Posted in Holidays, Traditions, Weekend Top 5

Weekend Top 5

Hello and happy Monday! Tuesday! I took yesterday off from blogging because I was swamped from our action packed weekend! So, I’m recapping that for you today…just on on Tuesday rather than a Monday!

Here’s our Weekend Top 5:

1.

Hadley requested Chick-fil-A for lunch on Friday (what’s new?!), so I picked up a peppermint milkshake for myself! (Also, I’m late to the party using the Chick-fil-A app–I’ve been using it now for a couple months, and it’s life changing. Even better is usually Hadley rides along with me to pick up our order and runs inside to get it!)

2.

Cookies, cookies and more cookies.

My mom came to visit, and we baked lots of Christmas cookies over the weekend. Hadley helped her bake gingerbread cookies on Friday. On Saturday, most of us helped make Spritz cookies and Pfeffernuse. Then, Hayden helped her make more gingerbread men because he missed out on that fun on Friday. Saturday night, Hadley helped GG make fudge, and then on Sunday, Hadley (and others) helped dip the Lebkuchen in the icing.

Ta da!!! the finished Pfeffernuse…

Pfeffernuse, Spritz, and Lebkuchen cookies. Often times, GG bakes ahead of time or when we are in KC for Thanksgiving and sends us home with the goodies. Some years she mails the the cookies to us. This was the first year we all baked together (or took turns baking because…too many cooks in the kitchen…) πŸ˜‚

A few weeks ago, I ordered cookies to decorate from a local small business baker/decorator (One Smart Cookie). The kids decorated those on Sunday after dinner, and those cookies were our dessert.

We always save a decorated cookie + a few of the family cookies for Santa. I just put them in a baggie and freeze them until Christmas Eve.

3.

I always put a few front porch decorations out, and Travis always puts the lights out on the porch and/or bushes. This year, I wanted to add garland to the porch. I couldn’t really find any I liked until…I made a stop at Trader Joe’s for a few goodies and saw their beautiful (and inexpensive!) garland.

I bought two swags of it…and Travis worked his magic in hanging it! I love it so much.

This may be what I do every year since I only need it a few weeks, it’s inexpensive, looks beautiful, and we won’t have to store it.

4.

Well, it happened! I know I mentioned last week that our favorite Santa spot wasn’t hosting Santa. This year, our club organized a drive thru Santa visit, so we decided to go for it. I’m assuming this will be our last year to visit Santa, so I wanted to take advantage of this offer. We waited in the car line and pulled right up when it was our turn. The kids got to chat with him outside for a few minutes, we hopped back in the car, and headed home.

It was a really sweet experience even if we didn’t get to enjoy all the usual festivities that the club typically offers.

Chatting with Santa, hand “Santa”-tizer, and waiting for their turn to see Santa while wearing their masks.

5.

Holiday lights! We usually drive by these festive lights at some point in December, and we decided to go ahead and swing by while we were out after visiting Santa. We ooh and ahh at them every year!

Bonus:


My mom brought Hayden the rest of her Harry Potter books. Hayden’s read the first few, and she gifted him the rest, so he can continue reading them through the years.

Shew! I told you we were busy! I was even able to wrap a few gifts while watching the Chiefs game on Sunday night! That made for a late bedtime, but it was worth it to cross one more thing off my list!

I hope you’ve had a great start to your week. See you back here tomorrow for Let’s Look.

Posted in Holidays, Traditions

Tis the Season!

Well, Thanksgiving was already a week ago, and we are in full Christmas spirit in my house. We’ve taken Christmas card photos, picked out our tree, decorated, welcomed our Elf back from the North Pole, and even had our first snowfall of the season!

Today, I’m sharing the details of our decking the halls and Christmas cheer so far this holiday season.

Starting with…this meme…

It cracks me up. I’m either watching a holiday baking show or Ozark. My tv watching goes from G to rated R real quick!

I mentioned in Monday’s post that we were pretty busy on the Friday after Thanksgiving. One of our errands was stopping by our favorite place to pick out the Christmas tree for our living room. The weather was perfect for wandering around to find just the right tree. Well, technically the kids each found a “perfect” tree, and had to rock, paper, scissors over which tree we’d bring home. Hadley won.

This is also the place we usually go to see Santa. Unfortunately, Covid is cramping Santa’s style this year! I know there are probably other options, but this Santa is our fave, and I guess for now, we’ll have to live with this very 2020 Santa experience. (or lack thereof)

Y,’all, this Santa really is the best!

A few Santa pics through the years…

Top: 2017; bottom left: 2016; bottom right: 2019

2020:

I’m assuming my kids won’t be “believers” for much longer, so I actually did tear up taking this pic. As the years pass by, I do miss the innocence of having little ones and seeing Christmas through their eyes. They are still excited for the holidays, but it’s just different than when they were little.

Travis strung the lights on the tree Friday night, so we could decorate on Saturday morning before everyone got busy.

I put any leftover ornaments not used on the living room tree on the artificial tree in the sun room. I think this is our fourth or fifth year getting a real tree for the living room. Last year was the first year we put our older artificial tree up in the sun room, and I’m glad we did that again this year.

We now have a total of five trees up in the house.

  • The kids each have a small tree in their rooms.
  • We have the artificial tree in the sun room.
  • The real tree is in the living room / office area.
  • and… I (Trav) moved my new pencil tree to our bedroom.

Then…we had to have a talk with Homer about behaving and not taking oraments off the tree.

“Who, me?”

He looks innocent, but last year he had a real knack for #Homering nostalgic ornaments and family heirlooms. πŸ˜‚

I was hoping we could trust him because for the month the skinny tree was in the sun room, he didn’t bother a single ornament. But…within an hour on Saturday, he’d already taken three ornaments off the living room tree. So, I moved most of the ornaments up higher (even though he can still probably reach some), and now our tree is decorated like it was in 2010-2012 or so when we had two toddlers!

On Friday, I also had the kids dress up, so I could take pics for our Christmas cards. I always think I will have my act together in the fall for family photos for our cards, but that never seems to happen.

The last time we had a fall family photo for our Christmas card was 2014…

This year, the kids were adamant we bring Homer again for the photo, so I decided to head back to where we had our 2014 family photos, the Henry Clay Estate. I knew we’d have space to walk around and would be able to keep our distance from people and enjoy the beautiful weather.

When I saw the bench, I knew I wanted to have the kids sit there again, but later noticed they put their hands in the same spots they did for the photo years ago.

This was a very how it started…

how it’s going…

moment! πŸ˜†

I will share our Christmas cards (and photos that made the cut) when they arrive. I always order from Shutterfly and take advantage of the Cyber Monday deal they always have.

And…to really keep the spirit alive, Red, our elf, arrived on Tuesday morning. My kids were panicking a bit because some of their friends’ elves arrived after Thanksgiving. I told mine that Red was probably still in quarantine before safely entering our home (just kidding!) Really, I reminded them at Red doesn’t show up until December first, at the earliest!

When we were talking about our elf’s return, Hadley did ask how long the elf will visit. I said, “Well, I guess as long as you believe.” She said, “Well, shouldn’t you always believe?” It was the sweetest and something I need to remember for the next 20+ days πŸ˜‰

Upon Red’s arrival, he brought the book that we’ve had since 2012. We know he’s our elf because he has the book and a few years ago, he glued a cotton ball to his hat, and the residue has been there every since. Also, last year Red was #Homered, and his torn hat and bandaged hand proves that the right elf came back to our house from the North Pole.

I know these holidays are going to be different (and I’m tired of saying that!), but I’m thankful some traditions remain: decorating, Christmas tree picking, fussing at my kids for pictures, and the return of Red are only the beginning.

I hope your December is off to a great start! See you back here tomorrow for a hodge podge of Friday Favorites.

Take care,

Posted in Holidays

Thanksgiving Recap

Hello and Happy Monday! How was your Thanksgiving? I love nothing more than a five day weekend! Five whole days off allows for rest, prep, celebrating, and decorating!

Now, here are the details of our Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving:

Tuesday:

The kids kicked off Thanksgiving a couple days early with a Friendsgiving lunch at their pod. They had Chick-Fil-a nuggets, fries, fruit and ginger ale. Great crew, beautiful tablescape, and so much for which to be thankful.

Wednesday:

On Wednesday, I didn’t even get out of my pajamas until I worked out before dinner. It was pretty dreary out, so I spent most of the day watching tv, reading my book, and then prepping for Thanksgiving.

I saw this graphic on Instagram, and Wednesday was food prep day! My 5w6 Enneagram number rings true with alone time and making my favorite dish(es).

Travis joked that he was concerned that neither myself nor my sister-in-law felt confident cooking the turkey. Thankfully, we had a friend who offered to fry our turkey for us. Travis usually get a turkey from work as a gift, but he continued to leave it at work, in the freezer, so this was my panicked attempt to get it thawed before drop off for frying.

Thankfully, a few hours in cold water in the cooler did the trick. No sure what my neighbors thought of me, but the turkey was ready for frying!

Travis asked who was making the stuffing, and didn’t like my answer of, “no one,” so I made my first ever stuffing. I followed the directions and added in sausage, and it turned out so good.

Hadley made the pumpkin pie. She did a great job following directions and mixing ingredients. I was in charge of taking it in and out of the oven, but otherwise, she can definitely take credit for this deliciousness!

Thanksgiving Day:

Thursday, was of course, Thanksgiving. We didn’t eat until late afternoon, so we spent most of the morning lounging around before I prepared my last Thanksgiving dish and then we headed to my brother’s house for dinner.

Me, as a mom this week:

I was able to watch most of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade while lounging in my pajamas and sipping my coffee which is always a fave. We were so excited to see the Rockettes at the end…but they didn’t do their famous kicks! Then, of course, Santa brought up the rear to end the parade.

Travis, his brother, and the kids had their own Turkey Trot running about three miles later in the morning.

Then, it was time to take the “I’m thankful for these two turkeys” pic πŸ˜‰

Family and cousin photos to send to family.

While ordering cups for the kids’ birthday party favors, I also ordered some Thanksgiving cups from (@cupsoncochran). The kids used the “this cup belongs to” while the adults enjoyed a cocktail in the “flocktails” cups. My brother made a delicious mixed drink of apple cider, pumpkin vodka, soda water and a cinnamon stick. I’m honestly not one for mixed drinks, but this one was so good!

My sister-in-law outdid herself with the tablescape. The dining room looked beautiful.

She ordered the template for the name card off Etsy, personalized it for each person, and had them printed at FedEx. Cookies from a local small business were a sweet finishing touch.

Making so many things ahead of time, really paid off. I baked most of the items at her house, and everything timed out nicely. We had too much food for eight people (four of which are kids), but my favorite thing about Thanksgiving is the leftovers.

Trav’s side of the family typically has ham and turkey where my side of the family sticks with turkey. On the years we go to Trav’s side, Hadley enjoys the ham. On the years we are at my family’s feast, she always asks where the ham is. πŸ˜‚I picked her up a small ham from Kroger and baked it before going to my brother’s house.

Also, she was concerned about who would make the gravy since it wasn’t on my list to make …because both my brother and I don’t like it. So, she made it! I bought the turkey gravy in a jar, and we doctored it up with chicken broth, butter, and bit of flour per the recommendation of a couple of friends. She was pleased with the gravy and the ham, and I continued on my quest for mom of the year. πŸ˜‚

so much delicious food!

After dinner, we enjoyed the pumpkin pie, and then Zoomed with some of my KC family. My dad’s side of the family typically plays a game or two after our Thanksgiving (and Christmas Eve) meal. While on Zoom, we even ended up playing Scattegories which was so fun.

While it wasn’t our typical Thanksgiving situation, I’d say we definitely made the most of it!

Friday, Saturday, Sunday:

Friday, we were sooo productive…probably more productive than my family cared to be, but we crossed quite a few things off our list. After I saw the upcoming (frigid!) forecast, we decided to take advantage of Black Friday sales and purchase new winter coats for the kids. Afterwards, I made a pit stop at Bath and Body Works for holiday candles and hand soaps before we headed to Target to shop for the Angel Tree. Light traffic and hardly any lines made for quick trips to these places.

We went home for lunch, and then the kids got dressed up and let me take their pic for our Christmas card. Then, we went and picked out our Christmas tree.

On Saturday, I decorated the house for the holidays, Hadley went to a friend’s house, and Hayden and Travis went golfing. Sunday, entailed the usual with getting groceries and prepping for the week…and watching the KC Chiefs play!

See what I mean? Five days off and I was able to relax, read, cook, decorate, and more!

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving as well. Have a good week!

Posted in Holidays, Kids

Party Time!

Today, I’m sharing the details of the kids’ birthday. Hard to believe it, but the are officially 11.

I’ve always been big on birthdays. I started traditions with them when they were young, and we always look forward to their big day. Last year, when they turned 10, I told them we’d probably start scaling back some of the festivities. For example, most years, we’d have a family party and a friend party. For a stretch of about five years, I always made their cakes. I bought them a birthday t-shirt each year, I always make the food for the party…and the list goes on and on.

Insert a pandemic, and well…all festivities look different now. We still made the most of the day, took advantage of a Friday birthday with beautiful weather, and hosted a few friends to play outside.

I still have zero chill when it comes to birthdays, and the zillion photos I take are my proof. πŸ˜‚

The night before their birthday, I get out my birthday tub with a few decorations. I put those out along with their presents.

Since they were little, I put streamers on doors, so I do that before I go to sleep. I always think I could do the decorating and extra touches in the morning, but with my luck, they’d wake up before I’d get everything set up how I like it.

I always make muffins for their birthday breakfast, and we take this time to open presents and sing happy birthday to each of them. Hayden first…and then Hadley. #birthorder

After breakfast, it was time for online school while I worked. For lunch, they requested Raising Canes. Then, I picked them up each a bundt cake to blow out rather than blow out their candles on the cookie cake.

In the past, I let them each pick out a cookie cake from Great American Cookie, but with less friends at the party and to simplify it a bit, I just chose one cake for them. We picked it up on Thursday and stopped by they party store as well for a few balloons.

Double the 11’s. Double the fun!

I think this is the fourth year I’ve ordered the yard signs. I used a new company this year because they had so many fun options. I think Lawn Letter Kreations did an amazing job! The signs fit their personalities perfectly! And, I felt it was money well spent since their friends got to see the yard too.

Hayden…

Hadley…

turn 11!

I made this birthday banner for their 3rd birthday party. I just keep it in the birthday tub and switch out the age each year. I wasn’t going to put it up, but decided to decorate the sun room a bit in case it was utilized during the party.

Outdoor decorations and food: banner, chalkboard, chips, Capri Sun, and party favors…and hand sanitizer. πŸ˜‰

I got these personalized cups from a local business (Cups on Cochran), filled them with candy, and added a hand sanitizer in the cup too!

The kids played for about an hour and a half, we picked up pizza for the kids and then had cookie cake.

We sang and they blew out their candles on their bundt cake. We actually sang to Hadley twice because she didn’t feel like the boys put in enough effort the first time! πŸ˜‚

Cookie cake tradition continues…

Then, they went back to playing!

With twins, boy/girl twins at that, it’s hard to find something they both want to do for a party, and keep the invite list under control…especially during Covid. The kids are blessed with great friends, and I’m glad it worked out for them to each invite a few to play; the weather couldn’t have been better…especially for November!

This little sign says it all…

11 years of being a mom. 11 years of watching them grow. 11 years of worry and love and all the emotions. What a blessing these 11 years have been.

Once everyone went home, Hayden hugged me and said, “Mom, this was the best birthday ever. You should sit down and have a glass of wine. You deserve it!” Ahh…that kid!

I guess a little outside backyard fun, friends, pizza, and some cake are all you really need. It was a great day. We made the most of this pandemic birthday.

As always, thanks so much for reading!

Posted in Friday Favorites, Holidays, Traditions

Friday Favorites: Thanksgiving

Hello and Happy Friday! We made it to the weekend. This week has definitely had its share of ups and downs, so needless to say, I’m ready for the weekend.

As always, I’m linking up with Andrea and Erika for this week’s Friday Favorites.

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. It also feels like the most overlooked holiday smooshed right in between Halloween and Christmas. Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I thought I’d share some of my favorite things about Thanksgiving from traditions, the food, and more!

My favorite things about Thanksgiving:

The Food:

Thanksgiving food is my favorite food of the entire year. I never really say no to carbs, but definitely not on Thanksgiving. Give me all of the mashed potatoes, rolls, macaroni and cheese and other carbs! I do love the turkey as well. A slice of pumpkin pie topped with a dollop of whipped cream is the perfect way to end the meal.

Fun fact: the only day of the year that I buy the school lunch is the Thursday before Thanksgiving. That’s when our district serves up their version of a Thanksgiving meal. I know the picture isn’t the best, but the food really is good!

The Leftovers, Y’all:

The leftovers are the best part of the meal! I always look forward to the Friday after Thanksgiving lunch when we reheat the turkey, the mashed potatoes, and anything else we have left to eat!

Also, did you see the soup recipe I shared in my Let’s Look post on Wednesday? It’s so good and a great way to use up your leftover turkey!

The Weather and FAll Colors:

The weather and the fall colors of the leaves always make the holiday even better! Whether we are in KC or KY, we tend to luck out with pretty mild weather.

Family:

It’s always great to see family around the holidays. It makes that time of the year even more special. Some years, we see my family in KC, and other years we see Trav’s family from various parts of Kentucky. This year, we probably won’t see family like we usually do, but hopefully we can get back on track with that tradition next year.

Thanksgiving through the years…
No stress of Gifts:

I’ve always loved Thanksgiving because of food, family, and….no gift giving! It’s nice just to show up, hang out, eat, and not feel overwhelmed with gift buying lists, wrapping, and hauling gifts from house to house (or state to state!)

The Parade:

I’ve always loved the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. I remember watching it as a kid, and I always turn it on for my kids now too. I’m not saying I always watched every second of it, but it’s just nice to even have it on in the background while hanging out or cooking.

The Lights:

The Plaza lights in KC are always a must when we visit. On Thanksgiving evening, there is always a ceremony, a countdown, and then the lights are lit! Whether it’s right after Thanksgiving or when we visit at Christmas, we try to see them as a family.

I remember as a kid going with my family to drive through that part of town and look at the lights…followed by a hamburger and shake at Winsteads (another KC fave!)

Giving Thanks:

Of course, I try to give thanks on other days besides Thanksgiving, but Thanksgiving does provide a time to pause, reflect, and give thanks for the blessings in my life.

One thing my school does is gratitude feathers. Students fill out the feathers for their teachers thanking them, and then they get put in teacher mailboxes for teachers to receive before Thanksgiving break. I never expect to receive a gratitude feather, but I always love when I do. The sweet messages keep me going during this time of the school year.

2019 gratitude feathers
Elementary Art:

Through the years, I’ve loved seeing what the kids bring home in their backpacks from school. Whether it’s a turkey or a cap with feathers, I always love talking with them about their masterpieces.

I’m sad that this year looks so different for Hayden and Hadley, and this is another example of “what would have been” if they were in school for a regular year. I doubt there will be any Thanksgiving artwork in middle school. #sadface

Bonus Fave: Flashback Friday: Turkey Day Edition

Here are some kid and family pics through the years. Thankfully, they don’t fight me much when when I ask them to dress up a bit to see family!

Weekly Recap:

Even with this year looking differently, I continue to be thankful for family, friends, and our health.

What blessings are you counting this year?

Thanks so much for reading, and don’t forget to check out the other ladies’ posts too!

Have a great weekend,

Posted in Holidays, Let's look

Let’s Look

Today is Let’s Look!

This is a fun link up with Shay and Erika where we take a peek on an assigned topic for the month!

This year we’ve looked at:

  • January: your bedside table
  • February: your winter wardrobe
  • March: what’s inside your purse
  • April: Easter at your house
  • May: your weekend
  • June: what’s in your carry on bag
  • July: your summer wardrobe
  • August: your desk
  • September: your school pics
  • October: how you pumpkin

This month’s topic is holiday menu. Since it’s November, I’m thinking Shay and Erika meant Thanksgiving menu, so that’s my focus for today’s post.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It always has been. I’ve always loved watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade even as a kid. Also, there’s no stress of buying presents, and the Thanksgiving offers the best food you’ll eat all year!

I saw this graphic on Twitter recently, and thought it went perfectly with today’s topic. I’m from Missouri, and yes, I love all the carbs…including rolls. Kentucky’s most popular side is apparently broccoli casserole which would not be my vote for favorite side. #hardpassforme

We usually are in KC with family for Thanksgiving, and my cousin always out does herself with the table scape and decor.

And…there are always sweet little touches like these personalized chocolate turkeys.

Growing up, Thanksgiving was always spent with my dad’s side of the family. Even now, when I go home, we still celebrate with that side of the family.

One Thanksgiving my dad visited us here, and my sister-in-law and I made the turkey, mashed potatoes, etc. It was quite a successful Thanksgiving, but it confirmed what I already knew….hosting a holiday is hard work!

For a couple of Thanksgivings we’ve gone to Trav’s side of the family in Elizabethtown, and the food is great there too.

We are now kind of on an every other year rotation with staying home or going to KC. We’ll be home this year, and I’m not exactly sure what our plans will be.

Thanksgiving Menu:

No matter where we are celebrating, the menu seems to be mostly the same:

  • Turkey
  • Mashed potatoes and gravy
  • Green beans or green bean casserole
  • Hash brown casserole
  • Cornbread casserole
  • Stuffing
  • Mac and cheese
  • Sweet potato casserole
  • Rolls
  • Pumpkin pie + other pies for dessert

Turkey Soup:

For a tradition with my mom, we typically make a turkey soup with the recipe that I’ve had for years…. We got the recipe from my high school boy friend’s dad probably back in 1998(ish). πŸ˜…The relationship didn’t last but the soup tradition continues! πŸ˜‚

It’s one of the best ways to use the leftover turkey, and I’ve even made it with chicken at other points in the year.

Ingredients:
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 4 cans water
  • 1/2 an onion, chopped
  • 1-2 c. shredded carrots
  • 2 c. uncooked rice + a little bit more
  • leftover shredded turkey
  • Creole spice (I usually have the Tony Chachere brand)
Instructions:
  • Saute the chopped onions in some oil.
  • Add in soups + cans of water and heat for a few minutes.
  • Add in the the turkey and shredded carrots. Stir to combine.
  • Pour in 2 cups of rice, and I add in a little bit more rice.
  • Top the ingredients with Creole spice plus a bit more. Stir.
  • Cook for 20-30 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

I make this soup every year whether I’m in KY or in KC. It’s definitely one of my favorite turkey day traditions.

Next month’s topic is Let’s Look at your Christmas cards!

I can’t believe that next month’s post will be the last Let’s Look for 2020!

As always, thanks so much for reading. I truly do appreciate it!

Don’t forget to check out the other ladies’ posts, and I will see you back here tomorrow for Friday Favorites.

Take care,

Posted in Holidays, Not Just a Mom

Not Just a Mom: Shop the Holidays

Hello and Happy Monday! How was your weekend? I feel like our weekends lately have been lopsided with a very busy Saturday followed by a more relaxed Sunday.

The kids had state cross country meet on Saturday which took up most of the day. Sunday, per usual, we did laundry, I picked up groceries, and we kind of regrouped for the week ahead.

Travis is super busy with work right now, so he gave me back his Super Dad cape πŸ˜‰ Seriously, when I think back to scheduling my surgery, we got so lucky with the October 14th date. It gave me just enough time to get back to my normal routine before he got busy with work. I’m still needing a daily nap and do feel worn out some days, but I’m glad to be back in a pretty normal groove.

Today, I’m linking up with Lauren, Ashley, (and others!) for their Not Just a Mom series. Today’s topic is: shop the holidays.

This meme always cracks me up.

November and December are always slammed for us with sports and school, the kids’ birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas and all the other fun activities and traditions that come with those holidays. That being said, I know things will look differently this year for all of those things.

To be honest, it all can be too much. Having to give ideas for birthday and Christmas to so many relatives in such a short amount of time can stress me out a bit. Even when I figure it all out, I still have to have ideas to the kids from us and from Santa.

Through the years, we’ve pared down who we purchase gifts for at Christmas, but, again, it’s still a lot to organize when adding holiday stress and birthday stuff too.

This is the point of the post where I’m asking for advice. πŸ˜‚

I do know it’s a blessing to have family near and far, traditions to continue, and we still see the joy of the holidays through our kids’ eyes…so I usually just take it day by day and list by list.

Birthday

I know the kids’ birthday isn’t an actual holiday, but it’s first on my list right now with it being in just a couple of weeks. For their birthday, I really do try to stick with the idea of “want, need, wear, read.” This might sound crazy, but I don’t really ask them what they want for their birthday…at some point they’ve probably shared what they “want,” and I just fill in the blanks for the other gifts.

We always get them a book and Christmas pjs; they probably end up with 5-6 gifts each when it’s all said and done because I pick up an extra thing or two along the way.

10th birthday breakfast

I also like the idea of giving the kids an “experience” when possible. When they were little, we bought tickets to Sesame Street Live. In the second grade, Hadley was begging to get her ears pierced, so that was one of her gifts which was so fun for her! The past couple of years, I purchased tickets to our favorite cookie decorating class for Hadley and me which is always fun.

Christmas

Trav and I usually just focus on the kids at this point. I typically buy what I want when I want it throughout the year…Travis is shaking his head “uh huh” as he reads this. πŸ˜‚ …so I never feel like I “need” anything. That being said, we usually end up having the kids pick out something that’s from them to us…and Travis never follows the rules and usually gets me something I’d never expect.

For example, his brother took the kids’ pictures a couple of years ago, and he surprised me with a couple framed faves. Of course, this brought tears to my eyes! He is a thoughtful gift giver.

We purchase family gifts for my mom, dad, grandma, and Trav’s mom. We also purchase gifts for my brother’s kids. Since it’s just the four grand kids on my side, and they are still little, it’s fun to get them a gift or two.

Our elf, Red, visits and always leaves the “want, need, wear, read” paper. I found this online years ago, have it saved, and just print it each year. I do love this tradition because it does give ideas that I can pass on to grandparents. Red takes the paper to the North Pole the next night after they’ve filled it out.

Of course, they also share ideas with Santa when we visit him. I’m not sure if that will happen this year. At our house, Santa’s gifts are unwrapped and left near the fireplace or tree.

When I was a kid, stockings were always my favorite to open, and I think my kids feel the same way. That’s probably where I end up going overboard. πŸ˜† I just pick up little things here and there: Chapstick, socks, underwear, nail polish, scrunchies, shaving cream, a card game, candy and more is what my crew typically finds in their stockings.

Christmas 2019 gift exchange

I also love our tradition where the kids choose a gift for each other that’s from them. It’s always fun to see what they pick out and give to each other. We usually let them open it the night before Santa comes.

One year I tried to buy all of the gifts in November, but I wasn’t 100% successful in that endeavor! I do at least like to start making a list in November and get organized.

I try to support local small businesses as much as possible as well as shops on Etsy. Target is typically is my “go to” place for the kids, and Amazon has certainly eased the shopping stress the past couple of years.

I will say and they’ve started to ask questions about the elf and Santa. Hadley’s the inquisitive one and Hayden still seems to believe. Of course, I cling to their innocence, but know that they are at the natural age to start wondering. To be honest, in second grade, they had tons of questions, and I really thought that was going to be the last year. I’m thankful all of that subsided, and we’ve had a few more Christmases of pure innocence.

So that’s how I shop the holidays. What about you?

Next month’s topic is special holiday traditions.

Don’t forget to check out the other ladies’ posts! I hope you have a great week.

Posted in Holidays

(Happy) Halloween Recap!

Hello! How was your weekend? We had a really good one. Of course, Saturday was Halloween, but then Sunday was a great slow paced day to get caught up on life and prep for the upcoming week. On top of that, the weather this weekend was beautiful.

Today, I’m sharing a recap of our very 2020 Halloween.

Andrea shared this meme last week, and I laughed! It’s so true! I know I say all of these statements multiple times!

And…I saw this meme and thought it was very 2020.

Friday Night:

Our “festivities” started off Friday evening with our “Spooky Dinner.” I started this tradition last year, and the kids asked for it again. “Bloody finger” hot dogs, green grape eyeballs, ghoulish green mac and cheese, and this year I added in orange cheese balls because….they’re good πŸ˜‰…and paired the orange with a black spider for Halloween colors.

kids’ plates…I added the mac and cheese after I took this pic. oops!
my plate

Trav said we should play Halloween music while we ate dinner. Hadley found a Halloween playlist with some fun music. This was a great idea until the kids started arguing about song selection. Ugh!

Then, I went to bed early. I feel like I overdid it a few days last week, and it all caught up with me. I was in my pjs by 6:00 and in bed by 9:00.

Saturday/Halloween:

I woke up Saturday feeling a lot better, and, thankfully, we had no plans until having our friends over around 4:30. We kept the menu very simple this year. I made Shay’s Chicken Tortilla Soup like I usually do, but I didn’t make appetizers or chili like usual. The soup was for the adults, and then we picked up Little Caesar’s Pizza for the kids.

Our trick-or-treat time was from 6:00-8:00, so I had our friends and my brother’s family come over at 4:30, so we could enjoy the nice weather, hang out in the the backyard, and eat before trick-or-treating.

Usually, we eat after trick-or-treating, and of course, it’s dark outside by then and we hang out inside. So, with Covid, we changed it up a bit to be able to space ourselves out and enjoy the fresh air.

I pulled a few decorations from my Halloween tub to use on the food tables on our back patio.

My sister-in-law (and the kiddos) made these fun Minion Rice Krispie treats. So cute and delish!

We snapped a few pics before heading out around 6:00 for trick-or-treating.

Hadley was a blue M&M with her group of friends. Hayden was Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. I loved that both costume were their idea, and very simple to put together. Hayden even wore his Adidas (rather than cleats) because he said that’s who Mahomes endorses. Kid doesn’t miss a detail! πŸ˜‚

I do have to give a shout out to Amazon for most elements of Hadley’s costume, and my friend Amy who cut out the m and ironed it on the girls’ sweatshirts.

I swear…they were just this little!

2010

Then, it was time for cousin pic with Princess Jasmine, and a Power Ranger!

We were excited to see our friends who we don’t see very often. These girls are five days apart in age and besties even though they don’t get to see each other as often as they’d like.

Fun fact(s): we’ve trick-or-treated with these families for 11 years, all these kids have November birthdays, and 80’s girl and kidnapped by alien are boy/girl twins too!

They are all growing up on us too quickly!

Here they are on Halloween 2010.

Hadley was able to trick-or-treat with the other M&Ms for a bit…

while Hayden caught up with some of his crew…

and then we all met back up to finish up trick-or-treating.

Most of the houses we went to had fun tubes to dispense the candy or individual bags out on tables…which is what we did.

Hadley helped me bag the candy Saturday morning.

After over an hour of trick-or-treating, their buckets were full…and it was time for the candy swap. πŸ˜‚

We had such a great evening. We were able to see so many great friends, hang out with family, eat delicious food (and candy!), and enjoy the beautiful weather.

Lots of things about 2020 have been a bummer, but Halloween didn’t disappoint…and the kids have the full size candy bars to proved it!

and now…it’s November! How is that even possible?!

…which means the kids have started their birthday countdown. 18 days and counting!

What did Halloween look like where you live? Of course, I hope you had a great Halloween!

Take care,

Posted in Friday Favorites, Holidays

Friday Favorites

Hello and Happy Friday! We’ve had a pretty good week around here. Of course, we were busy with school and work, but we also found time for a few Halloween activities which made the week even more fun.

As always, I’m linking up with Erika and Andrea for this week’s Friday Favorites post.

Favorite Food:

Amy shared about these rice rollers in a recent blog post. I rarely go into the grocery store, so I’ve forgotten to look for them when placing my online orders. Anyway, the other day I went into Kroger to pick up Halloween candy and saw the rice rollers!

They are a perfect snack, and really delicious.

Favorite Moment:

Well, y’all…we’ve hit a milestone! The kids carved their pumpkins on Tuesday night with minimal help from mom and dad!! #praisehands I love this tradition, but I’m not mad about them doing the work! Hayden wanted his pumpkin to have crooked teeth and the tongue sticking out while Hadley just wanted her pumpkin to say “Boo.”

Both pumpkins turned out pretty cute!

Here they are lit up on the front porch:

Favorite Kid Quote:

Hayden was on a roll this week and two memorable quotes.

Last weekend, Hayden was on the computer and said, β€œUgh, every time I’m on You Tube, there are commercials. β€˜I’m Amy McGrath. I’m Mitch McConnell. Hi! I’m Josh Hicks. I’m Joe Biden. I’m Donald J Trump.’ I’m over it. Just show me a Geico commercial!” I literally laughed out loud.πŸ˜‚

Then, the other morning, he was fed up with Hadley and said, “Mom, I’m moving my toothbrush into your bathroom. Hadley takes too much time to get ready and all she does is Tik Tok dances in the mirror!” I guess I have a new bathroom buddy.

Favorite Pic:

My favorite pic this week comes from my friend who runs the school pod. They had a Halloween party on Wednesday, and here’s the crew:

As we all know, 2020 is a year to remember. I’m very thankful they’ve had a sense of normalcy by going to school with a group of friends and having fun activities like holiday parties.

Favorite Clothing Item:

I shared the links for these in my What’s Up Wednesday post, but I’ve been living in this lightweight tunic jacket from Walmart.

and…I’m officially in love with my new robe from Target.

Other Faves: Halloween Fun:

Tuesday afternoon Hadley helped me add a few more touches to the front of the house. It’s no secret I love my pumpkins on the porch for fall, but then we usually add some cobwebs on the front bushes with some spiders the week leading up to Halloween.

Last weekend, when we were in Walmart, Hadley spotted these skeletons, so we picked up a couple to add to the cobwebs.

Other favorites from the week include the pod Halloween party activities.

Hadley’s ready to bob for apples.

Hayden’s turn…He took off his glasses, so he could really bob for apples! He was the champ of his round.

My friend joked that this activity was CDC approved because there were fresh apples, fresh water each round, and siblings shared tubs when it was their turn.

I joked that their big mouths apparently came in handy! πŸ˜‰ #momjokes

Then, they decorated cookies.

and then ate the cookies…

I think they had a sweet afternoon filled with fun.

Favorite Mom Meme:

I saw this on the ‘gram and laughed! Too funny not to share.

Bonus Fave: Flashback Friday

I shared Hadley’s kindergarten “All About Me” pic a few weeks ago. Hayden’s turn popped up in my Facebook memories this week. #pinchycheekcute

I remember how much he loved reading The Magic Tree House series which he wrote down as his favorite book. Ugh! Some times I really do miss this age.

Weekly Recap:

Here are my posts from this week in case you missed one and are interested:

Before wrapping up this post, I do want to say thank you for the love on Monday’s post about my surgery and recovery. From blog post comments and Instagram love, I really appreciate the support and kind words. The blogging community is a good one, and I’m certainly grateful for my readers.

Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you have a great Halloween!

Posted in Friday Favorites, Holidays, Kids

(Flashback) Friday Favorites

Hello and Happy Friday! This week has been so different for me! I’ve had lots of time spent on the mend with napping and Netflix. That being said, Travis has definitely had to wear his Super Dad cape this week! I greatly appreciate all he does for me and for our family to keep us a float while we are a (wo)man down!

The kids still had activities, I still worked from home, friends continued to bring us meals and desserts, and we are just taking one day at a time.

Today, I’m linking up with Andrea and Erika for their weekly Friday Favorites post.

Today’s Friday Favorites has a Flashback twist. With Halloween around the corner, I thought I’d share the kids’ costumes through the years.

2010:

Lil Pumpkin and chubby skeleton…

2010

2011:

M&M’s…

2011

2012:

Fireman and Princess…

2012

2013:

My favorite costume combo: Batman and Robin! (Being Robin was 100% Hadley’s idea after Hayden said he wanted to be Batman)

2013

2014:

Captain America and Elsa (from Frozen)

2014

2015:

A ninja and a pink Power Ranger…The neighborhood was very safe that year πŸ˜‰

2015

2016:

A bee and Luke Skywalker…

2016

2017:

Super Girl and KC Royals player Mike Moustakas…

2017

2018:

Soccer player and 80’s party girl #omg

2018

2019:

A Ghostbuster and a nerd πŸ˜‚

2019

Last year, our Halloween trick-or-treating was moved due to weather. So, we had a fun dinner at home on Halloween. Andrea had shared about her spooky dinner, and I recreated the fun. I hope to do this again this year.

I thought that would be a fun trip down memory lane! Now, on to some favorites…

Favorite Picture:

After a string of dreary days, the sun finally came out! I went outside to tell Hadley to come in for dinner and saw one of our front yard trees showing off.

now…who is going to rake up all those leaves? πŸ€”

Favorite Clothing Item:

My pjs or comfy clothes on repeat.

Favorite Food:

Again, we’ve been enjoying so many wonderful foods that friends have brought us for dinner. We’ve had soups, lasagna, chicken enchiladas, and a quiche. As well as too many delicious desserts.

Cupcakes made by H&H

Favorite Moment:

When I had my surgery last week, my goal was to rest up and be able to attend the kids’ district championship cross country meet on Wednesday. I’m so glad I was able to attend! The boys and girls teams have come so far, and I’m so proud of Travis for taking on the coaching responsibilities again this year. They’ve had a pretty good season considering the late start due to Covid.

Hadley finished with her best time and highest finish yet with 4th place. Then, Hayden finished again in first. They’ve grown so much as runners in the past year, and again, it’s so awesome to see teammates cheering each other on!

I caught this pic of Hayden right as the race started. He had on his new bright cleats and was chasing the daylight!

On the run…

left: Hadley and her friend leading the pack; top right: Hadley almost to the finish line; bottom right: Hayden at the finish!

Twinsies with their hardware.

Their cousins came to cheer them on πŸ™‚

It was such a beautiful day, and definitely a fun race for all.

Favorite Kid Quote:

This quote goes back to last week. Hadley had her first band class via Zoom for playing flute on the Wednesday of my surgery. That evening, when I Facetimed the kids from the hospital, I asked Hadley how band went, and she told me how the teacher taught her a few notes. I said, “Hadley, I’m so proud of you!” She said, “No, mom, I’m so proud of you.” ❀️She knew I was anxious about my surgery that morning, and that I was so relieved to be on the recovery side of it.

She’s such a sweet girl…when she’s not being sassy πŸ˜‰

Favorite Mom Memes:

This one popped up in my Facebook memories. Thankfully, I haven’t had to cook in over a week! πŸ˜‚

Travis is the real MVP this week getting the kids where they need to go. Technically, I’m not supposed to drive yet, so it’s on him to get them to school pod and activities…as well as other errands.

Weekly Recap:

It was a short blogging week for me, but here are my two other posts from the week:

Y’all, by some miracle we don’t have any real plans this weekend. No sports or other major commitments on the schedule which means I will continue to get some much needed rest.

Thanks so much for reading, and have a great weekend!