DIY CHRISTMAS - SALT DOUGH ORNAMENTS + LETTER TO SANTA

Friday, December 07, 2018
I have two quick Holiday DIY's for you today! Salt Dough Ornaments that are super fast and easy as well as a Letter to Santa template, you just have to print it off!

Last holiday season Elli was only a few months old, but I was feeling extra Pinterest-y. And after decorating our tree with all of my childhood ornaments I knew I wanted my girls to have the same feeling of nostalgia each year they decorated. 
Enter : The sweetest, little salt dough handprint ornaments. I mean, can we talk about her chubby, little fingers?! Mmmm...just delicious. And while I have serious regrets that I didn't do one of these little handprints for Kaye and Sawyer's first Christmases, at least I have one for year three and five. (I'm not crying, YOU'RE crying!)

Anyway, click either of the links to take you over to the original Salt Dough Ornament tutorial!
Next up! Letter to Santa printable!
Now hang in there with me on this one. There are lots of steps to follow. 

Step One : Click here
Step Two : Print

That's it! Then you just have to write the little letter to Santa and the magic of Christmas lives on for another year. 

And while we're here talking about all things Christmas - I ran across this image of Kaye and those sweet, short curls! I'm dead. She's newly three in this image and all I can think is - 

1. I cannot believe how much she's changed in three years.
2. Thank God for this blog. I'm clicks away from stories and years of memories.

Read the full post here to see images of Sawyer...back when I called her Sawyer-muff because she was still pretty sweet.
Have a wonderful weekend. I need to start mentally preparing myself for a shopping trip with all three girls to Boise today. 

WHEN MOM AND DAD NEED A DATE NIGHT : AN OVERNIGHT DATE AT THE GROVE HOTEL

Wednesday, December 05, 2018
A weekend away from the farm is perfectly and easily spent locally for a staycation in Boise, Idaho at The Grove Hotel. Perfectly situated in the heart of downtown Boise, The Grove Hotel has a completely remodeled lobby, bar, and restaurant.

A couple of weekends ago my farmer and I had the chance to head an hour from the farm for a night out on the town with our friends. (Fellow parents of young girls who were also desperate for some adult / no-children-allowed time.) We all decided that an overnight in Boise would be best so that nobody had to worry about driving home so late at night. We booked our rooms at The Grove Hotel knowing how well situated it is within the downtown scene and it's close proximity to all the yummy food and drink places we love to frequent...and we were even able to explore some we've never been to. We were not disappointed!



Upon arrival the hotel was buzzing with all the guests. The Grove Hotel is attached to the Century Link Arena and with the college basketball tournament going on you could feel the fun energy of the weekend. We quickly got checked in and headed to the 13th floor to our room. We were so high up and had a great view of downtown Boise. We could see the foothills and all the lights and it was pretty obvious we were no longer in Kansas...on the farm.


I took to getting ready, and because my farmer doesn't like to wait around he immediately put on his swimming shorts and one of the plush robes in our room and took off for the hot tub. That guy never misses an opportunity to wear a robe. It's just one of the 2094820 reasons he makes me laugh and I adore him. Just as I finished up, my farmer got back, changed, and we headed downstairs to enjoy some beverages at The Bar (literally called The Bar) while we waited for our partners in crime, Kath and Stephen.


Our friends are fully responsible for the idea behind our date night. Kath and Stephen came prepared with a little baggy full of slips of paper with different bars / restaurants to keep us busy throughout the night. We were to enjoy appetizers and one beverage at each location. Then it was time to draw another slip and be on our way.


We started at the new restaurant, Trillium. To say the cocktails were as delicious as they were beautiful is an understatement! I enjoyed the French 75 (highly recommend!) as well as a cocktail I can't remember the name of...oh no! But also delicious and also the cocktail in the picture. Kath and I even ate the flower - moms on the town are wild like that. And don't worry - we ate too. The charcuterie board was perfect for sharing. Once that was devoured we bid farewell to our funny server, Ronnie (not his real name...we just called him that because we're obnoxious), and headed via scooters to our next food and beverage location.

We continued all over town for the next several hours and made it back to The Grove at a respectable hour. Not too early...not too late. LIE! It was soooo late, but we were having such a good time. The best part about it being so late was knowing we didn't have to drive home. We could enjoy the evening knowing that we had a beautiful, comfortable room waiting for us back at the hotel. Thank God, because we were wiped.


The next morning we slept in (7:30 am is sleeping in) and made it back to Trillium for a delicious breakfast. My Farmer had biscuits and gravy (because that's what farmers eat) and my eggs / bacon / potatoes didn't disappoint either.

And while we would have loved to stay at least three more nights, we had to get back to our babies. But friends - a singular date night on the town can quickly remind you of what it was like before kids...even with the early wake-up. And double-bonus if you get to stay at a fun, beautiful, downtown hotel.

A huge thank you to The Grove Hotel for helping us to feel / act 25 again.

HOW FAMILY PICTURES WORK WITH THREE KIDS

Friday, November 16, 2018
A quick roundup of our attempt at our annual family pictures this fall.

Every year I make a big deal out of family pictures. Every year I say we're not going to do it. Skip it this year, I say to myself. You don't need them.


Apparently I do need them because every year I frantically order 17 outfits for each of us hoping to put together the perfectly uncoordinated / coordinated outfit...lest we look like we don't dress this way each and every freaking day. (If we wanted a realistic shot it would be me in running shorts, Elli in her jammies, Kaye in a gymnastics leotard, and Sawyer would be dressed to the nines. (Girlfriend knows how to put together an outfit.) Oh...and our Farmer wouldn't be there because 1. he hates pictures and 2. busy farming.

Realistic, right?

But instead, I throw the fit of the century, promise candy and adult beverages to my farmer, pack a giant bag of marshmallows for the girls...and off we go. Family picture time.



Side note - I packed marshmallows this year because we didn't have any other candy around. And wouldn't you know it! They're brilliant! Chocolate melts and stains, friends. Marshmallows pop in the mouth and they're gone. Marshmallows for the win.

You know what else is a win? Having a friend who will take your pictures who also happens to live close. You've seen her work featured here before. Amy is a saint for offering up her talents again...and again...and again. And when I say offering, I mean I asked her expecting her to say, "I can't." (Because she's by far the busiest person I know), but instead she said, "Of course!" (Because that's the type of person she is!)


Then we're in the thick of it. I'm already sweaty, because that's what I do during family pictures. I slap a fake smile on my face and sweat. Then I stress out that nobody is having a good time and it ends up being me forcing everyone to pretend like they're the happiest family in the world standing in a patch of cheatgrass or Russian Thistle. As it turns out, that golden color of cheatgrass is pretty in pictures but it gets stuck EVERYWHERE.

Buuuuuuut...just like childbirth, I block out the pain that was last year and I commit to doing it again and again and again. Because #sadist.

Also note - In the picture below our Farmer's head was floating riiiiight above Sawyer's head. Notice his hand holding Elli. But what a great picture of my gals and me!

Luckily, I'm happy to report, this year went better than expected! Aside from a brief moment when Sawyer threw a fit and told us both her legs were broken (typical Sawyer), she rebounded and we ended up getting some shots I'll be extremely proud to display! I may even get our holiday card out before Christmas this year.

My Farmer gets an A-...but only because he gave me a little big of grief about having to take pictures in the first place.

Sawyer gets a C. Average. Did not exceed expectations. Her fits...I've just about had it. She did have some bright moments, which is why she's getting the C. Otherwise D.

Kaye - Maybe at six she's danced this dance enough times to realize that if she just listens and smiles it'll all be over soon. Girlfriend gets an A.

Elli-girl. Aside from losing her shoe (I blame our farmer), she was wonderful. And dare I say - The camera loves her. I think she was feeling sassy in her romper. Elli gets an A.


And what about me, you might ask? What kind of grade do I give myself? Well...I get an A for effort, that's for sure. But my farmer would probably given me an F for overall attitude.

Next year...I swear - We're not doing family pictures.

Or maybe we will if we can get a few more pictures like this...

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