Evan’s Pup-tastic 4th Birthday

Evan’s Pup-tastic 4th Birthday

On Sunday my little Evan turned FOUR!!! I can’t believe how quickly the past 4 years have flown by. I’ve been trying to convince myself he’s still my little baby, but he’s turning into a bigger and bigger boy by the day. He is such a spunky and funny little character, and brings so much joy and laughter to our family!

For his 4th birthday we celebrated with a simple little Paw Patrol themed lunch with a few close friends. As most kids around his age love Paw Patrol as much as he does, all the kids had a blast and loved all of the decorations! The party didn’t quite go off without a hitch…when I went to pick up his cake the bakery had forgotten to make it. They frantically threw one together for me, but the regular decorator wasn’t there, so the cake didn’t turn out as I had hoped. But at the end of the day, we ended up with a cake and a happy birthday boy so that’s what matters!

Instead of party hats we had Paw Patrol masks!The guests went home with a sticker activity set and some fruit snacks

For food we served pigs in a blanket from Trader Joe’s, fruit, chips, and two kinds of puppy chow – the Original version and a Cake Batter Puppy Chow.

Sources for all party supplies:

Happy Birthday Banner

Paw Patrol Balloons

Plates, cups, straws, blowouts, masks

Paw patrol candle

Sticker activity set

Dog bowls

Silver cake stand

If you decide to throw a Paw Patrol party for your little one, make sure to sign up at Nickelodeon for a birthday phone call! Paw Patrol made a special birthday phone call to Evan on the day of his birthday and it was so cute and special!

For his birthday gift, we gave Evan the Paw Patrol lookout tower…and when Evan unwrapped it, it was the hit of the party! My kids have both been playing with it together nonstop for 2 days now – it is a really great toy! We also popped into Build-a-Bear yesterday to get him a special birthday bear (make sure to sign up to take advantage of their count your candles pay your age program!) and he loves his new special friend.

Happy birthday my sweet Evan! I love your independent spirit, sweet heart, and funny sense of humor – and I’m so thankful to be your mama.

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Tips For Traveling With Kids

If you have kids, you know the nightmare that is traveling with them. The first few years are pretty brutal, but thankfully we are finally seeing our way out and it’s becoming a bit easier. Last summer we flew to Hawaii & we took our first red eye. Cole is at an age where he is overall super easy, but I was really dreading it and expecting the worst with Evan. But I prepared as best I could, and the trip really couldn’t have gone much more smoothly! We have a vacation coming up very soon, and as I’m planning and preparing to pack I wanted to share a few of my favorite tips I’ve learned over the years.

Bring a “go bag” I had a mommy friend, when Cole was a baby, who told me this was her name for a bag she would pack for her little one. As we all know, kids are most interested in new toys. So she would go hit up the dollar store, or the dollar bin at target, and fill it with all kinds of new, interesting goodies! The key is – don’t give it to them all at once. Let them pick out a new item from the bag every 30 minutes or so. I love Pottery Barn’s backpacks for kids!

Tablets I am a firm believer in do what it takes to keep your kids happy on the plane. If that means 6 hours of screen time – I’m all for it. I will often let them pick out some new games they want before the trip (don’t let them play them ahead of time!) so they have new games to play on the plane which they are really excited about. Also download a few favorite or new movies they haven’t seen from Netflix. If the airline has in-flight entertainment, make sure you download the airlines app prior to the trip so you will be able to access the service. I also make sure to bring headphones and chargers. And these iPad cases I have (this one and this one) are great for watching movies since they stand!

Get cozy I want the kids to be comfortable so I dress them as close to wearing pajamas as possible (without wearing actual pjs). Think sweatsuits, tee shirts, cozy socks and comfortable sneakers. Bring along a travel blanket, pillows, comfort items like a favorite stuffed animal – anything to help them relax and settle in. Also if their ears have trouble with the pressure, you may want to pack some gum or some candy they can suck on to help alleviate it.

CARES I’ve never brought car seats for my little ones on the planes (I just don’t want to deal with lugging it around!), so I’ve opted for the CARES airplane seat harness instead. If you do prefer to bring a car seat, there is this cart to help you transport it.

Stroller and buggy board This is my most used stroller and it is the perfect stroller for traveling! It is very durable & also very light and small at the same time. It also has a reclining seat, a storage basket, and even a small canopy. It is also an amazing price! A few years back when we went to NYC with the kids – we bought this buggy board for Cole to ride on as we knew he would get tired walking all over the city. This stroller is absolutely durable enough to handle pushing two kids!

Travel car seat As I mentioned above, I don’t like hauling car seats along with us on vacation, so I love this handy little portable booster seat! Evan is still a bit young for it so we still rent him a car seat, but this has been great for Cole.

Medications It’s always a good idea to keep some essentials on hand so you aren’t trying to run around and hunt down Tylenol or Benadryl at the airport or once you get to your destination should you suddenly need it.

A separate change of clothes I always pack a change of clothes in our carry on just in case someone has a spill mid-flight or in case our luggage gets lost! I once had bags get lost for the majority of my vacation (thankfully pre-kids) but I learned my lesson to always keep at least one extra outfit with me.

Snacks and disposable sippy cup I always grab a few snacks prior to our trip to keep in my carry on. Many airlines now charge for snacks, and my kids can occasionally be picky and not like what is available. I like to always have something on hand I know they will eat – and the airports/airline snacks are really overpriced. I also like to have a few treats on hand like fruit snacks and lollipops as rewards (or for emergency distraction should there be a meltdown)! I also always pack a few disposable sippy cups for my little one & I have the flight attendant put his drink in there rather than a regular cup which is way too easy for a little one to spill!

Antibacterial wipes and baby wipes I’m not a germaphobe at all – but airplanes really gross me out. I feel like they are soooo dirty, so I always wipe down our seats, arm rests and tray tables as soon as we board. I also bring a pack of baby wipes to clean up any messes/sticky faces & hands.

I hope you find this helpful! If you have any questions or any tips to share, please leave them in the comments 🙂

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Ringing in 2019

Ringing in 2019

My pajama bottoms (old – similar), My sweater // Kid’s pajamas

Our Christmas vacation is winding down with the kids headed back to school tomorrow. It has felt like we’ve been on vacation forever, and also feels like it flew by at the same time! I confess – it’s been a super lazy and relaxing vacation with lots of sleeping in, lounging in pjs, and snacking on junk food. It’s been great, but I’m really ready to get back in a routine and get back to healthier habits!

Today I wanted to share a peek at how we rung in the new year! As I talked about in my last blog post, we aren’t really into going out to celebrate NYE and wanted to have a quiet celebration at home with the kids this year! We had a pajama party/game night complete with yummy snacks and a fancy drink bar. We set up a little photo booth area with this backdrop and also grabbed some props and hats at a local shop. We used the Pocketbooth app on my phone to create the photo booth photos.

We loaded up on glow sticks and the kids decked themselves out with them! I grabbed ours at the local dollar store. We also filled up about 30 balloons and the kids had a blast playing with them!img_8921

We also lit some sparklers outside! This was the best photo I could get – it’s super hard to get long exposures of kids who don’t hold still!Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

I found this printable online and grabbed the plastic flutes, plates, cups, wooden silverware, and noisemakers at a local shop. I grabbed the rock candy at a local candy shop as well (you can also find it online).img_8922

The full drink bar! I made crockpot hot cocoa and had an assortment of toppings.

We also made s’mores! This handy little s’mores maker was a hit and is perfect for cold winter nights.img_8932

And we capped off our evening with some sparkling cider with rock candy!img_8962

We actually made it until midnight, and we watched the giant potato drop here in Boise while popping party poppers and blowing on noisemakers. It was the perfect, low-key celebration with my little family!

As far as New Year’s resolutions…I’m not a big believer in them and don’t typically do them. That said, I do want to continue to improve on personal goals of mine/get back on track with healthy habits. My top 3 goals for the year are:

  • I want to commit to unplugging every evening for at least 2 hours to just focus on my kids. It’s so easy to get caught up with checking/responding to emails, scrolling social media, reading news articles, turning on the TV (not to mention all the household chores!) – and before I realize it, hours have passed! My kids are growing up so quickly and I really want to make sure to be more intentional about spending focused time with them everyday.
  • Get back to running regularly! I had a little health set back in November and completely fell off the running wagon. After I got feeling better, I had a hard time getting motivated again with the cold weather and feeling so overwhelmed with holiday activities. I want to get back to running a minimum of 4 days a week.
  • Get back to tracking my food. I did keto for nearly a year, and while I think it is a fantastic diet, its not something I personally wanted to stay on forever. But it was a great kickstart to dropping some weight and getting into healthier eating habits. My sugar intake has dropped dramatically & I often find things to be way too sweet now! One thing that also worked well for me is intermittent fasting & tracking what I eat. I do want to continue with a low carb diet (not as restrictive as keto), and be stricter with intermittent fasting and really being mindful of what I’m eating. I’ve been completely off the wagon over the holiday season, and definitely want to ditch the holiday pounds and get back on track!

As with any year there were some ups and downs in 2018. We moved into a new house (moving is always super stressful!) but we are thrilled with our new home and our new location. Cole started a new school, which was a huge change and also a bit stressful – but he has completely adapted and is much, much happier at his new school than he was at his last one! He had a pretty terrible experience at his school last year, and a big part of our decision to move was to get our kids into a really good school district this fall. It was a challenging & stressful experience for our family dealing with a pretty awful school situation, but we are now so thrilled that we took the leap as it clearly turned out to be the right decision and we couldn’t be happier. Evan also started pre-school, and it has been so wonderful for him in so many ways. We traveled to Hawaii for ten days and also spent a really fun week with Jon’s family this summer. I’ve been volunteering at the kid’s schools regularly which has been so wonderful. I’m thankful for all the memories made this past year, and am looking forward to what 2019 has in store!

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Making New Years Eve Fun for the Family

Making New Years Eve Fun for the Family

(Throw back photos from last New Years Eve)

I have to admit…I’m just not a New Years Eve person. The thought of going out to parties or a bar until midnight sounds…exhausting and kinda miserable. Last year we did force ourselves to venture out to a family friendly party, but we were home by about 9:30 pm. We’ve come to realize that we are just happiest at home ringing in the New Year in our pajamas with a mocktail in hand and sharing the evening with our kids. So if that sounds like your kind of New Years celebration – read on! Today I wanted to share a few ideas to celebrate the holiday and make it fun for the whole family!

Dress up! (Or down!)

Even if you are staying home, you can make the evening a little more fun by dressing up in your fanciest dresses and bow ties! Or you could also dress up in “fancy pajamas” like this grown up set for my little boys, and for me I’m loving the idea of wearing velvet or silk pajamas.

Fun snacks

One year for NYE I made a fondue dinner which was a lot of fun! This year I’m loving the idea of having a hot cocoa bar for the kids, and also thinking of buying this s’mores maker to make s’mores! Another fun option would be an ice cream bar!

Mocktails

We always get sparkling cider and toast one another in fancy (plastic) champagne flutes. It would also be fun to make up a family signature drink or browse Pinterest for some fun ideas. I think this looks super cute and you could customize it with any candies you like!

Make it a game night

My kids absolutely love board games, so our plan this year is to have a marathon game night! My oldest loves card games & Battleship, and my little one loves Don’t Step In It and Don’t Break The Ice. We’ve also been having a lot of fun playing games with our Alexa over the holiday break! Our favorite games are Would you Rather, Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, and Trivial Pursuit.

Have a photo booth

I’m planning on setting up a photo booth to take some silly photos this year which I think will be a lot of fun! I bought this backdrop, and I may jazz it up with some balloons or a garland/banner. I would also like to get some fun props & set up the camera on a tripod & use a photo booth app!

Slumber Party

To tie in with our fancy pajamas, it would be fun to set up a slumber party in the living room! We could get out the kids teepee, and build forts and basically make the living room a big cozy bed!

Add some ambiance

I love getting party hats, and also thinking it would be fun to get some glow sticks to wear too! Having a disco ball or some colored lights make the atmosphere fun, as well as a fun playlist of music – ask Alexa to play a New Years Station if you don’t want to make your own! My kids also go crazy for balloons – so just having a bunch of balloons for them to play with (or go a step further with a diy balloon drop!) would add that extra bit of fun. (Here’s my hack for blowing up a lot of balloons in a short time! I have this vacuum which I use, but I also just saw that Target has this handy dandy little machine!)

Countdown

For the really little ones, there probably isn’t much chance of them making it til midnight, so for those like us on the west coast, you can watch the ball drop in NYC and celebrate that as midnight. A mom friend of mine has the genius idea of changing all the clocks in their house ahead a few hours that day, so the kids really do think it’s midnight when it’s actually only 10 pm! Netflix is also doing some countdown programming for kids this year as well. If your older ones can make it until the actual New Year, it’s fun to watch a live countdown that is local or in your time zone. Here in Boise, we drop a giant potato that we stay up to watch live on TV (only in Idaho!).

Make some noise

To celebrate the New Year, having some noise makers or confetti is a must! You could also just bang pots and pans, and I’ve heard of the idea of breaking open a piñata at midnight which would be a lot of fun! We’ve done sparklers before too for some at-home fireworks.

Wishing you and yours a happy and safe New Year! See you in 2019!!!

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Scenes from Christmas (and after Christmas sales!)

Scenes from Christmas (and after Christmas sales!)

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! We sure had a fun week celebrating the holiday and made the most of our few days off school before Christmas! Friday night we bundled up and went to the Winter Garden Aglow at the Botanical Gardens which is one of our favorite pre-Christmas activities! The gardens are lit up with so many beautiful lights, and they also have food trucks, carolers, and fire pits scattered throughout to warm up at. Santa was also there and the kids got to make one last visit with him to tell him their wish lists!img_8416

Saturday I braved the crowds for my Christmas dinner grocery shopping. And of course no Christmas prep is complete without making cookies for Santa! We spent Saturday evening making dozens of cookies so the kids could make their perfect cookies to give the big man.Processed with VSCO with a6 presetSweater // Scarf // Jeans // Boots // Bag // Sunglassesimg_8512

Sunday we headed out for a little ice skating! Ev had never skated before so it took a lot of convincing to get him to try it. But eventually he worked up the courage to give it a try and he ended up having fun! (Even though his face says the opposite!) We even lucked out with a little snow flurry while we were skating.My Coat (Zara) // Scarf (J Crew – old similar here) // Hat

Christmas Eve we spent the evening driving around looking at the Christmas lights! There were a few really incredible displays near our home, and at one we got out and had hot cocoa and candycanes with Santa! When we got home we had our annual Christmas Eve tradition of opening one gift – matching pajamas which we all wore to bed!

Christmas morning! The kids were just giddy with excitement and Cole even kept saying “it felt like a dream!” There’s just nothing like experiencing your kid’s joy on Christmas and it really is magical.Our Pajamas

Last night we headed out to go see the new Spider-Man movie! I only got to see the first half because the little one got restless so we went to the lobby so my hubs and Cole could finish the movie. They said it was amazing & I look forward to renting it when it comes out! We went out for Mexican food after and ended up staying out pretty late so we are all dragging a bit today. We’ve been spending a lot of our holiday week just relaxing in jammies at home, and it’s been a really wonderful break. I think today is our last day of enjoying our Christmas decorations, and I’m ready to take them down tomorrow to bring in the New Year with a tidied house.My Coat // Tunic Sweater // Leggings // Boots // Bag

There are SO many amazing after Christmas sales happening right now. I’ve already grabbed a few things I had been eyeing, and there’s still several more things I’m considering! Here’s a few of the best things I’ve found:

Nordstrom Nordstrom’s Half Yearly sale is on! My favorite jeans (that I’m wearing above) are on sale and they are such a great fitting jean. It’s also a great time to grab some classic Ugg boots, or a splurge like this gorgeous Vince coat or sweater. I’m also eying this adorable puff sleeve sweater and these cute booties.

J Crew J Crew is having an additional 50% off of their sale styles and there are some great deals to be had! I already snagged this parka that I’ve been wanting for a few years now, and I think this coat and this coat are gorgeous too. I love this velvet bow (like Kate Middleton has been wearing!) and these glitter/tartan heels are stunning. I also ordered this Fair Isle sweater which will be so pretty all winter long. And I’m loving these pretty wrap dresses in crepe and velvet.

Macy’s I love Free People Sweaters and this one and this one are both on major sale! These wine colored Uggs are super cute and I’m also loving these blush colored Nike’s. There are some great deals on home items like this Nespresso, this Vitamix, and I have a Shark vacuum and love it.

H&M has so many great deals, many under $20! This sweater is so chic, I love this dainty pointelle sweater, this under $10 draped v-neck sweater would go with anything, and these pajamas would be so cute for Valentines Day. I’m really tempted to try these jeans for under $10, and I really like this oversized cable knit sweater. This mohair sweater and this knit sweater are great basics, and this oversize houndstooth print sweater looks much more expensive than it is. This faux fur bomber is so cute and this is a great price for a classic cashmere sweater.

And a few last things – at Bloomingdales I’m loving this wash of my favorite AG jeans on sale, and at Abercrombie I think these tops and this button back tunic sweater are super cute. At Shopbop I think this (still pricey on sale) cardigan is gorgeous, I really like the neutral gray/taupe color of these shearling trim hiking boots, I love this sweater with the button sleeve detail, and these leopard booties are super cute. And these boots are a gorgeous splurge!

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Our 2018 Christmas Cards

Our 2018 Christmas Cards

Last month we had our annual family photos taken with Tamara Kenyon who has been taking our photos for years! If you live in the Boise area (or anywhere in the US – she does travel!) I can’t recommend her enough. She’s insanely talented, amazing with kids, and just makes the entire shoot a pleasure (which let’s face it – family photos can be a stressful nightmare!).

We went for a more formal look this year, which is a departure from our typical shoots, and I love how they turned out! I had our cards made at Minted and I just love the monochromatic look and simplicity of them.©Tamara Kenyon Photography | http://tamarakenyon.com©Tamara Kenyon Photography | http://tamarakenyon.com©Tamara Kenyon Photography | http://tamarakenyon.com©Tamara Kenyon Photography | http://tamarakenyon.com©Tamara Kenyon Photography | http://tamarakenyon.com©Tamara Kenyon Photography | http://tamarakenyon.com©Tamara Kenyon Photography | http://tamarakenyon.com©Tamara Kenyon Photography | http://tamarakenyon.com©Tamara Kenyon Photography | http://tamarakenyon.com©Tamara Kenyon Photography | http://tamarakenyon.com©Tamara Kenyon Photography | http://tamarakenyon.com

©Tamara Kenyon Photography | http://tamarakenyon.com

My outfit: Lace Trench // Turtleneck // Skirt // Tights // Pumps  — Cole’s outfit: Blazer // Oxford // Sweater // Pants // Shoes  —  Evan’s outfit: Coat (Gap – similar) // Shirt, Vest, Tie Combo // Pants // Shoes

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Countdown to Christmas

It’s officially one more week to Christmas!!! It has really crept up on me this year and I’m not feeling completely ready. There is still so much to be done, and I am also feeling that we haven’t gotten to have enough Christmas fun yet! I’m hoping we can fit a lot in over the next seven days. This past weekend was a busy one and a good kick off to our final week! First up was Cole’s school Christmas program on Friday afternoon. Evan wasn’t too thrilled about snapping a pic after we got home, but we were all so proud of our Cole bug!Processed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetSweater: Topshop (old – similar here, here, here, here) // Jeans: Mother // Booties: Sam Edelman // Bag: Chanel // Sunglasses: Celine

On Saturday we headed up the mountain for our first ski day of the season! I gotta admit, our first run of the day was a little rocky with the kids feeling a bit rusty, but by the end of the day it was all smiles and Evan finally figured out how to wedge!45F71031-191E-47E5-A224-0749B279C956B6D5FDB8-7604-47BE-A678-6C740D267E26

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Sunday was a lazy day of Gingerbread house making and movie watching! We finally gave in to the hype and watched The Christmas Chronicles on Netflix. It is really cute!51E129D1-AEA7-4894-9D0B-A60C1C672062

Last night was Evan’s turn for his preschool Christmas program! It was an extra special evening for our family since it was his first ever school program. We made a huge deal of it, and we all got dressed up along with him to go cheer for our little guy! It was so cute – as we were waiting for him to come out, Cole told me that he felt more nervous for Evan than he had at his own school performance…and it just melted my heart. Those two really do have a special bond. The program was adorable beyond words and we were just so proud of our little Evan!Processed with VSCO with a6 presetSweater: Amazon (Cashmere and under $50! This is an incredible buy and I will be ordering more colors) // Skirt: Chicwish // Belt: Gucci // Pumps: Christian Louboutin // Bag: Celine9778941C-2747-4DCE-B203-369FF0B7D4D2Cole’s Sweater: Gap // Corduroys: H&M // Shoes: Gap  —  Evan’s Top & Vest: H&M // Bow: Amazon // Pants: Target // Shoes: GapD7B8A541-46E8-4904-8E0F-748FEFFA40EA5BE9A2D1-DC1F-4A94-990F-53D54C46CAB75AC08A8A-2CF5-47B2-AFEC-CB75C83D6DF9

Evan’s little preschool is located in a neighborhood near our home, and the school reserved the community clubhouse for the school program which was such a lovely venue! Everyone was asked to bring an appetizer or dessert, and after the performance we got a chance to visit with other families and have some delicious food. I brought these brie cranberry bites, which are so incredibly simple and perfect for a holiday gathering.070C3653-0AE5-4CF1-8EF4-695786933897

BRIE CRANBERRY BITES

1 sheet of puff pastry (thawed)

3/4 cup cranberry sauce

8 oz brie cheese

1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Using a knife or a pizza cutter cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. Place each piece in the cup of a 12-cup muffin baking pan. You want each the 4 sides to slightly poke over the top of the cup.

Cut the brie into 1-inch pieces. Place a piece into each cup.

Evenly distribute the cranberry sauce in the cups over the brie. You will use about 1 – 1 1/2 tsp per cup.

Pull the rosemary apart and place a small sprig on top of each cup.

Bake for 15 minutes. The puff pastry should be golden brown. remove from oven and allow the cups to sit for a few minutes to slightly cool. Use a small butter knife to carefully release the bites from the baking pan.

 

I’m hoping to get lots of wrapping done today while the kids are at school, and order the last few gifts on my list – nothing like Amazon Prime to enable procrastination!

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