Category: Family

2021: The Year of the Gratitude Journal

What are you thankful for? That 2020 is over!

No, seriously, think about what you’re thankful for! This is my focus for 2021. Living with a spirit of gratitude changes your life, but it’s not something that comes easy for most people. We have to be intentional about it. That’s why I’ve started a gratitude journal.

Gratitude Journal from Step Into Success

My 2021 Planner came with a small gratitude journal, pictured above, but there’s lots of places you can get one of these, or you can just use a spiral notebook. I find it easiest to write in mine every night before going to bed. Just a sentence or two is enough. Here’s some prompts for your daily entries:

  • Today I’m grateful for…
  • A person I’m grateful for is…
  • Something in nature I’m grateful for is…
  • The best thing that happened today is…
  • Something that made me smile today is…
  • I’m looking forward to….
  • A hobby I’m grateful for is…
  • It’s important to practice gratitude because…
  • A complement I’ve received lately is…
  • I’m grateful for this friendship…

You see? It’s not difficult to get started. If you need additional help, simply google “gratitude journal prompts” and you’ll have a huge list to get you started!

As a woman of faith, I also use those sale notification emails as an opportunity to practice gratefulness, and as a prayer prompt. I thank God for the clients he brings my way, that he prompts them to remember me when shopping, and that he would bless them. Gratefulness, therefore, takes our minds off ourselves.

Research at Harvard Medical School found that practicing gratefulness makes you more optimistic, feel better about your life, exercise more, and have fewer visits to the doctor, even! I hear that some doctors are even recommending keeping a gratitude journal to their patients as another method to improve their overall health!

As far as business goes, there are many reasons why being grateful is good for business. People enjoy doing business with grateful people. Being grateful takes your focus off of yourself and onto your clients, which drives you to better customer service. Grateful people attract grateful people, which is a good place to be in life as well as in business. Need more reasons? Just google, “does being grateful increase sales,” then pause for a moment and be thankful for the clients you already have and the information you are learning.

Here are some examples of gratitude journals, but keep in mind you can also use a spiral notebook:

The Lord has done great things for us,
And we are glad.

Psalm 126: 3

Fill your home with beautiful reminders of the Grace you’ve been given and the Gratitude that you have!

Grace & Gratitude Collection

Virtual Cookie Exchange

2020 has brought many challenges, one of which being a lack of get-togethers. One of my favorite events is always the Christmas Cookie Exchange. When I thought up this idea, to do it virtually, I didn’t know if it would work or not. So many people enjoyed when I shared my Snowball Cookie recipe, however, that I decided to go ahead and give it a try. I posted in my VIP Group that I wanted to host a Virtual Cookie Exchange, and I got a few submissions back in, so I’m excited to bring you my first Virtual Cookie Exchange Booklet! I hope you find something you love here, and that it blesses your family and anyone with whom you share your cookies!

To print this PDF as a booklet, you’ll need to print full page, horizontal, and (very important) set your printer to print front & back. Printing this way will only take 3 pieces of paper, and you’ll have a nice booklet once you fold the paper in half. Add staples down the left side, and use some cute washi tape to cover the staple points.

November 2020 Hostess Opportunity

Happy November! This month is a great time to gather your friends to take a break from this year’s chaos and look at something beautiful! Literally everyone is already thinking about gifts they’d love to give (and receive) for upcoming holidays, and may also have birthdays and anniversaries to consider.

Add to that that these are products that your friends and family will actually use and love themselves, so what more could you want?!

I am happy to offer two solutions for this season:

1) Lilla Rose Hair Accessories

The perfect size for a stocking, small jewelry box, or bag! That describes most of the items that Lilla Rose has to offer. Gorgeous and unique hair accessories to fit every type of hair, we have 7 sizes of Flexi-Clip, a variety of hair pin types (U-Pin sets, Swerves, acrylics, large pins – beaded or plain), hair sticks, hairbands, leather accessories… something for everyone!

November 2020 Special Offer for clients of Sue Ellen Hale only: When your event reaches $200 in sales by Nov 25, I will match your credit with items from my available inventory! This is a limited time offer, available only through me, and is not endoresed by Lilla Rose, Inc. or any other Stylist that I’m aware of.

Hostess Rewards start at just $100!

Hostess Rewards already start at just $100 with our exclusive Hostess Only Flexi-Clips and Flexi-inspired necklaces! Half priced items and additional free credit increase the more orders you and your guests help bring in!

Now if those on your list usually don’t wear accessories in their hair, as is the case with some, we also have a line of Essential Hair Care products that also are a considerate gift or stocking stuffer. Pamper yourself and the ladies on your Christmas list with these!

2) Mary & Martha

This year I am pleased to have grown my business to include beautiful home decor and service pieces, inspirational sharables & devotional books, and more from Mary & Martha! With the strong faith foundation, this company is right. up. my. alley!

I love sharing these products to strengthen women in their spiritual journey, and to provide tools for encouraging others! One of my favorite things M&M offers is Scripture Sharables & Prayers to Share pads, which are meant to share with others everywhere you go! These are also perfect for adding to stockings this year! Give someone a whole collection they can share with others, or split the cards up among several people. The 100 Empowering Notes for Kids are being added to many shoeboxes this year for Operation Christmas Child, too!

Every month M&M has a Host Bonus to encourage booking – it’s a selection of some of our most popular items, available for just $14 when you book and hold your party! At $32-$65 off, these are a crazy good deal — my GIFT to you when you book and hold your virtual gathering this November! ๐Ÿ™‚

Of course, beyond that, Hostesses are eligible for free and half priced items, based on the total sales at your gathering.

I get really excited at the end of a Mary & Martha gathering, when I see how many people are going to be blessed by the items that were purchased during the event!

I am so happy and thankful that I can offer both of these opportunities this fall! If you’d like to schedule your own event, please reach out to me on Facebook, or text me if you have my number, so we can get you scheduled ASAP!

As always, and with all other small businesses – we truly appreciate your business and your support, this year especially. When your orders come in, they fill my heart with thankfulness… and there just might be a little happy dance, too! ๐Ÿ’œ

Gluten Free Thanksgiving

So we’re giving this a whirl this year – Gluten Free Thanksgiving! Because so many people are struggling with food sensitivities nowadays, I thought that I’d share our menu and maybe help someone out that’s looking for options at the last minute. I’ve included online links, but you may be able to find many of these alternatives at your local stores. The links are mainly to show the item, because I’m a visual learner.

This is NOT our feast! lol!

Our Menu:

  • Fried Chicken and Gravy (just me and the kids doing this, so I went with something I knew they’d love!)
  • Green Beans (see below)
  • Homemade Cranberry Sauce
  • Mac & Cheese
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Rolls
  • Chocolate Pie
  • Pumpkin Pie

How does that strike your fancy? We are super excited!! Now… how to make this gluten free???

Fried Chicken

My Grandmama made the best fried chicken ever. In the history of the world. Seriously. And I watched her do it a few times, but I was little, so I don’t know if this is how she did it, but I’d venture to say it’s pretty close! I’m also attempting her macaroni & cheese recipe for the first time this year. Usually my brother makes it.

I’ll be using chicken tenderloin, since that’s what is easiest to fry and all my kids like them. I set up two bowls. One has about 3 eggs and a splash of milk whisked together. (I have used dairy free, unsweetened, plain almond milk to do this and it works just fine.) The other bowl gets my dry ingredients. I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, salt & pepper to taste, a sprinkle of parsley flakes, and 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast. Dip in the wet bowl, then into the dry bowl. If you’ve got time to kill and want to make it extra crusty special, repeat the dippings. I fry in refined organic coconut oil until done. Refined is important if you don’t want your chicken to take like coconut! I cook an entire two pound bag of tenderloins and we won’t have any leftovers! If you’re cooking for a smaller family, you’ll use less ingredients.

Green Beans

The green beans are just basic beans from a can. I do prefer DelMonte brand to others. Then I add a couple tablespoons of butter (or Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Spread, for dairy free), and some spices. I like to use Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb Blend and Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning, and if I’m feeling extra saucy, just a touch of cayenne pepper! One of my children appreciates the spice, but the rest won’t eat these anyway, so I make them my way!

Cranberry Sauce

We found an easy Cranberry Sauce recipe in The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays: 140 Step-by-Step Recipes for Simple, Scrumptious Celebrations cookbook. I couldn’t find the same recipe online, but this one is close: Cranberry Sauce by Ree Drummond on Food Network. The recipe in the cookbook has only 3 ingredients: cranberries, oranges, maple syrup.

Macaroni & Cheese

Mac & Cheese has been a challenge, but our diet has re-introduced dairy now, so I’m more comfortable trying this. Honestly, if we were still dairy free, I’d probably just skip the mac & cheese. My Grandmama made a baked mac & cheese and this is what my son has requested. She cooked the macaroni noodles per the package instructions, then in a 9×9 glass baking dish, sprayed with non-stick spray, she layered slices of cheese (cut from a block, not sliced cheese like for sandwiches) with the noodles. When I was young, it must have been cheddar that she used, but I’m told later in life she used colby jack. The noodles were salted & peppered, a splash of milk added so it doesn’t dry out (almond milk ok), then topped with another layer of cheese. This will be my first attempt at this style of mac & cheese. Fingers crossed… For the noodles, I’m using Skinner Gluten Free Elbows, found at my local HEB grocery store. I haven’t tried these yet, either, but based on the mix used in the ingredients, I think they were a good option.

Mashed Potatoes

This is pretty standard. To make dairy free, use the dairy free butter linked above and almond milk and nobody will know the difference!

Deviled Eggs

We love deviled eggs! I just might have to do a separate post about the eggs sometime! We raise chickens, so fresh eggs are killer to peel. This is the whole reason I got an Instant Pot! And it works! (works great for store bought eggs, too) Put a cup of water in the pot, then the trivet, then layer in the eggs. I’ve loaded my pot with up to two and a half dozen eggs before. It’s a beautiful sight. 6 minutes at high pressure, 6 minutes natural release then open the valve, 6 minutes in an ice bath. Cool completely, then peel.

Slice in half. Any whites that are not pretty go into the mash. There should be at least 3 whole eggs in the mash. Mash the yolks and the whites that didn’t make the cut. Add Kraft Sandwich Spread until moist. Salt & pepper to taste. If you’re not dairy free, drizzle in a little homemade ranch dressing. Skip that if you’re dairy free, no biggie. Spoon the mash into the eggs, then come back and add more. If you have any left over, enjoy your egg salad.

Rolls

Once again, we’re entering new territory. I’m going to be taking my husband’s grandpa’s wife’s roll recipe (haha) and trying it with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour. This is a yeast roll recipe, and I’ve had excellent results with this flour so far, so I’m going to give it a whirl. I will do a half recipe, however, since this is a test. If it’s a flying success, I expect to hear lots of complaining from the children that I didn’t make more!

Dessert

Again, I’m just altering standard recipes. And we’re going crustless. That’s a disappointment, I know, but it is what it is. I didn’t have time to perfect a gluten free pie crust this year, nor do I have time to make gluten free graham crackers. If you have a local store with GF graham crackers, you could probably make a graham crust pretty easily.

Using my husband’s uncle’s chocolate pie recipe, will really be more like a thick pudding without the crust. And that’s perfectly ok. It’s chocolate. This recipe is not dairy free. It uses whole milk, sugar, flour, etc. Again, we’re no longer DF, so I’m not altering the dairy in this recipe at this time. If I attempt a DF version in the future, I’ll let you know. For now, I’m switching out the flour and just dealing with the sugar. After all, Thanksgiving is a special occassion, they’re only getting one slice of pie and it’s not going to last long! Possibly whole fat coconut milk would work to make a homemade chocolate pie.

There’s so many recipes for pumpkin desserts on pinterest, and lots of them are gluten and dairy free! Thank you, internet! I’ll be using a Pioneer Woman (can you tell I love her??) recipe that was found on Walmart’s website! Pumpkin Pie by the Pioneer Woman. Alterations I’ll be making: No crust. That’s it! You could use sweetened condensed coconut milk, if you’re dairy free, but keep in mind that these cans are not exactly the same size as a standard can of Eagle Brand! Just be prepared.

Fruit can also be transformed into a delicious gf/df dessert! This fun turkey would be great for the kids!

As I’ve mentioned before, this is not a recipe blog, and I’ll have to go back at a later date and add pictures. Because I’ve never thought to photograph each item of food. Hopefully this may help someone that’s trying to figure out how to enjoy the holidays with dietary restrictions. This was my son’s biggest concern. The most important thing to remember is to relax and enjoy the holiday with your family. Let the kids help in the kitchen, even though it’s messy. Let them help with the meal planning. Nobody ever said it had to be turkey.

Have a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving!

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