christmas shopping

Now that Thanksgiving is officially over the Christmas music is blaring, lights are being strung, and I'll be constantly sweeping up glitter from random decorations for the next month. AND I'M SO EXCITED ABOUT IT!!! (Let's be honest...I did start slightly before Thanksgiving this year...whatever.)

So I decided it would be a good idea to do a "toy purge" before Christmas. Seemed like a win/win for everybody- we clean house of toys and books no longer played with and donate them. As I was going through bin after bin I realized, WOW...Jillian has a lot of JUNK. Random plastic, trinket-y toys that she probably hardly ever played with when they were actually new. It only took a handful of those to ask myself, "Why do I buy this crap?" 
Because it's cheap, and I can't say no to my child in the check outline at the store. duh. That's why. But is it really WORTH it?
I've decided no. Not at all. 

This year for Christmas (and from now on) I've decided I'm going to go for quality toys that I KNOW will get played with and entertain well, instead of a massive amount of plastic, light-up, flashy sale toys that end up in the "donate" pile 6 months later.   

Quality over quantity. I feel pretty good about it.
It was hard to pass up the good deals on princess and Minnie Mouse type random trinket stocking stuffers at Target, but I made it out of that aisle alive with only ONE thing. A Christmas miracle.
One of my favorite new sites for toys is Land of Nod. I also love anything Melissa and Doug brand. I seriously swoon over SO MANY of these.

Here are my picks for Christmas this year:

1/ Play canopy at Land of Nod
3/ Wooden art easel at Ikea
4/ Shape sequence sorting set from Melissa and Doug
5/ Wooden fishing set on Etsy (also this cheaper version on Land of Nod)

Happy Christmas shopping to all!



Happy Thanksgiving!

 (the one super high-quality photo we took of us today!)

I have SO much to be grateful for...an incredible family, a supportive and helpful husband, a gorgeous little girl, another healthy baby bean cookin' away, a great job that allows me to work from home, James' job that still allows him to be in grad school, great friends, a warm house, Zofran...and I could go on and on.  

It was nice to all be gathered around one table with James' side of the family (even if I was missing a few of my favorite southern side dishes)! We are lucky to have so many of them so close. 

This Thanksgiving I decided to put myself in charge of dessert. One thing I definitely learned from my mom is to never undervalue the quality and deliciousness of homemade dessert. It was a little risky going with 3 new recipes I'd never made before, but holy SMOKES they did not disappoint. I give all of them 5 stars. 

(a layer of pecan pie topped with a brown sugar cheesecake and dulce de leche)

(perfect amount of tartiness)

(you actually wish Snickers tasted that good)

We hope your Thanksgiving was spent with those you love (and delicious food!)!


DIY faux play make up

I've recently been on the hunt for some cheap-o, crap-o fake play makeup for Jillian (because if she gets into my makeup one more time...so help me...). I got some at Walmart that came in a little Barbie purse. That was a total crap shoot. Everything was GEL. Even the eyeshadow?! Seriously...it would have been less messy if she would have just played in my stuff. 

And then I came across this GENIUS idea on Pinterest (where all genius ideas reside). 

Make FAKE play makeup out of nail polish! It's so simple and makes so much sense it hurts. And the best part was I already had everything on hand, so this cost $0.

All you need: fingernail polish & old makeup containers
(If you don't have either laying around just get cheap stuff from the dollar store)

1// Scrape out old makeup and wash with dish soap and water. Dry thoroughly.
2// Pour polish into makeup trays.
3// Let it dry for A FEW DAYS until it hardens (stick it in a room you rarely go in or by an open window, because it stinks).
It does shrink up quite bit as it dries, so you may have to add a few more layers. 


I found some cute/cheap Minnie Mouse makeup brushes at Target. I threw those in an old makeup bag along with these and wah-lah! Play makeup that won't make ANY mess. 
It's going to be a stocking stuffer.
Done and done.

free christmas printable

Usually I am not a Christmas person until December 1st...but the last couple of years the glittery decorations have come out of hiding a tad earlier each year. I blame having a child. Holidays are WAY more fun when you have kids, especially ones like Christmas! 
I think putting them up the week of Thanksgiving is a good compromise though (compromise with James that is).

We pulled out or (fake) Christmas tree this year, set it up, and realized how sad it looks. We got it the first year we were married (5 years ago) as a Black Friday deal for only $25! It has done very well by us in our first couple of apartments, but James said this year it looks like a Charlie Brown tree. It is getting a little bare...so much for those things not shedding pine needles everywhere. So we will be on the hunt for a new tree this week...and garland...and ornaments...and in general anything that sparkles.  

With all of the decorating going on over here, I made a new printable to put on my living room shelf. If you're feeling the holiday cheer a little early as well, feel free to use it! 

To download the 8x10 click here. To download the 5x7 click here

I'm also excited to craft some new decorations this year...on my radar:

This incredibly adorable shadow box: 
 (Those small trees are found in the dollhouse section of craft stores by the way)

And a puzzle box advent calendar:



real life. gimme a turkey sandwich.

I found a GREAT pregnancy calendar today that appears to be written by a normal human being. I can't tell you how relieving it was to find this:

"I feel like I am kind of half-assing this pregnancy, especially when it comes to nutrition. I’m just…eek. Not caring at all. I’ve forgotten my prenatal vitamin more times that I’d like to admit, and have eaten some bonehead things out of sheer absent-mindedness. This weekend we went to a very nice dinner party at a friend’s house, and I was halfway through my scallop-and-beef tartar with a raw quail egg cracked on top before I finally stopped and looked at it and went, “OH. RIGHT. CRAP.” I’m definitely more relaxed about stuff like an occasional tuna fish sandwich or some nice cold cuts from a gourmet deli, but I have to admit that I sometimes do need to wake up and pay more attention to this stuff."

When I was pregnant with Jillian, I followed the guidelines to a "t". No caffeine. No seafood. No deli meat. No feta cheese. 
I ate a lot of toast (Mostly because I would barf anything else). 
I read my What to Expect When You're Expecting book every night before I went to bed to see what my baby would be growing next and normal things for me to be feeling.
I. Was. Prepared.
I mean as prepared as you can be for your first baby (which you quickly realize you aren't at all when they actually arrive). 
I digress. 

Flash forward to pregnancy #2. I make it a point to drink a large caffeinated Diet Dr. Pepper once a week (or else I think I would fall over and die). I found out more seafood than not is completely okay during pregnancy- and I eat it. I've eaten a cold turkey sandwich more than 5 times and it was heavenly. I think I forgot to take my prenatals 3 days straight while I was on vacation...And my What to Expect When You're Expecting book is somewhere in my basement collecting dust.
And it's okay. Because now I know I'm not the only one.

It's not that I don't care as much, or care about this baby as much. Of course I do. But after having a kid for 2 and a half years, you learn to "let go" a little. You get a hefty dose of real life everyday- that starts at 7am bellowing your name. If Jillian eats a handful of dirt, it's okay. She's not going to die. Some days she probably watches more TV than she should, it's okay, her brain isn't going to rot. I don't have a dedicated parenting approach like Montessori or Waldorf or whatever, and so far she's a bright, imaginative, happy kid. It's okay.

And you if accidentally forget a prenatal vitamin one day or can't kick your caffeine habit altogether- it's okay. Your baby isn't going to grow three heads. 

I guess all of this is to let you know, that if you're also feeling this way, it's okay- me and the lady who writes this blog totally getcha.


I love everything about Halloween. Well...except anything scary...so most of Halloween I guess, or at least, part of it.

Jillian was ridiculously excited about dressing up in her Minnie Mouse costume. The girl is obsessed with all things Disney. I'd consider Disneyland, but I think her heart would literally arrest on the spot. So for now we'll stick to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, occasional trips to the Disney Store, and Minnie Mouse costumes on Halloween. 

She still thinks it's Halloween by the way. Over a week later and now she wants to be Ariel, for me to be a pumpkin, and James to be Tarzan (hah!). 

Fortunately and unfortunately Jillian gets really shy and anxious around people she doesn't know. This is fortunate because I don't have to worry about her easily walking away with a stranger. This is unfortunate, because when said stranger is trying to lure her closer with a pot of candy while trick-or-treating, she nearly has a meltdown. 



Even though she didn't like the ACTUAL act of trick-or-treating, she loved walking around with her BFF Brynlee, so the night was still fun! Especially snacking on her candy stash after she went to sleep that night. :-)