Friday, December 19, 2014

Holiday Survival Guide

How is Christmas like a week away?!?!?! Seriously, where did December go? It feels like last week we were celebrating Thanksgiving. This year we are having Dustin's parents over to our house for Christmas. It will be our first big holiday that we are hosting since moving into our house (besides a few get togethers and a small celebration for Brylee's first birthday). I feel like I have a million things left to do but no time to do them. We are celebrating Christmas with my mom's side of the family this weekend-something we look forward to all year, but when we get home we will only have a few days to get everything ready for our party here.
With that being said, I have a few items that I couldn't do without in order to survive the holiday season. 
1. A list. I have a list for everything. With all the stress that comes with the holiday season, I don't know what I would do without a list to stay organized. So I bought a fun notebook on clearance at Walmart (for 25 cents!!!) to stay organized. 
 Here's some lists I currently have started:
-gift ideas for people
-menus
-christmas goodie ideas
-important things to remember
-decorating ideas
-grocery lists for Christmas dinner (because I actually just went to the store without a list and forgot to buy one of the items I went in for!)
-packing lists
2. I also have a few small gifts on hand for hostess presents and just in case.
3. When I was baking desserts for Thanksgiving, I opened the fridge only to realize I had one egg on there. So after that I have always made sure we have enough staples (like milk, butter, cheese, and eggs) so I don't have to leave my mess in the middle of baking to run to the store.
4. I also have a small stash of extra toiletries (travel sized works great) for out of town guests who may forget something.
5. We have some fun holiday soaps that I put out before guests come over. It's the little things that can put you in a festive mood.
If you would ask Brylee what she would recommend to always keep handy, the answer would be suckers. One day we were buckling her into her car seat and she pulled one out from her pocket. She's pretty sly like that. It was meltdown city when we took it away. This kid I tell ya;)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Shopping Small-a guide for anytime of the year.

 If you plan on shopping small this year, here is a few shops I have found and love!
1. Sugarplum Lane Baby-this is one of our favorite shops. We have a few pair of bloomers and leggings. We get compliments anytime Brylee wears them!
2. Freshly Picked-I can't even explain how much we love these moccs. They are definitely our go to shoe!
3. Aheirloom-the cutting boards in this shop are just amazing. These would make great wedding presents as well!
4. Riley Clay Designs-I think this shirt says it all. I love that most of these shirts have a faith based message!
5. Hello Apparel- the sayings on these shirts are pretty accurate "I'm so tired"-parents,  "I'm not tired"-kids, "I'm so cold" "I'm so broke" "hello"--our hello on our front door may or may not be inspired by this:)
6. LetterCraft-these name signs are amazing! They would make great wedding gifts, grandparent gifts, baby gifts, even anniversary gifts.
7. Bannor Toys-how cool are all of these wooden toys? And that personalized Jalopy car--for $10! What a great baby gift or stocking stuffer!
8. Latchy Catchy-this thing has transformed nap-time and bedtime like you wouldn't believe! If you don't own one and you have little people in your house you don't know what you are missing out on! They are also great for garage access doors from your house, especially when carrying in kids or groceries!

9. Children Inspire Design-we have a lot of prints from this shop! Amazing quality and great selection.

10. Kittsona-a girl I went to high scho with opened this store. It has some really great home products as well as great priced women's clothing!
11. ManCrates: because what guy wouldn't want to open a crate full of man stuff with a crow bar. And I bet you wouldn't even have to wrap it up. Win-Win.
12. Other small shops ideas could be buying gift cards to local bakeries, a favorite hairstylist, a coffee shop (although nothing compares to Caribou Coffee's blended turtle mochas !)

Any other shops you would recommend?

Christmas Cards

I totally procrastinated getting pictures and cards made for Christmas this year. I totally had this great idea in mind but the item I was waiting on hasen't arrived yet so we just opted for not using it. Instead we bribed Brylee with candy canes, that ended up breaking all over the place. First she broke one in half, then we unwrapped one and let her suck on it which she decided to drop on the floor and it shattered into a million tiny shards-EVERYWHERE... 

By that time she was over it and I only got about five pictures of her actually looking at the camera and one of them she is completely upset. I actually almost used that one because it was so darn cute and totally real life but keeping in the holiday spirit we did the other pictures instead.




Get me out of here!
She probably wanted the rest of the box of candy canes in this picture. 
And her reaction to not getting all the candy canes but this is probably my favorite picture of the bunch!




We chose the three best pictures and had them printed up. Brylee helped me address them until the anti-nap caught up with her. 



I can't believe Christmas is already next week! Have you gotten your cards out yet?


Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Tree Cupcakes

A few weeks ago when I was setting up our Christmas tree listening to Christmas music, I decided to bake some cupcakes. I wanted them to be super festive so I decorated them as a Christmas tree. 
I started by baking a box of chocolate cupcakes. After they were cooled I just placed them on a tray in the shape of a Christmas tree. I used 16 cupcakes because that is all my tray would hold but you could easily add another row with the extra cupcakes. 



Then I fitted a star tip to a piping bag. 




I ran out of green food coloring, from when I made Brylee's fish cupcakes for her birthday, so I just mixed together blue and yellow to get green. 


 I don't remember where I saw this trick but if you put the piping bag into a cup and fold over the edges it is easier to fill with frosting. It is way easier. 


I frosted the top cupcake yellow for the star and the bottom cupcake brown (I mixed a bunch of food coloring colors together until  I got the right shade of brown as well). I frosted the remaining cupcakes in green. 
After all the cupcakes were frosted I mixed up a little bit of red and drizzled it across the top of the the green cupcakes to look like a string for lights. Then I added some of these mega m&m's for the actual light bulbs. 





Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Terrible Twosday

Brylee is most definitely hitting her terrible twos. It doesn't help that at her 15 month appointment the doc told us she wanted Brylee off of her nukey by 18 months. That's like two months away. Brylee is not attached to anything but her nukey! So far it has been horrible-she wants it all the time...and just because timing is always great, Brylee caught a head cold, with a stuffy nose, fever, cough and all! How can I try to ween when she doesn't feel the best? There's always next week I guess...

 Dustin and I get a stink eye (which is hilarious by the way) every time we come after her with a tissue. I totally wish I could get a picture of it. I have been giving Brylee honey for her cough, although I'm not sure if it's helping all that much.


Last weekend we ran to Walmart for a few items and we checked out a couple items apparently Brylee is going to tell Santa she wants. (Good thing we have another year or two before she's actually big enough for either!)



Tonight Dustins parents came over for a little bit and we played HEDBANDZ. This game is fun but it is so hard. I had Harry Potter. How in the world would I ever guess that. Nobody one because we ran out of time and no one guessed their word correctly. We are rematching again at Christmas so we will see who ups their skill level! 


Now I'm off to attempt Brylee going to bed. It was an early morning but a late nap so this should be interesting! 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Easy and Delicious Four Ingredient Carmel Rolls

So I read in a blog somewhere that carmel rolls are only like an upper Midwest kind of thing! (And yes I call them car-mel not car-a-mel). I'm not sure how true that is but if you have never had them before here's an easy and delicious recipe from my aunt Lynn (who is an amazing cook and baker) and it only uses four ingredients (if you use frozen rolls)


CARMEL ROLLS:

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups vanilla ice cream
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

Directions:

Put all ingredients in a sauce pan and heat until sugar is dissolved.



Pour into 9x13 inch cake pan, let cool slightly.


Put one dozen cinnamon rolls in pan and let rise.

NOTE: If using frozen rolls put in pan and let rise overnight and bake in the morning.

I used frozen cinnamon rolls because I'm all about easy!

I made mine up the night before and then  let them rise.

These rolls are ready to be baked (mine rose about 8 hours or so)

Bake at 350 F for 25-30 minutes.


Normally we just eat them out of the pan when they are upside down but I flipped them over so I could get a picture of all that delicious carmel!



Here's the directions all in one place! Go make them you will not be disappointed!

CARMEL ROLLS:

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups vanilla ice cream
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

Directions:
Put all ingredients in a sauce pan and heat until sugar is dissolved.

Pour into 9x13 inch cake pan, let cool slightly.

Put one dozen cinnamon rolls in pan and let rise.

Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes.

NOTE: If using frozen rolls put in pan and let rise overnight and bake in the morning.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Fabulous Five on Friday

1. I wrapped all of the presents we have bought so far and we put them under the tree. Brylee has yet to notice them (or the tape is doing its magic;) because they haven't moved once!



PS don't tell Brylee that gift is for her:)

2. Brylee and I went to Party City tonight and they had this creepy baby from Halloween on clearance. Brylee thought it was her BFF. She gave it hugs and even picked it up when it fell over. She gets it from her dad...



3. Brylee can now say grandma. "Nana" it is.

4. Brylee's one going on thirteen...

5. Never leave a hat unattended when you come to our house. You may not get it back!