Friday, December 22, 2017

December JOY

Happy Friday!!  This month has zoomed by so quickly.  We've packed in loads of fun with minimal germs so I'm calling that a big win!!  Hope you have had a nice week.

This will be my last post of the year so I've got lots of good things to share with you!!  I'm going on Christmas Break next week.  Kevin's off for the semester and we're going to just enjoy doing things together as a family.  Hope you enjoy your Christmas holiday, too.  Look forward to seeing you back here in 2018 with lots of new content!!

I tried out this hair style from Kate at The Small Things Blog and it was so cute!  It was really quick and lasted all day.  This will definitely be on repeat

We've all been wearing our Christmas aprons and having lots of fun baking/treat making!

I found these darling melamine tree plates for the kids at Target this year.  I switched out our regular dishes for Christmas dishes so it was fun to find a nonbreakable option for the kids.  I usually pick up a new set of Pottery Barn Kids Christmas dishes, but I didn't love their selection this year.

Olive really enjoys these building classes.  She learns to build something new and then comes home to build it again and again with our Duplos.

My MIL got us a Christmas train this year and the kids are loving it!  It's really cute.  I just wish it came with someone who'd put it back on the track again and again after the kids knock it off.

I finally finished Christmas shopping midweek this week.  I am usually done by early December.  Now I need to get busy and WRAP.  Kevin was sure this giant bear would make a fun gift.

We've stayed at home a lot this week because Olive is on Christmas break.  Plus, lots of our friends have been sick.  So staying home meant we stayed germ free :)  Slow mornings watching Christmas movies have been so much fun.

This has been my go to outfit this month - vest, flannel, skinny jeans and booties.

We road tripped to see some friends for Christmas this week.  It was a lot of fun.  The kids both napped on the way there so Kevin and I got a couple of hours of quiet time in the car.  Car dates for the win :)

We went to a cute birthday party.  Olive had fun with her friends and I got to visit with mine.  Aren't these cookies amazing!?!  They're from a local lady so I'm keeping her in mind when my kid's birthdays roll around this Spring.

Fletcher is talking a ton and learning new words every day.  Olive loves teaching him new words.

When I find these two cuties hanging out in the cozy corner reading, it warms my heart!!

We have been watching Frozen a lot lately.  Olive is very into dressing up as Ana or Elsa and acting out as much as she can.  It's adorable and Fletcher tries his best to join in.  Let It Go is their favorite duet.  4 year olds are the cutest!  Olive is requesting Elsa braids, costumes and all the sing alongs.  We're going to a Frozen party tomorrow and Olive is losing sleep she's so excited :)

This guy started hanging around our house about the same time we moved in.  He looked like a rough alley cat hence the name Scrappy.  I started feeding him and he's made a complete turn around.  He looks so fat and happy :)  I contemplated changing his name to Garfield and feeding him lasagna.  I caught him lounging on our deck this week.

Shhhhhhhh Don't tell Olive!  I finished her doll house.  It's a fun Christmas surprise for her!  Can't wait to see what she thinks of it.  I'm really happy with how it turned out.  The inside is painted pinks, purples and I think she's going to LOVE it!

Earlier this week on Polka-Dotty Place:

MONDAY: Christmas Cookies
TUESDAY: Christmas Footprints
WEDNESDAY: Living that Vest Life
THURSDAY: Last Minute Christmas

Linking up with Beth for her JOY linkup

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Last Minute Christmas

Christmas is only 4 days away - are you ready??

I'm mostly ready minus some last minute touches and to do lists.

I wanted to share some last minute Christmas ideas with you today.

All of these things are super quick to pull together and your friends and family will love them.

Have you seen the new bags of Triple Chip chocolate chips from Nestle??  They are such a fun assortment of dark chocolate chips, white chocolate and milk chocolate.  I just made the recipe on the back of the bag of chips and they were a hit.

(recipe here - super easy with premade peanut butter cookie dough!)

(all the recipe details and instructions here)

My kids have been playing these games OVER AND OVER again since Olive's prek Christmas party.  They were so easy to prep for and so much fun.
(All the instructions here)

We made these a couple of weeks ago and I'm really happy to report that they've been so much fun!  My kids play with them and rearrange them on the tree daily.  And they still look just as cute as the day we made them.  They've been REALLY durable and festive.
(All the instructions here)

(all the details here)

What last minute things are you hoping to do this week??

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Living that Vest Life

I'm loving vests this time of year.

They're warm, add some interest to an outfit and aren't as bulky as a jacket.

I have a favorite utility vest, polka-dot vest, sweater vest and a furry vest that have all been on rotation lately.  I thought I'd show you how I style them to give you some vest inspiration for the holidays.

Are you a fan of vests??  What do you pair them with??

This vest was a major score from Sams last year.  It was under $20 and came in several colors.

flannel - Walmart (NEW $12!!)
vest - Sams last year
jeans - Old Navy Rockstar Midrise (NEW)
booties - Meijer

This outfit has been my uniform all winter.
It's a winning combo that I feel great in:
Button down + utility vest + Jeggings + booties (and usually a scarf!)

This vest came from Kohls last year

chambray - Old Navy
vest - Kohls
olive pants - Walmart (NEW $11!!)
clogs - BORN

A recent TJ Maxx find!!  Head to your stores to see if you can find it.

vest - TJ MAXX (NEW)
dress - Old Navy
clogs - Born
watch - Timex (NEW)
earrings - Kate Spade studs

An Old Navy vest from a couple of years ago that I had monogrammed.

peplum - GAP factory
scarf - TJ Maxx
vest - Old Navy
jeggings - Old Navy
booties - Lucky

It's time to link up with The Pleated Poppy.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Christmas Footprints

I try to do a hand or foot print project with my kids every year.  I love documenting their little features and comparing them year to year.  It's crazy how fast they grow and I just treasure these sweet little art pieces.

This year we opted to do a Forest of Footprint Firs for our Christmas art.

It was really easy to do and only took a few steps.

Stamp feet.  Clean feet.  Let dry.  Decorate.  Let dry.  Display.

paint brushes / sponge dotters
q tips
wet wipes

Do one kid at a time.  One foot at a time.
Pick a different shade of green for each kid.
Have lots of wet wipes handy to clean off their feet.
Add glitter early on and let it dry.
Let one kid decorate their foot trees at a time.
Q-tips and finger tips make great dotters
If colors don't dry as vibrant as you'd hoped, just touch up the dots.

Also, in full disclosure...  My kids were a challenge for this whole project. 

They were both excited.  Maybe a little too excited.  Olive was being bossy.  Fletcher was into everything.  I tried to take turns with them and he basically was on a path of destruction.  I thought he was playing nicely and went to check on him... turns out he had squirted out an ENTIRE POUCH OF APPLESAUCE onto our WOOD FLOORS and was ice skating through it and belly flopping in it.  I had to put him in the sink and hose him off.  Change all his clothes and get back to painting.  He went on to make several other big messes. 

So remember that just because I have a cute art project to share with you, it doesn't mean things are sunshine and rainbows over here all the time.  We all have hard days and we all just power through.  Am I right!?!

Christmas Footprints:

Fletcher had to go down for a nap so I decorated his foot trees.
Olive had big opinions (per usual) on how her trees would be decorated.  Glitter was a must.

Here are a few ideas for hand and foot print art that we've done in years prior.


(directions here)

(directions here)

(all the details back from my teaching days)
shoe print head and hand print antlers

Have you done any art projects with your kids this month??

Monday, December 18, 2017

Christmas Cookies

I've been baking like crazy this month!!

{Cute bags of Christmas cookies for our neighbors}

I decided early on in the month that I wanted to bake cookies for Olive's teachers, Olive's school program, my friends, our neighbors and bring cookies to the holiday parties we were invited to in December.

I'm excited to share all these cute Christmas cookies with you today!!

I have a new recipe, a go to recipe and lots of packaging ideas for you.

What are you baking this week??

Hope you can find a new cookie recipe to try.

I did most of my baking with my cute assistants.  Since we were baking to give away I gave them jobs like sprinkling the cookies or gave them their own cookie to decorate.  That way their little hands weren't all over someone else's cookies.  They were mostly happy to wear Christmas aprons, use the sprinkles as maracas and chase each other around the kitchen.

The first recipe I'm going to tell you about is a NEW one to me.
Sally's Baking Addiction posted this recipe for MINI M&M COOKIES and they were so good!!

I followed her recipe with just a few changes:
2 c flour
cold egg
Margarine instead of butter.
A mix of full sized Christmas m&ms and mini m&ms.

They were so cute and so chewy!  I'll definitely be making these again.

They're always a crowd pleaser.
I just swap out the M&M color to match the event - holidays, game days, etc.

I made some sugar cookies and used all the Christmas sprinkles we had.
You can use any sugar cookie recipe
and top them with my Perfect Buttercream.  They'll be delicious!

Meijer was running a great sale on these Take Along containers.  Buy one for $3.99 and get a second one for $1.  I stocked up!  I found these Christmas tea towels at WALMART (yes, Walmart!) for $1.88.  They were the perfect addition to my container of sweets.

I rolled up the towels and put them on top of the containers with a pretty peppermint ribbon.  I always buy holiday ribbon at Sams.  It's about $6 for this HUGE roll of ribbon and it'll last you a very long time.

Each box had several kinds of treats in it:
Sugar cookies
White chocolate coated pretzel sticks
Chocolate Santa from a local chocolate shop
Mini M&M cookies.

I spent one morning playing Mrs Claus and dropped off cookies and treats all around town!

All this talk of cookies makes me want to get in the kitchen and bake some more :)

Friday, December 15, 2017

Christmas Favorites

Happy Friday!!  I have lots of favorite moments to share with you this week.  We were busy with Santa, doing Christmas baking, enjoying cold days at home, going to Christmas programs and parties.  It definitely is a busy time of year!!

Christmas cookies are my FAVORITE!
I am really enjoy baking, eating and sharing Christmas cookies this month!  I'm all done baking to give away so now I just get to bake things for my family to enjoy.  I've made sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate dipped pretzels and hope to make some cinnamon rolls this coming week.

Lists are my favorite.
I am always a big list writer, but this year I have a million lists going to make sure everything gets done.  I'm a little behind schedule with my shopping.  I'm usually done by early December and this year I'm still not 100% done.  I'm not stressing about it, just trying to enjoy the holidays and slowly cross all the things off my to do list. I've always been a last minute wrapper so I will probably do the same this year.  How are you doing with your shopping and wrapping??

A Simplified Life by Emily Ley is a definite favorite!
If you haven't added this to your Christmas wish list you should!  It's a great book for women of all ages and stages of life.  I loved Emily's first book Grace, Not Perfection and this second book is even better than the first.  The book contains beautiful candid shots of Ley's family and real life moments around her house.  The chapters are filled with practical advice to simplify your life so that the most important things get the most attention.  I'm a very organized person so I already did several of the things she mentioned in the book.  Ley addresses home organization, marriage, date nights, thoughtfully loving your family, parenting, career advice and everything in between.  I love that each chapter has pages for note taking and questions that get you thinking on ways to simplify your own life.  It's so nice that you aren't being asked to buy more or buy into an expensive system.  You're just being asked to look at your current life and make changes to simplify.  I was so motivated to declutter, only fill my house with things I love, create routines and to spend my time creating traditions with my family.  I love the habits, routines and self care that she talks about throughout the book and have a list of ways I'm hoping to implement a simplified life in my home for the coming year.  Buy this book for any women left on your Christmas shopping list!
  *I was gifted this book in exchange for an honest review of it.

Olive's 1st Christmas Program was my Favorite.
She was so excited to perform her songs and I may have shed a few tears and she walked on stage with her class.  She was so proud and so happy to have us there.  It was fun to see all of her Christmas art, her classmates and be at school with her.  My mom and MIL made the quick road trip up to see us for the day.  Olive couldn't have been happier to have us all at her school for the morning.  Also, her buffalo check dress is my favorite.  Wish I could find a dress or skirt to match her.

Mornings with Fletcher are my favorite.
He's such a good sidekick happily tagging along 99% of the time.  He'd say that sampling all the items in my shopping cart is his favorite activity.  My blocks of cheese, cucumbers and bananas got sampled this trip.  We've Christmas shopped, grocery shopped, gone to the library and had fun with friends this month while Olive's been at school.

This Collapsible Market Basket is my FAVORITE!!
It is so handy and I use it all the time.  I loaded it up with party supplies for Olive's class party this week.  I've given it as a gift, have one of my own and think everyone could benefit from having one.  It's under $15 and makes a great gift for any busy lady in your life.

Cookie Decorating with Friends
Our friends invited us over for a morning of cookie baking & decorating.  It was so much fun!  We just had to show up and everything was ready to go.  Each kid had a cookie station with an apron.  Fletcher was the only boy and he didn't mind one bit.  The kids ate, decorated, played and the moms got to visit.  We went home with plates of pretty cookies.  Keep this in mind for a really fun play date option with your kids this month!

Staying on the nice list is a lot of work :)
Fletcher loves puppies.  He loves to point them out and say hello when we see them.

This week on Polka-Dotty Place:
DIY Playdoh Christmas trees have been so much fun this week!  Head to Thursday's post to see more.

Monday: Cranberry Goodness
Tuesday: JOY & LOVE Filled Family Pictures
Wednesday: Brunching with Santa & His Reindeer
Thursday: Christmas Fun & Games

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!!  We are roadtripping to see some friends, going to a birthday party and going to enjoy some time watching Christmas movies at home!