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This is one of the new ornaments on our tree this year. We picked this one up in September before we got on our ship in Port Canaveral. It was pretty cool to go back to Cocoa Beach because we had visited there two years before on our honeymoon. And I love this ornament. How can you get any better than scuba Santa Claus?

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I think I may have found a new obsession. I’m a huge fan of Amazon; I’ve been buying stuff from them since they were basically a bookstore. With our two Kindles and my love of all things Amazon, we subscribe to Amazon Prime which, among other things, comes with free television episodes and movies, but also acts like a rental service ala Netflix. I wanted to make sure we take full advantage of the service since we pay for it so we ordered a Roku on Black Friday. We got a great deal and this thing is amazing. You plug it in, via HDMI or regular video, and it uses a wireless signal to transmit video to your TV. It works with Amazon Prime, July, Netflix, etc. I just hooked it up today and I’m already addicted. I can watch my old favorite shows for free like Dawson’s Creek and Felecity. Plus we can rent movies. It’s wonderful. I actually want to get another one to go on our bedroom TV. I have the 2XD in the living room for 1080p but the bedroom TV isn’t HD so the cheaper model could go in there. The 2XD is $59.99 right now (usually $79.99) on Amazon with a $10 credit to rent movies or shows via Amazon. I think the lower model is $39.99 if you’re interested.

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The mailman and the UPS man love me. That’s what happens when you find amazing Black Friday deals online that are better than the in-store deals with free shipping. And it doesn’t hurt that I also get cash back on my online purchase via Ebates.

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Okay, so after seeing the commercial Ron kept suggesting I buy one of those Air Wick Color Changing candles. I figured it was some kind of hoax so it took me a while to bite, but I finally did. They are the coolest thing ever. I don’t really get how it works, but it does. I think it must have to do with heat, but as soon as you light the wick the candle starts glowing and changing colors. It’s pretty nifty. I’ll have to get another one because they’re that cool. They kind of stink when you blow them out, more so than normal candles, but I can overlook that.

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Christmas has arrived! Today Ron and I put up our tree and decorated for Christmas. We have a pretty cool Hallmark ornament this year. It’s called “Deck the House” and it lights up and goes crazy, playing music and flashing. We also added a few new ornaments this year from our trips we took. We always pick up an ornament everywhere we go so we have some new ones from Mexico, Honduras, Belize, Beaufort, Charleston and Skyline Drive. Our tree is kind of like a scrapbook in tree-form.

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Back in August I bought a Groupon for Diamond Candles and I finally used it last week. Each soy candle contains a ring that is worth anywhere from $10 to a $1,000. You have to burn the candle in order to get the ring out. I started burning mine Thursday and today, it had burned down enough to get my ring out. It’s a pretty ruby-like ring with diamond-like stones. It’s actually very pretty. I have no idea what it’s worth, but I like it. I wish it were smaller, but with a ring size of 4 1/2 I really didn’t expect it to be the perfect size. I’ll have to add one of those ring sizer things to it.

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Black Friday is finished. Expect for a very small amount of things, my Christmas list is finished. Everything for Ron and I’s three Angel Tree children is purchased and just needs to be labeled and turned in. And I’m glad Black Friday was a safe event. It was chaotic like always, but with the Colorado movie theater shooting and the recent mall shootings around the nation, I was nervous about going out. But it turned out OK and for that I’m really grateful. Yes, there are great deals to be had, but nothing to lose your life over. Sadly, we live in a world where things like that can happen.

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I don’t know what it is but I love Black Friday shopping. I think it’s something to do with shopping at a weird time and the excitement and chaos. And I love finding a great deal. I’m like that woman on the Walmart commercial that gets super excited when she gets the great deal. I don’t want to pay more for anything than I have to.

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Buddy’s first Barkbox came yesterday! He’s super excited and if you notice, had already been playing non-stop with his Bionic Bone (the orange one in front). Barkbox is a subscription service which sends your dog a box of goodies each month. Each box, which is based on your dog’s size, features various items. This month’s box had two toys, two types of treats and some gift cards for dog stuff. I bought six months via Groupon at about $9 bucks a month. I think it’s usually around $17 a month. They run Groupons fairly often so if you want a discount, I’d snag one next time it pops up. I’m sure you’re pet will thank you.

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My Ebates check came in the mail. This is the third check I’ve gotten, plus Ron has received one a few weeks ago. It’s the easiest money I’ve ever made. Basically, you sign up for Ebates and then go through their site to get to online merchants that you were already planning to shop at (think Target, Walmart, Victoria’s Secret, Amazon, Ebay, etc.). By going through the Ebates site, you receive a certain percentage of cash back on your purchase made at the retailer. The amounts vary by store. So let’s say I was planning on buying something from Victoria’s Secret. I go through Ebates first and get 2% (for example) cash back on my purchase. The cash back is then collected in my account and mailed out at the end of each quarter. It’s free money for doing what you were already going to do anyway. I love it, especially when I can combine an already great deal with cash back. On both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Ebates will offer double cash back at more than 500 online stores. So whatever the usual percentage is will be doubled on those two days. It’s worth checking out. Check it out here and maybe you’ll get your first “big fat check” soon.