12.22.2014

A December to Remember

December....it truly is one of my favorite times of year.
It's even more magical with kids. 
I love everything that comes with December & Christmas time....even the craziness. 
Here are 10 things that I am love about this time of year...and why it has been a December to Remember:

{ONE}
I love San Francisco during Christmas time.
Growing up, my parents took us to San Francisco every December.
We have taken our kids every year as well. 
We have actually been 2 times in the past 2 weeks. 
Earlier this week, my older sister had her annual work Christmas Party for Family & Friends. 
They rent out the Embarcaddero Ice Skating Rink and have free food & drinks for everyone.
It is amazing. And so fun.
This year it was dumping rain, but we still went anyways. Making memories....ice skating in the rain.
Love all the lit up buildings.
 The Ferry Building lit up Orange in honor of the Giants :)

 Such a fun night!

{TWO}
Christmas Cards...I love them.
I love going to get my mail once December 1st hits. 
I anxiously wait for the mail to come each afternoon. 
I love seeing my friends & families beautiful faces hanging up in my dining room! 
Christmas cards are the best. 

{THREE}
I LOVE Christmas Parties! 
Each December our calendar gets filled up with Christmas parties....Kevin's work, my work, our court party & tacky Christmas party.
I love getting dressed up for Christmas parties.
This is what I wore to Kevin's work party:
It was a cranberry lace dress that I got {HERE} last year. 
They have 2 similar styles in black this year which are 40% off! {HERE} and {HERE}
We had our Court party last weekend. It is just for the adults on our court & everyone gets dressed up and we have a White Elephant exchange. So much fun. 
I got the fur vest that has been cycling through the court for the past 5 years. We all call it the Rat Vest.
Our neighbor made Reindeer-tinis' this year. So good!!
This week we also had a girls only annual gift exchange for the ladies on our court. We all wear our jammies & drink wine & have heavy appetizers for dinner.
 I love my court :)

Friday we had our final Christmas Party of the year....it was an 80's Holiday Theme.
You know I love a good theme party.
Check out Kevin & I:
I mean....Kevin's wig?!?! Luke didn't even recognize him!
Oh yeah.....80's Holiday Attire....Nailed it!
I got my dress on ebay for $20. And, I wore black nylons. Of course I had a side pony with a big black scrunchie. It isn't 80s unless you have blue eyeshadow, right?
It was such a fun party, there was even a live band. Loved it.
It was so fun seeing everyone's 80s attire. So Radical :)

{FOUR}
Rodan + Fields Eye Cream is one of my favorite things! It get rid of dark circles, puffiness & fine line under your eyes. 
We have a FREE Gift with bundle purchase that ends on December 31st. 
Buy a regimen with one of our tools (either the macro Exfoliator or our AMP Roller) and you get a FREE Eye Cream! Plus you save 20% on the bundle and get the $60 eye cream for FREE!
This is Kristen, a fellow consultant who used the eye cream on just 1 of her of eyes for 3 weeks. Isn't the difference amazing?
If you are interested in getting this awesome eye cream, send me an email!
melissa_larson17{at}yahoo.com
Not only could you save 20% on a bundle and get a free eye cream, you could also get $20 off your order and FREE shipping! 
You can find out what products are best for your skin by taking this quick questionnaire {HERE}

{FIVE}
Ugly Christmas Sweaters.....I love them.
We go to an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party almost every year.
Here are a look back at some of our outifts (I told you we love theme parties!)
Friday was Ugly Sweater Day at school. I rocked the 12 Days of Christmas Sweater. 
 I added a light up necklace to go with it :)

{SIX}
I love funny things like what the CEO's of Cards against Humanity did on Black Friday as a way to protest Black Friday. They shut down their website and the only thing they sold was a $6.00 box of bull poop. Yes, actual bull $hit. They had 30,000 boxes and they sold out in 1 hour!!!! What is wrong with people? Ha! They donated the proceeds to Heifer International, so that is awesome.







Read the story {HERE}

{SEVEN}
Cheesy Christmas Movies....I just love them.
Also something I love...wine (duh) and Trader Joe's Peppermint Pretzel thins...they are like crack.
I record as many cheesy ones as I can & try and watch 1 every night starting December 1st.
I also love watching other Christmas movies besides the cheesy Lifetime/Hallmark Channel/ABC Family ones.... My Top 10 list of Christmas Movies is {HERE}

{EIGHT}
UGGS. They are my favorite Winter Boot.
I have 4 pairs. Kevin got me these ones 8 years ago:
 I have 4 pairs. I wear them all the time during winter. 
I have these ones {HERE}


My next pair were these ones {HERE}:
 


Then, I got these {HERE}:

 And, I also got these {HERE}

I really like these ones {HERE} because they can be tall or short.
Aren't they cute? I like the gray and the black.
I need an UGG intervention. Ha! I have gotten 4 pairs in the last 8 years, but they are just so cozy & don't wear out....even after 8 years!

{NINE}
 I love sitting my Christmas tree listening to Christmas music. It is one of my very favorite things. Saturday I sat there & flipped through cookbooks because I needed to plan the Christmas Dinner Menu.


We are hosting Christmas Dinner this year for both Kevin's family and my Family, so we will have 16 adults and 8 kids for dinner. Here is the menu that I came up with.

I had fun putting the menu together....I think it will be delicious!


{TEN}
 One of my very favorite things in December is going to church each Sunday.
I love the Advent Season. The Summer & Fall were busy for us and we were out of town a lot, so we were only going to church twice a month during the Summer/Fall. Once things calmed down in November, we were able to go for 5 weeks straight! 
Yesterday was going to be 6 weeks in a row.
As we were driving to church, I told Kevin that I was so excited that after a crazy & busy Fall we had made it to church for 5 weeks straight and that we were able to go each Sunday of Advent without missing church. 2 minutes later, we pulled into the parking lot of church, parked the car, and before we got out Luke puked all over himself and his carseat!!!!!!!! 
Are you kidding me? 
We drove right back home and obviously missed church. 
Guess I spoke too soon...totally jinxed us. 
I am just thankful he got sick in the car and not in Sunday School...that would have been awful. 
When he puked, we decided to just drive right back home and not deal with cleaning him up in the parking lot.
We had nothing to clean him up with....no baby wipes, no change of clothes, no towel...nothing.
#ParentsoftheYear
We live less than 5 minutes from church, so we rolled down all the windows, told the girls to stick their head out the window to breathe the fresh air and not touch Luke.
When things like this happen, all we can do is laugh. 
And then take a selfie with funny faces. Ha! 
We had to document this with a selfie because these are the moments of Parenthood that I want to forget...ha! But, this is real life.....we drove our kid home covered in puke and we drove home in a stinky car. Good times I tell you, good times :)
I can assure you that my girls will never let Luke forget this!

If you have read this entire post, thanks for reading the rambling and randomness...and sorry about the puke in the last picture....at least it's not poop like when I posted about Luke eating his poop. Remember that? If you forgot, you can read it {HERE}

 I am officially on Christmas Break....this is not how I envisioned starting off our break. Ha!
I am hoping and praying that no one else gets sick!

12.16.2014

Crying Kids with Santa is my Favorite

Not many things bring me more joy than crying kids with Santa (or the Easter Bunny)
I love it even more when it's my own kids.
#meanmom
 2007
Kate was 11 months old and wasn't quite sure what to think. Didn't smile, but didn't cry.
 2008
Claire's 1st Christmas {3 months}, Kate {23 months}

2009
Claire {15 months}, Kate {2.5 years old}

2010
Kate {3.5 years old} & Claire {2 years old}
2011
Kate {4.5 years old} & Claire {3 years old}

 In 2011, they both smiled.  The streak was over. But in 2011, I had just found out I was pregnant with Luke, so I was hoping for another Santa screamer ;)
2012
Luke was just 4 months old and he LOVED Santa. I thought my crying Santa streak was really over.
2013
YES!!! Turns out Luke is a crier with Santa!
 And, even better....my nephew Jack also cried. Double the fun.
 
What would Luke do this year? Would he cry? (Fingers crossed......)
And, JACKPOT! Luke is still not a fan.
Love it :)
Don't worry, Luke was only on Santa's lap for about 30 seconds & then I rescued him.
I love our Santa, he is FREE! You get to take your own photos!
And, he spends time with the kids & doesn't rush them (even though there is a long line)
He asked the girls if they had been good.
Claire said yes. Then he said,  "Claire...what about your room? Have you been keeping it clean?"
My jaw dropped....Claire's room is a DISASTER. Claire was like a deer in headlights. I had no idea how he knew. Then he said, "Claire, Do you have an Elf on the Shelf?" Claire said "That's how you knew about my room!"
Her face was priceless.
Then he asked Kate if she had been eating her vegetables (Again, I have no idea how he knew that Kate has been trying to be better about eating her veggies)
Our jaws dropped again.
I believe! Seriously....Santa is real!!! ;)
When he asked them what they wanted, they both said Christmas Dresses for their American Girl Dolls (of course one of them is sold out, don't know how I am going to pull that one off! This is the first I have heard them wanting these dressses)
It was just an awesome experience. 
First, Luke cried and then Santa asked the girls the most perfect questions.
I absolutely love these magical holiday moments with my kids.
And, I absolutely love crying kids on Santa's lap.
My girls love looking back on their crying Santa photos.
I hope Luke does too!

12.12.2014

Peanut Butter Blossoms Cookies

I am so excited to share one of my favorite recipes with you today!
You may remember when I posted about my Grammy's 103rd birthday {HERE} and I got to bring home Grammy's recipes & cookbooks. I am excited to share one of those recipes. 
Believe it or not, I have never made these cookies. I have eaten them since I was a kid, but I have never made them myself!
But, now I have the recipe....and I am sharing it with you! 
The recipe is for a peanut butter cookie from one of Grammy's cookbooks from 1942. They are amazing Peanut Butter Cookies, and because I love peanut butter blossom cookies, I added the Hershey Kiss to them.
Here is what you need:
 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 stick of butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter (I use Skippy Natural)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar (for dipping)
 Directions:
Combine 1/2 cup sugar, brown sugar, butter and peanut butter in bowl.
Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
Add egg, vanilla and salt; continue beating until well mixed.
Add flour and baking soda; beat at low speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls If dough is too soft, refrigerate 30-60 minutes.
I use a cookie scoop & then roll with my hands.
Roll balls in 1/4 cup sugar.
Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes or until very lightly golden brown.
(If you just wanted amazing & soft peanut butter cookies, you could just leave them like this and not add the kiss.)
Immediately press chocolate kiss in center of each cookie.
Remove to cooling racks & then ENJOY!
They are so soft & delicious.

 Last weekend our court had a 49ers vs Raiders Football watching party (most of our court cheers for the 49ers, but we have a few Raiders fans) I brought these cookies to the party and they were a big hit!
I will be sharing a few more of Grammy's recipes this month....next up will be fudge!
Want more Cookie recipes? Just click on the Recipe Box Tab {HERE} at the top of my blog.
Tons of Cookies & Bars to choose from.
These Candy Cane Kisses are my favorite to make during December:
Recipe {HERE}
Happy Friday & I hope you enjoy these cookies!

Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger

Disclosure: This post was written as part of my participation in the Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger Program. While Hormel Foods provides me material and necessary resources to complete various activities, the thoughts and statements in this post are my own.

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