Friday, December 21, 2018

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, y'all! I can't believe Christmas Eve is Monday! We are ready to celebrate. Before we start all of the family celebrations this weekend, I wanted to pop in and share a few of my Friday Favorites: 

-ONE-
The boys had their preschool Christmas parties on Tuesday, and Walker had his Nativity Play that morning. He did a fabulous job (we were so proud!) and I think someone needs to find him an agent. Ha! ;) 

This was Walker's last preschool Christmas party and I got a little emotional when I realized we are at the "beginning of the end" on a lot of things with him. He starts Kindergarten in August and I just can't believe it! (I can't imagine how emotional I'm going to be when he's a senior in high school.) 

This was Knox's first year for a Christmas party (he started preschool in January last year) and he had so much fun making his crafts, eating all the food and singing songs for me. 

I had some questions about my booties. They're these from Nordstrom, but currently sold out. Here is a great similar pair (and they're on sale and less than $60)! 





-TWO-
My mother-in-law bought me the Magnolia Table cookbook for Christmas last weekend. I'm excited to dive in! Those of you who have it, tell me: what are some must-make recipes? I went ahead and Prime'd a pastry cutter so I can tackle some of the recipes over Christmas "break." 


-THREE-
This time of the year, our house is a complete and utter wreck. I guess it's because we are in and out due to all of the obligations and stuff just gets thrown on the counter and I put cleaning on the back burner. Anyway, I spent Wednesday morning completely deep cleaning the house and it felt so good when it was all finished. We're talking dusting, cleaning toilets, de-scaling the coffee maker, tons of laundry, mopping, etc. 

Then I had my groceries delivered via Instacart (such a life-saver this time of the year) and I felt like I had just done so much with my morning. Ha! 

Does anyone else feel so accomplished when they deep clean like that? Does your house look like a bomb went off in the latter part of December? Do you feel like you have to do a good clean before Christmas Eve?


-FOUR-
I'm not sure I ever shared our Christmas card with y'all?! I don't love the picture, but with pictures getting rescheduled twice due to sick kiddos, I just had to get something out. I wished I could have used a photo from our family photo shoot, but I wouldn't have gotten cards out in time. Oh well. Always next year! 

I ordered these from Zazzle



-FIVE-
Do any of y'all subscribe to (or send out) email newsletters -- either for work or for your blog? I used to at my former job -- one a week! -- and I wish I would have had some of the helpful info that Campaign Monitor offers. I was looking at their site and really loved this article about cultivating loyal readers with an email newsletter; I thought it might be helpful for those of you who send out email newsletters as part of your job or as part of your blog marketing. (I also loved that the website puts a reading time next to each article. The OCD in me rejoices!) 

I know no one wants to think about work at this point in the year, but I thought it would be a great referencing tool for when work and 2019 planning gets underway in January. 

 A snippet of the article's helpfulness: 

"With 269 billion emails being sent every day (a lot of which is spam), it is becoming increasingly difficult to cut through the noise and provide your audience with a unique experience that keeps them coming back for more. So what steps can you take to make sure you’re giving your readers what they want?"


Linking up with: Amanda, Andrea, Claire and Katie

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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Jammie Lights

Since I was pregnant with Walker (and probably before, but to be honest, once that guy was born my memory was completely zapped) -- we have done what we call "Jammie Lights." We wear our Christmas jammies, drive through Starbucks for some peppermint hot chocolate, turn on Christmas music and drive around to look at lights. It's so much fun! 

We did it on Sunday night this year and had a ball. The boys loved it, and our favorite house was one that had their lights set to music that you tuned your car radio to. 

Here are this year's photos: 



And previous year's photos: 

2017: 


2016:


I know we did it in 2015, but I guess I didn't photograph it since I was pregnant with Knox?! 


2014:


2013 (one month away from delivering Walker): 


Linking up with Jessi and Jenn
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Monday, December 17, 2018

Weekending

Happy Monday! Can you believe that Christmas Eve is exactly a week away!? Where has December gone?

We had a really busy weekend full of fun Christmas-y things, and for some reason, I am only in one photo! Mom Life, right?! 

Brandon came home from his last work trip of the year on Friday, and we spent the evening enjoying time at home with the boys; made a "drive-in movie" for the boys out of Amazon boxes; and Walker made a homemade dress-up costume out of more boxes. Ha! Why do I buy toys again?! 


On Saturday, we celebrated Christmas with Brandon's family. They wanted to give the gift of experience this year, so they treated their seven grandchildren to "Rudolph's Holly Jolly Breakfast" at the Gaylord Texan Hotel. It was a sweet time. They bought the boys matching shirts and the girls matching outfits as part of their gift. 





We came home for a bit after the breakfast to let the boys nap, and then went over to my in-law's when they woke up to officially celebrate Christmas. My mother-in-law made her mother's tea cakes and the kids decorated them while Brandon and his brothers and dad played football outside, and then we ate dinner and opened gifts. 

We draw names in Brandon's family. I drew our sister-in-law and gifted her this necklace; Brandon drew our other sister-in-law and gave her goodies from my mom's store; Knox drew one of our nieces and got her these hair bows, this dress and a romper; and Walker drew one of our other nieces and got her this dress and this pretend purse

Brandon's dad drew him and he got this golf club head cover and an Alan Edmonds gift card; Brandon's mom drew me and I got this cookbook, this serve ware set and a decorative planter from Magnolia. Knox was drawn by his cousin Brayden and got this and this; and Walker was drawn by his cousin Ellie Kate and got this

It was a fun time spent with family! 





We laid low on Sunday and cleaned up our disgusting house. It always gets just so crazy and junk everywhere when we have a weekend of go-go-go. I did laundry, washed sheets/towels/bath mats, wrote thank-you notes and cleaned while the boys played with their new toys and Brandon watched the Cowboys game and worked in the garage. It was a nice, slow Sunday -- just what we needed. 


I hope you have wonderful weeks! 

Linking up with Biana

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Friday, December 14, 2018

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends!


-ONE-
The boys had "Polar Express"/PJ Day at school on Tuesday, and they were so excited! Walker loved getting to wear his jammies to school; Knox wasn't quite so sure and kept saying, "Jammies?! At SCHOOL?!" Ha! 


-TWO-
Some things I've been Prime-ing lately: 

+ This vacuum sealer machine
My parents have, since I can remember, given their friends each a homemade grilled pork tenderloin for Christmas. They vacuum seal it up with the juice all pretty and give them to their friends. Until I became an adult, I didn't understand why this was such a popular, amazing gift. I mean, what better gift than the gift of a meal?! Brandon and I both have loved this tradition and decided to carry on the tradition for our friends, too -- but we needed the machine to do it. Amazon Prime to the rescue! 


They're my favorite! I've used them for a couple of years now and just needed a few more. And since the pack is so huge, I put a few in the guest room for our guests and in the coat closet. 


Also something I've been using for a while, I love how this serum moisturizes my face (especially in the winter) and I can honestly tell a difference in the smoothness of my skin, as well as the dullness and discoloration. I'm continuing to use it in hopes it will help these crow's feet I have around my eyes...



If your children are anything like mine, they're addicted to "Team Umizoomi" (thanks to Amazon Prime for having these episodes readily available, too). So, I found these cute coloring/activity books + crayon pack and plan to put them in their stockings. 



+ These silicone oven mitts 
After eight years of marriage, my regular cotton oven mitts were biting the dust -- and weren't long enough for our bigger, deeper oven at our new house; I kept burning my arm! Anyway, I found these and love them and love their length. 




+ These silicone pot holders 
Again with the whole "biting-the-dust-after-eight-years-of-marriage" thing, I needed some more of these, too. 



+ These pillows
We are busy trying to get the guest bedroom up to standard, and simply needed two extra pillows for our guests to have in the event they needed them. These were a great deal, are super soft and comfortable and I hope our guests like them (and use them)! 


-THREE-
A big reason we're trying to get our guest bedroom all up to standard is because Walker's birthday is next month and my family is coming into town for it! Walker has a January birthday (which, to be honest, is so super hard), and since I'm trying to save money anywhere I can this time of the year -- and everyone is already getting so much in their mailboxes right now, I sent his invitations out via Paperless Post this year. 

He is really big into Army/camo and thinks the military is such a cool, honorable thing. So, a camo-themed party it was! Paperless Post had exactly what I was needing (and I loved that I could customize the text) and I was able to not only track responses (so much easier than asking people to RSVP these days!), I was able to readily message the guests about signing a waiver for the trampoline park where the party will be held, as well as include a note upon sending about the gift situation this year. 

What "gift situation," you ask? Well, since it's January and Walker won't need a thing (and continuing with the military theme), we are having his friends bring, in lieu of gifts, items to be packaged up and sent to a military service member overseas. I just want my kids to understand the concept of giving back, as well as how to thank those who so selflessly serve our country. 

Here's a sneak peek of the invitation I sent out: 


-FOUR-
Did you know that you can print pictures on Amazon?! (Again, seriously, they can do no wrong.) Amazon Prints has them for around $.09 per photo print and I was able to print all of our family portraits out as gifts for around $6 and some change. They also have Christmas cards, photo gifts, etc. What does Amazon NOT do?! 


-FIVE-
We saw "The Grinch" recently and it is so cute! The boys loved it. I also highly recommend "Christmas Chronicles" on Netflix, and my boys also request the original "The Santa Clause" on repeat. I love this time of the year!


Linking up with: Amanda, Andrea, Claire and Katie

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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

What's Hap-pinning Wednesday: Family Portraits

Hey, friends! I thought I'd share with you a few of the family portraits we took this year. Since 2015, my friend Liz has been taking them for us, and I just love her work. (And her, of course!) 

This year, since we moved and because we had to reschedule Christmas pictures twice due to sick kiddos and they weren't taken until December, I decided to just use a beach picture from this summer on our card, put "Mele Kamilikala" on it and call it a day. I don't love the picture (and Brandon and I have both lost weight since this summer), but I wanted to get them out so people would have our new address. Oh well, something different this year! ;)

Stay tuned for some throwback pictures (the ones we used on our Christmas card that year) at the end of this post. :) 

2018: 














2017:



2016:



2015:




2014: 





Linking up with Jenn and Jessi
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