29 November 2013

Small Business Saturday

I love the idea of Small Business Saturday and encourage everyone to support the small local shops in your local area. In addition, I hope you'll check out handmade shops online. Many of them are offering some great offers for the holidays. Here are some great places to find those online offers.

NerdWallet.com has coupon codes for lots of different kinds of items and they even has a special section for discounts from Etsy's handmade goods here.

EtsyCouponCode.com has oodles of searchable deals from Etsy sellers all in one place. Check them out here.

RetailMeNot.com also has bunches of discount codes for a multitude of things and a special section just for Etsy Deals here.

I love Thanksgiving and the easy going feeling of taking things at your own pace. With that said, rarely will you find me at the in person Black Friday sales but I love shopping online in my jammies. Can't wait to support handmade and local in person tomorrow.

Which small businesses will you support?

27 November 2013

Yummy Roasted Butternut Squash Recipe

1. Wash one medium sized butternut squash, scoop out the seeds and cut into 1" chunks. Place them in a large bowl. (I used my squash with the peel on but you can peel it if desired.)

2. Add the following into the large bowl as well;
1 heaping tbsp of herbes de provence
black pepper
kosher salt
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar

3. Mix well with a wooden spoon.

4. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.

5. Line a large baking sheet with edges with parchment. Mix the squash and marinade one last time and pout it all out on the baking sheet. (Try not to faint from the delish smell!)

6.  Bake at 400 degrees until golden and fork tender - about 45-60 minutes. Enjoy! Wonderful warm or cold.

23 November 2013


So on my walk around the lake last week I saw something that really bothered me. There was a small group of middle-schoolers waiting for the school bus that were yelling and throwing acorns at the ducks. As I approached them, I considered if I should say something and if so what exactly to say. Thankfully, there was enough distance for me to give it some careful thought. I didn't want to come across as an adult worth ignoring but really make them think about their actions.

As I got in hearing distance of them, I said, "How would you like it if they did that to you?"

It got quiet all except for the ducks quacking. The kids dropped their acorns and looked at me, mouths agape. I kept walking. As I rounded the next curve in the sidewalk, I could see them out of the corner of my eye going back to their backpacks to wait for the school bus.

I think I shocked them because most adults walking by didn't say anything. I made them think and reconsider their actions and I'm glad they stopped terrorizing the ducks.

It's amazing to me that unsupervised kids in groups that know better will do destructive things out of boredom. Let's keep them engaged in conversation, reading and positive things instead.

21 November 2013

Are you ready for Thanksgiving?

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is only a week away? Wow it really snuck up on us, huh? Here's a little free printable worksheet to help you get it all organized. A place to get it all on paper.

Make a list of your guests. This will help you visualize how to seat them all and remember who has special dietary needs to consider.

Make your shopping list. Survey your list of dishes, list of guests and your pantry to figure out what you'll need to pick up at the market. Mark the things on your list that you can look for at your farmer's market. Shop early to avoid the rush and so you can make a last minute trip for any forgotten items.

Write down all the dishes you plan to make. Bust out the recipes to see what all you want to make them and maybe recruit your willing guests to help with the cooking.

List all the activities that you can get help with leading up to the meal - like setting the table. These are fun things you can get help with that will get everyone involved and take a little pressure off you. Also list some things to do after the meal to do as a group to be active - play catch or talk a walk. We all want to avoid the food coma. I love to talk about what everyone is thankful for too.

Anything that you don't want to forget goes here - like when to take the turkey out of the freezer so it's thawed in time, when to pick up Aunt Mabel from the airport, etc.

Just double click the image to open it, save it and print it on a letter size sheet.

16 November 2013

Cap the Tap? Really?

I've always heard that drinking at least eight glasses of water a day is good for you. I've been told this by many physicians, nutritionists and my mother. I feel better when I drink water and it is my drink of choice in most cases. So I was shocked to hear that a large corporation is doing something sneaky to try to get us all to "cap the tap".

Considering the health concerns and obesity problems in the US, you'd think we could all work together to help each other make healthier choices. Drinking something other than water on occasion is a treat or a special event -- but strategically and secretly scheming - that's another story.

Coca-Cola has put a plan in place to get servers and restaurant workers to do their best to get you to drink their products instead. Read all about it here via Huff and let me know what you think in the comment section  below.

12 November 2013

A Good Thank You Note And Why It Matters

In a world of instant gratification and hurry up gotta get there, sometimes it's easy to forget those little niceties that may seem to be from a time gone by. In reality, it is worth it to take a minute...

Before I was old enough to write a thank you note on my own, my mom would ask me to color a picture for the person we were sending a thank you to. When I was done, she would write a note from both of us on the back of my picture and send it to the person we were thanking. As a little kid, I'm not sure that I completely got the concept of gratitude yet but I understood that a thank you was a socially polite thing to do. When someone had us all over for dinner, we would send a thank you via snail mail. After a birthday party, we would send thank yous for gifts received.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/106087446/holiday-cards-blank-cards-four-robins?ref=sr_gallery_29&ga_search_query=blank+cards&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=US&ga_page=2&ga_search_type=all&ga_facet=blank+cardsWhen I was old enough to start writing my own thank you notes, my grandmother got me a small box of monogrammed stationary with the letter A printed in a lovely script on the front and a nice pen. When she gave them to me they came along with a conversation about why it's nice to send a thank you note. She spent some time explaining that when someone gives you a gift, they take the time to pick something that they think you'll enjoy, take the time to wrap it and so on. We are not only thanking them for the gift but for the thought, their kindness and for remembering us on an important occasion. Ok, so at this age I understood much more what it meant to be grateful.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/61601551/squirrel-salutations-paper-cut-squirrel?ref=sr_gallery_19&ga_search_query=blank+cards&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=US&ga_page=3&ga_search_type=all&ga_facet=blank+cardsAs an adult in a digital world who receives entirely too much junk mail (a topic for another day), my heart races when I see a handwritten personal piece of snail mail correspondence in my pile of mail. It doesn't matter if it's an invitation, a thank you note or a letter - even a postcard makes me happy. A thank you note in particular warms my heart. This is physical proof that someone appreciates something I did for them. It's a mini form of validation -- not only is it gratitude, it is a mini reflection of a kindness I extended to someone else. In this crazy world that is such a nice little thing to experience. As an adult I totally understand the concept of being grateful -- expressing as well as doing kind things for those I care about.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/150491154/origami-greeting-card-black-white-and?ref=shop_home_activeSo before you brush aside the idea of doing thank you notes this holiday season or anytime really. Think twice. Thank you notes should be quick and fun not drudgery -- so be yourself. You're not writing War and Peace - short and sweet totally gets the job done! You can use whatever stationary you like and postcards work great too. Pick a pen you like writing with and some pretty stamps. Make it a fun event. (Nope, it's not ok to send an email thank you note.) A thank you note isn't the place to share other news, ask for recipes or talk about other topics. A thank you note is just to say thank you.

Here's what makes up a good thank you -- hoping to make writing little thank yous of your own as painless as possible.

• say hello
• say thank you
• mention how you'll use the item
• mention seeing them (past or future)
• thank them again
• sign off

Here's an example that does all those things;

Dear Louise-

It was great to see you at the holiday party. Thank you so much for the custom handmade scarf and mittens. They're absolutely beautiful and your master knitting skills totally show - you know blue is my fave color! I can't wait for it to get cold again so I can wear them to the outdoor skating rink.

Thanks again,

*for information about the cards shown, just click on the images

04 November 2013

Wow, repurposing takes my breath away...


 I just saw this incredibly beautiful and unique backsplash over on Earth911 and had to share it! It's made with repurposed skate board decks! Love this! See more cool repurposing inspiration on their site here.

02 November 2013

Free Screening of Genetic Roulette


Your private screening of the 1 Hour version of “Genetic Roulette – The Gamble of Our Lives” movie is here for you to enjoy. You have unlimited access to watch the movie for 1 week (Nov 2nd -Nov 8th). Click here to watch.

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