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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Free tix for military at Sea World!

I'm busy scoping out places to visit while we are in Orlando in December, and I stumbled across this deal for military members & their dependents.  It's fantastic that Sea World is honoring our troops & their families  this way! Please feel free to share with family & friends who are in the armed forces.

Get FREE admission for one day at Sea World and other Anheauser-Busch owned parks by presenting a Department of Defense ID card at the park. To get your FREE tickets, click the link for the Heroes Salute, complete the easy online application and show your ID at the gate.  Or register at the park's Guest Relations window when you arrive.  Either way - enjoy a FREE day at Sea World with your family!  Offer expires 12/31/10.

Swagbucks Code alert!!

Do you use swagbucks for searching online? I do - and every month I earn at least $10 in Amazon gift cards for free! I also use their toolbar which randomly generates codes worth swagbucks - and if you have the toolbar, you will want to check your inbox for a 7 point code!  (It expires at 7 pm PST, so hurry!) If you don't use them, give it a try - this time next year you will be able to use your free amazon (or starbucks, itunes, and many other choices) cards or prizes for Christmas!  Click the link to get started!

~ Aimee


**Disclosure: If you click the link above and join, it will be through a referral link to my account, and I will receive swagbucks***

Tired of turkey yet?

If so, I've got a yummy sandwich idea!

Turkey Salad Pita Pocket

1 halved whole wheat pita
1/2 cup cubed turkey mixed with 1 tsp mayonnaise (partial to Duke's here!), a squirt of dijon or honey mustard, a dash of dried tarragon,  1/4 c halved grapes, 1/4 c celery (if you like it - I don't so it doesn't go in mine!!) and a tsp or 2 of sliced or slivered almonds.  Mix well, season with salt & pepper if desired, then fill pita with salad mixture.  YUMMY and a change from Turkey day leftovers!!

Hope you are having a great day.  It's cool, rainy, foggy & grey here in metro Atlanta.  We have the strangest weather here.  Yesterday the high was 43.  Today it will be close to 70. And we are under a tornado watch!  Can't put the summer clothes up yet!!  What is it like where you are?

~ Aim

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sweet Deal on Inspirational Books

http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/ ~ Save 15% and get free shipping when you use promo code 15ANDFREESHIP at checkout.  Devotionals, fiction, non-fiction, bible studies and more - huge selection to choose from!

Check out the cute winter wear at Bebe Bella Designs:  Children - Adult sizes Hats, mittens & scarves....so cute! Code: winter66 
Offers Expires: TONIGHT! 

More cyber deals & a tip...

A few more deals....

Minted.com is offering 25% off personalized stationary today only - they have every style you can imagine! Would be a great deal for your thank you note stationary! ; ) Use code GIFTS25 at checkout.

Crane.com is offering FREE shipping with your order of $50 or more.  Check out the invitations, holiday cards and more!

Another tip - put something in your cart on one of the sites you are interested in, and then save to your account and leave it there.   Most companies will send you a reminder email that you have something in your cart and many will include an incentive (coupon, free shipping, etc) to entice you to complete the order!! Vistaprint does this, so does shutterfly - I am sure others do too!

~ Aimee

Cyber Monday!

Let the Cyber Monday shopping begin!! But before you do, here are two tips...

Always google for coupon codes!! Some sites let you use more than one code - for example, you can use a code for free shipping, and a code for 15% off.  Retailmenot.com & couponcabin.com are two great sites for finding coupon codes, as well!

Another tip - look at the url of the site as you are entering your payment info.  It should have https:// at the beginning - the s at the end means it is a secure site!!

Now for a couple of deals....
One of my favorite sites, Artscow, has a great deal for Cyber Monday.  Enter code 25OFFALL to get 25% of everything, plus free shipping! They have personalized items you design with your favorite pictures, such as note pads, purses, jewelry and much more!

Vitacost has $10 off your $100 order.  We order vitamins for the kids here, as well as some for ourselves. (Hero Nutritionals for kids, Alive! for us) I also like their supplements, teas & other items.  Enter code EMTEN$ at checkout for the $10 off! **Update  - just got an email from them that they have FREE standard shipping on all orders, today only!!**

What deals have you found today? Happy Shopping!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Craft room redo, part 1

This year has truly been hectic & full of a million things going on- soccer, making soaps & other products for the stores I've sold my things at, PTA,driving Katie to from work, picking her up late from clubs after school, plus all the other daily things a mom does.  So crafting has been at the very bottom of my list of things to do. 

My craft room is a bedroom on the main floor of the house.  I used to have a BIG room downstairs - it's about 2/3 the length of our house so it was huge! I had tables, a computer armoire, shelves, filing cabinets, a sewing nook, a seven foot tall cabinet for supplies; a whole lot of space to put everything.  But when the princess turned 15, she started begging to move her room to that one.  I agreed, and we switched everything out.  Now my new craft room is half the size of the old, so things have been stacked everywhere.  Sometimes I'd bring things out of the room to work on in the kitchen, or in the family room.  And then I'd ask one of my sweet kiddos to please take it to the craft room.  We keep the door closed, since it's not used often, and I don't venture in there unless I'm taking something in or out!   The kids got good at this - they  would open the door, toss whatever they had in there and throw it on a table.

 Well, about 2 weeks ago, I went in there and I was shocked at how cluttered it had gotten since summer.  Seems the princess had started throwing her dirty clothes in there?!?!?, and little man would go into the bins with school supplies to get markers or paper, & he'd move things around, drop things in the wrong place - and I was guilty too! I'd buy something, come home & literally toss it on one of the 3 tables in there, or sew something really quickly and leave the scraps on the table - it was out of control BADLY!   And did I mention that I just bought a ton of Creative Memories scrapbook supplies from a garage sale and they were added to the mix?! And most of my soap supplies were just thrown in there from the kitchen when I was getting ready for our Halloween get-together.  It was the worst room in my house, and kind of resembled a crafty hoarder's house, but luckily, condensed to only a room. Oh no.  Time to get BUSY!!

Do you want to see how awful this room with the closed door was? (so embarrassing!)
I tried to keep some things organized - a box for cards/gifts
a bag for extra soap, a box of soap supplies, stack for CM stuff
 the bookshelf area - ugh - magazines,albums, binders, oh my!


This is my supply shelf, but it's gotten covered in soap making supplies, ribbons, fabric, just a mish mash of stuff.  It's awful!
the corner area - the white crates are for my soap supplies.  The drawers are for my herbs/botanicals.  Looks like some things have gotten mixed up - there is calendula in the soap crate, and soap petal bags in the herb cart! And to top it off, somehow a drawer has gone missing! lol

 One of the 3 tables.  OH. MY. GOODNESS!!!  (Hey, there's my fall wreath I never hung up! lol)
and the table's twin sitting beside it....again - how did things get so bad!!??  CD's, scrapbooking stuff, bath products, office supplies... all thrown here by either my kids, or me. BAD.

empty wall between closet & bedroom door

SO.... on to the project I found & tackled.  Country Living (from several years back) had a great picture of a closet made into a craft nook.  The inside of the door had pegboard for all the things you would need for crafting.  I LOVED IT!  And how awesome to have things hidden away neatly!
The only problem - we got home with our piece of 2x4 pegboard, and the set of pegs, and it was too wide for that closet door, and with the doorknob, the pegboard would have needed to be cut in two pieces.  So, we improvised, turned the pegboard sideways, and hung it on the wall.  If I was really crafty, I'd have framed it out - but that goes beyond my talents. 

All my templates, scissors, tape, patterns, adhesives, and more are up there! And I have one more trick up my sleeve for this that I will show in the next post! (DH showed me how to use his drill & I made some accessories for this but they are still drying after a couple coats of paint! pics to come) 
 I love having everything so organized and easily accessible!


 Bookshelf - I have all my pages, page protectors & empty albums together, plus I tried to organize the magazines a little better too.



 
This table still needs work - but SO MUCH BETTER than it was, right?! The other table now sits underneath the pegboard and it is empty!!


My supply shelf after - All my hairbow making stuff is in two baskets.  Still messy, but together! The green basket has Fall decor, the red has Spring decor.  The bottom shelf is all fabric.  It's messy, but again, it's together!
 

The corner area after - my soap & candle making supplies are in the crates.  I still have a box & bag of soap supplies to move over there, but this is a start! And yes, the drawer is still MIA for my herb/botanical cart.  But it's so much better than it was, y'all!

So stay tuned, this week I am going to finish this room.  I still have one huge problem area in there - the sewing table.  It's our former kitchen table, and it is stacked high with fabric, projects, supplies and more.  Once it's all done, I'll share pics of the whole room, finally finished & organized.
  I want to get back to my scrapbooking because my friend Renea & I are going to a weekend scrap retreat early in 2011, and I need to get caught up before then!!  I also have some sewing projects to work on, and it will be such a relief to have my craft room set up again, and usable!! I'm lucky to have a whole room to use for this, so I need to get it organized and get crafting!!
I'm so proud of how much I've gotten done in the hours I've worked on it this week.   I know a lot of people probably have this pegboard stuff in their craft rooms, but I had honestly never thought of it until I saw the magazine feature.  It works so well for all those crafty things we pick up everywhere! : )
Thanks for letting me go on and on - I'm so happy to have started tackling this room!!

PS ~ please don't hate on me too much for sharing those awful pics!! I know it was a disaster in there, but I am thrilled with the progress!  This will keep me from ever letting it get that bad again, too - don't want to have to fess up to letting it get like this again! ; )

PPS ~ What is the messiest or most cluttered room in your house? I know none can probably compare to this one, but I'm curious!! Share your mess with me!

Y'all have a fabulous week!

~ Aimee

I'm almost done with a big project in my craft room...

and I can't wait to show y'all.  It was inspired by something I saw in Country Living, but after we spent about $15 on supplies at Home Depot, we found it wouldn't work well in my craft room as it was pictured in the magazine.  We  ended up modifying it to fit the room, and I'm busy finishing things up in there.  So...check back soon, I'll have before (shudder, grimace - the room has been awful, cluttered, unorganized - a disaster!!) and after pics up of the craft room transformation!!
Y'all have a great Sunday!

~ Aimee

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Weekend Blog Hop!

Photobucket

Link up to a great blog hop this weekend & meet lots of new blog friends!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Get $25 FREE if you open a savings account for your child(ren)!!

Although I do LOVE great bargains, you couldn't pay me to get out there with all those Black Friday shoppers!  However, I have been surfing the web for deals today, and here is one that is definitely worth sharing!!

Head over to ING Direct, click on the gift bag icon that says Kids Savings Account, on the right.  If either you or your child is a new ING customer, you qualify! It takes a little time to fill out all the info to open the account, but it's easy.  Open the account with any amount, as little as 50 cents!  Make sure to do this before Sunday at 11:59 when the deal ends! 

They will have to confirm your account linking it with your existing checking or savings account, but then they will deposit $25 into the account for your kiddo.   We are new to ING, so until  my account is confirmed, I could only sign one of my kids up for this deal.  But I called their CS # and let me tell you ~ they have GREAT customer service!  I talked with a nice man named Ryan who generated a code that I will be able to use for my other kiddo's account after my account is confirmed.  Yay!  Who doesn't love free money in savings for your kids?! 

Happy Friday, y'all!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

How I make my Sweet Potato Pie - easier than you'd think!

We just got home from my sister's house, where we gathered with her family, my mom, and my cousin & his girlfriend.  What was on the menu? Honeybaked Ham's turkey breast and spiral sliced ham,  yeast rolls, two kinds of dressing, corn casserole, sweet potato souffle, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce,  mac n cheese, mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, and for dessert:  chocolate chip cheesecake, spice cake with ginger buttercream frosting, two bite fudgy brownies, and sweet potato pie.  Oh. my. gosh.  I'm so full!!  Honeybaked Ham's turkey breast is sooooo good!! So what was on your table today? I love hearing about traditions that other families have!

As promised, here is my recipe (straight from the can of Glory Foods Sweet Potato Souffle)! It's my secret ingredient!!




I use two regular pie crusts instead of one deep dish, that way we get two pies out of this!!

Ingredients:
•1 15 oz. can Glory Foods® Sweet Potato Casserole

•3 Tbsp. Butter, melted
•2 ea. Eggs, large
•1 cup Sweetened condensed milk
•1 tsp. Vanilla extract
•1 tsp. Cornstarch
•1 ea. 9" Pie shell, uncooked and frozen  (I use two regular pie crusts, fill each half way)

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Set rack to center of the oven and place a cookie sheet on center rack.

2.Combine all liquids in a large mixing bowl.
3.Blend in the cornstarch and mix.
4.Add Glory Foods® Sweet Potato Casserole and mix thoroughly until smooth.
5.Pour mixture into the prepared pie shell(s).
6.Place filled pie shell(s) in oven on the cookie sheet.
7.Bake for 10 minutes.
8.Reduce heat in oven to 300 degrees and bake for approximately 40 minutes.
9.Test the filling. The filling is cooked when the tip of a knife inserted in the center is clean when removed.
10.Bake until filling is set.
11.Carefully remove the pies from the oven. Allow to cool.

 http://www.gloryfoods.com/recipe/index/DESSERTS/sweet_potato_pie  is the direct link to the recipe & website for Glory Foods.  You can also get a coupon good for any of their products off their website!  Look for the clickable link at the bottom of the site for that. 
 
Here is what the pie will look like - just add a big dollop of freshly whipped cream when you cut & serve it! SO GOOD!
 
 

I don't even bother making pumpkin pies since discovering this recipe about 5 years ago ~ it's delicious!

I'm linking this post with Family Friendly Frugality's It's Almost Friday Bloghop!  Link up your blog, facebook, whatever, then visit & follow blogs new to you!

Happy Thanksgiving y'all!

~ Aimee

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dogs in Piggy Blankets ~ A Christmas Eve tradition!

My mom makes these on Christmas Eve- they are SO good!!  Our Christmas Eve family get together is a tradition that dates back almost 20 years.  We all meet at Mom's at about 6 pm.  She makes these and her famous cheese grits.  My sister makes her awesome cheese eggs and cinnamon rolls.  I usually bring yeast rolls with sausages (Thanks to Sister Schubert!), plus turkey bacon & juice.  My SIL brings hashbrowns & turkey sausage. We feast, we open gifts, we have fun.  It's truly one of the best nights of the year!

Dogs in Piggy Blankets

16 oz pkg bacon
1 lb little smokies
1/3 packed c brown sugar

Cut the bacon strips into thirds.  Wrap each sausage with one 1/3 of bacon, secure it with a toothpick.  Place in a baking dish. Sprinkle with the brown sugar, bake for 35 to 45 minutes at 375 degrees.   These are insanely delicious with breakfast food - eggs, omelets, grits, quiche, etc!

How to make Pumpkin Butter - a great hostess gift!

Pumpkin Butter

3 1/2 c cooked or canned pumpkin
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 3/4 oz box powdered fruit pectin
4 1/2 c sugar

In a large saucepan, add pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice & fruit pectin, mix well.  Cook over high heat, stir until it comes to a low boil.  Immediately add the sugar, stir well. Bring to a rolling boil, boil for one minute, stir constantly.  Remove from heat, ladle into jars with lids. Tie with a cute ribbon & homemade tag.  Store in the fridge for up 3 weeks.  (Makes about 5 1/2 cups).

Delicious on my sweet potato biscuits!

Cyber Monday Cellfire Deal!

Cellfire’s Cyber Monday Contest is a doozie! Log in to your Cellfire account at http://www.cellfire.com/ on Monday, November 29 between  3 PM EST to 8 PM EST and find out if you are the instant winner of one of 1,000 special $5 OFF coupons. (Valid at Kroger and Kroger owned stores only.)  I love my cellfire savings, so I've just added this to my calender so I don't forget!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Blog Hop!!






Hooking up with Making Friends Monday Blog Hop!! Hope y'all are having a wonderful day!!

My Corn Casserole

This is an absolute must-have casserole at just about every holiday gathering!  If I don't make it, I'm going to hear about it! I've been making it since I was a teenager.  My family loves it, and I do too! I usually double this so we have lots of leftovers.


this is what it looks like on my counter after I make a double batch!

 the casserole heading into the oven...
My corn casserole is on the right, don't you love that golden crust it develops on top?!
Aimee's Corn Casserole

1 17 oz can cream style corn
1 17 oz can whole kernel corn (drain)
2 eggs
1 c sour cream
1/2 c butter
1 8 oz box Jiffy Corn muffin mix
extra butter pats

Combine corn, eggs, sour cream, margarine, and dry muffin mix in a large bowl, mix well until combined.  Pour into a greased 9 x13 baking dish, dot with butter pats, bake at 350 degrees for 30 - 35 minutes or until set.   Delicious!!

** Very easy to double this recipe - it feeds a crowd! Just increase baking time and check at 60 minutes. **

Easy appetizers for Thanksgiving Day

Try one or two of these on a platter while you and your family are preparing your feast on Thursday! Easy and delicious!! 

Greek-style Crostini
Toast baguette slices, rub warm bread with peeled garlic clove, then top with hummus.  In a small bowl,  mix chopped cucumber, tomato, black or kalamata olives, and crumbled feta cheese with a dash of olive oil, salt & pepper.   Spoon mixture onto toasts & serve.

Italian Prosciutto Crostini
Brush baguette slices with olive oil, toast.  Spread ricotta cheese on each slice, then drizzle some honey over it.  Top with a thin slice of prosciutto, serve.

Spinach & Artichoke Crostini
Lightly brush bread slices with olive oil, toast.  Mix drained, chopped artichokes into a container of spinach dip.  Spoon onto toasts, top with a dash of grated parmesan, serve.

Beef & Cheese Crostini
Spread bread slices with herbed cheese spread, toast.  Top with thin slices of deli roast beef, serve

You can use any type of loaf bread for these, whole grain, French, sourdough - play around with it for different flavors!

Butternut Squash Fries & Maple Cream dipping sauce

This is a recipe from Rachael Ray that we love.  I had never tried Butternut squash until I made this recipe in 2006 - it's a little spicy but then you have the sweet, creamy dipping sauce - divine!!  It's a fall favorite around here!

1 Butternut squash, about 2 lbs, halved lengthwise, seeded & peeled
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 c sour cream
2 Tbs maple syrup
3 Tbs coarse salt
1.2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder

Preheat oven to 425.  Cut squash into 1/2 inch sticks, about 3 inches wide.  In a large bowl, toss the squash with the olive oil.  Spread single layered onto a foil lined baking sheet, roast until golden & tender when tested - about 35 minutes.   In a small bowl, combine sour cream with syrup.  In another small bowl, mix salt & spices.  Sprinkle seasoned salt onto fries, serve with dipping sauce.....yuummmmmmm!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A few spa-style treatments to pamper yourself during the holidays!

Here are a few of the spa-style recipes I use to pamper myself.  The next 5 weeks or so are going to be crazy ~ so don't forget to take some time for you!! Mix one or two of these up & disappear into the bath for  while.  Don't forget a glass of wine, or a mug of cocoa plus a fabulous book to escape into!

Oatmeal Scrub:

Blend 1/2 c instant oatmeal
1/2 c olive oil
2 tsp honey
a few drops of your favorite essential oil - I love using lavender oil!
Blend until it makes a soft paste.  Use in shower once a week for gentle exfoliation, plus it is very soothing for dry, itchy winter skin!

Coffee Citrus Scrub (from the Ritz Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes):

2 Tbsp fresh ground coffee
1 Tbs fresh squeezed orange juice
1 Tbs olive oil
zest from one orange peel
Combine ingredients in a bowl.  In the shower, smooth scrub over your body using a circular motion.  Rinse off, pat dry, moisturize.  The caffeine is reputed to reduce the appearance of cellulite, athe orange juice detoxifies, and the olive oil moisturizes!

Scented Bath Salts:

2 c. Epsom salts
1 c sea salt
1/4 tsp glycerin
essential oils - I like peppermint, vanilla, or lavender for these salts (or divide salts into several bowls and make batches of different fragrances)
Combine salts in a mixing bowl.  Stir in glycerin & 6 - 10 drops of essential oil.  Mix well.  Spoon bath salts into a pretty jar or other container with tight fitting lid.   These make a great gift, too - package in a plastic bags or containers, with a pretty handmade tag.

Milk & Honey Pedi Soak

Mix 1/2 c sugar & 1/2 cup olive oil.  Fill a soaking bowl with warm milk, and a few teaspoons of honey.  Soak your feet for 5 minutes, then scrub feet with the sugar scrub, focus on heels and any rough patches.  Rinse & pat dry, then use your favorite lotion to moisturize.  Wear your favorite socks after this soak/scrub to allow lotion to soak in!

Try topping your Thanksgiving desserts with one of these!

Amaretto Whipped Cream:
Beat 1 c heavy whipping cream with 2 Tbs confectioners sugar & 1 Tbs amaretto ( or 1/4 tsp almond extract) until stiff.  Chill before serving.  Tastes incredible on chocolate cake or cherry pie!

Cinnamon Whipped Cream:
Beat 1 c heavy whipping cream, 3 Tbs sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon until stiff. Chill before serving.  Yummy on pumpkin pie, gingerbread, or try a dollop in coffee or hot cocoa.

Lemon Whipped Cream:
Beat 1 c heavy cream, 3 Tbs confectioners sugar and 1 tsp lemon zest until stiff.  Chill before serving.  This is fantastic on gingerbread, pound cake or bread pudding.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

One of my favorite bar cookie recipes!

I am blessed to come from a family of insanely good cooks. ; )

My Nana, my Mom & my Grandmother all taught me how to cook & bake, and they;ve shared their love of food, cooking & baking with me.  I hope I've shared that love with my kids too - already my sweet Katie is quite the baker, and she loves cooking dinner for us, too!

I've been going through my family cookbooks in preparation for my holiday baking and came across this yummy bar cookie recipe that came from my Nana.   The first time I tried these at a family Christmas get-together, I had to have her recipe!  They are now a family favorite, and unlike anything I've ever made before - the combination of marshmallow, chocolate, peanuts & peanut butter, plus crispy rice is just delicious!

I hope y'all enjoy these, I wish I had a picture of them! When I bake a batch in the next couple of weeks, I'll post a picutre on here.

Nana's Deluxe Chocolate Marshmallow Crunch Bars

3/4 c butter
1 1/2 c sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 c all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbs cocoa
1/2 tsp salt

1/2 c chopped peanuts
4 c miniature marshmallows

Topping:
8 oz chocolate chips
3 Tbs butter
1 c peanut butter
2 c rice krispies cereal

In a mixing bowl, cream butter & sugar.  Add eggs & vanilla; beat until fluffy.  Combine flour, baking powder, salt & cocoa.  Add to creamed mixture, stir in nuts.  Spread in a greased jelly roll pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 - 18 minutes.  Sprinkle marshmallows over cake evenly.  Return to oven for 2 - 3 minutes.  Using a knife dipped in water, spread the melted marshmallows evenly over cake, cool.  For topping, combine chocolate chips, butter & peanut butter in a small saucepan.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until melted; remove from heat & stir in cereal.  Spread over bars.  Chill, cut into squares.  Makes about 3 dozen.

Looking for Unique Photo cards for the Holidays? Check out Imag-inations!

I found a great site online today with the most incredible photo cards, birth announcements & more.  They are so gorgeous, I simply had to become an affiliate and share the site! They offer thank you notes (both flat & folded, with your favorite photo on the front!), invitations, precious address labels, and more.  If you are looking for something special to send to family & friends this Christmas, make sure you check out their site!!  Need cute address labels?  Check out the ad below to visit Imag-inations!! (Disclaimer:  If you click the link and make a purchase at Imag-inations, I'll make a small commission ~  thank you!)


*** UPDATE:  Imag-inations is offering 20% off everything now through Cyber Monday, so check them out today!! ***
Holiday Photo Cards

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How I'm displaying my vintage ornaments this Christmas

I have a new home for some special vintage ornaments for Christmas this year. When my Dad sold my Grandparents' home in Florida several years ago, he brought me some of their vintage ornaments. They are priceless to me, not matter what they look like!  Usually, they are placed on my tree with the other ornaments.  But last year, a few broke and I don't want to take the chance this year. 
So I cut a few branches from a tree in the yard, then painted them with my newest spray paint obsession - Krylon's Brushed Metallic Caramel Latte, the most beautiful shade of soft gold.  After the branches dried, I trimmed them up and placed them in one of the hurricanes I made earlier this year from a couple of pieces I bought at Goodwill.  I added some potpourri & berries inside, and then hung my vintage ornaments from a few of the branches.  I LOVE IT!  I don't know where I'll be putting it for the holidays, because it's gotta be out of the way so none of my special ornaments get knocked off or broken.  Anyway, here are a couple pics.  I'm really pleased with how it turned out!




My house is almost decorated for Christmas, I just have a few more boxes to unpack! How about y'all ~ is your house ready for Christmas yet? : )

Have you logged onto Cellfire.com today?

If you are a member of Cellfire.com, go log in tonight! If you aren't a member - join, pronto!   Cellfire.com offers e-coupons for your store loyalty card that you redeem when you check out.   Tonight and tomorrow morning (until 11:59 am PST) they are offering a Cinderella Coupon Promotion, where you could instantly win a $1, $5, or $10 credit to use at your grocery store! If you are a winner, you will see the winning coupon when you log in, and you will need to save it to your card in order to redeem it.  Good luck!!

Happy Birthday D!!!

What a crazy week it has been! Between dealing with some nuttiness with PTA, to throwing a party together in 3 days, I've been a little frazzled.

David was able to convince us with his constant pleading, and big blue sad puppy eyes that his party neeeeeded to be at Stars & Strikes, the bowling alley/arcade/fun place. Only 3 friends (plus one's little brother) were able to come, so it was just the 4 of them playing bumper cars, laser tag, and then running free in the arcade!! They gave us a sweet party hostess who ran interference for me and handled candle lighting, cupcake handoffs and more!

I made some cupcakes with sprinkles to mimic storebought confetti ones, then added milk chocolate frosting (alas, from a can!)and then added some cute sprinkles from Wilton with purple jimmies, colorful dots and lots of stars. They were really cute.

Goody bags were different this year - no toys or junk that will end up in the trash. Instead I raided my back-to-school box and gave the kids a composition book, a pen with multicolored ink options, a package of mechanical pencils, crayons, ring pops, and assorted candy. His class is focusing heavily on journaling, so I thought that would be a great way to continue the learning at home! Hopefully the kids enjoyed their bags - I know his friend Kennedy did, she sat down at a booth with the crayons and comp. book ready to get busy!!

Here are a few pics ~




Yes, even the birthday boy got a goody bag, though the majority of the candy & ring pops were gone before I got a picture of it!! 

I wish I'd gotten pics of the arcade.  Compared to the ones we had growing up (Goldmine, 2001, etc), and even compared to our usual game place - Chuck E Cheese,  this one was incredible!! They had Guitar Hero, simulation rides (the kids went to a haunted mine on one of those), Dance Dance Revolution, and so much more.  There is even one of those claw game (you get to try to grab Ipods, no less!) that is the size of my closet!!  Can you tell we don't get out to places with arcades much? 

It turned out to be a super-fun night that David will always remember, and Stars & Strikes made it easy by giving us such a great hostess to take care of the details.  Katie wants to have her 17th party at their Boutique bowling lanes, and David said he is having #8 there as well!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Have you heard about SirBingley.com?

SirBingley.com is a brand new website that is set to launch on Black Friday! They have a fantastic giveaway that is live now - sign up on their site to receive a $7 credit to spend there, and one lucky person will win a $1000 credit to SirBingley.com!

I love this slogan from their site: "Daily Specials up to 70% off for those who are fervently and passionately wild about their family." How great is that?

They'll be offering from 50% to 70% off daily specials on products for babies, children, your home, recreation and more! They will have a wide range of brands from high end to great new up and comers! I've already signed up for my credit, and I hope y'all will too.

On Black Friday, tune in to find out which designers they will feature on their first sale, which starts on December 1st!! Can't wait to see what they have in store for us!



*** I am not being compensated by SirBingley.com, I've just been asked to share their launch info & contest with my readers in exchange for a shout out on their website, facebook & twitter!***

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The best Christmas gift ever...

I'm SO excited, my sweet friend Stephanie, (from the Halloween party!) invited us to go with them to Orlando the week after Christmas! She and her husband have rented a house down there with 6 bedrooms and a fabulous heated pool! There is one other couple going as well - it is going to be fantastic!

Six years ago I wrote for a local website - AtlantaChristianWeekly.com, as a features editor & columnist. I did reviews of local attractions, concerts, etc, as well as a few travel feature/reviews on Savannah, South Georgia, & Central Florida & Orlando. One reason I started this blog was to be able to review more places to share with all of y'all. And this trip offers me the perfect opportunity to start reviewing more - I've not really done that since summer! (Well, except for the Melting Pot last month- does that count?) So I'm hoping to visit & review a few new places while we are down there and share them with you!! Maybe you will find a new place or two to visit on your next trip to Florida!

Tomorrow is David's party ~ I'll share the details of that either tomorrow night or the next day. It's just been super-busy here and I haven't had much time to myself at all, so new posts here or on the blog FB page!! Thanks for being patient with me, I will be back soon to share more with you! I'm also working on a very frugal craft that will highlight my Grandmother's vintage glass ball ornaments - it is so pretty and easy-peasy to make! Pics of that to follow!
~ Aimee

Friday, November 12, 2010

Kids Birthday Parties

Quick question for y'all...

We're trying to put together a small party for David's birthday - his 7th!! For the last three years, he has wanted a Chuck E Cheese party, but this year he is wanting something different. I'm considering a party at the Monkey Joe's jumpy place, or the bowling alley where the kids could play laser tag, bumper cars and arcade games. For 5 kids either of these will run me $100 just to put the kids in the party - not including cake, goody bags, or any extras! I'm just not crazy about having a party at the house - just don't have the room! So I've got to find something - I don't want to spend that much if I don't have to...

So here's where I need help from you...Where do y'all have your kiddos' parties at? I need some ideas, and FAST! What places am I forgetting to check?

Thanks for any feedback - I appreciate your ideas!!

~ Aimee

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Exciting news!!

I am really excited to share that I have been approved as an affiliate for Half-Off Depot.

We use them all the time for fantastic gift certificates, opportunities, events, and more! There is a different deal every day, and many cities are participating, so you can look to see what's available in your neck of the woods!!

Some recent items we purchased from Half-Off Depot include a $50 Melting Pot gift card for $20, and a $25 Blue Ribbon Grill gift card for $10!

Since I am an affiliate, if you click the link above to look at the daily offering and purchase one, I will receive a small commission. I thank you so much for that! : )

With the holidays coming up, this would be an incredibly easy way to shop for loved ones, teachers, co-workers, and friends, while supporting local businesses too!!

Thanks so much for stopping by today, I am busy working on my Halloween get-together post - it's just taking me forever to get it done!!

Y'all have a great Wednesday evening!

~ Aimee

Monday, November 1, 2010

We have a WINNER!

I used random.org to pick a number from the comments on the contest post, and the winner is:

KatieCan86 ~ Comment #23

Congratulations!! I'm sending you an email to get your mailing info!!


****And just in case: If I haven't reached Katie within 48 hours, we'll draw another name****

Thanks again for reading/following my blog, and entering my first giveaway contest! Love y'all!!!