Frecklebox Freakout

A couple weeks ago, I pounced on happened upon a giveaway post by my lovely friend (and BlogHer roomie!  Squee!), Natalie.  It was for Frecklebox.

Have you heard of Frecklebox?  It’s the cutest kid stuff all personalized for YOUR kid.

You know how hard it can be to find the name of your little Sacajawea or Moses?  Or how about Cortney (yeah, he never had ANYTHING store-bought with his name on it.  Yes, he may still be bitter)?

This is no longer a problem!

Frecklebox has everything from personalized growth charts to books!

So of course I entered Natalie’s giveaway.  Having your name plastered all over things?  That is a no-brainer to me.  It is AWESOME.

I tweeted about it.

I crossed my fingers.

I may have done some lucky rituals (flush ice down the toilet?)  that may or may not have brought snow instead of Frecklebox winnings.

I was not the big winner.

I almost cried.

And then?  The Frecklebox Gods Mark from Frecklebox caught wind of my sadness.

And all of a sudden?

 

Cutest. Place mat. EVER.

People?  This place mat rocks my face off.

First, it’s got a DJ monkey on it that reminds all of us of Captain Huggy Face on WordGirl.  But not in a creepy way, of course.

Second, it says, “Eddie” and that?  Is awesome.

Besides being all aesthetically pleasing it is way easy to wipe up also.

It’s been time to move Eddie from the high chair to the table for some time now.  The high chair has become a platform for throwing things.  Plus it has WAY too many cracks and crevices to clean out.

This is much better…

He loves it.  Plus he loves pointing out the letters in his name and making monkey noises before his plate is put in front of him.  It is AWESOME.

But wait!  We have more!

oh yes we did!

 

I know, I know, my child is way too young to need a lunch box…even if it DOES have his name on it.

But you guys?  He LOVES this thing.

First he loves to “count” the monsters by either going “un, un, un, UN!” or “rawr!  rawr!  rawr!”  It doesn’t get much cuter than that.

 

oh look! the letters stick to it!

Eddie is also into putting things in other things, closing said things, and saying, “ba ba!” to us, waving, and walking around the island.

 

perfect for traveling toys

And lately?  He acts as if snacks are fleeting things.  We may take them away at any minute.  So he stock-piles.

 

no one will find my teddy grahams in here!

oops. missed a few!

 

Eddie and his sneaky side LOVE his new things.

And maybe, because of the whole personalized thing, his narcissistic side is happy too.

Ok, maybe that’s just me.

Where did THIS come from?

Why yes, I think we will be shopping at Frecklebox again in the future.  They DO have personalized books, and I DO love a book with my boy’s name in it!

——————————
The fine print: The Frecklebox Gods Mark from Frecklebox provided Sluiter Nation with the place mat and the lunch box, but the opinions are totally mine.  You can buy my happiness, but you can’t buy my opinion.

Treat Yourself!

I have been advertising on facebook and on twitter that right now I am having a Thirty One Gifts party.

I honestly thought this would be taking off more than it has, and to be honest, I have been REALLY bummed at the lack of turn out.

I may have been lamenting this fact on twitter the other night when someone replied that she really didn’t know what Thirty-One is and that she didn’t want to spend her money on something she wasn’t sure about.

Well THAT makes sense!

So I figured I would SHOW you guys how awesome this stuff is…and why I HAD to have a party!

I heard of thirty-one gifts through my lovely bloggy friend, Lindsey.  She has an online party and I bought just a couple little things:  a personalized clipboard and paper for work.  Because I spent enough, I also got a free pouch thrown in.

This pouch? Made me realize my love of Thirty-One

I love my clipboard and my paper, but this little pouch?  This pouch and it’s cuteness and function made me fall in LOVE with all things Thirty-One.

For one, it’s a MUCH better way to pack things like make-up or jewelry than a plastic baggy.

Also?  You can get everything to match each other!  Or you can sample all of their designs.

Anyway, I went about my life loving my clipboard and using up my paper with “Mrs. Sluiter” printed across the top and stuffing my pouch with things all the time.

Then my lovely sister-in-law, Liz, had a party.  I couldn’t go, but you bet your booty cheeks I put in an order! Look what I got!

new, personlized lunch bag!

Liz just dropped my order off yesterday and I am already dreaming of the lovely lunches I can pack in this adorable little bag!  It’s insulated to keep my homemade lean cuisine all nice and chilled, plus it’s tall enough for not just a typical bottle of water, but my actual water bottle!  Awesome!  And it has a cute little front pocket!

I also ordered this:

what is this sweet little tied up bundle of cute?

oh! it's an adorable little organizer!

I am IN LOVE with my new little organizer!  It’s perfect for the blogger…or the mom…or the person who makes lists.  Really.  It’s got this handy notepad inside with pockets for pens, a calculator (um…mom), coupons, whatever your heart desires.  Then it folds up, ties, and fits right in your purse or tote.

So much cute and awesome (this print, by the way, is the same as on my school clipboard and paper…matchy matchy?  of course)!

On my current wish list is the All-in-One Organizer to match my lunch bag, personalized beach towels for the family, a jewelry roll, the aprons, and for SURE the large utility tote for all of our beach gear this summer!

Can you tell I love this stuff?  I haven’t met anyone who has it who doesn’t just LOVE it!

Now you want to go shopping, right?  RIGHT???  I know you do!

All you have to do is click here.  On the right side it will say “my events”.  click that.  Then find me, Katie Sluiter and click “shop my party.”  Then you will have the option to shop…which you SOOO want to do!

I know it sounds like I am begging…and to be honest?  I guess I sort of am.  I’ve only had one person buy and that makes me all sorts of sad.  Not because I am looking to get free stuff (it would be nice, but I am buying what I want regardless), but because I did this because I though so many people would be interested.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: small business love

Lately I have noticed that I have a bit of an addiction to shopping online, specifically small businesses.  Even more specifically, handmade products.

I think it’s because with my crazy schedule, I don’t get out to do any shopping anymore.  I used to at least do the grocery shopping once a week and get to throw in a fun pen or notepad or cookies.  But now?  I don’t even do that anymore.

So I have turned to the internet.

I will admit that I may have a bit of a problem (although none of the shop owners have complained about it).

This week I am sharing with you my favorite shops to stalk shop.  There are in no particular order…I love them ALL!

10. Sarah Bee Creations:

mmm...smells so yummy!

Sarah of Sarah Bee Creations is one of Sluiter Nation’s sponsors (see her pretty soaps over there on the right?) because not only is she an awesome person?  But she makes some of the richest, creamiest soaps ever!  I have her French Vanilla soap in the shower right now, and her lemongrass is on deck making my bathroom drawer smell delicious.   I cannot get over how soft my skin is after using this.  Horribly dry elbows?  Totally gone!

9. Pink Bow Bath Boutique:

pampering in a jar

Along with Sarah’s soaps?  I have become completely addicted to Amy’s body butters from Pink Bow Bath Boutique. I won a tiny jar from a giveaway and I was HOOKED!  I have never smelled so yummy in all my life.  Really.  Right now I am loving the buttercream frosting and the strawberry cream, but the pear vanilla is way tasty smelling too.  The body butter is thick, but not too thick, and the body frosting is silky and a bit lighter–can’t wait to get that for the summer!

8. The Vintage Pearl:

personalized lovliness

I don’t think there are many people out there who DON’T know about Erin at The Vintage Pearl. I have the “you are my sunshine” necklace and I have given quite a few gifts from TVP–and they are ALWAYS loved.  I think it’s the personalization and uniqueness that makes these pieces so special.

7. Peggy Ann Design:

the cutest frame in my house

Another one of my lovely sponsors, Hannah of Peggy Ann Designs, makes a variety of some of the loveliest items on the internet.  I have one of her cute frames, but I have my eye on her unique cuffs.  I think one would look super cute with my work shirts that are 3/4 length.  (See…I have a problem).  Also how cute would those mini-poms look in little girl hair?  Adorable!  And Hannah is the sweetest friend ever.  I think that makes the addiction worse.  Not only do these shop-owners sell the best stuff, but they are so nice and wonderful…I make up reasons I need their product!

6. The Sunshine Stitch:

self portrait...you get the cuteness of the hat though

This is my newest find.  Alysha of The Sunshine Stitch made that SUPER cute hat for me (because of COURSE I needed a new hat.  Duh.), but mostly she makes the sweetest little baby hats and booties I have ever seen.  Is it bad that after seeing her stuff I told Cort I thought we needed a baby?  Cuz he gave me the side-eye.  Huh.  It’s a good thing I have friends who are pregnant, so I can justify some serious spending here…SOON!

5. Gussy:

all gussy-ed up!

Who doesn’t love Maggie aka Gussy?  Her stuff is legendary out there in online shopping fame.  Those ruffles?  Forget it.  I have a laptop bag, a small pouch for my Droid, and a medium pouch for all the little stuff in my purse.  I showed you two of those things in my vlog a few weeks ago. So you think I would be set, right?  Oh no.  Now that I am going to BlogHer?  I really want a tote or a market bag as my carry on for the plane ride.

4. Bird E Studios

diaper clutch for mom to look good; bib for Eddie to look good!

Erika of Bird E Studios is another lovely friend of mine and an awesome shop owner AND another sponsor here on the old blog.  Erika has been the craftiness behind many of Eddie’s cute goodies…and is working on a little project for me right now for a lovely friend who has twin girls in her belly.  She also makes the cutest dog collars!  All four of my puppy nieces got pretty new “necklaces” from Erika for Christmas this past year.  She is another reason my uterus twitches for a baby…bibs and burp clothes!

3. Funky Mama Bird:

pretty an unique

Betsy of Funky Mama Bird is one of my favorite jewelry shops. Her stuff is so unique; I constantly get compliments on my bracelet.  Right now I have my eye on her birds nest earrings and I LOVE her birds next necklaces too.  Seriously, so cute.

2. Twenty Five Design:

my obession

Anyone who sees me regularly knows about my obsession love of all things Twenty Five Design by the lovely Torie.  My friendship with Torie began when she saved my hair style for a wedding by custom-making my very first Twenty Five Design headband.  Since then? I can’t stop myself!  Currently on my wish list from Torie’s crafty hands is the Spring is Here headband, the Chloe hairclip, and Carol cuff bracelet.  And yes, I already have three headbands, three hair pins, a necklace, and a ring.  What?

1. Eleri Designs

{Ok, I don’t have a picture of this…yet!  It’s on it’s way!}

Stacey of Eleri Designs is another new love of mine.  I came across Stacey’s shop through Miranda (of not super…just mom).  I entered a giveaway, but did not win.  Her shop was on my mind ever since.  Recently I decided it was time I retired my old Pittsburgh Steelers throw to the basement family room and got myself something cozy and girly for my big brown chair upstairs.  Immediately I contacted Stacey to find out if she did custom “adult size” blankets.  She does!  I am so excited to put on my jammies and curl up under my new blanket!  And I might just have my eye on her super cute coffee cozies next…

Now don’t get me wrong…these are not the only shops where I spend all my allowance frequent, but they are the ones I have currently stalked stared at the most in the past couple weeks.

And of course I HAVE to know…what are your favorite shops?  Do you have online favorites too, or do you frequent local small businesses in your area?  Where do you spend your “fun” money?

Don’t forget to vote every 24 hours for Sluiter Nation to win the Mom Central grant!

And don’t forget to shop my Thirty-One party!  Ends this week! (go to “my events” and shop my party–Katie Sluiter).

Kate vs. Wal-Mart

I know Kimberly is not doing Secret Mommyhood Confessions today since it’s a holiday and all…but I have one for you.

I hate Wal-Mart.

Now, I know some of you are running to your Google readers and hitting unsubscribe as fast as you can because I just insulted the temple of all frugal mommies…but hear me out.

I don’t necessarily hate YOUR Wal-Mart…just every Wal-Mart I have ever been in–which is pretty limited.

In fact, up until today, I don’t think I had been in a Wal-Mart in over three years.

I know.

Go ahead.  Soak that in.

So what brought me there today?

Christmas returns.

Sigh.

Yes, Wal-Mart AND returns.  I know.  What was I thinking?

I eased myself in.  First I had a very pleasant return to Kohls.  Then I pleasantly returned something to Bed, Bath, & Beyond.

Before leaving that parking lot, I said a little prayer for my life, started the car and headed to Wal-Mart.

As soon as I got into the parking lot, I began to curse.

First of all, they have those stupid slanty parking spaces–you know, the ones where you have to drive a certain way to park into.

Those parking places alone do not make me mad.  They have them at Macy’s too and I have never been bothered by them there.

But at Wal-Mart?  People do not know how to operate the parking lot.  Even though it’s been this way forever.

So I am already frustrated because it takes me 5 minutes to get into a parking spot…not because I couldn’t find one…because I had to wait for people to figure out the parking lot.

The car parked, I start toward the entrance.

As soon as I got to the door, I was bombarded by no less than THREE homeless-looking guys asking for donations to several things.  Now, again, I don’t mind giving to charities (in fact I give to Salvation Army when the ring their bells, and we give to others regularly each year), but I do mind strange, large men getting all up in my grill about saving people.  uncool.

Moving along…

I get inside and an old man takes my item, scans it, and sticks a return sticker on it for me.  Ok, whatever.  Not sure why Wal-Mart has this process, but it doesn’t bother me.

I quickly find the Customer Service at the front of the store and let myself think for a second, “huh.  they’ve re-done this Wal-Mart since I have last been here.  Seems cleaner and newer…still smells the same though.  Eh, maybe it won’t be so bad.”

Mistake.  Wrong.  Incorrect.

I stand in line with my helicopter to return.  I am behind an older couple with a cart and one item.  The customer service desk has four ladies behind it–three who appear to actually be doing returns and one who is supervising and helping.

From this distance?  Things are still fine.

The middle customer service lady finishes up, sends someone on her way, and takes the old couple.

I wait patiently as it looks like the customer service lady on the Left will be opening up.

She does.  She begins talking with the supervisor lady about her headache.

I am the only person in line with my lonely toy.

The supervisor suggests that she is hung over.

Seems inappropriate conversation seeing as there are little kids with the lady on the right.

Middle lady finishes with old couple.

I am eagerly waiting to be waved forward.

Middle lady adds to headache conversation (perhaps Left lady should have her blood pressure checked.  What?)

Finally Middle lady sees me.  I smile.  She says, “well?”

Wait…what?

I tell her I want to return my item, please.

She takes it from me, scans it, shoves a return receipt at me and says, “sign this.”  (um…please?), and grabs it away.

While this is taking place, Right customer service lady finishes (all this while?  Headache conversation has been going on.  Along with much talk of booze.), and a larger man in pajama shorts and a Red Wing T-shirt with holes in it approaches her and says, “yeah I called earlier because you people didn’t give me my full refund on my thing.”

Middle lady (who is still not talking to me.  not sure what I did, but at least she is actually still working on my return) says, “oh yea, I totally e-ffed (yes, she said ‘e-ffed’ and not the REAL word) that one up.  It’s right there.”

Still inappropriate.

Then she turns back to me, hands me cash and says, “15.92, bye.”

“Um, thank you.  Happy New Year,” I say back.

She is already talking about how maybe she needs to “get  laid” to get rid of her headache.

Um.

So I start to walk to the toy section to pick Eddie a new toy when I realize, they just gave me cash.  I do not have to shop here!

Yippee!

And with that?  I leave stupid Wal-Mart.

But not before another parking lot struggle.

Oh and? I bought Eddie some Melissa and Doug toys at a local toy store, in case you were wondering.

I guess I won’t be sponsored by Wal-Mart to go to any blogging conferences.

Happy 2011.

What She Wants

It seems, in my mind, that it was always cold and slushy and snowy.  My brother and I would pile on our winter coats, hats, scarves, mittens, and boots and let our dad buckle us into his car.

I don’t remember when this started nor can I remember when it ended.  I can’t ever remember my littlest brother going with us, so by the time there were 3 of us, dad must have decided that taking us individually was a better idea.

Anyway, there was a time when Chris and I always went with dad to choose our Christmas gifts for our mom.

Like I said, it seems that we were always traveling through driving snow and sloshing our boots through the wet slush as we traipsed through the parking lot and sidewalks.

One year in particular I can vividly remember being downtown in our small town with my dad wandering from shop to shop.   We eventually ended up in a tiny store, which isn’t there anymore, that was filled with knickknacks and paddywacks galore.  If you wanted a frame or a sconce or a glass lion to set on your end table?  This was your store.

I can still remember feeling the warmth as we walked in as the bell on the door jangled.  The smell of cinnamon and potpourri filled my small nose and head.

In my memory my brother has already found his gift for our mom.  It was all up to me.  My lack of decision-making abilities was what was between us and home.  But this is where I would find mom’s gift.  It was so lovely in here.

I remember looking everything over, and asking my dad what he thought.

In typical dad-style, he turned the question back on me, “but what do YOU think?”

I would pick up a trinket and he would unconvincingly shrug and say, “If you think that is what she would want…”

It drove me crazy even at that age.  I just wanted an opinion.  He wasn’t trying to be difficult; he wanted me to pick for myself.

Finally I walked up to a small artificial Christmas tree that had lots of ornaments on it.  I looked each over carefully and came up on this:

In my young mind this was the perfect gift for my mom.  She would be delighted as she pulled it from the box on Christmas morning and held it up for all to see by the thin, gold loop.  She would place it high on the tree.

“What do you think, dad? Isn’t this perfect?”

“I don’t know, Kate.  Is there another one?  This one has a broken wheel and the glue is showing all over the place.”

I searched the tree.  Many of the ornaments had twins and triplets scattered about, but not the little bear.  He was one of a kind.

“This is the only one.”

“Why don’t you pick a different one.  One that is a little nicer.”

“No, dad.  This is what I am getting mom.”

I brought the small trinket up to the counter, and my dad said, “well if you think she’ll like it,” as he pulled out the crisp dollar bills from his soft wallet.

After getting it home and wrapped and pushed under my bed, I worried.  What if mom didn’t like it?  What if dad was right?

Christmas morning came.  Mom opened her gifts.  She ooo-ed and ahh-ed at my little choice.  I was so pleased.

My dad announced that I had chosen it all on my own.  Mom was impressed.

At some point my brother stopped coming along to shop for my mom for Christmas.  But I always went with my dad.  Even when I was in college, he and I would climb into his truck and head out to pick the perfect gifts for my mother.

Each item that I would find he would say, “if you think that is what she will like.”  I would assure him it is on the list, and that yes, she will love it.

Each time we would find our way to the register and he would remove his soft wallet from his back pocket and finger the crisp dollar bills he got from the bank being sure not to give the cashier two that were stuck together.

He would gather up the bags and we would head to our next stop.

Last year my dad didn’t ask me to help him shop for my mom.  Admittedly I would put up a stink about it each year and give him some grief for not being able to shop for his wife on his own, but I would always go.

When I asked him last year when he wanted to go, he responded, “I’m done.  I already went.”

“Why didn’t you ask me to come along?”

“You always say I need to do it myself.  Besides, you have your own family now.”

I was taken aback, and sort of sad that our father-daughter tradition had ended.  Just like that.

This past weekend I asked my dad if he had his shopping done yet.  He laughed and said he hadn’t started.

“Well, I have next week off you know, dad.  If you need any help.”

“Really?  I’ll keep that in mind,” he said.

I hope he does.

Top Ten Tuesdays: Eddie’s Christmas List

And just like that…it’s Tuesday again!  Time for another Top Ten!

Last week I dazzled everyone with all the things I have found on the internet that I am drooling over hoping to get for Christmas.  This week, I thought I would put the focus on my wee little man.

This week’s Top Ten is…Things on my Wee One’s Christmas List (in no particular order, of course):

10. Cricket Stepper

Clearly with “Eddie” on it instead of “Ernie”.  And I actually already bought this cute piece for Eddie already!  I got it from Baby Butterfly Boutique…my new favorite shop for all things toddler/baby.  This little stool will be perfect for lots of things in his life…getting into a big boy bed someday, standing by the sink to brush his teeth, standing by the toilet to go potty.  I can’t WAIT to get this!  (Oh, and I also bought him this hat as a stocking stuffer).

9. An Activity Table

It doesn’t have to be this one exactly, but I would like one that has chairs and a bin or bins for storage (since storage is scarce ’round these parts).  My idea would be that this table (or one similar) would start out in our basement in the family room and find it’s way to Eddie’s big boy room…once it exists.

8. A play tool bench

Eddie really likes to “help” around the house right now, and he is big into putting things where they go, or copying Cort when he wipes something down or adjusts furniture.  It’s really cute.  I would love if he had his own place to “fix” things.

7. Baby Dino Bib

This little lovely from Bird E Studios would be a great stocking stuffer for the little guy!  I always love for him to look cute when we are out somewhere for a meal, and this little Dino bib would be perfect for when his guitar bib is dirty.

6. Rocking Chair

I searched Etsy and found this lovely little vintage shop and fell in love with this little rocking chair. It would be perfect in our living room and even more perfect for Eddie’s little booty cakes as he watches his morning cartoons.

5. Clothes

Rock on with yo' bad self

Eddie always needs new clothes because I like him to be the most stylish toddler ever presentable when he is in public.  There are tons of clothes he would look quite handsome in from here or here, but he really does need a new Pearl Jam Tshirt.  His baby onsies just don’t fit him anymore.

4. Toy Food/Grocery Cart

For as much as Eddie loves to load up the laundry basket and push it around the house, I know he would fall over and love this cart.  He also really likes to imitate me when I am in the kitchen.  His new thing is to take every. single. baking tool I have, load it into the laundry basket, and movie it around the room.  It’s like his very own food trailer.  A very ghetto food trailer.

3.Sesame Street

Ok, I realize we can’t give the boy ALL things Sesame street, but he REALLY likes it. He doesn’t need stuffed animals or that sort of thing…instead he loves the music.  He LOVES the music on Sesame Street.  I think he would love some of the old seasons of the show or some CDs of the music.

2. Boots/Winterwear

This is Eddie’s second winter and the first that he will be able to go out and enjoy.  The thing is, to do that?  He needs proper outerwear.  His cousin Jack has passed down a couple winter jackets, but he needs snow pants and boots if he is going to use the sled Santa brought him last year!

1. Anything cute and handmade

I found this ridiculously cute little handmade toolbox on etsy in a little shop called Zoogits.  If Eddie doesn’t get a full sized tool bench, getting a set of tools and this little “box” would be almost better.  It’s so cute…and it’s handmade!  I love to support the handmade goods!

There you have it!  The Top Ten Things on Eddie’s Christmas List!  So what items are on your child(ren)’s list?

Scentsy, Anyone?

Hey everyone!  In case you didn’t notice from my facebook or my twitter or my emails or the bottom of my blog posts…

I am doing a Scentsy Party with Joanna from Raising Madison!

Let me tell you why Scentsy is cool…

1. There is no flame.  So if you burn your house down this holiday season?  It will be because your tree is too dry, not because your yummy scentsy caught fire!

2. It is heated by a bulb (that comes with it)

3. You don’t have to actually ATTEND a party.  Nope, you can do all your shopping and buying right from your computer…in your jammies if you like!

4. Your order gets shipped to YOU, not me.  So even though I am the hostess with the mostess over here, you get your product directly without the awkwardness of having to figure out a drop off/pick up. (this also means you can be anywhere in the USA or Canada and order).

5. If you make a purchase?  You get put in a drawing for a free plug-in wamer (a $15 value) which is perfect for an office or a bathroom space.

6. Joanna has put together some packages for all you beginners out there…check them out:

Scentsy Mid-sized System - $35

This includes a mid-sized warmer (usually $25) and 3 scentsy bars (usually $5/each)

Scentsy Full-sized System - $40

This includes a full-sized warmer (usually $30) and 3 scent bars (usually $5/each)

Scentsy Companion System - $50

This includes a full-sized warmer, a plug-in warmer, and 3 scent bars

(all of these combo packs are listed under the multi packs link when you go to the Scentsy site–listed at the end of this post)

7. There is a warmer of the month:

Prancer Full-sized Warmer is 10% Off!

8. There is a whole bunch of Close Out Items!  You can get warmers for up to 20% off.

9. If you are not new to Scentsy, but want some refills?  Your best buy is to go with the Scentsy Six Pack which gives you 6 bars for the price of 5.

10. And of course?  These make really neat Christmas gifts!

So have I convinced you?  I hope so!

If you click here it will take you to my “party” link.  Tis the season to shop til you drop!  Have fun, and thank you!!!

psst.  tomorrow is Top Ten Tuesdays.  I am counting down the stuff on Eddie’s Christmas list.  Won’t you join in with ideas for YOUR kids?

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!

Stepping Out Saturday

I know, I know…today is supposed to be McFatty Monday and/or Meal Planning Monday.

But I am just not feeling it.

Last week was ridiculous and my choices were out of survival more than being health-conscious.  I worked full-time as usual and taught Monday and Wednesday nights as usual–which by itself has been a struggle for me with making healthy choices AND with keeping my mental health in tact.  But also this week?  I had parent/teacher conferences Tuesday and Thursday nights.

I hardly saw Cort, and I only saw Eddie maybe 4 hours in 4 days.

So I don’t want to talk about my McFatty-ness.

Instead, I thought I would hook up with Harper’s Happenings for Stepping out Saturday…because guess what…I totally went on a DATE WITH CORT Saturday night!

This is probably our first date in three months!  It was so fun (thanks to Cody and Liz for babysitting!)!

not the best shot, but it's hard to get a toddler to pose!

Eddie and I posed for a picture before we packed him up to take to his auntie and uncle’s house.

On Eddie:

overalls and onsie: Osh Gosh

shoes: Target

On me:

Jeans and tank: Gap Outlet

jacket: Old Navy

shoes: Target (Mudd brand)

headband: New York and Co

Earrings: a gift for being a bridesmaid; they are real Montana silver

bracelet: I THINK that is a premier bracelet (can’t remember)

After dropping Eddie off at Cody and Liz’s house, Cortney and I hit Old Navy (I needed another pair of pants for the work rotation), Bed, Bath, & Beyond (we needed a new candle for the kitchen), Barnes & Noble (Cort needed something new to read.  He got Hunger Games), and then the Verizon store (we got new phones!  Buy a Droid, get any other phone FREE!!!).

Once our shopping was done, we hit Logan’s for dinner and drinks.  It felt so darn good to be out with my husband on a DATE!  We got to chat and laugh and enjoy our meals and drinks without having to be on Eddie’s eating schedule.

And when we picked Eddie up, he was all cozy in his jammies and ready for bed!

It was a glorious evening!  The kind that I totally took for granted before having Eddie.  I miss the alone time with Cort and I hope we can swing another evening away again sometime soon!

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.

Ahem.

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.

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