Monday, December 21, 2015

Party People...

Last weekend's plans were go-go-go.  Unfortunately, Georgia decided to catch a wonky bug that impacted some of those plans.  Luckily, even with a 103 degree fever, she's a pretty agreeable little party-goer.  The weirdest part about her bug was that her fever came/went crazy fast.  One minute, she'd be at 103 degrees and ten minutes later, she'd be back to normal.  

On Friday, she missed school and her class party/sing-along.

On Saturday, things weren't looking good in the morning.  So, I figured Nick's work party was out for the evening.  However, by the afternoon, she was fever free and ready to rock.  So, we packed the tylenol and headed out hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.  

How is it that I am always the first one ready to leave the house?!?!  Isn''t the mom supposed to be running late still doing her hair and make-up????  Instead, I'm waiting in the driveway waiting for my two monkeys.

The party has an awesome kids room with gingerbread cookie decorating, games, a special buffet for the younger party-goers (with delicious mac-n-cheese!), and the man himself... Santa!  Georgia has avoided him like the plague in years past.  By some miracle, we actually got a picture with him last year.  NOT this year.  She literally hid from him inside of my dress.  I thought she was trying to crawl back inside the womb!  

She wouldn't sit with Santa, but she loved hanging out with Auntie Adrienne!

Not sure a bad looking picture for a very last minute party decision

My date for the evening

Georgia was highly entertained by a simple game of toss the candy cane rope and would have happily played the game all night.  EXCEPT... she was the first one to hear the dj get started in the ballroom.  She grabbed Adrienne and dragged her into the real party!

The party girl!

After dinner, movie night began for the kids in another area of the hotel.  Georgia pulled up a pillow and got comfy checking out the candy bar and some holiday movies with the other kids!

We literally had to drag her out of the party late night!

On Monday, I walked in from work to see that my little elves had been busy decorating the house for my birthday!

Georgia was so excited for my surprise, especially the cake!  Who knew that my husband could bake cakes??!?!  Talk about a secret talent... that I will now be abusing!

Georgia certainly enjoyed helping me open all my presents... and then promptly stole a new soft scarf and claimed it as her own!

I wrapped up the big 3-6 with my annual tradition of running my age...

And then we woke up to Fred the Elf trying to eat my leftover cake the next morning!  Back off, Fred!!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

December Favorites 2015...

I truly feel like this weekend is the calm before the true crazy storm of Christmas week.  Last weekend was go-go-go, so we enjoyed a little more down time this weekend and tried to enjoy our last full weekend at home before our trek north later this week.

Onto the December favorites...

1 - My favorite memes from this month...

Nothing more needs to be said!


2 - Fred the Elf is back in town!

As much as this little guy drives me batty (and causes a little anxiety when I realize we didn't move him in the middle of the night), Georgia LOVES waking up and running downstairs to find his new location every morning.

Hes baaaaaaaaaaaack!

Zip-line across the living room!

3 - Love Actually

My all-time favorite movie is on non-stop these days.  I just can't consider it Christmas until I've watched it from start to finish (much to Nick's "excitement").  I don't seem to be alone in my love for this classic as the photo below is now one of my most-like Instagram posts of all time!  There's something amazing about watching "Love Actually" late night with just the light of the Christmas tree glowing in the background.  The airport scene at the beginning gets me EVERY TIME!

4 - Sharing is Caring

A few weeks back, Georgia discovered one of my old teddy bears on her shelves.  Since she has approximately 10,989 stuffed animals, apparently he had gone undiscovered for quite some time.  I explained that the bear used to be mine when I was little.  She told me that maybe we could share him and he could rotate nights sleeping with each of us.  I didn't think anything of it until I went to bed later that night and found this guy sitting on my pillow waiting for me...

5  Scratch Ticket Disappointment

Last weekend, Georgia wasn't feeling too hot.  She had a fever that kept bouncing up to 103.  She was quite punchy and pretty funny, even with the fever.  She was pretty excited to receive a scratch ticket  (or "scratch money" as she calls it) in the mail from her Mimi in Massachusetts. She was determined to win the $10,000 prize advertised on the ticket.  Even the difference in her body language between the two videos really tells the story:

The before:

The after:

6 - My Little Reader

A few weeks back, I decided to grab a few Level 1/2 books from the book room and bring them home for Georgia.  She loves practicing her sight words from school, so I figured she could put them to good use.  She was so proud to "read" books from Mama's big kid school...

7 - Toy Building for Christmas

Nick decided late night to start building Georgia's "big" present from Santa this weekend... a giant ride on jeep.  Unfortunately, the directions appeared to be translated into English from a different language.  Sort of.  As Nick posted on Facebook, WHO THE HELL IS PAUL??!?!?!  The poor man was in the basement for hours trying to decipher the directions.

8 - Christmas TV 

I love the television schedule during the month of December... all great movies like "The Sound of Music" and "The Wizard of Oz" have been on, as well as the holiday classics like "Rudolph" and "Elf."  We've had so much fun watching all the specials together with Georgia this year!

Hanging out with my peeps!

9 - New Favorite Cookie

If you like chocolate chips cookies + sea salt + browned butter, go make this recipe RIGHT NOW!!!  We have a cookie exchange at school tomorrow, so I made these babies last night and there are definitely a few missing this morning (see meme about diabetes in #1).

10 - Winter Lights

We have a yearly tradition of putting on our pajamas and driving through the local Winter Lights Festival display at the nearby state park.  This year, they also gave out 3D glasses, which completely entertained Georgia.  We blasted the Christmas tunes and danced away in the car as we checked out the lights!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Cookie Bake 2015...

Last weekend was one of our favorite events of the holiday season... Cookie Bake!  This year was the 14th annual Cookie Bake and I've been attending for the past 9 years or so.  

In the days leading up the event, we were busy searching for the perfect cookie recipe to make and share.  I decided to go with a strawberry chocolate chip recipe that was super simple and quick to whip up, especially since it involves a box cake mix.  Georgia used a gingerbread cookie mix that we made up at home the night before so that she could decorate over the weekend.  Nick went with a brown butter chocolate chip cookie with crushed potato chips in them, but they didn't live up to the hype!

Georgia's Elf, Fred, tried to break into her gingerbread men overnight!

Georgia loves hanging out at Auntie Susan/Uncle Malon's house.  She's been obsessed with their piano since she was just a toddler...

Decorating cookies with Daddy...

Georgia's creations...

There were definitely LOTS of cookies to take home at the end of the weekend...

The best part about cookie bake is there is an entire room filled with nut-safe cookies!  Since so many of the kids are impacted by peanut allergies, one whole day is dedicated to making "safe" cookies for them.  Georgia was certainly a fan...

Georgia "helping"

We headed home with a few tins of cookies to share with friends and family and a new ornament for the tree...

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Dancing Queen...

For the past few years, Georgia has taken dance lessons that were available at her daycare.  It really was more of a "movement" class and she always loved participating.  However, there was no year end recital, no real dance shoes, no costume, etc.  Since I loved dance myself back in the day - including the costume, the big recital, etc., I wanted to offer her that opportunity.  So, I started researching some local dance studios and found out that several neighbors all attended the same studio in a nearby town.  I signed Georgia up for a trial class and it was love at first dance!

So, every Thursday, after school, she now attends a combination tap/ballet class with Miss Lisa.  She is beyond excited to go every week.  She loves the outfit (they have to wear tights/leotard/hair up) and thinks her tap shoes are made of gold.  The studio is pretty serious about the classes, so parents are not allowed into the room with the kids (though we can take a peek thru a 1-way window/curtain).  Luckily, Georgia had no problem separating.  Frankly, she couldn't have been happier to ditch me.  I get 45 minutes to read, catch up on work/emails/etc. while she's at class.

Last week, they had the official "parent observation" week, meaning that we were all allowed in to see what the kids have been working on this fall as they gear up for their big recital in January!

My serious little dancer!

The teacher is AMAZING and has the patience of a saint!  She's fun, but also mixes in some real "dance lingo" and asks the kids questions about what certain words mean while they are dancing away.  Of course, Georgia, was more than happy to yell out the answer every time.

Learning how to shuffle-step is quite a process...

If anything, hopefully, dance will improve her balance skills (she definitely inherited my ability to fall over air!)...

They always start with their tap shoes and mid-way through the class, they go over and swap into their ballet shoes.

I'm not so sure I could survive their last song...

Saturday, November 28, 2015

November 2015 Favorites...

November 2015 

I'm not quite sure when it even became November since mentally I'm still back in September!  The 70 degree weather this week isn't helping my acceptance of late fall/early winter....

1 - Fall School Pictures

After months of missing digital images, we finally tracked down Georgia's school pictures.  I have nothing but HORRIBLE things to say about Teddy Bear Portraits - I've stalked them for months with emails, voice messages, etc. and it took them 8+ weeks to get back to me.  Our daycare director had the same experience, as did many other parents at our center.  Our neighbors finally went through their Visa company to fight the charges.  The best part - no apology, no explanation, etc.  They also informed me that they double-charged my credit card.  So, BOO to you Teddy Bear Portraits.  Their photographers are amazing, but the company is bad news.  

According to Nick, Georgia did not need any instructions for posing.  She apparently jumped right up and did this pose all on her own...

2 - Turkey Cupcakes

I love baking, especially for the holidays.  I already knew I was going to make our family's Swedish Apple Pie recipe for Thanksgiving, but then I spotted this little beauty on Pinterest and was determined to recreate these turkeys using allergy safe ingredients for Thanksgiving...

Original Source HERE

Baking commenced on Wednesday afternoon!

After a bunch of phone calls back-and-forth with a few companies and some online ordering, I was able to make these safe for Georgia.  Not to toot my own horn, but I think I did pretty well!

I found the cupcake holders at Home Goods and I think they really do complete the look!  Wilton candy eyes were available at our local Harris Teeter and Walmart.  The Twizzlers and Mike & Ike's were grocery store finds and I ordered candy corn from the Jelly Belly company.  I found the "chocolate" sprinkles at Walmart and used Betty Crocker cake and Pillsbury frosting.

The kids (and adults) seemed to enjoy!

Bennett was fully committed...

3 -FitBit Challenges

I definitely overindulged on Thanksgiving, so it's back on the wagon this weekend.  I may have felt a bit like this Louis CK meme...

One of the things helping me to stay accountable during the holiday eating season are FitBit challenges (available on the app).  Most of my co-workers have FitBits and someone typically sends out a Workweek hustle challenge on Sunday night.  These little mini-challenges run from Monday to Friday and are perfect for people like me (aka - competitive).  I totally wasn't motivated to run most nights last week, but after checking my FitBit app, I usually found the motivation needed for a quick work out.  Even better, I won the week!

4 - Thanksgiving 2015 Weather

Last year, our Thanksgiving weather was a balmy 15 degrees.  This year, it was close to 70!  Perfect weather for a few pics on the deck before heading out to dinner...

These goonies even took a dip in the pool and hot tub after dessert!

5 - Buxom Lip Polish

My new obsession... Buxom Full-On Lip Polish (color - Samantha).  It's shiny.  It's pepperminty. It tingles.  I love everything about it!  

6 - Black Friday Shopping

I was up at 4am the day after Thanksgiving to hit the mall and start banging out the Christmas list.  It's a yearly tradition and I just love getting so much accomplished early in the season while most of the world is still nursing their Thanksgiving hangovers!

I was fueled primarily by caffeine and carbs, which may lead to some punchy moments...

A future Christmas accessory perhaps???

Black Friday is definitely a crazy day to shop, but for the most part, I love the excitement of it all.  However, I was not impressed by Macy's seasonal help.  I may have shared my thoughts with them on Twitter...

I made it home by mid-afternoon and finished off the day with some online shopping.

7 - Being Thankful

I spotted this meme early on Thanksgiving morning while browsing through social media and for some reason, it really resonated with me.  We have some family friends who have had a rough go of it for several weeks - a health crisis, a death in the immediate family, a serious illness with one of their children that required hospitalization, etc.  They just can't quite catch a break right now.  It's been a constant reminder to me that it only takes a moment or two for your whole world to crumble.  I occasionally complain about the never-ending to-do list, especially at this crazy time of year.  But, that never-ending to-do list means that I have wonderful family and friends to spend time with and a beautiful and healthy family in 2015.  Sometimes, you just have to take a moment and be truly thankful for all that you have in this world.