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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Gift Ideas for...Me. ;)

Okay, so I feel like this is a super specific gift guide/idea post.

I'm thinking the Department 56 will throw you for a loop, but hey, it's my wishlist, so why not, right?  Or, hey, it's a list of things for the 34-36 year old mom...?  I thought I was the funniest person EVER when I came up with that.  LOL!

Okay, anyway, let's get to some ideas...

1. Oversized Long Sleeve Cardigan Sweater - If you were to walk into my house during any season you'd more than likely find me sporting a robe or some sort of long and cozy cardigan.  I love to be cozy and I don't like for my arms to be cold.  This cardigan sweater had me smitten from the moment I found it over on Amazon.  Oh and let's not forget the pockets.  I'm always looking for a place to place my beloved chapstick.  Pockets will always have my heart, as will chapstick.

2.  Miss. Dior Eau de Toilette - I haven't had perfume in years...yeeeeeaaaaars, people.  There are times when I wish I had a little bit of a pretty smell...especially when I haven't showered for days.  Haha.

I'm not kidding.

3.  Magnolia Table Cookbook - Joanna Gaines.  Cooking.  Yes and yes, please.  Since I don't see myself visiting the actual Magnolia Table anytime soon I'd like to instead improvise and pretend that I'm enjoying a meal in Chip and Joanna's restaurant but within the comforts of my own home and without the three hour wait.  This book should do the trick!  Bazinga!

4.  The Pioneer Woman Cooks Dinnertime - Okay, so I don't watch a ton of cooking shows, HOWEVER, I become glued when Ree Drummond comes on the tube!  I swear I've never watched her make a recipe I wouldn't try and I'm an EXTREMELY picky eater (darn taste buds).  I have a feeling this cookbook will help assist me out of my meal planning slump that I've been trying to dig myself out of - we need some new meals in our lives, like, yesterday.  ;)

5.  Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation - If I had to pick the number one thing on my list, this would be it.  I don't have great skin and I have huge pores.  I'm always reapplying makeup multiple times a day.  I wish I didn't care so much, I really, really wish I didn't care, but I just don't feel the best about myself without applying some sort of foundation before going out in public.  This foundation seems to be the "it" girl of foundations and I'm crossing my fingers that Santa heard me tell him a trillion times how much I want this stuff.

6.  Tassel Hoop Earrings - I mean, aren't these amazing?  I've been loving all sorts of earrings lately and I've been proudly wearing the few that I own out and about.  Come on, Santa, throw these in the bag, too!

7.  Homebody by Joanna Gaines - I don't think I need to explain this one...  ;)

8.  Remington Pro 1-1 1/2 Inch Curling Wand - I'm hoping to jump on the curling wand train (Choo!  Choo!), but at a SUPER reasonable price.  I'm sure I'll burn myself at least a handful of times, but I'm hoping the curls will make the burns all worth it...

Somewhat kidding...

9.  Ugg Water Resistant Mini Boot - As this baby in my belly continues to grow and for the month after delivery these boots would be incredibly beneficial with not having to bend for too long and lace up boots or tennis shoes.  Plus, I've always wanted a pair of UGGs so I'm using my pregnancy as an excuse.  A girl's gotta do, what a girl's gotta do...know what I mean?  Haha!  Santa, I'll take these in Chesnut Suede and in a size 10...because I have wide feet and hello swelling!

See?  They're for the baby!  *wink wink*

10.  Department 56 Brookshire Cottage - So I grew up with my Dad purchasing these for my Mom every year at Christmas.  She has a HUGE collection!  I blogged about how she displayed them last year and I've gotta tell ya', it made all of my childhood dreams come true - talk about nostalgia.  Well, anyway, I've offered to buy some off of her, but I don't think she's willing to part with any quite yet, which I completely understand.  I would, however, like to get a collection of my own started.  I regret not starting years ago, but hey - better late than never.  I just know I'd love setting them up every year and I'd hope they'd create the same nostalgia for our kids as they did for me.  :)

11.  Sideways Initial Necklace - I guess I'd need a new one of these come March, but it's just too darn cute not to want right now!  I mean, one necklace now, another in March - two would be fine.  Who's with me?  Just agree.  ;)

Welp, that's my list of things I'd LOOOOVE to receive for Christmas.

Obviously I don't expect to receive every single one of these items, but it gives Santa a good idea of what this Mama is wanting these days.

Any favorites on the list?

Thanks for stopping by to read this post about my wants and needs.  LOL!

Marie :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

What's Up Wednesday

Hey, hey, hey - It's What's Up Wednesday!

What We're Eating This Week

Tonight - Leftovers.  It was supposed to be chili, but we had enough leftover spaghetti from last night for tonight.  I'm not a huge fan of spaghetti, so I'm hoping to convince Jon that I should get Jimmy John's for dinner - heck, I wish I could convince him of that five days a week!

The number 13 sub all day, eer day!

Thursday - Chicken and hummus and a fattoush salad, but with spinach - Darn romaine recall
Friday - Out - Amen.
Saturday - Pumpkin Soup - I've never made this before - wish me luck
Sunday - Lasagna
Monday - Leftover lasagna
Tuesday - Chili

What I'm Reminiscing About

Past Christmases.

I've been thinking a lot about years past and how much I've adored the innocence of our kids.  The magic is still in the air and I'm loving every single bit of it!

I love how intensely the kids spoke with Santa this year, I marvel at how much they've enjoyed searching for Elmer the Elf in the mornings, I'm amazed at how seriously they took to trimming the tree, I'm giddy anytime they dance to Christmas music in the living room.  I'm well aware of these special and fleeting moments and I try not to take them for granted.

I read this article that Emily Ley had posted to her Facebook page from Rebecca over at "Simple as That Blog.

It's a must read and I guarantee it'll make you want to slow down and enjoy these sweet and wonderful days...

We put a lot of pressure on ourselves as moms to make the holidays special. It's so easy to adopt the myth that doing more will equal more magic.

...because my oh my, how fast it goes...



Poor little man had just finished crying.  Nothing like a Mama snuggle to make it better...


That round face and bald head...  LOVE.





What I'm Loving

Speaking of babies and on a lighter...well heavier note, I guess... ;) .... I'm LOVING my growing belly and my growing appetite!  'Nuff said. ;)

What We've Been Up To

Thanksgiving, Christmas tree hunting and decorating...

What I'm Dreading

I wouldn't say dreading, but more just not part of the norm.  Our master bath is getting worked on and while the crew is AMAZING, it leaves me having to sort of hide out during the day.  Now, before I go on a rant, let me tell you that I'm extremely grateful that our bathroom is going through a remodel.  We can't wait for the outcome and like I said, the crew is fantastic!

Okay, so there's that.

Now for my first world problems.  Our bathroom is in the far corner of our house, which means every person who enters our home must walk into the house and basically through the entire upstairs to gain access into our bathroom.  I can't get into our bedroom during the day, so I need to make sure my clothes are either set out every night, or I need to make sure I'm not rummaging through my closet any time past 7 a.m. The kids clothes, as well.  We've been eating our breakfast in the basement and we're all using our tiny bathroom in the basement to get ready in the mornings.  Our old bathroom and its bathroom accessories and necessities are currently being housed in two laundry baskets next to the guest bed that Jon and I are currently sleeping in every night.

World's tiniest violin, I know.

But the question was posed, so there you have it.  Nothing I'm dreading, just something that's a tad bittersweet..., you know what I mean.  Anyway, I'll leave this part of my post with a smile and share some progression pictures!

Sorry Jon, had to post this one.  This fella was content relaxing on the couch (hence the socks) when I approached him and asked to hold up our new mirror...

What a good guy to oblige.

What I'm Working On

Finishing up decorating and hoping to get to wrapping gifts ASAP!

Oh and remember how I told you about wrapping my nieces and nephews gifts like snowmen?

Well, I found sound cube sized boxes at Hobby Lobby!  I'm pumped because it'll make the process soooooo much easier than running around trying to find leftover cardboard boxes throughout the house.  I may have to post my own little "tutorial," if you will, on how to assemble these sweet snowman boxes.

See where I'm going with this?

What I'm Excited About

The snow.
The memories to be made.
Taking it slow and enjoying my kids while they're still little.  ;)

What I'm Watching/Reading

The Housewives of Orange County Reunions, Hallmark Movies and ABC Family cartoons/movies.

Also, Jon accidentally deleted some of my Hallmark movies which I had yet to watch.


I know, right?

His punishment?  He now has to watch one...perhaps, two, Hallmark movie(s) with yours truly.


Schedule - Countdown to Christmas 2018 - Hallmark Channel

What I'm Listening To

Christmas music - lots and lots of Christmas music!

Aaaaaaand I've still been tuning in to listen to Rachel Hollis every morning over on Facebook.  She and her husband Dave are so good at getting my fired up about my day!

What I'm Wearing

This coat from Amazon and these boots from...get ready for it...ALDI!

What I'm Doing This Weekend

Holiday Open House, Painting Party - which I double booked in my calendar, so I've got to figure that one out!  Oops!  We'll be going to our local Christmas parade and I hope to squeeze in a nap or two.  This lady has NOT been getting the best sleep lately.  I'm also hoping a nap or two will remedy my dark undereye circles...seriously.

What I'm Looking Forward To Next Month


Thanks a bunch for stopping by today!

Marie :)

I'm linking up with Shay for What's Up Wednesday and Jenn for What's Hap-Pinning!

This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Gift Ideas for the Kiddos

Now I don't know about you, but I'm a list maker.  I love lists and when it comes to Christmas you can find lists upon lists of gift ideas, holiday decor ideas, food ideas/ingredients, lists of events...you get the point...

My name is Marie and I make lists.

I love the idea of sharing my kids' Christmas wishlists with all of you for two reasons.

One - These posts keep me on track for the "necessities."  You know, the important stuff.  The toys/gifts listed at the top of the kids' Christmas lists.

Two - It may just help someone out there come up with with a gift idea for a loved one.  I know that by visiting other blogs I've found wonderful and unexpected gift ideas that my loved ones adore!

Let me begin by informing you that not everything you see was purchased this year.  Some items we already own and a few of the items the kids won't be receiving, but I just HAD to share.

Let's start with Eliza.  :)

1.  Piggy Paint Nail Polish - Girlfriend loves to paint nails.  She always has and, fingers crossed, she always will.  We bond over painting our nails.  I honestly hope it's something we can always do together.  Piggy Paint is non-toxic and chemical free.  We started using this product a few years ago when girlfriend was itty bitty.  It's easy to put on and easy to get off.  We love our Piggy Paint!

2.  Barbie Ultimate Kitchen - Barbies are our jam over here.  Give this girl a Barbie and she becomes utterly enthralled!  She loves the little accessories, too.  Hence why this sweet Barbie kitchen is right up her alley!  Barbie?  Check!  Itty Bitty accessories?  Check!

3.  VTech Kidi Super Star Karaoke System - I mean, need I say more?!  Ha!  If this girl is mine, then she needs a microphone.  She's taken interest in singing as of late and I'm 100% all about it!

4.  5 Minute Barbie Stories - I purchased this from our schools' book fair.  The money went toward a good cause AND we now have a 5 minute story to read at night.  ;) Win-win!  Oh, and it's Barbie...so, win-win-win!  This can, however, be purchased over on Amazon...and with Prime it'll be here before you know it.  Still winning.  ;)

5.  PonyCycle Unicorn - This.  You guys!  This Unicorn gets used all. of. the. time.  By boys, girls, young and old!  It's amazing, truly amazing and the giggles and laughs it's provided has been worth every penny!  If you're looking for a big gift for Christmas, for a birthday girt or a combo gift, you'll want one of these!

6.  My First Makeup Set - Eliza has been obsessed with makeup ever since we visited the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Disney World!  She was thrilled when I told her she could wear bright red lipstick for Halloween this year!  She's going to be thrilled about this makeup kit, too, I just know it!

7.  Razor A Kick Scooter - We purchased two of these, one for each kid.  We love riding our bikes in our driveway and as the kids get a little older we've been allowing for them to ride out in the road here and there.  So why not add to the fleet?  I'm excited to watch the kids use these.

8.  L.O.L. Surprise!  Bigger Surprise - I feel like this is THE gift of the year for Eliza!  It has 60 surprises inside - 60!!!  It's like the gift that keeps on giving!  I can't wait to watch this go down on Christmas Day!

9.  Caboodle - Miss. E has some fun jewelry that needs to be stored away along with some play makeup.  A traditional jewelry box would be nice, but I'm liking the size of this Caboodle...and plus...Hello!!!!  It's a Caboodle!  If we outgrow it, it has sooo many other uses and possibilities.  I think my Caboodle is still in my childhood bathroom closet.  I'm guessing it's filled with nail polishes from the 90's.  Ahem...anyway - CABOODLE!!!


Okay, and here we go with gift ideas for Henry...

1.  Gravity Maze Marble Run - Henry likes science.  Henry like gravity.  Henry likes marble runs.  He's gotta like this game, right?!  It looks interesting and has fantastic reviews.  I've yet to purchase this, but I think I just talked myself into getting it for him.  ;)

2.  Pokemon Nintendo Switch Game - I have no idea what to expect out of this Switch game.  Heck, I've read Pokemon books and I still don't get it.  I just plan to go along with this one, just like I have with the trading cards and books.  I'm assuming this game will be the bees knees.

3.  Helicopter Drone - This drone is pretty sweet and it's one that doesn't break the bank.  It's under $40, it has lots of reviews and four and a half stars.  I have no doubt that Henry would love to get one of these.

4.  Pokemon GX Premium Box - Pokemon.  That's it.  *sighs deeply*

5.  Razor A Kick Scooter - As mentioned up above, we purchased scooters for both Henry and Eliza.  I'm really, REALLY hoping the kids like these.  We may even have to give them a try down our hallway on Christmas morning...  and by "we" I mean me.

6.  Magic Tree House Merlin Missions - Okay, so this may have to be something we purchase at a later date, BUT - I just had to include this series.  We're still finishing up the first series of the Magic Tree House books and Henry still seems to be enjoying them.  The next step would then be to purchase this set of books.  I'm thinking this may be fun to purchase right before school lets out for the summer?  BUT - any individual Magic Tree House book or set would make for an awesome gift!

7.  Snap Circuits Light - Henry loved the first Snap Circuit we bought for him a couple of years ago.  One that lights up?  Forget about it!  I honestly think he's going to love this gift!  In fact, it was the very first present Santa purchased from Santa's Amazon toyshop!  ;)

8.  Coding and Robotics Kit - Okay, now this is so cool.  Henry's been learning about coding at school and I'd looove to introduce him to more coding.  I really, reaaaaaally want to pull the trigger on this one!

9.  LEGO City Command Center - What's Christmas without LEGOs?  I'm guessing H-Dawg with receive some LEGOs in his stocking and that he'll get some from other family members for Christmas, so I plan to take it easy on the LEGO front.  He's been playing "police and bad guy" with Eliza and the neighbor boys, actually Jon and I had to play last night, too.  This gift is fitting considering their choice of games using their imaginations.  :)

10.  VTech Watch - Henry thinks this is THE coolest gift EVER...like, EVER EVER.  Rumor has it that Santa has indeed purchased this one of a kind watch and we're hoping it makes all of H's dreams come true.

11.  Nerf Battle Racer - We do NOT have this, nor will we be purchasing it, NOR will Santa be bringing it.  However, it's an awesome gift idea, just like the pony up there.  It's too much fun and I just HAD to include it.  If anyone out there gets one, let me know how it rides!  This is just another one of those gifts/toys that I'd love to try out for myself.  LOL!

I hope these lists benefit someone out there!

Thanks for stopping by today!

Marie :)

I'm linking up with Nicki for Totally Terrific Tuesday!

This post contains affiliate links.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Weekend Recap - Thanksgiving and Christmas Tree Hunting

What a week/weekend, eh?

There was so much goodness, I just had to document all of it!  I'll try not to be too wordy...

Let's go back to Wednesday.  The kids had a half day of school and I ran around baking, cleaning and packing up to leave.  We met up with Jon's parents at our favorite Mediterranean restaurant in Flint.  From there we drove to the in-laws.  We settled in for the night and the kids loved on their cat, Meatloaf.

The next morning was Thanksgiving!  I was able to catch some of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!  I did, however, miss most of it as I went off to take a shower, get ready for the day and hang out with the kiddos.

Jon could be found like this for more time than I care to admit.  It was cracking me up!  So many times I'd turn to talk to him and he'd be wearing his VR headset and flailing about...

Eliza and Henry got all dressed for Thanksgiving dinner.

I made sure I brought back their hats they made at school...

We had a bake-off!

My sister-in-law suggested that everyone make and bring a dessert.  With all of our traveling and having contractors in our house it became a tad difficult to really go all out.

I did manage to bake two loaves of cream cheese chocolate chip pumpkin bread, which wasn't super messy or too difficult to make...thank goodness.

I also found these little brownie turkeys on Pinterest and instead of baking brownies I just purchased everything pre-made.

Easy peasy.

The kids and I assembled these sweet turkeys a few hours before dinner.  I think everyone was supposed to guess who brought what as a dessert and vote from there for "best dessert."


We managed to get a Thanksgiving Day picture...

Henry made signs for all the tables (I helped him with some of the spelling - no way this boy knows how to spell 'recipe' yet ;) )...

More pictures...

Couldn't forget this little nugget...

All of the desserts!  Yum!

We played the game, "The Worst Case Scenario."  I feel like I'm a pretty good listening to my intuition in social settings, but this game had me like, "Wwwhhhaaaattt??"  I was awful, just awful at it.  I feel like everything I thought I knew or have ever read has been lies.  All lies...  ;)

After dinner and a fun family game, we headed over to my sister's house.

It was my parents' first year not hosting a Thanksgiving meal.  Our oldest brother took a hard fall about three weeks ago and has been in a coma and on a ventilator ever since.  If you're the praying type, we'll take some prayers.  :)

My sister's dinner was just what our parents needed!  They've been practically living at the hospital.  I hadn't seen my parents since August, so it was nice to see their faces and give them some much needed hugs.  :)

Jon with our sweet niece, Marian...

The party table...

The kids played, the adults visited, Jon busted out his VR headset...again... and by the next morning Elmer the Elf and his new friend, Fredric (sp?), had arrived at my sister's house!

Fredric is new to my sister's family!

Both elves brought Christmas shirts for all of the kids...

Henry's cousin, Christian, walked Henry from the bedroom to the living room to see the elves!

We left my sister's house and found some lunch.  There just happened to be a Starbuck's where we stopped, so of course I told Jon I needed a holiday-inspired beverage!

Also, this makes two ....TWO Starbuck's that now exist right off the expressway to and from our house to my hometown!!!  WOOHOO!!

Once we arrived home we stretched our legs, dropped off our bags, turned up the heat in the house, prepared the living room for a Christmas tree and then loaded back up in the car to go hunt for a REAL Christmas tree!!!

I've been wanting to do this for YEARS!!!  We went a few years ago and cut down a little three foot tree, but I wanted it to be like when I was a little girl.  When I was little we used to get the biggest and widest tree we could find!  I couldn't wait!

Eliza had sooooo many questions.  She was not impressed at this moment...

It was really nice out, so we decided to walk back to the tree farm...which wasn't far at all...just a tad muddy, but no biggie...

They were off...

Jon found the tree he wanted.  Umm...no.  ;)

Henry was trying to sell us on this tree.  He seriously wouldn't leave its side.

I finally convinced him to keep looking and maybe we could vote on our favorites.  He obliged.

We took a turn in a different direction and found some great looking trees.  On the way Eliza took a tumble over a tree stump.  I gave everyone the, "We don't run through tree farms," speech.  There are just too many stumps.

#lifelesson #themoreyouknow

Look what we found!!!

There she was!!!

It didn't take much convincing or voting.  Everyone was all for this tree or the one next to it.  This one was a tad taller - we went for it!

Sorry Jon, I had to post this one.  Just too much fun!


Jon taught the kids about counting the rings.  Our particular tree had twenty!

Dear tree,

Thanks for growing.  Sorry we cut you down.  We promise to love you!

We tagged our tree and headed back to home base.  ;)

Henry's hero.  All the heart eyes!!!!!!!!!

When did this child get so big??!!

Warming up by the fire...

Hot cocoa for the win!

We loaded up our tree in a rented trailer and snapped a selfie.  I absolutely love how excited everyone is in this picture!

Before buckling up in the car I managed to snap a couple pics of the kids in their new Christmas shirts...

We arrived home, Christmas tree in tow, and got to work...

We brought out all of the Christmas totes and before we knew it, the kids had found their Elf and Santa hats.  Jon told me they were already wearing them - you guys, it was the cutest thing EVER!

Oh the excitement!!!

Elf snuggles...

(Pay no attention to the mess of books in the background - it's on my to-do list to organize - EEK!)

Playing with the nutcrackers...

I sent Jon to the store for some lights (our artificial trees are pre-lit).  I told him to get 3-4 rolls of lights.  He came home with one roll of 400 lights...as you can see it wasn't enough.  It made for a funny, "I told you so," moment.

I needed more lights, but the kids couldn't wait to decorate any longer, so I let them have at it while Jon went back for more lights...

They didn't hesitate...

They became busy little working elves...

Jon came home with more lights and I finished wrapping the tree.  The kids then continued to decorate...

As you can see the bottom part of our tree became ornament heavy.  My type-A self twitched a little, but I let it go for the night and for the next day.  They were both incredibly proud and happy of their work.  I didn't dare change a thing...not for the next 36 hours anyway...  ;)

The next day consisted or more decorating and watching Michigan lose to Ohio State.  I had to walk away from the tv on more than one occasion.  The score got so bad that Jon and I just turned off the tv and went to run errands.  Talk about disappointing.  While at the store we saw some other Michigan fans who seemed to have done the same thing...

I hope to erase the game from my memory entirely.

Elmer had also made an appearance on Saturday!  He made a mess with a popcorn explosion!

Later on Saturday night, we cozied up on the couch and watched, Home Alone!


When the movie ended we had a dance party to the music during the credits!

Then the kids pretended to fall asleep...

They may have even moved around an ornament or two before heading to bed.

My type-A, OCD self started to twitch...again, but still, I let it go and rather enjoyed the moment.

It was actually coming together quite nicely.  It just need some tweaking here and there... ;)

Sunday consisted of cleaning, laundry and re-arranging some of the ornaments.

Jon took the kids outside to watch the lava explode out of the volcano that we made a few weeks back...

AAAaaaaaaannnd here we are.

It's Monday - we have a snow day today, our contractor will be showing up momentarily, I have a doctor's appointment at 1:30, but the roads are terrible, so I have no idea what my plans are for the rest of the day...

If you need me, I'll be hanging out with the kids (if they're not next door playing ;) ) and enjoying Cyber Monday.

Happy start to the week, friends!

Marie :)

I'm linking up with LindsayJohannah and Heather for Hello Monday!