Loving Lately // December 2017

It's time for another round of Loving Lately!
 Here is this month's Loving Lately....

//  ONE  // 
Loving these Peppermint Pretzel Slims from Trader Joe's.
 I stock up on them every December. They are so addicting!

// TWO //
Evey December I LOVE listening to these 2 CD's.....Jessica Simpson  & Mariah Carey Christmas.

Jessica Simpson & Nick Lachey's "Baby It's Cold Outside" is one of my favorites.

// THREE //
Peets Holiday Spice Latte.....loving it!!
I tried it for the first time a few weeks ago & I am hooked! I have gotten it several times since.
It tastes like Christmas in a cup :)

// FOUR //
I've talked before about  these Infinite Shine nail polishes.

I bought my first bottle of it almost 3 years ago and now they are the only nail polishes I use because they don't chip!
 I am loving this shade of red for December.
It's the perfect red...not too bright. Not too orange. A nice, deep red!
I can wear them for a week and my nails still look decent.

You put on the primer coat, then the polish and then a top coat gloss.
You can get the primer & gloss HERE.
There are tons of colors for the nail polishes..... I have about 10 of them!
Absolutely love & so happy to have nail polish that is durable and doesn't chip!

// FIVE //

Loving this scarf & the pops of red that it has in it. It's so versatile!
It's on sale now for under $15! Get it HERE

// SIX //
I am loving this Red lipstick.

I am wearing it here on Christmas Eve.

It's a great red....not too orange & not too bright!

// SEVEN //
Loving the pops of red in our Christmas Eve photo...especially Luke's shirt.
Love, love, love buffalo check!

// EIGHT //
I am loving that the 49ers picked up Jimmy Garoppolo last month.

Since he has been on our starter, we have won 4 in a row!!!!!

// NINE //
I am loving that my Dad is going to the Rose Bowl next week!
He is a huge Georgia Football fan, so since Georgia is playing in the Rose Bowl, my dad & his cousin (who went to Georgia) are going to the Rose Parade & then the game. I am so excited for them.
It's on my bucket list to go to the Rose Parade & then the Rose Bowl. Kevin told me to go with my Dad.....but I want to go when Colorado plays :)
I got my dad this hoodie for Christmas.

Official Georgia Rose Bowl gear.  It's perfect for my dad!

// TEN //
I have loved sitting by my Christmas tree watching Christmas movies. I lost track of how many Hallmark movies I watched this month. At least one a day.
I have even resorted to watching the Netflix Christmas movies. #noshame

 I am loving these pajama bottoms (so comfy & they come in tall!)

 So, there you have it....some red things I have been Loving Lately.
What have you been Loving Lately?


The Bell still rings for those who truly Believe

Alternate Title: When your oldest child tells you they know the truth about Santa.

I knew it was bound to happen, but it still threw me off guard.
Earlier this Fall, I was driving Kate to youth group and as soon as we were backing out of the driveway, she exclaimed:
"We need to talk! I know the Tooth Fairy isn't real! I lost my tooth 3 days ago & never told you. The Tooth Fairy never came because it's YOU!!!"

And then she started laughing. 
She was so proud & thought she was so cool for figuring this out.

I was a bit taken aback & my mouth was gaped open. Before I was able to say anything, she shouted from the back seat "And, I know Santa's not real either!!!!" 
I felt like I had been punched in the gut.
And that's when the tears started rolling down my face.

It was the end of an era for Kate.
It was a good run. She will be 11 in January...for almost 11 years she believed.
I mean, she is a 5th grader...this is around the time when they find out the truth.

As the tears were falling down my face, I kept driving, took a deep breath and told her that she could not spoil it for her friends or siblings and we would we would talk more about it when she got home from youth group.

The tears were because I was mourning the loss of the innocence & magic of childhood. 
She is growing up up which is so fun to see the person & young adult she is becoming, but at the same time I wish I could freeze time and keep my kids little forever.

While she was at youth group I went to my computer because I had bookmarked some websites about what to tell your kids when they ask about Santa, etc.
One of the posts was this letter,  so I tweaked it and personalized it to Kate.

When she got home from youth group we waited until Claire & Luke were asleep and then we chatted with Kate and gave her this letter:

Dear Kate,
Thank you for sharing your discoveries & questions about The Tooth Fairy and Santa.
I know you've wanted the answer to this question, and we always want to be honest with you.
The answer is no. I am not Santa. Daddy is not Santa. There is no one Santa.

We are the people who fill your stockings with presents and pick out fun surprise. The trampoline that Santa brought 2 years ago was one of our favorite surprises EVER.
I imagine you will someday do this for your children, and I know you will love seeing them run down the stairs on Christmas morning. You will love seeing them sit under the tree, their faces lit with Christmas lights. Seeing Christmas through your children's eyes is magical.
This won't make you Santa, though.
Santa is not the reason for Christmas.  We have taught you that the true meaning of Christmas is the birth of Christ and celebrating Jesus’ birthday. This is the true and only meaning of Christmas. Sure, Santa is fun & exciting, but it is just a small part of the Christmas season.

With big hearts, people like Daddy and me take our turns helping Santa do a job that would otherwise be impossible. The job of creating fun Christmas morning memories and a magical childhood for you to look back on with a smile. Hopefully these memories will always remind you of how much we love you, care for you and want the best for you.

So, no, we are not Santa. Santa is love & magic. Excitement and surprise.  I'm on his team, so is Daddy and now you are, too. Now it’s your turn to help us continue being Santa for Claire & Luke and your younger cousins.
We are sad you are growing up, but we are excited to have you on our team helping spread the Christmas magic to others. 
We love you and always will.
Mommy & Daddy
P.S. Gramma always says….”If you don’t believe, you won’t receive.” We still believe in the magic of Christmas morning & hope you will too. I hope you keep hearing the bell. May you always believe…and remember that it is better to give than receive. 

So, feel free to use this & tweak this letter for when your kids start asking you about Santa.
Last week I gave Kate this ornament. (I got it HERE)
  If you've seen Polar Express you will understand the significance of this bell & hearing it ring.
I ordered ones for Claire & Luke also, so when it comes time to give them a letter, I will have this Believe bell ornament to go with it.

I want to make sure they always hear the bell ringing. 

So, here we are at Christmas....our first Christmas when one of our kids knows the truth about Santa.
It feels....different. Although I know it shouldn't. It's not a "bad different" It's more of "my kids are growing up and this is making me sad different". 

I have to say, Kate has been incredible...you would never know that she knows "the truth".  She went to see Santa with her siblings & cousins with a smile on her face. She told Santa what she wanted. Each morning, she runs around the house with Claire & Luke trying to see who can find the Elf first. She is doing her job & doing it well.

Thank you Kate for keeping the magic alive in our home.
We had a decade of magical Christmases where all our kids could hear the bell ring. 
It's still ringing, it just has a different sound....a different ring tone.
It's bittersweet, for sure.


What's Up Wednesday :: December 2017

Happy Wednesday! It's time for our What's Up Wednesday Link Up!

Link up with  me, Sheaffer & Shay  so we can read about What's Up with YOU!

Here we go!
What We’re Eating this week.....
 Monday:  Leftovers
Tuesday: Chicken Taco Soup
Wednesday: Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Friday Night Pizza Night

I am making this dessert on Christmas Eve.... Peppermint Ice Cream Cake {Recipe HERE}

 More treats that I am making this week...I have a cookie exchange tomorrow!
(There are tons since it is Christmas Week & we have lots of goodies to make & giveaway!)

Candy Cane Kisses {Recipe HERE}

Peanut Butter Blossoms {Recipe HERE}

 Ritzies {Recipe HERE
 Christmas Sprinkle Sugar Cookies {HERE}
  Salted Caramel Brownies {Recipe HERE}

Reindeer Food for friends (White Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn)
 THIS post has the recipe and the Free printable for Reindeer Food:

Christmas Cookies in a Jar:
This is a great gift to give teachers along with a gift cart :)
Instructions & Free printable {HERE}

What I'm Reminiscing about.....
When my kids were scared of Santa.
Crying Santa photos are my favorite & my kids didn't let me down.

Claire's 1st Christmas {3 months}, Kate {23 months}

Kate {3.5 years old} & Claire {2 years old}
 One of the best ever. 2013....Luke & his cousin Jack. So good.
Now my kids happily smile & sit with Santa.

What I'm loving.....
The fact that there are only 2 more days until Christmas Break & then I have 2 glorious weeks off!
This has been me all week...
Specifically, Hallmark Christmas movies! Love them!

What We've been up to.....
 December has been fun, fun, fun!
Here are some highlights:
Ugly Sweater Party {Full Party post HERE}

On Friday we had my friend Kristen's 40th Birthday Party

Kristen is one of my friends who I watch the Bachelor with every Monday. We had a cardboard Chris Harrison made for her:
The most dramatic 40th birthday party ever ;)

  Love my Bachelor girls:

 It was such a fun night!

Saturday we had our Neighborhood Cioppino Christmas Dinner
 & White Elephant Exchange.
 Shennanigans from some of they guys during the White Elephant Exchange
I made the desserts for the party. Homemade Cheesecake & my Salted Caramel Brownies
We ended the night playing 1-4-24. Love this game!
 On Sunday we had Larson Family Christmas...look at all those stockings!

 It's been a busy but fun month!

What I'm Dreading.....
  Wrapping Christmas presents. I am a little behind on that & have a lot to do this weekend.
There are 2 people in the world. Those who love wrapping Christmas presents and those who do not.
I am under the "do not love" category.

Although, I do have a tip for wrapping presents for kids. I did this past 2 years.
 I don't put tags on the presents, I just pick one wrapping paper per kid. Then on Christmas morning I tell them which wrapping paper is theirs :)

What I'm Working On.....
Our semester ends on Friday & I am busy getting tests & homework packets graded so that I can turn in my grades.

What I'm Excited About.....
Our Rodan + Fields Lash Boost Special that is going on!
You get a FREE travel bag!
It comes with Lash Boost (will last 3-4 months) & a cute travel bag:
 You get the cute travel bag & lash boost for $135.
If you buy TWO of them, you get it for $244....so $122 each! 
 Get one for you & one for your mom, sister, best friend, etc!
This is good for current or new customers! 
Lash boost is amazing...the results speak for themselves.
 I am placing a bulk order of  this Lash Boost deal on Friday.
Email me to order!

What I'm Watching........
Hallmark Christmas by the glow of Christmas lights...pretty much every night.
 Here is some of my DVR: 
 Loved all of these and more...I have watched at least 1 Hallmark movie each night for the past 3 weeks.
There have been some good Hallmark movies this year! Switched for Christmas, Finding Santa & The Sweetest Christmas have been some of my favorites this year.

What I'm Reading.....
I've read 2 books in December. Usually I read 4-5 books a month, but I've only read 2 becauseof my Hallmark Christmas movie addiction.
Why read when you can watch cheesy Christmas movies? ;)
Once December 26th hits I will stop watching Christmas movies & I have plans to read some of the books that have been collecting dust on my nightstand for the past month.
We are heading to Tahoe at the end of the month, so I know I will have lots of reading time once we are there.

I read What Remains True
This was pretty good....3.5 out of 5 stars

And, I read Wonder.

5 out of 5 stars...SO GOOD.
Kate also read it, so we are going to see the movie over break.

What I'm Listening to.....
Christmas music playing in our house 24-7
These are my top 3 favorite Christmas albums:

Jessica Simpson (HERE)

Mariah Carey (HERE)

Michael Buble (HERE)

What I'm Wearing.....
We have had really mild weather this month. It's been in the 60s here in Northern California.
It's chilly in the morning, then it warms up and is really nice.
These are the booties I have been wearing....
These black ones (30% off right now!)

Last year I got this sweater in navy and black. It's cashmere and SO comfortable!
They are currently 20% off. I am tempted to get another one....comes in over 10 colors. The black & white stripe is calling my name.

What I’m doing this weekend.....
Baking & Cooking for Christmas!
Saturday is Christmas Eve Eve, so the 5 of us will do our annual Christmas Eve Eve tradition of going out to dinner and then go look at Christmas lights.
There is a Griswold house in our town & it's always so fun to see each year.
Sunday is Christmas Eve, so we will go to church and then head to my parents house for dinner and then presents (I grew up opening all my presents on Christmas Eve)

What I'm Looking Forward to next month.....
Going to Lake Tahoe and skiing!
I LOVE Tahoe and I really love snow...so excited!
We got ski passes again this year & now I am just praying for snow.
Last winter was so amazing with all the snow we got, fingers crossed this winter is just as good!

What else is new.....
I posted a free printable on Monday if you need a new Elf on the Shelf idea.
If you need a good laugh, read my Cautionary Tale HERE and you can also get the free printable for Magic Elf Seeds!

Question of the month is:
What is the best gift you ever given the guy in your life?
This is EASY!
For Kevin's 30th birthday I surprised him with a yellow lab puppy....our dog Boulder!
 This was us...almost 13 years ago in 2005 when we picked up Boulder. Babies! All of us!
You can read the whole story about how we got Boulder HERE.


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Can't wait to read about What's up with all of YOU!


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