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!


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 ! :)

Tips for Traveling with Kids & Our Trip to Florida!

We recently returned from an extended weekend trip down to Florida.  This was our first time traveling on an airplane as a family of four.  Since I think most of the people reading my blog are also parents to young kids, I thought it would be helpful if I shared some tips for traveling with little ones.  I did a similar post (read here) last May when we went to Florida, but that was just with one toddler.  Now we have TWO. Whole new ballgame. ;)

The first thing I want to let everyone know reading this is - don't be afraid to travel with your little ones!!  I think a lot of people just skip traveling all together when their kids are young because they don't want the hassle.  Honestly, I think that as long as you are prepared, it's not that bad!!

I learned alot as a result of this trip.  Here are some tips/tricks for your next plane trip!

1.  Packing:  Pre-plan outfits for the kids when you pack.  Avoid just throwing a bunch of clothing items into a suitcase and calling it a day.  I put outfits into those freezer-size ziplock bags and it was so easy to just grab a bag and dress the kids.  Also, make sure you prep for weather changes.  Bring hoodies and layers for unexpected changes.  For toiletries, we like putting all the kids' bathroom stuff in a separate bag.  We have a wet/dry bag like this one.  It's perfect to throw in all their bathroom items and just grab it when it's bath time.  Lastly, when packing, just run through all possible scenarios/activities you are planning on your trip and try to come up with a list of everything you might need.  Don't fret though, most items you forget, you can just buy at your destination.  We forgot a few critical items and it was Walgreens to the rescue. :)

2.  At the airport:  We never check our car seats or stroller with baggage when we travel.  We always just gate check them.  I feel like they are safer that way.  Make sure to buy the "Gate Check" bags like these for those items if you decide to gate check.  Since we had 2 car seats to lug through the terminal this time, my husband was able to secure some bungy cord around the seats and attach them to our rolling carry-on to make it easy for him.  Speaking of car seats, I STRONGLY recommend you invest in a lightweight car seat for travel.  We have these Cosco car seats and they work great!  With the stroller, we had Emi in that the entire time, so that we didn't have to carry it around.  Once you get through security at airport and get settled, I would recommend either letting your little ones run around for a while (under your supervision of course ;)) and/or grabbing a bite to eat to kill time.  The last thing you want to do is force them to sit at the gate, and then sit some more on a plane.  Burning off energy is ALWAYS a good thing.

3.  On the plane:  Ahhh, the fun part. :)  With 2 kids, it can be tricky to keep them both occupied.  Hopefully at least one of your kids falls asleep (like Emi did for us!), but if not, I have learned that there are a couple things parents can keep up their sleeves to make the plane rides a little less brutal:

  • Their favorite cartoons pre-loaded on your iPhone/iPad/Kindle.  For older kids, I'd also get some fun headphones.  We have these pink ones for Evie.  She felt so grown up wearing them. :)
  • A few small toys that they have never seen before or haven't played with in a while and may have forgotten about.  We like this.
  •  Their favorite books.  Our recent trip included several of Evie's Peppa Pig books. :)
  • Snacks - don't forget about this!  We usually bring animal crackers, raisins, and puffs for the baby. Those keep them occupied for a while.
  • Candy/lollipops - we pulled these out as a last resort for when the kids were getting irritated.  Lollipops in particular are life savers!!
  •  And last but not least, our secret weapon - STICKERS!  These were the biggest hit with both girls.  I swear, the stickers literally kept them entertained for a good 30 minutes...which is an ETERNITY for kids that age!  
And there's our list!  I hope that this helps someone planning their own travel.  I definitely learned alot this last trip.

And for those of you interested in how our trip went, it was amazing!  I might do a separate post on our stay at the amazing Lowes Don Cesar in St. Pete Beach, but in the meantime, here are some pictures from our short (but super fun) trip to the sunshine state!

Celebrating 15 Years Together & Our Wedding!

This month marks exactly 15 years since I started dating my husband.  It's crazy to think I have been with him for practically 1/2 my life!!  While thinking about our journey together, I realized I have never posted any of our wedding photos on my blog!  We celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary this summer.  Time really does fly when you're having fun!  I really do feel extremely blessed that we found each other at such a young age.  I know I picked a perfect life partner and am genuinely excited for the next 50+ years of our marriage together. :)

Our wedding day was perfect.  At least in my eyes.  I was going for simple elegance...with shades of pink. ha.  I was (and still am!) obsessed with peonies and knew they needed to play a big role in my wedding.  Looking back at pictures, I'm so glad I decided to focus on the flowers.  They are in practically every picture and really make a difference.  My advice to anyone getting married - don't let anyone tell you the "small" details aren't important.  To this day, I look back at our pictures and notice all the little details I put into our wedding and it always makes me happy.  Of course, don't make yourself crazy with all the details (because there are ALOT!), but if you love the idea of something - do it!!  

Here are a few pictures from our big day...which feels like it was just yesterday!  

Ringling Bros & Barnum and Bailey Circus Review

Peanuts, popcorn... What can be more fun than the circus?!  It's such an iconic event that seems to have been in existence forever!  When I saw that the Ringling Brothers circus was coming to our local arena, I felt a little torn on whether or not to take my family.  I, of course, have heard about the circus' bad rep when it comes to caring for animals.  I definitely do NOT like the idea of forcing animals to put on a show!!  However, I started doing some more research online and did find out that they are phasing out using elephants by 2018 and that there is actually a foundation that exists and caretakers that seem to really care about the well-being of the animals.  Taking everything into consideration, we decided to take Evie.  I was actually surprised that the show is ALOT more than just elephants and animals.  They have such amazingly talented acrobats, dancers, and entertainers.  It really is a great show!  Was Evie impressed?  Ehhh.  She definitely loved the animals and was entertained about 50% of the time, but I think she would have been equally happy if we just sat there and she got to eat a snow cone. ;)  Kids are pretty easy to please.  I don't think we'll go back if the circus comes into town again, but I am glad we went and have a new respect for the VERY talented circus crew that travels around the country!  We do have tickets booked for Disney on Ice this winter, which I think she will like alot more, since she is still VERY much into Frozen and princesses.

Here are a few pics from our circus outing:

Changing Seasons & Cozy Toddler Apparel

The last few days we have experienced a bit of an Indian summer in the Midwest – 70s. I’m not complaining! But this morning, the cool air moved in. Again – not complaining! I actually really like 50s and 60s. That’s the nice thing about living where I live...we get all the seasons and all kinds of weather! The girls and I have been soaking up every last bit of nice weather that we can. My dad was over last weekend and we took the girls to their favorite place on the planet – the park. :) 

We also have been stocking up on fall/winter clothes for the girls. Which involved going to MY favorite place on the planet – Target. :)  Here’s little miss Evie modeling a hat she found. She muttered the cutest words right after I took this picture – “I look good mama.” I was crying from laughter. What a little fashionista. 

 In addition to some awesome finds at Target, I love Old Navy's selections for baby and toddlers.  Is there anything more fun that shopping for our minis?  I thought I’d share some cozy girl items that I found that I LOVE for this time of year.

Cable Knit Beanie Hat  |  Fleece Tunic  |  Open Cardigan  |  Tall Cozy Boots  |  Plaid Leggings  |  Faux-Fur Trim Jacket

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