Wednesday, November 22, 2017

On My Holiday Radar

I've been gathering things for the holidays a little at a time so that I'm prepared when the actual holiday rolls around.  We're up to our eyeballs in pie making today.  Anyone else bringing dessert to their Thanksgiving gatherings??

I wanted to share some things that are on my radar right now to give you some holiday inspiration.

I really liked this wreath from TJ Maxx.  It was priced pretty well at $19.99, but I'm hoping to replicate it for much cheaper.  So I snapped a picture of it instead of buying it.  I'll keep you posted on this DIY project.

My house is still decked out in pumpkins and turkeys, but our beds are ready for Christmas!!  I got some cozy flannel sheets for everyone this year.  I surprised everyone by swapping out their sheets during the day.  It's been a fun tradition to start this year.

Cranberry isn't one of my favorite flavors unless it's the holidays.  Then I'm all about the cranberry vinaigrette.  This delicious dressing is from Aldi and it's only available seasonally.  I'd highly recommend picking up this pretty dressing to add some pizzazz to your holiday salads.

Planners are EVERYWHERE right now!  It's definitely the time to buy them before they get really picked over.  These are my favorite blog planners and they're only $4.99.  I found my 2017 at Marshalls and my 2018 one at TJ Maxx.  They're beautiful and there are so many color, pattern and style options for under $10.

Opt for easy homemade treats vs spending HOURS in the kitchen.  Olive requested sugar cookies since they are her favorite.  Instead of spending 3+ hours rolling out, cutting shapes, icing cookies and decorating them with sprinkles.  I opted for super simple homemade cookies that took less than an hour to whip up.  She loved them just as much and I appreciated the simpler option.

Double Check the Price.  I saw this watch at Kohls on sale for $45.  It was regularly priced $49.99.  I LOVED it, but wasn't sold on the $45 price tag.  I snapped a picture of it in the store and then went home to shop Amazon.  I'm happy to report that I found it for $27 with a coupon offering an additional $3 off.  I ended up getting the exact same watch for $24 delivered to my door!  I also picked slow shipping on Amazon Prime and got a $1 credit to our account.  It pays to price check!!

We just got God Bless My Family by Hannah C Hall this week.  We are big fans of the God Bless My series and own several of the books.  My kids enjoyed this book filled with a variety of dogs and dog families.  It's the first book in the series with all of the animals being the same.  We usually enjoy the variety of animals so we missed that in this book.  The message was great, the family connections were great and it's a nice book to read around Thanksgiving.  My kids enjoyed the rhyme and repetition of the story.  The book also sparks nice conversations about families and things you appreciate about your own families.  I'd recommend this book, but there are others in the series that we have liked better.  *I was gifted this book in exchange for an honest review of it.


What's on your holiday radar right now??

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Cheap Fashion Finds

Hi Friends!!  I have something really fun to talk to you about today.

CHEAP Fashion Finds!!

I love to put together cute outfits, but don't want to spend a ton of money doing it.

I like to find things that are trendy and things that are classic.

I'll invest in shoes, nice earrings or closet staple items that I will wear for years like jeans or jackets.

I will spend a lot less on trendy items.

Today I'm going to share with you some trendy things that I've found for really cheap!!

Think: plaids, chambray, olive green and embroidered items!

#1 Embroidered Chambray
I was doing some grocery shopping last week and spotted some cute button downs at WAL-MART.  Yes, Wal-Mart.  I went to take a closer look and saw that there were lots of cute options for either $12 or $15.  I tried some on and decided on the two that fit me the best.  When I went to check out this chambray top rang up for only $3!!!!!!!!!!!  It has rose gold buttons and is embroidered on the front and back.  RUN to you nearest Walmart to find one for yourself.  It's Faded Glory and several of my friends have found it after I posted it on instagram.



#2 Scarves & Accessories
I picked up this scarf for $11 at the Nordstrom Anniversary sale.  It sold out a few times, but eventually my order went through.  In the past I ignored the Nordstrom sale because it's not a place I shop a ton.  This year I kept my eyes peeled for great deals and then bought a few extra to give as gifts.  I love it with this striped olive top.  It's from Target last year.

#3 Utility Vest
I wear mine a ton and it was under $20 at SAMS last year!  I'd highly encourage you to check out the clothes at Sams Club.  They usually have some really great pieces for under $20.  I HATE that they don't have dressing rooms so I usually just look at their tops and try them on over my clothes.  I've been known to head to the vision center to use their mirror to see how things look.

#4 Skinnies
I picked up these skinny pants/jeggings at WAL-MART earlier this season.  I bought them in black, olive and mauve.  And the best part... they rang up for $11 and $7!!  They're really comfy, SO CHEAP and I get tons of compliments on them when I wear them.  Definitely a fun addition to my closet for Fall and Winter.  They don't zip, just slide right on.

#5 Plaids
I've been on the hunt for a new plaid or two to add to my closet this year.  I wanted it to be light weight, pretty colors and something I could layer with.  This plaid caught my eye immediately and was only $12.94 at WAL-MART!  I was tempted to buy a second one at that price, but I'm trying hard to only buy things I love.  And I only LOVED this plaid.


So the moral of the story is... look for clothes deals in unexpected places like Wal-Mart, save your splurges for high quality pieces and spend less on fun, trendy items!!  I know not everyone loves Wal-Mart, so keep your eyes peeled at places like Meijer or Target for great clearance or sales.

It's time to link up with my favorite Tuesday Talk ladies & The Pleated Poppy.
Be sure to join us!!



Monday, November 20, 2017

Thanksgiving FUN

Happy Monday!  Hope you had a great weekend.  We had a good one!

We've been doing lot of fun things for Thanksgiving and I thought you'd have fun with them, too.  My daughter is on Thanksgiving break this week so we are going to make the most of having her home with us.

We went to a feast, a Science Class at the museum and the Thanksgiving themes did not disappoint.  The kids had so much fun that we've been doing these same activities at home.


TURKEY MATH
Build the turkeys with a cup, two pipe cleaners and a turkey body.
Grab a bag of pony beads and a dice.
Roll the dice, count the dots and then add the beads to the pipe cleaners.

You could easily roll two dice and add them together for older kids.
Or for younger kids just have them put the beads on the pipe cleaners without counting.
Great fine motor practice for both!


HARVEST TRAIL MIX
Put out bowls of 5 or 6 ingredients.
Ask the kids to count out a certain number of each for their bag.
Go down the line counting numbers or measuring 1/4c, 1/2c
Eat!


TUB OF CRANBERRIES
I rarely buy a bag of real cranberries, but I bought two this week.
My kids had so much fun dumping, pouring and mixing these berries.
I can't wait to surprise them with this fun activity at home.


WHAT'S FOR DINNER?
Put one of each food item on your plate.
Select one and then roll a dice for adding or subtracting.
If you get -, you have to take that item off your plate.
If you get +, you have to add the number you roll of that item.
The kids thought it was fun to identify all the Thanksgiving food items and add to their plate.


Thanks for Thanksgiving was a really cute read.


BAKE COOKIES
We made homemade sugar cookies for Olive's Thanksgiving Feast at school and then shared some with our neighbors.

THANKSGIVING FEAST
Olive's cute fabric pumpkin & Big sister telling little brother he's supposed to be quiet and follow the rules at school.

These Chocolate Turkey Cupcakes were a huge hit with all the kids.
Fletcher had to be stripped head to toe after really enjoying his cupcake.




SET YOUR DVR
We have been recording all the cute kid shows for Fall and Thanksgiving.  My kids have loved watching them over and over again. 

What fun things are you doing with your kids this week??

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Highlights

Happy Friday!  Hope you had a great week.  It was a really nice one at my house.  We packed in lots of fun with friends, lunch dates, celebrated my birthday, did some shopping and enjoyed some Thanksgiving festivities.

Thanks to all who entered my Big Birthday Giveaway this week!!
The winner is.... KATIE MRUGALA!!
Watch for an email from me :)

DATE NIGHT
Kevin and I met some of his coworkers for dinner and it was really fun!  We tried a local restaurant that was new to us.  The food was delicious and the adults only time was great.   Cheers to more date nights!!

WALMART
I went to Walmart for some groceries and came home with this darling chambray top!!  It's embroidered on the front and back and has rose gold buttons.  The best part... it was on clearance for only $3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  RUN to your Walmart to see if you can find this Faded Glory deal.  There were also lots of cute tops for under $14 if you're in the market for some.

PRESCHOOL THANKSGIVING FEAST
We were invited to Olive's preschool for a Thanksgiving feast this week.  She made an ADORABLE pilgrim hat and was so proud to have us there.  I LOVE this picture of her.  We enjoyed the feast with her friends and then had to hurry home with a chocolate covered little brother.  He loved the cupcakes and ended up wearing about half the meal.  Aren't the turkey cupcakes so cute??



UNICORN COAT
Olive selected her winter coat and it's no surprise that it has a sparkly unicorn horn and rainbow mane.  She is obsessed... like she can't quit smiling when she wears it or when she sees her unicorn shadow on the ground as she walks.  It's Cat & Jack from Target and I'd highly recommend it.

COWBOY
Fletcher walks around all day long making horse noises, saying YEE HAW, wearing a cowboy hat and riding his rocking horse.  It's hilarious how happy this horse makes him.  He's also starting throwing some major temper tantrums this week so I'll take all of the smiling happy moments I can get :)

TURKEYS
I love these art kits where every supply is included.  This set is from Meijer and it was around $2.  Olive had the est time making these silly turkeys.  My 4 year old thought it was hilarious to do crazy heads and feet.  Wouldn't these be cute place cards??

PIES
I'm bringing the pies to our Thanksgiving gathering so I had to do some practice.  I made Derby Pie earlier in the week and it was delicious.  Pecan and Pumpkin are on the agenda for next week.

MY BIRTHDAY
I had a lot of fun celebrating my birthday yesterday.  My kids woke up ready to celebrate and to help me open gifts.  I picked out my favorite dessert - a cheesecake variety platter and it was amazing.  Olive learned how to write MOM all by herself.  We ate out for some fun meals and I heard from lots of my favorite people.  It's so fun to go to your mailbox and see it filled with cards and packages from people you love.  It was definitely a great birthday!!





DEVOTION
I recently got Sacred Rest: Finding the Sabbath in the Everyday by Cheryl Wunderlich and am loving it.  The book is beautiful and the daily devotions are so relatable.  There is something to take away from every day and the book really inspires you to have a restful routine.  There are Bible verses to start every day and then a message to tie into it.  You could easily read several devotions a day because they're so good.  Sacred Rest could easily be read daily for 100 days or divided up into 10 part chunks.  I love that it has a built in bookmark.  This book would be a great gift for anyone that is struggling with being being too busy or anyone looking for ideas to incorporate rest into their daily routines.  I'd highly recommend this devotion as a quick, inspiring addition to your every day quiet time.  *I was gifted this book in exchange for an honest review of it.

This Week on Polka-Dotty Place:

MONDAY: Big Birthday Giveaway!!
TUESDAY: Serving Others
WEDNESDAY: My Best Thanksgiving Recipes
THURSDAY: Birthday Goals

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!!  We have big plans to enjoy the weekend at home and are excited for the next week off.  Should be a really fun Thanksgiving week.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Birthday Goals

I don't usually blog on Thursdays, but I thought it would be a fun way to document my birthday.  It's been a nice week of doing all of my favorite things - favorite restaurants, favorite activities and the kids have been excited to celebrate.  Who doesn't love a little extra love around your birthday??

3 year old Whitney 1984

Growing up we had several special traditions for our birthdays.  My mom would bake us our favorite cake and make our favorite dinner.  We'd open gifts first thing in the morning and usually go to school in a new birthday outfit.  When I got older I would always request chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and she'd write in pink frosting.  I'd take the same combo to school and my mom would write the number I was turning on the top of all the cupcakes.  I was always so excited to share them with my class.

My adult birthday traditions include spending the day with my family, fun take out dinners throughout the week, lunch with friends, cheesecake for my birthday dessert and my choice of fun things to do with my family.  I have a couple of presents to unwrap that were lovingly wrapped by Kevin and the kids :)

I am turning 36 this year

(I swear I was just turning 21 so I'm not sure how I'm already at the big 3-6!)

so I thought I'd share 9 things with you that I'd love to work on in the coming year.

9 GOALS FOR YEAR 36

1. Continue to improve my gardening skills.

2. Plan a couple of trips for our family - maybe go someplace new??

3. Dust off my DSLR camera and snap some pictures of the kids regularly.  Take more videos of the kids, too.

4. Continue getting regular exercise and eating healthier since I'm feeling better than I have in years.

5. Keep working hard to make friends and try extra hard in the family friend department.  I'd love to have some family friends that we all (kids and adults) love being around.

6. Find a church home.  I feel like we've made some progress in this department, but have yet to find the one.

7. Say yes to something that scares me.  Instead of doing my usual routine: I get excited about an idea and then tend to talk myself out of it because of all the unknowns.

8. Take advantage of having great babysitters

9. Less scrolling, more doing.  I love social media as much as the next, but I rarely finish scrolling feeling great about myself and my life.  So I'd love to do quick social media check ins and then spend my free time reading, crafting, decorating, gardening, playing, being outside and working on other hobbies.


PS Have you entered my BIG BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY from yesterday??
It's not too late - I'll draw the winner for my post tomorrow :)  Head over here to enter to win

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

My Best Thanksgiving Recipes

I am excited to share with you all of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes with you today. 

I've blogged about them over the years, but I wanted to round them up in one post this year.  I always cook a small Thanksgiving meal for my little family and then volunteer to bring pies to family gatherings.

Funny story: My first married Thanksgiving I royally messed up the pies!  I volunteered to bring them to our Friendsgiving celebration and then had to remake each pie no less than three times to get it right.  I think I was just stressing myself out and would make silly mistakes like leaving out key ingredients.  Lesson learned and now I've got the pie routine down solid.

 I've made each of these recipes many times and they're always crowd pleasers!!

CHOCOLATE TURKEYS
All the directions here for some edible place cards


CROCKPOT TURKEY
Recipe here
The BEST turkey you can make!  It is so easy and so delicious every time.


PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP BAKED OATMEAL
Recipe here


PIE PERFECTION
Recipes here - EVERYTHING you need to know about making a delicious, homemade pie!


PUMPKIN STREUSEL MUFFINS
Recipe here


SWEET POTATO CINNAMON BREAD
Recipe here


THANKSGIVING PLACE CARDS
SO many ideas here



Hope you're having a great day and that you've got some new recipe to try for Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Serving Others

It feels like the perfect time of year to talk about serving others and thinking of other people.  There's lots to be thankful for and I know I enjoy my days more when I'm doing things to serve others.  It doesn't have to involve spending tons of money or tons of time either.  I'm happy to share some simple things we've been doing to put a smile on their face.

1. Teachers // Babysitters // Daycare Workers
I challenge you to do sweet things for the teachers and care takers in your life because the work they do is amazing.  They spend their days surrounded by little people and working so hard.  I try to send in something thoughtful for Olive's teachers once a month.  

I've baked cookies, written thoughtful note, sent in a box of truffles from Aldi for each teacher and sent in these cute Thanksgiving gifts this week.  The tea towels and spatulas are under $2 at Walmart and the scarecrows were under $3 at Meijer.  I think her teachers will love them!  We also wrote notes to go with their gifts telling them something we were thankful for about them.  Olive at first said nothing because she was ready to be done, but after talking about it she came up with several cute things to say for each teacher.




2. Delivering a Favorite Drink
Memorize your spouse's favorite drink order or your BFFs and then surprise them with one.  Last winter my kids were so sick and we'd been stuck in the house for days.  A super sweet friend dropped off my favorite drink and popsicles for the kids on my porch.  She texted and said to open the door for a sweet surprise.  It made my day!


3. Snap a Picture
There are tons of holiday events and gatherings going on this time of year.  If you are at an event snap a picture for a mom who can't be there.  Text it to them and tell them their child is having a blast.  A cute friend sent me this picture of Olive from a Halloween party that I couldn't attend.  It made me feel so happy to know she was having a blast and wasn't phased that I was stuck at an appointment.

4. Rake Leaves for Neighbors
My neighborhood has so many trees and a mix of older and younger neighbors.  The yard work is a lot to keep up with so it's nice to help out neighbors that need it.  I saw one neighbor send her lawn crew over to do the leaves of an elderly neighbor.  I know it made their day!  Plus, if you have teenagers this would be such a great way to involve the whole family.

5. Give Grace
Go out of your way to be kind to others this holiday season.  I took Olive to her favorite Duplo class last week.  Fletcher was being a handful - teething, loud, not wanting to sit and mostly wanting to knock down all the Duplos.  The sweet teacher that we know well went above and beyond to be kind to us that day.  She played with him while I built with Olive, she smiled when he was knocking over Duplo towers and then she got him a popsicle when he'd had enough.  She didn't have to do any of that, but I'm so glad she did.  It really helped me out and I appreciated the grace she showed me.

6. Donations
So many places are accepting donations of warm clothes, coats, socks, meals, etc. this time of year.  A local place published a list of Thanksgiving items to donate so we went to the store to purchase one of each item on their list.  I explained to Olive that some people need extra help around the holidays and this was one, small way that we could help brighten their day.  She was thrilled to hunt for the items in the store and was happy to give.

PS Have you entered my BIG BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY from yesterday??
It's not too late :)  Head over here to enter to win


It's time to link up with my favorite Tuesday Talk ladies & Momfessionals today.
Be sure to join us!!