20 shops to support this Small Business Saturday

Via Sweet Peach Kids
No doubt you all know the best of the Black Friday deals going down this weekend…(We’re even loading up our online carts in advance!) So, today we’d like to focus on giving a shoutout to our fellow small businesses in honor of Small Business Saturday.

We are part of an incredible community of small business owners — many of them moms like ourselves, who hustle and follow their passions, resulting in beautiful products and companies we are proud to support! Among all the Black Friday madness, don’t forget to shop small for unique Christmas gifts. Here are some of our favorites (including several we are partnering with for a giveaway on Small Business Saturday!)

Genius tips for a truly stress-free Thanksgiving

Via Country Living

Hosting Thanksgiving this year? We salute you! No matter how much of a crafty supermom you are, we assume you have a desire for a stress-free holiday this year, right? Here are a few tips we've rounded up to make that happen.
  • Delegate responsibilities. Most people have the sense to delegate out menu items, but we say don't stop there. Why not delegate table centerpieces, activities for the kids and even pre-dinner tidying jobs?
  • Simplify the menu. This one comes from Ina Garten, and we think it's genius: After you make your initial menu list, cross off any items that have too long of an ingredient list and replace it with something simpler. No need to over-complicate things!
  • Clear the fridge. Everyone knows the best part of Thanksgiving is the left-overs. Make sure you have the space to save all those heavenly dishes by doing an overhaul on the fridge a few nights before the big day. Two-year expired ketchup, your time is up!
  • Do the Turkey Trot (even if you walk). Getting your body moving before the biggest indulgence of the year does wonders for your mood. Even if you're not up for running, join the local Turkey Trot once you get the turkey in the oven.
  • Shower before starting the food prep. Every year it goes down the same way: we want to get "a few small things" done first thing in the morning before getting ready for the day, and the next thing we know the guests are arriving and we are still in our pajamas. You too? Put the kibosh on the habit this year and start the day showered and looking glam. Now you'll have a reason to wear that cute Williams Sonoma apron! 
  • Pull out the conversation starters. Whether you use a homemade jar of questions on paper strips or have your own game of Table Topics, it's nice to have some ice breaker questions on hand while all the random extended family members get reacquainted.
  • Eat out the night before. Heaven knows you need to muster all the cooking strength you've got for this kitchen marathon. Eat out before you tackle the job...or even better yet, order in!
  • Set the table the night before. The less things you have to worry about on the actual holiday, the better.
  • Make two grocery trips: Buy non-perishables well before Thanksgiving, then get the perishables a few days before. When you've got an overflowing cart and more grocery bags than your trunk can handle, it's time to break up the tip. Since non-perishables can be bought well in advance and usually come from the same section of the grocery store, get that task done on a separate grocery trip the week before.
  • Make some recipes that don't require an oven. If you're one of those lucky gals with double ovens...well, we are very jealous. If you're like the average woman pining for such a kitchen, do yourself a favorite and stick with several recipes that don't require an oven. (See the next point for one idea.)
  • Make slow-cooker mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes taste best right after being made, but who wants to worry about whipping up the perfect clump-free potatoes when there are a million other things going on at the last minute? Go with this recipe and you'll be ever so grateful!
  • Prep in advance. You may be busy in the days leading up to the holiday, but you'll never regret taking a few minutes to bang out a few of the menu items well in advance. Execute one recipe a day and it'll be like it ain't no thang. Ideas:
    • Cranberry sauce
    • Freezer rolls
    • Pumpkin pie
    • Gravy
    • Appetizers
    • Stuffing

Ideas for using up Halloween candy

With Halloween candy accumulation extending to Trick or Treating, school parties, friend parties, retail stores giving it out, etc, Halloween has gone from a one-night celebration to a full-week frenzy.

We've heard some genius ideas parents have come up with to get rid of it:

  • using it for Christmas gingerbread houses
  • trading it in to the Halloween fairy in exchange for a toy
  • donating it to troops over seas
  • trading it in at the dentist or Jamba Juice

But we also like the idea of turning it into a kid-friendly activity that gets them involved and provides a service opportunity. Hence, this year we will be doing a little baking with our Halloween candy, then taking it to the local nursing home or homeless shelter to spread some cheer.(While these folks may get Halloween candy, a freshly baked good adds a little more warmth to the season!)

Here are some of our favorite recipes for creatively using candy in a baked good:

1. Trick or Treat Pocky sticks (use pretzel rods for an easier take)
2. Leftover Halloween Candy Blondies
3. White Chocolate Candy Corn Rice Krispie Treats
4. Monster Cookie Granola
5. Halloween Oreo Candy Bark
6. Harvest Hash
7. Peanut Butter Candy Bar Fudge 
8. Crispy Butterfinger Cookies
9. DIY Caramel Apple Bar
10. Harvest Caramel Corn