Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Magic of Macy's!

Macy’s wants everyone - from the most enthusiastic to the most cynical- to Believe in and embrace the holiday spirit of love and charity. Writing letters to Santa Claus is an age-old tradition for children all over the world.

Macy’s is collecting these letters in a special Santa letterbox at all Macy’s stores. For each letter received, Macy’s will donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The Believe Meter will measure America’s belief, based on our collective spirit – including the amount of letters received and other current events that reflect the season’s generosity.

Isn't this cool? Go Macy's! How neat that they do this... I am definately taking my kids to Macy's to drop off their letters to Santa! Thank you Macy's! Pin It

My Town Monday- Shade Sale!!

Attention all females!! Mark your calendars because Shade Clothing will be having a "Seconds Sale" HERE in town this coming Saturday Dec. 6th from 9 am to 4 pm at Mountain View High School in Meridian (Overland/Locust Grove). Everything will be $5 each!! Can you believe it? They will have all different sizes to choose from (little-girl 4 to woman XXL and maternity), even swim suits! (Oh, and I guess they have men's shirts too.) If you are not familiar with Shade, go check out their website. I would be sure to arrive on time or early for this sale, because it will be first-come first-serve with the pickins! You won't want to miss this!

(In case you wonder what I mean by "Seconds", it's the imperfect stuff- usually pretty minor imperfections.) Pin It

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a wonderful and safe "Turkey Day" weekend! See you on Monday. Or maybe even sooner (if I can't stand to wait till then). I have lots of Christmas stuff brewing that I can't wait to share!! (I'm gitty!!)

Also, on my personal blog I'll be randomly posting random acts of kindness that I witness throughout the month of December. Stay tuned! XO Pin It

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Spirit of Thanksgiving

Blessed are those who give without remembering and receive without forgetting.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday Tip- Festive Little Treat

Here is a cute little treat idea, that you can surprise someone with to wish them a happy Thanksgiving. Or to attach a note to, expressing your gratitude to/for them. I bring these to the gals that I visit-teach every November.

It's a little, tiny pie! I get them in the Walmart bakery section for 58-cents each. (Walmart is the only place that I've found them.) They are about 4 square inches in size. They come in several flavors such as peach, apple, (all) the berries, pumpkin, lemon, pecan, and even chocolate eclair! They even have some sugar free kinds. Just tie some raffia or jute around the cute box with a little tag, and you've got yourself a festive little treat to give to someone special. Pin It

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday Mom-Preneur Wendi and My Town

Fellow creative homemaker and mom-preneur, Wendi does the cutest embroidered stuff! Go check out her site at Alphabet Soup Embroidery and see her cute products!

Newbury Street Home Decor in Boise is having their 2nd Anniversary sale, and it looks pretty HOT!!

**Note from Newbury Street to the people on their mailing list:
What a week! We're compiling all our great deals- Buy $100, Get $100, Our 2nd Anniversary Sale and Black Friday to offer you the best savings yet! We're doing our part to help you make your holidays a little more affordable this year. First, spend $100 at Newbury Street, and get $100 in grocery vouchers to the store of your choice!! That is 100% savings!!! 2nd, we are CELEBRATING OUR TWO YEAR ANNIVERSARY on Wednesday, November 26th- everything will be 20% off! Third, you don't want to miss shopping at Newbury Street the day after Thanksgiving- we are going to have some AMAZING deals this week!

**My note to YOU- Go to their website, check out the deals, and sign up for their mailing list right NOW! Don't miss out!!

Also in my town- I heard that at Albertsons, their turkeys are 38 cents/lb. if you spend at least $25.00! Sounds like a great deal!

Does anyone know of an even better deal on Thanksgiving groceries? Please share!! Pin It

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Fave Holiday Tradition- Mr. Peeps

This is my very favorite Christmas tradition, an idea I got years ago from parenting class and have had so much fun with in our family ever since...
Meet Mr. Peeps!

This is Mr. Peeps' explanation:

Christmas is approaching, and this is the day
Santa has sent Mr. Peeps to your house to stay.

He sent this small elf to your house and mine.
The day after Thanksgiving, He must be on time.

Mr. Peeps has a purpose. His purpose will be,
To whisper to Santa all the good that he sees.

Soon after he gets here, he moves only at night
To high places, low places, he stays in plain sight.

In the kitchen, for instance, he sits high on a shelf.
Mr. Peeps can sit anywhere, for he is an elf.

He holds very still when he thinks you are watching.
His magic is precious, it fades with each touching.

He sits on the tree on Christmas Eve day.
He knows that Santa is soon on his way.

He waits and he waits without making a noise.
He waits until Santa arrives with the toys.

So you better be nice and mind what you say
Because Mr. Peeps will tell Santa when he comes with his sleigh.

Once Christmas is here and Santa has come,
Mr. Peeps must leave, for his job is well done.

But, he will return next year on the very same day,
To watch your behavior as you work and play.

- Sharon Reynolds

Here is our Mr. Peeps

A new elf showed up with Mr. Peeps last year. His name is Stanley.

My sister has Mr. Peeps' twin brother and another elf named Lucky.

They end up in the darndest places around the house!

(I think Stanley is making sure we remember to flush and wash.) {{teehee}}

They even play around when we aren't looking.

This tradition is fun and an easy one to start. You've just got to find an elf, which can sometimes be the only hard part. I got my Mr. Peeps at a local craft/hobby store, Mac's (which is no longer in business). I got Stanley from JoAnn Fabrics I think. My sis got Lucky from Shopko a few years back. You can also go online to get one...

If you are really crafty and love to sew, go can go to The Crazy Quilter and buy the pattern to make Mr. Peeps (the one in that first picture).
OR...You can save yourself a lot of time and hassle and go to this website that I just found called Elves Around the World, for a perfect elf!! I am so excited to have found this site! They even have the tradition all spelled out and ready for us in a package deal- for a very reasonable price in my opinion! I wish I would have known about this a long time ago.

**Just remember to be sure and get an elf with movable/bendable arms and legs so he can be positioned easily. *Also, usually the elves come the day of or after Thanksgiving (though it can be anytime between then and Christmas), so you better hurry!

Do you have an elf? Do you already do this tradition? Leave me a comment! Give us your blog link... We want to see yours too!!

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!! Pin It

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Happiness is not the cause of is the result.

2 Quotes on Gratitude by Ralph Marston:

“Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you'll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you'll find that you have more of it.”

“What if you gave someone a gift, and they neglected to thank you for it - would you be likely to give them another? Life is the same way. In order to attract more of the blessings that life has to offer, you must truly appreciate what you already have.”

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Whatever Wednesday- Pinching Your Pennies

Last night a bunch of us gathered at my friend's home to learn from my girlfriend, Jenn S. the how to's about couponing. I learned that the #1 spot to go to for the most info on the hottest deals and how to's is Pinching Your Pennies. It took Jenn about 2 years to learn what she did and do what she does, because she didn't have anyone to teach her- (She's a professional couponer and money saver in my opinion!) I am so grateful she is willing to teach others how to do it. And believe me- it takes a lot of time and work to save money like that! Jenn thinks of it as a part-time job, and it has really paid off for her and her family!!
I want to be good at it too. I am working on learning all I can right now and trying to get experience so I can helps others too. So for now, go to Pinching Your Pennies and register on their site. Then you'll be able to get onto the forums and learn the tricks of the trade. PYP also has a blog that is very helpful too! There are many other sites and blogs that I have listed on my right sidebar that are way helpful as well!! Good luck! Pin It

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday Tute and Tips- Thanksgiving

Are you ready for the holidays? Well, ready or not here they come, starting next week! Yikes- Really? Already?? I think I'm there, but I could certainly use a few extra pay checks and some more hours in a day.

First of all, Stefanee over at It's All in My Head posted her Harvest Blessing Mix recipe that she found online along with her own darling way to wrap it up. Love it!

For those of you who've been asked to bring a vegetable dish to the turkey feast, instead of the typical green-bean casserole why not surprise everyone with something a little different this year? Here's a recipe for Cheesy Gratin of Brussels Sprouts. I dare you to try it! Dont' worry... you'll be surprised how many will come back for seconds.

Cheesy Gratin of Brussels Sprouts:
4 slices of bacon
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 pounds (about 7 cups, halved) fresh Brussels sprouts
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
5 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups grated sharp white Cheddar cheese
Paprika, for garnish (optional)

1. Heat a large skillet and crisp-cook the bacon. Transfer it to a plate and set it aside. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat from the pan. Add the onion to the pan and saute over medium heat for 6 to 7 minutes; add the garlic for the last minute. Scrape the onions and garlic into a large, shallow casserole and spread them around evenly. Set aside.
2. Trim the Brussels sprouts, then cut them in half (or quarters, if very large) lengthwise. Bring a large soup pot of well-salted water to a rolling boil. Add the Brussels sprouts. Return to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain immediately in a colander for 5 minutes. Transfer to the casserole, spreading the sprouts evenly in the dish. Set aside. Heat the oven to 375°.
3. Combine the milk and chicken broth in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat.
4. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the flour and cook, stirring over medium heat, for about 1 minute, until the flour is light golden brown. Whisk in half of the hot milk and broth. Heat and whisk for a minute or so, until thick. Add the remaining liquid and cook for about 5 minutes, whisking frequently.
5. Whisk in the Parmesan cheese, mustard, salt, thyme, and pepper. Pour the sauce evenly over the Brussels sprouts. Mince the bacon and sprinkle it over the sauce. Sprinkle evenly with the Cheddar cheese and dust lightly with paprika, if desired.
6. Place the casserole on the center oven rack and bake for 30 minutes, until bubbly and golden brown. Cool for about 5 minutes before serving. Makes 10 servings.

This recipe is from Family Fun- one of my fave idea spots! They also have tons of Thanksgiving and Holiday ideas, crafts and activities for kids, and fab recipes...

Here is one great activity idea to keep the kids occupied and out of the kitchen while you finish preparing the turkey trimmings:

This easy game is called Where Did the Turkey Lay It's Egg?
All you need is ONE hard-boiled egg and some eager kids.

To start, one guest leaves the room while a hard-boiled egg is hidden. The others then call the seeker back and direct him toward the egg, saying "gobble, gobble" instead of "warmer" and "giblet, giblet" instead of "colder." Once the egg is found, a new seeker is named, and the game repeats.

Go to Family Fun for lots more ideas! Pin It

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday Mom-Preneurs and My Town

I have THREE fab mom-preneurs to showcase today, right in time for the holidays! Two of them online and one in "My Town" (Boise, ID)...

Cathy over at Simply Happy Designs does personalized, custom digital photo cards for a very resonable price! Now's the time to get your holiday greetings ordered, so go check out her site for more details!

Smitten Blog Designs by Kate and Heather make chic custom blog designs and have lots of free templates to choose from as well! They are even doing a really fun-looking "12 Days of Christmas" giveaway that I am definately going to enter. They are going to start showing off the prizes every week starting this Wednesday, so you've got to go check it out!

Cherella is located in Boise at Emerald and Milwalke, by TGI Fridays. They are having their One Year Anniversary sale today Nov. 17 through Saturday the 22. Everything in the store will be 20% off all week! You will also be entered into a drawing for a $75 gift cert. with your purchase. Yay! Cherella is open Mon. thru Sat. 11am to 6:30pm and closed on Sundays. If you haven't been in, you'll have to go check it out! Very chic and classy!

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Fave- Bizzy Bee

I have to take you over to BizzyBeeCreations and show you some real creativity. Beth is SO creative and always so good to blog about her projects and teach us how to do them. I LOVE her blog, and always feel so inspired by her. Girl's got talent! Go get inspired for Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to seeing all of her Christmas projects soon!

Also, Christmas is coming quickly! I'd better spend some time and take some pics of my own Christmas ideas and traditions. Do you have some too? Do you make and sell something we would love to see? Do you have a great holiday tutorial that you'd like to share? Know of a Christmas shopping secret or deal? Please share the love and send me your link! Pin It

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.... It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow."
-Melodie Beattie

I love and agree with this beautiful, well-put quote. Happy Thursday! Pin It

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Money Saving Info

I went to Albertsons last night and came home with hundreds of dollars worth of groceries for $125, including boneless/skinless chicken breasts for $1.68/lb and a ton of non-parishables!! I was gitty!! Albertsons had a week-long General Mills sale, where you buy $30 worth and they will kick you back $15 in coupons! (And if you do it right, you pay each time you hit $30 and get to use your coupons for the next $30 and so on.) Then if you have manufacturer coupons to use, it's just that much better for you and you get the items for next to nothing!

It all makes my head spin, but there are others who have mastered the art of frugality and have spelled it out for us. There are too many links to mention, but on my right sidebar I have a bunch of them listed under "Deal Finders". Two of them are my friends' Cathy's and Tammy's. I am just a beginner, but I've been doing a lot of reading online at some great blogs and websites on how to pinch pennies and save a lot of money. With Christmas coming quickly I need all the help I can get!!

Walgreens is another store to get great deals from! I just read here about HOW it's done.

Do you know of some other places to go for info, coupons, freebies, etc?? Please share!
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesday Tute on Turkey Traditions

I mentioned last week about my poster that I made last year for the month of November... Well, here is finally a picture of it. (I've been looking for it all week, but finally found it yesterday just in time for "family night".)

How to:
1. Draw a bare tree on a poster board and put wording on it. (I used fall leaf scrapbook paper and traced the letters from some other cardboard ones I got from the scrapbooking store.)
*I think I drew the tree, then painted it brown with my craft paint.
2. Get it laminated.
3. Cut orange, red, yellow and brown leaves with a die-cut machine. (I just used the school's machine and brought my own paper.)
4. Have a family lesson on Thanksgiving and being thankful. Have everyone think of everything they are thankful for and write (or draw) them down on the leaves. Then tape the leaves to the tree. Every day add leaves to the tree as a family and talk about what you are grateful for.

My friend Jessica made something similar a year or two ago. Instead, hers is a turkey with thankful feathers. You can see how she did her's here.

Now it's your turn... I want to learn from you, so please send me some of your Thanksgiving ideas and traditions! (email is on the right sidebar) Pin It

Monday, November 10, 2008

My Town Monday After All

I have FOUR events in my town (Boise, ID area) happening this very week that I want to shout out about...
1. A photography class this Friday and Saturday (Nov. 14th & 15th) by a professional. The class cost is $125, and I heard it is well worth it if you want to be able to take better pictures and understand photography! Contact Natalie D. 884-4229 or 272-0529 ASAP for info and to sign up!

2. Pie Baking classes from Mindy's Pie Pantry... She's doing a couple classes this week that are already full, but because of popular demand she is offering more classes to those who would still like to sign up! Yay!! The class cost is $35 and is a hands-on pie making training with your pie to take home- yum! There must be a minimum of 4 people for a class. A great idea for a group of girlfriends, I think!! Just email Mindy to schedule a class with her, or call her at 475-4282.

Mindy is also taking orders now for Thanksgiving pies!
Order by November 15th to receive $2.00 off every pie ordered!
PLUS Free Delivery on any order of 6 pies or more (within a 20 mile radius)
Place your orders at or call 475-4282
All pies $14.00 ($12 with early order)
These are 9 inch pies! (larger and deeper than Marie Calendars and fresh, never frozen)
*I finally got to sample one of Mindy's pies several weeks ago, and OH MY GOSH!! Mouth watering to say the least! Sorry Marie C. I've got my new gal!!
Choices are: Apple, Pumpkin, Very Berry, Sour Cream Lemon, Lemon Meringue, Chocolate Cream, Banana Cream, Coconut Cream, Chocolate Coconut Cream, Peach, Blueberry!
3. Graples Home Decor will be having their Christmas Decor Event this Saturday (Nov. 15th) from 10 am to 3 pm. Bring a canned food item to donate and go see all their great holiday stuff!!

4. "Home for the Holidays" holiday concert at the Nampa Civic Center next Monday, Nov. 17th at 7 pm (preshow 6:30) by an amazing musical family group called e11even. Tickets are available online for only $15 per family (or $5/adult and $3/child or senior). e11even will also be collecting canned food items to donate to the less fortunate.

Have a great week!!
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Monday- Mom-Preneur Whitney

Instead of "My Town Monday" today I want to show you one of my readers, Whitney's etsy store called Genuine Accents. Her stuff is SO creative and classy, you just have to go check it out! I LOVE her cute button earrings, the beautiful necklaces and beaded earrings, and the SO darling pacifier holders!! I need another baby just to have one of those. (Well, I guess I don't need another baby), but these would sure be a cute gift idea for my sis-in-laws!

Okay ladies... Since the holidays have approached, let's support our fellow mom-preneurs! I want to see your cute stuff!! Email me your etsy store or blog link (email address on right sidebar) and I will check it out for myself and mention you on The Creative Homemaker for all to see!! Can't wait to see what you have to share! Pin It

Friday, November 7, 2008

Holiday Bazaar in My Town

The Deaf Center of Idaho is having their 2nd annual Holiday Bazaar this Saturday, November 8 from 10:00am - 4:00pm. It will be held at CDHH at 1720 Westgate Dr. Boise. Come check it out... There will be some fab things to see!!
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Friday Faves- Cinnamon Chips

I found Hershey's Cinnamon Chips the other day, on sale at Winco for $1.68 for a 12oz package! I made bread yesterday and threw these chips into the dough. I got the idea from a my friend, Shana who made me some bread with these chips inside.

When I put in the cinnamon chips, most of them melted right away because the dough was so warm and I didn't have all the flour in yet. So the chips melted and turned the dough to an orangy brown color. Next time I will wait to put in the chips. It still tasted delicious! I used my sister's bread recipe, found here. Pin It

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Thought for Thursday- Thankful

There really is SO much to be thankful for! Thanks Josh G., for reminding us of this.
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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Whatever Wednesday- Teaching Children (and Ourselves) Gratitude

Yesterday parenting class was on Teaching our Children Gratitude. The classes preceding were Teaching Children to Work and Teaching Service. Today she summed it up that the basis for true humility is through hard work, service and gratitude. Teaching and acting upon these three things takes the ME factor out and helps us focus OUT.

Sadly, I have misplaced my parenting notebook temporarily (in the move), which has all my notes from class in it. (They are last year's notes obviously.) But basically, to inherit true humility and selflessness, we must learn (as do our kids) to work hard until it's uncomfortable, serve others because we love God and His children (our fellow men), and feel gratitude for all that we've been blessed with; which if you really sit down and think about it, we are SO blessed just living in the United States alone.

We were warned against giving our children things all the time. It's the going without that builds gratitude in our hearts. This economy has given me so much gratitude for what I have. I feel so very blessed.

Part of teaching our children gratitude is to teach them proper manners and respect for others. Role play practice is my favorite way to teach these things to my kids. (They love it, and it seems to sink in better!) We learned that as parents WE must be the ones to provide/create experiences for our children to learn these things.

A few great ideas for practicing gratitude in our homes, that I got from class today were: 1. From now until Christmas, make a paper chain as a family; each link with something you are grateful for to be taken off and discussed at dinner every night.
2. Have a gratitude box that gets passed around all month for family members to write down what they are grateful for and every night taking one out to talk about as a family.
3. Decide as a family something you can do help a needy family for the holidays, and carry out the plan.

Last year I made a poster of a bare tree and had orange leaves cut out for us to write down things we are grateful for and post onto the tree. We hang it on the wall in clear view, so we can read and discuss easily.

What do YOU do to teach your children gratitude?? I want more ideas!! Please leave a comment on this post or do a post on your own blog and let me know. Thanksgiving Traditions? Please share! Email me...
(Email link is on right sidebar.)
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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tuesday Tutorial- Planning Thanksgiving

My friend emailed me the link to this great website called Organized Christmas. They have a whole section of Thanksgiving tips, from organizing your feast to cute gifts and childrens' coloring printables. I love organized people who are willing to help us out during this crazy time of year!! Pin It


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