Friday, December 2, 2016

The Highlights - Trees, Treats and Traditions

 We had a busy week at our house!  We got back from Thanksgiving break and hit the ground running.  We headed to a local tree farm to pick out our Christmas tree, cleaned and decorated the house, kicked off Christmas all while both kids were dealing with colds/fevers and not sleeping great.  I feel a bit behind on most things right now because all of my free time has been spent snuggling and caring for the babes.

The best parts of our week were:

// 1 //
Oh Christmas Tree!
We have gotten a real tree for the past several years.  I didn't grow up getting real trees, but now that we've started I don't think I can ever go back to fake ones.  Are you a real tree or faux tree fan??
We tried to visit this local tree farm last year, but it never worked out and we ended up at Lowes.  So this year we saw their signs posted for opening weekend and we headed there to pick out our tree.  They had tons cut and then fields full of trees you could cut yourself.  It was pretty cold so we opted to pick from the pre cut trees.  They were beautiful and it didn't take us long to pick a favorite.

We snapped some pictures and then the man who was helping us told me to get in the picture so we could get a whole family shot.  Thank you, sir!!  I didn't want to bother him and ask so I was beyond excited when he took off his gloves and offered.  We paid, got some candy canes and headed home with our tree.  We got it all set up with lights on it and it's so pretty.  The only downside is that I think I'm allergic to the tree - no sneezing thank goodness, but my hands got all itchy and swollen after I put the lights on it.  So I'll be watering and decorating from a safe distance.

Olive insisted on sniffing every tree option and it was sweet to see their Baby Jesus display in the barn by all of the trees since Jesus is the Reason for the Season.

 // 2 //
North Pole Breakfast
We had our third annual North Pole Breakfast on December 1st to kick off Christmas at our house.  I put most things out the night before and the kids LOVED waking up to find goodies.  Check back on Monday for some tips and more details on how we do our breakfast each year.


// 3 //
We went shopping for a mini Christmas tree for Olive's room and as soon as she realized that purple was an option she had her mind made up.  We came home with this sparkly purple tree and it looks so cute in her purple room.  I keep catching her sitting in her room just staring at it.  Can't wait to decorate it with her.

// 4 //
 Christmas Sneak Peek
I'm working hard to get our house all decorated.  We got new stockings this year and I'm working hard to make sure our house is festive and SAFE for this little baby tornado.  He's into everything these days - crawling, climbing, pulling up.  I forgot how BUSY this stage of life is.  He's so proud of his new skills, but he can't be left alone for a second.

// 5 //
Christmas Treats
I love baking and eating treats this time of year!!  Red and green sprinkles make everything better.  We made some Christmas Snicker doodles for a friend and are already making plans to bake a batch of sugar cookies for our neighbors.

What was your FAVORITE part of the week??
Do you have your house decorated yet??

I hope you have a really great weekend!!
We have a Christmas party to go to and are hoping to get some things done around the house.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Holiday Smiles

(Thanksgiving Day 2016)

We had a great Thanksgiving week and made lots of fun memories.  Kevin had some time off for Fall Break and we got to enjoy doing fun things at home as well as taking a road trip to spend the holidays with our families.  The vast majority of our family and some friends are in Southern Indiana so we try hard to see lots of people when we're in town.  I planned things with friends, family and not much down time.  

We had lots of moments that made us smile and only a few tear inducing ones.  I'd say that's a pretty good scenario for traveling with a family of four for the holidays.  The kids slept pretty well considering they had to take naps on the go, didn't sleep in their own beds and went to bed later than we're used to most nights.  They loved playing with their cousins, seeing their grandparents and doing some fun things out of our usual routine.


We had some friends over to watch football, eat chili and visit.  The kids had fun together and I loved making a Build Your Own Chili Bowl Station.  It was so yummy!

Olive has been asking to help feed Fletcher.  I let her and they were both THRILLED.  He was smiling so big that he could hardly eat and she was talking so sweetly to him.

I mentioned that Fletcher is crawling... well he is crawling and leaving a path of destruction wherever he goes.  We left this closed bag of pretzels on the floor and came in just a few minutes later to check on a VERY quiet baby.  He was so pleased with himself.  I just had to laugh and vacuum up the salt trail.

Now he's pulling up on all the things... cue more baby proofing necessary and rescuing a stuck baby every few minutes.  He's strong, but not super stable so he's a danger to himself.

I think he's dying to keep up with his big sis.

We enjoyed preparing for Thanksgiving and worked on some Thanksgiving place cards together.  I write out the names and Olive did some crayon art work on them.

We headed down to see our family at the end of the week.  After so many years of driving 7-9 hours or flying across the country to visit. a TWO HOUR drive seems like nothing.  The kids both napped and we had a little car date on the drive down.  

My mom made pumpkin waffles for Thanksgiving.  Yum! 

We watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.  Fletcher liked the toys and hanging out with Papaw more than the parade :)

Olive LOVED spotting all of her favorite characters in the parade.  She cracked me up when she started trying to high kick like the Rockettes :)

I made two pies for Thanksgiving and they both turned out really pretty.  I visited with a friend while I made pies and it was a super fun way to prepare for turkey day.  My MIL taught me how to make beautiful pie crusts and my mom was great to provide all of the ingredients.  All I had to do was show up and bake.

Fletcher's First Thanksgiving was a hit!!  He's such a handsome little butterball :)  I loved him in this cute onesie from Hobby Lobby.  I picked up some baby skinny jeans for him to wear this day, but they were far too small for him.  Chunky baby problems :)

We had lunch plans with Kevin's family and the kids are super lucky to have two sets of GREAT GRANDPARENTS.  They go out of their way to love on the kids.  My kids both loved this giant turkey.  Nana is hanging on to Fletcher while I snapped his picture.  He looks like he's ready to play some Thanksgiving Day football :)

Olive kept hugging this big turkey :)

 My favorite Thanksgiving meal is always my mom's feast.  I grew up eating this and when I think of Thanksgiving I think of this delicious spread.  All the girls pitched in to help with different things and I'm hoping it made my mom's job a little bit easier.  The food was delicious as always.  We had a great time with my family watching football, chatting and all the 9 grandkids playing.

Fletcher got to eat rolls at every stop we made.  He was thrilled :)

I also think I have a bit of baby brain because I really had forgotten just how BUSY this crawling phase of life is.  We had to watch him like a hawk and he went nonstop all weekend.  He was pretty proud to show off his new skills :)

I love making holiday memories with my family.  The holiday wasn't perfect, but it was pretty wonderful :)  Now bring on all the Christmas things.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

25 Ideas for Christmas Family Fun

We are all in full blown Christmas mode and it's exciting to see all of the sweet Christmas things that are going on in my community.  We've started decorating our house, but are finding that trying to decorate with a super busy baby and a 3 year old helper slow things down a bit.  It's sweet and I'm glad we are decorating together.  I'll have to give you a little Christmas house tour when we get finished.  

We have lots to look forward to this month so I made a Family Fun To Do List of things we hope to get to do in December.  Nothing stressful and we aren't trying to cross every single thing off the list.  It just gives us ideas of things we can do if we want to do them.  We worked on the list together and made sure to get input from everyone.  I'll post the list somewhere in our kitchen to remind us of the fun that awaits.

25 Ideas for Christmas Family Fun

1. Pick out a real tree together and decorate it
2. Decorate the house for Christmas - inside and out
3. North Pole Breakfast Dec 1
4. Drink hot chocolate with marshmallows
5. Do our candy advent calendar to countdown to Christmas
6. Celebrate St. Nick's Day Dec 6
7. Read Christmas books everyday
8. Make a few homemade ornaments with each kid
9. Decorate a tree in each of our bedrooms
10. Breakfast with Santa & his reindeer
11. Gingerbread house decorating party
12. Decorate cookies with friends
13. Christmas movies and cartoons
14. Bake cookies to deliver to our neighbors
15. Have friends over for dinner
16. Candy Cane Duplo building class
17. Bake Christmas treats together
18. Visit family for Christmas
19. Drive around to see Christmas lights
20. Wear Christmas colors
21. Hang up all of the Christmas cards that arrive at our house
22. Send out photo Christmas cards from our family
23. Eat candy canes
24. Listen to Christmas music at home and in the car
25. Look for ways to spread Christmas JOY wherever we go

Here are some things we've done in the past 
for a few more ideas of fun things to do with your family this Christmas:

What are your favorite things to do with your family this time of year??

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

My Current Favorites

I realized I had several new things I was loving using and wanted to let you in on these great items.  I'm excited to share some of my favorite products with you and maybe you'll find something you can't live without.

1. Booties
I got these Lucky Women's Basel Bootie in Brindle Leather for my birthday and they're wonderful!  They're so comfy, cute and I wear them all the time.  They aren't heavy, they zip easily and they come in 12+ different colors.  I'd love to have them in Toffee or Dark Green.  They're over $100, but they go on sale regularly, you can use coupons on them and they're definitely worth the investment.  What's your favorite bootie this season??  I'm in the market for a new black or gray pair.

2. Christmas Baking Items
I'm loving the Christmas sprinkles, cute cupcake liners and delicious baking goodies that are out this time of year.  I stocked up to make some of my favorite cookies.  Mini M&Ms are a must at my house and I love the mixes of Toll House chips with red and green colored chips. 

3. Great Mascara
 L'Oreal Paris Voluminous Extra Volume Collagen Mascara
Several bloggers have recommended this mascara so I picked it up to see if it would live up to the hype.  It goes on really smoothly, plumps your lashes just as promised and looks great without using much mascara.  It's definitely a way to get beautiful lashes QUICK!!  My only caution would be that it is definitely not water proof.  If your eyes water a lot, you cry easily, etc. this probably isn't the best mascara for you because it's a mess when it gets wet.  It does not move if your eyes stay dry.  I really love it and wear it several times a week.  I have also added a layer of water proof mascara on top of the L'Oreal to help keep it in place.
Voluminous Extra Volume Lashes in action:

4. Best Hair Products
I feel like I'm in a good place with my hair right now.  I've finally rebounded from several bad hair cuts, major chops and post partum hair loss.  Hooray!  I have some products I've been loving and they're so affordable.
Suave Refresh and Revive dry shampoo is under $4 and is one of my favorite dry shampoos.  One bottle lasts a long time, doesn't have a last strong smell and works great.  It's been my favorite for a long time now.
Suave Sleek Anti Frizz cream is under $3 and is a great way for me to kind of seal my hair once I've styled it for the day.
HSI Professional Hydrating Smoothing Hair Mask for All Hair Types has really helped reduce the frizz in my hair.  I shampoo my hair and then generously apply this mask to it in the shower.  Let it sit on my hair for 5 minutes and rinse.  It's $15 for a GIANT tub and definitely worth the price tag.  I use it twice a week and my hair is shinier, healthier and less frizzy.  Yay!!

5. Taking Notes
I'm a list maker and am always writing to do lists, grocery lists and lists about lists.  It helps our life run smoothly and keeps me organized.  My favorite list writing paper is actually these oversized, lined index cards - Oxford Ruled Index Cards.  They're 5x8 in, blank on one side and lined on the other.  They're really inexpensive and are the perfect size to tuck in your planner or purse.  And they're more durable than just writing on a piece of paper.  Olive loves to hold my list while we grocery shop and so writing my list on an index card helps kid proof it to ensure I can read my list while we shop.

What are some of your FAVORITE products right now??
Anything I need to know about??
Leave me the details in a comment below.

It's time to link up with my favorite ladies for Tuesday Talk!
Join us with a favorite post from the week.

Polka-Dotty Place

Monday, November 28, 2016

November Recipe Round Up

I've got lots of yummy things to share with you today.  I always feel like I won't have many recipes to share with you and then I start looking through my November picture files.  I cooked 4-5 nights a week this month so that ends up being some great meals to share.  I worked a little harder on fixing cute kid meals, eating salads and as per usual we ate a lot of mexican.  All of my recipes are quick, tasty and are crowd pleasers at my house.

Here are my favorite meals from the month:

// 1 //

This STRIPED SALAD was gorgeous and delicious.  I had different versions of it all month long.  I usually added a drizzle of Olive Garden's Light Italian dressing.  Turkey pepperoni is our favorite on salads, pizza and my toddler loves to eat it plain.

We bought deli turkey to eat for lunches all month long.  I packed turkey sandwiches for my husband and then would chop up turkey on a salad for my lunch at home.  It was delicious and the protein helped keep me full.

// 2 // 
Build Your Own Nacho Bars are always a dinner favorite.  The more toppings the better!

BAKED TACOS are becoming a staple in our dinner rotation.  These had shredded chicken, refried beans, onions, sweet peppers, sharp cheddar cheese, black olives, jalapenos and salsa inside.  Baked at 350 for 15 minutes or so and then served with all the cold fixings.

// 3 //
Breakfast for dinner is a great way to eat an inexpensive meal at home.  We don't have this every week, but we did have it a few times this month.  I finally found our waffle irons after we moved so it was great to get back into the waffle making routine.  I also picked up bacon when it was on sale so it really was a tasty dinner.  We did regular, chocolate chip and blueberry waffles.

// 4 //
I love to plan festive food for my kids around the holidays.  They get so excited for cute meals and seem to clean their plate every time.  I did the ice cube tray meal for Halloween and then we had it for several days following because I had all of the ingredients on hand.

 I served a flag meal on election day with all of my daughter's favorites.

// 5 //
 I shared the recipe for Baked Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal and it's soooooo good!  We ate it several times this month because it was so easy to whip up.  The entire family loved it!

 Then we had Election Day sundaes while we stayed up until 3:30am to wait for things to be official.  I always make the Triple Chunk Brownies in a box, vanilla bean ice cream, mini M&Ms, Hershey syrup and sprinkles.  They were really tasty!!

What have you been cooking this month??
Any yummy recipes you'd like to share with me??
I'm linking up with three of my favorite cooking ladies today
and we're all sharing our best recipes from the month.

Katie @ Cup of Tea
New Recipes to Try November

Whitney @ Come Home for Comfort

Stephanie @ Wife, Mommy, Me
November's Must Make

Head over to their blogs to see what delicious meals they are sharing this month!
 We've also started a Pinterest Board called
New Recipes We've Tried and Loved!
Be sure to check it out and get some great ideas for meals at your house.