Archive | CHRISTMAS

CHRISTMAS BREAK RECAP: MAKING, BREAKING + KEEPING TRADITIONS

Still pretending that 2018 hasn’t actually started… anyone else? Our tree (sans ornaments) and a few strands of twinkle lights are staying up a little longer (no shame) and I feel like I’m still process all the fun we packed into the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years. This year looked so different from years past which wasn’t our plan initially but ended up being my favorite part! There were a few things we didn’t check off our holiday bucket list, like ice skating, but there were several things I hope we can continue to do together! Here are my top 4…

1. SANTA PICS will continue to happen if I have anything to say about it! Being able to look back at pics from each Christmas is one of my favorite family keepsakes.

2. CHRISTMAS JAMMIES are a must for reasons I’m sure I don’t have to explain. As the older kids start to wear random things to bed too this tradition just keeps getting sweeter — seeing everyone in seasonal pjs gives me all the heart eyes! Maybe next year we’ll try matching :)

3. ATTENDING A HOLIDAY PERFORMANCE is one of the things we’ve been inconsistent about but this year we made last minute plans to take Griffin and Poppy to see Elf the Musical and it was definitely a highlight and something I want to be better about next year. Maybe we’ll even plan on doing something different each year… If you have any suggestions, please share in the comments!

4. PLANNING A FEW NIGHTS AWAY AS A FAMILY before Christmas, despite feeling totally overwhelmed before we left, was one of the best decisions we made last month! There is really nothing like time away to help refocus, recharge and make you feel like the luckiest person in the world. Would love to make this a tradition!

(We snuck away to our family cabin in Leavenworth, WA which we are so lucky to have but I think a couple nights anywhere other than home would have done the trick… even if it means fewer gifts under the tree!)

We have yet to establish any kind of New Year’s tradition. This year Johan worked both days, the older kids were with friends and I was asleep before midnight for the first time in forever. It was actually pretty great. However, it would be fun to figure something out that we could all look forward to every year…  or maybe not having a NYE tradition can be our tradition, LOL?

What are some old or new traditions you can’t wait to repeat next year!?

XO, Rae

 

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A WEEK OF HOLIDAY SERVICE PROJECTS WITH KIDS

This year, instead of adding activities and service projects to our advent calendar we kept things simple and filled each pocket with candy canes. While I’ve enjoyed not having the pressure of doing  a l l   t h e   t h i n g s , I’ve missed having the built-in prompts and ideas for things to do with the kids. So, I thought it would be fun to plan a week of service and kindness projects to do with them once they are out of school next week!

Here’s what I’m thinking:

A WEEK OF HOLIDAY SERVICE PROJECTS WITH KIDS

SATURDAY | help firefighters handout the toys and books that were collected during the toy drive

SUNDAY | make a pile of winter coats and snow gear to donate

MONDAY | make fudge to deliver to friends and neighbors

TUESDAY | leave Merry Christmas notes and candy canes for the mail and garbage workers, baristas, and other service employees.

WEDNESDAY | say “Merry Christmas” and smile at everyone we see :)

THURSDAY | sign up to sponsor a child

FRIDAY | write a letter to military members stationed overseas

Would love for you guys to join us or share other project suggestions  in the comments… love trying new things and you guys have the best ideas!

(a pic of Griffin and Poppy for Peek Kids, promoting their #givingtuesday event!)

Another thing I like to do randomly throughout the year, but especially over the holidays, is pay for the order of the person behind me in the Starbucks drive thru. Sunday morning Johan and I snuck away (as the kids were getting up and taking over our bed) for a quick and quiet car ride to Starbucks and decided to treat the person in the car behind us. To our surprise it was Santa behind the wheel! HAHAH. Not sure why, I love buying anyone’s coffee, but the fact it was santa made it so much sweeter.

If you guys have ever wanted to buy for the car behind you but worry about ending up with a $50 starbucks charge, all the baristas I’ve talked to let me know the total charge and ask if it’s okay… its usually somewhere between $4 and $12.

Happy Monday!

XO, Rae

PS — other service project ideas: one | two | three | four

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HOW TO DRESS KIDS FOR THE HOLIDAYS WITHOUT LOSING YOUR MIND

Eeek! You guys, we made a video that I hope will take some of the stress out of dressing the fam bam for the holidays. There’s a bonus tip for all you mamas if you watch to the end! Press play below to watch…

There is definitely a learning curve when it comes to planning, shooting and editing video, but I’m so incredibly proud of Johan for his editing job… pretty impressive for a newbie! We have a couple more Holiday videos waiting to be edited and shared but are also anxious to make some adjustments and shoot new content for the winter (and valentine’s day!). If you have any topic ideas please share in the comments!

xo, Rae

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SIMPLIFYING CHRISTMAS + A PRETTY GREEN DRESS

We’re only 4 days into December but just wrapped up a seriously festive weekend and half of me is wishing this is how life always was while the other half is wondering how I’m going to keep up for the next 21 days!? Yesterday after church with friends and a quick visit with my parents, we attended the kids Christmas party at Johan’s fire station. There was Santa, presents, bingo, bouncy houses and an antique firetruck that looked more like Santa’s sleigh (shared a few pics on Insta Stories!). Poppy spent most of the party trying to sneak the bingo prizes and chasing around a little girl that was dressed up like Elsa, asking her to “do the magic!” HAHA! Needless to say, bedtime was easy last night and this morning’s wakeup call was not.

Christmastime with kids is the BEST but can also be exhausting and stressful, even for the little ones. In an effort to keep things somewhat simple while also doing all the things and making it as fun, festive and special as possible — I mean, it is a holiday and birthday all wrapped up into one — I’ve decided to pick a word to focus on for the month.

The word I chose is (drumroll….!):  T O G E T H E R 

Hoping it will bring some focus and clarity to this season and feel like it’s already helping. Particularly when things aren’t going as planned, I’m having a hard time prioritizing my to-do list and commitments or I feel that tendency to compare!

Another way I’m simplifying this month is with this pretty green sweater dress. My kids and husband will attest that I’ve worn it 4 of the last 7 days. You guys know I can’t resist a one and done outfit, but this dress also feels like a snuggie, can be washed and dried on delicate, is long and warm enough not to need tights, and is casual enough for errands but cute enough for church or date night. Oh, and it’s under $100.

Would love to know what your word would be this Holiday Season and what you’ve been wearing on repeat!?

Happy Monday!

xo, Rae

PS — One more way to simplify is by shopping the pop-up and checking teacher, friend and stocking gifts off your list! Oh and don’t forget Holiday cards! Thank for everyone who has already placed an order and have loved seeing everyone’s choices and family photos so much! The shop will close this Friday and all orders will ship by the following Tuesday.

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THANKSGIVING WITH BASIC INVITE

I’m teaming up with Basic Invites today (YAY! Thanks for supporting businesses that support this blog!) to share some of the amazing paper goodies they have. When they reached out to me earlier in November, I was prepping to host Thanksgiving dinner at our home and jumped at the chance to order some of their Turkey Day invites. I’m a sucker for a good invite but often forget to send them out for Holidays and family affairs… But not this year!

As a designer I’m also really picky about the style of cards and often want something less traditional or more personal. Working with Basic Invite and ordering printed samples was super easy and took all the stress out of the process — they have a crazy amount of color options and let you edit all the wording and details — and they turned out so good it was hard to choose one. Here’s a peek at my order, below.

turkey & toasts | this is the invite we ended up choosing. In addition to adding some pink and orange to the text, I loved that I could switch up the  flower and leaf colors around the corners too!

thanksgiving | This one was hard to pass up and I love how the backside turned out too!

friends & family | Loved how colorful, fun and casual this one was.

friendsgiving | It’s hard to pass-up kraft paper and gold foil details this time of year so this one was the runner up, but we also had family coming over and I didn’t want them to be confused by the “friendsgiving” invite.

Such a hard choice, right!? And they look even cuter in person!

Basic Invites has over 250 photo Christmas cards and tons of great holiday dinner party invitation to choose from and is currently offering 30% off with the coupon code: holi30

You can also find them on facebook, pinterest, instagram and twitter to stay in the know regarding products and promotions!

Getting excited for Turkey dinner at our house tomorrow. Nothing better than spending time with friends and family… just hoping all the details and food come together! If your in the same boat, we’ve got this!

xo, Rae

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SLEDDING + FOMO

We’ve been soaking up the last bits of Christmas vacay and while I’m feeling ready to start taking down all the decor, I’m far from ready for the kids to go back to school. Ask me in a couple more weeks though, when their shiny new board games (pie face anyone!), legos and baby dolls lose their newness. In the meantime, excitement is high, kids are entertained, and with the exception of a few outings, we’ve mostly been staying in our jammies until noon.

One of our outings was a day trip to play in the snow and sled at Hyak in Cle Elum. The weather was perfect, the snow was falling and Poppy wanted absolutely nothing to do with any of it. Poor girl cried off and on until I strapped her into the ergo.

Now, I’m not one to complain about getting extra kid snuggles but couldn’t help but come down with a serious case of FOMO while everyone else went screaming down the hill. If Poppy had wanted to snuggle with Johan I would have felt just as left out so I guess there’s no perfect solution. Luckily I was able to start a small snowball fight before we left which made up for it!

Love these four and missed Ozzie while he stayed behind for a basketball game (another reason for FOMO). As a mom I hate that the schools schedule sports during vacation time, but as a former athlete, I totally understand.

Tilly Jane on the hot pink sled and the first to head down the hill!

You’ve probably heard before that motherhood can be lonely, but for me it’s more like FOMO. And it comes up a lot during the holidays. So if you are like me, and have been feeling left out because your nursing a baby or can’t have a glass of wine like the other adults, or have other kid centered priorities like snuggles or early bedtimes, you are not alone. And in my 16 years of parenting trust me when I say that the season will one day change and will most likely be treasured and missed.

Cheers to not having to miss out all alone!!!

Hope you enjoy the last few days of 2016!

XO, Rae

 

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SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN + MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Not sure how we are so close to Dec. 25th, but Happy Christmas Eve, Eve!!! A couple weekends ago we took the kids to see Santa and have been running non-stop ever since, just trying to cram in all the festivities, cookie baking, get togethers and gift buying. These full days are my very favorite but they are not without exhaustion, stress, and giant messes. Part of me can’t wait to wake up on Christmas morning to see it all come together while the other part never wants it to end. It all goes by way too fast! Thankful for the memories but even more thankful for the pictures to remind me :)

Here’s a look at how our Santa photos turned out this year…

Griffin has warmed up to Santa and was okay with the big guy as long as he didn’t have to sit on his lap (makes sense). 2 years ago we had to ask Santa to photobomb so Griffin wouldn’t lose it and last year he wouldn’t even take a candy cane from him while Johan was holding him. Poppy is still not a fan.

GRIFFIN’S JACKET | ESPEN’S FLANNEL | POPPY’S SWEATSHIRT | TILLY’s TEE

The jolliest bunch of elves… Love this time of year with them.

I hope Espen is never too cool for Santa :)

The big guy and my guy giving me a hard time for being on my phone but then wanting in on a selfie… typical :)

Thankful for this season where we get to celebrate in the waiting. In the preparation. And in the moment. In the little, big, magical, and imperfect things. Thankful for baby Jesus and a God who’s love is so big and wide and deep that he would send his son. Right before our Santa pics Tilly asked me, “How good do I have to be to be on the NICE list?” And I replied, “Oh sweetie, it doesn’t matter because you are always on Jesus’.”

Santa is such a fun part of the holidays, but Jesus is soooooo much better.

Wishing you a very happy Christmas that is so full of love you could burst.

XOXO, Rae

(Pics by the always amazing, Stacy Jacobsen)

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THE BEST BAKED FRENCH TOAST

Short of the occasional donut run, super sweet breakfast dishes are not the norm around here. All holiday seasons and celebrations being the exception. Thank goodness there’s always a reason to celebrate when we need a little indulging ;). The kids first full day of Christmas break this past Saturday seemed like the perfect excuse to surprise them with their favorite sugary breakkie dish, Baked French Toast. It also happens to be our go-to for Christmas morning and Easter too since it’s best to throw together the night before and bake when you wake up!

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BAKED FRENCH TOAST, serves 12

NOTE: Takes about 7+ hours start to finish. 20 minutes hands-on. Let set overnight (6+ hours). 45 minutes to bake.

FOR FRENCH TOAST YOU’LL NEED:

  • 1 loaf crusty sourdough, challah or french bread
  • 8 whole eggs
  • 2-1/4 cups half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

FOR TOPPING YOU’LL NEED:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon all spice
  • 1 stick butter, cold and diced — plus more to grease pan
  • maple syrup to serve
  • whip cream to serve
  • fresh fruit to serve (pomegranate seeds pictured)

HERE’S HOW:

  1. Grease 9×13 inch baking dish with butter. Tear bread into chunks and lay evenly in the pan. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, sugar and brown sugar. Pour mixture evenly over the bread. For most delish version, cover and store in the fridge over night…. or until you are ready to add topping and bake.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. In a small mixing bowl combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and all spice. Sprinkle evenly over top of bread. Dice butter and layer evenly over the top of bread too. Bake (uncovered) for 45 minutes. Dish, top as desired and serve…

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So simple and never disappoints! Plus I appreciate anything that can be thrown into the oven long enough to shower, clean or play with the kids. Especially on a holiday morning.

What are you whipping up in the kitchen over Christmas break!?

XO, Rae

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MINI MAKERS: MARSHMALLOW SHOOTER FRIEND GIFT DIY

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This year instead of treats the kids have decided to package up these very cute and simple marshmallow shooters to give their friends. We put together a few samples yesterday and had a blast testing them out and sampling the ammo too. Poppy (2 y.o.) was even able to make the mallows pop which lead to the sweetest belly laughs ever!

To DIY, YOU’LL NEED:

  • Mini marshmallows
  • Paper cups
  • Standard sized balloons
  • Scissors
  • Packaging (if giving away as gifts)

HERE’S HOW:

  1. Poke a hole in the bottom of the paper cups and remove.
  2. Cut off the skinny part of each balloon. (See bottom right of picture above ^)
  3. Stretch balloons over the bottom of the cups.
  4. Fill cups with marshmallows and wrap up as a gift!
  5. To shoot marshmallows, place one or more in the cup. Pull down on balloon like a slingshot and let go!

I’m sure my mommy friends will love me for this one, but the marshmallows are actually really easy to pick up as long as they don’t get wet (i.e. – licked by a toddler or pet) before shooting. :)

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Can’t wait to watch the kids deliver their handmade prezzies!!! Their excitement over the littlest things this time of year is the absolute best.

Happy Friday friends!

XO, Rae

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FREE CHRISTMAS ART PRINTS (SANTA, GOLD 1225 + THE CHRISTMAS STORY)

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I have a love-hate relationship with Mondays. Sometimes I would like the weekend to stay forever and other times I’m so thankful for a fresh start and new week. After last weeks technical problems (the site and my email crashed), I’m feeling the latter. So sorry if you weren’t able to view the oversized hand warmer post or get ahold of me via email because of it! Thankfully things are back up and running now and I have some fun Christmas prints to share. Links for each are below the pictures. 

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GOLD PAINTED 12/25 ART PRINT, 12×16 PDF (click to download)

The ’25’ is a light gray and can be painted over using a small brush and gold (or any other festive color) craft paint. The font I used is very forgiving so don’t be nervous about messing up! Also, it can easily be sized down to an 8×10… and probably blown up too.

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VINTAGE SANTA ART PRINT, 8×10 PDF (click to download)

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LUKE 2 ART PRINT, 8×10 PDF (click to download)

A quick FIY, I print some stuff at home (using this printer) but also have a local printer I use and have found Costco to be very good and cost affective too. Hope that info is helpful for someone :) Let me know if you have any other questions.

Cheers to a good Monday and (hopefully) smooth week! 

XO, Rae

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OVERSIZED HANDWARMER DIY

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So excited to bring back an old favorite today, homemade hand warmers, with a new design and bigger size. Just in time for Holiday gifting and the cold winter weather that has kicked in around here!

The hand warmers pictured are available in my Spoonflower shop as a cut and sew fabric pattern (perfect project for beginners or asking a friend that sews for help!) and takes a week or two to ship, so I recommend ordering ASAP if you want to make some before Christmas! Of course you can use whatever fabric you have on hand at home too. More details, links and instructions below.

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All tied up and ready to make someone cozy-warm.

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YOU’LL NEED:

HERE’S HOW:

  1. Cut around gray lines and patterns on the cut and sew fabric or cut 4-inch squares from other fabric. Place fabric wrong sides together. Leaving 1-inch open at the end (to pour rice through – see pic below), and using a 1/4-inch hem, sew around the two squares. Back stitch when you start each.
  2. Pour rice into a small ziplock and cut a small hole in one of the bottom corners. Funnel rice into each warmer until approx 3/4 full. Place a pin next to each hole to keep rice from spilling out and sew closed.
  3. Trim around each hand warmer with pinking shears… it keeps them from fraying and looks extra cute! Trim loose threads too.

To use, place in microwave until warm (about 30 seconds). Just be careful when handling or handing over to little ones.

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One of my favorite parts (although at times an embarrassing part) is reading through old posts to see what I was thinking or feeling at that moment. One of the things I loved reading from the original hand warmer post that inspired this little DIY project was this:

“There is one thing I take very seriously… that my kids feel loved. Everyday. It would be easy for this task to become overwhelming, but luckily my kids have taught me that it’s the little things that matter.  Just one act of love goes a looooong way.”

It’s so, so true. Especially this time of year when the hustle and bustle is real and our calendars are full. The little things go a long way.

Happy 18 sleeps before Christmas!!!

XO, Rae

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