Posted in Family, Holidays

KC, CoMo, and NYE

Hello!

Well, we all made it to school on time yesterday. Again, the schedule and routine will be good for us, but re-entry is always difficult!

Last week, I shared a Christmas recap, and today I’m sharing about out of town Christmas and the second half of break.

The four of us celebrated Christmas the morning of the 23rd.

We also woke up to additional snow and negative wind chill temps. We enjoyed our morning at home and then prepared to go out of town. Trav’s family always celebrates on the 23rd, and then we were headed to KC on the 24th. Honestly, we kept hearing about the road conditions, some parts of the highway shut down, and more. It takes quite the effort to pack up the car with luggage and gifts, but once we did so that afternoon, we decided to attempt the drive to Louisville. Let’s just say that I was outvoted. Slow and steady was the name of the game. What normally takes 1 hour 15 minutes took over 3.5 hours. Honestly, we didn’t have an issues, but we saw cars on the side of the road, came to a standstill a few times, and more. I was relieved to get to Trav’s mom’s house.

We enjoyed our evening with them…always good food, games, presents, and dessert. We woke up on the 24th, dropped off Homer (He was staying in Louisville), packed up the car, and hit the road to KC. Once we crossed into Indiana, there were no travel issues.

Once we got to KC, we unloaded the car, showered, changed, and got ready to go to my dad’s cousin’s house. I always “joke” that we drive eight hours west to then drive about thirty minutes more because he lives in Kansas. Some of my extended family I only see once (maybe twice) a year. It’s always fun to catch up, there’s great food, some exchange gifts, and play a few games. It usually is a late night after a long day of driving.

Christmas morning, we opened gifts at my mom’s and then went to my dad’s. KC was expected to get some freezing rain/snow Christmas evening, so we went to my Gma’s for dinner, but it was a little earlier that normal. We opened gifts, ate dinner, and then played some Bingo. My kids don’t always want to play games when we are at home, but they always do when we are in KC.

Then, we were in KC for two more days. Honestly, we didn’t do much which was nice. One night, I actually got 11 hours of sleep. I was beat. I always wish we did more, and some years we go to Union Station, the Plaza, or ice skate, but we didn’t do much because the weather continued to be so cold.

Hadley made crepes one morning, and then my aunt and Gma came over to carry on the waffle cookie tradition. We use the waffle iron that we think is at least 150 years old. It was brought over from Germany by my great great grandfather in 1898.

The kids are really good at making these.

Hayden and my mom completed a puzzle one afternoon, and the kids played Scattegories, Jr. with my mom too.

We usually drive home after four days in KC. The kids didn’t know it, but we planned on stopping in Columbia, Mo. (literally right off the highway on the way home) because my Tigers were playing the Kentucky Wildcats. Since Columbia is only 1.5 hours away from KC, and it was a 6:00 game, that meant that we had a bit extra time in KC. We had a slow morning, went and visited my Gma again, packed up the car, had lunch with my mom, stopped by to see my dad and then hit the road to CoMo.

Once we pulled into town, we told the kids why we were there, and they both were excited. We found a parking spot right by the quad, and went to see the columns and Jesse Hall. We stop through CoMo every few years, so while this wasn’t the kids first visit to Columbia, they probably don’t remember much of the last time they were there.

The weather was beautiful that afternoon. A lady offered to take our photo, and I was clearly outnumbered in the black/gold to my three in blue.

Travis and I met in Columbia. He worked for Mizzou’s athletic department as did I my senior year. For many reasons, I love Columbia, but meeting him was a wonderful twist of fate.

We walked around a bit before heading to get some food.

Unfortunately, two of my favorite places were packed, so we stopped for nachos and a drink before heading to the game.

After dominating against a ranked Illinois team the week before, Mizzou Arena was sold out! I hadn’t been to this arena in years, and it was all of our first time attending a game there.

All I was asking for was a competitive game…

…and it was even better than I’d hoped with a *dominating* win for my team.

I joke that my family should be thankful that I’m such a gracious winner!

After the game, we drove on to St. Louis to spend the night. We finished up the rest of the drive to Kentucky the next morning.

NYE

I’m not a big NYE person, but some of our friends host a progressive dinner. The friends’ houses are close together and in our neighborhood, and they’ve been kind enough to include us the past couple of years.

One house has apps, then another house has salads, then the main meal, a dessert house, and ringing in the new year house.

Another friend and I helped at the main course house. We had beef tenderloin, Brussel sprouts, and I made potato casserole.

The set up was so pretty.

The kids were in and out of all of the houses, and Hadley snapped a group pic for us.

Like I shared yesterday, we also drew three words as our “words of the year.”

These were mine:

It was a great night.

As an addition to yesterday’s post and my interest in Enneagrams, @ashton.creates had Enneagrams for the new year…

5…

  • Night in
  • Traditional food
  • Bed by nine
  • To do lists
  • Reflecting
  • Netflix

6…

  • Sparklers
  • Small gathering
  • Sparkling cider
  • Midnight
  • Goals
  • Dreaming

Most of these are pretty on brand for me I would say.

What are your typical NYE plans? January 1 sure hits different when I have to go to school on the 2nd!

Thanks so much for reading,

Posted in Holidays

All About Christmas…

fun, traditions, and festivities.

Happy Monday! How was your Christmas? We had a hectic but good one. Once school was out on December 16th, we started to pack in all things Christmas leading up to the 25th.

We baked cookies. Hadley made Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle cookies, and Hayden made Peanut butter Blossoms.

I joked that the Life Essentials class sure is paying off. They basically did all the baking on their own.

I picked up a couple of cookies from one of our favorite cookie decorators. This is always a fun tradition.

Last weekend, we went to a couple of Christmas parties. Travis and I went to one that our friends always host. Then, last Sunday, Hadley and I went to a mom/daughter pj and popcorn movie night with friends. Hadley insisted that we match, and we so happened to have similar plaid pj pants…and Merry and Bright sweatshirts.

The mom who hosted had fun socks, popcorn, hot chocolate, (and wine) for us to enjoy while we watched Spirited on Netflix. The girls lasted half of the movie, but the moms finished it. It was a great night.

We went to the Horse Park for Southern Lights.

Hadley made a gingerbread house. Again, times have changed…she did this all on her own.

Hadley also went to a cookie decorating class with friends. It was a fundraiser for a friend’s little sister’s Girl Scout troop.

The tradition continued with the kids picking out a gift for each other. I took Hadley one day and Travis took Hayden one evening to pick those out.

We had dinner out on Wednesday night. This isn’t really a tradition, but we planned ahead to make a reservation, and I’m glad we did. It was a nice evening out.

Once we got home, the kids convinced us to let them open their gifts from each other. We figured, “why not?”

Then, we watched Home Alone.

And enjoyed some cake.

Earlier in the day, I made Shay’s Peppermint Mocha Bundt Cake per tradition.

Speaking of Christmas movies, once break started, I got my movie watching game face on. I made a point to watch at least one Christmas movie a day.

I watched:

  • The Noel Diary (on Netflix)
  • Spirited (mom/daughter night)
  • The Holiday
  • While You Were Sleeping – Hadley watched this with me (and Hayden watched the last half) It’s one of my all time favorite movies, and Hadley had never seen it. While many may not think of it as a Christmas movie, it’s set during Christmas, and I watch it every year)
  • Christmas with You (on Netflix) – This one popped up in my feed. I crushed hard Freddie Prinze, Jr. in high school and college. This movie was cute!
  • You’ve Got Mail- Again, not really a Christmas movie but one I watch every year on break. Hadley watched it with me.
  • Home Alone– a family favorite
  • A Christmas Prince (on Netflix)
  • A Christmas Story– a Christmas Day tradition

Christmas Eve Dinner:

We had to celebrate our Christmas early, so I thought about trying something different and maybe just have appetizers instead of a full dinner. Hadley White wasn’t having that idea. So, we had our traditional salmon, Bob Evans potatoes, Caesar salad and then more cake for dessert.

Christmas Morning:

We had a nice “Christmas” morning. The kids slept in a bit. We opened gifts, stockings, and had a simple breakfast. Times sure have changed since the early wake up times with the kids along with Legos and Barbies for presents. That being said, it still was a great Christmas, of course.

I always look forward to Trav’s gift tags. He always writes funny things on mine. This year, Hadley elf helped him write them.

I didn’t know he’d ordered these watercolor images of the kids. They loved them, and I cried. We can’t wait to hang them up.

We had frigid temps and snow (like much of the country) so it was a good day to stay inside until we visited Trav’s family and then my family.

I always think of break as two halves – before Christmas and after Christmas. I really enjoy the week leading up to Christmas because we pack in the Christmas fun and traditions. Also, I like having the time to wrap presents, run errands, stay home if I want, watch movies, and more. After Christmas, it’s time to get organized, put decorations away, and at some point start thinking about school again. Anyway, I still have a whole week left of break, and we’ll make the most of it, I’m sure.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a great week ahead.

*Linking up with Sarah and Holly for Hello Monday.

Posted in Holidays, Let's look

Let’s Look

Hello!

Today, I’m linking up with Shay and Erika for the last Let’s Look of 2022!

This year, we’ve looked at:

  • How you organize for the new year in January.
  • What you eat in a week in February.
  • Your faves from high school/college in March. (I didn’t have a post that month.)
  • How you plan/do date nights in April.
  • Your hometown in May.
  • Go to summer lunches in June..
  • How you keep healthy in July.
  • How you do ‘every day’ cleaning in August. (I didn’t have a post that month.)
  • Organize your closet in September.
  • Select your Halloween costumes in October.
  • Where we shop for our moms in November (I overlooked the date and missed this post)

This month’s topic is: how you host holiday parties.

Well, my answer is short and sweet. I don’t. {😂}

I decided to take a twist on this topic and share how we holiday.

Holiday Parties:

There are always a few parties that we attend. Trav’s work always has a Christmas party that is lots of fun. It’s family friendly and Santa is there.

Our friends always host a party in mid-December with neighborhood and school friends’ parents. There’s usually a beer tasting, live music, a specialty cocktail, great food, wonderful friends, and more! It’s always a fun get together.

Through the years, we’ve also attended my work Christmas party when we can, cookie decorating with moms and kids when the kids were younger, ornament exchanges, various “cookies with Santa” and more. One party that I miss is our neighborhood Christmas party. We used to have a progressive one with one house for apps, one for dinner, and one for dessert. Covid killed that one, but I hope we can bring it back in the future. It was always so fun.

Merry Christmas x 6:

Here’s our Christmas break down…

For many many years, I didn’t miss a Kansas City Christmas. Even once the kids were born, we were able to go most years. The first KC Christmas I missed was 2009 when the kids were one month old. Obviously, it was the best choice to stay home rather than drive nine hours (longer with babies) in the car.

A few years ago, we started going every other year.

Anyway, on the years we went to KC, the kids would write a note to Santa asking him to come a bit early, and our elf would take it to the North Pole. We’d celebrate the morning of December 22nd or 23 depending on our schedule. Then, we’d head to see family.

On the years we stay home, Santa comes on Christmas Eve, of course.

Thankfully, this has worked for our family quite well.

That being said, when we do go to Kansas City, we end up having a total of six Christmases! Six.

  • We have ours at home.
  • We celebrate on December 23rd with Trav’s family (We do this every year regardless of staying home or traveling for Christmas)
  • In Missouri, we go to my dad’s cousin’s house for Christmas Eve.
  • We spend Christmas morning with my dad.
  • Christmas afternoon with my mom.
  • Christmas evening with my Gma.

See…six Christmases! It’s a blessing, but it’s busy.

Let’s Look:

There’s always a variety of food and activities at each of our Christmases…

Christmas at home:

For our Christmas at home, I usually make a nice dinner for Christmas Eve or Christmas depending if we are staying home or not. Hadley always request salmon, and I make the green beans everyone loves along with Bob Evan’s mashed potatoes. We always make Shay’s Peppermint Mocha Bundt Cake for dessert.

Again, whichever day is our Christmas morning, I still always try to keep it pretty simple with cinnamon rolls, scrambled eggs, and fresh fruit. There have been times I’ve made monkey bread or a breakfast casserole too.

Christmas Eve Eve:

My mother-in-law always has lots of apps, and we usually have lasagna for dinner. Then we open gifts, followed by stockings. She’s the queen of baking, so there are lots of dessert options!

Christmas Eve:

At my dad’s cousin’s house, we always look forward to the salmon appetizer as well as other apps. Another cousin always make bacon wrapped jalapenos which are a hit. We always have a nice dinner, a gift exchange, and then usually play a board or card game as a family. It’s usually intense. haha

A favorite is Left, Right, Center!

Christmas morning:

At my dad’s, we open gifts, have breakfast (usually eggs, bacon, and mimosas (for the adults)), and then watch A Christmas Story.

Christmas afternoon:

Once we get to my mom’s we open presents and stockings. Then, by this point, we’ve already eaten quite a bit over the last couple of days, so she usually just has some snacks for us. Typically, we watch another movie and I end up getting a nap!

Christmas evening:

At my grandma’s, she has a couple of appetizers, then we open gifts. After that, she always has a nice meal (sometimes prime rib!), and her table is always so festive.

Shew! So, that’s a little bit about how we holiday. Honestly, there are times I wish I took the initiative to host a party, but between the end of the semester at school, kids’ activities, and just the general busyness of December, it’s nice to celebrate with friends, but I just don’t seem to have the energy to host!

I can’t wait for the 2023 Let’s Look topics. Until then, I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season.

Posted in Friday Favorites, Holidays, Kids

Friday Favorites {#94}

Hello and Happy Friday! Well, we made it to the end of the week!

Today is the best kind of Friday…the last day of school before a two week break!

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

The kids both had a very busy Saturday last weekend. Hayden had his last club cross country race of the season, and Hadley’s dance studio had their Winter Showcase.

I missed Hadley’s first performance trying to get to Hayden’s cross country meet, but I was able to make it to her second performance. My mom was in town, and was able to see both her grand daughters’ performances.

Hadley performed in both a ballet and competition jazz routine.

Hayden was supposed to run at 11:00, but the race got pushed back to 12:30 due to the storms. I thought I could watch Hayden run, and then make it to Hadley’s second performance, so I tried to do both. Well, it’s a forty-five minute drive, and Travis warned me about the long line of traffic to park. Right as I reached the mile long line of cars, it started to rain again. Travis texted me that the race got pushed back again to 1:15. So, I drove all that way just to turn around in order to make it to Hadley’s performance.

This was a USATF National race with top runners from throughout the country…and these were the running conditions:

While I know Hayden didn’t finish where he wanted to, he still ran a great race. He gave it his all which is all we can ask for from our kids.

My mom was visiting, and brought the kids these hot chocolate bombs which, of course, were a favorite.

Then, they helped her bake cookies. This is definitely a favorite Christmas tradition.

On Sunday, my brother and sister-in-law hosted us for an early Christmas dinner.

The kids were excited to open some gifts! My mom was able to stay a couple of extra days and help with school drop off, pick up, schoolwork, and was able to see my nephew’s Christmas performance too.

Homer welcoming us home is always a favorite. He’s been such a good boy this year with the trees and ornaments.

Wednesday night, we were able to carry on with another favorite tradition. We drove through the Southern Lights at the Horse Park. I love this tradition, and it was the perfect night to see the lights.

Red has been back in action at our house…

He hasn’t been getting into too much trouble.

Hayden brought home this ornament he made in art class. The wooden Santa belt is the perfect addition to our tree.

Usually, I share a “favorite mom meme,” but this one seems fitting right now as a teacher:

Weekly Recap:

I was a busy bee blogger this week. There are my posts:

What are your plans this weekend? Hayden has a basketball game, I have a friend’s birthday party, and we hope to make time to let the kids shop for their gifts for each other!

Thanks so much for reading,

Posted in Holidays, Weekend Top 5

Weekend Top 5

Hello! How was your weekend? We had a really great weekend full of festivities, Christmas traditions, and more!

Today, I’m sharing all about our weekend. It was fun and festive from start to finish.

After school on Friday, I stopped by Trader Joe’s to pick up a few things. I was able to scoop up a few of our holidays favorites. The mini Gingerbread people are so good as are the Candy Cane Joe-Joes. The Step Up to the Bar Snack Mix is one of my absolute favorite items this time of the year. Also, I only recently learned about Trader Joe’s candles. I’d already picked up the cedar balsam scent, but was excited to see this little three pack of mini candles. This set includes: fresh currant, cranberry pine, and nutmeg! Unfortunately, I missed out on Jingle Jangle (again!) this year!

This weekend, we continued with two of my favorite Christmas traditions. On Friday, we picked out our Christmas tree at our favorite place, and then on Saturday we went shopping for our Angel Tree kids.

Friday evening, we went to our favorite Christmas shop to get our tree. The atmosphere is so cozy, and I always love looking at the directions and stopping by the fire place.

The kids borrowed Santa’s sleigh for a few minutes.

Such a sweet little place!

So, while we were there, Travis and I got into a debate about what size tree we usually get. I thought we got the 7-8′ size, and he thought we typically got the 8-9′ tree. Well, they pulled out a really pretty 8-9′ one right while we were having our debate. We went ahead and got it. Once we got it home, I think we know who won the debate! haha

Thankfully, Travis is part lumberjack, and trimmed the top (and few other spots) to make it work!

Typically, we go Angel Tree shopping as a family, but with a hectic weekend, we divided and conquered when we had time. Hadley and I went to Target on Saturday, and Travis and Hayden will shop later this week.

I love watching my kids pick out the gifts for others.

I’ve never put Christmas decorations out so late, but I really didn’t have the opportunity all last week. So, Friday night, after I finished celebrating my “I told you so tree win,” ;), I decided to pull out all the decorations and get started decking the halls.

While up in the attic, Hayden saw the Christmas village that my Gma gave me years ago. I’ve used it a few times, but never found the right spot. Hayden was adamant that we put it up this year, and I realized the buffet would be a perfect spot. We chose a few of the houses and people, and I just love the glow. It’s the first thing I’ve turned on the past two mornings!

My coffee table is another favorite spot to decorate.

Then, I pulled out some of my winter dishes.

I’m sure I will share my other decor in a future post. It’s always so much work, but I’m so glad to be able to enjoy it all for the next few weeks.

Hayden had his first basketball game of the winter season on Saturday. He’s playing with most of his team from last year, and they had a great game. Hayden had a few points and too many rebounds and assists to count. It’s been fun watching him grow as a player so much (literally and figuratively!) over these past few months.

Travis is the assistant coach on the team, and I love watching them together. Hayden does a great job listening to Coach Dad.

low quality photo, but bottom right they look like twins…

Saturday night, we went to Trav’s work Christmas party. We had lots of fun, the food was great, and it was good to catch up with some of Trav’s co-workers.

The kids obliged for a photo.

…and then Hadley suggested we all get our photo taken with Santa. I’m so glad we did!

We won the raffle for the “Movie Night” basket which included a DVD player with streaming capabilities, three movies, Grinch mugs and candy!

Also, our elf arrived this weekend. I wasn’t sure if he’d make an appearance this year, but the kids started to wonder where he was now that it’s December. There’s no mistaking our elf…He’s been Homered two years in a row. Poor guy is on his last leg!

Since our elf is getting older, I’m sure he’s maturing and won’t have too many antics like in the past. Here are some of favorite elf antics:

Sunday was a great day, so it deserves to be a “Bonus”! We started the day with church, then I had a hair appointment (yay!). Later, the kids helped pack food boxes at church, and then we hung out with neighbor friends for an impromptu dinner!

We ended our day putting the ornaments on the tree.I think it turned out so pretty!

Over these next weeks, I hope to try to slow down and enjoy this holiday season. I know we’ll blink, and it will be Christmas Day.

This week is full of link ups! Prime Purchases, Let’s Look, and Friday Favorites.

I hope you have a great week.

Linking up with Heather and others!

Posted in Holidays, Monthly Musings

Monthly Musings

Hello! How’s your week been? I’m so happy that it’s Thursday. We are so close to the weekend!

Since Thanksgiving is next Thursday, Patty and Holly are doing their Monthly Musings link up today, and I’m joining them!

This month’s topic is: Holiday Preview 2021

1. Share your favorite holiday traditions:

We have so many favorite traditions like:

Seeing Santa,

attending Christmas parties,

and baking cookies.

We also go to the Horse Park lights, shop for the Angel Tree, and I hold on to the time honored tradition of mothers making their kids dress up for Christmas cards.

2. Do you see any holiday lights? Driving tour, park, festival?

I’ve shared before that as a kid, most holidays seasons we drove the park lights. Once I moved to Lexington, Travis and I started that tradition as well by going to Southern Lights at the Kentucky Horse Park. The only year we’ve missed since 2004 is 2009 when we had two one month olds!

There’s also a house in Lexington that a must to drive by.

Then, last year we went to Mustard Seed Hill for the first time, and it was a fun experience.

3. Favorite holiday recipe?

We do lots of baking around the holidays, but Shay’s Peppermint Mocha Bundt Cake is my fave! I make for dessert for our Christmas dinner at home every year.

4. Must have holiday fashion staples?

I’m not much of a fashionista, but I love a plaid shirt!

2018

5. Any special or extra festive plans this year?

I don’t think we have anything extra planned. We are pretty good about traditions, but we’ll see what pops up in December.

6. Best holiday planning tip?

Make a list and check it twice! As far as gifts are concerned, I started keeping a note on my phone for gift ideas all year long. Also, last year was the first year that I shared an Amazon list with family for ideas for the kids. That worked out nicely because once a gift was purchased, it was taken off the list.

7. Favorite holiday movie?

I love watching Home Alone. I have on my list for us to watch the new Home Alone (Home Sweet Home Alone) at some point in December or even after the hustle and bustle of the holidays.

As a tradition, we always watch A Christmas Story on Christmas day. I can’t wait.

8. Die Hard…Christmas movie or not?

I’ve never seen it, so I have no clue! Randomly, when I was watch Love Hard last week, this was a topic in the movie!

9. Tree/decorations up before or after Thanksgiving?

I will let this recent picture speak for my answer!

Really though, last year was the first year I put up the pencil tree in November. This year, I put up two pencil trees, one in the sun room and one in the living room until we get our real tree after Thanksgiving.

I do try to decorate for Christmas the weekend before Thanksgiving because it takes so much effort. That being said, I’m not sure if I will meet that goal this year as this upcoming weekend is proving to be a busy one.

2020

10. Do you celebrate other holidays in December?

No, but my kids went to a pretty diverse elementary school, and during those years, their teachers would do units of study on other cultures and holidays. I always loved hearing my kids share what they learned during that time.

I love the Monthly Musing link up. I can’t wait to see how others answered too!

See you back here tomorrow for a very special Friday Favorites.

Posted in Currently

Currently

T-minus two days until Winter break! Per usual for this time of the year, I feel like we’re hanging on by a thread over here! I always say…”Tis the season…for mom to lose her mind!” 😆

The weather went from beautiful to soggy and dreary in a matter of a day! I think that’s making us all feel extra tired and just ready for a break!

Today, I thought I’d share a quick Currently post about what’s been going on around here!

I’m currrently…

Appreciating:

Travis! He gave Hadley and me this Mary Kay 12 Days of Christmas gift set. I have two friends who sell MK, so he purchased one for Hadley and me as well as one for each of his sisters (and their daughters). Travis has always been a great gift giver! Also, Hadley has already opened all 12 days! 😂

Giving:

Teacher gifts! We gave the pod teacher a gift card to one of her favorite local stores. Then, the kids dropped off gifts for their teachers yesterday at school (front office). I’d had these zip pouches saved on my Etsy app as an idea for teacher gifts. They turned out so cute, and I put some sticky notes and felt tip markers in each one. The kids each wrote a card to their teachers, and those notes are always sweet and fun to read. I was happy to support small businesses during this holiday season.

Loving:

The generosity of others! This time of the year tends to bring out the best in people, but I feel like people have been extra generous in 2020.

From food drop off for God’s Pantry, clothing donations, Angel Tree gifts, and dinners for families in need at school, I love seeing the community come together to spread joy and happiness in such a trying time for so many.

Watching:

Baking shows! Like last month, I just love to watch these holiday baking shows on the Food Network. I enjoy them like some people enjoy Hallmark movies!

Reading:

Two books…I’m currently reading Holidaze on my Kindle and 25 Days ’til Christmas from the library. I usually have one Kindle book and one paperback book I’m reading. I’m enjoying both of these books, and they are certainly sweet Christmas books to read in December.

Supporting:

UPS workers! Travis did the shopping, and Hadley helped me put this basket together for our mailman and the other workers dropping off packages. I printed the sign from Etsy! (only 99 cents!)

Reminiscing:

About the kids looking out window in 2011. I love when this picture pops up in my Facebook memories, and I loved those pjs with their names on their bottoms.

Prepping:

The final touches of Christmas for our elf. He moves every night, leaves little sayings on our sign, gives little gifts, or just does something silly. He likes to have a plan for his visits!

He always leaves a bag of Reindeer Food: oats, glitter, and this cute poem for the kids to find the morning of December 24th.

Feeling:

Like Homer…so tired 😂

Laughing:

At this meme…

I know the postal service is overworked. I saw someone share a photo of a process room at a post office, and it was slammed.

My Christmas cards that I ordered on November 30th finally arrived yesterday. According to tracking, they’d been in Kentucky since December 9th, so I tried not to lose hope that they’d arrive on my doorstep! I was afraid I’d have mark out, “Merry Christmas” and write “Happy New Year!”

I guess it still might be a good idea because who knows when I will get them out or when others will receive them!

So, there’s a little glimpse of what’s been going on around here. See you back here tomorrow for my last Friday Favorites post of 2020!

Take care,

Posted in Holidays, Tuesday Talk

Tuesday Talk: Holiday Edition

It’s Tuesday Talk day with Ashley and Erika. For this linkup, we can chat about any topic we’d like to focus on for the post! I’m linking up with them again this month to focus on a little this or that and favorites for the holiday!

So here we go…

I’ve seen so many this or that posts shared in Insta Stories, so I thought I’d snag one and share my thoughts.

template c/0 @brewedtea4you
  • Christmas music or Christmas movies: I love Christmas songs while driving in the car, but I’d say I prefer Christmas movies during the holidays.
  • Store bought gifts or handmade gifts: Well, I love to buy gifts for others especially with the help of Amazon and Etsy. That being said, I love nothing more than receiving a handmade gift…especially from my kids!
  • Egg nog or spiced cider: Egg nog all the way. When the kids were little, my dad started calling it “Christmas milk,” so that’s what they still call it. Hayden tends to hog the egg nog at our house!
  • Gingerbread or sugar cookies: Gingerbread cookies for sure. I feel like we can have sugar cookies anytime!
  • Real tree or fake tree: We used to always have a fake tree, but I’ve come to love the tradition of getting a real tree. I love how the scent of the tree fills our home for a few days…even though sometimes it sends my allergies into overdrive!
  • It’s a Wonderful Life or A Christmas Story: Christmas Story for sure. We always watch it on Christmas Day.
  • Elves or Snowmen: Snowmen are so cute!
  • White lights or colored lights: I like the glow and simplicity of white lights.

A few of my….

Favorites:

  • Favorite Christmas movie: Home Alone or A Christmas Story
  • Favorite holiday scented candle: Bath & Body Works: Winter
  • Favorite Christmas tradition: As a kid: driving through the Plaza lights in Kansas City with a stop at Winstead’s for a burger and a shake. As a parent: My kids wearing their Christmas pjs and then exchanging gifts that they picked out for each other on Christmas Eve.
  • Favorite Christmas song: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and Let it Snow
  • Favorite Christmas ornament: An ornament we received for our first Christmas in 2005 after we got married and the kids’ first Christmas (2009) under the tree. We purchased one of these ornaments for all of our family members.

So, there’s a little peek at some of favorites in regards to Christmas. How do we only have ten days left until the big day?! Thankfully, I’m finished with shopping except for a gift card and a stocking stuffer or two! What are some of your favorites about Christmastime?

Don’t forget to check out the other ladies’ posts! Thanks so much for reading.

Posted in Holidays, Not Just a Mom

Not Just a Mom: Special Holiday Traditions

Hello and Happy Monday! How was your weekend? Compared to last weekend, we had a relatively low-key couple of days. The kids had a cross country meet on Saturday, but Sunday I pretty much stayed in my pajamas all day. Travis was kind enough to pick up our grocery order while I did things around the house…including purging the kids’ closets! We only do this a couple times a year, but I dread it so much! I’m glad to have that checked off my list.

We are counting down this five day week and ready for a couple weeks off! Breaks is right around the corner.

Today, I’m linking up with Lauren (and others!) for their Not Just a Mom series.

This month’s topic is Special Holiday Traditions.

I grew up with some holiday traditions like seeing the Plaza lights in KC, ice skating at Crown Center, picking out an ornament at Hallmark, baking cookies, seeing Christmas lights, and more!

So, needless to say, I have now made quite a few traditions for my kids to celebrate the holiday.

Here are some of our family traditions:

Santa:

We take the kids to see Santa every year. When they were little, we didn’t take them. Once they were two to five years old or so, they’d see Santa at my school Christmas party or Trav’s work party.

Then, in 2016, we started getting a real tree, and see the perfect Santa while doing so. Our club also hosts a Cookies with Santa party, so we attend that most years. Lastly, one of our friends has hosted a Santa at her house every other year, so the kids have had plenty of opportunities to share with Santa what they hope to receive for Christmas.

2020 Santa Visit:

Santa visits through the years…

Elf on the Shelf:

Our elf, Red, has visited us since 2012. I’m not sure how many more years he will visit, but he’s always fun to have around.

Bake Cookies:

We always receive lots of cookies from my mom. When those are gone, we bake some cookies to get use through the second half of December 😉

This year, my mom visited, and had quite the crew to help with our traditional family cookies.

Cooking baking through the years…

I will say my kids are at a great age (and have been for a couple years) where they are big help in the baking process.

Southern Lights:

I grew up going to the Plaza lights as well as driving through park lights, so Travis and I have continued that tradition through the years. Even when we were dating, we drove through lights in KC or Columbia. Once I moved to Kentucky, we started going through the Southern Lights at the Kentucky Horse Park.

We’ve realized through the years to go on a Monday or Tuesday night early in the season when it’s less crowded. Also, they have indoor activities, but my kids still have no clue about the inside activities. haha

Angel Tree:

We always choose a family from the Angel Tree to buy gifts for in early December. This used to be something I would just do, but the past few years, I’ve found it to be important to take the kids along with us to choose the gifts. I feel like my kids are pretty aware of others’ needs, but having them participate in the act of buying for those in need is something that I obviously hope they remember all year long and not just around the holidays.

PJs and Gifts:

I always give the kids Christmas pajamas as one of their birthday gifts in November. When they kids were probably three, we started taking them to pick out a gift for each other. I remember when they were little, we’d barely make it to the car before they’d tell each other what they picked out. haha

We usually let them open it on Christmas Eve before going to bed. It’s always fun to see what they pick out for each other. They know each other pretty well. 😉

Gingerbread House:

One of our traditions has been decorating gingerbread houses. Some years, the elf brings one and other years I will get one for them to decorate. The elf usually hot glues the house together for them to find in the morning and then we’ll decorate it in the evening.

The past couple years, they’ve each had a house to decorate, and it’s a fun activity…as long as the house doesn’t collapse!

Decorating through the years…

The kids decorated their houses on Saturday night. Again, it’s fun to be a part of that process, but it’s nice they are old enough to decorate on their own. Unfortunately, Hayden’s house imploded and then one of the walls fell on the floor and broke. So, he just decorated the roof while eating bites of gingerbread as Hadley finished up her house.

Hayden ended up decorating the gingerbread man and tree that came with one of the kids.

When I took the pic of Hayden’s roof, he made this face (bottom right) to demonstrate how he felt about the house collapsing!

For once, we couldn’t blame Homer for the destruction, but he sure was tempted by the icing and the treats!

So those are some of our special holiday traditions. While the holidays are such a hectic time, I’m glad we have these traditions, so that we can spend time together as a family even during the busyness of the season.

What are some of your favorite holiday traditions??

2021 link up:

I’m excited to join the Not Just a Mom link up starting in January 2021! I joked with the ladies that I felt like I was invited to the cool kids’ table at lunch! haha. I’ve very excited to join this link up. If you are a blogger, make sure you join us on the second Monday of the month too!

Here are the 2021 topics:

That’s a wrap on our special holiday traditions! I know this holiday season looks different for everyone, and while, at times, that makes be feel anxious and even sometimes sad, I’m trying to focus on the things I can control like some of these traditions. Christmas cookies help ease the anxiety as well!

I hope you had a great weekend! Don’t forget to check out the other ladies’ posts!

Thanks so much for reading,

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…) 😂

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.