Happy Monday!

I’m having to type this little post using my iPad, so it will be picture-free. Boring!

1. I have to wish my beautiful mother a very happy birthday! I am so fortunate to have a mom that I love and respect so much. I just love spending time with her. I wish we could see each other more often, but our visits are that much sweeter because they’re less frequent. TC, Hudson, Hayes and I love you so much, KK! We are so thankful for you and all you do for us. Happy birthday to you!

2. The Holiday Market decorating process started yesterday. I love my committee so much. These girls are so creative and have done such an amazing job. I love seeing all of the ideas come to fruition. In a couple of days, we’ll be all set for the opening of the market!

My hands and nails are in rough shape! I look like I’ve been tying bows, making wreaths and decorating trees for days!

3. Today is Cyber Monday and my friend, The Monogram Chick, is hosting her biggest sale of the year today! Save 15% when you use the code: CYBER2011

It’s a great opportunity to stock up on those straw tumblers that I love so much. These make such a great stocking stuffer!

4. I managed to get our tree and part of our house decorated on Friday. My goal was to finish it before I started decorating for Holiday Market (because I knew I wouldn’t want to do it after) and we did it! TC is such great help when we put up our tree!

5. We have an artificial tree. To get that fresh Christmas tree smell, I love the Thymes Frasier Fir candles and reed diffusers. It smells amazing and smells like there’s a real tree in the house.

6. It’s 80 degrees here today and will be in the 50s on Tuesday. No wonder we’re all sick!

7. It’s not even December 1 and TC and I are already coming up with/committing(??) to New Year’s resolutions and goals.

8. My husband hates egg nog, even though he has never actually tasted it. I love it. Love egg nog, egg nog ice cream, egg nog lattes. I love egg nog. Anyone else?

I may be a little absent from the blog this week with all that we have going on. I hope you all have a very happy Thanksgiving and are off to a good start with your week! Christmas is here!

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‘Tis the Season for Traditions!

Thanksgiving Day was truly wonderful in our family, and I feel so fortunate and grateful to have been able to spend it with so many people I love.

When Santa Claus made his way into Herald Square on 34th Street during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade yesterday morning, the Christmas season was officially here!

The reason I have already finished all of my shopping is because I want to be able to make the most of every single day this month with my family. I want fewer obligations and more time for fun and memories!

Many of you are looking for new traditions with your young family. A young marriage, a new baby or just an aspiration to do more things together as a family this holiday season, you may be looking for some options for fun family traditions that you and your family can observe.

Nina and I have partnered, once again, with talented designer Kelly Ashworth, to bring you our list of ideas for Christmas family traditions.

One of my favorite Christmas traditions has always been that my family eats gumbo on Christmas Eve when we get home from the Christmas Eve church service. I love that it’s our “signature” dish for Christmas Eve and it’s untraditional, while being our family’s tradition.

If you’re looking for fun new traditions, I hope that our list of 25 traditions to adopt into your family inspires you!

To download and print your copy of this list, just click here!

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Online Shopping Ideas and Discounts!

If you’re like me and don’t plan to leave your house to shop today/this week for whatever reason (my main reason is because I don’t want to get my boys out with all the crowds), I’ve put together a little list of fun items you may or may not have heard of that you get from the comfort of your sofa. Shop while you watch your favorite Christmas movie and sip a warm beverage!

We have our family pictures today and then I’ll be working on putting up my tree while we watch Christmas favorites on DVD. Check out these fun ideas for the people on your list!

Little Passports

With promo code TURKEY15, customers receive 15% off ANY AND ALL Little Passports subscriptions. The code is active now through midnight on Cyber Monday (11/28).

One of my absolute favorite ideas this year for the kid in your life is Little Passports. It is so unique, so original and can’t be found in any store!

Nina and I both discovered it a few months ago and have been both talking about how great this gift would be for so many kids that we know!

Little Passports is a child’s ticket to a global adventure. Kids can learn about different cultures, geography, history and new language all through Little Passports! It is set up like a subscription and the gift recipient will receive a package every month with that month’s destination included! The package includes a letter from “Sam and Sofia” describing their adventures in that country, souvenirs, and an online code so the gift recipient can get online and play games related to that country and adventure.

There are lots of different packages to choose from and they start at $10.95 per month.

Don’t forget to use code TURKEY15 for 15% off any Little Passports subscription!

Minted.

You can still order your holiday cards from the best around! And through Sunday, November 27, Minted is having a major promotion! Shop Minted’s 2011 Holiday Card Collection!

Enjoy 20% off holiday card orders of $150+ with code 20THANKS

Get 15% off holiday card orders of $100+ with code 15THANKS

Tiny Prints and Erin Condren

Tiny Prints has some incredible deals and discount codes this week! These offers end at 11:59 p.m. on November 26! Hurry! The best part is that all of these codes are stackable!

BFHOL25:  Sitewide Sale 20% off $75+ or 25% off $175+ and free shipping on top of that!

DOD20GS:  20% off Photo gifts and wall art
DOD20SP: 20% off stamps and embossers
DOD15NB: 15% off custom notebooks
DOD10EC: 10% off Erin Condren Life planners, monthly notebooks, notepads, wedding planners.

Cookbook Marketplace

I’ve mentioned many times before that my absolute favorite cookbooks in my collection are the cookbook compilations from Junior Leagues across the United States– specifically the South! They have the best recipes that I make over and over again. This is where I first got Bow Tie Fiesta! My mom has cooked out of these cookbooks for years and now I’m building up my own little collection and have over 30 Junior League cookbooks in my cabinet!

I have such a great deal to share with you! Cookbook Marketplace is the biggest retailer for the Junior League cookbooks (and many other cookbooks). They are offering all Blue-Eyed Bride readers 50% off their entire inventory with a special code!

Enter BEB-HOLIDAY until the end of December for 50% off all cookbooks at Cookbook Marketplace! Order by December 15 to ensure Christmas delivery!

A Southern Accent

My blog friend, Wendy, has the cutest little Etsy shop you’ve ever seen! And this month… this is so awesome… one of her designs was featured in the Southern Living (the actual magazine, people) holiday gift guide! I could not be more proud of her! Her Etsy shop sells her digital prints and this one is just $6.00! In a fun little frame, it would be the most darling gift for any friend or family member!

image via A Southern Accent

Yoyo.com

I recently discovered Yoyo.com (a subsidiary of Diapers.com) and absolutely love it! It is like a one-stop shop for toys and kids items.

Today, Yoyo.com, Diapers.com, Soap.com, and Wag.com are having a “Battle of the Brands” and those winning brands are all 30% off with code 30BATTLE.

I was able to find every single thing I wanted for Hudson and Hayes from Yoyo.com and I was able to get 1% cash back on Ebates!

Ebates.com

Speaking of Ebates, if you aren’t signed up yet, you need to be! Do not make a Black Friday purchase online (or Cyber Monday purchase) without going through Ebates first. Right now, Sephora is offering 10% cash back, Kodak Gallery is offer 15% cash back and Snap Fish is offering 20% cash back– but only through Ebates!

Don’t forget, the Lulu McGee Christmas and Winter designs are on her website! Enter code BLUEEYEDBRIDE11 for 10% off your order until November 30!

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Blessings

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! What a special day. While it’s not always our nature to remember to be overwhelmingly thankful and full of gratitude every day of the year, this is a day where we can pause and be intentionally thankful for things big and small.

This has been a very special year for us. When I pause to think of all the things I am grateful for, a lot of wonderful things come to mind. This year, our precious Hayes stands out to me. I’m also so thankful of the little boy Hudson is becoming and I’m so thankful to have the privilege of being his mother. And I’m mostly grateful for my supportive, loving, kind, thoughtful husband who impresses me, makes me laugh and makes me feel completely loved every single day.

I’m thankful for loving, generous parents and parents in-law who support us with their wisdom and provide an excellent example of marriage for us.

I also know that there have been things that have happened this year and throughout my life that don’t bring wonderful memories to mind. And I know that there are many of you who may be struggling today with loss, sickness, death, unemployment, hurt, anger, etc.

This is one of my favorite songs. It’s called “Blessings” by Laura Story. It is a beautiful reminder to be thankful through the storms and trials just as we are thankful for the obvious blessings.

I hope where ever you are today, you are with people you love and you are feasting and celebrating the blessings in your life.

Today, I’m thanking God for the opportunity to just pass through and get to experience this beautiful world he created with the people I love.

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It’s not our home

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

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