valentine’s day ’18

one day, maybe a month or so before valentine’s day, olive asked me if we could have a valentine’s day party. well, ok! i thought it was so cute that she asked! i then inquired who she would like to come to this party, and she, without hesitation, said, “reagan, bennett, and terry!”. alrighty then. i thought it was hilarious! so i text my sisters and let them know what olive had asked and who she wanted to come to the party. my sister kim said, “well, i didn’t want to come anyways!” hahaha!

so, we had our family over for a fun little party! of course we kept it simple. wink. wink. in all seriousness, it really was a simple and easy party to get ready for! olive and i did some food prep before everyone came over. we cut up some ingredients for the apps and olive helped me cut out heart shaped pepperoni for the heart shaped pizzas hc was going to make!

i decorated the kitchen area and we waited for hc to come home from work. he started pizzas while i started apps. we had mozzarella sticks, jalapeños filled with cream cheese, and guac dip. the heart shaped pizzas turned out so cute and delicious and after dinner, we served a yummy cake!

after dessert, we gave the kids their valentine’s day gifts and the kids played and had a ton of fun. olive is always excited to hang with her cousins! our evening was short for it was a school night. so after a couple hours of visiting, we wrapped up our evening and said our farewells.

the party turned out so cute {if i do say so myself} and a good time was had by all! it was definitely a day of love indeed!

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[kid’s table]

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[she’s such a ham!]

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[heart pepperoni]

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[hc and terry]

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[my girls]

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[cousins]

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[hc and kim twinning]

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[look at that pout face]

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[present time!]

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xoxo

snow day

i am not one to watch the weather reports. i typically glance at the daily temperature so i have guidance on how to dress the girls. so, it was totally by word of mouth when i heard that we were getting a huge snowstorm! whaaaaaa?!

the days leading up to the actual event, i felt like i heard so many tall tales! such things as, we were going to get 6-12″, we were going to get 15″+, it was going to be crazy, things were going to shut down, water bottles were selling out, there was a mad dash to the grocery stores, the snowfall prediction grew by inches as the days rolled towards the actual day of the storm.

my attitude was: humph…it’s chicago. we’ve had worse. and so it began. the snow started to fall, and fall, and fall, and fall. i absolutely love fresh snow! it’s so clean, calm, and beautiful. it kept falling and falling, on and off for almost three days. we ended up with 15″+ and it was a total winter wonderland!

hc wanted to take miss olive out in the snow. one – to put on the gear he had bought for her and two – how could you not?? there was sooooo much snow, you had to have some fun it!

olive was apprehensive at first. she was uncertain about the mounds of powdery white snow. slowly but surely, though, she started to become keen about it. and soon enough, she was giggling and wanted to play in it!

well, we survived the massive snowstorm of 2018! the roads were cleared over night {after the heaviest snowfall} and all was well. it was back to business the next day, although it continued to snow but like i said – it’s chicago. it’s not our first rodeo! yahooooo!

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[ready for the snow]

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[she’s not quite sure what to do]

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[holy snow!]

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[she was not happy]

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[oh her sweet unhappy face]

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[throwing snow at dada!]

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[hc jumping in the snow, entertaining olive]

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[she thinks dada is soooooo silly]

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[she’s so sweet!]

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xoxo

from the heart

for the past few years, olive has made valentine’s day cards for her friends and family. we love this crafty moment; it’s a fun time for olive to learn about valentine’s day, create something pretty, and know that she’s sending out a little love in the mail.

i purchased the typical heart cards from papersource. i have bought them every year there for this purpose. i can’t tell you how much i love that store. when i lived in chicago, i used to go to the one in lincoln park, on armitage, allllllll the time. then they opened up the one on southport and i then had choices!!! i always feel like i could spend hours there looking at everything, wild with crafty ideas!

i pulled out my valentine’s day craft box and gathered all the crafty bits and pieces together to help olive create fun little valentines for her friends. she was loving it! she loves to paint and put stickers on everything! it’s one of her favorite things to do! she was waiting all week to do this!

she painted, then decorated, then signed some, and then got bored. hahaha! i must say, she completed a slew of cards…she does every year. i am always amazed by her tenacity and focus! like daughter like mama! i finished out her cards with a wish and assembled them all in light or hot pink envelopes. i addressed them {practicing my brush lettering}, literally stamped and stamped them, and we placed them in our mailbox to go! we love snail mail. it’s so old fashioned and fun.

happy valentine’s day my friends!

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[she’s ready to go!]

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[i love her little ankle cross]

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[painting her heart cards]

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[i love that smile]

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[kisses!]

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[oh that smile!]

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[her painted masterpieces]

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[putting her final touches on the cards]

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[full focus]

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[ta da! the almost finished product!]

xoxo

classmate vday cards!

now that olive is in school, it’s been fun creating birthday treats, teacher christmas gifts, and now we get to be creative for our valentine’s day cards!

since good ol’ pinterest has been around, creative ideas are in overdrive or overload or overwhelming. it’s like a pot o’ gold of ideas. well, of course i pinterest’d a valentine’s day card concept from there! i loved the one where you take a photo of your kid and stick a lollipop in their hand! i’m sure y’all have seen this one!

olive’s valentine’s outfit du jour for the pic? a heart headband and my little pony pj’s. that’s my girl! we love hanging out in pj’s all day every day!

everything cost just a few dollars apiece and it was quite inexpensive to make! everything was on ‘sale’ {i only quoted this because, lately, sale is usually the regular price}. the most time spent was looking for the supplies, only because i do love to shop and find the right pieces! my problem is that i love to look at everything, every shop, every possible option…not to find the best deal but to find the best stuff to execute the ideas that float around in my head.

hc printed out the pics for us, i bought the supplies, and olive helped assemble all the lollipops onto the cards! i stuffed each heart covered plastic baggies with a card, a few pieces of candies, a bubble wand, and stickers! voila! cute, fun packages to hand out to her classmates on valentine’s day!

olive was quite happy with the final results and i can’t wait for her to hand out her sweet valentines to her friends at school!

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[she looks thrilled doesn’t she?! hahaha!]

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[what do i do with this lollipop besides eat it?]

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[she did it!]

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[focus!]

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[i love that smile]

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[ta da! her valentine’s day card]

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[a valentine’s day card, bubbles, stickers, and candy!]

xoxo

hb ma soeur thuy!

happy birthday to my lovely sister, thuy!

on saturday, we treated thuy to a spa morning and then, at night, we had a wonderful birthday dinner for her. it was quite the lovely day!

our day started out with pedicures and relaxation. we chilled, got pampered, and then went out to lunch. funny story…so kim and i brought our own flip flops to the spa and thuy did not. hmmmmm. it’s winter here, it’s cold, and sock and boots don’t mix well with freshly painted toes. so, yes, we wear our flip flops out. i told thuy to not put her boots on because she was going to ruin her painted nails. well, she decided to wear the paper thin, cheap flip flops they give you, out and about the mall. a quarter of the way to our destination, the flip flops b r e a k!! ugh! she was limping around, holding the flip flop in place between her toes!!!

after we ate, she decided to not wear the flip flops anymore and just put on her socks to walk around the mall!!!! whaaaaa? ohmergawd. kim and i were like, nooooooo! kim wanted to run to a store and buy her a pair of flip flops….but thuy insisted that we don’t spend the money on shoes. we were like, helloooooo! we don’t want to walk around with you wearing a canada goose jacket and no shoes?!!!!

so, it had been long enough, where her nails should have been somewhat dry and kim remembered that she had her shoes in her purse. thank goodness! thuy put them on and we walked on our merry way in peace and non embarrassment. hahaha!

later that evening, we all met at neat kitchen in westmont. it was local, good, and they could seat a party of 16 people with no problem. kim, terry, hc, and i met earlier to ‘pre-game’, as the boys called it. around 7, we were shown our table and slowly, everyone trickled in to celebrate thuy!

we ordered apps, libations flowed, great energy, conversations, and laughter filled the air. the night flew by! we were having so much fun! it’s always a great time when you are celebrating an occasion and the company is so good! the food was {as usual} delicious and copious. before we knew it, the hours flew by! the server brought out a decadent dessert to thuy in honor of her birthday and we all broke out in song.

the night ended on a high note and we all walked away feeling the love that we had for thuy. happy birthday my sweet sister! cheers to many more wonderful birthdays together!

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[sisters are the best]

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[pete and lan]

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[dan and agata]

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[sheryl, thuy, and lan]

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[kisses for you!]

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[these two…bromance]

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[happy birthday!]

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[a few of the girls]

xoxo

auld lang syne

happy new year!

we hosted a small get together for our friends and family on new year’s eve!

our family debated on whether or not we wanted to go out to dinner {something we’ve done many, many times on new year’s], so we decided to have a party at our place instead! just the sisters and the bro and a few friends. people who we typically celebrate with every year.

we were in debate on what we were going to cook {not me! ha!], we just had beef tenderloin for christmas eve, we had a spiral ham and prime rib for christmas, so we went with a pork tenderloin for new year’s eve! every one pitched in with the menu and when that happens, it makes the night so much more fun and easy!

i ran around decorating like a crazy person. rummaging through my decor box and creating something fun for new year’s! i had no clue what i wanted to do for the tables, the photo booth, the dessert table…but thank goodness everything turned out sparkly and festive!

we ate, and cooked, and ate, and cooked, and ate some more and then ate more food. then ate dessert and then ate more leftover food. bahahahaha! we were s t u f f e d. the food was all sooooo delicious and perfectly made.

once dinner was over {we ate late on purpose}, we cleaned up a bit, and chilled; waiting for the new york countdown, since we have kids and we are ‘old’ and we didn’t want to be up all night…ohmergawd. we’re duds. haaaaaaahaha!

anyhoo, once we counted down, everyone pretty much ran out to go home! no problem…we were tired! i really think it’s because it’s the last of the holidaze and by then, we are just spent!

overall it was a wonderful, relaxing evening! i hope this year brings everyone love, joy, health, prosperity, and many great adventures!

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[nye photo booth]

école valentines jour artisanat

[she wouldn’t put on a more festive outfit, insisted on wearing this crown, and lately, this has been her cheese face…]

école valentines jour artisanat

[the boys]

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[she looooooved sitting on the chair!]

école valentines jour artisanat

[i was stumped…i wasn’t sure what i wanted to do for the centerpieces!]

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[me and hc]

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[chalkboard calligraphy]

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[kids table]

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[party favors]

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[cheese plate]

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[everything is good with macarons]

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[kim and terry]

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[sip sip hooray!]

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[party cake]

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[the girls]

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[party table]

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[i love our fireplace…so cozy!]

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[dance party!]

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[rich and agata]

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[pete and dan]

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[triplets]

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[interpretive dance]

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[plaid in the usa]

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[hey olive, smile! hahaha]

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[lan, avery, and pete]

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[agata, olive, and dan]

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[isn’t she so sweet??]

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[oh these kids…it’s so hard to wrangle them in for a good pic!]

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[ready to ring in the new york new year!]

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[counting down!]

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xoxo

reunite

we were looking forward to our visit from carol, ted, and family! it’s been awhile since we have seen them and we are in dire need to plan a trip out to them! whether it’s to seattle, whistler, or their new abode in breckinridge…we need to travel out to the pnw!

carol and i have been friends for ages. we used to live down the street from each other, 4 houses apart to be exact. we’ve been through thick and thin, our ups and downs, and continue to survive life’s craziness and remain friends. we were inseparable for years…years! we saw each other almost every day. her parent’s practically adopted me as the other daughter. i went to her house every day after school. ate dinner there almost every night. helped her dad with his campaigns. did bad things together. did good things together. we drove around like punks in her sh*tmobile. got drunk together. went shopping together. i was there for her when her uncle aaron passed. when her dogs passed. and one of the saddest moments in my life, i was there with her when her dad passed. literally. we sat in the hospital together, by mr. kagann’s side, when her dear dad took his last breath. he was like a second father to me.

with over 30 years of friendship, i could go on and on and on about the many crazy things we have done, been through, and stuff we should probably never talk about. hahaha! well, we grew up, got married, and had kids. we both have fabulous husbands and beautiful children. carol is blessed with three and me, with two wonderful girls.

her hubby ted is a gem. he is hilarious, {sickly} humorous, and kind. these two crack me up! i love hanging out with them. so, the stars aligned to where we could get a day with them while they were in town. let me tell you…when carol and ted come into town, they are booked every day.

the kids played together…well kenzie and olive played together while shelby moseyed off on her own and travis was deep into some sort of game on his iPad. us adults, drank, laughed, and ate ourselves silly until it was time for them to go home.

we were sad to see them go but we were so happy to have spent a wonderful evening with the whole gang! thanks for stopping carol and fam! we hope to see y’all soon!

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[bff’s for over 30 years]

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[the cutie couple]

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[sweet shelby]

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[playing together]

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[travis in his little world]

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[yummy dessert]

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[the sweet kiddos]

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{expand the screen for optimal viewing}

video by: hc

strobe lights by: kenzie

singing by: olive

xoxo

noel ’17

this was the first christmas day hc and i had hosted! as our aunts and uncles and parents get older, it was time to pass the torch to the next generation and continue the traditions! hc’s aunt vicki and uncle steve have hosted christmas day for a long time and it was time for us to take on that holiday and celebration!

we were excited to do so! hc told me last year that he would have the basement done by then and ta da! it wasn’t. wah wah. we wanted the extra space but c’est la vie. christmas day was just fine the way it was {space wise}.

christmas morning was exciting! olive couldn’t wait to see if santa ate his cookies and if rudolph nibbled on his carrot. the girls were excited to open up their gifts and of course, play all day long with their toys! we made cinnamon rolls for breakfast and drank mimosas….what a perfect christmas morning.

hc created a menu, based upon what everyone was going to bring, and we finalized all the pretty decor touches before everyone arrived! we were excited to do this! family is most important and we couldn’t wait to celebrate this day with hc’s side.

hc made a spiral ham, prime rib and green beans, while aunt vicki brought her infamous shells, aunt wendy provided the alcohol, jane brought mashed potatoes and apps, sister missy brought dessert, and cousin jennifer brought brussel sprouts. everyone participated and the spread was delicious and amazing!

it was a beautiful evening, being able to visit, relax, and just be with family. that is definitely what life is about!

we were so happy to have hosted our first christmas day and we were so excited that everyone had such a wonderful time! cheers to new traditions and to family!

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[cookies and milk for santa]

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[olive was so excited to see if santa and rudolph ate their snacks!]

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[excited over santa gifts!]

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[no pj olive]

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[she asked santa for a doll, fairy, horse, and unicorn]

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[she loves this little doll from mary, her sitter]

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[snow globe]

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[christmas day mimosa]

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[cinnamon rolls]

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[santa’s gift]

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[sweet babes]

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[sweet exchange]

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[christmas dinner tablescape]

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[aunt vicki, missy, aunt wendy, jane, and jennifer]

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[uncle steve and jennifer]

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xoxo

christmas eve ’17

christmas eve was teetering on the brink of us possibly hosting it or having it at my parent’s house {for the past several decades}…it depended upon whether or not my parent’s foundation crack was fixed and the carpet was installed.

hallelujah, everything fell into place and my parent’s house was back in order! it was going to feel like christmas eve!

well, i awoke to it snowing outside and became a little kid, squealing with excitement! i was soooooo stoked it was going to be a white christmas!! it had been so warm all season and the southern region of the states had gotten more snow than us! there’s something just so magical about snow on christmas!

we prepped all day to get ready for christmas day {we were hosting for the first time!}, ellie took a nap, we scrambled to get the girls bathed, and over to my parent’s house at a decent time but failed miserably! i wanted to get over to help my sister cook but we ended up not getting over there until 6!!!

all was good, we helped with dinner, we partook in joyous, silly things, and enjoyed each other’s company. christmas time is so darn special. i love the merriment, the compassion, and the warmth of home. there is nothing like spending time with family and loving one another.

we were so happy to have the newlyweds, huy + tashina, here for christmas {after joining them for their fabulous wedding}. they always add to the fun craziness of our family time!

life is good.

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[a white christmas]

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[twinning]

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[gorgeous centerpiece]

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[besties]

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[my sweet, sweet girls]

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[silly cousins]

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[olive and ba]

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[olive, huy, and tashina]

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[my tribe]

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[crazy cousins]

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[dan, olive, and agata]

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[kim and ellie]

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[bennett, kevin, and reagan]

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[oh ellie…reagan loves you!]

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[she’s like take the friggin’ picture already! hahaha]

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xoxo

christmas popcorn

ever since we’ve moved into our neighborhood, i’ve made christmas popcorn for our surrounding friends every christmas!

it’s the easiest thing to make and oh so yummy! this year is the first year olive has really helped me with it and this year is the first year she is dressed so crazy! baby girl picked her outfit out or should i say lack thereof an oufit?! we’re going on week two or three of no clothes at home and she absolutely loves it! well, it definitely makes laundry a little lighter! haha!

i prepped our ingredients {popped the corn, opened the toppings, and readied the tools!} and boom! we were ready to go! i dumped a small bit of popcorn, at a time, into a bowl so we don’t have huge batches to cover. it’s best to do a small amount each time because you really want to coat the popcorn with the chocolate! olive sprinkled on the pretzels, m&ms, and we dusted each batch with perils!

olive so patiently helped me with each round and at the very end of it, i let her eat a piece and she was smitten! she loved it and gave me a thumbs up! i filled a santa cup up for her and she was a happy camper!

i then divvied up the popcorn into each jar and voila! they were ready to go out to each of our neighbor friends!

we had just enough left over for us and guess who ate it all? yup…miss olive!

get it girl!

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[prepping the jars]

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[yeahhhhhh, her baking outfit. she’s a nut! i love it! she only wears her undies and the most random stuff. it cracks me up!]

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[if you don’t know by  now, i liiiiiive in pj’s!]

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[i love this girl! her outfit choices crack me up!]

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[we’re ready to pour on the chocolate!]

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[yummmmm!]

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[i get a thumbs up!]

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xoxo