Best Kept Secret in Christmas Cards!

tannenbaum

Do you send out Christmas cards? This time of year I absolutely LOVE going to the mailbox each day and finding love sent from friends near and far. I love seeing how they have captured their family during the year. How far away friend’s children have changed. It brings me so much joy each day.

I’m really proud of myself this year. I actually ordered our Christmas cards BEFORE Thanksgiving and was able to address them as we travel. Granted I didn’t make it to the post office for stamps until Thursday, but they are in the mail now and have started arriving in mailboxes.

I’ve ordered my cards from several places over the years, but a few years ago I found a hidden gem. WALMART. Did you know Walmart prints stationary stock Christmas cards for more than half less than traditional Christmas card sites (and no they aren’t paying me anything to say that!) This year I ordered 75 stationary stock 5×7 cards for $45.00 including shipping. I consider that a STEAL! There are pictures on both sides & they added my return address to the envelopes!

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Just wanted to share. If you haven’t ordered your cards, it isn’t too late! If you have…tuck this little nugget away for next year :) Merry Christmas!

Giving Presence this Holiday Season

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For the first day in months, the highs will not reach the 80s here in Georgia. That can only mean one thing, the holiday season is FINALLY here. Thanksgiving is just a few weeks ago and Christmas will quickly follow. It’s my favorite time of year, but for many I know it can also be a stressful time.

Back in February I joined SunTrust in their OnUp movement and shared tips for how we save money and alleviate financial stress as we raise a family on one income. And these strategies are so important this time of year. One of the things I wrote about was spending more time focusing on the moments that matter with my family and not on financial stress. Along with SunTrust I believe the most meaningful gift you can give your loved ones (and yourself) this holiday season, and any time really, isn’t a present you buy – it’s presence in every meaningful moment. And SunTrust can be your Holiday Hub.

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 Thinking back on the years I have so many wonderful holiday memories. From making a gingerbread house in the pediatric unit of the hospital with my parents after having my tonsils out to wrapping Christmas presents with my grandmother and making the most elaborate bows. The occasional, but oh so magical snowflakes found in the south to making Christmas cookies with my sister and using tweezers to make sure each sprinkle was in just the right spot! So many memories made over the years. And one thing that all these memories have in common is that none of them include presents….but presence.

Memories are made with those around you. So stop worrying about buying the perfect Christmas gift and start thinking about how you will be present with your loved ones and others you meet this holiday season. Being present means spending the evening with your children checking out all of the holiday lights in your neighborhood. Or, volunteering at your local soup kitchen, taking the day off for a fun adventure with grandparents, or providing coffee and donuts at your next team meeting before everyone’s out on vacation. 

If you are looking for more ideas download the SunTrust Holiday Planning Guide. 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.

Or, checkout this list of ways to spread the light this holiday season. (pdf here)

The holiday season let’s focus on what really matters – each other! Don’t let the stress of financial matters get in the way. Instead make small changes that make a big difference and don’t forget to be present this holiday season.

At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. When you feel confident about your money, you can save for your goals and spend knowingly on what matters most to you.  

The onUp movement was created to guide millions of people one step at a time towards a more financially confident life without ever losing sight of the moments that matter along the way.

Join the growing number of people transforming their stress into positive motivation to move onUp.

Join the movement

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.

 

3 Ingredient (+1) Peanut Butter Cookies

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They are that good! Chickadee couldn’t wait to get her hands on one. And they are just as easy. Our family likes routine, so I try to have an activity planned each weekday after naptime. Monday is baking day. And this past Monday we didn’t have much to work with, thank goodness these cookies only have THREE ingredients (+1 if you want add in a special candy!). 

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Seriously, that is it. One cup of peanut butter, one cup of sugar, one egg. Mix well & bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. If you are feeling crazy, add in some mini chocolate chips or Reese’s Pieces minis. You won’t regret it! Use a fork to make a little criss cross imprint if you like that.

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They will be pretty gooey when they come out, but fight the urge to put them back in. They will firm up as they cool. This might now be my go to cookie (or at least it’s up to par with the best chocolate chip cookies ever)! 

If you don’t normally bake with your kids, I strongly suggest it! First and foremost it’s a lot of fun. However, it also teaching following & reading directions, measurement, fine motor skills with mixing & scooping. And I’m sure there is some science in there too. So bake with your kids, let them pour in the sugar and don’t freak out if they like their fingers before dropping in the Reese’s Pieces. All their germs will cook out anyway, and along the way…so many memories will be made!

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Three Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies
Yields 20
Simple & delicious three ingredient peanut butter cookies
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup of peanut butter
  2. 1 cup of sugar
  3. 1 egg
Instructions
  1. Mix the peanut butter, sugar, and egg well.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
Notes
  1. Add 1/2 cup of your favorite mini candies to make it extra special!
A Step In The Journey http://astepinthejourney.com/
Enjoy!

Monster Rice Krispie Treats

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I’ve got an easy recipe for you & it will make you super popular with your kids! Chickadee took them to preschool for her special birthday treat & according to her, everybody ate them all :) From the mouth of my three year old to your lips, they are good! And do you really need anymore confirmation??

I wanted to put a fun spin on rice krispie treats. We talked about adding sprinkles, using Fruity Pebbles instead, or dipping them in chocolate. She chose the chocolate. And since her birthday is in October I thought a little monster spin would be fun!

We started by following the basic Rice Krispie recipe. 6 cups of Rice Krispies, one 10 oz. bag of marshmallows and 3 tablespoons of butter. 

Melt butter in large saucepan on low heat. Add marshmallows; cook until marshmallows are completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat. Add cereal; mix well. 

Press onto bottom of 13×9-inch pan sprayed with cooking spray. Cool completely.

…….

After they cooled I cut them into rectangles and used half a decorative paper straw to create a rice krispie treat on a stick. 

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To create the “monster” we used white chocolate chips & candy eyes. 

Monster Rice Kripsie Treats
Yields 20
An easy and tasty halloween snack!
Write a review
Print
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 cups of Rice Krispies
  2. 3 tbsp of butter
  3. 10 ounce bag of marshmallows
  4. 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  5. Food coloring
  6. Candy eyes
Instructions
  1. Follow instructions on the back of the Rice Krispie Box to make Rice Krispies.
  2. For creating the monsters, we used about 3/4 a cup of  white chocolate chips.
  3. Melt in a microwave save bowl for 1 minute. Then stir until completely melted.
  4. If you want to dye the white chocolate use food coloring.
  5. In a shallow bowl dip the rice krispies. Then turn them right side up and let the chocolate drip down a little bit.
  6. Lay on parchment paper and add eyes.
  7. Give the chocolate time to harden.
  8. Enjoy!
A Step In The Journey http://astepinthejourney.com/

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 You could really use all different colors and have so much fun with these little monsters. Chickadee LOVED helping me make them and dipping them in the white chocolate. I love that she was able to take ownership over her special treat. She was so excited to share them with her friends! I hope you create a few and share them too :)

Sprout | 18 months

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On October 3rd we reached a milestone around here. Sprout became the exact age Chickadee was when he was born. Crazy how time flies. She didn’t seem near as little as he still does, but even still, he is growing up so fast! 

These last few months you have been learning sooo quickly! I would say you officially passed the baby to toddler divide. In the last few months you have learned most of your body parts…head, nose, toes, ears, feet, tummy, arms, mouth & eyes. You also like to point out where you have a very fleeting temporary tattoo when we run through what’s what. Like your sister you also know ALL the animal sounds & the lion roar has to be my favorite! Both From Head to Zoo & The Zoo are two books that are your favorite because of all the animals. And speaking of animals, you go nuts whenever we come across a puppy dog. Absolute bliss for you!

 You are talking up a storm! I would list all the words in your vocabulary, but there isn’t time. You can repeat almost any word we say and are also talking in two word phrases. It’s crazy really because at 1 you weren’t saying anything, so I can’t imagine the chatterbox you will be by two!

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You are a pretty good eater. You love sweet potatoes still and are obsessed with drinking a smoothie in the mornings. Snack is probably one of the words we hear the most from your lips and just confirms you are a growing boy! You have started using a fork and spoon are are doing great (although you prefer to use your hands). I would say 75% of the yogurt actually makes it into your mouth, so I can’t complain.

You are sleeping like a champ (7:30 – 7:00 usually) at night and are napping once a day around 1:00 for about 2-2.5 hours. You have made quite a sleep buddy with a little brown bunny you affectionately call, Bubba. You are wearing size 4 diapers, size 18 months clothes (12m pants), and size 5 shoe. I think you weigh about 24lbs and are around 32 inches tall (thanks to a recent growth spurt).  

You loves fiercely and fierce meltdowns as well (normally over food :/). I love watching you react when daddy comes through the door. You are pretty beside yourself with excitement. You are obsessed with balls and dump trucks. Love reading books and going to the duck pond. Sliding at the park & in our backyard is your favorite. 

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Your laugh is infectious sweet boy and we pray that it lights up everyone you encounter. We hope you always let God’s light shine bright sweet boy!