PC: KT Moffitt Photography (she is the best!!)
Hello my friends! How is December coming along for you? It has been a whirlwind here of ballet and soccer and school and a little elf and all the things.
I am looking forward to the break from school and from soccer and catching up on my many DVR’d Hallmark movies. I have been trying hard to schedule in down time so we aren’t so go-go-go this year and we have had many nights around the tree just watching TV and drinking cider and relaxing.
My kids are at this awkward age where they aren’t as into cartoons but the grown up shows they don’t always get the punch lines (insert image of me pausing National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation every second to explain the plot. “Yes darling, the grandma actually wrapped a bowl of Jello in a box… I don’t know why!! She is crazy thats why!”)
We are seriously in on a few shows that we have been binge watching when we can wrestle the remote away from Daddy and football all the time.
Masterchef Junior (Ok so these kids are truly spectacular in the kitchen. Even my husband will get sucked in to these episodes and after binge watching season 4 we not only got the Masterchef Junior cookbook – so far recipes are fantastic- but we are trying to find prior seasons to stream. Gordon Ramsey is hilarious to me and even though the kids don’t always get what he is saying, I find him hysterical. “That beef looks like my Granny’s old underpants! What are you doing?!” Cue to me telling the kids constantly- “Your bedroom looks like Granny’s old underpants! Get this cleaned up!” and cracking myself up. Kids staring blankly wondering if Mommy needs medication….)
Holiday Baking Championship – This one is professional and home cooks that have all sorts of crazy challenges and time limits to make something wonderful. We have watched all four seasons so far. Dear Food Network, Please bring back Bobby as the host. The Haugsven girls prefer him.)
Fixer Upper Still a huge family favorite. Chip entertains my girls to no end and they talk about him like he is a friend. “Mom is this jalapeno as spicy as the ones Chip ate?” We will be sorry to see this show end.
Running Wild with Bear Grylls– this one is my husband’s favorite and my 10 year old loves to watch with him. If you have family members that might find climbing, jumping, camping, running, eating elephant poop, wrestling alligators and more interesting… well. Grab a drink and snack friends and buckle in.
What else have we been up to?
Hunting down the perfect tree. Four Christmas trees this year y’all! Crazy! I did a sweet little pink Sugar Plum Fairy inspired one for my little girl, a red and gold Farmhouse-y one for my big girl’s room, a pretty, small-ish one in the front room for Mommy and then the big, faux tree in the living room with all the collected and handmade ornaments that the kids decorate (lovingly referred to as the hot mess tree.)
Operation Christmas Child again this year- we have done these every single year since the kids were tiny. My big girl was concerned that older boys wouldn’t get boxes so she did one for big boys with her allowance money. Love that kid.
Nutcracker Dress Rehearsal for my little Party Girl
And how can I not discuss Christmas? Are you ready? The girls dance in the Nutcracker and it takes up such a huge portion of December. Totally worth it though- if you haven’t taken your children to a production of the Nutcracker I can’t recommend it highly enough. I know it will be a tradition they look back on years and years from now and want to continue with their own children.
We did race from a soccer tournament to get Santa photos to Nutcracker rehearsal on Sunday. I was frantically trying to get the kids changed quickly and couldn’t resist stopping to snap this pic of muddy little knees from soccer in her pretty Christmas dress. This is such a fun and crazy season of life.
We made it to Santa and I have to get the girl’s out on a nice day to snap more photos of the beautiful holiday dresses we ordered from Eleanor Rose this year. Wait until you see the back of that little stinker’s dress. It is gorgeous. These Nutcracker ones were a preorder but I like the current Winter Wonderland collection more I think. If you are local to me in Sacramento, Enchanted Images is a must for every Christmas. We get the most beautiful Santa photos (no janky Santa that makes the kids cry and smells like beef and cheese here folks.) They do about 8 million photos completely and totally free in exchange for a donation to Toys for Tots. This is the spot for professional, family heirloom Santa photos and when you are ready to invest in other types of photos they are amazing too. We love this place and we love the spirit of giving they show with so much grace year after year.
And I don’t know who this little turkey thinks she is but she keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger and it makes my heart hurt. This little blog was born before she was. Dang I am old. (PC: KT Moffitt Photography (she is the best!!))
So on to gifts. I did a few gift guides this year and pretty much finished my shopping. In case you still need some inspiration, here are some things I picked up for my list. We do not go crazy at Christmastime. The kids prefer experiences anyway so we invest in the ballet or plays or Christmas light celebrations and far too many fancy cookies.
I did grab a few things though-
8 Year Old: (she loves all the glitter, all the unicorns, all the sparkle, all the stuff)
Unicorn PJs // Kindle for Kids // Lego set // Lego storage case (I actually found a yellow one in store at Toys R Us but this one is comparable and slightly cheaper // Bath Bombs (for stockings) // Unicorn Poop Candy (for stockings) // Fizz Chemistry Set (she loves making slime so I think this might be a hit) // J Crew Earrings (I got a few pairs for stockings) // also a giant plush unicorn from Justice that is no longer available online
10 Year Old: (she loves animals, cozy nights, simplicity)
Drone with Camera // Heated Throw Blanket // Pajama Set in XS // Melissa and Doug Sheep (she is obsessed with sheep and this is a huge one that she is going to love) // The Dogist (she loves dogs and loves taking photos. I think she is going to like this one and hopefully it develops her eye for photos) // Pickle Candy Canes (the kids love pickles and these are funny to me. They are crazy overpriced and possibly disgusting but sure to bring a smile from my kiddo and that is worth it // plus a gift card to either a local rock climbing place or art studio for art lessons
My husband and I prefer to gift experiences not things so we have a trip to Oahu planned in January and on the very non-glamourous side of life, he recently had surgery (torn bicep) and we are getting a new couch. Lol. Hopefully Santa pays some hospital bills this year and brings a Crate n Barrel gift card.)
For the grandparents, I did get the ancestory kit I mentioned here (my Dad) and for Greg’s Dad I got a Swell water bottle (he lives in Palm Springs where a bottle of ice water is boiling before pulling the car out of the garage) and we ordered a few things from Square1Art.com (do your kid’s have this program at school?) for Grandpa and Grandma.
For Uncle Mike and our nephew Ty, we gift experiences every year – this year is Father Son hockey tickets.
Last but not least as a family we decided to give ourselves a little gift too. We decided to sponsor a Kennel at the local animal shelter in memory of our very beloved old dog, Milo, who passed away last month at the ripe old age of 13. We miss him everyday and our hearts are completely broken but at least now his legacy will provide shelter and care for many other dogs that deserve a family that loves them. This would be a beautiful gift for someone grieving a loss this year too- sponsoring a kennel is an investment but most shelters accept gift donations in any amount.
If you have a pet, you will probably relate to this beautiful quote from John Grogan: “He taught me to appreciate the simple things—a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty.”
Fortunately we have this little darling, Bosley, that Santa brought last year. He is getting a stocking this year with Kong toys and treats from Chewy.com plus a bathrobe from Target that he clearly can’t live without. (Read- the kids begged and begged and begged me to get.)
Happy holidays my dear friends! I hope you are taking time to enjoy your family and friends this season!