Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Have You Written Your Thank You Notes Yet?

Have you written your Christmas thank you notes yet?

I am an avid thank you note writer and send tons throughout the year.  My mom used to give us Christmasy thank you notes in our stocking and regular ones for our birthdays each year with the expectations that we'd follow up the holiday with personalized notes to our family and friends.  The tradition stuck with me and I've been writing thank you notes ever since.  Thanks, Mom!

I have a drawer full of thank you notes and blank note cards ready to send for any occasion.  I always keep stamps on hand so that I can't use that as an excuse for not sending notes.  Note cards are really affordable and I pick them up throughout the year.  My favorite places to buy them are Michael's dollar bins, Target, TJ Maxx or Marshalls.  Stamps are $0.49 so that'll be your biggest cost with sending thank yous.  I always think of it like this: it'll cost me around $0.70 to send a thank you note, but it'll bring a smile to the recipient and be a fun surprise in their mailbox.  You really can't put a price on a smile and warm fuzzies can you??

My best thank you note advice: Don't let thank you notes intimidate you. 
It's really quite easy if you follow this formula:

1. Greeting
2. Thank the person for the gift they gave you by name - "thank you for the lovely red sweater" vs "thank you for the gift"
3. Tell the person you are writing how you plan to use the gift, where you've worn the item or how much you'll enjoy it in the future - any details that make the gift giver feel appreciated and like you really loved your gift
4. Closing

I made my list of everyone that I need to send a thank you note to and am ready to get started.  I received the best Christmas present this year - a personalized notepad!!  I'm going to use it for my thank you notes since it will work for every family member and will fold nicely into envelopes.  Personalized gifts always make me smile :)

Do you have any thank you note writing tips or tricks for me?  I'd love to hear them.

Blogging over at Mississippi Women Bloggers today.  It's my final post in the Miss December series.  I've really enjoyed guest blogging all month and getting to know more bloggers.
Happy New Year!!

We Won!!

Kevin's dreams came true last night...
Notre Dame won their bowl game after a disappointing 2nd half of the season
Olive learned how to signal a touchdown.

It's adorable
and she definitely knows the way to her daddy's heart.
We yell touchdown and she throws her hands up in the hair and flashes a giant smile.
I'm 100% sure she thinks we're nuts, but it's adorable nonetheless.

Watching football together is one of our favorite hobbies so we are always a little sad to see the college football season come to a close.  It was a fun year (minus all those losses at the end) and we are already pumped for the 2015 season!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

10 Days of Christmas

Christmas break was pretty perfect this year.
We headed to Indiana for 10 days.
The cats came with us.
We made the IN-->MS in about 8 hours with a few stops each way.

 We got to go to church with my family several times.
We saw TONS of family and friends.
We made tasty treats and ate our fair share of goodies.
We ate out, ate amazing home cooked meals and snacked.
We opened gifts and got lots of neat stuff.
Spent time with family and friends.
Olive had a blast with her cousins.
She was really excited to open gifts and loved her toys.
She's been a good girl
and Christmas 2014 will go down in the books as my favorite Christmas.

 Olive had lots of fun with Mimi and Papaw.
She's Papaw's girl and continues to walk around saying Papaw all day long.  He is pretty pleased that Papaw is the first name she's decided to say after mama and dada.  They are both her favorite so it was fun to get to spend so much time with them.

 My mom and I baked cookies and made candies.
Olive made messes :)

 We relaxed and had lots of fun.

 I thought Kevin was watching Olive while I was wrapping some gifts and instead she sneaked up to find the Christmas candy bowl.  She was scarfing down M&Ms before she got caught.  She's got a serious love for chocolate.
 Christmas Eve with my in-laws.

 Christmas breakfast and opening gifts did not disappoint.
Olive spent much time pulling off bows and rearranging name tags.
She got two new baby dolls and she's the sweetest little mama to them.

 Olive loved the food, family and fun of Christmas.
We had a great day together at three different family gatherings.
 Kevin's grandparents always put tinsel on their tree and Olive was fascinated by it.

 I look forward to our annual Baked Potato Bar & BBQ every Christmas dinner at my parent's house.  It's one of my favorite meals and this picture still makes me drool a bit.
 So does this copycat DQ ice cream cake.

 Olive traveled like a champion and so did the cats.
Little crying and meowing makes for a happy drive.
So does the $1.84 gas prices!!
It's hard to believe they are so low.

 Our 2nd Christmas was even better than Olive's 1st Christmas!!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Be Sweet

 When's the last time you did something sweet for someone you love?

It doesn't have to involve spending much money;
It really is the thought that counts.

Kevin and I have been trying to make an effort to surprise each other with sweet things lately and it's been SO much fun.  It can be simple - like making sure all the covers are straightened and tucked in before we lay down because he knows I like them that way or running an errand for your spouse to make their day a little easier.  I thought I'd share a few of our recent ideas with you...

I have been trying to pack his lunch a few days a week and surprise him with a fun treat.  I got him a new pack of gum and.
He surprised me with a fire pit and s'more ingredients.

I planned weekly menu items around his favorite foods.

 He asked us to go on a breakfast date before work one day.
It was fun because it was totally unexpected and definitely breaking out of our normal morning routines.

A few mornings a week, I wake up before him and make him eggs for breakfast.  He enjoys a hot breakfast and I enjoy cooking for him.  I'm not a morning person and don't love waking up early so he appreciates the extra efforts on my part.

I'm hoping to make a batch of cinnamon rolls, plan a movie + popcorn date night one day this week and get a lunch date on the calendar. 

Do you have any other suggestions of fun things 
to do to show someone you care about them??

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas to YOU!!

We wish you a Merry Christmas
from our house to yours!!

Love, Kevin, Whitney & Olive

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Back in 2003...

 {Our engagement picture}

Back in 2003,
I had moved home to start my student teaching,
was enjoying my Christmas break and 
I was busy getting engaged on Christmas Eve!

Kevin carried the ring around in his pocket all night.

I was completely surprised and figured it would be a few more months.
Happy {engagement} anniversary Kev!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Family Fun {Christmas Break} To Do List

I always try to come up with a list of fun things I'm HOPING to get to do over a break.  There's no pressure because it's all things that I want to do and I rarely cross everything off my list.  It's just a bank of options for things we'd like to get around to doing.  It helps us to make the most of our Christmas break and pack in as much fun as possible.  Be sure to include all family members in the planning so you are sure to include a few things that each person is hoping to get to do.

Family Fun To Do List:

1. Watch a movie together
2. Bake a festive treat together
3. Write Christmas thank you notes
4. Make plans with family & friends when we come in town
5. Go see at movie at the theater

and you'll have to go over to Mississippi Women Bloggers to see the rest of my list.

I display our list on a chalkboard, on post it notes or on a sheet of computer paper.  It's fun for everyone to be able to read and reread the list over the break and it is exciting to cross things off your fun to do list.

Hope you enjoy the break for Christmas!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Our Annual Christmas Cards

 My family always sends out a photo Christmas card for the holidays.  I had planned a color coordinating, pattern mixing photo shoot to happen over Thanksgiving break, but that didn't happen due to Olive's accident.  Our heads were swirling with much bigger issues than Christmas cards pictures so I didn't give it too much thought.

 I knew we'd have a chance of getting a cute family shot when we went on The Polar Express so I asked my sister if she'd take some pictures of us with her real camera.  Thankfully she snapped 5 or 6 and there were several cute ones.  I think our card perfectly captures us right now.  Way to go sis!

I try to order my cards during Sams Black Friday sale each year.  You can tons of cards for under $30, they are ready quickly and I've always been happy with the end product.

Do you send photo cards, traditional cards or no cards?
My mom started sending photo Christmas cards way before it was popular and I grew up taking Christmas card pictures every single year.  It's a tradition in our house and I love it.

Friday, December 19, 2014


Lots of good stories for you this week...

// I confess that I somehow lost a set of keys last week.  I have never lost keys in my life and they mysterious jumped off my key hook during the week.  Too bad I love getting my mail every day so I guess my punishment was no mail checking since Saturday.  I may or may not have stalked our postman and sweet talked him into handing me my mail.  I also may or may not have blamed my missing keys on Olive since she came out to get the mail with me.  Good thing she can't talk because I'm pretty sure she had nothing to do with my missing keys!

// I get annoyed when people refer to Olive has HE.  She wears a bow or girly outfit 99.9% of the time so usually it's not an issue.  With all of our hospital visits lately and Olive wearing a hospital gown, she got called a boy a few times.  I found myself quickly clarifying with things like, "Yes, SHE is doing great." or "SHE loves to twirl and rarely sits still."  We were also checking out after an appointment and the receptionist said Olive was pretty and that she thought she'd be a boy based on her name.  I had no words, but apparently Olive is a boy name to her??

// I got a phone call this week and the person said, "Can I please speak to Olive?"  I busted out laughing because it caught me so off guard.  It was a nurse from the burn center and she must have quickly looked back at her chart because she followed it up with, "Actually can I talk to the parents of Olive?"  It still makes me laugh to think of handing Olive the phone to chat.

// I was unpacking Christmas decorations and emptied out a box.  I found a brand new pair of earrings in the bottom of the box.  They've been missing for about 4 years.  I got them for Christmas, thought they got thrown away, dug through a million trash bags and must have accidentally stuck them in with my new Christmas decoration.  It went to storage for the last few years and now I have a new pair of pearls to wear for the holidays!  Hooray!!

// We have a sweet neighbor that likes to invite Olive and I over to see her.  Her house is full of dainty, fragile, museum worthy pieces so I watch Olive like a hawk.  She also has decorative tassels on her lamps, curtains and furniture knobs.  Olive (the tornado) likes to touch the tassels and I don't really worry about that.  We were sitting on her couch and Olive decides to flip open her coffee table book.  That would have been fine except for that fact that there was a ceramic bird sculpture sitting on top of the book.  In the blink of an eye Olive whips open the book and send the bird flying.  The sculpture snaps in half and I want to die right there.  I scoop up Olive and say it's time to leave.  I apologize profusely and can feel my face getting red.  She assures us superglue will fix it and it was no big deal.  I still felt bad, until she invited us back over the very next day.

//  I'm not the kind of shopper who walks up and starts talking to a stranger.  I smile, talk to babies and am a pleasant shopper, but I rarely strike up a conversation with a someone I don't know.  I parked next to this lady and her cute son at Target yesterday, we walked in together and continued to bump into each other inside the store.  I checked out and headed to the car.  While I was loading I see that she's also loading up her car.  I MAKE myself be brave and go talk to her.  I told her that we recently moved to Mississippi and that I was looking for for fun story time or play group opportunities nearby and tried very hard to not seem like some weirdo :).  She suggests a few options  nearby that she loves and said she usually goes so she'll look for me next time.  She didn't seem to think I was crazy and she gave me some great suggestions.  This is probably a sign that I should stop and talk to more people to build my little community in Jackson.  Message heard loud and clear.

// Kevin was meeting with his supervisor and they were discussing a patient.  Kevin described her as "hot and bothered" and his supervisor was shocked/burst out laughing.  He was surprised that she reacted so strongly so he reworded and said, "You know like when someone is all worked up."  She told him that's not what she thought hot and bothered meant so they both had a good laugh.  Once again, my hubby should probably avoid using all idioms.

Linking up with ConfessionsFriday

The Highlights

I cannot believe that Christmas is NEXT week!!  I found myself wishing there were still a few weeks until Christmas so we could enjoy the treats, carols, lights and gatherings with family and friends just a little longer.  Alas, I have no clue how to slow down time so I'm just going to try to slow down my schedule a bit for the coming week and enjoy e.v.e.r.y. moment.

The best parts of my week were...

1. I got all of our presents wrapped and ready to give.  I LOVED the way our foot print Christmas tree gift tags looked on each gift.  I hope everyone loves them as much as I do!!

2. Baking tons of treats and goodies with Olive.
She was eager to help and we had a great time together.
We did sugar cookies for our neighbors and gingerbread people just for fun.

3. I planned a little North Pole breakfast one morning.
My daughter clapped when she saw her plate.
I'll take that as the highest toddler compliment.

4. We did our Christmas early this year so we didn't have to haul gifts home.  It was simple and sweet and everyone LOVED their gifts!!

5. Lastly, and most importantly, Olive had a great visit with her Burn Center doctors this week.  Her hand is healing perfectly and she will NOT have to have any other procedures done!!!  The staff was so sweet to her and even wrapped up her bunny's hand to match hers.  It was adorable and meant a lot to me for them to go the extra mile with her.

I guest blogged over at Mississippi Women Bloggers this week

Hope you have a great weekend!!
Thanks for stopping by my blog.