Penny's Passion: November 2023

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Friday on Friday - December 1, 2023

Oh my goodness - it's December already!  Glad you stopped by to see the first Five on Friday for December.   Let's go~

1.  Santa Hotline
If writing a letter to Santa isn't your style, maybe you could try calling the big guy on his hotline and leaving a message at the beep.  The phone number for Santa Claus in 2023 is 605-313-4000.  As soon as Santa answers, you'll hear the jolly St. Nick give a cheerful message and then you'll have an opportunity to leave your wish list after the beep.  His voice is full of cheer and the kids will love hearing him!

2.  Virgin River - Season 5 Part 2
If you're a Virgin River fan and already watched the first 10 episodes of Season 5 - SURPRISE!  Two more holiday-themed episodes just got released!  Will Charmaine ever have those twins?  What's going to happen to Preacher?  I'm sure I'll be able to answer all the questions on Monday because this weekend I'm going to devour those two new episodes!

We bought a new vacuum a few weeks ago and dare I say, I love it!  Honestly, I never thought I'd feel that way about a vacuum of all things.  It works on both our carpets and hardwood floors, plus the canister unhooks and you can use it to do steps.  The lightweightness of it is wonderful too!  I bought it at Kohl's and got a great price plus some Kohl's cash to spend later.  Win win!

4.  Wine Glass Charms
Look at these adorable wine glass charms!  They are perfect for helping guests know which wine glass belongs to them.  And how perfect would they be for a hostess gift!  This is the type of thing I like to have on hand in case I need a last-minute gift too.  There are several different design sets to choose from so grab a couple!

5.  The fun group...

Okay - let's dive into the weekend!  I'm going to finish up the little bit of decorating I still have left and hopefully start wrapping some gifts.  See you back next week!

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Gingerbread Man Tiered Tray

Hello!  Thanks for stopping by for Thinking Out Loud Thursday where I share something I'm thinking about and invite you to link up and do the same.

We are 98% decorated for the holidays and I'm excited to start sharing elements with you.  My friend Carol and her crew come to my house each year and decorate for me.  It's the best day of the year to come home and see what they have created!  

The one place I actually decorated this season was our kitchen window.  I had decided to change up the theme slightly from years past and really lean into decorating with gingerbread men (and ladies).  Hobby Lobby had quite the selection and I couldn't resist their cute faces!

Each level of the tray is adorned with a bit of gingerbread and filled with greenery and ornaments.  

I was able to put together a whole little gingerbread family with the figurines we picked up at Hobby Lobby.  

The window is rounded out with our mailbox cookie jar, cookies for Santa sign, and an adorable little gingerbread house.  I'm looking forward to gazing at these cute little gingerbread people as I cook and bake during the holiday season!

Now it's your turn.  What are you thinking out loud about today?  Link up and share!

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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop - November 29, 2023


Welcome to another week of the Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop!  We are so glad that you are here.

Here you will find inspiration from dozens of bloggers including recipes, home DIY, gardening, decor, family fun, traveling, fitness, and so much more.

A friendly reminder to our guests that as a courtesy to the hosts, we ask that you follow every host on at least one social media channel.

If you are a blogger, then be sure to link up below. You may be our next feature!

Before we get this party started, let’s meet the hosts and check out this week’s featured favorites.


My Weight Loss Journey Through Weight Watchers


Please follow all hosts on AT LEAST 1 of their social channels.

Add as many family-friendly posts as you would like to. NO Etsy shops, adult sites, or blog parties please.  Visit others. Caring is sharing. Like, comment, and pin posts.

Party entries appear in REVERSE. This way your entries will be seen no matter when you arrive. Please TWEET our party and invite others to join.

Let’s Party!

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Thursday, November 23, 2023

Five on Friday - November 24, 2023

Happy Day After Thanksgiving!  I adore the Friday after Thanksgiving.  We have pumpkin pie for breakfast and I have a free day off work.  Before I get too deep into the day, let me share my five for this week ~

1.  Small Business Saturday
Remember to save some of your Black Friday budget to shop at your favorite small businesses on Saturday.  The Saturday after Thanksgiving is officially Small Business Saturday and it reminds us to look for the shopping opportunities right in our own communities.  I have several small businesses in our area I can't wait to pop in on Saturday and support the Small Business Saturday movement!

2.  Next Goal Wins
We are looking forward to seeing a movie tonight and the one we picked was Next Goal Wins.  We've seen the previews and it looks like a fun, light-hearted film.  It's not getting super great reviews, but I want to see it anyway.  I'll let you know on Monday what we thought of it.  Here's the summary ~
Directed by Academy Award Winner Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit, Thor: Ragnarok), NEXT GOAL WINS follows the American Samoa soccer team, infamous for their brutal 31-0 FIFA loss in 2001. With the World Cup Qualifiers approaching, the team hires down-on-his-luck, maverick coach Thomas Rongen (Michael Fassbender) hoping he will turn the world's worst soccer team around in this heartfelt underdog comedy.

You might have seen me blog about this one before, but it's worth another mention.  On Thanksgiving, we busted out this game as soon as the dishes were done.  With the deluxe edition, up to 8 people can play.  It's easy to learn and fun to play!  It's also great to take with you on trips because it's so easy to pack.  Get one for yourself and one to give as a gift this holiday season!

4.  Power Bank    
This time of year it seems like I'm using my phone more than normal.  I'm taking a ton of pictures, talking to friends, getting directions, and checking to see if I'm getting a good price on things.  I certainly don't want to run out of power!  Ensure you don't with this handy power bank.  I love this one because you don't have to have an extra cable - it just plugs right into your phone!  The size is small and it comes in several cool colors.  This would also make a perfect stocking stuffer!

5.  Anyone else feel this way?

Enjoy the weekend!  We will be pulling out all our Christmas decorations in preparation for my friend Carol coming on Monday to decorate.  It's the best day of the year when I walk in the door after work and all the decorations are up!  Let the Christmas season begin!

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Nicolette and Timothy Get Married

Happy Thanksgiving!  Thanks for popping in for Thinking Out Loud Thursday, where I talk about something I'm thinking about and invite you to link up and do the same.  Today for Thinking Out Loud Thursday, I'm reflecting on how thankful I am when couples put their trust in me to pull off their weddings!  

On a crisp fall day in October, I had the honor of witnessing Nicolette and Timothy tie the knot after months of working with them to plan their big day.  It had been a joy to help them navigate the wedding preparations and planning!  

They had a first-class set of vendors and I would recommend working with any of them!
PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY: Brianna Rose Photography 
VENUE: Haue Valley
BRIDAL GOWN: Mia Grace Bridal
GROOM ATTIRE: Men’s Warehouse
FLORIST: Carley Jeans Floral
HAIR ARTIST: Beauty Haus 4061
MAKEUP ARTIST: Alison Sivagnoli
CATERER: The Hawthorne Inn
CAKE ARTISTS: Sweet Spot Cake Shop
Desserts: Sling N Scoops
DJ: Applause Productions
I often get asked what's included in my planning package.  The answer is I help with whatever the couple needs!  With Nikki and Tim, my help began with addressing the envelopes for their wedding showers and designing their wedding invitations.  The invitations turned out beautifully!

Their wedding venue, Haue Valley, is one of my favorites in the St. Louis area. When renting this space, it comes with an elegant house for the bride and bridesmaids to get ready, a special area for the groom and groomsmen, and outdoor spaces for the wedding ceremony and photos. Haue Valley also has a supply closet full of items like candleholders, table numbers, vases, and a slew of other reception necessities you can use at no cost. It's amazing!

The couple decided to share their vows with each other privately before the ceremony.  One of the things I'm a huge fan of whether you're sharing your vows in private or publically at the ceremony is using vow books.  I cringe when I see a bride or groom open up a folded piece of paper or pull out their phone!  Vow books - that's the way to go!

Nikki designed her programs and we also had tissues on hand for the guests' happy tears.  These items were handed out as guests were seated for the wedding.

The guests were led to their assigned tables with escort cards.  These were also handed out as the guests arrived.

One of the things I noticed at the wedding rehearsals is the worry on the grandparents' and parents' faces when we talk about where they are supposed to sit.  A few weddings ago, I started putting their names on their seats.  When I tell them that their name will be on their chair, you can see the relief flood in!

Kids in weddings always make me nervous.  The ringbearers in this wedding were pros!  They did an excellent job carrying the signs we made for them down the aisle.

Each guest had a wedding favor at their place setting.  It was one of the coolest favors I've seen - a scratch-off lottery ticket!  We placed them in sealed envelopes with a little note on the front and back.

Everyone's sweet tooth was satisfied with the several options for dessert that were available.  If the bread pudding served by the caterer wasn't enough, you could indulge yourself at the dessert table full of cannolis or get some ice cream at the adorable ice cream cart.  

The bride and groom had a wedding cake just for them.  It was gorgeous!  

We placed it front and center on their sweetheart table.  They cut the cake when they walked in and we whisked it away.  

After everyone had gone through the buffet line, the bride and groom quickly visited every table and got a picture.  This is a great way to get a picture with everyone at the wedding and thank your guests for sharing in your special day.

We also had a QR code that guests could use to share their pictures with the bride and groom.  What a great way for them to get those candid shots they might otherwise not have seen!  We placed signs at the bars and other various places around the reception.

It was a pure joy working with Nikki, Tim, and their families at the wedding!  Nikki was a beautiful bride and you could see the love she has for her groom.

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Siesener!  Here's wishing you years and years of happiness!

Now it's your turn - what are you thinking out loud about today?  Link up and share!

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