Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving and Stuff

A few days before Thanksgiving, we baked ginger cookies, packaged them in mason jars and attached some hot chocolate. With our Santa gear on, we grabbed the wreaths that our friends had ordered from the preschool and kick started the Holiday season with our deliveries. After that, we drank hot chocolate together in our grocery store. As we were about to leave, the kids and I chatted about the pretty Christmas tree in the food court. That was when I noticed that the tree was covered with ages of children who are in need of a Christmas present. 

I explained this all to Judah, with just simple details and together we decided that we should go pick a tag off the tree and get a special present for that child. He walked up to the tree and read the numbers on each tag. After thinking for awhile, he decided to choose a boy, age 7. As he carefully unhooked the tag from the tree, I had to pull it together, to not become an emotional mess. I didn't expect any of this. We were just there, having a cup of hot chocolate after delivering wreaths and before I knew it, I was choking up watching my 4 year old take this tag off the tree. I love that when we look for opportunities to teach our children to give, the opportunities are everywhere. We make it seem so complicated, but it's not complicated. If we slow down long enough to see what's in front of our eyes, the opportunities are right there. I think the key is slowing down long enough to really see. You know, not just see what we need to do next, but see what's really happening around us.

Delivering the wreaths and cookies was so fun. We haven't done anything like this before and seriously, I could get really into it. There's just something about singing loudly in the car with your kids while you drive around, making your deliveries. They wore their Santa gear and pretended that Judah was Santa and Paisley was his helper.

The day before Thanksgiving, the preschool put on the nicest "feast" for the families. Some of the kids were pilgrims and others were Indians. Everyone did crafts, ate lots of good food and then the kids did a few songs and rhymes for us. It was so cute and the kids did such a great job! 
Our Thanksgiving celebration was at my sister's this year and it was just perfect. With my mom, step Dad, Uncle, my Dad, my sister's family, a friend and her family, there were about 10 adults and 8 kids (all 4 and under). The kids had their own table, which was decorated super cute. I should have taken a photo of it, but I completely forgot.

Together, we ate lots of amazing food, and after our meal, we shared what we're thankful for, which is my favorite part. I love hearing my Dad share his gratitude list and hearing my Uncle share his. There's just something about hearing someone count their blessings out loud. It makes you feel like you know that person in a whole new way.

The food was incredible and just look at this sister with her big 'ol turkey leg. She is just too much.

So, now that Thanksgiving is over---I'm going to say it here for the first time this year.......
Merry Christmas! Oh yeah, that felt good. Tomorrow we're going to go chop down our tree. Yeehaw!

Don't forget to enter the Shutterfly Photo Book giveaway!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Shutterfly Photo Book Giveaway!

Hi friends,
I hope your preparations for Thanksgiving are going well! I hope you're blasting good music, that your house smells like yummy Thanksgiving preparations and that you're feeling Thankful and not stressed. The kids and I have been having the best time. Today we put our Santa hats on, gathered up some homemade cookies, cranked up the Christmas music and drove around, delivering a few wreaths from a preschool fundraiser. After our deliveries, we stopped off for some hot cocoa and then we headed home for my favorite game--"who can get ready for naptime the quickest?" Seriously, it worked. Happy Thanksgiving to me. Ha!

Today, because I'm thankful for you, because I love Shutterfly and because their photo books are a perfect gift for someone you love (or yourself!), I'm giving away one of their beautiful photo books. Recently I designed one to document Eliza's first 6 months. When I showed it to the kids, they were smitten. These kids just love looking through family photos and I love how easy it was to put this photo book together. I also love how I feel less guilty now about how behind I've gotten with our baby books.

Shutterfly offers over 40 types of photo books that vary in theme from Project Life, to Grandma's Brag Book. Putting your book together is simple! These books are bound with care in the U.S and each photo is printed on the highest quality of paper. This is the perfect way to store your sweet moments and your special memories.

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Weekend Scenes

This weekend was packed with family time, which was exactly what we needed. What I love the most about family time is that you don't need to be doing anything fancy for it to be special. We stayed pretty close to home, cleaned the garage and spent time outside. I took my little ladies to Target with me, while Judah and Daddy worked on a project.. They are so good to me. I get an idea from Pinterest and before I know it, they're out there with scrap wood and drills. They put up with me and my "It'll be easy! It should only take just a few minutes to make that!" And for the record, I always think it'll be easier than it actually is, but still, they put up with my crazy ideas and so far, they haven't banned me from the internet.

After the kids were in bed, we stayed up late and watched a Christmas movie. Sunday, we made stew in the crock pot and a practice round of Thanksgiving stuffing---because you know, it's always good to do a "practice", just to make sure it tastes alright.

Eliza started to master the fine art of Cheerio eating and learned that she also really likes to eat chunks of banana. Rosie the dog got excited about this new phase, called finger food. Daddy read the kids stories in bed, while the sun beamed through the windows and I organized the kids toys and gathered a box of stuff to giveaway. 

We built a shelf, watched the old original Superman cartoons, listened to loud Christmas music, made an epic-huge trip to Winco and bought new Christmas lights. 

I'd say it was a great weekend. 

Just a few scenes.....

Vests and hats. Baby, it's cold outside. 
The Christmas section at Target brings us JOY. 
Recently, he'll sit and color for literally hours. I hope this phase sticks around for awhile.
My house is covered with random Superman drawings and coloring pages....they make me smile.
Hey there, blue eyes.
She's growing too quickly. She needs to slow down.
Story time in bed with Daddy.
Seriously, Eliza?? You have my heart!
Where's Waldo?
Pajamas, messy toothpaste mouths and Paisley's sporting some boxers over her footies PJs. Crazy kids.

Hi there.
Today I stayed home from church because I've been sick. In his Sunday school class, he colored a yellow sunshine on a piece of wood, because he knows I love sunshine and yellow. Then, he had his teacher write, "I hope you feel better soon."  When he brought that home, it made my day. These kids, they know our favorites, even when we don't realize that they're paying attention.
She loves him and so do I.
Pioneer Woman cast iron skillet corn bread. Highly recommended. 
Shelf building, because I'm weird and new shelves make me happy. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Five Friday Favorites

We spent this morning with some of our MOPS friends at a local Gymnastics place. The kids had the best time and I had fun too, although my voice is gone so, I wasn't as chatty as I would have liked to be. After lots of jumping and tumbling, everyone is napping and I'm here to share a few Friday Favorites with you.

A Pinterest Board I love:
Sarah Kieffer, from the Vanilla Bean Blog, has the most beautiful board on Pinterest, called Motherhood. Her style is so unique and the photos she pins always inspire me and help me remember just how special motherhood is. Actually, all of her boards are soaked with style and inspiration. She's one of my favorites.

Current Favorite Drink:
A grande Americano with a splash of skinny mocha, a splash of sugar-free peppermint and a splash of cream. Thank you dear sister, for telling me about this guilt-free deliciousness. 

Favorite piece of mail from this week:
This came from Shutterfly. I love it so, so much. I've felt a bit defeated with how badly I've gotten behind on our baby books. Holding this took a lot of my guilt away.

Favorite Deal:
These Crocs from Zulily-specifically the rain boots. I didn't even know that Crocs makes rain boots. Aren't they so fun? I bet they'd really hold up well, too!

Favorite Smell:
Juniper Ridge Cascade Glaciar Cabin Spray. This bottle of heaven was at our vacation cabin and even though we've been home for awhile now, I'm not over it. Actually, everything on this website looks really interesting.
Happy weekend, friends!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Giving Thanks and Clearing Out

This week I've been on a bit of a mission--a clean out and clear out sort of mission. For me, I have to be aware of the fine line that sits between motivated and over the top this-must-be-done-right-now. Easily I can slip onto the more extreme side, which doesn't bring out the nice Momma in me. See, with 3 little kids, that can't yet tie their own shoes, my goals need to be realistic. I'd love to just wake up, pump myself full of coffee, crank up the music and organize the entire house, but those ideas only leave me frustrated. So, instead of becoming frustrated and overwhelmed, I've been tackling one project at a time, with a baby at my feet, and two preschoolers who go through my piles.

Specifically, I've been wanting to sort our kids toys and clothes. I'm humbled when I think about how some people in the world don't even have shoes, but our kids drawers literally overflow, mostly with hand-me-downs that we've been given. And toys! Just the other day I was talking with my MOPS gals about this and we all agreed that our kids have way too many toys. So much so, that they don't even know what to play with, because they're overstimulated from having too many options.

Next month, when we celebrate Christ's birth, our houses will once again, be filled with more stuff. So, as we prepare for Thanksgiving and slowly slip into the most wonderful time of the year, I'm trying to go through our stuff and give thanks as we give it away.

I feel like November is the perfect time of year to clean up and clear out because it's inevitable that next month, even if we try to go small, we'll be receiving new things. As I have the kids try on their clothes, so I can see if they still fit or if they go in the "giveaway" pile, it's easy for them to let go of their things, because they know that new things are coming. Also, they've been given so much from friends and relatives, that it just seems like a normal part of life, to give our things away in return. I don't hide this cleaning up and clearing out process from them, I want them to take part in it and know that we've been blessed, to be a blessing.

On November 1st, I'd considered making this into a blog series, where we'd go through our homes together, getting rid of the things we don't need and now I wish I would have done that. Although it's too late for this to become the series that I'd considered, it's not too late to go through all those toys and clothes, before December. Imagine starting the Christmas season with freshly cleaned out closets and toy baskets? Something about that just makes me down right giddy.

We have 9 more days of November and I'm hoping to clean out and giveaway things from one small area (a closet or toy box), for each of those 9 days. I'll be doubling up one day so, that I can skip Thanksgiving and just stuff my face with turkey on that day instead.
Join me on simplifying before December?

Wrapping  up with this sweet video, that made me tear up this evening. All of you Moms are so amazing, no matter where you're at and no matter how much you feel like you messed up today. Tomorrow is new and you do so much . The video is short, take a look....


Sunday, November 17, 2013


“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Cardstore. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.”

It was one of those weekends where I felt like we needed to make some serious lemonade with the lemons we were given. Saturday morning, my honey set out for work and after having a little cry about how pathetic my Saturday was, I decided that we would make the most of it. So, we cranked up the Christmas music, made clay ornaments, ate soup by candlelight and then watched Christmas movies. Turns out, even on days that feel a little lame and very un-saturday'ish, there's always something to be thankful for.

The kids had a blast making these clay ornaments. They'll be drying for a few days and then we'll paint them together. Just a little secret-I saved a bit of clay for myself to play with after bedtime sometime soon. There are lots of great ideas out there and I'm excited to make a few of these on my own, without my little helpers.
Sunday was extra special, as we gathered at church with lots of friends and family, to celebrate our sweet baby's dedication. This girl is a ray of light in my life and publicly declaring that we'll strive to raise her with love, patience and heart for Jesus, was extra special. My Mom and my sister and her family joined us for the dedication and being all together for church made my heart so happy.

As I look through these photos from the weekend, I'm seeing a common theme. It's pretty obvious that Christmas is creeping into our house early this year and you know what? I'm ready. With kids, things always go too quickly so, we're welcoming little pieces of the season in.

A few scenes from the weekend.....

Welcoming, Frosty.

 Clay ornament making.
 The clay we used is made by Crayola and it's really easy to work with.
 The kids (especially Judah), loved making these. He worked on his for well over an hour. 
 After they dry, we'll paint them and hang them with string.

 Lunch by candlelight.

 After nap snuggles.
 And this game. Oh my gosh, this is my favorite. 
He dresses up like Santa Claus, makes a sleigh in the living room with chairs and then gathers his stuffed animals to be the reindeer. He waits until it's dark and then he takes off and delivers toys around the house. 
When he gets ready to "go down the chimney", he pulls this black pant leg over his head and says that this is how Santa doesn't get burned.

After he delivers all the presents, he does a jump and a spin, declaring that he's magical and that he'll see me next year.
Today I'm welcoming Cardstore as a blog sponsor. Cardstore has some of the cutest Christmas cards and if you're like me and you love a great deal, from 11/14 – 11/20 Cardstore is offering $20 off your $50 order, and from 11/21 – 11/26 Cardstore is offering 30% off Holiday cards! 

Once you create your custom cards with personalized pictures, messages, and signature, Cardstore will print, stamp and send the cards for you – helping to take one huge item off your already full holiday to-do list.

Here are just a few of my favorites:



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