Posted in Holidays

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!

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Posted in Holidays

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!

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Posted in Friday Favorites, Holidays, Home Decor

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!

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Posted in Holidays

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!

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Posted in Family, Holidays, Travel

Thanksgiving in KC

Well, the five day break certainly flew by…& now just three weeks of school until winter break!

We traveled to Kansas City to see my family for Thanksgiving.

We headed out after school on Tuesday, made a pit stop in St. Louis and finished the drive on Wednesday morning.

We decided to bring Homer with us. He was awesome in the car and in the hotel overnight. (I joked with the kids that Homer won “best behaved” between the three of them 😂)

The rest of the fam went to eat breakfast at the hotel. I turned my back for a minute and found Homer living his best life on the hotel bed #baddog

Wednesday, we just hung out with family and had pizza for dinner…followed by early bedtimes for all.

Thanksgiving morning, we slept in and lounged around until Thanksgiving dinner at my cousin’s house.

Snuggles with my mom’s dog, Gus.

I’ve always loved watching the parade on Thanksgiving morning & now my kids do too.

Ready to go — & of course, thankful for these two…

Thanksgiving on my dad’s side of the family is always fun. My cousin’s house is so pretty and the tablescape was beautiful. I loved the chocolate turkeys with our names on them for place settings.

After dinner, we always watch the Plaza Lighting ceremony on tv (& then we recreated it as we flipped my cousin’s outside lights on 😂)…Then, we usually play a game…This year, we played Empire, and had a great time.

Friday consisted of some online shopping , card playing, a nap…or two and turkey soup for dinner. My mom’s been making the turkey soup for years on the Friday after Thanksgiving. My grandma came over to have dinner with us.

I do not Black Friday shop…at ALL. I’m more of a Cyber Monday girl. Fighting the masses for things I can buy online has always sounded like 0 fun. I saw this on Instagram, & my 5w6 ring true!

Uno and coffee. Low key Friday
Hadley and Gma worked on their selfie game!
Both are so cute, right? 🙂

Saturday morning, we packed up, had breakfast at a local place, picked up Homer at my dad’s house and headed home.

Homer was our backseat driver!

I’m always sad to leave after a good visit, but it’s also always good to get home, get situated and ready for the week ahead…plus, we had a Christmas tree to buy and a Santa to see!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I hope you have a great week.

Thanks for reading,

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Posted in Holidays, Inspiration

Kindness

Happy Friday after Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday…great food, time with family, and no stress about buying gifts!!

As I wrapped up my November book review on Tuesday, I said, “Tis the season (to be stressed, to be tired, to be over-scheduled, but to hopefully also enjoy the holidays with family and friends)…” December is stressful. I know it doesn’t have to be, but no matter how many lists I write or how on top of it I try to be, there’s the time crunch of gift purchasing, cramming in as many traditions as possible, as well as just regular routines like school, work, and activities.

So, a couple of years ago, I pieced together some ideas from Pinterest as well as my own ideas for 25 Days of Kindness. You can find lots of calendars and lists, but I knew if this was going to be manageable for my family, I had to choose pretty practical ideas while keeping kindness and being helpful to others in the forefront of my kids’ minds. For example, we may not be able to volunteer at the Humane Society this month, but we can certainly wheel the neighbor’s garbage cans up!

Every year, we buy gifts for kids on the Angel Tree, and I love that we have that tradition. The 25 Days of Kindness allows us to teach our kids that it’s not only about the big gestures but the smaller ones as well.

  • Day 1 – Give someone a hug or a compliment
  • Day 2 – Let someone in front of you in line
  • Day 3 – Buy a friend or colleague (or teacher!) a cup of coffee
  • Day 4 – Hold the door open for someone
  • Day 5 – Give a friend or loved one your full attention
  • Day 6 – Tell a joke to make someone smile
  • Day 7 – Do something kind for yourself
  • Day 8 – Hide a happy note for someone to find
  • Day 9 – Donate unwanted books, clothes, toys to charity
  • Day 10 – Tape some money on a vending machine
  • Day 11 – Smile at a stranger (or 2!)
  • Day 12 – Let a car in front of you in traffic (or a person in front of you in line)
  • Day 13 – Write or send a thank you note to someone
  • Day 14 – Tell someone you love them
  • Day 15 – Pay for a stranger’s coffee
  • Day 16 – Give your teacher a gift to show you care
  • Day 17 – Feed animals (bird, deer, etc)
  • Day 18 – Do something unexpected for someone
  • Day 19 – Give a treat to your postal carrier
  • Day 20- Do a chore for someone else
  • Day 21 – Clean up a mess you didn’t make
  • Day 22 – Introduce yourself to someone new
  • Day 23 – Pick up litter in your neighborhood
  • Day 24 – Call a long distance relative
  • Day 25 – Reflect and record how much joy this season brought you

Other ideas:

  • Fill a bag of books to donate to the library
  • Write a nice sidewalk message with chalk
  • Make cards for nursing home residents
  • Mail a postcard to a friend or family member
  • Make a card for a school staff member
  • Collect loose change and donate it
  • Draw a picture for mom or dad
  • Help make dinner
  • Take supplies to an animal shelter
  • Pass out stickers
  • Bring up neighbor’s trashcans

I’ve done this where both kids have same kindness opportunity each day, but last year I had the list and let them choose (and then had them cross it off as to try something new each day). Are there days when we slack off? Yes. Are there days when we commit two or three acts of kindness to make up for lost time? Yes. The point is, kindness is made a priority during the hustle and bustle of the season…where, ironically, there are so many Grinches. Helping others is a focus that I hope doesn’t stop in December…but will also trickle into the new year and on and on and on.

This year, we’ve added a new act of service to our list. Next week, we are ringing the Salvation Army bells for an hour at our local grocery store. We are excited for that experience. (Well, I am…my kids have no choice ;), but I hope they are excited too!)

Have a great weekend! Next week is December…can you believe it?

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Posted in Holidays, Kids

Happy 10th Birthday

Today’s the day….the T W I N S turn T E N! I can’t even articulate how quickly these 10 years have flown by. They’ve been the best, the hardest, and the most rewarding years of my life. I’m so lucky to be their mom.

Their due date was December 18, 2009. We knew I’d probably never make it to 40 weeks, and making it to 36 weeks was a blessing. I will never forget seeing their faces for the first time. The second they showed me Hayden, I teared up; he looked just like Travis. The nurse showed me Hadley for only about 10 seconds, so then my tears were for a different reason. During the pregnancy, Hadley consistently measured smaller than Hayden, but we were still surprised that she weighed in at only 4 lbs, and who knew the extra 7 oz Hayden was carrying would be enough for 4 lbs, 7 oz Hayden to come home with us after four days in the hospital. The NICU doctor told us Hadley would be in the NICU for 12-14 days. Well, day 13, she joined us at home.

The NICU nurses told us that premature baby girls tend to be more of the fighters compared to baby boys in the NICU, so I take it as a blessing and a sign that if one had to stay for a bit and one got to go home, the right baby stayed put to grow a bit more and the right baby got settled in at home.

It was tough being away from her while also juggling a newborn at home. When we brought her home, the NICU nurse said she’d most likely be the more independent one who wound fend for herself. Well, that nurse couldn’t have been more right.

These two captured our hearts from the beginning and certainly still carry the same qualities and features that they’ve had since the day they were born.

Sweet itty bitty babies…

Who turned into chubby cheeked toddlers and sweet spirited little ones…

who continued to emerge into the best little versions of themselves…

In honor of turning 10, I thought I’d share 10 things I love about each of my kids.

Hayden

  1. His love of reading. #hegetsitfromhismama
  2. His passion for sports. (any sport, all the time!)
  3. How he pronounces Hawaii “who why ee”
  4. He’s an introvert who pushes himself out of his comfort zone. #anotherattributefromhismama
  5. His attention to detail.
  6. He is a wonderful teammate. Nothing makes me happier than seeing him cheer on his team or high five a teammate.
  7. His inquisitive nature.
  8. That he says to his mama, “Give me a huggie!”
  9. That he is a creature of habit.
  10. That he is a homebody. (and proud of it!)
  11. B O N U S–he lets me call him Boo 😉

Hadley

  1. There is no bigger helper on this Earth than Hadley.
  2. She has the biggest heart and a knack for knowing when others need some extra love.
  3. She is a loyal friend.
  4. That she is the best mix of both tomboy and girly girl.
  5. She’s energetic times ten…always on the move and enthusiastic about life.
  6. That she’s outgoing as all get out. #didnotgetthisfromhismama
  7. Her ability to find the beat in any song and dance to it (as if no one is watching–but we are watching because she’s forever creating new dance routines to showcase for us)
  8. Her love of scrunchies and friendship bracelets #daugtherofan80sbaby
  9. Her love for little ones.
  10. Her bravery…(for example, sleep away camp for a week this past summer…) #shewasmuchbraverthanhermama
  11. B O N U S–she lets me call her Sis 😉

Homer says Happy 10th Birthday!

Hayden and Hadley,

I know you probably aren’t reading this, but please know…

You guys are the best and make us all so proud. Keep being kind, keep doing your best, and keep being there for each other …and we can’t wait to continue to watch you grow into the best big kids and teenagers (#prayforme) in the coming years. How are you already double digits?!?! #thetwinsturnten

Happy Happy Birthday.

I love you!

xoxo, Mom

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Posted in Friday Favorites, Holidays, Kids

Friday Favorites: birthday party part 2

Believe it or not, it’s already Friday! I posted about the kids’ 10th birthday party with their friends for Let’s Look on Wednesday. I thought I’d wrap up the week with a Friday Favorites post that focuses on party #2 (family party)…because birthdays are my favorite!

I figured while the balloons were still flying, we’d go ahead and host our family for a small get together for the kids.

After the slumber party cleared out, I threw a couple of meals in the crock pots. Both meals I made were from Mix and Match Mama’s Simmers cookbook. I made the Chicken Tortilla Soup and the Potato Soup. Both are easy, delish, and serve quite a few people.

I also made salami/cream cheese/pickle roll ups and spinach artichoke dip for appetizers.

We love Nothing Bundt Cakes, so I was going to pick up one of their bigger bundt cakes for the family party BUT we had so much cookie cake left over from the sleep over party, that we decided to serve that. I did take the kids to Nothing Bundt Cakes for them to each pick a mini bundt cake for us to put candles in and sing Happy Birthday.

Hadley’s always big help with the decorations. We already had the balloons, so she helped me put streamers up wherever the kids wanted them. She also helped me put up the birthday banner. I made the banner when the kids turned three, and we’ve been using it every birthday since then…not sure if this will be the last year for it or not?

Every year, I order the kids a new birthday shirt with their age on it (again, this is probably the last year for it, but it’s been a fun tradition!) I did a Flashback Friday Favorites post on it, and it’s sweet to see them through the years!

This year’s shirts came from a shop on Etsy called ShopPsychobaby. They were cute, great quality, and arrived quickly!

The kids are saving for electronic items we will most likely never buy them (haha), so we kept it simple with the family party, and they received cash and gift cards.

Traditional bday shirts and 1-0 balloons
The birthday banner is hanging on !
Homer was excited for cake. He was better behaved during this party and didn’t eat any candles or lick any icing off the cake!
Happy Birthday time!

We had family from both sides as well as friends who we consider family to help celebrate.

crazy and cute cousins

That’s a wrap on the birthday parties. Their actual birthday is next week, and there are a few more traditions and surprises up my sleeve… #thetwinsturn10

Don’t forget to check our Narci, Andrea, and Erika’s Friday Favorites!

Have a great weekend!

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook Page: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Posted in Holidays, Kids, Let's look

Let’s Look: Birthday Parties- Part 1

This month’s Let’s Look is about entertaining ideas. Well, I just entertained twelve 4th graders last Friday for Hayden and Hadley’s upcoming 10th birthday….So…I thought I’d focus on that! haha

I still have one week to get used to the idea, but the twins are about to be 10…which I can’t even wrap my brain around. Where has the time gone?

I’ve always been big on birthdays, and I’ve always joked that my favorite holiday is my birthday (only to be corrected that my birthday is not actually a holiday 😂). So, with the kids, I have always made a big deal about their birthday. That being said, if I had two kids with two different birthdays or even a third kid, I probably wouldn’t have the energy to go all out like I tend to do. But that’s what moms do, right? Whatever makes the kids happy.

Once they turned three, I started hosting two parties….one for their friends and one for family. I just felt bad asking family to hang out at Chuck E Cheese as well as the fact that our house isn’t big, so having many adults and lots of kids, just didn’t seem like an enjoyable idea. Their friend parties vary year to year. With two very social kids (especially Hadley) who are involved in lots of activities, I’ve always had to cap their parties to a few friends. I’ve never been one to invite the whole class especially because they are in different classes…what would I do if 40 kids showed up?! haha.

I even went through a phase for a few years where I made homemade cakes for each of them…but that ship has sailed. Now, we order a cookie cake or ice cream cake and call it a day.

Shockingly, it was Hayden’s idea to have a sleepover, & Hadley wasn’t mad about the idea. Again, I always try to keep the number manageable and 12 kids wasn’t what I had in mind 😂 but the kids, and even Travis can be persuasive…and you know what? It all turned out just fine!

We ordered cookie cakes from Great American Cookie. Hadley chose the cutest cake with three girls in sleeping bags to stick with the sleepover theme. I thought for sure that Hayden would chose a cake with a basketball or soccer ball like usual, but he took one look at the cake with the white dog, and he thought it looked like Homer! They were very decisive about their cake designs.

Real talk: I took these pics before the guests came over. I like to have a little time with them before all the crazy ensues, and, yes…to get the cute non-chaotic pic too. BUT…good thing I did take the pics beforehand because while I went out to get pizza, Homer ate half of the ONE candle and we still can’t find the ZERO candle! Yikes.

Hayden wanted Homer to see a close up of his cake. Homer later took a lick off of the side of the cake while it sat on the counter (pushed back as far as I could push the cake…because we know how Homer can be!)

Kids are easy to please—pizza, chips, Capri Suns, and cookie cakes. I had picked up the T E N candles to use for the family party, and they came in handy as a back up.

After pizza and cake, we went to a local place called The Yard which is an indoor facility for baseball, soccer, and volleyball. I had never been there, but the kids have been there for indoor practices and sports evaluations, so Travis thought of the idea last week. It was a great way for them to burn energy. The girls passed the volleyball around while the boys played soccer. Then, Travis organized a few games of kickball…I was having flashbacks to elementary recess! Then, they all played one more game of soccer before we headed home a little after 9pm.

Fun crew!

Once we got home, the kids opened presents and then the boys went to the basement and the girls stayed upstairs. It must be all the rage to have a spa party in the 4th grade. Per usual, thank goodness for Amazon—nail polish, face masks, and eye masks, and the ladies turned back time and looked like they were 7 again!

Homer was the only boy allowed upstairs after 10 pm!

After the facials, the girls watched a movie while the boys stayed in the basement, ate chips, and watched a movie of the choice. (Pro tip: I put Homer’s bells that he rings to let us know he wants to go outside on the basement door handle…so I could hear the comings and goings of little people if they found themselves headed in the wrong direction!)

The kids were asleep around midnight and slept until almost 8! The girls would have slept longer had the boys not come upstairs. My friend texted me in the morning when I said they were still sleeping. She asked if I tranquilized them. haha…I told her I forgot to have the parents sign the waiver for melatonin! Actually, part of my strategy with the Friday night sleepover (plus taking them to The Yard) was I was hopeful they’d already be tired from the week!

Hadley’s sweet friend woke up as a 10 year old, so of course Hadley said her donut must have a candle!

Donuts, OJ, and apple juice for breakfast.

After breakfast, the girls painted their nails while the boys played football in the front yard…

Then, everyone gathered up their belongings as parents started arriving and I started prepping for the family party later on Saturday.

Overall, I’d say the party was a huge success…no drama, everyone slept at some point, and I think everyone had a good time! I sure hope they have wonderful memories of this sleepover party because it certainly won’t be an annual event! #thethingsyoudoforyourkids #thetwinsturnten

On Friday, I hope to share part two of the birthday celebration (family party!)

Don’t forget to check out Erika and Shay’s Let’s Look. Next month’s topic is Let’s Look At…gift wrapping station. (Not sure how much I will have to offer to that conversation as I am so unorganized when it comes to wrapping…and I don’t have a wrapping station!)

I hope you are having a great week!

Jen

Instagram: @showmeandsweettea

Facebook: Show Me and Sweet Tea

Posted in Friday Favorites, Holidays, Traditions

Friday Favorites: Traditions

What a crazy busy week it’s been…and I’m so glad that it’s Friday!

With a busy family and lots of activities, it’s the time of the year where I pencil in some of our traditions in order to make sure they continue! This got me thinking about some of our favorite traditions throughout the year….so I thought I’d share!

Winter

In December, we visit the Southern Lights at the Kentucky Horse Park. Even when I was a kid, we’d visit lights at a nearby park, and I continued that tradition once Travis and I started dating…and of course continued it when we had kids. I may be wrong, but since 2002, I’m pretty sure the only year we missed driving through lights either in Missouri or at the Kentucky Horse Park was 2009….when I had one month old twins. Apparently, I was too sleep deprived and hormonal to ensure the tradition carried on that year. When we drive through the Kentucky Horse Park, the kids usually have hot chocolate and popcorn while Travis and I have coffee. We enjoy seeing the same lights each year along with new ones they’ve added in. Pro Tip: Go on a weeknight (it’s cheaper) but even better…a Monday night…less crowded. There are activities to do inside, but my kids don’t even realize you can go inside! haha.

A few Christmas traditions include seeing Santa (of course), building a gingerbread house (from a kit—I’m no over-achiever!), and we usually take one evening in December to go out somewhere and let the kids pick a Christmas gift out for each other (to be opened Christmas morning) followed by dinner out at a restaurant. We also go together to purchase gifts for kids on Lexington’s Angel Tree.

We typically visit my family in Kansas City for Christmas. During that time, we make our family’s traditional German waffle cookies. The waffle iron was brought to the United States by my ancestors, and it’s over 100 years old (and very heavy!) Also, we try to visit the Plaza Lights in KC which was a tradition my family had when I was a kid.

Since the kids were little, on the first snow day of the school year (we usually have at least have one—and some years ten!), I make snowman pancakes. We always have pancake mix on hand anyway as well as bacon and marshmallows (for hot chocolate), so I just make sure to have a pack of M&Ms for eyes, nose, and buttons. I’ve even used a leftover candy cane from the holidays for a scarf. The kids always enjoy this breakfast, and we are all excited when we get an unexpected day off from school!

Another favorite tradition we’ve been doing for years is tubing at Perfect North with two of our favorite families. It’s gotten a lot more fun now that the kids can lug around their own tubes!! 😉

This Santa is always the best…and there’s always a long line!
The kids are almost too big for Santa’s lap…not sure how many years we have left.

Spring

In the springtime, I always look forward to St. Patrick’s Day. Growing up, we’d always have cornbeef and cabbage as well as Irish Soda Bread. So, I make all of that each year, and we all love it.

There’s nothing better than Keeneland Horse racing in April and October. We used to have all the free time in the world to go with friends, tailgate, and make a day (or two) of it at the track. Now, a free afternoon takes lots of planning, but we try to make it happen.

And…Travis is always super busy with work at Oaks and Derby time, but I enjoy going to Oaks Day with him. The city of Louisville certainly comes alive during that week.

Just like I take beginning of the school year photos, I also take end of the year photos as well. I clearly remember the last day of school when the kids were in kindergarten…unprompted, they high-fived each other by the school sign. So, of course, now I make them do that each year…they love me (hate me) for making them do it. Only a couple more years of elementary school (insert sad face). Even the school’s crossing guard knows I’m going to take the beginning and end of the year photos.

Then, we always go out to dinner on the last day of school with one of our friends. Considering how busy we all are, I really don’t know how we’ve kept this tradition alive, but I’m glad that we have.

Summer

When I was thinking of summer traditions, I totally blanked. We must not have very many, but of course, we go on vacation and also have a neighborhood get together at the end of the summer.

On the 4th of July, I always make red, white, and blue waffles. Easy and delicious.

Fall

Even though it’s 90 degrees when it’s time to go back to school, I still consider that fall. Back to school means my back to school breakfast for the kids. Of course, that’s when I get the first day of school photo too.

In the fall, we always make a trip to the orchard to pick out pumpkins and get apple cider donuts.

The families in our neighborhood try to get together to carve pumpkins a few days before Halloween. We hosted this year. Chili, hot apple cider, and parents doing all the carving…what’s not to love?

Once November hits, it’s all things birthday for Hayden and Hadley. I buy their birthday shirt and we start planning the party.

One More Tradition…

One of my favorite traditions is the “You are Special” red plate. We had one of these growing up that my mom would use for our dinner when we accomplished a goal, had a good day, or had something to celebrate. A few years ago, she bought one for my family, and I love keeping this tradition alive. This week, the kids each used it for dinner one day to congratulate them on a successful cross country season as well as good grades on their report cards. I put Trav’s dinner on it one evening as a thank you from the kids for being their cross country coach as well as for working so hard during the horse sales this month.

Real talk: I used to be much better about using this plate for celebrations, but sometimes I end up using it to celebrate many things at once because time has slipped away.

I feel like I’m forgetting a tradition or two, but I love keeping these traditions alive for my family. What traditions do you have with your family?

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

Have a great weekend!

Jen

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