Five Thanksgiving Outfit Ideas

With our first (and hopefully last) pandemic Thanksgiving next week, today I wanted to share a few looks for a little holiday outfit inspiration! Like most people, our holiday will look quite different this year as we won’t be getting together with friends or family. However I still wanted to come up with some ideas for celebrating in style no matter what your holiday may look like this year.

Festive Casual

A bright colored top in a cheery fall color is sure to make you feel a bit more festive even if you’re staying in. And it will look really cute on those zoom family gatherings!

Top | Jeans | Booties (similar) | Bag

Outdoor Layers

Many people are moving their celebrations outdoors this year, which is significantly safer with Covid but of course may be a bit chilly. Keep warm with lots of layers and some cozy boots.

Sweater | Tee (similar) | Leggings | Boots | Hat (similar) | Bag

Cozy Comfort

A cozy jogger outfit with slippers seems very fitting this year, and it’s the perfect outfit for curling up on the sofa in and getting a head start on those Black Friday online sales.

For the Turkey Trot

If you’re headed out for a run, walk, or bike ride this is the perfect athleisure look to keep you warm and still look cute.

Classic Neutrals

This holiday may be a lot different this year, but classic corduroy pants with a cashmere sweater are always traditional.

Sweater | Pants (similar) | Shoes | Bag

Festive Thanksgiving Touches for the Kitchen

Just because large Thanksgiving gatherings may be a no-go this year, it doesn’t mean Thanksgiving is cancelled! I’m looking forward to celebrating with just my little family and will make sure that this year is still just as festive as always. I’m still going to cook our traditional Thanksgiving dinner and already have our house decorated with fall foliage and pumpkins. I’ve been on the hunt for some festive touches to add to the kitchen and our Thanksgiving table, and today wanted to share a few things I’ve come across.

One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven | Eight | Nine | Ten | Eleven | Twelve

One | These pretty spatulas will make Thanksgiving baking a little more fun

Two | This wheat bouquet is a pretty minimalist option for a centerpiece or kitchen counter

Three | These dinner plates are so elegant

Four | These napkins could be used all fall long

Five | A gorgeous piece of cookware to cook your Thanksgiving side dishes in

Six | This pretty plate could used as a decorative touch or a serving dish

Seven | This cute apron and oven mitt set is under $13

Eight | This cute (and so affordable) little trinket dish would be so cute on the Thanksgiving table

Nine | Festive dish towels are a must have

Ten | Make your pies extra pretty this year

Eleven | Festive spreaders are such a fun touch

Twelve | Such a cute pie dish/cutter combo

Our (Socially Distanced) Fall Fun

While some things have had to change this fall, many of our fall traditions are actually pandemic safe as they are outdoors and we are able to maintain a safe social distance. A few local businesses have also made adaptations and added some great activities that observe social distancing as well which have been a lot of fun and given us a feeling of normalcy.

I ventured out for the first brunch with a friend since March and it was really nice to get out for a little girl time! One of her sons has cerebral palsy and it’s really wonderful having friends who can understand life with a child with brain injury and all of the work and therapy that goes into it.

A few weeks ago we kicked off our fall festivities and stopped by the Halloween store to get our costumes and check out all of the spooky decorations! Afterwards we went to a “drive thru” fall festival after that was hosted by a local group here in Boise for medically fragile children and their families that we are part of. They put together sweet goodie bags and pumpkins for the kids to take home.

Evan and I have been working on a lot of fall crafts and activities at our at-home preschool. We had a full theme day where we read We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt, and then went for a walk where we gathered leaves, sorted them by color, made leaf rubbings, and made a fall leaf edible snack craft.

Our local zoo has been hosting a nightly Boo at the Zoo event which was a lot of fun! They limit tickets and you must follow a one way path through the zoo and observe social distancing. It was a lot of fun to experience the zoo at night and they had it all lit up with tons of lights and Halloween displays. They also had some trick or treat stations too and it was a really fun evening for the family.

One fall tradition that we never miss is apple picking! We love taking an afternoon and driving 45 minutes outside of Boise to the apple orchards. This is a pretty safe fall outing option as it’s outdoors and quite easy to socially distance.

My Sweater | Jeans | Boots | Sunglasses | Cole’s Shirt | Cole’s Jeans | Cole’s Shoes (similar) | Evan’s Shirt (similar) | Evan’s Jeans | Evan’s Shoes

We took advantage of the warm fall temperatures we’ve been having and invited friends over for a Halloween themed dinner and movie out on the patio which was SO fun! Outdoors is a significantly safer way to socialize as long as you still observe social distancing and masks. I made a hearty dinner of baked ziti, salad, and homemade apple pie before we bundled up to watch Halloweentown under the stars with popcorn and s’mores.

Tablecloth | Creepy Cloth | Vase (similar) | Velvet Pumpkins (similar) | Black Plates | Halloween Plates | Napkins (similar) | Cups (similar)

There’s nothing like fall bike rides where we can ride in perfect temperatures and soak in the beauty of the changing leaves. It’s always fun to see all of the fun Halloween decorations too.

We also went to our local pumpkin patch to pick our pumpkins and enjoy some of the fun attractions. It’s at a really rustic farm out in the country complete with hayrides, a corn maze, and apple cannons.

My Sweater | My Jeans | My Boots | Bag | Sunglasses | Evan’s Sweater | Evan’s Vest (old – similar) | Evan’s Jeans | Evan’s Shoes | Cole’s Shirt (similar) | Cole’s Coat | Cole’s Jeans | Cole’s Shoes (similar)

The Cutest PJs For Halloween (And A Cute Breakfast Idea)

While Halloween is going to look a lot different this year, there are still so many holiday traditions that we can keep and make it special for the kids. One of the simplest yet one of my favorite ways to observe any holiday is festive pajamas. And I love that Halloween pajamas are seeming to grow in popularity as there are so many cute options these days. This past weekend we filled with a lot of fall and Halloween (socially distanced) activities, which was made even more fun by coming home to festive jammies and cuddling up on the couch to watch spooky movies. I also put together a simple Halloween themed breakfast for the kids one morning, which would be a perfect way to make Halloween morning feel a bit more special this year (and could be made all fall long!).

My Pajamas | Evan’s Pajamas
Boy’s Pajamas
Boy’s Pajamas

For our breakfast I just whipped up some cute pumpkin shaped waffles using Trader Joe’s pumpkin waffle mix and topped them with Trader Joe’s maple butter (this stuff is heavenly!). I served them with cute Halloween themed plates and cups and we had apple cider to drink. This would be a super cute breakfast for Thanksgiving morning as well.

Mini Waffle Maker also available here

Halloween At Home

Halloween At Home

Certainly nothing has been normal this year. Covid has been rough for everyone and it has been extra difficult for me to find any joy in light of Evan’s horrible brain injury he suffered in March. While he is making great progress every day, our lives have been changed drastically and it will be a long time before we will be able to return to any semblance of normal. Halloween and fall is always my favorite time of the year…but this year I’ve had a hard time finding the enthusiasm and energy to recreate our favorite traditions. This has been the first year in my life that I debated not even putting up the decorations. But I knew it was important for the boys, so last week I turned on a Halloween movie and got the decorations out. I know that it has brought a really important sense of normalcy and the comfort of knowing “life goes on” for Cole, and Evan has been so excited about the decorations. He’s constantly saying “it’s so spooky in here!” And I have to admit…it’s brought me a bit of unexpected joy too. We’ve spent several evenings cuddled up together as a family watching some of our favorite Halloween movies and forgetting (for a short time) all of the blows this year has dealt us.

Living Room Decor

Similar Gold Candlesticks | Black Candles | Bats | Mantle Scarf | Similar White Pumpkins | Similar Black Branch Wreaths | Similar Black Tree | Crows | Similar Velvet Pumpkins | Similar Skeleton Hand | Cobwebs | Skull Pillow

Entry Way Decor

Similar Candlesticks | Similar Spell Book Decoration | Creepy Cloth | Similar Velvet Pumpkin | Similar Skull | Similar Black Dahlia Flowers | Black Bats

Dining Room and Kitchen Decor

Similar Fall Leaf Vase Filler | Pumpkins | Similar Halloween Sign | Similar Wreath | Similar Pumpkin Dutch Oven | Similar Spiderweb Bowl | Similar Pumpkin Filler | Candle | Similar Countdown to Halloween Sign | Wooden Sign | Similar Candy Jar

Cole’s Movie Theater 10th Birthday Party

Cole’s Movie Theater 10th Birthday Party

Last week Cole turned 10 which seems pretty surreal. It seems like just yesterday he was my little baby! It’s become clear in recent months he’s leaving childhood behind more and more, and adopting a lot more tween interests. Covid has been really hard for him because he’s definitely reaching the age where his peer interactions are becoming so important to him. We knew we could’t have the big party with all of his friends that he would normally love to have this year, but I still wanted to make sure that he felt special and celebrated. We allowed him to invite his 2 best friends over for a movie night and sleepover (their families have been being very careful about Covid as well so we’ve formed somewhat of a bubble with them). We converted our living room into a movie theater with our projector, and the boys showed up for an evening movie complete with movie theater treats followed by a movie and camping out in their sleeping bags. After a fun (sleepless!) night we sent them home with little popcorn boxes filled with microwavable popcorn, cracker jacks, suckers, and flashlights for their own movie night at home.

Movie Theater Party Decor Sources

Red curtains for backdrop (I used 3)

Gold foil for backdrop

Black tablecloth and skirt

Hot dog maker

Hot dog trays (similar)

Cake

Cake topper

Cake stand

Popcorn bin

Popcorn boxes (similar)

Birthday banner (similar)

Movie theater cutouts (similar)

Large popcorn bucket (used as vase)

Small popcorn containers (party favors)

Projector screen

Projector

Soaking Up The End Of Summer

Well…it’s official. The end of summer is here. For me, Labor Day really is the official end of summer and the beginning of fall. This has been such a weird and difficult time in our lives. While we had some fun moments, much of this summer was spent hunkering down at home trying to avoid exposure to Covid, and spending hours upon hours working on Evan’s rehabilitation and recovery. It’s been hard, but the one thing that has gotten me through has been gratitude. Gratitude is key for surviving hard times and it’s something I have had to work extra hard on every day these past five months. There’s days where I struggle and feel a sense of despair, but I swear God finds a way to remind me of my blessings in those moments. I will hear a story of a family who has gone through the loss of a child or spouse, or Evan will do something new as he continues to improve – and I reflect on the realization that our outcome could have been much worse and Evan is continuing to get better daily. These times have also required me to dig deep for faith…faith that Evan is going to recover. Faith that our family and loved ones will stay healthy during this pandemic. Faith that one day life will return to a happier place. One thing I tell myself over and over is “this is just one chapter of our lives. Yes it has been hard, but we don’t know how the story ends. I can choose fear and worry, or I can choose to rest in God’s grace and firmly believe that we will have a happy ending to our story.”

One thing we did this summer to create a little escape for ourselves was to spruce up our patio area and make it into something special. A place we felt we could go and just connect as a family and not focus on Evan’s recovery, Covid, and all the other stresses and worries. We could just go live in the moment and enjoy some lighter times. Good music, good food, and good movies outside under the stars. It has been our little escape, and I’m hoping we can continue to spend as much time out there as possible as long as the weather cooperates.

PatioLaborDay2020-2
PatioLaborDay2020-3PatioLaborDay2020-4PatioLaborDay2020-8PatioLaborDay2020-9PatioLaborDay2020-10PatioLaborDay2020-13PatioLaborDay2020-14PatioLaborDay2020-15PatioLaborDay2020-18PatioLaborDay2020-19PatioLaborDay2020-20

Sofa & Table Set

Pillows (here & here)

Blanket (HomeGoods – similar)

Ottoman & Table Set

Black Lanterns (old – similar)

Bud Vases

Rug (HomeGoods – similar)

Bistro Lights

Silver Lanterns (old – similar)

Outdoor Candles (here & here)

Dining Table

Dining Chairs

Dining Table Lanterns

Screen

Projector

Distance Learning Adventures

Distance Learning Adventures

Cole’s Tee (J Crew Factory – similar) | Shorts

School started here in Boise a few weeks ago, and due to high community Covid spread, classes are currently being held online. Kids may be able to return to the classroom eventually (with rotating days and masks required), but for the foreseeable future we are 100% online. Due to Evan’s brain injury and long road to recovery we will be holding him back a year and doing an extra year of preschool. He may go back to in person preschool later this year should it become safer, but my plan for the time being is to work on a bit of homeschool in addition to his busy rehab schedule. Times are certainly tough these days, with so many hard decisions for parents! If you are like me and will be homeschooling or overseeing distance learning this fall…then this post is for you. I wanted to share a few tips that have helped us find a routine and some supplies to make the best at home learning environment possible.

Create a designated space for learning

I think this is one of the most important keys for successful at home learning. It’s hard enough at it is for kids to try to focus on a computer screen, so having them trying to learn in a high traffic, loud part of the house will be even more difficult for them. We’ve set Cole up with a desk in our office and can keep the door closed while he’s in class. The room is also very well lit with big windows which I think is also important! Wherever you can find a quiet, well lit place in your home – this is a great place to make your child’s learning spot. Their bedroom, a spare room, office, or even a nook in a quiet area of the home can all work great. For Evan’s homeschool preschool, we’ve set up a folding table in the dining room that is perfect for withstanding paint and messy crafts.

ColeHomeschoolDesk2020-1Desk | Similar Chair | Chromebook

Schedule your day like a typical school day

Although we are at home, it is important to me that Cole treats the day like he would any other school day. We get up at our usual time and have breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth, comb his hair, and make sure he’s logged in on time. I don’t want him rolling out of bed last minute and showing up in pajamas because I feel that getting into that typical routine will help him be more productive with learning. Evan’s preschool day is significantly shorter, but we still get dressed and ready for school, and start and end our school time at the same time every day.

Make sure you have all of the school supplies on your school’s list

Cole’s school year has begun with all the assignments the kids would have done even if they had been in person. Some of the assignments are paper assignments we have to pick up at the school and complete at home – and these have required colored pencils, notebooks, and pencils. Even if you’re online, be prepared with all of the supplies your school had on your school supply list.

ColeHomeschoolDesk2020-4Cole’s Tee | Shorts

Be prepared to help with technology struggles

Cole is frequently coming out of the office and asking me to help him figure out something the teacher has asked him to do on the computer. And I often hear kids telling the teacher they can’t figure out what to do and she asks them to get a parent to help. Yes – we parents often don’t know how to do it either and it’s frustrating at times…but being prepared and available to help out will make your child’s school day a bit easier.

Get organized

Although a designated desk for your child isn’t required (any table space can work!), it has certainly made things a lot easier for Cole. His desk was super inexpensive (under $50!) and is really small (it could fit almost anywhere!), but it has a few drawers and shelves that help him keep his schoolwork and supplies organized. I hung a few clipboards on the wall above his desk so he can hang up papers he needs to keep track of and be able to quickly access like completed homework and password lists. A whiteboard has also been helpful for writing reminders or for jotting down quick notes. And a small desk clock is a must for helping him keep track of recess breaks.

ColeHomeschoolDesk2020-2Similar Clipboards | Similar Whiteboard | Clock | Similar Pencil Holder

Make the best of it

This hasn’t been easy. It’s far from ideal. But it’s an opportunity to teach your kids to weather the storms of life and make the best of tough times. Cole has had an incredibly tough year with his little brother being so sick and now missing his school, friends, and extra curricular activities. But I just keep reminding him that this too shall pass and things won’t be this way forever. And we are all in this together. Cole wants to go into computer software or engineering as an adult, so I also remind him that this year of online learning will be helpful for him one day and give him a bit of an early start to working with computers. Attitude really is everything and if you can look for something positive to focus on, it will make a big difference in tackling this whole new experience! We’ve also tried to keep the fun traditions intact like the first day of school pictures…and we’ve also added some fun things like having some of the kids’ favorite foods for lunch outside and playing laser tag during recess.

img_6817Cole’s Tee

My Picks From The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

My Picks From The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

( Coats:  Left | Center | Right )

I debated if I wanted to blog about the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale this year or not. Last year I felt the sale was not very well run as I received multiple incorrect orders, had tons of cancellations, and even had some of my orders shipped to the wrong people. And when I previewed the sale a few weeks back, I was a bit disappointed in the offerings this year as many of the same items from last year were included again this year. But a few days ago a friend of mine reached out sharing some of her picks from the sale and asking me what I was going to buy…and it was kind of a fun reprieve to talk about shopping instead of so many other hardships we’ve both been personally facing, as well as the stress of the global pandemic. The sale has been a tradition for me for so many years, so this weekend I took another look and ended up adding a number of things to my wishlist. This year I’m definitely gravitating towards athleisure and lots of cozy sweaters.

NordstromSale2020-1NordstromSale2020-2One | Two | ThreeFour | Five | Six | SevenEightNine | Ten | ElevenTwelve | Thirteen | FourteenFifteenSixteen | Seventeen | EighteenNineteen | Twenty | Twenty One | Twenty TwoTwenty Three | Twenty FourTwenty Five

One | I was eyeing this sweater awhile back but never pulled the trigger, so I added it to my wishlist when I saw it in the sale. I’m really drawn to this rust color for fall, and I always love a good chunky sweater.

Two | This sweatshirt and matching palazzo pants are a dark horse surprise for me. This is exactly what I want to live in all winter long.

Three | A cheery little athleisure tank to wear for the rest of summer

Four | Every year I think about buying these, and every year I pass because I already have a few pairs of faux leather leggings. This is the year that I’m thinking I definitely need to buy them as slightly dressed up leggings will make me feel more fancy at home.

Five | So different than anything I own, and I’m really wanting to try these out

Six | Perfect for the rest of summer

Seven | I love the color and button detail on this AllSaints sweater

Eight | I have 3 pairs of these pajamas, and I think I’ll buy another set this year. They come in several fun color options this year too.

Nine | These Patagonia sweaters are a workhorse piece that are so versatile. From wearing as a fall jacket, to a layering piece during the winter, this is a piece I’m sure to get a lot of use out of.

Ten | This is pretty pricey for a wool sweater, but the color and cut are perfection

Eleven | Really loving everything about this cashmere sweater from the color, to the rib detail, to the oversize cut. I can see this paired with skinny jeans and sneakers.

Twelve | This is a great price for a classic cashmere sweater. This one looks identical to the Vince cashmere sweater I purchased in the sale last year that I paid four times more for. It comes in 6 different colors as well.

Thirteen | I can see this cashmere tunic worn with everything this fall and winter. A great basic workhorse piece. It comes in several color options too. It’s still pricey, but a very good price for Nordstrom cashmere.

Fourteen | I really like the oversize cozy look of this sweater. This one is already selling fast, so I don’t expect it to last long, but it’s still well stocked in this pretty cinnamon color.

Fifteen | I’ve been really drawn to light wash jeans lately and these are probably my favorite jeans in the sale

Sixteen | This under $100 teddy coat would be perfect for throwing over my sweats for grocery runs

Seventeen | I stock up on this lotion every year for the whole family to use

Eighteen | While I’m loving the lighter washed, distressed jeans I listed above, these are definitely more practical for me. Just the perfect mid-wash color jean.

Nineteen | Another sweater I think is pretty pricey as it’s wool, but it is perfect v-neck slouchy goodness. Also comes in a pretty blue color.

Twenty | This is one of my favorite leave in conditioners, and I love that it comes with an oil too

Twenty One | I like the light color of this cutting board. It would make a lovely gift as well for the holiday season.

Twenty Two | This is one of my favorite brands for booties, and I especially love this cognac color (they come in 5 colors)

Twenty Three | I love the color combo of these Nikes

Twenty Four | I foresee a lot more time at home in the coming months, and you can never have enough cozy blankets

Twenty Five | This is my favorite brand of lip color, and this set is a great value

 

And a few picks for my boys…

NordstromSale2020-3One | Two | Three | Four | Five | SixSevenEight | NineTen

Signature

Celebrate National Ice Cream Day By Making It With Your Kids

Celebrate National Ice Cream Day By Making It With Your Kids

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Did you know that this Sunday is National Ice Cream Day?! What better way to celebrate than by making this simple version of homemade ice cream and having a little ice cream party with your kids.

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 2 sandwich ziplock bags
  • 1 gallon ziplock bag
  • 3 cups crushed ice
  • 1/3 cup ice cream salt
  • Toppings of your choice
Directions

Put first 3 ingredients in one of the small ziplock bags and tightly seal. Then double bag that inside the 2nd small bag (this is to ensure none of the salt gets in – you don’t want salty ice cream!). I also recommend using high quality ziplock bags.

Put the ice and rock salt in the large gallon size bag, then add the smaller filled bags. Seal the large bag.

Squeeze (or shake!) the large bag for 10-15 minutes until ice cream is thickened. You will want to wear gloves or pot holder mittens for this!

Remove small bag, unseal, and serve!

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Here’s a few other really fun tools and ice cream accessories if you want to get even fancier with making homemade ice cream…

IceCreamAccessoriesOne | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven | Eight | Nine | Ten | ElevenTwelve

One | This is just like Coldstone where you can mix things into your ice cream

Two | This mini size ice cream maker is perfect for kids and small portions – and won’t take up much cupboard space

Three | This ice cream making attachment goes right on your stand mixer

Four | If you make large portions, you’ll need a tub like this to store it

Five | A glass ice cream bowl makes you feel a bit more fancy

Six | I love the idea of making homemade ice cream sandwiches

Seven | A sleek looking ice cream maker

Eight | Such a fun topping mix

Nine | A good scoop is a must

Ten | This ice cream cone cake pan would be so fun

Eleven | Perfect for a kids ice cream party

Twelve | This little bowl is so neat – you can roll up your ice cream or cut it into shapes