 3 separate adventures to see the big one in Denali National Park.

    Caribou in Denali National Park

    Kenai Fjords National Park  //  A birthday celebration spent camping, climbing glaciers and cruising the Fjords.

    Fox Island, Alaska

    Fishing in Prince William Sound  //  After catching rockfish, salmon, shrimp and halibut, seeing wildlife galore, and spending a solid weekend with friends on the water, we were 'hooked' on Alaska!

    Fishing in Prince William Sound

    26 Glaciers  //  Cruising Prince William Sound amongst 26 towering glaciers, beautiful scenery and big wildlife.  

    26 Glacier Cruise, Prince William Sound

    This Isn't Goodbye  //  The hardest post I've ever had to write.

    Driving out of Alaska

    The Ultimate Road Trip: Day 1  //  Also known as that time I threw a temper tantrum that could rival any 2 year old. 

    Alaska/Yukon Border

    The Story of Our Engagement  //  Like something from 'The Notebook', rain and ugly cry included. 

    Kincaid Park Beach

    Down by Kachemak Bay  //  Allow me to introduce you to one of my good friends, midnight sun. 

    Midnight sun over Kachemak Bay

    Funny River Pups  //  A trip back to AK included time spent with these cuties at one of my favourite places on Earth.

    Funny River wolf pups

    I can't wait to get back this summer as a family of 3 and continue the adventures!

    If you are planning a trip to Alaska in the near future, I recommend checking out these great resources to make the most of your trip. Also, be sure to pack appropriately

    For more days celebrated this month, and throughout the year, as well as some fun blog post prompts, check out my Days of the Month series. 

    If you could time travel, where would you go?