Holiday Themed Gift Ideas

Happy Thanksgiving Friends!!!  Before we're off for some Turkey-bowl, yummy food and family time...and of course, some parade-watching...I wanted to jump start your holiday cheer today!  (As if it wasn't already going strong.)  I've pulled together quite a few little Christmas-themed items that will make December even MORE holly and jolly!!!

Also, make sure to follow me over on my Facebook page and Twitter, where I'll be sharing all sorts of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals and steals I come across.  If you're like me, this is a great opportunity to snag some gifts and catch up a bit (I'm totally a slacker when it comes to planning ahead gift-wise).  I wish all of you and your families a very Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Gobble, Gobble!!!

Trend Alert | Striped Poncho + Cyber Week Deals

Happy Thanksgiving Eve Friends!!!!  Are you ready for some good eating and family time tomorrow?  I sure am!  I'm also excited about doing a little shopping!  Not only do I have my eye on some of the Black Friday deals, but also Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday.   One of our great small businesses here in Texas is the Stitch Shoppe along with Lavish Leathers (I'm wearing pieces from both in this look).  I love supporting small businesses, but especially women who are girl-bossing it like a....well, like a Boss!

In terms of Black Friday deals, clothing and beauty finds are on my radar.  I've linked some of them on my social channels and will continue to post deals as I come across them between now and Friday...make sure to follow/like my Facebook page, as that's where most of the posts will be!

What are YOU shopping for this Cyber Week???

poncho: The Stitch Shoppe // denim: Level 99 // clogs: Target // bag: Fawn Designs // earrings: Lavish Leathers // hat: H&M

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Trend Report | Buffalo Plaid

I am just LOVING all this buffalo plaid EVERYWHERE!  It's the kind of pattern that really is only seasonally appropriate for fall/winter, and this next week with Cyber Week and Black Friday, is the PERFECT time to snag some of this great pattern on discount!  I'm especially crushing on the scarves, jackets, and vests I've spotlight below...great accent pieces and so ideal for bringing some cozyness into your look.

Make sure to order your buffalo plaid items soon to get the most wear out of them...and of course, to have in time for your holiday outfits!  And for a bonus, start thinking of gift-giving for the women in your life!

*Click on individual image to shop or check out links below

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11

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Holiday Family Traditions

Traditions link families, give a sense of belonging and identity, and at their root define who we all are.  I'm always interested to hear other families' traditions because there are so many wonderful ones we can add to our family.  My hope is that going into the holiday season, maybe some of us can be inspired to adopt new traditions that unite and bond our families in wonderful memories.  Here are a few of my favorites...some my family has done for generations, others Blake and I started with our little family.  Let me know if we have any similar!

*** The below post is from the archives, but I thought it's a great reminder this time of year! ***

Thanksgiving Traditions:

  • This year we're starting a new Thanksgiving tradition of a Thankful Tree.  I plan to cut out a big brown tree and paste it on poster board...then cut out a lot of little, multi-colored leaves on which we'll write things we're thankful for.  We'll probably start this as an FHE, but then throughout the month, everyone can continue adding things (leaves) they're thankful for.  What a great reminder of all our blessings!  (I got the idea from here.)

  • We normally have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner...turkey, dressing, salad, rolls, veggies, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, etc.  But one thing I especially love about my family gatherings (on my dad's side) is playing music.  All of my family is very musically talented, so naturally, everyone brings their instruments and the get together ends with lot of singing, picking, and carrying on.  Hopefully this tradition continues even with my dad being gone...he loved playing the guitar.

  • In years past, my daughters and I have facilitated a diaper drive combined with a bake sale fundraiser.  This little act of service, however minimally impactful it may be, teaches my children about helping others and using our talents, energy and resources for good.  Last fall we didn't do the diaper drive, however writing this here will make sure it happens this year...I need to get on it!  This type of service can be applied to anything, not just diapers...get creative. *This year's diaper drive going on NOW!

  • Um....Black Friday sales, anyone???  Yep.  And Cyber Monday for sho'!

Christmas Traditions:

  • We love making yummy hot chocolate and driving around looking at Christmas lights....with the windows down and Christmas music playing!  Longest running tradition for the Jansens!
  • Every year on Christmas Eve, we gift our children new PJs.  This tradition started when I was little...we got to open one gift on Christmas Eve.  We've adapted this to specifically be PJs.  My kids look forward to this each year!  I usually find some good deals...need to get looking!
  • Elf on the Shelf.  This tradition is fun for the kids...but geez...he gets on my nerves.  This year he isn't making an appearance until much later.  Last year he arrived on December 1!!!!
  • We do a family night reading the Christmas story and acting out the nativity with our kids.  This not only makes for special memories, but also reaffirms for our children the meaning and purpose of why we celebrate Christmas. 
  • We plan to institute this tradition Blake grew up with once our kids are a bit older:  On Christmas Eve when everyone was asleep, the kids would try to sneak down the hall to get a "peek" at the gifts.  BUT, Blake's dad would have booby trapped the entire hallway so that the kids would inevitably trip one of the obstacles and make a sound, then scamper back to bed before their parents woke up...then repeat.  Think: rattling coffee cans and fishing wire.  Genius!  Blake has such fond memories of this tradition!

I could probably go on, but I'll cut it off there.  I love traditions.  I see now that they're even more special as a parent.  Let's kick this holiday season into high gear!!!!!  Happy Tradition-Making!

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Nordstrom Fall Clearance | Booties

Friends, if you've followed along with my blog for any amount of time, you'll know I'm a huge fan of Nordstrom.  I love that they offer free shipping and free returns, as I do most of my shopping there online.  Also, I love when they have their huge sales because I know I'm getting a good, quality item for a deal.  I've linked some sale options for you to navigate their current fall clearance, but wanted to focus on all the great booties steals.  One can never have too many booties, no?  I haven't even touched my riding or taller boots in the past two years...booties all the way!!!!

And NOW is a great opportunity to snag a few Christmas gifts...I've already bought this and this for gifts and am looking to shop for more today.  HAPPY SHOPPING!!!

>>>Booties UNDER $100:

Shop all bootie sale options HERE or check out some of my picks below.

>>>Coats/Jackets/Vest UNDER $50: Shop HERE

>>>Tops & Blouses UNDER $25: Shop HERE

Refugee Diaper Drive | 2016

Hi Friends!!!  Today I want to share something that is close to my heart.  My family and I have put on diaper drives in years past (supposed to be annually, but LIFE), which benefitted local women's shelters.  I remember when I first learned about the lack of sufficient diapers there are for babies and toddlers in need...I was aghast.  Since then, it's been a cause to which my family and I have wanted to contribute our time and resources helping alleviate.

This year, we are once again holding a diaper drive, but this time it will benefit local refugees.  We are going through the Refugee Services of Texas organization, who are SO appreciative of any donations of this nature.  I spoke with two ladies who work there and both repeatedly emphasized how significant of a need diapers are.  It just about breaks my heart to think of little ones having to sit in a dirty diaper for an extended period of time or mothers having to "clean out" and reuse disposable diapers.  Did you know that sometimes babies in poverty have to wear one diaper for an entire day?! Additionally, lack of sufficient diapers is a major stress for mothers.  There is a dire need for compassion and humanity with refugees, who are trying their best to adjust, integrate, and make the best of their situations.  Our hope is that by donating a basic need such as diapers, their stresses of displaced life can be reduced. 

Our 2016 Diaper Drive will be held on Saturday, November 19, 9am-11am (please message me for our address).  For local friends, you may drop off diapers on this day or arrange for a drop-off prior for your convenience.  My daughters will also be selling baked goods (yummy, holiday-themed ones!), which proceeds will go to purchasing diapers as well.  For online donations, please use the below "donate" button.  Any and all support is greatly appreciated!  Our goal is to be able to donate $1000 worth of diapers to the Refugee Services of Texas...and I'm confident we can do it in the next two weeks!  Thank you in advance for your support!

Ways to help:

  • Spread the word by sharing this post!
  • Local friends can drop diapers off at my home (or arrange pick-up) and come to our bake sale!
  • Donate here:

(For recaps of previous years' drives, check out my posts HERE and HERE.)

Halloween 2016

Is it too soon to break out my Charlie Brown Christmas CD?  Nah!!!!

You know what?  Although we had a great Halloween, including all the festivities leading up to it, I'm so glad it's over!  I don't know what it was about this year, but man, it did a number on us!  We had Red Ribbon Week (which we got through by the skin of our teeth) and then our church's Trunk-or-Treat, and capped it off last night with pumpkin carving and Trick-or-Treating around the neighborhood.  Whew.

Our kids had a blast though and totally owned their individual outfits.  Maybe next year we'll get back to doing a family theme for costumes, but these totally worked!  We had Hermoine, a doctor/surgeon, Rey, and Kylo Ren! It was a mini-milestone kind of night, as we actually sat outside and passed out candy.  This was mainly due to the fact that our kids were okay to just walk around the block and then be done with trick-or-treating.  It was a first for us and we kinda liked it!  We will see what next year brings.

And on that note of next year...I'll have a middle-schooler.  I have some mixed feelings about the appropriate ages for trick-or-treating.  So tell me...

What age should kids stop trick-or-treating???

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