Monthly Archives: December 2016

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Giving Thanks

I wanted to do a post all about giving thanks this year.  

Let’s be honest… this year I have so much to be thankful for.  It’s hard to even think of every great thing that has happened in 2016! I wanted to take time to give thanks to those that have made this year truly special.  First up…

 

My Son

thankful for

baby in hat, giving thanks

I also have this little guy to be eternally grateful for.  I seriously can’t imagine my life without him and have no idea how I survived for so long before him.  He makes every day happier.  I am always on my toes trying to figure out what to do.  Am I doing enough? Is he happy? 

Husband

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Then there is J, my rock.  He is the best husband and dad I could of pictured.  Maybe even better then my wildest dreams!  Watching him with our son makes me fall in love with him more each day.  One of the biggest reasons I fell in love with him many years ago is that he wouldn’t let me walk all over him (I know sounds crazy, but it’s true.  Ready about it here.).  And I’m happy to say that even today, he will still .d.fd.fafdakjfkad

Family

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My family means the world to me.  When I was struggling with be a first-time mom, recovering from major surgery and balance my career on top of it all I had a realization of just how lucky I am.  My family and J’s family are there for me no matter what.  It was so great to have people that care about me, J and our son.  They took time off work, they make time for us and it’s amazing.  I am so happy to have these people not only in my life, but in my son’s too.

Career

I have found a career that I am truly passionate about.  I have this desire to learn and help others, this career path I’m on gives me the opportunity to do that every single day.  I work with incredible people that foster an environment to reach the same goals I have.  I’m continuing to pursue my Certified Financial Planner designation and once I have earned that certificate then I will continue on to earn the Certified Public Accountant designation.  It’s going to be a long, hard process, but I am excited.  I can’t wait to see what the next year has in store for me.  

You

I have to thank every single one of you! You have helped me reach new goals with this blog of mine.  It’s grown and grown over the past year.  I know it’s because you have found something of value and decided to share my posts with others.  Thank you!

 

Friends

Last, but certainly not least I have to mention my friends.  As I get older I have learned that my Mom was right many years ago.  She said you will have different friends for different phases in your life.  And if you’re lucky, a few of them will float with you through every phase.  I have a handful of amazing people that I have kept in contact with since high school and college.  To me these (mostly) women have helped shape me into who I am.  They call me out on my B.S., they are there for me anytime I need them and I am there for them.  They are my anchors.  

Stocking Stuffers That Won’t Break the Bank

Stocking Stuffers that won't break the bank

It’s that time of year again. It seems to come so fast and without warning. I mean, you think Thanksgiving would be a fair warning, but it never is. Last year I did so good shopping for Christmas presents for our family and friends on a budget. I decided this year to do it again. I’m going to stick to last year’s plan, which you can read about here. I was really able to come in golden on our holiday spending. All it took was a little planning and a little Black Friday shopping.

This year with it being the baby’s first Christmas and all, we’re going to break out the stockings. Nothing too crazy because the baby isn’t even a year old yet. I’m not that mom… yet!

Every other year we switch holidays with my family and J’s family. This year is time for Christmas with my family. My Mom always goes above and beyond on stocking stuffers every year. Most of the time the items are too big to fit in the actual stocking, so we each just get a spot on the couch and out stocking is laid on top of everything.

When it’s our turn to be with my family I usually like to help my Dad out by getting stocking stuffers for my Mom. Let’s be honest, he’s not the best at what to get her and never knows if he has enough or too little. So my sister and I usually tag team it and take care of it for him.

This year, I wanted to get some awesome stocking stuffers that won’t the bank. So I’m doing what I do best… coming up with a plan!

The best plan is to be thinking ahead all year long. Whenever you’re out and spot something for a good deal (like a really, really good deal) then go ahead and buy it. But for me that’s hard. If I buy too early then I have to find a place to store the items and actually remember where they are before Christmas. That doesn’t happen too well in my house.

So I like to hit up a few key stores to get some good deals on stocking stuffers.

Dollar Stores

You can get some really great pieces for only $1. You can be creative and think outside the box at these type of stores.

For little ones look for toys and games – chalk, bubbles, little figurines. Let’s face it kids are rough on toys and there are probably some really great items under the tree so stocking stuffers don’t have to be anything too expensive.

For adults you can find some items that are sure to catch your eye. For women I usually go to the nail care aisle. I can grab some nail files and little mani/pedi kit. They also have some cute coffee mugs that make great stuffers. For the men in your life most dollar stores sell car cleaning pieces. They aren’t the highest quality, but the rags and sponges work just fine.

Big Lots

In our small(ish) town Big Lots is the place. You can find just about anything at Big Lots. I like to grab favorite candy and throw that in the stockings. Sometimes you can get lucky and find name brand items that are really discounted. So again, be creative and you can find some great stuffers.

Target $1 Bins

This is another favorite. Those bins are magical! You never know what they are going to have and some of those pieces are really neat. You can find great stuffers for any age.

I’m a huge fan of notepads. I know my Mom likes them to make lists on them and most people can always find a need for a notepad and pen set. You can sometimes find some great kitchen utensils too that are colorful. Those make great stocking stuffers!

Amazon Add-Ons

I use Amazon a lot for our dogs. Yes, I buy stocking stuffers for our dogs because I’m that lady. I’m okay with it too! I like to shop on Amazon for some of our household items. Amazon has really inexpensive add-on items. I like to go through their dog toy sections to find some good quality, inexpensive toys.

I also use the Amazon add-on feature for smaller gifts for friends, co-workers and even my family’s pets.

Christmas Clearance

If you are someone that can buy in advance and then not lose your stocking stuffers, I would recommend stocking up during Christmas Clearance. You can find some great deals at some really great prices. You just have to remember where you store everything before next Christmas!

You can find some great quality pieces at Wal-Mart, Target and even department stores like DIllard’s and Macy’s. You just have to keep your eyes peeled.

Words of Advice: Just because something is inexpensive doesn’t mean it would make a great stocking stuffer. Really think about whether or not you want to gift the item. I like to think about each person I’m buying for – what they like, their hobbies, etc and then try to find stocking stuffers that fit them. I’m also a stickler for quality. Just because something is only $1 doesn’t mean it’s worth $1.

Handmade Items

If you’re feeling crafty then you could always make stocking stuffers.  I did a small gift exchange with my cousins a few years back where each gift had to be under $3.  So I crafted a DIY ornament.  They turned out great.

So what are your go-to stocking stuffers that won’t break the bank?

DIY Wreath {The Perfect Christmas Present}

DIY Wreath, DIY Christmas present, how to make a wreath

Last year I DIY’d this cute wreath for my sister.  I wanted to share about how I made it and was able to stay within our Christmas budget, but I didn’t want to spoil the surprise.  So I tucked this away to share this Christmas.  This gift is seriously the cutest and easiest to put together.  You can really customize it to fit the personality of who is receiving it.  My sister lives in this cute house in this sweet neighborhood.  You know the type of neighborhood where everyone waves to each other, you can easily borrow your neighbors leaf blower and you attend each others’ birthday parties.  I wanted to make her the perfect wreath that would fit her and her house.  

I headed to my local Hobby Lobby to pick everything up.  I started with just a basic wreath, it was brown and pretty boring.  Then I picked up the greenery to add some color.   

Here’s what you need for the easiest DIY wreath:

wreath base
greenery
floral wire
hot glue gun
wooden letter
spray paint
ribbon (optional)
flowers (optional)

Pretty much every piece of this wreath is optional.  You can really mix it up.  

DIY wreath

The first thing you want to do is lay the greenery over the wreath.  Then once it’s in the perfect position you can grab your wire to attach it to the wreath.  Just wrap it through the brown pieces to secure it.  I also used my hot glue gun to fill any missing spaces and to ensure the greenery would cover what I wanted to cover.  

DIY green wreath  

I wasn’t the best at taking pictures last year since I was trying to get like 5 other DIY projects done that day.  But I had a wooden B for her last name.  I took it outside and spray painted it with a color I had on hand.  It was a glossy maroon color.  Super pretty.  It took about 3 coats to get it to my liking.  Then after it was dried I glued it to the wreath.  At this point you can add more colors with any flowers or a nice big ribbon.  I used the ribbon to make it easier to hang on the door.  

DIY twig and greenery wreath

I was able to use a 40% off one item coupon so it made the whole project very affordable.  The wreath was on sale for 50% off and so was the wooden letter. The only item that was full price was the greenery.  So I purchased one using a 40% off coupon then returned later in the week to get the second piece of greenery using another 40% off coupon.  I already had the ribbon, spray paint and hot glue so that was pretty handy.  I really think this wreath made a statement and it was great to give something handcrafted to my sister.  

A DIY wreath doesn’t have to be that difficult! 

 

I’m Back

im-back

Whew! How did you like my disappearing act? I had not intent to just fall off, but life happens. We have been so busy between our son, work, traveling to see family and trying to get things done around the house. This little blog of mine has taken the back seat.

But I’m happy to say I’m back. I’ve got a few posts in the works and am going to try harder to stay on top of everything.

denton-playing

Let’s be honest though when it’s 10 at night and I’m exhausted from being up since 4am with our little guy and he just laid down for the night… I’m going to bed. That’s just how it’s going to be.

I think every Mom (or most Moms) would feel the same way. It’s hard to accomplish everything. It’s hard to always be ‘on’. I had to take something off my plate and this blog was it.

Now that life has calmed down a bit, or at least for now, I’m ready to jump back in. So thank you for sticking around and not giving up on me!
christmas-tree

We decorated for Christmas the other day.  I decided to take a less is more thought process this year.  We put up our tree then J decorated outside, but kept it minimal.  No stockings (mainly because I need to order our personalized ones), no other decorations around the house.  Just one tree and a little boy who loves crashing his walker into it.