Do you shop with Intent?

black fridayit’s already begun, and it’s about to get even CRAZIER.


if your inbox is anything like mine, there are dozens of emails with Black Friday reminders….and most don’t even start on Black Friday! because as we all know…Thanksgiving Day is the “new” Black Friday. blah.

there’s nothing like shoving turkey in your mouth as fast as you can, so that you can hustle over to one of the local shopping centers to stand in line for that once a year shopping trip that lasts through the night. who cares about all the family and friends who have traveled near and far to be with you. because Heaven knows, if you aren’t first in-line, you may not get that deal you’ve had you’re eye on.

i too have gotten caught up in the Black Friday frenzy. i have stayed up all night long, wondering the aisles filling up my cart. and every year, i come home with so much more than i planned on getting…stuff i didn’t even know i needed. yes….i have gotten some great deals like a huge television for a great price. it was awesome….but, shopping Black Friday has been different the last few years. maybe because i’m older, or maybe it’s because i have experienced first hand how it feels to come home with a bunch of stuff that just ends up broken or tossed aside a few days after the holidays. i can’t help but feel kind of sick to my stomach as i watch everyone shop. it’s like a mad house. pushing. shoving. and disregards for others in their paths. the waste. the mindless spending. (i know not everyone is like this…however, the whole experience seems to feel this way to me)

where is the INTENT?

when it comes to Black Friday, the stores know what they are doing. products are strategically placed to cross your path…practically BEGGING you to pick them up and put them in your cart.

deal. deal. deal.

cheap. cheap. cheap.

more. more. more.

it may be the flashy sticker price that is shockingly low, or the fact that they’ve printed our kiddies favorite character on the packaging. it may be that every body else wants it, and hence we “need” it too. or the fact that we are bored waiting in line, so lets just fill up the cart.

whatever the reason that these products mysteriously make it into our carts, i urge us to take a minute….a second thought….and shop with INTENT.

do i really need it?

am i just buying it because it’s cheap?

do my kiddies really need a stocking full of dollar bin crap that is just going to end up in the trashcan a week later? not really.

am i just buying it so they can have a lot of “stuff” to open? what does that teach our children? what does this tell our friends?

STUFF. that’s all it is. however, most of us LOVE stuff. and we love to see our kids excitement as they open gifts on Christmas morning. it really is magical. but you know what is even more magical? seeing them open that one thing they have really wanted, the thing that they would rather have than all those other gifts combined. the gift the was bought with INTENT…just for them. to them, the rest of the gifts are just fluff.

and how much fluff do we really need?

this Black Friday, i urge you to shop with INTENT.

definition of intent

buy gifts that will actually mean something to the recipient. it’s an awesome feeling to have when you know that you got that perfect item that will make that person who receives it light up inside. a gift that shows that person you were really thinking of them when you chose it just for them. it feels SO much better than if you bought them a bunch of meaningless trinkets because they were cheap and a Black Friday doorbuster.


and yes….

we all LOVE A DEAL.

all i am saying is “think” twice before you put that item in your cart. we don’t really need all that fluff.

and you may find that more is less, and less is MORE after all, the true meaning of Christmas doesn’t come from a store.


Celebrate Christmas with the Magic of Northpole by Hallmark

This #NorthPoleFun shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

Hallmark North Pole Collection

the holidays are quickly approaching, and in the blink of an eye, they will be here. for our family, we have Christmas traditions that we begin as early as the 1st of December. so i am feeling like it is already time to get prepared.  some of the current traditions our family has for the Christmas holiday season are…

getting the house decorated for Christmas the weekend after Thanksgiving…

Christmas Decoratingbaking Christmas cookies….Baking Christmas Cookiesworking at local charities to make Christmas happen for children in our community….

Los Angeles Charities

 and getting the boys Christmas pajamas at the beginning of the month so that they can enjoy them all month long.

Christmas Pajamas

of course we love to also do activities such as looking at Christmas lights, getting hot cocoa and riding the Christmas Train. i don’t do the elf thing like many families do, i find it difficult to have to come up with something creative every day during the busy holiday season. but i do love the idea of doing something special like an advent calendar or reading a Christmas book each night. so this year we are going to start the tradition with the new Northpole Line by Hallmark, a keepsake line of holiday toys based on the new NORTHPOLE movie coming out on the Hallmark channel.

one of our favorite items in the Northpole line is the Northpole Communicator. each night from December 1st through December 24th, push the button and turn the knob to have a conversation with Santa, the elves and some of his Northpole friends. it’s a fun way for your family to connect with Santa and Northpole.

Hallmark Northpole Traditions
North Pole Communicator plus we received the book “Once Upon a Northpole Christmas” with the special “Find me Santa! Snowflake”, a story that peeks into the secrets of Northpole magic.Once Upon a Northpole Christmas Book by Hallmark

Once Upon a Northpole Christmas

if you add your name and hang this lighted snowflake in a window, on a doorknob, or wherever you like,  to ensure that Santa finds you—no matter where you are. on Christmas Eve, the snowflake will glow for four hours until the jolly guy arrives.
Christmas Decorating with Hallmark Northpoleplus there are other fun Northpole items to make the holidays more magical!

Hallmark Northpole toys

these special Northpole by Hallmark items and more, can be found online, the special book and ornament gift pack will be sold exclusively at Walmart, and will be available beginning November 1st. the boys are really excited to start new traditions with the Northpole items, and so am i! i love the holiday season, and anything that makes it more magical. to find out more about the new Northpole line from Hallmark, click here.



How to Tie Bows for Presents

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.


every year i host a Wrapping Party for some of my close friends were we get together and wrap our Christmas gifts. it is one thing i look forward to every year. i like to make a nice dinner, we sit and chat for a bit and then get to wrapping…helping each other get all our gifts ready for giving. i usually end up with the task of the bows, i love making large pretty bows…i also think that gifts that look prettier are more fun to open.

to get ready for my party, i went over to Walgreens to stock up on wrapping supplies. i love having all the presents under my tree match, so each year i pick out a color scheme and buy 4-5 wrapping papers, ribbons, and tags that all match. Walgreens had all sorts of great items to create some beautiful and creative gifts. lots of wrapping paper choices…and they weren’t those cheesy grandma prints either.

i was able to find 4 different but matching wrapping papers, coordinating ribbon and tags…plus i found some great novelty items to top my gifts.

let me show you some of my finished gifts. for this one, i used sparkly fabric ribbon and red snowflake wrapping paper. to add a little bit of excitement, i attached this Santa hat ornament i found at Walgreens for just $1. it really made to present look festive.


then i found this great polka dot wrapping paper and some red wrapping yarn. i also loved this “no peeking” gift tag.  adding a small novelty item on top of your presents can really make them stand out. when i saw these holiday gum balls, i knew they would look great with the polka dots. i really love how this present turned out.


if you don’t want to spend a lot of time wrapping, Walgreens has these great large stick-on bows that are 7″ round. so much better than the little ones (however they have those too). i decided to use a hologram candy cane striped wrapping paper. i topped it off with this gigantic 12″ candy cane i found for just $1. perfect combo.


using a red and green striped paper, i used one of those large stick on bows and a Santa tag for this present. i also added this cute mini stocking i found for a $1 and placed a gift card in it. i am really not a fan of gift cards because i like to spend the time finding the perfect gift, but adding a gift card to a gift is great. and the stocking made a great holder for it.


these are just some of the many options i found at Walgreens. there was so much more….like this Hallmark line of holiday bags, wrapping papers and pre-tied ribbons.


and it was even better that some Walgreens are opened 24-hours a day. i did all my shopping at 12 am.  i had a little too much fun…cheek it out.

now to show you how to make pretty bows for your presents. it’s pretty simple, and i am not an expert at it, but nevertheless, here is how i do it….


first, you are going to want to tie the ribbon around your gift with a simple knot.  then cut the ends leaving 6-8 inch tails.  you can use any type of ribbon to do this technique, but I love to use wide ribbon (with or without wired edges) to wrap my gifts with.  i purchased the sparkly wired ribbon at Walgreens. beside being my favorite color for the holidays, i also love the glitter and wired edges because they help the bow stay big and full.

second, make the first loop of your bow. hold the end of the ribbon and fold it over to make a loop.


next, continuing to hold the first loop, make more loops by folding up the ribbon back and forth and holding it in the center. you can make as many loops as you want or can hold. cut the ribbon after your last loop leaving an extra inch long tail. for this bow, i made eight loops….four loops on each side.


now, place your almost finished bow on the center of your package on top of the knot you created. continue to hold the center of the loops.


using the tails of the ribbon tied around your package, tie a knot around the center of your bow loops. your bow will now be attached to your package.


trim the tails to look nice…either at a slant or a “v” like the photo below. you now can fluff up your bow by opening and rounding out the loops. continue to do so until your bow looks pretty and polished.


i am thrilled with how my gifts turned out! thanks Walgreens for the great selections.


Christmas Countdown Blocks | Christmas Printable

here’s a quick and easy Christmas craft you could even get done this weekend.  i teamed up with Vanessa at the Crafty Nest to create these Christmas Countdown Blocks. head over to the Crafty Nest  for the DIY tutorial to create your own Christmas Countdown blocks with a free Christmas printable i designed!

Make Your Own Keepsake Santa Letter | Free Printable

Santa Letter Printable_1_Sandy Toes and Popsicles

Christmas is just around the corner, and that means that it is time to get some letters off to the man in red. if your kiddies are anything like mine, they are super excited for Santa to come, and have already decided what they wish for him to bring.

to make this time a little magical, i designed a keepsake Santa Claus Letter Template that you can download, print and put together for the children in your life. you can even mail it.

it’s pretty easy to make, here is how you do it….first, click here to download the Santa Letter printable and print it out on white paper. i chose to print the envelope on cardstock to give. then you will cut the letter and envelope out. next, you will score the 4 flaps so that the envelope is easy to fold up.

Santa Letter Printable_2_Sandy Toes and Popsiclesfinally, glue the envelope together as shown on the photo. this will complete your keepsake Santa Claus Letter.

Santa Letter Printable_3_Sandy Toes and Popsicles

here is the finished product. i love how festive and fun it turned out. i really like the idea of keeping my kids letters they write to Santa as keepsakes for when they grow older. it is fun to look back on your childhood and remember the magical moments of being a kid at Christmas.

Santa Letter Printable_4_Sandy Toes and Popsicles

click here to download the Santa Letter printable.


and check out my other fun Christmas ideas