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Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday Giveaway! A Value of $500.00!

This is so exciting!
Today, I am co-hosting a huge Black Friday Giveaway with 42 other bloggers!

Could you use an Xbox 360 with Kinect, a Kindle Fire HD, or a KitchenAid Artisan Mixer to help out with your Christmas list?
If you think you would like to try your hand at winning one of these fabulous prizes, enter as many times as you can below.

Good luck!






42 blogs are bringing you an amazing giveaway to get your holiday season underway! We're hoping to make the holiday season easier for one of our lucky readers, $500.00 worth of easier that is! 

The winner will be able to choose from an XBOX 360 Kinect Nike+ Bundle, a Kindle Fire HD 8.9", or a KitchenAid 5 Quart Stand Mixer in the color of your choice! Oh and to top it all off, we're going to give you the difference in an Amazon gift card to make your grand prize total $500.00

For example, if you choose the Kindle Fire HD 8.9" as your prize, it's $229.00. 
$500.00-$229.00=$271 Amazon gift card. 
Amounts based on price at time of shipment.

Sounds like something you'd like to win, right? Well, without further rambling, on to the giveaway! Good luck!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tip & Tricks: Fall Kids Crafts

It's that time, again, and this time we would love for you to link up your fabulous kids crafts!

With the kids being out of school this week, they may have a tendency to get a little bored while everyone else is cooking. With your help and your kids craft tip and tricks, boredom will be busted!



Don't forget to follow all of your hosts.  We all work hard to put this party together and want to be able to stay connected!


Heather - Stringtown HomeFacebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Bloglovin'
Jessica - Prairie Girl to Southern BelleFacebook/Followgram/Pinterest/Bloglovin'
Jonell - Like Gramma's HouseFacebook/Pinterest/Bloglovin'
Kathleen & Samantha - Fearlessly Creative MammasFacebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Bloglovin'
Ursula - Kraft MintPinterest
Denise - Stl MotherhoodFacebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Followgram
Karissa - A Fresh Start on a BudgetFacebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Bloglovin'
Gina - Gina's Craft Corner
Christa - Controlling CrazinessFacebook/Pinterest
Leslie Monroe - Be Simply BetterFacebook/Twitter/Pinterest/LinkedIn
Amy - Trip Worth TakingFacebook/Pinterest/Twitter/Instagram/Bloglovin'
Wendy - A Daily Dose of Del SignoreFacebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google+/Bloglovin'/Instagram
Krysta - Krysta Steen.comFacebook/Pinterest/Instagram/Twitter

Get ready to show off your handmade gifts next week!















Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving: Cooking, Eating, and Shopping; Oh My!



Oh. Em. Gee.

I love Thanksgiving so much. And, not just because of the amazing food. Partly because of the amazing food, not completely.  

I love going back to my hometown and spending time with my family.  That is totally the best part.  
The wonderful dressing that my mother makes is the second best part.

Here are the recipes for the dishes that I will be preparing:



I've use this recipe for Broccoli Bacon Salad before and it is just perfect. It is the perfect balance of sweet and tangy.


This Squash Casserole is originally from Southern Living Magazine, so you know it's good.  No doubt about it.  And, it's not really Squash Casserole if it doesn't have Ritz cracker, now is it?

I've already purchased my ingredients and will take them all to my mother's house to make the dishes.  

So, yes, my kitchen will stay clean! ;)

Every year we all say that we don't need to have so much food, but we always have sooo much. It's all so good, too.  I will eat way more than I should, but I will enjoy it.

Do you have a favorite recipe that you bring to the Thanksgiving meal, or that someone else brings? You know there are those dishes that really MAKE the meal, and it wouldn't be complete without it. What is that dish for you? Please share! We all love new recipes to try!

Here is a new one that I will be trying out. 




I have had Pecan Pie Muffins many times, so using the batter to top off a delicious apple pie mixture sounds like a no brainer!

We will have so many desserts it will be ridiculous.  I'm sure it's the same in many homes across the country.

Will you be going out shopping on Thursday or Friday? I considered it, but now that I have been able to get quite a few early Black Friday deals, I don't really have a need to. Thank goodness!

If you're looking for great deals early, I recommend signing up for daily updates through Passion For Savings. You will be able to stay current on what deals are available each day, and which sales have gone live in stores and online.



I was able to find out that Target had Skylanders Swap Force available online at their Black Friday price yesterday.  You couldn't actually order it, though.  So, I went to the store where they had it at a "sale" price of $49.99. I took it to the checkout and told the lady that it was $37.00 online.  She scanned it and said, "well, it's $49.99 here".  I asked her to call someone and got a Customer Service Manager to look it up and got the deal.  That was a 51% savings off the original price people! Woot!

And, I didn't have to fight the Black Friday crowd to get it.

Several Black Friday sales are going live today, so be sure to check them out.  Also,  you can see in the sidebar all the items that I am shopping for this year!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Quick and Easy Chicken Pot Pie



I used to hate Chicken Pot Pie. Now, it is one of my favorite cold weather meals-even though it wasn't cold here this weekend. 

I have a super quick and easy version that turns out great every single time. 

Here is what you will need:

2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
1 small can carrots
1 small can green peas
1/2 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp. melted butter
salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder (optional)
Poultry seasoning (optional)
ready made pie crust dough

Quick and Easy Chicken Pot Pie
Ready made pie crust dough

Prepare your bottom crust according the directions on the package.  Make sure there isn't any air trapped beneath, but don't prick the crust to let it out. Simply readjust the dough to remove the air.

Quick and Easy Chicken Pot Pie

Combine the canned veggies (don't drain them), chopped onion cubed chicken, melted butter, and canned soup in a bowl and mix.

Quick and Easy Chicken Pot Pie

Next, add your spices to your own personal taste.  I use about 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper, each; 1/4 tsp of garlic powder; and, a couple of shakes of poultry seasoning.

Mix those together and pour into the pie crust.

Quick and Easy Chicken Pot Pie

Top with the other crust, pinch off the edges and trim the excess.

Bake in the oven according to the directions on the pie crust package.  Mine said to bake at 425 degrees for 45 minutes, but it only took about 30 minutes, so be sure to watch and keep your nose in the air for the delicious aroma.  

This is what you should get. Flaky crust and juicy yumminess inside. 


Want a fork full?



The juices from the veggies combine with the juices from the chicken and soup to create a lovely flavor that the whole family will love! 

Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tips and Tricks: Thanksgiving Recipes

We're back for another Tips & Tricks and this week the theme is all about the upcoming holiday-Thanksgiving Recipes!

We want to see your best and yummiest recipe creations!

But, first-the most pinned link from last week was:


A cute handmade ornament from STL Motherhood! She, also, has a printable available for download on her site.  Thanks so much for sharing, Denise!


Remember to follow each of your hosts on the social media channel of your choice. There are 13 of co-hosts and your link will appear on all 13 blogs and every single link will be pinned to the featured Pinterest Board! Sweet deal, huh?

So, let's get on with it, shall we?

Heather - Stringtown HomeFacebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Bloglovin'
Jessica - Prairie Girl to Southern BelleFacebook/Followgram/Pinterest/Bloglovin'
Jonell - Like Gramma's HouseFacebook/Pinterest/Bloglovin'
Kathleen & Samantha - Fearlessly Creative MammasFacebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Bloglovin'
Ursula - Kraft MintPinterest
Denise - Stl MotherhoodFacebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Followgram
Karissa - A Fresh Start on a BudgetFacebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Bloglovin'
Gina - Gina's Craft Corner
Christa - Controlling CrazinessFacebook/Pinterest
Leslie Monroe - Be Simply BetterFacebook/Twitter/Pinterest/LinkedIn
Amy - Trip Worth TakingFacebook/Pinterest/Twitter/Instagram/Bloglovin'
Wendy - A Daily Dose of Del SignoreFacebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Google+/Bloglovin'/Instagram
Krysta - Krysta Steen.comFacebook/Pinterest/Instagram/Twitter






Anything Goes Section:




Monday, November 18, 2013

Weekend DIY: Boy's Bedroom Makeover



We had a great weekend! I hope you did, too.  

Any time that we do some DIY I have a great time.  You know how it is.  

This weekend the project was less than $100, and we made over a whole room.  

Yes! Less than $100! Crazy, right?

It was maybe more of a mini makeover, but it made a dramatic difference in the younger boy's bedroom.  

Let me refresh your memory on the before sitch:


We had the bunkbed happenin' and they stayed a major mess. They were hard to make up, and they stayed piled with junk all the time.


 

There was just TOO MUCH STUFF to really be able to make the room look neat, and not nearly enough storage. 



Awesome signs were just stuck in corners where they didn't really stand out.



I made the Drop Cloth Cockpit (which the Littlest loved), but it just encourage more piling of junk behind the flap.

So, there were lots of problems that needed to be solved.

1. De-crapify the entire room
2. Make the beds more user friendly for the actual users. The Middle-un is 13 now, and he is tired of climbing up into bed every night.
3. Curtains!
4. Organization after de-crapification.

We were in project mode when we got up on Saturday morning.  Even with grocery shopping and a birthday party on the to-do list, we were determined to get it done. 

And, much to his chagrin, the Littlest had to help out with the de-crapifying. It's mostly his junk anyway, so he should have a say in what stays and what goes (with me having the ultimate authority, of course). He did great! He was ready to donate lots of things that he wasn't ready to let go of just a couple of months ago. We were even able to toss lots of McDonald's toys. Yea!

We would never throw away books, but we are donating a ton of them.  Both of the boys that share this room are readers, so we are always going to need more room for new books.  

Then, we un-stacked the bunk bed for easier access for the Middle-un. He had been saying that it was getting harder and harder to climb up with out waking his brother up. Problem solved.

Since we un-stacked the beds we had to reconfigure their storage in the corner of the room.  There were two corner units that we took out completely, and just shifted the dressers and hutches around.  

Now for the ridiculous number of pictures with more explanations. 

Airplane themed boys room

This is what the beds look like un-stacked.  Notice how the posts on one bed come up higher? I don't really care.  I doubt most people would even notice it!


I kept the same bedding and shifted the plane wall art to the middle of the wall.  We added the C's above each bed with reading lamps mounted beneath.



So far, we have spent $22 dollars on the lamps.  Everything else we already had.


Airplane themed boys room

We moved the map that was thumbtacked to the wall down a bit, and used pine boards to frame it out.  We simply nailed them to the wall, securing the map beneath.

The boards were about $13 at Lowes. 

Total, so far, $35.

Airplane themed boys room


You can see that we moved the propeller to wall with the window, and now you can see the prop from the hallway, which I like. There were no curtains in the room, so I bought a rod and a single flat white sheet at WalMart. I simply ripped the sheet down the middle and hung each half with clips, folding in the rough edge. 

The rod was about $14, and the sheet was $10. Now we are up to a whopping $59!

Airplane themed boys room

We took one of the hutches off and it's now being used between the beds as a stand alone shelf. We moved the dressers to be side by side, and relocated the Charter sign to this wall. Eventually, a small tv will reside where the globe is sitting.

I bought a few more fabric bins (which are empty right now!), they were only $4 each and got 3. 

$59 + $12 = $71

That's the total! 
I know that it's not a complete makeover, but it really makes such a difference in the room.  It feels so much bigger without the everything being so high in the room.  The bunks were up high, and the wall units were massive in the corner.  Now it feels much more spacious and more suitable for older boys.  

We were able to store all the Littlest' Legos in bins that he can slide under his bed. And, now we are working on putting away bins before getting out something else.  

Since we finished, he has spent a lot of time in here.  He loves his reading lamp, and the signs above the beds.  The Middle'un is thrilled that he doesn't have to climb anymore.

Over all, it's a big hit. And, we didn't break the bank or our backs.

Note: The wall color looks absolutely awful in the pictures! It's really not that green. It's more of a khaki color. 

What room do you need to give a good de-crapifying to?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

My Favorite Christmas-y Fonts

Fonts add so much personality to any DIY artwork that you create and they add fun and and spice to invitations and greeting cards.  But, there are many holiday fonts around that are a bit over the top; covered with illustrated snow drifts, stars, ribbons, and more. 

I love the decorative fonts that are a little more understated but still interesting and different.

Here is a collection of some of my favorites that will be fun to incorporate into any of your projects for the holiday season.  

Have fun using them! I would love to know how you plan to use them!



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tips & Tricks: A New Link Party I'm Co-Hosting!

I am so excited to be a part of the Tips & Tricks Linky Party hosted by Stringtown Home!

There are ton of new co-hosts and you're links will be seen on 13 blogs! That's awesome, if you ask me.  

There are lots of categories to link up to, and a different theme each week.  Don't worry, if you don't have a project that fits perfectly with the theme of the week, you can post in the Anything Goes section!

Here is the schedule for the parties through the end of December:


Now  you can get ready for all the upcoming parties, mkay?

Don't forget to follow all the hosts on the social media channel of your choice-or all of them!














Whew! That's a lot of co-hosts! Isn't it exciting? Your links will appear on all 13 blogs!

Please follow your co-hosts, tweet about the party, and visit as many links as you can to discover new blogs and make new blogging friends.  Everyone wins, right?

Now, on to the linking....













Monday, November 11, 2013

Holiday Ways to Save



I love the Christmas season. Everything about it.  The cooler weather, decorating the house, gathering with friends, good food, giving (and getting) gifts.

Really, if you don't enjoy the holidays, I am not someone that you would want to be around. 

We haven't started putting up the Christmas decorations yet, but we are making plans about what we want to do the same as in the past, and what we want to change.  

We, also, start saving money for Christmas gifts during the summer, so we are doing pretty good on the gift budget.  (Now, if I can just stick to it!)

Any way that I can find to save money over the holidays is appealing to me.  I want everything to be festive and fun, without breaking the bank.  So, of course, I turn to Pinterest. Where else would I go?

I was able to find an awesome Christmas Savings Guide that is printable from Passionforsavings.com

via passionforsavings.com

This is really genius.  There are planners for baking, parties, and cards; a budget worksheet, a gift list, a shopping list for Black Friday, and a Santa Survey for the kiddos. 

It is completely free to download when you sign up for her email updates, which are so useful!
You will get daily money saving deals right to your inbox, plus access to freebies.  Head over and get signed up!

Another way that I like to save money during the Holidays is by creating my own decor and wrapping using free printables.


via Shanty-2-Chic

It makes so much more sense to make your own tags. You can get exactly what you want in the number you need.  For years, I had half used sheets of those sticker tags left after Christmas, and didn't want to use the same ones the next year!

This precious Christmas Countdown is available over at The Crafting Chicks, and would definitely add to the excitement for little ones and big ones alike!

via The Crafting Chicks

Collections of freebies are always fun to browse, and Pretty Providence gathered a list of 50 printables of types last year.  There tags, cards, cupcake wrappers, and prints to frame.  Head over and check out her list!

via Pretty Providence
These are all great ways to get you thinking about different ways to save money during the holidays.  And, creating items at home is one of the very best way to do it.  And, when you create your own decor and wrapping, you can really put your own personal stamp on your Holiday season.

Do you have printables and other ideas to share? Tell me in the comments!



Thursday, November 7, 2013

Simple Christmas Decor Ideas

I am in the Christmas spirit like most of you are, I'm sure. It's only 47 days 'til Christmas, after all.

I can't wait.

We will be putting up our Christmas decorations the week of Thanksgiving so that we can enjoy them for as long as possible. 

With that in mind, I've been looking for some new ideas to add into our usual decking of the halls.

I want simple, but really awesome, ideas. 

Here is one of my favorites, so far.

Shining Stars from bijzondermooi


I am thinking of doing something similar on the mirror on the mantle.  Any wall would work, or add a little festivity to a door.

I must be on a garland kick, because here is another and it is too cute. 

via iheartnaptime.com

This one is going somewhere in my house.  It would work so well in any room. Or, how cute would it be looped from the ceiling down the hall? Eek!

This next one will need a little tweaking because I don't want to spend a lot on new Christmas decorations this year.  

via Pinterest

If you remember my Fall Tree Centerpiece, I will just take the leaves down, and add mini paper snowflakes. I think it will turn out really pretty!

I'm always looking for a new way to display Christmas cards, and I really love this idea:

via WaveAvenue

I'll be sharing more ideas as we get closer, and even some shots of past decorating that I've done.  

What new things will you be creating for your Christmas vignettes?

Now, I'm off to start cutting out paper snowflakes!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Wrapping Up my Family Series

Being in bed for a week with the flu really messed up my schedule!

I am going to wrap up the Family series this week with two more posts.  

Today, I am introducing my other sister, Lisa.  She's the one we call Sis.  

She is the heart of our family.  If there is something to shed tears about she will be the first one.  At times you may hear, "Is Sis crying again?"

Yep, that's her.  Tenderhearted.

I grew up in a blended family and I was the "ours" of the bunch. I was showered with attention constantly. And, both my sisters were like extra moms that I got to have.  

If you remember, my oldest sister got married when I was 5 and she stuck her tongue out at me through the whole wedding. 

Well, that left me and Sis at home. We fought like crazy part of the time, and laughed, and then fought some more. 

She got married when I was 14, and I don't think I talked to her for a week.  I was so mad. 
She left me!

She will do anything for anyone that needs it, and she's always there when I need her. 

Here's my Sis.

In this fab '90's pic, Sis is on the left.


************************************************************

Well, when Nan ask my to write something about family I thought where would I start. So I decided what better place to start than where I came from. Not literally where I came from but how I came to be me. You see I was born in March of 1963 but I remember very little about that time in my life.   I had a wonderful momma that loved me very much. A brother that would let me play with his model cars until I would break the steering wheel or pop a tire off. An older sister to whom played endless hours  of dolls, house and anything else she said (she's the bossy one).

My real life began in March of 1968 when I was "born" into my extended family. With my new family came two older brothers and the most amazing daddy. My daddy loved me unconditionally from the start. Why this man would be willing to take on four more mouths to feed is only by Gods amazing grace. My other two brothers were here with us a lot. One lived with us for quiet some time. 

My daddy was such a sweet gentle man. I'm sure it happened more then this but I only remember him getting on to me two times. Once because Lolo ( the bossy one ) and I would not stop laughing one night while trying to go to sleep. He simply said GIRLS and we knew he meant business. The other time I came home from Longview after dark in the rain one night and he let me know that wasn't the thing to do. Daddy loved me just the way I was. 

To the bunch we added a little sister. With her came endless hours of dressing Barbie's over and over and over. As we got older I learned to sew and crochet from my grandmother Aunt Birdie. I used my new found skills to make my baby sister some clothes. Halter tops was my specialty, and yes she actually wore them outside the house. 

Mom held it all together. From Saturday perms, making uniforms for three girls in Tiger Dolls, cooking meal after meal. She taught us to be good do right and remember where you came from.   Love is what we do. You will always hear us say I Love You even if we are only be gone for a minute. 

Family comes in many forms so no matter how you were "born" into yours they are still a blessing from God. I love you all and I love you Nan for reminding us what family is all about.

**************************************************************************************

Our family is very close. I know other families are, too. But, to me, we really have something special.

From, Mom and Daddy, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, cousins that I know are reading this, and my own family at home,  I love you all. 

You have made me, ME!

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