December highlights.

 

It’s been a little while, so I thought a little post highlighting our December was in order.

I’ve recently decided to take at least one day a week to devote to “no work”. Things have been busy lately, we are in big growth mode and it feels like we are working non-stop. So, tonight instead of working, this post is going down.

IMG_7530.JPGI have some great girlfriends, our #realhousewivesocfl group “socked” each other this month. The start of a new tradition.

IMG_7417.JPGA happy mug for my coffee on Black Friday while I decorated the house. Last year I found $100 in this same mug. No luck this year.

IMG_7569.JPGMy mom participated in her first ever craft show, my dad & I stuck around to help her. She did great, sold tons & the orders have been rolling in ever since.

IMG_7588.JPGThe same weekend as my mom’s craft show, Tucker lost his top front tooth. That is tooth number three & his fourth one (the other top one, might fall out in time for him to sing “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth….”)

IMG_7672.JPGThe one thing I do miss about teaching is seeing my kids all day around school & getting to steal little moments of their day with them. I used to eat lunch with Tucker at least once a month (if not more) and last week was the first time I had lunch with the girls.

IMG_7799.JPGMy most talented friend, Takara, performed in a Christmas show last week that raised money & toys for the Harbor House. My #realhousewivesocfl girls and I decided to surprise her, making it a girls night out for all.

IMG_7774.JPGVisiting Santa was a complete bust this year. We went to Bass Pro on a Sunday night, around 7pm, thinking the line would be just a few kids deep. Ha. That thing was practically wrapped all around the store. So, we’ve got a picture with a pretty tree this year instead.

IMG_7699.JPGOfur high school alma mater made it all the way to state this year in football. We headed to the Citrus Bowl to cheer them on (& watch them get creamed by the competition). It was brutal, but still lots of fun. I love my family.

IMG_7806.JPGMy girls in their old lady sweaters. Love these sweaters & these girls.

IMG_7876.JPGMike’s company Christmas party was this past Friday night. It’s nice to get all dressed up every once in a while and head out on the town with this guy (sans kids). We even got in the rest of our Christmas shopping (well, almost all of it) at Target afterwards thanks to the extended shopping hours.

 

120My friend, Nicolette, and I have been hosting a #holidayshowoff on Instagram. Today was “from the kitchen” and I think it was my most favorite to join in because I absolutely LOVE my kitchen at Christmas.

Well, that’s that. Our December in a nutshell. I love & hate this time of year. So much to do but just not enough time to do it. & I really cannot believe that 2015 is just weeks away.

Elf on the Shelf & my thoughts this year.

Yes, we’ve got one. His name is Steve. He’s set up shop since Thanksgiving Day when he arrived at my parents house (yes, they have a “Steve”, too. When we first started this thing two years ago, the kids spent half their time over there since my mom watched them and we figured it was only fitting).

But, this year just seems different to me.

I can’t seem to get behind it all. You know, the whole commercializing of it (I know, I know. That’s how it started in the first place). But come on, reindeers for pets now? And whole entire wardrobes?! And gifts given to the kids from their elf almost every single day?! Nope. Not doing it.

I was almost tempted to not even put Steve out this year, but the kids love him. & they are still just 5 and 7 and believe in the magic of it all. I can’t deny that.

Our elf though? He might pull a few tricks here or there. He will wear a sweater with an S sewn onto it that my mom crocheted for him last year on those days when the weather decides to drop. Maybe he’ll show up with a little something for them before the big guy arrives. & by little something I mean, like a new coloring book or some Christmas socks.

& just in case you wanted some ideas on how we do Elf on the Shelf around these parts, here you go.

elf on the shelf chalkboard wall fun

 

Steve likes to do fun things like this, from last year. Maybe he’ll drum up some new chalkboard wall fun this year, too!

The American Girl Store: every little girl’s dream.

A few weeks ago, we were invited to attend a preview of the new American Girl Store opening up at the Florida Mall in Orlando. The girls don’t have an American Girl doll yet, but they pour through the catalogs every time one arrives in our mailbox (and I usually have to find someone-usually a mom of all boys who happens to get one delivered to her house-to give us another one so that the girls can each have their own to ooooh & aaaaah over).

I knew the girls would love a sneak peek at this new store, and it would just make their want for an American Girl doll that much more (good thing they are getting them for Christmas from nan & paps!).

I didn’t even tell the girls that we were going until the day of. I actually let my mom tell them, because it was on a Wednesday afternoon when she usually picks up the kids to spend a fun afternoon with her (since it’s early day) and I knew if I let her tell the girls that we were going somewhere special, they wouldn’t be so sad that she didn’t take them to the park like she usually does on a nice Wednesday afternoon.

My friend, Melissa, and her daughter, Emma, actually tagged along, too. It was a nice girls’ night out and the girls were in heaven the whole time. When we entered the doors of this store, we stopped at every single display and oooooh’d and aaaaah’d over everything we saw (much like the girls do when they get the catalogs in the mail). It was like a living, breathing American Girl catalog. I couldn’t even believe it when we walked up to one display that had a doll sitting in a wheel chair, wearing a cast on her leg, wearing a cast on her arm and wearing a finger splint! I mean, come on, they think of everything!

american girl store orlando

The girls told me everything they wanted for Christmas (pretty much every single thing in the store) and picked out the dolls they wanted to tell nan & paps about. Lexie wants Kit (OMG, she’s the cutest thing ever!) and Lilah wants Julie, the hippie doll that we thought Lexie would have wanted since she is our living hippie (but Lilah loved the long blonde hair and braid, of course!).

new orlando american girl store

american girl store orlando

The girls all walked away with a goodie bag of books and magazines and even an American Girl tshirt for their future dolls. We loved our time there and the girls cannot wait to go back. What we loved even better? Two days after we were there was the Grand Opening, when an expected 10k+ people were there, waiting in long lines and not getting to shop as leisurely as we did probably. Win for us.

new american girl store orlando

I was not compensated for this post, we were invited to the preview and the girls received their goody bags, but all opinions are 100% my own. 

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A peek into the making of our backyard oasis.

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