What She *Really* Wants For A Gift (You might Be Surprised)!

Legalese Disclosure Nonsense: In exchange for the roses of my dreams, I agreed to bring you this fun and handy post! Also, if you get blessed with roses from one of these specific links, I get a weensy bit of the money from that sale!

Tis the season for gift giving! This year I decided to do a little “independent research ” so I asked around to find out what women REALLY want for gifts from the most important people in their life for those big occasions, you know–Christmas, but also those other “biggies” like Valentine’s Day, Anniversaries, Birthdays, really anytime someone might want to treat them!

What they answered might surprise you, and for the “classic” gifts that were mentioned, they had a twist!

If you’re a frequent reader of mine, chances are good you’re a woman yourself! This is a great post for you to get inspired to ask what you *really* want for this year, or, if you’d like to be a bit more subtle, feel free to send this link to the special people in your life with a *hint hint*.

Maid Service

I mentioned before that when I asked what 1 luxury service women would choose if they had the money for it, the overwhelming majority said maid service. While that was not surprising, just how MUCH they want it really is! In fact, a huge number would love to receive even just a few visits from a maid service as a gift!

Create Memories

Another top winner was being gifted something that would create memories, or as I like to call them Experience Gifts. Many ladies would love a night or weekend away with their spouse, others wished for a getaway just them. Some wanted to go to a concert or an event with the gift giver. Time together while doing something fun was very popular.

Get Pampered

The next request on the list was to get pampered! Whether it’s a mani/pedi or a full spa day getting the chance to get away, relax, and be pampered is something many women crave.

Something Unique, That Shows You *Really* Know Her

This includes *everything* above and all the other items on the list that people came up with. There was an overall theme in or behind each item mentioned. They wanted a unique, gift that showed that the gift giver really knew and cared about them. To help you out with this, and to give you something that you can physically gift if you’d like to include one of the others as well, I’m excited to introduce you to VIVAROSES today!

When it comes to unique presents, this one tops the charts! Roses are a classic gift to give someone to show that you love them. And VIVAROSES has a bunch of classic beauties to choose from as well!

But, remember, I mentioned that most of the women aren’t necessarily *looking* for a classic gift. They want something that shows how much you know them.

For me? That would be blue roses.

I’ve had an obsession love with the color blue since the time I was a young teen. (Maybe my hair color of the past clued you into that?) So when I was planning out my wedding, I told the florist that I wanted blue roses. It was before ordering on the internet was much of a thing, but I had done searches and found photos of blue roses, but nowhere that actually sold them. She laughed at me and told me that those photos were photoshopped, and my gorgeous blue flowers didn’t exist. And so my dream died.

Until VIVAROSES. As I was browsing their site–THERE THEY WERE!!!! Gorgeous Blue Farm-Fresh Roses

and on top of that–the prices were crazy amazing. Starting at $70 for 24 roses, you can up the game and receive 100 Blue Farm-Fresh Roses!

Finally, I really did have the roses of my dreams. I couldn’t have asked for a more amazing and stunning present!

But maybe you or your lady is not *gasp*  that into blue? They actually carry a crazy amazing variety of roses from Black, to Orange, to Lavender, to Rainbow, to mixed bouquets! You would absolutely wow the lady in your life when you deliver a bouquet in her very favorite color! I would gush about how amazingly gorgeous these are, but I’ll just let the pictures in this post say a thousand words!

Go browse all the gorgeous roses on the VIVAROSES website!

Were you surprised that all of these ideas are “consumable”? Part of me was, but really I think that these days we so often want memories, experience, relaxation, and beauty–not more clutter! I also love how you can see how the different love languages and personalities weave their way through these gifts. It would be easy to see an Acts of Service really wish for Maid Service, while a Quality Time person would prefer the tickets to a concert. If you’re a Words of Affection person these gorgeous roses with a heartfelt letter would make your day!  Hopefully, this list inspires you to ask for whatever version of that is uniquely you, or inspire you to gift that to the lovely lady in your life!

Ladies, do you see the idea that you really want on this list? Leave me a comment and let me know which one it is, or if it’s not here let me know what YOU really want.

Creamy M&M’S® Brownie Bites Recipe

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

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The tree is up and decorated, Christmas music fills my office as I sit clicking away at the keyboard, and I’m currently in full–on festive scheming and planning mode. It’s officially the most wonderful time of the year!!

As much as I love everything about Christmas and all the many traditions we have that go along with it, if I would be hard pressed into picking a favorite it would end up being baking. Making our special once-a-year recipes is something I’ve always treasured and loved! It’s the tradition that gives back twofold — once with the gift of family time as I bake and create the delicious treat, and then once again with giving the gift of a sweet treat to someone we love! Our family has classic holiday recipes that come out each year, but every year I also try to add new, fun things to our baking bucket list as well.

We get to see my  brother-in-law’s family just once a year, so we always squeeze every bit of fun out of the time we have together, even if it’s just a few days. I always try to make something delicious to gift them with while they’re visiting us as well. Since he’s in the military they’re often in transition, and this year his entire family is actually in the middle of living in a motel for 6 months for a school he’s attending. During times like this, we don’t want to be burdening them down with a bunch of gifts to try to take back and figure out what to do with once they get there. Instead, we opt for clutter-free gifts like delicious treats and experiences we can all enjoy together.

This year I decided to whip up a batch of Creamy M&M’S® Brownie Bites as the sweet part of their gift. You already know how obsessed I am with brownies, and you can never go wrong with bite size, creamy, and M&M’S®!

Were they a hit? Well let’s just say that my sister-in-law was raving about how my brother-in-law loved them so much and, get this, he doesn’t even like sweets!!! I knew right then and there I had created a masterpiece, especially when she asked for the recipe. (Here you go, Lindsey! 😉 ) This was confirmed when my mother-in-law admitted sneaking the second container I brought down for sharing into her room so that she could keep it to enjoy for herself throughout the holiday season!

Can’t wait to make these so you’ll be the star of the show at your next friends or family gathering this season? Here’s what you’ll need–you’ll be amazed at just how easy they are to re-create!

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You’ll be shopping at Walmart, of course! I love using them for all my holiday cooking and baking! You can find the Pillsbury™ items in the baking aisle. I also found a fun and convenient center aisle display with holiday baking goodies. It included the special M&M’S® Brand Minis Milk Chocolate Baking Bits that I needed as well!

Here’s your shopping list for this recipe:

  • Pillsbury™ Family Size Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix (and items to make brownies as listed on back of packaging)
  • Pillsbury™ Creamy Supreme® Vanilla Flavored Frosting
  • M&M’S® Brand Minis Milk Chocolate Baking Bits (be sure to look for the special holiday packaging so you can get the Green & Red only!)
  • CRISCO® No-Stick Cooking Spray

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Best of all? Right now you can get the Ibotta offer listed above! Just click on the photo to go check out the details!

Items also needed:

  • Mini Muffin Baking Pan
  • Cake Decorating/Piping set or large plastic bag for piping frosting
  • Mini Tart Shaper or small rounded object for pressing down brownies into cups

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Now it’s time for the fun part–baking! First, preheat your oven to 325.

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Next, follow the directions on the back of the Pillsbury™ Family Size Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix Box to create brownie batter.

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Spray your mini muffin pan well with CRISCO® No-Stick Cooking Spray. This step is vital as you’ll be scooping out the brownies once cooled, and if it is not well sprayed they will break apart.

Spoon brownie batter into cups until nearly full, you’ll want them to get all lovely and puffed up because you’ll be pressing the middles down and you need those good “cups” for holding the M&M’S® Brand Minis Milk Chocolate Baking Bits.

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Bake for 14 Minutes or until the brownies have puffed up and no longer look wet. Keep a close eye because you do not want these to over bake! Allow them to cool for only a moment, and then press down the middles firmly to create a bowl. I use a mini-tart shaper, but any round object that’s the right size will work.

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Once the brownies have cooled completely use a butter knife to trace around the edges and get them out of the pan. Place on a cooling rack & fill with M&M’S® Brand Minis Milk Chocolate Baking Bits. This recipe will actually fill your pan full twice (perfect so there’s some for your family to enjoy and some to share!) Once you have the first batch out get your second batch cooking in the oven as you begin to decorate.

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Using either a cake decorating kit or a plastic bag with the tip snipped off, pipe the Pillsbury™ Creamy Supreme® Vanilla Flavored Frosting on top of the brownie and over the M&M’S® Brand Minis Milk Chocolate Baking Bits. I wanted to create what looked like little snow-covered trees, so I piped it with a wide base coming to a pointed top. You could also use Pillsbury™ Funfetti® Green Vanilla Flavored Frosting to create green “trees” if desired.

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Allow the frosting to sit for about 5-10 minute until it just begins to set. The take additional M&M’S® Brand Minis Milk Chocolate Baking Bits and stick into the frosting, to decorate your little mini “trees” with “ornaments”.

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How adorable and delicious looking are these?!?! The next step is to sneak taste test at least a few, you know, just to make sure they turned out well.

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Once you’ve finished the gift of family time of baking and eating these for yourself, it’s time to spread the love! Pack them up in a sturdy container with plenty of room for the tops. These containers were the perfect height and width and I’ll be sharing more about them in a blog post tomorrow with another delicious recipe plus a fun printable and idea to pay it forward, so be sure not to miss that!

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Complete your sweet treat with a simple bow and you’re ready to continue the holiday magic through gifting these delicious Creamy M&M’S® Brownie Bites to all your family, friends, and neighbors!

Looking for even more amazing recipes to bake this year (of course, you are!!) Check out all the jaw-dropping and amazing recipes for your family to make here!

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Don’t forget to Pin This Post so you don’t lose it!

Want it right now? Here’s a printable recipe:

Creamy M&M’S® Brownie Bites Recipe
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Nicole Elliott
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 24 Brownies
These delicious Brownie Bites look impressive but are so simple to put together and sure to become a new family holiday tradition!
Ingredients
  • Pillsbury™ Family Size Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix (and items to make brownies as listed on back of packaging)
  • Pillsbury™ Creamy Supreme® Vanilla Flavored Frosting
  • M&M’S® Brand Minis Milk Chocolate Baking Bits
  • CRISCO® No-Stick Cooking Spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Follow the directions on the back of the Pillsbury™ Family Size Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix Box to create brownie batter.
  3. Spray mini muffin pan well with CRISCO® No-Stick Cooking Spray.
  4. Spoon brownie batter into cups until nearly full.
  5. Bake for 14 Minutes or until the brownies have puffed up and no longer look wet
  6. Allow them to cool for 1-2 minutes and then press down the middles firmly to create a bowl using mini-tart shaper.
  7. Once the brownies have cooled completely use a butter knife to trace around the edges and get them out of the pan.
  8. Place on a cooling rack & fill with M&M’S® Brand Minis Milk Chocolate Baking Bits.
  9. Repeat with 2nd batch of Brownies
  10. Pipe Pillsbury™ Creamy Supreme® Vanilla Flavored Frosting on top of the brownie and over the M&M’S® Brand Minis Milk Chocolate Baking Bits to form peak
  11. Allow the frosting to sit for about 5-10 minute until it just begins to set. The take additional M&M’S® Brand Minis Milk Chocolate Baking Bits and stick into the frosting.
  12. Allow frosting to set completely & store in a lidded container until ready to serve or gift.
  13. Enjoy!

 

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Noble the Movie

 

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The movie Noble is about the life of Christina Noble, an Irish woman from the mid 1900’s, who has had a very difficult and trying childhood and life growing up in Dublin and then moving to England, but throughout it all she holds onto, even if just by a thread of hope, her faith in God.

In the midst of her suffering and crying out to God for understanding and beseeching Him with questions about if He has forgotten about her, she has a vision of children from Vietnam consumed by war and devastation that their little innocent hearts does not deserve to have to endure through. She dreams of children, who are desperately in need of love, protection, and help. She vows that one day, somehow, she WILL go to Vietnam and carry out her vision that God has placed within her heart. The movie goes through her journey in Vietnam in 1989, as she is trying to set up a home for the street children so that they can be safe, loved, nurtured, educated, and receive any medical care they need.  The movie also has many flashbacks about her life as she was growing up and all the intensity and sorrows she went through to make her into the woman she was destined to be.

Her spirit is one truly comprised of gold to go through all the pain she went through, and yet to still have a song on her lips, radiating joy in her heart and love for the “least of these”, the poor and abandoned children, in abundance. She is such an inspiration in how she pours and selflessly gives out of herself to these children in desperate need on the streets of Vietnam. She is as bold as a lion, and in the movie, she even rescues some young girls from being preyed upon by evil predator type men who have nothing but the vilest intentions with these young girls, which adds for quite the dramatic plot twist as she “storms the castle”, so to speak, for these young souls. She is a hero in the truest form of the word, in my humble opinion.

The movie was such an inspiration and very moving.  I found this movie to be quite surprisingly splendid and refreshing because sometimes, with more feel-good/faith films, they can be quite cheesy and low quality, but this movie was quite the opposite. I loved the more serious parts, and how they were expertly broken up by little scenes of humor and amusement that left me giggling and smiling.

The actress who portrayed Christina Noble, Deirdre O’Kane, was delightful! She had such a passionate and vibrant acting personality, and the Irish accent in her voice, both singing and speaking, was beautiful to watch and hear!

In this movie, I laughed, I cried, I was, to say it again, very much moved by this movie.

Watching Christina’s story drew something out from within me, it reignited a passion, so to speak. Children are the future, and we are called by God to love the children, widows, and orphans (James 1:27 and Psalm 82:3 in the Bible), and for someone to embrace that divine calling so selflessly and fully with a wide open heart and boldness of a lion…that is true faith and religion in my opinion. Serving with abandon and loving everyone you come across with and protecting them from themselves even. There is no greater calling, than to be NOBLE and BRAVE and to LOVE, no matter the personal cost (John 15:13)!

Have you seen this movie yet? What were your thoughts on it?

Beloveds, my ending question is one that convicts me to the core and puts my priorities in alignment, and that is: What is something both noble and brave you would accomplish with your life if you were guaranteed NOT to fail because God was on your side?????

To find and connect with other “noble” women, search the hashtag on your favorite social media “#sheisnoble”.

Now may I add this as a follow up to that question?

GREAT NEWS!!! He IS on your side, and if He has placed a dream within you…no matter how huge or minuscule, if it is from Him…NOTHING can get in your way. Fear has no place where love is (1 John 4:18), and God LOVES you and is FOR YOU! Go be bold and brave like Christina, and do great things for the Kingdom and for His glory alone! You are VICTORIOUS in Jesus!!!

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Now for some homeplay (homework but better):

Here is the trailer for the movie and a link to their phenomenal, beautifully done website! Go check them out and give them some lovings and go watch this movie!

Here is the official synopsis from their website:

“They broke everything but her spirit. They took everything but her dream. NOBLE, the award-winning feature film, is the incredible true story of a fearless Irish heroine driven by her daring vision to escape the slums of Ireland and risk everything on the streets of Vietnam.

Winner of six U.S. film festival awards, including the Panavision Spirit Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, the powerful biopic drama written and directed by Stephen Bradley is heralded by critics as “raw and genuinely powerful,” “captivating” and “moving.” The Hollywood Reporter calls it “a joyful and rousing affirmation of the human spirit that will resound widely.”

With great affection, as always,

Rebekah M. Clark

A Gift To Say I Love You For Her

This shop for a gorgeous Anne Klein Box Set to tell a very special lady in my life that I love her has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #StyleMyHoliday #CollectiveBias

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Most years pass by with a nice, even mix of highs and lows. Then there are some very few, but very precious, years that are absolutely wonderful and when you look back you see only blessing and joy. Then there are other years that are just absolutely, completely difficult and filled with challenges and trials, one right after another. As I’ve shared before 2011 was one of those really difficult years for me, and unfortunately 2015 has been one of those years for my parents.

The story of why this year has been so hard for them could last for pages. However, for the sake of time, and wanting to focus on the positives rather than the bad, I will boil this terrible year down immensely by saying that they’ve faced everything from a multitude of difficult surgeries for themselves and my Grandma, to the decision to have to place my Grandma in a nursing home, to my dad being fired because of slander after working at the same company for over 30 years.

Yes, 2015 has been a very, very rotten year for my poor parents.

Continue reading “A Gift To Say I Love You For Her”

The Perfect Gift For the Photography Lover In Your Life

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If you’ve been around as a reader for awhile, you know that Brittany of Coast 2 Coast Crafts is totally awesome! Today she’s letting me check out another of her amazing items and give one away to you as well. How cool is that?

Just to jog your memory or for those of you who are new around here, I first introduced Brittany in her guest post on How To Make a Fabric Wreath, which is still one of my top posts through search and on Pinterest! Since then we’ve partnered together to do a few reviews and giveaways, and most recently I shared How To Be The Best Tooth Fairy Ever which included getting her beyond adorable Tooth Pillows for those lost teeth!

Continue reading “The Perfect Gift For the Photography Lover In Your Life”

The Perfect Gift For Him (That Hard To Buy for Guy)

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

Not to toot my own horn…

(don’t you just love it when statements start like that, you know the person is about to do whatever they claim they’re not doing? But back to what I was saying)

Continue reading “The Perfect Gift For Him (That Hard To Buy for Guy)”

Do A Little Extra For Someone Special This Christmas

This shop and post about doing a little Extra has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser Extra Gum. All opinions are mine alone. #ExtraGumMoments #CollectiveBias

It’s the season of giving!! One of my favorite things about this time of year is being able to give back to those in my life who give so much all year long. This year I wanted to make sure to take some time to really give some Extra special gifts to an extra special person in my life–my mom!

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The Perfect Portable Gift For the Guy In Your Life

This shop about a Wireless Bluetooth Portable Speakerphone with rechargeable battery life has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GiftingAudio #CollectiveBias

I’ve mentioned before how difficult the guys in my life are to shop for! They’re the kind who when they want something, they go out and buy it! So when the time of year rolls around I have the women bought for months in advance and I’m still scratching my heads as to what I should get the guys!

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Three DIY Sugar Scrub Recipes

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser a Palmolive that is tough on grease soft on hands. All opinions are mine alone. #Palmolive25ways #CollectiveBias

 

Lately I’ve becoming somewhat obsessed with DIY Sugar Scrubs! In fact, I have an entire pinboard dedicated to them called Scrub-a-Dub Dub after making several of them I realized that they are super easy and inexpensive to make–if you use the “secret ingredient” many of the recipes call for. I’ll give you a hint–it’s one of the many uses of dish soap!

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Because You Can’t Go Wrong with Flowers – the Bouqs co.

Because You Can't Go Wrong with Flowers - the Bouqs co.
Legalese Nonsense: I get pretty flowers, you get to look at pretty flowers, I get to tell you about a great company, you get to save money, and if you buy I get a little bit of money. Sound good?

Fresher flowers. Fewer dollars.

Recently I gave a lot of ideas for Zero Clutter Gift Ideas.  Another amazing no clutter gift idea is — you guessed it — flowers! Now, like I mentioned with all those other ideas, there might be the very, very occasional oddball woman who *gasp* actually might not like flowers. Most of us, however, swoon when we receive them as gifts, and we don’t get them nearly enough!!

Find out what kind of flowers the woman in your life loves! I’m a roses girl all the way, one of my besties, however, would much rather have other kinds of flowers.  Get to know the lady in your life and what she’d prefer!

I’m not just talking to the guys here either!!! As a girl I’ve given flowers to the other ladies in my life countless times! the latest example is when I got my mother-in-law the bouquet pictured above last week for her birthday. Flowers can be a totally appropriate gift from a woman to their Mom, Mom-in-Law, best friend, sister, the list goes on!

Continue reading “Because You Can’t Go Wrong with Flowers – the Bouqs co.”