Christmas Shopping!

With Thanksgiving over, it's officially Christmas season at our house!!  Time to "Griswold it up" with some holiday lights and festiveness and some rockin' around the Christmas tree!  I'll be sure to post some pictures of our house as soon as we get our tree and all the Fa-la-la-la-lights up. ;)

Today is Black Friday.  What does that mean for most people?  SHOPPING!  Tom and I plan to hit some stores in our pajamas cozy apparel to scoop up some good deals on gifts, although we DEFINITELY were not one of the crazies camping outside at night.  We'll probably only go to a few stores since I plan on doing most of my shopping ONLINE!

If you're like us, you have a boatload of kids to buy presents for.  I thought I'd compile a list of what Evie will be asking Santa for this year in hopes that maybe it will help inspire some ideas for you!  At 16 months, Evie is loving all sorts of toys, books, and even clothes!  My little fashionista has been know to raid her own closet and show me what she wants to wear!  Her list this year includes things that follow this saying: "Something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read!"  I LOVE that and think it makes the perfect recipe for gift buying for all your little ones!  

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Happy Shopping everyone!!!  

Monday Loveday

Happy Thanksgiving week!!  I can't wait for some gobble gooble turkey fun with family this week.  So, let's get to it...Monday Loveday time!

1) Last week I had a "situation" with our diaper bag:  I spent FIVE FULL MINUTES digging in it to find a sock.  I'm dramatic, I know. ;)  But seriously...unacceptable!  While I loved my diaper bag (this one) when we first got it, over time, it just became a bottomless pit and I would have to dig to find every little thing!  Meet my new found love:  The JJ Cole Satchel Diaper Bag (Stone Arbor).  In addition to it being amazing in terms of the amount of space and functional use, it is just so darn cute!  Can I wear this around even when I don't have Evie with me? ;) LOVE LOVE LOVE.

2) Loveday list item #2 for today = Chiffon blouses!  It might be the fact that I love this material, but it doesn't hurt that they are flattering on almost everyone and can be dressed up or down!  I picked up 3 new blouses from Old Navy recently, including this one, and can't wait to wear them!!!

3) Christmas lights have to be on my list, right?!! This past weekend, we went to Home Depot and Evie was fascinated by all the Christmas decor (that's my girl!).  All I heard out of her mouth was "oh wow, oh wow."  Cutest thing ever! :)  We decided to buy her a small merry-go-round that lit up and played Christmas music.  She was loving it.  On our car ride home, I watched her stare at the lights.  As cheesy as it sounds, I got a little emotional!  Seeing the reflection of Christmas lights in her eyes made me realize how amazingly blessed we are to be sharing our 2nd Christmas with this little angel.

4) When it comes to home decor, I have been loving decorating with flowers!  Just because it's almost winter doesn't mean that you can't spruce your house up with some fresh flowers!  I've been mixing white carnations (Yes, the hated carnations, which I happen to like!) with red berries and green stems and making some holiday arrangements!!  I have so much fun making my own little arrangements, throwing them in a mason jar, and placing them around the house.  Flowers can bring such life and festiveness to otherwise boring spaces!

5) I am also loooooooving this candle I got from Target last week:  Sparkling Cranberry.  It already smells like Christmas in our house and I'm a happy camper. :)

6) Finally, even though my loveday list is dominated my Christmas-related items, Thanksgiving is this Thursday, and that means FOOD, and lots of it.  Even though we'll probably have a lot of traditional dishes, I'm also looking forward to my mom and aunt whipping up some Polish delights like kopytka and pierogi!  So concludes my list, with yummy Thanksgiving food as my final list item. :)   

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  Enjoy your turkeys and yummy dinners, and don't forget to give your loved ones an extra hug and kiss!  'Tis the season to be THANKFUL! :)

Turkey Day Prep

Our family is starting to prep for Turkey Day next week!  We have so much to be thankful for and can't wait to spend the day with family and reflect on everything we have been blessed with.

We are not hosting this year but I'm still planning on making a contribution.  In preparation, I am starting to plan what to bring (as well as how to dress Miss Evie!) 

Let’s start with my contributions to our Turkey day meal. I’m thinking that baking is probably my stronger suit, so I’ll probably go with a dessert. I found a fun recipe online for Apple Crostada with Brown Butter Streusel. Although it looks like it takes a lot of prep, I’m planning on doing a test run of it this weekend to see how it goes. If it's a total disaster, there’s always Baker’s Square pie, right? :) 

Now, when it comes to Evie’s apparel, I decided to compile a little fashion board of inspirations.  I also included some cute boy fashions I came across.  

For all you mamas, happy baby stylin' this Thanksgiving!!! :)

Bow headband  |  Maroon polka-dot dress  |  Velour dress  |  Brown patent ballet flats  |  Cable knit dress  |  Fur boots  |  Hair accessory trio  |  Plaid shirt  |  Corduroy golf hat  |  Cable knit one-piece  |  Grey vest  |  Suede chukka boots  |  Shawl collar cardigan  |  Corduroy pants

Citrus Lane November 2013 Review

Happy Wednesday everyone!  We got box #2 from Citrus Lane last week and I thought I'd share my review!  For those unaware, Citrus Lane is a subscription service.  For $25/month you get a surprise box every month filled with products tailored to your child's age.  I was attracted to it because their boxes are typically always filled with items that surpass the $25 retail value PLUS it exposes you to new and fun brands (usually always green brands too!).  My first month was $12.50 with code TAKEHALF. 

Here's Evie opening up her November box (which she seemed very happy to receive by the way.)  I couldn't open the box fast enough for her! :)

And here's a closer look of everything inside:

Contents spelled out:

1)  Green Toys Tug Boat Bath Toy ($14.99) -- I was very excited to see another bath toy in this month's box.  Evie LOVES bath time, and we are always looking for new toys to add to her collection.  I particularly liked this one because of the brand - Green Toys.  Their toys are made from 100% recycled plastic - LOVE that.  Plus, it's such a cute and fun toy that Evie has already had a blast playing with!

2)  Skip Hop Spoon & Fork "Zootensils" Set ($6.00) -- With Thanksgiving just around the corner, this was a perfect addition to the box!  I am obsessed with Skip Hop products and this was no exception.  We actually needed new big girl utensils for Evie so this was great to get!  Also, can't help but love the cute little panda design on these!

3)  Bumkins Snack Bags (2-pack) ($6.95) -- This one I actually wasn't too fond of. Maybe I just can't wrap my mind around re-usable snack bags.  I much prefer to put our snacks in a little plastic containers or snack catchers, but maybe we'll try these out.  I do like that they are green and the designs are cute.  However, I saw that other people got awesome bibs from Bumkins in their boxes, and I sort of wish we got that instead.   

4) Plum Organics Baby Food Pouch ($1.59) -- Although we usually are big fans of Plum products, we unfortunately had to toss this pouch right away due to the recall.  Citrus Lane sent subscribers an email saying they included the pouch in boxes before they were aware of the recall, so we are all supposed to get some sort of voucher.  So, needless to say, this one was disappointing.

5) Pur Lisse Lip Comfort Lip Balm ($16.00) -- I was pretty happy to see a product in the box for mommy!!  Especially with winter approaching, my dry lips were in need of some moisture.  I have been using this for a few days and I can say that it's ok.  I don't love it, but I also don't hate it.  It's just ok. Worth $16?  Probably not.

Evie playing with her new toy

The verdict:  I liked this box.  It did have some nice things in here, although I don't feel as though it was as great as other boxes I have seen online from previous months.  My 2 favorite items that I would definitely buy myself are the tug boat toy and utensils set, but would I spend $25 for those 2 things?  Probably not.  Regardless, I'll continue my subscription with Citrus Lane because it definitely is fun for Evie to get a new surprise box every month and it is really nice to discover new brands and get items tailored for Evie's age.  

P.S. The box also included a coupon for 4 free sets of address labels from but you have to spend $99 or more to use it (which I probably won't, even if I get our Christmas cards there) so it's totally worthless to me. Boo. :(

Monday Loveday

Ok friends, it's another edition of my Monday Loveday list....Here we go.

1) Let's just point out the obvious one - I've definitely jumped on the Christmas train.  My number 1 loveday list item is Christmas ANYTHING! ;) From lit trees, to fresh tree trimmings, to Christmas music.  I am just all-in for the holiday season.  I was really holding myself back from pulling out our Christmas decor and starting to put stuff up this weekend.  But next Friday (day after Thansgiving), it's game on!  I've also already professed my love for festive PJs in a previous post.  But seriously...I mean, come on, Christmas jammies on a toddler + "I just woke up" bed-head = total cuteness!!!!  

2) Another recent obsession of mine - patterned tights for Evie!  I've always been a huge fan of solid colored clothing with accessories.  This definitely translates over to how I dress little E!  I got these and these from Old Navy recently.  I also am hunting for mismatched tights (where one leg is different than the other!)  I'd love to get some fun Christmas ones for Evie! :)

3) Another repeat from a previous post - nail polish!  I'm still loving Essie, but have also started eyeing some awesome metallic colors from other brands!  I've been drawn to anything with an extra shine or luster to it!  Metallic reds for Christmas??  YES, sign me up!!!

4) When it comes to my TV picks, it's been nothing but old-school shows for me recently:  re-runs of Beverly Hills 90210 on the Soap channel, Full House on Nick at Night, and Brady Bunch on TVLand - I'm just loving these shows!  Give me a glass of wine, a warm blanket, and my old school shows, and I'm golden. 

5) Evie and I have been lounging around the house a lot lately and I'm always admiring her cute little booties.  Check out these gems.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE them and wish they made them in my size!  Winter white fleece booties for the winter??  HEART.

6) Last but not least, on my loveday list is something I can't wait for more of this winter - Lazy Sundays!!!  Yesterday was a perfect lazy Sunday, especially with our crazy Midwest weather thunderstorm and flash flood in November!  It was pouring cats and dogs and the family and I just relaxed on the couch and munched on snacks.  It was PERFECT.

Little Baby AJ!

I am super excited to blog about a new little peanut that has been brought into this world by my rockstar BFF Irina last week!  I present to AJ!  Those cheeks, those pouty little lips....gahhhh!  
How freaking ADORABLE is he!?!?!?!  

Irina and I have known eachother since junior high, but really became close after a trip to Las Vegas together.  Leave it to Vegas to make us so close!  HA! :)  I was honored when she asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding last year and SO excited when I learned they were expecting a baby several months later!!!  Now, AJ is here, and he is absolutely precious.  Congratulations *G* Family!  Can't wait for playdates with Evie!!! :) xoxoxo    

Holiday Stylin

Happy Friday everyone! It's really hard to believe we are already halfway through November!  Thanksgiving is just 2 weeks away, and Christmas is about 6 weeks away!!  I've always been the type of person that got annoyed when stores starting decorating for holidays too early or when radio stations started playing Christmas music too early, but this year I've been so excited for every holiday and can't wait to start!  I guess it's probably because my daughter is really more aware of everything and is able to enjoy it more!  Last holiday season she was only about 5 months old. 

 In preparation for the holiday season (which officially starts in our house the day after Thanksgiving,) I've been stocking up on festive holiday apparel for Evie.  Old Navy and Gap have really been my go-to places.  I am LOVING their clothes lately!  Take a look at a few purchases I made recently. I'm looking forward to styling my little fashionista this holiday season!!!

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Evie's Sunday Funday at Yu Kids Island

Happy Monday everyone! Although I usually do loveday posts on Monday, I'm switching it up this Monday and instead doing a quick review of Yu Kids Island, an indoor playground inside our local mall. As a mom, I'm always looking for fun places to take our growing little girl, and this place has been on our list for a while.  Our family decided to finally go check it out this weekend...

Let's start with the price.  We paid $12.50 for her to play on the weekend.  While at first I thought this was a little pricey, my mind quickly changed when I saw all the fun activities this place had!  This is a bright and fun play space unlike any other I have seen.  The flooring is entirely covered in those foam puzzle piece mats and everything is soft and padded so that there is virtually no way to get hurt.  As a mom, that is awesome in itself!

One of the highlights for Evie: a loft area with huge balloons.  They have fans running to swirl the balloons around and kids chase around trying to catch them.  Here's Evie entranced by the balloons:

It took a good 15-20 minutes for my little munchkin to get really warmed up to this place, but once she did, she was in heaven.  This picture pretty much sums up her expression for the duration of the time.  I think it was like an explosion of senses for her - kids laughing and running, bright colors, and fun things to touch!

This place has such fun little attractions like a jungle-gym type thing, little cubes that spin around, and a little merry-go-round that was slow moving and fun.  Evie literally ran around to her heart's content exploring every little corner of this space.  While the place isn't huge, it offers enough to keep kids easily entertained.  

Another highlight of Yu Kids Island is the "water slide" and little tunnel to crawl through underneath.  The slide has a water running with a clear plastic top over it so it looks like you are sliding down a waterfall!  Evie loved this "wee" as she called it.  She also couldn't get enough of the tunnel underneath.  I think she crawled through this thing about 20 times. :)

Finally, I LOVED that this place had a soft padded area for free play!  It's great for all ages, especially for the younger crowd.  I saw people with babies as young as 7 months here!  I let Evie loose here and she played with the giant soft cubes and rolled around on the padded flooring.  So fun!!!   

Overall, I think Yu Kids Island was a huge hit!  After warming up, Evie seemed to have a blast running around this place.  It looks to be a wonderful option to take her this winter to let out some energy.  While a bit on the pricey side for an indoor playground, I think it's worth taking her once a month or so to run around and develop her gross motor skills!  Plus, I was impressed that the place seems to be kept clean!  I saw staff walking around vacuuming and cleaning surfaces while we were there.  The verdict:  we will definitely be back for more fun!!!

Basement Tour

Happy Thursday everyone!!!  Since our lives have recently been revolving around our basement remodel, I thought I'd share some pictures of the progress and the ideas we have to finish the space.  I am SO eager to get the construction part done so that we can move on to decorating! :)

In this first picture, you can see that we have now finished sanding, patching, and painting!  Tom and I really wanted to keep the space feeling very airy and light so we picked a subtle tan color for the walls.  I believe it is called Sand Dollar.  The paint was purchased at Sherwin Williams.

This side of the basement will be used for Evie's play area!  We are hopping to get some nice storage against some of the walls for all her books and toys.  I'm also obsessed with the idea of getting her a teepee to play in!  I've found several on Pinterest that look SO CUTE.  Check out this one!  How awesome would it be for her to camp out in this little teepee this winter!!!  

On this side of the basement (more on the right side that you can't see here), we are planning to have a small family room/living area.  We would love to get a cozy sectional to place in the middle of the room with a TV and possibly a fun throw rug underneath!  In the area to the far left, Tom wants to build a small bar.  However, I'm thinking of putting my sewing table there and maybe a little craft area.  I am determined to set up a station down in our new basement so I can finally start using the sewing machine I got for my wedding shower THREE years ago! ;)  

Finally, check out this little nook.  I think I'm secretly most excited about this space.  My original idea was to paint the walls with chalkboard paint.  We might still do that, but if not, then I think we might install some open shelving for her books and it can be a little reading corner!

We are getting closer every day and it's making me more and more excited.  We just had our basement measured for carpeting.  I think we are going to go that route since tile just seems too cold to me, and hardwood flooring looks great, but would cost us a fortune for the 750 square feet we have down there!  Once we get flooring installed, we'll just need to affix white moldings, and then it's time for the fun part! :)  I'll be sure to post another update, so check back soon!  I'm still hoping that we can have most of it done by Christmas.  I'm dreaming of a Christmas morning spent playing in our new cozy basement and watching a Christmas Story on TV! :) :)

Monday Loveday

It’s still hard for me to believe that it’s already November. Weren’t we just celebrating Evie’s birthday in July? I swear, months go by so much quicker when you have kids! Anywho…it’s Monday, and that means it’s time for my weekly Loveday list! Here we go! 

1) We were over at my sister-in-law’s house this weekend and they served us INCREDIBLE banana bread. I’ve always been a fan, but this one in particular was heavenly. I was certain that she had baked it from scratch, but then learned she used Chiquita Banana Bread Mix! We are DEFINIETLY going to be making loaves of these at home this fall/winter! They are DELISH. I was immediately a fan and they look so easy to make! 

2) With the cool weather, I’ve been loving sweater dresses! To me, there’s nothing cuter on a little toddler than a cute sweater dress, some tights, and boots! I’m loving them this season and have picked up a few and been gifted some. Here’s Evie modeling a few of my favorites! 

3) Speaking of dresses, I was on the hunt for a formal dress for Evie to wear to my cousin’s baby’s baptism party recently, and turned to my good friend Amazon. I signed on for a Prime trial, and it’s seriously the BEST THING EVER. Free 2 day shipping on everything! I ordered a dress on Wednesday afternoon and had it in my hands Friday morning. Amazing. Here’s Evie modeling the dress mommy got her. She was the belle of the ball.
Dress  |  Shoes

4) Winter approaching means dry skin for me! I’ve used a lot of lotions over the years, and the one that I’ve always loved in the winter is H2O Plus Milk Body Balm. It has a clean fresh scent and just makes my hands feel silky soft! I love it!!

5) I’ve made an effort to paint my nails more regularly, but always seem to smudge them or do an awful job because I'm rushing to do it while Evie is napping or just don't leave myself enough time to let them dry fully. I'm hoping to find more time and refresh my nail polish collection though!  While perusing the aisles of Ulta last week, I spotted some awesome Essie colors that I want to get. I’m loving all the colors on the Essie Pinterest board here. Can I just get them all please?? 

6) I know I’m not alone, when I say I love chalkboards. I think they’ve definitely become more trendy lately, and I’ve jumped on the bandwagon. I LOVE the idea of getting a big chalkboard and writing fun family messages on it and maybe even listing off our weekly dinner menu. Maybe one day we’ll find one that will work well in our home. In the meantime, I found this cute hanging chalkboard slate on a rope at Hobby Lobby recently and decided to purchase it! It was practically free, under $5! We hung it in our little walkway between the stairs and our kitchen and I’ve been playing with chalk and writing things like “Happy Fall” and “Trick-or-Treat” on it and decorating with colored chalk. Not only do I get to play with chalk, but I also think it looks super cute and adds a personalized touch to our home!

Halloween Recap

Halloween is officially over.  Cue the sad trombone.  Our family had a great time celebrating this year.  I present to you, our little lady bug...

She LOVED her little lady bug costume...and mama was happy because it was warm for our rainy Halloween.  I decided to take a 1/2 day from work to spend the afternoon with my little bug, especially since this was her first Halloween trick-or-treating (last year she was only 3 months old!)  I'm glad I did, because we got to enjoy a fun day together.  Here's an update of our day...

We visited Evie's cousin Declan to start off the day!  As we were driving over, I kept telling Evie that we were going to see her cousin "De de" and IMMEDIATELY her face lit up and she she squealed in joy.  She absolutely LOVES her little cousin (ok, maybe she mainly loves stealing his toys and touching his face, ha).  Here's a pic of the two cuties:

After fun with Declan, Evie and I headed home for some halloween snacks and to get ready for trick-or-treaters!  We started the afternoon with a fun snack I found on a fellow blogger's site!  This was so easy and a fun festive snack for Evie to munch on.  It's made to look like a candy corn - made with pineapple, mandarin oranges, and bananas!  

After our snack, we heard trick-or-treaters start ringing our doorbell!  Evie didn't seem to know what was going on, but I took her to the door with me along with our bowl of candy and once she saw the kids in thier costumes, she got super excited!  She proceeded to wave at all the kids!  By the third batch of kids, she even started grabbing candy from my bowl and giving it to the kids.  SO CUTE!!!

After a hour or so of trick-or-treaters, we decided to venture out on our own little trip.  And can I just say, my kid was BORN to trick-or-treat!  Here's little Miss Evie OWNING our block.  She was just too adorable.

Once we visited all our neighbors and got our fill of candy (and we started to feel rain drops start falling), Evie and I joined daddy indoors for some Halloween movies!  Evie I was super excited that Casper was on!  I loved that movie growing up (and also drooled over Devon Sawa at the end).  After Casper was over, it was time for Charlie Brown!  What a great Halloween lineup!  Dinner, movies, and into pajamas it was. 

All in all, it was a great time!!!  I'm super happy I got the extra time with my little girl and got to see her face light up with joy so many times.  It makes me even more excited for Christmas to come!  Hope everyone had an equally great Halloween.  On to November!!

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