Christmastime

It’s here, it’s here! We are smack dab in the middle of the season and the countdown is ON! It’s the first Christmas at our new home, so it was fun unpacking all of our Christmas bins and sprucing up our home for the first time. It actually inspired me to finally hang things on the walls and I turned the built-in bar (that we don’t use) into a hot coco bar (which Madelyn now uses daily). It’s been a process, though. My kids were sick after Thanksgiving and so I could only do things here and there, but it got done and we even did some gingerbread house building, orange drying and marshmallow making in the last few weeks. Decorating for Christmas has been one of my favorite things since I was a little girl and I’m constantly looking for inspiration on Pinterest. It’s so fun! I also finally got my little tree in a basket this year. I was so giddy about that! This season creeps up on us so quickly and I’m trying to savor every moment! Merry, merry Christmas!

 

 

my heart.

Thanksgiving is days away and I can’t think of a better time to share this. I’m behind the camera a lot and everyone who knows me, knows that photography is my passion, but I’ve been trying to make a real effort to get in front of the camera so that my children have photos to look back at with me in them as well and for me to look back at in twenty, thirty,  forty years. There is something about a photograph. It’s a moment in time. A story to share. Something that preserves us in that moment forever. Memories can be fuller when there’s a photograph to take us back. This year for my Christmas present, I asked my husband if we could go to San Diego and have Corey Villicana photograph us. It’s probably one of the best presents I’ve ever received.

I am thankful, so very thankful, down to my soul, for my family. My husband and our children are my everything. They are my light and my joy. I will cherish these photos forever. Be sure to scroll all the way to the end, because the video that Corey shot is just everything and more…

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This video is so special to me, I have watched it over and over and each time, it brings tears to my eyes. It is so beautiful. Thank you so much, Corey!

Photography by Corey Villicana Photography

…fall

It’s near! It’s just days away, in fact, and I am doing a ha-ppy dance! There is something that tugs at my soul when fall arrives, it’s a season that both excites and calms me. I whole-heartedly anticipate this season all year round – the light is warm and golden and the beauty that takes over this season is always awe-inspiring. One of my very favorite things is to visit the apple orchards with my family and let my kids soak up the mountain air, bask in the cooler temps, and pick apples from the tree. Kora and Caleb enjoyed taste-testing on our GATHRE mat while Madelyn was very hands-on, as she has been for the last several years. We went to a different orchard this year because the one we normally visit was closed, but it all worked out and it ended up being a perfect spot. I see an apple pie (or two or three?) in our near future… enjoy this season, friends!

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Our Gathre mat came in SO handy this weekend! Not only is it stylish (the Ginger color is so beautiful!) and unique it is so functional! I was able to sit Caleb on the mat while his sisters picked apples and he stayed on the mat and amused himself. It made the trip so easy! Sometimes you just need a place to sit your baby down, especially when you have older children, you know? This works like a charm. It’s much better than simply using a quilt because it stays on the ground better whereas a quilt usually starts out flat and as kids crawl and walk around on it, it sort of starts bunching up. I use our Gathre mat in our yard, the park, ball games, pretty much whenever I can. I love it!

summer picnic

Madelyn starts first grade tomorrow. FIRST. GRADE. I can’t even believe that, but here we are! Last week we had a bit of time, just her and me, so I decided it was time we had a picnic! She had been wanting to have one for so long, so she was very excited! We made simple little sandwiches, packed up some grapes, mixed pink lemonade and played our favorite matching game from Bannor Toys. We clinked our glasses together and she beat me twice! She’s four years older than Kora is and (almost) six years older than Caleb, so sometimes I feel guilty that she misses out on some big kid stuff because the babies can’t always do the things she wants to do, so it was really nice to spend this time together. I think it’s so important to still make time for that one-on-one with your kids, especially once they get bigger.

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Pantry m a k e o v e r!

We moved to our house back in March and we had most of the interior painted white (specifically the most dreamy “White Dove” by Benjamin Moore). For whatever reason, I was like oh, don’t worry about the pantry, I can paint that myself. Who cares, you say? It’s just the pantry, right? Well. The former owners had painted the shelves and the wall behind and on the sides of the shelves red. Like bright, blood red. Not a great color for a pantry closet. (The before photos are at the end for your viewing pleasure! 😉 ) It drove me crazy. So finally I got up the nerve to paint. I knew it would take a while and with three little kids, it’s hard to find the time. But I am so thrilled that I went ahead with the project, even though it took me practically all day. I primed, painted, went through everything, tossed some things, organized others. It was fun! Plus, I’m so in love with my new pantry I keep opening the door just to look at how nice and organized it is. Haha!

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as promised, here are some photos of my process…Photo Aug 05, 12 38 40 PM

primed…Photo Aug 05, 6 15 50 AM

first coat…Photo Aug 05, 12 18 25 PM

beddy’s zipper bedding + the girls’ new room

We moved to our new house a little over two months ago and I’ve been working hard on getting this and that into its place at our new place. The first rooms I really had “done” are the kids’ rooms. I always like having their space put together, I think it makes our daily routine much easier, so I focused there first. When I was getting the girls’ new space ready for them, I was really, really excited to use Beddy’s for their bedding. First and foremost – the bedding zips, so there are no fitted sheets, flat sheets, comforters, duvets, or blankets to fold or adjust or tuck, etc. – you get the idea. It’s all-in-one, similar to a sleeping bag, but it fits over your mattress and it’s so soft and cozy on the inside. It’s pretty much the most genius idea when it comes to bedding, especially for children! My six year old AND my two year old can literally make their beds now. Sign me up, right?!? I’m always excited for anything that makes tidying up a bit easier!

 

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Here are some more details of Beddy’s and the girls’ room…DSC_5595

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Easter + Our Bunnies

Easter always catches me off guard. I’m not sure why, but it swoops in and I am always feeling unprepared. This year felt that way even more so, I barely had fresh eggs, let alone anything to dye them with. So, thankfully there is Google and thankfully I have a large assortment of food coloring. I used a recipe I found on McCormick’s website and it was perfect. It was easy and the colors turned out really fun! DSC_5207collage2DSC_5219DSC_5245collage3DSC_5254DSC_5262DSC_5277DSC_5278DSC_5280DSC_5284DSC_5290DSC_5293DSC_5300

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…and we had our very own baby bunny, too. 😉

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christmastime + JORD woodwatches

I’ve probably said it before, but I’ll say it again. Christmastime is my very, very favorite time of year. We might have a fake tree (:() but I still love visiting the tree farm we have near our home to soak in all of the festivities and bask in the nostalgia. Santa is also there, so that gives me a valid reason for insisting on going there. 😉 While we waited for Santa, I got my husband, Patrick, in front of the camera for some precious moments with our two littlest babies (our oldest wasn’t interested in the photo-op, so I didn’t press. I’ve learned! ;)) I know I am partial, because it’s my family, but going through these completely melted my heart. There’s just something about kiddos and their daddy…

Speaking of husbands…if you’re still not sure what to get your guy for Christmas, look no further! The wood watch my husband is wearing below is from JORD Woodwatches and is absolutely beautiful! I’ve really never seen a more unique watch. Simply click HERE and you will automatically receive a $25.00 coupon code! You have until December 25, 2016, to enter!

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This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches

Wooden Wristwatch

a thoughtful DIY gift

A couple of years ago, I came across Heather Bullard on Instagram. She is amaaaazing. She is a prop stylist and everything she does is gorgeous, so naturally I was an instant fan. She shared her recipe for Organic Madagascar Vanilla Extract and I was like oh yes, I must do this! I love to bake and I really like thoughtful gift ideas, so this was perfect. Finally, two summers ago, a friend and I decided to try it out. It’s so easy, but you must have time. Time is the key ingredient here, because you have to let the vanilla cure for 6+ months, the longer the better. Mine has been curing for a year and a half, so you can imagine how excited I was to finally bottle this stuff up!! I highly suggest you visit Heather’s page for all things beautiful and inspiring and for lots and lots of recipes. (Note: I am not afiliated with Heather at all, I just am sharing what inspires me and oh my gosh does she ever!)

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For the finishing touch, and to make it extra festive, I simply tied some baker’s twine around the top of the bottle and added a couple of cinnamon sticks. I think it’s beautiful and I can’t wait to give these as gifts this year. I had an extra bottle so I am stashing that in my pantry for holiday baking! 😉dsc_2797dsc_2807dsc_2809

festive gingerbread men

Christmastime is my all-time favorite. I’ve always loved the season – decorating, listening to Christmas Carols, drinking egg nog out of Christmas glasses, hot chocolate with peppermint sticks, looking at Christmas lights, extra family time…I mean, all of it, I love it! And this year, I wanted to make some gingerbread men ornaments. I found thee perfect recipe from McCormick’s. It’s easy and your home will smell fantastic! You need to try it, get your kiddos involved and have at it!

Ingredients:

3/4 c. applesauce

2 of the 2.37 oz bottles of ground cinnamon

Cookie Cutters (we used gingerbread, but I plan on doing some more with hearts and stars and trees #obsessed)

Drinking Straw (I used festive ones of course! 😉 )

Ribbon

Directions:

Mix your applesauce and cinnamon together until a dough ball forms (I used my hands, it’s easier). Once it’s mixed, separate the dough into four separate dough balls. Place one of the dough balls on a sheet of plastic wrap and then cover it with another sheet of plastic wrap (this trick is wonderful!). Use a rolling pin to roll out each dough ball to 1/4 – 1/3 inches (per the recipe…I just eyeballed it, though) and cut out shapes with your cookie cutters. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining dough. Once you have a full sheet of ornaments, use a straw to poke a hole at the top (or two in the center if you want to make garland like I did). Bake at 200 degrees for 2 1/2 hours (your home will smell SO good!). Once baked and cooled a bit, string ribbon through the holes and you’re all set! You could even decorate them if you wish. I wanted mine plain for the garland.

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We had one extra, so we strung some baker’s twine through it and made an ornament for our tree!dsc_2825