Off-grid pantry planner


Do we look like we know how to fun, or what?!!  Just a few pictures of our family’s Secret Sister party yesterday. Three of the girls in the family could not join us this year so they are missing from the photo. One of them did join us by Skype.


Secret Sister family Christmas party.


I’ve been saying “no” to a lot of things for months now (activities outside of the home) and even cutting back on blog related responsibilities since we were moving and since I was helping out a couple families by providing childcare on a weekly basis . Now that we are moved into our new home and mostly settled in I feel like I can say “yes” to some extras like our small L.I.F.E. group adult-only Christmas party (church group), a homeschooling Christmas party, and maybe swim lessons in January.



 We bought our family’s first live-Christmas tree this year!

Picking our Christmas Tree


My childcare-providing responsibilities are diminishing as well as the wives have been in the process of staying home more with their own children which is awesome for their own families! To be honest, I was not looking to be a childcare provider again (I’ve done that over the years, mostly when my boys were younger).


The families I’ve been working for this year needed the help for a season and it turned out to be a financial blessing for my family. I can only credit the Lord for providing for us this way. Watching other people’s children for long periods of time requires sacrificing our own family’s priorities (not to mention, peace and quiet) as we accommodate the needs of another family. I love the families and all their little kiddos I’ve had the privilege of caring for 🙂 .


Since our new home has more space I really wanted to be able to host some parties at my home – like our annual Secret Sister Christmas party (my mom started this about eight years ago for the women in the family). This was my first time hosting it! And, we usually host Thanksgiving for my husband’s side of the family anyways so we also did that.



My cute models below 🙂 .

I love BJ's beautiful, affordable gift wrap.


I’ve said “yes” to working with a select few companies for reviews and giveaways as I’ve said “no” to doing a Holiday Gift Guide for my blog this year.  A gift guide would be too much with the moving and the childcare work. I would like to share a post on some of MY favorite things though.


For fun, I am working on a short local review series that I have only revealed on social media. It’s a review of some of the local small business coffee houses in the Canton area and I’ll be writing about this on my blog soon. At least, that’s my plan.



My BJ’s Wholesale gift wrap picks, below.

I love my BJ's Wholesale gift wrap.


The boys and I visited BJ’s Wholesale recently to check out their gift wrap options and to pick out a few for ourselves. BJ’s provided me with a $25 gift card to accomplish this and they are going to giveaway a $25 gift card to one of YOU so you can get gift wrap also! Opinions are my own.


I’m truly impressed with my purchases this year. I picked the two items you see above. The wrapping tissue was $6.99 and the matching tag/string /bow and gift wrap set was only $12.99. It has a paper bag feel to it.  I even wrapped our Secret Sister party favors in the wrap and candy-cane colored string. The tissue paper set included some silver wrap that isn’t tissue, it’s sturdier. Beautiful! There were several different sets to choose from so be sure to dig through the display. I even saw a set that looked like OSU (Ohio State Univ.) colors!



The picture below is the table set for our Secret Sister party, gifts wrapped with my BJ’s wraps.

Christmas holiday table setting.


Want a chance to win this $25 BJ’s Wholesale gift card?


BJ’s Wholesale requires membership. You can download a One-Day shopping Pass here. If you can find an offer for a Free 60 day trial membership (check your newspapers/coupon inserts), I’d recommend doing that so you’re not charged the surcharge that non-members pay.


How to enter!

Just follow the easy Rafflecopter instructions. Giveaway starts now and ends Tuesday night (officially 12am Wed 12/10). Winner picked randomly and  will be emailed for address so please watch your spam box. Winner has 36 hours to reply before a new winner is picked. Open to USA residents only. Emails are not sold or given away except in case to fulfill prize shipment. By entering giveaway you are giving me permission to share winner’s first name and initial of last name on Facebook and Twitter to announce winner.
a Rafflecopter giveaway