deck the halls!

every year, we get into comfy pj’s, turn on the christmas music, hc pours me a glass of wine, we break out the christmas decorations, and get wild! oh, my favorite time of the year! i love lighting up the house and getting in the mood with all the festive decor.

i must admit…it’s quite the chore. hc and i aren’t the type of people who can decorate over a few days or weeks. we prefer to get it done, like within a few hours. once the boxes come up from the basement, they go down empty. we can’t help it. he’s type A and i am type A+. it’s a harmonious partnership {most of the time…hahaha!}.

olive was sooooo into it this year. she loved everything! she was so amazed by all the ornaments and every little thing that we pulled out. it was so sweet to hear her excited voice and elated expressions. she loved helping us with everything! ellie on the other hand, was like, ‘i don’t give a sh*t’ and ran around trying to break stuff and throw it in random places. haAAAaaa!

maybe one day, we will get a real tree {i looooove the smell of pine!!}  but for now, we have our fake one. although it’s about to go kaput on us. we bought this tree our first year of marriage and it’s going on it’s seventh season and the lights are like, byeeeee, see ya later!

one thing we added this year was extra pine garland. lots of it! i love the look and smell of fresh pine! we always hang it on our door way and our railing outside but this year, we added it to our entryways, our kitchen, and hung it up in olive’s room to add a bit of extra festiveness!

i’m loving the decor and only wish it was more than a month of christmas season! it definitely flies by too quickly! well, here’s to soaking in every moment this christmas season! cheers!

via tandeminlove.com

[could she be any sweeter?]

via tandeminlove.com

[her most favorite ornament]

via tandeminlove.com

[she was our anti-decorating grinch]

via tandeminlove.com

[comfy pj’s and stringing tinsel]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com
via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[daddy helping olive with the star topper]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[muslin bag advent calendar]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

xoxo

christmas day ’16

every year, it always works out perfect where christmas eve is spent at my parent’s house and christmas day is spent with hc’s side of the family.

we first head to missy’s house {hc’s sister} to exchange gifts with hc’s family. after that, we then go to aunt vicki’s house for christmas dinner. over there is mostly jane’s side of the family and i always love seeing jay and lori and the boys…i am closet to hc’s cousin’s wife. but of course i love visiting with everyone! it’s always nice to catch up and hear what everyone is up to and how life is treating them.

it was so nice because everyone wanted to hold ellie and she loves to be held! she is such a good baby, always so calm and sweet. kait was a huge fan {always has been since olive}! she’s so sweeeeeeet with olive and ellie. she’s so nice, kind, attentive, and playful! olive loves to hang out with her! it melts my heart to see how good she is with them and how they reciprocate the love. as a mama, you absolutely love your kids but it is sooooo heartwarming to see someone else enjoy them almost as much!

food was ready not too long after we arrived and {per holiday demand} i ate wayyyyyyy too much. the food was definitely a heart attack on the plate and when it’s that bad, it’s so darn good and you go in for seconds. eep!

we then exchanged gifts with aj and jake. lori got the girls some awesome gifts…olive was so happy to get mlp and shopkins! score! i was soooo happy to see how excited aj was to receive his bulls jersey! he was beyond ecstatic! he told me how much he wanted that for christmas and was a bit bummed to not have gotten it christmas morning…oh that meant so much to me to hear him say that! so darn sweet! jake loved his gifts too! overall, it was a successful gift giving season!

hc and i really, really enjoyed ourselves this year. i am not sure what elevated the experience this time around but we had a great time hanging out with everyone and the time just flew by! before we knew it, it was getting late and we had to go. we said our goodbyes and headed on home. it was a fabulous two days of celebrating and we were feeling very grateful and full of love. oh how i enjoy the holidays!

via tandeminlove.com

[aunt wendy and ellie]

via tandeminlove.com

[sisters]

via tandeminlove.com

[family]

via tandeminlove.com

[kait and ellie]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[jennifer and her beautiful daughters]

via tandeminlove.com

[hubby charming]

via tandeminlove.com

[morgan and darci]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[morgan and ellie]

via tandeminlove.com

[presents!]

via tandeminlove.com

[yay! presents]

via tandeminlove.com

[brother and sister]

via tandeminlove.com

[reindeer ears from aunt gloria]

xoxo

christmas eve

2016

every year, christmas eve is spent at my mom and dad’s house.

my sister kim cooks dinner, while we help, and all is merry and bright! my dad blasts the christmas music, the wine is freely flowing, yummy aromas fill the house, and there is much excitement and anticipation amongst the kids.

as we walked into my parent’s house, i heard my brother huy’s voice. i thought, ‘oh, he’s on face time already!’. we had received bad news earlier on in the week that huy and tashina weren’t going to make it out here for christmas. we were so sad! well, as we were taking off our shoes, huy comes running up the stairs!!! wtf! we couldn’t believe it! i was soooo surprised and happy! he made it into town! yaaaayyyyyyyyy! he was only going to be in chicago for less than 24 hours but we didn’t care! it was a total christmas gift to have him spend it with us, albeit the short time frame.

olive was not afraid, this time around, of uncle huy! all the other times he’s visited she has been utterly scared of him. almost terrified! she was so receptive and actually gave him hugs, kisses, and wanted to be near him. a complete 180 to her behavior from a few months ago! i was loving it…it made me so happy to see her loving huy.

well, we fried the turkey, we made all the delicious food, and after hours of waiting, we finally sat down to eat! yum.yum.yum. my dad said a blessing and we all dug into the delicious meal! it was sooooo good as always. after dinner, we did the usual of cleaning up before we opened presents. the kids always wait soooooo patiently for that.

at last, it was time! but not without a hundred photos first! hahaha! this christmas is the first christmas where olive was fully aware of what was going on. she knew she had presents and it was the most darling thing to watch. she was so excited, grateful, thankful, and oh so darn cute opening up each one of her gifts. her excitement and joy filled my heart with love! it was awesome to watch her light up from all the excitement and gifts. we are so blessed and thankful for all that we’re given!

after the tornado whirlwind of tearing apart gifts, everyone settled in and enjoyed their presents. dessert was served and relaxation began. we were spent…so exhausted from being sick and tired from all the sleep we weren’t getting. an hour after the craziness, i was ready to go.

we packed up our zillion things, said our merry christmases and thank you’s and went on our merry way. it was a fabulous christmas eve, especially with huy surprising us! we enjoyed our family, the food, the libations, and the absolute joy these kiddos exude. life is good, christmas time is great, and family is the best. it was a merry christmas indeed.

God bless us all.

via tandeminlove.com

[uncle dan with miss ellie]

via tandeminlove.com

[crazy cousins]

via tandeminlove.com

[festive, cutest table decor]

via tandeminlove.com

[uncle huy with baby ellie]

via tandeminlove.com

[family pic…minus ellie]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[i love how happy my dad looks]

via tandeminlove.com

[dem cheeks]

via tandeminlove.com

[mama and her daughters]

via tandeminlove.com

[cutest cousins]

via tandeminlove.com

[so festive]

via tandeminlove.comvia tandeminlove.com[she’s so sweet]

via tandeminlove.com

[christmas table centerpiece]

via tandeminlove.com

[photo by huy doan]

via tandeminlove.com

[they make each other smile]

via tandeminlove.com

[photo by huy doan]

via tandeminlove.com

[photo by huy doan]

via tandeminlove.com

[love these two!]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[photo by huy doan]

via tandeminlove.com

[ellie in her fur stole]

via tandeminlove.com

[photo by huy doan]

via tandeminlove.com

[a rare moment for ellie…usually that’s olive. hahaha!]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[ready to open christmas presents!]

via tandeminlove.com

[tearing into her presents]

via tandeminlove.com

[pretty much what ellie did all night…lay around]

via tandeminlove.com

[i think this might be my favorite pic]

via tandeminlove.com

[super auntie thuy and olive]

via tandeminlove.com

[she had a B L A S T opening up her gifts]

via tandeminlove.com

[photo by huy doan]

via tandeminlove.com

[sweet baby ellie]

via tandeminlove.com

[olive’s stash]

via tandeminlove.com

[facetime with tashina]

via tandeminlove.com

[thuy’s secret santa gift…macarons]

via tandeminlove.com

[mmmmm macarons]

via tandeminlove.com

[b loving his gifts!]

via tandeminlove.com

[a very sweet moment between uncle dan and olive playing together]

via tandeminlove.com

[photo by huy doan]

xoxo

merry christmas!

merry christmas to you and your family! may your day be filled with joy, laughter, love, yummy food, great spirits, and sweet hugs!

today we celebrate the birth of jesus christ and the love of God! we are so blessed to know how good and great God can be & we are very thankful to be touched by His grace.

glory to God in the highest! peace on earth and goodwill to men!

via tandeminlove.com

xoxo

christmas popcorn

every year, i kind of do the same thing. maybe one day i will switch it up and make something different but as of now, making christmas popcorn for the neighbors is so fun and easy!!! i stress easy because this mama doesn’t have much time anymore, especially during the holidays!

this treat requires very simple ingredients: 2 microwavable popcorn packs, 2 bags of white chocolate, pretzels, m&m’s, and christmas sprinkles. i popped the popcorn and then melted the chocolate. my favorite way to melt chocolate morsels is to boil two inches of water in a pot, put a broiler on top and then another small pot in it to melt the chocolate. i melt small batches of chocolate to ensure it doesn’t coagulate or seize, plus i prefer to make small amounts of christmas popcorn to ensure each nook and cranny gets coated with yummy goodness!

i put out a large sheet of wax paper and spread the popcorn out, poured copious amounts of m&m’s, dumped a handful of the broken pretzels, and then drizzled the chocolate in a zig zag pattern across the mixture. after the chocolate, i then dumped a generous heaping of sprinkles all over the popcorn. it transforms into a yummy, sweet, decadent treat for the holidays! mmmmmmm

after the chocolate dries, i then packaged it into mason jars…wide mouth mason jars are best but i only had regular mouth jars on hand. i had pre-dressed them up in festive paper, ribbon, and string.

ta da! yummy, easy gifts for your awesome neighbors! {we are so lucky to be surrounded by awesome neighbors!} i love the holidays – ’tis the season of giving out sweet treats and fun gifts!

via tandeminlove.com

[dressing up the jars]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[the simple easy, unhealthy ingredients]

via tandeminlove.com

[melting chocolate]

via tandeminlove.com

[i would turn around and this candy thief would sneak m&m’s off the counter! i had a picture of her totally laughing, sneaking the candy but it was so blurry…wahhhhh]

via tandeminlove.com

[before mixing]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

xoxo

diy advent calendar

i have always waited around for olive to reach an age where she understands certain things and rituals. i have always wanted to make an advent calendar for her but i wanted her to enjoy it and understand what it is about.

i loved advent calendars as a kid. it was a christmas favorite of mine. i always looked forward to the little surprises behind the doors and wondered what sweet treat lay hidden inside.

i decided that this was the year to make an advent calendar for little miss olive. i already had most of the supplies in my crafting closet but i needed a wreath stamp and let me tell you how hard it is to find a wreath stamp! well, at least a design i had in my mind and that was going to fit inside the muslin bags i already had. i searched and searched online, in craft stores, and tried different shops to see if they offered the right sized wreath and shape. all i wanted was a round shaped wreath that looked real, christmasy, and would fit inside the size of the bag. i.could.not.find.it. isn’t that crazy?! i found a stamp that i really liked but hesitated on the sizes because i wasn’t sure which one would fit and it’s so hard ordering online because i couldn’t visually gauge it!

so i gave up and decided to not waste any more of my time trying to buy a damn stamp! maybe next year i will embellish on the design but this year, it was going to be simple and plain with just numbers on the bag.

when i say this is easy and quick, it’s super easy and quick. i stamped each bag {24 was my magic number of bags}, trimmed the extra strings on it, and then strung it onto red and white twine. ta da!!!! simple, festive, advent bags to help your cutie countdown to christmas day!

i eventually decorated the twine with green garland to add an extra touch of holiday magic and filled each bag with candies, toys, and random goodies! let me tell you, olive looooooooves her advent calendar. it helps her learn her numbers but she absolutely loves opening up each bag every day and i find such joy in watching her do so! it’s so darn cute!!!! she’s so patient, doesn’t peek inside the bags and always waits for us to say it’s time to open up her advent bag!

we do this every day as a family after hc comes home from work. it was really important for us to do this together and revel in olive’s joy! plus, she’s sooooo sweet about it. she always says thank you and will come up to us and say, “i love it! i love my toy!”. oh my goodness…i love her so much!

well, that was my easy, simple, diy advent calendar for christmas! i am hoping to find a lovely wreath stamp or holly stamp by next year and make our cute little muslin bags more fun and festive for the season! yay!

via tandeminlove.com

[supplies: ink, stamps, bags, twine, and goodies to fill the bags with]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[muslim bags stamped with numbers]

via tandeminlove.com

[free hand stamping]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[pj’s, coffee, and crafting…yesssssss]

via tandeminlove.com

[i have boxes of stuff in my crafting area and found some fun things to fill her bags with!]

via tandeminlove.com

[i asked her to stand next to her advent calendar and this sour look is what i got]

via tandeminlove.com

[i asked her to look at the camera and she gave me the blank stare. oh olive! i decorated the twine with green garland later to make it more festive!]

xoxo

holiday gift guide

oh the holidays. it’s a lot of ‘what should i buy?’. you’re lucky if you get a list from the recipient…that definitely makes it easy! i put together a list of fun items you can get your little babe. obviously it’s girly biased but hey…when you have two girls, it’s a no brainer i will err on the side of girly gifts but i do feel that some of these items are unisex!

via tandeminlove.com

1.this oeuf sweater is amazing. i pretty much love anything they sell! it’s cozy, cute, and fun! i love the love script on the front and olive would pretty much live in this. every child needs a fun, cozy hoodie like this one!

2.bunniclub. you need to check out this shop. she’s quite fabulous and totally talented. she makes the most adorable little stuffed animals for your little babes. i only wish i could buy every single dolly she makes. they are that cute!

3.ok, kid and kind’s clothing line is soooooo freaking perfect. i love her collection this season. every piece is beautifully designed and will become a staple within your kiddie’s wardrobe. you won’t regret dropping those pretty pennies for her clothes.

4.oh this shop is so good. if you need blankets, swaddles, bibs, hats for you baby that are unique and gorgeous. you will loooooove this shop, littleandluxe. they are all designed by the maker herself. i love the pretty eye catching colors of every item she makes. anyone you gift these to will love it!

5.booandbear is the cutest pillow shop. she has more than just pillows but her hand sewn designs are refreshing and adorable. these pillow will brighten any kid’s room! every pillow is so whimsical and pretty. a perfect gift to anyone decorating their kiddo’s room!

6.we have one of these mobiles and i can’t express in words how how i love it! it’s so pretty, whimsical, and magical. it livens up any nursery/room and adds a special touch to the total decor. babyjives offers so many styles and color options, you will definitely find a mobile to go with anyone’s space!

’tis the season

i was excited to do our annual christmas decorating bonanza! ok, so this year…it was so easy and fun with olive but it was hard to manage ellie! most of the time she just happily laid on the couch and observed us but there were times i needed to hold her and that slowed me down a bit but in the end, we got it done!

at first it was a bit stressful because hc seriously struggle with the tree. the lights in the middle of the tree went out. ugh. so he bothered with that for a bit but once he was done, it was smooth sailing after that! we blasted christmas music, drank, and decorated!

decorating is a lot to juggle with a baby and at times, it seems stressful {well, at least that’s how i freakin’ feel!} but overall, it was totally fun and olive seriously had a blast! it was so, so, so sweet to see her so excited and intrigued by everything. she loved the tree and had so much putting up the ornaments! she loved looking at every single one and telling us what it was…oh, the joys of childhood. it melts my heart.

well, we totally deck the halls with bough of holly…fa la la la la la la la! our house turned into a magical, festive wonderland! gosh, i looooooooove this season!

merry christmas!

via tandeminlove.com

[sweet baby ellie just chillin’]

via tandeminlove.com

[my sweet babe ready to decorate]

via tandeminlove.com

[hc fussing and fixing the lights]

via tandeminlove.com

[olive hanging ornaments]

via tandeminlove.com

[admiring the prettiness]

via tandeminlove.com

[her favorite ornament]

via tandeminlove.com

[she said, “ohhhhhh, snowman!”]

via tandeminlove.com

[a wedding decor turned ornament]

via tandeminlove.com

[this sweet face…i loved watching her amazement]

via tandeminlove.com

[i love her!]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[this picture is super blurry but i love it just the same…a sweet capture]

via tandeminlove.com

[pj’s all the way!]

via tandeminlove.com

[ellie is so sweet and calm]

via tandeminlove.com

[putting up the star]

via tandeminlove.com

[way to go olive and dada!]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[ready to put together the train for under the tree]

via tandeminlove.com

[this was her favorite part]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[these two babes melt my heart]

via tandeminlove.com

[my favorite, favorite picture…it’s the most wonderful time of the year]

via tandeminlove.com

[my most favorite people]

xoxo

christmas eve

2015

ahhhhhh! it was finally christmas eve and we were so excited! i love the holidays and the joy that comes with it!

like i said in a previous post {now that the cat’s out of the bag!}, I have been sooooooo tired from this pregnancy! writing blog posts, decorating, planning, going out, whatever it was took five times as long having a toddler and being so exhausted every day. there were days where i didn’t want to do anything and that is soooooo unlike me. i am the energizer bunny. i can plow through anything and come out winning like a champ with extra energy to spare. hahaha! throw in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy during the holidays and i was ko’d.

anyhoo, our morning started calm and quiet. hc made a delicious breakfast quiche to start our day out. we just relaxed and completed odds and ends before we headed over to my parent’s house. while the girls slept, i made christmas popcorn and packed them into mason jars for our neighbors and saved the rest to bring over to my parent’s house for our family to munch on.

via tandeminlove.com

[hc made a festive christmas breakfast]

via tandeminlove.com

[yummy christmas popcorn]

once we arrived at my parent’s house, cooking our christmas eve dinner was in full swing. we hung out with everyone, sporadically helped out with dinner, the kids played, and everyone was just having a great time together. it’s always so fun to have my brother huy around and his fiancé tashina. they are so quirky, fun, and oh so creative. i love their style and the kids love them so much!

my sisters did such a great job setting the table and the kid’s table. it’s always so pretty and festive. once dinner was ready to be served, we all sat down, my dad says a blessing, and we get to manger manger the delicious meal my sister kim cooks! after dinner is when the kids get soooo antsy because they want to open presents! i must say, though, my nephews do ask but they are so patient and understanding. we won’t open presents until we are all done with cleaning up the table, the kitchen, and the dishes are all washed, cleaned, and dried.

of course the kids always go first! r and b are tooo cute when they open up their gifts, we always get hugs and thank you’s. sooooo sweet! each present for olive, we had to get started. someone would tear off a little piece or corner and away she would go. she definitely had fun opening up her gifts! she loved the big stuffed kitty aunt thuy bought her, one of her favorites! she also looooooved b’s roller skates! they were too small for b but olive wanted to put them on and she was amazing in them! she held her balance well, she would jump and land on her feet, and every time she fell, she would say, “whoa whoa whoa!!!!”. it was too stinkin’ cute!

the best part of the evening? being able to tell our mom and dad and famille that i am pregnant! i was sooooo excited, i could hardly wait! after the kids opened up a majority of their gifts, i decided to give my parents our present from us. my dad was the one to open it up. as he did, a big smile crossed his face…seeing what the shirt said. he held up the shirt {a white toddler tee that said big sister in vietnamese} and my sister kim asked, “who gave that to dad?”. i said, “we did! i am PREGNANT!!!!!”. there were gasps and cries of joy! oh i was sooooo happy to tell everyone the news! there were tears and hugs and lots of smiles! it was so awesome to share the news and see the elation on everyone’s faces! little r asked if he could have a boy cousin! hahaha! we will see little one, we will see!

oh what a merry christmas eve it was! it felt fantastic to finally share the joyous news and just let my prego belly hang out! i was soooo tired of hiding it! after we opened up all our gifts, i sliced the buche du noel cake and served the french classic treat to everyone and we just reveled in all the goodness around us. it was quite the blessed evening and we couldn’t wait for christmas day to share the news with hc’s side of the family! hooray!

via tandeminlove.com

[my shirt says: santa, i know him! looooove it]

via tandeminlove.com

[kids table! how fun!]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[grace and hc]

via tandeminlove.com

[buche du noel]

via tandeminlove.com

[buffalo check greatness]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[tashina, thuy, and r]

via tandeminlove.com

[huy and tashina]

via tandeminlove.com

[classic…of course olive is grumpy]

via tandeminlove.com

[olive was so afraid of her dada]

via tandeminlove.com

[so silly. i love it]

via tandeminlove.com

[love these two]

via tandeminlove.com

[desserts…fruit and cake!]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[loving my dad’s outfit!]

via tandeminlove.com

[she really enjoyed opening presents!]

via tandeminlove.com

[she looooooved her stuffed kitty from super aunt thuy]

via tandeminlove.com

[she loved bouncing around on the it]

via tandeminlove.com

[dad holding up the ‘big sister’ shirt!]

via tandeminlove.com

via tandeminlove.com

[christmas eve isn’t complete without a pj party pic!]

xoxo

wee christmas

it was the annual wee christmas party!

hc’s friend’s dave’s mom {got that?! ha!} and dad host a christmas party every year called wee christmas. they have been doing this for decades. ever since i have been dating hc, we’ve attended every party. i love going to this. pat and pete are such warm, welcoming people and i love all of their friends, children, and grandchildren.

their house is always so festive and fun. they literally decorate every room in the house. christmas trees, santa’s, something festive and fun everywhere. it’s like santa’s house inside. there are always lots spirits to go around and tasty apps. i love visiting with everyone and every year, there are always the same faces with some new ones stopping by once in awhile.

olive was not comfortable, as always. she clung to me for dear life, although she did lighten up a lot faster than usual. she was intrigued by all the decorations and kept wanting to point out every santa figurine she saw. so, since she couldn’t point out all the santa’s in my arms, she actually wanted to get down so she get could get a better look at all the fun decor. totally fine by me! although she stayed super close, at least i didn’t have to carry her for a long period of time! phew!

soon, food was served and we ate and mingled some more. i had a great time getting to know a few new faces at the party and catching up with some old acquaintances. right after dinner is served, santa makes his appearance! santa visits every year at the party, reads a story, and hands out fun gifts to the little ones.

it was quite adorable when maggie called for olive to sit in her lap and olive obliged. i tried to snap a good photo but with so many crazy kids, it was hard to get a pic without someone’s arm or face right.in.front.of.my.camera. hahaha! olive was quite content until santa showed up! ohmygawd. total freak out! she immediately burst into tears! she was soooooo scared! even in my arms, she kept crying. she wouldn’t look at him and wasn’t happy until we left the room and she was far, far away from him! ha! no presents for her!

after santa, desserts were served and olive was a happy camper again. she stuffed her face and became a cute sweet babe again. hc and i were having a great time but alas, we had to go because we needed to pick up grace and didn’t want to get out there too late and get home even later.

as usual, we had a fabulous time at wee christmas. we enjoy going every year and look forward to it always. merry merry indeed!

via tandeminlove.com

[my love]

via tandeminlove.com

[olive loving the ‘munny’]

via tandeminlove.com

[she loved the little wooden horse and all the wonderful vintage toys in the basement]

via tandeminlove.com

[it was so sweet, maggie called for olive and she came over to sit in her lap. how sweet!]

via tandeminlove.com

[here’s santa!]

via tandeminlove.com

[she was terribly upset! no santa!]

via tandeminlove.com

xoxo