I Wrote a Post for eBay! 5 Cold Weather Fashion Must-Haves for Little Girls

Friends,

I don’t talk a whole lot about my new relationship with BlogHer, because I really didn’t know what to say without being… well… awkward. I mean, who talks about the money they make on blogs? ha! I’m sure you’ve noticed the new ads on the blog (der, Jess), and I’m super excited that they will bring a tiny bit of revenue in so this blog can keep going strong. Not only do I get some revenue from the ads, but I also get cool opportunities to write PAID POSTS (eek!), and this week I got to publish my first!

Please check out the guide I wrote for eBay:

5 Cold Weather Fashion Must-Haves for Little Girls

There isn’t any extra compensation for reading it, clicking on links, nothing like that. But I do get paid just for writing it, and it’s not much, but it’s something and I’m so excited that I can finally say that I’m somewhat getting paid for my hobby. What a blessing!

Please check out the post and share your thoughts here… I was so nervous about this eBay post because I feel like I’ve just put myself out there in a more public way than ever… something about blogging here just feels safe… like home. Blogging on eBay? Holy smokes.

Let me know what you think and if you have any ideas for fashion must-haves for little girls!

And as always, THANKS FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT!

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Non-Candy Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Kids Under 5!

YOU GUYS!

Can you believe that Christmas is officially next week?! One week from tomorrow is Christmas Day, so if you’re not done with your shopping, it’s time to buckle down and get moving! I’ve been shopping for the past couple of months to prepare for Christmas and spread our funds, so aside from getting at least one little treat for Zoey’s stocking, we’re pretty much done with all of our shopping.

With all the excitement surrounding the “big gifts” we all plan to give for Christmas, it can be easy to forget about that stocking until the last minute. I decided to compile some ideas for non-candy stocking stuffers for kids up to age 5. Like my post for easter egg stuffers, I’ll go ahead and just say that I have nothing against treats in the stocking. We do add some treats to Zoey’s stocking, but I don’t want to fill it with tons of candy. We’ll do the traditional Life Savers book and maybe something chocolately, but overall I lean towards non-treat items in the stocking, so I wanted to share some ideas with you (along with a few affiliate links) if you’re looking to finish your stocking shopping this week. Some are gender neutral, some are more girly and others for the boys. I tried to do a good mix.

Note: Under the 3-5 category, the first 5 items are in Zoey’s stocking this year! Some items in each category repeat, but I tried to not do that too much.

Non-Candy Stocking Stuffers for Kids

Ages: 0-12 months

  1. Pacifiers
  2. Wubbanub
  3. Gerber Graduates Snacks
  4. Sophie toy
  5. Rubber ducky
  6. Stuffed animal
  7. Ice pack booboo buddy
  8. Munchkin mesh teethers
  9. Cloth book
  10. Baltic amber necklace
  11. Small blanket, rolled up
  12. Hooded towel
  13. Cloth diaper (more for mom, I know, but still fun)
  14. Rattle
  15. Soft headbands
  16. 1st toothbrush
  17. Rubber ball
  18. Beanie/hat
  19. Baby legs
  20. Baby TOMS

Ages: 12-24 months

  1. Bath crayons
  2. Little People toys
  3. DVD (we typically go for Veggie Tales)
  4. Mini Color Wonder markers (just don’t forget the special paper!)
  5. Hair bows
  6. Sippy cup
  7. Transition forks and spoons
  8. Maracas
  9. Board book
  10. Night light
  11. Vinyl decals for bedroom decor
  12. Potty training undies or cloth pull-ups
  13. Felt play food
  14. Bubbles
  15. Travel snack cup
  16. Washable place mat
  17. Letter magnets for the fridge
  18. Color bath tablets
  19. Toy binoculars
  20. Toy boat for bathtime

Ages: 3-5 years

  1. Smarty Pants brain teasers
  2. DVD  (we typically go for Veggie Tales)
  3. T-shirt (roll it up tightly!)
  4. Character Bandaids (We found Frozen bandaids)
  5. Scented chapsticks
  6. Flash cards
  7. Hot Wheels
  8. My Little Pony
  9. Barrel of Monkeys
  10. Stickers
  11. Play-Doh
  12. Moon dough
  13. Markers
  14. Colored pencils
  15. Crayons
  16. Coloring/activity books
  17. Water color paints
  18. Night light
  19. Fun flash light
  20. Uno cards
  21. Vinyl decals for bedroom decor
  22. Hair accessories
  23. Dress-up items (wings, cape, wand, eye patch, mustaches)
  24. Fun straws
  25. Big kid undies
  26. Fun print socks
  27. Small set of Legos
  28. Small Etch A Sketch
  29. Mini Magna Doodle
  30. Cylinder or bag of army men
  31. Small play animals
  32. Nail polish
  33. Cartridge games for a LeapPad, Nintendo DS, PSP, etc.
  34. Bubble gun
  35. Rubber stamps with ink pads
  36. Sunglasses
  37. Scarf/glove set
  38. Brush/comb
  39. Harmonica
  40. Temporary tattoos

Those are just a few ideas! What do you have to add?

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Toffee Crusted Dark Chocolate Fudge Recipe

Toffee Crusted Dark Chocolate Fudge

Before December 5, 2014, I had never made fudge in my entire life. Fudge was such a mysterious treat that I just wasn’t sure how to handle. With Christmas breathing down our necks, fudge recipes have been popping up all over my newsfeed on Facebook and Pinterest. I decided to finally attempt the magic of making fudge, and after reading about 20 recipes and identifying the common denominators, I created my own.

This fudge recipe is so easy, doesn’t require a candy thermometer, and is melt-in-your-mouth delicious. It is an inexpensive treat that you can whip up quickly for a party. As we all know, a little fudge goes a long way, so this one recipe can easily feed a crowd. Make it for a gift! Mix it up a bit! It’s sure to be a crowd pleaser.

There are several fudge recipes where people use the microwave to melt the chocolate, adding more ease to the recipe. However, microwaving chocolate freaks me out a bit. I do it when I need to melt chips in a pinch, but I was too nervous to microwave this, so I went a more traditional route instead. :)

Ingredients

  • One 20 oz bag of dark chocolate chips (3 cups)
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • Crushed Heath candy bits (eyeball it at the end)

Directions

  1. In a deep sauce pan, add the chocolate chips, butter, vanilla and salt. Pour the sweetened condensed milk in last.
  2. Mix the ingredients well, turn the burner on a low heat, and allow the ingredients to melt down together. Stir frequently, but do not rush the melting process! Burnt chocolate isn’t tasty. Just sayin’
  3. While the ingredients are heating up, line an 8×8 square pan with aluminum foil and SPRAY THE FOIL. Do not skip this step!
  4. When the chocolate mixture looks like one big ball of sweaty marshmallow fluff, it’s ready! Using a rubber spatula, dump the mixture into the lined, sprayed pan and smooth out.
  5. Very quickly add your crushed Heath bits on top – the fudge starts to set pretty quickly so it’s good to be swift. Once you have the amount of Heath that your heart desires, gently press it into the fudge so it will set.
  6. Place the fudge in the refrigerator for 2 hours uncovered.
  7. After 2 hours have passed, remove from the fridge and lift the foil out of the pan. It should remove really easily. Flatten out the foil and use a large serrated knife to cut the fudge into small squares.
  8. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until it’s time to serve.

Fudge Collage

That’s it for this delicious fudge recipe! What is your favorite Christmas treat?

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Inspirational and Encouraging Christmas Gift Ideas for Friends Battling Infertility

One of my favorite things about Christmas is giving. I’d rather give than receive any day. Giving something thoughtful to a friend or family member can instill all kinds of emotions in that person and can really brighten their Christmas, when it could otherwise be extremely difficult to deal with. Christmas is a time of hope, but it can also be very easy to forget that hope sometimes. While Christmas is full of joy for some, it’s a time of deep pain and sorrow for others. Infertility isn’t racist or sexist, it can strike anyone at any time for an array of reasons. Christmas is a prime opportunity to give something to that friend of yours who just needs a little hope.

I know from experience that a very thoughtful gift that says “I know you’re suffering and I want to give you hope” means a lot… like, a whole lot.

I scoured the internet for some pretty sweet gift ideas for that friend or family member who needs hope and I wanted to share them with you. These are just a few to give you some inspiration.

Angel of Healing figurine

Willow Tree Angel of Healing Figurine

 

Angel of Hope Ornament

Willow Tree Angel of Hope Ornament


Hope Anchor Pillow

Hope Anchors The Soul Pillow

 

Hope Coffee Mug

 

Ivory “Hope” Verse Mug

 

Bird Cage Wind Chime

 

Bronze Wire Bird Cage Wind Chime

If you’ve received a thoughtful gift from someone that gave you hope, what was it and where can others find it?

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Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Five years ago, I shared this recipe on my old blog. With us now entering into the depths of Christmas, I figured it’s time to dust it off and bring it back. Some of you may remember this recipe from back in the day (all 5 of you who read my blog back then, HA!), but for most of you this is totally new. :)

For the month of December, I want to share a treat recipe every week, so it looks like Fridays have become my designated days! Now you can spend your weekends making treats!

Now for the biscotti…

I love this recipe because it’s easy to interchange. You can switch out the chocolate chips and pumpkin spice for cranberries and cinnamon. You can use crushed toffee, raisins, white chocolate chips, etc. Play with it and make it your own. Don’t like pumpkin spice? (GASP!) No problem, remove all together or replace with something you do like.

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Ingredients

  • 2 c. all purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. white sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. pumpkin spice
  • 4 tbsp. butter, thinly sliced
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 c. mini chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Using your hands, mix and work in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. You can also try a pastry cutter, but this is more fun.

2. Spoon 1 tbsp beaten eggs into cup; reserve. Add chocolate chips, vanilla, and remaining beaten eggs to flour mixture; stir until evenly moistened. With hand, knead mixture a few times in bowl until dough forms.

3. On floured surface, with floured hands, divide dough in half. Shape each half into a log; flat on the bottom, rounded over the top. Place logs on a cookie sheet. With pastry brush, brush tops and sides of logs with reserved egg. Bake logs 30-45 minutes. Bake time depends on thickness of logs. Cool logs on cookie sheet on wire rack 10 minutes.

4. Place logs on cutting board. With serrated knife, cut warm log crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick diagonal slices. Place slices upright, 1/4 inch apart, on cookie sheet(s). Bake slices 15 minutes to allow biscotti to dry out. Cool completely on wire racks (the biscotti will harden as they cool). Store biscotti in tightly covered container.

5. Enjoy dipped in coffee. :)

What is your favorite holiday treat recipe?

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Christmas Time is Here!

Ya’ll.

It’s December 3.

This means we have 22 days until Christmas!

Are you ready? Like, really ready?!

I am! I’m done with my shopping for Glenn and Zoey both (post coming soon!) and I can’t wait to get them all wrapped and under the tree. All I need to do is get something else small for Zoey’s stocking and we’re done. Our tree is up, our outside lights are hung, and it’s time to cram as many Christmas festivities into each weekend that I possibly can. I’m thinking about sharing Christmas treat recipes every week this month and a few more shopping ideas for you all. Things are about to get really fun and cutesy around here this month, and I’m so looking forward to it.

I’ll go ahead and add that we were not successful at achieving pregnancy last month and so we are embarking on our last 150mg Clomid cycle during December. I actually started the pills on December 1. This might be the last Clomid cycle ever. I don’t know. I probably need to move on to Follistim, which my doctor has encouraged me to do, but a part of me also feels like not investing the finances into that… so the money has to come from somewhere, and I’m not quite making enough through blogging yet to dump into a fertility fund. What tiny bit I do make goes into paying myself back for the small investment I made in January into this blog between the domain purchase, the hosting and the design, so yeah. Here we are. Oh, and then there is that plan to go to Disney World next year… kind of a priority in my eyes, honestly.

Christmas is a season of hope and joy, so I am determined to make it such! Move over PCOS, I have a savior’s birth to celebrate!

Christmas House

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LWM: Slow Cooker Simplicity: Pot Roast Stew

Another one of my slow cooker recipes went live on Liberating Working Moms yesterday and I wanted to be sure to share it here as well. This recipe is so easy and so hearty, it’s sure to be a win in your house if you like roast. Please report back if you try it!

In Tennessee, we’re deep in the abyss of autumn and winter is breathing down our necks. The time change brings darkness by 5:00 PM, which means by the time I’m home from work, I feel more exhausted because it feels like bedtime. The change in season brings a craving for warm, hearty meals that are easy. Since I’m a little more tired than usual with the season and time change, the easier dinner can be for me to pull together, the better.

Read more here: Slow Cooker Simplicity: Pot Roast Stew

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