December 21, 2012

Santa Visit {2012}

We finally went and saw Santa last night! We had intended to go a few other times but it never worked out, and I suddenly realized if we didn't do it last night, it probably wasn't going to happen this year. Luckily the mall wasn't busy and we basically walked right up and took our picture. It was perfect! And yes, Manny picked out his outfit. The rain boots are a must, and he'd wear that reindeer shirt every day if I let him. He's obsessed with reindeer and moose right now.

Anyway, he was so excited to see Santa. He's been talking a lot about Santa but I was curious to see how he'd react. We saw Santa the other night when we went to look at Christmas lights, and Manny would start crying if I tried to take him near him. That wasn't the case last night. He was giddy with excitement in line, but he did get super quiet and serious once we put him on his lap. I fully expected screaming/crying/ninja kicking this year, and was surprised at what a non-event it was. Maeva girl was just as happy as could be, smiling at all the people around her. She's such a charmer. :)

And here we are the other night looking at the Christmas lights I mentioned. You can either drive thru in your car, or take a carriage ride through, which is what we did. We did this last year also and Manny loves it so much. Both of the kids did, despite how their expressions appear here. Maeva chatted most of the time.

Despite the kids being sick for awhile this month, we were able to do a lot of fun Christmas stuff. Manny is just like me and absolutely LOVES Christmas. He's always asking to sing Christmas songs and look at "Christmas tree lights". He doesn't quite understand why he can't see them during the day, and when we leave our house he asks where everyone's Christmas tree lights on their houses went. He's going to be bitterly disappointed after Christmas when they all come down! I need to do another post on some of the other fun Christmas stuff we've done, but I'll save that for another day as I'm on a time crunch during naptime with other things that still need to be done. AKA I'll always be a champion procrastinator! Some things never change. :)

December 19, 2012

Project 366: Weeks 47 & 48

December 18, 2012

Christmas Season Traditions

I've always loved Christmas. It's definitely my favorite holiday and I love all of the memories I have of Christmas. My parents always made it such a special time for us and I want to do the same for my kids. Many of our traditions come from our families, but I always love to hear other's traditions because sometimes it's something I'd like to incorporate too. So I thought I'd share a few things that we added to our holiday fun this year!

Christmas Card Picture in a Frame: I saw this idea last year, and I have no clue where I saw it. I know I read a blog that had their Christmas cards in a frame that said "Christmas 2012", etc. for each year. Anybody know who that is? Needless to say, I thought that was a fun idea to set out past cards so I bought a frame at Kohl's for this year's card and look forward to having a collection of these to pull out each Christmas and look back on.  

Ornaments for Kids: This was a tradition I saw several people mention last year, and I was so bummed I hadn't thought to do this from Manny's first year. But then I realized...who cares? It doesn't have to be perfect to be a tradition, and he won't care that he's "missing" 2 ornaments. So I decided I would start doing it this year. I bought an ornament for each kid to "reflect the year". Of course Maeva's is a Baby's First Christmas, and Manny picked out a truck with a cow in it. So fitting for him as he loves cars/trucks and all animals right now. I got both of these from Kohl's for less than $5, and just wrote their name and year on the bottom with a Sharpie.

Kid's Trees in Rooms: Growing up, my parents always let my sister and I get a tree for our room. We would pick it out, my dad would cut it down, and we'd take it home and decorate it. I clearly remember falling asleep at night staring at our little tree in our room and I love the memories from that. Now that Manny's old enough to get into Christmas, I thought this would be a good year to start this tradition with him. So we went to the Christmas tree farm and picked one out, and it's now proudly displayed in his room with all his favorite ornaments (including some he's made as well as a set of Thomas ornaments he picked out at Target.)
Advent Calendar with Chocolates: When we were kids, my grandparents would mail us an advent calendar with a chocolate in each window. I always thought those were so neat, and when I saw one at Hobby Lobby this year I thought it'd be a fun thing for Manny. Next year I hope to do one of the activity based advent calendars...couldn't get my act together in time this year. But Manny looks forward to this each day - and I'm sure it's to hear the scripture, not just get the chocolate. ;)

So there are our new things for this year. Like I said, I've decided to tell the perfectionist in me - so what if you haven't done it every year? All that matters is the present, and making the most of each holiday spent together. What is your favorite Christmas tradition? Anything I'm missing out on that's a must? :)

December 16, 2012

Christmas Card {2012}

Today I am linking up with Faith to share our Christmas card. I ended up designing several Christmas cards for customers this year, which was great! But it also meant my time was limited so I didn't get to work on my card as soon as I normally would have. And by the time I got to it, I just kind of wanted to be done with it. I debated for a long time on if we should use the color or black & white picture for the front. After about 10 different designs, I finally settled on this one. Sometimes designing your own stuff can be a blessing and a curse! I had it printed on pearlescent stock and I love the way it turned out.

I can't get over that picture of Manny kissing Maeva. I LOVE it.
This is the label I designed for the front. Yes, I know to some it might be tacky to use labels for Christmas cards but I don't like my handwriting and it personally doesn't offend me if someone else uses a label. Hopefully nobody I sent to was bothered by my labels...I really do love each of you! :)

Be sure to link up with Faith. Can't wait to see everyone's Christmas cards! :)

December 14, 2012

12 Days of Christmas for my Husband

So I started to write this post about 2 weeks ago because I had grand plans of being on the ball and doing the 12 Days of Christmas for Patrick. When I saw the idea on Pinterest last year, it was too late to get started on it so I made a mental note that I would start early this year. But of course, that didn't happen. Then a couple of days ago my friend Sarah posted a picture on Instagram of her 12 Days of Christmas gifts ready to go for her husband, and I freaked out. How was it already that time?! So I asked her for help, and lucky for me she kindly obliged! She sent me the list of things she had gotten her husband, as well as the cute rhymes she came up with to go with each gift. I'd seen several list suggestions, but hers combined with the rhymes made me excited and feel like I could actually do it!

I posted a picture of Patrick's 1st gift on Instagram last night, and several people asked for details so I thought I'd go ahead and do a post here (he doesn't read my blog so I'm safe). I should also add he was SO surprised and absolutely loved it. I'm giving him the gifts at night (mostly because I can't get my act together in the morning and also because he leaves at 5 am and I'm usually not awake at that point.)

Anyway, it might be crazy, but I don't think it's too late to do it this year if you'd like. If you start today (the 14th), then it will run through Christmas Day. Since I started the 13th, mine will end Christmas Eve. And actually come to find out, I guess the 12 Days of Christmas historically starts on Christmas Day, so there's another option for some that might want to still try to do this this year.
I found these tags via Pinterest and downloaded them here. I think they are so adorable! I haven't made up all of my daily tags with the rhymes yet because I haven't bought everything, but the ones I plan on doing are listed below. I wish I had a full printable set to share with you but I just didn't plan far enough in advance so will be flying by the seat of my pants - maybe next year. :)

I did put together a Word document with some blank tags so you can fill in whatever you want, or erase the text box and print them blank and hand write them in. You can download it here.

So here's the list of what I plan to do. Some of the things I just used Sarah's list; others I changed to fit Patrick better, or to use things I'd already bought him anyway. (I won't be doing a stocking since I'm doing this.) So far I have like 3 things on it, so I need to get to shopping! Hopefully they'll all work out. As far as the details on some of the gifts, they remain a surprise! And not because I don't want to share, but because I don't know what they will be yet. I also listed the rhyme I'm using that I got from Sarah. Yes, they are cheesy but I had fun customizing some of them for his gifts. And I love them - they make me laugh! :)

Day 1: Sweater    
A partridge in a pear tree? How boring a start! Here's a new sweater. This will keep you warm when we're apart!
Day 2: Pair of Cuff Links 
Two turtle doves are very rare, nowhere could I find these.
A pair of cuff links I got you instead, I know you’ll look debonair when you wear them -
don’t let it go to your head!

Day 3: 3 Ties
I did get French hens, but they took flight! Instead I bought you 3 ties. 
When you wear them you’ll be quite the sight!
Day 4: 4 Pairs of Boxers 
Four calling birds, What's with all these wings? Instead here's four undies to cover your things!
Day 5: 5 Weather Things (gloves, ice scraper, scarf, etc.) 
Five golden rings, that's rather extreme. I love you dearly, but that much money's a dream! How about 5 things for when the weather hits, hopefully the cold won't make you scream!
Day 6: 6 pack beer/cider
Six geese a laying, we're back to those birds! Instead here’s a six pack to calm your nerves!
Day 7: 7 favorite things (candy, cookies, gift card, magazine, etc.)
Seven swans swimming, but the water was so cold, I couldn't catch them, I couldn't grab hold.
I’m not exactly sure what you would do with swans anyway, here are 7 of your favorite things to brighten your day!
Day 8: Movie Money 
Eight maids a milking, silly women - Milk comes from a store.
Use this money to go to a movie. Pick one I’d find a bore!
Day 9:  9 Pictures (will either frame or give magnets)
Nine ladies dancing, but no dancing ladies for you! These cute pictures of the kids & me
will surely make do!
Day 10: $10 Starbucks Gift Card
Ten lords leaping, I bet that’s really hard.
Even though it’d be a sight to see, I won’t make you leap for this gift card!
Day 11: 11 items for the gym (dob kit with mini shampoo, body wash, etc., monogram towel, protein shakes and bars, etc.)
Eleven pipers were piping, I’m not sure that gift would do.
How about a stash of things for the gym. I hope they will be useful for you!
Day 12: TBD - possibly a watch
Twelve drummers drumming, they’re hurting my head. 
You need a new one of these; your old one is dead.
The 12 Days of Christmas now come to a close, But my love for you continues to grow!
I hope you have enjoyed these gifts and rhymes and now cheers to a Merry Christmas time!!!

A few other things I came across that you might find helpful: This site offers a free printable download where you can fill in a generic gift card to whatever you want it to be (think date night or coupons for household chores, etc.). They also have a Christmas themed version here.

Here are a few posts I found when I was searching for ideas on this:
via Passionate Homemaking
via The Biker & The Baker
via All our Days
via Power to Change
So there you have it! Here's to hoping I can actually finish this. If you have any ideas, I'd love if you shared them in the comments!

December 13, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Time for a little recap of our Thanksgiving week! My niece Gabi was out of school so got to spend the week with us. The kids adore her and we had so much fun with her here!
As usual, Manny was running around the house pantsless and in his rain boots. Gabi stopped him and said, "Manny, say cheese!" He stopped, turned around and struck this pose. Um...okay?!!
On Tuesday, Manny's school had a little "parade" where they walked the halls with their Thanksgiving floats and sang a few songs. Manny was unsure of it all and was so shy. I ended up walking some of the parade with him because he wanted me to hold him. You can see one of the pictures he's about to play with his belly button. He still does that for comfort. :) He is definitely growing up, but I still see my baby boy from time to time and I love it!
Unfortunately Patrick was on call Thanksgiving week for not only his group, but it was also his week to work with the residency program. Knowing it'd be a really busy week for him, he told us to just go ahead and go to my parent's house without him. I was sad to leave him but it ended up being really busy so he said it was for the best. We decided to go out to eat Wednesday night before we left town to "celebrate Thanksgiving." Haha! The weather was gorgeous though and we had fun eating together before we left for a few days. 
Thanksgiving meal was amazing as always - my mom is the best cook! She made these individual pies in a jar fun and cute! I love this picture of my sister Becky and MB. So sweet!
I loved the kids in their matching SheShe Made outfits!! They looked so cute and I wish they could still wear them. I always get sad when they wear seasonal outfits for the last time...haha!
When we're up staying with my parents, my dad always takes Manny with him in the morning to feed the animals they have at the amphitheater. My dad put this sweatshirt on Manny one morning because it was a little cold, and he took these pictures of him feeding the birds. Manny LOVES doing this and thinks he's such a big shot!
We did a little light shopping on Saturday. The mall was crazy so we didn't stay long, but of course Manny had to ride the carousel while we were there. Talk about making me dizzy. Luckily Gabi was there to ride with him most of the time so I didn't get sick.

And with that - I'm almost caught up! (aside from Project 366, which doesn't count.) I'm just so ready for things to slow down a little bit so I'm not always whining about being behind (which is annoying anyway - sorry). I know it's silly, but it's really something I want to do (and enjoy doing) as far as keeping things documented on the blog. Maybe I'll make a New Year's resolution to do better at it - haha!! That's funny. Happy Thursday! :)

December 12, 2012

Birthday Weekend Fun

A couple of weekends ago, we went down to Dallas to celebrate my niece Ellie's birthday. She had a princess tea party, and my sister did such a great job putting it together! She even bought Maeva a Snow White princess dress so she could dress up too. I mean, seriously? Cannot deal with the cuteness here!

 Manny absolutely adores Ellie. Like seriously obsessed. So it came as no surprise that he wanted to be front & center in the action at her party! It seriously took me aback how grown up he seemed "following along", running, playing, and cheering when the group (of ALL girls) cheered. He was having the time of his life. He talks about Wawa's (what he calls Ellie) princess party all the time and asks to go back to it. So sweet. :)

He even played pin the crown on the princess (or something like that) and also tried to hit the pinata. I loved watching him wait his turn for each thing, and then he'd be real bashful but still do it. He just had to be one of the big kids!
This picture makes me laugh so much. Rachael was explaining the game they were about to play and Manny was trying to weasel his way to the front, not to be left out of course.

Sunday was my 32nd birthday. Kinda sounds old, huh? So on Saturday night, my mom, 2 of my sisters, and niece Gabi had a girl's night to celebrate my birthday. We ate at Mooyah (LOVE this place - best burgers and sweet potato fries ever!!) and then went to the movies. We saw Pitch Perfect, which took me back to high school and was so hilarious. On Sunday morning, Manny & Patrick surprised me with Panera bagels (my fave!) and flowers. It was so cute to hear Manny say happy day-day to me.

I love weekends like this just spending time with family...I am thankful for another year with them, even if it does mean I'm getting older. :)

December 11, 2012

Cetaphil: A Time-Tested Favorite

There are some things in life that you find, you use, and you love. And for one reason or another, you stop using them for a while. And when you're reintroduced? You're excited to fall in love with the greatness all over again. Such is the case for me and Cetaphil products.

Let me back up for a minute here. I remember really odd things, and typically by association. For instance, I remember that in this particular picture, my cheer squad had just traveled to California to perform in the Hollywood Christmas Parade. While on the way there, the flight attendant had told me I had really pretty skin and asked what kind of products I used. I told her I used Cetaphil products, and embarrassingly admitted that I wasn't sure if it was pronounced "See-ta-phil" or "Set-a-phil"...but that's what I used. See? I told you...I remember odd things.

That being said, this was a time in my life when Cetaphil products were a big part of my daily routine. I was first introduced to them when my BFF told me that her dermatologist told her that she should try Cetaphil products. And upon learning that Cetaphil products were recommended by more dermatologists than any other brand, we both knew it was time to give it a try. If that many people are recommending it, it's gotta be a good thing, right? And it was.

Now here we are just a few years later, and when given the opportunity to review Cetaphil products, I knew I needed to give them a try. Yes, I used them years ago and loved them, but since it'd been a while, I was curious to see if it still worked as well as it did back when I was a cute young thing. The products I tried this time were Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser and Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream. Sure enough, they did not disappoint. I love how fresh and clean my skin feels after washing and moisturizing. I like to have something I know is going to work. And let's be honest-- while I want to have a great skin care routine, I know the reality is I'm too busy for anything extravagant. But using these two simple things ensures I'm doing something good for my skin, which is extremely important with each day that goes by. I like the fact that they are fragrance-free and really just leave you with that basic clean feeling. The moisturizer is also great for dry spots like elbows and feet, which always give me trouble during the winter.
What's your winter skin care strategy? Leave a comment letting me know for your chance to win a $100 Visa gift card.

Cetaphil brand will also be offering a printable coupon to save $3 on any two Cetaphil products.

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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to respond, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 12/11/12 - 1/7/13. Be sure to visit the Cetaphil brand page on where you can read other bloggersĂ­ reviews and find more chances to win!

The Proof is in the Pin {Volume 4}

Well it's time for my monthly Pinterest check-in! While I'm still not completing lots of pins, I am, at the very least, getting my 3 pins in for this purpose. So that's good. :) My 3 this month are kind of simple, but I actually love that. I love looking through the pins that others link up and get a little too excited to find something to pin that someone else has had success with. Pinterest is an awesome place, but there's also a whole lotta craziness on I always appreciate the truth from an actual person rather than a caption of "One pinner said this is the world's best pin and changed their life!" (Don't even get me started on that - ha!) End rant, on with the show!

Pin #1 - Glowing Christmas Tree Photos: I saw this pin last year, and never tried it. Knowing a little more about my camera this year, I decided to give it a try. This post gives you tips on how to get those awesome glowing Christmas tree photos.  I tried the same settings she did, but didn't get near the results. I had my shutter speed at 1/30, used a 1.8 mm lens, and my ISO was set to 1600. In her picture, she used an ISO of 3200, but 1600 was the highest my camera would go and I definitely think that made a difference. I also think the fact that my house has carpet and hers has wood floors could also make a difference. I think next time I also need to get back further. I didn't actually pull out my tripod - I just rested the camera on the couch so I was working with what I had. Anyone else have suggestions? I'd like to try this again and play with it some more so I'd love any feedback or tips!

 Pin #2 - Rolo Stuffed Cookies: I see something with the word "Rolo" in it, and pretty much immediately pin it. Slightly obsessed. This recipe recommends using sugar cookies or snickerdoodles, but my grocery store was out of both so I got peanut butter cookies. Yes, I'm aware I could have made the dough from scratch, but if you really think that's a possibility for me? Then clearly you don't know me well. Pre-packaged for the win - every time. :) I actually made these to take to a neighbor that just had twins, and ended up having to make more because we kind of liked them. Very easy to make and they seem "fancy" to me. Or at least then you can't tell it's just a pre-packaged cookie anyway. I did read the comments on that post, which recommended dipping the Rolos in flour, so I did that. I also sprayed my cookie sheet with flour spray and had no problems with them sticking. Will definitely make these again!

Pin #3 - How to Tie a Tulle Bow: I came across this pin while searching for an easy way to tie bows on my Christmas gifts. I had the tulle on hand (you can get it at Hobby Lobby by the fabric section) so I decided to try this method. The tutorial is here, and is very simple to follow. I think it's one of those things that will get better with least hopefully. :) I'm HORRIBLE at bow making. Horrible. But this was simple and I think looks fairly decent so I'll probably try it again. (Notice the fancy bow on the package in the background? Told you I need help.)

Well that's all for today! If you have anything to share, you can grab the button if you'd like and link-up below. :)

December 7, 2012

Friday Fragments

I saw a gadget along these lines on Pinterest awhile back, but never got around to ordering it. So imagine my sheer delight when I stumbled upon one in the Target Dollar Spot. Granted, it was actually $3, but I decided it was worth the splurge. I have to say this has allowed me to take my laziness to a new level, and for that, I am thankful. It really is handy though. I put one on both of our nightstands and Patrick loves his too. I'm tired of digging around on the floor for my 2 inch long iPhone cord, and this seems to fix the problem.
This week has been loooong. Both Manny & now MB are sick with a yucky cough and all the fun that comes with it.  This was the last picture of them before things started going downhill. Actually Manny was already sick, but he had a pep in his step thanks to a cake pop from my BFF Candice. Getting a picture of them in their matching jam's just wasn't happening, but I love them both in these so much! (They're from Crazy 8 FYI.)

So it's no secret here that my memory has dropped off the radar. Well a couple of weeks ago I saw a shirt for Patrick I liked and decided to buy it for him. One night he put it on, and I was in our closet when it struck me: the reason I liked that shirt so much, is because I already had it in the exact same print for myself! I told him to hang on a second and I quickly changed into my shirt, then walked out and said I was ready to go. I'm pretty sure he almost fainted. The look of fear in his eyes made it apparent he wasn't sure if I was joking or serious. He did humor me and take a picture together though. If only the kids were in it this would have been the perfect Christmas card picture.

Patrick got us tickets to go see comedian Brian Regan last night. We almost didn't go with the kids being sick, but luckily it started late enough that we were able to basically get them to bed then leave. I'm so glad we decided to go! Brian Regan is hilarious and he is the rare exception in that his material is all clean. There were even several kids there, and he didn't cuss once. Not to sound like an old fuddy duddy, but it was just refreshing. One of the first bits I saw him do was on Dora the can check it out here if you're interested.

It's already time for another round of Proof is in the Pin! Have you tried any pins lately? Fails or successes, I'd love for you to link up on Tuesday.

Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend! :)

December 5, 2012

Project 366: Week 46

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