How to Build a Feral Cat Outdoor Shelter Box

If you're on Pintrest as much as I am, then you've probably seen tutorials on how to build an outdoor survival shelter box for cold weather for stray cats/feral cats. Being an animal lover, I've always wanted to do this but never got around to it.

Until last night.

Starting tonight here in Wisconsin, the temperature will be dropping down below zero with the windchill (talks of -25 degrees was on the news this morning). I've seen a couple of stay cats around our apartment complex over the past year, so I figured now would be the time to build an outdoor cat shelter.

I bought most of the materials from our local goodwill and the insulation (Styrofoam) from Home Depot.

Materials bought at Goodwill:
*straw (which is better) or fleece blanket as an alternative approx $3
*1 large plastic bin with lid $4
*1 small plastic bin (no lid) $3
*2 small bowls (25 cents)

Materials bought at Home Depot:
*styrofoam $6 (came in a package, had plenty left over)

Already had:
*duct tape to secure lid

Total Cost: $16.25 

**Tip: You can cut cost if you have any/all of these items already on hand.

I had the boyfriend "eyeball it" and just let him do his thing. It was a pretty simple job. His only complaint was that the styrofoam was a bit messy, so we had to vacuum afterwards. When making the door for the cat, remember to make it big enough for a cat, but small enough that something bigger (racoons, etc) can't get in.

Basic Instructions:
*draw a box on the one side of the large bin (for the cat door), cut out with a razor blade/x-acto knife.
*place the smaller bin inside, use a marker to trace the already cut-out doorway, then cut out the square.
*measure & cut styrofoam, place in between the 2 bins for insulation, including on the bottom.
*place 2 sheets of styrofoam inside the smaller bin, place fleece blanket over it
*put lid on, duct tape on all 4 corners (so that the lid doesn't blow off)
*place bowl with cat food inside
*place the cat shelter box in an area where stray cats are known to roam

That's it!

It was a very easy and cheap project to do and knowing that we're helping stray kitties stay warm, makes us happy! :) Frostbite & hypothermia can happen to cats just like with humans. If you see a cat that could have frostbite or is injured, call your local humane society for help.

Don't forget to share this on Facebook, Twitter & Pintrest to spread the word!

How to Deal With a Noisy Neighbor

Ahh yes, apartment living. The world of sharing your space with others. Sometimes you can luck out and have neighbors that are so quiet, you wonder if they're ever home. Other times, you wish you were somewhere else due to excessive noises your neighbor makes.

My boyfriend & I moved into a nice apartment 2 years ago and since Day 1, we've had issues with our neighbors below. They pretty much violated everything they could in their lease: excessive dog barking for hours, slamming doors & kitchen cabinet doors, pounding on the wall and even the ceiling (*I still don't know what the hell they were pounding into their ceiling, our floor, for an hour), leaving their dog outside unattended (it would jump all over our dog, try to come into our apartment, bark at other dogs passing by, etc). It's been pretty much a nightmare since we moved in.

Luckily, I documented everything. And I mean everything! I have more videos than I can count of her lease violations (just the ones that directly affected us), audio of 2 hours of non-stop barking thanks to my handy dandy digital recorder, and a recent police report documenting the barking for hours the other day. I put all of these in separate folders (eg: Barking, Slamming Door, Dog Unattended, etc) and uploaded it to a USB drive. I then called my leasing office and asked to schedule a meeting with the property manager at her earliest convenience, which was yesterday afternoon.

I walked in cool, calm, collected and stated that my only goal was to be able to enjoy a "peaceful living environment", which every tenant is entitled to. (It's stated in every lease.) Once I told her the history of the noisy neighbor, I then presented a mountain of evidence on the USB drive, along with a "Letter to Management" which documented what lease violations she violating, the duration of each violation, and everything that I did in order to achieve peace & quiet (such as calling the manager, talking to my neighbor directly, etc.)

After about 20 minutes of talking and showing audio/videos, my landlord was 100% on our side and I could tell that she was frustrated at the neighbor for so blatantly ignoring all of the warnings her staff has given her, including a "5 Day Quit or Evict" notice a couple of weeks ago.

By the end of my meeting with my landlord, I was informed that the neighbor will be issued a 2nd "5 Day Quit or Evict" notice. If the problem persists after 5 days, she will be contacting her boss to see if they can somehow force an eviction based on how many warnings they gave her and the evidence I presented as proof of her being a nuisance neighbor. The most logical statement the property manager stated yesterday was "If you move out, I'll just have the same problems with a new tenant anyways." Bingo! Get rid of the problem, not quiet tenants that have no lease violations and always pay rent on time.

I must say, since the neighbor was given another "5 Day Quit or Evict" notice yesterday, I haven't heard a peep! Until I saw her walking her dog this morning, I honestly thought she was gone overnight. Needless to say, the boyfriend & I are so happy & are finally living in peace & quiet! We just hope it lasts.

So for those of you dealing with a noisy neighbor, there is hope! Just make sure to document everything. If the leasing office staff (aka not the manager) are doing very little to help, bypass them and ask to speak directly to the manager who has authority to do a lot more.

If that doesn't work, you can always ask for your security deposit back and for your lease to end, since they (the leasing company) are in breach of their contract with you for not providing you with a "peaceful living environment" & move elsewhere.

Good luck & keep fighting the good fight!

Crock Pot Cooking: Fast, Cheap & Oh So Good

One of the best gifts I have ever received in my life, was my Hamilton Beach Set 'n Forget Crock Pot. I have used this thing a gazillion times and it is just the best thing ever! I can put in a few ingredients, put the lid on and walk out the door. When I come home hours later, I have a savory and complete dinner ready for me for pennies on the dollar. I love it!!

As y'all know, I am a self proclaimed budget queen and I always try to get more bang for my buck & make every dollar stretch. My crock pot allows me to be able to feed myself & my boyfriends seemingly bottomless pit of a stomach for only a couple of bucks per meal.

I try to keep all meals around $2/per person & no more than $5/per person.

Those of you who eat fast food and think you're getting a good deal for $1 McChicken sandwich (*is it even chicken??) or a $5 combo meal, guess what? You can eat steak, potatoes and veggies for that price with little effort & still have left overs for lunch. Doesn't seem like a "value meal" now, does it. ;)

Last night, I made a chicken, rice and green bean meal for just over $5 for the two of us:
The Cost Breakdown:
*$3 for the chicken
*$1 Cream of Mushroom Soup
*$1 bag of boil-in-bag rice
*$0.50 cents for green beans
$5.50 for the whole meal, or $2.75 per person

"Chicken & Rice" Crock Pot Recipe:
*put 4 boneless skinless chicken cutlets in the crock pot
*pour in 1 can of Cream of Mushroom Soup & 1 can of milk
*1 bag of rice
*1 can of drained green beans 

Stir & let it cook on LOW for 4-5 hours.
That's it!

The chicken came out tasting sooo good! It was so tender and juicy. Highly recommend this recipe.
For dessert, I had "Crock Pot Dump Cake", which is so easy and addicting I might add. ;)

Crock Pot "Dump Cake":
*put (2) cans of pie filling on bottom of crock pot (blueberries, apples, whatever you like)
*combine 1/2 cup of melted butter & 1 package dry cake mix together, mix until crumbly
*sprinkle dry cake/butter mix over the fruit

Cook on LOW for 4 hours (or HIGH for 2 hours).
Optional: Serve with a scoop of vanilla custard ice cream & whipped cream

The cost depends on what kind of fruit you buy, but it's about $6 for the cans of pie filling (@$3/each), $1 for the dry cake mix, and a few bucks for the ice around $10 total if you don't have any coupons to chip away at the cost. It feeds at least 4-6 people, if not more.

**If you want to make the dump cake in the oven, which is even better, just put it in the oven @ 350 for 45-60 mins. Comes out looking & tasting like cobbler. So good!!

There are a ton of crock pot recipes out there for just about everything you can possibly imagine and Crock Pot Cookbooks that range from beginners to advanced. So no matter what your cooking skills are, you can rock a crock & make amazing tasting meals!

So if you have a crock pot but you just don't use it, go dust it off & put that baby to work!! If you don't have a crock pot..GET ONE!!! Worth the investment for sure. :)

Cabela's Doorbusters At 2am: Was it Worth It?

This past Saturday (December 14th, 2013), our local Cabela's store was having a doorbusters sale, where they awarded the first 250 people in line with the possibility of winning some pretty big prizes that included:

*1 rifle ($329 value)
*1 tent & 2 sleeping bags ($159 value)
*1 fishing rod ($89 value)
*1 archery set ($184 value)
*1 commercial vacuum sealer ($329 value)
*250 Cabela's Gift Cards (worth up to $100)

When my friend & I had arrived, there were already 7 sets of people in line.

We were under the (false) impression that it was on a 1st come, 1st served basis with the bigger prizes. The assumption was based on a convo that I had with the female manager the day prior to the sale. She had mentioned that there were 2 people in line already and that if "I wanted the fishing pole, they already have dibs on it." (**For the record, I still have no clue why she would tell me that.)

The time was 2:40am on Saturday when we arrived and we started to unpack the car...a lot of blankets, a couple of chairs, a laptop to watch movies on, and a Coleman thermos full of hot water so that we could make hot cocoa and/or tea to help us keep warm, and some snacks to munch on.

We sat outside...

...watching "A Christmas Story" on the laptop...

...eating our peanut butter pop tarts (*yes, you read that right, peanut butter pop tarts. I'll wait while you dash to the store to go pick some up.) 

So there we sat, from nearly 3am until 8am. My toes were so frozen that I seriously started to wonder if I was in the beginning stages of getting frostbite. The 2 pairs of socks & waterproof winter boots I had on simply couldn't hold up in near-zero degree weather with wind chills for that many hours. I was really starting regret my decision of no sleep and freezing my butt off for a chance at prizes.

The best of waiting for the store to open was talking to our 'neighbors' in the line. There was 1 single guy next to us and an older couple on our other side. We all became short term friends, sharing stories and laughs throughout the long hours.

My friend & I had to make a pee run to the truck stop about 1/8 of a mile up the road around 6am. The single guy in line sat in my chair & warmed up under our blankets per my invitation for him to do so while we were gone. I also offered to buy him a cup of coffee, as he was clearly cold and shaking for hours. He politely accepted my offer.

We came back from our pee run (which was also a breakfast & beef jerky run apparently) and waited the last 2 hours until the store opened.

Employees from Cabela's came out around 7:30am and gave the first 20 people in line a bag of gifts. We were #17 & #18 of the 20 people, so luckily we received the bag of goodies that included the following:
*a Cabela's hat ($30 value)
*thermos ($11 value)
*beef jerky ($6 value)

The employees then came back outside & passed out 250 gift cards. We ripped ours open to see what we won:

*I won a $20 gift card
*my friend won a $5 gift card
*the guy that I bought a coffee won the $329 commercial vacuum sealer

Since the expiration date on the cards was Dec. 26th, we decided to just go inside & use them before heading back home. I bought a $20 Yankee Candle, my friend bought $5 worth of candy.

So...that's my story. My exciting Saturday morning adventure at Cabela's.

Would I do it again? I don't know, maybe. I definitely wouldn't go at 2am again, especially now that I know that I could go 2 hours before the store opens and still have the same chances as the guy that camped out for 2 days.

Ya live, ya learn. :P

Ebates Review (Part 2)

A couple of a months ago, I signed up for Ebates and started to do my online shopping through them. I am happy to tell y'all that I just received my first big fat check in the mail this week! w00t w00t!!

While this check was just $20.00, I still have $55.95 coming to me in on Feb. 15th, 2014, making it a grand total of $75.95 just for shopping online like I normally do.
Not too shabby!! :D

So yes, Ebates does work & yes it's easy to accumulate cash back by simply shopping online like you normally do & no, there are no hidden gimmicks.

All ya gotta do is....

1) Sign up for Ebates 
2) shop online via their website
3) wait for your big fat check to arrive a couple months later!

That's it! Pretty simple.
I gotta say, it's so nice to get some cash back in the mail, especially to help ease the holiday shopping expenses.

So enjoy & Happy shopping!!!

Review: Mushers Secret Paw Wax for Dogs

If you're a pet parent like myself & you live in a state that snows and/or gets bitterly cold during the Winter, then you've probably had your fur kid do the 'my paws are frozen!' dance when taking them outside to go potty.

I tried making homemade doggy boots, and failed. I bought paw boots from Petco to protect her paws from the ice and snow, she hated them (plus they kept slipping off). It wasn't until a friend of mine told me her secret for keeping her dogs paws comfy...Musher's Secret!

Musher's Secret Pet Paw Protector Wax is a paw wax that you put on your dogs paws before you take them outside. Not only does it protect the paws from sidewalk salt in the Winter & the hot cement during the Summer, but it also acts like a shield from the snow, ice and extreme weather in general. (Make sure to wipe the paws off after walking on sidewalk salt with a towel when you get back inside.)

I bought mine from Amazon and about a week later, it was at my doorstep. I couldn't wait to try it! Finally the snow hit here in Wisconsin and I put this stuff to the test. After a few trial & errors, I figured out that you should take a good amount of the paw wax (about 2 finger swipes worth) for the front paws & then again for the back paws. Get a nice thick coating on the paws.

It's 100% natural, non-toxic, non-staining! :) 

It also acts as a moisturizer, soothing cracked paws. (My dogs paws are soooo soft now, thanks to this stuff!) I've also noticed that the snow & cold does not phase her nearly as much when she has her paw wax on. Before, she'd want to come inside after a few minutes. With the paw wax on, I have a hard time getting her back inside now! ;)

There are 2 different sizes you can order, the small (2 ounces) and the large (7 ounces). After reading the reviews on Amazon from customers who wished they had ordered the larger size because how much they love this stuff, I decided for the extra few bucks more, it'd be worth it to just get the larger size. And I was right!

I can't say enough good things about this product! It's reasonably priced, the large container will surely last a long time, it soothes & protects my dogs paws from all kinds of weather & elements. They should probably rename the product from Mushers Secret to Mushers Miracle! Good stuff!! :)

Cyber Monday Deals & Coupon Codes

UPDATED: is having an ahh-mazing sale right now!! $3 for $25 gift certficates (they never expire!!) They make great gifts, you can use them on the go via their mobile app, or stock up & print them out for last minute gifts. As y'all know, I use these all the time and love'em!! Great deal, so snag'em up while ya can!!! COUPON CODE: "CYBER"

While Cyber Monday starts tomorrow (Monday, Dec. 2nd), some online stores have begun pushing their Cyber Monday or "Extended Black Friday" sales. has already started their Cyber Monday deals and there's a ton of great deals to snag up! Check out today's Amazon's Limited Time Deals at the top of the page. Some are selling out quickly or just about sold out, so ya better hurry!

Coupon Codes:
*Kohls: 20% off + Free Shipping (+ get $15 Kohls Cash for every $50) Coupon Code: CYBERWEEK 
* 40% off sitewide + Free Shipping, Coupon Code: 50F13311 
*Game Stop: free shipping on orders +$25 (no code required)
* free shipping on orders +$50 (no code required)
*Lane Bryant: 50% off sitewide, coupon code THANKSLB
* free shipping on +$100 orders, coupon code SHIP100 
* free shipping on +$30 orders, coupon code: SHIP30 
*Old free shipping on orders +$50, no coupon code required 

If you need wedding invitations, business cards, holiday invites, address labels, or flyers, head on over to They have everything 29% off + $5 off orders $25+. 

If you're looking for a tablet, laptop or TV, head over to TigerDirect. They have some amazing deals right now! They have tablets starting at $79, a wireless mouse for $5, and all of their TV's are on sale at huge prices. 

They also have free shipping on orders over $100.

Groupon also has some great sales right now as well. From bedding sets & diamond jewelry, to vacuums and kitchen gadgets. Here are a couple of the best deals I found...
No matter what you're looking for, you're bound to find the perfect gifts for gift giving!

Happy bargain hunting!