2021 Update

Hello friends! I hope you all had a wonderful New Year. After the Holiday’s we took things slow and needed to catch up on doctor’s appointments etc. The kiddos went back to school and then had to quarantine for two weeks while their entire school had to shut down. So the boys’ were on distance learning which is always a struggle for us, but we managed to get through it again and they are back at school, Yay! However, this week was their first week back and we have had some really cold temperatures with snow so they have been on a two-hour delay each day this week and we are supposed to get a big storm tonight so I am thinking it is most likely going to result in a snow day!

With the kiddos having to be at home so much again we have added a few activities that they like to bounce from one to another. First up is the Paint by Sticker. Jordan and Jasmine loved doing these. Jasmine needed my assistance, but honestly, I enjoyed doing them with her. Jordan would complete one after another so I will be getting more of these to have on hand. Next up is this little jigsaw puzzle, this was more suited for Jasmine and she would complete all of the animals (the mouse is her favorite) and have such a sense of accomplishment on her face. The next busy/stem activity is the wooden geoboard. Jonathan and Jordan enjoyed this as it was a bit too challenging right now for Jasmine. I love to have things in the house that all the kids can enjoy and when one tires of one they can pass it down the line. I find activities that take them away from their screens are much needed since we are at home pretty much all the time.

So far this year I have been trying to do more reading, staying healthy mentally and physically. I just finished Educated and enjoyed it so much (highly recommend reading this memoir). Mainly, focusing on the things that are truly the most important which are my family and our health. Another thing that I want to try to do is just spend more time outside. I notice a huge change in everyone’s overall mood when we get outside. I know the winter months are challenging, but it is something that makes us feel better. Lastly, I made homemade bacon fried rice the other day and I have to say it was a close runner-up to take out. I used this recipe but tweaked it slightly as I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand. I feel in such a cooking rut at times so I enjoy trying new recipes occasionally. I would love to hear what you are cooking this Winter?

I hope you all are staying healthy and having a wonderful start to 2021. Have a wonderful week! XO

Merry Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas Eve friends! We have been busy crossing off things from our Holiday bucket list. We made gingerbread houses (that we hot glued first because in years past it has caused a ton of frustration) and decorated them, baked sugar cookies, and ate almost all of them already! We plan on baking Santa some chocolate chip cookies for this evening. We have been reading Christmas stories and added 5 more Sleeps ‘Til Christmas to our book collection this year (thank you Mimi), it is very cute and the illustrations are adorable! We drove around and looked at Christmas lights the other evening and Jasmine was so cute in the backseat, she was amazed by every house that put any lights up! The kids are excited for Santa to come tonight and we plan on soaking up all the Christmas magic.

Merry Christmas Eve! I hope you and your family have a wonderful Holiday! Sending lots of love, light, and happiness! XO

Holiday Scents

’Tis the Season friends to embrace the most wonderful time of the year. I know this year has been extremely challenging for everyone. Some have been hit much harder and I am praying for everyone for better days, but one thing that I have always loved about this time of year is the smell of this season. I mean it could be a comfort meal you always make this time of year, baking all the cookies and having your home smell like a warm sugar cookie, a real Christmas tree that fills your house with its aroma. All of these scents scream the Holidays and I love to associate scents with memories.

A few ways to get your home smelling like the Holiday season is by diffusing essential oils. I have been using oils for almost a year now and love them. Christmas spirit is so festive and smells so good! This has been in our diffusers all month!

Another way is making a dehydrated orange garland. I grabbed a couple of oranges, slice them about 1/4 in thickness, place them on parchment paper, and put them in the oven at 250 degrees for 2-4 hours. Once the oranges started browning I took them out. Tie them on some twine after the oranges dry, you can add a cinnamon stick to them or stick cloves in the oranges and hang it on your tree, above a window, or on your fireplace and it’s a pretty festive garland that smells so good!

Happy Holidays friends! XO

Christmas Time

Hi friends! I hope everyone is having a wonderful Holiday season. We have been slowly getting into the Christmas spirit and still have lots to do on our holiday bucket list. The boys will finish their last day of school on Thursday and will be on Christmas break for two weeks. We plan on baking sugar cookies, decorating gingerbread houses, driving around, and looking at Christmas lights. We are crossing our fingers for some snow! We have had mild weather so far, but there is something so magical about snow falling on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day! There is nothing cozier than staying in your pajamas, watching all the classic Christmas movies, and sipping hot chocolate while it’s snowing.

The kiddos are all very excited about Christmas. They are on the countdown and I can’t believe that Christmas is next week! I am looking forward to having all three kids home together and Jasmine will especially love having her brother’s home for the next couple of weeks.

I am wishing you all good health, safety, and peace during this Holiday season! XO

Thanksgiving Week

Thanksgiving will look different this year for many reasons. The obvious, the ongoing pandemic that we are all trying to survive and not having loved ones to celebrate with. Holidays are such a joyous time, a time of reflection of all our wonderful blessings, and reminders to be grateful, but they can be very difficult to get through when your loved ones are not there. This Thanksgiving will be especially hard, but as my Grandma did I will put on a brave face and show up for the kiddos. The boys have a short school week this week and will find out if they will be switching over to distance learning for awhile.

I like to have crafts lined up for the kids to do the day of Thanksgiving so that they can be at the kitchen table crafting, snacking, and just enjoying themselves before we eat our Thanksgiving dinner. Jasmine couldn’t wait to start coloring so I let her get a jump start since the boys are at school. We plan on making turkeys using cardstock, cutting out feathers that the kids can write all the things they are thankful for, and I printed off some Thanksgiving crosswords. If you need any Thanksgiving craft ideas search Pinterest!

Kids placemats old from Crate and Barrel similar here / Free Printable Turkey / Thanksgiving Advent Calendar old from Pottery Barn Kids / Stacking Crayons

I am so thankful for my family, friends, our home, and health. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! XO

Forever in my Heart

This past week my dearest Grandma passed away. She was 92 and spirited as ever. My Grandma played a huge role in my life and was always present. She showed up to all my sports events, we celebrated every Holiday with her (minus two Thanksgiving Holidays), and seen each other through the highs and lows. She was an incredible woman who endured many hardships but always wore a brave face. She was told she should never have kids due to her heart (she had five). She was strong and silent.

I have so many memories of my Grandma. She had the most beautiful touch on things. She always lived close to us growing up. I would go over to her house often. Her bathrooms were always my favorite, decorated in light pink and everything was elegant. She always had candy in her purse. She was an animal lover. We would always listen to Frank Sinatra, Andrea Bocelli, or Tom Jones on road trips together. I loved her baked cinnamon apples. When I was in High School my mother had to work graveyard shifts and I would wake up in the night and walk over to my Grandma’s, knocking ever so softly and she would always wake up and let me crawl into her bed with her no matter what time I came in the night.

When I went off to college my Grandma and I would write letters back and forth. I am so happy I saved her cards and letters. I love looking at her handwriting. During my second year of college, I was on a recruiting trip to play basketball at the University of Northwestern in Chicago with my best friend. We had just landed and met the basketball coaches that we going to host us for the weekend. I checked my cell phone and had several missed messages. I instantly felt something was wrong. I listened to the first message and began crying. I was informed my Grandma had a major stroke and they were uncertain of her condition. I knew I had to get back home immediately. I was at Northwestern for only a few short hours, but it felt like a lifetime. I booked the next flight out and traveled home to be with my Grandma. I honestly, had no idea what to expect but was frightened to think of my Grandma in any pain or affected by the stroke. After the stroke, it felt like a piece of my Grandma died. She was a different person. Her independent lifestyle was no longer an option for her. Once we knew that my Grandma would never live alone again (which she did for many years because her husband passed of cancer) my mother stated she would care for her. And that’s exactly what my mother did. She took care of my Grandma for seventeen years. She dedicated herself and made sacrifices in all areas of her life. My Grandma would not have lived as long as she did without my mother’s loving devotion to her. I am so thankful for these strong women that have influenced me in so many ways.

I have so many wonderful memories of my Grandma that I will cherish. I will miss you everyday. I will hold you in my heart forever until we meet again, XO!

First Snow of the Season

Over the weekend we received our first snow of the season! We had the most beautiful weather in October and it was starting to look like it would be that way for November, but we woke up on Saturday morning with snow all around and the Fall leaves still on the trees. Truly the most beautiful thing I have seen, fall leaves + snow! So magical.

The minute the kiddos woke up they immediately started to bundle up and they wasted no time heading out the door. They played outside all day. The boys attempted to make an igloo, they sledded, and made snow angels. We love snow days!

Have a wonderful day! XO

Hello, November

Hello friends! I can hardly believe that we are almost in Mid November. October flew by which makes me sad because it is one of my favorite months of the year. The end of October and beginning of November are always so busy for us. Jordan turned six on October 29th and between his birthday and Halloween, we are always extremely busy.

First, I want to share with you guys Jordan’s birthday. The night before his birthday Jonathan and I stayed up late decorating so he would wake up to a nice surprise. I got up early and got us doughnuts, he opened his presents, we had pizza for lunch and his favorite a Happy meal for dinner. We sang him Happy Birthday and ate cake! We had a great day celebrating with our family and loved every minute. Jordan is growing into a very kind, funny, and thoughtful boy. He loves to play with his older brother and never leaves out his little sister. He has a heart of gold and we love him so much!

Halloween this year was much different. We ended up putting a small display in our front yard/driveway on Halloween for the trick-or-treaters. We were unsure if we would get anyone. We blocked off our front door so people would not come to do the door. We made individual candy bags for the kids to grab. For our kiddos, we decided that we would not go around trick-or-treating, but planned a super fun Halloween scavenger hunt around our house and neighborhood for the kids. The boys loved it and were completely satisfied when they found the big prize at the end of the hunt, a huge bowl of candy for them to share. Also, we had the most beautiful weather on Halloween which was so nice! I didn’t take many pictures on Halloween but a few are below.

I hope you all have a wonderful week! XO

October Days

The past week and a half have been filled with highs and lows. We received a call from the boys’ school stating that someone in one of the Kindergarten classes tested positive for Covid so for extra precautions all Kindergarteners needed to self isolate for fourteen days. So Jordan has been at home doing distance learning and Jonathan is still able to go to school if he is not sick etc. I knew this year would be challenging and it has yet to disappoint, but we are just taking it day by day and remembering to count our blessings.

So over the weekend, we made these fun spider cupcakes that the kiddos thought were so cool. Pinterest has so many cute ideas for fun ways to decorate cupcakes or other Halloween goodies. When in doubt just make cupcakes and things will start to feel better!

It was beautiful weather on Saturday so we put some more Halloween decorations out in our front yard. We normally do a haunted house on Halloween but have decided not to do it this year which we are all bummed about. We have made individual candy bags and plan on leaving them in our driveway for any trick-or-treaters that come by. Also, we plan on doing a fun scavenger hunt on Halloween day for the kiddos instead of trick or treating this year.

Sunday our nice weather came to a halt! It was so cold so we made Italian tortellini sausage soup and looked at pressed leaves that we picked earlier in the week. I think we will make bookmarks with the leaves, stay tuned, and will share later once they are complete.

We have a busy week ahead with Jordan at home doing school, Jonathan going to school, and Jordan is turning six this week! I am still in disbelief, but we have party planning to do (we are just having it at home), a scavenger hunt to make still, and last-minute Halloween decorating. All while enjoying the last week of our favorite month! I can’t believe how quickly this month went!

I hope you all are doing fun, festive things this last week of October! XO

Homemade Play Dough and Halloween Doodles

Fall break is over and the boys are back to school. We had a nice time with them being home for the week and made sure to make the last weekend count. Friday night the boys camped out in our backyard (which I am completely shocked they lasted all night). It was relatively warm throughout the night and they had a blast! They attempted to on Saturday night, but I had to be the bad guy and made them stay inside once they both came in sniffling asking for more blankets. Parenting is a roller coaster of highs and lows, but at the end of each decision love and caring are always our goals even if the kids don’t realize it.

Anyway, on Saturday, we made some homemade play dough and created Halloween inspired goodies. I always use this recipe and added a few drops of essential oils to make the dough smell delicious! Homemade playdough is one of our favorite activities. Even though the kitchen is lightly dusted with flour for days, the mess is worth the fun!

We had blustery weather on Sunday so we read Halloween books, colored Halloween doodles (I came across this free printable here ), and watched some movies. Seriously, my favorite kind of day.

Ghosts in the House / The Cat at Night / Little Owl’s Night / The Scariest Book Ever / Jasmine’s beanie / boy’s beanie / Jasmines Boots / Boo and Pumpkin luminars Old from Potterybarn Kids

I hope you have a great week ahead! XO