Thoughts for Thursday: Life Lately

Happy Thursday before Christmas Friends!  Sorry to get my post up late but I've been so busy lately I didn't sit down to write it until today.

December has been exhausting but so much fun! The kids are loving Christmas this year and I'm soaking up every moment of it with them.   For the first time ever we actually liked Santa Claus!

The local mom's club I'm in hosts a Christmas party with Santa every year and this year we were lucky enough to get a professional photographer to take pictures for us!  This Santa is so good and the pictures turned out so well.  

Miller's preschool does the Christmas program "Fit for a King" for the four year old class and Miller was one of the donkeys.  It was sooooo cute and so much fun to see him up on stage.  The three donkeys had a line together and they did such a good job.  

We went out last weekend to celebrate a friend's birthday. I wore my new Spanx faux leather leggings and they're amazing!  If you've been considering getting a pair I highly recommend them.  They suck you in but they're still super comfortable that I've been wearing them for everyday errands too.  

If you're local I love taking my boys to the B&O Railroad museum in Baltimore but this time of year is really special.  They have a bunch of model train Christmas towns set up that keep the boys fascinated for hours.   

Also Miller asks to wear sports clothes all the time now :( he's growing up too fast 

I'm finally almost finished all my wrapping and I finally got to watch my favorite cheesy Christmas movie, 12 Dates of Christmas last night.  

I can't believe Christmas is only 4 days away!! Are you all ready?  

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Gift Guide for Her

For today's Thoughts for Thursday I decided to round up some gift ideas for the women in your life whether it's your sister, mom, mother in law, best friend, or yourself ;). There is a little something for everyone.  

one // two // three // four // five // six 

One. Luggage- I've been using Kyle's old luggage for traveling the last few years and I think it's time for an upgrade.  I love this set from Mark & Graham and while I love the white I think the navy blue would be more practical for getting thrown around an airport.  

Two. Beautycounter Winter Jewels Palette- how gorgeous is this limited edition palette from Beautycounter?!  I think this would make a great gift for any of the women in your life. 

Three. Canon Rebel T6i camera- Santa is bringing me this exact camera this year!! I've been wanting a DSLR for awhile but have been nervous about getting one. I finally decided that I really do want to be able to take better pictures of my family and friends so I'm giving it a try. I was able to snag this one sale at Target! 

Four. Cotton Dreamy Pajama Pants-  I bought a pair on Cyber Monday sale and they're amazing! I now want them in every color. I think they would be a great gift for a new mom who wants to be comfy but also look cute around the house.  

Five. LL Bean Wicked Good Moccasins- These are the best slippers ever! I had these on the men's gift guide yesterday because they're that good!  I got these for Kyle and I a few years ago and we pretty much wear them every single day when we're home.  

Six. Kiehls Original Musk Body Lotion- This is my most favorite body lotion and makes such a great gift! It smells so good but without being overpowering. If I wear this I usually forgo using any other perfumes because the scent is so good.  

Seven. Bareminerals Buttercream Lipgloss in Snarky-  I just got this lipgloss on the suggestion of a friend and I'm obsessed! It's the perfect day time color and looks good with different skin tones and hair colors.  

Eight.  Instant Pot- for any of the women in your life that love cooking I've heard this is a game changer! I have this one on my wish list and think it would help make my cooking a lot easier and faster- which is the goal with two small kids. 

Nine. Longchamp Large Tote- these are the best totes ever and I think everyone should have at least one of these, if not more.  

Ten. Tassel Earrings- How could you pass up these adorable blush pink tassel earrings? Such a fun piece to dress up any outfit 

Eleven. Ugg Mini Bailey Button Boots- I've talked about these a few times this fall but I really need a new short pair of Uggs.  I have a tall pair but they look so sloppy now that I thought these would be good to wear with leggings around town.  

Twelve. Nest Bamboo Candle- A go to gift of mine! These candles smell so good and the Bamboo is one I love all year

What's on your wishlist this year?  

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Gift Guide for Him

I feel like everyone says this but do you agree that the men in your life are so hard to shop for?!  I do! I swear they're always the last ones left on my list.  I've been trying to be better this year with coming up with good creative practical gifts.

one // two // three // four // five // six // 
seven // eight // nine // ten // eleven // twelve 

One.  Patagonia Vest- My husband loves vests so I thought investing in a Patagonia this year would be a great Christmas gift. The are warm and will last forever.  

Two. Yeti Ramber Colster-  Keeps beer cans or bottles cold for up to 12 hours! I'm pretty sure every man (or woman) needs one of these 

Three. Leatherman Wave Tool- You can't ever go wrong with a Leatherman tool for a guy. I mean   this one pretty much does everything you could want it to.  This version with a few less gadgets and a more affordable price tag might be a good stocking stuffer too.  

Four. Nixon Leather Watch- If you're looking for a nice look affordable watch I love Nixon watches! They have a great price tag but look much more expensive.  

Five. North Face Tech Gloves- I just purchased these for Kyle and I'm so exited about them.  He rides the train to DC everyday and has to wait outside so I thought these would be perfect so that he could stay warm but still look at his phone while he waits.   

Six. Cashmere Scarf- You can't ever go wrong with a warm cashmere scarf! 

Seven.  Argyle Socks- I love the fun colors of these socks! Kyle always needs new socks for work and I love get bright colored ones to just add something fun to his rather boring work attire ;) This website I just found Ties.com has so many fun socks and ties for the men in your life! 

Eight. Charger Organizer- Since my husband travels a lot I thought this would be helpful in keeping all of his cords organized for his phone, iPad and Kindle.  

Nine. Grill Tools- It's always nice to get a new set of grill tools every few years and these are affordable but have great reviews.  

Ten. LL Bean Wicked Good Moccasins- the BEST slippers ever!! Seriously get a pair for your man and yourself.  

Eleven. Yeti Cooler-  This is such a great cooler. My brother in law has one which we use every summer to transport all our soda, beer, and cold food to the beach with and everything stays cold even in direct sunlight! The cooler doesn't leak at all either. 

Twelve. Bose Bluetooth Speaker- I love the sleek look of this bluetooth speaker.  We use ours to play music from Alexa or our cell phones and we can easily move it all over the house.  

Anyone agree with me?  Have you finished your Christmas shopping?  What about your husband, boyfriend, Dad or Father in law?  

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Thoughts for Thursday: Life Lately

Hi Friends! Just wanted to pop in here and share what we've been up to lately.

We decided to get two real trees this year.  One for our family room and one for our sunroom.  The one in the family room is dedicated to all of our family and kid friendly ornaments that have meaning to us. The one in the sunroom is a 9ft tall tree which I'm going to decorate in red, white, and silver ornaments.  I'm still waiting for a ribbon to arrive from Amazon so I can start decorating it.  

And since I'm officially Christmas crazy this year I have a third tree. Yes a third tree. We have a faux tree that we've had since 2008 that I wanted to put up in our living room. When I pulled it out it was a little sad looking and half the lights were burnt out. So that tree went to the trash and my crazy self drove to Walmart for a new tree.  I ended up getting this one below:

It's not the greatest looking faux tree but it does the job for now! I'm decorating this one in mercury glass, clear, and gold ornaments.  I'm loving the way it's turning out, I'm not done yet and still need to tweak a few things. I'm hoping to put together a holiday home tour post once all my decorations are up.  

The boys are so excited for Christmas this year. This is the first year I think they both really understand the holiday so it's been fun reading them books, picking out our Christmas tree, helping to get the decorations up around the house, and of course carrying all the packages inside every day. I'm pretty sure Miller thinks the UPS guy is Santa Claus ;)   

We prefer dino jammies over Christmas jammies 

Our elf "Elfie" is out for the season.  Miller absolutely hates him and wants him to just go home and get out of our house.  I think he's a little creeped out that a "stranger" is living with us, ha! He does enjoy looking for him every morning.  I'm definitely from the camp of lazy elf and this picture about is about as creative as I get!  

I hope you all are enjoying the holiday season with your family and friends!  



Thoughts for Thursday: Our Favorite Christmas Books

Happy Thursday Friends! Today I wanted to pop in and share some of our favorite Christmas books with you all.  These are books that my boys have loved over the past few years along with a few that we have added in this year.

1. Bear Stays up for Christmas- Miller loves the Bear series books and the Christmas one is so cute! Bears friends help him to stay up and enjoy the Christmas holiday with them since he's usually hibernating.  

2. Little Blue Truck's Christmas- this is another favorite as most boys I know LOVE the Little Blue Truck series and the Christmas one is so cute.  It helps with counting and recognizing numbers and ends with a light up Christmas tree at the end that my boys love.  

3. Merry Christmas Stinky Face- My boys love the book I Love you Stinky Face so I had to get the Christmas version this year and so far it's a hit.  The boys think all the scenarios the little boy comes up with for Santa are hilarious.  

4. Duck and Goose It's Time for Christmas- I love the Duck and Goose series.  They're simple, short and too the point and the Christmas one is fun.  My boys love to yell It's time for Christmas at the end!  

5. Richard Scarry's The Night Before Christmas- We love love love Richard Scarry's Cars Trucks and Things that Go so I knew the boys would love the Christmas book by him.  

6. Goodnight Christmas- The Goodnight series is another series we're huge fans of so we had to get the Christmas version.

7. The Berenstain Bears The Joy of Giving- I just ordered this one for the boys. As they get older I really want to make sure I do a good job of instilling in them that Christmas is more than just getting presents for themselves and that they can find joy and happiness in helping and giving to others.  

8. Dinosaur Christmas- this is another one I just ordered because I know they will flip for a dinosaur Christmas book! I'll let you know how we like it.  

9. Usborne Nativity Flap Book- I bought this one last year but this year Miller is really into it. He's a donkey in the school Christmas pageant this year so he's really taken to learning more about the birth of Jesus and the true meaning of Christmas.  I love Usborne books, we have quite a few of them and the quality can't be beat! 

10.  Merry Christmas, Curious George- who doesn't love Curious George and all the trouble he gets into!  Again another favorite in our collection.  

11. The Polar Express- I just purchased this for the boys and I'm so excited to read it to them. I do wonder if they'll be a little to young to understand the message but I think they'll really like the trains ;).  I'm hoping to read this one on Christmas Eve every year to them like my mom used to do with us.  

12. Rory the Dinosaur Needs a Christmas Tree- I randomly picked this one up at Target a few weeks ago and the boys love it.  We just discovered Rory and his Dad but I think we will probably pick a few of their other books because you know we love dinosaurs and the stories are so cute.  

What are your favorite Christmas Books?  Are there any good ones I'm missing?  

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Cyber Monday Picks

Hey Everyone!  Are you shopping the sales today?  Honestly as much as I love saving money,  all these sales totally overwhelm me. I don't even know where to begin!  So instead of trying to cram 1000 things I like into this post I decided to round up my top items from Cyber Monday that I think are worth splurging on!

This coat is headed my way for Christmas, at 40% off it's totally worth it!  You all should know by now that I love J.Crew coats and I decided this one in the bright green would be a fun addition to my coat collection.  

I love my Kindle but since I have the second generation it's time for an upgrade.  This paperwhite with the wifi only option comes in under $100! Such a steal since it's normally about $120.  

I wanted these sneakers during the anniversary sale but they sold out so fast I couldn't grab my size.  Now they're not only back but on sale for $119!  

You can't go wrong with this classic tote and at 25% off it's a perfect addition to everyone's fall and winter wardrobe.  

I'm always a sucker for Baublebar earrings and this set is on sale for $48 but with the 35% off for Cyber Monday you can get these for $31!   Such a steal for two pairs of earrings.   

Who doesn't love a good classic gray Nike sneaker?!  Snag these on sale before your size sells out.  

This new addition to my closet has quickly become a favorite.  If you're looking for a cute, classic black puffer jacket you can't go wrong with this one and it's 40% off today! 

Hands down the best curling iron for making beachy waves!  Normally $199, it's marked down to $149 for Cyber Monday!  

If you're looking for a tablet for your kids I've heard great things about these Kindle Fire for kids.  They have parental controls and you can monitor their screen time from your phone, etc.  We haven't bought these for our kids yet but I like the idea of having more control over the device than we do our iPads that the kids sometimes use.    

Did you shop Black Friday or Cyber Monday?  What did you end up purchasing?  

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Gift Guide for 3 & 4 Year Old Boys

1. Walkie Talkies- Matthew got a set of walkie talkies for his birthday and my boys love them! It took them a few tries to get the hang of it but once they did it's been so fun to watch them run around the house talking to each other

2. Lego Juniors Sets - Miller is just getting into regular legos and these junior sets are perfect. Since he's still needs help putting them together these have been a good introduction to legos and hopefully he'll move onto the bigger sets soon as he gets the hang of it.

3. Easel- my boys got this easel about 2 years ago for Christmas and still love it. One side has paper for coloring and painting and the other side is a chalk board.  This brand has been super sturdy and survived my crazy boys for two years so I highly recommend it even though it seems pricey.

4. Super Hero Capes- if you have boys or girls that love super heros you need this set! So much fun for playing dress up and the kids can take turns being different super heros

5. Micro Mini Deluxe Kick Scooter- we got these scooters for the boys last Christmas and they're still a huge hit! I like the deluxe one because you can adjust the handle size so it was perfect for Matthew as a new two year old and will easily adjust for him probably until he's 5 or more.

6. Dinosaur Helmet- I think this is technically a dragon helmet but when Miller was resistant to wearing a helmet last year I bought this and called it a dinosaur helmet and he loved it #gottadowhatyougottado

7. Play- Doh- we love play doh in this house and can never have enough of it.  These are always good stocking stuffers for the boys

8. Magna Tiles- Miller just got into these at school this year. His teacher told me it's pretty much all he plays with so I think we might need a set for home

9. Shark Bite Game-both the boys are so into games now and after seeing about 100 commercials for this one they're obsessed.  Thinking Santa or grandma will bring this one for them to enjoy

10. Hot Wheels Garage- my boys have just gotten really into Hot Wheels over the past few months and really want this garage.  After having dinosaur and animal obsessed kids for the past few years this is a new one for me but it looks like it can do quite a few things and is big enough to keep them both entertained so we'll see if Santa springs for it.

What's on your kids wishlist this year? 

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Five on Friday

TGIF Friends!! I am so happy to see you Friday! It's been chaos in this house the last two weeks with the kids being sick all last week, me and Matthew being sick this week.  I just feel like we cannot catch a break.  Kyle and I have a wild Friday planned to clean, clean, clean this place and wash every piece of laundry there is in hopes of getting rid of all these germs.  I tempted to open the windows since it's 50 degrees out to get some fresh air coming through.  I cannot believe next week is Thanksgiving and I'm trying not to feel the stress of the holidays even though I feel it creeping up on me.  Anyone else starting to feel like that??

So I wanted to pop in today and just share five things I've been loving lately with you all. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

1. Dry Bar Detox Dry Shampoo 

I have very fine hair that gets greasy really quickly. Like by the 6pm of a regular day so I usually have to wash it everyday and I had not found a dry shampoo that actually worked until this one!  I have tried so many of them and always skipped over this one because of the price tag.  Then one day at Ulta I was like it has great reviews I might as well try it and I'm so happy I did.  This is seriously the only dry shampoo that actually makes my hair look good and not greasier than it already is.  I was in shock the first time I used it. It pulls all the grease out of my hair and gives it volume and texture so its not flat against my head.  $23 might be high but it's worth it in my book! I'm hoping this will help my blonde highlights extend a little longer between salon visits this winter.  

Every year we go to my in-laws for Thanksgiving and my mother in law hosts the whole family.  When I saw these wine glasses I knew I had to get them for her!  She loves themed wine glasses and doesn't have any for fall or Thanksgiving so I knew these would be perfect.  Right now they are on sale and I thought they would be a perfect little thank you for hosting us gift.   Since we show up with two kids and our dog ;) 

While I love a lot of pumpkin spice things I haven't been the biggest fan of the pumpkin spice coffee (I like the lattes and the creamer just not the coffee itself) until I tried this the other morning at a friend's house.  It has the perfect amount of pumpkin spice flavor that I didn't even need any creamer in it.  I know we're heading out of pumpkin spice season but I going to snag a container of these at my local TJ's this weekend if they have them before I missed it! Have any of you tried these?  

So in my desperate attempt to get my kids to actually eat their food I bought these plates on Amazon. I had just been using big round plastic plates from Target and I think I may have been putting too much food on their plates and then expecting them to eat more than they actually could.  So I bought these and I really think it might be working.  I've had divided plates before but they were either too big or two small and I think these are the perfect size.  

If you haven't hopped on the mules bandwagon yet you need to start with these!! They're so comfy an easy to walk in, plus I think they could dress up so many outfits but look great for running errands with the kids.  A few people have asked me if I find walking in mules hard and I really don't but I know a lot of people don't like them.  I think my best advice is to just give them a try around your house and try not to think to hard about how you're walking in them.  

What are you loving this week? 

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Thoughts for Thursday: Crockpot Meals, Essential Oils and Life Lately

Happy Thursday Friends!  How is everyone doing this week? Our week has been totally off because I've been down for the count with a cold I got from the kids.  I haven't felt this awful in so long.  I'm on day five and starting to feel a bit better today.

On Monday I broke out my crock pot for the first time in years and made Christina from Carolina Charm's Crockpot Baked Potato Soup.  It was amazing and so easy to make!! I highly recommend this one for the upcoming cold winter months and my Kyle loved it.  I mean who wouldn't?!

I'm not a food blogger so excuse the picture ;)

Crock Pot Baked Potato Soup

1 bag (30 oz) frozen hash-brown potatoes
2 cans (14 oz ea) chicken broth
1 can (10.75 oz) cream of chicken soup
1/2 C chopped onion
1/3 tsp ground black pepper
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
Garnish: minced green onion, Cheddar, shredded, and bacon

In a crock pot, combine potatoes, broth, soup, onion, and pepper. Cover, and cook on low for 5 hours. Stir in cream cheese, cook 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until combined. Garnish with green onion, and/or Cheddar and bacon if desired.

The crock pot was so easy to use I've decided it's going to be my go to over the next few months. Don't ask me why I haven't used it in years but I would love for you all to send me all your favorite crock pot recipes!! 

After lots of convincing over the past few months I finally broke down and bought some essential oils.  My sister and quite a few of my friends use them religiously so I'm hoping they really will help us kick all these germs out of our house along with keeping this place calm and serene (one can dream right?!)   I went with the Young Living premium starter pack.  If you're into oils I would love, love, love to hear what your favorite oil combos are and what they do!

Last weekend we celebrated my nephew's second birthday and he loves Mickey Mouse so look at this amazing cake my sister got him!  If you're local it's from Cakes by Rachel.

It was our first really cold weekend last weekend so I bundled up in this Loft sweater, which you probably saw on my Instagram but it's so warm and cozy but not too heavy that you can't fit it under your coat easily.  It also comes in black and midnight blue.  

Sweater// Jeans // Booties (which are now under $80)

Our living room furniture got delivered!! We've been waiting for it for about 3 months now so I'm so happy it's here.  Here is a little sneak peek and I'm hoping one day soon to actually share a home tour with all the improvements we've completed around the house.  

If you are looking for new slip on sneakers I just snagged these Vince ones from Neiman Marcus Last Call a few weeks ago. I got them for $95 but they're now marked down to $79.50 and they normally retail for $195!! They're so comfy and the color goes with everything. 

I cannot believe Thanksgiving is next week!! I'm so excited for the holiday season but also feeling so behind since I've been sick this week and accomplished nothing on my to do list.  Hoping I will have a productive weekend to get ready! 

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Thoughts for Thursday: Fall Favorites

Happy Thursday Friends! Welcome back to another Thoughts for Thursday.  We would love to have you join us, write about whatever you want and then link up below.

I have been on a fall shopping kick these past few weeks and my wish list keeps getting bigger.  We have had such a mild fall that it's only been since November started that we need to pull out our jackets and sweaters.  With that in mind I rounded up some of my current favorites along with some items on my wishlist.

I just picked this sweater up this week and was able to snag it for 40% off! It has a great oversized fit so it will go well with leggings but isn't too that it looks slouchy or unflattering.  

I was in desperate need of a new winter coat and snagged this one last month when it was 30% off. It's backed ordered until November 10th but I got notification that it should be shipping out soon!  

I just ordered these from Loft to give them a try! I've been too nervous to full faux leather or leather pants so I'm hoping these will be a fun addition to my closet and help dress up some outfits.  

I still use my Tory Burch Robinson tote all the time but I've had my eye on this one.  I've had the other one for 2 years now but since I'm bag obsessed I'm always looking for another one to add to my collection and since this has the cross body option I kind of think I need it ;) 

My obsession with cold shoulder sweaters continues! I love the style of this one with the v-neck and this seamist color is something different than my standard white, beige, black, and navy fall/winter uniform.  

How adorable are these mules?!  I've completely taken to this trend and they're much easier to wear than I anticipated.  I'm hoping I can get a few more wears of them before it gets too cold here. 

Obsessed with this scarf!! You can never have too much tartan during the holidays, right?! 

This is another adorable sweater I snagged for 40% off!  It's again oversized and comfy (perfect for leggings) but doesn't look to slouchy that you could easily dress it up or down.  

AoS jeans are quickly becoming my favorite jeans!! First of all they're under $100 and every pair I've tried is just so cute and flattering.  I do think you need to size down but once you do, they fit perfectly.  

How much fun would these earrings be for a Christmas party this year?!  

I've been on the hunt for a cute striped tee that isn't too boxy and finally stumbled upon this one a few weeks ago.  I've loved the fit of the Artist tees for years so I knew when I saw the striped version I had to have it.  

So I have a pair of tall Ugg Bailey button boots but I never wear them because they're huge and just look so bad at this point.  I really want this short pair for the really cold days this winter when I don't want to leave the house but have to!  

I posted this sweater on Instagram yesterday and I might have to buy it in the camel version too! It's such a fun addition to my fall wardrobe and thinking it will be perfect for the holiday season.  

Again with the tartan... I mean I can't stop, these are so cute for the holidays! 

Loving this tassel necklace, with the simple black and gold to dress up any shirt or sweater this winter.  

I feel like I post a leopard clutch every season, but come on, you know it's a neutral and you can't go wrong with it! 

What are some of your fall favorites this year?  

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