Monday, December 28, 2015

Our Christmas

Another favorite holiday come and gone in a whirlwind!  I hope you all had the most amazing Christmas weekend!

We kicked off Christmas Eve morning with a puking 3.5 year old, who spent the rest of the day telling us, in the most pathetic voice ever, that he "couldn't be sick on Christmas"!  Thanks to lots of R&R, he was able to rally, and seemed to be feeling much better that evening, and 100% better by Christmas morning... leaving us all feeling glad that our plans to celebrate with family aren't until later this week, because the only thing worse than a sick kid, is traveling with one!

Sticking to tradition, we enjoyed appetizers and Christmas movies in comfy pajamas on Christmas Eve... sans fire this year, since it has been so darn hot... and M&E went to bed early enough for Mike and I to get everything together before settling down for our yearly viewing of Miracle on 34th Street.

We awoke Christmas morning and took things nice and slow, dragging out gift opening over the course of an hour or 2, because, since we had no real agenda, I thought it would be fun to actually enjoy the process, rather than rushing right through it!

We brunched, we played, and we lounged some more...

It was so much fun to watch Ella and Max play together and enjoy all of their new gifts from Santa!

Yesterday, we had the CRAZY idea to hop on train, and head to New York City, with our 2 little ones in tow.  I had always wanted to see Rockafeller Center at Christmas time, and although it was a bit chaotic and stressful at times, trying to maneuver through hundreds and thousands of people while pushing a stroller, I'm still thankful that I got the chance to check that experience off of my bucket list.

Now it's on to cleaning, organizing, and packing for a trip back to Pittsburgh to celebrate some more before we jump into a new year full of BIG, exciting things.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Week

Despite the fact that we are not going to be traveling until after the holiday, this week hasn't seemed to be any less chaotic.

There have been several last minute Target trips, our Amazon Prime membership has been put to good use (Thank the Lord for free 2 day shipping!), and the dreaded BIG trip to the grocery store has been made... though there is no doubt in my mind, that something was forgotten, and we will be heading back again.

I've been spending the last couple of days scheming and gift wrapping, and scheming some more, with the hopes that everything will be perfectly in place on Christmas morning.

It's going to be very quiet and low key around here for us this year... It'll be just the four (and a half) of us for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day... before we head out to see our family and friends back in Pittsburgh a few days later for the New Year.

I always like to try to stick with tradition though, so we'll be getting all dressed up for an early mass at church on Christmas Eve, and then we'll head back home for some apps and drinks (sparkling cider for me!) in front of the fire until the kids go to bed, when Mike and I get to play Mr and Mrs Claus and set out gifts/stuff stockings.  Then as we do every year, we will watch Miracle on 34th Street together until we can no longer keep our eyes open.

I'm sticking to a simple appetizer-style menu this year... brie, raspberry jam, and pecans in little phyllo cups, meatballs simmered in the slow cooker with cranberry sauce and chili sauce, arancini balls served with marinara, and of course this peppermint dip for a little something sweet!

For breakfast on Christmas morning, I ALWAYS make homemade cinnamon rolls, but I promised my husband I would make this Croque Madame casserole, so bring on the food coma!

Dinner will star these mini beef wellingtons, along with a side of these amazing brussel sprouts.

I'm totally looking forward to a lazy day in pajamas, watching Christmas movies, and playing with all of M&E's new toys... and then minus the road trip with 2 kids part, we can't wait to head home for some good festive times in Pennsylvania.

I hope you're all able to relax a bit and enjoy the holidays... they always go by too fast!  Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Swoon Worthy

Eek, Christmas is less than a week away... how is that even possible???  I swear the month of December goes by quicker and quicker every year.

This next week is sure to be full of lots of last minute gift buying, menu planning, and running around.

As you can probably imagine, with the holidays weighing this heavily on my mind, much of this week's Swoon Worthy post is about all things Christmas.

So let's get down to it.  Here's what I'm loving lately...

1.  I swear that as soon as the New Year hits, I'm cleaning up my act, but for now, this dip needs to happen!

2.  So... I picked up one of these blankets the other day, and it the softest, coziest, most amazing thing I've ever snuggled up with.

3.  Friends who knit, are you looking for a great last minute, handmade gift idea?  This scarf pattern is definitely swoon worthy.

4.  I'm not sure if any of you have caught on to this yet, but I seem to be posting a lot of links lately for pajamas and lounge pants.  Well, I wouldn't want to let you down this week, so I'm sticking with the theme.  These are a new favorite, and they're currently on sale!

5.  Looking for a festive Christmas cocktail?  In my opinion, you can never go wrong with a good mimosa.

6.  Maybe it's the iced coffee lover in me, but I think these little ornaments are the cutest.

7.  I wouldn't be mad if Santa left these under the tree for me!

8.  I've kind of made it a tradition to make homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast on Christmas morning, but this super simple recipe has me totally intrigued.

9.  I'm not sure if winter is ever going to arrive here in NY, but just in case, I want to be prepared with these adorable mittens.

10.  In need of some gift wrapping inspiration?  My girl Martha never lets me down!

Enjoy the weekend!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Holiday Home Tour

Nothing makes me happier than when our house is decorated for the holidays.  "Kozy" nights spent watching Christmas movies next to a brightly lit tree are pretty much my favorite thing ever.

I can, by no stretch of the imagination, call myself a home blogger, but I wanted to share some photos from around our house while it is all decorated for Christmas anyway!

I'm sure that none of you will be shocked to hear that I couldn't get enough of Target's holiday collection this year, so you'll definitely find pieces from it sprinkled in with our traditional decor.

Christmas is all about traditions for me, and I love mixing new with old.  Our tree is covered in ornaments from both mine and my husband's childhood, as well as new ones that we have been collecting since we have been together.  I make it a point to buy each of my kids a new ornament every year, so that when they are grown they will have a collection of their own to start out with.

It has always been a dream of mine to have a really tall tree, and this year's is by far our favorite tree to date thanks to higher ceilings in our new home.

Max and Ella each have a mini tree of their own in their rooms, and we decorated a small tree with colored lights and bright and whimsical ornaments for their playroom.

honestly wish that we could keep our house decorated like this all year long!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Seeing Santa

This past weekend, we took M&E to see Santa.

In an effort to avoid the chaos that is the mall this time of year, we opted for a different approach, and went to see the big guy in his sweet little cottage, downtown.

Max was pumped about getting to meet St. Nick, and thrilled at the opportunity to talk to him.  Ella seemed to be too... Every time we asked her if she wanted to see Santa, she replied with a "ho ho ho", and then burst into giggles.  I was weary though, I just had a feeling that when it came time to sit on his lap, a meltdown would almost definitely occur.

Call it mother's intuition, but I was right on...

This Santa was a little quirky, but he really took his time talking to each child, and I was totally entertained while Max listed off the 100 things that he wanted for Christmas, told him how old his sister was, and then announced to him what we had bought for his daddy for presents the day before... right in front of Mike.

The second it was Ella's turn to climb into his lap, she wanted NOTHING to do with him... these photos are the proof.  She couldn't get out of there fast enough.

As soon as she was safely back in her stroller she was all smiles again, as both her and Max went to town on candy canes.

Memory making at its finest!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Swoon Worthy

Why does it always seem like December absolutely flies by???  With less than 2 weeks until Christmas, I am frantically running around like a mad woman trying to get it all done!!!

With that being said, I'm going to just go ahead and dive right in to this week's list of swoon worthy goodness, so that I can get back to my mile-long to-do list!

Here's what I've been loving lately...

1.  I walked into the Gap the other day, and died over these pants.  Seriously, the cutest, I want them in every color!

2.  The Christmas/hot cocoa lover in me is desperately swooning over these!

3.  I'm 110% positive this brunch recipe isn't waistline friendly, but there's always the New Year, and who doesn't love a good Croque Madame???

4.  I had to snag this coat for both the style and the price.

5.  Tis' the season for baking holiday cookies!

6.  Love it when I find adorable pj's that are great not only for Christmas, but all winter long.

7.  Swooning hard over these lady's beautiful homes and Christmas decor... so much inspiration here.  Enjoy the tour!

8.  I will always adore a good mini trapper style hat!

9.  These would make for a great hostess/office swap gift!

10.  I would not be upset if Santa left this gift set under the tree for me!

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

I Have a Confession to Make...

It's been awhile since my last "I have a confession to make" blog post, and seeing as it's been one of those days around here, I figured why not give it a go and get some more totally irrelevant thoughts off of my chest.

Brace yourselves, here I go...

1.  My kids have been totally off the wall today, like non-stop crazy, I-wanna-rip-my-hair-out, off the wall.  I love them both to death, but seriously, is it bed time yet (so I can miss them and feel guilty about having to discipline them so much)?

2.  I am by no means a "neat freak".  I love it when my house is clean, and it makes me crazy when it's not (which is most of the time), but one thing I absolutely must do every single day is make my bed.  The thought of climbing into an unmade bed literally makes my skin crawl.  Our room can be a total mess (and it will bug the heck out of me), but as long as the bed is made, all is right in the world.

3.  We recently started a good behavior chart for Max, as a way of positively reinforcing all of the good things he does.  It was an idea that came about via both his preschool teacher and some other moms in a mother's group that I belong to.  The way it works is that he gets stickers for certain good behaviors... i.e. sharing with his sister, eating his dinner, helping clean up his toys, etc.  Once he gets enough stickers, he gets to pick out a prize... which by the way, he already has picked out.  It's kind of awesome, because he seems to be behaving much better based on the fact that he wants stickers like crazy, but kind of obnoxious, because now I get asked no less than 500 times a day when he can get his "small hulk guys" at Target.  I'm all for an excuse to go to Target, but come on!!!

4.  Which brings me to my next fun fact.  I have been to Target 3 times already this week.  It's Thursday.  Do they have rehab for this kind of thing?

5. If I see one more photo of a woman who is equally as far along as I am, but makes me look like the Octomom, I'm seriously going to cry.

6.  Am I the only one that leaves Christmas decorations up well into January purely based on the fact that I go into a serious depression after the holidays?  #Christmasforever

7.  I miss wine.  I'm pretty sure I've already mentioned that fact, but really and truly, I miss wine so much.

8.  There are a billion things I should be doing right now other than writing this blog post.  So... there's that.

Now that you're totally enlightened with a bunch of absolutely useless information about my life, I'm feeling much better.  Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday, have some wine for me!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Bath Time with Nuby

We've hit the point around here where Max and Ella take their baths together about 99% of the time. For one, I really just don't have the energy to give 2 separate baths lately, and secondly, they have so much fun in there together, it just seems silly to me to not do it that way.

The majority of the time, they share their toys, and there's lots of laughter and fun while getting clean... but occasionally there's some yelling and tears, so naturally, I was thrilled when Nuby offered to send us some fun new bath time toys to test out.

I knew M&E would be thrilled to have something new to play with, and I was elated because I was fully aware that new toys would likely result in a nice, peaceful, bath time experience for me.

First up, the Nuby Hippo Spout Guard... Max is obsessed with starting the bath water all by himself. Full blown fits are thrown if I even think about touching the faucet, so I generally indulge him, let him feel like he is in control, and then adjust the water temperature as soon as he isn't looking.

He squealed when he saw the new hippo spout cover, which then led to happy giggles from Ella as well.  A spout cover is a must for us, because these 2 can be wild in the tub, and I'm always concerned about one of them bumping their heads, or worse their faces off of the hard metal spout. This one is really cute, and my kids loved watching the water pour out of the hippo's mouth.  Bonus points for the fact that it comes equipped with a hatch, that when closed, causes the water to squirt out of the hippo's nose.  Max and Ella thought this was just hilarious.

Next up for testing was a set of Nuby's Tub Tugs.  These are super cute and come in a set of 2... which was great for us, one for each, to keep the peace.  Ella and Max seemed to be interested in these, as is, but as soon as I showed them how to use them, the real fun began.  If you submerge the boats, and allow them to fill with water, they become super fun squirt toys.  I swear, my kids would have stayed in the water until their lips were blue playing with these.  They took turns squirting each other back and forth, and even used them to rinse the soap from each other's hair.  Another win for sure.

Lastly, we broke out Nuby's Fun Bath Links.  These are a set of 15 BPA-free shapes and sea creatures that you can link together to create chains.  They also come with 2 suction cups that can be stuck to the bath walls and then the links can be attached to them.  In addition to traditional bath-time play, these are made to promote hand eye coordination.

Though Max was interested in these, and certainly played with them, I'd have to say these were more suited for a babe around Ella's age (19 months), or younger.  Max definitely enjoyed playing with them for sure, but Ella seemed to really take to linking the pieces together and taking them apart the most.

At this point, we own a pretty good size collection of Nuby bath toys, and they have definitely become a household favorite.  They are durable, and fun, and they keep my kids entertained long after the newness wears off.  I don't doubt that this new range of toys will keep us busy for a long time, along with some of our old favorites.

You can check out Nuby's entire line on their website, or follow them on any of the following social media platforms:

You can also purchase many of their products online at or find them in retail stores, such as Toys R Us and Walmart.

***Disclaimer:  These products were provided to us exclusively by Nuby for review purposes.  All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

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