Blog Posts by SheSpeaks

  • 15 Special Breakfasts for Your Christmas Morning

    Julie Grice is a blogger who shares her wisdom with us at SheSpeaks.

    Do you open gifts before or after breakfast on Christmas morning? In my parents' house, when the gifts have been unwrapped and the stockings unstuffed, it is time for a breakfast of fluffy scrambled eggs and sweet cinnamon rolls. My husband and I have started a new tradition in our own home; we feast on frittatas and fresh biscuits before settling in front of the tree with mugs of hot chocolate to open our gifts.

    Whatever your traditions, Christmas morning calls for a festive breakfast! If you don't want to take the time to cook, you can use some of the Smitten Kitchen's tips to prepare a make-ahead brunch.

    Below, I've rounded up 15 of my favorite festive breakfast dishes from blogs across the web; some are suitable for make-ahead, others will require a bit of time in the morning. Enjoy!

    Apple Pecan Sticky Buns from Always with Butter
    Brown Butter Winter Citrus Pancakes from Joy the Baker

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  • Last Minute DIY Food Gifts

    Julie Grice is a blogger who shares her wisdom with us at SheSpeaks.

    smoky roasted almonds

    There are only a few days left until Christmas, and I know that at least a few procrastinators out there are still at a loss for gift ideas. Here are 5 of my favorite DIY food gift ideas (all of which you still have time to make), along with some ideas of how to package and pair them to make for an even more stellar gift.

    Tea in a Mason Jar from Savvy Eats. Be sure to tie on a tag with brewing instructions!

    Great Pairings: A colorful tea cup and saucer, an infuser for loose-leaf tea, or shortbread cookies to enjoy with the tea.

    Flavored Hot Cocoa from elizabeth anne designs. Package the cocoa in cellophane treat bags, clean spice jars or little Mason jars. There are more packaging ideas at design*sponge, too!

    Great pairings: Homemade or gourmet marshmallows, cinnamon sticks, vanilla beans or a winter-themed mug.

    Homemade Amaretto from Shutterbean. Find a pretty bottle and adorn with a ribbon

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  • Maybe it has something to do with the chill in the air and the roaring fire that gets couples in a romantic mood or maybe it's just that a sparkly diamond ring makes a great Christmas gift, but December is the most popular month for wedding proposals. It seems celebs are following suit as well with Britney Spears and Jason Trawick announcing their recent engagement.

    We recently asked SheSpeaks members how they would describe their marriage proposal and the most popular response was 34% of us who said it was "sweet" followed by 25% who said it was "romantic". The third most popular response was "boring" which makes us wonder where our guys are going wrong.

    I mean it is a pretty important question that most of us would like a thrilling memory attached to it right? I think most would agree that the proposal doesn't have to be as extravagant as sky-writing or a surprise trip to Paris (though that could be nice), but just a simple and intimate night would make most of us

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  • Snail Mail at a Snail's Pace

    Snail mail may live up to it's name, moving at even more of a "snail's pace" with the current cuts to first class service that were just announced. A recent report from Businessweek discusses the United States Postal Service's move to slow down mail and save money all in an effort to avoid what looks like imminent bankruptcy.

    Since the inception of the internet and email, people just don't write letters anymore. Blogger Tami Winbush recently reminded us about "Letter Writing Day" and encouraged readers to take a little time to write a "real" letter to loved ones. The thought of getting a hand-written letter from someone you care about is heartwarming, but with the ease of email and social media it seems unlikely we'll have full mailboxes any time soon! And it is for this very reason that USPS is facing a huge financial hardship.

    How will the planned changes affect USPS customers? Well, the plan is to close half of mail processing centers across the country (roughly 250

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  • Ornament Traditions

    Lindsey Johnston is a bogger who shares her wisdom with us at SheSpeaks.

    ornament on tree

    Once upon a time my husband and I were an early married couple and we got to travel. Back in those days our house was not overtaken by all things big and plastic AKA children's toys, but we were still crunched for space. We decided to start buying a Christmas ornament when we would visit a new place. It was an easy choice of a souvenir and thus started a new tradition. It was fun to select them, plus they are tiny enough to throw in a travel bag and take home. On my husband's birthday trip to Maryland, we bought a really cool crab ornament. When we travelled to San Francisco for our honeymoon we selected a cable car and when our son took his first trip to Disney of course we got a Mickey Mouse ornament.

    Yesterday, we put up our tree. It was so fun to see the ornaments and reflect on the memories of those special trips, especially the ones we took as a couple. Sometimes when you are in that day to day

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  • Should Marc Anthony Put the Brakes on J-Lo's New Beau Driving Their Kids Around?

    Most newly separated or divorced couples with children would agree that the thought of their ex's new girlfriend or boyfriend spending time with the kids is a terrifying thought. After all, you don't really know this new person and up until that point many of us have made it our business to know where and with whom are kids are with on practically a minute by minute basis.

    A recent Fox News report talks about Jennifer Lopez's new beau, Casper Smart, and how Marc Anthony has demanded she stop allowing Smart to drive their twins, Max and Emme, around town.

    And with Casper Smart's past driving record, Anthony's demands may be perfectly valid. Smart has been charged with illegal drag racing and was caught driving without a valid driver's license on several occasions. Not exactly the kind of guy a parent might want driving around a couple of 3-year-olds.

    Anthony's demands to keep his children out of Smart's car just highlight the fears many separated parents have about

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  • Toddler-Tested Toys We Love This Holiday Season

    blocks

    Stumped on what to get for a baby or toddler this holiday season? Our members share some reviews of the tried and true toys that keep their little ones happily busy. These toys are sure to bring belly laughs and clapping hands from any baby or toddler.

    Fisher Price Learning Home
    This multi-functional toy is a place your little ones will love to call home and with all of the activities aimed at teaching about numbers, letters, shapes, music, and much more - your kids are sure to learn while they play. Both sides of the toy have lots of different activities that will please babies, toddlers, and kids. SheSpeaks members are impressed with all of the use they've gotten out of this toy. Member niferr says, "I am not a mom, but a great Aunt who happens to be a teacher too! I do not buy gifts that are just "toys". I have to say this has been the best 1 year old gift EVER! They can learn letters, numbers, time, etiquette, etc and have a ball! My friends kids are still using

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  • How to Make Sweet Pumpkin Pickles

    Erika Buswell is a blogger who shares her wisdom with us at SheSpeaks.

    Sweet Pumpkin Pickles (adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving)

    • 1 Cinnamon Stick, broken in half
    • 6 Whole allspice
    • 5 Whole Cloves
    • 1/2 lemon, zested, peeled (get rid of pith) and then juiced
    • 3 Cups Granulated Sugar
    • 2 Cups White Vinegar
    • 12 Cups seeded, peeled and cubed pumpkin

    1. Prepare canner, lids and jars (if you're going to store these in the fridge to use immediately don't worry about this part)


    2. Tie cinnamon stick half, allspice and cloves in a square of cheesecloth, creating a spice bag. Set aside (or do like I did and just make the brine with it all floating around on the surface and then take a slotted spoon and just fish the spices before you can everything...I couldn't find my cheesecloth at that moment :).

    3. In a large sauce stainless steel (or non reactive!) saucepan, combine lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar,

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  • Easy Ways to Prep for Holiday Savings

    Diane R. Schmidt is a blogger who shares her wisdom with us at SheSpeaks.

    The holidays don't have to break your budget! All it takes is some advanced planning. Here is how I save money on the upcoming holidays.

    Tip #1: Make a list.
    I've started making a list of gift ideas and keeping an eye out when I go shopping. For example, if someone on my list wanted cookware, Target has recently started clearancing Calphalon and other cookware. I also like the clearance at Walmart, Pier One and even Costco has clearance, usually on seasonal items.

    Tip #2: Save gift cards.
    Whether I receive them as gifts (and can't use them), from point programs, etc. I am saving them for gifts. I also check all my point programs before Thanksgiving, to see if I have enough points to cash out and then request my gift cards then, instead of waiting. Sometimes companies take 6-8 weeks to ship out gift cards, so it's better to request them ahead of time.

    Tip #3:Make photo holiday cards

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  • Top 10 Couponing Myths Debunked

    "Dirt Cheap Diva" is a blogger who shares her wisdom with us at SheSpeaks.

    Since I started using coupons about 3 years ago, I have often found myself in the following conversation:

    Other person: "I really need to start saving more money."

    $PullQuote$Me: "I have been able to save a ton of money simply by using coupons!"

    Other person: "I have thought about that, but *insert lame excuse here*"

    Here are some myths of couponing and the reason why they just aren't true...

    10. For the amount of time it takes, it's not worth the savings in the end.

    FACT: You are in the right place to make saving money using coupons a very EASY process- let someone else do a bulk of the work for you! The hardest part is choosing what works best for you as far as organization is concerned, then its smooth sailing from there. You will be amazed at how easy it really is!

    9. You must wear sweatpants and carry a change purse to use coupons.

    FACT: OK- I wear sweatpants every now and then

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