For Furry Family Members: Day 3 Holiday Giveaway Drawing

As we progress through our holiday giveaway week, today’s prize is for the dogs…and cats! Even if you have one or the other, still enter the drawing because you can give the other pet gift to a family member or friend who has a cat or dog.  First the feline prize, a cute and yummy Cat’n Around Catnip toy stocking from Catclaws.com.  Your kitty cat will love having a stocking to rip into, especially when the catnip is discovered that hides inside!  And for the pup in your life (or your pal’s life), check out this delish and chewy Elk Antler sold by a company that only sells the antlers that have fallen off the animals…no hunting of them they tell me, which I like.  Each of the 45 Barkworthies antlers are hand collected, washed, cut, and packaged in the USA. Moose, deer and elk are all offered.  Both cats and dogs will love these gifts, so be sure to enter the drawing!

Rules:  All entries must be emailed to [email protected] by this Thursday, December 15th by midnight, Arizona time. In the email, please list your name, which prize you are putting your name in for (since we are doing a daily drawing this week) and the address you want the prize mailed to if you are the winner.  All prizes will be announced on Friday, with the exception of the teacher’s gift, which we are drawing on Wednesday, December 14th to give the winner time to deliver to the teacher before schools go on holiday break.  Good luck! 

My 3TV Segment – Holiday Gift Ideas

If you saw my 3TV segment on the KTVK “Your Life A to Z” show this week, you will know that I showed lots of gift ideas!

Love doing my morning show segment with cohost, Gina Salazar! The table is full, but I showed even more items in the show than are pictured, so take a look below to see everything.

Ideas for everyone, like teachers and even the furry family members. Here is the information for each item I showed with links on how to purchase, too.

Meaningful Local Hand Crafted Jewelry by Karen Hall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love to support local business and our show’s longtime makeup artist, celebrity/professional makeup artist, Karen Hall makes incredible jewels using significant and lovely stones and crystals that have different types of properties.  The significance of each stone can be explained to the recipient with a sweet attached note, that Karen will include on request, in the gift box.  Gorgeous bracelets, earrings, necklaces and more with stunning stones and crystals incorporated, reflect things like healing, stability, good energy and more.  Every year I buy a lovely long beaded necklace with a pretty cross on the end for my mother-in-law and I adore the turquoise leather bracelets Karen makes for my mom.  I showed some exquisite pieces in my segment.  To check out Karen’s handmade jewelry line, email her at [email protected].  Every time my family and friends receive a gift from her lovely line, they are so touched by the beauty of the jewelry art and the significance of the stonework that is carefully crafted into each beautiful piece.

Fun for Teachers

My favorite online gift boutique, Teresa’s Creative Gifts, has the teachers covered with some unique ideas.  Something a little different for the teacher in your life is the pretty sterling silver numbers necklace that has a pewter overlay and sells for $24.  Plus, it comes with a free fun oversized real working pencil.  Teresa’s Creative Gifts also sells the oversized giant pencils in sets of 3 for $24 or $10 each or wholesale at $60 for 12 pencils.  Link to buy is here or email your order to [email protected]

 

For the Football Fans


NFL Holiday LED Lights Ornaments are so festive and fun and can be hung on the Christmas tree every year.  I bought the Redskins set of six bulbs for my Dad and that cost $25 and he will love them!  So fun!  Teresa’s Creative Gifts sells these sets as well, as lots of other NFL items, too.  The NFL ornament link is here or email your order to [email protected]

For the Wine Lover

I adore the pretty Barware Collection holiday silver reindeer wine bottle opener set that I showed in the segment.  For $20 you get a wine bottle opener and a stopper.  Email your order to [email protected] Teresa’s Creative Gifts has several different holiday varieties at this link.

For the Merry Coffee Lover

Pair their favorite coffee with a joyful coffee mug that says Merry Everything and Happy Always. This is my kind of happy mug!  Other holiday varieties are also available and sell for $13 each at this link.  Or email your order to [email protected]

Stylish & Warm Headwear

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pretty with bling design handwarmers headband sell in lots of different colors for $10 or 3/$24 or buy 7/$49.  Pretty, functional and perfect for warmth, especially for your fashionable family or friend who plans to travel to a cold climate. Those are sold at this link or email your order to [email protected]

For Furry Family Members

An adorable holiday sleigh scratching post will delight your kitty cat for sure!  Catclaws.com sells these for $19.95 each at this link.

This same website also sells fun and festive cat nip stockings that go for only $3.99 at this link

For the pups, I found yummy and chewy Elk Antlers sold by a company that only sells the antlers that have fallen off the animals…no hunting of them they tell me, which I like.  Each of the 45 Barkworthies antlers are hand collected, washed, cut, and packaged in the USA. Moose, deer and elk are all offered.  To see prices and where to buy locally, visit this link.

Fab Photo Gifts

Give a prized and sentimental picture to a loved one, but first have it made into an attractive canvas print that will last forever.  Canvas prints start at $12.99 and framed prints start at $29.99 and can only be ordered online at CVS.  Be sure to order by December 14th to receive in time for Christmas.

 

Gift that Gives Back

I am especially fond of giving and receiving gifts that give back, so I plan on giving several stylish leather bracelets that sport inspirational sayings on each one.  Teresa’s Creative Gifts, sell these with her partner manufacturer, who donates 25% of all proceeds to help feed the homeless, build schools, churches, hospitals, provide school books for children and more.  I love that!  The women’s 6-strand bracelets sell for $29 or a single strand for $20 and men’s $20.  The link is here to order or email your order to [email protected]

Electronic Hot Item for All

The Echo Dot is the smaller version of the expensive Echo, which sells for $180, so I am pleased to see Amazon offer the Dot for a much lower price of $49.99.  Echo Dot (2nd Generation) is a hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses Alexa (like Siri on an iPhone) to play music, control smart home devices, provide information, read the news, set alarms and more.  With the smaller and less expensive Dot, a smaller speaker is included, but I think it is worth the reduced price to live without the bigger hefty speaker that the Echo offers. I did some research on this and I read in a How-To Geek article that the price is almost 75% less, but the functionality is nearly 100% the same.  I will take that, so I purchased one each for my teenagers. I did so on Cyber Monday, so I really saved, but I think the price is still reasonable.

Fun for Kids 

The Goodie Gusher is brand new easy-to-fill, safe-alternative to a piñata and it’s reusable! Here’s how it works: fill the Goodie Gusher with candy and prizes, hang it up, kids (or parents) take turns trying to pull the Magic Key, once the Magic Key is pulled the Goodie Gusher will release a wide shower of party treats! This mom inspired, dad invented fun party game will make sure kids have fun without the fear of getting hit with a stick or bat playing piñata, and you can use it indoors. Available at Walmart, www.goodiegusher.com.

Spa Products for Less

Bath and body lotions, bath gels and more are always treasured gifts.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that Walgreens carries a kit that has 7 items of the very nice White Cotton scent available for only $10.  That is a good value, especially because the kit includes body lotion, body scrub, body butter, bath salt, bubble bath and more.  I bought several of these to give as spa gifts.

Ulta Beauty Supply Store has the very nice Butter London 6-pack nail polish set that is 40% off and will be marked down for the next week or longer or until supplies run out.  Butter is a nice non-toxic line that does not contain formaldehyde, toluene and DBP or parabens.  Love that!

Ulta also has some darling small sized spa beauty gifts that also make terrific stocking stuffers.  I found items like Christmas tree nail files, Perfect Peppermint body lotion, Sugar Cookie Macaron Hand Cream and more.

Stocking Stuffers for All!

All the stocking stuffers I showed in the segment at sold at Walgreens locations.  They have a lot to choose from at good prices, too.

What fabulous gift ideas did I leave out that you know about?  Share in the comments section and I am wishing everyone a joyful and safe holiday season!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homemade Holiday Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Who says ice cream is just for summer?  How about homemade holiday vanilla bean ice cream to serve with pie or all by itself with a little red and green flair. If you own an ice cream maker, this recipe is for you.  Your holiday guests will cheer when they see that ice cream is near, especially since it isn’t expected this time of year.  Here here I say.  Ice cream works on any day.  OK I am done with my rhyme as now it is time to make everyone’s favorite dessert.  Ice cream!  Homemade.  Vanilla bean with the real beans.  Even better! xmas-ice-creamI did this over Thanksgiving and it was a hit!  I like that the vanilla bean can be seen in the ice cream, too. I must admit that I am sharing this recipe from my Cuinsart Ice Cream maker recipe book that came with my delightful ice cream machine that Santa brought me last year!  cream-makerMy Santa would be my wonderful mother-in-law and father-in-law.  My family especially enjoyed our tasty ice cream recipes all summer long and adding some vanilla bean ice cream to my Turkey Day dessert table was a bonus for sure! 

And my decadent sweet tooth brainstormed simply adding red and green sprinkles to finished ice cream for a merry festive look with an extra dash of sweet!  I think Santa would approve!  santa-creamHere is how to make what I call Holiday Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (using an ice cream maker…I used a Cuisinart Pure Indulgence Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker). The coolest ingredient is the actual vanilla bean that comes in a jar like this one that sells at Walmart and other grocery stores.  This costs around $8 a jar, so it isn’t cheap, but it is the real deal bean that makes the vanilla bean ice cream authentic.  This recipe makes about 14 1/2 cup servings. van-bean

What You Need – The Good Stuff! 

2 1/3 cups whole milk

2 1/3 cups heavy cream

1 whole vanilla bean

3 large eggs

4 large egg yolks

1 1/8 cups sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

optional for Christmas Ice Cream – red and green sugar sprinkles

What You Do:  Work That’s Worth It! 

Combine the milk and cream in medium saucepan.  Use a sharp knife to split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise.  Use the blunt end to scrape out the “seeds” and stir the seeds and bean pod into the milk/cream mixture.

Bring the mixture to a slow boil over medium heat.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Combine eggs, egg yolks, and sugar in a medium bowl.  Use a hand mixer on medium speed to beat until the mixture is thick, smooth and pale yellow in color (similar to mayo), for about 2 minutes.

Remove the vanilla bean pod from the milk/cream mixture and discard.  Measure out 1 cup of the hot liquid.  With the mixer on low speed, add the cup of hot milk/cream to the egg mixture in a slow and steady stream.  When thoroughly combined, pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk/cream mixture and stir to combine.  Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-low heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon.  Transfer to a bowl, stir in vanilla, cover with a sheet of plastic wrap placed directly on the custard and chill completely.

Pour the chilled custard  into the ice cream maker freezer bowl.  Turn the machine on and let mix, until thickened about 25 to 30 minutes.  The ice cream will have sort of a soft serve creamy consistency.  To make thicker, like typical ice cream, place in container with air tight lid and freeze for two hours.  This container was full to the top….I took the picture after our Thanksgiving dessert was consumed! v-bean-ice-creamTop with the red and green sprinkles for a splash of holiday cheer.  This also gives it a sweet crunch, too.

Absolutely yummy and crowd pleasing!  Great to add to your holiday pies for a la mode, too!ice-cream-santa

Different Than Pumpkin Pie…Try Pumpkin Supreme!

If you are not a pumpkin pie fan, but like pumpkin desserts or if you want something a little different from the usual pumpkin pie, try this scrumptious pumpkin supreme recipe.  pumpkinsupremeSeveral years ago, I asked my sister-in-law for her Texas family’s recipe for my all-time favorite dessert that she makes for us every Thanksgiving and Christmas.  She gave it to me and gave me to permission to share it with you!  It is called Pumpkin Supreme and it is better than pumpkin pie any day, in my opinion!  With a light whipped topping over a pumpkin and cream cheese layer that lays on top of a chilled delish graham cracker crust, this recipe will have your guests coming back for seconds.  Here is how you make it…

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup chopped pecans
1 8 oz. cream cheese
1 big container cool whip
3/4 cup milk
2 small boxes of instant vanilla pudding
1 regular sized can of pumpkin
dash of cinnamon

Instructions:
1. Mix graham cracker crumbs and 1 cup of the sugar in with the butter.
2. Press this mixture into a 9 x 12 Pyrex dish, so that this becomes the crust.
3. Combine eggs with the 3/4 cup of sugar and cream cheese.
4. Mix until fluffy.
5. Spread over crust.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
7. When completely cool (can even refrigerate overnight), go on to next step.
8. Mix 3/4 cup milk with two boxes of instant vanilla pudding.
9. Add pumpkin.add-pumpkin



10. Fold in one cup of cool whip.
11. Spread over cooled cream cheese mixture.

pumpkin-layer
12. Cover with remaining Cool Whip and sprinkle nuts on top.  Here is what a slice looks like and you won’t believe how good it tastes.  Place a dollop of whipped cream on top, like pictured, or layer the entire top with whipped cream, sprinkled cinnamon and pecans.  Up to you. pumpkinsupremeTruly decadent!  You can also serve this dessert in mason jars by following the same steps and layering in the jars instead of a pan.  This recipe is super tasty.  Try it! mason jar

Enjoy!  So yummy!  Happy Thanksgiving!!

My Thanksgiving Table Decor Deals & Ideas

Warm and inviting Thanksgiving table decor can set the mood and get the festivities going.  After I posted a quick picture of my Thanksgiving table on Facebook, I had a lot of compliments and some questions about where I found my festive items.  Love that and love my holiday table! table-3So I decided to share in today’s blog post.  Some of these ideas and items may work for both your Thanksgiving and Christmas table, so take a look.

I am excited and thrilled that our college freshman son asked if we could host a few of his friends who are unable to fly all the way home for Thanksgiving. asu-parentsWe wholeheartedly replied yes and my heart is full that his heart is thoughtful about his newfound friends being far away from home on Thanksgiving.

So with that excitement (and of course my joy that our boy will be home with us) I went to work to put together a complete Turkey Day table.  I asked my husband for my Christmas gift early, as I had been wanting a new dining room table for the last couple of years.  He agreed and I got busy comparing prices at furniture stores, warehouse outlets, online retailers and more.

Here is the result of my complete finished holiday table, step by step and purchase by purchase.  And very cool…one set of items came from a dollar store.  You gotta love that.  Take a look.  I will note that some of the items I show may be sold out, but similar styles can be found.  Moreover, for Christmas table stuff, there is still plenty out there.  But let’s talk about Thanksgiving decor.

Finding My New Table

I wanted simple, but elegant.  And sturdy, since I expect this table to last me a very long time.  Options and competitive prices were available at warehouse stores like Costco, but the shipping wait was over six weeks.  Thanksgiving was coming right up.  Big fancy furniture stores were asking around $4,000 and up for tables that seat 8 or more, which is the size that I wanted.  However, that is way over my budget, especially since we now pay college tuition!  (Future blog post about the shock of that coming soon!)

I also checked Wayfair and Overstocked, but I just couldn’t find the exact one I wanted.  Plus, I like to see and feel the object I am buying, especially when it is a big ticket item.

Then I remembered a relatively new warehouse/furniture store that had come to town recently.  So off we went to take a look.  This place was definitely different.  Very nice and large, but without salesperson pressure. Fancier than a warehouse box store, but with warehouse prices.  Bingo!  My cutie pie son’s girlfriend, Hannah went with me and she quickly spotted this…living-spacesAnd with that, this went from the showroom to my dining room! What do you think?  Do you like it?  I think it fits perfectly, as shown below in my home.  Just in time for Thanksgiving, too!
table-with-words

Yep, it looks terrific in my home!table-1

I love Living Spaces!  We got the set for $2,000, which included adding two nice over-sized accent captain chairs that we personally selected from the warehouse shelves.  We could have reduced the price by $100 if we had picked up the set ourselves, but I needed delivery, so that fee was included in the price.  It is a beautiful sturdy table with quality chairs that have attractive decorative studs. Plus, it seats eight people, which is exactly what I wanted.  Christmas came early for me and I found a quality set at a competitive price.  This table and these chairs will hold many precious memories ahead.  I will cherish each and every one of them.  Now that my oldest is away at college, I know firsthand how precious those times are and how time flies.

Next Step:  Setting the Thanksgiving Table

Now, let’s set the table! And check it out because I saved money by shopping at a dollar store, saving coupons, mix and matching items I had on hand and more.  Let’s set the table and I will share my secrets and tips…

plate-with-wordsGotta love Kohl’s and since I am a Kohl’s Rewards Member, I waited to receive my $5 rewards gift certificate via email.  I then combined that with my 20% off Kohl’s mailer coupon and used Kohl’s cash that I had saved. This reduced my total cost by 40%!  So with those savings, I purchased the place mats, serving platters and full dish set place settings, all from Kohl’s!  Love that! plate-with-kohls

I also really like the place mats I found at Kohl’s because they look festive, but work year-round as well.  Many stores have fun Thanksgiving Day decor themed place mats, but I wanted a smart purchase that is versatile.  Found it!  The dish set is also decorative and fancy for a holiday meal, but also versatile enough to be used for all kinds of other occasions, too.  Again that is smart shopping.

And check out the pretty green water glasses.  I needed a set of 8 and I didn’t want to spend a lot.  I thought about how to accomplish this for a few days.  Unrelated to this goal, I visited an unlikely store looking for something else.  But look what happened instead…glass-waterI really would have never thought of a dollar store for a matching set of glassware. The Dollar Tree had pretty Christmas glasses displayed in the storefront, so I decided to venture over to the dish section.  To my surprise, the selection and variety was large and most styles had at least six matching items. And all for one dollar each.  Brilliant!  Finding this set at Dollar Tree was an added plus!

Speaking of FOUND…I found a fabulous local boutique called FOUND by Domestic Bliss that offered napkins that touched my heart. I had to have this shabby chic design with a touching message…

table-set-napkinI absolutely love the give thanks sentiment.  I showed these napkins in my recent morning show segment.  I discussed how I saved money by using mismatched napkin rings that I already had on hand.  It works!  Here is the picture from my TV segment…show-setNotice also the pretty and festive table runner can be seen in the photo above, that also came from the FOUND store.  Christmas table runners are offered as well and I like that they are made of paper for easy roll out, storage, reuse or recycling afterwards. I adore earth friendly items!

For the Arizona locals reading this, FOUND by Domestic Bliss is located in Chandler in the Casa Paloma shopping center at Ray Rd., right off the I10.  Unique boutiques owned by local gals are my thing, so be sure to check it out.  She has all kinds of home decor items, clothing, jewelry, clever knick knacks, one-of-a-kind gifts and more.  And the owner, Kristin Wilson Alber, has done interior design decor for celebs and magazine spreads, too.  Definitely check out her shop!

So my table is set.  The college kids are coming. My husband will help cook.  My high school daughter thinks it is cool that big brother is coming with friends.  May your table be full and full of warm memories, too.

Happy Thanksgiving!  I am so thankful to all of you for following my humble little mama blog.  Thank you!  And on this Thanksgiving, I couldn’t be more thankful for the three peeps that surround me in this picture.  My joy just can’t be hid and was captured in this photograph.  This would also be a picture of my heart.  Happy Thanksgiving 🙂 thxful

Holiday Gift Ideas Shown In My 3TV Morning Show Segment

If you caught my morning show segment on KTVK’s “Your Life A to Z’ show today and want to know where to get the cool gift ideas I showed, here is the information…

gift-ideas

 

found quite the find at FOUND By Domestic Bliss store in Chandler.  I love locally owned unique boutiques and FOUND is so unique with festive flair, interior design items to die for, trendy clothing styles, jewelry and lots more!  FOUND is located right off the I10 and Ray Rd. in the Casa Paloma Shopping Center.  Find some to time to get there to check it out for your holiday needs, decor, gifts and more.  Here are a few items from FOUND that I showed in my segment…

*Meri Meri Jewelry Advent Calendar – $35.50 at FOUND boutique in Chandler – I love this! A pretty little box represents the advent calendar and this seasonal calendar comes in the style of a classic jewelry box. Opening the lid reveals a dancer and two trays with numbered compartments each with a charm to add to a charm bracelet.  advent-braceletWhat a fun way to celebrate the season with a child and the bracelet will be a forever keepsake, too.

*Red Amaryllis Bulb in Can by Urban Agriculture, $25 at FOUND boutique in Chandler (pictured above) – This great green gift works for a terrific earth friendly gift and also makes a nice office gift to give.  This plant in a can becomes a red and radiant Amaryllis for the holidays.  Within a few weeks, the red flower blooms for festive beauty.  Give this gift early so that the recipient can enjoy the pretty red plant all season long.

*Urban Agriculture Co. Christmas Tree in a can, $32 at FOUND boutique in Chandler (pictured above) – How cool to give a Christmas tree plant in a can.  The seedling grows indoors for a year.  Then it is planted in the ground so that the recipient has their very own outdoor Christmas tree.  Love this!

*Bell Wreath Ornament, $19.50 at FOUND – Festive, fun, pretty and this ornament makes get-in-the-spirit sleigh bell sounds.  wreath-ornamentUse this as an ornament for the Christmas tree or place small candles in the center for pretty décor that smells like the holidays, too.  This also makes a fun party favor idea that guests can shake and then take home to put on their tree.

*Unique personalized gift for the cook – a hand painted spoon holder from As You Wish Pottery Painting Place.  My daughter made one for me for my birthday.  I laughed when I saw that she painted it to resemble a wine glass!  And I use it every day since this is a smart item that every cook needs.  So, take your kid, or yourself, to As You Wish to paint a personalized gift that is functional, too.  The spoon holder sells for $15 and the painting fee is $8 for adults and$6 for kids.gfts

*Unique gift for the chef – Gourmet Grater from PakoLazo.com, $25  – My gal pal gave me one and I love how it looks and how it works.  This pretty plate enables the cook to quickly create a beautiful and tasty fresh garlic paste.  I also found a good variety of pretty garlic grater plates at the ETSY website, too.

*Relish jar Paddywax Balsam + Fir Artisan Soy Wax holiday candle, $11.00 for 3 oz. candle that smells like fresh pine.  This is hand poured in the USA and I like that it is a soy candle.  This makes a great gift or stocking stuffer, too.

Stay tuned as I will have more unique gift ideas on my blog as we proceed through the holiday season and more to come in my 3TV segment in December, too!

Happy Holiday season!

Overnight Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal in Mason Jars

Here is a cool holiday breakfast idea for your guests.  Make pumpkin spice oatmeal the night before.  Prepare in individual mason jars that can be simply set out in a breakfast buffet the next morning, warm or cold. oatmeal-doneoatmeal-closeSuch a fun, festive and flavorful idea with a recipe that is healthy clean eating.  And some house guests may crave a nutritious breakfast the day after the high calorie Turkey Day.

I found this delightful and super easy recipe from my favorite meal planning site, MealGarden. I especially like MealGarden because the recipes are clean and healthy with a wide variety.  I did add a few extras to the original recipe.  My version is shown below in this how-to video.  So easy and so festive.  Take a look…

 

The original recipe can be found at MealGarden. Thank you to MealGarden for allowing me to experiment with this recipe and share it on my blog!  Enjoy and happy holiday pumpkin everything season!

 

AZ Local: AJ’s Thanksgiving Dinner PreOrder: How It Works

A few year ago, I tried the AJ’s Fine Food’s holiday dinner pre-order meal plan and it worked well, tasted great and happily fed all.  hday dinnerAnd no one guessed that I had a little help from AJ’s Fine Foods.  If you are considering cooking Turkey Day dinner, but need a little help, check out this idea that I blogged about a few years back.

AJ’s Fine Foods offers Thanksgiving catering that you actually prep and serve yourself to your guests. Curious about the price, the plates and the pies? Read on to see my review….

For $159.99 you get a complete Turkey Day meal that feeds 6 to 8 people.

Here is what the dinner includes:

*16 to 18 lb roasted turkey (precooked weight)

*3 lbs. herbed dressing

*4 lbs. mashed potatoes

*3 lbs. candied yams with marshmallows

*2 lbs. green beans almandine

*2 quarts gravy

*1 pint cranberry relish

*1 dozen dinner rolls

*cute holiday butter shaped like a turkey

*your choice between an apple or pumpkin pie

You can also order a boneless turkey breast dinner that includes all the sides listed above.

Orders must be placed by November 17th, and for an additional cost, you can add appetizer plates and desserts, too.  Other meat options (at an additional cost) include Prime Rib, Filet Mignon Roast, Pork Crown Roast, Organic Turkeys and more.  Other pies offered (at an additional cost) include blackberry, peach, rhubarb and many other flavors.

Why I liked this!

*With the extensive grocery list you would need to purchase if you made everything from scratch, the price for this catered meal is reasonable.  And if time versus money is your issue, the time savings here absolutely rocks!

*Order can be picked up the day before or Thanksgiving morning.  Do give yourself time to reheat all of the dishes.

*Some prep is still required, as it doesn’t come hot and ready to go.  I actually liked this because it still felt like I was making a grand Thanksgiving dinner since I had to start early in the day heating the turkey in the oven and preparing the different side dishes one by one.  Since AJ’s did most of the work for me, it was much easier than making a complete homemade meal and it tasted just as good.

*The taste was amazing.  Last year I had both family and neighborhood friends join us and no one could believe that it was catered from AJ’s.  Everyone commented that it tasted like I had cooked for days.  Thank you AJ’s!

*There was plenty left over for snacking on later.  And that is a Turkey Day tradition, I think!

If you are interested in learning more about AJ’s Thanksgiving catering, click here or call the different Valley locations or simply go in and order, like I did.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and to yours!

 

 

 

Quick, Easy & Inexpensive Halloween Make It Yourself Mask Idea

Sometimes it’s what’s behind the mask that gets attention.  I love sharing cool ideas that I see other moms brainstorm.  I saw just that this morning in my Sunday school class.  One of my students was very excited to show me her Tweety Bird mask that her mother crafted for her. I love the front of the mask.  Very cute!  Now check out the smart idea that is behind the mask. mask-onThat really got my attention.  How clever is this?! I would have never thought of this great idea.  She used an old pair of sunglasses to secure the mask to her daughter’s face.  This is much better than flimsy string that can break or an elastic band that can snap back and sting.sunglass-backThe old sunglasses, with the lens removed, fit the mask perfectly and it stays on snug.  I tried it on and it is lightweight and comfortable.  Plus the mask, constructed with a paper plate, is inexpensive and easy to make. I asked Lisa, my mom friend, if I could share this idea on my blog.  I think it is so clever.  So if you need a last minute costume idea, make a mask of your choice and secure it on the face with an old pair of sunglasses. So smart!

Happy Halloween out there.  Be safe!

My 3TV Everything October Segment

Here is my Everything October 3TV segment.  My segment is only 2 minutes long, but I was able to include several cool items because October brings so much fun. Traditions like pumpkin everything, Halloween, the beginning of gift shopping season and more.  And most importantly, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, too. So take a quick look at my speedy segment to see where to get Halloween wines for less, a super cool recipe photo gift idea for holiday gift giving, a low cal and healthier pumpkin muffin recipe and some pretty in pink BCA items.  It’s all here just in time for everything October.  Also links to items shown in this segment can be found below the video at the end of this article. Just look below for anything you saw in the segment that you want more information about.

 

Links & Info from segment topics:

*My delish Autumn Sangria recipe can be found here. 

*Hob Nob Halloween wines sell for $9.99 at Total Wine & More locations, with biggest variety at the Tempe Marketplace location.

*CVS Photo recipe cards can be ordered here.

*Pumpkin muffin recipe at MealGarden online meal planning site.  My version with spelt flour and dark chocolate chips can be found here.

*The pink Mission Belt and all colors and styles can be found at Mission Belt.

*Teresa’s Creative Gifts at this link.

*Click here for Katydid.