Friday, December 31, 2021

New Year's Eve Charcuterie!

Happy New Year's Eve!  I served my family a NYE board for dinner last night and it was a huge hit.  They loved the addition of treats, noise makers and 2022 shaped cheeses.

This 2022 NYE board was super simple - tons of fresh berries, fruits and veggies and then lots of bits of lots of things.  I also served warm bread sticks with this board.

I've been trying some new products to add to my boards - this IPA Beer Salame was yummy!  The kids loved the Sour Patch Kids Strawberry candies, the dark chocolate covered cashews and I cooked some thick cut bacon for a different protein option.  Blackberries were on super sale at my store this week.  The kids went grocery shopping with me and insisted on a giant tub of cheese balls and Dot's Pretzels. 

Grab any fruit that looks yummy from your store and build a board that your crew will love.  If you have the time earlier in the day, chop all the fruits, veggies and cheeses.  I store it all in in glass containers with lids in the fridge and then get them out when it's time to build my board.  It'll make your board come together so quickly when dinner time rolls around.

Wishing you a very happy, healthy 2022!!

I'll see you back here next week for a December highlights post, Top moments of 2021 post, Word of the Year post and more!

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Christmas Recap

Hey Friends!  I hope you had a Merry Christmas!  We have been busy enjoying our Christmas Break.  Christmas was busy so the quiet days afterwards have been great.

The best thing about Christmas for me was that I didn't have to pack up the whole family and prepare to be out of town for several days.  I got to spend my Christmas Eve baking, taking treats to neighbors, listening to Christmas playlists and enjoying being home.  That's the first time in my adult life that has happened and it was very nice.  All of the gatherings we were invited to were about 20 minutes from our house so we just hopped in the van for a quick trip.

We had family gatherings sprinkled throughout the whole weekend.  We opened gifts, ate delicious food, visited with family and I forgot to take pictures at most of them.  It turns out when you're busy watching a toddler tornado that is bound to happen.

The kids all got fun gifts.  They'd tell you the Nintendo Switch, their Micro scooters, squishmallows and a toddler sized tiny wagon were favorite gifts.

Welcome to our Christmasy front door!  It looked great for Christmas and I'm in no hurry to replace it. Boxwoods are my favorite!


Christmas Eve baking (and a glimpse at my counters and floors :)  I dipped LOTS of pretzels and added festive toppings and then I made Hershey kiss cookies.

These mini Christmas pretzels were a big hit at all of our parties.

We ate lots of good food.  Leo was covered in delicious food all weekend.  We travel with a high chair since he's the baby of the family and most of the places we went didn't have high chairs.  We all eat happier when he's contained in his high chair.

Leo got this darling wagon from my in laws and he loves it.  He loads it up and  pulls it all around the house.

I got my mom this personalized family tree ornament for Christmas.  I just LOVE how it turned out.  It's sweet to see all 18 of us on one ornament.  I got sucked into a Facebook ad for this one :)

The scooter gang on Christmas morning!!  Some of our friends in Terre Haute had these scooters and they are SO SO nice.  They are easy to ride and easy to steer.  I knew the kids would like them.  I had my MIL surprise them with them for Christmas.  They've been raiding them nonstop.  Even Leo caught on really quickly.  Now if we could just find their helmets buried somewhere in our garage...

I had the best time wrapping gifts.  We didn't have tons to wrap this year so I went all out on the ones we did wrap.  These were for our cousin gift exchange.  That's always a highlight for my kids.  The kids loved all their gifts although Leo was not interested in opening his presents.  Too much work for the baby of the family.

Kevin's Nana puts up the prettiest tree every year.

It was a really warm Christmas.  That paired nicely with their scooter gifts :)

Is there anything cuter than tiny Leo on his tiny scooter!?  Nope.

Being home to make Christmas breakfast for my family was a huge highlight for me.  We worked together on the menu and we agreed on canned cinnamon rolls, homemade bran muffins, thick bacon and scrambled eggs.

Kevin and I stayed up late on Christmas Eve to wrap gifts.  It was a much easier year than some when he was up all night building play kitchens or Barbie dream houses.

We even squeezed in some late night scootering.

And now it's time to keep unpacking and organizing all of our things.  Pearl is thrilled with all the new baskets showing up at our house.  She looks really pretty in them.  And I'm thrilled that my new shopping options in my new city - Target, HomeGoods, At Home, etc.

What was the highlight of your Christmas?

Friday, December 24, 2021

The Highlights

Happy Christmas Eve!  We've been in our new house for almost two weeks and we're settling in nicely.  There's still plenty to do, but we're finding homes for everything in our new space.

The highlights of our week were:

1 // Santa!

A visit to see Santa was top priority this week.  We missed our tradition of having brunch with Santa this year and were determined to find a new tradition.  We wrote him a letter, gave him our new address and Fletcher was very concerned that we had yet to see him with Christmas just being a few days away.  We went to our local mall and got to chat with Santa.  Leo didn't cry.  Just asked for Mama.  The kids talked over their wish lists with Santa and he reminded them of all the things they could do at home to be on the nice list.  It was super sweet. 

Olive was convinced that he could have been the real Santa.  Fletcher was sure he was one of Santa's helpers.  And both were eager to make sure they did not get on the naughty list.


2 // Sing 2

We have made some new friends on our street and they invited us to a movie birthday party last night. We had been wanting to see Sing 2.  We got popcorn, slushies, sat in recliner seats and had the best time eating candy and laughing with our new buddies.  We'd give Sing 2 a 10/10 and highly recommend you see it.  We loved Sing and Sing 2 was even better!

3 //  New Parks

We are working on visiting the parks around us.  We loved exploring Friedman Park.  We always bundle up and go to parks year round.  They're never crowded and it's a great way to get some sunshine and exercise year round.  This park in Newburgh has some really cool equipment and the layout is really unique.  It was great for the big kids and for Leo.  Win-win.

4 // TV

We got our downstairs TV hung thanks to the help and expertise of our electrician friend.  All these little projects are making our house feel like home.

5 // Raisins

I cannot even count how many boxes of raisins Leo has gone through this month.  He's obsessed.  I really hate raisins so it kind of grosses me out.  His top food requests lately have been mandarin oranges, raisins and strawberries.


6 // Fun Dad

Santa was on break when we showed up at the mall so good thing that Kevin (the fun one) was with us.  We stopped and played at the arcade and came home with several claw machine treasures.

7 // Cats

I've gotten a few messages asking how the cats are doing.  They really are doing great.  Topher has snuggly spots all over the house.

Penny mostly likes to sleep on the fuzzy tree skirt and drink tree water.

Pearl has been the naughtiest around the tree.  Chewing on ornaments and getting tangled in the Christmas tree garland.

8 // Enjoy the View

If you stop by my house, all of our windows are large and sit low.  Leo is thrilled and has left face prints on every window in the house.  I came home from the grocery store to see this cute smushy face.

9 // Walks

We're back to walking almost every evening.  We've found new areas to explore, Fletcher is always on the hunt for treasures and it's been fun to see the frosty view on several mornings.

10 // Christmas Break Fun

We've watched Christmas movies, done Christmas crafts, asked Alexa to play Christmas music, worn matching jammies and aren't setting alarms over break.  We are really enjoying the time at home together.

Merry Christmas!!  I hope you have plans to celebrate with some of your favorite people.  We've got a busy weekend ahead.  We're going to enjoy Christmas with family and I'll be back sometime next week with a recap :)

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Christmas Kindness: 10 Simple Ideas for You

I know I don't usually post on Thursdays, but I had some festive things that felt timely to share.

We have been the recipient of lots of kindness these last few weeks.  I ended up with so many cute ideas to tell you about.  Kid stuff.  Grown up stuff.  And everything in between.  I hope you read through these ideas and find one kind idea to take away and use.

I mentioned to a friend that all of our Christmas decorations were packed up in preparation for our move and the kids kept asking about when we were going to decorate.  She surprised the kids with a Christmas surprise drop off on our front porch - santa mugs and hot cocoa.  It was so unexpected and so sweet.  These santa mugs were the only Christmas decorations were had out the weeks before we moved.

If you love sending and/or receiving Christmas cards, send them!  Or New Years cards.  Or any snail mail.  I wish I could send you all a Christmas card, but here is my virtual card from me to you.  Merry Christmas!

A friend added a recipe in with her Christmas card this year and I loved this idea!  Wouldn't it be so fun if everyone shared their favorite holiday recipe with their Christmas cards!?

I gifted some friends Christmas ornaments before we moved.  I bought everyone the same ornament and then bought myself a set.  It makes me think of them and brings lots of JOY to see them on my tree.

We have been given several new home ornaments and they're all so cute.  I love documenting a big life milestone with Christmas ornaments.  I also bought some of these sweet gingerbread house ornaments from Walmart.  I added a gingham bow and they look adorable on the tree.

Fletcher's kindergarten teacher sent these home last week.  I'm obsessed!  Look at his cute kindergarten signature.  And a ribbon that is exactly as tall as him!?  What a precious way to document him.  I'll love this forever.

A friend made me this Christmas felt ball wreath with a 2021 year tag on it.  It looks cute on the tree!

Fletcher actually made this version of that ribbon ornament twice.  It must be a popular kindergarten thing to do.  I wanted to show you both because they're both done differently and so sweet.

Olive made this ornament.  It's got her photo inside, a red tag that says "All I want for Christmas is: A CAT!" haha and ribbon and glitter.  It's a plastic ball ornament and her teacher sprinkled glitter inside.  It looks really pretty on the tree.

Kevin's Nana gifted us a vintage Christmas housewarming gift.  She was quite the painter and made this sweet Santa along with a light up gingerbread house.  I love having these keepsakes that she made to decorate with every year at Christmas.

Last thing, Fletcher came home with this reindeer food from school.  He's so excited to sprinkle it out in the yard on Christmas Eve.  I REALLY appreciated the help this year.  I love things like this, but did not have the time this year.  I appreciate his teacher taking the time to make and send them home with each of her students.

I'm hoping to make some Christmas cookies and go introduce ourselves to our neighbors in the next few days.  I'll add a Christmas card to the cookies so they can put a name with a face.  I hope you find an idea or two that you can use to spread Christmas cheer this time of year.