{MM} awesome relationship advice, fabulous holiday foods + fave links


How was your Thanksgiving weekend?

Our Thanksgiving was lovely–no cooking, no cleaning–I think I’m going to make this a new family tradition.

We lazed around in the morning, then spent the afternoon exploring one of the many parks in San Antonio. The thing is, we’re outdoorsy people & love to take our kids to parks to let them just run around & explore, but it’s just been too dang hot to go out. Finally things have cooled down, so we’re able to get out & enjoy all of the nature around us.  This particular park had a wilderness trail. As you can see, things are still green here, & the weather is just about perfect–fresh, crisp, most days in the 60′s or 70′s. We went to a buffet, then later attended a Thanksgiving get together at the home of one of Joseph’s co-workers.

Did you go Black Friday shopping?

I only went to Kohl’s. It was insanely packed & I waited in line for THREE hours. Call me crazy, but because of it, I was able to get all our Christmas gifts (except for the boy’s lego set, which I got at Costco), including extended family for $450, plus $135 in Kohl’s cash, which we’ll use to get a few more gifts, later.

This Christmas we’ll spend about $600 on Christmas–which for a family of 6 + gifts for extended family is pretty good, I think.   Kohl’s been our go-to one-stop Christmas store for the past 4 or 5 years. We have a Kohl’s charge & only really use it for Christmas. We get the MVC benefits (you have to spend at least $600 a year), which means we get the monthly coupons for 15-30% savings on anything + we often get $10 gift cards. So I go on Black Friday & get the awesome deals + an additional 15% off + a $10 off purchase + Kohl’s cash. They don’t have a ton of options for toys, but I don’t need very many options at this point, & they carry a lot of Melissa & Doug items, Barbies, Hotwheel cars, & a few other things that my kids like.

The good stuff: 

♥ awesome relationship advice from a couple who has been married 81 YEARS. (& watch the video at the end of the article–that man is 102 years old & is so spry & youthful.)

♥ sooo funny– how to talk to parents: a toddler’s guide to communication –if you have or have had a toddler, tell me these 10 points aren’t so true

♥ love Erica’s idea to sacrifice one gift, & give the money that would have been spent, on charity

♥ in case you missed it due to all the Black Friday hullabalo, here’s my best of list for edible holiday desserts (fudge, jam, peanut brittle, popcorn, candy cane patties, & more–I’m drooling)–treats are a way to anyone’s heart this holiday season

♥ My friend Wendy just released her 2013 edition of her Holiday Quinoa cookbook. Wendy is an author of several quinoa-centric cookbooks, this is her latest & greatest.

I contributed this recipe to the edition, an apple cranberry crumble (which I made for our mini-Thanksgiving dinner we had on Thanksgiving Eve):

cran-apple-pecan-pie-5This cookbook is an awesome resource for the holidays–filled with a ton of delicious festive foods, get this cookbook for loads of festive, healthy inspiration. You can get it here.

On the media front, I have to say I’m loving The Mindy Project lately (I hated all the episodes with her quasi-preacher boyfriend & glad he’s out of the picture).

Mindy Kaling is my fave–she’s smart, funny, real (I wish she still updated her blog, which I go back & read her old posts, I like her that much).

And I’ve finally gotten around to watching some of Downton Abbey’s season 2–I’m so behind the times, I know–& Joseph & I watched Iron Man 2 this weekend. Robert Downey Jr. is so likable, & Gwyneth–what youthful elixir is she drinking these days? Isn’t she like, 41? She looks amazing.

♥ bring joy totes are on sale until December 24 for just $9!  (Plus, if you’re on my email list, I’ll send you a code for free shipping for orders of 2 or more.)

♥ more evidence that perhaps you should consider using coconut oil as your moisturizer of choice

♥ Have you heard of the app, Between?

It’s an app exclusively for couples (in fact, only two users are allowed per account) that originated in South Korea & is HUGE there (half of twenty-somethings have used it), & is gaining modest popularity in the U.S & Japan.

I first found out about it via this recent article in The New Yorker. Reading the article was a fascinating dive into the world of ever-changing technology, & I have to be honest, I’m not always comfortable with the idea of a tech heavy world. (Handwritten letters, for example–are they now totally archaic? Sigh.)

My fave quote in the whole article is from a Canadian expat, Simon Stawski, who runs the blog, Eat Your Kimchi, who says, “We always describe Korea as having the technology of 2050 with the mentality of 1950.” I definitely got that vibe after reading about this Korean-inspired app, which actually promotes monogamy & fidelity, strong relationships–a good thing, right?

Though, I admit, as non-smartphone user (yes, my cell phone is oldschool, as in, I can use it only to call & text), Joseph & I won’t be using this any time soon.

♥ I’ve always been a huge hat-on-new-born advocate (thanks to my R.N. labor & delivery mother who ingrained in me that my baby should always be warm, especially the head)–but this article gives some compelling arguments why you should drop the newborn hat.  (Though I should note I still think a hat when going outdoors or when not next to mama is a good idea.)

♥ For those who are on my exclusive updates list {what, you’re not?!–it’s free (& you’ll get a free copy of my book SIMPLE: 15 plant-based recipes to get you started)–it’s easy to sign up, just go here} I’ll be sending my updates out on the 1st & 3rd Tuesday of the month from now on, so you’ll be getting an update tomorrow. I’m sharing why I think you need more beans in your diet (& an easy recipe) + a code for free shipping on bring joy tote purchases this month, & more good stuff!

An update on the ebooks I’ve been working hard on–I’m getting so excited to share these with you & though I had hoped to have them done in November (my overly ambitious nature, I suppose), I really (really, I do) think they’ll be ready for you by the 1st of the year. And heaven knows, I’d better get them done before this baby is born!

to pin:
all recipes are vegan + gluten-free

oil-free sweet potato fudge cake 

amaretto “snowballs”
would make an awesome edible holiday gift

versatile nut & fresh herb sauce
perfect for sandwiches, veggie dip, pasta

tomato basil soup
quick & easy!

maple roasted fingerling potatoes

creamy mushroom spaghetti squash

Coming up for tomorrow’s Frugal Tuesdays installment–a continuation of our Frugal Holidays series: Christmas traditions & easy DIY kid-friendly clay baked ornaments.

Happy December–it’s going to be a fabulous month.


Thanks for coming to bring joy today!
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  1. Joya Towne
    on December 2, 2013 at 12:22 pm said:

    We had a great Thanksgiving. We are blessed we only have to travel 1 mile to my parent’s house. I don’t like all the travelling involved with some of the holidays since I travel over 100 miles 4 days a week to work! The weather was decent but not pretty and green anymore, still nice enough to be out and walking though.
    That’s great you got all that shopping done at Kohl’s! It’s one my favorite stores and I love all the perks they have.
    Okay, the article about moisturizers would have most certainly convinced me to switch to coconut oil if I wasn’t already using it! New facts I did not know. Wow!!

    • on December 3, 2013 at 10:52 am said:

      That’s so nice you don’t have to go very far to visit family! Our’s is a 3 day trip by car :)

      About the moisturizers, it’s frightening what sort of stuff they put in them & then we put it on our skin–willingly! But I suppose there’s just no money in marketing coconut oil, is there?

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