The Macs » Blog


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I was recently contacted by the sweet ladies of laurelbox and was so excited to learn about this amazing company. They sent me one of their beautiful boxes so that I could share their products with you. Laurelbox offers thoughtfully hand curated gift boxes designed for a woman in a season of difficulty. This is what laurelbox writes about their boxes:

If a friend of yours has recently lost a loved one, you can rest assured that our boxes are designed to nourish a woman’s heart after a loss.  If you are currently walking through loss, it is our deep hope that the box you receive makes you feel loved and remembered.  We know that no gift can ever replace the people we have lost, but we hope the prayers we pour over those touched by our company can be felt when you open a laurelbox.  

Our gift boxes stand apart from typical gifts that offer comfort during grief.  Most items are made by hand here at laurelbox.  Our other products are sourced from small independent artisans who have joined with us to offer exclusive items that speak to a woman’s soul, body, home, and family.  We offer the option to customize your own laurelbox by selecting individual items under the “Customized laurelboxes” tab or to choose a box we have already designed for specific losses.


Even the packaging is beautiful. Every detail is so thoughtful and carefully put together.


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I love this tea towel with Isaiah 46:4 printed on it. Such a beautiful reminder of the One who truly comforts and sustains us when our hearts are hurting.

laurelbox4My box also contained nourish the soul herbal tea and a beautiful hand stamped vintage spoon. I love the idea of giving a friend a spoon that would remind her that she is loved and prayed for every time she stirs her coffee or tea. laurelbox5

My heart always aches a little extra this time of year as the holiday season approaches. My own loss becomes more obvious as another Christmas card gets sent out and our families gather together again without Cora. I hate that she is not here with us to celebrate. And then I think of my friends and family…and so many others…who are approaching this holiday season without their loved one for the first time. That first Thanksgiving and first Christmas were so, so hard for me.

Do you know a woman who is hurting this year? Laurelbox has some great gifts to remind our friends and family that they are loved and remembered. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation You Light up my Life Lantern is great for commemorating special dates. There are three different messages to choose from and each lantern comes with a gold pen to write messages on the lantern. 100 percent of the profits from the sale of this lantern benefit the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and their work to conquer childhood cancers during the month of November. Of course I love that…so great!

Laurelbox also has a beautiful Christmas ornament that would be a sweet gift to send to someone who has lost a loved one this Christmas. A reminder that they are loved and remembered.

Sometimes it is so hard to know what to do for someone who has lost a loved one. I love the heart behind laurelbox and how they desire to bless those who are hurting. If you know of someone that you would love to give a laurelbox to, they are offering a discount to my readers. Use code themacs at checkout to receive 15% off your order through Decemeber 7th. I am also going to be giving away a tea towel, teaspoon and ornament over on Instagram today or tomorrow so make sure you are following me there too (@jessmcclenahan).

Thanks laurelbox!


DaySpring’s Black Friday sneak peek is up and you can snag some great deals starting today!

dayspring everlasting light

I love these pieces from the Everlasting Light Collection. So pretty!

shine necklace $40 $17

star cluster necklace $50 $10

north star pendant necklace $50 $20

stacked ring set $36 $15

DS daily grace

Of course I have to mention anything from the Daily Grace Collection. These two pieces are included in the sale.

blessed & grateful – small vase $25 $10

grace for today – serving bowl $30 $15

You can see all the Black Friday sneak peek deals here. And check back for updates later in the week!

DS deal of the day

UPDATE: Don’t forget to check out these Daily Grace pieces that are part of today’s Deal of the Day.

grateful for all God gives – platter $37 $15

live a grateful life – tall serving bowl $28 $12

And…use code 30FRIDAY15 to get 30% off site wide (including clearance!). Wow!!! I hope this helps you find some really meaningful gifts at great prices!

disclaimer: affiliate links included

  • Diane Taylor - This is such a wonderful deal on the Dayspring platter. I just ordered 6 of them for gifts. THANK YOU :):) Perfect presents full of meaning, love thatReplyCancel


  • leiah - Thanks for sharing the sale and the code and taking time to show the great jewelry. I ordered the top 2 necklaces for my sister for an early Christmas gift. Instead of $90 for them I got them for $18! (plus tax and shipping of course)ReplyCancel


Two things. First, my babies are getting way too old. Griffin is four. What?! Second, this is one of four birthdays I haven’t blogged about. I’m over a year behind now. Sheesh. I’m pretty sure I’m over a year behind at life in general. I don’t know what I am going to do to slow down time so that my babies don’t grow up so fast but in the meantime I will soak up every crazy minute with them that I can. And maybe someday I’ll get around to posting the other three birthdays I missed. Someday.

Ok, back to the birthday party. Griffin wanted a shark party this year. My older boys are really into Wild Kratts and are all about animals right now. So, Griffin knows all sorts of shark facts…thus the shark party was born.


When I was looking for invitations for Jake’s party this summer, I came across Kerri of Big K little k Designs. You have to check out her shop! So many cute invitations. I just noticed that she has Christmas card designs too! Big K little k Designs is definitely going to be a new go-to when I need cute invitations. She designed the most adorable shark invitation for Griff’s birthday. I love how it turned out.


Joel made the lemonade stand for Jake’s birthday. He does not love doing this kind of thing (but he must love me!) and he really impressed me with his carpentry skills. It is awesome! And it was easily converted from lemonade stand to ocean-side stand for the shark party.

shark party 1

I painted the waves on paper and then stapled it onto the stand. The shark signs are designed by Kerri.



shark party 2

Kerri also designed these adorable tags for the favors. I used a paint pen to draw the waves on the bags. We filled the bags with a candy shark tooth necklace, shark stickers, shark gummies and shark facts. The boys and I had so much fun putting these together!


I made felt shark fins for all the kids to pin on their backs when they arrived.

shark party 4



Honestly the shark fins weren’t a huge hit. A few kids wanted to wear them and looked super cute though. The shark fins also didn’t stand up very well. I would probably make them differently if I did it again.




My sister-in-law makes the best sugar cookies. They are so cute and taste even better. I always wish I could eat about ten, but I never can get to them fast enough before they are gone.

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And here he is in all his four-year-old cuteness. I really can’t believe he is already four.


Griffin loves his older cousins. And they are so sweet to him. I’m pretty sure getting to sit by Harrison was the best part of Griffin’s birthday.




I know it wasn’t Jake’s birthday but I mean, look at that smile?! I think he was enjoying all the sugar everyone was feeding him while mom was busy. IMG_6814new IMG_6815new

shark party 3

We have had quite the year with this guy of ours. I remember so clearly that day in January when I looked back while driving down the highway to find him having a seizure. Who knew that three would bring seizures, an ambulance ride, hospital stays, tests and more tests, and lots of medication for Griffin. We’ve had some really scary and really trying days. Celebrating Griffin’s life on this day with a shark party and seeing his excitement felt like such an extra special gift. I couldn’t help but squeeze him tight and thank God for FOUR! Happy birthday Griffin! You are loved so, so much.

/ / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /


inviation, signs, favor tag – Big K little k Designs

gummi sharks (large)…these looked cute but tasted gross! – Amazon

gummi sharks (small) – Amazon

shark cookie cutter – Amazon

favor bags – Amazon

shark stickers – Oriental Trading

shark tooth candy necklaces – Oriental Trading

shark facts (free printable) – All for the Boys

shark fin (free pattern/directions) – It’s the Life

shark cupcake toppers – Amazon

blue swirl cupcake wrappers – Amazon

shark tattoos – Amazon

Find all my shark party inspiration on my Pinterest board

  • laura - What a cute birthday party! And what an adorable FOUR year old!! Looks like a fun day to celebrate Griff! Love to you all!!ReplyCancel


  • Carrie - So cute! I always love to see what you came up with for their birthdays!ReplyCancel


  • Mary Ann - What a fun party. My grandson is 5 and is really fascinated with sharks. I can’t believe he’s 4. I’m glad he’s doing well but yes, your boys are growing up way to fast. They are all so precious and so darling. I’ll await with anticipation for your posts about other birthdays. You are so clever with the decorations and food.ReplyCancel


  • Jennifer Minor - Whew! What a year! Praising God with you for 4!! Very cute party. And I just have to say it…..that picture of Jake…he looks just like Cora!!ReplyCancel


Hey guys! Just popping in to tell you about a really great flash sale going on right now over at DaySpring. I’ve told you about the Daily Grace line before and several of the items I love are marked down to $7 (regularly $14-$16)!

daily grace 3 IMG_0338new IMG_0337new

I love giving the Daily Grace Creamer and Sugar/Candy Bowl as gifts. They are perfect for adding a little plant or favorite candy or gift card. You can read my full post on using these as gifts here. The Creamer and Sugar Bowl are marked down to $7 right now. These would be perfect for Christmas gifts, teacher gifts, gift exchanges, hostess gifts…pretty much anything! Make sure and stock up now while they are on sale!


And just to sweeten the deal, it is DaySpring’s Friends & Family Week! Use code FRIENDS25 to get 25% off everything (even clearance). This makes everything included in the $7 flash sale $5.25 each. Even better! Make sure and check out all the items included in the $7 Flash Sale while you are there. What are your favorites?

$7 Decor Flash Sale ends Thursday, October 29

Friends & Family coupon code expires Saturday, October 31

*disclaimer: affiliate links used

  • Tiffany - Thanks for sharing, I’ve always loved the creamer set but never pulled the trigger. I will definitely be heading over to take a look and jump start shopping.ReplyCancel


  • Heather Morrison - Thanks so much for sharing each of these sales!!! So helpful!!



I have all these things in my head that I need to get written down…and all these photos on my computer that I want to show you…but it just isn’t happening these days. This week was wheat planting and all three of my boys getting hand, foot & mouth. Enough said. It could have been so much worse. That is what I have to keep reminding myself. Hand, foot and mouth goes away. I got to hug my sad babies a little bit extra. And I got to talk to my husband on the phone a little more this week because I had to complain to someone about being quarantined in the house with three sick kids, right?! Levi was so mad at me about having to miss school. He just sobbed. At least I learned this week that he really does love kindergarten. Haha. So really quickly, here are a few random thoughts for today…and then I am back to taking care of the sickies.

DaySpring’s $10 Secret Sale | DaySpring has a $10 Secret Sale going on now through Sunday, October 4. There are over 30 items marked down to $10 while supplies last. A great gift for $10?! Here is another chance to get a head start on Christmas shopping (for those of you who plan ahead like that!). These are some of my favorites…

$10 Secret Sale


Daily Grace – Memo Chalkboard

Daily Grace – Cake Pedestal | Everlasting Light – Star Cluster Necklace

Our Days Are For His Praise – Decorative Lantern | Hope & Encouragement – 10 Premium Card Assortment

There are several boxed card sets marked down to $10. I love having these on hand because it saves you a trip to the store (which is so important when you don’t plan ahead and live in the country) and you get a great card for $1! Make sure to check out the rest of the $10 deals. And don’t forget there are a few other promotions going on right now that you might be able to use too.

Use code GIFT20 for 20% off gifts! Good through October 31.

Use code 15BUCKS for $15 off any purchase! Good through October 31.

B1G1 Free Boxed Cards. Going on now through October 4. No code necessary. (*DaySpring affiliate links used)

Seeds Family Worship | We love the Seeds CDs at our house. The Seeds Family Worship mission is to get God’s Word through Seeds into as many homes (and hearts) as possible around the world. Don’t you love that! These CDs are such a good tool to help our kids memorize Scripture in a fun way. My boys listen to these at night all the time. And I love that when you buy a CD it comes with two…so you can gift one to someone else! Right now you can get the Seeds of Courage album completely free. Just visit the Seeds website and a window will pop up asking if you want them to send this CD to your email…that’s it! Do you listen to Seeds at your house? If you don’t…go check them out! (P.S. I just noticed they have free downloadable memory cards to go with each CD…so great!)

Revive ’15 | Are you tired of me talking about this conference yet? I mean, I wasn’t even there! I did listen to parts of the LIVE stream and it was so good. I wish so much that I could have been there. Anyway, I just wanted to mention it one more time because the audio of the Revive ’15 Conference is now available online. I loved Jen Wilkin’s sessions. Her book, Women of the Word, is one of my favorites. If you haven’t read it (you should!), Jen’s sessions from the conference cover some of the material from the book. If you need something to listen to this weekend while you are cleaning the house or exercising or driving or whatever…check these out!

Butternut Squash | We picked the rest of our pumpkins and squash last weekend. I have an abundance of butternut squash now. In the past I have baked and pureed most of them and used it for baby food, but no babies here this year! Unfortunately my boys aren’t too crazy about squash. So, I need all of your best butternut squash recipes…help a girl out! Here is Levi with all of our pumpkins. He worked so hard and was so proud of how he arranged them. Cutie pie. Also, if you miss seeing photos of my boys on the blog, make sure to follow me on Instagram. I do so much better at posting updates on there!

pumpkins fall15

It’s finally starting to feel like Fall around here. Yay! Hope you all have a great weekend!

  • Janel - Hi Jess….

    I just adore your sweet sweet family…been following you for a while..and my heart always smiles just seeing your family grow, fun, fun!

    As for the squash family…I think winter squash soup is a must. And I’m sure your boys would love it. It’s a soup to make while trapped in the house for a bit…it’s time consuming roasting and puree-ing…but the end result is SO worth it. You could use all varieties on hand ( butternut, acorn, pumpkin,, even sweet potatoes) with onions garlic..etc.serve it up in the little pumpkins scooped out for the boys…crusty bread to dip in it..hhhmmhhmmm. Some recipes just call for 1-2 varieties..but I prefer 3 min for the best flavor.ReplyCancel


  • Muriel Siadak - Jess
    Here is the best ever butternut squash lasagna recipe. My whole family loves it! And it freezes well too if you make extra!

    Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna
    prep 50 min ∙ cook 1 hr 10 min ∙ makes 3 to 4 servings (Scaled) ∙ difficulty Easy ∙ source

    For the vegetables:
    1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
    1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    Kosher salt
    1/2 onion, halved and sliced
    For the bechamel:
    1 tablespoons unsalted butter
    5 sage leaves
    1/8 cup all-purpose flour
    2 cups whole milk
    Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
    For the lasagna:
    Unsalted butter, for the baking dish
    1/2 cup grated fontina cheese (about 4 ounces)
    1/2 cup grated low-moisture mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)
    1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (about 4 ounces)
    1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    4 1/2 no-boil lasagna noodles

    Make the vegetables: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Toss the squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil on a baking sheet; season with salt. Toss the onion with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil on a separate baking sheet; season with salt. Roast, rotating the baking sheets once, until the vegetables are tender, 18 to 20 minutes; set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

    Meanwhile, make the bechamel: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the sage and cook 1 minute. Whisk in the flour until smooth; cook, whisking, until the flour is lightly golden but not brown, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk until smooth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the nutmeg.

    Assemble the lasagna: Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Toss the cheeses and the flour in a bowl; set aside 1/2 cup for topping. Evenly coat the bottom of the dish with 1/2 cup of the bechamel. Lay 3 noodles side by side on top. Cover with one-third of the remaining bechamel. Sprinkle with half of the remaining cheese mixture, then top with half of the vegetable mixture. Arrange 3 more noodles on top and repeat the layers (bechamel, cheese, vegetables). Top with the remaining 3 noodles, then cover with the remaining bechamel; sprinkle with the reserved 1/2 cup cheese.

    Loosely cover the dish with foil and bake until bubbly, about 45 minutes. Turn on the broiler. Uncover the lasagna and broil until browned, about 2 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.



  • Amber Lo - This is a yummy pasta recipe using butternut squash. :)


  • Erica - Hey Jess. I substitute it for pumpkin puree in recipes. It cooks much faster than pumpkins do, and if we want anything pumpkin we have to roast it, we can’t buy it. I freeze it in 2 cup or 1 cup baggies.ReplyCancel