Posted in Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites {#49}

I know I always say, “Hello and Happy Friday,” but today’s “Hello and Happy Friday” comes with the start of Winter Break in only a few hours. I’m so ready to take a break from bugging my kids about school work, checking my email, and staring at my imperfections on a Zoom call. πŸ˜†

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

Favorite Kid Quote:

On Sunday, when it was Hayden’s turn to clean out his closet, he kept asking me if certain clothing items were “memorabilia” because he hates getting rid of things…and knows I’m a sucker for holding on to certain nostalgic items. πŸ˜‚

Also, randomly, Hayden started calling his winter hat a “toboggan” or “boggan.” I know that in the south that’s what many people here call their beanie (or stocking cap as I would say), but I just thought it was funny that he was “looking for my boggan” the other day when I certainly don’t say that phrase, and honestly, neither does Travis.

Where I come from, a toboggan is a fancy sled! This has been a winter conversation ever since I met Travis almost 20 years ago and he called his hat a “toboggan.” I said, “What?! You wear a sled on your head?!”

Favorite Pic:

I took advantage of Narci’s sweet Santa photo opportunity earlier this week. These pics are just precious. This morning, my kids found our elf sitting by this one framed with a note: “Seven more sleeps ’til Santa!”

The magic of Christmas.

Favorite Clothing Item:

I rarely go into Old Navy. While I like the clothes and love their deals, the line to wait to check out is always maddening to me. Through the years, it doesn’t matter if I’m there in June or December, 10:00 am or 8:00 pm, two people in line or twelve…the line just always takes forever. Maybe Chick-fil-A could give them some tips! πŸ˜‚

So, I usually order online and just hope everything fits! That being said, I did go into Old Navy recently and saw these jogger pajama pants on sale. (looks like stock is limited) I snagged two for myself, and have been living in them. Just my style! I also love their thermal pajama leggings and have a few pairs that I’ve collected through the years as well.

Favorite Food:

I made a quick Trader Joe’s run this week and walked out with a few tins of my favorite snack mix and a couple of boxes of the mini gingerbread people. We plowed through our last box in a day and a half.

Favorite Moment:

The kids wrapped up their club cross country season at a national race last weekend. Before the race, we found out that Hayden made the all-area team and Hadley earned all-area honorable mention honors for their elementary running season (with Trav as their coach!)

On Saturday, they ran in the 11-12 year old races with kids from across the country. They ended the season on a high note with individual performances, and the girls team placed 5th in the nation!

Of course, I’m always proud of their effort, but the competition is fierce in these national races. There are kids who run hundreds of miles a week for training and compete year round. While running will most likely be something they continue to do in the future, we still feel that it’s important for them to be well-rounded and choose their activities. So, for Hadley, she dances, runs, plays volleyball. Hayden still loves baseball and basketball on top of running.

The lessons they learn by playing these sports and engaging in these activities are far more important than their performance. I never want them to get burned out at a young age with one activity, so we’ve continued to let them choose and add or drop sports as the years go on.

Other Favorites:

Jingle Jangle:

This could also have been a “favorite moment” because of the kindness of others. I’d shared on Facebook that I was sad to have missed out on Jingle Jangle at Trader Joe’s this year. Not even a half hour a later, a friend dropped off a tin of it on our front porch with their Christmas card. So sweet. (literally and figuratively!)

Frosty Fern:

I also picked up a couple of these “Frosty Ferns” at Trader Joe’s. They are so festive and fun.


Hadley helped me put out snacks for our mailman and the delivery drivers who frequent our doorstep!

Air Fryer:

No photo, but another favorite of mine is our new air fryer. Travis won one in his work Christmas exchange, and we’ve been using it quite a bit. I’ve only used the “frozen” setting so far, but it’s been the perfect way to make chicken nuggets, pizza rolls, or reheat a day old taco!

Pod Party:

The kids had a sock exchange and cocoa party at their pod this week. They had lots of fun and came home with some festive socks!

Festive Phone Wallpaper:

I’ve shared these phone wallpaper backgrounds before by @ashton.creates. She shares them in her stories to screenshot and use. This one is my current home screen on my phone.


Hayden’s 3 on 3 league wrapped up their short season last night. It was fun to watch them play and have some sense of β€œnormalcy” this winter.

The final game came down to the wire, but they remained undefeated!

Favorite Mom Meme:

While this one made me laugh, I am feeling pretty good about my Christmas present situation. Now, I just need to find the time to wrap!

Bonus Fave: Flashback Friday

Christmas 2009….and barely a month old!

Speaking of flashbacks…Hadley loves finding my old sweatshirts and wearing them. She often wears my 20 year old Mizzou sweatshirt from college, and has now added this cheer coach sweatshirt from my first year teaching in 2002. If you know me, you know I’m the farthest thing you’ll find from a cheer coach!! #nopepinmystep Oh, the things you’ll do to get your first real job!

Weekly Recap:

Here are my posts from this week in case you missed one…

What are your weekend plans? We are going see some more Christmas lights tonight and hopefully bake some cookies tomorrow or Sunday. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

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:


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!)


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.


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.


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.


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!


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


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,