Friday, December 29, 2017

Friday Favorites: All the Holiday Things

Happy Friday everyone! At least I'm hoping it's Friday. This whole week between Christmas and New Year's always has me messed up. Not to mention this week we've made an A+ in the art of lazy. After all the holiday chaos this mommy needed a major break. Each day we wake up, go the the gym, lounge and play games, eat left over Christmas cookies and repeat. 

And I don't feel one bit bad about it. 

Today, I'm closing out the year with a little Friday Favorites. I can't believe this will be our last post of the year. 2017 flew by! And after looking back at it, I am amazed at all the wonderful things we were given the opportunity to do. Carrie Beth and I are so excited for what's to come in 2018! 

The Christmas season was all sorts of chaotic, but I love love love being a parent and seeing the holidays through my kids eyes. My kids loved everything from the Christmas tree, to seeing Santa, to touring Christmas lights, and most definitely opening gifts Christmas morning. 

{Full story on this image here}

They might have gotten a little spoiled this year. 

Speaking of awesome Christmas gifts, we have a few that stand out as family favorites. The first we received just before the holidays - the Google Home Mini

The kids had a blast playing with this. I didn't realize how many fun games are on it for kids, and while we are still learning to use it, and I hear "Hey Google!" approximately 4,682 times a day, it has definitely been one of our favorite items we received. 

Do you have a Google Home Mini? What are some of your favorite features? We have an Amazon Echo too, so we are trying to decide which features we like best. 

The second gift our whole family has loved is the Super Nintendo Classic. Not even kidding Mr. Cute and I might have squealed in excitement when we opened this. We had been talking about it with my brother-in-law over Thanksgiving and he randomly stumbled upon one just before the holidays. 

Not even kidding the kids and Mr. Cute have played this non-stop. And how fun it has been playing games we remember from when we were younger. 

Listen kids, you can have your Xboxes and Playstations, but Super Mario will always rule. Always. 

And Mr. Cute might need gamers anonymous soon. 

Now this next gift was a favorite of mine and the kids. It entertained them for hours. Not even kidding. 

My parents gave Cute this little gemstone digging kit for Christmas, and the two older Cutes literally played with it "mining" for gemstones from 6:08a.m. until bedtime one day this week. There are still two gemstones hidden that they haven't found, but they keep going back to in between playing with their other gifts. 

Anything that holds my kids attention for longer than 20 minutes is a win in my book. Anything that allows them to destroy on purpose...a win in theirs. 

Cooler temps have suddenly descended on the South, and I am not one bit happy about it. I'm a southern girl and summer is what it's all about in my book. With that said there has been an outfit or two on repeat lately. 

 | Shoes | Leggings | Clutch | Watch | Earrings |

This buffalo check flannel tunic has been a favorite lately. I wore it to the SEC Championship a few weeks ago, and have worn it with different variations ever since. It's also super inexpensive and comes in a couple of different color options. I'm thinking I might need them all. 

If I'm forced to brave these blustery conditions (anything below 60 degrees), and forced to wear real clothes (anything besides my beloved yoga pants), then super cute buffalo check flannels I must wear. 

P.S. for all you tall girls this is a great length. I can almost wear it as a dress and I'm 5'2". For all you ladies who read this blog and are under the age of 25...totally acceptable as a dress. 

Because it's so cold, I've been making warm comfort food type meals like crazy. Yesterday we were craving some Mexican, but I wanted to save our fiesta Friday-ing until...well, Friday. So, I did the next best thing and found a yummy queso recipe to make at home and whipped up a little margarita or two just to pre-game it. 

This queso dip was so easy. And it involved my favorite kitchen appliance of all time. 

Easy queso dip recipe. Ready in minutes!

Simply put diced tomatoes and a small package of Velveeta cheese on low for a few mins and voila...yummy queso. Now I want to experiment a bit, but seeing how easy this was in a pinch, it's probably easy to adjust with different cheese options, etc. 

I've been seeing everyone's "best nine" on Instagram and I love this. It's such a fun way to see a little recap of everyone's year. 

We put together ours and will share it on Instagram later, but I love having a quick peek at some of the fun we had this year...

And with that I'm closing out my final post of the year. It has been a truly amazing year, and we are so excited to celebrate that this weekend and ring in 2018! 

Happy New Year everyone and see you in 2018! 

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

2018 Family Travel Ideas: From New Years in Key West to a Summer Weekend at Lake Tahoe

As another year comes to a close our family always reflects back on the fun vacations we took that year and starts looking forward to what types of travel we want to plan for the upcoming year.  We always include our kids in these conversations because, especially with family travel, we want everyone to be on board and exited about the trips we take. Now, this isn't really an issue with our kids because they love going just about anywhere!

2017 Trips 
2017 was a very busy year for us. In the winter we took a weekend trip to Sea Island on the Georgia coast to celebrate the New Year and then the Mr. and I went to Houston for the Super Bowl.

Then at the end of February we took our big family ski trip.  Talk about an adventure!  We love doing things that keep us active and moving and also trying new things like snowmobiling for the first time with the kids!

When it started warming up the Mr. and I took a road trip to Kentucky for the Kentucky Derby which was amazing and our big summer trip was on the houseboat again this year. Although, Jen kind of had me wishing I'd gone with her to the beach!

Once school started back, the Mr. and I snuck in two quick trips to a ranch in Montana and to Key West.  Both were such different experiences, but oh, so amazing!

We closed our our 2017 travel with a big family trip on a cruise.  It was the perfect escape from the cold weather at home and such a fun way to spend quality family time together before the craziness of the holidays began.

Planning for 2018
For next year we already have some planning in the works. I was clicking through the Travel Guides on The Scenic Route, Alamo's collection of travel stories, guides and advice and I have a serious travel wish-list going on right now!  There is so much great information on this site and so many ideas for different types of vacations!

New Years Eve
Last year we were in Sea Island, GA for New Year's Eve and it was such a fun way to celebrate.  I love the idea of taking a trip for this holiday and kicking off the new year with a bang!  With all the cold and snow we've had recently being in a warm, fun location sounds like my kind of vacation!  This year our trip to Key West was one of my very favorites because, not only are there so many fun things to do there, but the weather and water is always gorgeous.

Photo Courtesy of The Scenic Route

I think it would be SO much fun to travel there for New Year's Eve and this guide enlightened me with all sorts of fun events and activities that take place there over New Years.  My favorite is the Key West Dachshund Walk.  Yes, you read that correctly! Apparently they are the official dog of Key West and over 200 of the dogs and their owners take part in a parade at New Years.  My mom has two miniature Dachshunds and I know the kids would get a kick out of walking them in the parade!

Family Ski Trip 
The kids are voting a big YES for a family ski trip and we haven't settled in on a mountain just yet.  Although this is not always my number one choice for a type of trip because I prefer tropical climates, it is always the best family vacation and so much fun for us all.  After reading THIS I'm thinking Keystone might be a good option.  I love when there is more to do than just ski.

Photo Courtesy of The Scenic Route

Beach Vacation 
One vacation I really hope to make happen this year is a trip to the beach. I LOVE the beach and my kids love the beach and it's usually such an easy trip to plan. You don't need to worry about an itinerary or scheduling too much.  My kids are happy boogie boarding, searching for shells or building sandcastles.  I can read a book and relax and everyone is happy!  Our summers are so short that going somewhere close by is probably our best bet.  I loved these suggestions for relaxing beach getaways near Atlanta!

Photo Courtesy of The Scenic Route

Lake Life
It's no secret we are boat people and love doing lake trips with our friends.  The houseboat trip has happened twice now and while it was fun, we're not planning on repeating it this year. Been there, done that. I'm thinking a summer trip to Lake Tahoe would be AMAZING!  Those waters are so beautiful and I think it would be really fun to show the kids lakes and backdrops in different parts of the country!  I'm sure it is so different than what we are used to here.

Photo Courtesy of The Scenic Route

Thanksgiving Getaway 
Just like how we took a cruise over Thanksgiving this year, we're hoping to do another tropical type of vacation next Thanksgiving.  While I could sit on a beach all day and be happy, that isn't the case for the Mr. as he prefers being a little more active.  I've had a lot of friends recommend Costa Rica as a destination that offers the best of both worlds. This article shares just a few of the MANY things to do in Costa Rica and I think it would be a great mix of activities making everyone happy!

Photo Courtesy of The Scenic Route

What are your favorite types of vacations?  Are your families planning any fun trips for 2018?

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Thursday, December 21, 2017

Special Treats for Special Helpers {Printable}

Only four more days until Christmas!! I am in full holiday panic mode! This post will be a quick one because I am feverishly trying to get everything purchased, wrapped, and just plain under control before the weekend festivities over take us. My personal goal this year is to not be wrapping gifts on the night of Christmas Eve.

Happens. Every. Single. Year.

This year I'm a little more behind than normal. I don't know why? I'm not sure if it's the snow that threw us for the loop, or the fact that the kids have 5,420 events to participate in, or perhaps Mr. Cute taking a man-cation right in the middle of it all. Take your pick.

So, I didn't actually begin to do my holiday shopping until late last week. And by shopping I mean several late night dates with me, a glass of wine, and my computer. Thank the good Lord for Amazon Prime.

I saw this idea on Pinterest and thought it was totally fitting considering my UPS, FedEx, and USPS delivery people were about to have a very close relationship over the next few days. Not to mention I feel all sorts of guilty each time crosses our yard/driveway. It's been pouring rain lately and they are getting soaked on their mission to bring my loved ones a little holiday cheer...or that pair of socks that they never knew they didn't want. 

Same difference. 

I saw people create little gift baskets with little treats and drinks to thank the holiday delivery crews for all of their hard work. I thought this was genius and I wasted no time in creating one of my own. And because I'm me, I created a little label to attach to all the goodies. It can be multi-purpose, but I thought it was perfect for all my holiday helpers. 

I pulled together some of our favorite holiday candies, some of our favorite snacks, and mixed in some bottled waters and sports drinks. 

I packaged everything up, leaving some snacks loose just in case of allergies or personal preferences. I attached the treat printable to various items and put it all in a little basket. 

Free gift printable to give a little treat to all special helpers during the holiday season. UPS, FedEx, USPS, or any volunteers!

Then I placed the basket on my front porch, and done! Such an easy way to say thank you! 

Here's hoping it brightens up their day, and maybe kind of sorta makes up for the physical therapy they are about to need from my late night ordering sessions. 'Tis the season!

Gift idea and free printable for delivery persons during the holiday season.

Are you ready for the holidays?!

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Holiday gift idea and free printable. Perfect gift for any volunteer, UPS, FedEx, USPS or delivery person.

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