December-ing

Happy December 10th!!

Holy smokes, was last week insane or was it just my crazy calendar??  We literally had something going on every day of the week and my husband worked like a crazy man, which is not that unusual.

I’m happy to report that we are all doing awesome and enjoying this hectic and magical season!

We got our tree (on a 60 degree day no less!) and had so much fun decorating it.

This little ham helped mama make cookies for his preschool class.

Mama is working hard on staying present, taking time each day to breathe, offer love & light and enjoy  all of the Christmas joy.  (Tea with me on instastory lives btw!)

‘Tis better to give than receive day at preschool is always one of my favorites!  It’s hard for little 3 year olds to understand that giving is better than receiving; heck sometimes it’s hard as an adult!! But we had fun decorating our sugar cookies.

We crafted a snowman ornament too!

It’s a full time job keeping the dog fur and real pine needles cleaned up, but when it is spotless, oh it looks so nice!!

Brookie had an adorable Christmas party with her dance class friends.  One of the moms hosted and it was so nice to talk with them while the girls played.

I think she enjoyed herself!

My cookie party was another success!! I didn’t snap a lot of photos, I was too busy being in the moment!  We had 9 adults and about 14 kids I believe?! It was crazy, but so much fun.  I always say I miss the moments when these two were babies, but I adore the memories we are making each year!  I loved our little coordinating outfits, of course.

I did not professionally style the cookies for a good photo op, but there were TONS!

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I helped her craft this headband and she then went up and picked an outfit to match! She cracks me up.  Bailey loves posing for photos…

I’m staying focused on gratitude.  Not sweating the small things: see above photo–pine needles, foot prints, dog hair…

 

I hope if you are reading this, you are enjoying this month of merry as much as we are!! I think this week is a little less crazy, but it is December, so I won’t hold my breath for too much peace and quiet!  I do plan on making it to the gym more this week, because CHRISTMAS COOKIES!  Moderation, balance, whatever.  I know sugar is the devil, but you just can’t say no to Christmas cookies.

Have a fabulous week!

Staycation Re-cap

My favorite part of Joe taking off from his full time job?  Being able to be around for the little things.  I love that he’s able to get outdoors and hunt; it’s truly his only passion/hobby outside of the kids, myself & working hard/making money.

We started out the week with some warmer weather, so it was nice to take a walk with Bradley and Holly.  Brooke had some homework so I had Joe help her.  When we got back from the walk, they had turned it into a game show and she was a spelling machine!

Tuesday Brooke had a half day and we got dressed up to go out to lunch.

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The sun was shining, there were blue skies and the leaves were hitting the last of their peak colors.

After lunch we went to a mall to look for some work pants for Joe, but Banana Republic was just gone!  It’s so sad to see brick and mortar stores closing left and right.  The kids had fun playing in the play area though!

I took a lot of time to self-reflect, hone in on what makes me happy and felt a huge shift in my spirits.

Joe snuck in plenty of hunting time and while Brooke danced, Bradley and I went to the library.  It seems to be our new thing!

I had some early morning wake-ups; Joe likes to be out of the house by 6 am (or so?) and I get up to make him a hearty breakfast.  Bailey enjoys the alone time after he leaves.  It’s just us two until the kiddos wake up.

I saw this and started implementing it.  Being present in every day moments seems to help any feelings of ill ease, overwhelm, stress or anxiety.

I saw Bradley’s turkey at preschool and couldn’t resist snapping a pic.   His neck/head may be a little lower than it should be, but isn’t that what makes it perfect?

Getting to the gym a few times a week has been such a game changer for me.  Releasing toxins, sweating out the day’s stress and focusing on my health is so important.  I can never forget this again!

I feel very open to the universe lately and seem to be receiving all sorts of signs, quotes, affirmations and know that I am in good alignment.

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We finally put in a new rug in our living room again.  It’s been since March (when we got Bailey as a puppy) and she’s pretty much house trained I would say 98%.  It’s nice to have a rug again!

I took this one to Wegmans for lunch after school and clearly this photo says it all.  Pizza is life.

We even got out on a Friday night date night!!

We checked out a swanky new place, Skybar.  It was pretty cool!  We went super early since Joe wanted to go hunting the next day, so it was not busy at 9pm, obvs.  They had champs so all was well!  We can’t wait to go back and check it out when it’s busier.

This girl decided to hang out with her doll finally!! It was pretty cute.  Santa may have to bring some fun accessories for her!

I started this book! I was lucky enough to score an advanced reader copy and so far so good!! I love me a good thriller and the authors wrote one of my favorites from 2018, The Wife Between Us.

I ended the week with some family time, baking pies with my step-mom and sister.  The apple pie was delish!  Here’s to more family fun coming up for Thanksgiving.

Have you ever “staycationed”?  We do it every year so hubby can hunt. I can’t say that I mind it one bit!!

Favorite Fall Recipes

We’ve had a bit of a heat spell here this last week, so not much Fall cooking or baking took place.  That’s ok! We had some cooler weather a little bit ago and looking at the forecast, we’ll have some coming up as well.   I absolutely love it when the weather does drop, to spend hours upon hours in the kitchen.  I find it so therapeutic to cook and bake for my beautiful little family.  Food is a major love language of mine!  When the cool temps come, bring on the warm and cozy comfort foods!

All time favorite Fall comfort (read, not healthy) food?  Mac & Cheese.  I am obsessed with the best ever, and I mean EVER mac and cheese: Over the Rainbow Mac & Cheese by Patti LaBelle.   It was a chilly Sunday a few weeks back, so hubby smoked some babyback ribs and slathered them in BBQ and while I didn’t have all 7 cheeses (yes, you read that correctly!) I did have cheddar & velveeta so I made do…plus I had half and half and wow.  Kids didn’t like it; I’m wondering who’s children they are??? But Joe and I really enjoyed!

Who doesn’t love chili on a cold day?  If you’re looking for a healthy and filling meal, check this one out!  Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Chicken Quinoa Chili.  It made a TON so I froze some for later.  I will admit, I was the only one who ate it. Joe can’t do all that fiber and the kids didn’t like the flavor.

Kid Friendly:

Pizza Pasta Bake They loved that it looked and tasted like a pizza! It was a nice way to use up some pasta and cheese.

And an oldie but goodie, 2 (or 3) ingredient muffins~

1 box of spice cake

1 can of pumpkin

Chocolate chips

Stir pumpkin & boxed cake in a bowl, spoon into muffin tin.  Bake at 325 degrees for 18-20 minutes. I top with chocolate chips because why not?!

Family Vacation: Charleston, South Carolina

Back in August, we headed South for my mom’s wedding.  Her and Mark got married on Folly Beach, which is about 20 minutes or so from Charleston.   It’s a super cute little beach town with fun little shops, restaurants and of course an amazing ocean view.

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We stayed at the Tides Hotel, which is one of the only hotels on this beach.  We enjoyed our stay and the wedding was held here too!

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We grabbed a quick dinner since the 4 of us were starving from traveling all day.  This was our first “officially on vacation” photo.

The kids enjoyed their kid friendly strawberry daqs.

Brooke was LOVING all of the seafood!

That night we checked out the beach and the kids of course loved swimming in the pool.

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The next morning we headed out for some girl time!! Pedicures and a tea room lunch with the bride to be…my mama!

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Brooke loved it.

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My sis and I snuck out to grab a quick “Folly Vice” at the beach bar.  Gosh it was tasty!

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Later that night was the rehearsal dinner.  We all had dinner & drinks at the Pier which was next door to our hotel…I never did get to walk that damn pier! haha

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After that we played in the ocean…I mean, figured out who went where for the next day!

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The wedding was beautiful! If you missed that post, you can catch up on that here.

We had a semi-early morning the following day as well, as we had a carriage ride/tour to catch.

The kids loved their new hats.

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They did pretty well on the carriage tour, but it was hot (obvi) and history isn’t exciting to them yet.  They did pretty well though!

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We had so much fun and were very grateful that my mom and Mark put together this activity for us to enjoy.  We only wish we had more time to go back and explore the old streets and sights!

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They loved getting to pet the horse.

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After that, we walked the market, hit up the Charleston tea & spice shop –yum!! We also enjoyed a nice lunch together on a rooftop–which I am totally blanking on. Mom?

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That was our final night in Charleston.  I believe I ordered this AMAZING Low Country dinner that night, which happened to be at our hotel restaurant.

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When we got up the next morning, Joe & I went off to Savannah, which I posted about here.

When we returned, we picked up the kiddos and checked into a Marriott in historic Charleston.  It ended up being a good place to walk to a lot of places!  We walked over to this BBQ joint which was quite delish!

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We made sure to make plenty of pit stops for ice cream, because, vacation.

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The next morning Joe found this amazing little French breakfast place, it was SO good!

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Brooke & Daddy basically had dessert for breakfast.

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I was pumped to have some Orangina!  It has been YEARS since I had this.  I’m thinking the last time was when we were in Paris on our honeymoon, 2010!

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We walked up to the market, hit up a Starbucks and let the kids rest here and there.  We stopped at this old water fountain and of course read the history all about it.

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We found some little Raw bar and the kids sort of ate whatever it was we ordered them.  Joe really enjoyed his lobster roll & I had a divine glass of rosé and some ceviché.

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That night we had a fancy dinner at the Charleston Hotel.  We all got dressed up and walked there.  On the way, Bradley kept seeing these bicycle guys and was throwing a FIT because he wanted to drive one!  We promised him on the way back to the hotel, we’d get one.

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The kids were PUMPED for their big bowls of popcorn!

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Mark, mom & us

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Our fun little ride back to the hotel.

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Overall Charleston is not extremely kid friendly, as it’s just a lot of walking, eating, history, and repeat.  I thought our 3 & 5 year olds did amazing!! They dined out at fancy restaurants and kept up with most activities.  My mom and Mark took them to the Aquarium the day Joe and I went to Boone Hall Plantation.

Joe and I had a drink at the Market Pavillion Rooftop bar that night and Saturday morning we went back home.

It really proved to us that we need to travel more.  Joe and I always went away a few times a year before kids and well, the idea of flying with babies terrified us.  We SO needed to get out and explore.  The kids are ready and it was so good for all of us to be in new places, get out of our routines and shake it up a little.

Not to mention, I really loved spending time with my mom.  We can’t wait to come back, or heck, just drop the kids off and keep heading South haha!!

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Favorite Youtubers

I do love me some Youtube!!

I find a ton of inspiration from here.  Whether it’s meal planning, parenting, cleaning, reading or working out, there are videos out there for everything.

I really started getting into Youtube when I was pregnant with my first baby.  I wanted to know all things about pregnancy and being a new mom.  It was so helpful!

Throughout the years my faves are still on my to watch list. Here are just a few!