Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Show & Tell - Best. Gift. Ever.

Whenever anyone asks me the best Christmas I've ever received, I don't hesitate. For Christmas two years ago, my husband gave me the gift of Justin Timberlake. AKA - he made all of my teenage dreams come true. 

I'll never forget opening those tickets. I really wish someone else had known what was in that envelope because I'm pretty sure my reaction was priceless. It involved me jumping off the floor & over a coffee table to get to get to Eric - and no one else had a clue what was in that envelope. Once I was able to speak again & told them what I'd just been given, they understood. My love for Justin runs deep.

The concert was supposed to be in February, but Justin got sick & the Sabres had a ton of home games, then Justin went to Europe... so I didn't end up going to the concert until July 9th! But the wait was worth it because Justin did not disappoint! He was amazing. I won't ramble on & on again. You can read all about it here. Just know that none of those photos in the post are zoomed in. I was that close to him. 

So yes, my husband is amazing. 

** Linking Up with Andrea today for Show & Tell! **
Sunday, December 20, 2015

There's Still Time to #SpreadCheer

If your weekend has been anything like ours, there's only one word to properly sum it up - chaotic. We were on the go all day yesterday for The Polar Express and between grocery shopping, present wrapping, and cleaning - today has been non-stop too! But when Ella went down for a nap & football came on to preoccupy Eric, Olivia & I retreated to the kitchen to bake some holiday treats to share with loved ones! 

I absolutely love how simple Betty Crocker made it for me to whip up some delicious treats without a huge grocery list or a huge mess! I opened up the packages, added a few eggs & some oil, and voila - my cookies & cupcakes were baking in no time! 

I had a little fun decorating too, using red frosting & some marshmallows to make Santa hat cookies & cupcakes! Eric was picking on them, but I think they turned out adorable & I can't wait to spread some cheer with them tomorrow! #itsthethoughtthatcounts

Want to do the same? Betty Crocker has all of the free printables you need to pack up a festive plate of treats & #SpreadCheer this week! Be sure to share on your social media using the hashtag #SpreadCheer so we can see all of everyone's great ideas! 

Oh! And guess who showed up while I was putting this post together to spread some cheer herself? My sister! She brought over a recipe that she found on Betty's Crocker's website using regular chocolate chip mix then dipping the cookies in chocolate! They're so good! 

clearly Ella couldn't wait to dig in! 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Friday Favorites & Weekend Plans...

Happy Friday Everyone! Only 1 Week Until Christmas! 

Today is one my FAVORITE days of the year - Ugly Sweater Day! We technically call it Festive Sweater Day, but there's a prize for the ugliest sweater & I'm totally in the running this year...

Sadly, I cannot take credit for this creation, as the wonderful Miss Jennie loaned it to me. Some of the reactions I've gotten today...
  • Ella - "MOM!" with eyes as big as saucers when I turned the lights on this morning
  • My principal - "I'm sure your students will be very focused on instruction while you're wearing that." 
  • A student - "It looks like Christmas threw up on you!" 
And Ella is super excited today too because it's her last day at Miss Jennie's before break! They're having a party & celebrating all day long. We brought Christmas sprinkle donuts for the party, which just so happen to be her longstanding favorite treat! 

Two other favorites from the week -

Our modified coach just got back from Disney World & brought me my favorite treat ever! It's a rice krispie treat dipped in chocolate then covered in mini M&Ms. So good! 

My little reindeer had her first dance performance

This weekend we have a lot to do! Tomorrow we're riding the Polar Express with Grandpa Dan & Grammy Mary. Then on Sunday we're going to work hard on finishing up our Christmas to do list, which will involve a trip to Trader Joe's, a whole lot of wrapping & a whole lot of baking for next week's Christmas parties! Thankfully my dad & Grandma Gigi will arrive on Sunday night to babysit the kids while I work on Monday & Tuesday - not having to get them ready & drag them out the door in the morning - best Christmas present ever! 
Hope your weekend is festive as ever! 
Thursday, December 17, 2015

Life Lately...

I cannot believe it is only Thursday. This has to be the longest week ever. And unlike many of my friends in other states... we don't start Christmas break tomorrow. I still have two more days next week! The kids are already off their rockers, so I've found myself stopping to take deep breaths every now & then throughout the day. I'm working so hard to not allow myself to turn into the Grinch, not even for a second, but with a three year old who needs to be reminded that Santa is watching about 20 times a day plus the world's longest to-do list, it isn't always easy. Thankfully, there's been a lot to keep me smiling lately! 

Sprinkles the Elf has been a little bit naughty this week! On Tuesday, he made snow angels with sprinkles! Then, yesterday he drew Rudolph noses on our wedding picture! 

And then this morning, he replaced Ella's stocking with a pair of her Sofia undies! 

We've been very busy at cheerleading practice every night. The routine is done, but needs a whole lot of love & attention before we compete on January 9th! I'm so thankful that I have a team full of girls that are great with my kids. It makes things a lot less stressful.

We had a game on Tuesday night & it was the first one I've taken the kids to this season. It's so much easier when Eric picks them up & they can stick with their normal routine, but since that wasn't possible, we made the most of it. Ella ate a real gourmet dinner of carrots with ranch, pretzels, and cheese. Then finished up with a snack of popcorn & fruit snacks. Oh, and she stole someone's skittles too. 

In school related news, I've been working on a descriptive language unit using The Grinch & my kids made this awesome bulletin board! It makes me smile when I walk into my room every morning! 

And something else that makes me smile is our neighbors inflatables. Truthfully, I can't stand inflatables, but my neighbords have 5 of them. A Grinch riding on a sleigh (which is huge), a Yoda, a Minion, an Olaf, and a polar bear. Ella of course LOVES them and wants to hug them every night before we go in the house. So thank you neighbors, because of you, I'll never have to own an inflatable of my own. My kids can just live vicariously through yours! 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tap Dancing Reindeer

Last night, the parents were invited to a special holiday dance class at Ella's dance studio. Normally, the parents are invited in for the last 5 minutes of class to see what they've worked on for the day, but yesterday we got to join them for the entire time! I don't take Ella to dance every week - my sister helps out so that I can be at practice most weeks - so I may have missed an announcement, but I thought we were going to participate in class. We got an email saying to wear comfy clothes & be ready to move - so I was. I never knew that the kids were going to perform two full numbers for us, so I was in for a treat! 

The kids started off in their tap shoes and we all did a little warm up together. Then the parents were directed to a row of chairs up front & suddenly there were reindeer antlers coming out! I don't know who was more excited - me or Ella? 

They tapped to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer & of course it was adorable! Then, they switched into their ballet slippers & put on these snowflake costumes! 

If you follow me on snapchat (brieason), you can see the adorableness live! For their last number, the parents were invited to join in for a partner dance to All I Want for Christmas Is You & it was so much fun! 

Monday, December 14, 2015

The North Pole

This weekend, we took a trip to North Pole, NY to visit Santa's Workshop! Now, before I get started with our recap, I do want to warn you that if you go, it's pretty cheesy. The park isn't well maintained & it's a drastic throwback into the 70's with the costumes & shows. As an adult, you look around & think "OMG I just paid $22 for this?" But if you're three years old, it's pure magic and this trip was all about Ella, so it was worth it. 

Now, let's get on with our trip! We drove to my parents' house in Saratoga on Friday afternoon & had dinner with them that evening. I'm very glad Eric & I decided to take a half day from work because it allowed us to arrive at 4:30 p.m. & get settled in before we headed out for dinner. It also allowed me to visit the local candy shop with my mom before it closed on Friday evening :) 

Saturday morning, we woke up & immediately started getting ready for our trip. The North Pole is near Lake Placid, which is about a 2 hour drive from my parents' house. We were on the road by 9 & after a minor detour, made it to the North Pole by 11:15. 

Livy did a whole lot of car sleeping this weekend... 
Our first stop in the park was to ride a few rides! Ella is getting so brave, she didn't hesitate for a second before hopping on these! 

Then, we hit up the reindeer barn. The handlers let us pet Rudolph & they were walking Blitzen around the park too. 

Next, we watched Santa's proclamation, where he assigned all of his helpers their jobs for the day. This was Ella's first glimpse of Santa too, and it's where she started to get excited! 

Now, Santa went on his lunch break right after the proclamation, so my sweet dad had the good sense to stand in line, even though he wouldn't be back for an hour. Thank goodness he did too because that line got crazy! While he waited, we visited Santa's workshop & did some coloring. 

Finally, it was time to meet Santa! The set up is very cute & only one family goes in at a time, which made the whole experience very special. You go from a waiting room, into Santa's bedroom while you're on deck. Livy & Ella decided to take a snooze... 

Then the big moment! I was holding my breath the entire time that Ella would love Santa this year... and she did! She ran right up to him & hugged him! 

Seriously, these pictures just make me so happy... 

After we met the big guy, we did one last ride on the train! 

Then, we headed into Lake Placid to Eric's happy place... 

I've never ate at the Lake Placid Brewery myself because the year I went with Eric on the Placid trip it was a snowstorm & we barely left the house, but it was fantastic! I had this mac & cheese that I loved & everyone else's food look great too. 

We got home from the park around 6:30, but it felt like midnight. All the fresh air & driving really wore us all out. 

The next morning we woke up, repacked, had breakfast at Cracker Barrel & headed back to Rochester. It was a whirlwind weekend with lots of driving, but it was so worth it to see Miss Ella wrapped up in the magic of the season! 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Off to the North Pole!

Happy Friday Everyone! We're currently busy as can be packing up & heading north to my parent's house in Saratoga for the weekend. It'll be Livy's first trip there & it's extra exciting because tomorrow we're going to the North Pole. That's right... we're going to see Santa! 

Our current level of excitement is through the roof! I'll be back on Monday with tons of pictures & tales to tell. Have a festive weekend! 
Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Our Elf Game is Strong (so far)

I mentioned in Friday's post that our elf, Sprinkles, made her return on December 1st! I've been pretty impressed by Sprinkles so far this year, so I thought I'd share her shenanigans with you all today! 

A gentle reminder to our sweet girl...

Sprinkles invited her friends over for a campout under the "stars" - I got the idea to use socks as sleeping bags from Pinterest!

Sprinkles dropped off a gingerbread house kit for us to work on as a family!

Sprinkles dropped off pancakes for breakfast on Sunday morning! When Ella wasn't paying attention, I sprinkled rainbow sprinkles into her batter & blamed it on our elf. 

Just a little cards among friends. Eric wanted to set up a real game of Texas Hold 'Em or Euchre, but Ella would have no clue, so we kept it simple! 

I found this tutu at JC Penny for $2.99 on clearance & thought it was perfect for Ella's holiday dance class! Instead of giving it to her myself, I let Sprinkles take the credit - which only made it the most magical tutu ever! 

Sprinkles got caught having a midnight snack! 

Now... we still 15 more days until Christmas & while I do have some other great ideas, I could use a few from you all as well! Be sure to comment if you know of something that would make Miss Ella giggle :) 

And one last thing... the winner of the $20 Target giveaway is....

Cynthia Gaarder

Congratulations Cynthia! I e-mailed you this morning. You have 48 hours to respond :) 
Tuesday, December 8, 2015

What's In My Diaper Bag?

When your family is on the go as much as ours is, a well stocked diaper bag is essential! When I first had Ella, you could basically find the entire contents of her bedroom in the diaper bag every time we left the house. It was a little excessive, but now that I'm a little more experienced, Olivia travels just a little bit lighter :) Here's what we take with us on a daily basis...

Here's what all that is: 

  • Huggies Little Snugglers 
  • Wipes & Changing Pad 
  • Healing Balm
  • Extra Bibs
  • Extra Clothes for Olivia
  • Extra Clothes for Ella
  • My Happy Baby Wrap
  • Shoes for Olivia 
  • Winter Hat 
  • Extra Pacifier 
  • Burp Cloth
  • Teething Toy
Ok maybe not much lighter, it's still A LOT of stuff! The reality is though, every time I try to go without something, I end up needing it, and there's nothing I hate more than not having what I need on hand! That's why I stock up on Huggies Little Snugglers at Sam's Club

I never have to worry about running out & the price is perfect! You can even order them online & have them delivered right to your door FOR FREE! I personally like to go to Sam's Club & pick them up myself though, just because I always know I'll find a ton of other things I need!

What do you pack in your diaper bag? 
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