Weekly Catch Up
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Although it inevitably was different this year, I hope you were all able to find things to be grateful for and enjoy the day. Brent typically works in an office every day, but we were very lucky and he was able to work from home for a week before Thanksgiving. This allowed us, my parents, and my grandma to be able to quarantine for a week and also get tested for COVID, so we were able to have them over for lunch. We were also able to visit outdoors with Brent’s family later in the day. This was all such a blessing!
Most of our time lately has been spent preparing for the holidays. I took a few days to do a deep clean of the house and get out all of our holiday decor while Brent was busy in the kitchen preparing our Thanksgiving meals. I spent this weekend putting together Camila’s Christmas list to share with family and began shopping for others. There have been so many wonderful sales going on, it was hard to even know where to begin, which is both a blessing and a curse!
We also received our finished holiday cards last week and they turned out perfectly! In the past we have done our holiday cards with Shutterfly, but this year we wanted to support a small business and I am extremely glad that we did. We worked with The Copy Shop from Bloomington, IL to design and print our cards and it was such an easy process. I simply emailed the design team the photo I wanted to use along with the color scheme I wanted, items I’d like included (bows and greenery of course!) and also attachments of a few card designs that I loved. From there, they were able to design the perfect card for our family! The entire process from designing to printing only took a week and their holiday card packages were actually cheaper than most big companies, even with their personalized design team! If you’d like to create your holiday cards with The Copy Shop simply email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 309-827-5466. Be sure to mention “Meg Mason” and you will receive a free paper upgrade along with a free set of thank you cards!
What We’re Watching, Cooking & Baking
Watching: We’re currently binge watching Suits and we’ve made it to Season 4. Brent previously made it to season 5, but it apparently goes downhill for a few seasons, so he gave up. I’ve been told it gets really good again in the final few seasons, so hopefully we can push through!
Cooking: For our Thanksgiving lunch Brent smoked a whole turkey on the grill and it was honestly the best turkey I’ve ever had! He used this beer-brined turkey recipe, but actually subbed the beer with water and brown sugar with coconut sugar and it turned out perfectly! He also made homemade sourdough bread (recipe from our favorite bread cookbook, Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast), mashed potatoes, and goat cheese mac & cheese. I just started eating goat cheese this month. I haven’t been able to tolerate dairy in almost 1.5 years, but I read that sometimes people can tolerate goat and sheep cheese, even if they can’t eat cow’s milk products. So far it has been going well, which is very exciting for me! I’m ready to experience all of my favorites again with these cheeses!
Baking: My mom made these apple pie bars with caramel topping for Thanksgiving and they were delicious! She was able to make them dairy-free by simply substituting the butter with DF butter. She also used the DF caramel recipe from the True Roots cookbook for the topping and it turned out great!
Weekly Shopping Finds
My goodness, there have been so many wonderful shopping deals going on lately it’s hard to keep up! Unfortunately I don’t have the time to put together full gift guide posts this year, but I did create “shop” pages to help guide your holiday shopping! If you’re looking for ideas for Babies, Toddlers, or Men check out my recommendations below! All items are either current products that we own and love or items on our own wish lists.
I would also like to spotlight some small businesses that I love. As a small business owner, I can promise you that your purchase from a small shop means so much more than a purchase from a big box business such as Amazon. There is absolutely nothing wrong with purchases from those companies, I shop Amazon, Target, etc. myself! But it’s also really nice to be more mindful of shopping small and helping support these businesses now more than ever. Here are some small businesses that I love:
- Elliefox: Children’s clothing, embroidery, and gifts
- Tuckernuck: Class clothing, home decor, and gifts for men & women
- Dudley Stephens: Fleece clothing made from recycled fabrics for men, women & children.
- Dondolo: High-quality, unique, and classic children’s clothing
- Barrington: Totes, bags, leather goods and more for women and men.
- Grace & James Kids: Boutique fashions for children along with embroidery and custom knit pieces.
- Criquet Shirts: High-quality shirts for men and boys.
- ChappyWrap: The softest blankets and throws.
- The Bella Bean: Perfectly personalized children’s clothing and gifts.
- Hazen & Co.: Modernly chic jewelry and accessories.
- Caitlin Wilson: Rugs, pillows, wallpaper, home decor and more.
- Lil & E: Handpainted watercolor prints (local here in Central Illinois!)
- Meg & Marie: Had to throw in our shop! Clothing for women, children, and we’ve recently added home items, such as candles.
What are your favorite small businesses? Leave a few in the comments below so I can help support them and spread the word!