All things Christmas

It’s total crazy this time of year. Every mom I chat with is (more than) overwhelmed and counting down the days where she can just relax with family, friends and good food!

We’ve been battling a few little sicknesses here and there but nothing major–Thank God!  This little dude is my daily sidekick.  Whether we are working real estate, home, running here there and everywhere, he’s been such a good boy!

I was going to rush through the drive-thru one morning after checking on one of the houses we are renovating and decided nope, I’m going to allow us to get out of the moving vehicle and pause.  I am finding this is helping me not just “get through” this season but “ENJOY” it as well.

His fave from ‘bux is the Ham & Cheese Croissant.

I had to make a return at the mall and tried to do a little more shopping, so we again paused and I let him be little.  Isn’t that what this time of year is all about?  Making memories and letting the little ones just enjoy the beautiful sights?  To a busy person, this tree may just be taking up space, but to Bradley, his whole face lit right up.

Plus he got to ride the train which he always enjoys!

This one has been busy!  She had her holiday performance last weekend and had so much fun!

While she rehearsed, we ran some errands and Bradley was stoked to have Daddy around.

They danced to Frosty the Snowman and all proceeds went to the Wilmot Cancer Society here in Rochester.

Even Ana & Elsa were there!  I had to admit, I totally cried when the girls were dancing on stage.  This is Brooke’s first year in “competition” classes and often times in my head, since she is no longer a baby, I feel like she’s just big.  And then I watch all the other dancers from ages 7-17 and I realize how little she still is.  These girls did so great and I love being aware of how much time we still have until she’s off and running into this big world.

Then later that evening we decided to attend a White Elephant party about an hour away.  I quickly re-heated some leftovers and called everyone to the table to eat a quick dinner before making the trek.  Long and short, I dropped my iPhone IN THE FREAKING TOILET!!! Mind you, it didn’t just drop for a second, it literally sat there for 20ish minutes while we ate, I finished getting ready and then decided to look for it.  I didn’t have much time to do very much about it because we had to get going to the party and it was snowing and the roads were horrendous.

It worked for awhile so I did snap a few photos at the party…

As for the White Elephant gift exchange, it was so fun!! We got a nice bottle of Baileys that came with two cute mugs (mine & yours they said!) and I opened a $20 Applebees gift card, but then switched with a girl who got a $25 Starbucks card.  I was more than excited–no pics from that though because, well said phone was in rice.

But then it stopped.  It just went blank and kept showing the Apple logo.  It was basically the joke of the night, we put it in a bag of rice and everyone kept checking on it.

Part of my secretly wanted it to die—I often feel tethered to the damn thing and would love to go back in time and have more freedom from it.  But also on the flip side, we take so many photos of the kids and I use it for our business. I don’t know what I’d do.

By  Sunday it was working fine and though the lens fogged up, we set it on the mantle above the fire place and it seemed to have dried out.

A Christmas Miracle I tell ya!!  It’s an iPhone X and works perfectly fine (unless it gets dropped in the toilet.) Super grateful I don’t need to spend the money on that right now.

In other news, the Elf has been keeping the kids on their toes all month long!

He also likes to treat them to little things like cocoa and books from time to time.  Again, it’s about the magic of the season.  I don’t get why so many people hate on the elf.  Maybe I’m just a big kid at heart, but there’s nothing better than hearing the squeals every morning of where Buddy may be.

This one is so funny.  I caught him just staring out the door the other morning watching the snow.

The wonder of being 4, almost 5.

I pressed pause yesterday to sip on a decaf Chai latté and look at the tree while I looked up some yummy Christmas Day Brunch ideas.  I want to make all the things!

I’ve still got some shopping left, I’m about 80% done.  I need to do 100% in the wrapping department and of course we have school holiday parties and performances to attend, on top of life things like annual Dr appointments.

But I keep telling myself it will all get done, it always does.  No sense in stressing over everything.  Just keep plugging away and be sure to pause and enjoy the moments.  I am doing such a great job of it this year because years past it all went by in a blur and I was so stressed and so mad that I didn’t feel like I enjoyed anything because I just rushed from one thing to another.

I’ll say that there’s more laundry piling up than usual, the dog fur needs to get vacuumed (again) and I don’t have a “meal plan” for this week. #oops But you just do what you can do and let it go.  I do however have a great plan for our Christmas Brunch. Would you like a blog post on that?

One week from today, Christmas will be over and I am going to stay in my PJs all day with my kids and just enjoy the peace (and probably more mess) of this beautiful holiday.

 

5 on Friday

  1. I have been really making efforts to eat more mindfully, intuitively, whatever you want to call it!! I also am really making sure I eat all the greens!  Have you tried Panera Bread’s Green Goddess salad?? It’s so good. I don’t get it often but I do dream about it and my neighbor has a copycat recipe she swears by!  I need to get that.

2.  I finished this book last week.  I had a lot of takeaways from it!  I loved starting my day with a chapter, or even just a few pages.  Lots of nuggets that stuck with me— he is very inspirational, shares lots of stories, and while the real estate investing tips are great, it’s not just about that.  His advice can apply to many occupations, parenting and being your best self overall.

3.  I have my cookie party coming up and I want to make this adorable platter!

4.  I cannot get enough of these two and their adorable holiday photo shoot.  My hearts!

5.  It’s about to get REAL messy in my kitchen and I am pretty darn excited for it.  ‘Tis the season!!  The recipes we like to do are these pretzel hugs,7 Layer Magic Cookie Bar,Ooey Gooey Butter Cookies in Chocolate, and of course good old fashion sugar cookies.

 

What’s on your agenda this holiday weekend?

Hello; A catch-up Blog

Well hello!!

I would title this “Tea with Me” but it doesn’t feel right since I am not currently drinking any tea.  I’m chugging that water though! We’ve had a great time since the last time I blogged. #oops

We’ve been busy! I’m a moody creator and sometimes I just don’t have those creative juices flowing, or I get annoyed that I cannot control who can read my blog.  I know that when you post your words on the WOLRD WIDE WEB anyone can read, however I find that sometimes my words are used against me and that just plain sucks. (To be honest.) But I cannot control others and inevitably, I find my fingers back to these keys. There is so much joy in looking back at our adventures and as always, hope to inspire other people in some way, shape or form.

First off, Joe had his yearly stay-cation.  He and I had a date day and a work day, so we got a lot done! He also spent time in the woods with his only hobby, hunting. I got up with him so he could get out early.  No big buck yet, but I’m sure he’ll get something soon.  We also took the kids to a movie and saw The Addams Family and went out to eat one night.  — again, no photos! #badblogger

Our work day did include a small helper.

I was trying to get him to smile–we were at one of our properties.

We also took that time to stack all the wood! It’s so nice to have it all ready to go for our fires.

In important news—RED cups are back!  After dropping Brooke off at a “Books & Breakfast” at her school, I figured I’d just go and see if I could score a free reusable cup.  I did get a holiday drink. I tried the Chestnut Praline–super sweet, but very tasty! Usually I don’t drink and coffee because it bothers my reflux, but I just had one and sipped it through the day.  I didn’t die! I did however have a huge caffeine rush since I never drink that.  I used my free rewards and felt like I won the lotto basically.

It got super cold, super quick so I had to take a photo documenting a cute fuzz ball hat.

My mom flew in later that day for the weekend and it was so nice! She flew in with the snow flying, a lovely greeting coming from South Carolina.  We built a lot of fires to stay cozy and warm, as it has been a super cold November so far! (I knew Joe would be an icicle from hunting so I tried to have one going so he could thaw out.)

Friday we went to Panera for lunch and my sister joined us!  It was a great day and we had a ball.

This little turkey had all of us cracking up.  Seriously, I love this age.

He picked out some pretty Fall flowers to have.  Mom made us all dinner Friday night, which was a family favorite growing up: Chicken and Dumplings.  I didn’t take enough photos, but I was really present and in the moment and that is what matters most.

We took mom, my sister, the kids and my niece out to dinner Saturday night.  We LOVE The Revelry and since my mom lives outside of Charleston, SC I wanted to take her here! The oysters are so good.

So good, the girls LOVED them!

We got to sit at the fun round table and it was a wonderful time.   Their burgers are my favorite!

I finally took the Ennegram Quiz everyone talks about on Instagram.  Turns out, I’m an 8.

Monday brought Veteran’s Day and the kiddos had no school, and we got SO much snow.

The snow makes me get giddy about the holidays!  I am a firm #teamturkeyfirst and I won’t decorate until after Thanksgiving, then it’s GAME ON!  I did however order this adorable PDF file from Kelle Hampton, Once Upon A Holiday.  She has all of her favorite recipes, bucket list, things to enjoy during the holidays.  She is such a true inspiration to remember to slow down and savor life.  It’s $12 but with her code:  HOLIDAYEARLYBIRD   you can get the file for $9 until it launches 11/15.

 

I finished another book!! This was so good for my soul.  I found it to speak to me on so many levels! She talked a lot about how we need to be creative, but so often we punish ourselves and take away all of the fun.  In order to be a great writer, you don’t have to be miserable or have a tragic life, you just need to tap into your ideas and do the darn thing!  She told stories of how the “big magic” can transfer to others…meaning, if you get an idea for something, run with it and do something with it or else it will leave you and someone else will get the idea and go.  I listened to it for free on the Libby app, but I have had the hard copy for years–now I can go back and re-read parts that really hit me.

Random, but as I put back together the office (it became our guest room for my mom, as we don’t have extra bedrooms) I put things back in their place and this framed photo from my wedding day stopped me.  It was truly the happiest day of my life and the way he looked at me, the way he still looks at me, makes my heart so full.  I know we are all busy, but in moments like that I try to pause time and I even sent him a text message telling him so.  Life does not have to be so hurried and so rushed.  Sure it’s crazy and chaotic, but you can slow it down for a moment or so…and breathe.

Like taking the perfect photograph on helper day at Preschool.  Moments don’t last, but memories do.  He just sang about his blue feather, that he proudly placed on that turkey.

Speaking of Preschool, why are the crafts so darn cute?!

Currently finishing up this listen–it just came out and it’s so worth the read!  Perfect timing Emily Ley…well done.  It helps that my word for 2019 was “simplify” and as the end of the year nears, I think I have done a decent job of leaning into that word more and more.

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Feel Good

I recently listened to Gabby’s latest book Super Attractor and it was fantastic.  I took this quote from it and it truly resonated with me.  I think sometimes as grown ups, we forget how to have fun, enjoy ourselves and allow ourselves to feel good.  As mamas, we often take care of everyone and everything else before we think about ourselves.  It’s so important that we remember!

 

For me, it was one of THE BIGGEST triggers or “bullet holes” I discovered when working with my life coach.  What was?  Oh, you know, allowing myself to feel good, or have fun, just for the heck of it.  For some reason I create boundaries for myself (I’m still working on it) where I don’t really ‘let loose’ or ‘have fun’ unless others are having fun.  Or my work is all done.  I have gotten a lot better at letting the ‘guilt’ go and really just focusing on ME at the present time.  I really do best when I get a workout in daily, write daily, and take time in the morning to reflect on my goals and dreams, as well as sit in quiet.  I journal, spend time looking through devotionals or other inspiring reads. It really helps set my mind right.

What I am learning is that the universe attracts more of what you put out. I’ve always loved the quote, “what you think about, you bring about.” But it’s so true.  The more you feel good, that good energy, happy vibe, the more you will attract.  If you’re stuck in a sad, lonely, victim mentality–that everyone is out to get you, you’ll simply attract more of that.  There’s a always a way out, and it’s to focus on yourself.  Do baby steps.  Cook a favorite recipe.  Go on a walk by yourself.  Journal.  Figure out what would start those feelings of enjoyment, happiness and ultimately live into that.  It will become your life.

I distinctly remember a wine tour my then boyfriend, now husband I and went on.  I was so worried and uptight over everyone else enjoying themselves, that honestly I was not having a good time!  I’ve done this a lot throughout my life.  Part of it is yes, I am a control freak (working on it) and also very in tune with others’ around me and their emotions.  (Hello, Empathy is my #1 strength.)  Over time I am learning that my happiness has nothing to do with other people and it’s okay for me to feel good, even if others around me don’t, can’t or won’t.  It is hard to watched loved ones and friends stew in their own misery, but Joe and I both work very hard at creating a calm, peaceful, happy and joyful life in our home.  Sometimes it’s best to just focus on yourself, and pray that others will find ways to feel good too.

What do you do for yourself to feel good?

NOLA

A few weeks back hubby and I got to go away, just the two of us!! It had been a few years since we were able to do such a thing, and boy did we enjoy it.  A company Joe works with flew us out to New Orleans for their annual conference.  We got to stay at this fancy hotel right in the French Quarter.

Pretty much as soon as we got there, we hit up Bourbon Street.  Disclaimer: If you take Bonine or Dramamine, I highly recommend not getting a Hurricane Drink.  I don’t do well on planes or with motion sickness in general, so I popped a Dramamine.  Oops.  I then didn’t really eat a whole lot because we traveled all day.  While I did chug a bunch of water, drinking this extra sugary beverage was not the best idea.  It was all fun in games until I came to a screeching halt! I survived, but didn’t enjoy Louisiana raw oysters….dem roast beef po boys though—mmm!

I felt much better after sleeping and the next morning we had breakfast at some funky little joint.  The french toast was to die for and of course I #putaneggonit

We went looking for my lifeline aka Starbucks, and stumbled onto the Mississippi River.  Haha typing that out reminds me of when my grandma used to make me spell it for her!

After our humbling experience at the Boone Hall Plantation last year, we definitely took note of the history here in New Orleans.

When we took a mini carriage ride/tour through the French Quarter, he shared with us the layouts of the homes.  There was usually a kitchen on the bottom, servants quarters above, small courtyard in between (to be like Versailles) and the owner’s home to the side or front?   Well, one night we were at a jazz bar and I went out back to use the bathroom, which I had to walk through a mini courtyard and when I opened the door to the ladies room this is what I saw!  How crazy, cool, weird and amazing was this?  The old ‘kitchen’ fireplace was still in tact.  Sure enough, there were a bunch of rooms above, which Joe and I thought gosh how hot it must have gotten in the servants areas!  I just loved seeing history like this.

On Tuesday we did a Food Tour with the whole group!  It was so cool.   I made sure to chug my water after my hurricane escapade the night before.

While we didn’t care for the raw oysters, these little guys were quite tasty!  Charbroiled, butter, lemon, wine, parm cheese & breadcrumbs–can’t go wrong there!!

Roast Beef Po’Boy.  So. Freaking. Good.  The French bread makes it!

We relaxed outside while waiting for the next round.

Fried Gator Bites!  It truly tasted just like chicken.  I’m wondering if this Remoulade sauce would taste like what we enjoyed down there.  I’ll have to ask my sister-in-law as she is from NOLA!

These shrimp were so tasty! I love dipping the bread in too…

Then as a dessert, we enjoyed Bread Pudding, which apparently you use the leftover French bread from the Po boys to make it.  I’ll need to find a recipe for this too! Any suggestions??

The owner of the company insisted we visit the Oldest Bar in America, Lafittes Blacksmith Shopso we basically had a giant happy hour here!

Wednesday was Joe’s 42nd birthday!! It was also the day where he had to speak on the panel.  Now, I don’t have to attend, but honestly I truly enjoy the keynote speaker and of course, I love supporting my husband.  I take credit in some of his success; he would not be able to get up and do all that he does, if I did not work 100% beside him doing all that I do.  We are a great team and if I can handle the behind the scenes stuff, then he can focus on his career.  Don’t get me wrong, I do work with our business too, but the main breadwinner is Joe.  Plus, I love getting all dolled up!

He actually won an award, I was so proud of him! He hates the extra attention, but he deserves all the applause.

Joe’s 42nd birthday, NOLA at a conference.

That evening we met for cocktails in hotel lounge and before we left for dinner, we stopped to admire my favorite –white roses!

The company pulled out all of the stops for their 20th Anniversary dinner.  We enjoyed French 75s at Arnauds as well as a spectacular dinner and conversations.

Our random table of new friends.  I was seated next to a Canadian foodie, but he’s not pictured.  We were going on and on about all the foods, drinks…he was a trip!

He was the one who ordered some fancy liquor and we toast to Joe, the company, life.

After celebrating into the night,  Joe had to wrap up the conference and by noon he was able to go grab lunch with me and see more.

That shrimp again!

This guy did me in, and I honestly think I’m still feeling its effects!!  Good old Buffalo sauce slathered on a fried oystery po boy.  #worthit

The one big #BUST of the trip was that for Joe’s birthday, I gifted him a really awesome racing experience, where he was to drive a Lambo around the NOLA race track.  Unfortunately, though it had not rained in 6 FREAKING WEEKS, it poured as we made our way 30 minutes there…thus resulting in no driving the Lambo.  I was crushed, pretty much in tears, and he was sad but not nearly as I!  I swear there will be a next time, maybe then my dad could drive and Bradley could watch.  Ugh, it totally sucked though, how cool would that have been??  He did sit and start it though… #lame.

We wandered around a little and I found William Faulkner’s house.  So cool!

We stuffed our faces, yet again with some po’boys.

One of my breakfasts was super yummy!  Loved this NOLA version of eggs benny…sweet potatoes yum!

We were at Café Beignet but didn’t try any.  #fail We did enjoy the view, live jazz music and some drinks…

Random old bar…

After our carriage ride/tour, we had to make sure we went back to the Oldest Bar in America for an authentic Hurricane.  According to our guide, he said these are the best on Bourbon St.  They use real juice, not a powder, so you don’t get all that nasty sugary taste/flavor and don’t feel sick afterwards!  It straight up tasted like juice, and I could see how very dangerous these could be!!

I was trying to have Joe take a photo of me in front of the bar/sign…this will do though! Haha.  It sums up the end of our getaway quite well:  Messy hair, crumbled red bull can/garbage…oh, Bourbon Street!

We attempted to rally that last night, but I could barely do dinner, I was beat.  My reflux/body had enough of the booze, the fried foods and all the things, so while I did enjoy a Muffalatta pizza, we were back in the hotel quite early.  I just couldn’t get into the whole drunken frat boy/puking scene happening on Bourbon.  BTW these shoes I bought specifically for NOLA and they did not disappoint! $20 and they were comfy, covered my toes from any–errr…grossness on Bourbon– and they seriously went with everything!

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While we had so much fun and were so grateful for this experience, by Friday night/Saturday I was really missing my babies! We love traveling and it’s something that I want to do more of in years to come.  Rumor has it next year’s conference will be in Miami.  I haven’t been to South Beach since I was 20! Oh, I better prepare better for next time around!