Friday, November 30, 2018

Everything You Need to Know About Bottle Brush Trees

I'm excited to talk to you about my new favorite Christmas decoration...

Bottle Brush Trees!!

Are you a fan??

I've always collected fun green Christmas trees, but now I'm adding bottle brush trees to our decor.   I know there are fun vintage bottle brush trees out there.  I don't own any of those.  All of mine are new.

I just love them.  They are not fragile (ie kid friendly).  There are so many styles and varieties.  And they are very affordable.  They seem to be popping up in every store this year.  I've been scouting them out for you and am eager to tell you about where you can find great bottle brush trees for yourself.

I've had the best luck finding trees at Hobby Lobby, TJ Maxx, Target and Walmart.  Most of the trees were under $12 at all of those stores.

I like to find trees of different heights, colors, shades of a certain color, different bases and some trees with ornaments.  There really are a ton of varieties out there.

Let me give you a little bottle brush tree tour.

Here's my Peppermint Palace set up.  Isn't it sweet??  hahaha
The house lantern is from the Better Home and Gardens line at Walmart.  I got it back in the Fall.  It's been so much fun to decorate for all the holidays.  The ivory and gold tree and the large red and ivory tree are both Opal House from Target.  The little red trees are from Hobby Lobby.

 This cute set of ornament trees were $2 each at Walmart this week. 

Fletcher has this set of trees in his room.
The tall tree, red tree and green tree are all from Hobby Lobby.
The light blue and gold tree is Opal House from Target and the ornament tree is from Walmart.

Olive has this set of pink trees.
The tall ornament tree is from TJ Maxx last year.
The rose gold tree is Opal House from Target.
The hot pink, ivory and little pink ornament tree is from Hobby Lobby.
And the small pink and red ornament tree is from Walmart.

 This set of mini trees lives in my kitchen window.

Here's what you should keep an eye out for in stores right now:

The bottle brush trees are all in bins.  Be prepared to dig a little bit.  They're a GREAT price and definitely worth the effort.    They are easy to straighten if they're bend and can usually be fluffed up a bit.  There were lots of varieties of small trees - ornaments, flocked, glitter and solid color.  I saw some Wal-Mart stores had bigger bottle brush trees this year, but my store did not.

TJ Maxx:
My store had LOTS of options for bottle brush trees.  I came home with two of these green ones.  They were just $5.99 and were a really good size.  There were pink, white and green options at my store.

Local Boutique:
We have a local store called Jeffrey Alans.  It's got really great home decor, but it can be pricey.  I loved their bottle brush tree selection.  However, most of them were out of my price range at $20+.  I'm going to keep an eye out to see if they clearance them out before Christmas and try to snag one on a super sale.

These are the pretty Opal House trees from Target that I mentioned above.  I love them.  BUT I have a disclaimer... they were a pain to order.  They were initially listed online as a set of 4 for $9.99.  However, they were supposed to be $9.99 per tree.  They were deleted online and I think they're back again now.  That's still a great deal, but it was a major hassle to get my order right and get a refund.  So watch for them in stores and be prepared to pay $9.99 a tree.  They're really tall and feel special.  If you can find them in stores, I would say pick them up!

Hope you have a great weekend!!  We've got fun plans to do Christmas things, go to a birthday party, do our North Pole Breakfast and go to a gingerbread house decorating party.  Should be tons of fun!

Linking up with My Glittery Heart

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Florida Birthday

Kevin surprised me with a trip to Florida for my birthday this year!

And by surprised me, I mean that he mentioned it a couple weeks before my birthday, researched the best deals and we planned it all out together.  He figured it would be a fun treat to head to the ocean in November.  That's my kind of surprise :)  Both he and Olive had the week of Thanksgiving off so he figured it would be a fun time to get away to somewhere warm.  He was right!  I've never celebrated my birthday at the ocean before.

I'm always thankful when a stranger offers to snap a whole family picture of us.

We took a late night flight out of Indianapolis the night before my birthday.  It was the first time flying late in the evening with the kids and they did great.  We usually fly in the morning or afternoon to try to catch some flight during nap time.  We didn't get to Kevin's parent's condo until midnight, but everyone was so excited about the trip that it worked out just fine.

The next morning was my birthday.  We had donuts, enjoyed a relaxing morning and then headed to the zoo.  The day was supposed to be one of the coolest days while we were there so the zoo was the perfect outing.  The weather was perfect!!  It really is one of the prettiest tropical zoos.  We would HIGHLY recommend going to the Naples Zoo if you ever get the chance.

We got to feed the giraffes.  Olive has done this a couple of times.  It was Fletcher's first time.  The giraffes were really hungry so it was fun.

 The kids took turns riding around in the stroller.  The animals were all out and about since the weather was so nice.  The zoo not crowded at all.

Everything was still in bloom so it was fun to stop and smell the roses.

There was a fascinating exhibit at the zoo.  It was all of these animal sculptures that were made from trash washed ashore at the ocean.  It was wild to see all of the things that had been found at the ocean.  The kids had tons of questions about the items.  There was an octopus, fish, shark and so many more creatures made of out of sea trash.

We strolled through the zoo, checked out the playgrounds and snacked.  It was so nice.

We grabbed burgers on the way home and then all took a nap!  We headed to my favorite restaurant for dinner - Tommy Bahama.  It was so fun to eat out on the patio with twinkle lights.  We love this place.  They serve their appetizer bread in the shape of a starfish, have delicious crab cakes, have live music/patio seating and we love their key lime pie.

The kids did great!  They seemed so big on this trip.  They ate lots of good food, enjoyed their surroundings and it was a lot of fun.

Downtown Naples was all decked out for Christmas!  It was so charming to be in a big city that was all decked out for the holidays.  We spotted Santa hanging out in the tree, all the palm trees were covered in lights and there were Christmas trees everywhere.  

We did some birthday shopping the following day.  I had the best luck at TJ Maxx.  Don't you love it when you find a fully stocked section of shoes in your size!?!?  9.5 always seem to get picked over fast so it felt like a jackpot to find so many good shoe options.  I always walked away with fun Christmas stuff.

We hit up the outlet mall another day.  We made wishes in the fountains, found some great deals and headed to our favorite Kate Spade store.  Olive loved all the sparkles.  I found some new earrings.  I just LOVE the studs from Kate Spade.  They're so classic.

It's time to link up with my favorite Welcome Wednesday ladies.
Be sure to join us with some fun links of your own and meet some new blog friends.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

My Sick Day Secrets

We've had more sick days this month than I care for.  Fletcher and Olive have both had these weird fever viruses.  It's wiped them out for days, messed with all of our sleep and I hate seeing them feeling bad.  Fletch has made a full recovery, but we're in the midst of a 5 day fever-a-thon for Olive.  Poor thing!!

I try to avoid going to the doctor's office as much as possible during winter because of GERMS, but we've had two sick visits this month.  I was super thankful to get them in to see their doctor and confirm that we were doing all we could do.  Just hate seeing them sick.  Olive was also super bummed to be missing school.  They had a snow day before Thanksgiving break, she missed a day when we headed to Florida and she's been out this week.  She's ready to be feeling better!!

I keep several things on hand during winter to prepare as much as possible for sick days.  Let's just call them my secrets to happy sick days.  It's hard to run to the store last minute with sick kids in tow.  That's no fun for anyone.  Grocery pick up is great, but it seems like you've got to give at least 12/24 hours notice for that.

Here are my go to sick day supplies:

1. Fun snacks - my kids love these chocolate chip muffins, pudding, hot chocolate, hard candy, suckers and chicken noodle soup.  Sure, it's great to make homemade treats on sick days, but these are all nice to have in the pantry in case you're not feeling great either or maybe you need a fun snack fast.

2. New toothbrushes - I always try to replace toothbrushes after someone's been sick.

3. Festive hand soap - make sure all sinks are stocked with good soaps during germy season.

4.New bath products - my kids love the water so bath time is always something they look forward to.  These color bath drops are a lot of fun.  I just picked up a new container and usually include these in their stockings.  They don't stain the tub and they're fun to mix.

5. Working thermometer - we have never had the best luck with thermometers.  We've owned all kinds - oral, forehead swipe, etc.  This Vicks one is our current favorite.

6. Our pediatrician said the combo of a cool mist humidifier + sleeping on princess pillows (propped up on several pillows) will really help with congestion/sleeping when kids are sick.

I stock up on medicine for the kids when it goes on sale this time of year.  Meijer was recently running a Buy One Get One Half off sale on store brand meds and the Zarbees cough syrup was recently on sale for buy two and get a $3 gift card.

Fun sick day activities - new magazines and coloring pages.  My MIL gets my kid's monthly subscriptions to Ranger Rick Jr, National Geographic Little Kids, Highlights Hello and Ranger Rick Cub.  They come once a month and the kids LOVE them.  They're packed full of pictures, fun facts and are great to read again and again.

I printed off Andrea's most recent set of Christmas Town pictures for us to color.  They're so fun to decorate.  Both of my kids have fun coloring them.  You can print off your own set for free over at Momfessionals Christmas Doodle Town

What are your sick day secrets??

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Monday, November 26, 2018

Thanksgiving Break & Holiday Fun

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving break!

It was so nice to have some time off even if we had to deal with some unexpected kid sickness.  We went to Florida for a few days, enjoyed a few days at home and then road tripped to visit our families for Thanksgiving.  We did a tiny bit of Black Friday sales mostly online and we did a lot of yard work yesterday.  Did you find any great deals???

The best parts of Thanksgiving were:

The desserts!!  Pie for the adults.  Cookies for the kids.

Double Oven!!  This was my first holiday to have a double oven and it was so nice.  It really made my baking go so quickly.

Colorful plates of Thanksgiving goodness.

 Inflatable turkeys are so much fun.

Fletcher has two Great Grandpas.  He loves their canes and always asks to borrow them for a bit.  

The kids played with cousins all day long.    The littlest at the little table and the big kids in the dining room.

We visited Divinity the Donkey.  My kids LOVE her.  

Olive got sick on Black Friday so the rest of our visit was spent sticking close to home.  My mom cooked for us, we got take out from some yummy restaurants and played lots of games.  Fletcher loves the Crispix mix and Olive loved the caramel corn.  We also tackled several organizing projects at my parent's house.

My mom and I snuck out of the house for a bit.  It wasn't the shopping we'd hoped to do, but it was good to get out and about.  She also got a hair makeover that looks great.

Notre Dame won their last regular season game to finish 12-0!  It was a fun season.  On to the playoffs!!  These cute cheerleaders are ready.


These two love my parent's porch swing.

Teamwork makes yard work better.

I'm excited for all of the holiday blog content I've got coming your way in the next few weeks.  You should definitely think about joining in the fun of a holiday home tour link up on Dec 12 and a really easy instagram photo challenge in the month of December.

Happy Monday!  Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving even if it didn't go as planned.