Teens and Technology:  Negotiating the Holiday Wish List

Teens and Technology: Negotiating the Holiday Wish List

When my children were small, their holiday wish list was relatively easy to handle.  They wanted small things that were fairly inexpensive.  I bought tons of Legos (ok, not THAT cheap!) and art supplies (thankyou, Michaels coupons!) and they were happy as clams come Christmas morning.  But, now I have teenagers and all of a sudden my Christmas budget just isn't going to make a dent in the holiday wish list they have in their heads. The primary desire of my teenagers is to have as much technology as humanly possible to plug themselves into.  Since I am not made of money and technology isn't cheap, we are having to do some real analyzing of our holiday shopping agenda.  If you find yourself in this epic battle of technology wish list vs. budget as well, maybe this post will be … [Read more...]

Learn How to Make Candied Nuts

Learn How to Make Candied Nuts

Candied nuts are one of my all time favorite snacks.  I can kid myself into thinking they are TOTALLY healthy because..hey, they are NUTS!  But, they are also covered in a butter, sugar, spice combination that makes my mouth incredibly happy!  If you look at the price of candied nuts in the grocery store it is ridiculous!  Plain nuts are much cheaper and all you have to do is saute them up with some butter and sugar and a touch of cinnamon.  This literally takes less than 10 minutes from start to finish and if you package them up in a pretty container with a bit of ribbon you have a wonderful holiday gift that really didn't cost all that much to make at all. How to Make Candied Nuts So, what do you need to do to create your candied nuts?  First off, decide what sort of nut you want … [Read more...]

Give Thanks with Kenwood Vineyards and Homemade Pinot Noir Truffles #ShareYourTable

Give Thanks with Kenwood Vineyards and Homemade Pinot Noir Truffles #ShareYourTable

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Kenwood Vineyards. I received product samples and a promotional item to thank me for my participation It seems like every time I sit down to watch TV or read something online this week I am inundated with ads for Black Friday shopping.  Or, even worse in my mind...Black THURSDAY!  The retail world is taking a day that is supposed to be made for being thankful and turning it into a day to earn money off things we probably don't really need anyhow.  I want to encourage you to slow down for just a few minutes and give thanks next week.  Be thankful for the family that drives you insane but that you love anyhow.  Be thankful for the food on your table, even if the kids complain about having to eat that weird Jello … [Read more...]

Great Hostess Gift Ideas for the Holidays # BBNshops

Great Hostess Gift Ideas for the Holidays # BBNshops

I love visiting with friends and family over the holidays but I hate to show up at someone's door empty handed. I like being able to offer a hostess gift to the people nice enough to invite me into their home. The holidays are stressful and entertaining guests isn't always easy so I want our hostess to realize how thankful I am for their invitation. A hostess gift doesn't have to be anything big...sometimes just a tray of homemade cookies goes a long ways towards making your host or hostess feel appreciated. But, if you do want to splurge on a hostess gift this holiday season, here is a lovely selection for you to choose from! Great Hostess Gift Ideas Flirty Aprons - An apron (especially a pretty one like this one) is a gift that you know will come in handy over the busy holiday … [Read more...]

Damsel Not Blog Tour and Giveaway

In the days of old, one knight fought to save the maiden he loved – a battle that ended in a bloody promise for the future. In the days of the 21st Century, Izz doesn’t believe in prophecies. A recent widow, she struggles to find the passion that once fueled her life – a passion that is reignited the day a knight in disguise cuts into her life in a flash of swordplay and seductive grins. Izz doesn’t want to love him. The guilt of moving on nearly crushes her, yet she finds herself unable to resist the touch, the feel, the scent of the man who leaves her breathless with just one look. But each day Izz finds herself drawn to Cade, the more danger she finds herself in, for someone believes Izz to be at the center of an ages-old prophecy – and will do anything to stop it. When … [Read more...]

DIY Honey Lavender Bath Melts

DIY Honey Lavender Bath Melts

I am always amazed at how quickly my skin starts drying out once the heat comes on in my house. I never have problems with dry skin until fall and winter roll around but I find myself reaching for the body lotion more and more lately. These diy honey lavender bath melts are a great way to tackle your dry winter skin. They contain only a few simple ingredients that are melted together, poured into a mold and once they have hardened you can store them in a jar right next to your bathtub. You can choose the scents for your bath melts based on your own personal preferences. I have been under quite a bit of stress lately which of course means that I am not sleeping particularly well either. Lavender is wonderful as a calming scent right before you go to bed. It quiets the mind, relaxes the … [Read more...]

How to Make Homemade Chocolate Syrup

How to Make Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Have you ever brought your kids grocery shopping with you and they randomly pick up stuff and try to sneak it in the cart?  Think only little kids do that?  No..my teens and my HUSBAND are the worst offenders!  There are certain things that they love that I just don't like buying.  Whether it is due to the price or the questionable ingredients, sometimes mom just says NO!  That jug of chocolate syrup almost always tries to leave the store with us but have you actually LOOKED at the ingredients?  I'm not calling out any brands by name here but this one is probably the most popular one on the shelf and look at the crap they put in that container: What is all that?  You know what goes in homemade chocolate syrup?  Chocolate, sugar and water.  If you want to get really fancy you can add … [Read more...]

Setting up a Guest Bedroom for Holiday Guests # BBNshops

Setting up a Guest Bedroom for Holiday Guests # BBNshops

This guest bedroom discussion has been sponsored but all opinions expressed are my own. When my husband and I got married many years ago, we moved far away from all of our friends and family. Some people might think it's nice to not live right next door to family but holidays get a little bit lonely. We are always encouraging people to come and visit us, especially when the holidays roll around. Thanksgiving is our usual time for company to make an appearance and we learned early on how nice it is to have a guest bedroom when you have company. Guests like their own private space occasionally and not tripping over suitcases in the living room is a big plus. If you are planning on having company this holiday season, I highly encourage you to try and put together a guest bedroom for them … [Read more...]

Preparing for a Bathroom Remodel

Preparing for a Bathroom Remodel

When we moved into our house 10 years ago, we knew there were a few issues that needed to be fixed.  The builder had taken a few shortcuts 35 years ago which resulted in things like shower tiles that move and shower water that ends up in my kitchen instead of down the pipes.  After having patched the shower walls once already, we have decided to go ahead and gut the whole thing and start from scratch.  And heck, while we are at it we are going to have the horrid 1980 wallpaper removed, the vanity replaced and the floors ripped out.  Whoever thought that bathrooms should have carpet should have their designer license revoked. Mildewy rug is not a good look for a bathroom floor.  So, essentially, we are tearing out the entire bathroom in the next few weeks and at first I was really excited.  … [Read more...]

Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole Recipe makes a perfect Thanksgiving Sidedish!

Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole Recipe makes a perfect Thanksgiving Sidedish!

There is nothing I love more than potatoes....unless you happen to put bacon and CHEESE on top and then they are even more delicious!  Whether you are talking French fries, baked potatoes or mashed potatoes, I definitely think that any type of spud tastes better if it is cheesy and bacon flavored!  This casserole recipe takes all of my favorite things and puts them into one dish which would make a perfect side dish for your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. This casserole recipe is definitely not particularly healthy.  Sure, you could add low fat cheese, skim milk, and some version of a butter substitute but honestly, I would rather have a small portion of the GOOD stuff than put fake food in there.  Go for a long walk after dinner and just sit back and enjoy this casserole recipe … [Read more...]