In my opinion, Christmas traditions are what make the holiday so special. There is something in the ritual and the things we can always count on that make us look forward to these events. We have lots of traditions in my family. We decorate the tree as a family. We read Twas’ the Night Before Christmas and go look at Christmas lights every Christmas eve with my sister. We bake and decorate Christmas cookies ever year with my in-laws. The list goes on and on. These things are always so special and so much fun. They are the things I look most forward to every holiday season.
Another special tradition we do as a family is send out Christmas cards to our family and friends to let them know we are thinking about them during this special time of year. It always makes my day to receive Christmas cards in the mail, so my hope is that our cards will brighten someone else’s day as well. It is so nice to know that you are thought of.
This year, we had family pictures taken at a Christmas tree farm which was a first for us. I couldn’t have been more happy with the way they turned out. I knew immediately after seeing them that I needed to pick out a beautiful card to place our photo on this year. It was a no-brainer for me because I had just been perusing Minted’s holiday cards and fell in love with so many of them. There are so many choices and they are all beautiful. The one we chose definitely suited us and our photo, I think, but I also loved this one and this one. They were close second and third options. Now through December 14th, Minted’s holiday cards are
I received our cards in the mail earlier this week and was so excited and pleased with the quality of the cards and the envelops. Envelop thickness is a big deal to me. Who wants a beautiful card with a flimsy envelop? Not me. I definitely notice those little details and I was very proud to send these cards out to our friends and family! They also arrived very quickly, so if you are late ordering your holiday cards this year, definitely check out Minted!
Have you ordered your Christmas cards yet?
This post is sponsored by Gerber® BabyNes® but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
There are endless challenges to parenthood. What I’m learning is that as children grow, the challenges change but do not go away.
Time is and has always been the biggest challenge I face as a mother. I am constantly trying to figure out new ways to manage my family’s work life, social life, nutrition, fitness, family time, alone time with my husband, grocery shopping, paying the bills, etc. It can be too overwhelming if I really let myself think about it too long. With an ever growing to-do list and a jam-packed planner, I am always up for new time-saving strategies.
I recently heard of the BabyNes machine and while I have not tried it myself, I have read from other bloggers that it is wonderful. This is basically a Keurig for baby formula! How awesome is that? Gerber makes the machine and formula and so I feel confident about the nutrition and quality as it is a brand that I know and trust. I would love to try one! Can you imagine? Just pushing a button and the bottle being ready for you? Now that is a time-saving strategy I can get behind!
The BabyNes machine is powered by WiFi, so you can have alerts sent straight to your iphone, tablet or computer on info about your baby’s growth, nutrition and you can even get nutritional advice from experts! I love that! I think every mother could use a little extra time and this seems like a great option for making that extra time available. This would be a great gift for any new or expecting mother!
What do you think about BabyNes? Would you give it a try?
While we are finally experiencing cooler temps here, it is still very much ‘fall’ outside! I’m not complaining, but I am definitely ready to pull out my sweaters and winter coats. In the meantime, I am still over here hanging out in my stripes. H has enjoyed jumping in the leaves with his cousin this week and we finally decorated our tree! It is slowly but surly starting to feel more like the holidays. For that, I am thankful. This is my favorite time of year and we are making it extra special this year.
This week, I started wrapping a few of our Christmas presents and I am a lot closer to being finished with my Christmas shopping. I only have a few little things to buy and 2 more big presents. I’m hoping to finish up this weekend!
I found this adorable gold bar necklace from Emily Jane Designs a few weeks ago and had a fit over it! I have been looking for one that can be personalized with “H+S” on it for a long time now. I absolutely love this one because I can literally wear it every day with anything. It is also really great for layering. If I have more children, I can have their initials engraved on a longer chain and it will be perfect!
As for this top, I scored it at The Loft on Black Friday and it is SO comfortable! It’s loose and flowy and soft and perfect! I have already worn it
2 maybe 3 times. It has become my go-to when I’m in a hurry because it pairs perfectly with leggings, jeans and cords! Basically everything.
Do you have a go-to top?
This year, I thought Christmastime was the perfect time to take new family pictures. H just turned 2 years old and SR was 6 months, plus we really needed photos for our Christmas cards! It was a no brainer who to call. Allison has done all of our family pictures since Hamp was born and she has a way of capturing beautiful photos that are so simple and natural. Here are a few of my favorites:
Photography by Allison Hilyer
I can’t believe we have less than 3 weeks until Christmas! After spending all day Saturday decorating Christmas cookies and the cooler temperatures finally hitting home, it definitely put me in the holiday spirit! If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know how much I love shopping at small shops! Supporting small business owners is so important to my family because many of them are moms just like me who are trying to earn a living from home. I thought it would be fun to put together a holiday gift guide featuring their amazing work! I have had the pleasure of working with several of these this year and it has been so much fun!
Pacidoodle® and Paci Clip and Keep – I blogged about this a while back and SR still loves her. They are wonderful and would make a wonderful gift.
Baby Bows from Meghan and Julie on Etsy
Personalized Baby Blanket – SR still sleeps with hers every night and loves it! It is so adorable and has held up really well.
Monogrammed Burp Cloths – These burp cloths are precious and we use them all the time. I love having personalized one for when we are out and about or with lots of other babies so we can tell them apart very easily.
Freshly Picked Moccasins – These moccs continue to be my favorite baby shoes. SR’s first shoes were the little pink crib moccs and she looks so adorable in them.
A Custom Baby Romper – I had SR’s designed when she was about 1 month and I am obsessed with it! You can choose any fabric and they are beautiful and really well made.
Druzy Bangle from Lemon Sweet Jewelry on Etsy
Boss Mug from The Trendy Sparrow
Time for Cocoa Top from I Do Declare Boutique – I can honestly say it is one of my favorites and I wear it ALL the time.
Adorable Cardigan from Oakleigh Rose
This post is sponsored by Betty Crocker but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
One of my favorite holiday traditions is baking Christmas cookies. This tradition began our first Christmas as a married couple – 4 years ago and last year we got H involved by letting him stir the dough. This year, since I have my son and nephew, it was twice the fun! Betty Crocker made things easier for me this year. I loved running out and picking up the Betty Crocker Peanut Butter Cookie Mix and making these delicious Easy Peanut Butter Cookie Cups. They were a huge hit with my family.
This year, we thought it would be nice to box some up in our Ziploc containers and give some to extended family and friends. I think this was G’s favorite part! Or, maybe it was eating the cookies. While Hamp is still a little young to really appreciate baking, G was so into it. He loved helping me put the Reese’s in the cookies and was so proud of himself. We had so much fun baking these treats, but I will always remember this year’s Christmas with all of our family being together. It is loud and crazy around here, but we are getting settled in and loving all these babies running around!
This is definitely one of my new favorite cookie recipes. Betty Crocker knows her stuff, let me tell you! Her recipe calls for cocktail peanuts, but because I was making them for the kiddos, we skipped that ingredient.
Easy Peanut Butter Cookie Cups
- 1 pouch (17.5 oz) Betty Crocker™ peanut butter cookie mix
- Water, vegetable oil and egg called for on cookie mix package
- cup chopped cocktail peanuts (I skipped this ingredient)
- cup peanut butter chips
- 1 1/2
- tablespoons coarse sparkling sugar
- Reese’s™ miniatures peanut butter cups, unwrapped
- Heat your oven to 375°F. Place mini paper baking cup in each of 36 mini muffin cups.In large bowl, stir cookie mix, water, oil and egg until soft dough forms. Stir in peanuts and peanut butter chips. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Dip top half of each ball into sugar. Place one ball, sugar side up, into each muffin cup. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Immediately press 1 peanut butter cup into center of each cookie. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove to cooling rack to cool completely and enjoy!
Are you trying any new recipes this baking season?
Be sure to print your Betty Crocker Coupon and enter below to win $10 paypal cash to try a Betty Crocker recipe yourself!
This year, our Thanksgiving looked very different than most years. Due to a family situation, my brother and his kids moved into my parent’s house the same day we did – last Wednesday. It has been so chaotic, but also really fun. It has been stressful at times because there are so many people crammed into one house with all of our furniture mixed in with my parents. It is not healthy for this O.C.D. mama. Everywhere I look, there are boxes stacked. It has definitely been making me anxious, but I just keep reminding myself this is only temporary.
My mind has been all over the place. I’ve learned that once you become a mom, you become forgetful. When your 6 month old isn’t sleeping, it gets worse. Add moving in with my parents and acting as a mother of 4 this past week, it gets extremely worse. I am working diligently to get my brain back, settle in as much as possible and get organized so that we can get back into a routine. Hopefully, everything will be very manageable again soon.
Saying goodbye to our home on Saturday was a lot harder than I thought it would be. Maybe it was all the stress and emotions from the week, but I was so sad to say goodbye to our first home. We have so many wonderful memories there. We came home to that house after our honeymoon and brought both of our babies home from the hospital to that house. We had 4 amazing Christmases there and birthday celebrations. We watched Hamp’s first steps in that house and had lots of friends and family there for dinner and game nights. We will miss our home, but we are so looking forward to our next chapter. I am being very prayerful that God will place us where we need to be and that He will move in everything going on with my family. I feel His presence and know he placed us all here for a reason. We are all working together and taking care of one another. After all, that is what family does.
Have you ever dealt with a family emergency during the holidays?
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Garmin through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about vívofit 2, all opinions are my own
I have always been a very active person. I enjoy working out and exercising, probably because that is what I grew up doing. I was a competitive dancer and even joined my high school’s cheerleading squad. Back then, I thought I was constantly moving, but it doesn’t even compare to what I do now – chasing after a toddler and a baby. After running in the mornings, running errands, feeding the kids, getting them down for naps, blogging and writing, doing laundry and cleaning in the afternoons, cooking dinner, feeding the kids again, playing outside, bath time, and bedtime stories, I feel like I’ve run a marathon by 8 o’ clock every night.
Some mornings, it can be very hard to get up and exercise if my daughter has kept me up all night (which has been a lot lately). I have been losing track of my fitness and haven’t kept up with my goals as much – that is, until I got the new Garmin vívofit 2. I have been wearing this activity tracker for a while now and I have loved using the easy to use app and features. It helps me keep track of how many steps I take throughout the day and how any calories I am burning (anywhere from 1,900 – 2,300) per day. This helps me adjust my diet accordingly.
Because I am still breastfeeding, it is not only very important that I eat enough, but also that the calories I do eat are healthy calories. I have always struggled with my diet because I am a chocoholic. To keep me in check, I am constantly reminding myself that I’m not only feeding myself, but my baby as well. That puts my meals and what I’m putting in my body into a better perspective and it encourages me to eat better.
I love the vívofit 2 activity tracker because it is perfect for a busy mom on the go. It has a 1+ year battery life which is great because I don’t have to take it off to charge it. It monitors my sleep – which can be scary some mornings when I feel exhausted and look at my activity tracker app to find out that I’ve only slept 3 hours. It’s happened. The vívofit 2 automatically syncs with my phone and it is even water resistant which is awesome because there have been a few spit up/bath splashing moments that have happened while wearing it and it was totally fine.
In my first week of wearing this activity tracker, I found out that I sleep 3 to 5 hours a night. I take around 8,000 steps on days I do not exercise and I take well over 10,000 on days that I do. I’m working to get my step count higher so that I’m hitting at least 10,000 a day. I’m also hoping I can start sleeping more. This has been very eye opening and I love that it has made me aware of where I am physically and the areas I need to improve.
Do you wear an activity tracker?