Happy Thanksgiving + Black Friday Special

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From all of us at Mrs. Fields, we want to wish you a wonderful (and delicious) holiday! And congratulations to the winners of our Thanksgiving giveaway. Our grand prize winner came from this nomination:

I want to thank my amazing mom for all that she has done for me, and continues to do every day.

After my dad passed away very suddenly ten years ago my mom was crippled with an ungodly amount of medical debt resulting from the incident. Nearing her golden years when she should have been settling in to retirement, she had to go back to work to pay off all the debt, knowing that she’d have to work the rest of her life to pay it all off (all while dealing with the grief of losing her partner).

Two years ago, my husband and I finally became pregnant after years of trying when things suddenly took a terrible turn. It was a complicated pregnancy the entire way and we were told our little one (if she made it) could be mentally challenged, have heart defects, lung defects, possibly blind and/or deaf. We were at the mercy of fate, and I could only be comforted by the arms of the woman who had seen me through all of life’s challenges: my amazing mom.

Being a 2-income family by necessity, the idea of finding childcare for a special needs child became overwhelming, to say the least. It was an added stress that was weighing me down emotionally and financially… Then, my loving, thoughtful, never selfish mom came to me and declared that she had put in her notice at work and was going to stay home to be our “Granny Nanny!”

The day our daughter was born gave me new insight into the love my mom has felt for me all these years: undying, selfless and eternal. AND, knowing that our little one was going to be cared for by the most amazing person on earth gave us so much comfort that we were able to go back to work with peace of mind.

Here’s the happiest part of all: our daughter came out 100% healthy, and now she and Granny get to play and learn together all day long! They are the best of friends and I couldn’t be more thankful for the most amazing mom the world has to offer: mine!

And now for tomorrow’s fun–we have three fun offers for your Black Friday shopping!

In our stores:

Online:

And at a Walgreens near you:

Now go have a slice of pie!

5 Tips to Make Houseguests Feel Welcome

If you’re hosting houseguests over the holidays, there are simple things you can do to help their stay go off without a hitch. I’ve got five great tips that will make all the difference:

1. Keep a well-stocked bedroom. Anticipate your guest’s needs by stocking their room or sleeping area with a few essentials: bottled water, tissues, a packaged snack food, and a magazine or book. If there is a TV in the room, leave a channel guide near the remote control. Leave a note with the wi-fi name and password, and extra pillows and blankets are a must. A nightlight is helpful, as is a small flashlight in case they need to find the bathroom in the night and don’t want to turn on lights.

2. Keep a well-stocked bathroom. No guest wants to quietly tap you on the shoulder and ask for a bathroom item, so have your bathroom well-stocked and organized. Have ample toilet paper, fresh towels, fresh soap, cotton balls, Q-tips, feminine products, and even a new toothbrush and toothpaste just in case. My other favorite bathroom item to keep stocked is a bottle of this little gem. It really works!

3. Plan for free time. Both you and your guest will likely need and want some time apart, especially during the busy holidays. Equip them with helpful information like maps and transportation information so that they can get around independently. Pick up free brochures of local attractions ahead of time so they can browse options. Supply them with an extra set of house keys, so they have the freedom to come and go as needed.

4. Have accessible snacks and food. Keep a bowl full of fruit out for snacking and a jar full of cookies out and ready for enjoyment. Make sure they know where to find a drink if they need one, and have easy self-serve breakfast food options in case they wake up earlier or later than you.

5. Let them help out. Nobody likes to feel like a burden as a houseguest. Invite them to help you make dinner or read to the kids while you’re  running a quick errand. If they offer to help, have a short list of tasks in mind that would be easy for them to do: wash the dishes, walk the dog, take out the trash, or even vacuum.

Do you have any other tips? Be sure to share them!

Fall Wreath Ideas

Mrs. Fields Secrets Fall Wreath Ideas
Looking for ideas to dress up the front door for fall? Check out these inspiring autumnal decorations filled with bright colors and textures. (Left to right)

Rich mums line the stairway / Pinecone wreath with golden ribbon / Wreath with green bow / Bright yellow flowers and brown ribbon / Leopard print ribbon wreath / Mossy wreath with mini pumpkins / Upcycled aluminum can wreath / Twig wreath

Gift Ideas for Grandparent’s Day

Mrs. Fields Secrets Grandparents Day Gift IdeasGrandparent’s Day is coming up this weekend on September 8. If you’re looking for some fun, creative gift ideas, we’ve got you covered! Grab the kids and check out these fun ideas:

1. Some simple plaster poured in a sandy handprint to make a beachy keepsake gift.
2. Handprint trivets are useful and oh so cute.
3. Speaking of cute and useful, these handprint potholders are perfect for getting grandma’s goodies out of the oven.
4. This simple card opens up to hold a heart. (Get ready to hear oohs and ahhhs.)
5. A pretend restaurant with grandkids as the waitstaff and cooks is a grandparent’s favorite dining spot.
6. Is there a grandparent alive that wouldn’t like a Grandparent Photo Book? Answer: no.
7. Silhouettes of the kids are easier to make than you might think and such a special keepsake.
8. Flower pots with photos of the grandkids? A fun project that will earn big brownie points.

And speaking of brownie points, another way to earn them with G&G is with one of our amazing gifts. Don’t forget a personalized note inside!

Beyond S’mores: Campfire Recipe Roundup

Mrs. Fields Secrets Campfire Recipes
A warm, crackling campfire on a cool summer night is pure heaven. The only thing missing is something delicious to eat. Sure, you’ve mastered s’mores, but what next? I’ve rounded up some of the most delicious campfire recipes around. Easy, delicious, and perfect for your next campout!

1. Campfire Pig in a Blanket
2. Chile Lime Corn on the Cob
3. Three Cheese Potatoes with Bacon
4. Campfire Cones
5. Campfire Popcorn
6. Campfire Mac ‘n’ Cheese
7. Orange Chocolate Cake with Nutella
8. Campfire Orange Rolls
9. Peach Mallows

Do you have a favorite campfire recipe? Share it!

American History Fun Facts

Hip! Hip! It’s a holiday week! Before you don your red, white, and blue and fire up the grill, brush up on your American History.  Test your knowledge and see how you do. Better yet, print this out and quiz your friends and family at your party!

  • Whose face is featured on a two-dollar bill? (Jefferson)
  • Do you know the four presidents on Mt. Rushmore? (Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt)
  • How many stripes on the American flag? (Thirteen)
  • Which was the first state? (Delaware)
  • Who gave the shortest inaugural speech? (Washington, his dentures were hurting.)
  • Which president had two bear cubs for pets on the South Lawn? (Jefferson, they were a gift from Lewis and Clark.)
  • Which president never belonged to a political party? (Washington, and he never lived in the White House either!)
  • Which president served in both World Wars? (Dwight D. Eisenhower)
  • Who was the first president to be born in a hospital? (Jimmy Carter)
  • Who was the only bachelor president? (James Buchanan)
  • Who was the oldest person elected president? (Ronald Reagan)
  • Which president went on to become the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court? (William H. Taft)
  • Which is the oldest capital city in the US? (Santa Fe, New Mexico, founded in 1610!)

Did you know?

  • Fourth of July fireworks were first used as a mockery of the tradition of fireworks for British royalty.
  • Though it was always celebrated, the Fourth of July wasn’t an official US holiday until 1941.
  • “The Star-Spangled Banner” is set to the tune of an old English drinking song.
  • Lincoln logs were named after Abraham Lincoln and his childhood log cabin.
  • No president has been an only child.
  • Longtime friends and pen-pals John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on the same day, July 4, 1826.
  • The national capital was originally Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • President Lincoln kept important notes and papers tucked in his famous top hat.
  • The “largest” city in the US is Juneau, Alaska. The city is larger in size than the entire state of Delaware.
  • Amelia Earhart also designed her own line of clothes that was sold all over the US.
  • Arlington National Cemetary was originally a plantation owned by Gen. Robert E. Lee and his wife, Mary Ann Randolph Custis (a cousin of George Washington).

Do you have any other fun facts? Share them in the comments and have a great holiday!

DIY Herb Garden Ideas

Mrs. Fields Secrets Herb Garden Ideas
Looking for a weekend project? Now is the perfect time to start your own herb garden for spring and summer enjoyment. If you’re new to gardening, herb gardens are a great place to start getting your thumb green. These simple gardens can thrive indoors or outdoors, in small or open spaces, and save you a lot of money all season long with delicious fresh herbs to enhance your favorite dishes. Check out these fun ideas with links to DIY instructions:

1. A cloth shoe rack turns into a lovely vertical, hanging garden.
2. Window box gardens give a great view from indoors and out. Perfect outside a kitchen window!
3. Keep your herbs identified by writing on small garden pebbles.
4. A hanging tiered fruit basket is great for small spaces, indoor or out.
5. Turn a discarded wood pallet into a contained garden, ideal for a porch or balcony space.
6. Large hanging mason jars look amazing hanging on the wall in the kitchen.

Plus, check out these helpful tips about growing and maintaining your herbs.

Mother’s Day Catalog Preview + Early Bird Discount

Mrs. Fields Mother's Day Catalog
Mother’s day is coming up quick and just in time, our catalog is hitting mailboxes now to get your inspired and ready to treat mom right. As usual, I’ve got my favorite picks to share with you, as well as an early bird discount. Did you know that you can place your order early and have it delivered right before Mother’s Day? That’s right, shop now and there’s no last-minute rushing around.

And now for my favorites…

Blooming Mini Ribbon Box

Our Blooming Mini Ribbon Box is simply perfect for Mom, Grandma, aunts, and sisters with delicious bite-sized cookies and luscious frosted cookies.

Floral Mother's Day Box

An abundance of bite-sized cookies and brownies (a favorite among moms) are paired with our buttery frosted cookies in our Floral Mother’s Day Box.

Spring Bites Box

When it comes to our Spring Bites Box, the box itself is too cute for words, but the treats inside are the real inspiration!

Mom's Memory Box

Perhaps my favorite pick this year, Mom’s Memory Box, is an incredible gift—delicious gourmet cookies and brownies inside a beautiful box that can collect mom’s favorite memories over the years.

As promised, please enjoy a 15% early bird discount on your entire purchase before 4/29/13 by using code 13HED at checkout. If you don’t already receive our catalog, order your free copy now. And one more thing—don’t forget to tell mom you love her!

Homemade Bird Feeder

Mrs. Fields Secrets Homemade Bird FeederAre you ready for a super simple springtime activity? Grab the kids, a couple of empty toilet paper rolls, peanut butter, and some loose bird feed. Spread a generous layer of peanut butter over the toilet paper rolls, then roll them in bird feed, packing it firmly. Slip the roll over a tree branch and watch for fluttering friends to arrive.

HINT: Place your bird feeders near windows, so you can see the action from inside your house.

15 Tax Deductions You Don’t Want To Miss

Tax Day is only two weeks away. While you’re preparing your taxes, make sure you don’t miss some of these often-overlooked deductions. Little savings can add up big time!

  1. Eyeglasses, breast pumps, weight-loss programs, and other medically-related supplies. Get a copy of the IRS’s Publication 502 for a full list of items.
  2. Fees associated with job hunting in 2012, including food, lodging, employment agency fees, and 55.5 cents per mile if you had to do a lot of driving.
  3. The cost of moving for your first job if it was over 50 miles away. Plus parking, tolls, and even 23 cents per mile if you drove your own car to move there.
  4. Financial advising costs, including the cost of subscriptions to financial publications, and even the cost to travel to meet with your financial advisor.
  5. Supplies you may have sent to help Hurricane Sandy victims.
  6. Credits for energy-saving home improvements made in 2012, like hot water heaters and geo-thermal heat pumps.
  7. Sales tax on your new car or boat, depending on the state you live in. Use this guide to find out if you’d qualify.
  8. Care for your parent, depending on their income level and how much financial support you give them.
  9. Student loan interest, even for voluntary extra payments.
  10. Student loans interest paid for by mom and dad. A child who’s not claimed as a dependent can qualify to deduct up to $2,500 of student-loan interest paid by Mom and Dad (and you don’t have to itemize to get this one).
  11. Refinancing points paid on your mortgage.
  12. Pay for jury duty collected by your employer.
  13. High-speed internet, phones, new computers, and other minor and major costs associated with a home office for the self-employed.
  14. Smaller charitable giving costs, including out-of-pocket costs like stamps for mailing out a fundraising ad or even the ingredients for the brownies you made for the bake sale.
  15. State taxes paid last spring for your 2011 taxes can be deducted from your 2012 return.

And after all these savings, I recommend treating yourself to a giant chocolate chip cookie!

These are just suggestions and we are not tax professionals. If you have specific questions, you should contact an accountant or tax professional. (Sources 1, 2)

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