Monday, November 27, 2017

Picture Perfect!

I do this to myself every year. Every single year I wait until the last possible minute to take pictures of the boys for Christmas cards, then I get frustrated with them when they won't cooperate. I fret and I fuss over which picture to use. I tell myself every year that next year I'll get a photographer to take them for us. And yet, here we are...

I LOVE to get a Christmas card in the mail, though, and so I go through the rigamarole each year so that I can send mine out to my friends and family. But if you could only see behind the scenes...

Minted makes choosing a Christmas card SO darn easy. I love to use their filters in order to fine-tune my search. I do a little clicking to choose how many photos I want on the front, the size of the card, the sentiment, and even the saying and voila! Narrowed-down choices.

Two years ago I chose one of their postcard designs, and I have to say - SO EASY. I'm leaning toward doing those again this year. No envelopes to stuff, you just address, stamp, and send! And they'll even address them for you!

Minted has a GORGEOUS selection of Christmas cards this year! And TODAY ONLY - use the code CM2017 for a special Cyber Monday price. I hope you find some that you love! And if you do - send one to me!!!

I received a coupon code in exchange for a post. All opinions are my own!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

5-8 Year Old Boys' Gift Guide

I'm joining you today to share my boys' Christmas gift guide. This list is an assortment of things we actually own AND things that are on their wish list this year. If you have a little boy you're shopping for, these are our tried-and-true (for the most part!) items. There's plenty more I could've added to the list, but this is a great start. If you need more suggestions OR if you have things you would've added, comment below!

Just as a reference, Will is a 5.5 year old kindergartener and James is an 8 year old 2nd grader. Will is VERY engineering-minded, outdoorsy, and busy. James is very creative and very, very bright.

1. VTech Star Wars First Order Stormtrooper Smartwatch. Neither of my kids have this watch, but they're both asking Santa for it! They both asked for a smart watch and I didn't want one with a phone on it. This one has video, a camera, games, and is a fitness tracker. This version is currently sold out, but I saw it on Amazon for as low as $31 this week! Keep watching!
2. Illustrated Harry Potter series. James and Will LOVE these and so do I. These are the original Harry Potter books that are BEAUTIFULLY illustrated. I love these so much that I'm about 99% sure I recommended them last year. Currently, there are 3 out (James gets one for his birthday each year because they come out in the fall). Each is just gorgeous.
3. Doodle Books! We have one of these books, but Will has asked for one for Christmas so I've been looking for another. Maybe Santa can help me find one. These either start the drawing for you OR tell you what to draw in an open-ended sort of way. James loves it. (I cannot find a link for these! I have no idea where the first one came from...)
4. Snap Circuits. Both boys love these, but James has spent more time playing. This is a child-friendly circuit board that you have to correctly connect for it to light up, play music, etc. There's a book of instructions but you can also make up your own circuits. 
5. Power Wheels 4-Wheeler. James got this for Christmas from Santa about three years ago and he and Will have driven it for countless hours. The worst thing we did was NOT buy a second one. It's a little bit of a battle. James is between 50-60 pounds and he can still ride it. Ours is blue so we don't have this EXACT model, but I'm sure it's similar. They love it!
6. Classic Legos. So we have a TON of Lego sets that James has worked on over the past two years, but Will's favorite is the set of random Legos that isn't themed. He enjoys making his own creations. No limitations!
7. Hero series. James started this series earlier in the year and TORE through them. I haven't read them, but he was absolutely enthralled. (There's also a movie based on another book by this author - Max.)
8. Fliker Scooter. James rode one of these at a friend's house in September and then he asked for one for his birthday. This is really cool, but I cannot ride it to save my life! I cannot make it go!!! Eddie and the boys like it, though!
9. Osmo Genius Starter Kit. So this is another item that we don't have and haven't tried, but it has rave reviews from some friends. The ONLY reason my boys aren't getting this for Christmas is that we have the ORIGINAL iPad and it isn't compatible because it doesn't have a camera. If we had a new iPad, we'd definitely be getting this. It's awesome educational games that you can connect to your iPad to play.
10. Over-the-Door Basketball Goal. The boys got this about 3 years ago from my cousin and it has brought HOURS of entertainment in our playroom. It is INCREDIBLY well-made and the boys love to play. I will say that it's LOUD. It hasn't left any marks on the door, but it does bang and rattle when they play.
11. Ramona series. Will LOVES these books. Think it's because he can relate to Ramona's accidental-mischief-making? I had several of these as a kid and we've added onto that collection in the past few years. These are so cute. And honestly, ANYTHING Beverly Cleary is a favorite around here!

Hope this helps if you're looking to shop for some little boys in your life!

* affiliate links used *

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Trick or Treat!

I probably shouldn't let Thanksgiving come and go before sharing our Halloween, huh? Go back and look at posts in October to see what I've added that you might have missed today!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

I'm Not Letting Go!!!

We did a WHOLE LOT of Halloween-ing this year, but we didn't get to everything and since I'm not decorating for Christmas just yet, I'm continuing the fun! I'm popping in here to tell you that I'll be adding some posts to October of things we DID do but that I never shared here so over the next few days, do a little backwards reading to see that. My plan is to take my laptop to gymnastics today and knock out a few posts, but who knows.

Hope y'all are having a happy week!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Trick or Treat at the Village

We met my brother, sister-in-law, Mom, and nephew at a local trick-or-treat spot the Saturday before Halloween to get a little "practice" in. Really, I was looking for any excuse to use our costumes so that we'd get as many miles out of them as possible! Our local "museum" has a mini city set up and the kids are able to trick or treat at the houses and stores along the roads within the village. We've been to this museum a million times, and yet we'd never done this particular activity before. It was so much fun! We bought our wristbands, got a "passport" (the card that they used to stamp when we'd trick or treated at each stop), and hopped on the train to go to the village.

Liam looked super cute in his skunk costume and the boys THOROUGHLY enjoyed being in their Top Gun costumes. I'm telling you...for costumes that they really had NO clue about (they haven't seen Top Gun), they were so excited about them!

About midway through, Will and I had to leave to go to one of his buddies' birthday parties so we left James with John, Kayla, Cacky, and Liam and headed to the house. One of the funniest parts of the day was when we were getting off the train back at the parking lot. I looked up and SANTA was working at the train station. And when I say Santa, I mean the real Santa! I whispered to him to be on his best behavior and his eyes were HUGE. This particular Santa is actually a real Santa Scout that works in our town (at this museum) to help Santa. The boys have sat in his lap and told him what they wanted a number of times and it was hilarious to see the wheels turning in Will's head. So fun!

We had a GREAT time doing this and I'm sad I waited until they were 8 and 5 to go! Sadly, I feel like we are getting to be on the older side of Halloween activities. We will dress up and trick or treat for several more years, but this year I looked around and realized that James was one of the older ones at each activity. SO SAD!!!!

Friday, October 27, 2017

I Feel the Need...

Well, I got one more year out of coordinating costumes and I MIGHT have scored an additional year in 2018 just because they realized what fun it was to have a theme! HA! This year, we started going through all of the "what can brothers be for Halloween?" ideas and landed on Top Gun characters, Goose and Maverick. James and Will haven't ever seen the movie Top Gun, but we explained a little about it and let them watch a few clips from the movie just for fun.

These were the easiest costumes we've ever had before. Literally hopped on Amazon and clicked and ordered. They were a cinch. I did buy Will's first one too small so I have an extra, but other than that I didn't have to lift a finger.

The boys realized this year what FUN Halloween costumes can be and that you can have a super clever costume that people think is really cool. Some friends of ours (who are a little older at almost 9, 11, and 13) were Lieutenant Dan, Jenny, and Forrest Gump. People went CRAZY when they saw their costumes, but they were so simple and just fun! It lit a fire under James and Will and they have already declared what next year will bring. We'll see if they stick with it or not, but if they go as their current idea, it will be pretty fun!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Tooth Fairy Visit!

We had a BIG day at our house! When I picked Will up from school he hopped in the car and said, "I lost a tooth!" He's told me that a few times, so I honestly didn't pay much attention, but he HAD lost one! WHAT?! You're just a baby! He'd convinced his teacher to PUH-LEASE pull it out this afternoon and he was downright thrilled. The second thing he said after "I lost a tooth!" was, "Are you going to cry?" Umm...YES.

We stopped by Eddie's office first thing to show off this new grin, before going to gymnastics and church to show EVERYONE.

He told me it was the BEST DAY EVER.

He wrote the Tooth Fairy a note: Dear Tooth Fairy, Please leave my tooth. Love, Will.

We read two Tooth Fairy books and then snuggled up with his Tooth Fairy box tucked into his Tooth Fairy pillow! 

Here's hoping the Tooth Fairy stops by our house tonight! Fingers crossed!

(He and James lost their first teeth almost EXACTLY two years apart. James' first tooth came out on October 13, 2015. That post HERE.)

Thought y'all would also enjoy this exchange that occurred after Will was in bed. E is his kindergarten teacher who pulled his tooth, K is his school nurse, and D is a former teacher of his.