Dec 6, 2016

Small & Simple Ways to Make the Season Bright

Gift wrap ideas, stocking stuffer ideas, holiday decorations, kid crafts
I was provided free product from Oriental Trading in exchange for a blog post.  No other type of compensation was received.  All opinions are my own.

It's December!  I say that in two tones.  One is that I love December and the magic that comes with the Christmas season.  However, I also say that in the tone of HOLY COW!  I have so much to do!  If you have been following along then you know that I am pretty much done Christmas shopping.  Honestly, at this point I only have my husband to shop for and I only have a few gifts to get him.   I'm pretty excited about that! 

However, I still have quite a few presents to wrap.  I still have TONS of family and friend parties.  My daughter has a ton of events coming up.  I am trying to finish a wreath BEFORE Christmas since it is a Christmas wreath.  Then pile all that on top of normal every day life.  

This year it has been my plan to simplify.  I wanted to really make things easy.  So I didn't hand make my advent calendar like I did last year.  I have a plan to hand make them every other year and just buy one every other year.  Sounds doable, right?  I don't have any crazy expectations.  For example, with the wreath I WANT it done before Christmas, but if it doesn't happen then oh well.  

This year I want to have peace and happiness in my home and I want my home to be a happy place.  So I created some things that I wanted to have happen and then I tried to get to those results the simplest way possible.  I am pretty happy with how it has gone so far.  

What are some things you want to happen this December?  Do you want to have a Christmas party?  Do you want fun activities to do with your kids?  Do you want to get yummy treats for your kids stockings?  Do you want to simplify your wrapping this year?  Do you want to add some new decor this year?  

Those are all things that I wanted to do.  If you answered yes to any of those questions then check out how I achieved these things easily.  Honestly, some of them were very simple; I barely had to lift a finger.
Party activities, kid crafts, holiday decorations, stocking stuffer ideas

Decorations

I will start with the easiest and then go to hardest, but the hardest isn't even hard.  Honestly you could add ALL these pieces to your holiday decor in under an hour.  First up are these "Warm" and "Cozy" pillows.  I loved getting these ones because they can be carried through your decor even after Christmas.  I plan to have them out until I put up my Valentines decorations. 
Small & Simple Ways to Make the Season Bright

Next, is a gold metallic garland.  If you know me then you know that I LOVE garlands and I LOVE gold.  Sometimes I have to tell myself that there is such thing as too much gold.  This garland is perfect for me and my taste and it was so simple to just put up and be done! 
Small & Simple Ways to Make the Season Bright

The last decoration that I added came with two pieces.  The first is a Boxwood Garland (again a garland) and two Candy Cane Striped Glitter Bows.  I knew I wanted to add something to my front porch.  We redid our whole front porch and it pops on our house so I wanted to add some new classic looking decorations to the front door/porch.  
Small & Simple Ways to Make the Season Bright

Kid Craft/Activity

Every year I love to do crafts with my daughters.  I am not saying we won't do any, but I did get this color your own calendar that is perfect when I don't have time to put something together.  My daughter is actually quite excited to put an X mark through each day and see when different activities are coming up.  It turned out to be a great buy for a great price!  
Small & Simple Ways to Make the Season Bright

Party Activities


My husband's family used to do a Christmas Eve party every year since we were married.  However, they have stopped doing it.  So we are starting our own Christmas Eve Tradition.  That is we do a party as a family.  I wanted to get some activities for that party that would be fun.  I got these two games and both the girls loved them when we did a trial run playing them a couple weeks ago.  I love seeing the excitement in their eyes when they made the bean bag in a hole or the giggles of when the rings were being tossed at them.  

Small & Simple Ways to Make the Season Bright

Small & Simple Ways to Make the Season Bright

Stocking/Gift Wrap

The last category I wanted to tackle consisted of things from Santa.  First the candy for the stockings.  I found this gift pack and it includes their favorites.  They each come shaped like a different thing which will make them fun too.  
Small & Simple Ways to Make the Season Bright

Lastly, gift wrap bags that I could put my baby's presents in.  Santa brings their toys in Kraft and red Kraft colored wrapping paper, but this year I wanted Isla to be able to open them herself.  So I wanted to do bags.  I know they aren't as fun, but it will be if she can actually open them.  Of course I wanted them to match because I am like that.  So I got these fantastic bags that compliment the wrapping paper so well. 
Small & Simple Ways to Make the Season Bright

I am so happy that I have simplified my December.  I honestly can say that I am enjoying it so much more than cramming in a million things that need to get done.  I now just need to finish up the wrapping and we will be good to go!  

Your turn: You tell me what are you doing to simplify your Holiday Season!? 

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Dec 1, 2016

The Ultimate Gift Guide for Family and Friends


This year I have 15+ people to buy for when it comes to friends and family.  That number can sometimes throw me into a panic.  The busy and crazy season can sometimes get the best of me.  So this year I am trying to simplify it.  

If you have a lot of family and friends to buy for then maybe this post is perfect for you.  I have between 3-5 friends that I buy gifts for each year.  Then I have 2 nephews and a niece to buy for.  I have two sets of parents, grandparents, and siblings.  Thankfully my family draws names within the siblings so I that helped a little bit.  I actually drew my sister in law and sister.  It was perfect because my husband's side of the family ONLY has guys.  So this helped not have so many guy things around.  Not that it is a bad thing, but it was fun to shop for both.  

I hope this guide helps give some ideas for those people you get to buy for this Christmas season. I try to keep my budget down since Christmas can get pricey and there are always so many people in NEED that can use something too.  

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the links below.  I bought each of these items personally without making a cent on them so I truly use and recommend them. 

Girl Friends
Let start with the girl friend gifts.  I have done so many different types of things for my girlfriends.  I like hand making crafts for them.  I like giving them things they will use.  I like giving them some of their favorite things.  This year I wanted to give them stuff to pamper themselves.  Most of them are moms and so they need to pamper themselves every once in awhile.
Click the picture to download your own printables.

Gifts for Kids
My daughters have some fun friends and they are all girls too.  I wanted to give crafting supplies or something that they could make and have fun with it.  So for the older girls I got craft supplies from Hollar.  I have talked about this site before and oh my!  You seriously need to try it out if you haven't !  So many AMAZING deals!  Search Melissa and Doug and see what comes up.  At this moment this one is available, but many times it isn't.  So search and see your options.  Melissa & Doug have many different craft options.  I got it for less than $3! 
For younger girls I like to give baby dolls.  Every little girl loves baby dolls, but the little girl we give to is obsessed so I always love to give them to her. This exact one isn't available on Walmart.com, but here is another baby doll that is popular, it's just not as tiny.  Sometimes that alone is the fun part.  
Next up for kids is my four year old nephew.  He is obsessed with guns.  His dad is a hunter so it was going to happen, but he has SO MANY guns that I wanted to give him something different.  Hopefully he loves me for it.  He also loves Paw Patrol so I thought a Paw Patrol toy would be great along with a fun craft.  Crafting/creating is so important to me and I think kids need it.  So there is a lot of those types of gifts coming from me this year. 
$6.99

There isn't the exact car kit on Hollar, but once again just search Melissa and Doug and I'm sure you will find something.  I got it for a killer deal at less than $4.  This site is worth checking out.  However, if you want this exact kit then I found a pretty good deal on Target.com for $9 and it comes with a train craft too! 
$8.99

We are also giving a gift to my 6 month old niece.  Baby toys were the way to go.  My daughter has the bendy ball and it was her FAVORITE.  
$4.99

I also think music is fun for babies so this toy was a must get as well! 
$5.99

Nov 29, 2016

Gift Ideas for the Person Who Has Everything

Smile Brilliant
I received free product in exchange of an honest review.  I do not recommend anything I cannot stand behind. 

I have quite a few people on my Christmas list that have EVERYTHING.  If they don't have something they want then they buy it.  Seriously, so stressful at times.  So for those people I have given up.  I just don't get them a present.  

Nov 8, 2016

The Ultimate Gift Guide for a 1 Year Old Girl

Frugal, want, need, clothes, creative, useful, toys
Christmas shopping can be hard because I want to get the perfect gift.  I feel like it is even more hard when it is for a baby or toddler that really doesn't have an opinion or maybe doesn't stick with one thing for more than a couple minutes.  

Nov 4, 2016

Are You Specific With Your Gratitude List?

Thankful Grateful Blessed t-shirt
This world that we live in is so fast pasted.  Thanks to social media it is a place that comparison is so rampant.  Many times I feel so discouraged or less than.  I feel like I can't keep up with this person or that person. 

Oct 30, 2016

Throw a Onederland Party That is Pinterest Worthy

1st birthday party, Alice in Wonderland, simple, easy
My baby girl turned one!  This is a big deal and I have very mixed emotions about it. Does anyone else feel like turning one is such a big deal?  Please tell me you do so I don't feel so crazy.  

Oct 25, 2016

The Ultimate Gift Guide for a 4 Year Old Girl

Something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read
So the man in red is coming!  AHHH!  Before I know it he will be knocking on my door.  My daughter is very aware of everything now.  She of course has a long list of things that she wants him to bring her.  

Oct 21, 2016

The Secrets to Styling a Swing Dress

simple, casual, and classic fall looks
I got my first swing dress about a year ago.  I loved the look of it and it honestly is THE MOST COMFORTABLE dress I have.  I get so many compliments on it.  But I constantly thought it was too boring or plain.  I had to find different ways to style it or else I was going to get tired of it quickly.  

Oct 19, 2016

Happy Through Trials: The Secret of Living a Happy Life Despite Your Trials

Divorce, single mom
I have a few more contributors in this series.  I am so excited to be sharing the next one with you.  I am excited because she seriously amazes me.  I know her from junior high and we cheered together in high school.  She is amazing even though her trial is one that scares me so bad.  I hope you can feel how amazing she is as well through this post!  Here's Heidi!
Happy Through Trials: The Secret of Living a Happy Life Despite Your Trials

As I sit down to write about this, I am very emotional, but not because of the trials I have faced in my life, but because I am so very blessed. 

Oct 14, 2016

Simple Fall Dinner Party

party food, party decorations, music play list, party favors, party set up
Ashley is back on the blog and this time she is bringing you a fun topic!  Enjoy! 

“Interesting people, good friends, good food, and a pleasant setting are the ingredients. What brings them together to make a great dinner party? Not champagne and caviar, not fine china and silver—though these are certainly gracious embellishments. The indispensable elements are the hosts and the spirit they bring to the occasion” by Peggy Post (Emily Post’s Etiquette book)

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