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Even More Great Gift Ideas From Blurb

Blurb is really giving out some generous coupon codes and offers this year! I love a great deal for a quality product. If you haven’t made a Blurb book before, you really should give it a try. It’s the perfect gift for grandparents- shhhh, mom you didn’t see that. I have another coupon code for you and some information on personalizing gifts for the people on your shopping list this year. All the links in this post are affiliate links which means if you click and purchase something I make a few pennies to help pay for Christmas….or wine. The relatives are coming next week y’all. 


Coupon Code: Save 25% at Blurb when you spend $50 or more on print books with code: SAVING Code is valid until 11/22/13!


Give Something Personal This Holiday Season

If you have a digital camera-whether it’s your smart phone or your DSLR-chances are you have a lot of wonderful photos of the people you love. And there’s a pretty big chance that if you do, those photos haven’t seen the light of day since you first took them, posted them to Facebook, or picked that new wallpaper for your smart phone or computer.

Now, imagine those photos in a book, given as a gift. Wouldn’t you look like the best most thoughtful person ever? Yeah, you pretty much would. And with Blurb‘s easy, custom books, you can make a photo gift book that’s both personal and extremely polished.


You can use your Facebook photos, Instagram photos, or photos on your computer. You can design your own book, or have it automagically created with the Blurb Designer Collection templates. All these tools are designed to run right in your web browser, letting you make a book in as little as ten minutes, and they start at just $12.99. 

A real book. One you can hold, share, and pass on. Plus it’s so easily customized that you can create different versions for different people. Just swap in a few new photos, change the text, and re-order. Looking to make something a little bigger, like a family history book? Yeah,Blurb has ways to do that too. 


Of course, this is a custom gift, so you don’t want to be last minute about it. Even though you can order up until December 19, ordering early is always better (and a bit cheaper too).

So, get started on making a beautiful gift book now: Blurb 


I love the idea of using my Instagram photos! Let’s face it, these days most of my photos are Instagram ones. 



Creating A Calm & Serene Master Bedroom Redo




I’ve shown you almost every newly redone room in the house now but I haven’t shown you the master bedroom. It seems like that room is always the last one to get done and it really should have been the first. Mom needs a calm and serene space to relax and get away from the craziness of the rest of the house. I knew exactly what I wanted to create in the master bedroom but I was on a super tight budget after how much I spent on the rest of the house. I had to get creative and flex my DIY muscles to create the kind of space I wanted. 


If you missed it the first time, here is how my master bedroom used to look. You can see the full tour here.






It was kind of pieced together haphazardly with some new pieces and some older things I hadn’t replaced yet. It needed to be updated so badly. I knew I wanted to move the bed away from the window. I am a serious insomniac and there are nights when I don’t fall asleep until well after 4am. So waking up at 6am with the sun shining brightly in my face was not working out for me anymore. I also knew I wanted to finally change the old curtains and I wanted a rustic reclaimed wood headboard. It only took me a weekend to get the room done once I figured out what I wanted. Here’s our new space:









The headboard was my big DIY project. It took me 2 hours to make and only cost me $20. I’ll show you soon just how I made the headboard. It came out even better than I was anticipating and I built the rest of the room around it. I added the Mr & Mrs over the new headboard because that wall is so tall. I originally planned to paint the room but every color I picked out was almost the same as what was already on the walls so I left it alone. 






I tried to keep the room as simple as possible. I wanted it to be serene and calming. I found the curtain at IKEA, of course. They are the perfect compliment to the bedding and the rug. I also moved the chest of drawers into the master bathroom and replaced it with another cube bookshelf from IKEA. We’re using it to hold the television and it gave me a little extra storage. I wish I had somewhere to put the elliptical machine but we don’t. So for now, it’s stuck in the corner of the master bedroom. At least I can catch up on my favorite shows while I exercise. I didn’t change anything about the photo collage wall because I love it. 













I love my new master bedroom. I accomplished my goal of making it a calm and serene space. Now if I could just get the kids to keep their toys out of my room it would be perfect. Those little people toys hurt when you step on them at 3am! 

Shared with Craft-o-Maniac Monday, Motivate Me Monday, Monday Funday, Made By You Monday, Make the Scene Monday, Give Me The Goods, Project Inspired, Mix It Up Monday, Show Me What Ya Got, Anti-Procrastination Tuesday, From Dream to Reality, One Project At A Time, Tutorials and Tips, Tuesday Treasures, Whatever Goes Wednesday, The Inspiration Exchange, Thursdays Are Your Days, The Party Bunch, Link Party Palooza, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, That DIY Party, Inspire Me Please, Work It Wednesday, Nifty Thrifty Tuesday, Take a Look Tuesday, Live Laugh Linky, The Weekly Creative, Wow Us Wednesday


TDC Before and After


Delicious Monterey Gourmet Foods Five Cheese Ravioli Dinner


Something that is very important to me as a mom is making sure that my kids are not only eating healthy foods but also trying a variety of different types of foods. The kids would be perfectly content to live on a diet consisting of macaroni & cheese, chicken nuggets, and pizza rolls if I let them. Fortunately, being a multi-cultural family, our kids have always been exposed to a wide selection of foods. Matt regularly prepares traditional Filipino dishes for the family and I incorporate dishes made by my British-born mom when I was a kid into our meal rotation.We are very lucky to have kids who are willing to try new things and they rarely refuse something just because it’s different.  


One thing that every member of our family loves is pasta- all kinds of pasta and we love to pair our pasta with a variety of different sauces. So when I was offered the chance to try out a variety of Monterey Gourmet Foods Discovery dishes I was really excited. The Monterey Gourmet Foods Discovery dishes are internationally inspired, all natural pastas as governed by the company’s strict Genuinely Natural Principles, and are made with the highest quality ingredients.  I let the kids choose which dish we were going to make first and they decided on the Five Cheese Ravioli.  






The best part about making pasta is letting the kids help me.  Some of my favorite childhood memories are of helping my mom cook. She would let me wear her favorite apron and stand on a chair to stir her homemade spaghetti sauce, or roll out the dough for her cinnamon rolls.  As a young girl it was about spending time with my mom but as a young teen it became how I communicated with her. Some of our best talks were had while preparing a meal together. Even now as an adult I find myself calling my mom to chat while I’m cooking dinner. Those are the memories that I want my kids to have of their own childhood so I take every opportunity to involve them when I’m cooking a meal. As I mentioned, the kids chose the Five Cheese Ravioli as our first Monterey Gourmet Foods discovery dish to try and I decided to pair it with a delicious basil pesto sauce.   





Doesn’t that look delicious? The ravioli was filled with a blend of delicious cheeses including Ricotta, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Monterey Jack and White Cheddar Cheese. The basil pesto sauce was the perfect complement and just set off an explosion of flavor in every bite. Matt raved about the taste and the kids ate every single bite.   





Monterey Gourmet Foods offers a wide variety of products with distinct flavors that are sure to be a hit in your family. With such an easy preparation I can see keeping a selection in my fridge for those last minute calls from Matt telling me he’s bringing a guest for dinner. Imagine having a dish on the table in 5 minutes that makes your guests think you’ve been slaving over a hot stove for hours! You can find recipes and special offers on the Monterey Gourmet Foods Facebook page and see their whole selection of delicious dishes on their website.   



For a chance to win a $100 gift card, tell me what side dish or sauce would you serve with your Monterey Gourmet Foods Discovery Dish?  



Sweepstakes Rules: No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods: Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner  will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 11/18/2013 – 12/16/2013. Be sure to visit the Monterey Gourmet Foods’ page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!



Kleenex To The Rescue For Cold & Flu Season

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Kleenex but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #KleenexTarget  http://cmp.ly/3/8vNxcO


As a mom, there is nothing I hate more than to see my kids sick and miserable. It just tugs on my heartstrings and makes me want to do anything I can to help them feel better. I try really hard to stop the sickies before they happen but hand-washing can only go so far when the kids are surrounded by germs at school all day. I try my best to at least stop the germs from spreading in my own home though by teaching the kids to sneeze into a Kleenex. 






During the fall and winter months I buy a lot of Kleenex. Not only do they help me try and stop the spread of germs but they help the kids avoid the red and sore noses that happen when a cold strikes. My goal is always to keep boxes of Kleenex on hand and strategically place them around the house where the kids are more likely to use them. You know how kids are- if they have to get up to walk into the bathroom for a Kleenex then they just won’t bother. But I’ve discovered if the box is right there next to them while they are watching television, or drawing a picture at the table, or reading a book in mom’s comfy bed then they are more likely to use one. 














Unfortunately the sickies are inevitable when the kids are in school all day surrounded by sick kids and germs. It can’t be helped but there is nothing more sad than a sick kid- they can give you the biggest puppy dog eyes that will break your heart. A few years ago I discovered the power of the Sick Day Busy Box. It started out as a little shoebox filled with little Happy Meal toys and random dollar store items that they only got to play with when they were home sick. Over the years it has evolved into something much better. 






My current sick day busy box contains different things that will appeal to all of my kids. I shop the sales and clearance sections all year long to keep our busy box stocked with goodies and fun activities. I try to include things like a new movie, coloring books and crayons, arts and craft activities, new books and puzzles, and stickers. The box is for sick days only and it does help my kids enjoy what would otherwise be a miserable and boring day. 






I can’t always prevent the sickies from hitting the house but at least I can do my best to make my kids feel better until they actually are better. Having my sick day busy box helps and so does keeping the house stocked with Kleenex to prevent sore and red noses. If you want to stock up on Kleenex for your house you can grab a coupon for $1 off a 4-pack or larger at Target!



5 On Friday

It’s been awhile since I did a 5 on Friday post so I thought I’d catch up on a few things this week. 
We had our very first winter coat morning this week. Thankfully I had pulled out the winter coats and washed them a couple of weekends ago because our low temps went from being in the high 40’s to the very low 20’s. Brrrr….I have a feeling it’s going to be a very cold winter and I am not a huge lover of cold weather. I have arthritis in some of my joints as a parting gift for playing soccer for almost 2 decades and the cold weather really doesn’t agree with me. On the bright side- I’m so glad we put forth the effort to clean out the garage because not having to scrape frost of the windshield when we’re already running late in the mornings and then make the 6 minute round trip drive to drop off the littles at school in a freezing cold car is bliss. 
I’m obsessed with this Sprint commercial featuring Clint Bowyer and Matt Kenseth. It makes me laugh out loud every single time I see it. Even though I’m a die hard #48 Jimmie Johnson fan I totally appreciate the humor of this commercial. I love NASCAR. 





Preparation for Thanksgiving is in full swing around my house. In the past few days I’ve been informed there will be additional guests joining us, bringing our new total to around 33 people. That’s a lot of people. So I’m adding a few more appetizers and a couple of additional side dishes plus another pie to my menu. Almost all my grocery shopping is done and now I’m working on sleeping arrangements for the guests who have decided they want to spend the night. Is it appropriate for the hostess to sneak off to sleep in a hotel with room service? No? Well that’s a bummer.





I’m almost done with my Christmas shopping. My goal was to be done by Thanksgiving but there are a few items that I’m hoping will go on sale on amazon for Black Friday. This year was expensive- way more expensive than I planned but as the kids are getting older they sure are asking for more expensive things. Ty’s wish list consisted of an Xbox One, a laptop computer, an iPhone 5, a $200 pair of sneakers, and a $200 pair of headphones. Say what? Clearly he is under the mistaken assumption that he was adopted into the Rockefeller family. Geesh. I have a post coming up soon about managing the Christmas budget.





One thing that is super important to both Matt and myself is making sure our kids are close to their cousins. We started our family way before any of our siblings started so it’s been hard. My sister’s little dude is turning 2 next month, Matt’s older brother’s little guy turned 2 in September, and Matt’s younger brother’s little man was just born in March. So there’s a big age gap between our older kids and their little cousins. We see my sister’s little dude all the time because they only live 5 minutes away from us. But both Matt’s brother live out of state and we only see them a few times a year. Thank goodness for Facetime. The kids facetime with their cousins all the time now and it’s so cute to watch. Plus Matt and I get to see our nephews grow up, which I wouldn’t miss for the world. 





I hope you all have a great weekend!