Stocking Stuffers- $15 and under

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Camelback // Brain Quest // Band-Aid // Tubby Todd Lotion // Socks // Latte Teether // Wikki Stix // Lip Balm // Pocket Screwdriver

Sometimes I feel like stockings are the hardest to stuff. I am not a fan of the traditional candy or junk that gets put in stockings. My mom always made our stockings extra special, and I want to do the same for my girls. I tried to round up items for everyone; babies, big kids, husbands, wives. My kids are band-aid obsessed, so those almost always go into someones stocking.

I wish I had another baby because I would be buying that latte teether in a heartbeat! So much cuter than the plastic ones! Bonus: it doubles as a puzzle as baby grows!! So cute!!

How is your holiday shopping going? I usually am way on top of things, but this has been such a rollercoaster year that I feel like I am drowning in it. I have 4 gifts purchased, and have no idea what else we are going to do. But, I am so excited for Christmas!! It isn’t all about the presents anyway!! I can’t wait to bake Christmas cookies and put up our tree. Watching Christmas movies is another favorite. Hanging the stockings is always fun.

What are some of your favorite items to stuff a stocking with?

Catching Up

Hello, friends! I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We were able to spend time with my entire family for the first time in 6 years. It was crowded and chaotic, but oh so fun! I spent 12 hours in the car yesterday with Harper throwing up the entire way. All of the girls got it overnight and now all have high fevers. Please pray for them to get well.

We had a full week of “vacation”. I use that term loosely because with kids there is no such thing as vacation. It’s all work! haha! The first half of the week was pretty low-key. Tuesday, we went shopping for the last of the items needed for family photos. It basically ended up being an item for each girl. We went to Target where I drooled over Christmas decorations for as long as the girls let me. Then we went to the mall and my dad met us for lunch. (Look at the cute deer at Target!)

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We hung out at my OLD.. I mean, older..sister’s house on Wednesday. We found out just how allergic Scott is to cats. Oops. It was a lot of fun to get to spend time with her catching up on life. We were so busy talking that the only pictures I really have are of her dog. HAHA! I brought her a coffee and she bought us pizza. It was pretty great team work.

We had our Thanksgiving on Friday since my younger sister was with her husband’s side of the family on Thursday. We did a lot of prep work on Thanksgiving Day. Chloe got to make merengue with my mom for a coconut cream pie (my dad’s request) and Harper got lots of Papa snuggles. He would probably disagree on the word “lots” being used, but for a two year old he got pretty lucky. haha!

Friday morning I went out for Black Friday with my mom and older sister. We ate a super delicious breakfast and Amy made coffee for me. I pulled an all-nighter and really needed it. We had our huge and delicious meal. I may have blacked out because I don’t really remember eating, but I remember it being GOOD. After everything was cleaned up we played Watch Ya Mouth and laughed (and drooled) a ton!!

On Saturday, the family all went to a Reindeer Ranch. We ate “lunch” there. We all agreed that it was more of a snack (an expensive snack) than a true lunch. Then, we got to go on a reindeer tour and feed them! Addison was too afraid to feed them, but Chloe jumped right in. Look how beautiful they are! Harper seemed to enjoy it as well. They had a playground for the kiddos to play on also, so they all had a blast.

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We also helped my mom put up one of her Christmas trees. Once again, I’m not sure how much help our crazy crew was, but we tried. haha! Sunday was the usual- church, lunch, and re-packing all of our junk. The girls also got to open their presents from Mimi and Papa. Christmas is going to be SO fun this year!!!

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Even though our car ride was pretty rough on Monday, I feel really blessed. My grandparents are in a nursing home that is just slightly off our path home. We were able to stop and visit them. I left Harper with Scott. I honestly thought she was just car sick, but kept her out to be safe. I feel terrible that everyone was harboring this bug. Hugging my grandma and grandpa is one of the best feelings. They are two incredible people who I love so dearly.

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There is one more thing though! My best friend from High School was able to take some family pictures for us! We had initially planned on Wednesday, but it rained all day. It was a huge blessing (for us anyway) because we got them done on Friday. Our whole crew was together. So, we got our family photos, and then the rest of the family met us and we were able to take our first group shot in years. They turned out so beautifully!!! Meredith Michelle Photos has all of the credit for these beauties below:

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They are so stunning. I could just stare all day. Thank you, Lord, for a week full of blessings and for whoever invented the washing machine.

How was your Thanksgiving? Did you get any good deals over the weekend?

This is Halloween

I cannot even believe that Halloween is just 12 days away!! Where has the time gone? October seems to be flying by, and I’m a little disappointed. October is my favorite month, but the dramatic shifts in temperature have left me feeling pretty lousy through most of it. Pull it together, Oklahoma!!

Anyway, twelve days away, and my children will not make up their minds about costumes. For months now, Addi has wanted to be an elephant and Chloe has wanted to be a bunny. Awesome. That’s not too hard other than making an elephant nose mask. Yikes. This month, however, everyone keeps changing their minds. Addison wants to be Marshall (from Paw Patrol), then a cat, then back to an elephant, well maybe elephant ears/cat face/marshall paws, just an elephant, OH WAIT I WANT TO BE A WITCH! Chloe has mostly stuck with a bunny, but then will pick other random things. They have to decide today so that I can get their costumes started and done.

Harper still can’t say what she wants to be, but LOVES puppies. Seriously, the kid is saying “woof” instead of words to other people. Scott had the really awesome idea for her to be Skye from Paw Patrol since she already has the pink glasses. (Skye wears pink goggles if you don’t know.) She is easy, and currently my favorite child. I’m just kidding.. she’s always the favorite. 😉

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I pulled out our decorations from the van today. Yes, our beat up white van is a storage area. (Just 23 days until our hopefully move-in-the-house date). The girls lost their minds. Everyone was so excited. I always let them pick where to put the pumpkins. I really don’t have a whole lot of Halloween decorations. I love decorating for Holidays, but usually end up buying fall things so they can be out for several months. Anyway, most of what I have is from Dollar Tree or the clearance section of Target post-Halloween. I always wanted to hang witch hats from the ceiling so it looked like they were floating. I finally found some for VERY cheap a couple of years ago after Halloween, and I love it.

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I wrapped cobwebs around the wooden map that is hanging up year-round. (I won this beauty in a giveaway, and it is my favorite piece of art that we own.)

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The girls love that our lamp now glows purple. What could be better?

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I also filled our giant pumpkin with candy. I saw these at Target several years ago and thought “I must have one!” It went on clearance and I bought it; immediately wondering what on earth I would do with a MASSIVE plastic pumpkin. Usually I put huge rocks inside of it so it decorates the outside. This year, we will actually get to hand out candy at home so it has a real purpose.

Am I the only one whose kids won’t decide on a costume? Do any of you parents dress up? My mom always took us out trick-or-treating and I don’t remember her dressing up, so I have just never planned on it. This is our first year actually going, and I’m out of my mind excited! Maybe we should dress up though? Let me know in the comments!

Our Favorite Books for Halloween

I LOVE children’s books. Back when I was an elementary education/early childhood education major at BBC, I joined a children’s book club. I got most of the Dr. Seuss books, Bernstein Bears, Rainbow Fish (one of my favorites as a child), and so many others. Then, I became a preschool teacher. Look out. Buy alllll the books!!!

When Chloe was born, we made frequent trips to Target. For some reason, that was the ONLY store that she wouldn’t scream through. I still don’t fully understand that one. They used to have board books in their dollar section all the time. I would buy a new one each time. Soon after, we moved to Burton and Addi was born. The only place with carts big enough for 2 under 2 was Sam’s club. So, guess where we went? You guessed it.. Sam’s Club always has such good prices on their books. I used to buy them too frequently.

Our bookshelves are now STUFFED with books. Overflowing, really. They are in every nook and cranny of all of the bedrooms.

Since we love holiday books, I thought I would share some of our favorite Halloween books! I know that Halloween is not until the end of next month, but I like to plan ahead. 🙂

  1. Room on the Broom.
    This book is easily our favorite Halloween book. It is so sweet and fun to read. The girls love saying WOOOSH with me. (The DVD is also adorable.)
  2. Big Pumpkin.
    This book is so fun! If you can find it at the library with the CD that reads it aloud, do it!! I laughed way too much! Who wouldn’t want a giant pumpkin to make pumpkin pie with?
  3. Ghost in the House
    I have to be honest, I have never read the “lift the flap” version. I cannot find the version that we have read. If you have toddlers that love to rip..err, lift.. the flaps, this version would be perfect! Yet another silly book that left us laughing.
  4. Halloween Hustle
    Since our girls are homeschooled, we don’t get book fairs. Thankfully, I’ve always had friends who work in the school and invite me to theirs. Last year, I picked this book up from the fair and loved it. I am a huge fan of books that are fun to read. Chances are good that your kids will want you to read them over and over again. This one is fun!
  5. Spooky Pookie
    This is another of the girls’ favorites. We have read it so much that they have it memorized. 🙂 Sandra Boynton is a genius at writing (and illustrating) and I love it!!
  6. Eek, Halloween!
    This is a new release from Sandra Boynton. As usual, I love it! Harper loved it. The older two haven’t been able to enjoy it yet (any tips for getting kids to clean up their messes?!) but I know that they will also. Chickens afraid of Halloween? Obviously.
  7. Frankenstein
    I really enjoy Baby Lit books. This is the one that I find the girls reaching for the most. It is an anatomy primer, so it teaches basic body parts while introducing your child to classic literature.
  8. Where is Baby’s Pumpkin?
    Honestly, this one isn’t anything super special. It’s really cute. Chloe (six years old) still loves it. This is another tearlift-the-flap book that toddlers love. Ours is totally taped back together a million times over. One of the closet doors has disappeared and so has the last flap.
  9. Goodnight Goon
    If you love Goodnight Moon, you will like this book. It’s so funny. Goodnight Moon is the book that Scott read to Chloe every night while she was in my tummy. When I found out that their was a spooky twist, I jumped on it. The pictures are a little scarier than the other children’s books, just to give you a fair warning. My kids are not afraid of them, but some may be.

 

None of these books are scary. I enjoy the silly fun of Halloween, and make sure that my kids know that it is all pretend. Almost every one of these books is totally silly and makes my kids giggle up a storm. I want them to enjoy reading as much as Scott and I do, so I try my hardest to make it fun and read to them often. Also, I like to use holiday themed books as decorations. Win-win!

**All links above are amazon affiliate links. For full disclosure, see “referral links” tab. Thank you for helping me support our family.**

Favorite Things- Earth Day Edition

Happy Fri-YAY! Usually, Fridays are extra thrilling around here, because it is actually the start of our weekend. Scott typically has Friday off, which is his only FULL day off. He had to take Monday off for Harper’s eye appointment, so he is working today. Sad. Really sad, because I am T-I-R-E-D. But, I am so thankful for the flexibility of his work schedule (especially because the girls were CRAZY on Monday at the eye doctor).

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So, here are some awesome products and links to check out on this earth day!

If you have kids, you are probably overwhelmed with snack cups, sippy cups, plates, and on and on. Have you seen the brand Re-Play yet? They have EVERYTHING. It is all made from recycled milk jugs, AND is BPA, Phthalate, PVC and Melamine FREE!!!! How awesome is that?! We have to pack dinner every Wednesday for the girls to eat at church. I am really thinking about this three pack snack stack

Also for kids, I really Green Toys. They are also made from recycled milk jugs!! I really want to get this big pink dump truck for the girls to play with! They love cars, but we don’t really have any big ones.

I have become really interested in composting. I know that growing your own food is best, but if your soil is completely deprived of any nutrients, so will your food. I like how this chart breaks it down. However, if a cockroach comes crawling out of my compost pile one day, I’m out. (Kidding.. I think.)

I don’t wear a lot of makeup. In fact, I usually only wear makeup on Sundays. I love EcoTools line. I have their makeup brushes and LOVE them. They are so soft. Plus, I love the look of bamboo. Bamboo grows very quickly, so it’s a much more sustainable wood than other types.

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I really love Grove Co.  Above is my most recent order. Their products are amazing, and by shopping through them, you are helping save the planet!! Here is my referral link that you can use to get $10 off your first purchase. You aren’t obligated to buy something every month, and you can buy as little or as much, as you’d like. I love the Full Circle brand of cleaning tools! (Can you tell I am trying to pick which toothpaste I like?)

This book looks adorable to teach kids about recycling. There are actually a lot of cute books.

How are you “celebrating” Earth Day? I think it’s important to teach your kids about recycling and the importance of taking care of this beautiful planet that God created for us.

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**All Amazon links are affiliate links. You can see my disclosure statement in my “referral links” tab.**

 

Festivity for Littles

I LOVE the holidays. I love the spirit of the season. I love festive EVERYTHING. It is just fun to slow down and enjoy the little things. I decided to round up some of my favorite festive things for Littles and for Mamas. Today is part one. The littles should come first, right?

For Littles

First up: FESTIVE JAMMIES!! I feel like there is nothing more adorable than little kids wearing adorable jammies. My kids practically live in their jammies, so cute ones are a must. These elf jammies from Hanna Anderson are adorable. They have Santa ones, too. These are probably my favorites though. Red and white stripes make me think of little candy canes.

My favorite item on this list is probably this gnome hat. Harper has been ripping her hats right off of her head as soon as they get put on. It is COLD where we live, so I decided it was time to buy a hat that we could strap onto her head. Of course, I went for a gnome hat. I bought it at a time when it was on super sale, so I got a really good deal on it. It is so warm and soft.  These bow mary jane flats are adorable as well.  Just imagine them paired with a sweet Christmas dress. They would be perfect for Valentine’s Day festiveness as well.

It is no secret that I love to read to my girls. Every year, on Christmas eve, we read The Night Before Christmas before bed. It’s such a classic. My personal favorite book is The Polar Express. I used to check it out every year from the Library. I have always found the pictures to be so beautiful. The movie is equally as beautiful. When I found out that they were making a movie based on the book, I was thrilled. A huge part of me worried that they wouldn’t be able to capture the beauty of the stories. I was not disappointed though! If you have never seen the movie, you need to!!

Do you enjoy buying Christmas jammies/shirts/dresses each year? Do you do it for your kids, or also for yourself?

See you later this week for Festivity for Mamas!

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The Eve

Happy Halloween Eve!!! 
I usually really look forward to the day before Halloween. We usually carve the pumpkins that we picked from the pumpkin patch, make some super yummy Halloween themed goodies, and finish up on our costumes. There are also a lot of activities around town that we can take the kids to. Last year, we were able to take them to Kroger for their Kids Night Out. They have games, coloring sheets, cookie decorating, and of course trick-or-treating.
Here are some snaps from last year.
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 They were just the CUTEST Elsa and Anna in my opinion. Harper was dressed like Olaf, but she was still so itty bitty that I kept her at home.
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And then…..

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Snow.. It snowed on Halloween.. It snowed quite a bit and stuck for the night. Thankfully, by morning it was gone! Let’s hope that does NOT happen this year. Ok.

This year, my Halloween Eve involves a MOUNTAIN of laundry and a lot of lysol spraying. We haven’t even made it to our own pumpkin patch because we were out of town the first week of October, and have had someone sick every day since then. Addison seems to be on the upswing. She has not been sick since yesterday morning, so I stripped everything that was fabric from their bedroom and it is getting washed AGAIN. I feel like I am “nesting” and am cleaning out my cleaning supplies and all sorts of other crazy things. I think we’re all just going stir crazy.

She still had other issues yesterday, so we are staying home still. Plus, Kids Night Out happened on Tuesday. I was so sad. However.. You guys, your children are contagious for 24 hours after they are “better”. Please keep that in mind.. it’s really unfair to expose everyone else to their sickness. It’s unfair that she has missed out on so much, but it’s even more unfair to put tiny babies and chemo patients at risk of dying all because of a little fun. I get really irritated by that EVERY year, so consider that my rant.
I am going to make it up to her and find ways to make it all really fun. We have a few small pumpkins that their Mimi and Papa P got for them, so we will get out some paint to decorate those. We have cookies to make as soon as we are in the clear. It is finally not supposed to rain today, so we may even get to go outside for a little bit. It’s been a L-O-N-G week, but it is Fri-YAY and daddy is off, or supposed to be. With ministry, you just never know. 🙂

I hope that you have a fun and SAFE Halloween weekend!