CLOSED {Review & Giveaway) Hostess Gifts and Merci Chocolates

Merci Chocolates

I received a box of Merci Chocolates and a promotional item for my honest review.
I received no monetary compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.

If your December calendar looks anything like mine, you’ll be attending several holiday parties. I am always looking for great hostess gifts. What could be better than chocolate? Merci chocolates seem to be made for saying “thank you.” I think the name alone gives that away! And indulging in a piece of yummy chocolate is such a great way to wind down after a whirlwind party.

Each box of merci includes a delicious selection of rich, European chocolates in flavors like milk chocolate, hazelnut-almond, marzipan, dark mousse, and coffee and cream. I think my favorite, however, is the praline-creme. Such a delicious treat paired with a cup of dark roast coffee!

merci

As someone who enjoys entertaining in my home, I know how much goes in to party planning. I don’t think there is anything out-of-the-ordinary that makes a great hostess, though, as long as she is having a great time too. Enthusiasm is contagious! I do appreciate always being greeted at the door, and taking guests special needs into consideration is always appreciated, too. (These are things that I try to do myself.)

I’m really looking forward to our Christmas movie party in a couple weeks, so you can bet I’ll be keeping in mind what I enjoy when I attend someone else’s party. Basically three things: good friends, good food, and good fun. Sounds simple, but I think it’s true! I will also be bringing a gift of merci to my mother-in-law’s on Christmas Eve as a token of thanks for always having a lovely holiday dinner and making everyone feel welcome.

merci2

The sweet people at merci have generously offered to give away a gift pack to one of my readers so that you can also say “thank you” to someone!

Rules

  • Open to U.S. residents 18 and over only.
  • Giveaway will close at 12 PM Eastern Time on Thursday, December 19, 2013.
  • Winner will be chosen by Random.org and posted on the blog the next morning. To enter, please leave a comment telling me what qualities you think make a great hostess OR a party that you are looking forward to this holiday season.

And don’t forget to check out merci’s Facebook app, the Thank-You-Maker! You can send a friend a meaningful thank you, and in return receive a Buy One Get One Free coupon for merci chocolates! If you’re on Twitter, send a tweet about giving a meaningful ‘Thank You’ using the #merciHoliday hashtag.

You can find merci chocolates at many stores including World Market, Target, and Amazon.com. 

Thanks to you, my readers for supporting my blog. And good luck with this giveaway. Trust me, the winner will truly enjoy these scrumptious chocolates!

Snow Day

snow day

You’d think that after living in the Northeast for my entire life, that snow would be boring by this point. But you know what? That first real snowfall is still so exciting and beautiful and I just stare and think about how magnificent nature is.

I really am so lucky to live in the most gorgeous part of the country.

snow day

snow day

snow day

snow day

snow day

Christmas Home Stretch

holiday scents

OK, are you guys all ready for Christmas? I am about as ready as I’ll ever be. The pillow I’m working on for Noah might not be done in time, though 🙁 If that’s the case, I’ll give the boys their handmade gifts on New Year’s Eve — I just need a couple more days. But maybe I’ll rally tonight and get it done, who knows?

Anyway, today I’ve just been puttering around the house. I folded and put away a few baskets of laundry, made homemade pizzas for lunch (Hawaiian for the kids and Chicken Cordon Blue for Drew and myself), and finished up some last-minute gifts.

thread

secret sewing

piles of yarn

The kittens had the right idea, I think 🙂

sleepy kitty

Drew took the boys to the comic store for a while this afternoon and brought home dinner, which meant no cooking for me! So I think I’m going to indulge in a cup of tea and a cannoli and see how far I get on that pillow.

sweet dreams

Sweet dreams!

String Up the Lights

christmas tree 2012

Do you have a Christmas tree decorating tradition? Ours is to hang up all of the ornaments while Christmas Vacation plays in the background. It’s something Drew and I have done since our pre-kid days, and every year without fail we laugh at all the same parts.

While I love the idea of a real tree, the reality is that our artificial tree just makes more sense for us. We can put it up whenever we like (in our case — last weekend, even though we didn’t decorate it until today).  We can use it for years. We don’t need to water it. And honestly I love that it has glitter on it. Find that on your local tree lot 😉

christmas tree 2012

This year, the ornament hanging went much smoother than in years past. The kids all listened, and there was minimal frustration. We have some very old and very fragile ornaments that they’re not allowed to touch yet.

christmas tree 2012

And yes, there was hot cocoa. (The grown-up version had a little extra “Christmas cheer” thrown in!)

christmas tree 2012

Over the next few days we’ll move ornaments around until it’s just right. I had planned on making a popcorn garland this year, but I just didn’t have time last week. Our old garland is at least 30 years old. Have you ever seen 30-year-old popcorn? Yeah, and I thought the ornaments were fragile. We strung it up last year, but this year it’s staying in the box.

christmas tree 2012

This early in the month, it’s still a work in progress. And I really need to find our tree skirt!

christmas tree 2012

Holiday Mail for Heroes

One of the best things about the holiday season is getting cards in the mail from family and friends. I don’t care if they say Merry Christmas, Season’s Greetings, Happy Holidays, or something different. It’s the sentiment that matters to me, the thought behind the cards and not the verbiage. And if my family loves checking the mailbox every day, I can only imagine how great it is for our servicemen and women to get special mail at this time of the year.

Enter The Red Cross’ program: Holiday Mail for Heroes. It’s a great way to get your kids involved and help provide a service to others. The cards are delivered to veterans, military families and active-duty service members at hospitals and installations around the world.

There are, of course, guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety and to make sure the program is successful. From the Red Cross Website:

Every card received will be screened for hazardous materials by Pitney Bowes and then reviewed by Red Cross volunteers working around the country.

Please observe the following guidelines to ensure a quick reviewing process:

  • Ensure that all cards are signed.
  • Use generic salutations such as “Dear Service Member.” Cards addressed to specific individuals can not be delivered through this program.
  • Only cards are being accepted. Do not send or include letters.
  • Do not include email or home addresses on the cards: the program is not meant to foster pen pal relationships.
  • Do not include inserts of any kind, including photos: these items will be removed during the reviewing process.
  • Please refrain from choosing cards with glitter or using loose glitter as it can aggravate health issues of ill and injured warriors.
  • If you are mailing a large quantity of cards, please bundle them and place them in large mailing envelopes or flat rate postal shipping boxes. Each card does not need its own envelope, as envelopes will be removed from all cards before distribution.

Mail your cards to:

Holiday Mail for Heroes
P.O. Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

Cards will only be accepted through December 7th, and any received after that date will be returned. This is a great activity for a scouting group, a class, a playgroup, or even just for a family activity (maybe start a new tradition to write out cards after Thanksgiving dinner).

I’m sure each and every one is appreciated.