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Holiday Break

It is that time of year when I feel my to do list pressing down on me and the joy getting sucked out of this season. I hate that feeling. And I really hate it when this blog that I love becomes just another thing on the to do list. So after finishing off one last blog committment, I will be taking the rest of December off to enjoy some down time with my family and friends. Hopefully I will come back in January refreshed and with a lot to say.

Speaking of that last blog committment, it is a Twitter party Wednesday night at 8pm with Milk Means More talking about wine and cheese pairings using Michigan cheeses. As part of my job as co-host I have to purchase various wines and cheeses to sample during the party. The life of a blogger is HARD. I’d love it if you would join me. There are prizes to be won so come talk about two of my favorite things!

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season with your family. May you be able to find moments of peace and joy to reflect on the gift of our Savior. Emmanuel, God with us. Truly amazing.

 

Easy Alternative Energy With Windsource

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I don’t get back to my hometown in Iowa very often but last year I headed back for my 20 year high school reunion (WHAT??!!). The landscape of Iowa, which is typically cornfield after cornfield was suddenly dotted with wind farms. And I gotta say. They were beautiful. It got me super curious about wind farms. Then I recently read that Michigan has several of their own. Wind power is the new cool kid in town.

I am not quite a hippy tree hugger, but I definitely think we should continue to pursue renewable energy sources. And I am happy to live in a state that is committed to alternative energy. Xcel Energy is the #1 top provider of wind power solutions in Colorado, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and New Mexico.

 

1399903216000-xcel-energyThrough Windsource, Xcel Energy’s electric customers can purchase renewable energy, generated above and beyond the renewable energy in our standard energy supply. For as little as $1.20 per month, in addition to the electricity charges you would otherwise pay, you can enjoy the benefits of wind power. As a consumer of energy, I get to feel good that I am making a choice that is good for the environment. Business customers can use their Windsource participation toward LEED certification points, as well as displaying an overall green sensibility and respect for the environment.

The best part is I can choose exactly how much energy I want to get from Windsource. You can start with one block per month, which is the equivalent of 100 kilowatt-hours of electricity, or about enough electricity to power the lights in a typical home for a month. You can even choose to get 100% of your energy from Windsource. The best part? The wind power energy that you purchase is generated above and beyond what they are already doing in each state so your purchase directly increases the amount of renewable energy in each state.

Xcel Energy understands that our future is in renewable energy services. Wind is in abundance and it is time to harness its power. Not only that but wind farms increase local economic development for rural communities including jobs, tax revenue and income for landowners. It is really a win for everyone involved. I’m grateful that Windsource makes it so easy for me to make a difference.

If you’re in Colorado, Minnesota, New Mexico, Wisconsin, or Michigan you can call Xcel Energy at 1-800-895-4999 or visit ResponsibleByNature.com/Windsource to enroll.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Xcel Energy. The opinions and text are all mine.

Holiday Dressing With Dryel

One of my favorite things about this season is that I have an excuse to get fancy. Not that carpooling the kids all over town and back isn’t an excuse for a cocktail dress and some heels, but it seems as though a holiday party is a better reason to look fabulous. I have rounded up a few of my favorites from Nordstrom (one of my favorite places to shop fancy dresses because of free shipping and returns).

Holiday Dressing with Dryel

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Here is the only downside about fancy holiday dresses. All of the above are dry clean only. Normally I avoid “dry clean only” like the plague, but then I found Dryel.

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I am excited to be partnering with Dryel in 2015 as one of their blogging ambassadors. While I had heard of Dryel for years, I hadn’t ever used them before now. On the rare occasion that one of my clothes requires dry cleaning, I typically throw them in a pile to take to the dry cleaner where they sit for an incredibly long period of time until I finally take them. Then they typically sit at the dry cleaner for an incredibly long period of time until one day I need said outfit and remember, “Oh crap, I dropped that off at the dry cleaner 6 months ago.” It clearly wasn’t the most efficient system……

Dryel recently unveiled a brand new look and a new and improved bag, so it is the perfect time to give the Dryel system a try. Dryel is incredibly simple to use because it uses the power of steam from your own dryer. And because their starter kit cleans up to 10 garments for only $6.99 it saves a lot of money over traditional dry cleaning. I have been using on my “hand wash” items as well because honestly those usually get thrown in a pile to deal with later as well (and by later I mean they sit there for months until I forget they exist). During this time of year, it’s also great for freshening holiday linens, such as tablecloths and pillows that have sat on a shelf for the last 12 months.

You’ll be hearing more about Dryel in 2015 as my ambassadorship continues. In the meantime, check it out for all your holiday laundry needs!

Have you ever used Dryel? How do you handle “dry clean only” in your house?

Disclosure: I am a Dryel ambassador and have been compensate for my time and provided with products to facilitate my review. As always, all opinions are mine. 

Netflix For The Holidays #StreamTeam

Back on Thanksgiving weekend I asked a question on the Just Jilly Facebook page that was honestly one of the most popular posts I have ever written over there! I simply asked what your favorite holiday movie was.

In case you are dying to know, mine are Elf, the original Grinch and It’s a Wonderful Life. Since we gave up cable and rarely watch network TV due to a pretty pathetic antenna, I don’t catch all the holiday movies as easily as I used to. Thankfully, we own Elf and the Grinch. I think this year I’m going to have to add It’s A Wonderful Life to the mix because it simply isn’t Christmas without it.

I am so very thankful Netflix has a great holiday line up to get me through the holiday season. Some are old favorites (LOVE ACTUALLY!!) but others are new. We had a family movie night last Sunday and giggled our way through Merry Madagascar and a few other Dreamworks holiday originals.

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Speaking of Madagascar, get ready for a new Netflix original series debuting Dec. 19th starring some of your favorite characters from the movie franchise. All Hail King Julien follows King Julien and his loyal sidekicks Maurice and Mort on crazy jungle adventures. I think Silas is really going to love it! And if you can’t wait until the 19th maybe  Merry MadagascarMadly Madagascar or The Madagascar Penguins: A Christmas Caper can tide you over.

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Check out a few more great holiday favorites streaming on Netflix this month:

For the little people:

1. Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas
2. Mumfie’s White Christmas
3. In Search of Santa
4. VeggieTales: Saint Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving

For the big people:

1. Love Actually
2. The Office: S02E10 Christmas Party
3. Christmas with the Kranks
4. Scrooged

For the whole family:

1. White Christmas
2. The Muppet Christmas Carol

ps. Don’t forget Netflix gift cards make a great gift for Christmas. There might be a few going out to people on my list ;)

Disclosure: I am part of the Netflix Stream Team and was given a year-long subscription to Netflix. 

 

15 Tasty Gluten-Free Cookies and Bars

This time of year it seems at every holiday party there will be cookies. From informal cookie exchanges to the fanciest of soirees it is pretty much a given that these delicious American traditions will be filled with ingredients that I can’t eat. Sad face. Thankfully I have rounded up 15 recipes that the gluten-free among us can gorge on without consequence. Okay so that isn’t quite true, but at least if I get sick it won’t be from the gluten (more likely from the 10th cookie I sneak when no one is looking).

Check out Tasty Gluten Free Cookies and Bars

by Jill Shepherd Anderson at Foodie.com

Disclosure: This post was created in partnership with Mode Media, all opinions are my own.