Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just around the corner – this year has flown by so quickly!

This is the time of year that people go crazy trying to get that latest craze or that biggest deal. Don’t worry, I don’t judge. I am one of the many that go out that night and try to get some great gifts for my family. But the difference is, I don’t really have much expectation. I think this helps us not get involved in all the craziness that happens – I think we have all seen at least one of “those” videos. Wasn’t their someone just last year who pepper sprayed people in Walmart, then claimed that she felt threatened!

My cousin and I have made it a tradition to go shopping together. Some years others join us, but it is always a great chance for us to have some “girl time” especially now that she has moved out of state.

The difference is, we don’t have a set time to start. We enjoy our time with the entire family at the celebration, hang out and play with the kids, eat lots of food, then once just about everyone leaves we start making our way out as well. We never really have a game plan and just out to have some fun, and hope to find some great things.

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But before the craziness begins, I want to take some time to express what I am thankful for this year:

My son – he is my life. He brings joy to everything we do, and everyone we encounter. He smiles and it truly lights up a room. I love any moment spent together, and any cuddles he is willing to share with me. I treasure those moments because I know they won’t last forever.

My husband – through thick and thin we have each other. He is truly my best friend, my other half. I miss him when I am not with him, and am happy when we are together. We may go through some ups and downs, but through it all we always choose each other. We choose to be happy. We choose to love each other.

Our family – besides the 4 of us (fur baby included), we have an awesome support system in our families. They are there to talk to, to spend time with, to go on adventures with, to teach us, to listen, to help us in raising a well rounded individual, to be our guides through the world, to encourage us when we may feel lost, and to celebrate the good times that come our way.

Our home – we have recently been looking for something larger as we are slowly outgrowing our little house. But small as it is, it is ours. This is where we started, this is where we became a family. It will always be our home.

My job – it is typically hard to find something you enjoy doing, or find a company you enjoy working for. I have been lucky enough to find both. I had a bit of a employment change a few years back and changed fields. I was fortunate that it was possible with my current company during a time that I needed stability the most. I enjoyed both fields, but knew the move was very much needed at the time. Who knows, I may end up going back once things calm down again. Maybe.

Our friends – a large part of our lives and our honorary family members. I could not do it without my friends.  They keep me grounded. They encourage me to do better. They love my son like their own. They accept me for who I am (crazy and all). They are supportive. They love me. Most importantly, they are there.

Taking some time out to remember all the good in our lives is VERY important. More and more it seems people forget that there is always good – in people, in moments, in life. It may not show itself each and every day, but it is there. We often take it for granted, but it is what helps keep us going, what makes us live our lives the way we do.

Never forget to give thanks – you are more blessed than you think you are.

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How To: Make a Fall Wreath on a Budget

I just love Pinterest! I find the best ideas – some successful, some utter failures 🙂

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This time, a success! I made a Ribbon Wreath. I debated for a while on whether or not to make it Halloween specific or just go with Fall. Fall won seeing as that it can be used for a longer amount of time.

I went to Joanne’s and found the white foam ring (full price, but I had a 40% off coupon good only for regular priced items so that worked out perfectly). Then I chose 10 different fall colored ribbons in a variety of shades, designs, and sizes. These were all on sale for 60% off, and the large burlap one was on clearance for $1.99.

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I cut the ribbons into approximately 10-12 inch strips and just knotted them all around the ring, scattering the like ribbons to make it look random.

All in all, it took about an hour and cost about $18-$20 – I finished it off by trimming the ends into the cute ribbon points we were taught to make by our moms growing up haha and took some time messing with it until it resembled a full, semi-fluffy wreath. My one concern was making sure the white of the ring did not show. In hindsight, I probably would have saved myself some trouble if I just wrapped the ring in ribbon to begin with and that way if any part was showing it would look intentional or people would not notice at all since it would then blend in.

I chose to hang it by using an extra piece of the burlap ribbon and a Command Hook since the wreath hook that I have is silver and glittery and just does not go. I like the more natural look of the burlap – but to each their own 🙂

 

Halloween Fun

Halloween is a fun time to get dressed up and be a big kid for a night!

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AND enjoy lots and lots of candy! 🙂

Hubby and I were “Partners in Crime” stealing loot for Jayden’s college fund haha and Jayden was a Police Officer – S.W.A.T. team technically.

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For me it is a lot more stressful leading up to it since I am in charge of our company party for clients, staff, and their families. Halloween typically starts much earlier for me – ordering, scheduling, purchasing. I usually make quite a mess in our office just trying to stock all the things needed for a good 80+ people. Luckily they don’t all come at one time, so we are able to take it somewhat easy on the day of. After the decorating is done, we are able to take a breath and take a look around and enjoy all the smiles of everyone around you enjoying themselves. Then the chaos begins again when it is time to clean up and pack up. Even if it is a ton of work, I still enjoy it and have lots of fun.

Halloween day itself I am able to relax since my mother-in-law typically takes charge of it. We do dinner at her house and then head out for trick-or-treating. This year we decided to try heading to a good section of houses in Agoura Hills that blocks off the streets and just has house after house looking fabulous and handing out yummy goodies. Last year we caught wind of it later in the evening and just got to see a small section of it. This year we started there so I was shocked just how large this all really is. And, O.M.G.! The people! So many people! It was overwhelming at times for me, and it eventually got the best of our little man 😦 Once we got him calmed down we headed over to Grandma’s neighborhood to do a little more mellow trick-or-treating. I wanted to make sure we ended on a good note, and luckily we did. The adults even got a nice jello shot treat at one of the houses! 🙂

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To get into the spirit, I created little goodie bags for each couple, and one for Jayden too.

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I started with these cute chalkboard take-out boxes I found at Joanne’s on clearance (score!). Got some plastic spiders and Hershey Kisses from Target and a spool of orange ribbon from the Dollar Tree. I printed out the tags from a pin I found on Pinterest – I LOVE when they have free printables! 🙂

They were a big hit and so stinkin’ cute- even if I do say so myself!

How To: Make Monkey Bread Muffins

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I had been seeing more and more pictures of monkey bread on my Facebook feed…. it made me want to make some of my own. The problem with monkey bread, in my opinion, is that it is a difficult treat for just 3 people because it is usually made in a Bundt pan and it always seems like too much and we end up throwing some of it away.

I decided to experiment one night making muffin sized treats that would make it easier to grab one and go for breakfast or a quick snack in the afternoon.

I started with a mini muffin tin and muffin liners (I just used what was laying around the kitchen – so mine were spring colors with flowers and stripes). Spray the pan down with some cooking spray to make it easier to remove later – I forgot this step and it was not pretty popping out 😦 Good thing this was just for the family and nobody was really going to see them. My boys didn’t seem to mind that they were a tad messy looking.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

I used three small tubes of Pillsbury biscuits cut up into quarters, a stick of butter melted, a cup and a half to two cups of brown sugar (a cup or so for rolling and about half a cup for melting), and lots and lots of ground cinnamon – just eyeball what works for your taste.

Get started rolling your biscuit pieces in the dry mix (sugar and cinnamon) while you are melting the butter and dissolving the rest of the sugar in it.

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Once you have all the pieces covered in the dry sugar/cinnamon mix go ahead and fill your muffin tins, but without packing them in too tight. After that, pour over the melted syrup mixture – be careful, it’s hot!

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Stick the pan in the oven for 13-17 minutes. Depending on your oven, the timing will vary. Mine were ready at about 12-13 minutes, so keep an eye on it! A couple of the muffins in the back were getting pretty brown. Luckily I have a hubby that likes things on more of the well done side 🙂

Let it cool to the touch and enjoy! Mine were not as gooey as I had anticipated, but then again I used paper liners so I think it soaked up some of the yummy goodness. Next time I will try foil liners or no liners at all and see how it goes. Even without as much gooey syrup, I still got the sweet effect I was going for so they were gobbled up by my family. Hubby barely waited for them to cool off before attacking the pan! 🙂

Next time, I think I will try this with a little frosting drizzled on top – I see them do that at different bakeries, and I think it would just put it over the edge!