The Traveling Sisterhood: 2016

Friday, December 30

How I Made $10000 Blogging an Hour a Day in 2016: The Free, Step-by-Step How-to Guide



So here's the run down, my blogging friends:
ShareASale (SAS): $5,407
Educents: $3,475
SoFab: $375
Adsense: $104
Commission Junction: $58
Random Sponsored Posts: $650
Total: $10,069

As you can see, SAS is my biggest earner. I wrote all about their affiliate platform in this series of posts. Educents was my 2nd biggest and by far the funnest! They have a great Facebook group, sweet people to work with, and they provide huge bonuses. Most of my earnings from them actually came from affiliate bonuses like "Sell the most Hooked-on-Phonics stuff this week, and win $150 on top of your commission." Stuff like that. I did just 3 sponsored posts for SoFab. Those are super fun "shoppertunities" but the applications can be time-consuming so I didn't invest as much time into them as into Educents and SAS. Commission Junction... meh. I haven't gotten into using it yet. Similar to SAS but not as many bonus opportunities and I just don't prefer the platform. SAS is much more user-friendly, imo, but some people love CJ so it's worth checking out. As for Adsense, that's Blogger's ad program. They allow me to place 3 ads in my sidebars and they're not annoying so I keep them up, but they only bring in about $100 a year for me. No effort on my part and $100 so I'll take it. ;) So there you have it, my friends! Click the hyperlinks throughout this paragraph for more detailed info into each program--how to sign up, how best to use it, samples of e-mails to send to companies, etc. 

 Here's to a productive 2017!

Haven't started your product review blog yet? Head on over here and I'll show you how!

Friday, December 23

Mac N Cheese Bites: The Cutest, Most Delicious Christmas or New Year's Appetizers! #Recipe



These homemade Mac N Cheese bites are my new favorite appetizer!  My mother in law made them for us on Thanksgiving and I fell in love with their bitesized goodness.  With my new Love Cooking Company mini muffin pan, I decided to try them out and they were a raving hit at my Christmas party!

Ingredients
  • 2½ cups elbow macaroni (or 1 8 oz. box)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 egg beaten

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cook pasta according to packaged directions and set aside.
  3. In a medium size pan combine butter and flour over medium heat. Whisk until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Slowly add milk and bring to a simmer. Add 1½ cups of the cheese, cream cheese, salt and pepper. Stir until smooth and creamy. Remove from heat.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, carefully stir pasta, cheese sauce, and egg until evenly mixed and pasta is evenly coated.
  5. Spoon mac and cheese into mini muffin tins (a rounded tablespoon works perfectly!) and top each with a small pinch of remaining cheese. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Allow to cool 5 minutes before gently removing the bites.  They slip out very easily with a spoon!


Adapted from a recipe I found on Chef in Training.

Thursday, December 22

The Ultimate Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide! Affordable, Unique Things You Can Find In Town


Here you'll find super affordable stocking stuffers for everyone on your list from the hubby to the mom to the kids! You can find these items locally at places like Wal-Mart, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and Michael's.


Balm Shot--now this stuff is amazing! My hubby and I both agree. This lip balm comes packaged like ammo! It's very cool looking, but it is also incredibly moisturizing and doesn't have that horrid taste like some balms and chapsticks do. I prefer the Pomegranate, while my hubby likes the Classic. There's also a Vanilla Mint that has a light tint to it.

You can get Balm Shot at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for about $5. Definitely an awesome stocking stuffer, especially if your guy is into hunting!

The BBC's Jericho on DVD was one of my favorite shows this year. Those it's a lesser known one, it was so good! It's an English Western (didn't know there was such a thing, did ya?) and the BBC did it well! For the fan who's seen almost every BBC romantic period drama, this is just the thing! It came out earlier this year and I'm pretty sure you can find it at Wal-Mart or Barnes and Noble.
My kids love these animals from Safari Ltd.! They're the perfect stocking stuffer. The company makes every animal you can imagine--both realistic and fantasy. Find them at Michael's where you can use their 40% off coupon to get them at a great deal.

Last Minute Christmas Gifts: Subscription Box Edition! The Best Boxes of 2016


Ok guys, it’s 2 days until Christmas and you still don’t have a gift for cousin X, friend Y and sister Z. Now imagine how much you would love it if someone gifted you a subscription box! So then... how much would they love it?! Here are my favorites and there's something for everyone!

For the new baby in the family or the mama to be: BabyBin! They provide you with products you need, when you need them. That’s why their monthly shipments aren’t one-size-fits-all, but are dependent on the child’s age, gender, and developmental stage. Gift 1, 3, 6, or 12 months.
For the Christian: Devotions Delivered! Every month, your gift recipient will receive 4 (5x7) prints paired with inspirational scriptures and an inspiring devotional. I loved these! The prints are also postcards (US postcard postage included which is very awesome!) so you can spread His message.
Imperial Glamour is a monthly beauty subscription box that is filled to the bring with "high quality, natural, organic and vegan products" all revolving around a monthly theme. The best gift for the princess or queen in your life!
For the mommy who deserves some pampering: Mommy Mailbox! This box comes beautifully packaged once  a month with a variety of fancy treats, cosmetics, and accessories. Boxes ship free the first week of every month so she'll get her box in early January.
For the reader: Books on Dragon Wings! Packed full of great stuff surrounding a quarterly fantasy book theme, this is one of my favorite subscription boxes of the year. Order the most recent Mermaid themed box and your giftee will receive it within a few days! Use the code TSIS10 to save 10% on either a gift purchase or subscription.

For the Canadian: Bathorium! Every month, Bathorium delivers luxurious bath products throughout Canada. Let me tell you, this coconut vanilla bath bomb smelled so absolutely amazing throughout my house! A wide variety of box choices with different prices makes this a very affordable gift subscription.

For the girl with the green thumb... or the guy: Bloomin' Bin! I gave this one to my hubby as an early Christmas gift and he loved it! Each month, your giftee will receive a variety of plants, pots, and other goodies to go along with them. I received 4 succulents and planted them in the included pots. Love!

For the lovely: Fruit for Thought! This box comes so beautifully and truly thoughtfully packaged. The December theme was Cranberry Orange. The best thing about this box is that you can choose a certain past box you think she'll love and send her that one! Or you can surprise her with a 3 month subscription.

For the superhero fan: Ladies of Legend. Each month, a comic book star is featured. This time--Wonder Woman! The box came with a variety of fun items themed around this lady of legend--the "comic" itself is a nice hardcover that's actually 5 comics in one. I've always been an X-men kind of girl, so I don't know a lot about Wonder Woman so I'm really looking forward to learning more before I watch the new movie!

For the fitness guy or girl: BuffBoxx! Now this box blew me away--it came with not only some great snacks, but a fun tank, backpack, and super nice leggings by Reebok with a retail value of about $50! Those paid for the box in and of themselves.

For the science fiction geek: Supply Pod! This month--Star Wars! Last month, Dr. Who! Each month, Supply Pod brings you the coolest sci-fi items revolving around a theme, and they always include a science experiment, too, which is awesome! My son loved the Rogue One wall decals. We also received a t-shirt, kite, and Star Wars rocket. Those are going under the Christmas tree!

For the guy: The People's Choice Beef Jerky Box! My hubby was thrilled about this box. He kept asking, "Babe, why don't you ever get me anything to review?" Well, I got him this one and he was a happy camper. It came with 5 different types of fancy jerky--impressive!


For the scrapbooker or card maker: Creative Mercantile. Every month, she'll receive a box of goodies surrounding a theme. November's theme was "Thankfulness" and included a wide variety of inspiring items I can't wait to get crafty with!

For the adventurous foodie: The Bon Appetit Box! Every month, they'll receive a box of fabulous items from France. I loved the Petits Toasts--they were delicious. A taste adventure! Use the code CELENABAB to get $10 off the first box!

For the anime lover: The Bokksu Box! I've tried a variety of Japan-themed boxes and this one is by far my favorite! It came with so many fun goodies you actually can't find in American stores.... plus tea! Anyone who sends me tea gets bonus points!

Just right click, save, and then print on cardstock to the size you want. Write the name of the subscription box you've purchased on the back (be sure to include how many months) and sign it with love. :)

The Ultimate, Last Minute Pet Gift Guide! Stuff you can find around town OR on-line!


Are the gifts for your fur baby lacking? Or do you need something special to give to that animal-loving friend or relative? Here are my favorite last-minute pooch and kitty gift ideas and where to get them!

Natural treats from The Honest Kitchen! Lucy especially loves the Smooches--heart shaped, peanut butter flavored cookies. They'd be super cute for your animal-loving friend included with the new book Dog Obsessed. It includes so much info on dogs and 45 recipes! Find Honest Kitchen goodies at Sprouts, Whole Foods, and most natural food stores. Sign up for their newsletter and get a $5 off coupon you can use in store!
  Are you feeling crafty? Make your kitty or puppy a no-sew pet bed for cheap! Find all the supplies at Wal-Mart and the instructions at the post here.
A game by Outward Hound. One of Lucy's favorite things in the world is her Kibble Drop game! Find their games and toys at Petco or Petsmart.
PawPack! The gift that keeps on giving--a subscription box for 1, 3, 6, or 12 months. Include the gift card above if you're giving to a person and not your fur baby. Just right click to save and print.

Raw Paws Pet Chews! They're online, but they're still offering free holiday shipping today on their Christmas gift packs for cats and dogs! I ordered Lucy the Holiday Treat Pack for dogs and I love that they included gift wrapping with it. Very fun! Save an extra 10% on your order with the code RAWTAKE10.
Do you have anymore wonderful last minute pet gift ideas? Share them below!

Wednesday, December 21

Arrowhead Sparkling Giveaway!

Would you like a 6 pack of Sparkling Arrowhead delivered to your mailbox? ;) There are 3 new flavors--Black Cherry, Raspberry Lime, and Mandarin Orange. The winner will be able to choose which flavor they'd like to try.

Doesn't it look pretty in the fridge?! It's also really delicious paired with cranberry juice to make sparkling fruit punch!

Enter below by midnight on 12/31 and have a happy new year! Don't forget to enter my other food giveaway, too, for Mrs. Freshley's Desserts that ends on the same day!

Saturday, December 17

"Promise Me This" Giveaway: Historical Fiction about the Titanic!

Promise Me This is such an incredible story!  The reader is swept away from the first page.  Michael and Annie, the two main characters of the story, begin the book's pages in their early teenage years.  Neither of them are much to admire. However, God sees things in people that we don't always see...


The stories captures you, you're in another time, you're a starving child with a terrifying uncle, you watch as the Titanic is built and then filled, and suddenly you're a stowaway on board "the ship not even God Himself could sink."  And then you're seeing the Titanic go down and feeling the panic of the people around you, you're hearing the last songs the musicians played as the ship sunk, you're feeling the weight of the tragedy as people jump to their deaths because there's no escape, and then you're rescued... a stowaway who didn't deserve the sacrifice one man made for you, not to mention the grace of God.  And later, you're in Germany on a grand tour when World War I suddenly breaks out.  You're English, stranded in a foreign country where the citizens hate you.  You're on a train taken over by Nazi's who force you to leave it and then you're marching on foot to France and then going on to England.   This story is gripping!  And woven through it all is "Sweet Jesus," the author of our lives who weaves everything perfectly together (even the tragic) to create a masterpiece.


Ends Dec. 23. I'll choose a winner that night. Just fill in the form below to win. :)

Friday, December 16

An Incredible Toy Sale at Target: My Little Pony, Stars Wars, Play-doh and More ALL on Sale with Free Shipping Thru 12/21!


The links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

All of the above plus, order before 4pm ET on 12/21, receive free standard delivery by 12/23 at Target.com! It's valid on most items - just choose "holiday shipping" at checkout.
Here are a few of our absolute favorite gifts, new for the season, available now! Just search their name once you visit Target.com:

I gifted my kiddos with an early-Christmas present--the Play-Doh Sweet Shoppe Swirl and Scoop Set! It's a vast improvement on their old ice cream set and my daughter loves it. It does make very delicious looking ice cream. ;)
This was something from my other daughter's wishlist. The new Crystal Empire Castle from the new movie. It even comes with...

Baby Flurry Heart! My youngest daughter helped me wrap this for her sister and she said she is going to be sooooooooo excited!
 
And something totally awesome for the boys: the Star Wars Rogue One Interactech Imperial Stormtrooper. He makes all kinds of cool flight sounds when you pick him up, battle sounds when you shake him, and says a bunch of cool phrases. My son is going to think he's awesome!

Let me know if you find any other great toys at Target.com!

Tuesday, December 13

A Green-Eyed Book Giveaway: Incredible Reading You'll Want to Win!



God has used the people in my favorite books, whether real (like in Green-Eyed) or fictional (like in Mark of the Lion) to touch my heart and change my life. Just as He uses His word, He uses books to touch hearts, inspire, encourage. I know I really love a book when I have to put it down to grab a pen and start underlining my favorite parts, putting notes all around the margins, and especially when I'm suddenly inspired with a new idea for my own book. Green-eyed was like that! It was the best book I've read in a very long time and I'm thrilled that I get to give one away to one of my lovely readers!

You can get When Jesus was a Green-Eyed Brunette: Loving People Like God Does on Amazon for $9. Add it to your Wishlist just in case you don't win. This is one book you want to read!! Giveaway ends 12/21.
Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Sunday, December 11

Sparki, the Awesomest Programmable Robot for Christmas!


"Once there was a robot named Sparki and every morning he brought a little girl her apple." Or so goes the story my little girl told one morning after programming Sparki to do just that. Not only can you get Sparki to fetch things for you, but you can program him in endless ways, He's got a cute personality the way he moves his little head around and rolls on his wheels, spins when you press the button you'd programmed to make him do so, and comes with access to a website with hundreds of fun and user-friendly lessons to get you learning more and more about robotics and electronics... without even realize you're doing so even if you're only 11 years old! And this is just the tip of the iceberg!

Sparki works out of the box with his remote control. To write your own programs, you just plug him in via USB, install the custom-enhanced Arduino software and try any of the dozens of example programs. They have programs for every sensor and actuator on Sparki: distance, pick-up, fall, climbing, light following, dark seeking, mazes, line follow, sumo, beeping, booping, and musical tones. He's got a marker holder for drawing and works with Arduino or Raspberry Pi. Pretty incredible, right?! I'm not kidding you, ArcBotics thought of everything when they came up with Sparki!

Sparki is an affordable, easy to use, and fun intro to electronics and robotics for all ages! He's recommended for 11 and up, but my just-turned 10 year old son is able to program him and direct his steps... er, wheels. And even my 37 year old husband really gets into programming him. Sparki's simple enough for beginners, while being feature-packed enough to be a must-have for pro-users. I can't imagine a more wonderful first robot! A gift the child in your life can grow up with, be challenged by, and never grow bored of. Check out our video below. These are the things you can do with Sparki right out of the box, even before programming him.

 

You can buy Sparki at ArcBotics on-line shop for $149 with free shipping. Who will you be buying him for? Let me know in the comments and have a very merry Christmas!

Special thanks to the wonderful people at ArcBotics for providing us with this robot to review. All opinions are honest and our own. Post includes affiliate links.