Every year we travel to Georgia to my mom’s house to celebrate Thanksgiving with my side of the family. It’s my mom’s favorite holiday, so when we first got married we decided that we would spend Thanksgiving with my family. I just love everything about Thanksgiving. In fact, I love everything leading up to Thanksgiving from bonfires, pumpkin patches, hay rides, cool fall mornings, hot chocolate and everything in between. If those aren’t enough reasons, two of my three babies were born two weeks before Thanksgiving, so we have much to be thankful for in our home. [Read more...]
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of ShopatHome. All opinions are my own. You can read my full disclosure here.
If you are looking for the perfect stocking stuffers or teacher’s gift ideas Bath & Body Works is the perfect solution. There are so many different items to choose from such as skin care, home fragrance, soaps, sanitizers, and more. [Read more...]
Crazy 8 is my favorite brand of clothes that I have bought for my kids for years. Not only have I always been pleased with the quality, but each collection includes pieces that coordinate together, and the prices are always great. Plus, as my tween daughter got older it became harder and harder to find clothes that still looked like a little girl. I know I can always shop at Crazy 8 and find clothes that are both fashionable for her age, without making her look older than necessary.
As the holiday season is upon us, Crazy 8 is a gr8 place to find holiday gifts that kids love—from stocking stuffers to gifts under $25! Last week I shopped online at Crazy8.com and got incredible deals on the cutest clothes. The entire shopping experience was so easy. With 3 kids, homeschooling, and running a home based business I just don’t have time to shop in stores very often. I was able to place my order online without any problems and received my package just a couple of days later. I’m so excited to share a couple of outfits with you.
First, I’d just like to go on record as saying that I have a new respect for people who photograph children. Trying to get all three kids to smile at the same time was just about impossible. This is my oldest, she turned 12 last week. Shopping for her is a little bit of a challenge because she is a sporty girl and doesn’t like anything that is super girly. I found these super cute skinny jeans that fit her perfectly and a long sleeve tee that said Merry & Bright. It was such a cute outfit and will be perfect during the Holiday Season.
My fun loving middle is the most hilarious child! This is my favorite outfit as it suits him perfectly. I paired jeans with a long sleeved “AWESOME” t-shirt and then layered with a plaid shirt.
If these smiles are any indication, they were very happy with momma’s shopping selections.
There were just no smiles today from our littlest one, but she was captivated by the Christmas tree. Her shirt is much like big sis except it says Happy & Bright. These Fair Isle leggings are super thick and warm perfect for cold winter days. I bought her a couple of other shirts and a pair of red leggings that will all coordinate together. I had planned on taking a picture with her in each outfit, but if you had seen the fit that this girl pitched when I changed her clothes you’d understand why we stopped at one.
You can find great gifts for any kid on your list at Crazy 8 at fabulous prices. Take a look around and see what you can find because……………we’ve got a surprise for you!
Crazy 8 has given us a $100 Crazy 8 gift card to give away to one reader. Follow the rafflecopter giveaway steps below to enter, then scroll down to the bottom of the post for instructions on how to enter the second giveaway.
Giveaway 2: Crazy 8 is hosting a #Crazy8Kid sweepstakes (11/9-12/4), giving away a Crazy 8 $88 gift card to a fan each week. Crazy8 wants you to share how your #Crazy8Kid jumps for joy this holiday season!
Follow these easy steps to enter:
- Take a picture of your #Crazy8Kid jumping for joy
- Add the following hashtags to your entry: #Crazy8Kid and #Crazy8KidSweepstakes
- Share on Instagram or Twitter
Giving back is so close to my heart. My father, who passed away 6 years, was such a huge giver. He didn’t teach me about giving through sitting down and talking about it. Instead, I watched his life. As a young girl I remember him stopping his truck to help an elderly lady carry her groceries home after passing her on the sidewalk. I can’t count how many times daddy would take bags of fresh vegetables from my grandfather’s garden and leave them in our pastor’s garage by the back door. Daddy always gave, always. It was just who he was. Not just to me, but to everyone who knew him, daddy was known by his heart to give to others. Because I grew up watching my daddy give, I love to give. But more importantly, I want to teach my children to be givers. However, I know this kind of lesson isn’t something that I “teach.” It has to be something that we purposefully live out as a family. This time of year we love to give back as a family and serve others through the Love the City project at our church, Redemption Point Church, whose mission is to be the most loving church in America. One way that we strive to achieve our mission is through serving the greater Chattanooga community in a way that provides for their basic needs. This year, Love the City, a ministry of RPC was able to provide Thanksgiving dinner to over 500 families. I couldn’t wait to join together with my family and serve our community together. First, we gathered together earlier last week to pack bags of groceries for the families. Each food item was spread out at stations throughout the gym. We each grabbed these huge ALDI grocery bags, that ALDI so graciously donated for the project, and walked through each station to fill. We provided each family with all of the items listed below: Pre-packaged items:
- Green Beans (2)
- Corn Can(2)
- Black Beans Can (2)
- Stuffing box (2)
- Brownies box (1)
- Rice (1 bag)
- Milk (1 Carton)
- Potatoes (10 lb) Pre-packaged
- Onions (3 lb) Pre-packaged
- Bread (1)
- Corn on the Cob
- Apples (3 lb) Per case
- Turkey (1)
So many people volunteered to help that we finished in less than an hour. This is my friend, Betsy, her smile and genuine excitement sums up our night. I love that my kids were able to participate by helping get the bags ready. It also created opportunities on the drive down to talk about how truly blessed we are as so many families are in need, especially so during the holidays. Then, on Saturday it was time to Love the City and hand out food to each family. My mom was in town to celebrate both of my girls’ birthdays so she was able to come with us as well. It’s not always convenient or easy to serve others. I want my kids to understand that serving and giving will always be a sacrifice, otherwise they will grow up thinking that it’s something we do when it’s convenient. Each family that we serve through Love the City had registers beforehand and arrived that day with a ticket. As they arrived they were met with smiling faces ready to help complete their Thanksgiving bags. There were a couple of items that we didn’t prepackage on Tuesday either to insure freshness or for the items we hadn’t received yet.This is my daughter (far left and several of her friends. On Saturday morning they gave each family that walked by a box of brownie mix, which was also donated by ALDI. One of my favorite parts of being a blogger is working with incredible companies like ALDI. Y’all this is what generosity looks like. When my church was gathering donations for our Love the City Thanksgiving Project I contacted ALDI about donating brownie mixes. They were so quick to jump on board and donated 500 brownie mixes and 500 large grocery bags. I’ve had the pleasure of working with ALDI over the past couple of years on several projects and they are by far the most generous of any brand. In addition, ALDI is my favorite place to shop for my family’s groceries on a weekly basis. I can always save money without having to worry about using coupons which is especially important in my very full life. I just can’t resist sharing our youngest little turkey with you. Someone asked me, “Wouldn’t it be easier to wait until the baby is older?” Of course, it would, but giving and serving others isn’t about what is easier. I have so many more pictures I want to share with you, but I’ll wrap up with this. Here, the girls are truly loving our city. As each individual or family passes by, they don’t just hand them a box of brownies. The look them in their eyes and offer them a word of encouragement. They see in person real people in need. They see boys and girls just like them who without help wouldn’t have a meal this Thanksgiving. In all the hustle of bustle of the holiday season, I hope more than anything that they are inspired to give more not just get more. At the end of the day, how we love others defines who we truly are. Disclosure: This post was underwritten by ALDI. I am so thankful for their generosity in donating 500 large grocery bags and 500 brownie mixes. All text and opinions are my own. Please see my full disclosure here.
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I cannot believe that Christmas is right around the corner, it feels as though we just celebrated. Maybe it’s because the holidays bring back so many memories for me, who knows for sure. While this post may be more personal than most. Keep in mind that I’ve learned over the years that the holidays aren’t about “things,” they are about memories and the people we love.
Several years ago my daddy was diagnosed with incurable brain cancer. The Tuesday before Christmas that year he was admitted into Hospice without much hope of making it through the Christmas holiday (we were so thankful that he made it another two months).
Although “things” have never been what defined Christmas for me I learned that year what was truly important and it has shaped me ever since. I learned that time with those I love the most is what is the most important. We don’t have to have fancy dinners or expensive gifts to celebrate.
That Christmas my entire family gathered in the family room at Hospice to share Christmas Eve dinner together, we opened gifts beside my dad’s bed, and enjoyed each other’s company.
Here’s what I learned that I hope to always carry over into my family’s holiday celebrations. My goal continues to be the same every year, simplify the season, be purposeful in planning, and savor every moment.
1. Gather with family and friends - enjoy being together. The holiday means spending time with family. Seriously, while everyone pushes the gift agenda, it’s so nice to just relax and enjoy being in the presence of family.
2. Prepare food/meals in advance when possible so as not to complicate and cause stress. There’s nothing worse than a stressful holiday where you spend hours slaving in the kitchen while the rest of the family enjoys each other’ company. The holidays for me mean planning ahead and making the day as stress free as possible.
3. Stay within our budget as gifts are quickly forgotten but experience, traditions and memories together last a lifetime. Staying within budget is so important in our family. We love to buy gifts, but want to stay within our budget because people mean more to us than the presents we buy them.
4. We are purposeful to focus on the real meaning of the season for our family. We love the holidays, but really try not to get caught up in the commercialism of it.
5. Create traditions that last a lifetime. My mother always prepared the exact same breakfast for Christmas morning. Now, as a mother I cook the same breakfast for my family. It’s something we all look forward to. It’s fun to see my kid’s faces on Christmas morning, 2/3 have been around long enough to start to expect it on Christmas morning and I love it! This is just one of many traditions that my family enjoys. Plus, we have traditions with each set of grandparents. No wonder Christmas feels so magical to me as family traditions are my favorite way to celebrate!
6. Teach Purposeful Giving. It’s so important to look beyond ourselves and serve others all year long, but especially during the Holiday Season. I want my children to understand how blessed they truly are. One way to do that is to serve as a family. Personally, we join with our church in a project called, “Love the City.” Each year at Thanksgiving we help package bags of food for Thanksgiving meals that go out to 500 families in our community. Then, at Christmas we serve by helping with “The Magi Project,” which serves hundreds of families by providing brand new toys for their children for Christmas. Finally, each year we pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.
Just as I’ve learned things over the years, SunTrust has also taught me a thing or two. While I haven’t always been at a place in my life to be so mature about the holidays, I was astounded by some of their statistics. “According to the National Retail Federation, the average American planned to spend about $800 celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas and/or Kwanzaa last year?” Can you imagine dropping $800 on toys? Apparently it does happen.
Holiday Budget Tool & Holiday Guide
Even if you do plan on spending that amount on Christmas, which is totally up to you, you don’t have to go broke buying Christmas for your family. SunTrust actually has some really cool resources available to people like you and I. I love their Holiday Budget Tool, you can download a planning worksheet, set limits, track expenses, and so on. And I love that SunTrust allows you to make automatic transfers into monthly savings to help you reach your holiday savings goal. You can also download their Holiday Guide, which includes tips to help keep you focused on the task at hand. The holiday season should not stress you out and SunTrust wants to help. There are some great tips in there and I encourage you to check them out.
Join my family and SunTrust and make your holidays mean more. Use the tools that SunTrust offers to help plan for the holiday season, so you don’t end up overworked and overstressed. Use the tips I gave you to keep the meaning of the holidays in check. Don’t get caught up in all of the commercialism, enjoy your family and friends. What do the holidays mean to you?
Visit SunTrust’s resource center for actionable information, tools, tips and calculators to help you make this holiday season a smart financial one.
The holidays are for focusing on moments that matter. But for many Americans, financial stress can get in the way. This year, you can make small changes that make a big difference for your financial well-being.
In this holiday planning guide, you’ll find tips for getting organized and making a plan for holiday spending so you can feel confident in your ability to stay on track with your budget. You’ll see how other Americans are shopping, traveling, celebrating and giving in ways that make the holidays cost less, but mean more.
For more holiday planning advice visit holiday resources
Meaningful spending made easy with a budgeting tool to help you make a plan and stay on track with your holiday spending. Download here.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.