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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas doesn't have to cost a lot for a 1 year old

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Are you shopping for a 1 year old this Christmas? The great thing about tiny kids is that their presents don't have to cost a lot - even if you aren't crafty and don't want to make your own gifts. Here are some of my little girl's favorite things to play with - and they are all around $5 or under!

My sister-in-law gave Lily Tennis Balls a while back, and she plays with them every day. EVERY SINGLE DAY. She loves playing ball. We practice throwing, rolling, bouncing, and catching. Also, she loves to take them in/out of the canister over and over. Tennis balls are my #1 recommended gift for a 1 year old. These things are a huge hit with all of her little friends.
I got these Rainbow Slinkys from the birthday party isle at Walmart a little while back.  Another huge hit with Lily and all of her friends.  A 4 pack of these things were just a couple of dollars.  It keeps her quiet during church, entertained in the car, and content at home too.  These things are pretty durable too - she is rough on them and I have yet to have them kink or tangle to the point I couldn't repair it easily.

Lily loves stickers, and you can get them for just a dollar or two almost anywhere.  I have to be careful with these though and make sure I watch her so she doesn't stick them to any furniture I don't want sticker residue on.  I give her a notebook or old coloring book and let her go!  It keeps her entertained for a long time.  She also likes to wear them on her shirts occasionally.

Lily loves dressing up, and she loves animals.  These masks are a great gift for only a few dollars!

Lily colors every day.  She loves crayons and coloring books...and they only cost a dollar or two.

I know what you're thinking...these don't look like the most exciting gifts.  The point is that any 1 year old would love this stuff, and get a lot of use out of it!  Why break the bank when you don't have to?

What are some things your toddler loves to play with that doesn't cost a lot?
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Monday, November 28, 2011

A journal for your kids

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When Lily was 10 months old, I had a distinct thought that I should start writing down her experiences in a journal.  I found a blank journal and started that night.  I don't write everything down.  I write down a few funny stories as she grows and things she will want to know when she is older about herself as a baby.  (What she liked to eat, play with, how old she was at milestones, etc.)  I really just touch on that stuff though.  Mostly I record the spiritual experiences in her life.

I know she won't remember them, nor does she really understand them now, and chances are I won't remember them to tell her about it.  I hope her journal becomes a book she can look to when she is having a hard time.  I hope she finds comfort in knowing she has been blessed and watched over her whole life.  I hope it is a source of guidance when she doesn't want to come to us.

Now anytime we have a significant experience, I write it down.  I find not only am I glad I have it for Lily, but it strengthens me as I ponder over the significance of what has happened.  Most of my entries are very personal, but I will share a few of the less personal ones below.  They don't have to be long.

"Today you crawled into the middle of the room and stood up by yourself unassisted for the first time.  You always clap your tiny, plump hands together every time you do something new.  It's really cute.  Your daddy loves it so he tries to get you to clap a lot."

"[Lily's uncle] got married in the [city] temple recently.  You were the flower girl.  We did your hair in pig tails and the florist made you the cutest clips to go in your hair.  You looked adorable.  [Lily's new aunt] was excited the whole day.  As your dad and I watched them get married, she was kicking her feet through the whole ceremony and giggling because she was so happy."

Because I am always looking for ways to strengthen my family, I am grateful for the prompting I received to start this journal for Lily.  I wish I had started when I was pregnant.  Even if you have kids who are older it's not too late to start recording experiences you want them to have access to later.  Don't worry about catching up from the last however-many years, just start from today.
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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Online shopping anyone?

Before you read this post, please note it is not a sponsored post.  Ebates didn't ask me to blog about this or pay me to advertise for them.  I just love their site so much I thought you should know about it.  I promise you will love it too.

Tomorrow is Cyber Monday, which means millions of people will be hitting the internet to buy Christmas presents.  I personally prefer to do all of my shopping online.  That's why I was so excited when I heard about Ebates!

Before you do your shopping, sign up for this FREE service!!  They give you $5 just for signing up!

The concept is simple.  Before you do your shopping at...lets say Old Navy...go to Ebates.  Log in and they will tell you what coupon(s) you can use.  When I search for Old Navy I see they are giving me a coupon code for 30% off any order today.  Um...HELLO!!!  I just saved 30% because I checked this site first. 

Not only that, but then I click to go to Old Navy's site from the Ebates site.  It directs me to the regular Old Navy site where I can use the same gift cards or coupons I planned on using.  I check out through Old Navy, but when I check my Ebates account again I see that Ebates is going to PAY ME 7% of how much I spent, just for going to their site first.  That is on top of the 30% I already saved from the coupon.

Ebates has all of the major stores and tons of tiny stores you have never heard of too.  For example, I bought the DVD cases for this gift at a store called Super Media Store.  Ever heard of it?  I didn't think so.  Ebates has.  Turns out I could have gotten 2% cash back had I checked Ebates first.

This site is genious.  I know someone who got so much money from Ebates she bought $400 couches with the check they sent her.

So...sign up.  It's free.  You even get $5 just for signing up!

Things to do in Utah County with kids this week: November 27 - December 4

Looking for things to do in Utah County, Utah this week? Take a look at all of the fun (and sometimes free) things to do in Utah County!

Monday, November 28, 2011
Christmas Craft Clinics begin at Provo City
Family Night on the Farm at Thanksgiving Point 5:00 PM
Museum Mondays at Thanksgiving Point 5:00 PM
Draper Tree Lighting Ceremony 6:00 PM
Family night at Springville Community Pool 6:00 PM
Free Film at Orem Library - Offside 6:30 PM
Make and Take Crafts at the Provo Library 6:30 PM

Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Tattoo Tuesday at Marleys

Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Last Day of Sensing Brazil & Dichos exhibits at UVU Woodbury Art Museum
Winter Free Admission at Tracy Aviary
Free Opera Screening at Orem Library 9:30 AM
Discovery Reading at the Bean Museum 11:00 AM

Friday, December 2, 2011
Stories from around the world at BYU 11:00 AM
Education in Zion music Friday at BYU 12:00 PM
Provo Winter Fest: Living Nativity 6:30 PM

Saturday, December 3, 2011
Lowe's FREE Build and Grow Kids Clinic 10:00 AM
Provo Winter Fest: Living Nativity 6:30 PM

For a complete list of all events for all dates, please see our calendar of events in Utah County.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Chocolate Dream Triple-Layer Cheesecake

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I made the most delicious cheesecake for Thanksgiving this year.  I found the recipe here.

It wasn't super hard, but did take planning ahead.  The Godiva chocolate they recommend was a little out of my price range, so I used Cadbury dark chocolate instead which worked perfectly.

This cheesecake is delicious, but it is rich, so make sure you have a lot of people to share with...or you may end up gaining 10 lbs in 1 week trying to finish it off.
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Love Notes by Lauryn

Friday, November 25, 2011

Handmade Christmas Tags

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I make homemade Christmas tags every year.  It's a great way to personalize my gifts, and it doesn't take a long time or cost a lot to make.

I think a bundle of Christmas tags would also make a great homemade neighbor gift for the holiday season!

Christmas tree tag:  I used my Cricut to cut out the tree (you could use a punch instead if you don't have a Cricut.)  I stuck stickers on for the ornaments and glued a button on for the star.  I punched a hole at the top and strung through red ribbon.

Reindeer tag: I bought paper at Roberts craft that already had a picture of all of the reindeer across it. I simply cut it out to show just 1 reindeer and backed it with navy paper.  I put an eyelet at the top and strung embroidery floss through.

Snowflake: I backed snow-themed paper with white cardstock.  I used my Cricut to cut snowflakes out of white cardstock, and glued them to the front.  Then I ran the whole thing through my Xyron to make this a sticker-tag.

Poinsettia:  I decorated a tiny envelope by sticking a tiny poinsettia flower to green Christmas themed paper using a brad.  I glued the green paper to the envelop to cover the front.  I then cut candy-cane paper and used chalk to make the edges red, and backed it with green cardstock so it fit perfectly into the tiny envelope I had decorated.  For this project, I got a bunch of tiny poinsettia flowers in the floral section at the craft store, and simply took out the gold center and replaced it with a brad so it would stay on the paper.

For this folded card, I used double-sided Christmas themed cardstock and cut to the desired size.  I added ribbon around the front flap, and glued on a star I cut from a punch.

For this folded card, I just cut double-sided Christmas cardstock to the size I wanted so it folds at the top, and tied 3 jingle bells around the front flap using embroidery floss.  I taped the back side of the front flap in place over the embroidery floss.

I used the same technique or this folded card as the folded card with the star above.

For this card, I cut a small rectangle of blue cardstock and topped it with vellum.  I stamped the "Best wishes for a happy holiday" and snowflakes in silver ink on the vellum.  I held it all together with a spiral clip.

This gold version used the same technique as the one above, but without the snowflakes.  The vellum for this was already patterned with gold stripes.

For this card I backed Christmas-themed scrapbook paper with white cardstock.  I also put a white snowman die cut out of white cardstock on the top.  I put the whole thing through my Xyron to make it a sticker card.

I used the same technique as the card above, but instead of making it a sticker card with my Xyron, I decorated the front of a small envelope.  I then cut a small square of snowflake scrapbook paper to fit inside the envelope.

I bought this holly and ivy cutout and brad at Roberts, and put it on some dark green paper.  I backed it with a white fold-over card I had cut from cardstock.

For this Christmas tree card, I cut the tree using my Cricut, and backed it with gold star scrapbook paper.  I backed that with the same green cardstock I used for the tree, and put the whole thing through my Xyron machine to make it a sticker tag.

This is a really easy project to do in bulk.  You can do about 30 in a couple of hours, which makes it a good, low-cost neighbor gift.
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Love Notes by Lauryn

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A note of thanks on Thanksgiving...

I love Thanksgiving.  I love that it makes me sit and really think about all of the things I am thankful for.

Every year I write a note of thanks to someone who has really helped or touched me in the past year.  Not a "hey thanks for being such a good friend, you are awesome" note, but a heartfelt note of appreciation full of emotion and sincere gratitude.

I realize sometimes we forget to express in words how much our most powerful relationships mean to us.  By writing a note to someone special every year, my relationships have been strengthened, and it gives me a positive outlook for the whole day.

Try it out!  If writing a note isn't your thing, make a phone call or have a face-to-face conversation.  You won't regret it.

Lavish Giveaway - 7 Winners! (ENDED)

Remember how much fun I had going to the new Lavish store in Lehi? Do you want to win some awesome Lavish stuff of your own?

Lavish has agreed to sponsor a giveaway for 7 of my readers!! But first...details about their awesome black Friday sales.

You get free earrings with every purchase - and they aren't cheap earrings no one would want...they are adorable chandelier earrings! (pictured below)

Not only that, but if you spend at least $25 at Lavish this Saturday, November 26 (Small business day) with your American Express card, American Express will credit your card $25! All you have to do is register your card on American Express' facebook page and shop at Lavish!!

Above are pictures of me in my new camisole and scarf from Lavish. I love the scarf so much I want one in every color. for the GIVEAWAY details!

Lavish has offered to sponsor a giveaway for 7 of my readers! That's right...7!
1 winner will receive a scarf of their choice
1 winner will receive 1 camisole of their choice
5 winners will receive a $5 piece of jewelry of their choice

TO BE ELIGIBLE: You must be a public follower of this blog. I will check. (To follow me, just click "Join this site with Google Friend Connect" on the left column of my blog.)
TO ENTER: Take a look at this post or my Lavish board on Pinterest and tell me something you think is cute.
EXTRA ENTRIES: You can get 1 extra entry for each of the following:
-Like Lavish on Facebook
-Like Utah County Mom on Facebook
-Follow Utah County Mom on twitter
-Follow Utah County Mom on Pinterest
-Pin anything from this board on Pinterest (1 entry only available for this, no matter how many you pin)
-Share this giveaway on your blog, twitter, or facebook with a link to this post (1 entry each)
-Subscribe to Utah County Mom via email (enter your address on the left sidebar)
Leave a separate comment for each entry for this giveaway.

This giveaway is for Utah locals only - within a reasonable distance from the Lehi location. Each prize package is for pick-up only at the Lehi location.

This giveaway will end at 11:59 PM (Mountain Daylight Time) on December 7, 2011.
Fine print: Although I received a free product for reviewing this product, the opinions on this post are 100% mine. The giveaway is for people willing to drive to Lehi only.

Lavish in Lehi

Yesterday I went to a brand new store called Lavish.  It's in Lehi right off the main street exit behind Texas Roadhouse.  I am in love.  I seriously may have a new favorite clothing store.

 One of my favorite parts about this place is their kids corner.  My little girl had the best time watching Mulan and coloring and reading books as I shopped.

I took pictures of some of the cute clothes I saw while I was there.  I can't get over how cute the houndstooth coat is...and I really want one of those lace shirts.

I have noticed a lot of the time with smaller companies they have cute clothes, but just can't compete with the prices I can get from a bigger chain.  That is not the case at this place!  Their clothes were very reasonably priced, and often times less expensive than anywhere else I have seen!

Jewelry is buy 4 get 1 free right now and everything on this display (above) was only $5!  This would be an awesome way to get all of my girl friends' Christmas gifts!

Everywhere I turned there was something else I wanted.   They even had a few things for kids!

If you live in the Utah county area, you have got to check this place out!  The people who work there couldn't be nicer.  They also told me that you can go in and pick your clothes out, and they will put it on a registry so your boyfriend or husband can come in later and buy what you picked!

1438 E Main Street #8

Monday - Saturday 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM


Hank Player - Review and Giveaway (ENDED)

I was excited when Hank Player sent me the shirt below to review.
  I know of a certain 5 year old that is going to be thrilled when he finds it under the tree this year.

Hank Player has a bunch of funny and clever t-shirts for kids.  I think these are hillarious - especially for little boys. you want to win a Hank Player shirt of your own?  How about 2?!?  Hank Player has generously offered to give 1 lucky reader 2 Hank Player shirts in the size of their choice.

TO BE ELIGIBLE: You must be a public follower of this blog. I will check!!! (To follow me, just click "Join this site with Google Friend Connect" on the left column of my blog.)

TO ENTER: Sign up for Hank Player's newsletter at the bottom of the page here.  Leave a comment letting me know you've done it.

EXTRA ENTRIES: You can get 1 extra entry for each of the following:
-Like Utah County Mom on facebook
-Like Hank Player on facebook
-Follow Utah County Mom on twitter
-Follow Hank Player on twitter
-Follow Utah County Mom on Pinterest
-Share this giveaway on your blog, twitter, or facebook with a link to this post (1 entry each)
-Subscribe to Utah County Mom via email (enter your address on the left sidebar)

Leave a separate comment for each entry for this giveaway.

This giveaway will end at 11:59 PM (Mountain Daylight Time) on December 7, 2011.
Fine print: Although I received a free product for reviewing this product, the opinions on this post are 100% mine. The giveaway is for US entries only