My best finds of 2014

At the end of each year, I try to look back and the new items and experiences of the last twelve months and pick a few winners. This has previously been a mental list, but, since I have a blog, I figured I might as well share. Maybe you’ll see something you’d like to try. These are not brilliant, innovative discoveries – I’m definitely not starting any trends – they’re just a few things that have made my life easier or more enjoyable. (links are formatting weird for me, so I’ll add those later if possible)

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Running – this was a huge leap for me as I generally avoid physical activity. But after about three weeks, I noticed a physical improvement and kept with it until that 5k finish line. I hope to complete more races this spring.

Norwex body cloths – I’m a minimalist when I comes to skin care and makeup, and I’ve never used any kind of makeup remover. These have been wonderful, and they’re so easy! I use them to remove makeup at the end of the day and as a general face cleanser.

Joe’s Crab Shack paint-a-crab – kept the girls busy for an hour! And only $1.99.

Amazon Prime – having a three kids and cold weather pushed us to spring for this, and we haven’t regretted it. Fast shipping with no minimum purchase means fewer errands for me and no random purchases to get our cart over $35. Better for our sanity and budget. Plus shows on Prime instant video that aren’t available on Netflix.

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Windham furniture line at Target – we have four of these pieces now, two teal and two red. They are well-designed and sturdy. I usually gravitate toward neutral decor, so these give a great colorful pop! (And they go on sale every couple of weeks, so don’t pay full price)

Jamberry – my nail polish always chips after about 24 hours, even when I get a professional manicure. These are so fun and last almost two weeks for me.

Hy-Vee freezer meal prep nights – these were a lifesaver before baby. I didn’t have time to stock the freezer with my own meals, so I went to an “Open Dish Night” at Hy-Vee and made 10 meals in 90 minutes with 15 other ladies. Awesome!

What were your best “finds” of 2014?

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3 ways to get your Jim Gaffigan fix and still afford Hot Pockets

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I don’t remember how we got started, but we were hooked. Hooked on Jim Gaffigan. I’m not a big fan of stand-up comedians as their unoriginal bits are full of profanity, spouse-bashing and explicit sexual content. I like my comedy a little more relatable and with a better vocabulary.

Jim Gaffigan has five kids and lives in NYC in a small apartment with his wife who is also his co-writer and producer. We’ve enjoyed watching clips of him over the years, and seeing one of his live shows went on our bucket list.

Today I jumped on the presale for his Kansas City show in August, and we’ve got tickets, woohoo! They were pricy, not gonna lie – $70 each plus an obscene processing fee. We hardly ever go to things requiring tickets; free band concerts in the park are much more our speed. So this is a big deal, and we’ve got good seats.

This has been something we’ve been wanting to do for years, so we’ve had to get our Jim Gaffigan fix in other ways. Here are three ways to enjoy some good comedy and still afford the infamous Hot Pockets:

1. Netflix – Two of his shows, “Mr. Universe” and “Beyond the Pale,” are on Netflix, so add those to your queue.

2. His website – under “Specials,” you can download videos of two of his shows (the same two on Netflix), over an hour each, for $5 each.

3. Audio book via audible.com – this is my BEST tip. Gaffigan has written two books and reads them himself for the audio version. These are pricy, $22-25. But here’s what we did: with a free trial membership of audible.com, you get a book download. Score! So you can get 7 hours and 17 minutes of Jim Gaffigan for FREE with Food: A Love Story or 5 hours and 26 minutes of Gaffiganny goodness FREE with Dad Is Fat (our pick). You can immediately cancel the trial membership, and you still get to keep the audio book.

So while we’re waiting the one hundred and fifty-some days to see Jim Gaffigan sweat live in the Kansas August heat, we’ll laugh with some Netflix and finish Dad Is Fat.