Tag Archives: gifts

On Into Christmas Afternoon

Having both families within 15 minutes of each other is such a blessing, and I don’t ever take it for granted, but it makes for interesting holidays at times! 

I’m always so grateful that diving our holidays don’t involve airplane rides or car trips, 
and we don’t even have to pack a bag unless we just want to. 

On Christmas Day, we have the easy job of dividing up our day into two parts. 

Christmas morning was spent with my family, 
and Christmas afternoon was spent with Tim’s. 

Christmas #2
We joined the whole crew including the “new additions” for an amazing Christmas lunch before diving into the stockings and gifts. 
Papaw & NaNa with the Little Man.

Awesome Uncle Brian!

This was a new face from the Little Man I’d never seen before!
He was soo thrilled to be holding his cousin Davis.

And when he was able to hold both Davis & Adelyn, he was in Heaven!  
(I can’t wait to see what he does when the baby is actually his own brother!)

While we were enjoying our meal, we had a very welcomed and pleasant Christmas surprise. . . 
SNOW!
This was right as the snow was starting to fall, and I was so afraid we’d miss pictures of it, I grabbed the camera and headed outside. I wish I’d captured some photos once the snow had really covered the ground, but in Texas, you take what you can get! 

Our Christmas Family Photo!
Presents. . .Round 2!

Brian’s role as Santa has slowly been replaced (which I think he’s thrilled about).
The Little Man knew who each stocking belonged to! 
The day was long, but this was by far one of the best Christmas’s I’ve had in a LONG time! 
Although I loved it last year, turning Christmas around and having it be about the kids made it that much more enjoyable. 

I can’t wait to see how the next few Christmas’s unfold 
as we add more and more children to the mix!

How has Christmas changed for you as kids have come along? 

Twas the Morning of Christmas

My husband and I have a little bit of a different opinion of when Christmas decorations should come down.

I personally feel like decorations should come down the weekend immediately after so that I can begin the process of cleaning. It’s difficult to want to do a big cleanup after Christmas when you know the tree’s going to make more of a mess and boxes will still have to be put away. In our house, we even have to rearrange some furniture once the tree comes down. Besides, how are Christmas decorations related to New Year’s? Do we really need the decorations up to ring in 2013? 

Tim, on the other hand, thinks it’s important to wait until after the New Year. He’d prefer to take everything down sometime around January 6th or 7th once the holidays are long past. 

We decided my doctor’s appointment would settle the argument. If I was in any way dilated or showing progress of this baby coming before January 14th, we’d take it down this weekend. . . 

I lost. 
To stop my itchy fingers from running in there and tearing the tree down, I thought I’d recap our Christmas for you. That’ll keep me occupied for a little bit at least, and let you sneak a peek into someone else’s home on Christmas day!

Christmas Morning
Although we welcome anyone to come over and join us, we made the decision to always have Christmas morning in our home. Not only does this help create memories, but it helps us as parents introduce Santa and other traditions to our kids. 

So, on Christmas morning, we woke up and start the first morning ritual of popping the homemade cinnamon rolls into the oven and opening our stockings. 
Tim and I both shopped for each other, 
and I had been slowly shopping for Mark throughout the last few months.  
Christmas #1
My family arrived around 8:30am, 
and we spent some time enjoying breakfast and each other’s company. 

GrandDad & Grammy with the Little Man. 

Uncle Andrew & Aunt Helen enjoying our first Christmas together in 3 years

Then. we let the presents begin!

Our Christmas tree! 

A rare photo of me. 
(Inside was my much-wanted new GE Slow Cooker!)

One of his favorite toys from the morning. . .so classic & simple! 
After Christmas #1, we jumped in our car for a 

Last Minute Gifts for Mom (& In Time For Christmas!)

Still struggling with what to get the “Mom” in your life? 

With only 5 days still Christmas, you’re not to late to find some amazing gifts that will bring a smile to her face on Christmas morning. 

Here’s some of my favorite Christmas gift ideas that aren’t too late to either be shipped or purchased locally. 

And Remember: You can order gifts through Amazon.com by Friday, December 21st 6pm CST to receive your items by Christmas Eve! 

For the Cook
(Nest is located on McKinney at Knox in Uptown Dallas!) 
For the “Fashionista”
(Simply Adorable Jewelry is locally owned and operated, and carries many of the same items as Charming Charlie’s! Contact Jessica for information on how to make purchases before Christmas!)
For the Organizer

For the Blogger
For the Mom Who Just Needs Help




KneeBouncers.com is currently offering 20% off their memberships; that’s 1 full year for $44! 

Find out more about this AWESOME site on my Dallas Moms Blog Review

(My Little Man can’t get enough of it!) 



Subscriptions to make a mom’s life easier, and when great deals come along, you can’t pass them up! Other subscription ideas would be to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas Arboretum, and the Dallas Zoo! 

What’s that one special Mom gift you’re hoping will show up under the tree this Christmas? 

A Mother’s Day Wish List

Mother’s Day is coming up on May 13th, and my husband’s already started to hint he needs some help. 

My son is only 1, so the homemade gifts and school-made art will be far in the future. And boy am I excited to see what he produces! But this year my hubby’s in charge of Mother’s Day, so to help him out I thought I’d do a little search for my perfect Mother’s Day gift. 

 Some women might ask for jewelry, but diamonds are more an acquaintance than my “best friend.” I’d much rather receive this beautiful charm from F is for Frank on a simple silver chain. The letter “M” please!
 Although Mother’s Day is about the mother, I’d love a gift that the whole family could use. 
I grew up with homemade ice cream being turned by hand at family bbq’s and celebrations. I’d love to have homemade ice cream for summer get-togethers. . .without all the hard work!

I love to write, and although I didn’t include it on my Thirty by 30 list, I want to try and start keeping a journal of some of my favorite “mom” memories. This Mother’s Journal from Journals Unlimited keeps it simple and sparks creativity. 
 Can I just say. . .I wish! 😉

What are some of your Mother’s Day favorites? 

Early Birthday Surprise

The weather in Dallas has been absolutely amazing the last few days. We’ve tried to soak in as much sunshine as possible since you never know when the weather will take a turn. After all, it was this time last year we were watching the snow melt after a major snow storm. 


For the Little Man’s first birthday, we weren’t planning on getting him much (if anything). With 2 sets of grandparents in town and being an age where we knew he wouldn’t care, spending a lot on gifts for him just doesn’t make sense. We are planning on spending a little for his party by having family and friends over for lunch, and then having another play date party on his actual birthday during the week. 

But a few weeks ago, we were hanging out in the backyard, and I realized it’s pretty boring out there. There are only 2 trees, and both are newly planted so there’s hardly any shade or pretty foliage to look at. So, Tim and I did a little research on some backyard play “things” that we might consider getting him for his birthday. I wanted something that he could use now, but also grow into. 

Today we decided to check out Toys ‘R Us and found a fun toddler play set on sale, so we thought we’d surprise him with an early Birthday present. 

And a lesson every parent has to learn. . .we should have just bought him a box. 
He had a lot of fun playing with this for almost an hour inside the house. 


I can’t wait for this weather to continue so we can spend more time outside!

Smells From My Kitchen

As I’ve gotten older and my monthly budget has become tighter than my belt, I’ve come to realize that high prices don’t always mean greater satisfaction. Long gone are the days of shopping at Victoria’s Secret for pajamas and underwear. Instead of paying $26 for 5, I’m now paying $15 for 5 at my local Target. My Ann Taylor credit card is collecting dust, and sales and coupons now determine where I’ll shop for Christmas gifts. 


I finished my Christmas shopping early this year, and with my free time I found myself being called to do more. Tim and I have done such a great job of coming in under budget on our Christmas spending, so I didn’t want to ruin it by going out and spending more on gifts for everyone that came to mind. 


In the past, I would have been so embarrassed at the thought of making a homemade gift for someone. I’m not creative, and my baking skills were somewhat lacking. Although, my cookies often tasted good, I was no Martha Stewart. I always shivered at the thought of someone receiving my baked goods that had been a little too brown or not perfectly round.


After our Dopps Camp Thanksgiving, I found myself with some extra baking ingredients. (That’s an understatement!)

Originally I’d kept the receipts to return as much as possible, when I realized I could do a lot with what I had; the cookie possibilities were endless!

My first thought was baking for myself, but I knew it was ridiculous to think about baking this much for my little family of 3. 

And that’s when it dawned on me. . .gifts! I could use almost everything I had as gifts for someone. 

For my 2 year old Bible Hour volunteers and neighbors. . .
Inspired by Pilcookbooks.com
And my friends at MoPS. . .
(Modified) Pretzel Kisses by House on Hilltop
 Then there’s Baby Boot Camp mommies. . . 
Treat Toppers by Rachel Cooke & Maple Cinnamon Mix
In the past, I would have felt so embarrassed gifting homemade goodies, but I‘ve come to realize that homemade gifts can be just as special as store bought ones. Taking the time our of my mommy schedule to bake for someone is my way of showing my appreciation for that person. Although my gift might not be “high end,” it’s the thought and love that went into the gift that matters. 

And with all the cute and crafty ideas on the internet lately, I no longer have the I’m not Martha Stewart excuse!  

What are some of your favorite homemade gift ideas?

Happy Wrapping!

Congratulations Steph W!

You’re the winner of our Dodeline Design Gift Tags!
I hope you find some creative ideas on how to use them with your wrapping this season.
If you need some inspiration, check out Martha Stewart.com!

She has some unique ways of to wrap your gifts using potato chip bags, fabric, and leaves. 
Plus, how to create a gift wrapping theme like the candy one below. 
via
And for more inspiration, check out Dodeline’s blog!
She finds ways of turning boring boxes and twine into a beautiful gift!

And if you weren’t a winner this week,
I’m not quite done yet!

There’s one more week until Christmas, 
and for my next giveaway come back early next week!

Starting Monday, I’ll reveal my final “Christmas favorites” giveaway.
And it’s right on “target” for what you’ll need!

Wrapping It Up No. 4

Did you know Christmas is a week from Sunday!? 

That means there’s only 1 shopping weekend left to pick up those gifts for loved ones. 
(unless your the Christmas Eve kind of shopper!)

Hopefully by now you’ve gotten most of your list crossed off, 
and if you’re even more organized, might have a few wrapped and under the tree. 

I know my friend Sally is ready to go with her gifts!
After a fun girls night out on Monday, 
she came home to find her husband had done all of the wrapping!

When she walked into her kitchen, this is what she found:


I don’t know how Sally feels – 
ecstatic to not have to wrap or frustrated to have to unwrap and then wrap again! 

I know for some, wrapping can be the worst part of the process. 
The tape, the scissors, picking out paper, the folding, the creases. . . 

I have a confession.

I LOVE it! 

I have dozens of rolls of Christmas paper in all different styles and colors. 

And of course you have to accessorize! 
I have drawers filled with bows, ribbons, and gift tags to match. 

But if you’re looking for a Christmas gift bag, you’ll have to try some place else. 
For me, it doesn’t get any better than a perfectly wrapped present! 

That’s why this week I want to share a little of my gift-wrapping love with you! 

For my fourth drawing, I’m giving away these beautifully letterpressed gift tags from Do De Line

via
They’re the perfect way to have a little fun while your gift sits under the tree waiting to be opened! 

Write a note and use them for that special someone,
 or save the ink and reuse them for years to come!

Either way, these gift tags will add that extra special touch to your wrapping job . . .
even if your wrapping paper is Justin Bieber.  
:) 

This Rafflecopter giveaway will end Saturday at 12:01am!
And don’t forget, if you’ve already done some of the entry options, you’re ahead of the game! 
Just click “I Did This.”



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happiness in a Cup! Giveaway No.2

Although I love the winter season for the fun holidays it brings, 
I’m not a fan of the weather. 

Being cold isn’t one of my favorite things. 

So when the winter chill hits the air, 
there are only a few things that can make me defrost. 
1. Sitting by a fire on a cold evening; preferably with a book in hand. 


2. Falling asleep under my favorite heating blanket. 

3. Drinking a hot cup of Caramel Apple Spice in the morning. 

I’m one of those weird people who don’t like coffee. 
So, is it strange that I visit Starbucks frequently? 

I make a monthly (sometimes weekly) visit to get my Caramel Apple Spice fix. 
It’s by far, the best winter drink I’ve ever had. 

My first experience with CAS was in Breckenridge, Colorado in 2009 with my family. (You know that one off of Main St?)  It wasn’t a great first impression and I remember wondering how anyone could possibly like it. It was incredibly sweet tasting to the point where it was almost unbearable to drink. 

For whatever reason, I tried it again a few months later, 
and long story short. . .haven’t been able to stop drinking it since. 


Recently while browsing the web, I came across a blog of a former Starbucks Barista
I’d always known the recipe was probably something pretty easy to duplicate, but I had no idea it was this simple! I’m ready to start experimenting with my own CAS, so I’ve added Cinnamon Dulce Syrup to my Christmas List. :) 


But until I receive my own Dulce Syrup, I’ll continue to enjoy it freshly made. 
And if I’m daring, I might venture to try the Salted Caramel Apple Spice.
I hear they’re also pretty tasty!

Have you tried a Caramel Apple Spice lately? 

Well . . .let me buy one for you! 

As I mentioned, each week leading up to Christmas, 
I’m spreading the spirit of Christmas through some of my favorite things, 
and this week, I’m giving away my favorite drink via Gift Card.
(because a Caramel Apple Spice in the mail is just silly!)

Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter to win a $10 Starbucks Gift Card.
This drawing will end at 12:01pm on Saturday, December 3rd.



52 Weeks of Mail: In Person

On November 26, American Express has partnered with businesses to form the “Shop Small” Campaign in an effort to help boost local economies; which I’m in full support of. Some of my favorite stores are small business such as Nest Dallas and Beaucoup. Although they’re not always the least expensive, I love knowing that I’ll usually find unique and original items for holiday gifts. 

But that’s next Saturday. 

This Saturday, I decided to shop small . . . really small, 
and support people instead of businesses at the Etsy Dallas Jingle Bash!
 Located at the Palladium Ballroom on Lamar Street, 
the Jingle Bash allows Etsy locals to set up shop 
for you to browse through their homemade goods in person.

There was music playing, drinks flowing, and crafts to be made. 
Best of all, the admission was free! 
For me, this setup is perfect because there wasn’t any pressure to buy. 
Each booth had their merchandise on display and available to purchase;
however, you could also take a business card and mull it over. 
If you liked what you saw, pop online to their Etsy store and buy when you’re ready!

Take a peek at some of my favorite Etsy stores and products that I discovered. . .
photos via Southern Fried Paper / Blue Eye Brown Eye / Sarah Briggs / Sheepish / 38Stitches

Although this was a 1 day only event, don’t fret! 

The next Etsy Dallas market will be in the Spring 
on Saturday April 30th from 11am-5pm.

If you’re not from Dallas, check out Etsy to find a hand-made event near you!