Friday, December 23, 2016

The Best Parts

Happy Friday!  Hope you've had a great week.  We've been busy wrapping up some fun Christmas plans before heading to see family.  We packed in tons of fun and enjoyed ourselves.  We shopped, wrapped gifts, saw friends, ate some festive meals and then I asked Kevin to give me a haircut.  He used to cut my hair when we were poor college kids so I felt pretty confident in his skills.  He trimmed the ends and the next day a friend complimented me on my hair.  I'd call that a win :)

Now on to the BEST PARTS of our week:

// 1 //
Christmas Brownie Sundaes
We had some friends over for dinner this week and our sundaes turned out so yummy.  They were easy to put together - box of brownies, vanilla bean ice cream and our favorite toppings.  I wish we had some leftover brownies.

// 2 //
Duplo Christmas Party
We went to our Duplo party this week and Olive had so much fun.  She made a tree and candy cane out of Duplos and then made some spin art ornaments for our tree.

// 3 //
Cranberry Upside Down Cake
 I complimented someone on their delicious dessert at Kevin's Christmas party.  I'd never had a cake like it and a few days later she made us one for a Christmas gift.  It was such a fun surprise and a good reminder that home cooking is always appreciated.

 // 4 //
Mama and Me
We finished up our Christmas shopping this week!  In years past we had all of our Christmas shopping done in early December, but this year it seemed to take a little longer.  I did lots of shopping on-line and then had help from this cutie around town.  Now we need to get busy and start wrapping presents. I also love her floral winter coat and will be so sad when she finally outgrows it. 

 // 5 //
Christmas with Kids
We've been enjoying reading our Christmas books and doing all things Christmas this month.  I've always loved the holidays, but they really are just more fun with kids.  They're also more exhaustign because no one at my house seems to be sleeping all that well thanks to teething, growth spurts and the excitement that Santa brings.  I'm calling Little Blue Truck's Christmas our favorite Christmas book of the year.  We read it all the time and the illustrations are DARLING.  I even found 8 month old Fletcher flipping through the book on his own.

We had to run some errands downtown and loved seeing the windows all decked out for Christmas.

 // 6 //
Favorite Kid Moments
Olive spends her days trying hard to snuggle her very busy baby brother.  He doesn't hate it.

My hunky lunch date.
Olive told me the other day that it looked like Fletcher was getting some new hair for Christmas.  haha  He is sprouting a nice crop of super blonde hair.

I planned a fun play date with friends and the kids had a blast bouncing all morning.  This enormous pirate ship was Olive's favorite.  She doesn't need any help on the inflatables so it's fun for her to just bounce with her friends.

 Polka-Dotty Place Week in Review:
Wednesday: Santa Brunch

What was your FAVORITE part of the week??

I hope you have a really great weekend

I'm taking next week off from the blog and enjoying a LONG Christmas break with my family.  I hope you have a wonderful week and will look forward to seeing you back here on Monday, January 2nd.  You can keep up with me on instagram @ polkadottyplace between now and then!!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Touring Our Trees

I have always loved collecting Christmas ornaments.  I look forward to getting a few new ones each year for our family tree and for the kid's trees.  I try to add a photo ornament to our collection, sentimental ornaments and always pick up ornaments from new places when we are traveling.  Our trees are full of special ornaments and just a few fillers.  We kept many ornaments in boxes this year and only decorated with a few of our favorites.  I need to reorganize our collection better for next year and make sure to pick a tree that has strong branches to hold lots of ornaments.

Here's a little (late night) tour of our trees:

Our FAMILY Tree:

I'll start with my favorite new ornament of the year.  I bought the sparkly frame and was trying to find a tiny family photo to put in it.  Nothing was working and Olive was watching me.  She knew none of our pictures were fitting so she offered to draw a family picture for the frame.  I think it turned out perfect.

One of Kevin's grad students made him an ornament.

 Mississippi Santa

We have a variety of Santa on the beach ornaments and they always make us laugh.  It's something we look forward to picking up at the beach every year.

My mom got me this blogger ornament a few years ago and it's still one of my faves.

I love these HOME ornaments for our first Christmas in our new home.

I love this photo ornament with his newborn picture in it and his baby booties.

I love all the bright colors, the smiling snowman, picture ornaments and baby booties.

Do you collect ornaments for your tree?
What's your favorite new one for this year?

Linking up with Beth at Our Pretty Little Girls

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Santa Brunch

We went to our annual Santa brunch last weekend and had a wonderful time. We looked forward to it all month long and it's the first year where Olive is old enough to remember what we did last year.  We were talking about where Santa lives and I told her the North Pole.  She corrected me and said that Santa lives at the golf course :)

She loved the reindeer last year and loved them even more this year.  They were friendlier and busier next to Santa so it was really neat to watch them.  She kept smiling and sneaking up to their pen to say hello. 

Then it was time to go and see Santa...
Awww sweet family of four visiting with jolly Old St. Nic....

The real story is...

This was our second attempt at a picture with Santa because Olive rolled up into a ball and refused to show her face for the first one.  We didn't get any good pictures the first round so we ate our brunch and then got back in line to see Santa again.

Fletcher has no shoes on because he lost one by the buffet and the photographer commented on him only having one shoe on when we went to snap the picture.  I took off the single shoe and pretended like I had some idea of where the missing shoe was.

Olive refused to sit on Santa's lap, talk to Santa or look at Santa after talking non-stop about seeing Santa for days.  She didn't cry, but was adamant about not wanting to talk to him.  She said she'd write him a letter and mail it to him instead.

Kevin and I had no intention of being in the picture with Santa this year.  We imagined we'd set both kids on his lap and step out of the picture.  Then we'd smile at them, they'd smile back at us and we'd snap a couple of perfect pictures.  The kids had other plans.

I have a bib hanging out of my back pocket because we don't go anywhere without one for the baby.  So much for me trying to hide it.

Fletcher walked away with a handful of white Santa beard.

And Olive cried as we were driving home because she never got to tell Santa what she wanted for Christmas.  Forget those two times she was six inches from him just a little earlier.   So we wrote him a letter with her wish list.

The parents are smiling while Fletcher has a death grip on my arms and Kevin is holding on to Olive for dear life before she bolts away.

Both parents were sweating and it was totally worth the crazy moments to get this picture :)

So the next time you see a sweet family picture with Santa, just remember that there's probably some wild stories that go along with it :)  I remind myself often that the effort is worth it and that they crazy moments are easily forgotten in place of the happy memories.

We ate a delicious brunch and my favorite part was easily the bacon and three tiered cinnamon roll cake with berry frosting.  It was dreamy.  Olive was eager to head to the kid's table to decorate cookies.  It was a blast, but she said all of her cookies tasted "dis-cusk-ing".  Turns out she only loves white frosting. 

Olive was all smiles the rest of the day talking all about how she got to see Santa that morning.
Kids are crazy {wonderful}!

2015 Santa Brunch

What did your kids think of Santa this year??

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Giving the Gift of Food

It's the perfect time of year to deliver meals to families, share baked goods with your neighbors and friends.  I love baking so that's an easy one for me to do.  I have a friend who recently had a baby and I dropped of a meal to her.  I tried to make things really easy for them and for me.

I fixed a double meal so that we'd have dinner and then I'd have a dinner to give away.  Everything was the same for both meals so the prep was easy.  I gave the meal in disposable containers with labels on them and they were a big hit.  I found my containers are Meijer for under $3 and I loved that they came with lids.

Snicker Doodles with Christmas sprinkles
 Shredded Chicken Tacos with all the toppings
(lettuce, black beans, black olives, green onions, salsa and sour cream)

I included enough for them to have leftovers.
Packaged all the toppings separate so they could personalize them for the adults and for the kids.
Included directions and a note.
It was easy to drop off and they really enjoyed it.

Here are some other recipes that would be great gifts or meals to deliver:

Indoor S'Mores

Dark Chocolate Bites

Asian Chicken Pasta Salad

Ham & Cheese Pinwheels

What's your go to meal to deliver 
or food to give as gifts?

It's time to link up with my favorite Tuesday Talk Ladies.
Be sure to join us with your favorite post of the week.

Polka-Dotty Place

Monday, December 19, 2016

10 Best Recipes of 2016

I've been sharing my favorite recipes with you every month of 2016 so I thought it would be fun to do a recipe round up today.  I picked my top 10 favorites from the whole year.  It was a challenge to narrow my list down, but these are all recipes I've made several times that my whole family enjoys.  They were all delicious and I'll definitely continue to make them in the new year.

Polka-Dotty Place's 10 Best Recipes of 2016



Now I'm starving!!  Which recipes are you anxious to try???

What was your favorite recipe of 2016??
Share it with me in the comments.

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

Whitney @ Come Home for Comfort
Best of 2016 from Our Kitchen

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.