Thank You: say it, write it, make it pretty

So, let me start off by saying- I’m not an etiquette expert (…by any means!) but I do bring hostess gifts to parties and I am a stickler for a hand-written thank you cards. In a world where EVERYTHING is done and accomplished through a screen and a keyboard, I’m a firm believe that a good old-fashioned hand-written thank you card will NEVER go out of style!

I mentioned on my Instagram stories the other day that I always keep thank you cards and stationary on hand at the house. You never know when you may need to send a little “thanks” to someone. Listen, I know what you’re going to say- you can always drive to Target and pick some generic thank you cards up in a pinch, BUT there is something so nice about receiving a note on pretty personalized stationary, don’t you think?

Here are a few of my favorite picks for Thank You cards in kids, baby, women’s, men’s and family categories:



I want my kids to learn the art of sending a thank you note, however- when my children are just learning to write, I like to keep it as simple (and tear free) as possible. Of course, I write thank you cards for my children until they are old enough to write themselves, but even in Ardyn’s case- even though she can’t write yet, I still make her “sign” her own name on the card. That being said, for younger children, I think the “fill-in” cards are adorable. I love the ones that also allow the child to color them in. I think it adds so much personality and really shows that an extra effort was made.


Kid’s Color-in TY


Fun Face Fill-in TY



Kids Rainbow Font Fill-in Thank You



Rainbow Dot Fill-in TY with pic




Simple Thank You




Fun Summer TY



Here’s my general rule for baby cards (and this is totally just a “me” thing)…I WANNA SEE A PICTURE OF THAT CUTE BABY’S FACE! Hah! But really, though. I always try to opt for a baby thank you card that has a place for a picture on it. For Max, I used a cute & simple picture from his newborn session, put it on a very simple, personalized thank you card, and I used that card all the way up until, well- last week, when I received a baptism gift from an Aunt. Of course, the trouble with those cards is that you obviously can only use them for about 6months to a year before the child way outgrows the photo. For Q&A, when they outgrow their personalized picture thank you cards, I give them the extras for their art center to play “mail” with. Great letter-writing practice! 😉

Needless to say- simple, beautiful, non-photo thank you cards are always a great option as well!


Cloud Baby TY


Elephant Baby TY


Baby Photo TY




I’m just a sucker for pretty stationary and I like having cards that are personalized and “thank you” specific, on hand at all times. I only order them once a year (about 20 of them) and I love that when something comes up…ie an Instagram BFF sends me a fun surprise in the mail 😉 I have a card ready to send. Here are a few of my favorites:


Personalized Watercolor TY


Personalized Flowers TY 


Personalized Gold Foil Dots TY



So, I don’t have anything for this category mainly because of two things (And I’m just going from personal experience here): 1. Ahem, I’M the one writing alllllll thank you cards for any gifts that come through the house around here and 2. On the rare occasion Ryan needs to send a thank you note of his own- it is usually business-related and he will send it on company letterhead, OR if it’s personal- I still think he’d chose a simple masculine card with his name and or monogram embossed on it. I just can’t see him reaching for any sort of “thank you” card with polka dots and gold foil borders! Haha. I DO get him his own stationary (see below) just not “thank you” specific cards.



Going on what I said above, I feel like having a family thank you card on hand is a good idea because it covers all bases and yet, still feels personal. I like to keep our family card super simple. Again, I buy about 10-15 of my favorite design once a year and I rarely go through them all. These are great to give to party hosts, to give as thank yous for gifts after Christmas, for family/friends that hosted you on a trip, or for anytime you feel the need to say thank you to someone on behalf of your whole family! Again, simple stationary would do the trick here, but I do like having just a few “thank you” specific cards on hand!


Gold Foil Family TY




Ok, so now that Thank You cards are out of the way, I also LOVE to have really pretty, really simple letterhead stationary for each member of the family. Not a ton, just a small handful for the rare occasion when a written note is in order. I’m in love with Joy Creative Shop’s stuff. She also makes notebooks (you all know how much I love a notebook!), stickers, meal planners, gift tags, etc. And I just really like how clean, simple, and fun all of her stuff is! You have to go check her out for all of your family’s paper good needs!



So I keep a few bins of “letter writing essentials” in my office. Here’s what I keep in them:

1. Pretty stamps. I know it’s dumb…like spending money on cute checks…but I can’t help it. A pretty stamp makes the whole package come together, you know what I mean? No? Ok, maybe I’m going a bit overboard here. Anyways,  I buy cute stamps on amazon whenever I see ones that I love. THESE fern ones are my favorite!

2. Address stamper, I got one from Ink Me This on Etsy. Love their designs!

3. Cute washi tape to seal my envelopes with. HERE are some cute neutral ones that I love but I also really like supporting small Etsy shops like Pretty Tape  (bonus points for her being local…anything to speed up shipping to my impatient online-shopping self!)

I find that writing a note or a thank you card isn’t such a huge ordeal when all of my supplies are in one place!


I also keep an address book file on my computer as well as a print-out in the top drawer of my office desk so that it’s always on hand. I use excel for my address book so that it can be easily uploaded onto sites like Minted or Tiny Prints during Christmas time or any other time I’m sending out a bunch of cards.

The last thing I do sometimes, is I keep THIS Polaroid camera on hand in a bin in my office. Sometimes when I’m writing a fun/personal note or thank you to someone we haven’t seen in a while (or just for fun) I’ll take a quick Polaroid of the kids and slip it in with the card. People really love it…because, let’s be honest, although they’re appropriate and necessary (in my opinion), thank you cards aren’t typically very fun to open. But, whether it’s with some super cute stationary, a prettily addressed envelope, or a fun picture inside, I figure, if I’m sending snail mail…better make it worth the hand cramp! 😉



February Book Picks

Ok, fellow book hoarders…I’m keeping the list *somewhat* short for February…but I mean, come on. Books about love are the best kind, aren’t they? Here are a few of my very favs for the month, covering Valentine’s, President’s and Groundhog Day!

Also, I’m skipping the descriptions this month (bc, life.) But, each book has a direct link below, so if you’re interested, click the link to read a description and/or purchase!

Happy Reading!


Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch | The Day it Rained Hearts | The Biggest Valentine Ever | Llama, Llama I Love You | In My Heart | Snow Sisters | When an Elephant Falls in Love | Words and your Heart | This is NOT a Valentine


 Roses are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink | GroundHUG Day | LOVE from the Very Hungry Caterpillar | Extra Yarn | The Story of Ferdinand | Flora and the Flamingo | Looking at Lincoln |Love is |Hug Machine





Interested in getting ahead of the game for next year?

Check out these Posts:

Halloween Books, Thanksgiving & Fall Books,

Christmas Books, January Books





Tips for a Mountain Vacation

 We got so many messages and questions while we were away after Christmas this year so I figured I’d answer some of them here! Let me know if you have any others and I’ll add them to the post!


image via

Where were you guys?

Vail, Colorado

We’ve been going skiing for a few years now the week between Christmas and New Years. In the past, we’ve always stayed right in Vail Village, but this year we stayed in the next village over (a 3 minute shuttle ride) called Lionshead. It literally looked like Arendelle from the movie Frozen! It was super cute and a 30 second walk to the mountain from our hotel, BUT we all agreed that Vail Village is much better in terms of walking around, shopping, eating, etc.

Where did you stay?

Austria Haus- Did you click the link? HOW cute is this place? We stayed here our first year. Very small, very cozy. Amazing brunch. Right on the main strip in Vail Village so you can basically walk anywhere. However, it was a little TOO small for me.

Tivoli Lodge– Stayed here last year. This one might be my favorite. It’s small enough to have that cabin-in-the-woods feel but big enough to NOT feel like a bed & breakfast (not my thing). This place has an awesome lobby with a giant fireplace and huge oversized couches and chairs. Hot chocolate and fresh cookies are abundant and it’s just all-around cozy! Also right in the heart of Vail Village.

Arrabelle- This is where we stayed this year. It is in Lionshead and it was by far the fanciest place of the three. It was super beautiful, provided us with a 3 bedroom unit so that my whole extended family could stay together instead of in separate hotel rooms, and the service was impeccable. It also had a restaurant “Tavern on the Square” attached which had a great brunch and an AWESOME rooftop with hot tubs and a heated pool. (Did I mention an awesome spa as well? Definitely took advantage of that!) It was also about a 30 second walk to the gondola from the hotel- so the location was ideal. The ONLY downside to this place, well two actually: 1. You have to take a shuttle or car to Vail Village and 2. Although beautiful, this hotel lacked the “cozy mountain cabin” feel that the other two places had!


image via

Best places to eat?

In Lionshead:

Blue Moose Pizza– yummy casual pizza right in the square

Garfinkles– They have an awesome outdoor patio on the second story where you can basically watch people ski down the mountain while you eat. They fill up FAST at lunch but I believe you can call ahead and make reservations.

Bart & Yetis– cute little lunch spot.

In Vail:

Bol- This is a bowling alley attached to an amazing restaurant. Caution: you can NOT walk in and bowl. We tried that the first year and they laughed in our faces. We basically make our reservations a year in advance.

Elways– This is a steak house and is always our fanciest meal of the trip. Pricey but worth it for the side dishes alone.

La Bottega– Yummy, tiny little Italian joint. If you are a big party and you call to make reservations ask to NOT sit by the front door. When it’s freezing outside, and the door keeps opening, that seat stinks!!

Campo di Fiori– our #1 FAVORITE italian meal in Vail. Seriously delicious!

Vendettas– a cute little lunch spot- yummy soup. Very popular and fills up quick!

Pepis– known for their bavarian pretzels and sausages (yuk!) Also, here’s a secret tip, you need to call for his schedule, but they have a singer named Andy who performs at night and he is AH-MAZING! Go watch him sing, and tell him “Dallas” sent you! Don’t forget to do a shot-ski while you’re there! Kids can only stay until 8pm, fyi.

The Red Lion– Maybe the most popular lunch spot in the village…? Always packed, get there early if you can to save a table. And then order the nachos, stat.

Pazzos– A yummy pizza place in V V. Also gets CRAZY crowded at dinner with a line out the door, so go early or order to go!

Big Bear Bistro– a teeny tiny little breakfast joint. Super yummy but also can get pretty packed!

Loaded Joe’s– a hidden gem…downstairs little coffee nook!

Joe’s Famous Deli– a yummy  downstairs deli where Vince Vaughn is known to eat with his fam! 😉 (saw him there last year)

Mountain Standard– Another place we walked by but have never eaten. Looks pretty awesome! A definite must for next year!

Did both girls ski? How long have they been skiing?

We put Q in private ski lessons when she was three. Then last year we put her in all day every day ski school and found to be much more effective. This year she did one day of a private lesson and then skied with Ryan the rest of the trip. She’s pretty much a pro now and skis circles around me (which isn’t exactly a hard thing to do!)

This was Cubby’s first year and she did ski school almost every day & loved it!

Where did you get the girls coats?


The girl’s pink and maroon winter coats were from J Crew. I linked them HERE. I’d highly suggest getting a pair of mittens on a string. You, know like in the olden days? I linked my favs from EGG, HERE. We strung them through the girl’s coats and never had to worry about them for the rest of the trip. (obviously these are not ski gloves, just casual winter mittens)

What gear do the girls wear in the snow/when skiing?

Ok, here’s my clothing checklist for when they ski:


snow pant jumper

ski coat

fleece fitted infinity neck scarf



thermal gloves

ski mittens

thick ski socks

They’ve always been plenty warm in that. Remember they’re moving a lot and working up a sweat under those layers!

The girl’s ski gear was a mix of brands from different ski shops collected over the years. Our fav ski brand for kids are Obermeyer, KJUS, & Patagonia. I’ll link a few options here, but you’ll need to explore for the style/fit/price that best works for your kiddo:

Snow Pants (I prefer the jumper verses just the pant for kiddos)

Snow Pants (cheaper option)

Ski Coats

Ski Coats (cheaper option)

Ardyn’s One Piece Snow Suit

Under Layers/Thermals

Snow Mittens (here’s a little tip I learned: most people think gloves keep the hands warmer, but actually mittens do! Having the fingers touching actually promotes more friction and body warmth and keeps the hands warmer! The more you know…)

Where did you get the girls pom hats?

Ok, I hesitate to share these because I can hear the collective eye rolls and judgement…ha! But here goes…the pom hats were from my favorite kid’s boutique in Vail called Skipper and Scout. They are by Mischa Lampert. You can get them a bunch of places, I linked one of the rainbow stripe ones HERE.  And before you eye roll, let me be the first to say: yes, they are pricey. VERY pricey. We bought Q one last year and then waited until this year to buy Cub one. But, they are made from some seriously quality materials, and they are so thick and keep the girls super warm.  Plus they also fit adults. The girls will have these for years and years so we think of them as investment pieces (plus, I can borrow them ;)! Expensive hats are not for everyone, I understand- but so many people asked where they were from, I had to link them. (I will say, they were cheaper at Skipper & Scout than they are in that link above. So maybe contact them and see if you can order via phone?!)

Whats the best place to get cold weather gear for us moms?

So I get almost all of my winter gear at a local shop in Dallas called St. Bernard Sports. I also got that fun pink pom beanie from Nordstrom this year that I posted in my IG stories. I’ll link a few of my favorite pieces for you! I usually bring cute “walking/shopping/dining clothes” and then my ski clothes.


Black Puffer Coat

Black Puffer Coat (cheaper option)

White Ski Coat

Hats: They sold out of my hot pink pom beanie at Nordstrom but there are some other color options of the same brand linked HERE. Or HERE is a different brand but another cute shade of pink option!

Ski pants – I love this legging look, and YES they are still super warm! I wear them to “ski” (we all know I can’t ski) AND sometimes out at night in the village! LOVE these by Erin Snow and they are super comfy! Worth the investment.

Base Layer Tops- So many to choose from, but i love this pink one! Go explore for yourself!

Après Ski Sweaters- Love these looks: ONE | TWO | THREE | FOUR

Boots: Go for comfort and warmth!! Love THESE and THESE (for a fun furry option!)  We had very mild weather this year so I was able to wear my cute pink sperrys a lot! I linked them HERE.

How do you adjust to the altitude?

OXYGEN! Literally the first thing we do when we arrive is stock up on the oxygen bottles. We use them throughout the entire trip. Also, water, water, water, water. I think we went through three cases of water while we were there. Other than that, we haven’t had much of an issue over the years…even with the little ones. We’ve all been able to acclimate pretty well!

What stroller did you bring?


Ok, so it’s kind of ironic. We bought the Cybex carseat and stroller combo which is so fancy and amazing and we use it ALL the time at home…and yet, we have never brought it with us on one trip!!! When Max was teeny I would carry him in a  baby wrap and then as soon as he was sitting we started traveling with an umbrella stroller.

We use the Summer 3D-one Convenience Stroller . I love it because it reclines down, the hood has a huge canopy reach, the basket is a good size for an umbrella stroller, it folds down pretty narrow, has a foot stand so it can stand on its own once folded, is super lightweight, AND the bottom flap of the seat can fold up which basically creates a mini bassinet for smaller babies whose legs don’t reach the edge. We’ve traveled everywhere with this stroller and pretty much love it!

Then, we bring our most favorite travel stroller on the planet: The Pockit. We have two of these but this time we just brought one, figuring both girls wouldn’t need to be riding the whole time and they could take turns in it. This stroller is SO great. It folds down to the size of a purse AND fits in the overhead of the airplane! The only thing is…it’s not the sturdiest- so like, don’t bring it off-roading with you. But for an easy-travel umbrella stroller, its pretty freaking amazing!!!

Why don’t I bring a double stroller you ask? Man, I just really don’t like them. They’re big & clunky and don’t fold down very small (we were getting in and out of shuttles and cars  and in and out of tiny shops and restaurants, up and down elevators, etc. non-stop!). The side-by-side ones feel like you’re pushing a double wide and can’t fit through any doors and the front-to-back ones feel like you’re pushing one of the “extra” suburban Target carts. I’ve tested them all, I just am not a huge fan. Plus, there’s two of us- me and Ryan- and a handful of family members on this trip so we figured two tiny strollers would be much easier to navigate with so many helpers to push. We were right. These two strollers were a breeze to travel with! When Max gets older we’ll drop the Summer and just stick to the Pockits…because there’s a brand new one out that reclines!!!! Splurge for next year, I think!

Essentials for a Mountain Vacation?

Ok, here is a list of absolute essentials (from my experience) to pack if you are doing a mountain trip with kiddos in the winter time:


  • HUMIDIFIER- call ahead and ask if your hotel provides them (Arrabelle did!), if not, consider traveling with a travel-size one like THIS awesome one (that works with a water bottle!) OR Amazon priming one to your hotel! You will thank me when everyone starts getting bloody noses and dry throats!
  • OXYGEN CANS- they sell them in EVERY shop in the villages! Just ask. Get big ones for your hotel room and travel sized ones for your bags!
  • SUNCREEN- Supergoop is a very serious FAV. This Mineral one is so good and the Acai Fusion SPF30 chapstick is life. I have one in every pocket of every coat. Usually I hate SPF chapsticks because the sunscreen seeps into my lips and feel like I can taste the sunscreen all day. NOT with this one. I use it daily and am obsessed!! Don’t think that just because you are bundled you don’t need suncreen- that snow is a natural reflector and you guys WILL get sunburt. And nobody wants a goggle tan line après ski. 😉
  • CHAPSTICK- see above! THIS one is my fav! I keep one in every purse & every coat pocket.
  • LOTION- You will want to bring a nice thick lotion to keep your skin hydrated. Your face and hands, etc. will get super dry!
  • STATIC GUARD- you will not believe the “weird science” effects the mountain environment will have on your hair!!
  • SALINE & NOSE BULB- the dry air will dry everyone out and most likely stuff you up too. We used the saline and nose bulb almost daily on Max!
  • TIGER BALM & EPSOM SALTS- if you are skiing you will be VERY thankful you brought these. I gave myself and the girls epsom salt baths to soothe our sore muscles, and my husband and I used the tiger balm on our shins and calves!
  • DRY EYE DROPS or MOISTURE DROPS- I get pretty bad dry eye so the mountain environment didn’t help. Just think of it this way- every single part of your body will get dry…bring anything to help yourself maintain hydration! These eye drops were super helpful for me
  • SUNGLASSES- duh. Feel silly listing this, but I wore my sunnies every single day! That snow reflection is bright!
  • LIGHT WEIGHT PJS- So you might think, oh winter…let me pack the fleece. Wrong! Most of these resorts have the heat cranked up! We were so dang hot we were opening the windows and doors at night for fresh air. You will want to pack light weight pjs for yourself and the kiddos. If they get chilly, there are always blankets to layer…but you don’t want them overheating in this pjs! I brought my favs: kickeepants and plain jane!
  • EUCALYPTUS/BREATHE DIFFUSER- Ok, so if you have a travel essential oil diffuser , like THIS one, BRING IT (along with some Breathe or eucalyptus oils to diffuse). If you don’t have a diffuser or don’t feel like traveling with one, grab some balm or a breathe stick that you can apply to chests and feet at night to help with breathing if everyone gets stuffy or short of breath. I love the actual BREATHE vapor stick from DoTerra and I also love this Dr. Bronner’s Menthol Balm. 
  • STROLLER SHIELD- There are so many great ones on the market, but I highly suggest grabbing one. We used THIS one. It really does help when you are walking around at night at it’s freezing and windy!
  • BALM OR SALVE FOR FACE CHAPPING- Poor Cubby got the most chapped face ever! Even with sunscreen and lotion. So I used plenty of balm on her face. These are my two favs: Mustela Hydra-Stick. Its amazing and glides right on those cheeks like a giant chapstick! Dr. Bronner’s Organic Unscented Magic Balm. It comes in a tin and is basically like magical vasaline. I slathered this stuff all over the kids faces and lips!

What else do you do for fun besides ski?

Well, since I hardly ski, this is an easy question! The “skiers” go out & ski every morning around 8:30. The non-skiers have breakfast, get ready, walk around the village, do some shopping, etc. Then the entire group meets for lunch everyday. We set a time and place beforehand so that everyone knows where to meet since cell service can be spotty. After lunch, some ski again, some don’t. Other fun things we do/did:

  • shopping
  • ice skating
  • games/ movies/puzzles in the house
  • napping 😉
  • bowling
  • dinner

other fun activities that were not open/available this year but are on our list for next year:

  •  “snowcoaster” up on the mountain
  • sledding/tubing
  • dog sledding

How do you capture photos while on vacation and what do you do with them?

So, I stopped bringing my big camera on trips a long time ago. I just don’t have space for an extra giant camera bag with our caravan of stuff these days. On this trip I brought my fuji point & shoot….and NEVER unpacked it! I know pictures may tell a different story, but y’all these trips are mayhem! Traveling with 10 people, hopping from place to place, all the clothes and winter accessories and strollers and snacks and bottles- ah! It’s A LOT! I’ve stopped stressing about capturing “the perfect shot” and I use my iphone. I have the X and the camera is pretty freaking awesome. Every photo taken on this trip was taken on my phone!

Then every year I create one epic “IG” book of all the photos I posted that year. (One of the reasons I post so much!) I use Artifact Uprising‘s Instagram book template and I LOVE them!

I think that’s it! If I missed your question or you think of something else, let me know!



New Year, New Books

It’s that time again! I can hardly believe 2017 is over; is it just me and my baby haze or was that the fastest year EVER?

Well, ready or not…it’s 20-18 and when Christmas is over I like to strip the house of all things red & green, purge every closet and cabinet, and start the year from scratch! That, of course, applies to my book nook as well. See ya, later Christmas, we’ve got a new year and some great new reads in front of us.

Here are a quick few of my favorite books for this January!


Happy New Year, and Happy Reading friends!


January Books

I always like my book nook to have a good theme for each month and since January is all about The New Year and MLK Jr. Day, I’m going to focus on the following categories with my kiddos:

Inclusion, Acceptance, Perception & First Impressions

All of these books cover one of the topics above. They all carry one common thread: don’t be so quick to judge others. Which is a thread I love!2018-01-03_0002

1. We’re All Wonders- Remember that little book called Wonder?! Kidding…OF COURSE you know about that book, and movie. Right? Please say “right!”. Anyways, they made a picture book and it is so very sweet! We read it at bedtime tonight!

2. You’re all Kinds of Wonderful– Quinlin picked this book out all on her own at her book fair which just warms my heart. This book is by Nancy Tillman who is just one of my favs. The book starts “We’re not all the same. Thank goodness we’re not.
Life would be boring, and I mean… a lot.” How can you not love it?!

3. I Will Not Eat You- Theodore the dragon thinks everything is potential meal until he meets a pesky little boy who teaches him a “funny” little lesson about life. Don’t always judge a “dragon” by its “cave” 😉

4. Gaston- Please tell me you have this book. If not, go get it immediately. It’s easily one of my top 10 pictures books! I love this story about two pups switched at birth and the true meaning of family.

5. Horrible Bear! This angry little spice of a girl gets all pissy with Mr. Bear until basically she has to eat crow. A great story about forgiveness, undeserved reputations and gasp…making mistakes!

6. This is How we Do it– LOVE this book! It basically tells the story of one day in the life of seven different children from around the world! Such a great eye-opener for my girls…and beautifully illustrated! Also, who else is still singing the song?! “…South Central Does it like Nobody Does…”

Change, Growth and Self-Love


1. I’m Gonna Like Me- “The key to feeling good is liking yourself because you are you!”

2. I Will Never not Ever Eat a Tomato- We could all afford to be a little more lenient toward veggies in our diets this year, no? New Years resolution to get your kids to eat more healthy stuff? Give this book a read!

3. Julia, Child- Who doesn’t love to cook in the winter time! I bought this book as a Christmas themed gift for the girls to go along with some kid-friendly cooking utensils. It’s the cutest picture book about Julia Child as a, well, child.

4. I Like Me! We’ve had this cute little book forever and it’s still a favorite to read along. This cute little piggie likes everything about herself…and that just makes me like her even more!

5. Miss Rumphius- One of my ALL TIME favs!!! This is the story of how one lady attempted to make the world a more beautiful place. Absolutely LOVE!


Weather/ Winter Themed Picture Books

These are all short, simple, and sweet little winter picture books so I’ll skip the long blurbs!


  1. Hibernation Hotel- just picked this cute book up when I was in Vail. I love it! Mr. Bear gets annoyed with all of his annoying friends so he checks into a fancy hotel to hibernate…only he just can’t get to sleep. (Ohhhh what a problem to have, Bear!)
  2. Over and Under the Snow- part non-fiction in the back! Love!
  3.  The Snowy Day- A Classic!
  4. Snow– another classic, verse book!
  5.  Goodbye Autumn, Hello Winter– if you didn’t get this in my Christmas book round-up, it still applies!!
  6.  Bear Snores On- you know I love me the Bear series!!
  7.  Winter- super cute pop-up book of the seasons



These non-fiction books focus on self-growth and expanding horizons! Of course, we had to end with one of my favorite MLK books!


  1. Little People, Big Dreams: Maya Angelou– I LOVE this biography series, and why not Maya for the month of January. Her words and poems were so empowering!
  2. City Atlas– this BIG book is gorgeous! Perfect for expanding your little one’s horizons! Plus, there’s “search-and-find” games on every page! My girls love this one!
  3. Curious about Snow– this is such a great non-fiction book! Contains The Smithsonian’s famous Wilson Bentley snowflake photos and “looks at the science behind snow, and the history of record-setting blizzards and snowstorms—plus how people have fun in the snow!”
  4. Nat Geo Weird But True- My kids LOVE these books that my sister got them for Christmas! They went RIGHT into our Non-Fiction bin in our library. Love filling that bin up! Quin even told me the other day when I was in a bad mood that I should chew some gum “because studies show that chewing gums makes us happier!” Bahaha! Thanks, Nat Geo! 😉
  5. Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.– OF COURSE we’ll end with a Dr. King book! This month has his namesake day AND his lesson is always a great one to teach young children! This story is told in such a beautiful narrative and the illustrations are stunning. Such a quality book!




Holiday Outings with Mini Boden

When the calendar page turns over to December, it seems most of our time is spent at Holiday Outings. I come out of my “couch-in-pjs hibernation” and join in on all the fun: Santa parties, get-togethers, ornament exchanges, tree lighting ceremonies, and– of course, the theater! From The Nutcracker to our local children’s theater’s production of A Charlie Brown Christmas, we want to see it ALL! (And by “we”, I mean ME!)

Seriously though, isn’t experiencing Christmastime with kiddos just so magical (you know, when it isn’t exhausting and overwhelming?). There’s something in the air that just makes every thing and every outing feel so festive and special…so, of course, we like to dress festive, too! Since I know we’ve got a full calendar month ahead, and I’m sure you do too- I’ve partnered up with Mini Boden to bring you some Holiday Outing outfit inspiration.

What I love about Mini Boden is that their clothes are so easy to mix-and-match (I had SO much fun pairing up these outfits…but then I wanted to buy them all. Oopsie!). Another thing I love about these clothes is that, although they may look fancy and festive, they are still PLAY clothes that kids can be comfortable in! (Cubby is now wearing some of Q’s old Mini Boden favorites and they still look good as new!)

So whether it’s a daytime kids’ party or a fancy nighttime show you’ve got on your calendar- I’m pretty sure you’ll find one (or 10) perfect outfits below!

Plus, they are having an “Up to 40% off” AND “10% off NEW IN” SALES, right now!!!

Click HERE to start shopping now!

GirlsDay(Click HERE to shop these & more holiday outfits NOW! I love the idea of the plaid dress with the pink tree sweater over it, as pictured above. Turns the dress right into a cute skirt…two items for the price of one? Sold! And do not even get me started on those yellow boots!)

BoysDay(Click HERE to shop these & more holiday outfits NOW! When it comes to the boys, I’m all about the layered look. Pop that red plaid collar under any of the sweaters above and you’re golden!)

GirlsNight(I got Q that soldier/nutcracker dress, because…Nutcracker. Obsessed with all of these items though!! How about that sweet little red velvet number up top and that sequins collar city scape dress?! yasssss.Click HERE to shop these & more holiday outfits NOW!)

BoysNight(Little boys in blazers have my heart. How adorable are these looks? With a dapper little scarf? I’m dead. Click HERE to shop!)

baby(Click HERE to shop these & more holiday outfits NOW! Baby clothes for the win, always. Two words: Fair. Isle.)

Update: More perusing ensued and now it’s time for round two.

Hold my coffee, I’m going in for more…

dead, dead, and more dead. I need it ALL!!!

Click HERE to shop NOW before they’re all gone!!

And for another one of my FAVORITE Christmas traditions, click here:

Making Reindeer Food


For more Holiday Traditions with Mini Boden, check out how my friends are celebrating:




Glamp Out

This is an oldie but a goodie- posted on my old blog back in February 2016. I thought I’d transfer it over bc it’s one of my favs!

So, I don’t camp. I’m not a camper. I don’t enjoy it, never have.
For one thing- I don’t really enjoy most critters and the thought of them near me while I sleep kick-starts my anxiety and sends it into overdrive. Here’s the thing- I’d be down to find a beautiful spot by some water, throw some pebbles, hike a bit, let the kids splash around barefoot and enjoy nature and whatnot (aka go to a beach). But then I want to go home. And shower. And close my door to the critters and crawl into my bed…where I am fairly certain I’m the only one doing any “crawling”.
Don’t get me wrong- I love seeing pictures and hearing stories of people who are pretty fabulous pro-campers and sometimes I wish I could be those people instead of being my control-freak self. But here’s the thing- I can’t.
I’m getting itchy just thinking about it, so let’s move on.
Unfortunately for me, Quinlin has been “ah-sessed” with the idea of camping ever since Princess Sophia the First and her royal troop of Buttercups went off on a camping adventure to collect sparkle rocks and sleep in tents that pop into mini-castles. I wasn’t quite sure how to convince her that this {although it may possibly get even Mommy to go camping} is not reality. So I did the next best thing: I created a little glamp-out, right here in the comfort of my studio.
On Christmas morning the girls came downstairs and just about exploded. We ate real marshmallows (cooked over the fire and then carried in), read stories in the tent, had picnic lunches, and even turned on our star machine and played shadow puppets on the walls at night.
I mean, not to brag or anything, buuut we’ve been glamping on-and-off for about a month now. Yep, a full month. And guess what?
Not one spider was spotted.
But now I need my studio back for an upcoming shoot so it’s time for the campground to get rolled up and stored away until another time when we are feeling a little outdoorsy again. 😉
Am I robbing my girls of a classic childhood experience? Probably. But I’m pretty sure they’ll eventually make it out into the great outdoors for a night of real-deal “stories around a smokey fire, curl up in a sleeping bag” type thing. It’ll happen.
You know, when I make their Dad bring them.
(links below)
Pillows, Hide Rug, Green shag rug: Ikea




Christmas Gift Ideas

{Scroll to the bottom for a big SALE items that you have been asking me about… AND some fun blog shares!}

So I mentioned not wanting to buy a lot of toys this Christmas. Howeverrrrr, call me a softie,  but I still want Christmas morning to be exciting for the girls, with presents to open. (Fine- I’m a glutton for punishment…and for spoiling my kids on holidays!)

With that being said,we are making an effort to GIVE more this year and I’m also trying very hard to suppress my shopaholic tendencies and buy the kids items for Christmas that:

A. They actually need

B. They will actually get good use out of.

You know what that means? Less of those giant space sucking toys that light up and cry and sing and pee and bark and god only knows what else, that the kids play with for approx three seconds and then get buried in the abyss of “toys never played with”. Yeah, those. I will probably cave and get them each one thing that they really WANT (that I cringe over) but that will not be the majority of the toys under the tree, like in years past. I cleaned out out the playroom pretty seriously recently and only left the girls with 5 “toy” categories:

  1. Blocks/Legos
  2. Barbies
  3. Dolls/Doll accessories
  4. Kitchen Set
  5. Dress Up/Pretend

These are the things they play with the most, so I basically got rid of everything else. I guess I don’t include books, games, or art in those categories, but I’ve made a drastic change in the items we buy for THOSE categories as well. Only classics games are allowed…no more “Trolls Chutes and Ladders” or “Princess Candy Land”. Nope, it’s classics or bust. I make exceptions for card games and other newer QUALITY games I come across (most are educational).

Quality is our theme this year; items that will be cherished, will last, and items that already have a need and/or a place they can fit into in our house. There is no space left to create “new homes” for more STUFF!

So, here you go…some of the quality items I’ll be getting the kids this Christmas!

(Note: These are ideas and wish lists. The kids will not be getting ALL of this stuff!)

big gifts

I like doing one big themed gift for the girls this year. This year its a new bike for Cub and some gymnastics equipment for Q. They are both going to be so surprised and excited!

1.Public Bike | 2. Rainbow Streamers (I got this cuuuute idea from my friend Lee’s Gift Giving Guide. Her site Do Say Give has SUCH great ideas. Definitely check it out!)| 3. Bike Bell | 4. Helmet |5. Basket | 6. Handstand Practice Mat (goes on the back of the door and then folds out to be a cartwheel mat as well! | 7. Gymnastics Mat | 8. New Leo from Remie Girl | 9. Balance Beam (in case you are wondering, gymnastics equipment will live in the walk-in attic that opens directly from the playroom…perfect placement and storage option!)

cooperative play

I like any toys that encourage DOING, especially the DOING of something TOGETHER. These are great items that will encourage your kids (and you!) to spend time together learning and playing!

1.Julia Child Book (to go with the cooking equipment theme) | 2. Family Scavenger Hunt (how fun?!) | 3.Cooking Kit (my girls LOVE helping in the kitchen!) | 4. Children’s Cook Book | 5. Moulin Roty – Another sweet cooking kit option | 6. Kid’s apron | 7. All Natural Spa Day (how fun to save for a sleepover?) | 8. Time Capsule (I’m excited for this one!) | 9. School Time |10. Fort Building Kit


It’s no surprise that as a former teacher, educational gifts rank high on my list. These are a few I love!

1.Rhyming Sound Sort (I did an IG story on this game, once!)| 2. Me: A Compendium (like an “all about me/baby” book but for older kids!) | 3. City Atlas (a gorgeous giant book- thought it’s be fun to have for all our travels!) |3. (The second number three, since I put it up there twice and was too lazy to fix it -haha!) The First Big Book of Why | 4. And Then, Story Starter Cards | 5. Allowance Game (like Monopoly for littles!) | 6. Domino Set (Q learned to play this summer with her Aunt Britt-Britt so I told Britt these would be a great idea to get for her! | 7. Smarty Blocks (looks like such a fun game that both girls can play!)

quality toys

Actual “Toys” that the girls want and that I don’t hate!

1.Spirit horse and girl figurines (Did you watch the movie Spirit? They now have a show on Netflix and the girls LOVE it!) | 2. Melissa and Doug Horse Mat | 3. Hearth and Hand Dollhouse (I thought Cub would love this in her room since Q has a little Pottery Barn one in hers.) | 4. Q is obsessed with her American Girl Bitty Baby, named Autumn so she wants some cute AG Accessories and | 5. I found an Etsy shop that makes the cutest handmade doll clothes! | 6. Pottery Barn Lock Box (they are obsessed with “hiding and storing their treasures” lately. And, it’s personalized! | 7. Little Cosmetics (fake makeup!) | 8. Rainbow pillow (bc, rainbows!)| 9. New craft box (we get a new one every year- they use it every day!) | 10. New clothes for Cub’s Hazel Village doll | 11. Wooden Wagon Dollhouse (we keep our collection of wooden blocks/toys in a basket downstairs so I thought this would be an adorable addition. This one is sold out, but I linked a similar one! | 12. Some furniture and dollhouse people


We are always looking for great quality toys for travel/restaurants

1.Roll up piano (obviously not for restaurants but cool for the girls to bring to their rooms/playrooms when they “perform shows”, etc.) | 2. Tiggly (a great educational game/app for Cubby’s ipad | 3. Build a Cupcake magnet game | 4. Joke Books |5. Pink Etch-a-sketch | 6. Lego on-the-go case | 7. Osmo (a great educational game/app for Q’s ipad!)


Some things for Baby Max this year!

1.wooden cars | 2. Gathre Car Mat | 3. Shape Puzzle | 4. Tool Work Bench (I know Max is too young for this but I HAD to get it from the Hearth & Hand Collection before it was gone…and I’m sure the girls will play with it in the meantime!) | 5. Skiphop Play house book | 6.Cactus rattle | 7. June and January pom beanie hat


stocking stuffers

Some fun ideas for the girls stockings

1.iRig microphone | 2. Rainbow Maker | 3. Magnetic Slime | 4. Kid friendly nail polish | 5. Whatchamadrawit card game | 6. Flashlight projector | 7. Rubix Cube



Some other ideas that we aren’t getting this year but thought these were great gifts!

1.Push car | 2. Magnetic alphabet practice | 3. Slime Making Kit | 4. Solve the Mystery Books | 5. Rainbow Blocks | 6. Cutest little poodle plush | 7. Crayon “Rocks” | 8. Science Myths Kit | 9. Instrument Set | 10. Wooden Marble Run






Jump Rope Rhymes Book | Double Dutch Jump Rope



My girls LOVE these!

polaroid camera



nothing better than new crayons!

Art Set


all three of my kids have one! Coziest ever!

personalized blanket from Highway3



So adorable…and I love the wood!

Car and Ramp Set


for when Max learns to walk (waaah!)

cutest walker from Hape


Because Q’s “Baby Autumn” must come with us everywhere!

Doll Carrying Backpack


Q loves hers and I think it’s time Cub gets her own! We personalize the lid with the girls’ names!

jewelry box


NEW Additions to the Gift Guide and on SUPER SALE!!!



Bought these for the girls’ “tent sleepovers” in the playroom! BONUS: they are originally $189 and are on a ONE day sale today 11/28/17 for $89!!!!

White Fur Sleeping Bag


Super Similar to our “out of stock” tent from Land of Nod. This one is from Anthro and I might like it better than our own!! (unfortunately, not on sale…)





from my playroom tour, we used this over the closet/playhouse door! 20% OFF Sale!  PROMO CODE: SAVE 20 (today only 11/28/17)

Land of Nod Play House Door



From our piano room. Cub loves this and I can’t wait to pass it on to Max! 20% OFF Sale!  PROMO CODE: SAVE 20 (today only 11/28/17)

Tree House Set



From our playroom tour: we have this in our “Christmas tent”!  20% OFF Sale!  PROMO CODE: SAVE 20 (today only 11/28/17)

Plush Camp Fire


Spreading the LOVE:

Since my gift guide is mainly for my own kids, and therefore isn’t all-encompassing, I’m sharing a few other Mama Blogger’s Guides with you! For some more Christmas Gift Guides, check out these fabulous ladies linked below! There are six of us and between us all, we have a total of 13 kids, ages 3 months to 7 years… so I’m sure there’s something for everyone!

Check them out:

Hello Tiny Love |Steph Pollock |The Love Designed Life |

Occasionally Perfect Style |Cultivate Motherhood




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