Blog Feed

Christmas(es) Wrap Up and Elf on the Shelf Part 2

Happy day after Christmas. I hope you had a wonderful holiday with your loved ones.

Our Christmas routine was a little different this year. We usually write a note to Santa for Red (the elf) to deliver asking Santa to come a few days early since we usually go to Louisville to see Trav’s family and then on to KC to see my family. This year, we decided to stay home rather than go to KC. I rarely miss a Christmas there, but having some down time at home was needed and we were just there for Thanksgiving.

Anyway, my brother and his family were going to KC, so we had a Cousin Christmas before they left. We had them over on Saturday night for apps, lasagna/salad/rolls, and then cookie decorating.

Hadley helped me set the table which I really appreciated.

FYI–friendly reminder that social media life is made up of filters…I’ve been using Ellery Designs filters that I purchased on Etsy from LouMarks Photo, and they certainly brighten up most photos!

We just buy gifts for the kids, and they are always excited to open up the gifts!

After dinner, we decorated cookies. There are so many talented cookie decorators in town, and I tried a new one…8 cookies with icing and sprinkles for $15 from One Smart Cookie.

They had fun decorating with minimal fighting over the icing and sprinkles!

Every year, we make a calendar for family members, and we always get a Christmas pic for December. Now that the family members have received their calendars, we can share these pics that we snapped all the way back on December 1st!

All the kids are getting so big!

On December 23rd (Christmas Eve Eve), we went to Louisville for Trav’s family Christmas. Here are all the cousins and Trav’s mom.

On Christmas Eve, we headed to church. After church, we drove and saw a house that goes all out on their lights, and then came home. Once home, the kids got in their pjs, exchanged gifts they picked out for each other, and put cookies and milk out for Santa. Then, they went out in the front yard to sprinkle reindeer food, so Santa could find his way!

Christmas morning, the kids were up at 7:00. Hayden was up first and then woke up Hadley. We opened presents, had breakfast, called family to wish them a Merry Christmas and hung out. Santa brought Hadley a bike that she was dying to try out, so we took Homer for a walk while the kids rode their bikes. The 60 degree day was perfect for bike riding and walking Homer.

For dinner, I made my first ever ham, and we had green bean casserole, twice baked potato casserole, and rolls. Then, for dessert, I made Shay’s Peppermint Mocha Bundt Cake. So delish!

While we missed seeing our KC family, we had a nice day and evening at home.

Elf on the Shelf Part 2

After I posted about what our elf, Red, has been up to, Red was #Homered. Hadley screamed so loud, I thought Homer either brought another dead bird in the house or he had Red. Well, he had gotten ahold of Red. Hadley cried and was afraid he wasn’t going to be able to fly. Hayden remained calm. haha. The next morning, they were pleasantly surprised that Red’s elf friends helped him feel better.

Red also played Hangman, got stuck in a lantern and decorated it with stickers, drew on our family photo,and left snowmen donuts for breakfast.

The last few evenings with Red, he left the reindeer food, the book The Night Before Christmas and then sat in the tree, so he could watch the kids open presents on Christmas morning.

Side note: when we had the cousins over, Hadley made the board say “Merry Christmas.” I’m just now noticing she left out the “I” haha

It’s always nice for Red to pay a visit and keep tabs on behavior, but I’m sure he’s always happy to head back to the North Pole when Christmas is over….especially for the fear of being #Homered again. haha

I’m going to enjoy the Christmas decorations for a couple more days, and then it’s time to get the house back to normal.

I hope you had a great Christmas. As always, thanks for reading!

Have a great day,


Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Monday Meals

I can’t believe there are only two days until Christmas. I thought I’d share what I plan on making for breakfast Christmas morning! (+ a few other holiday recipes)

Christmas morning breakfast

Most years, I make Monkey Bread and use the recipe linked below. It’s a hit with the kids and the adults!

Some years I make bacon and eggs to go along with the Monkey Bread, but this year, I thought I’d try Mix and Match Mama’s Cheesy Egg and Bacon Bites.

The sweet of the monkey bread and the savory of egg bites should pair perfectly with some fresh fruit (and a mimosa for mom and dad!)

Easy Breakfast Casserole

Since I will be making the above menu, I won’t make the Easy Breakfast Casserole that I often make on Christmas morning, but I thought I’d share anyway!

This is such an easy recipe, and it tastes so good. When I’ve made this in the past, it makes enough for the four of us to have it for breakfast for two to three days!

Pomegranate Goat Cheese Bites

A few of our neighbors got together recently, and I wanted to try a new appetizer recipe. I searched Pinterest for phyllo shell/goat cheese bites and found this awesome recipe. The touch of pomegranate and sprinkle of thyme helped make it a festive dish to share.

Holiday Cocktail

My brother and his family came over for a little pre-Christmas get together, and I served an easy (and one of my favorite) drinks. I’m no bartender, so it’s a splash of this and that.

Fill your glass with lots of ice, two glugs (told you, I’m not a bartender) of vodka, fill the rest of the glass with Cranberry Ginger Ale (some years I can find the diet kind…but not this year), squeeze of lime, and cranberries to garnish.

In warmer months, I often do ice, vodka , lime, and Fresca. So refreshing.

Reindeer Food 

A night or two before Christmas Eve our elf brings the kids some Reindeer Food for them to sprinkle on the lawn Christmas Eve night. This way, Santa will know the way to our house! I think our elf found this poem on Pinterest years ago, and he attaches it to a bag of reindeer food (oatmeal + glitter).

Sprinkle on your lawn at night 

The moon will make it sparkle bright 

As Santa’s reindeer fly and roam 

This will guide them 

To your home. 

Reindeer food arrived at our house this morning.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

Take care,


Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Christmas card photos

Yeah! It’s Friday. Today is my last day of school for a couple of weeks…which definitely makes today my favorite day of the week.

A favorite holiday tradition is giving and receiving holiday cards. Unfortunately, I do think it’s a tradition that’s on the decline. In the past, annual holiday cards were a way to keep up with friends and family. Now, we have social media to take care of that. I hope this is a tradition that never truly fades and maybe hits an upswing again in the future. That being said, I thought I’d share our holiday pics and card for this year.

Every year, I think I will have my act together for a family photo for our holiday cards. I’ve always wanted to go to a Christmas tree farm for a family pic, but time escapes us. So, instead what happens is I use my phone to snap a few photos while crossing my fingers that the kids cooperate. This year, Hayden insisted that we include Homer. Surprisingly, we were home in thirty minutes or less and everyone (mostly) behaved.

Here are our holiday pics this year!

Homer is very good at posing!
Sis is growing up right before our very eyes!
Big Boo status

One of our holiday cards this year! I usually have two types printed because it’s always so hard for me to choose!

Flashback Friday

T E N years ago, this was our Christmas card. I can’t believe it. (I still have these ornament boxes, but I don’t make the kids lounge in them anymore. haha)

Don’t forget to check out Erika, Narci, and Andrea’s Friday Favorites posts.

From our family to yours, Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas.

Have a great weekend!


Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Elf on the shelf

We’ve had our elf since 2012, and the kids still get excited for his return. When he first arrived at our house, the kids were three years old. When I asked what they wanted to name him, they went with the obvious and decided to name him Red.

His return date varies but it’s usually some time after December 1st. 25 days (or less) of Red is all the excitement we can handle. By the way, we know it’s him when he returns because a few years ago, Red wanted to be like Santa and glued a cotton ball to his cap. A little puff of cotton still remains on his cap!

Red brings the kids a few things and is up to some silly antics, but there’s no bad behavior from Red.

Here’s what Red as been up to….

The first morning that Red arrives, he brings a little note to mark his return. I gave the kids the chocolate advent calendars from Trader Joe’s.

The second morning, Red brought wish lists for the kids. It’s always fun to see what they write down for “want, need, wear, read.” Red takes those lists back to the North Pole, but the kids know the lists help family members get ideas for what they’d like as well.

Red also wrapped himself as a Hershey’s Kiss, celebrated Taco Tuesday, hung upside down by the tree, and ate a few of Homer’s Christmas treats!

Red also made a heart out of candy canes, took a bath in marshmallows, and hung an ornament on one of our Christmas tree decorations.

Yesterday morning, Red took a selfie while sitting on our mantle! Hadley laughed when she saw him, and said, “He does that every year!” Hayden then said, “HOW does he do that?!”

This memory popped up on my Facebook memories, and it’s the sweetest. There were even two videos, one of each kid, talking to Red about what they’d like for him to tell Santa (Ho Ho) what they wanted for Christmas.

2012 – the first year Red came to visit!

It’s always so fun and so sweet to see Christmas through a child’s eyes. I hope they maintain their innocence for as long as possible.

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!


Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

December Monday Memes

It’s already Monday…and a five day work week…BUT winter break is right around the corner. I thought I’d keep it simple on this Monday and share my monthly memes that make me laugh out loud.

Like most everyone, I’m juggling all the things–school, science projects (ugh!), holiday parties, school parties, Christmas cards, grocery shopping, kids’ activities, Christmas shopping, etc (with the help of Travis), but I still feel like this is me…

I still cherish my “me” time in the morning. I get up 45 minutes before the rest of the crew to have some quiet time. Now, I enjoy my coffee with the lights of the Christmas tree which makes getting up a little easier. Peace. Quiet. Coffee. Repeat.

Holiday humor 😂

I’ve seen this meme a few times and it always makes me laugh! To be honest, Travis is as helpful as I need him to be. He knows I like making a list, getting a plan, making sure each kid has the same amount of presents, etc…but he really will wait for what I may need help with like picking up gifts here and there. Also, he’s usually in charge of getting the best deals on the bigger items. Even with all his help, the meme still cracks me up.

I saw this meme last year, and, again, laughed out loud!

No offense to anyone named Susan 😉 I’m definitely living day to day at this point.

I’ve always loved this cartoon. So funny.

That’s it for this Monday’s post! I hope you have a great week! #survivalmode

Take care,


Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Friday favorites

Happy Friday the 13th! We made it through another week. This week was out of sorts for us with both myself and Travis being sick for a couple of days. Thankfully, we seem to be somewhat back to normal. **Also, if you receive the email version of my blogs, sorry for the typos in yesterday’s post…#Englishteachernono #Iblamemyfever

As always, with Friday Favorites, I’m linking up with Narci, Erika, and Andrea, so check out their Friday Favorites too.


I had a hard time choosing a favorite pic for the week…we had a busy weekend filled with so much fun, but then a bust of a week with not much (for me) going on. This pic of Hadley with her cookies was definitely one of my favorites. We had a great time together at the cookie decorating class. She’s just old enough where she knows what she’s doing, needs a little bit of my help, and it’s actually a stress free activity!


Last Friday, the kids went with me to Kroger for a few things. Hayden loves Cliff bars and was excited they had a new gingerbread version. He took it with him to eat before his soccer game. After the game, we went to Trav’s work Christmas party and Hayden was starving. As we were walking into the party, I saw he was still eating the Cliff bar. He said, “Is it tacky to bring my own food to this party ?” I just thought it was funny he even used the word tacky!


It’s that time of the year when I bring out my favorite sweatshirt to wear! I bought it a couple of years ago on Etsy.


This week, my favorite foods have mostly been crackers and Sprite 😂 but I do love the Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s from Trader Joe’s. Perfect for this time of the year . Chocolate and peppermint. What’s not to love?


It’s difficult to choose just one favorite moment with Christmas parties, basketball games, a cookie decorating class, and Southern Lights tradition, but we started last weekend off right by ringing the bell for the Salvation Army. It was nice to see the generosity of the community, and I was thrilled that the kids actually wanted to take part in this effort!



This time of the year, combine being a teacher with being a parent, and I’m not sure anyone is listening to a single word I say. haha

Thanks so much for reading. I know the holidays can be difficult for a variety of reasons…pressure of buying gifts, financial strain, attending all the events, celebrating the holiday after the loss of a loved one or while facing a difficult diagnosis. The list goes on and on. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the social media world and see all the fun, glitz, and glam, but just know, if I posted five days a week, the other two days would be what a hot mess we are around here!

Also, I’m far away from my family this holiday…so I get it. Life isn’t always picture perfect. Thoughts and prayers to those who need them during this holiday season.

I hope you have a great weekend.


Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Life lately

Well, I’m off my Monday, Wednesday, Friday posting schedule because Life Lately included both Travis and myself being sick this week. We are both on the mend and hopefully back to our normal selves ASAP. Thankfully, the kids are old enough to somewhat fend for themselves…but I joke it’s mostly Hadley doing the “fending” for both herself and for Hayden. Who else would warm up Spaghetti O’s for dinner? #Haydenwouldstillbehungry

Trader Joe’s

I stopped in to Trader Joe’s last weekend and picked up some of my regular items, but I also picked up some holiday edition items as well.

  • Chocolate peppermint cake mix (can’t wait to make this!)
  • Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s …I love getting these every year.
  • Jingle Jangle–I’ve heard so many good things about Jingle Jangle and wanted to try it for myself. It’s a mix of all kinds of chocolate-y goodness.
  • Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper soup
  • White Cheddar Mac and Cheese (We always have multiple boxes of this at our house!)
  • Sesame Crunch Chopped Salad (I love these bagged salads–they usually provide me with two days of lunch at school)
  • ONE bar–gingerbread flavor. I thought I’d give this flavor a try and enjoyed it.
  • Black bean and cheese burrito- I usually buy a couple of versions of these.I usually eat half of one–and give the other half to the kids.
  • Mini chicken tacos- family fave

2nd Christmas tree

For the past 4 years, we’ve purchased a real Christmas tree. This year, as we hauled decorations down from the attic, Travis mentioned that maybe we could bring down the artificial tree, and put it somewhere else in the house. I decided to try it out in our sun room because it’s about the only extra space we have, and we can see it from the kitchen. It was also a good place to put our leftover ornaments. It’s tough to get behind it to plug it in. I remembered Carmel at Our Fifth House mentioning she bought The Clapper for her tree. I found one at Walgreens…two claps and the tree turns off and on!

Homer turned 9(ish) months recently. Since he’s a rescue, we don’t know his exact birthday, but I’ve been taking monthly pics (thanks to an idea from my friend Natalie who does the same with her pup!). It’s fun to see how much he’s grown. Only a few more pics and he’ll be ONE (ish)!

Gingerbread houses

Our elf usually brings a gingerbread house for the kids to decorate. This year, one of our neighbors bought them for all the kids when our families got together last weekend. My kids weren’t there when the others decorated, so they did the decorating on their own on Sunday night. These houses were already assembled (#praisehands), so they just focused on the decorating!


Speaking of our elf, Red is back! The kids still look forward to his return and finding out what he’s been up to each morning. When Hadley saw him, she said, “Mom, he shops at Trader Joe’s too!” I wasn’t sure how to take that, so I said when I saw Red had returned, I realized I had forgotten to give them the chocolate advent calendars.

Southern Lights

Monday night, we made our way to the Kentucky Horse Park to see The Southern Lights. We’ve done this every year for as long as I can remember. The kids (and adults!) love it. It’s fun to see the traditional lights (like Santa playing basketball, Keeneland, and the 12 days of Christmas), but each year they add something new. This year, they had some Star Wars lights that Hayden loved.

What I’ve been reading

At the end of November, I finished One Day in December and really loved it. It’s was such a sweet book.

Then, I started the Winter Street series and have read the first two books: Winter Street & Winter Stroll. I just started the third book, Winter Storms. I now hope to read Winter Solstice as well to wrap up the series. I’ve been enjoying the Quinn family as well as the charming Nantucket setting at Christmastime.

It’s not that I’ve had that much time to read…I technically finished One Day in December in November as we drove to KC. Then, there was the nine hour drive back!! haha. The Winter Street series books are pretty short as well. They’ve definitely been perfect reads for this time of the year.

That’s just a little bit of our life lately. Never a dull moment !

Take care,


Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Weekend Top 5

This weekend was filled with fun, festivities, family, friends, and sports (of course!) Here’s the Top 5 from our weekend.

Friday, after school, the kids and I volunteered to ring the Salvation Army bell at Kroger for our church. We had a good time and witnessed, first hand, the generosity of our community. (Then, when our shift was over, we went into the store for a few things…where they spent two minutes arguing about wavy or original Lays chips. Rock, paper, scissors decides all…Hadley “won” and got the original Lays. #givingandfighting #balance haha)

Friday night, Hadley went to a sleepover and the rest of us went to Trav’s work Christmas party. Great food, great company, and a bonus visit with Ho Ho. (And, on our way out, we bumped into some friends we haven’t seen a while which was such a pleasant surprise!)

Hadley needs a social secretary to keep up with her calendar. In the meantime, Hayden got one on one time with Santa

Basketball season has started! Win or lose, these two are so excited to each be on the same team as their besties this year. So fun to watch them all play.

We are so blessed to have awesome neighbors who we also call great friends. Krista outdid herself hosting. The place settings were gorgeous and she served beef bourguignon while the rest of us brought sides, salad, and dessert. The adults and kids had a wonderful time.

My dream job would be to decorate cookies and be as talented as Maddie (of Maddie’s Cookie Co) is with her creativity and decorating skills. The closest I can get to that dream is by occasionally taking her cookie decorating classes. I’ve gone to a couple of the classes with friends and this is the third time I’ve taken Hadley to one of her classes. On Sunday, Hadley and I went to her Christmas cookie Mom and Me class, and our friends joined us as well.

Hadley and her sweet friend
The event space is always so pretty. Maddie always provides a cheat sheet of the final product and a practice sheet as well as snacks and water.
Hadley with her finished products!
House, gum drop, gingerbread boy and girl, Christmas tree, and peppermint
We did all of this in the one and half hour class!
Maddie’s example cookies. Exquisite!

Hadley has really gotten the hang of both outlining and flooding, so I don’t do much but help when she asks me to. The cookies are so pretty …almost too pretty to eat!! BUT…they are delicious and too hard to resist.

Two more weeks of school before break…I think I can. I think I can. I think I can!

I hope you had a great weekend, and, as always, thank you for reading!


Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Friday Favorites: Holiday decorations

Happy Friday! We are in full on Christmas mode around here. We’ve seen Santa, the tree is up, we’ve bought our Angel Tree gifts, the kids have been working on their 25 days of kindness, and the house is decorated. (Also, #realtalk some evenings we’ve been tired with a side of grumpy…but we are working on it!)

I thought for this Friday Favorites I’d focus on some of my favorite holiday decorations around the house.

Let the record show (Travis, are you reading this?)…I did not buy a single new Christmas decoration this year. #itsaChristmasmiracle

Decorating takes a bit of time, but I love the extra cozy feeling that holiday decorations bring in combination with the subtle sparkle of the lights on the tree.

Here’s a peek into our home and some of our Christmas spirit.

After decorating for fall, I basically just swapped out where I had fall decorations on and in the buffet for Christmas ones. Tree plates, ornaments in the clear glass server, a Nutcracker, and some trees!

We bought the Nutcracker a couple of years ago at Home Goods. The kids saw it and said, “Let’s get a Nutcracker like Gma has!” Gma, my grandma, has tons of Nutcrackers, so this guy is a fun nod to her.

I love the flocked tree and tall Santa from TJ Maxx.

I’ve had this chest, a family heirloom, for many years, but this is the first year it’s been in our living room. The Merry Christmas sign was bought from a local store here in Lexington, Two Chicks and Co., a few years ago, and I’ve had the light up gift with bow from Kirklands for years. A tealight in a lantern that used to sit on our porch helps this corner of the living room glow.

I’m pretty traditional with red and green decorations, including stockings. The tray of trees is out in our sunroom. I don’t decorate that room much, but I accessorize the tray that always sits there. Fun Fact: the green felt tree is already in pieces in my backyard. It’s been #Homered. I’ve had little greenery and pine cone chair decorations for three years, and I hope they don’t get #Homered as well!

The fireplace and mantle in our kitchen is one of my favorite spots. We even bought a stocking for Homer this year…right now he’s on Santa Paws’s naughty list.

I’ve always loved snow globes, but I only have one…and this year I put it out on our built in with one of my fave Santa pics with the kids. Every year, when I pull out the pic of the kids under the tree for their first Christmas (they were one month old!), I can’t believe how quickly time is flying.

Our entryway hallway has a few decorations. I’ve had the light up tree for awhile as well as the little snowman. I always love seeing everyone’s holiday cards, and the little bucket is a good spot for them after we check the mail. Lastly, the Merry and Bright plate is one of my faves and made by a small local Lexington business.

I swapped out my pumpkin pillows for the Merry and Peace ones as well as a soft red blanket.

One of my friends made the Joy, Love, Peace, Believe, Christmas sign , and I display it in my kitchen.

Here’s the tree all lit up—but, we quickly realized that having Homer is like having ten toddlers, so all the ornaments are now up high on the tree! haha. Last year, I took some Amazon boxes and wrapped them in my favorite wrapping paper. While I’m pretty good about purchasing most gifts in early December, I’m a last minute wrapper. So, these stay under the tree to make it look less empty until I get the real ones out. Again, with Homer, who knows if I should even put real gifts under the tree at this point?!

He looks so innocent, right?

I don’t decorate much outside mostly due to lack of time but also because I tend to like cute decorations, and I never know how they will hold up in the elements!

I bought this door hanger from a local Lexingtonian a few years ago and have a few other door hangers from her! I love this one….especially because I love polka dots.

Some years we put lights around the porch…and other years we don’t, but I always stick my pre-lit trees in my year round planter boxes (and add on the bows!), change my garden flag, swap my pumpkin pillows for reindeer ones, and put lanterns and poinsettias on the steps. Every year, I say I want to get wreaths for the windows, and always forget…and tend to be too busy after Christmas to get the great deals on them. Maybe one year I will make that a priority.

I hope you enjoyed this little home tour. While I love the decorations for fall and the holidays, I’m usually ready to get everything back to normal inside the house in January. For now, the decorations help us get in the holiday spirit. Tis the Season!

What are some of your favorite holiday decorations at your house?

Don’t forget to check out Narci, Erika, and Andrea‘s Friday Favorites.

I hope you have a great weekend!


Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Visit with Santa & Tree Decorating

The transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas happened quickly on Sunday. Actually, before we left for KC, I put up my Christmas decorations, so all that was really left was to get a tree.

On my “to do” list for Sunday was to get the tree and have the kids see Santa. We crossed both of these items off my list within an hour!

In Lexington, there’s the cutest shop that carries pumpkins and mums in the fall, Christmas trees, wreaths, garland in December, and then flowers in the spring and summer. The Santa they have is simply the best, so if we have the time to go to Hillenmeyer’s Christmas Shop, we do! The Santa wait time varies year to year…a few years ago, before he was soooo popular, we walked right in to see Santa. A couple of years ago, we stood in line for an hour and a half, and this year we were near the front of the line with very little wait time.

The shop has a fire place to roast marshmallows as well as hot apple cider and a few animals to look at, so the kids are entertained even if we do have to wait.

This is our fourth year getting a real tree, and I do like that it’s now a tradition.

The inside of the shop is magical with hanging wreaths and even a chandelier or two!

This Santa is always so patient and has the best facial expressions. The kids were able to talk to him for a couple of minutes and get in all of their requests!

This year on Hadley’s list is a Tyler Herro Miami Heat t-shirt and a bike. Hayden would like more video games for his Xbox and a PJ Washington Hornets t-shirt.

Santa with his signature wave!

Such a cozy atmosphere ❤️

We got the tree home, unwrapped and put the lights on…but ornaments had to wait until Monday evening. I joked that I hope the tree doesn’t get “Homered.” He’s good at destroying things, and the last thing I need to see is my tree knocked over!

5 seconds later he yanked an ornament off the tree.

It’s truly a magical time of the year. I’m not sure how many more Santa visits we have left, but I love seeing the innocence that Santa brings out in everyone….and I will always love the twinkle of the lights on a Christmas tree.

Thanks for reading!


Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea