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Get a FREE Citrus Lane Box With SwagBucks



By taking advantage of a money-making platform called SwagBucks, I managed to score a free subscription box from Citrus Lane. How can you do it and find other awesome deals like this?  Follow the steps below:

1.) Sign Up With SwagBucks

SwagBucks is an online website where members can earn points for taking polls, surveys, watching and reading content, and taking advantage of special third-party offers.  Each SwagBuck point is one cent, and they can be redeemed for a wide array of gift cards (including Visa Reward Cards, Amazon gift cards, and gas cards, plus many MANY more).  Getting started is easy.  Click here to set up your account.

2.) Once you have opened your account and gone through the tutorial, find the special offer on the homepage for CitrusLane.  The offer will give you SwagBucks for signing up for a one month subscription to Citrus Lane.  There is also a coupon to save 40% on your first box.  Click the offer on the SwagBucks page so you will be credited.

3.) Sign up for your one month subscription to Citrus Lane.  Don’t forget to use the coupon code: TAKE40.

4.) That’s it!  You will receive a confirmation e-mail from Citrus Lane regarding your subscription.  You will also shortly receive a confirmation e-mail from SwagBucks stating your account will be credited the SwagBucks offer bonus.

5.) If you sign up for only one month of Citrus Lane, using the coupon code, you will pay only $17.40, but you will be credited SwagBucks points to redeem for gift cards.  You’re literally being paid to get a free subscription box.  But don’t forget to cancel your subscription to Citrus Lane after the first month or you will be auto-billed for another month.


Disclaimer: This post contains referral links.  I am not affiliated with these brands other than being a user of them.  This is NOT a sponsored post.

New Years Resolutions



Welcome 2015

It’s almost New Years!  I couldn’t be any more excited to leave this past year behind and enter into the new.  There were many high points — my business taking off and buying a new house — but there were so many low points that I’d rather leave 2014 behind.

Before we can usher in 2015, it’s traditional to decide on a New Year’s Resolution.  While talking with my friend, The Wise Wife, about keeping my resolution for the first time in 2014, I decided to create a list of doable resolutions and share my tips for those who have never kept a resolution.

ADD to Your Life

The first tip in keeping a resolution is to make it something that adds to your life rather than takes away.  For example, instead of making a resolution to lose weight, make a resolution to add one fresh vegetable or fruit serving to your diet each day.  This way, you won’t feel as though you are depriving yourself and are more likely to stick with the plan.

Don’t Focus On The Bad

By the same token, if you are going to keep a resolution, you need to focus on your good qualities instead of the bad.  If you make a resolution to lose weight, you are focusing on the bad (the weight).  Consider your good qualities or skills and find ways to accentuate them.  Are you an excellent cook?  Challenge your culinary skills by incorporating a vegan or vegetarian meal into your diet once a week. Are you good at working with a team?  Consider volunteering at a food bank or animal shelter twice a month.

Set Realistic Standards

You are NOT going to start jogging after dinner every night.  You are NOT going to deep clean one room a week.  You also are NOT going to rid yourself of all your skinny clothes because you will inevitably burn out, postpone, or find those 10 shirts you just can’t bear to part with.  Pick your resolution and then set realistic time frames, quantities and standards.


Easy Resolution Cheat Sheet


 Still not sure of a resolution?  Here are some DOABLE resolutions.

1.) Volunteer at __________ once a month.

2.) Add family time to your week by eating dinner at the table (NO phones or television) on weeknights.

3.) Add jogging after work for 30 minutes one day a week.

4.) Add organization to your life by buying organizers, then declutter and purge one room once a month.

5.) Add a sense of involvement and fulfillment to your life by donating to your choice charity for every holiday (including Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc.)


The Resolution I Kept


My resolution for 2014 was every time I am asked by an individual, organization, family, or friend to donate to a cause (so long as I don’t have a moral objection to the cause) I will secretly donate.  It was difficult keeping the resolution, especially when we hit financial straights, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it (or keep in secret) without the good fortune of my Etsy shop taking off this year.

Limiting Children’s Screen Time


The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children under two years of age not be exposed to any screen time (source).  While that’s obviously impractical for many reasons — how do you prevent inadvertent watching? — parents need to find the right balance so their children don’t become entirely dependent on technology for entertainment.

Encourage children to put down the technology with these four simple tips:

1.) Playing WITH them with their non-electronic toys.  You’re never too old to make-believe with your child.  Show your child how much fun (even if you have to fake it) it is to play with non-electronic toys that require imaginative play.  When your child comes up with his own story line for make-believe, make a big deal of it and praise him or her for being creative.  This will encourage your child to engage in more creative activities.

2.) Limit screen time.  Get a timer, set it, and stick to it.

3.) Make screen time count by ensuring the programs she is watching and the games she is playing are educational.  Sorry, Spongebob, but you just won’t make the cut.

4.) DO NOT GIVE YOUR CHILDREN SMARTPHONES.  This one irritates me for several reasons, the biggest being the security risk for the child.  No child needs a smartphone.  The excuse that “if my child needs to call me in an emergency” doesn’t excuse all the bells and whistles of a smartphone.  How many times have I taken my toddler to the park and not a single swing was available because a bunch of five-year-olds had their butts planted on the seats, texting away on their smartphones.  How many times have I had to pause pushing my cart at the grocery store to allow a child to pass because he was so engrossed in his smartphone that he wasn’t paying attention to where he was going.  Bottom line, kids don’t need smartphones.



It’s FREE SHIPPING THURSDAY! Thousands of retailers are offering free shipping and guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve if you purchase today, Thursday the 18th. Check out which retailers are participating, here: http://www.freeshippingday.com/

As always, shipping is free at thelittledabbler Etsy shop because everything is digital!

It’s Cyber Monday!


 Don’t forget to support small businesses this holiday season!

At thelittledabbler Etsy shop, feel free to use coupon code CYBERMONDAY2014 to save 25% on an order of $4 or more now through December 8th.

Moving With a Toddler


We were concerned about moving our two-year-old son to a new house.  How would he react?  Would he miss the old house?  Luckily, that wasn’t a problem for us!

Our son loved running around the new house as we installed the new flooring.

My husband and I recently bought our first (and hopefully forever) house.  Moving entailed renting a uHaul and having our parents help us move the 6 years worth of stuff we accumulated, our two-year-old son and all of his stuff, and our three cats.  It was crazy to say the least, and I learned I am an expert at maneuvering a 10 foot box truck.

We had moved two of our three cats before, so we knew how they would react. Those two were understandably apprehensive and hid most of the time.  The other cat, the most easy-going creature you’ll ever meet, took to the new house like he owned it.

What we were most concerned about was moving our two-year-old and how he would react.  Our worries were unfounded, we soon discovered.  He loved the new house!  We had managed to avoid the horror stories of children crying for their old home and not sleeping for the first several weeks by acclimating our son to the new house.

Before we actually closed on the house, we took our son with us to cut the grass (the listing agents hadn’t kept up with it and it was 18 inches high in some parts).  At the end of that long, sweaty day, he threw an absolute tantrum when it was time to leave.  For once, this tantrum was a good sign.  He already wanted to stay at the new house.

Each time we went out to work on the house, we took him with us.  We established which room upstairs would be his playroom and put some of his favorite toys in it, along with some blankets and a pack of diapers.  The key here was familiarity, bringing objects he loved and knew and placing them in the foreign space.  We then allowed him free rein of the house.  Like our cats, he needed to “sniff out” every corner of the house on his own and gather his bearings.  By the time the official move date arrived, he already was begging each day to “go new house”.


Moving A Toddler to a New House Summary

— Introduce the child to the new house several times before the move-in date

— Establish his/her own space in the house (the bedroom, a play room)

— Place toys and familiar objects in the new house for your child to interact with

— Making sure the house is child-proofed, allow your child free rein to “sniff out” every corner

— Talk about the new house with your child every day before the big move


If your child is at the age to move to a toddle bed or start potty training, consider putting these off until after the move.  Your child will already be stressed as it is from the move that he won’t be able to focus fully on learning the new skills.


What have I been up to?


I’ve been very quiet on my blog recently and even had to shut down my Etsy shop for a week.  Why?

My husband and I bought and moved into a new house!

New House

There’s so much work to do at this house.  The people who lived here before rented from the owner.  They were… well… pig isn’t a very nice word to describe someone, but it’s very accurate in this case.  Let’s put it this way: they allowed their chicken to live in the house and poop in the kitchen cabinets.  Yeah… needless to say, we spent a good month making repairs and cleaning before moving in.

We also installed those hardwood (technically engineered) floors we won.  I’ll update you on that later.

If you’d like to keep up with all the changes going on at thelittledabbler’s house, just search THE NEW HOUSE or follow me on Facebook.


Love With Food September 2014 Box Review


Last year, I received and reviewed the August and October 2013 Love With Food boxes.  I was underwhelmed with them and canceled my subscription.  Out of the blue, I received an e-mail from Love With Food offering me a free box.  I guess they are trying to win customers back? Anyway, it worked because who’s going to pass up free snacks?

So, here is my non-sponsored and honest review of their September 2014 box.


First Look

The first look was actually very promising.  The box was quite heavy and packed as tight as could be.  I knew from the title of this month’s box, “Spice Up Your Life,” that this box would featured spicy items.  As soon as I opened it, the aroma of all the spice rose up and filled my nose with a wonderful, delightful scent.  I was excited to get eating!


Simply So Sweet Chili Tortilla Chips by Way Better Snacks

Maruso Ghost Soy Sauce by Maruso

These chips were simply amazing. I’m not a fan of salsa or hot things, but these came in just under the spicy radar enough that I gobbled them up without much heat damage to my mouth.  My husband and I want more, but they are quite $$$ pricey at more that $20 for an average sized bag of chips.

I didn’t try the soy sauce because I hate soy sauce.  My husband ate it with some sweet potato tater tots and reports that it is “very good,” “not your average soy sauce,” and is really hot.


Lemon Rosemary Seasoning by Fogg City Spice Co.

Green Superfood by Amazing Grass

We used the spice on a chicken/potato/broccoli dish we found on Pinterest.  Basically, you put some chicken breasts in a glass cake baking dish with some chopped up potatoes, a bunch of frozen broccoli.  Melt a half stick of butter over it, add some spice (usually Montreal Chicken), and cook for 80 minutes at 400 degrees.  This spice was just, okay.  It actually made me a little sick the first time I tried it despite house delicious it smells.

I really wish I would have taken a picture of the Amazing Grass drink mix.  Let me describe how it looked. Warning, put down whatever food you are eating and swallow, because you won’t want anything after this.  Imagine you fed a baby green beans for a week straight, but the baby didn’t poo in that entire time.  At the end of the week, the baby gets diarrhea and it spurts and foams out in a liquid mess with glumps of green goo.  According to my husband, who was the only person brave enough to try it, it tasted just about like that as well.


Hemp Rules Roasted Hempseeds by Ziggy Marley Organics

Rich Chocolate Cookie Thins by Mandy’s

These hempseeds weren’t bad, but the certainly were odd.  They reminded me of eating the partially popped kernels of popcorn, but without the buttery flavor.  They were small little seeds that were super crunchy.  My husband finished them and wasn’t thrilled either.

The cookies, though, were super good!  We had tried chocolate cookie thins in the past from other companies, but those were downright awful, like eating only the black part of an Oreo.  These were surprisingly sweet (there’s glazed sugar on top) and tasty.  I would definitely eat more of these if I had some!


Churro Kettle Corn by Love With Food

It appears Love With Food is trying out a new thing by including products created by them.  If this is their first try at it, they succeeded.  This cinnamon sugar popcorn smelled and tasted soooo good.  I couldn’t wait for my husband to come home from work (I usually wait so he can see everything, too) before jumping in.


5 Spice Dark Chocolate Caramels by Shotwell Candy Co.

We end now with the coupons, pamphlets, and business cards that were in the box and the most disgusting thing I’ve tasted in a long time.  Sorry, Shotwell Candy Co., but these brown wax paper wrapped caramels were so gross, I spit it out and ran to the sink to rinse my mouth.  I’ve never had such a strong reaction to a taste since I was a teenager.  Let me list the ingredients and you’ll see just why these were awful:

Ingredients: pure cane sugar, cream, light corn syrup, butter, dark chocolate, vanilla extract, almond extract, salt, five-spice powder (cinnamon, star anise, anise seed, ginger, clove)

Mind you, these were chocolate caramels with almond extract and a 5-blend of spices.  If you are adventurous, try them, but I highly recommend against it.


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If you are interested in giving Love With Food a try, click here to sign up and get your first box FREE.