Christmas 2015

I’m still smiling. What an amazing Christmas week it has been. I decided to totally unplug myself from work and really focus on the holidays with my family. It was a Christmas for the books. I thought I’d do a quick recap of all things Christmas in our household last week. 

 Christmas Eve is definitely a very special day for us as a family. In our culture (we are Polish), Christmas Eve dinner is a very important event. This year, we did dinner at my sister-in-law’s house. They just bought a new house this year and decided to host. We had an amazing time. The girls always love playing with their cousins and dinner was beyond delicious.  I dressed the girls in little plaid dresses, which I absolutely ADORE on girls for Christmas.  




Later that night, Evie and I made sure we left Santa some Christmas cookies and milk.  And we didn’t forget a carrot for the reindeer too. ;)


 On Christmas morning, the girls hurried downstairs to open presents from Santa (the girls were very spoiled as you can see!)  And, of course, I had to do the matching Christmas jammies.  Disney store for the win this year.  I LOVE their pajamas for kids! :)  





After presents and breakfast, we all went to Christmas Day mass, and then spent the afternoon/evening with my side of the family at my aunt’s house. We had a great time. My cousin’s wife even brought that Pie Face game.  The kids all took turns putting their face into the hole, and it was hilarious. Evie was too scared to play though.  I don't blame her.  Taking some whipped cream to the face is too messy for my fancy girl. ;) 

 The weekend following Christmas was filled with a bunch of lounging around, playing with new toys, eating cinnamon rolls, and drinking hot cocoa. HEAVEN. 



 Overall, Christmas was just perfect. I love that my girls are getting a little older because it means that they really can enjoy the magic of Christmas.  Here's our best family picture...one of these years, we will all look in the same direction. ;)


 And with that, we transition to New Years plans! We will be hosting a small get together for us and one other couple with their kids. Should be a great time. 

 I hope everyone had a FANTASTIC Christmas. Best wishes for an AMAZING 2016!

 

It's the most wonderful time...of the year!

Man oh man. Less than a week until Christmas! The last couple weeks have been one big blur filled with no sleep and constant happenings (hence why my blog has been neglected!) Both girls have been sick with coughs and runny noses and Emi also has FIVE new teeth coming in. Poor kid. She is miserable and we are exhausted. But, the show must go on. While things have been hectic, we have also been enjoying lots of Christmas fun! 

 Let’s start with last weekend. We went to visit a huge Christmas display in a local suburb. Evie and Emi were obsessed with all the Christmas lights. Seeing the girls run around and enjoy the lights really warmed by heart and got me into the holiday spirit. They had a blast and I enjoyed chasing them around snapping pictures. :)  Oh, and aren't these winter hats precious?  My amazing aunt sent them from Poland and I can't help but smile and cry from laughing every time I put them on. They may look funny, but MAN are they WARM.  Thanks Ciocia! :)







 Last weekend we also had Evie’s Christmas recital at her daycare. The kids were absolutely adorable and Evie did great! She recited a poem, sang, and danced! I teared up just watching her. It’s unbelievable to me what a big girl she has become!! 







 This month things have been moving at lightening speeds. We are finally…almost…done with our Christmas shopping. Just a few more last minute gifts to go! I can’t wait for the girls to see everything that Santa brings them. I feel SO blessed to have my family around me this time of year. I hope all of you are enjoying this amazing time of year and spending it surrounded by lots of love!! 

Countdown to Christmas!

Even though we are just 2 weeks post-Thanksgiving, it feels like a distant memory at this point. In fact, by my count, we are just 13 days away from Christmas Eve!! The family and I have been decking the halls as much as possible over the last couple weeks and trying to finalize Christmas shopping. 

 One of the highlights of the last week has been visiting Santa Clause! We were all ready to go visit the Santa at Bass Pro Shop, but couldn’t seem to get out of the house early enough. By the time we were on our way, I called to learn there was AT LEAST a 3 hour wait. So, instead, we headed to our local mall and waited half that time to see Santa. Here’s a look at a couple pictures. ;) Emi was so fixated on Santa and would not look at us despite our many attempts. Two seconds later came the tears. Poor Evie was so confused on why Emi was so upset by Santa and couldn’t even muster a smile! Even though we didn’t get a great picture, these still make me smile and are a priceless memory. 




 We also managed to snap some pictures while the girls were in line. They had a cute little snow palace right before you turned the corner to see Santa with a giant ice throne and nook with “snow!” 





 And then, since I was in desperate need of ordering our Christmas card, I attempted some pictures of the girls at home this week by their Christmas tree in our basement playroom. While I got some decent individual shots, it's mission impossible to get a non-blurry picture of these active little muchkins.  Maybe next year. ;)





 

Our Thanksgiving!

Happy last day of November!!  Can you believe we are getting ready to start the last month of the year?  I hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving weekend!!  I know I'm still recovering from 5 days off of work and eating WAY too much food.

We actually had 2 Thanksgivings this year!  On Thursday we were at my sister-in-law's house and then Friday was round 2 at my parent's house.  I'm pretty positive I gained at least 5 pounds after this weekend! :/


The girls definitely enjoyed Thanksgiving with their cousins.  It was quite the challenge to try to get them to both sit down for 1 minute to snap their picture.  My best attempts are below. :)  I ended up just putting them both in some navy dresses.  I was hoping to get matching outfits, but it didn't work out.  Oh well, I still think they both looked pretty cute. ;)   




After 2 Turkey days, I attempted to just sit back and do nothing.  But that lasted all of 10 minutes. :)  At least I got to enjoy some hot tea before I decided I NEEDED to do some Black Friday shopping online. :)  We ended up buying a couple things and then going to sleep.  


Then, on Saturday we went to go pick up our Christmas tree!  It's always fun to go pick one out as a family and decorate together.  That was definitely one of our weekend highlights!!!

  
Let the Christmas countdown begin!!!

 

Thanksgiving Prep and Tablescapes

Happy Thanksgiving week!! We are starting to get very excited for turkey day this year! I absolutely love this time of year for many reasons – family, food, festive décor, and shopping! ;) This year, we will be at my sister-in-law’s house. Evie and Emi will have a blast running around with all their cousins, I’m sure. 

Although I will not be hosting this year, I am planning on baking some yummy cookies to contribute, and bringing wine of course. Because what’s Thanksgiving without a glass of vino…? …or two. ;) Although I’m not hosting, I’ve been spending my evenings on Pinterest admiring Thanksgiving tablescapes. I’m obsessed with the rustic look for Thanksgiving tables…with a bit of romantic candlelight. Cue the heart eyes emoji. Maybe I’ll be brave enough to host Thanksgiving one year. But in the meantime, I thought I’d share some of my favorite table setting ideas.  All pictures below are from Pinterest and not my own (although I wish they were! ;)...)

Lanterns?!?!  I'm obsessed.  

Such a cute idea to use burlap and a little leaf embellishment for the silverware!

White pumpkins with a splash of color...amazing!

GOLD GOLD GOLD

Simple white with gorgeous flowers.  I mean....this is just too good.


In addition to drooling over table settings, for the last few days I have been on the hunt for some cute Thanksgiving outfits for the girls. I procrastinated this year and unfortunately don’t have time to buy anything online.  That's BAD news for this online-shopping-crazy-mama. So, I’ve been stopping by stores when I find time to see what I can find…and coming up short. :(  Hopefully I’ll luck out on my shopping trip tomorrow. 

 I can't believe this will be Emi’s 2nd Thanksgiving and Evie’s 4th! I found this picture from last year’s Thanksgiving. It's CRAZY how much my babies have grown in a year! 


While enjoying all the yummy food this year, don’t forget to take a minute to count your blessings!!!  I know I'm feeling VERY thankful this year.  Happy Turkey day everyone!

 

Loews Don CeSar Hotel Review in St. Pete Beach, FL

My husband and I have been traveling to the St. Pete area almost every year for the last 7 years!  We even got engaged there!  Needless to say, we love it, and it we've made many of memories there over the years.  On each and every trip, we have noticed and admired the Don CeSar hotel from afar.  It's a HUGE pink hotel that you catch a glimpse of as soon as you drive over the hill onto Gulf Blvd.  It's definitely very well known in that region of Florida.  On our recent trip, we were lucky to get the opportunity to stay there for an extended weekend!  Here are my thoughts of the "Pink Palace."


Exterior/Grounds:  First off...let's start with the exterior of the hotel.  Absolutely stunning.  This hotel, I learned, was built in the 1920s/Great Gatsby era.  It has such beautiful  architectural features and  just looks really grand from the outside.  The hotel looks amazing both day and night.

Photo from Hotels.com


The Pool:  The pool area is a bit tight on space, but it's also very nice.  Luckily, it was not very crowded the days we were there and Evie really enjoyed swimming in the pool with us.  The hotel actually has TWO pools with a fun bar area in the center.  Definitely a really well thought out layout for both kids and adults to enjoy!  

Photo from Hotels.com

The Beach:  The beach at the Don CeSar is also spectacular. White sand, blue water...what more can you ask for??  I also believe the beach is private/for Don CeSar guests only, which is great.  Extra perk - it's just a short walk from the pool area!


Beach Rentals:  On both days, we rented a daybed on the beach.  SO WORTH IT if you have kids.  One of the days it was a little windy so the cabana shielded us from some of that and on the next day it was super hot, so it was perfect for all of us to get some shade.  Not to mention, they are super relaxing.  They are a little pricey, but hey...you're on vacation, right?! :)

Photo from Hotels.com

Rooms:  Our room at the Don was one of their luxury 2 bedroom partial ocean view rooms.  The "partial" view was actually a bit ridiculous.  Our view was really of the side parking lot.  If you leaned your head far enough you could catch a glimpse of the ocean.  But, I guess that's what "partial" means.  The room itself was very nice though.  The cleaning staff sprays some kind of perfume in the rooms when they clean for new guests that seemed a little strong for my liking, but it's not awful or anything and the rooms definitely feel very luxurious and comfortable.  In fact, the beds were SUPER comfortable.  While the room is a tad on the small side, it was enough for our little family of four to have enough room to unpack and get settled.  What I really liked were some of the "small" things they offer their guests:  a Keurig in every room to make your own coffee, a really nice hair dryer (not the kind that is affixed to most hotel bathroom walls,) an alarm clock with built in iPhone charger, and plenty of pillows.  I notice these things. :)  I also really liked that they had a mirror/counter area separate from the bathroom.    


The Service:  Overall, I thought the service was good, but not amazing.  The check-in staff was great - they saw I had a baby and needed a place to store milk and gave me a complimentary refrigerator and microwave for our room.  They also had someone take our luggage to our room for us, which was nice.  I was not impressed though with the door people.  They seemed over-tired and irritated half the time.  Also, on our second day on the beach, the service staff seemed to be MIA.

The Food:  We only ate from the Beachcomber Grille at the hotel (we had it delivered to us on the beach both days) and the food and drinks were both very good.  I have read very positive reviews about their fancy restaurant on site as well.

Well there's my review!  If you are ever staying in the area, I have lots of recommendations for you.  Feel free to email me at lovemyevieblog@gmail.com and I'm happy to share ! :)
       

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