Thursday, December 3, 2020

My Favorite 2020 Christmas Book Finds

As August keeps saying, "It's the hap-, happiest season of all!" We love a good Christmas book around here and display them all around the boys' rooms to really up the decorating ante with some of the beautifully illustrated covers. They're also tucked away in special baskets for easy grabbing and reading throughout the day. Our collection grows every year, and below are some of my favorite finds from 2020. For previous favorite finds, see my posts here and here!

Little Red Sleigh: The Little Red Sleigh has one big dream―to one day become Santa's big red sleigh.

Reindolphins: This book has won just about every award there is. A funny story about how Santa’s reindeer fall ill and a team of dolphins step in to save the day. I don't know how I had never stumbled across this one before but it's a new favorite.

Elf: Our favorite movie in book form.

Olive the Other Reindeer: Olive is merrily preparing for Christmas when suddenly she realizes "Olive... the other Reindeer... I thought I was a dog. And so, a dog joins Santa’s team and turns out to be the biggest helper of all.

The Nutcracker: the classic story in a beautiful pop up version. I got this for Maren this year.

12 Days of Christmas: A beautifully illustrated traditional 12 days of Christmas poem that we like to sing along to.

Silent Night: Another one by Lara Hawthorne, I especially love that this one represents Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus as people of color.

Goodnight Krampus: Not a creature was stirring...except the mischievous Krampus who's too excited to sleep! It's Christmas Eve and Santa has a lot on his plate, but his biggest challenge is convincing little Krampus to go to bed.

The Gingerbread Man: The classic story with larger font for beginner readers, I love that Oskar can read this to us and feels so proud of himself.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

2020 Gift Guide for Him

Oh, hi. It's been a long and hard week over here, with work just about as intense as it gets and a saddish, halfhearted Thanksgiving to celebrate tomorrow. So, I made Matt send me all of his picks for this year's men's gift guide, which will probably serve you better anyway. He has--and is a huge fan of--most of these things already, so any questions, ask away! Hopefully this provides some inspiration for whomever you may be shopping for, because I feel like the hardest people on my list are always in this category. Wishing you guys a happy long weekend, and some fun holiday shopping. December is almost here!


1.      1. Bees Knees Spicy Honey: Matt’s new favorite condiment for pizza, wings, sandwiches, everything.

2.      2. Oofos Recovery Sandals: If you want to discuss Matt’s enthusiasm for these recovery sandals, allot 60 minutes. These saved his feet from planter fasciitis and provide tons of relief after standing for 12 hours a day. He is never not wearing these when he’s at home.

3.      3. 8-in-1 Wheelbarrow / Yard Cart / Dolly: As the name implies, a wheelbarrow, yard cart, and a dolly in one. The handiest thing for all the stuff around the yard.

4.      4. Sanitizer Box: Grabbing this to leave in the car for phones, keys, wallets, etc.

5.      5. Toilet Timer – the stocking stuffer / gag gift to benefit us all.

6.      6. Tennis Shoes-Matt saw these and really loved them.

7.      7. Phone Docking Station: a landing zone for all of his stuff before bed: phone, glasses, watch, and a place to empty pockets and to store random junk in a prettier way.

8.      8. Leatherman : Matt’s favorite purchase of the entire year. He is obsessed with this for a variety of long-winded reasons, but assures me that the man in your life needs one too.

9.      9. Meat Thermometer: One of those things that, after we got it, we said “why didn’t we get this 10 years ago?”

Thursday, November 19, 2020

2020 Gift Guide For Her

Oh hi! I'm alive! And I'm here with a gift guide, falala! Since I have little time to peruse the internet these days, I decided to just round up all of MY favorite things from the last year (and a few things on my wish list, too) to bring you inspiration for whomever you may be shopping for this year. Can we all agree pandemics are no fun and it's time to treat yourself?

1. Pillow Talk Lip Set: the color that looks amazing on everybody. This makes me feel so pretty and put together, and now comes in this handy little set for the holidays.

2. Madewell Succulent Earrings: cute and easy to wear with everything.

3. Elemis Cleansing Balm: This changed my skin. It removes all of my makeup and leaves my skin with the healthiest glow. I also LOVE LOVE LOVE the Pro Collagen Marine Cream, but wait until it goes on sale.

4. Personalized Jewelry Travel Case: For back when we could travel, remember those days? Still, there are better days ahead, and this personalized travel jewelry case is just the right size with the sweetest little monogram. This has become one of my go-to gifts.

5. Audible Gift Card: The best way for me to unwind and do something for ME at the end of a long day of ring leading my circus: listening to an audio book during a 45 minute walk. I’ve been flying through books this way and love that I feel like I’m actually doing something good for my brain. If you're a mom you need to jump on board the Audible train.

6. Ultra High Rise Elation Leggings: I discovered these leggings postpartum and NEVER looked back. Yes, they’re pricey, but they. do. not. BUDGE. So flattering and look brand new despite being washed a million times. Save yourself the $20 here and there on TJ Maxx leggings (previously guilty) and invest in a quality pair like these.

7. Bow Headband: My new favorite—and easy—accessory that adds an extra dose of pizzazz to any outfit.

8. Bombas Socks: My absolute FAVORITE socks. You’ll never look back. Use this link to get 25% off of your entire purchase!

9. Brazilian Bum Bum Cream: Will forever be on every gift guide. Smells like heaven.

10. Boots: I’ve been eyeballing these for forever. They go along with my “no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes” motto I’ve been trying to live by this year because my 2020 resolution was to go outside every day, no matter what.

11. Serving Board: to make the prettiest cheese or snack boards with.

12. Personalized Ring: still one of my very favorite pieces of jewelry ever. This ring is so comfortable to wear, lays super flat on your finger, and reminds me of my babies every time I look at it.


Friday, October 2, 2020

Fall Bucket List, Recipes, and Other Fun Things

Happy fall, friends! Here we are, already in October with over a month of school behind us and me fully back to work. The leaves are changing, the temperatures are dropping, and we're doing our best to make this season fun despite the life suck that is COVID. We always put together a list of things we want to do together, and though it looks a little different, it's still my favorite time of year. 

I always love to download Kelle Hampton's Fall Bucket List every year. She makes one for each season, but fall is always the best. We hang this one the refrigerator and check things off as we go. This year's is even COVID friendly  — all items you can do safely with your families, friends or alone in your cozy little house. Plus, it gives me an excuse to buy some comfy sweatpants.

I put together some Halloween baskets for the boys and baby, delivered a little early to build some fall excitement. Oskar's been wearing cat ears every single day, and August's first question every morning is, "Does my Hey Boo shirt match with these pants?" Other favorite items were this fake snake and spider, glow in the dark bath bombs, this book on the body, and these I Can Read Spooky Story books.

We kicked off our soup Sunday tradition again, making our tried and true favorites while also adding in some new recipes to try this year. The latest win: this veggie minestrone soup with warm crusty bread. There's nothing like a huge pot of soup simmering all day on a crisp and lazy fall Sunday. 

Hand in hand with lazy Sundays comes this Countdown to Halloween movie list, so many of which are from the 90's and I'm loving it almost as much as the boys.

I've rounded up some fun fall treats that we've already made or have on the docket, including these amazing oatmeal cream pies, these pumpkin s'mores cookies, and this amazing cranberry pistachio biscotti. 


We're talking about--and changing our minds on--Halloween costumes just about every day (looking at you, Oskar), so I really have no idea what the boys will finally decide. August is pretty set on Luigi, but he dresses up as him every single day anyway, so Halloween won't be much different as far as that goes. Maren has the perfect jack-o-lantern half smile, so she's really destined to be a pumpkin. Stay tuned.



A few things that I've bought for myself and LOVED: this tee, SO perfect for layering, these woven mules in saddle brown, and this super soft mock neck boxy tee.

Wishing you guys a happy and healthy fall. Thanks for reading along, especially now that posts are a little harder to get together around here. Hoping to report back for Prime Day in a few weeks to kick off holiday shopping :).

Friday, September 4, 2020

6 to 9 Month Favorites for Baby

Happy happy Friday, friends! My last one before starting work next week. It's hard to believe it's been 6 whole months. I thought I was ready to go back, and now that Tuesday looms ahead, I'm feeling a huge pit in my stomach, not knowing how I'm going to balance it all with the added joys of virtual learning and taking care of an infant on the side. Though the boys have a teacher, they'll still be at home, which is also where I'll be working from. We weren't comfortable sending Maren to daycare, so she'll be my tiny wing woman for the time being, with my mom and Matt's mom helping to take care of her when they can, and Matt taking vacation days to fill in the gaps. It'll be a circus around here, but all we can do is take it a day at a time. 

On to the goods. I rounded up all of Maren's and my FAVORITE things for her age, which just so happens to be one of the best. I love how aware, alert, charismatic, and curious she is. She's learning how to sit, started sleeping in a crib through the night, and BEST OF ALL, she REACHES FOR ME. Is there ANYTHING BETTER than that?

Owlet: This small sock on baby's foot reads heartbeat and oxygenation levels throughout the night, so instead of me constantly waking and checking on her like I used to do, this puts my mind at ease. This is right around the age where babies move to cribs and SIDS rates are at their highest, and the peace of mind that this little gadget provides has provided me many added hours of sleep.

Stokke Tripp Trapp High Chair: The high chair I always wanted but was priced out of until I found it on Nordstrom’s Anniversary sale and price matched elsewhere once they sold out of it. Not only is it beautiful, it’s so dang functional and perfect for Maren to sit at the table with all of us. After reading articles written by occupational therapists, I came to understand the importance of a solid foundation for feet while eating. Without a footrest, babies and toddlers feel imbalanced and insecure, which makes eating more of a challenge. This chair should transition well into the toddler years by removing the baby seat. Plus, once we’re all done with it, the resale value holds strong.

Sleep Sack: The comfiest, coziest, PRETTIEST sleep sack that there ever was. Maren slept through her entire first night in her crib in this. Hanna Andersson quality at an Amazon price. I adore these.

Playtime Peekaboo Books: The absolute best books for this age. I swear by these, and started my boys on them when they were babies. Maren has already learned to lift the flaps and anticipates the pop up pictures. Perfect before bedtime to establish the bath/books/bed routine.

Teethers: Maren's favorite things in life. So easy to grip and for little hands to hold. Everything goes right into the mouth these days, and these are great for little teething gums to gnaw.

Outward Facing Carrier: I moved Maren into this outward facing carrier after she outgrew her infant carrier (from my 0-3 months favorites post, here).  She's so much more alert, aware, and curious about her surroundings, and facing outward on our daily walks makes her squeal with glee.

Baby Swing: We've had this since Oskar was a baby, and it's just as big of a hit for her as it was for him. One of my very favorite things to do with her on cooler mornings or on pretty fall days.

Baby Walker: I don't know what else I can say over the 22,000 5-star reviews that this thing has, but it's a classic for a reason. The front board comes off to play with on the floor for tummy time or for sitters, and clips back on to be pushed around for cruisers. We sing these songs all darn day.

Leaf Spoons: The very best spoons for solids, these get EVERY last bit of food and are so satisfying and gentle on baby's gums.

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