Pay It Forward (You’ll be glad you did) and #GiftOutsidetheBox

Pay It Forward (You’ll be glad you did) and #GiftOutsidetheBox

Sponsored by @SavingsBankLife

What: Are you planning on giving back this holiday season? While doing good deeds is a great idea all year, the spirit of the holiday season gives us even more inspiration to pay it forward. In this season of rushing around, buying presents, getting together with family and friends (all good things but what a busy time of year), it would be nice to take a step back and reflect. Some people donate time, toys, gifts, and there is no shortage of things you can do to help others. What makes you happy? What can you do to share that joy, not just of the season but year round? All the more reason to pay it forward and here’s one way you can do just that.

Join me for a Twitter party tomorrow from 1-2pm (EST) with the hashtag #GiftOutsidetheBox

Paying it forward means to perform an act of kindness without expecting anything in return, other than the person receiving the act of kindness doing something nice for someone else. It’s a simple, powerful concept that can change the lives of others and make us feel great. Doing something nice for a friend, neighbor, or even a complete stranger also makes you happier and less stressed – and we all need that during this hectic time of year.

What: Join SBLI and Charley Johnson, President of the Pay it Forward Foundation, for a Twitter party to share tips and ideas for how we can pay it forward this holiday season. We’ll also be talking about how you can get the whole family involved in paying it forward, and how to teach your kids the importance of spreading kindness.

When: Wednesday, December 10, at 1 p.m. ET (the party will last one hour)

Where: We’ll be on Twitter – follow the #GiftOutsidetheBox hashtag to track the conversation. You can see the details and RSVP via this Vite:

Hashtag: #GiftOutsidetheBox

Prizes: We will be giving away five prizes to randomly selected winners. Five winners who answer trivia questions during the party will receive $50 VISA gift cards, and a Pay it Forward bracelet!

Thanks to our hosts: @SavingsBankLife and @charleypif of @PayItForward

I’m looking forward to some year round inspiration!

Here are some links where you can learn more about it.

Pay it Forward Foundation Website:

Pay it Forward Foundation Facebook page:

SBLI Website:

SBLI Facebook:

Join me and my fellow co-hosts:

Danielle, Simmworks:  @simmworksfamily

Dawn, Homemaking Hacks: @dawnchats

Gena, Life with Captain Fussybuckets: @cptfussybuckets

Jamie, Roubinek Reality: @jmroubinek

Kristin, Exploring Domesticity: @ExpDomesticity

Leila, Life as Leels: @LifeasLeels

Melissa, Outnumbered 3-1: @OutnumberedMama

Shauna, Adventures of 8: adventuresof8

Tessa, 2 Wired 2 Tired: @2Wired2Tired

This is a sponsored post and I have chosen to donate a portion of my sponsorship to help families in need. Here are a few ideas from my fellow bloggers friends – there are good people helping other people out all over the place – you just have to look and listen.

Help a Mom and her three kids from Julie Maida at Sober Mommies

Support a Family in Need this Holiday Season from Alexandra Elizabeth

help out a family payitforward





Newton is running their anuual food drive and partnering with Lawrence, MA – There are many locations where you can drop off donations – here is the Auburndale Community Library’s information

Once again this year, the ACL will be a collection depot for the Newton Food Drive.  There is a vital need for donations in our city–Newton has 4 food pantries serving over 1200 residents monthly.  The following items are currently sought:

  • Bar soap
  • Toothpaste
  • Toilet paper
  • Vegetable oil
  • Canned fruit
  • Canned vegetables
  • Jar pasta sauce
  • Peanut butter & jelly/jam
  • Ground coffee & tea
  • Cake and pie crust mixes
  • Baby food
  • Juice boxes and bottles
  • Diapers: children and adult
We’re collecting items for the Newton Food Drive
The ACL is also seeking volunteers to help transport our donations to City Hall for sorting and distribution at 9:45 am on New Years Eve Day (Wednesday December 31).  Please contact Dana if you’d like to lend a hand and we’ll get you more information (families welcome–this a great opportunity to involve the kids in community service!).


Gift guide for Teens from

Gift guide for Teens from (you know you could use the help getting ready for the holidays)

I like to shop, bargain shop if the truth be told, anyone can just shop, but shopping with the clear purpose of getting great stuff and saving money – well, that’s how I have to shop – it’s part of my imprint now and no small source of pride, and while I am able to thank you if you like an article of my clothing, more than likely I will include the story of the deal I got on it. I’m working on just saying ‘thank you’. I’ll let you know how that’s going.

When I attended a event this fall and learned a bit about this local company (and their free shipping and return policy), the more I learned, the more I liked them. So when Style Expert Courtney Barry at offered some suggestions for a teen gift guide, I was happy to test drive it past my in-house team of very discerning teens (my nieces and daughters). 

Here’s a look at what Courtney came up with and is teen approved:

Every sporty girls needs a pair of flashy kicks that they can rock both in the classroom and on the field. Brands like New Balance and Asics offer sneakers that will give your teen the best of both worlds in terms of style and performance, while Marmot, Patagonia and Prana offer some great active-wear clothing options that your teen will be sure to love:

Sporty? Can’t go wrong with some cute sneakers, some leggings and an athletic top.



Is your teen a bit more glamorous?

For your fashionista, stick to colorful prints and metallics this holiday season. A great pair of leopard flats can add a touch of glam to any outfit, while a bright and flashy metallic bag or jacket can bring the perfect amount of shine to a dreary snow day.



If your teen has an edgier style, try a darker combat boot, an army green jacket or a great black leather bag. These options are great for casual days in, but can also be dressed up for a night out on the weekend.


For your timeless teen, chic simplicity should be key! Consider a beautiful pair of ballet flats or a cozy neutral sweater this holiday season to give them a classic look that will never go out of style.


So far, my in-house team panel has voted yes Sporty, Classic and Glamorous with a smattering from the Edgy category. has terrific sales and private sales events. I got a Patagonia jacket for 40% off the regular price. Now that’s how I like to shop!

Find them on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

The Events Page (it’s free to join and you hear about the private sales).

Disclosure: I was given a gift card to to facilitate this post. #sponsored

Taking Temperatures with a No Touch Forehead Thermometer

Taking Temperatures with a No Touch Forehead Thermometer from Braun

When your children are sick, it’s not just about managing their symptoms and getting them well, it’s also dealing with, um, shall we say, heightened preferences – everyone is a little more particular when they’re under the weather. Some kids resist taking spit back up medicine, and taking temperatures, while critical, is another not fun sick-time activity. How to make it easy on everyone is something the engineers at Braun have figured out which is good, as we could all use the help.

As a disclosure of my ineptitude at any given time, there are three thermometers in our house – the “good one” and two back up which are possibly either mildly or wildly inaccurate (why don’t I just throw them away? Maybe is the next great clean out I will).

You may already know Braun as the gold standard for forehead thermometers (so easy and reliable) and now they have a new technology that lets you take a temperature with a no touch forehead thermometer, and the sound can even be turned off (yes, I have been known to take a temperature or two in the middle of the night). Easy to use and intuitive – nice if you’re like me and don’t like to read instructions.

Recently I attended a promotional lunch at one of our family’s favorite places, Henrietta’s Table, to learn more about this new innovation and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was and accurate. I took the temperature of my table-mates (I’m fun like that), so thank you, Lollie, for letting me test this on you.

As a wonderful connection to healthy fall cooking, we all trailed into the kitchen to get some tips from chef Peter Davis. Fresh, gorgeous vegetables, amazing food and great conversation. What a lovely day! I have already made the Roasted Pumpkin Soup and while it was gorgeous, I did not add the cream the recipe called for (optional), and wish I had.

Disclaimer: We had a lovely lunch and I received a goodie bag from this event. All opinions are, as always, my own.

Hood® Sour Cream Meal Makeover Google+ Hangout

Hood® Sour Cream Meal Makeover Google+ Hangout

Hangout with Sarah Walker Caron, Writer, Editor, Recipe Developer and Blogger at Sarah’s Cucina Bella on Friday, October 24th (that’s today!) from 3-3:30 EST while she makes over two classic recipes with Hood Sour Cream from the #HoodMealMakeover series.

I’ll be there, too! A great way to end a busy week and get some new ideas for meals your family will love!

965 HoodSC MealMake Invite_HiRes

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