A Winter Beach Visit

The day after Christmas, my sister and her husband came to visit!  Originally, my parents were going to come too, but they were both recovering from bronchitis (and my dad from surgery earlier this month).  My brother and sister-in-law had also thought about coming down, but they are adjusting to both of them having pretty crazy work schedules and a two month old baby, so it was just too much.  As soon as my parents are feeling better, we will celebrate together, but I was so glad that I could have a few days with my sister.  While we both just wanted to relax and regroup a bit, we decided that a little afternoon trip to the beach would be fun, so off we went!

We just went after SC's nap, and the sky seemed so beautiful.  I really do love being by the water.
I love watching my sister and SC interact. They kept trading a little shell back and forth.
SC actually did a good job walking along the beach, which I thought was pretty impressive.  It's crazy to think the last time we were there she had just turned one and wasn't steady on her feet yet.
That was the main event besides a trip to the park and a viewing of Bridget Jones' Baby during SC's nap time.  It was good to have a little sister time!

Christmas 2016 Recap!

This was our first year celebrating Christmas in our new home and our first time hosting!  The Thursday before Christmas my FIL arrived to celebrate with us.  Since the husband had work on Friday, we met him downtown during his lunch break and then just hung out at home afterwards. His mom arrived later that evening and then Saturday was Christmas Eve!
We kept things pretty quiet for SC, but went to the family Christmas Eve service.  It was really wonderful.  A great message over the sounds of restless babies and children, and singing Silent Night with glow sticks instead of candles.  A joyful service indeed!
That evening we played a trivia game after SC went to sleep, and then on Sunday morning it was Christmas Day! The husband made cinnamon rolls for our Christmas breakfast.
Meanwhile SC had her banana muffin and apples in her high chair.
I felt a little bad because my husband and I actually didn't buy SC gifts this year, but her grandparents, great-grandma and great-aunt made sure Santa was good to her! 
It was so much fun to watch SC explore the presents under the tree.  She enjoyed opening this gift for about thirty minutes!  It's clear she is an only child!
SC's great-aunt and uncle gave her these really nice silicone blocks, which so far I think all the adults may be enjoying a bit too much.  Fortunately SC usually is down with sharing.
That night we went about making the ham, green beans and crescent rolls.  Originally, I had a bigger meal planned, but no one seemed overly interested, so we just kept things simple.  I had never made a ham before, so my FIL assisted.  We tried this new glaze recipe, which was delicious and easy. 
So, all in all a wonderful Christmas Day celebration!

Trimming the Tree!

Saturday afternoon we decided to go ahead and get our very first tree together! Having a real tree is something we kind of had been dreaming about since we were married and started celebrating Christmas together, so I'm so glad that we actually did it!  SC thought it was great fun.
We ended up getting our tree at Home Depot, because we thought it would be the most cost effective.  They marketed this tree as a 5-6 foot one...and the husband is over six feet tall, so we felt like we were getting a great deal too.
Once home, the husband begin the arduous task of cutting off the stump and actually getting it into the tree stand.  SC and I supervised.  It was a tough job, but we managed.
Sunday afternoon we actually got around to decorating the tree!
And of course taking ornaments off the tree...
Due to SC's enthusiasm, we put the special ornaments near the top.  I love this one my FIL gave us last year.
 It's so much more fun now that SC can "help" us decorate.  It's hard not to share in the enthusiasm as she merrily walks around double-fisting ornaments!

Five for Friday

I know my Five for Fridays are a bit of a broken record...but it's nice to have a record of the little things that make up our days.  This week has been pretty low key, except for the fact that the husband under the weather for the last half of the week.  I'm hoping and praying SC and I don't get whatever it is. But on the upside, it made me realize that we haven't been sick since SC was born, so that is definitely something to be thankful for!

I really want to get  this children's book for myself and also to read with SC as she gets older.  It seems like such a poignant reading of the Christmas story this year.
On a lighter note, last week I noticed that SC really enjoyed pulling our post-it notes apart, so I decided to pull out these stickers that I had bought a few years ago after Christmas.  They were a whole twenty-five cents for 400 of them, and have provided hours of entertainment.  At the beginning I would give her a sticker and she would walk it over to her dad.  We would clap, and then begin the whole process over again.  Now we've moved onto "decorating cards", but she still thinks it is pretty much the greatest thing ever.  Needless to say, I think it is the best thing I bought for under fifty cents.
I definitely get into a cooking rut, but I made a new recipe from SC's toddler's cookbook this week and it turned out delicious.  With the butternut squash and kale, it is a perfect fall/winter recipe.
SC completed her six weeks of story time!  I had to laugh when she got her very first participation award...it is already beginning!  In all seriousness, we've both loved this time at the library.  She may come for the bubbles, but I've loved all the new books I've checked out on our weekly trips. I'm hoping we will be lucky enough to make it into a class for the next rotation.
During nap time I've been working on Christmas wrapping, and I'm relieved that I'm almost done.  (As a side note, I think this coffee mug  sums the season up perfectly.) Even though we really are keeping things fairly simple, it is amazing how quickly it all proliferates.  I've also been trying to sort through some of our Christmas stuff a bit, and getting that organized.  Our parents have officially passed on our ornaments and angel collections, so it is time to get that under control!  I love these organizational tips.
So that's it my friends!  May you have a healthy and festive weekend!

Holiday Decor in our First House!

Tis the season to deck the halls! The theme for this year was definitely recycling what we had and eagerly accepting what my mom was happy to pass along to us.  So we have a hodge podge of things...sparkly Christmas, country Christmas, pink Christmas...  A part of me thought about not doing this post at all because our holiday decorating is so eclectic (to put it nicely), but then I remembered how much I love my other Christmas posts of our humble decor, so it seemed a shame not to document the decorating we've done!
Our Christmas card commemorating our new home!
First up, the entry way!  My parents gifted us this real wreath for our door, and I am glad that we don't look like the neighborhood Scrooge at least.
When we first bought this house I had visions of adding lots of real garland to our entryway railing and stairway, but we don't want to call SC's attention to this area anymore than we have to, so I just tied a wreath on and called it a day. 
We put up a tree in our formal living room.  I decorated it with the plastic ornaments that I've had for several years now.  The husband has never been a huge fan of them, so no one is super heartbroken as SC pulls them off and bounces them around the room. 
Originally we were going to get a real Christmas tree for our living room space, but decided against it since SC has had so much fun pulling our Christmas ornaments off of our small artificial one.  Both my husband and I had nightmares of pine needles everywhere and laziness won out. But at least those stockings are hung!
The one thing I did buy was this little tree to go in this nook that is between our living room and kitchen. I thought about adding little ornaments, but I actually like how natural it looks.
I picked it up at Michael's for $8 and as much as I love it, SC is an even bigger fan and toted it around the house all afternoon for her own amusement. I guess that is the beauty of sturdy artificial decor!
So that's the Christmas cheer we have in our entryway and living room.  Does anybody else feel like this month is going by too quickly?

A Visit to Dickens Christmas Towne

A few weeks ago I looked up holiday themed activities to do near us, and I got super excited to see that they had a Christmas Dickens Towne! The husband wasn't quite as enthused, but to appease me we decided to check it out on Saturday.  It definitely met my high hopes and even the husband was impressed!  When we arrived we were greeted by carolers and a talking Christmas tree.
The next stop was a petting zoo complete with miniature horses. SC was too little to truly enjoy it, but I hope that we can check it out more in future years. 
What SC did really enjoy was the miniature train that they had.  She was super fascinated and really couldn't get enough.  While we walked around and checked out the juggler and puppet show, we just kept coming back to the Christmas train!
 It was pretty much the best thing ever in her book.
A distant second for her was an exhibit where you could throw snowballs at Scrooge's house. The husband definitely liked that one the most, but SC was also a big fan.
What I was most excited about was that Father Christmas was also there!  As expected, SC wasn't quite as interested to see him. Oh well, maybe next year!
All in all, it was so well done with so many different interactive things for children and a fun way to spend part of our Saturday. I hope this will be an activity we can do for many years to come!

Five for Friday!

Happy Friday everyone!  This week seemed to go by quickly, since SC and I came back from my parents' house on Monday and the rest of the week seemed pretty busy with some play dates, trips to the park, and story time.  We also had a trip to the allergist and she confirmed that SC does have a milk and possibly an egg allergy.  The good news is that she will most like outgrow it, but getting the prescription for the epi pen was a bit sobering. I am glad that we are getting this figured out though because her former pediatrician didn't really give too much guidance, and I really didn't know how to go about weaning her.  Now that we did the initial testing we can move onto almond milk and away from the expensive formula!  With that side note, here are my Five for Friday!
We've been slowly pulling out our holiday decor, and so far SC is a fan.  Who can resist the fun game of pulling ornaments off the tree?  Certainly not SC!
I am so excited that Sugar Paper did a collaboration with Target again!  While it seems silly to need a planner since I'm home with SC, I find that I actually use it quite a bit.  It was super handy with all of her medical appointments last year, and I find it's helpful to have a place to keep notes.  The husband is getting his Christmas shopping done early this year. ;)
A few weeks ago my MIL sent SC these bath time stickers. We'd had some difficulty with SC standing up in the bath tub, but these were perfect to distract her a bit more and motivate her to stay seated.  I highly recommend adding them to your toddler bath time fun, if you are in the market for such. (And probably everyone already knows about them, but it was the first time I had ever heard about it...)

For some reason I decided that this year it would be fun to try to cross stitch a few ornaments.  I'm  attempting to make some to give as gifts, but this is the third ornament completed (and one of the three was so imperfect that I decided to keep it).  This one I thought would be fun to give to my friend who loves pineapples. 
I'm going to try to do a little lighthouse ornament next for my husband's aunt and uncle who love the beach, so we will see if that gets done before Christmas...

And just to prove to you how inefficient I've been, let me tell you about our holiday cards!  As Shutterfly and Tiny Prints kept sending the 10 free card coupons, I kept ordering our cards in a piecemeal fashion.  Instead of just ordering the same card over and over again, I decided to keep trying different designs because I always felt like I never got it right (I wasn't happy with the family photo).  So as I mail out cards this year I will literally have five designs to choose from (below is the first one to arrive).  I know it is absolutely bonkers and next year we are getting a good family picture and then I will order the cards with just one design. This whole thing is actually making last year's card look like a legitimate Christmas miracle.
So those are some of the things new with me!  Are you all getting in the holiday spirit?  It really is my favorite time of year!