Wednesday, November 30, 2011

{deals} Shopping: Done and Done!

Well, I'm happy to say I'm on the tail end of my Christmas shopping!  Only a few more items and I am DONE.  I know most of you aren't as crazy as me and may just be starting out, so I found a few great "Cyber Week" deals for you.  My two loves: saving money and supporting small business!  Win/Win!

Use the code MUREN3 for 10% off your entire order until 12/31
I'm loving this for a little boys' room.

Save 10% off through today, November 30th!
So cute for the coffee or tea drinkers in your life!

Was $48, now on sale for $44!

Find any other great deals this week? 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

{christmas} An Advent Calendar of the Literary Sort

Advent preparations are in full swing around here!  PreK is a pretty lenient school year, so I really wanted to have the boys immersed in the preparation of Christ's birth.  This time of year is just so magical, you know? 

So here is my plan for December's "school":  I have wrapped 24 Christmas books.  Most of them are ones we already own (board books included), but a few are new and a couple have been borrowed from my mom.  Another great idea I've read about is borrowing a bunch from the library, which is very cost-effective if you don't have many books to begin with.

The goal is to unwrap one book a day.  I labeled each one with a number so I'll know which book is which, but it will be a complete surprise for the boys!  We'll read the book and then do a craft or activity that relates to the story.  Lots of ornaments, baking, coloring pages and more!  I also have a few surprises in store for them: filling their shoes on the feast of Saint Nicholas, gingerbread houses, hot cocoa in new mugs, an after-bedtime drive around the neighborhood to see the lights...and hopefully more!

For record's sake (and in case anyone is interested in the books we're reading), this is the list:
What books are you reading this season?  Any family favorites?  I'm already creating a wish list for next year, so please share in the comments!

Monday, November 28, 2011

{family} Six Years

Six years ago, at the ripe old age of 21, I married my best friend.  Some would say that is way too young.  It was right for us.  And the best decision I have ever made. We had a small, intimate wedding with our most precious friends and family.  It was simple and perfect. 

As I look back over the photographs of our special day, I can't believe how young we look!  I know many people say that you should wait to get married until after you've "lived a little" and "discovered yourself".  I'm sure that works for some people, but I'm so glad that's not the course we took.  With my husband at my side, I've grown in ways I never thought I would.  I've discovered my passions and hobbies, all with Mark encouraging me along the way.  I know we've both grown and matured.  Our greatest adventure has been our three amazing boys, who we thank God for everyday. 

I am so blessed.  We aren't perfect and every marriage has its ups and downs.  We still have more learning to do.  We still have more maturing to do.  But we are a team and I am so excited to experience the rest of our lives together.  I pray it's a really long time.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you and your family a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving holiday!  I'm signing off for the week to spend some extra special time with the ones I love.  See you Monday! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

{giving} A Little Gift for a Special Aunt

To me, Thanksgiving is all about acknowledging the blessings in your life.  I am so fortunate to have an amazing aunt.  She is so loving, supportive, and thoughtful.  One of the amazing things about her is that she never forgets a birthday.  Or a holiday for that matter!  Growing up, I always had a special card in the mail just for me.  Now she does it for my kids.  It made my day then and it so greatly touches my heart now.  Anyway, she has a birthday coming up, so I wanted to send a little something for her to find in her mailbox too!

I used this for a birthday gift, but it's so easy to adapt for Christmas.  I think it would make a great little gift for your neighbors, girlfriends, even for teachers!  

I used a Reuseable Sandwich/Snack bag to hold the little goodies inside.  Afterwards, she can use it for its intended purpose, but it's definitely not limited to that.  It would be a great little place to hold all of her Christmas gift tags or to throw a few pieces of jewelry in if she's traveling.  So versatile!

Inside, I tucked in a few items I found from a great etsy shop called Dress Green.  Specifically, I got her the Tricky Lip Lush and the Travel Size Mango and Pomegranate Body Scrub.  They came already wrapped, so I just tucked them in the bag.  So easy!  

To package it all up, I used an extra Favor Bag from our pirate party.  I love that the red stripe is generic enough that I can use them for Christmas or more birthdays later on in the year.  Added a sticker that came with my Erin Condren planner and off into the mail it went.  

Happy Birthday, Aunt Rie!  I'm actually a little EARLY this year!  We love you.  :)   

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

{learning} Thanksgiving School

The Thanksgiving countdown is in full swing around here, so I decided to dedicate the entire week of school to the holiday!  Lots of reading and a little crafting are on the agenda...we'll mostly focus on giving and gratitude. 

The books we're reading:
Here are a few fun ideas that we're planning to do this week:




Have you seen any other adorable Thanksgiving crafts or treats?  Please share in the comments!

Friday, November 18, 2011

{christmas} Baby's First Christmas

My baby isn't much of a baby these days...he's babbling up a storm and walking around the house like he owns the place!  With the holidays approaching, I can't help but think back to where we were just a year ago.  Celebrating Christmas with our brand-new sweet miracle! 

So that was how today's Gift Guide came to life.  It is for all of you new Mammas celebrating your little one's first Christmas this year!  I found some darling, vintage-inspired ideas for you.  These would make wonderful gifts as well.  :)

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Interested in your own personalized Gift Guide for someone on your Christmas list?  Contact me through the button on my sidebar!  I'd love to help you find the perfect gift.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

{food for thought} Mother Teresa

Joy is prayer; joy is strength; joy is love, a net of love by which you can catch souls.  God loves a cheerful giver.  He gives most who gives with joy.  If in the work you have difficulties and you accept them with joy, with a big smile - in this, as in any other good thing - they will see your good works and glorify the Father.  The best way to show your gratitude to God and people is to accept everything with joy.  A joyful heart is the normal result of a heart burning with love. -pg 127

Have you ever had something practically fall into your lap and just know it was a God moment?  In the midst of my crazy decluttering, I came across this little book by Mother Teresa, Jesus the Word to be Spoken: Prayer and Meditations for Every Day of the Year.  It's broken into little paragraphs for each day of the year, but I've just been flipping through it and finding the ones that speak to me.  And wow!  So much food for thought!  Here is one more that I've been thinking about all week:

We learn humility through accepting humiliations cheerfully. 
Do not let a chance pass you by. 
It is so easy to be proud, harsh, moody and selfish - so easy. 
But we have been created for greater things;
why stoop down to things that will spoil the beauty of our hearts? 
-pg 121   

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

{giving} Support Our Troops with Care Packages

I don't think I've shared here that I was born into a military family.  In fact, the majority of the men in my life have or are currently serving.  And let me tell you, it is such an honor.  What an example for my boys. 

Whatever your political views, I think we can all agree that these men (and many of them young men!) are so selfless and courageous.  They do a job much bigger than themselves, for love of country and love for the people who live here.  For that alone, we should support them!  And not just in words...

Support our Troops with Care Packages
Cold-weather items: gloves, knit hats, hand warmers, long johns
Toiletries: toothpaste, deodorant, Chapstick, baby wipes
Leisure: books, magazines, movies, puzzle books, cards
Treats and snacks: nuts, jerky, protein bars, energy drinks, gum, something sweet
(when my brother was overseas, I sent him a bubble-wrapped package of Oreos!)
Most important:
write a letter to that lonely Marine or soldier and tell him how much you support them

We like to tell our boys that superheroes aren't just Spiderman or Ironman, but also those Marines out there in far away places keeping us safe. :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

{family} A Robot Birthday Party

My oldest has his birthday this week and requested a robot theme.  We kept things super simple but he loved everything and hugged me repeatedly.  I want to remind myself (and you fellow mammas out there!) that simple is okay.  While those picture-perfect parties on Pinterest are so enticing and awe-inspiring, they also cost money.  Sometimes a lot of money.  And at the end of the day, it's really not that important.  What mattered to my son was family, a special cake that he helped decorate, and opening a few surprises.  And it was good.       

P.S. One big hit that I have to share: Rock 'Em Sock 'Em!  We used it as a "centerpiece" but I know it will get a lot of use in this house! 
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