Friday, November 30, 2012

Subscription Boxes and Why I Love Them

I have become addicted to subscription boxes.  I don't get to go to shopping at physical retail stores very often and I love surprises so getting these subscription boxes in the mail each month is so much fun!!!

Since everyone is looking for holiday gift ideas, I thought I'd share a few of my favorites with you.


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I have mentioned Kiwi Crates before and I just love them!!!  For $19.95 a month, you get a lovely box in the mail that contains two projects for kids that go with a particular theme.  Everything is included.  You don't need to hunt down a bunch of materials. Usually just a pair of scissors.  And they even include a child's pair of scissors in your first box!  The themes are always really creative and you can go online to get additional ideas for projects and activities surrounding a particular theme.  Noodlebug gets so excited when our box arrives each month.  We sit down and do the activities together (there are usually enough materials to do two of each activity) and it provides us with much-needed bonding time. I love Kiwi Crates so much that I am an affiliate.  I don't do this often. Only with the few products I really believe in.  Kiwi Crates now offers holiday crates, party favor crates and imaginative play crates that you can buy in addition to their subscription boxes. Go here to learn more about Kiwi Crates. They would make an amazing holiday gift!!!


I have been with Cravebox since they were in their beta-testing phases. They have changed a bit since then.  It used to be a regular subscription service but now you enter drawings for boxes that interest you.  You never know what will be included but they do reveal the themes of the boxes. The last box I received was a Holiday Spruce-Up Box that included both full-size and sample sizes of cleaning products as well as two high-value coupons. Boxes vary in price from $10-$15.  One thing I really like about Cravebox is that they do offer full-size items in their boxes.  The desirability of the items themselves can be hit or miss but I have enjoyed the program so far.  Go here for more info.


I am new to the FOOD WITH LOVE subscription service. I have only received one box so far.  These boxes are $12 a month. ($10 for the box and $2 for shipping)  The box is small and contains mostly sample sizes of gourmet food items.  What I love about these boxes is that the food isn't "fake."  The offerings are interesting and tasty and I have already bought several items from the last box after I enjoyed the samples so much.   These aren't necessarily item you would find in your local grocery store.  Except maybe Whole Foods. With each box purchased, a meal goes to a hungry child. I can't wait to see what yummy items my next box will hold!!!  Find out more about FOOD WITH LOVE here!


This is a new one and I haven't even received my first box yet.  But I'm already excited!!!  I figured Noodlebug has his own subscription craft box....why not me?  I saw this one in COUNTRY LIVING magazine and knew I had to try it out.  It's a bit more expensive ($29 a month with free shipping) but include four high-end crafty projects.  The founders have worked with companies like Anthropologie and Kate Spade so the projects reflect those types of aesthetics.  As soon as I get my first box, I'll do a review post and let you know how I like it.  In the meantime, you can learn more here.

Do YOU subscribe to any subscription boxes that you love? I'd love to hear about it!!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Advent Calendar Extravaganza *UPDATED*

I'm starting to think we may be getting too many Advent calendars.  How many does one household need?

First, we have this one that Noodlebug got when he was a toddler.  He still loves it:

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Last year, I got Noodle a LEGO Advent calendar but it was a big dud. The pieces for each day were so odd.  The theme seemed to be "police and criminals" which didn't translate very well for the holidays.  So, this year we are trying a Playmobil calendar:

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 I love all the little woodland animals in this one.

I recently downloaded the EVERDAY EMMANUEL e-book from "What's in the Bible."  I am always looking for ways to get back to the true meaning of Christmas.  It includes some printables for making your own posterboard Advent Calendar and using the characters from the video series.  I finished it just in time for Advent!  The book includes a variety of activities that you can do during Advent. More than enough to put one in each slot:

The "Countdown to Christmas" and mini-Buck Denver were included in the e-book.  I used mini-envelopes cut in half for the pockets and an Advent calendar printable from HOW DOES SHE for the numbers. Our first activity was to make a "Hope" ornament for the the first Advent calendar. (the ornament printable was included in the e-book)

My husband brought home a Trader Joe's chocolate Advent calendar from work.  Then, we made sticker Advent calendars in Sunday School this past weekend. So....we are at FIVE Advent calendars and counting!!!

I have wanted to make a cookie sheet Advent Calendar for years and thought I would finally do one this year but I think three calendars might be enough.  I already have to worry about the arrival of our Elf on the Shelf.  (Ours is called Crumpet and he'll be here December 1)


I'm really glad my Christmas shopping is basically done so I can just focus on family traditions and the real "reason for the season."

Hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season so far!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pin and Do!: Little Bit Funky Fingerprint Ornaments

I have been looking for an expensive gift that Noodlebug can make and give away for Christmas so I was excited to see Little Bit Funky's fingerprint ornament tutorials. I pinned them on Pinterest some time ago and hoped to return to the project for the holidays.

This weekend, I stocked up on Michael's coupons and headed over to pick up some ornaments. While I was there, I noticed some cupcake boxes and crossed my fingers that the ornaments would fit inside. Noodlebug and I decided to make both snowmen and reindeer.  He'll be giving all the aunts and his godmother the snowmen ornaments and all the uncles the reindeer ornaments.

They were fairly easy to make but I had a little trouble using the Sharpies on top of the paint. I ended up doing most of the detail work with acrylic paint instead.

And they fit perfectly in the cupcake boxes!!!

So excited to be able to cross those gifts off my list!!!  I am now pretty much finished with Christmas shopping. I really REALLY don't like Black Friday.  I get sick to my stomach by all the emphasis on commercialism and couldn't believe it when some poor store employees were actually KILLED last year in the name of trying to get a good deal.  I try to get all my shopping done by the end of the October so that I can spend the holidays focusing on important things like my family, my friends and the birth of a Very Important Person.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all, my friends!!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Action Pack: Family Apothecary

The new Action Pack is here!!!

I have been so excited for this issue to arrive because I have been really interested in making my own products at home lately.  This particular issue has 50+ pages of salves, lotions, balms and crafty projects for the whole family!!!

Find the following recipes in this issue [all using herbs and commonly found simple ingredients like beeswax, olive oil and bicarb soda (plus a few special products too -- like coconut oil and kaolin clay)] :
  • Home herbal medicinal recipes (salves and cold remedies)
  • Eco-home cleaning and freshening ideas (natural cleaning products and washing recipes)
  • Eco beauty treatments (lip balms, creams and hair tonics)
  • Natural personal products (toothpaste and deodorant)
Buy this e-magazine for only $10 and start making your own products at home. I think they will also make lovely holiday gifts.

Get your issue here.

(I really believe in this product and I am an affiliate for it)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Shop High, Buy Low

I love a good deal so I had to share this find with you!!!  (This is just something I found....I get no kickbacks whatsoever)

I have really been lusting after this J. Crew bracelet:

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At $125.00, I was never going to get this bracelet.

Then, I saw this lovely thing on Groopdealz today:

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$24.99 with free shipping!!!  Now THAT'S more like it!

A little gift to myself so that I have something new and sparkly to wear during the holidays.

I have found the best deals at Groopdealz lately.  The quality and diversity of their items is really improving.

If you want your own bracelet,  I think it will only be available for two days or until they sell out!

In other news, I have been trying to quickly make a few items for my mom's craft show on Saturday.  Made a few felt flower pins, some recycled bracelets and a few travel pillows. Wish I had more time but I'm happy I got something done.  Photos to come!!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Die Monique's Fabrik

My wonderful friend Monique finally opened an Etsy shop!!! She is starting with these lovely handmade flower pins that incorporate wonderful fabrics and vintage notions. Think this one would be perfect for Fall:

Based on how special the fabric and notions are, the pins range in price from $12-$19.  Perfect for Christmas gifts!!!

Stay tuned....we'll be doing a "Die Monique's Fabrik" giveaway soon!!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thank You

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"I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me
what I asked of him."
1 Samuel 1:27

Monday, November 5, 2012

Kids ATC Swap 2012


Noodlebug and I decided to join the Kids ATC Swap this year hosted by Bright Eyes + Blue Eyes.  Noodlebug is more of a free-form artist and chafed a bit under the constraints of the task. Still, he managed to produce something.  He told me that these are pictures of superheroes with sidekick pets.  (You'll have to use your imagination) 

We are sending these gems off to our swap partners and we are very much looking forward to start finding wonderful treasures in the mail! 

I can't believe Thanksgiving is right around the corner!!!  I have some holiday gift crafting to start!!!