Continued Voting for our Cute Gerber Baby

Nathan at 6 Months

There are ten days remaining to vote for our cute little boy as the next Gerber baby. You can vote daily at the official Gerber Baby Photo Search site. Nathan’s id number is 47414. Thank you for voting – and spreading the word as we vote for Nathan!

Idina Menzel’s Holiday Wishes

I have been a fan of Idina Menzel since before her Frozen fame. It was when I first heard her sing on the Wicked soundtrack that I realized her immense talent. I did enjoy the chance to hear her sing again in Frozen, but was even more excited to learn that she was releasing a Christmas album – Holiday Wishes. Did you see her trailer for this cd?

Holiday Wishes includes 12 tracks of old and new Christmas songs. I was eager to listen to them all. The songs included on Holiday Wishes are as follows.

  • Do You Hear What I Hear?
  • The Christmas Song
  • Baby It’s Cold Outside (Duet with Michael Buble)
  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
  • All I Want For Christmas
  • What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?
  • December Prayer
  • When You Wish Upon A Star
  • Silent Night
  • River
  • Holly Jolly Christmas
  • White Christmas

What I discovered as I began listening was that the cd wasn’t what I expected. The songs I thought I would enjoy the most weren’t my favorites. I loved hearing Idina sing with Michael Buble (another one of my favorite singers) but I didn’t enjoy all the extra verses and talking on “Baby It’s Cold Outside”. “White Christmas” was lovely but it is hard to beat Bing Crosby’s original version.  “Silent Night” is always beautiful and Idina sang it very nicely but I didn’t like the embellishments at the end.

Holiday Wishes was enjoyable but I don’t know it will become one of my favorites. Perhaps that is because I tend to listen to Christian cds or instrumental cds for my Christmas music. Perhaps it was that Idina embellished a bit too much on the classics for me. Holiday Wishes was still a well-done cd and I did enjoy listening to Idina sing a variety of Christmas songs.

If you are interested in purchasing Holiday Wishes for yourself, you can do so on Itunes or on Amazon, as well as your local retailer.

I participated in the Idina Menzel Holiday Wishes album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided an album to review but all opinions are my own.

Pumpkin Recipe Links I Love

Links I Love Button

I love all things pumpkin. I bake pumpkin bread and muffins year round, but lately I’ve seen an influx of pumpkin recipes. Honestly? I want to try most of them! Here are some of the ones on my “pumpkin to make” list.

Coupon Cutting Mom shared her recipe for Pumpkin Butter Cake. I made two new pumpkin recipes last year and only liked one. I’m pretty sure this was the one I liked. I guess I should make it again to see if it is the one I’m remembering.

I’ve never had Starbucks scones but I know people rave about them – especially the pumpkin ones. Iowa Girl Eats shared her recipe for Copycat Starbucks Pumpkin Scones. I like scones and I like pumpkin, so what’s not to like about the two combined?

The Recipe Critic shared a recipe for Pumpkin Snickerdoodles stuffed with cream cheese. Doesn’t that sounds delicious?

Cooking Classy make Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls. Is that too much pumpkin? Should I even attempt to mess with a classic cinnamon roll or is this a fun fall twist? I can’t decide but I am intrigued.

I “met” Kirsten through the recent 31 day series and discovered her recipe for Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake with Browned Butter Frosting. Chocolate and pumpkin is an ideal combination in my book so I know I want to try this cake.

My friend / cousin / former fellow teacher, Cathy, used to make Pumpkin Fluff with her students before Thanksgiving. It’s a simple recipe and can be quite healthy if you use low fat options. Here is a Pumpkin Fluff recipe as shared by Recipe Diaries.

Finally, Love Bakes Good Cakes shared a recipe for Pumpkin Cupcakes with Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Frosting. I don’t bake a lot of cupcakes because they tend to be more time-intensive. Still, this combination with a cream cheese frosting might just convince me to bake a pan of cupcakes!

I can’t decide which one to make first. What do you think? You can see more of the pumpkin goodies I’ve pinned on my Pinterest board about pumpkins. Follow me on Pinterest to see what else I’m pinning. 

Follow Kristen Whirrett (Joyfully Thriving)’s board Pretty & Delicious Pumpkins on Pinterest.

Kroger: Free Herdez Sauce

Free Herdez Sauce

Today’s Friday Freebie at Kroger is for a free jar of Herdez Cooking Sauce (12 ounces). Download the coupon today and redeem by December 7th.

Thanksgiving Recipe Idea Links

Links I Love Button

I’m working on my menu for Thanksgiving week. As I’ve already mentioned a time or two (because I’m quite excited about it), my family is coming for Thanksgiving. Some will be arriving in time for dinner on Tuesday of that week, and everyone heads out after lunch on Saturday. I have some of the meals and desserts planned, but I’m still working on others.

I’ve already baked my pumpkin chocolate chip bread in mini muffin form and they are waiting in the freezer. My oldest nephew loves these muffins! I also plan to make my frosted pumpkin cookies for a dessert at one lunch. I’ve been known to eat these cookies for breakfast, too. They are really that good!

We’re doing one Thanksgiving with Andy’s family (and mine) on Thanksgiving Day and another the following day when my parents arrive. I am planning to make these refrigerator mashed potatoes for one of those meals because you can make them ahead of time and reheat them in the slow cooker. That’s a win on both accounts!  I’m also making these homemade crescent rolls because I can make them ahead of time and freeze them until the big day. They really are the best crescent rolls you’ll ever eat!

Here are a couple other recipe ideas I’m pondering for my menu plan.

Averie Cooks shared a recipe for chocolate brownies filled with a pumpkin cream cheese. The chocolate ganache on top looks wonderful, too. I’m also looking at her recipe for soft pumpkin chocolate chip bars. I’ve made them already and they are very good but not as fudge-like as I anticipated. Maybe I should try the pumpkin brownies this time.

For breakfast, I’m considering making this baked pumpkin cream cheese french toast one morning. Or perhaps I make a recipe that I’ve already tried and know is delicious like the Pioneer Woman’s french breakfast puffs.

I’ll probably make a big pot of chili for one lunch because it’s easy to sit and simmer. Here is the chili recipe I use.

One dinner will be poppy seed chicken because we all enjoy it, plus it is easy to prepare for a big crowd. I already have the chicken cooked, diced and in the freezer so I can mix it up in a matter of minutes.

I’m still pondering other kid-friendly and easy prep ideas that we can all enjoy. Finally, I do know that I will be making this double chocolate pumpkin cake with pumpkin spice buttercream. Maybe in a layered cake format?

You can view some of my other Thanksgiving ideas and plans on my Pinterest board. Pinterest is such a helpful organizational tool for me!

Follow Kristen Whirrett (Joyfully Thriving)’s board Thanksgiving Ideas, Plans & Recipes on Pinterest.

Frugal SAHM Links I Love

Links I Love Button

This collection of links is not just for Stay at Home Moms, but it is for all of us who need some inspiration to continue living frugally. Of course, I think SAHMs might need some extra encouragement so that is why I’ve gathered this specific list of articles to share today. That, and I am a new SAHM too.

The Humbled Homemaker shared Staying at Home with your kids when you can Barely Afford It. Please note that she is talking about the monetary implications with this article. I also appreciated how she shared that she utilizes her skills to earn supplemental income, while still staying at home with her children. My Mom is an organist who did just this.

Katie listed 101 Ways to Save $1.00 a Day. I liked this article because there are so many simple ideas on this list, but each and every dollar adds up. We can all gather some ideas from this list!

The Super Coupon Lady shared her Top 10 Money Saving Tips for Stay at Home Moms. I especially liked her reminders to shop used and barter for babysitting. You can be sure I’ll be doing that when our baby arrives!

Crystal at Money Saving Mom shared her advice when a reader asked Is it possible for us to live on $460 a week? Read her advice as well as many of the comments for encouragement on living with a tight budget.

Finally, Kimberlee shared a wonderful in-depth series about Living on Less than $28,000 a Year. She has 29 different articles in this series so there is plenty to ponder. If you only read one of these links I shared, make it this one!

What do you think? Do you have any encouragement for SAHMs? Are you one yourself or have you been? Feel free to add your advice in the comments below!

Tiny Print: 10 Free Christmas Cards

Tiny Prints 10 Free Holiday Cards

Yay! Here’s another free Christmas card offer! Through Wednesday, November 12th, you can order 10 free Christmas cards when you use the code 10FREECARDS at Tiny Prints. There are so many beautiful options from which you can choose! Go order yours now. Fine print is included below.

Offer expires 11/12/2014 (11:59 P.M. PT). Enjoy ten (10) free Holiday cards using the code 10FREECARDS at checkout. Postage, shipping, and tax fees may apply. Offer applies exclusively to Holiday greeting cards and is not applicable to previously placed orders, shipping, taxes, or postage. Cannot be redeemed for cash or combined with other offers, discounts, promotions or credits. This offer does not apply to add-ons (liners, trim options, paper options, envelopes, and address labels). Offer cannot be redeemed more than once per account and/or billing address. This particular offer code can only be redeemed once. Offer is only valid on Tiny Prints and is not applicable to third party or partner websites. 

Snap & 8 FREE Packages of Wipes

Snap BY Groupon

Have you heard of Snap? I recently did, thanks to my cousin, Bethany. Snap is a cash back rebate program sponsored by Groupon. It’s similar to Ibotta, for those of you who use that. There are three things about Snap that I really like.

First and most importantly, you can redeem the offers at ANY store! Second, you don’t have to have a Smart Phone to take advantage of these deals. To claim the offers, you simply have to submit a picture of your receipt. You can download the app to do so (if you have a smart phone) or upload a digital picture (from your computer, if you don’t have a smart phone). Finally, the offers are high value that are already making for some freebies!

I encourage you to sign up for Snap and give it a try. In fact, I’d encourage you to do so now because right now, you can get 8 free packages of Huggies wipes, thanks to Snap! Time to stock up at this price! Here’s how it works.

Snap Huggies Wipes

There are 4 separate offers for Huggies wipes – and all can be redeemed twice (8 packages total). Simply go to any store and pick up the packages of wipes. The offer is good for Huggies Simply Clean wipes, One & Done wipes, Natural Care wipes and Soft Skin wipes. At my Meijer, the refill packages are regularly priced at $1.99. They are also on sale at Kroger for $1.99 right now. This should also be this price at many stores, including Walmart. Buy your wipes and come home and upload your receipt to your Snap account. The $2 (for each package) will be credited to your account. Once you reach $20, you will receive a check in the mail.

There are some other great offers on Snap right now including $1 back on any back of candy and $1 back on any gallon of milk. With deals like these, I’m sure to be sharing more about Snap in the future because I always love new ways to save money – and get groceries for free!

Recent Links I Loved

Links I Love Button

Hello, everyone! Here we are at Saturday again. Aren’t weekends lovely? That’s all I want to say. Just that I truly enjoy the weekends and the change of pace that it brings. On that note, here are some links I love…just because.

Don’t Waste the Crumbs shared 25 food substitutions that will save you money. I make substitutions for buttermilk all the time, so I appreciated having a compilation of the most common food substitutions.

On a similar thought, Mel’s Kitchen Cafe shared how to make homemade condensed cream of chicken soup. Since I can’t make poppy seed chicken without cream of chicken soup, I want to give this a try.

Joy the Baker shared her recipe for a single pancake. My husband isn’t a huge breakfast fan so I like the idea of being able to make myself just one pancake.

Wise Bread listed 13 ways you can cut grocery expenses today. This is a great summary list of how I try to save!

It’s fall and I need – and want – to do a big fall cleaning. Mandi is helping with this stress-free fall cleaning checklist.

Speaking of, Brown Sugar Toast shared the funny thing about stuff with some great points about adding and subtracting to our home with things.

I’m going to do some baking and decluttering this weekend, as a result of these links! What are your plans?

Food Links I Love

Links I Love Button

We all have to eat, don’t we? That’s how I’ll explain the fact that I share links about food so often! :-) Here are a couple of the new recipes / food articles that I recently found interesting.

Edie wrote about her well-stocked pantry. I try to keep mine stopped but I hoard chocolate chips more than chicken stock. Read the article and you’ll see what I mean. I also like Edie’s big glass jars for flours and sugars.

I want to try Ruth’s recipe for easy tomato parmesan chicken. I love parmesan chicken so like the idea of making a recipe with these delicious flavors in the slow cooker. Plus, I have lots of homemade tomato sauce in my freezer right now!

The Brown Eyed Baker shared her diy recipe for homemade ranch seasoning. I like the idea that I could mix up the seasoning ahead of time before making my dressing.

I want to make Ree’s browned butter M&M cookies. Or maybe I’ll make her chocolate chunk cookies first. Both have the interesting step of browning butter. I’ve never made a cookie like that. Have you?

Wise Bread had two interesting articles that made me think. Read 10 foods with the most bang for your buck and 18 pantry foods that keep longer than you think. Do you have some of these items in your kitchen?

Finally, I want to make Frugal Girl Kristen’s Grandma’s cinnamon rolls mainly because of how they twist. Don’t they look delicious?

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