Sunday, December 29, 2013

Holiday Festivities

I hope you all had a very, very, Merry Christmas! I have been loving reading all the Christmas posts so I wanted to share a couple festive activities we did to help us get into the holiday spirit and the little bit of Christmas Day I recorded. 

I have the Groupon app on my phone and every couple of weeks I check out what they have near us. I was SUPER excited when I found one for the holiday lights tour on a Classic Cable Car in downtown San Fransisco! I love touristy stuff like that, so I grabbed up my first Groupon real quick. We took BART to Union Square. They were running a little behind so we were able to check out all the decorations in the Square before we took our tour. 

Myles was "Ooo" and "Aww" over all the lights and balls!
Biggest Christmas tree I have ever seen!

When we got on the Car, we were given Santa hats. I can't believe Myles kept it on long enough for me to take a picture.

 ...Then... he was over it, but even when he was trying to take it off... it was soo cute :)

 The driver let him ring the bell. It was too hard to pull by himself, so daddy had to help him make it ring. He loved looking out the window at all the 'pretties'.

 We rode around all over San Fransisco checking out all the Christmas lights, trees, and decorations. It is a pretty festive city! We also stopped at the Fairmont Hotel to check out their lobby. They had a huge 2-story gingerbread mansion made of graham crackers, peeps, and candy canes!

The inside had a toy workshop and a train going around the outside. Myles was completely fascinated by the train; he just stood their watching it for at least 5 minutes.

He also found "Memo" and a doggie he just had to touch!

This was my favorite thing we did all holiday season. I would love to make it a yearly tradition and maybe add some Union Square ice skating and shopping once Myles gets older.

When we went back home to Illinois for the holidays, I took Myles to have breakfast with Santa at the conservatory. I had to dress him up in his finest gear :) I have been looking for suspenders for Myles for a long time, but I couldn't find them anywhere. Well when we got back to Illinois, grandma hooked us up with these beauties!

Myles had a great time running around the conservatory, touching all the plants, climbing bridges, playing with the lights, trying to cross over into restricted areas, pointing at all the fish, and kissing frogs! He got a snowflake tattoo, made watched the lady make him a snowman pillow, and chatted with Santa.

When Santa first came by our table, Myles didn't really care too much about him, but he did give him a nice high-five!

Since that went well, I tried get him to take a picture on his lap. As you can see, that didn't go over too well: classic Santa fail! But then we caught Santa inside the conservatory and gave it another try... I didn't get a smile, but I think it turned out pretty good for our first Santa experience.

Myles also went 'sledding' for the first time with grandpa. It's been so cold since we have been in Illinois that I didn't want Myles to go out to play in the snow. But one day when we were leaving grandpa's house, he put him on a sled and pulled him around for a couple minutes. He really loved it! He was smiling the whole time and didn't want me to pick him up. I hope we get to take him 'real' sledding before we leave in a week.

Christmas Eve and day I didn't take very many pictures. I wish that I had some more of us and family, but we decided to keep our phone usage and such to a minimum. Sometimes it's so nice to not have to worry about pictures, social media, texts, phone calls, etc.; it's especially great when the day is spent with all our loving family! It was so great to enjoy the day with as little distractions as possible and really live in the moment. We created some great memories and I am for certain that this was the best Christmas of my life!

Here are a couple shots I did take:
Myles getting his stocking gifts: little race car and bird call!

Opening his sleepy time Elmo :)
 And lastly, Myles sporting his new Packer gear! Pretty sure the cutest thing I ever saw... Go Pack Go!

Oh and a very Happy New Year to you and yours :)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thursday Mom-Lovin' Hop

Welcome to Thursdays Mom-Lovin' Blog Hop

Our Guest Co-Host this week is Julia from The Everyday Momma!

Julia uses only one word to label herself: mother. Julia's blog is all about being a mom highlighting breastfeeding and pregnancy. She also shares yummy momma friendly recipes as well as product review. She is the everyday momma. 

Our featured mama this week is Megan at Heartbeats and Little Feet.  

Megan's blog started as a way to make sure she would remember the life events she didn't want to forget. She writes about the high and the lows of their life as a family in Maryland.  

Joyful Life

Grab our button!!

Please, if you are new to the hop or have been here but haven't left a comment, please let us know on our own respected blogs that you are a new follower (be sure to say HOW you are following) so we can follow you back! 

Also, If you are interested in co-hosting FOR FREE shoot Hannah an email at hannahsjoyfullife (at) to get on the list, growing your followers couldnt be easier! 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Decor: Wreath, Mantle, and Kid Art

Currently, I am not enjoying the decor am I about to show you! I am, in fact, about 2,000 miles away from my Christmas decor. And while that saddens me, I am in much better company. So although no one will actually be enjoying my Christmas decor on Christmas, I couldn't be happier to be with my family. So without further ado:


I picked up a plain green wreath at Goodwill for $4.00! Then I added some Dollar Tree accessories. I got a classic red ribbon, at two-pack of red cardinals, and two bouquets of gold flowers, that I took the stems off of. It is very simple, but I really like the way it turned out. I was going for a gold and red theme this year!

Mantle & Fireplace

I really wanted to keep my mantle simple. I went a little over simple, but not too much! So, I am pretty proud of myself. I framed up a couple printables I found on Pinterest. Here is the  "Winter is the Time for Home" printable, "For Unto Us" printable, and "It's the Most Wonderful Time" printable. I printed them out on colored paper and layered them with other colors in the background. I also picked up a couple gold frames at the Dollar Tree to go with my gold and red theme. They also had those really cute tinsel trees in my colors, so of course I had to grab them up. 

The garland on the mantle I found at Goodwill for $10! It has the lights, pine cones, and berries attached, so I didn't have to do anything. I am very proud of this find! I also threw some red candles in Dollar Tree glass fish bowls. And my mirror wouldn't be complete without a "Merry Christmas" gel cling. I know they are pretty corny but I just love them.. and so does Myles. I bought him a set of his own for our glass back doors. It kept him occupied for all of 10 minutes before he ripped them up :)

I threw two red tapered candles and some red and gold tinsel in the fireplace. It is a gas fireplace and we are too scared to try it out, so I like to make it festive too. 

And the best part of the whole mantle: the display of Myles' art! I bought a kit for hanging Christmas cards at Target's Dollar Spot. It came with a green and white stripped string and 6 mini clothespins with a snowflake design glued on. I bought it because it was so cheap, but it could be a very easy DIY. Then you could customize the colors/patterns to your liking.

A week ago, I put Myles in the shower, gave him washable paint, some paint brushes, and let him have at it! Some of it ended up on the paper, but most of it was on the shower walls and himself. There are some feet marks and a little of my own strokes (to show him how to paint), but the rest is all him. Although extremely messy, this art activity was very fun for both of us, and the finished work is pretty awesome for a first painting :)

I also did some footprint crafts with Myles. I put him in his highchair and gave him paper and paint to play with. While he was occupied with that, I made his footprints. It helped that he was in his chair, but it was not an easy task. As evident in the quality of the footprints, he was not very cooperative. I'm guessing the paint was cold because he kept moving his feet when I tried to put in on and then he wouldn't stay still when I try to make the print. They could have looked better, but it's the memory that matters. I saw both of these ideas on Pinterest and just made them on regular scrapbook paper. I added a couple stickers and his name/year for a keepsake. I love the hand/footprint art for keepsakes. I wish I would have started from the beginning with him, but I want to do it for every holiday from now on.

Hope you enjoyed my Christmas decor tour! 
Hope you all are enjoying the holidays, your family, and all the beautiful decorations!

How is your holiday decorating coming along?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mini Chicken Pot Pies {recipe}

Mini Chicken Pot Pies Recipe

*Recipe was inspired by this Cheesy Chicken Pot Pie Puffs recipe

What You Will Need

2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed 
1/4 cup fresh mushrooms, diced
1 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
1 can (16.3 oz) flaky layers refrigerated biscuits
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste


1. Heat oven to 375°F.

2. In medium bowl, combine vegetables, mushrooms, chicken, soup, cheese, garlic powder, salt, and pepper; mix thoroughly. 
3. Lightly grease a muffin tin. Take one biscuit and press it out to make it wider, but not too thin (about 5 inches round). Place the biscuit over the top of the muffin cup. Spoon 1/8 of the mixture (about 2 tablespoons) onto the biscuit. Then press the mixture down into the cup, leaving some of the biscuit hanging over the edge of the cup. The mixture should reach the top of the cup. Then pull the extra dough over the filling towards the center. You can pinch the dough to keep it in place, if needed.

5. Repeat for the remaining seven biscuits. Then place in oven and bake at 375°F for 20 to 22 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown.

6. Remove from oven and let cool for 4-5 minutes. Enjoy!

What are your favorite classic homemade meals? What are your favorite comfort foods?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Social Media Sunday

From ABC's to ACT's
<div align="center"><a href="" title="From ABC's to ACT's"><img src="" alt="From ABC's to ACT's" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
It's that time again friends! Time for another Social Media Sunday!
SMS Hosts.jpg

Guest Hosts

As you know, Social Media Sundays are a place for you to connect with other bloggers in as many ways as possible, since meeting other bloggers and making new friends is one of the best parts of this online world!
The rules are simple!
Follow your hosts and guest hosts (the first 8 in the link up) and leave a comment letting us know so that we can follow you back.
Grab the button and spread the word, the more the merrier!
Get to hopping! Check out your fellow bloggers and make a new friend or two!
Most importantly, have FUN!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tunesday Tuesday: My Love for Music, My Anthem, and Current Mood

Normally I shy away from themed blog hops because I can never get a post done on time. If you are a regular reader around here, you may have noticed that I have a problem with being simple and concise. In real life, I have no patience and like to make things as short and sweet as possible. "Get in, and get out" is my motto these days. But when it comes to my writing, I am extremely detailed and thorough. I don't know if I could ever bring myself to do a Wordless Wednesday post :) I blame two things: my excessive need for perfection and my lovely OCD. In college, all I did was write papers and I got really good at creating lots of 'filler' to get to the required page/word count. So now I am hardwired to drag on and on in painstaking detail about every little point I am trying to make. This totally off-topic paragraph is a perfect example of me forcing you to be apart of my post-college writing syndrome. 

What I am trying to say is that I am doing something out of character for me and am joining a themed blog hop. I am making this exception because I feel like it is something that I need to re-connect with in my life. Sometimes life gets in the way of life and we are so frazzled by all that is going on that we don't make time for the things that make us happy. Sometimes you just have to get in touch with the core of who you are and I don't know anything that helps me do that better than music! I have had a passion for music since day one. It moves me like nothing else, takes me down memory lane, allows me to feel deeply, can instantly lift my mood, and brings joy to our household. I'll be honest, I am not the best singer (although it is one of my biggest aspirations), but I can jam out like nobody's business. 

However, there are days and even weeks that I let pass by without any musical engagement. Then one day I decide to put on my jams and my mood will suddenly change and all is right in the world in that moment. This makes me realize that I should never go a day without music, even if it is just singing a silly nursery rhyme with my son. So what ALL this writing is leading up to is that I am going to be participating in the Tunesday Tuesday blog hop with The Patchwork Paisley, Drinking the Whole Bottle, Momma Candy and MrsTeeLoveLifeLaughter as regularly as possible. I need to always keep that music in me :)
The Patchwork Paisley

I missed last week so I am going to double up and do both in one post.

Last week's Theme: "Your Anthem"

I didn't write a post last week because I had no idea what to choose for my anthem. I was going to skip it altogether, but then I realized that I was missing the whole point of this link up if I only posted on the easy themes. So I started thinking about some of my favorite songs and why I like them so much. I have a handful of songs that mean a lot to me, but they aren't really relatable to my life per say. Not only do I like songs for their message, but I am really drawn to unique beats and vocals. I don't know why but I usually tend to gravitate towards songs about things that I haven't necessarily experienced myself. A couple examples are:
Tupac's "Keep Ya Head Up" 
Dave Barnes "God Gave Me You" 
Drake "Headlines"
 I can't use a favorite song for my anthem, if it doesn't actually pertain to my life. And then one night when I was in bed trying to fall asleep, it hit me: my anthem! Duh... It fits me so perfectly in every way. It is a song most people have probably never heard and I would have never known it either if it weren't for my mom making me watch the movie it is from. My mom has influenced my musical tastes from a very young age. Salt 'N Pepper and Prince are the two main artists I grew to love because of her. Anyway, here it is, my anthem:

 "Queen Bee" by Barbra Streisand from A Star is Born

There isn't an actual video for it, so this was the best I could find. This is one of those songs that is so well written that every line is perfect, but if I had to pick a favorite part, it would be from the last verse: 

So, in conclusion, it's an optical illusion, if you think that we're the
weaker race.
Men got the muscle, but the ladies got the hustle, and the truth is starin'
in your face.
The mother bear stalks, and the queen of the hawks,
Is the one who brings home the bread.
The lion that is regal, and the bald-headed eagle,
need a woman just to keep them fed.

I guess you would consider this a feminist song, but I wouldn't say that I am a feminist. I just love it so much because it speaks to the power of women and how really we are the ones that keep it all together! I don't diminish the role of the man as head of the household, but as women, our roles are equally as important. This isn't how I live my life, as far as the "use 'em and lose 'em" mentality nor do I condone that behavior. It is my anthem because of its sassy, clever lyrics and funky beat!

This week's Theme: "A Song That Suits Your Current Mood"

Well, this one was also tough. I go through different moods daily, even hourly sometimes ;) But, last Saturday night as I laying in bed, I started watching videos of Myles. (I almost don't even want to write this right now because I am getting emotional). As I was watching this video I had just put up on my Instagram, I started thinking about the dreaded reality of time: it never stops. He is just going to keep growing and learning and while I love watching all of this take place daily, it honestly breaks my heart that he won't be this little and naive forever. I just love watching him run around pointing at random things, all while sneaking in a couple of 'real' words through his non-stop baby babbling. I try to cherish every moment because I know it won't be long before he will be speaking in full sentences and learning how the world really works :( I know that stage will bring just as much joy and love, but I adore his littleness so much it kills me! So for a song that suits my current mood, I picked one that speaks so well to the blessing of children. It also happens to be by one of my favorite artists of all time:

Lauryn Hill's "To Zion" 

 And I thank you for choosing me
To come through unto life to be
A beautiful reflection of His grace
For I know that a gift so great
Is only one God could create
And I'm reminded every time I see your face

 Again there is no official video for this song, but I did find a live version on YouTube. It isn't the best quality, but I love Lauryn's voice live. This song has meant so much to me for so long. Even before I had Myles, I just felt such a strong connection to this song. I know part of it is simply because Lauryn is singing it. She has such emotion and conviction when she sings, it's hard not to feel it all the way down in your soul. I get all emotional EVERY time I hear this song. This song speaks to the pure miracle of pregnancy and child birth. Every child that has been placed into the womb of a woman was made specifically for her. And even though it may all feel like too much sometimes, God picked us to be the mother of our beautiful children, whom are created by His love. We all have tough days, but this song always reminds me how precious is the gift of a child! 

So what are your song choices for these themes? Comment below or create a post and link-up! I would love to know more about you all!