November 24, 2017

The Five Languages of Apology


The days after Christmas tend to release a plethora of emotions for many people. Often, expectations have been dashed, family relationships have been strained and feelings have been hurt. Yet we don’t hear too many Christmas songs that address this aspect of “The most wonderful time of the year,” do we?

I know, I know, I’m getting deep on you while you’re still in holiday mode, but I ask you to spend some minutes pondering and learning how this crutial topic may impact your day to day life. I’m pretty passionate about open communication; understanding forgiveness and apologies play a huge part in that.

I’ve asked my sweet friend, Dr. Jennifer Thomas, to share some essentials about forgiveness and apologies. As the co-author (with Gary Chapman) of “The Five Languages of Apology” her insight is pivotal to digging deeper into more meaningful relationships.

Sheetz Gas Station – a new family tradition


Starting new traditions is a bit like going on a first date. It looks promising before the actual time together, but after the fact one must weigh the pros and cons, and decide whether or not to commit to another try.

Well, when Sheetz Gas Station advertised free coffee treats on Christmas day, we knew this might be the start of a blessed new tradition.

Gathering on Christmas day with extended family from our homestead, we put meals together and then delivered them to refugee families (post to come). When my frugal partner in crime (niece in the middle) shared that Sheetz was sharing their coffee, we couldn’t think of a better way to end our Christmas Day.

Dress for Less – Holiday Edition


If you’re new to my Frugal Fashionista posts, go back to the beginning of the series and see my challenge to dress for less..second hand.

Every outfit that I put together never exceeds $15 (including accessories and footwear).

Looking at the pieces below, I’m maxing out this post at a total cost of $7 (I know, I know…you never find deals like that ;)) .

Showing you the possibilities that are out there for fun, festive holiday attire may encourage you to finally throw away that stenciled Christmas tree sweatshirt that Grandma gave you back in the 90’s. Yes, I admit, I had a growing wardrobe of outdated Christmas clothes that I just couldn’t part with since I thought…”well, they’re festive.”

I GOT RID OF THEM!! Yes, I did and now I am free to dress without the small voice in my head whispering that I must wear it so I don’t hurt momma’s feelings.

Baking and Decorating Christmas Cookies


Gathered in the kitchen, aprons of old clenched tightly around my waist, I close my eyes while the delectable aroma of my freshly baked gingerbread cookies arouse sensations and memories of baking days gone past.

I’m so proud of this gorgeous Christmas Tree project.


Martha Stewart I am!


The Real Family Photos – beauty and bedlam style


It’s Christmas time. The time of year when we gather our fashionista best and smile pretty for the camera. Right?

Well, the best laid family photos do not always turn out how we expected. We’ll capture our traditional family picture on Christmas eve, but in honor of my sweet friend Toni’s request to share some of our not so perfect family photos, I thought I would give you one of our bedlam moment “out takes.”

As I was redoing my blog header up above, I thought it would be fun to capture a family “beauty and bedlam” shot in action. It started out so beautifully with my amazing photographer husband helping us out.

Winter Bedlam


Yes, beautiful North Carolina Winter Wonderland is bliss, unless you slip off the hill into the briers on either side of the jump.

Every one agrees, he looks just like one of Wolverine’s victims (from the X-men, for those of you not familiar with the movie.)

Last Minute Creative, DIY Gift Ideas


The final days leading up to Christmas holds the greatest tendency to make impulse purchases.

Don’t do it! Get creative!

Are you trying to think of last minute gift ideas, but your pocket book is stretched to its limit and pressure is mounting?

My “Do it Yourself” Earring Organizer will take minutes and only pennies out of the wallet. It’s so simple, and the creative possibilities are endless. All of you can probably put your hands on unused frames if you “shop your house,” and if you’re like me, the huge amounts of unused scrapbook paper from years of promising the completion of those baby books is just a closet away.

Decorating with Ornaments


Scrambling to decorate last evening, minutes before my guests were to arrive, reality set in…it was not going to happen.

Think quickly, Jen. How could I add that holiday feel with only minutes to prepare, yet still give some decorating bang for my frugal buck?

Decorate with ornaments, and cut some greenery from the outside bushes, of course. (And since I’m a fancy schmancy photographer, you’ll see me sitting on the counter taking those two pictures. 🙂 )

Free Photo Calendar and flipbook today only


Last year, my husband surprised me with a photo calendar. It was AMAZING! Today only, Snapfish’s free gift for new customers is not only a photo calendar, but 50 free prints as well. Shipping is only $5.99, so what a meaningful gift choice.

It takes a little bit to download the photos, but it is SO worth it.

How Do I Cook Bacon in the Oven? (Cooking Bacon in Bulk)


When I agreed to make brunch for my sons’ football team, I knew I would be going through enormous amounts of food. Since I would be cooking bacon in our hotel condo, creativity was key, so I brainstormed on Skype with the best of them. My friend, Lynn from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures, is a “professional bacon cooker”. They actually grow their own pork, and I knew she would have the answers for me on the best way to cook up bacon in bulk. I wanted to cook it in the oven, and she shared an option of cooking it ahead of time and reheating it.

Cooking bacon in the oven is a wonderful way to avoid the splatter and mess that comes from frying it on the stove. I recommend layering your cookie sheets with parchment paper or tin foil for easy clean up. Unfortunately for us, that was an afterthought.