Holiday Star!

Each month we feature one STAR item and its vendor. Someone we really look up to and appreciate being able to work with. Someone we want to go a little above and beyond to promote and acknowledge. Your May Holiday Star?.....Ellie Mae Shaner!

In the vibrant realm of entrepreneurship, a luminous star shines brightly- my very own nine-year-old daughter, Ellie Mae, a visionary with a heart as expansive as her imagination. In the hustle and bustle of the business world, Ellie Mae's the brains behind it all...Bended Knee Christmas Tree Farm. Ellie Mae doesn't just make stuff happen, she makes magic happen. Every box we send out is packed with her special touch, leaving our customers buzzing with excitement for what's next. And get this, she's not just about creativity. Nope, Ellie Mae dives headfirst into all the fun math and accounting stuff too, helping me keep our ship sailing smoothly and making decisions when I'm indecisive. She asks all the questions without fear of looking ignorant and knows that is the only way she will learn the answers she is looking for. I love that of all my babies she is old enough to go through this journey with me and understand the hill we are climbing and experience the joy of building something together. The others are right there with us, every step of the way, but Ellie Mae gets to be a part of it in a way they arn't quite old enough to yet.
Straight A's at school? yeah, Elie Mae's go those in her bag too. She's proof that hard work pays off and she's not afraid to show it. But what really blows me away is her ambition. This kid dreams big= we are talking about anything from expanding into a Christmas bakery, raising husky puppies, to even setting up winter cabins and camping sites. I'm telling you, there's no stopping her. She never questions if we can accomplish something, but rather how can we accomplish it. She isn't just another kid with big ideas; she's a force of nature, an inspiration to us all with her determination and resilience. And as we journey through this crazy world of entrepreneurship together, I cant help but feel grateful. Grateful to witness her creativity, her drive, and her unshakeable spirit. Because with Ellie Mae leading the charge, I know the skys the limit. This month, were shining the spotlight on her because she deserves it and in lieu of Mothers Day, I figured I'd take advantage of the opportunity to share how proud I am as her mother and blessed to have this "partner" in business and in life.  


Meet Penny Schuur, the creative force behind Cozy Halo. Penny provided your nose warmers this month! From a young age, Penny has been passionate about crocheting, honing her skills since she was just nine years old. Little did she know that her childhood hobby would evolve into something extraordinary. It all started when a coworker requested a nose warmer as a gag gift, igniting Penny's entrepreneurial spirit. To her surprise, these whimsical creations became her best-selling item, proving that sometimes the silliest of ideas can be the most successful. Despite her bustling schedule, which includes a full- time job at a steel distribution company in Texas, running a part-time photography business, and serving as a scout leader for her daughter's Daisy Troop, Penny finds solace and joy in her craft. With her knack for creativity and dedication to her passions, Penny embodies the spirit of the holiday season, spreading warmth and cheer with every stitch. At Cozy Halo, Penny's commitment to quality and her genuine love for her craft shine through in every cozy creation, making her a beacon of inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs everywhere, including myself. Her dedication to craftsmanship and her ability to juggle multiple roles with grace and enthusiasm make penny a true embodiment of resilience and creativity. 


March 2024 Holiday Star

Lauraine Snelling

About 25 years ago, I stumbled upon the captivating works of Lauraine Snelling, an author whose storytelling prowess immediately captured my heart. Since then, Lauraine has remained a steadfast favorite and I am so excited to "share" her with you all. Her Journey as a writer began with the publication of her first book for young adult readers, "Tragedy on the Toutle," in 1982. Since then, she has embarked on a remarkable career, expanding her repertoire to include historical and contemporary fiction and nonfiction, catering to readers of all ages. With over eighty published books and more than 4.5 million copies in print, her works have garnered international acclaim and have been translated into languages such as Norwegian, Danish, and German. (So snatch those up if you need some practice.) Lauraine's accolades include prestigious awards like the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for inspirational fiction, the Silver Angel Award for "An Untamed Land," and a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart for "Song of Laughter." Notably, in 2012, Lauraine's rich exploration of Norwegian immigration to America earned her induction into the Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame. Beyond her literary accomplishments, Lauraine is a sought- after speaker, inspiring audiences to unlock their potential and embrace life with humor and joy. Despite the clamor from her dedicated readers for more books, Lauraine finds herself torn between her passion for writing and other pursuits, such as painting and tending to her fragrant flowers. Lauraine and  her husband, Wayne, reside in the picturesque Tehachapi Mountains, where they share their home with Lapcat and "The girls," three golden hens who add charm to their mountain abode. As Lauraine continues to craft captivating stories that resonate with readers worldwide, her enduring legacy as a beloved author is certain to endure for generations to come. 


February 2024 Holiday Star


Get ready to cozy up with the magic of Lux Venit Candles – they're about to become your new obsession! We've eagerly anticipated this collaboration and we're thrilled to present them to you as this month's Holiday Star! Picture this: my sister-in-law and niece, teaming up in the chilly winds of North Dakota, crafting these fantastic candles that feel like a warm hug for your senses. It's a real family affair, and you can sense the love and comfort in every candle they hand-pour. I threw all kinds of questions their way, and you know what? They aced it! Not only did they have all the details, but they also sprinkled in some fascinating insider info that made me appreciate their craft even more. But here's the kicker – they don't just make candles; they craft YOUR candles. I shared my wishes, and they really listened. It was like having my own candle genie! They took our thoughts and turned them into these incredible personalized creations that are now perfect for our Christmas subscription box, filling it with precisely the ambiance we desired for our Love theme. So, if you're all about candles that not only illuminate but also come with a personal touch, Lux Venit Candles is where it's at. Shoot them a message at, and get ready for a candle experience that's tailored just for you!


   January 2024 Holiday Star

Piper & Leaf Tea Co. stands as a testament to faith, family, and a passion for crafting locally blended and brewed teas. Rooted in the verse from Isaiah 26:12, "Lord, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us," this small business embraces a journey guided by faith and humility. This faith laid the foundation for a business that goes beyond profit margins, emphasizing inclusivity and fostering mutually beneficial relationships within their community. Noteworthy is their dedication to supporting others. When our order was too small for their minimum wholesale requirements, they didn’t skip a beat to accommodate us. This gesture reflects a genuine desire to create mutually beneficial relationships. The company's family-owned and family-operated model further distinguishes it, founded by three siblings who have, over time, roped in other family members, creating a close-knit working environment. This family-centric approach extends to their teas, which are locally blended and brewed with fruits and herbs grown, picked, and foraged from their own gardens or sourced from nearby farmers and friends. Piper & Leaf is more than a tea company; it's a story of faith, family, and flavor woven into every cup, reminding us that success can be achieved with a foundation of faith, a focus on family, and a commitment to community. Please show them some love and support by visiting their website at and prepare to be introduced to a whole new world of tea.


December 2023 Holiday Star

Carnaeder Design and Machine

We are thrilled to introduce Carnaeder as our December Holiday Star, a shining example of a small-town business. Canaeder has played a crucial role in bringing your engraved wooden "giving plate" to life this month.

Just a quick story here...when I first contacted them about the idea we had for this month, I explained what we were after. They gave me advice and we modified the plan because I didn't know what I didn't know. (They took the time to explain the differences in their equipment!) This company you can trust with your best interest at heart and are there to get your projects done to you liking. They worked with both our time and budget limits which is incredible. Each member of their team I encountered was beyond kind -so much so- it caught me off guard and I spent an entire supper evening sharing my experience with my family. I was blown away and knew they had to be your holiday star this special month of December.

Canaeder can be found at 2058 US HWY 67, Monmouth, Illinois, United States, 61462 and contacted both through their facebook account where you can check out their work, or their email (I pestered them with emails anytime something came to mind and they always answered within minutes.)

Really, I am blown away by their customer service. These days it makes such a difference with your experience when a business is kind. 


November 2023 Holiday Star


In a world where spiritual growth is paramount, Ascension Press stands out as a trusted guide, illuminating the path to a more profound understanding of faith and spirituality. Their dedication to the betterment of lives through education and inspiration is truly commendable, and they continue to shine brightly as a source of hope, wisdom, and enlightenment.

Ascension has created an Advent meditation series that will fit into your schedule (only takes 10-15 minutes a day!) that will guide you through reflection, prayer, and meditation. The Rejoice! journals have been a sustainable and practical way for us all over the country to fall deeper in love with the Lord during Advent. The Advent season can often become hectic with the hustle and bustle of the holidays, but "Rejoice!" reminds us to pause, reflect, and truly savor the significance of this special time. Each chapter is a gift in itself, offering profound reflections, thought-provoking questions, and space for personal meditation. It beautifully guides us to find our own place in the Advent story, reminding us that it's not just a historical event but a story that continues to unfold in our lives today.

In a world that often rushes through the holiday season, this book encourages us to slow down, embrace the beauty of Advent, and rediscover the true meaning of Christmas. I wholeheartedly recommend "Rejoice! Finding Your Place in the Advent Story" to anyone seeking a deeper connection with the spirit of the season. It's a delightful companion for your Advent journey, one that will leave you truly rejoicing.