DIY Mason Jar Snow Globes Just in Time for Christmas!

Who out there does not love doing arts and crafts projects with their kiddos?  And what kid doesn't love doing arts and crafts projects?  OK, now that we've answered that question I've got one for you that I think everyone will love!  It's a mason jar snow globe with a step-by-step guide from Shutterfly that you and your children can easily construct.  There are so many options to make these snow globes unique that I know you will not want to make just one.  Fill the inside of the globe with any variety of small magical items then sprinkle some glitter for the snowflakes and you've got a charming little keepsake to take out and use year after year or a great gift for friends, neighbors or grandparents!

Here are just a few items you will need to get started on your project:






  • Tree ornament
  • Glitter (2 tablespoons per globe)
  • Clear glue (2 ounces per globe)
  • Warm water (1 cup per globe)
  • Mason jar
  • Spoon
  • Glue gun
                                      SOME IDEAS TO GET YOU STARTED!






Use the guide to get you started then let your imagination run wild creating this cute project!  OH...and don't forget to attach a card to your gift!

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Tears in a Bottle

With my mother's death just two days ago, I am reminded of a Bible verse:  "You keep track of all my sorrows.  You have collected all my tears in your bottle.  You have recorded each one in your book." Psalm 56:8

This verse paints a lovely picture for me of God's love.  He cares enough about my sorrows to capture each and every tear of mine and put it in a bottle.  Wow.  I wonder how big the bottle is or how many there are.  Because along this journey with my mother I have shed many.

Thursday I made my daily visit with her and each time I left I wondered if it would be the last earthly visit I had with her.  I remember her looking a little worse than the day before but her eyes were opened, although glassed over a bit.  Her chin had turned cooler than usual and I had noticed other signs that her body was beginning to shut down.  As I sat there I talked to her about heaven once again.  She had indicated earlier in the week that she was seeing a light.  I told her how wonderful it would be to see my father who had been deceased for fifty years, how excited he would be to see her again.  And how her blind eyes would finally be able to see again.  She would be able to run and jump and there would be no pain.  I also reminded her that her lovely white hair would most likely be replaced by the striking black mane that she once had.  And her job in heaven would surely be to tend the flower gardens there.  Ones more beautiful that she ever tended here on earth.  I told her, "You have fought the battle, you have finished the race, you have done good."  And then I kissed her on the cheek, told her I loved her and would see her again the next day.

I received a call around 10 pm from the nursing home that evening.  The nurse told me that my mother was not doing well.  I said, "I'm on my way."  I made my husband drive as fast as he could and the entire time I was saying, "Don't let her die before I get there, don't let her die before I get there."  And then my husband turned to me and said, "It will be OK if she does."

Upon arriving, I walked as quickly down the hall as I could, swung the door open and ran to her bedside.  I began saying, "Mama...Mama?"  I touched her hand and then her face. She did not respond and I looked at my husband and told him to get the nurse.  He already knew but turned for the door just as she walked in.  My mother was gone.  Gone from this earth into her heavenly home.  And although I had prayed for months for God to take her, to take her out of her pain and misery, I suddenly felt so sad and overwhelmed and alone.  And that's when fresh tears began to drop.

Those tears have fallen ever since.  Whenever I awake and remember that she is gone, they fall.  Whenever my mind recalls a memory, they fall.  And then I take comfort in knowing that although both of my earthly parents have gone to heaven, I have have a heavenly Father.  One who cares so much for me that he is catching every one of those tears and putting them in a bottle.  And that he knows all of my sorrows.  He knows exactly how I am hurting right now.  And that gives me hope.  Hope that this intense pain will one day get better.  That He will hold my hand not only through the next couple of days that are sure to be unbearable,  but always.  He will walk every step of this next journey I am to take with me.  And He will pick me up and carry me whenever I am too weary to walk.

People have said that on the other side of sadness is joy.  Less than twelve hours after my mother passed into the eternal world, I witnessed the birth of my tenth grandchild.  And as I watched that precious little boy be delivered into our world I thought, what a gift that God has given me.  He has shown me the circle of life; both life and death within just a few hours of each other.  I'm still reeling from all of this and don't understand the mysteries of God.  But I do know He cares for me.  He has shown me that and I am overwhelmed with His love and mercy.  His mercies truly are new every day.

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Hospice During the Holidays

Hospice care is never easy.  You know this if you have had a loved one in hospice care.  It means the end is near.  So any time you are dealing with hospice care it is a stressful and emotional time in your life.  During the holiday season I believe even more so because of the stark contrast between the joyful festivities versus the dark reality of an imminent death.

For those of you who are not aware, my mother is currently in hospice care in a nursing home.  This past June she fell out of bed and broke her hip.  People always told me when the elderly broke a hip it was bad.  I'm pretty sure "bad' is not even the word that begins to describe this journey my sister and I have been on with our mother since then.  Following her initial surgery in June she has also had six more surgeries.  That's a lot for anybody but for an 89 years old it is unfathomable how she has even survived.  After the last surgery she was suffering so much from intense pain that we consulted with a palliative care physician and hospice.

I've had time to think these days; probably too much time to do so.  Because as I sit beside my mother's bedside, she unable to eat, drink or speak, I begin thinking of so many things.  How she loved the outdoors and spent almost every waking moment in her beautiful flower gardens.  How during the holidays she spent hours in the kitchen whipping up her traditional foods for the season.  How in her later years whenever she wasn't able to do these things you could find her in her rocking chair in front of the television watching every Hallmark Christmas movie ever made while eating the popcorn she often ate for her evening meal.  Our minds take us back to every nostalgic moment  we have stored in our memory banks.

As the holiday season is officially upon us now, one thing is clear; death has no respect for time.  It doesn't care what time of the year it is or the day or hour.  My sister and I visit our mother every day at least once.  She's usually completely non-responsive.  Sometimes she will open her eyes a bit and attempt to say something but words don't come out.  And I feel helpless, even distraught at times because I can clearly remember her telling us that she never wanted to be in this condition.  Her (and our) hopes were that God would take her quickly.  But He hasn't done that and I don't know why.  We've prayed,  as I'm sure she has,  for Him to show mercy and not allow her to linger in this condition.  But she has.  And I know that God has a plan for everything but I keep asking myself what it is.

As I said before, hospice is hard.  No, it's worse than a simple word like that; it's difficult to explain to anyone who has not experienced it first hand.  It's not just the daily visits where you have to see your loved one in the condition they are in but it is every waking (and often times sleeping) minute of the day.  You may for a moment be doing something and you're suddenly drawn back to what is really going on in your life right now.  You wake up in the morning and go to bed in the evening with the thought of your loved one's impending death on your mind.  You sleep with a phone beside your bed at night and during the day it is always in your hand because you are waiting; waiting for the phone to ring and say they have passed away.  And that makes you so anxious because you are so sad that they will possibly pass away alone.

As I sit in the chair beside my mother's bed I watch her breathe.  Because the nurses have told me about a dying patient's respiration and how it slows down to so many beats per minute.  This is information I want to know but also do not want to know.  It's while watching her breathe that I truly hope she dies while I am there.  While she knows I am there and can feel my hand on her arm and know that she is not alone.  I imagine her taking her last breath and wondering why we aren't there with her.  These things goes through your mind while sitting and watching someone breathe, waiting for their last breath.

I attempt to present myself as "normal" but these are not normal times.  I do not feel normal.  I feel as though I am in limbo with all of this waiting and yet times keeps moving along.  It's the week of Thanksgiving and I have already bought my turkeys and pulled my mother's dressing recipe out.  All of the children are planning to prepare their favorite dishes to bring and the grandchildren are out of school running around playing and excited for Christmas that will soon be here.  It is a combination of happy and sad for me.  I love the holiday season and everything about it.  The sights and smells and sounds. But how can I be happy with my mother dying?  I can't be happy.  But I can be joyful.  Joy is what lives inside you, it is not dependent on circumstances.  Because many times in our lives our circumstances are not happy ones.  And so during this season I will be sad while I wait,  but I will also be joyful because I know that , "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18."



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The New Trend: Hot Beverage Bars

I had never really seen a hot beverage bar until I attended a wedding a few years ago and the bride had a lovely one set up with not only coffee but also hot chocolate, peppermint sticks, whipped    cream, those cute little sugar cubes and much more.  I was instantly smitten!  I thought this idea was so great that I couldn't wait to use it, myself, at the next baby shower I was planning.  It was such a great focal piece; not just functional but also unique and aesthetically charming.  I thought, "If I could only have this look every day, it would make me feel as though I were miles away in a French cafe' sipping my afternoon coffee."  That's why whenever my daughter moved to her new home and asked her dad to build her a hot beverage bar,  I was both intrigued and excited.  (And I also wondered why I hadn't thought of that!)

My daughter has a very distinct style in which she has decorated her home; eclectic vintage farmhouse.  So many of her vintage pieces were her grandmother's and she has incorporated quite a few of those into the decor or her hot beverage bar.
Set against the lovely backdrop of a neutral wall on one side and brick on the other this hot beverage bar looks warm and inviting.


The bar was painted a soft, creamy white that would enhance the appearance of the vintage decorative pieces used.

Combining old and new items add to the charm of this piece.



There's nothing as comforting as having your favorite coffee mug filled with your favorite hot beverage on a crisp fall day.


Mason jars, silver spoons and cookies; what a delicious combination!

Wire baskets and wooden and metal crates not only add to the eclectic look, but also serve as functional pieces for storage.







 There are so many options for decorating a hot beverage bar year round.  Think holidays and special occasions.   This bar could easily be transformed by changing the wreath to a holiday themed one and adding some festive cups, napkins and perhaps some unique, subtle decorations.  There are endless possibilities for this bar!  If you, however, are not so great at deciding how to choose a bar for your home or decorating it, the interior designers at Havenly  can help you achieve your own special look so you too can spend time in the solitude of your own home soaking up the aroma of roasting coffee beans and dreaming of far-away places.

PHOTO CREDIT:  Caitlin Jarrell (CaitlinHolli Photography)




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Accessorizing to Create the Perfect Fall Wedding Look

Jewelry, I have always believed, is a very personal accessory.  It reflects ones' personality and how it is worn can compliment or take away from an outfit.  There are many things to consider when choosing a piece of jewelry to complement an outfit.  And with fall wedding season upon us I thought it only fitting that we create a fall outfit complete with accessories to create an aesthetically pleasing ensemble.

Fall...what a wonderful time of year to plan a wedding.  The colors are alive and vibrant, welcoming the new season and when invited to a fall wedding event you will want to choose the very best look.  And looking your best doesn't simply mean just choosing a dress and pair of shoes; finish the outfit completely with all accessories looking as though they were simply a part of the ensemble and not a second thought, thrown together at the last minute.

Let's begin with the outfit.  There are several different types of necklines that you may be wearing and different types of jewelry are appropriate for each.  The wrap dress is one of my favorite go-to dresses for almost any occasion and everyone knows that Diane Von Furstenburg is the queen of the wrap dress.  The neckline of the wrap dress is usually a statement in itself, therefore, I tend to keep it simple with jewelry and perhaps only choose a pair of earrings and bracelet.
Whenever I first saw this DVF wrap dress it said, "fall".  The aquamarine and black fine print are rich and beautiful for a fall wedding event.  


I was introduced to Via Spiga shoes years ago and instantly fell in love with them.  Beautifully made and classic; they can literally be worn forever.
This shoe is the perfect choice to wear with the wrap dress.  Almost a bootie but with a dressier, feminine look with the peep toe and skinny heel. 

 Now, let's look at the jewelry to pair with this outfit.  As I mentioned before, jewelry is very personal and I have found that over the years a classic piece of jewelry is always a great investment piece.  And if you haven't started purchasing some investment pieces for yourself then I have just the place to start; AUrate New York.  Crafted in New York by some of the finest artisans, their pieces are not only beautiful and timeless classics but they are also ethically created.  "They source their material in accordance with the highest standards of social, environmental and human rights practices. Their diamonds and pearls are also purchased from conflict-free regions, in compliance with all applicable  United Nations resolutions."  And if that is not enough to impress you, for each piece of jewelry you purchase from AUrate, an economically underprivileged child will receive a book.

These tapered, solid earrings in vermeil are absolutely gorgeous and the perfect accent to the wrap dress.  These earrings are  also customizable and can be upgraded to 14K or 18K. 


Finish the look off with this great leather envelope clutch and cashmere wrap and then you are set for the occasion!
This Italian-made Black Leather Envelope Clutch is the perfect bag for this outfit.  Sleek and simple and just the perfect size to take to a formal event.

For those chilly fall evenings don't forget a wrap.  This Black cashmere wrap , not only cozy, but classic as well, will keep
you warm and looking put together throughout the evening.  
                                                                                                         


Remember, every occasion is an opportunity to set your style apart from others.  This classic fall ensemble is sure to have heads turning and people asking about your effortless style choices.









                                                             CREATE THE LOOK


                                                                DVF Wrap Dress

                                                          Via Spiga Ida Peep Toe Pump

                                               AUrate New York Tapered Solid Earrings

                                                                 Black Leather Clutch

                                                                Black Cashmere Wrap
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Homemade Face Paint Tutorial Just in Time for Halloween

What kid doesn't just LOVE face paint?  I know mine do.  Every time we are at an event that has face painting, we're in line to choose our favorite animal or character to be for the day!  While we were on vacation this summer, we even found some face paint in a toy store, bought some, took it home and voila...we had an afternoon of such FUN flitting around pretending to be all sorts of creatures!






But what if I told you that Personal Creations has written a blog post that tells you how YOU can make your own face paint in the most awesome colors?  Well, I just couldn't resist telling you about their Home Made Face Paint Recipe and not only that but also how to create the prettiest colors!
These are two of the adorable designs you will learn to paint, step-by-step in this article...and just in time for Halloween!

I believe that a child's imagination should be enhanced in any way possible. Whenever I see the smiles on the faces and the laughter in the air from creating something homemade and  simple I know success has been achieved!  Visit the Personal Creation Blog to find out how to make your own face paint, create a palette of beautiful colors and follow the directions on how to paint a ladybug, crown, puppy and flower!





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Family Fun Night

I don't know about you and your family, but MY BIG, FAT SOUTHERN FAMILY just LOVES games!
From the oldest to well...almost the youngest (since we do have a few babies) everybody loves playing games.  And I have a cabinet full of them and have also begun to collect children's games as well.

 One of things my crew love to play is card games.  Y'all, these card games could go on forever!  And they have gone on until late at night.  But, oh what fun is had at the table with a handful of people and a deck of cards!
My favorite game is Mexican Train Dominoes.  If you have never played this game then you need to!  It is a domino game with a little different twist and is so much fun.  Often times if we start it too late in the evening we will just leave everything where it is and continue the next day.
One of the newer games that my son brought us to play is called, Ticket To Ride.  This game requires a little more strategy but everybody loves playing it.

      Pick-Up Sticks!  Do you remember that game as a kid?  Well, it's still as fun as ever.
And my little kiddos are really into playing games right now with this classic version of Candy Land being their absolute favorite!

Family game or movie nights are not only fun but also a great way of bonding with your family.  In this day and time, people are so busy with their personal lives and outside commitments that often times family moments and memory making get left by the wayside.  And honestly, that is quite sad.  These are the moments that you will all remember.  And so I challenge YOU to make an effort to spend more time with your family doing fun things!  Perhaps set up a monthly family night where everyone takes turns bringing their favorite game to play.  And while the adults are enjoying a game,  dim the lights and put a movie on for the kids.  Give them popcorn in little bags and recreate the theatre experience in you own home.  And if you need a little help choosing a great movie for them, head on over to PureFlix. There you will find literally thousands of wholesome movies for every age.
They also offer educational videos for homeschool curriculum.  Check it out here!


So... unplug for the evening!  Yep, get off of those cell phones and social media; they can do without you for one evening.  Just spend an evening reconnecting with your family; talk, laugh and get to know what's going on in each other's lives while enjoying a FAMILY FUN NIGHT of game playing!


     




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Fun Educational Kid Activities

I was first introduced to education.com back in July whenever I posted about a great educational summer activity for your kiddos.  I was so impressed with this site and all of the great resources it provides for not only educators, but also traditional and home-schooling parents as well.  And as a former educator myself, I know how important it is to keep students interested in learning with games, puzzles and any other variety of learning materials.  So today I would like to share a cute little  ocean-themed crossword puzzle (and key) with you to share with your little ones!


Under the sea what could it be?  Make a spelling splash with this fun ocean-themed crossword puzzle.  
There are so many more great activities you can find on Education.com.  You can browse the site by activity, grade, subject and lots more!  There are even lesson plans for educators to peruse.  Teachers will love that there are so many activities to choose from that will enhance almost any learning unit and students are sure to love you for choosing something that makes learning fun.  Explore more         
spelling fun at Education.com!

 






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God Gives Us Seasons of Rest To Prepare for the Storms

I don't believe in coincidence.  I believe that God knows all. And He knows it before it ever happens. This past summer Hubby and I spent the month of May in Summerland, Key. It was the best and most relaxing time I think we've ever had on a trip. First, we had never spent an entire month doing whatever we wanted to do, whenever we wanted to do it. In 35 years of marriage. So that,  in and of itself, was a wonderful experience. We spent our days just piddling. He on his boat and I painting. Every day had a boat ride in it and in the evenings we would usually cook our catch of the day and watch movies. It was lazy, sun-filled days. Days I will always cherish. But now that I'm in a different season of life; one where the days are much more difficult with my mother, I realize He had that season of rest planned for me. A season of rest before the storm. So that I could handle the storm.

Some days I don't think I'm handling this season of life well.  It's almost like parenting again. I check with the nurses on the progress of my mother. How is she that day?  Do any issues, such as medications need to be addressed?  Has she been resting OK?  All of these things have become a part of my routine.  And then I make my way to my mother's room.  I walk in and greet her and almost immediately know how the visit will turn out.  Some days she is in pain and miserable so I attempt to make her comfortable. It usually doesn't work, but I try. Some days she's confused. And between dozing will ask me the same questions over and over. I answer them as many times as she asks.  And some days, very rare days now, her mind is clear. And we can talk, have a conversation like old times. But these days are far and few between. That's just how it is. It's her season of life. And she knows enough to know she doesn't like it. I don't like it for her. But "It is what it is."  

My mother doesn't feed herself any more so when I'm there I feed her.  What a humbling experience that has been. And I've had to help them turn her to treat her bed sores. I've seen them. I didn't necessarily want to see them but I had to. And I've been there to turn her and hold her hand while they are changing her diaper. At first, I think this was the worst part.  It wasn't because of the actual changing but because it was at that point that I knew the season in my life had really changed. And she knew hers had changed too. Because she didn't want to be in the shape she's in.  But she knew there was no other choice. There was no going back. 

Hubby and I have had this Alaskan cruise planned for a year. At that time who knew what would be going on?  But the time has come for the trip so off we go. While in the back of my mind is my mother. I've made arrangements for my oldest son to check on her, call me if there is a need.  My sister will be here too since we have been taking turns seeing our mother every other day. Am I apprehensive about leaving?  You bet!  But God knew. He knew whenever we decided to take this trip what season of life I would be in. He knew that I would need a chance to slow down and catch my breath. So I will bask in the knowledge that God is sovereign and He will take care of me in this and every season of my life. 

"To everything there is a season and time to every purpose under the heaven..." Ecclesiastes 3:1

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Alaska Bound!

A couple of years ago whenever we were on our river cruise around France, our group of travelers began talking about getting together for another trip.  After the attacks on Paris while we were there our last couple of days, Hubby voiced his concerns about traveling out of the country again.  Well, actually what he said was, "I'm not going anywhere out of this country!"  It was a traumatic experience so I wasn't feeling very good about leaving the good old USA either.  SO...we came up with taking an Alaskan cruise!  We will be traveling with some of the same people from the last trip along with a few new ones for a total of around 16 people.  We will be leaving Thursday for Dallas and then heading to Seattle (another place I have never had the chance to visit!) on Friday and spending the day exploring there.  Saturday we will be leaving on the cruise ship and I look forward to sharing some of my photos on my Instagram account (Follow me @barbararogenmoser).  I will not be posting on the blog until I return so if you just want a little preview of my photos of Seattle and Alaska then hop on over there!  I'll see ya back here the 1st week of October with lots of fun things to share about our next adventure!
                                                                        Bon Voyage!
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Fun Conversation Starters for Any Occassion

When I was approached by gifts.com again to write for them I was so happy!  Because, y'all, these people have the BEST IDEAS on their blog.  Last week I shared their post about "Age Appropriate Toys"(Which SO many of you LOVED!) and around Mother's Day I shared a post that included my story of "Mom's Most Embarrassing Moments".  But this week I'm REALLY loving their post about Conversation Starters!

How many times have you showed up at a party or dinner and everyone is so reserved and often times it takes quite a while before people start to open up and feel comfortable enough to talk to each other?  Well, that is exactly why I LOVE this post so much!  You will learn how to make a conversation jar and there are 225 actual conversation starters for virtually any situation!  Kids, teens, couples, dinner party, funny, serious and many more.   And the BEST thing is...They are giving you a FREE DOWNLOAD  for ALL of them!  Yep, so what you need to do now is click HERE to start your next event off with more fun than you could imagine! (Below is an example of some of the fun conversation starters you will see in this post).

Funny Conversation Starters

These conversations starters are good for people young and old! They are sure to spark some creative answers, get the group laughing and bring back some hilarious memories.
  • If you were in a circus, which character would you be?
  • What is the worst advice you have given?
  • What is one thing you should never say at a wedding?
  • What is the worst pickup line you have ever heard?
  • If you could only store one type of food in your pocket, what would you carry?
  • What is the worst present you have ever received and why?
  • If you were a farm animal, which would you be and why?
  • What is the worst first date you have ever been on?
  • Have you ever stalked someone on social media?
  • What is the best part about taking a selfie?
  • What is your favorite celebrity scandal?
  • If you could do anything illegal without getting caught, what would you do?
  • What is the weirdest food combination you’ve ever tried?
  • Did you have an imaginary friend? What was his/her name?
  • Have you ever had a dream where everyone was in their underwear?
  • Who’s your favorite comedian?
  • Have you ever been on a blind date?
  ***Click HERE to read the entire post and DOWNLOAD ALL "225 Conversation Starters"!***
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Paperless Post Halloween Invitations

If you have never hear of Paperless Post then you are in for a treat!  I have partnered with them to introduce you to the NEW way of inviting people to your gatherings.  Online Invitations are the way to go these days with everyone using electronics more than ever.  It is not only convenient but also environmentally friendly since not all of that paper is being used for invitations and envelopes.  But I'm sure you are wondering just how Paperless Post works and if they are even really as cute as the ones you can send by snail mail.  Well, I was asked to try this modern method out for myself and see what I thought about it.

I decided since it was close to Halloween (and I REALLY love Halloween!) that I would choose an invitation for that holiday.  I went to the SITE and in the search bar entered "Halloween".  Up popped a huge variety of Halloween invitations!  Truly, there were so many it was difficult to decide on one.  The first thing I did was to create an account.  Once that was completed I could purchase COINS to pay for my cards.

 I decided on THIS invitation because I thought my little ones would like it and it wasn't too scary for them.  The first thing I chose was to make an online card that the cost started at 1 COIN per recipient.  To make a paper card (yes, there is that option too) the cost was $1.65 per card.  I then clicked on customize to change the information on the invitation to my own.  There are all sorts of options for the text such as:  formatting, typefaces and color.  I entered my personalized information and then continued on to the next step.
 The envelope and liner was chosen next.  Different colors could be chosen for the outside of the envelope and different designs for the liner.  Once again, there were so many choices!  I decided to go with the orange and black because those said, "Halloween" to me.  I didn't use a backdrop with my invitation but there were many festive ones that could be used. 
 Next, I moved on to the envelope front.  There were all sorts of stamps and postmarks that could be attached to the envelop here and, of course, I chose a Halloween one!  I chose my typeface and color by clicking on the envelope.  Orange was the perfect color for this envelope!  The next step took me to the reply card option.  If a reply card is chosen, there are many options of both design and wording to make it your own.  Finally, it was time to create the event page.  This is where the date, time, guest list, phone number, comment wall and guest registry can be set up for your event.  Your invitation can  be previewed before it's sent and then you begin adding the email addresses where they will be sent.  Don't forget to look  in the upper right corner of your computer screen to see how many coins you will be charged for each invitation!  Before you hit SEND, you can have a TEST INVITATION sent to yourself to see how it looks.  If everything looks OK, just press SEND!
Once your invitations have been sent, all you have to do is wait for the RSVP's to start coming in!  You can keep up with who has responded to your invitation by going to your post box

WOW!  I wasn't sure how I would like creating an invitation online because I have attempted to navigate other sites and they were a bit complicated.  Paperless Post, however, was very user friendly and I feel like I not only created a cute, personalized invitation but I also have everything about my event located in one place.  What a wonderful new way to create invitations, birthday cards, save-the-dates, wedding invitations and even holiday cards!  I know that I will be using Paperless Post quite a lot, myself! 


***Disclosure:  I was compensated for creating this post to show you just how fun and easy it can
                          be to plan your next event.***



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Take Your Dream Trip With the Help of Earnest

It's no secret that I LOVE to travel.  It has always been my desire to see the world a little at a time and that is what I have been trying to do for many years now.  It wasn't until my 25th wedding anniversary that I got to travel to Europe, Italy specifically.  To say that I was truly enamored with the old country would be an understatement.  There was absolutely nothing that I did not like about my trip there and I tried to soak every moment up so that I would have memories forever.  This trip did not quell,  but only intensified,  my wanderlust and a couple of years ago I found myself touring France with my husband and a group of friends.  Travel can be attainable to you as well with the help of financial leaders like Earnest, who inspire you to dream big and let you make it happen!


If you had $10,000 available for your dream trip, could you do it?  Travel to places you've always wanted to see?  Of course you could!  And I'm going to give you a few little pointers to help you achieve that goal.  First, decided where you want to go.  Will you be traveling on land versus a cruise?  We flew to Italy and moved from city to city via train.  In contrast, we took a riverboat cruise around France.  There are pros and cons to both modes of travel but both trips were equally enjoyable.

Once you have decided where you would like to travel and in which manner you will be traveling you need to start looking at plane tickets.  Personally, we have a rewards credit card that enables us to save points for each dollar we spend and this has been wonderful in the purchase of or upgrading  airplane tickets.  If you do not have one of these cards, you can either apply for one or just begin perusing roundtrip tickets for your destination.  The difference in Italy and France for us was the fact that in Italy we had to pay for a water or land taxi or train to each destination.  Once in France, a shuttle for the riverboat cruise picked us up at the airport and took us straight to the boat.  From there, we were able to walk everywhere we chose.  Both countries are walking countries so one really does not have to take taxis everywhere you go.  Unless you are traveling from an airport or train station to your hotel.

Where will you stay?  That's the big question.  On our own in Italy, we booked hotels through a travel agency.  We knew that some areas might be sketchy so we told the agent to book 4 or 5 star hotels to ensure that we felt safe.  Of course, there is the expense of the lodging as opposed to living on a boat for the entirety of a trip.  Staying on land put us in a different train station every few days, getting ourselves from place to place.  In contrast, a riverboat cruise takes care of all your needs.  We dined there, slept there and moved from place to place at night while we were sleeping.

So, below are some links for you to peruse while making your decision on where your next "Dream Trip" will be and helping you stay within your $10,000 budget:

Choose your airline:  American Airlines
                                   Delta Airlines
                                   United Airlines

Choose whether your trip will be by land or cruise:  Viking River Cruise
                                                                                    Travelocity

Decided what you want to see:  Frommers

How are you going to pay for your Dream Trip:  Consider a low-interest personal loan like the one
                                                                               Earnest offers here.





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