Monday, December 12, 2016

I love winter

Crazy, right?!  Almost everyone I know complains about winter.  They complain about the snow. They complain about the cold.  They complain that it gets dark too early (this one I can get on board with).  But I really, truly, honestly love winter!  And here's why...

Have you ever been snowmobiling?  It's so much fun!  Especially when there's a bar to stop at for lunch on the route!  We have owned snowmobiles in the past, and we just bought some again this year.  We are praying for snow!!  But even if it doesn't snow here, there are parts of NY that ALWAYS have snow (Tug Hill/Old Forge region), and areas in Vermont and Canada.  My husband and his buddies have a snowmobile trip planned for Maine this winter, and I am totally jealous!  I am really hoping to get some time on my sled this year.

I really enjoy downhill skiing, and every year I say I want to get back into it.  Well, if we get any snow, this is the year!!

Again,. so much fun!  And the kiddos can join in as well.  Many of the ski areas around here have tubing parks, and there is even a place called Tubby Tubes close by that is exclusively for tubing.  We also have a giant slope of a backyard that is not good for much, but it is good for sledding!

Obviously all of the above require snow, but I just love snow itself!  Making snowmen, snow angels, snow forts.  The beauty of fresh snow on the evergreen trees.  The coziness of watching the snow fall outside the window while you're cuddled up with a blanket and a hot cocoa.  Now, I admit, if I were the one who had to shovel and snow blow, I probably would not be so fond of the snow.  But I'm not, so let those flakes fall!

So I hate the heat.  Like, if it's above 85 degrees I am probably inside enjoying my AC.  So when winter hits, I actually enjoy a little nip to the air.  It just feels so fresh and clean!  Now I'm not totally crazy... temps in the teens and below isn't my thing.  But daily highs in the 30's is just fine with me!

The Dark
Yes, I do hate that it gets dark so early in the winter.  But, it is cozy!!  I love coming home from work, putting on my PJ's and getting cozy on the couch under a blanket.  Well, I mean I WOULD love doing this if I didn't have kids that needed my attention every 3 seconds.  :)  But I do love the coziness of the season... snuggling under a blanket, getting warm next to the fireplace and lots of extra blankets on the bed!

All the best holidays are in winter
Christmas, Valentines Day, my birthday!!

 So be honest, does anyone else out there love winter??  Who's ready to move to Alaska with me?

Friday, December 9, 2016

Secret Santa Mommy & Me Book Exchange

I know this may be hard for you to believe, but I decided to participate in another blogger swap! Hehehehe.  If you're a regular to my blog, you know I just can't resist a swap!  This one was extra cool though, because it included my kiddos!

This swap was a book exchange... one for you and one for your kid!  How fun is that?  We each got to make a wish list of 5 books we would like to receive.  I gave my 5, but said to surprise me with the children's book.  Take a look at what I received from Nina at The Joni Journey:

For me... I can't wait to start reading!

For Alec

For Nick

 Nina was super sweet and sent a book for both of my boys.  We don't have either of these books  and they both look wonderful!  She also sent some treat bags that my boys will not stop begging me for.  Hands off my treats kids!  :)

If you'd like to see what I sent to my assigned person, go visit Meghan at The Adventure Starts Here.

This was such a fun swap.  I hope you'll join us next year!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

2016 Holiday Bucket List

The holidays for me are all about making magic for my kiddos.  I try to plan fun experiences and activities that they will look back on fondly when they are all grown up.  Here is my list for this year.  I hope we can get to most, if not all of it!

2016 Holiday Bucket list

1. Make Christmas Cookies
2. Read Christmas books at bedtime
3.  Holiday lights in the park
4.  Go on the Santa Express
5.  Make reindeer food
6.  Sing Christmas carols
7.  Help a family in need
8.  Donate to the animal shelter
9.  Christmas movies, popcorn, PJs and cocoa day!
10.  Make Christmas gifts for the grandparents
11.  Christmas crafts
12. Decorate a gingerbread house (or Gingerbread cookies)
13.  Attend Christmas activities at the library
14.  Breakfast with Santa

And just for me:
1.  Mail out holiday cards
2.  Have a date night with the hubby 
3.  Enjoy some early mornings- just me, the tree, and a cup of coffee!

What's on your list this year?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

My go-to holiday movies!

Today I am linking up with Shelly for Spiel the Beans with the Queens!!  The topic today is our go-to holiday movies.

1.  Christmas Vacation
This movie always puts me in the Christmas spirit!  I need to watch it at least 5 times every year.  And despite seeing it approximately 1000 times, it still makes me laugh!

2.  A Christmas Story
Yes, you WILL find me watching the 24 hour marathon on TNT each and every year.  This has been a tradition since I was in junior high.  I used to even invite my friends over for Christmas Story parties.  I'm pretty sure Shannon and I can still recite the entire movie, word for word.

3.  Just Friends
This movie CRACKS ME UP.  While it isn't really a traditional Christmas movie, it does take place at Christmas time so I think it counts.  Love Ryan Reynolds and Anna Faris!

4.  The Holiday
A good movie to watch any time of the year!  I just love that cozy little English cottage.  Makes me want to move to England!

I also enjoy Elf, Christmas with the Kranks, Home Alone, Deck the Halls and Jingle All the Way.
I guess you could say I really like Christmas comedies.  :)

I should also mention the Christmas movie I hope to NEVER EVER see again.  Do NOT watch The Christmas Shoes!  I mean, if you want to cry your eyes out and be sad and depressed, then yes, watch The Christmas Shoes.  But otherwise, stay away.  Stay far away!!

I can't wait to see what everyone else's favorite movies are and maybe discover a couple new ones to watch!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Life lately

It has been such a full and fun holiday!  I'm 100% NOT ready to go back to work tomorrow!  What about you?

Here's a look at what we've been up to this past week...

North Pole breakfast 2016
Our elf on the shelf returned with his usual flair and a delicious sugary breakfast!  He even brought the boys PJs and advent calendars.

The boys were so excited there was snow!  We had such a wonderful day feasting and \Ngiving thanks with our family.

Holiday Decorating
Both trees are up.  Stockings are hung.  Outside decorations are in place.  I think we're ready!

Sky Zone
Because sometimes, a mama needs a break and the kids need to burn off some energy!

Christmas Parade
So much fun!  Nick found one of his chums to pal around with, and Alec loved chasing after all the candy that was being thrown (he really did have a good time, despite the look on this face).

Enjoying some Gingerbread cake
This boy loves him some gingerbread cake!!

I don't know about you, but for me the Christmas season is in full swing now!  My goal is to make it as magical as I can for my kiddos!  Tomorrow I'll be sharing my holiday bucket list.  I hope you'll stop by and check it out!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

North Pole breakfast & a Thanksgiving wish

Good morning and happy Thanksgiving Eve (is that a thing?)!
It's only 8:30am and we have already had a busy morning!   Our elf on the shelf, "John" arrived late last night and brought the kids' his special North Pole breakfast!  Powdered donuts, mini muffins, cupcakes...  sugar coma, here we come!  John the Elf also brought some fun gifts with him.  Each boy got a pair of Christmas PJs, Nick got a Lego Star Wars Advent calendar and Alec got a Minions advent calendar.  What a nice elf we have!  :)

The fun will (hopefully) continue for the rest of the day.  The kids have requested a visit to McDonalds playland for lunch (yes, we are really keeping it healthy today!) and we have plans to go to the movies tonight to see Trolls.  Somewhere in between all that I need to pick up the pies for tomorrow (I am in charge of pies and I get them from this delicious country store every year), hit Target and clean the house.

Are you all ready for Thanksgiving?  Considering all I need to do is bring pies (this year I'm bringing apple, chocolate cream and strawberry cream), I think I'm ready!  LOL  My mom hosts Thanksgiving every year so we will be making the trek to her house tomorrow.  I can't wait for some deep fried turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole and my aunt's homemade rolls!  YUMMM

Friday I have to work (from home) so no black Friday shopping for me. Friday night will be Christmas movies and cocoa.  Saturday is our town's Christmas parade and I'm thinking Sunday we'll put up the "big" tree (the kids' tree is already set up in our dining room).   There's no soccer this weekend so hopefully we will get some time to just relax!

I won't be posting on the blog until Monday, so be sure to check back then!   In the meantime, I wish you all a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!  Fill your bellies with delicious food and your hearts with love and thankfulness!


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Show and Tell Tuesdays- 4 Gifts

Today I'm super excited to be linking up with Andrea for her Show and Tell Tuesday series!
Today we're talking about 4 gifts we would like to receive... something we WANT, something we NEED, something to WEAR and something to READ.
Is anyone using this concept with their kid's Christmas gifts this year?  I was thinking about it, as I feel they just get so much STUFF that they don't TRULY appreciate any of it and are missing the "reason for the season."  But.... well, it didn't happen.  I am definitley scaling back this year though and am aiming to do this next year!

But now on to ME!  :)

I have wanted a Tiffany bracelet forever but have yet to get one.  Will this be the year?  Probably not.  But I might throw it on my list to Santa just in case :)

I really need a new planner.  I'm thinking I might go back to an Erin Condren LifePlanner like this:

Or I might stick with a Kristen Schmucker Daily Grace planner like this:

Hunter boots!  I love these boots and I think they look so cute with leggings!  I'm definitely asking Santa for a pair of these this year!

I've got all sorts of books on my list this year!!

Can't wait to check out everyone else's 4 gifts!!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Friday Favorites: Grateful

Thanksgiving is next week and I've yet to do a "Thankful" post.  So today you get Friday Favorites full of things I'm thankful for!

1.  I am thankful for my home.
I am thankful to have a lovely home for my children to grow up in and make memories in. I am thankful to have a place to call my own.  I am thankful to have a place to retreat to at the end of the day.  I am thankful for a place we can all feel safe.  I am thankful for my little family that makes this house a home.

2. I am thankful to have grown up in a small town.
If you know me outside of the blogging world, you know that I come from a tiny town in rural NY where the cows may just outnumber the people.  Growing up, I would never have guessed I would be THANKFUL for growing up there.  But living in a small town was truly such a blessing.  Yes, everyone knows your business.  Yes, people talk and gossip.  Yes, 3 other girls in your class have the same shirt as you because JC Penney is the only clothing store within a 25 mile radius.  BUT... when the chips are down and you need help, those same people are there for you, no questions asked, with amazing kindness and generosity.  Those kids that you've gone to school with since kindergarten are more than just your friends, they are your extended family. Small town folk truly come together to help those in need, whether it's through a fundraiser, a spaghetti dinner, a bake sale or manual labor.  Growing up in a small town truly taught me the meaning of community.

3.  I am thankful for my job.
Yes, many days I curse my job.  Many days I come home exhausted and stressed.  Many days I imagine moving to the Bahamas and working as a bartender.  But deep down, I know how fortunate I am to have my job.  This job gives me financial security.  It pays for our home and the little luxuries we have come to take for granted.  It has allowed me the flexibility to work from home once a week, to take time off when needed, to chaperone field trips and attend class parties.

4.  I am thankful for the town I live in.
Here I am at 40, living in another small town.  But unlike my hometown, which I would consider rural small, my current town is suburban small.  So while the town itself is small, there is shopping, food and entertainment very close by!  The town hosts parades, festivals, Christmas tree lightings and fireworks.  We have more than one amazing restaurant and an amazing bakery downtown.  There is a town pool and multiple playgrounds. There's a Farmers Market from May-October on the waterfront.  There's a library with fun kids activities. The town has an amazing youth sports program.  We also love our school.  We love that it is small yet still has so many opportunities and special programs.  We love our son's teachers and all the amazing work the PTO does.  We love that our kids will have a small town upbringing, but big city advantages close by.  We are blessed to have found this place.

5.  I am thankful to be a mother.
Originally I didn't want to be a mom, then after 2 miscarriages I thought I COULDN'T be a mom.  But here I am, a mother of 2 little boys that I love with all my heart. Motherhood has taught me the true meaning of love.  Unconditional love.  The true meaning of sacrifice.  It has taught me how to put another's needs and wants ahead my own and do so freely and without hesitation.  It has also made me truly appreciate and understand my own mother. Her strength, her struggles, her sacrifices. Her never ending love and commitment to give me the best life possible.

There are so many other things I am thankful for, but I think this post is long enough. : )

What are you thankful for?

Linking up with:
Andrea at Momfessionals

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Favorite Holiday Books for Kids

One of the (many) wonderful things about the holiday season is all the fun books we can read with our kids!  Today I am sharing with you a few of our favorites, and a few we are hoping to check out this year.

Our Favorites:

1.  Pete the Cat Saves Christmas
My 6 year old loves the Pete the Cat series and this book is no exception.  Santa isn't feeling well so Pete the Cat has to help him out!

2.  Llama Llama Holiday Drama.
This is a favorite for my 3 year old.  As usual, baby Llama is having problems being patient...this time he just can't wait for Christmas to come!

3.  Who is Coming to Our House?
This is great book for the little ones to introduce them to the Christmas Story.

4.  Bear Stays Up For Christmas
This year, bear's friends are determined he gets to experience Christmas!  Fun illustrations, great rhymes and a sweet story.

5.  The Night Before Christmas ('Twas the Night Before Christmas)
The classic Christmas book. This is the book I remember from my childhood Christmases, and every time I read it to me children, it brings back such wonderful memories!  We try to read this to the kids every Christmas Eve.

6.  Snowmen at Christmas
Have you ever wondered what snowmen do at Christmas?  Now's your chance to find out!  I love the illustrations in this book.

Number 6:  The Gingerbread Man Loose at Christmas
This has just recently been added to our collection but has already become a favorite!  A cute story with a good message, and fun illustrations to boot.

And here are a few books we are hoping to check out this year:

If you are looking for an inexpensive way to add to your Christmas book collection (and have children in school), I highly recommending ordering through Scholastic.  You know... those stapled together little book magazines your kid brings home and you're tempted to just throw out!  We have gotten so many great books through Scholastic at great prices.  And if your child's school/teacher have an account set up, your order will help earn your school or classroom free books.  Win-Win!

Do you have any suggestions for me?  I am always on the lookout for great books to add to our collection!