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Give Extra Thanks This Holiday Season

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ExtraGumMoments

The holidays are a time when everyone should give extra thanks, and show appreciation to the people who always go the extra mile. Many of these people often go unnoticed, behind the scenes. But without them our lives would all be much harder. Perhaps it’s the mailman who walks through the snow and rain to bring you your mail. Or the lunch lady at school who serves kids everyday with a smile on her face. Maybe it’s the cashier at your local grocery store who makes sure to ask you about your day. These are the people who deserve an extra special thank you. So why not give them one.


Showing someone that you appreciate them doesn’t have to be hard or take a lot of money. For under $1.00 you can purchase a simple gift to show your thanks and put a smile on someone’s face. To purchase this gift, you first stop should be to your local Walmart. Here you will purchase a few packs of Extra gum. There are several flavors to choose from including my personal favorite, Sweet Watermelon.

Once you’ve figured out which flavor of gum you want, and you’ve purchased them, your almost set. The next thing you are going to do is add an extra special message to the outside of the gum. This will not only jazz your gift up a little bit, but you can take this opportunity to tell that special someone,Thank you.

extra gum

To do this, I’ve made it super easy for you. Just click on the photo below and hit print. Cut around the edges of the printable. Next wrap this printable around your package of gum and secure it with tape. Be sure to sign the bottom with you and your families name.

christmas printable labels

Now you’re ready to hand them out. You can give them to you children’s teachers, the mailman or even stash some in your purse to hand out to random strangers.

christmas printable

 See this gift doesn’t take a lot of time, money or even effort. It’s an easy way to brighten someone’s day and make them feel extra special.

How do you give extra during the holidays?

Spread Some Real Magic This Christmas

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RealMagic

There is something really magical about the Christmas season. I’m not talking about the kind of magic that comes from a magician but rather the magic that makes people want to uplift and make others feel happy. Christmas is after all, the season of giving so with the help of my two little Elves, we decided to help spread the real magic of Christmas to as many people as we could.

real magic-classic coke bottle

This secret mission was simple. Find the target, deliver the package and get out without being seen. The first thing you need to do to create this special gifts is to head to your local Walmart and pick up some classic Coca-Cola’s in the glass bottles. These can be found individually or in a 6 pack. These glass coca-cola bottles can be found in the drink aisle by the Coca-Cola products.

real magic-coca-cola bottles

After you have your glass coca-cola’s your ready to create the magic. First you need to print off these holiday magic labels. Just click on the picture and hit print.

holiday gift labels printables

Once these are printed cut around the around the gray area making a prefect circle label. If you have a laminator you can laminate these labels before hand. If not, that’s ok too.

real magic-coke bottle

Next punch a small hole in the top of the label. Now take some ribbon and string it through the hole. Tie this ribbon around the top of the Coca-Cola bottle. Add more ribbon as you like, the more the merrier.

real magic-coke label

Once your done decorating the bottles, decide who the lucky recipients will be and make the “drop”. Just sit the bottle on their doorstep, ring the doorbell and run! Make sure they don’t see you but if you can be sure to watch as a huge smile will move across their face.

real magic-coke bottle labels

After our day of sharing the magic with our friends and neighbors it was time for our family to experience a little holiday magic ourselves. Visiting Santa and Mrs. Claus was the first stop.

real magic-child sitting on santa's lap

Next we we looked at Christmas lights and enjoyed an ice cold coca-cola of our own.

real magic-share a coke

Here’s a recap of how we helped to spread Real Magic this Christmas season.

Spread some #realmagic this Christmas! #ad #cbias

A video posted by mellisa swigart (@melswigart) on

This year you can help spread the magic as well! Help Santa spread the magic all around by sharing some simple ideas for bringing an extra sparkle to someone’s season. Coca-Cola wants you to share the magic by Tweeting or Instagramming a photo of how you are making the holidays more magical with the hashtag #RealMagic. When you do this, you will get a special thank you smile in return plus you can earn extra rewards by sharing videos and photos from the My Coke Rewards website.

real magic-merry Christmas


Gifts For The Entire Family at Big Lots

*I received a Big Lots Gift Card in Exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own.

Shopping for Christmas can be stressful, especially if you have a lot of people on your list. Going from store to store to try to find the perfect gift for everyone can be time consuming, and will most of the time end up costing you big bucks. That’s why I like to do all of my shopping in one place. So I can get everyone’s gift without having to drive all over town to do it. If you’re looking for a place to buy gifts for the entire family Big Lots is a great place to start.

gifts for the entire famiy-Big Lots

I was given a budget of $100 to buy gifts for the entire family. To me, this seemed like an unreachable task but I was up for the challenge, so off to Big Lots I went. I had a list of people I needed to buy for. This included my husband, two kids, mom, in-laws and my secret santa gifts.

gifts for the entire family-preschool toys

These science kits are the perfect option for kids and at $10 each they are a steal! I got the Crystal Growing Kit for my budding scientist.

gifts for the entire family-science kits

My husband is really into fitness and health so when I spotted these Traxx wireless activity tracker’s for only $39.99 I got a little excited. I have been wanting to get him one of these but most of them are well over $100 so I didn’t think it would be possible. This price I can handle!

gifts for the entire family-fitness bands

I also have my mother and mother-in-law to buy for. They are usually pretty easy, but this year I think I found the perfect gift for both of them with this gorgeous necklace and angel bracelet. Can you guess how much these are? Only $5 each! Plus they come in a cute little gift box so all you have to do is wrap.

gifts for the entire family-necklace

They had several different charm bracelets but I just loved this angel bracelet for my mom.

gifts for the entire family-bracelet

My son is in his tween’s and a little bit harder to buy for. But thankfully Big Lot’s has me covered with their huge selection of electronics and headphones. I was able to snag these headphones for $5.

gifts for the entire family-cheap headphones

Secret Santa (or as my family calls it Dirty Santa) is a very popular event at our Christmas party. Each year every person brings a gift and this year I may have the best one of all. It’s a Geneva Wallet with flashlight and Watch. It comes in a super nice box and I am guessing no-one will know that this gift only cost $10!

gifts for the entire family-mens gifts

The last person on my list and probably one of the hardest would be my father-in-law. To me, men are so hard to buy for. So when I spotted this GIGANTIC box of Whitman’s chocolate, I snatched it up. Almost three pounds of chocolate for $20 and since he loves chocolate I know this will be a great gift for him.

gifts for the entire family-chocolate

After I had all my gifts it was time to grab some wrapping paper. Big Lots has a huge selection of Christmas wrap, bows, ribbons, boxes and more. Basically everything you could possibly need to wrap presents.

gifts for the entire family-gift wrap

So in case you lost count I ended up getting gifts for the entire family plus wrapping paper for a grand total of $98.50! I was so excited when I got to the register, I did a happy dance. There is nothing better than being able to buy great gifts for your loved ones, and not having to go overboard spending a lot of money. If you’re looking to save time and money, consider doing your Christmas shopping at Big Lots this year!

Decorating Your Home For the Holidays with Kmart

This post is sponsored by Shop Your Way. All opinions expressed are my own.

With Thanksgiving behind us, our family wasted no time pulling out the Christmas tree and other festive decorations to give our home a much needed holiday make-over. We had most of the living room and tree decorations taken care of but there was one room in our home that was seriously lacking in the festive department, my dining room. Since I do a lot of entertaining during the holidays I consider the dining room a pretty important area and having a drab table just isn’t acceptable. So off to the store I went to look for the perfect decorations to jazz up the dining room.

dining room holiday makeover

Both Kmart and Sears have such a great selection of holiday decor that I knew right away I could get a lot of bang for my buck at either of these stores. Since Kmart is so close to my home I decided to stop there first and I am so glad that I did. I had a budget of $100 to give my dining room a festive look and little did I know that this $100 would get me everything I needed and then some.

kmart holiday decor

Kmart has some beautiful decorations from trees and ornaments to wreaths and garland. You will also find big names such as Sandra Lee and Jaclyn Smith who both have fabulous holiday décor collections that will bring style to your home. I found myself just in awe of how beautiful these decorations and tree ornaments were. All of the bright and festive colors and unique decorations that will really make your home stand out.

kmart holiday decor

After about 2 hours in the store. I ended up with some pretty awesome supplies to give my dining room a complete holiday transformation. Here is some of the great décor I got. All for under $100!

kmart holiday decorations

And here is the room after it was transformed! Not bad for a beginner.

holiday dining room makeover

I bought some large, medium and small ornaments as well as a decorative bell and hung these to my light fixture with fishing string. Then I wrapped gold beads around the top so that they were dangling down. This is probably one of my favorite parts of the room and it was super easy to do.  In the back you can notice the lighted garland which I wrapped around the top of my sliding glass door so that it wouldn’t be an eye sore.

DIY Holiday Chandelier

I covered the table with a red lace table cover and added creme colored folded napkins and placemats. In the center of the table I turned an ordinary candle holder into a festive center piece by adding colorful mini ornaments and some festive gold sticks.

holiday table decorations

Here is a before and After picture so you can see just how much difference adding some holiday decorations can make. I just love my dining room now and can’t wait to invite my friends and family over for the holidays.

dining room makeover ideas

To celebrate the uniqueness of this holiday tradition, Sears and Kmart are launching The Best Dressed Home Sweepstakes to capture how you and others across the United States are decorating. From now through 12/26, you can visit to answer the poll questions and upload a photo of your home decked out for the holidays for a chance to win Shop Your Way points.

60 people will instantly win $50 in Shop Your Way points and one grand prize winner will walk away with 1 million Shop Your Way points! You can enter the sweepstakes daily for your chance to win BIG. I’ll be entering a photo of my new dining room makeover!

What room do you decorate the most during the holidays?


Show Thanks and Give Back This Holiday Season

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SimplyHealthy#CollectiveBias

give back-donations

There are many things I have to be thankful for this holiday season. For one, I am extremely thankful for my family. Thankful that they are happy, healthy and most of all that we are together. I know many families aren’t as fortunate as mine so this Thanksgiving I have decided to give back and hopefully show my thanks by putting a smile on another families face this Thanksgiving. We have many families in need in our community. Times are tough and a lot of people are out of a job which means they don’t have the extra money to spend on a big Thanksgiving dinner. So with the help of my kids we headed out to our local Sam’s Club to grab some food items that will help bring a hot and plentiful meal to one needy family.

give back-inside Sam's Club

Sam’s Club is a great option for families because you can buy in bulk which means you get more and spend less. Both of those sound good to me. During our recent shopping trip to Sam’s we were able to find almost everything we needed for our Thanksgiving basket. Turkey, Green Beans, Potatoes, and a few more goodies that every family should have for Thanksgiving.

give back- Sam's Club

My kids helped put the Thanksgiving basket together for the family we were donating it too. They were so excited to be able to allow someone else to have a great Thanksgiving meal just like were are going to have. As a mom it’s really important to show my kids that we should all give back and be kind to others. I think allowing them to be apart of the giving process really helps.

give back-help a needy family

If you want to help a family in need and you’re not sure where to find one, it’s to hard. Call your local shelter or food bank and ask how you can help. You can also call one of the local schools and see if there is a way you can donate to a family in need. We found our family by asking our friends and family if they knew of a family that could use a little extra help this Thanksgiving. You would be surprised how many people really need your help. Even if you donate a large can of Green Beans or a bag of potatoes, a little bit goes a long way. Sam’s Club is a great place to get these food items because you can stretch your money and get even more.

give back-healthy living app

I also encourage you to check out and download the Healthy Living Made Simple App which is available for the iPhone and iPad. The Sam’s Club Healthy Living Made Simple Magazine and app offers some great articles on ways you can give back and also tips on how to stay healthy this holiday season. Both the Sam’s Club Healthy Living Made Simple Magazine and app are both free and easy to use so be sure to check those out today.

How does your family show Thanks and Give Back During the holidays? 

Free Printable Santa Letters For Kids

Christmas is a little more than a month away and if your kids are anything like mine they have already started to count down the days. We normally wait until after Thanksgiving to write our letters to Santa and this year I thought it would be a fun idea to make these letters a littler more festive so I created a few free Printable Santa Letters to help your kids write their letters to Santa.

I made a few variations so please feel free to use which ever one’s you like. When your child is done writing their letter these will be great keepsakes to show them when they are a little bit older. These Printable Santa Letters are easy to print you just click on the photo and another window will open. There you will hit print on your computer and you will have yourself an adorable letter to Santa.

printable santa letter


printable santa letter


printable Santa letter


printable santa letters for kids


These were really easy to make so if you have a special request for a letter let me know and I will do my best to add it to the list.

Top 5 Fun Holiday Photo Ideas

*This post is sponsored by Global Influence.
We are only about two months away from Christmas day which means there are lot’s of important things to mark off my list. One of the first things is getting my Christmas cards ordered and mailed off. It would be easy and totally fine to go the traditional route and just buy a pack of cards from the store. But I love for my cards to be more personal and that’s why the past few years we have made and sent Holiday Photo Cards to our family and friends. If you are looking for a little inspiration here are 10 Fun Holiday Photo Ideas that you can do on your own.
1. The more Christmas Lights the Merrier
Christmas lights can be such a fun background for your photo. You can have your kids or family standing in front of the Christmas tree or outside in the snow with the lights in the background.
2. Smooches
Kisses are always a fun picture idea especially if you are newlyweds. This is also cute if you have little ones.
3. Do a family selfie laying down on the ground.
This is one of my favorite family poses because you can do the picture yourself.
4. Don’t forget about the pets.
Our pets are such a big part of our lives so it’s only right that we include them in our holiday photos. You can do this with all pets, dogs, cats, birds, fish,etc. You can even include your pets with your family in a pose.
5. Close-ups
Nothing is cuter than looking into the eyes of an innocent child. This photo is especially cute for those Baby’s First Christmas cards.
What are some Fun Holiday Card Photo Ideas that you might have. I’d love to hear them
This post was inspired by Paper Culture known for their eco-friendly unique Christmas Cards, Holiday Cards and Personalized Gifts.

15 DIY Halloween Costume Ideas

Halloween is the time of year when you can be just about anything you want to be. Whether it’s a creepy goblin, beautiful princess or a furry creature the only thing between you and the perfect costume is a little bit of imagination. However if you’re anything like me that inspiration doesn’t come easy and that’s why I look to sites like pinterest for help in those DIY Halloween Costume Ideas.

DIY Halloween Costume Ideas
Here is the links to all of the individual sites that give you instructions on how to re-create these costumes. Please feel free to click on one of them or all!

DIY Elsa Costume:
Thomas the Train:
Mother Nature:

halloween costumes-for girls
Bee Costume:
Bomber Airplane Costume for Kids:

My Little Mermaid Costume:
Buzz Lightyear Costume:
Dr. Suess Cat In The Hat:
Dr. Suess Thing One & Two:
Paper Doll Costume:

medusa costume
Dr. Who Tardis Costume:
Punny Halloween Costume Ideas:
Harry Potter’s Moaning Mrytle:
The Weeping Woman La Llorona:

So there you have it! All of these costumes are easy to make and many of them are also budget friendly. You can use the instructions on these DIY Halloween Costumes or you can use the inspiration to come up with your own costume idea.

Create Stand-Out Easter Baskets and Egg Hunts With Nestle

 I received products in exchange for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

The flowers are blooming, the birds are chirping and the weather is finally starting to warm up. These three things can only mean one thing. Spring is here!

Nestle Easter Basket #NestleUSA #Easter

Nestle has lot’s of delicious and fun goodies to help you with all of your Easter festivities. Just recently they revealed their newest assortment of springtime treats available nationwide to help parents create the perfect Easter baskets and treats. Here are just few of there delicious treats.

Wonka Egg Fillers:
We have our annual Easter egg hunt each year at my aunts house. All of the parents bring a bag full of plastic eggs filled with treats and prizes. This year filling the eggs will be a piece of cake. The Wonka Fillers include classic flavors such as Spree, SweeTARTS, Bottle Caps, Gobstoppers all together in one convenient bag.

Butterfinger NestEggs and Crunch NestEggs:
We got a bag of these last year and my kids loved them. They are just the right size for little fingers and they shape of a golden egg gives this candy an extra special festive feel.

SweeTARTS Gummies & Jelly Bean Pouches:
Your favorite tart and tangy SweeTARTS signature flavors in chewy gummies and jelly bean form. Great as a basket filler.

Wonka Laffy Taffy Jelly Beans:
No boring jelly bean flavors here! These bold yellow, green purple and red packaging features Laffy Taffy’s signature flavors: banana, cherry, grape, and apple in bright colors and jelly bean form. They are the perfect treat for egg hunts and Easter snacking around the house.

Hard2Find Egg Hunt Outdoor Kit:
We received a package of these last year and they were great. You can’t get more convenient than having a package of filled plastic Easter Eggs ready to go. Please these are great for the older kids because they are more of a challenge to find.

easter basket filled with Nestle Candy

It’s always fun to create my kids Easter baskets each year, especially when I can add their favorite candy. You can find all of these Nestle products plus many more in your local retailer.

What’s your favorite kind of Easter Candy?

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

Chocolate and cherry Cookies. I can’t think of a better combination. One of my favorite treats to make for my family is chocolate covered cherries. Each time I make this cherry candy treat, they don’t last long. Recently I came across a recipe for Chocolate covered cherry cookies. Since since my family loves cherry candy so much, I knew I had to give them a try. These cherry cookies turned out better than I could have imagined.

cherry cookies recipe-chocolate cookies

Here’s what you need to make these Homemade Cherry Cookies


  • 1/2 Cup Salted Butter
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 Cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 Cups of Flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 10 ounce jar of maraschino cherries
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Fire preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together and mix well.  Next add the egg and vanilla and mix well. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and beat into the egg mixture. Stir until smooth. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls about the size of a walnut (larger if desired). Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Press center of each ball with your thumb.

3. Drain the cherries in a bowl and reserve juice. Place a single cherry in the center of each cookie.

4. In a medium saucepan, heat the sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips until the chips are completely melted. Watch carefully and stir often so the chocolate doesn’t burn or stick to the saucepan.

5. Stir in 4 teaspoons of cherry juice into the chocolate. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the mixture over each cherry and spread to cover cherry. More cherry juice may be added as needed.

5. Bake the cookies in a preheated oven for 10 minutes.

cherry cookie recipe-homemade cookies recipes

These homemade cookies are so good! If you’re looking for a great cookie recipe I encourage you to try them. If you do make them,  let me know what you think.