Posted in Christmas, family, grandkids, loreeebee.ca, online purchases

It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas

To steal a line from that famous carol, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in my home. With the pandemic sucking most of the fun out of 2020, many are decorating earlier than usual this year. Me too, as soon as remembrance day was over, I hauled out my decorations.

Outside Decorations

It helped too that the weather outside was not so frightening, so hubby was coerced into putting up the outdoor lights. This becomes trickier each season as the trees we adorn with multicoloured lights get bigger and bigger. This blue spruce was purchased more than thirty years ago, as a dwarf variety, supposed to achieve a height of five feet at maturity. Currently it sits at around 15 feet, no dwarf for sure, but hopefully as mature as it’s going to get. It sure does look pretty though when all lit up, even from way down the street. So my neighbours tell me.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Moving Inside

Moving inside, our artificial (due to hubby’s allergies) Christmas tree is up in our front window with more lights twinkling on it. My almost four year old grandson helped me add the ornaments, three per branch in many instances. It’s the thought that counts, right? I wonder if he will notice that I could not resist moving them around a bit to fill in some needier spots…

Last year, during a Florida vacation, I purchased these four beautiful Harvey Lewis ornaments, embellished with Swarovski crystals, one for each grandchild I had at the time…

This season I tried to order another “J” for our newest family member, the grandson that was lucky enough to be born at the beginning of the pandemic. Unfortunately, it seems lots of J babies were born this year as that letter is now unavailable. I will keep trying, my fingers are crossed hoping more will become available soon. As my sister in Texas is a little closer to Florida than I am in Ottawa, I have her looking for me within the USA.

My oldest granddaughter helped me unpack decorations from their designated buckets (yes, all labelled with the room they go in) and add them to the holiday decor, during her breaks from her online school lessons. Some decorations are very old (the bulbs in a vase on the dining room table belonged to my hubby’s grandmother!), some brand new, most somewhere in between. Many were handcrafted, like the wooden snowman-like guy at the bottom that my middle son made in grade two. He is now pushing twenty-nine years old. The point is that all have special meaning to us. Another example is the fibre-optic tree that was rescued from my Dad’s crawlspace just before his house sold after his passing…

I had to remove and relocate the (fake) poinsettia plants I had inside my fireplace, as my granddaughter was very concerned they might deter Santa…

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

A beautiful, real poinsettia, received from a friend, looks awesome on my kitchen table. The white blooms pop against the colourful tablecloth…

it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Holiday Crafts

Both of my granddaughters love crafts. I knew I held onto my craft bucket (for many years) for a reason, or two. We made snowflakes, a la Martha Stewart, ensuring every one is unique, just as nature intended…

My younger, almost 3 year old granddaughter helped me make loops of red and green paper to decorate the doorways.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

I’m sure when she sees the snowflakes crafted by her older cousin, I will have a few more to add to my windows. I won’t tell her that I am counting on it. I also saw a neat (and kid friendly) craft on the Marilyn show I know she will love. A Christmas tree made of a paper cone and plastic spoons, decorated with glitter sounds right up her alley.

New Decorations for 2020

Shopping on Amazon recently for ideas on crafty decoration kits I could purchase to make with my granddaughters, I saw these really cute, very 2020, customizable Christmas tree ornaments. Spoiler alert to any family members reading this, I ordered some for each of our families!

It's Beginning to look a lot like Christmas
customizable for your family!

Supporting our local shops, I purchased a few items from Wood N Delights & The Country Cottage out of Frankville, Ontario. Lots to choose from, visit their site for yourself for more ideas…

I settled on some stocking stuffers and a little something to add to my Christmas decorating. I am in love with the sweet cardinal-inspired salt and pepper shakers, now on my dining room table…

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Where are you in your decorating this year? Have you started early or are you still waiting to get motivated?

Posted in baby, business, grandparents, lorieb.wordpress.com, online purchases

Polkadots and Moonbeams, Unique Baby Gifts

Check out this impressive website, owned by my cousin Julie in Missouri, for the unique treasures offered at Polkadots and Moonbeams. These personalized baby gifts are perfect for showers, birthdays, Christmas, baptisms, or your own nursery.

Unique Gifts for New Beginnings

These beautiful works of art are hand crafted in home based studios, each one made to order, never mass produced. Custom designs are created with the details (colours, names etc) that you specify upon ordering. Orders are received in Rolla Missouri, items are crafted by individual, independent artisans throughout the USA, then shipped to your door. The concept itself is unique and very creative!

Currently, the only items available for international shipping (outside USA) are the silver pacifier clips, but Julie is working on changing that. So, be sure to check back often to see her progress! Because these unique items are made and shipped by different individuals, items ordered together may ship separately.  Please see individual product page for availability times. Your purchases can be delivered directly to your recipient too. If you wish to order several items to be shipped to different recipients, order each item separately.

If you cannot decide which item is perfect for the baby you are shopping for, Polkadots & Moonbeams gift cards are available. They have no extra processing fees and are delivered by email with instructions on how to redeem them.

Let Polkadots & Moonbeams help you celebrate the new beginnings in your life with a unique, customized, hand-crafted gift! Check out the website for further details on all the gift options and company policies.

Posted in business, loreeebee.ca, online purchases, technology

Online Shopping and Scams

Online shopping is very common today due to its convenience and our hectic schedules.  The problem is, there are lots of companies out there just waiting for busy and unsuspecting people like you and I to fall for their scams.  These are companies that offer a “free trial” of a product for just the cost of shipping, often charge you for the full price of the product (megabucks) if you do not cancel within a few days of ordering.  Not a few days from receiving the product and giving it a try, but a few days after ordering, often before you even receive the product to try.  They count on that discrepancy in the time factor, hoping you won’t have time or forget to cancel.  If you do not cancel within the specified time frame, you will not have much luck getting your money back.

Other companies keep renewing your order automatically whether you need more products or not. Again, this should have been spelled out in the fine print of the original offer.  Beware, it can be difficult to cancel the order completely or control when the products are shipped.

I had an incident last week where I had tried to book my son’s drivers test online.  I went through the whole process, prepaid for his test with my visa, then received an email saying it could not be booked online.  I was advised I would be refunded the payment.  Three business days later I received a refund, but was charged ten dollars for a “cancellation fee.”

This list contains tips to (hopefully) prevent you from getting scammed when making online purchases:

  • read the fine print of any offer.  The details of the repeated/monthly payments are usually not visible front and center.
  • if an offer seems too good to be true, it generally is
  • consider a prepaid credit card for online purchases; refill it in small increments or just when you order something.   This is easy to do online.  That way the company you are purchasing from does not have your regular credit card number to make unauthorized, often repeated, transactions.
  • keep a close eye on your credit card statement.  This is easy to do these days with online accounts.  This is especially important since companies often have different names for payments on credit cards, making it difficult to keep track of your purchases and payments.
  • set up alerts on your credit card so you know immediately when they are used.  This can easily be done online as well.  Phone the fraud department of the credit card you use if you do not recognize a transaction.  They are generally pretty good at giving you details of the transaction, but more importantly, will cancel your card if you suspect fraud.
  • do your research before you purchase a product from a company you are unfamiliar with.  Thankfully modern technology has supplied us with access to complaints, scams, and other information about companies.
  • order from companies you know about or have heard about.  Some companies, like Rodan & Fields, for example, have consultants/team members to purchase from.  That way  you have recourse if something goes wrong with your order or your payment.

Online shopping is certainly convenient, but be aware of who you are dealing with.  Let me know of any tips you may have for online shopping safety.

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