Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Our Christmas Traditions

I am all about traditions - just ask my husband. He likes to joke that not everything needs to be a tradition #thinkagainbuddy #yesitdoes

Today I'm sharing our Christmastime traditions. I'm getting so excited for everything that's coming up!

{ONE}- Christmas Tree Chop Down

Chopping down a Christmas Tree.  This was the one tradition I couldn't wait to start once I had my own family. Growing up we mainly had a fake tree and a few times a real tree, but the real tree was from a lot and I always wanted to go experience chopping one down.  Rick wasn't on board with this at first but I'm so happy that changed.  We started this tradition 3 years ago and this year will be our 4th tree chop down. We always go either the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving.

{TWO} - Decorating the house

We always decorate the weekend we get our tree. Usually I have brand new Christmas jammies for the kids and make them put them on while we decorate :) After decorating we watch a Christmas movie with a yummy snack.

{THREE} - Elf on the Shelf

I'm so happy I started this little tradition a few years ago because the kids freaking LOVE it. I'm not sure how many more years this will work for Brayden but hopefully I get a couple more, and then of course many more for the girls! This little elf really is magical and the kids love when he comes, which is usually the weekend after Thanksgiving.  He usually brings the kids a little gift (an ornament and some chocolate) and always has a letter reminding them why he's here. The kids are so happy he is here now!

{FOUR} - Advent Calendar

It isn't the month of December without a chocolate advent calendar, now is it!? I have vivid memories of having these as kids and always being so excited to open each day, and now I'm seeing that same excitement through my kids' eyes. This year on top of the chocolate calendars, I picked up this adorable tsum tsum advent that I know Brayden and Ella will love!

{FIVE} - Zoo Lights

We have also been doing this for years. We missed one somewhere in there but we're not back on track. Even though last year was a complete disaster with traffice, we are going to attempt it again.

{SIX} - Baking Cookies

Last year we went by my sister in law and brother in laws house for a cookie day. We helped the kids with the decorating and the boys made homemade pierogis, it was so fun and we can't wait to do it again!

{SEVEN} - Drive around and look at Christmas Lights

I don't have any pics of this because we are usually in the car and it's dark - but we started this a couple of years ago. We get into our jammies, either pick up hot chocolate or make some before and head out to look at lights. It's always alot of fun and the kids really enjoy it!

{EIGHT} - Go see Santa at the mall

Even though we see Santa several other times through the holiday season, seeing him at our mall is a must. Brayden always says how he knows that one is the real Santa, so how could we not go see him!

{NINE} - North Pole Breakfast

Every year on Christmas Eve morning, our elf Twinkles puts out a super fun North Pole breakfast. It's his way of saying goodbye and it really gets the kids in the best mood ever! They love this breakfast so much.

{TEN} - Homemade Cinnamon Rolls on Christmas Morning

cinnamon roll recipe

Once a year, on Christmas morning I make these cinnamon rolls.  They are so worth the time they take and we all look forward to them all year long!

We also do tons of Christmas crafting throughout the month but really I'm trying not to pack everyday with something, down time at this time of year is a good thing.

What are some of your Christmas traditions?

*linking up with Jessi's Design & Momfessionals

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016 + My Favorite Weekend

Thanksgiving was a great one this year. We started our day off with going to see Moana as a family. Let me tell you, that movie is so so good!!

Later in the day we headed over to my Aunt & Uncles. They always have the best food! The apps and wine were flowing and the kids were having fun running a muck around the house. Thanksgiving dinner was so yummy and I was so happy not to be sick this year and actually be able to taste the food!

Friday morning we headed out to chop down our Christmas tree! This was the first year the weather was actually decent and the kids weren't crying saying they couldn't feel their hands and legs LOL

Typical Brayden face!

Usually someone is crying for whatever reason and this year was no different. Avery was crying because Rick walked towards another spot with Brayden to search for a tree, Ella was crying because she couldn't keep up with Brayden and then repeat.

on the hunt!

 It took us a while this year to find "the" tree - the lot seemed to not have very many good trees. We may be going somewhere different next year.

Ella and Brayden helped saw the tree and when it was ready to be pushed over, Brayden caught it.

 Avery was hilarious, she HAD to help carry the tree which meant we had to walk really slow and if she let go of it she would cry until we let her grab back on.

See, she's crying here because she didn't want to take a pic, she wanted to help carry the tree

Inside we had donuts and hot chocolate and saw Santa! (and overpaid for an ok picture)

Avery is not a fan again this year :)

Friday night we went to our towns tree lighting. It was our first time going and it was just OK. Not sure if we'll keep this up but it was fun to just be out and seeing some lights.

Saturday, Rick and I spent alot of time going through bins and organizing everything that's going back down to the basement (which is almost done!) Then later in the day we headed to my in laws to celebrate Thanksgiving.

 Sunday morning our elf, Twinkles showed up! He brought the kids an ornament and chocolate sticks. They were so excited!!

I spent the morning decorating the house and once Avery woke up from her nap we decorated our tree and the playroom tree



 Avery's favorite thing to do was put the hooks on the ornaments instead of actually hanging them. Of course she was supervised while using the hooks :)


Once we were done with the tree, we settled in to watch Home Alone and eat some yummy reindeer chow we made earlier in the day

We were all so exhausted by the end of the night and Monday morning came so quick, not to mention we didn't sleep well because it was raining and our dog was freaking out half the night. To top that off Brayden woke up with pink eye in both eyes so he had to stay home. Thankfully we already had drops so he only had to miss school yesterday and is back today.

I hope you all had the best holiday and weekend!

*linking up with Our Pretty Little Girls for Tuesday Talk

Monday, November 28, 2016

Holiday Cards by Shutterfly

Happy Monday friends!! I hope everyone had a great holiday. Ours sure was and so was the rest of our weekend. I'll be recapping all of it tomorrow.

Today I'm talking about holiday cards....again. Remember a while back when I shared how to create your own holiday cards? I was all set and ready to order mine when an amazing opportunity came along.

You all know Shutterfly - I've been using them for years. Photo books, prints, calendars, mugs, holiday cards, baby announcements, invitations, you name it and I've ordered it from there. I love their products so much and their variety and quality is amazing.

just some of my photo books :)

I had the chance to order our holiday cards from Shutterfly this year and I wanted to show off some of their products.

First, head on over to their cards section and pick which category you want to browse.

From there, check out this tool. You just upload the picture you want to use for your cards and it automatically populates into every design. How awesome is that!?

Next, Shutterfly makes it so easy for you narrow down your search. You can search by multiple categories to find the perfect card for you! Now if that isn't convenience I don't know what is.


For me personally, I like the look of 1 picture per card, but I also love seeing the cards with multiple pictures. I almost went with that look but ultimately decided on 1 picture.

I love the pops of color so many of the cards had but ultimately went with traditional Christmas colors

Our cards came over the weekend - here's a peak!!

Eeek! I am so happy with how they turned out! The gold foil is even more gorgeous in person. The thickness of the card is perfect and I love the rounded edges.

Here's some other cards that almost made the cut
Sparkly Light Christmas Card

Flurry Christmas Christmas Card

Gilded Trees Christmas Card

So many gorgeous options!

Make sure if you are ordering your cards you look at the shipping cut off dates to receive them in time :)

For Cyber Monday you can use code CYBER25 to get 25% off your order, plus there's many more promotions going on which you can find here

Don't forget to check out all the other gift options Shutterfly has to offer!

*disclaimer: Shutterfly gifted these cards in exchange for a blog post but all opinions are my own

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving 2016!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today we are kicking off our festivities with going to the movies to see Moana then to my Aunt & Uncles later. I am so excited to be celebrating this holiday today with the people I love the most.  I am thankful and grateful everyday for them but it's nice to have a day dedicated to remembering that.

Image result for happy thanksgiving

See you all back here on Monday!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What's Up Wednesday 11.23.16

Happy Black Wednesday! I remember the times when I use to be so excited to go out on this night, now I'm so excited to sit home, eat some gelato and binge on the TV. #wouldnthaveitanyotherway

Today I'm linking up with Shay, Sheaffer, and Mel for What's Up Wednesday

What we're eating this week:

This week we aren't really eating anything special, pasta and meatballs, grilled cheese and tomato soup, oh and a family favorite, taco pie!

I also whipped up some of the kids favorite muffins

Zucchini & carrot muffins:

What I'm reminiscing about:

The past holidays and just how much my kids have grown over the years.

Brayden's face here cracks me up!

What I'm loving:

I'm still loving the whole duck boot trend! These from LL Bean are my number 1 choice 

I did highlight a couple other options but then I saw these when I was at Target the other day and fell in love. I tried them on and they were pretty comfy. I think I need to add these to my Christmas list :) - bonus they are 30% off right now!


What we've been up to:

Hanging inside since it's finally gotten cold here! We've been playing play doh, playing magnatiles, building forts and lots of coloring/painting!

There has also been lots of gymnastics, soccer and dance class going on

Oh and are basement remodel is still going strong! We are so close to being done and then it's time to decorate!

What I'm dreading:

Nothing!! The holidays are here, it's the most wonderful time of year, nothing to dread here!

Image result for the most wonderful time of the year

What I'm working on:

Finishing up my Christmas shopping - I have a few things I'm keeping my eye on with Black Friday but I will not be attempting to go out, so if I can't get the deals online then oh well. 

What I'm excited about:

Thanksgiving!! Christmas!! The fact that I'm almost done Christmas shopping!! (see all those exclamation points? This girl is excited!)

What I'm watching/reading:

I am *so* close to being done re-watching all 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls! I may not finish by Friday but I'm close.

After that, I will be finally getting around to watch the 928129 Christmas movies my Mom set up on my DVR :)

Image result for hallmark christmas

What I'm listening to:

At this moment, Gilmore Girls in the background, and the noise of some kind of saw that our contractor is using.

What I'm wearing:

So, I had Brayden snap these pics the other day while it was still nice because I wanted to show you guys some new items I've gotten lately and love.  Don't laugh, I am not a model and these were taken with an Iphone by a 6 year old :)

In these pics you will see my favorite booties!!  (Hopefully you can score them for even less on Black Friday, or check Amazon)

First up are my new favorite maroon pants, thanks to my gal Beth! I love them so much and the price is so right! The cardigan I bought on clearance at Target and the shirt underneath is one of my favorite tees.

These jeggings are so so comfy! They are probably my most favorite of jeans I own (and they are currently on sale!) I'm so bummed I couldn't find this top online to share, it is so pretty in person!

What I'm doing this weekend:

Ahhh just the best stuff ever!! Chopping our tree down Friday, going to our towns tree lighting Friday night, celebrating Thanksgiving with the hubby's side on Saturday, and decorating the entire house and tree probably Sunday while listening to Christmas music. I cannot wait!!

What I'm looking forward to next month:

This is getting repetitive - Christmas!! Seeing Santa, making a gingerbread house, seeing zoo lights, Christmas movies, and so much more!

What else is new:

Nothing else, we are in full holiday swing over here, our basement is almost done and I'm hoping my great mood stays with me all month long :)

Bonus Question - What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition:

Definitely our thankful pumpkin as well as going to my Aunt &  Uncles and eating the most amazing food ever. Last year I was sick and couldn't taste a damn thing and to say I was bummed would be a complete understatement.  I am hoping to make up for that and then some this year!

I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and you are enjoying with the ones you love most!