Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you all things merry and bright today!

We completed our Christmas Bucket List last night, and it was, er, interesting to say the least. After sprinkling our reindeer food outside we got hot chocolates. Harry took a sip and was o-v-e-r it. I was so surprised it didn't like it more! That just meant more for mom :).

We put out cookies and milk for Santa and opened his Christmas Eve present- a Rudolph book we planned on reading at bedtime. When that rolled around Harry had a tantrum, over- get this- baby wipes. Fun! So we didn't end up reading the book. Maybe tonight.

I'm really hoping he has fun opening gifts today and that he got all the tantrum-ness out of his system last night.

Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Bucket List

It's no secret that I hate the cold, and this December has been brutal. I'm usually depressed around this time of year, but I have been determined to prevent that this time around. With Harry able to understand the whole concept of Christmas now(to an extent) it's been easy to turn my winter attitude around.

Earlier this month we created a family Christmas Bucket List. Which is basically a list of Christmas-themed activities we wanted to do.

Here's a breakdown of everything we've crossed off so far.

1. Drink hot coco. Haven't done this one yet. We were hoping to go to a Christmas light display about an hour away and drink hot coco then, but it hasn't worked out yet. I might just grab some Starbucks hot cocos today or tomorrow for us to enjoy at home. I'm curious to see how Harry likes a hot drink, he's never had one. Though he's always very curious about my coffee in the morning.

2. Play in the snow. We've had an unusually snowy December so there's been plenty of opportunities to play in the snow. It's also been really cold and Harry had a fever last week so we weren't sure if we'd get the chance to knock this one off the list. Fortunately yesterday temperatures were up a little so we bundled Harry up and played in the snow a little. His snowsuit fits him perfectly right now, he looked so freaking cute traipsing around out there! I took a bunch of cute pictures so if I have time I'm going to do a separate post, but here are a couple for now.

3. Decorate Christmas cookies. 

I made our cookies from scratch (using this awesome recipe) the night before we decorated. I think Harry decorated two cookies, which he promptly ate.

The recipe makes a ton of cookies so the next day Harry and I took some over to my dad's.

4. Donate to Toys for Tots. Giving is important all year long, but especially at Christmastime (IMO). And it doesn't get much easier than dropping toys in a box at the library- where we go every week anyways. We picked out a few small toys to donate and I explained to Harry who they were for, although I doubt the concept will sink in for a few years.

5. Complete 5 Christmas crafts. I picked what I thought would be a manageable number, but we've done way more. We've made construction paper Christmas trees, cut out snowflakes, a foam igloo, a sticker gingerbread house diorama thing, salt dough Santa ornaments, and garlands to name a few. Oh, and we have an advent calendar where every day Harry gets to put a pom pom on a penguin's belly.

6. Open a present on Christmas Eve. Obviously this one hasn't happened yet, as I'm posting this before the 24th. Opening a gift the night before Christmas was a family tradition I had growing up and I'm excited to start it with Harry this year.

7. Make reindeer food. I've seen a lot of different recipes for reindeer food, but we kept it super simple this year: old-fashioned oats and glitter. Pour into a jar and shake. It got a little messy, but that's half the fun!

On Christmas Eve we'll sprinkle some on our patio so Santa's reindeer can find our house. Kind of a new take on leaving a carrot out for Rudolph. I like it :).

8. Watch a Christmas movie. We tried watching a Mickey Christmas special on Netflix and Frosty the Snowman on the DVR. Neither of which kept Harry's attention for more than 10 minutes. I'm thinking Daniel Tiger needs to come out with a holiday special- he would be interested in that for sure. But, we did all go to the Yo Gabba Gabba Christmas concert, so I guess that could count.

So that's, it, our Christmas Bucket List in a (long) nutshell. I had plans on getting an Elf on a Shelf this year but Ant scoffed at the $30 price tag so I tabled the idea. It is expensive for a little 12 inch doll, but it looks like a lot of fun. Not sure if I could come up with 24 ideas of where to hide him though, if we get one next year I might just do the week before Christmas or something.

What was on your Christmas Bucket List this year????

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Bubble Wrap Party

The other day I received something extremely breakable in the mail. Because of that, the box was filled with yards and yards of bubble wrap.We had fun with it :).

Happy Thursday!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Yo Gabba Gabba! Live

I mentioned last month we got Harry Yo Gabba Gabba! tickets as a birthday present. Yesterday was finally the day of the concert. We talked about it all week to get Harry excited about going, but I think I was looking forward to it even more than he was.

I love Yo Gabba Gabba!, it's one of the few kid's shows I think is tolerable (along with Sesame Street and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, which we just recently discovered). I know a lot of people don't like YGG, but we think it's super fun :). It was the first show Harry really got interested in, so it has a special place in my heart. 

I wanted us to dress up for the concert, so Harry got to wear his adorable Brobee shirt.

The shirt is part of this pajama set from Target. If you order it, be sure to order at least one size larger. Harry's wearing a 3T, and all his other clothes are 2T.

For myself I made a Foofa-inspired headband and did some YGG nail art.

I did an easy DJ Lance Rock design on my left hand. I tried to convince Ant to let me make him a DJ Lance Rock sweatshirt, but he didn't go for it.

The concert was at the Rosemont Theatre and it was an absolute blast! We got to the venue about a half hour before the show started and Harry had fun seeing all the other kids who were also wearing YGG shirts. Harry also got a little souviner, a tour flag to remember his very first concert. 

The concert was holiday-themed so all the characters wore warm clothes and sang a few Christmas songs, along with their original songs from the show. Along with the characters, there were performances by Leslie Hall and Biz Markie, but the extra, super special guest was Santa.

Harry did awesome during the concert. I would have bet money we would have had to leave at least once, but he was absolutely mesmerized with the performance and sat on our laps the entire time. There was a 20 minute intermission where he got antsy, but as soon as the show started up again he was fine. The show was maybe an hour and a half (including the intermission), any longer would have been too much so it was perfect.

I'd go to a Yo Gabba Gabba! Live event again in a heart beat, it was a fantastic experience and it made Harry so happy. 

Here's a video of the YGG gang on Jimmy Fallon last week for your entertainment!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Anniversary Stuff

Our 3rd wedding anniversary was last week and I wanted to take a minute to recap how we celebrated.

As far as gifts go, the 3rd anniversary is traditionally the leather anniversary. Ant and I had the same idea and got each other new Coach wallets. I'd been wanting a new, bigger wallet for a while and I thought it was about time Ant had a grown up wallet (you can see his old wallet here- NSFWish).

Ant also got me flowers, a necklace and a Starbucks gift card (well, that was from Harry). And every anniversary he likes to make me something to make up for every other day of the year when I complain that he isn't crafty enough. This year he made me some leather bracelets to go along with the theme.

Pretty impressive! He said they involved a lot of twisting and were kind of a pain to make.

Saturday night we were finally able to go out and celebrate. My dad agreed to watch Harry for the night so Ant and I went to Bahama Breeze ALONE. It's literally been a year and a half since we've done that! Our baby-free meal was excellent, but we were disappointed to find the restaurant had taken our favorite appetizer off the menu less than a week prior. Darn!!!

Before leaving for Grandpa's

Failed attempt at a family photo

After a nice, leisurely meal and listening to some live reggae music, we drove to Alta Villa Banquets where my dad had taken Harry for a birthday party (fun fact, our wedding reception was at Alta Villa, too). We hung out at the party for about 45 minutes before heading home. The boys fell asleep almost as soon as we walked through the door and I spent the rest of the night watching Carrie Underwood's Sound of Music special on On Demand.

A small celebration, but it was perfect for homebodies like us!

Monday, December 9, 2013

25 Month Update

I like doing these updates, so I plan on continuing them for the foreseeable future- with a few changes. With Harry done teething and not visiting the doctor again for a while to get his height and weight, I'm just going to do some bullet points with different developments that happened over the last month.

  • Loves the moon. Points out crescent drawings of the moon as well as the real thing if we're outside past sundown.
  • Likes pretend play. Puts all his toys and even his drink to "night night" and will sometimes feed his stuffed animals.
  • Asks for his Planes cups a lot.
  • Loves to sing songs. His favorites are "What Does the Fox Say," "ABCs," "Twinkle Twinkle," and "Ba Ba Black Sheep."
  • Knows the entire alphabet- V seems to be the only one he gets stuck on. He "spells" out words he sees all the time. His favorite letter is W, which he adorably pronounces as "boy-you." Once he had a mini tantrum because he needed to see a W. Calmed down as soon as we found one in a book. He also figured out a W is an M upside down. I have a shirt that has a W on it and he'll point that out, then turn his head sideways and call it an M. I was really surprised he was able to make that distinction so early on in learning the letters!
  • We're starting to work on counting, too. He knows many of the numbers by site, but isn't quite sure of what they all mean. Earlier this week we were at Hobby Lobby and going down the Christmas ornament aisle where Harry kept pointing to the different ones and saying, "two, two, two, two, two." It was so funny!
  • As far as shapes go, he's got moon, star, heart and circle down. He'll find the teeny tiniest little stars and point them out. He might know square, too, but that one he's hit or miss with. 
  • He doesn't speak in sentences a whole lot, but is definitely starting to. One of the cutest things he's saying right now is "it's dark out there!" at night. He has to point to every available window and say it. Just so we really know it's dark out. 
  • The word "No" entered his vocabulary not too long ago. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if it's his most used word. The other day I was reciting the ABCs and he said "no" after every letter until I hit W, when he excitedly shouted "yeah!" 
  • Pronunciations of certain words are becoming more clear. We helped him change the first two and he did the third all on his own. I keep trying to get him to change his pronunciation of airplanes (he calls them "pah-poos"), but he's being stubborn on that one.
    • Brobee (from Yo Gabba Gabba) went from "Be-bo" to "Boo-be"... at least it's closer ;)
    • Harry went from "He-ho" to "Hu-ey"
    • Pizza went from "Poppy" to "Pe-ha"
  • We're trying to teach him the difference between being mean and nice. He hits sometimes and is constantly pulling Ant's glasses off his face. Our efforts haven't seemed to have sunken in yet, but hopefully something will click soon!
  • I said last month that he was off the paci. Not quite. He used it maybe 3-4 times since then. So he's definitely close to dropping it for good. 
  • Funny story... the other night we were walking inside and there was a tall, older man with a beard in our hallway. As we walked by him Harry said "Santa, Santa." It took a lot of restraint for Ant and I not to bust out laughing right then and there. Fortunately the man didn't really notice us and Santa sounds like "tanta." 
Whew, that's a lot of stuff for just one month. Harry is in this awesome phase where he just wants to learn everything, it's so fun!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Personalized Cookbook + Pizza Recipe

December is here and quickly flying by. Santa's going to be making his yearly trek around the globe in just a few short weeks so if you haven't already, now's the time to start your holiday shopping! 

If you're struggling with gift ideas, look no further. I have a fun one for you today- a personalized photo book cookbook!

I partnered with Shutterfly to create my very own cookbook featuring some of my family's favorite recipes. I titled it Always Add Garlic because garlic is my most favorite flavor in the whole world and add it to almost everything I make. I've had the book for a while now and just love it. Having all my go-to meals in one place makes it so convenient. I'm terrible at remembering exact measurements so the cookbook has been a proven time saver- super important when cooking for an impatient toddler!

The book is built to last as well, so I'll be able to pass it down to Harry someday. Even if he's not big on cooking when he's older it'll be fun to look back at what meals we ate a lot during his toddler years.

If you're interested in making your own photo book cookbook through Shutterfly, here are a few tips.
  • Make the book with their Layflat pages. The pages are thicker than normal photo book pages and really do stay open on any page, so no need to constantly flip back to the page with sticky fingers!
  • If you have photos of your food, add them, but if not, don't stress over it. Most cookbooks I've seen don't have pictures of every recipe. Pictures of your family gathered around the table would be a nice touch, too.
  • If you have a lot of recipes to share, think about creating a whole series of cookbooks with fun titles like Party Starting Appetizers, Just Like Mama Made Main Courses and Dang These Are Good Desserts.
  • I didn't add a lot of decoration to my cookbook, but Shutterfly has some really cute food-themed icons to add. Check under the "Food & Drink" category in the Stickers section. 
  • Not only would a personalized cookbook make a great Christmas gift, but keep them in mind for any bridal showers, weddings or college graduations as well. 
To get you started on making your own personalized cookbook, here's a yummy recipe for homemade pizza. For the crust, I found a recipe online, used less salt and added a bit of garlic powder. It was seriously delish!

Roasted Garlic Pizza
Makes one 10-12 inch pizza

-Pizza dough
- Tomato paste
- Can of whole peeled tomatoes
- Dried oregano
- 1 cup freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
- Garlic powder
- Olive oil
- 2 heads roasted garlic
- Any additional toppings

- Pizza stone
- Pizza peel (you could use an upside down pizza pan in a pinch), dusted with cornmeal 

- Put pizza stone in oven, preheat to 450 degrees.
- Sprinkle flour on work surface and form dough into pizza shape. Wait 5-10 minutes and stretch to 10-12 inches round. Transfer to pizza peel.
- Poke holes in dough with fork and brush with olive oil.
- Brush on thin layer of tomato paste. Slice a few peeled tomatoes into strips and layer on top of tomato paste. Sprinkle with a pinch or two of oregano. Brush crust with olive oil and sprinkle on a pinch of garlic powder.
- Top with mozzarella and feta cheeses.
- Add roasted garlic cloves and any other toppings.
- Transfer to pizza stone in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
- Cut into 8 slices and enjoy!

If you're looking for more recipe ideas, click here.

Disclaimer: I received my personalized cookbook photo book for free in exchange for this blog post. All words, photos and opinions are 100% my own. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

3rd Anniversary

Happy 3rd anniversary to my hubby!

I'm not one for mushy sentiments, but I'm happy to call him mine and am thankful for everything he does for our family.

I ordered his gift last week but it hasn't arrived yet... bummer! According to the UPS website it should be here by the end of the day today. So he'll still get a present on our actual anniversary, I just probably won't get the chance to wrap it.

Ant surprised me last night with more Ferrero Rocher candies than anyone should ever eat.

Although I'm sure I'll have no problem finishing off the box :). I love all 3 flavors, but the coconut one is my favorite. Which used to be called Ferrero Garden, and are now Raffaello. As long as they still taste good!

We want to go out to celebrate sometime, but we've got a busy schedule this month so who knows when that'll happen.

Here's to year three.... and many more!

Monday, December 2, 2013

'Tis the Season

Happy December! Hard to believe it's Christmas time already, I feel like we were just outside playing in our shorts and flip flops.

Those days are a distant memory now and we fully embraced the holiday season on Saturday. First on the agenda was a Christmas concert at the Roselle Public Library featuring local musician Tom Malouf and his daughter, Beth. Roselle's very own Rose Queen even showed up to spread some Christmas cheer (she wore the most amazing Dorthy-esque sparkly red shoes!).

The event got quite crowded and Harry was running around with the other kids the whole time. He loved it!

The concert lasted for about 45 minutes, and then it was time to watch Santa arrive. Everyone went outside to wait for Santa's arrival to Roselle. Instead of a sleigh Santa rode in on a blaring firetruck. I think he took a joy ride around downtown first because we were outside for at least 10 minutes hearing his sirens and the firehouse is right next door to the library. For those just driving by that must have been fun to see!

Both Ant and I were really hopeful Harry'd be willing to sit with Santa this year. He knows who he is and loves pointing him out whenever he sees him in a picture or on TV. He was so psyched to meet him Saturday, too. All morning he kept talking about the jolly man in red.

Actually meeting Santa was a totally different story...

It was well past nap time at that point so his tiredness probably had something to do with him not wanting to sit on Santa's lap. Better luck next year maybe.

We quickly booked it home when we were done and put Harry right to sleep. After a refreshing nap I turned on some Christmas music and we got ready to decorate our Christmas tree!

Harry was first to put his new ornaments up.

I think he had a fun time putting the ornaments on the tree, although he probably had more fun pulling them off and throwing them.

Here's the finished tree.

Our little Christmas tree has definitely seen better days, it's at least 13 years old! One of the feet is missing so we have it resting on a stack of books. It's really unstable, hence why we kept it in the play yard. We'd like to get a new one for next year, so we'll probably go out looking for sales the day after Christmas.

As far as other decorations go, we will be working on them throughout the week. I bought a couple little craft kits for Harry to help me with. Should be fun!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanksgiving Recap

I hope you all had a nice holiday! Our Thanksgiving was a lot different than last year's, which we just spent as a little family of three. We went over to my dad's house for dinner where they hosted well over 30 people. It was a little chaotic, but lots of fun, too.

Wednesday night Harry and I went over to help set up the tables with the place cards I made. My step mom came up with the design idea and I put them together with help from my trusty Cricut. I did them in three different colors and everyone thought they turned out really cute.

DSLR selfies before we left for the party.

Along with the place cards I made some stuffed mushroom appetizers. It was my first-ever attempt at stuffed 'shroomies, so I was a bit nervous that people wouldn't like them. I was very thankful to receive multiple compliments on them and both trays were gone by the end of the night.

Before we started the feast 9 year old Franco delivered the most heartfelt prayer. I was so impressed with his delivery and thoughtful words- I doubt I could ever come up with something so meaningful. We all gave him a big round of applause after he finished. Dinner was served buffet style and everything tasted so good! I wish I could have gone for seconds, but I was busy watching the little boy who insisted on standing in his chair and only ate a piece of bread and some applesauce we brought from home.

Despite not eating (I think he was just overwhelmed by everything going on) Harry had a blast and behaved really well. Franco and his younger brother were nice enough to play with him most of the night.

LOL at my brother in the background :)

We left a little before 8 o'clock and were able to get Harry down for his usual bedtime.

Ant had yesterday off and we bummed around until mid-afternoon when we went grocery shopping. Since we weren't really looking for any Black Friday deals we thought about waiting until tomorrow, but braved the crowds just to get our 20% off total purchase coupon (valid starting next week).

While shopping we found our Christmas ornaments for the year.

Our tradition is to get one new ornament each year, but as you can see, we went a little overboard. I actually bought the camera ornament a few weeks ago because it was too cute to pass up. Then yesterday I had a buy 3 get one free coupon, which is why we ended up with 4 more. Harry picked out the Abby and Elmo ornaments all by himself and in case you're wondering, the Duff Beer can is a thing from The Simpsons- one of Ant's favorite shows.

I was surprised to find that none of our ornaments (except for the Duff Beer one) have the year on them. When decorating the Christmas tree each year I love going through and seeing how long ago each ornament was purchased. I fixed our 2013 additions right up...


As for today, I hope I'm well enough for our plans! I started feeling kinda crummy yesterday morning, but we're hoping to take Harry to meet Santa this afternoon. I think we might try to put up our Christmas tree, too, and Ant was talking about meeting up with some coworkers at a bar after dinner.

Hope your weekend is off to a nice start!
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