Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Shopping Challenge Update

This Christmas I took up a challenge when it came to buying my Christmas presents. If you read my post The Christmas Shopping Challenge you can learn more about it.

 
The heart of the challenge is to make sure that I am buying gifts that actually support what I believe. So how has this challenge going? 

Well there have been a lot of challenges. Since I decided that I wanted the gifts I purchased to either be made in the USA, eco-friendly, or fair trade products. I had some hunting to do. I found that shopping at some of the bigger stores the challenge was almost impossible. So I had to get really creative with some of the gifts. Here's a Chocolate Lover's Basket that I put together as one gift.

This is how it turned out. Everything that would keep a chocolate lover happy. So how did it develop. I know someone who absolutely loves chocolate. And well it is pretty easy to find fair trade chocolates if you go to the right places. So I decided to build a present around this. I'd eaten Divine Chocolate products before and I knew that it's great chocolate. The chocolate beans are farmed in Ghana. And the farmers manage the sale of their own beans. It's fair trade at it's best. I also included a Equal Exchange chocolate bar. All of this took was a trip to the local health food shop. That was the easy part.
 
What else do chocolate lovers want? I decided hot chocolate would be a good move. This wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. I look at a lot of packages and I discovered that most food doesn't really say where it is made. It might say it was packaged in the USA, but was it made in the USA? Finally a trip to Whole Foods solved the problem. The answer was Silly Cow Farms Hot Chocolate. It was a natural food product that is made by a small company based out of Vermont. Bingo! I ran by the local Goodwill to pick up a basket and found a cute mug to go with the hot chocolate.
 
Then I decided that S'mores would also be a great idea for chocolate lovers. This is where things really got difficult. Hard as I looked I could not figure out if the chocolate graham crackers and the marshmallows I decided on were made in the USA or fit into the category of fair trade or eco-friendly. Hard as I looked the packaging didn't state where the items were made. And I went to several different grocery stores. I finally decided that I had done the best I could and just purchased each.

So this present turned out to meet all of my criteria I think.

I found through this challenge that it was extremely difficult to find out where products are made. I looked online. I looked at packages. And I also found that some of the wording on labels. I searched online for products that were made in the USA, eco-friendly, or fair trade. I searched high and low in many of the big box stores. I was sad to see that I could barely find things in the big box stores that fit the criteria. And I also found it difficult when I searched online to find out where items were made. I had to do a little research on companies. I was also a little surprised that I didn't spend that much more on gifts that met all the criteria. We all complain that these items cost more, but when push came to shove. I spent about the same amount of money I would spend on gift baskets made from items that I had no clue where the items were made.

So was my challenge a success? Yes, I originally decided to purchase 75% of my gifts that were one of the three criteria. I was able to do this. But it took work. But I believe it was well worth the work. It took seeking out different sources for Christmas shopping, but it made the Christmas gift giving experience all more satisfying.

Music to blog by All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth by Alvin and the Chipmunks
 
Other Links You Might Enjoy
 
 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

I Dodged a Bullet

Have you ever had one of those times when you have an assignment at work, and you think that's not fair. You are getting ready to say that isn't right. And something tells you this isn't the time to say anything. That's what happened to me last week, and I dodged a bullet.

I have had to work every Saturday afternoons for several months. It gets kind of old so I was excited when a new person was hired at my job. I thought finally I will get a couple of Saturday afternoons off. We could rotate the Saturday afternoons. I thought for sure I would have last Saturday afternoon off, but I was scheduled to work. I thought to myself this is unfair. I am tired of being here on Saturday afternoons. I was getting ready to tell my boss, and something told me don't say anything this time. So I kept my mouth shut.

I went into work on Saturday afternoon, and I found out that the morning did not go well. There was more work than could be done on time, and the machines that were supposed to assist us were not working correctly. The afternoon went smoothly. I didn't have to deal with the chaos they experienced in the morning. So I guess the point is sometimes it's best to let things be. It's just knowing when you need to say something and when you should be quiet that is the difficult thing.

Music to blog by Good by Better Than Ezra

Other Post You Might Enjoy
I Just Can't Help Myself
Christmas Survival Tips
Dear Santa


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wake Up Wednesday Linky Party 47



               Welcome to the 47th week of 

 Wake Up Wednesday "Linky" Party

************************************************************

We are so excited to have so many amazing bloggers party with us.
Thank you so much to all those who share your blog in our party.
Last week we had  456 awesome linkups!   

 Wake Up and be happy, get excited and have fun with us! 
We want to be inspired, entertained, laugh and have a good time!












































Your link will appear on the blogs of
Blogghetti         


This weeks 
Featured Bloggers


Holiday Decor, Edible Snowmen Edition

Interior Design Principles

Snowman is a fun character.  He can make you smile, and he has been mankind’s buddy for a long long time. There is something magical about being around snowman and snow women – they are able to lighten up the ambiance and help set the mood to celebrate the holiday season.



Activated Charcoal: Why No Mama Should Be Without It

Deep Roots at Home

Activated Charcoal: Why No Mama Should Be Without It, Professor Touery, adsorption, antidote, lethal dose, gastric lavage, pumping stomach, coals from fire, Tylenol, dosage, tablets, capsules, powder, brown recluse, plantain, aspirin, burnt toast, allergic reactions, pets, food poisoning, spider bites, mushroom poisoning, accidental poisoning, a stomach bug, snake bite, antidote for most poisons, educating parents, doctors, pharmacists, emergency room, 911, ambulance,  pediatricians, strychnine, arsenic, children, toddlers, swallowing poison, coconut shells, storage, shelf life,
Activated charcoal is not the kind found on your burnt toast! 
Activated charcoal is a highly adsorptive antidote for emergency use (and a few other no-emergency uses), able to rapidly mop up toxins and chemicals. Toxins adhere or stick to the very porous surface of the charcoal, so nothing is absorbed by the body – instead passing through and out of the GI tract. It is a fine, black powder that is odorless, tasteless, and nontoxic, and it has proved its value over and over again.


DIY Snowman Hat from Thrift Store Finds

Live Randomly Simple


Today I am bringing you something so fun that I am still sitting here looking at it in amazement!  AmieJo from Life’s Little Projects contacted me and asked to collaborate a DIY Christmas craft from Thrift Store finds with a few other ladies! {I cannot wait to see what they all made, you can check out their projects at the bottom of the post!}



31 Days in Proverbs Devotional Collection

Life gets so busy.

And let's face it...we often become distracted and end up pushing our devotional time to the side in hopes of saving time. We're all guilty of it...we all want to do better...but when we feel this heightening level of tension, we realize God isn't the one who drifted. 

We did. 


I hope you like today's project. 


I have another DIY Christmas Tree Ornament.






Strawberry Cheesecake Muffins Recipe

Southern Krazed

Strawberry Cheesecake Muffins Recipe

Who’s up for a delicious delight today? These Strawberry Cheesecake Muffins will surely melt in your mouth! I LOVE cheesecake and strawberries. Combined, oh YUM!!! They are terrific with a hot cup of coffee for an afternoon snack or an after dinner desert! Can I say simply sinful?!



Cranberry Sangria

Upstate Ramblings

The holidays celebrations mean holiday cocktails!  And one of the easiest holiday cocktails to make is Sangria, because you can make it ahead of time and chill it until the party starts.  I made this Cranberry Orange Sangria with white wine for one of our holiday celebrations, and served it my new Curva Artisan double walled glasses.


Okay!  I will be the first to admit for as long as I have been blogging, I still have had my questions about the proper use of hashtags with social media.

Nagging thoughts of am I hashtagging too little or too much? Am I using the right type of hashtags for the given situations? Well, I have finally had enough of this wondering and have gone in search of some answers. Figured while I am undertaking this journey, I should share what I  learn so that it may clear up the hashtag dilemma for other folks, as well. Here is what I found out:



Mini Mimosa Cupcakes

This Silly Girl's Life


Okay, okay, now I know I’ve said this a thousand times BUT…. these HAVE to be the best cupcakes I have ever made.
I know. Trust me on this, these little cuties are just bursting with mimosa flavor! How adorable will they be on your holiday brunch spread OR at a New Year’s Ever party….swoon.



Have you finished your Christmas shopping?  I’m basically finished, besides baking madness and a few craft projects.
One of the craft projects this year is the Infinity Scarf.  I’ve wanted to learn how to knit or crochet, but up until now I haven’t really tried to learn.

I finally went to the farm store and purchased my Amaryllis bulb.  You'll notice I decided to plant in a white ceramic pot instead of my box.  This pot was already full of dirt and honestly it just made my life a little easier. I like adding white accents indoors; they can clean up the atmosphere of any room.  This bulb will bloom into a red and white beauty; I'm excited to watch the process as there is always so much detail to witness.  Today I'm sharing how easy it is to get an Amaryllis bulb started with stuff you already have, making this a fun Christmas project that won't break the bank. 


Do you love matte lipsticks? I know that I do. Sometimes though, I find that they are incredibly hard to pull off. Matte lipsticks are not know to be the most friendly makeup to work with. They have a tendency to be dry (and drying), they show cracks, they can make lips look smaller. But with a little prep work they are wonderful, for those times that you don’t want a shiny, sticky, sparkly mess on your lips.


I am still on a Peppermint kick and think Dimitri is especially happy about it, as he is a huge fan of anything Peppermint and these Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes are no exception.

The cupcakes are not only rich in color, but in taste as well with the added Mint Crunch. I am not sure whether Mint Crunch is available everywhere as I found mine at our local baking supply store. No brand name which makes me think the store buys in bulk and then re-package.




Cookies for Santa has been a tradition at our house since my first son was born.We generally open one gift from under the tree (pajamas), leave out milk and cookies and then read Twas the Night Before Christmas as a family.The milk and cookies do not have to be elaborate. You don’t have to decorate the cookies, although you can if you want. It is a great memory your kids will always cherish. You can do simple cookies or even store bought.

Personalized Snowman Mugs

I love personalized homemade gifts. I would prefer something homemade over something store bought any day, unless you are going to buy me a car, then I really, really want the car.
These mugs are super cute and crazy easy to make, you just need a mug, a couple sharpies and an oven and you are all set!

Easy Homemade Buttermilk Pie

buttermilk-pieI started baking this recipe for Homemade Buttermilk Pie when we lived in Uruguay, and it was always a big hit with everyone who tried it. If you’re having trouble imagining what a buttermilk pie would taste like, it has the flavor and texture of a yummy vanilla custard.

Hershey Bar Reindeer – Holiday Craft

About A Mom
As the Christmas holiday quickly approaches, I have another fun holiday craft to share with you – Hershey Bar Reindeer. This one is very simple and a great one to do with the kids. As with most craft projects, I didn’t have all of the supplies to make what I was envisioning. Our Grateful Turkey Box craft for Thanksgiving took the last of our brown craft paper, so I made do with brown packing paper. For the antlers I made used pipe cleaners. Even with a few deviations from my initial plans, these Hershey Bar Reindeer turned out pretty cute.


Concealed Carry Version of ChrisWDesigns Sugar and Spice Purse

Gina's Craft Corner Bags

I've been dying to share with you my latest bag!  I purchased the Sugar and Spice pattern from Christine over at ChrisWDesigns a LONG time ago, but only recently had time to put it together.

This bag looks a little fancy on the outside, but let me tell you, I think it is a pretty easy sew.  There is only 1 zipper and the rest are all slip pockets.  Yippee!! 


<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-fXWdqbrTr0g/VI4OFht4egI/AAAAAAAAPlE/CsW-LP8jJUA/s1600/Featured%2B%40%2BWUWLP.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-fXWdqbrTr0g/VI4OFht4egI/AAAAAAAAPlE/CsWLP8jJUA/s1600/Featured%2B%40%2BWUWLP.jpg" /></a></div><br />
---------------------------------------------------

You can enter our 

(November winner was Veronica Lee from Of Mice and Ramen)



a Rafflecopter giveaway 
%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Link up your funny stories, DIY posts, crafts, decorating, fashion, makeup, health & fitness, recipes, mommy moments -- anything at all, as long as it is family-friendly.


Please visit some other bloggers and make some new friends and say hello to old friends..
  • Please leave me a comment , I love to hear from you.
  • Please Link to your family friendly post 
  • I'd love for you to grab my party button for your blog party site but it's totally optional
  • Please No adult content blogs
  • Please do not add links to shops or selling websites (they will be deleted from the party)
  • Giveaways are always welcome.. Add your giveaways to Sew Crafty Angel's Pinterest Community Giveaway Board too.  
Adding your link to this blog hop gives Sew Crafty Angel permission to share your posts and pictures via social media and as features on Sew Crafty Angel And Co-Hosts.  Note- All features on Sew Crafty Angel And Co-Hosts will be linked back to the original source .Social media features are linked back to the linky party.

Angel

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Those Christmas Extras Roundup

Each week I am a co-host of the Wake Up Wednesday Linky Party. It's so much fun to see what everyone's wonderful posts. Here are few of the posts that involve those Christmas extras. You know they don't fit into a nice category, but they are way cool.

 
I absolutely loved Tela's idea of a Grinch dinner. Check out the post at Sweet Southern. It's a tradition that more people should take up.
 
 
My Top 10 Christmas Albums contains a list of great Christmas music from all genres over at The Ramblings of an Aspiring Small Town Girl. The list includes everything from Hawaiian music to punk. It's a great list you should check out.
 
And since this post is all about Christmas Renee over at Doorkeeper came up with a great post on Christmas gifts we all can give.
 
Music to blog by Chalk It Up to the Blues by Big Sandy and His Fly Rite Boys
 

 
 
 



Thursday, December 11, 2014

Roasted Roots

Fall and winter is a great time for all of those rooty vegetables. And once you get all of the chopping done they are pretty easy to cook. Here's a recipe for roasted roots.

 
 
Here's what you need
 
1/2 cup of chopped apples
1/2 cup of chopped daikon radishes
1/2 cup of chopped carrots
1/2 cup of chopped onions
1/2 cup of chopped beets
1/2 cup of chopped butternut squash
2 cloves chopped garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons thyme
1 tablespoon sage
2 tablespoons rosemary
the juice from one fresh lemon
 
Preheat oven to 475 degrees
Now combine all of the items in a bowl and mix well.
Now place the items in a roasting pan.
Roast the vegetables for 35 minutes stirring the vegetables every 10 minutes.
 
Music to blog by Matin by The Holy Boys
 
Other Links You Might Enjoy
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wake Up Wednesday Linky 46



               Welcome to the 46th week of 

 Wake Up Wednesday "Linky" 

************************************************************

We are so excited to have you all party with us.
Thank you so much to all those who participate in our party.
Last week we had  368 awesome linkups!   

 Wake Up and be happy, get excited and have fun with us! 
We want to be inspired, entertained, laugh and have a good time!

 The hop is hosted and posted on these different blogs









































Your link will appear on the blogs of
Blogghetti         

Interested in Co-Hosting Wake Up Wednesday?
Fill out this form and Angel will be in touch with you?


This weeks 
Featured Bloggers

We had Harper's 2nd birthday party last weekend and it was so much fun. Harper was surrounded by friends and family, lots of sweets, gifts, and had a blast! I cant wait to see what this year brings for Harper. She is getting crazier and more grown up by the day, and I just want time to slow down! 

I also wanted to mention that the knife we are cutting Harpers cake with has a very special meaning to us. The knifes were a 1st birthday gift from my aunt, and are engraved with her monogram and name. They are sterling silver and are meant to be had her whole life. We hope that we will cut her cake with these knifes each year on her birthday, and then one day she will cut her wedding cake with them. I hope they are as special to her one day as they are to me. 


FABBY: Christmas Foyer and Living Room-Tour 2

HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON
I'm sharing my Foyer and Living room all decked for Christmas 2014, Tour 2.

Like I said before, I don't do great changes, I just add to what's always there and I use some of my fave pieces like this tiered blue and white Meissen server. I just add more or less and here and there, no biggie; so I hope you don't get bored, lol!

Ok, here goes some pics of a part of the house. I will post next the den where everything happens, tree and mantel... actually C'mas itself!




My eighteen year old daughter Eleanor made these thumbprint Christmas cards for a Christmas craft.  They are adorable, and only took her about half an hour to make from start to finish.  Here is how she did it.




As a parent, teaching my daughters the significance of Christmas is a responsibility I take seriously. Competing with the commercial noise generated by the retail industry can be a challenge, but not one that intimidates me. This year, I was determined to find fun, age-appropriate ways to engage my children in dialogue about the true meaning of the holiday beginning with a nativity scene.



Cranberry Orange Donuts

Homemade donuts are so delicious and perfect because you can make them in any flavor you want. Throw in a few tastes of the holidays by adding fresh cranberries and hint of citrus for a donut that is tastes so amazing that you won’t be able to eat just one. Cranberry Orange Donuts are the perfect grab for breakfast!




I am SO excited; there are just so many things I want to make, my mind has been fit to burst with things I want to make. Of course, December would need to be about a million days long in order for me to have time to make everything!
Do you have that problem too? I mean, really, it’s a good problem to have, if I was sat here like “I have nothing.” then this blog would be pretty boring!

Cookies For Santa

The Crafty Side Of Sarcasm
Cookies For Santa
Here is a roundup of Santa approved cookies. There is a cookie for whatever Santa may want, if it be peppermint, mint, cranberry, or the nontraditional Santa Pecan pie. You eat with your eyes first so give Santa something to look at while he munches. After all he is bringing toys to all good boys and girls, i’m sure he’d want a little snack and a variety wouldn’t hurt.



Starbucks Copycat Cranberry Bliss Bars

Pink Recipe Box
Starbucks Copycat Cranberry Bliss Bars Recipe | www.pinkrecipebox.com
Can you tell how much I’m loving copycat recipes lately? Over the past couple of weeks I’ve posted Starbucks copycat recipes for Starbucks caramel brulee latte and Starbucks cinnamon dolce latte, as well as Cinnabon copycat recipe for cinnamon rolls – I just can’t get enough of them! The copycat recipes have been really popular, so I hope you guys love this one as much as you have loved the others!




Every year I find myself buying lots of paper gift bags, especially for those family members for which I opt to buy a series of small items I know they need/will use throughout the year (gourmet food, bath accessories, etc). This year, in the true handmade spirit, I decided to make my own gift bags. 




Hey guys!  It is the last entry in the Christmas Series and that means dessert!!  To me peppermint and chocolate are the perfect flavors for Christmas and it is my favorite flavor combination.  I wanted to make a truly festive dessert but one that was easy.
I love starting with a box cake mix and jazzing it up.  It saves me some time during the bust holidays and gives me more time for wrapping presents, drinking hot chocolate with the family and just enjoying the holidays.
This cake is a snap to make and the star is the Dark Chocolate Peppermint Ganache.



DIY Mason Jar Hanging Lanterns

I love Mason Jars. I love using them as glassware. I love using them as decor. I just love love love them. So I decided to create some hanging lanterns using Mason Jars. These are super easy to make and are cheap! I spent less than $40 and ended up with 12 Hanging Lanterns.




We love when our friend Katie F. gets creative and shares a fun craft with us!  Today she is showing us How To Dye Bottle Brush Christmas Trees!  These are so much fun and a great inexpensive way to decorate for he holidays!  You may see colorful bottle brush trees in gift shops and decorating magazines, but buying some for yourself can come at a price. Instead, why not try dying your own? Below you will find everything you need to know on how to dye bottle brush trees. In just a few steps, you can turn plain, dollar store trees into colorful ones. Here’s how!



The Race Card from a Minority Moms point of view

This was not what I set out to write about today. This is not where I like my writing to go too often.
But today these points were triggered in my mind...




While many times you will see kissing balls made out of greenery or flowers, we made our kissing balls out of ribbon. We made these for my daughter’s wedding — she really loved the whimsical look of these.
These can be used to decorate for any event or occasion. All you really have to do is change the color of the ribbon used. You can also stick small flowers or greenery in these to mix it up a little bit. What do you think?

---------------------------------------------------

You can enter our 

(November winner was Veronica Lee from Of Mice and Ramen)



a Rafflecopter giveaway 
%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Link up your funny stories, DIY posts, crafts, decorating, fashion, makeup, health & fitness, recipes, mommy moments -- anything at all, as long as it is family-friendly.


Please visit some other bloggers and make some new friends and say hello to old friends..
  • Please leave me a comment , I love to hear from you.
  • Please Link to your family friendly post 
  • I'd love for you to grab my party button for your blog party site but it's totally optional
  • Please No adult content blogs
  • Please do not add links to shops or selling websites (they will be deleted from the party)
  • Giveaways are always welcome.. Add your giveaways to Sew Crafty Angel's Pinterest Community Giveaway Board too.  
Adding your link to this blog hop gives Sew Crafty Angel permission to share your posts and pictures via social media and as features on Sew Crafty Angel And Co-Hosts.  Note- All features on Sew Crafty Angel And Co-Hosts will be linked back to the original source .Social media features are linked back to the linky party.