Winter Bucket List

Posted Dec 03, 2018



December is such a fun month filled with Christmas spirit, fun decorations and great get-togethers with family and friends. To help you make the most of this wonderful season we’ve put together the ultimate December bucket list! What’s even better is that Gotcha Covered has the perfect checklist paper to help you complete our Winter Wonderland bucket list!

  1. Take a drive through your neighborhood and look at all the lit up houses. This is a favorite during the holiday season. Go out, and find the neighborhood that goes all-out on decorations and lights.
  2. Have a holiday movie marathon. Take a night to watch all the Christmas classics!

                -   Elf

                -   Home Alone

                -   National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

                -   How The Grinch Stole Christmas

                -   The Polar Express

                -   The Holiday

  1. Build a snowman or make snow angels
  2. Go ice skating or sledding
  3. Make a DIY gift. This one’s options are endless! You could make anything from a watercolor planter for mom to a personalized notebook for your friends!
  4. Make homemade hot cocoa
  5. Create a Christmas playlist. Pick your favorite streaming website and add all your favorite holiday music to decorate the tree or bake cookies to!
  6. Volunteer your time

                -   Go caroling at local hospitals or retirement homes

                -   Help distribute food bank donations

                -   Contact your local United Way or Red Cross

                -   Visit VolunteerMatch to see other holiday volunteer opportunities near you!

  1. Bake Christmas cookies. This one is a fun way to spend the day with your family or friends. You can make cookies just for you, or extras to bring to loved ones.
  2. Organize a secret Santa or white elephant exchange with your friends and family.
  3. Build a gingerbread house.
  4. Donate to local toy drives. Have any old toys from your childhood or ones your kids don’t use anymore? Donate to your local Salvation Army, so those in need can get more affordable toys. Or, you can always donate brand new toys to the Salvation Army as well!
  5. Donate old, gently used coats, mittens or hats to your local Salvation Army or coat drive. You can visit One Warm Coat to see if there are any places for you to donate old coats!
  6. Do a random act of kindness. Make someone’s day by dropping off some of those cookies you made, shoveling their walkway or just stopping by to chat with an old friend!

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Black Friday Tips

Posted Nov 13, 2018



  1. Use Raise.com for discounted gift cards before you start any shopping. This is one of the best secrets to save up to 30% off and all gift cards are covered under a 1-year-warranty.
  2. Sign up for emails with the stores you love. Yes, we all know junk mail can be a pain to go through, but you can always unsubscribe after Black Friday. Just be sure to sign up far enough in advance to make sure you’re hearing about all of the pre-sales.
  3. Shop with a partner or two. This makes the shopping more fun, but also easier as you can both be in different places to get a variety of items at once. One person can also wait in line as the other is still shopping too.
  4. Plan your shopping trip. This will help you prioritize the things you really want and save you time and the headache of store hopping when the store might not have anything you really want or need.
  5. Shop for other holidays and events. Look ahead on your calendar. Any upcoming birthdays or weddings you could shop for now and save big? Don’t forget the gift receipts for these ones!
  6. Use reusable shopping bags instead of a cart. This will save you the time and hassle of trying to squeeze through the crowds and maneuver a heavy cart you probably don’t need.
  7. Visit Blackfriday.com to scope out deals. Do this well in advance to know which retailers have deals on the brands and items you want. This website also has ads for all of the popular stores you know and love.
  8. Use social media to save more. Sometimes retailers offer special discounts on their pages to those following during Black Friday. It’s also a great way to hear about deals that may have not been advertised well elsewhere.
  9. Look ahead to see when to shop. Sometimes Black Friday deals aren’t the best. It might be a better deal to either shop earlier on Wednesday when some of the same (or better) deals are offered or later on Cyber Monday (saving you the hassle of leaving home).
  10. Research store hours. Some stores are opened Thanksgiving Day, while others not until midnight or even in the early morning on Friday. Call ahead to make sure you’re aware of the hours, as the website will most likely not list these special holiday hours.

We hope these tips help make your Black Friday shopping experience fun and easy this year! Check out our checklist paper, which can be featured in any notebook, to help plan your shopping this holiday.

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Crock Pot Favorites

Posted Nov 10, 2018


It’s that time of year again, where the weather gets chilly and coming home to a crock pot of hot soup sounds absolutely perfect! We’re huge fans of the Crock Pot with the ease of making dinner and wanted to share some of the love with our customers by giving you our favorite soup recipes. Give these a try and let us know how they turned out!

1.  Chicken Tortilla 

This is seriously the easiest soup there is, and not a ton of ingredients, although you can definitely add your own twist with more! The best part about this soup is that no matter what amounts you make it with, it always turns out great. We’ll give you a general recipe to follow, but feel free to adapt as you’d like and need.

2 medium sized chicken breasts

1 package frozen corn

1 can of black beans drained

1 packet of taco seasoning

1 can of chunky salsa

5 cups of chicken broth

1/2 small red onion chopped

& fresh cilantro chopped for garnish

Add all ingredients in crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 3-4. Take out chicken to shred (should easily pull apart when it is done) and return to pot. Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips.

2.  Creamy White Chicken Chili

This is soon to be a hearty family favorite! Again, super easy, as the Crock Pot does the work for you while you’re out and about during the day. You deserve to come home to this creamy chicken-y goodness!

1 pound of chicken breast

1 yellow onion chopped

2 cloves garlic minced

24 oz chicken broth

2 cans Great Northern beans drained

2 4 oz cans of diced green chiles (1 hot, 1 mild is what we do)

1 can corn drained

1 tsp cumin

¾ tsp regano

½ tsp chili powder

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

4 oz reduced fat cream cheese softened

¼ cup half and half

& small handful of fresh cilantro

Add chicken and seasoning to bottom of crock pot. Top with all remaining ingredients and stir. Let the soup cook on low for 8 hours or 3-4 hours on high. Serve with sliced jalapenos, sliced avocado, shredded cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips.

3.  Zuppa Toscana

This is our take on a classic Olive Garden favorite. But we think this one’s better, plus it’s much less expensive and you can eat it at home in your pjs! You’ll want to make a big batch of this once you’ve had a taste! Don’t forget the breadsticks for dipping!

1 pound Italian sausage (hot or mild)

1 bag Simply Potatoes diced potatoes and onions (or substitute with 1 chopped onion and peeled and cubed Russet potatoes)

2 large cloves garlic minced

½ bunch of kale (a few handfuls) stemmed and torn into bite sized pieces

32 oz chicken stock

1 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp flour

Salt & pepper to taste

Brown sausage with garlic, then add to bottom of crock pot. Add bag of potatoes and onions. Add chicken stock (and water if necessary) to cover potatoes and sausage. Cook on low for 5-6 or high for 4. Whisk together heavy cream and flour, add to crock pot, along with kale. Cook for an additional 30 minutes until thickened.

We hope you’ll love these soup recipes as much as we do! We’re all about the experimenting here at Gotcha Covered, so please feel free to adapt and add new ingredients, but just be sure to send us pics and let us know how yummy it turned out. Our recipe paper is the perfect paper to write down all your new favorite recipes! (& if you experiment with Pinterest recipes, this paper type notebook is a must have!)

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A Safe Halloween

Posted Oct 22, 2018


Normally, when we think of Halloween, we don’t tend to think of this time of year being particularly safe or healthy, but despite the possible dangers of trick or treating and the endless amounts of candy given out, we’re offering up some tips to keep your kiddos safe and be a little healthier by offering alternatives to candy. If you’re adamant about the healthy part, spread the word to your neighbors and share some healthy alternatives to candy with them.

1.   Have an adult supervise the trick or treating or, if kids are older, make sure they’re traveling in groups and use the buddy system

2.   
Map out a trick or treating route ahead of time before it gets dark out

3.   
Decide on a time when your kids will start and finish trick or treating

4.   
Bring a flashlight and watch or phone to tell the time

5.   
Use sidewalks and crosswalks whenever possible

6.   
Use reflective tape on dark costumes to make sure drivers see you

7.   
Make sure costumes are comfortable and appropriate for the weather

8.   
Never enter homes and only visit well-lit houses

9.   
Have a parent or adult check through all candy before it is eaten

10.  
Dispose of anything that is homemade, missing a wrapper,  looks like it has been tampered with, or that your child does not like

11.  
Make sure kids have a clear pathway to your house that is free from candles and anything that kids might trip over, if you’re offering candy.

12.  
Offer alternatives to candy like juice boxes, packaged snacks like animal crackers, mini boxes of cereal, or even stickers, small toys, or toothbrushes.

13.  
Monitor candy amounts eaten and tooth brushing habits the night of and until candy is gone

We hope these tips offer you a safe and health(ier) Halloween with your kids this year. Comment and let us know the things you do to make sure your kids stay safe and healthy during this fun and exciting time of year! Also, don’t forget to check out our Halloween notebooks which are on sale through the end of this month.

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Halloween History

Posted Oct 11, 2018


Halloween didn’t start out like how it is celebrated today with trick or treating, yards full of decorations, and spooky movies to celebrate all month long. Halloween originally started with the Celtic Irish celebration of Samhain (pronounced Sow-in and translates to “end of summer”). Those who celebrated believed the dead could come to life one day a year where life meets death as summer is ending and winter is nearing.

In order to repel and distract the lurking spirits, Celts would light great bonfires and disguise themselves in masks. In an attempt to distract from the celebration of Pagan holidays like this, Pope Gregory III of the Roman Catholic Church established All Saint’s Day/All Hallows Day/All Souls Day on November 1st to honor any saints who did not have their own day of celebration. Although the new holiday was accepted, people did not see a reason as to why they should stop celebrating this traditional holiday which was soon known as All Hallows Eve, the evening before All Hallows Day (Hallow is an old English word for holy person). Not long after the name went through multiple transitions, eventually becoming Halloween as we know it today.

Although many religions did not originally celebrate Halloween or All Saints Day, the Catholic and Protestant populations gathered and aggressively campaigned for these holidays to be recognized on calendars before they died out. There was a push for Halloween to be focused on community gatherings like town wide parties and parades and as soon as these dates showed up on calendars everyone knew about them. Anoka, Minnesota hosted the first official citywide Halloween celebration in 1920, and later became the Halloween capital of the world in 1937.

The history of trick or treating is especially unclear, as some believe it is based on the Catholic/Protestant holiday “souling,” where children would go door to door on All Souls Day, begging for “soul cakes.” For each cake given, children were to pray for the dead relatives of those giving the cake to them, in order to release them from purgatory. Another story of origination goes back to the Celtic and Medieval times where it was believed that fairies would roam the town disguised as beggars. Those who gave them food were rewarded and those who did not were subject to mischievous pranks and unpleasantness.

Although there is much more we could share about the haunted history of Halloween, we will let you uncover more on your own. Don’t forget to check out a variety of our Halloween notebooks, all 30% off during the month of October using code SCARE30!

All information found using History.com and pumpkinpatchesandmore.org

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Activities for Fall

Posted Sep 27, 2018


Fall seems to be the season that everyone can happily agree is a great time of the year. It’s the time of year when we can start to layer up our fall fashion and settle into the school year. Its tailgating time and pumpkin spice season all in one. We could go on and on about the joys of fall, but we won’t. Instead, here’s a list of activities for you to enjoy this fall with your family and friends.

1.  Go to an apple orchard
At the orchard you can pick the perfect apples for making homemade caramel apples and pick the best pumpkins to carve before Halloween.

2.  Go to a corn maze
Big or small, you’re sure to have fun finding your way through one of these.

3.  Make homemade caramel apples
With your perfectly picked apples, add gooey caramel and lots of toppings for a tasty treat.

4.  DIY Fall craft
Make your own wreath of fall leaves and pine cones while you let the kids be messy and create their own tissue paper wreath.

5.  Have a bonfire
The weather is getting cooler, so it’s a great time to enjoy the last few good nights outside by the fire, with s’mores of course!

6.  Make a warm fall soup or apple cider
Throw some ingredients in a slow cooker and let it sit and warm your house. Here’s a recipe for a Butternut Squash Soup. If you’re looking for something sweeter, try this homemade apple cider recipe.

7.  Attend a Fall festival
Do some research to find a local fall festival near you if you aren’t sure of any nearby. There’s sure to be something, even if it’s not in your town. Depending on the festival, these could be small or include a large variety of activities to enjoy.

8.  Take your Christmas photo now
Now is the time to take your family Christmas card photo when the weather is cool and the leaves are changing. If you don’t do it now, thing might get too hectic and before you know it, winter will be here.

9.  Go on a hayride
Hayrides are already fun enjoying the beautiful fall weather and scenery, but even better with more people, so gather up your loved ones and enjoy the ride. Don’t forget the snacks!

10.  Can your own foods
This is a great way to preserve foods from your garden, or just for fun. If you’ve never canned food before, here’s a guide for beginners to get you started.

We hope you’ll have some fun with family and friends this fall doing some of these activities. Please feel free to comment and share what you like to do or let us know if you try any of our ideas and have comments or photos to share. Don’t forget to check out all of our fall notebook designs!

Thank you for shopping Gotcha Covered!

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Facts about Football

Posted Sep 14, 2018



American football is a huge sport in the United States, even given its short season among other major sports. Fans gather for tailgating outside stadiums, at their local bars and restaurants, and with friends and family in the comfort of their homes. We did some investigating to find some of the coolest and FUN football facts we could find for you, from the history of the game to the popular celebrated Super Bowl.

1.  American football grew out of English sports like rugby and soccer and became popular on college campuses in the late 1800s.

2. 
The American Professional Football Association was formed in 1920 and just two years later changed their name to the now familiar National Football League (NFL).

3.  There are six teams in the NFL that do not employ cheerleaders – Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Green Bay Packers.

4.  The oldest stadium still in use is Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.

5.  
The Dallas Cowboys are the wealthiest team in the NFL with a value of $2.1 billion and generate almost $269 million in annual revenue.

6.  The Miami Dolphins are the only team to complete an undefeated season, which took place in 1972.

7.  
The last scoreless game was held in 1943 where the Detroit Lions and New York Giants played.

8.  
The first use of the penalty flag by NFL officials was in 1948.

9.  
The first use of instant replay on a regular basis was in 1986.

10.  
The first Super Bowl was held in 1967 and is the only Super Bowl to not sell out.

11.  Approximately 80% of Super Bowl tickets go to corporate sponsors.

12.  
The Super Bowl is the most watched television event in the United States and there is more pizza sold this day than any other day of the year.

We hope you enjoyed reading our FUN football facts blog! To celebrate football season, we’re giving you 10% off all Gotcha Covered Notebooks with code BLITZ10. Don’t forget to check out all of our football designs right
here. We also created a Totally Awesome Tailgating Tips Pinterest Board you should definitely check out! Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Facts gathered from factretriever.com, profootballhof.com, and facts.net

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Endless Paper Choices

Posted Aug 20, 2018



If you’re wondering “What’s so different about Gotcha Covered Notebooks?” then keep on reading. At Gotcha Covered we try our best to think of your daily needs and want to add organization and ease to your life by providing a variety of paper types to fit all of those needs. Today we are dedicating the blog to highlight all of the different types of paper offered to you when you order a personalized notebook from us.

  1.    Wide Ruled

This type of paper is perfect for kids in elementary school who may still be new to writing out full sentences.

  1.   College Ruled

This type of paper is perfect for older kids in middle school and high school who may be taking notes and writing rough drafts.

  1.   Practice Lined

For kids still practicing writing out single letters or words, this paper is great for letter formation or even great practice for new cursive writers.

  1.   Sketch

For the artists in your family sketch paper provides blank sheets to create your own unique works of art on each page.

  1.   Sketch/Lined or Practice

If anyone you know likes writing stories and drawing pictures to go with them then the half sketch and half lined/practice paper is perfect, no matter what age you are.

  1.   Graph

Math class is made easier with graph paper for all ages in all types of math classes.

  1.   Password

If you’re sick of resetting your password in all of your online accounts because you forgot your password, this is the paper for you. Easily tab the notebook to share with everyone in your family.

  1.   Recipe

Create your own recipes and write down all of your old favorites with the recipe paper.

  1.   Checklist

If you’re constantly creating to-do lists between house chores or groceries to purchase the checklist paper will be a lifesaver for you.

  1.   Fitness Tracker

Whether you’re a health nut or you’re trying to get back into an exercise routine, the fitness tracker paper can help you reach those goals.

  1.   Planner

If you like to stay organized throughout the year, whether you’re a teacher, student, or just need some extra space for daily notes – the weekly planner with weekly and monthly pages is a helpful addition to your life.

  1.   Shark

As an extra bonus to our already awesome shark bite notebooks, each page is lined with a shark fin on your choice of either lined or sketch paper.

As Back to School approaches you’re going to want to check out all of the fun notebooks and planners available from Gotcha Covered.  We’d love to hear from you on what your favorite  paper types are and how you use each one! Feel free to comment with any ideas you may have for new paper types as well; and as always, thank you for choosing Gotcha Covered!

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Tips for Camping

Posted Aug 06, 2018



It’s nearing the end of the summer and you and your kids want to savor it with one last fun in the sun event. What better thing to do than to go camping? Now you may have never done this, as the idea of camping with your kids makes you incredibly nervous. You might be asking yourself; what kind of food are we going to make? What do we need to bring? What kinds of activities will we do? Well, we’ve “gotcha covered!” We’ve made a simple list of tips to the best camping experience for you and your kids to enjoy during your last memories of summer.

  1.        Plan and prepare all of your meals ahead of time.

It may seem obvious to plan your meals ahead of time, but there are so many meals you can prep before you actually leave your house. This makes for less mess and cleanup while camping and more time dedicated to camping activities. Are your kids picky? Prepare a homemade favorite like macaroni and cheese  or pizza (who doesn’t love pizza?!) ahead of time so all you have to do is heat over the grill (or fire) and serve.

  1.        Bring all of the essentials, even if you think you won’t need them.

Again, seems like an obvious thing to do – especially with kids. But these are the things people forget to bring. Making a list ahead of time can help you remember everything. Camping must-haves: sunscreen, bug spray, first aid kid kit, and medications and ointments for illness and injury (in case they happen). Create an easy on the go container for medications so you don’t have pill bottles floating around and taking up space.

  1.        Have plenty of activities and games for the kids to do.

As we all know, kids get bored easily and their attention spans are short. You’ll want to have plenty of day and night activities and games you and your kids will have fun doing. During the day you can go on a nature scavenger hunt and at night you can play a glow in the dark ring toss. Be creative with games that your kids already know and love like a gunny sack race, but try in sleeping bags, or even tic tac toe with rocks and twigs.

  1.        Stay organized. I repeat:  stay ORGANIZED.

There’s nothing that drives me crazier when I’m scrambling to find something I know I have. With limited space when you’re camping, it’s especially important to stay organized in order to save space in your vehicle, tent, and cooler. Organize your cooler in layers to keep certain things dry and away from ice. Skip the hassle of digging through your bag and plan an outfit for each day and place each in a gallon size Ziploc bag.

Check out our Pinterest board Family Camping Hacks & Ideas for more great inspiration for your family’s next camping trip.

P.S. Our checklist paper notebooks are a great option to make sure you have everything you need for a smooth camping trip. Shop now to find your favorite customizable notebooks for planning.

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“Fin” Facts About Sharks

Posted Jul 25, 2018



Sharks are fascinating animals that have played a huge role in our world history and pop culture scene. It’s no wonder that Discovery Channel dedicates an entire week to highlighting this amazing species! We explored Discovery Channel’s Sharkopedia to get the most interesting “fin” facts about sharks.

  1. Sharks first appeared at last 420 million years ago – that’s nearly 200 million years before dinosaurs!
  2. Many prehistoric sharks survived a mass extinction – due to the traits they had and swimming deeper into oceans.
  3. Some of the very first sharks were quite small, despite their sizes now – many were less than a foot long!
  4. Most of what we know about ancient sharks comes from their fossilized teeth, since sharks don’t have bones to be fossilized.
  5. Not all prehistoric sharks are extinct – the Frilled shark and the Goblin shark are still alive today. Traits including 300 teeth have helped maintain their livelihood.
  6. The Megalodon is the largest known shark – now extinct,  estimated to be measuring at 40 feet minimum, up to 59 feet maximum, almost 3 times as long as the longest Great White!
  7. Prehistoric shark species are still being discovered – the most recent being released by an international team of scientists in September 2015.
  8. Not all sharks are carnivores; some are vegetarians just like the dinosaur species had a variety of carnivores and herbivores.
  9. The year 2015 saw a record number of shark attacks at 98 – most likely due to climate change and increased ocean temperatures along coastlines.
  10. Sharks have played an important role in Hawaiian and Greek mythology. In Hawaii they have been worshipped, cared for, protected, and fed by those who believed deceased ancestors took the form of animals – commonly believed to be sharks.

For more “fin” facts on sharks, check out Discovery Channel’s website, or buy the Sharkopedia book for all there is to know about sharks right at your fingertips. Don’t forget to tune into Shark week, all week long July 22 – July 29 on Discovery Channel for its 30th anniversary and celebrate with 50% off all Shark bite notebooks from Gotcha Covered with code SHARK18.

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