Hot Mama Designs Discount Code

Do you remember the review I did from Hot Mama Designs right before Tyler was born? I still love their products so I wanted to share this update and special code with you!

 Shannon Sunderland & Sahra Cahoon form the dynamic duo of Hot Mama Designs.  Hot Mama Designs rejoices in celebrating motherhood, family and the one-of-a-kind feeling of the handmade object. Their inspiring designs are created to tell stories and celebrate life. Celebrate Family ~ Celebrate Motherhood ~ Celebrate You!
We rejoice in the art of metalsmithing!  As artists we are intrigued by the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, which is (loosely translated) the beauty of things that are unpretentious and unconventional. In our mass-produced world, our jewelry celebrates the one-of-a-kind feeling of the handmade object.
My Readers Get 20% any order of $100 or more.  Promo Code: mamalove226  #mamajewelry

These would make a wonderful Christmas gift to any Mom or Grandma on your list!

Nicole Elliott

Easy Christmas Decorations

Of course most people do the normal Christmas decorations of a tree, wreaths, and ornaments. It’s always fun to switch it up a little bit–so I wanted to throw some fun ideas of easy, unique Christmas decorations you can try!

We move knick knacks around but rarely do we switch out our art work for something related to the season. Why not turn a beautiful or funny Christmas photo to canvas from Easy Canvas Prints? It would be an easy, beautiful switch that dresses up your walls!

Another fun & easy idea would be to order a festive banner from that says Merry Christmas. Hang it up on Christmas Eve in the living room or kitchen as a fun surprise for the kids-or use it to dress up a basement or patio that might otherwise be lacking in Holiday cheer!

I’m also in love with this wreath! Simple and cheap enough that I could do it easily! We have a ton of extra ornaments that never make it on our tree because we don’t have enough room–now I know what to do with them!!

As you should know by now I get waaaaay too many magazines! So I fell in love with this super simple, super gorgeous craft that reuses old magazines and turns them into these gorgeous Christmas trees!

Happy Decorating!

Nicole Elliott

The Sparkle Box: A Gift with the Power To Change Christmas

Holiday Gift Guide
The Sparkle Box

I’ve been sharing lately how much I adore Christmas and all that it includes and represents. I’ve also shared, however, that I am saddened when I see the over commercialization, greed, and wrong mindsets that it can represent. Now–don’t get me wrong–I’m all for presents, for buying great products from wonderful companies–I’m hosting a gift guide for goodness sake! But if you’re doing it to fuel your child’s “gimme gimme gimme” attitude or going into credit card debt to do so then something is wrong and you need to take a step back.

I loved reading The Sparkle Box: A Gift with the Power to Change Christmasto Amber. It’s designed for children ages 4-8 and it really fit her perfectly! This touching story is about a very special gift under the tree and how giving to others shows a child the true meaning of Christmas.

Sparkle Box

 During the Christmas season Sam (the little boy) family focuses on all the fun of Christmas–but also focuses deeply on giving to others without. On Christmas morning Sam gets to open the sparkle box to discover pieces of paper listing all the acts of kindness they preformed throughout the season of joy. His mom explains that the Sparkle Box was the families gift to Jesus on his birthday.

The book also contains a Sparkle Box for you-you can see Amber holding ours up above! I’m excited to fill it with our acts of kindness–like filling up a Operation Christmas Child Box!

Though designed for children–what a great concept this carries for adults as well–how many scraps of paper will you be able to put in this year? What are you doing for Jesus during his special season of the year??!!

A wonderful book destined to become a classic–I think everyone needs a copy of The Sparkle Box don’t just take my word for it though–go read the Amazon reviews-5 stars so far!

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Nicole Elliott

Photos Book from Shutterfly

Photos Book

 I adore Shutterfly Photo Books! In addition to using them to print out my hundreds of digital scrapbook pages  they also make amazing Christmas Gifts! I made this 8×8 Photo Book last year for my Mom-in-Law as a Christmas present of our month stay in Texas while hubby was deployed. She absolutely adores it and it wasn’t hard to make at all! Just pick the layouts you want & drag and drop!

One of my favorite things is that I take SO many pictures that multi-pic layouts are a must for me–Shutterfly definitely delivers and I was able to make pages like the ones above to fit in the 100 pictures we took at the Rose Gardens!

Watch Shutterfly Photo Books: The Best Gift Ever

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Nicole Elliott

Hillsong We Have a Savior Christmas CD Giveaway

Holiday Gift Guide
Hillsong We Have a Savior

Can one have too much Christmas music? I love to fill my house & my car with all my different CDs each December–that way I can hear them all and not get tired of any of them! Hillsong has a fun new Christmas CD — We Have a Savior . Look for my review soon–and in the mean time go listen to them on Amazonand read the reviews there– 4 1/2 stars so far!

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Nicole Elliott

Jeremy Camp Christmas: God With Us

 I just love Christmas music! As soon as Thanksgiving is over and our decorations go up I’m listening to it everywhere!

As you might remember I have always like Jeremy’s music and became even more of a fan when I read his book I Still Believe. My favorite Christmas CDs to listen to are ones that are fun, upbeat, and a have traditional songs with a twist-so I figured Jeremy Camp’s CD Christmas: God With Us would be right up my alley!

Sure enough I was right! Short and sweet Christmas: God With Us contains only 10 tracks.  I love the fact that it includes great traditional yet often overlooked songs like Hark The Herald Angel Sings and O Come O Come Emmanuel. His version of Joy to the World is one of the best I’ve ever heard as he takes the classic favorite hymn and adds beautiful Scripture based lyrics to it. He also includes Mary Did You Know–one of my favorite Christmas Songs!

The only thing about the album I would change is the first track–can we please all sign a petition for no one to ever sing “Jingle Bell Rock” ever again? Because really-it seems like EVERYONE sings it and I really get tired of after hearing it *one* time each year.

All in all this CD is a gem and at $10 it’s also a steal! Listen to the songs on Amazon to hear for yourself and check out the rating-so far it has 5 stars!

Nicole Elliott

Family Christmas Picture ~ Little Card Company

I do all our family photography including our Family Christmas Picture. Of course that means that I’m not usually *in* it–but as hubby is camera shy I’ve found that it’s just easier on everyone if we just do pictures of the kids for it!

TIP: Read my How to Take Great Pictures of Your Kids Part One and Part Two to see how I get shots like these!

Family Christmas Picture

These two pictures are some of my all time favorites that I’ve ever taken of the kids!! And it’s obvious because I’m using them on *everything* present wise this year (as you’ll see over the next few weeks!) And really–with kids *this* cute can you blame me??!!

The main reason I take family Christmas pictures, however, is for our Christmas cards! While I feel like sending cards out is a dying art it’s one that I fiercely try to keep alive! With how often we move around I love sending out a photo Christmas card and letter each year to let everyone know how we’re doing.

This year I was sent our cards from the very amazing Little Card Company. I *love* this company as they really embody all the values that I love and they have amazing, unique, high quality products–win, win, win!

Photo Christmas Card

Our cards arrived yesterday and I am SO happy with them! This year I decided to go with a flat 5×7 photo Christmas Card. I totally *love* this one because I didn’t think I would be able to find a card that matched the pink in Amber’s outfit and the kid look so joyful in it that the saying was just perfect–and I figure that since it’s not super “Christmas-y” looking  and a frame size people can put it up as a picture of the kiddos to keep up year round (since I’ve been a bad girl and been awful about sending out pictures to everyone this year–whoops!) If you like a more traditional look or feel though that’s not a problem–with 102 Christmas designs to choose from you’re sure to find a dozen at least one you love too! Since they’re a Christian company there are many that also have Bible verses which I love– it was so hard to choose–good thing there’s always next year!

The thing that I love the most about these Christmas cards is that they’re printed on 100 lb cardstock. Unlike the flimsy photo paper that most companies print their flat cards on these are heavy duty and quality-I really am so impressed with them! Now to start getting all 75 of them ready to send out!

TIP: Take a few minutes and type up your Christmas list into address labels using a fancy font. Each year after you’ll only have to take a few seconds to change address or add a few new in and hit print! HUGE time saver!

Get FREE Shipping on orders of 50 cards or more. Use discount code: 50CARDFS

One Lucky Winner will receive this bundle of Christmas Cheer from The Little Card Company which includes:

• Small, branded reusable bag.
• One pack of our newest Thank You notes
• One pack of our NEW Share A Scripture cards
• One pack of our NEW Fruit of the Spirit Scripture cards
•A $10 gift certificate for use on our site

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Nicole Elliott

Holiday Memories with Hickory Farms

Christmas Gift Guide

 Some of my  best memories from growing up revolved around Christmas-especially Christmas Eve. Each year we had the exact same agenda–first we’d attend the Candle Light Christmas Eve service at church, then it was off to squeeze far too many people into far too tight a space at my Grandparents house.

Family Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve 2008 — last time we had a big family Christmas Eve

There was always lots of laughter, silliness, presents, singing, Bible reading (the Christmas story ), and –of course–food! (My Grandma is 100% Italian–so we have a love of eating and being loud and crazy that runs throughout the family).

Romero sisters
Me (as a red head), Amber as a baby, & my sister Hannah

 While there were always the sweeter goodies the most popular snacks were usually platters from Hickory Farms–I don’t think there was a single one of us who didn’t love their Beef Summer Sausage & cheeses! A few years ago after I was “all growed up” and moved away my Grandparents sent me a Hickory Farms box for Christmas–it made me smile as it brought back many Christmas Eve Memories!

Hickory Farms

These days Christmas has radically changed for me as I have our my own little family and what was once my immediate family is now the extended family and the extended family–well, if we were all able to manage to get completely together for a holiday I don’t think we’d find any house big enough to fit us!

One of the things that hasn’t changed is Hickory Farms involvement in my holidays–time and time again over the years I’ve purchased it as a present–for my dad, my grandparents, my in-laws, a gift exchange. It’s the perfect gift to give someone you have no idea what to give–because everyone likes Hickory Farms–right??!! 

Hickory Farms  Home for the Holidays Gift Box

Hickory Farms is also the perfect military gift–their amazing new Home for the Holidays Gift Box includes all the best of Hickory Farms–sausage, crackers, cheeses, mustard & more! Best of all it ships for FREE free to APO/FPO addresses worldwide. If you’ve had a loved one deployed or living over seas you realize what a HUGE deal this is! It warmed my heart to know that a company that I have fond memories associated with is founded on great, gracious principles like supporting our military! 

Not to mention I can’t wait to devore this gift box–I’m giving it as a family gift but you better believe I’ll be mooching a little (hey it’s one of those kinds of gifts!)

Hickory Farms  Home for the Holidays Gift Box

Do you have any special holiday memories that involve food or any really cool traditions? Please leave me a comment and let me know what they were/are!

Just in time for the holidays one lucky reader will win a  Home for the Holidays Gift Box of their own!

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Nicole Elliott

Ideas For College Students

As you might remember my hubby will be going back to college beginning in January.  We recently just attended his orientation so since I have college on the brain I decided to share this Idea for College Student Christmas gift.

 When people are back in school a practical gift is a great idea because finances are sure to be tight and anything that helps ease that up will definitely be appreciated! I hate giving gifts that aren’t at least a little bit of fun, however! That’s why I came up with the idea to make a “Ace The Exam Kit” as a Christmas present which includes:

  • C-Line Expanding File with Handles — super sleek way to keep important papers from all their different classes organized in a convenient, non-bulky way–super important in small dorm rooms!
  • C-line Bound Sheet Protector Presentation Bookthe best way to make a good impression on essays or finals is to bring the paper in a stylish presentation book–it would also be great to use to organize a cover letter and resume to bring to a job interview!
  • Stainless Steel Thermos — a must for all the coffee that will need to be consumed! Make this kit even cuter by adding a Starbucks gift card!
  • Bic Mark-It Permanent Markers – great for displays or doodling the 36 set is useful for all kinds of things!

To make the gift even more fun try giving it in a laundry basket with a few new towels and pre-made goodies. You can add a “loofa bow” like I did on my homemade Christmas Gift. A homemade card saying what each item is for and giving study tips would top it all off!
Do you have a great Christmas Gift for College Students Idea? Share it or link it in the comments!

Thanks to your one stop shop for all office supplies for providing me with two of these products!
Nicole Elliott