Top Ten Tuesday: The Stuff I Carry With Me

For this week’s Top Ten, I decided to combine the countdown with something else that has been requested:  a new vlog.

So not only am I counting down what it is that carry around with me in my purse?  But I am doing it on video.  And yes, I made my bed just for this video so you guys wouldn’t see my inner slob.  You’re welcome.

What do you carry everywhere?

Superfudge and other Christmas Miracles

I polled the audience and it seems that you would all like to see my ridiculousness try to make fudge.

And of course I had to name this post “Superfudge” because Lisa told me to, and she and I share a love of Judy Blume, She-ra, and side ponytails (which I am rocking in this vlog, by the way).

So.  Here is my vlog on my attempt at making my dad’s fudge.

Oh…wait.  first I should set it up for you.

This was what happened last year (in case you forgot):

fudgey turd pile

in years before that?  It hasn’t even set up.  We have used it as chocolate syrup for ice cream.  Last year?  It overly set up.  Sigh…

On to this year! Ok, first I prepped everything:

gathered my supplies

propped up my camera precariously on popcorn tin, Eddie's blocks, and Sandra Boynton books

and then?  the vlog:

Eddie and me sampling the goods

yeah, it actually turned out.  I couldn’t believe it.  I was containing my excitement about this on camera for fear I would look even sillier, but I was way excited.

Also?  This post is titled “and other Christmas Miracles” because guess what…BONUS VIDEO FOR YOU!

If my fudge turning out for the first time in EVER wasn’t the best thing?  We got a package today from one Miranda.  It had a cute Christmas card and a little something she just “whipped” up to give Eddie from her Joshua.

What a great day!!!  Fudge and crayons!!!  Seriously…how does it get better than this?

Top Ten Tuesdays: Top Ten Things on my Christmas List: Internet Edition

This is the time of year when everyone is making their Wish Lists for the holidays.  Well, it’s the time of year when my whole family (both sides) demand lists from each other so we can find just the perfect thing to make each other smile.

And to make shopping a little easier for them, I have compiled this lovely list of the Top Ten things I have been drooling over have added to my Christmas list this year thanks to the lovely internets.

This list could also help YOU get ideas for YOUR list…or find something perfect for someone ON your list.  Pay attention…some of these little shops?  Have discounts just for your holiday shopping!!

10. “you are my sunshine” necklace – The Vintage Pearl

I have wanted this adorable little necklace since the first moment I ever landed on The Vintage Pearl’s site.  I know I am not the only momma who sings this song regularly to her little guy or gal. I “like” them on facebook, so I am always reminded of how cute this jewelry would look around my neck.

The extra bonus is that Eddie’s birthstone is a pearl, so how perfect would this be with his little name on it?

9. Holiday Body Butter Trio – Pink Bow Bath Boutique

A few months ago I won a tiny tub of Pear Vanilla body butter from Pink Bow Bath Boutique in a blog giveaway.  I fell in love…hard.  I went ahead and “liked” them on facebook, and have been drooling over all the updates on new scents ever since.

This body butter is not overly thick like some I have come across in the past, but it is rich and soft and leaves me with a faint (not over-powering) yummy smell all day…and soft skin!  And my little tub?  Is almost empty!  I need more!

8. Jewelry Hangers – The j.a.r. collection

I have been looking for a good way to hang up all my necklaces that are too long for my jewelry box for some time.  Right now they are a jumbled mess on a candle sconce on the wall.  Not very attractive.  Or functional. So I searched etsy for a million hours short time and found the j.a.r. collection.  I think they are fairly new since I am the third person to like them on facebook, but the cute stuff in their shop?  AWESOME.

These beautiful art pieced that also have hooks for jewelry?  PERFECTION!  We have dark blue walls with white trim in our bedroom and we have accented with primary colors.  These would not only LOOK great, but my jewelry wouldn’t be a clumped mess.  I need want them.

7. Hostess Apron – Phase Three

We don’t do a ton of entertaining, but when we do, I like to look cute.  I remember my Grandma Riemersma always had a hostess apron that she would wear on Thanksgiving and Christmas…one that was a little prettier and more special than her every day ones.   I have plenty of the traditional aprons to help me stay clean while cooking and baking, but I want something cute to put on when people are here.

So I poked around the old etsy and found Phase Three. Oh my word.  It was so hard to choose which apron I loved best. I decided to put the chicken print on my list because it sort of matches our kitchen/dining area colors and I like the the kitschy-ness of it having chickens on it.  Reminds me of my grandma.

6. Hand Knit Hat – Pixiebell

I am in need of a new hat for winter.  But I am sort of particular.  I already have a fig colored scarf with matching fingerless gloves (with a mitten flap) that I love, but no matching hat.  So again, I turned to etsy and asked around on twitter and lo and behold, I was sent to pixiebell.

I fell in love with this knit hat with the visor.  It is slouchy enough not to mess up my hair, but it’s big enough to keep my ears warm.  I love it.  I need it.

5. Rossette Frame – Peggy Ann Design

I am so freaking in love with Peggy Ann Design!  She makes the cutest frames EVER!  I “like” her on facebook just so I can get updates on new frames in her store.

I can ALWAYS use more frames…ALWAYS!  We are forever getting more photographs to put up, and I can’t bring myself to take many of the old ones down, so I just keep filling our space.

My favorite frames are unique ones that I know no one else has.  Unfortunately, I don’t have many of those.  But Peggy Ann Design has the cutest, most unique frames!  The red one above would be REALLY cute in either our living room or our downstairs family room.

And guess what?  Hannah (of Peggy Ann Designs) is so awesome (you can follow her on twitter, by the way), that she is offering YOU a discount for your holiday shopping!  Just enter SLUITER10 at checkout and receive 10% off! Frames are perfect for just about anyone…especially if you put a picture of your little one or your family in it!

4. Pretty Much Anything – Twenty Five Design

Torie of Twenty Five Design happens to be a fun friend AND a sponsor here in Sluiter Nation.  And I happen to love every single darn things she makes.

I own a couple of her headbands (although I always love more), but my recent obsession is this necklace which I WANT!

I would also REALLY like one of these little rosette rings in my stocking.  So cute!  Black is so versatile, but she also has other colors.  I’m not picky…I love them all!

And guess what!  Torie is offering my readers a discount for holiday shopping!!!  Yup, type in SLUITER10 at checkout and receive 10% off!

You can follow Torie on twitter and like Twenty Five Design on facebook, by the way!

3. Spiral Earring – Silversmyth

I met Julie on twitter and immediately fell in love with all the pictures she posted from her shop, Silversmyth.

She and I chatted about her beautiful work and before you knew it, I was ordering a custom-made ring with both mine and Cortney’s birthstones in it.  I love it.

Isn't this beautiful? Julie is so talented!

I always have a hard time finding earrings that I can wear because I have such sensitive earring holes.  I think I own three pairs that I can wear.  So this year, I would like these beautiful spiral lovlies!

And just so you can buy pretties for those on your list (or yourself!), Julie is offering readers a 10% discount!  Just type in SLUITER at checkout! So exciting!

2. Laptop Bag – Gussy

Not only is Maggie of Gussy Sews a fantastic designer/sewer, but she is a good friend! I found her shop via other bloggers, and quickly started following her on twitter, and “liked” her on facebook. After all that?  I found out she graduated from the high school where I teach!  She graduated the year before I started there!  What a small world!

Regardless of how I know her?  The girl’s got talent!  And I want in!  I have this laptop bag on my list–with a red ruffle–because my laptop, my mouse, and my ipod are all red.  It’s a matching thing.  Plus?  This bag?  I 100 times cuter than the boring leather thing I carry now.

And because Gussy is every shade of awesomesauce there is?  She is offering YOU a 15% discount on all YOUR Gussy needs (um…hello…she is offering STOCKINGS now!  Squee!!!!)  Just type in Sluiter15 at checkout for your discount! Everyone needs some Gussy for Christmas, don’t you think?

1. Small Hobo Camera Bag – Gypsy Rose Handbags

This is my love camera.  It is my most prized material possession.  Cortney and my parents chipped in and got it for me for my birthday this past March.  The only thing I don’t have?  A beautiful, safe way to carry it around.

Enter Gypsy Rose Handbags.  Everything in this shop is cute, but I think this small hobo bag is my favorite.  I actually like almost all the fabric choices, but this one would match my Gussy laptop bag (if I get it).  I found it incredibly hard to find a camera bag that I liked…until I found the Gypsy Rose Handbags shop!

This is definitely number one on my list because it’s what I actually need AND want the most this Christmas!

So what about it?  What are your top ten wishes from the internet?  Create a list and link up!  And don’t forget to go shopping with all your new discounts in hand!

Sponsor Highlight: m9 design

Remember how I said friends are awesome about support?

Yeah.  They so are.

This guy here today has been my friend for something like 15 years (good Lord that makes me feel old).

And he is pretty much a genius.

Mat is Cortney’s best friend and the brainchild behind m9 design.

m9 design is Mat’s freelance graphic design/painting business.

We have worked with Mat many, MANY times.

For one, he designed the header and button for this blog right here!  You like?

He also did this painting for us that hangs in our dining room:

It’s of the Public Market in Pike’s Place in Seattle.

We loved it so much, that each time one of our siblings got married?  We gifted them with a painting.

MacKenzie and Dave got Comerica Park (because they spend a LOT of time there!)

Mike and Ashley got the Chicago skyline (because that was their first trip together)

Cody and Liz got London (it was a big trip they took together as well)

Soon, Chris and Sarah will get to pick a painting!

Mat almost always works in acrylics on wood or board, but he can do canvas if requested.  His favorite size to work in is 2’x4′, but he can do any requested size as well.

So blog design and paintings…but wait!  that is not all!

Hey also does a lot of graphic design work…T-shirts are one we love!  He did this one for a fundraiser for MacKenzie and Dave’s adoption!

pssst.  if you like this shirt and you like to support adoption–specifically of Eddie’s cousins?  You can go here and purchase one to help the cause.


Personalized gifts make people happy for Christmas.

m9 design can help you.

Mat is currently located in Denver, CO, but will work out shipping costs with you.

He’s very nice and friendly.

So go check out his site and do some browsing!

Um…in case you haven’t heard?  Top Ten Tuesdays is Top Ten Christmas List Wishes: Internet Edition.  I really want you to hook up.  A) because I may just have some fun discounts to share with you and B) I want to know YOUR lists so I can steal some ideas.  You know you were thinking the same thing about my list.  See you Tuesday.

Sponsor Highlight: mL photography

Some of our biggest supporters are our friends.

Am I right here, people?

That is why I am so happy my lovely friend Missy and I can support each other.

I blog my face off and she snaps some pretty snazzy pictures.  It’s what we do.

Ok, “snazzy” might be an understatement; Missy happens to be a whirlwind of awesome behind her lens….

and my family may have been lucky enough to have her as our “personal” photographer…

…all the way from back when Eddie was just a bun baking away in my oven…and Louis was still an “only child”.

She has grown her little side project exponentially over the past couple years.

She knows just how to capture everyone’s unique personality in her photos so that no one has the same pictures on the walls.  In her words? “I ain’t no Olen Mills!”

Did I mention she’s funny?

And that she is amazing with little kids?

Somehow in the midst of what I think is a total photoshoot fail, she gets the perfect shot…

you would never know he was drooling, spitting up, and being all around uncooperative this WHOLE shoot, would you?

every. dang. time.

And just when I think she can’t get any better…she also offers Christmas cards!

(Sluiter Nation MAY have gotten this very design and MAY have them ready to mail already.)

I am so blessed to have her advertising here on my little bloggy blog!

And just in time for the holidays?  She has some specials for you…YES, YOU (well, you as in locals…or can make yourself locals).

Taken straight from the lovely photographer’s mouth…

“what  better than a fabulous photograph of your favorite people as a gift for Christmas?

Therefore,  through the end of November, gallery mounts, mini  mounts, canvas prints, circular prints, finished albums, wall  calendars, magnets,  collages, and styrene mounted prints are all 20%  off!”

You didn’t think that was it, did you?  Oh no…she has something BIG a’brewing too!

“[mL photography] is  so SO very grateful for amazing clients, friends, and family this past year. wowza. it has been incredible. therefore, in honor of all the fabulousness I have been blessed with, tis time to bestow some upon all  of YOU.

the big announcement is finally *here*..

beginning november 29, there will not be just *one* super…awesome christmas giveaway, but  *TWELVE DAYS*of them(!!), true ellen  degeneres style. MUCH more details to follow. dancing is definitely  necessary. and some serious happy laughter, too.”

Dudes.  This is big stuff.

Need more information?  Want to see more of her work?  OF COURSE YOU DO!  So go to her website and “like” her on facebook.  You don’t want to miss any of these fab giveaways!

Because pictures? Are a way to look at memories.  And memories make fabulous gifts.

Oh hey…Top Ten Tuesdays on Tuesday is Top Ten Christmas List Wishes: Internet Edition…don’t miss it…start YOUR list now so you can link up!  Because I may want to take your ideas and add them to my list.

Sponsor Highlight: Twenty-five Design

Again today I have a super sponsor to highlight for you!

The beautiful Torie–the creative genius behind Twenty-Five Design

Torie makes the absolute cutest hair accessories ever!

Torie and I met in the blogging and twitter world.  She has the most adorable little one-year old girl, Rylie, who I think Eddie would fall in love with if he ever met!

When Torie and I first starting chatting, I thought all she did was make baby bows.  Boy was I WRONG!

This past July, I was in a pickle with what to do with my hair for a wedding.  Torie popped up on twitter and saved the day!  She let me custom order one of her super sweet head bands that went perfectly with my outfit!

I STILL get a million compliments on this!

Besides the items in her shop, you can customize your order.  She offers “game day” headbands so you can look cute while you support your favorite team!

I have one in the Wyoming Park’s school colors!  I wore it to homecoming and I wear it on Fridays when I get all dolled up in school spirit!

Besides making headbands with her adorable rosettes, she makes a variety of other lovlies that I can’t wait to get my hands on.

How cute would this be to pull the wisps out of my face?  And I LOVE the color!

Ah!  And how cute is this ring?  I’ll tell you…it’s WAY cute!

And my absolute favorite in the shop right now are these beautiful necklaces!

I drool every time I stop by to “window shop” in her little Etsy Shop!

Twenty-Five Design is quickly becoming an up and comer in the Etsy world and I am so privileged that Torie has chosen to advertise with Sluiter Nation!

Everything in the Twenty-Five Design shop is perfect for a stocking stuffer for any lovely lady in your life.  So get on over there and start shopping!

Psst…Tune in for Top Ten Tuesdays…Twenty Five Design makes my list for my Top Ten Christmas List Items: Internet Edition…and she may just be offering YOU a little something to help YOUR Christmas shopping!

But go “window” shop now…so you can have YOUR list all ready to go for Top Ten Tuesdays!

Sponsor Highlight: Bird E Studios

Did you notice that Sluiter Nation now has some wonderful sponsors?  They are all over there in the right column of the blog!

And since the holiday shopping frenzy is coming up, I wanted to share with you why each of my sponsors can be the perfect fit for YOUR holiday shopping needs!

First I need to start by saying that I own products from each and every one of my sponsors that I have purchased myself.  I am super picky about who I want to advertise here.  They have to be “small” businesses that put out a product that I would use and love and that I think my readers would use and love.

So my first sponsor to jump on the Sluiter Nation blog?  Is Erika from Bird E Studios!
I met Erika via twitter and we became fast friends!  She even provided some super cute stuff for my Back To School Giveaway Bonanza.

Recently I must have won some sort of jackpot, because Erika agreed to come on board and sponsor Sluiter Nation!

Erika makes the uber-cute baby and doggie accessories over at Bird E Studios.  The first thing I fell in love with was her bibs.  I die of cute overload whenever I see them!

She sent Eddie this one:

She must have caught on that I am raising a rockstar 🙂

The bibs are a great size for a toddler.  I keep this one in my purse so he looks cute while eating out.  It’s got a front pouch (to catch rouge cheerios), and it has a terry-type back…super soft!

She also makes super cute stuff for moms!

How often have you pulled a diaper out of your purse or diaper bag and it was so mangled that you weren’t sure if it was going to stay on your sweet baby’s booty?

Erika sent me this lovely:

It is cute AND practical!  It keeps all of Eddie’s diapers nice and neat and in tact.  And?  I get compliments every time someone sneaks a peek of it in my purse!

Erika also makes things for the puppies in your life!

She has really awesome collars and leashes that almost make me wish I had a dog!

So instead of getting a dog (because that would be the last straw for my dear Louis), I bought collars for all of my doggie “nieces” for Christmas!

I am so proud and honored to have Bird E Studios advertising on my blog!

Erika has some fabulous new products out  just in time for your Christmas shopping (or self shopping…momma needs some fun stuff, right?)!

She will be adding gift sets soon and little girl dresses and coats!  I can’t WAIT to see those!!

In the meantime, you can find adorable stocking stuffers for baby, puppy, AND momma!

So go forth and shop!

And if you hurry?  You can get a special discount!  Erika is offering Sluiter Nation readers a 20% discount on your ENTIRE purchase from now through November 19!  Just enter the code EDDIE at checkout!

What are you waiting for?  Get started on that shopping!

Tune in next Tuesday for Top Ten Tuesdays: The Top Ten Things on my Christmas List: Internet Edition

It’s Good to Have Crafty Friends

Earlier this week I was in a panic.  We had a wedding to go to on Saturday and I had nothing to wear in my hair.  Ok, I know this seems like a lame panic, but I was stressed about it.

I like to wear flowers in my hair to dress it up for special events, but I only own two and I had worn them both a zillion times this summer.  They weren’t new and fresh enough to wear.

So, of course, I was complaining about this on twitter. Almost instantly, my friend Torie responded.  She makes SUPER cute accessories for little girls.  You should check out her Etsy shop, On Top Baby Bows.  She also does custom orders!  She reminded me that she also is the crafty lady behind 25Designs, which does headbands and other hair accessories for adults!  SCORE!

She and I got to discussing the colors I would be wearing:  black and charcoal/silver.  We decided I needed those colors and a pop of color, so we chose hot pink.  This was all on Tuesday.  By Tuesday night she had it made and sent me a picture.  I LOVED IT!  So she got it in the mail and it was here by FRIDAY!

Check out how CUTE it is:

Torie is seriously awesome.  Not only does she make super fricking cute headbands, but she saved my look for the wedding!  Even after I had been dancing up a storm and needed to slick my long hair into a shaggy pony tail to get it out of me neck?

 The headband STILL looked super cute!  Sigh…I heart Torie and her craftiness!
Oh and those cute pearl earrings I’m wearing?  They came from The Vintage Pearl.  One of my favorite jewelry stores online.  I have another favorite…but you will have to wait until that little package of fun gets to me before I reveal.
Anyway, I need to encourage you to go to either (or BOTH) of Torie’s Etsy shops.  I love her.  Also?  While you are at it?  You should just browse The Vintage Pearl too. Clicking on their buttons below will take you to their shops.  GO!
I love having crafty friends.

Disclaimer:  25Design, On Top Baby Bows, nor The Vintage Pearl compensated me for this “review”.  I just REALLY love their products.  I bought the headband and earrings myself and love them a ton.  My hope is that you will also love them!