12/3/19

5 Ways To Get Festive For The Holidays


I just can't get my head around the fact the month-long Holiday adventure of December is here!
HOW?
Wasn't it just, August?
I am so not ready!
If, like me, you are freaking out and need to get your festive-on and fast, below are a few fun ways to get festive for the holidays!
1. Be Unconventional
Think: The hottest Christmas trend of 2017, the pineapple Christmas tree! (I swear I'm not kidding!) Head over to Pinterest on your lunch break (Or bored and want to look busy) and look for inspiration. Make the theme all your own! Screw the stockings and garland, go for Pineapples and sunnies!


2. Buy out the dollar store
Decking the Halls doesn't have to break the bank. Stop at the Dollar Tree after work and go wild on ten bucks.



First Time Dad Tip: When you get home, coat the walls with adhesive spray, throw the decorations in the middle of the floor and fire up the leaf blower. #GoodTimes

First Time Mom Disclaimer: We cannot and will not be held accountable if your dumb enough to try it. #Dumbassery

3. Don't feel like going through the work hanging lights? In less than thirty seconds you can light your house up like Clark Griswald with a Christmas Light Projector
Remember when we were kids and most decorations were made of foil or we had to string a thousand pieces of popcorn to make our own garland? Not. Any. More. Shove this sucker in your yard, plug it in and done!







4. Test out new recipes for holiday treats.

Kick the cookies up a notch. Raise the bar on brownies. Plan now so you blow everyone away at the holiday party or cookie exchange.
This year I'm trying these Christmas Tree Brownies


5. Craft something with the Kiddos!

Spend the frigid weekend inside making a winter wonderland!




Check out my Homemade Holidays Pinterest Board for a ridiculous amount of winter and holiday crafts, cooking, homemade gifts and decoration ideas!

12/1/19

Help STOP Infantile Spasms #ISAW2019

**Today, I'm partnering with ISweek.org to spread awareness about Infantile Spasms. Opinions are my own.





Nearly 1,200 infants every year are diagnosed with a rare seizure disorder called infantile spasms, yet many health care providers have never heard of this disease. There is a great need for awareness to help parents, caregivers, and providers to understand the signs and symptoms. Infantile spasms present as seizures that occur in infants under age 1 and can cause catastrophic, permanent damage to a child’s developing brain. Even more frightening, infantile spasms are often subtle enough to be easily overlooked by both parents and health care providers. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are critical, but are challenging because the condition can be mistaken for normal baby movements or other disorders that don’t demand urgency. I’m helping raise awareness of infantile spasms during Infantile Spasms Awareness Week, December 1-7, to help parents, as well as physicians and other health care providers, know about this disease and treatments.

There’s even an easy-to-remember acronym to help STOP infantile spasms: 


  • See the signs: Clusters of sudden, repeated, uncontrolled movements like head bobs or body crunching. 
  • Take a video: Record the symptoms and talk to your doctor immediately. 
  • Obtain diagnosis: Confirm an irregular brain wave pattern with an EEG test.
  • Prioritize treatment: End spasms to minimize developmental delays.

Together with leading child disease advocacy organizations and parent advocates, we’re sharing information about infantile spasms so parents, physicians, and nurses will know the signs to help STOP I.S. and help find a cure! Awareness is so critical because treatment options are available to improve babies’ quality of life. In fact, clinical trials going on right now are looking into new treatments to stop these seizures. Noah, a baby from Virginia and current infantile spasms clinical trial participant, was diagnosed in utero with a rare disorder that often leads to infantile spasms. His parents understood the severity of infantile spasms and quickly enrolled him in the trial. With early intervention and the incredible advancements in clinical treatment options, Noah is a thriving 8-month-old on track for normal development.  


Help me spread the word about the signs of infantile spasms during Infantile Spasms Awareness Week using the hashtag #ISAW2019 or visit isweek.org.


Together we share hope; together we can STOP IS!

11/27/19

What You Need To Know About Holiday ID Theft



Before you start your Black Friday shopping madness, protect yourself against ID fraud.  Here are a few simple tips to protect yourself this holiday shopping season:
Watch for fake deals and fake websites: One of the most common tricks for Grinchy scam artists is to offer you a great holiday deal or coupon that is simply a way to steal your personal information. "Be wary of messages delivered to you by e-mail or text message even if they appear to come from a company or person you trust," says Lucas Zaichkowsky, enterprise defense architect at Resolution1 Security. "The process known as "phishing" involves creating fake websites that look like the real thing, Zaichkowsky said, so you should always be on your guard and be very wary of handing out account info. And if you do get an e-mail with an offer that seems real, "look closely at the address to make sure it goes to the exact Web address you would expect," Zaichkowsky says.
Watch the point of sale: While some identity theft happens behind the scenes, "skimmers" are physical devices that scammers can place on card readers to steal your information as you swipe your card at the gas pump, checkout line or ATM. A good rule of thumb is to never use a card reader that appears to have been tampered with or looks like it has been simply added on to the other systems. Also, always keep your PIN number out of sight when using your debit card; simply cover the number pad with your free hand or your body to prevent others from seeing your access code.
Stay secure online: Experian, a world leader in credit services, has conducted surveys that reveal 40% of those who shop online don't check to see if a website is secure before entering. That means even if the website is real and honest, it's easy for thieves to break in and steal your account info. "Often an identity thief only needs a shopper's momentary lapse in focus to walk away with an unintended holiday gift of personal information," said Becky Frost, senior manager of consumer education for Experian's ProtectMyID service. Frost said a quick an easy way to protect your online transactions is to check for HTTPS in the Web address instead of just HTTP. Most Web browsers also display an image of a padlock or some other indicator that the site is secure. Additionally, only use networks you know and trust — and avoid transactions on unsecure connections like the public WiFi at your coffee shop.

Use credit cards, not debit cards or checks: As a consumer you have protection guaranteed by U.S. Federal law when you swipe a credit card, says Adam Ghetti, CTO and founder of Ionic Security. "Under the Fair Credit Billing Act and the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, you are not liable for fraudulent purchases with a credit card. Also, you often get your money back quickly from your credit card provider and they take the dispute to the merchant on your behalf. The last thing you want to do around the holidays is see your checking account frozen or fight with your bank over how much money you really have to pay the bills this month. "Protect yourself by always using a credit card and not a debit card," Ghetti said, particularly when shopping online.
Travel light: If your purse or briefcase is a mess, consider the risk of identity theft as a great reason to clean things up. Carrying around bills, extra credit cards or checkbooks only increases the risk that thieves may get their hands on them. Try to only carry checks and credit cards you intend on using, and never carry documents with sensitive account information.
Check your phone's apps: Before engaging in any e-commerce on a mobile device, "delete the apps you rarely use and then take a closer look at the permissions of the ones you think you want to keep," said Gary S. Miliefsky of mobile anti-spyware company SnoopWall. Miliefsky then recommends checking permissions on apps you keep, preventing the software from accessing your personal information. The access some apps have may surprise you, he said. "For example, if you installed a scientific calculator that needs GPS, WiFi, reads your phone logs, SMS messages and sends data to another country, you should probably delete it immediately."
Check Your credit come January: Beck Frost of Experian notes that it's crucial to review credit reports and bank statements during and after the holidays to watch for potentially fraudulent transactions. You're entitled to one free credit report every 12 months under federal law, provided by major credit agencies such as Experian, Equifax or Transunion, and checking in after your holiday shopping is as good a time as any. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com for information on obtaining your free report.

Thanksgiving Humor, Jokes and Dysfunction That Will Make Your Family Seem Normal

To get you in the spirit of family fun and of course, heaps of dysfunction, here are a few Thanksgiving day laughs to get you going...





11/26/19

Have You Created Your Family Friendly Holiday Traditions?

Whoo Hoo! The Holidays are officially here! And while, yes, I may have a hugely dysfunctional family at times, never in the world would I want to trade them for anything. I love my family dysfunction. It makes us, US! I also love the fact that now that I have my own little family, we can create our own traditions, in addition to the ones we already have with our extended families.

This year, I want to create holiday traditions that we set in stone now, so that my child(ren) will look forward to them each year, no matter how old they get.


One of my favorite childhood traditions is every year on Christmas Eve, my mom bakes a huge batch of sugar cookies that my siblings and I decorate for Santa, and now with our own children as well.  I look forward to this tradition more than any of the others. I want to create something that wonderful for my own family. I am just not sure what.  In fact, I want to create something for every holiday!


For Thanksgiving,  maybe we all make a family pie together! Not just any old Pumpkin pie, something crazy, with crazy shaped crusts. Thank you Pinterest for having one thousand bazillion pie making ideas.

Too Ambitious?
Maybe if we start this tradition now, then maybe in 20 years we can pull off kissing swans! 
Christmas is the tradition I am stuck on. I want it to be wonderful, and something we look forward to as a family. I'm thinking it's something we do as a family on Christmas Day, mid-afternoon after the presents are opened and we have all had naps.

I read somewhere the idea to hold one small Christmas gift back to give after dinner or before bed on Christmas night. I like that idea, but I want something else, something GRAND! (FYI: Wikipedia has a bunch of Christmas tradition ideas.)

For New Years, I want to have a dinner where we talk about our great achievements over the past year, our biggest lessons learned, and then talk about what our goals/resolutions for the new year are.  My hope is that in sharing all of this as a family we will encourage each other to meet our goals through the year.

Easter is about faith and family, I love this day. We go to church, have brunch, the egg hunt and the rest of the day to lounge around as a family. Still, as far as a family tradition goes, I'm thinking the night before we will decorate Easter eggs as a family.  Just us.

Oh, yes, bring on the holidays and family dysfunction!

What about you? What are your favorite traditions?




11/23/19

These 12 Tweaks On Turkey Day Favorites Will Win Your #Thanksgiving




 BRING ON THE TURKEY!


I love love love Thanksgiving. It's one of the only, if not only, holidays that keeps the focus on family, friends, giving and thankfulness. I look forward to the glorious day every year. My family is relatively small, so we plan to spend the day together. We cook as a family, we fight as a family, we drink as a family, we play football as a family. It's absolutely brilliant. Dysfunction and all! 

In honor of celebrating my favorite meal of the entire year, I've been looking everywhere for fun twists on Thanksgiving Day Favorites. Here at 12 that might make it on my table this year! 



Rosemary Bread Cornucopia from Lilly Shop
I LOVE THIS!


Send those snack-y guests packing with a breadstick and bowl of Roasted Sweet Potato Soup from Simply Recipes. TIP: Prepare the night before!




I'm trying these potatoes this year. 
Leave it to me to find a way to get Goat Cheese on the table.
Lawd I love that creamy goodness!


Don't forget the Kiddie Crowd Pleaser, Carrots!  
This recipe for Honey Glazed Baby Carrots from Damn Delicious is spot on!



I make Honey Glazed Baby Carrots Every Year. Actually, multiple times a year. So easy and so good.

Fresh Healthy Green Bean Casserole from Gimme Some Oven, is definitely worth checking out.




Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Bacon 
This is my go-to recipe. LOVE IT

Two Words, 


I LOVE this idea!
You can use any stuffing recipe you want, just bake into muffin tins.
Everyone will get crispy stuffing,


Just the two of you? Try this Cranberry Hazelnut Turkey Wellington 


Of course, it can be done... Crockpot Turkey. Never had it, but Practical Stewardship says it's the way to go!



Because. Bacon.
Bacon Wrapped Turkey is easier than it looks.





I LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe!
My Brother-in-Law made it a few years ago and I have begged for it at every holiday since.
 OH. SO. GOOD.


Make Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes the day before, then douse in whip cream and serve with coffee after dinner!


I'm making these!


Are you a traditional turkey and sides kind of person, or do you like things to have a wild twist too?

For more Tasty Thanksgiving Turkeys, sides and tasty treats, check out my super stuffed Thanksgiving Pinterest Board.

The Archives