Thursday, November 30, 2017

Thoughts for Thursday: Our 2017 Family Portraits

Happy Thursday, friends! Today I wanted to share our family portraits with you. My precious friend Liz took them for us two weeks ago and I'm just in love with them. I wasn't sure if we got any good ones as we were taking them; Walker is in the age of squinty-eyed smiles and Knox wasn't having any of it really. But Liz is so great and she captured our family and our personalities perfectly. I'm so thankful to have a close friend in the business! ;) 

I'll let the pictures do the talking now: 

Brandon's shirt is Vineyard Vines {old}
The boys' vests are here, jeans are here and shirts are here
My shirt is from Loft {old}, necklace is Laura Cox Designs, jeans are here and booties are here 

Linking up with Annie, Natalie and Julie

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Ultimate Gift Guides Linkup: Gifts for Men

Happy Wednesday! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and were able to score some fun deals on Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday. I know I sure did! :) 

If you're still shopping for that special man in your life, Emily, Owen and I are here to help! Want to join us today and share your gift ideas? All you have to do is link back to us in your post, add our image to your post {below} and include your link at the bottom of this post to join us. It's a great way to find new blogs and get some great gift ideas. :) 

My husband is so hard to buy for because he will just go out and buy things for himself {grr!}, and therefore I have to go back to the drawing board when it comes to his gifts. Adding to that, his birthday is Dec. 4, so I am shopping double time this time of the year for him. Here's a few ideas I've come up with for him for both Christmas and birthday! 

one || two || three || four 

five || six || seven 

eight || nine || ten 

Our last gift guide is next Wednesday, Dec. 9, and we'll be sharing gift ideas for a hostess and/or stocking stuffers. Mine are so different that I'll be sharing both! :) So be sure to join us! 

*Also linking up with Jenn and Jessi 

An InLinkz Link-up

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Recipe: Crock Pot Shepherd's Pie

My Nana shared this recipe with me a couple of months ago, and since then it has been on repeat in our house. Not only is it easy, it's delicious and very kid-friendly. (My boys ask for seconds every time I make it!) It's definitely not the prettiest recipe, but it sure is delicious. (The yummiest foods definitely don't always look pretty!) 

I posted it on my Instagram Stories last week and many of you DM'd me asking for the recipe, so I wanted to share it today. :) Note that I do double this recipe to feed my hungry boys! 

Crock Pot Shepherd's Pie 

1 (22 oz.) pkg. frozen mashed potatoes
1 lb. ground beef
2 T. flour
1 (10.5 oz.) can French Onion Soup
1 (16 oz.) pkg. frozen mixed vegetables 
1 tsp. salt 
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese 

1. Brown meat, drain and sprinkle with flour.
2. Add soup and cook, stirring constantly until thickened. Stir in frozen mixed vegetables, salt and pepper. 
3. Spoon mixture into Crock Pot and top with potatoes and cheese. 
4. Cook on low for four hours. 

Enjoy! :) 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Weekending: Thanksgiving Style

The turkey has been eaten, family has been hugged, gifts have been purchased and I'm scouring Cyber Monday sales today. How was your Thanksgiving? 

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving in my hometown with my family and it was just so special to be able to spend time with my parents, siblings, grandparents and aunts/uncles/cousins. My heart was so full. Here's a peek into it via my iPhone snaps: 


+ We left early Wednesday morning to make the four-hour trek -- but not before the boys donned superhero masks and ran all their energy out. ;)

+ Our car trip consisted of me squished between the boys' car seats in the middle row doling out snacks, lunch and consoling Knox, who absolutely hates the car and screams, "OUT! OUT!" the entire time. #momlife

+ Wednesday night, my dad grilled hamburgers and my grandparents joined us at my parents' house for a yummy Thanksgiving Eve supper. 

+ We stay with my grandparents when we go to my hometown, so we took the boys back over to their house for baths and bed, then stayed up late visiting with my grandparents over a glass of wine and I helped my grandmother get ready to host the big meal. 


+ We actually did something different this year and spent Thanksgiving with my grandparents (my dad's parents) instead of going to Louisiana like we normally do with my mom's side of the family. In my 30 years, I can't remember the last time I spent Thanksgiving with my grandparents -- and I wanted my boys to spend time with their cousins -- so we called an audible this year and spent Thanksgiving in my hometown...and it was absolutely wonderful. 

+ The boys woke up early and watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and were clearly loving watching it and Walker's favorite, the Rockettes. ;) 

+ We had a delicious lunch at my Nana's gorgeous table. She made that centerpiece (!!!). Clearly I didn't inherit the creativity gene. 

+ The boys got to play with all of mine and my cousins' old toys that my Nana saved, which was actually super sweet to watch. 

+ I didn't manage to get a family picture of my four, but I did get a few! My Nana went above and beyond with the meal: turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, black-eyed peas, rolls, cranberry sauce, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, chocolate crumb dessert and homemade custard. I was stuffed!

+ After a lazy afternoon, we took the boys to look at my hometown's special Christmas lights display in a local park and it didn't disappoint! 


+ We met Emily and her daughter at another local park to go on a walk {in our umbrella stroller, ha!}. Brandon took Walker to play on the playground while Knox and I walked with Emily and Betsy, and it was so great catching up with her! It was so cute watching Walker slide down the same slide I used to play on as a little girl, too. 

+ We met my family for lunch on the porch at my mom's store, Home Grown, and then let the boys run some energy out before naps. 

+ That afternoon, Walker had his first hunt! My dad took Brandon, Walker, my sister, one of my brothers and his girlfriend all out to the deer lease to go hunting; I was so glad Walker got to take part! Brandon said he was whispering loudly and asking question after question and when they saw a fawn, tried to get her to come close to the stand so he could see her. ;) Knox and I went to my mom's store to help her get ready for their big "Shop Small Saturday" event while the crew hunted. 

+ Knox and I met everyone back at my parents' house for dinner and the boys loved watching the original "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" in my parents' tub, and then we all got cozy on the living room couch to finish the show. 

+ We got the boys to bed at my grandparents and stayed up again with them visiting, watching football and having a glass of wine. 


+ It was "Shop Small Saturday," so we visited my mom's store to do a little shopping and see everyone before we left for home. It was all so beautifully decorated for Christmas! 

We had to get a picture on the porch before we left!
L-R: Me, my sister Maggie, my mom, my Nana and my aunt 
+ We made the four-hour drive home, which was always eventful with two kiddos (including sitting in loads of traffic), but it was so nice to be home and get unpacked and settled. We had a lazy evening of a frozen pizza for supper, football on TV and an early night for the boys. 


+ Loads of sicknesses are going around our church nursery (RSV and Hand, Foot & Mouth being the biggest ones), so Brandon stayed home with the boys while I went to church. 

+ We spent the afternoon being nice and lazy, cuddling on the couch and taking naps all around. After naps, we made Brandon's grandmother's tea cake recipe. There may or may not have been an instance in which Walker turned the mixer on high after I had just loaded it with flour -- and flour may or may not have flown all over my kitchen -- but it was still so fun and sweet and such a wonderful memory-maker. :)

I hope everyone's Thanksgiving was wonderful! 


And don't forget to join Emily, Owen and me THIS Wednesday for another installment of our Ultimate Gift Guides link-up! This week, we'll be sharing gift ideas for men. :)  

Linking up with Biana

Friday, November 24, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy {Black} Friday! Did everyone have a good Thanksgiving? Who has been up early today doing some shopping?! We had a great Thanksgiving and now I'm totally and completely in the Christmas spirit. I loved Christmas as a kid, then it just kind of became another thing to celebrate as I grew older...and then I had kids and it all changed and I absolutely love it again. Sometimes I feel like Buddy the Elf I just love it so much. So my apologies if it gets obnoxious for the next month. #sorrynotsorry 

Here are my favorites this week: 

I'm trying something new this year and ordering my Christmas cards via Amazon Photos. My photographer friend Liz was telling me about them -- and if they're good enough for a photographer, they're good enough for me! They're actually having 50% off of their cards through tomorrow with the promo code "MERRYCARDS50." 

And speaking of Christmas cards, I saw this on The Champagne Supernova's blog and had to share here. Your friendly neighborhood journalism major thanks you in advance for taking this to heart. ;) 

Y'all know I love seasonal books for my kids and even bought a basket this year to contain them all. A girlfriend asked me which are my top three favorites, so I thought I'd share here, too. {I'll be sharing a post next week about all my favorite Christmas books!} 

+ The Sweet Smell of Christmas: This book reminds me of my childhood and is just so precious. My boys love reading this and taking part in the scratch-and-sniff. 

+ The Night Before Christmas -- In Texas, That Is: My Nana bought me this book on my first Christmas and we grew up reading it. If you're a Texan, this is a must! 

+ The Berenstain Bears The Very First Christmas: I love the Berenstain Bears books for their ease in talking about all things {e.g. lying, a new baby, cleaning up}, but I especially love the childlike way they explain the reason Christians celebrate Christmas. 

Are any of y'all obsessed with Christmas pajamas for your kids? My favorite ones are Leveret {they're so soft and hold up well in the wash without getting pilly}, but of course Hanna Andersson comes in a close second, and Old Navy is a close third. {I will say that I was super disappointed in Baby Gap's Christmas PJ offerings this year. :(} 

I bought these pajamas for the boys this year and yes, we're already wearing them! 

Leveret Red and Green Striped Two-Piece Pajamas 

Hanna Andersson Long John Organic Cotton Pajamas

Old Navy Christmas Cars Sleep Set 

So we may or may not have already seen Santa Claus...! We love to go to Bass Pro Shop {bonus that the activities to do while you wait, visit and photo are all free} and the boys did great this year! Walker was all about Santa and Knox was fine until he actually had to sit in his lap, and then promptly tried to slide right down out of his lap. And then once he was down, said, "Bye Sah-tah! Ho ho ho!" 

And since this post is apparently turning into all things Christmas {whoops}, I wanted to remind y'all to join Emily, Owen and me on Wednesday, Nov. 29 to share your gift guides for guys! 

Linking up with: April, Amanda, Andrea, Claire and Katie
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