Thursday, December 11, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide for Older Kids (Boys)

Everywhere I look, blogs and websites are posting great gift guides for the holiday season. They're definitely helpful and fun to look at, but most of the time they're either for adults or little kids... nothing for the in between. My kids aren't little anymore but they're not grown up yet either... they're somewhere in the middle, so I wanted to put together a gift guide for kids their age. Today I'll start with the boys (and pray my son doesn't read my blog because his Christmas surprises will be spoiled!;)). These are some of the things on Ryan's wish list this year...
1. Comfy PJ's never go out of style... I don't care how old you are, everyone can always use another pair of comfy PJ's. The ones pictured are from Old Navy and it looks like they're having a killer deal right now.
2. A tablet with keyboard. Ryan started out wanting a new laptop but finally settled on a tablet w/ keyboard. You can find good deals this time of year (thank you Black Friday) and it's something that he'll use for schoolwork and just to play around online with. It's pricey but obviously not something that's going to go to waste. There are so many options out there... you just have to decide which options and price range work best for your family.
3. I cringe buying Ryan a new hat because he literally has hundreds of them... but, as with most boys his age, he can never have too many. I buy through Lids and have them customized with his name on them... it adds a personalized touch and kicks the gift up a notch!
4. Despite all the tablets, computers, and Kindles of the world, nothing still beats a good old-fashioned book! Find something that really interests them and try to find a unique book that they'll enjoy. Ryan loves to read biographies and I know he's going to absolutely love this book! I'm guessing that even though it's probably the cheapest gift he'll get in terms of cost, it's one of the ones he'll enjoy the most.
5. If you can get your teenager to actually want to wear a jacket, then you're totally winning. This coat is on Ryan's wish list and it seems like no where in the world has it in the color/size he wants. I'm not giving up though... wish me luck!
6. Ryan got these slippers as a gift either last year or the year before and he still wears them daily. A good pair of slippers never go out of style and they'll get used over and over and over again!
7. Customized is where it's at! Ryan is a baseball kid, that's no secret... but when he has everything.under.the.sun. that he could possibly need, you have to get a bit creative. Just like his new hat, I stepped up this Evoshield Wrist Guard by customizing it with his baseball number.
8. Something useful. Like I said, Ryan certainly doesn't need any gear but he's been asking for an old-school style Catcher's Mask for a while now. Since I know it's something that he really wants and will make good use out of, I don't mind spending money on something that he doesn't really need.
9. This is seriously one of my absolute most favorite gifts to buy and one of Ryan's most favorite to receive! If you have a sports kid, put together a poster collage of memories from the past year of them playing their sport. Or, even if your kids don't play sports, just a fun collection of any type of memories. This year's poster is made up of pics from a tournament in Cooperstown, NY we attended this summer. It really was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Ryan and his teammates and I know he'll absolutely love this. You can always find coupon codes from any online site... I use Walgreens because they have good coupons, I can pick-up that same day in store, and the quality is great. With a coupon, you can get a giant poster like this (24x36) for under $25... add a poster frame and you're good to go. It's personal and full of great memories... you can't go wrong with something like this!

If you have older kids like I do, hopefully I've helped give you a new idea or two for gifts. Is there anything you can think of that I left off the list?


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Weigh-In Wednesday - New Year's Resolutions

We're right smack dab in the middle of those few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, those few weeks where we all tend to over indulge. If you're trying to lose weight, chances are you're giving yourself a little extra room right now... it's the holidays, after all. You'll let yourself indulge until Christmas, and then you'll get back on track. But then Christmas will come and heck, there's just one week after that until New Year's so you may as well splurge for one more week and then hop back on the New Year's Resolution bandwagon... amiright?! #beentheredonethat

I love a good old-fashioned New Year's resolution... a new year, a fresh start, and the new hope that this year will be the year. This year you'll finally drop all the weight, this year you'll reach your goals, and this year you'll finally fit into those skinny jeans you haven't worn in ages. I believe in New Year's resolutions because I know that anyone, at any time, can make a fresh start and achieve their goals. But I also know this... for the last 3 years, that year was going to be my year. And it wasn't. Not 2012, not 2013, and not 2014.

Here's the thing... if you've been trying and failing over and over again like I have, something has got to change. Something has to be different. Go ahead and think about those New Year's resolutions now and decide what you want your goal to be. That's the easy part. The tough part is figuring out what you're going to do differently in 2015 than you've done before. You can't just say 'this year I'm going to stick with it' because chances are, if you don't do something differently in 2015, you're going to end up making these same resolutions again in 2016. I know because I am right there with you!

I've been thinking of my New Year's resolution lately and instead of looking at is as yet another fresh start, I see it as yet another disappointment. Another year that I didn't meet my goal and another year where I'm staring down the long road of getting to where I need to be. It's a big disappointment to start yet another new year with the same goal you've had for the last few years. So I know that I need to do some things differently. Sure, I know what to do... I know how to lose weight. But I don't stick with it, or at least I haven't yet. So right now I'm looking further than I have before, trying to figure out what I'm going to do differently in 2015 to find success. I don't have the answers just yet but I'm starting to figure it out.

Think about it... what are you going to do differently in 2015 that will get you to your ultimate goal? Let me know in the comments section and perhaps we can all benefit from your new strategy!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Catchin Up on Life Lately

I just realized that I haven't updated the blog with a non-giveaway, non-sponsored post since Thanksgiving... oops! Is it just me or are these few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas absolutely flying by?! I love this time of year but I'm finding myself wishing we could pump the brakes (that's a total Holly saying!) just a bit these next couple of weeks!

So let's back track a bit. Thanksgiving was good... very low-key, lots of good food, and a relaxing day. I got quite a bit of shopping done that day online. I honestly don't understand why people wait in crazy lines for hours on end for Black Friday shopping when those same deals are available online on Thanksgiving. I scored on lots of items, deals that I'm not even sure I'd have found in the stores, and got free shipping... all from the comforts of my mom's living room. As I was crawling into bed that night around 11pm, I remember thinking 'there is zero part of me that wants to be standing in line waiting for sales right now!' Crazy. I'd say I'm probably about halfway done my shopping... still so much to do in the next couple of weeks but I did sit down and do a ton of wrapping yesterday. That's my least favorite part of the holidays so I'm glad to have a chunk of it done.

Aside from the shopping madness, I really need to make some time for all the other holiday festivities. Every year I feel like we do so many little things to get in the Christmas spirit and we're definitely slacking on that so far this year. What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions, big or small? I need some new fun, festive things to do with the kids this year.

Have you guys heard of the blogger that canceled Christmas for her kids because she and her husband agreed that their kids' behavior this year didn't warrant gifts? To each their own, I suppose... and while I do see some of their points and love what they're doing as far as serving others, I just can't fathom going to this extreme with my kids. It's Christmas... I love nothing more than to spoil my kids on Christmas morning and to see them so happy with all of their new things... I can't imagine taking that away from them, if even just for one year. Could you/would you ever do that to your kids?

Speaking of gift giving... some of my favorite bloggers and I teamed up this past week to giveaway a pretty sweet prize pack to one lucky winner... and that winner is Cindy G.! Congrats to her and thank you to all of you who entered! I gave away a $10 Chipotle card, because who doesn't love Chipotle?!..
Other than getting ready for Christmas, our days are filled with the norm over here... work is busy, school is busy for the kids, and Emily has been cheering/tumbling 4 days a week so we're constantly on the go. I'm so proud of her hard work already this season... she's made amazing progress with her tumbling in the last few weeks and I can't wait to see what the next few months bring for her! She absolutely loves it and I love watching her enjoying something so passionately! Good stuff! 

That's about it from here... it's all Christmas, Christmas, Christmas on my brain right now. Are you ready for the big day or do you still have lots to do in the next couple of weeks?

One last thing... I'll leave you with this funny to kick off your work week. I saw it on Twitter last night and laughed so hard... sometimes I really do have the humor of a 13 year old boy!;)...


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Another Day, Another Giveaway

I hope you're loving the giveaway I posted yesterday... one of you is going to win a seriously awesome prize pack! And now onto a new day and yet another giveaway... this time with my Weigh-In Wednesday girls Heather and Ash! If you participated in our #WIWTurkeyDay5K, then this giveaway is for you!

Now onto the fun part, the prizes for the giveaway...
One of the prizes is from Jasmine from Fleurty Bands. Go check out her shop and order some of her amazing headbands. Her business has exploded in the last year and she is amazing. She makes her products all while being a mom, a school nurse, and a girl trying to lose weight!
Another one of the prizes is from Motivational Bottles! We all drink water and who doesn't want a fun bottle to house their water in?!

The final prize is a package from Heather, Ash, and me! We have put together a nice little package for the winner.

Good luck... a winner will be announced on Friday!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, December 1, 2014

Holiday Giveaway for YOU!

I'm kicking this week off with a fun giveaway for you guys! You know how this time of year it seems that we're always rushing around and shopping for everyone but ourselves? 'Tis the season and I know we wouldn't have it any other way, but isn't it nice to treat yourself once in a while too?! That's such a foreign concept to a lot of us (myself included!) so I've teamed up with some of my favorite blogging ladies for a giveaway for YOU! Treats that you can enjoy yourself, not gifts that you're going to give to another person. Target cards to treat yourself, Starbucks cards to indulge in a holiday treat, and a bunch of other fun gifts as well! Won't it be fun to open your mailbox and find all these fun treats that YOU get to enjoy?! That's our goal with this giveaway! Since you're always giving to everyone else, we wanted to treat YOU!

Here's a list of prizes that one lucky reader will win...

$10 Chipotle e-Gift Card from Erin @ She's a Big Star
$10 Target Card from Courtney @ From Here to Eternity
$10 Target eGiftCard from Ashlee @ Ash's Right Direction
$10 Target eGiftCard from Tia @ Hands On, Pants Off
BUXOM Mascara from Sephora from Laurie @ Stylin' Savanna
Stress, Energy & Sleep (travel-size) Lotions from B&BW from Erin @ Living a Love Song
$10 Starbucks Card from Jess @ Keeping up with The Casey's
$10 Starbucks Card from Janessa @ Running On Empty
$10 Starbucks Card from Heather @ Pretty Strong Medicine
Nail polish & Lip Gloss from Faith @ Finding Faith's Future
Earrings from Retrospection from Chastity @ A Cowboy Life
$10 Amazon Card from Steph @ Life According to Steph
$10 Starbucks Card from Stacy @ Dixie Bell Designs
$10 Brady Bands Gift Certificate from Sonya @ Healthy Sew
2 Fleurty Bands from Jasmine @ Fleurty & Fit
Leopard Print Scarf & Tech Gloves from Angela @ Mean Ang

The giveaway starts today and will run for one week. Then next week, we can't wait to fill up someone's mailbox with all of these goodies. Happy Holidays to YOU and good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Friday, November 28, 2014

Set Yourself Up for Financial Success in 2015

It's so easy to get caught up in the financial hustle of the holiday season, especially today, the biggest shopping day of the year! We all want to give the best gifts to spoil our family and friends come Christmas morning. These days spending adds up so much more quickly than ever before... with things like electronics, expensive video games, and designer boots on seemingly everyone's Christmas list, you can definitely overdo the spending before you hardly even get started. While these things are all on my own kids' Christmas lists, I know it's important to not overdo it over these next few weeks. A new year will be here before we know it and I don't want to start 2015 buried in Christmas debt.

While you're doing your Black Friday shopping concentrating on those you love, take some time to visit Capital One 360 to take care of yourself too. They can help you get the new year started off right by saving you time and money, and also by offering you rewards and bonuses for new accounts and loans. Customer service is also important and Capital One 360 knows that... with their mobile app and online accessibility, they're literally with their customers 24/7.

Even though finances are such a private matter and we don't often discuss them with family and friends, having financial peace of mind is important to everyone. By encouraging your friends and family to seek financial peace through Capital One 360, you could earn a $40 referral bonus if they sign up too. There are so many bonuses to be had for opening new accounts... bonuses that will help you get even further ahead in the new year.

Have fun shopping... spend your money on important gifts for your favorite people in your life. But don't lose sight of what comes after the holidays. January will be here before you know it and you don't want to start 2015 off with a financial hangover.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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