I Don’t Have Babies Anymore And I’m Not Quite Sure What To Do With Myself!

 

As I sit back and reflect on our lives over the last few months, and all the adventures we’ve gotten into, it suddenly hit me (like a wrecking ball) that I don’t have babies anymore.  And honestly, that hurts my momma heart.  Like, a whole lot.  Our kids seem to be growing at rapid speed.  Our oldest is nearly as tall as I am and her maturity level is off the charts.  Our tiny love  has surpassed all the “baby milestones” and looks much more like a little girl than a toddler.  Right now we have two kids playing soccer and one kid playing volleyball….and one mom coaching volleyball (which really just means that I can’t skip anything.  Don’t even think about judging me, y’all know exactly what I’m talking about.)  We live at ballfields, community centers and dance studios.  Our weekends come and go and we barely see our home because someone always has something going on.  Life seems to move in fast forward.  Recently I’ve been really looking at my children and trying to soak it all in.  Some mornings it’s like they wake up and i can tell they grew over night.  It’s beautiful and heartbreaking all at the same time.

We have one child going in to middle school this fall while another child will register for Pre-K.  I feel like I just had them.  Yes, both of them.  Where did the time go?  Not only do i realize how much they’re growing, but i also realize that I’m getting older as well.  Where’s the young, dumb 25 year old with the infant?!?  How have i been a mother for over a decade?  How am I turning 35 this summer?!?  Am i really done having babies?!  Is that portion of my life really over?!  While it sounds like I’m having a mid-life crisis over here, not to worry, I’m just processing all the random emotions that us mommas have to work through.  We dream our whole lives about the families that we’re going to have then once we’re actually in that situation, it all happens so fast that we can’t really fully enjoy it.

I wish i had all the answers and could tell you how to freeze time, but unfortunately, i don’t have those kinds of magical powers.  I do know that I’m realizing how important it is to unplug and be present; not just sometimes but all the time.  To listen to every crazy, long-winded story; to get in the floor and crawl around like a puppy dog and to play ball in the yard like you have no chores that need completed.  These are all things that we, as parents, would normally put off because we “don’t have time.”  But honestly, the older I get, the more I realize that the chores can wait but my children can’t!  They’re only little for so long.

Each day I’m forced to let go just a little more.  To let them walk a little farther away from me in the store, to let them sit at their own restaurant table with their friends, and to let them choose their own outfits and hairstyles (even when I most definitely disagree with their styling choices!!)  They’re only mine for a little while and I’m realizing that more each day.  This part is probably the most heartbreaking of all.  Who will I be when they’re grown and gone?!  We bring these tiny little bundles of joy into the world and vow to protect them from all evils.  We nurture them and hold them close, but letting go will definitely be the biggest hurdle we have to climb.

As I pave my way into becoming ‘middle aged’ and begin to tread the waters of being the momma to a Middle Schooler, I am reminded that each day is a blessing.  And even if I don’t have babies anymore, I know that they need me just as much now as they always have.  They just need me in different ways.  I may be taking the backseat for a while, but i’ll always be their biggest fan.  The truth is, I’m as lost as they are, but we’ll figure it out together….one laugh and cry at a time.

XOXO

Jill

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Perfect Spring Dress Alert!!! BOAF Boutique Coupon Code Included!

It’s a beautiful winter we’ve been having this spring!  (*eye roll*)  Who’s ready for spring to actually show up and stick around?!? I know we at Glitter Jungle are! This weather has teased us with a couple of warm, breezy days and left us craving sundresses and sandals!  So naturally, we went looking for the perfect, casual spring dress!

We found them at our first stop: Birds of a Feather Boutique (BOAF)! It is a cute, cozy boutique located in Huntington, WV at Heritage Station. BOAF sells unique and trendy items at super affordable prices both in store and online.

This easy fitting, jersey swing dress has a cute lattice detail and comes in tons of spring colors! The best part is that it has POCKETS and is only $24!! It will take you from the ball field to dinner to church and can be paired with sandals, mules or heels. This dress comes in sizes small through extra large. It is SUPER roomy and depending on how you like to wear your dresses, a Medium could range anywhere from a size 6-12. Lauren is 5’8″ and the dress hits 2-3 inches above her knee. She is wearing a medium.  Jill is 5’2″ and you see that it hits below her knee. The dress is fitted through the chest and arms but extremely forgiving in the body.  If you are larger chested (like Jill) I would say that it runs true to size.  If you are smaller chested you could definitely size down for a more fitted look.

In addition to this dress, BOAF also has a sleeveless swing dress with pockets in a variety of colors for spring – that could be dressed up or down and will take you right into summer!  The sleeveless dress would be PERFECT for the office – just throw on a cute cardigan, slide on some mules and you’re all set!

Because we love BOAF and know that you will love these dresses and, well EVERYTHING else in the store, BOAF is giving 15% off your entire order (not just the dresses listed) from today through Wednesday with the promo code GLITTER! Be sure to grab your favorite dress because sizes are limited and these are going to go fast. Also for you locals, check back for an in-store sale later this week.

To give you some outfit inspo, we’ve styled our dresses several different ways below to show you just how versatile these dresses really are!  What’s your favorite style?  Let us know!  We’d love to hear.

 

We know you will love your BOAF order! Let us know what you got!

XOXO,

Jill & Lauren

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Happy Anniversary, Glitter Jungle! Come Celebrate With Us!

Believe it or not, Glitter Jungle turns ONE today!  It seems like just yesterday that we started out on this amazing journey.  As we sat and brainstormed, tirelessly trying to come up with a name for our new project,  we wondered if anyone would even read our blog.  Would people even be interested?!  Well, we’ve been astounded by how awesome you all are!  Not only have you read our blog, but you’ve shared us with your friends and welcomed us into your homes and lives.  Over the last year we’ve been able to partner with local businesses, collab with our friends and meet so many people along the way!  This first year has been so much more than we could’ve ever imagined.  And the good news is, the best is yet to come!  Here’s a short video, featuring some of our favorites, celebrating our one year milestone.

We’d love to hear your feedback!  What’s your favorite blog from this past year?  What do you enjoy reading the most – fitness, fashion, travel, fun, mom life?  What do you want to see us get into in 2018?  Would you like to collab with us?   Reach out to us and let’s chat!  We’d love to partner with you.

Cheers to many more years, and thanks for coming along for the ride!

XOXO

Jill & Lauren

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Bright Lights, Big City – My whirlwind work trip to NYC!

Anytime I get an opportunity to visit the Big Apple I jump at the chance! This time, I was there for work. I attended an intense, but really good academy to sharpen my skills after my-somewhat-career-pivot. I was in the classroom from 8am to 5pm. No joke (did I mention it was intense??). However, each day after 5pm, a few girls and I set off to explore the city. Surprisingly, NYC felt a lot smaller than I remembered. While there are tons of huge skyscrapers and masses of people everywhere, once you get your bearings, (and have your walking shoes on), everything you want/need is super accessible!

I originally had planned to arrive early afternoon the first day, however a cancelled flight and a tour of Pennsylvania, I finally made it to LaGuardia around 8pm. (Tip: if you want to get an insider’s scoop on what’s up with the airport you are flying into/out of, follow them on Twitter! Super helpful especially when you are flying in bad weather.) After waiting in a LONG taxi line, I finally made it to my hotel. (Tip: DO.NOT.RIDE with the randos asking you if you want to skip the taxi line, unless it’s your Uber or Lyft driver.)

I was stayed right in Times Square (as all the NY people roll their eyes…ha) and was SO excited to be there and among….the tourists, 🤣.

I was starving and really had my heart set on Korean food. It was 9:30pm and I wasn’t really comfortable navigating to Koreatown, by myself, at that hour. So, next best thing…Seamless! You’ve all heard that you can get anything you want, at anytime you want in the city. Seamless is a great delivery service that brings you food from any participating restaurant. Lucky for me, there was a great Korean restaurant open and I got a fabulous dinner. The banchan and bulgogi was so yummy!!!

So, you know how some little things give you a good feeling and really set the tone of a week?? Well, here was mine: 

This conference had Coke Zero. I was in heaven. Done.

So, when in NYC…right?? I wore grey on black on black the whole week…and loved every minute of it. I really need to get out of this dark wardrobe rut, (I’m trying out Trunk Club…more on that later).

One night we made our way to Chelsea Market. This fabulous market had super unique shops and delicious and affordable restaurants!

I tried a chicken soft taco and pork quesadilla from Los Tacos No. 1. The meat was so tasty and the service was so fast. Plus it was under $12!!!!! If I was a local, I’d be there once a week.

Another night we headed to Central Park. A girl I was sitting next to at the conference was dying to see the carousel. We raced to Central Park but missed it before it closed. However, we did see this great message on our way:

So, Central Park after dark wasn’t the best idea. We followed a little old lady with a dog, to the outer ring where all the runners were congregated. Back on track, away from the wierdos that all seemed to look like Al Pacino. Whew.

Throughout the rest of the week, we went to Carmine’s for dinner, shopped at Century 21, Nordstrom Rack, and everything in Times Square. I loved seeing the sites and taking in all of the architecture.

The second of two major Nor’easters that came through NYC, hit the night before I was supposed to fly out. The snow made the city look beautiful! PTL – the ground crews at the airport were ready and I got out of the city without so much as a delay!!

NYC is always a blast and reminds me of the amazing diversity in our country. You hear the stories of people coming to NYC with $50 in their pocket and making dreams come true. It is so humbling and an great reminder of all I have and motivation to hustle! As much as I loved my work trip, I completely missed my family and was SO happy to see them! I can’t wait to take my kids and show them NYC! Till next time!

XOXO,

Lauren

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Be Your Own Valentine: 5 Tips For A More Confident You!

We live in a world that constantly reminds us that we’re not good enough.  We’re not tall enough, thin enough, tan enough, happy enough, healthy enough….the list goes on and on.  It’s exhausting, honestly.  We are hit with a constant flow of information, via the internet, that tells us exactly how we should look, act and think.  Our senses are on overdrive trying to keep up with the latest workouts, trends and technology.  All we want to do is better ourselves, but what ends up happening is that we don’t love the skin we’re in.  We’re always searching for happiness and chasing contentment.  We always think “if just this one things happens, THEN I’ll be happy.”  Or “if I find this kind of man, THEN I’ll be happy.”  The truth is, you don’t find happiness, you make it.  If you can’t find peace where you are, then you never will.  I’m as guilty of this as anyone else.  While I agree that it’s always important to move forward, grow and better yourself, it’s most important to stop and smell the roses and LIVE.  To enjoy the present and love ourselves and those around us.  While truly loving ourselves on the inside is a little bit harder to achieve, here are five easy tips that will boost your outer self confidence.  When you look good, you feel good.  Outer self confidence will start to boost your inner self love!

1.  Go-To Jeans

There is literally nothing more important than having a favorite, go-to pair of good fitting jeans.  A cute pair of jeans can really boost any woman’s confidence.  Find a pair of jeans that can be dressed up or down.  While I’m normally chasing a good deal, jeans are one thing that I don’t skimp on – I’ll pay top dollar for a pair of good quality jeans.  My favorite jeans are American Eagle High Rise Jeggings.

 

2. Good Skin Care Routine

I am SO guilty on this one.  Luckily, I didn’t have skin problems during the teen years.  While that is a huge blessing, it’s a curse in it’s own way.  Because I never had to take care of my skin, I didn’t.  Last year, at 33, I finally got on board with a nightly skincare routine and I can definitely see the difference.  I keep my routine simple, but I still feel like it’s important.  Nothing makes a person more self conscious than to have a giant zit on their face that everyone is staring at (at least that’s how it feels!)  All skin types are different, but here’s what works for me (bonus: you can get this at the drug store for cheap!)

These Neutrogena Makeup Remover Wipes are literally the bomb.  They get everything off while still being gentle on the skin.  I even use them on my kids delicate skin after wearing dance competition makeup.

After thoroughly cleaning my face, I moisturize with Olay Firming Night Cream.  This stuff will literally make your face as soft as butter – and it smells good, too!

3.  Lipstick!

Even though I keep my lip color very “nude” most of the time, I make sure to incorporate a bold, fun lip color on date nights.  It’s also fun to wear a bold lip with minimal makeup – to switch things up a bit!  Here’s one of my favorite looks:

 

4. Pearly Whites!

This one ranks right up there with good skin care.  A healthy oral routine is very important to me.  No one feels very confident if their smile isn’t on point.  I’ve had teeth problems my whole life (lots of cavities – *eye roll*, ugh.)  As an adult, I try to take really good care of my teeth.  I brush two-to-three times daily and use this Listerine Whitening Mouth Rinse.  I’m not even kidding, I can totally tell a difference when I’m not using it.  A warm, happy smile goes a long way – share yours with others!

5. Head Swag!

I can not stress this one enough!  As women, we are constantly doing our hair.  If you’re anything like me, you probably dread doing your hair – it’s SUCH a process.  You might even plan your hair washing days around your social calendar (not that I would know anything about that!)  Here’s a tip that will help you out majorly.  Find several different styles of hats that you like.  Create a collection.  I have hats for most all occasions.  If you’re in a hurry, skip the hair wash.  Just throw your hair up in a messy side bun and throw on a cute hat.  You’ll look trendy and your husband will be happy that he didn’t have to sit around and wait on you!

While I enjoy slathering paints all over my face and jacking my hair to Jesus, it’s not because someone else made me feel like I need to do that.  It’s because I like it and that’s what makes me feel confident!  It’s not even because of my husband.  In fact, he would much prefer me in workout clothes, a ball cap and bare faced.  But I’ve come to realize what’s most important is making myself feel confident and beautiful.  That feeling is going to be different for every single person.  Your job is to figure out what makes you feel beautiful!

Whether you’re spending your Valentine’s Day with your lover, your Galentine or you’re flying solo, make sure that you remember to love yourself first!

Hugs & Hearts,

Jill

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V-Day Gift Guide: Super Unique Gifts You Can’t Miss!

Who doesn’t like getting a gift? I realize that there are other “love languages” out there, but let’s be real, no one is going to to turn down a present picked just for them!!  If you are looking for some unique options that will up your gift game from chocolate and flowers for your parents, sibling, boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, and friends, keep reading!

Capitol Market

We stopped by this market on our way back from Aerial Yoga for some fruit and found a huge selection of tasty treats and drinks! There is something for everyone here. You will find everything from delicious candy, wine, coffee to cheese, meats and fruit. There is something for everyone here!

 

 

Birchbox Subscription

While this isn’t a new idea, Birchbox had evolved with the times and have started curating more personalized boxes of makeup, skincare, nail care, and fragrance options. I absolutely LOVED receiving these boxes each month with new beauty products to try. These start at just $10/month and now have them for the GQ men in your life. 😉

 

UE Wonderboom

This little waterproof, super portable, bluetooth speaker will change your life. The sound quality is awesome. This is a must-have for anyone with kids.  You can easily carry this speaker from room to room for dance parties and sound machine noises. It is also especially good for traveling.

 

Packing Cubes

For your organized friends (or ones that need some organization in their lives), these packing cubes are AWESOME! They are totally worth the less than $25 price tag. I used these when packing my kids for Disney and it was super helpful.  They come in several different colors, which makes it easy to identify whose clothes are in the suitcase!

 

Mousepad

While this might not be the most romantic gift you’ve ever given, I can say that this is one of the best mousepads I’ve ever used! My husband, who spends the majority of his day at the computer, recommended this to me and I haven’t turned back. It is super responsive and under $10! Your techie friends/family will thank you!

 

Silicone Ring

In addition to our Acro Yoga and Aerial Yoga adventures that you’ve seen, these rings would definitely be great for weight training or crossfit workouts. I got my husband one and he says it is super comfortable and would totally recommend it. These are less than $25!

I hope these unique gift ideas will be a great paring with the fun/romantic/crazy night you have planned with your boo or gal-pals!

XOXO,

Lauren

P.S. Make sure to check out the Sushi Bar at Capitol Market – they have some of my favorite grab-n-go treats (even my kids approve!)

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My Bucket List for the Year

It’s a new year – a total clean slate. It’s a time for new beginnings, goals, resolutions, and bucket list items. I am, for sure, an optimist, and I totally get into thinking about things I’d like to change in my life, how I I want to grow, what I want to do and accomplish and how it’s going to happen. *Let me just stop right here* and acknowledge that all of us with young children are totally in survival mode and just getting ourselves and families fed, dressed and out the door in the morning is an accomplishment. But, as I come through the fog of having an infant (2 toddlers now!?!), I have a newfound burst of energy to tackle some of the things that were on hold for the last year or so.

So, to be completely honest, I have found some of my inspiration for my New Year’s resolutions from The Bucket List Family.  If you aren’t familiar with them, they are a family who sold everything to travel around the world, learn about different cultures and give back.  I first learned about them as they partnered with Disney and reviewed resorts in their 30 Stays in 30 Days videos. I really appreciate their goals for the family: Adventure, Service and Culture (and health). (I also absolutely love the idea of living with less “stuff”, but that’s another post for another time. 😁) This was completely inspiring to me, so this year, my big goals for myself and family are Adventure, Service and Healthy Living.

Adventure

The wanderlust is real, you guys. Traveling is my happy place! While John and I aren’t going to sell everything and travel the world with our kids, this year my goal is to experience something new each month. While some of our adventures may be big, like a trip to New Zealand, some will be as simple as a visit to a new museum or new art class.

The last few years have flown by! If you are like me, you would love to slow things down (especially those sweet moments with your babies). You know how everyone says, if you want to slow the years down, take some time to learn something new? Here’s my attempt to make the most of the time with my family and have a really fun time doing it!

Service

Some of us are better at giving back than others. I love giving to charities and good causes, but getting down to the nitty gritty and rolling up my sleeves? Not as good. This year, I’d love to show my kids the value of getting involved in hands-on church and community projects to make our town a great place to live.

Healthy Living

Every year I make the resolution to lose weight, but this year, I am committing to a healthier lifestyle. Without health, we are really super limited to what we can do. Whether I like to admit it or not, I feel better when I exercise – I have more energy for my kids and am generally in a better mood (“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t. -Elle Woods). I am working on incorporating both strength training and HIIT training into my workout plan. Not only will that help keep me feeling good but I will be able to keep up with my kids!

Throughout this year, Jill and I will take you on our personal journeys and show you our fun (and hilarious) fitness adventures, life hacks, beauty tips/tricks, healthy living ideas and a lot more! Coming up is a series on fitness. Check back for our post on AcroYoga!!

Thank you all for taking the time to keep up with us and we look forward to hearing your resolutions, goals, and great tips for making 2018 a great year! Don’t forget to subscribe (below if you are on your mobile device and to the right if you are on your PC) and get the latest updates!

XOXO,

Lauren

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2017 Nearly Broke Me: Onward to 2018 And The Milestones Ahead

 

 

As many of you will remember {if you rack your brain really hard – because I’m sure my life isn’t your top priority} on New Years Day 2017, I posted about how my plan for the year was to spend more time on myself.  More workouts, more healthy living, more girls nights, more fun with friends and to really focus on positive energy.  For the first six months of 2017 I literally killed this goal.  Totally crushed it.   I felt so accomplished; I felt more like myself than I had in years.  Then life suddenly took me on a crazy adventure.  One I wasn’t planning for and one I really wish didn’t happen.  There were some really exciting moments, but then came the deepest pain I’ve ever felt.

In July, we quickly decided to make an offer on our dream home.  As crazy as it seems, they accepted our offer {Holy Crap!  Did we really just buy this huge Estate?!?  Are we even adulty enough for this purchase?!}  Before I knew it, we were suddenly doing approximately a bazillion things in preparation to buy and sell homes.  Two short months later and, voila, we were the owners of not one, but TWO homes.  Panic started to set in {Caleb had to practically force me to sign on the dotted line.  I felt like I needed to put my head between my knees and breathe into a paper bag}, but thank God, he watched over us and our old house sold in record time.

It seemed like all of the cards were falling into place and everything felt perfect….until my dad, who was my best friend in the world, was hospitalized.  As much as we had hoped that he would get better, deep in my gut, I knew he wasn’t coming home.  I cried in the hospital hallway the night he was admitted and told my husband that I was scared that he would never leave the hospital again.  Unfortunately, my worst nightmare came true.  Within a few short weeks, we were faced with the hardest decision I’ve ever made.  Saying goodbye to my hero and moving on without him has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever faced.  2017 nearly broke me.   It’s a feeling I can’t explain and it’s something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.  But, here we are, moving forward and looking ahead, just as he would want us to do.  Dad was full of so much love, he would never want us to sit around and stop living.  So many times in the last few years my dad had given me the advice to “stay young, be active, live life to the fullest and always love your family.”  And that’s exactly what I’m focusing on in 2018.

This year is going to be FULL of milestones in our household.  Milestones that make me want to have an emotional breakdown.  In 2018 I will enroll a child in…gasp…MIDDLE SCHOOL!  How is that even possible?!  My tiny baby will go to preschool – like backpacks and lunchboxes and class work.  And I will turn 35.  I’ve never been one to worry about age; age has always just been a number.  But 35 is a real number, y’all.  35 sounds an awful lot like 40…and that can’t be possible!   Isn’t my mom forty?!?  I mean, it can’t be me staring down forty’s door!  Life is moving at such a rapid pace.  I feel like every time you have a child it just clicks the ‘fast forward’ button a couple more times.  Semesters in college used to seem soooooo long; like they were never ending.  {You know, back when we had no real responsibility but life seemed so hard. *eye roll*  When our biggest problems were what outfit we should wear to Thirsty Thursday and if that jerk of a guy was going to be there and maybe talk to us.}  It seems like now that we’ve hit the sweet spot in life, and we’ve finally found an ounce of real, true happiness, we just want time to stand still but as hard as we try, it just keeps going faster and faster.  So in 2018, while I still plan to focus on ME, I also want to spend every extra second that I can making memories with my family.  My babies are only going to be little for so long.  I want to soak in every second and make every memory that we can make.  I want to seize the day.  I want to say “NO” to outsiders so I can say “YES” to my family.  Time to make 2018 about my crew – and I’m totally ok with being selfish this time.  Just remember, you’re in charge of your time and how you spend it.  You only get one life, spend it well.

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Some of My Favorite Christmas Sweets and Treats for Every Occasion!

For the Big Guy in the Red Suit:

If you have been watching the Food Network over the past couple of weeks, you have seen a million different recipes to make a party special/get into the holiday spirit/surprise Santa (does anyone really think Santa has time to sit down and enjoy a raspberry galette while delivering presents to all the children around the whole world in one night??). If you want something a bit different than cookies, but will still travel well and satisfy Old St. Nick, try Christmas Crack!

Photo Cred: Gal on a Mission

My Aunt Nancy introduced us to this delicious treat a couple of years ago and I was hooked at first bite! It is a great treat to keep around the house to munch on or spread the holiday spirit to your neighbors. (Shock! Horror! I may actually get to know a neighbor.)

 

For Your Child’s Class:

We all want to be that parent that brings the tasty, yet somewhat healthy treat that brings just the right amount of Christmas cheer to the classroom.  *Insert* Fruit Kabobs and Santa Hat Brownies!

Photo Cred: Daisy’s World

Both of these treats were easy to put together (tip for the santa hat brownies: buy the mini brownie bites, add a strawberry, put some icing in a sandwich bag, snip the corner and use it as a piping bag, make a circle of icing around the strawberry and a dot on top). It seemed like most of the kids popped off the strawberry, ate it and threw away the rest. Ha.

 

For the Dips and Desserts Party:

Some of my best holiday memories are making the next dessert – Pecan Tassies!

Photo Cred: Hi Cookery

These mini pecan pies are SOOOO tasty and taste better and better throughout the week. I can’t remember a Christmas without them.

As I started looking through family recipes (and had some major #fails as I tried recreating them), I think what makes them so special are the memories of flour all over the kitchen, feeling exhausted after adding the first ingredients and watching my mom finish the rest (he he), back and forth arguments with my brother about what dessert/how to make it/who would eat the most, my dad eating the lion’s portion of the sweet treats, and everyone passing out on the couch with a plate of tasty cookies/brownies/cake and watching Christmas movies or playing games.

This makes me think about my family of four and the traditions we will create. My son is super into baking right now (which I LOVE) and I am soaking up every minute of it. We have made enough cakes/cookies/muffins to last the whole year!

What are your favorite family traditions and tasty recipes?? Do you have something special that you wouldn’t miss this holiday season?

Here’s to the next few weeks of sweets and treats!

XOXO,

Lauren

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Sneak Peak Inside Our Winter Wonderland; Tips For Creating A Spectactular Christmas Tree

Ok, Y’all, it’s the most wonderful time of the year!  No, we’re not taking a trip to Disney World…..but we are decorating our home for the Holidays.  There is nothing, literally nothing, that I love more than creating a cozy, warm, festive environment for my family during the Christmas season.  Some people, ok…my husband, would say that I go a little over the top.  And you know what, he’s probably right, I am a little on the extreme OCD side.  But I figure there are a lot worse things that I could obsess over.  Honestly, I get it from my momma…and her momma too.  It’s basically a family tradition to over decorate in anticipation of the arrival of Jolly Ole Saint Nick.  As annoying as it may be, my overall goal is to make my house feel like the North Pole.  Not only do I love it, but my kids love it too.  Watching their little faces light up makes every second of decorating and preparation worth it.

I realize decorating isn’t everybody’s thing.  I know some of you mommas are lucky to get one tree up and practically dread every minute of it.  And that’s ok too!  But i’m here today to share a few tips and tricks with you to hopefully make your decorating a little more enjoyable.  Here’s a sneak peak of my trees!

 

The North Pole Tree

This tree is my absolute FAVORITE!  It has all of our special family ornaments on it, which includes my kids homemade ornaments!  (Every year I sob when I get them out and all.the.memories come rushing back.  Whhhhy do my babies have to grow up?!)  We also refer to this tree as the “everything but the kitchen sink tree” because it has all the things on it.  It has more items ‘coming out of the tree’ than hanging on the tree.  It even has peacock feathers.  (Here’s a hint:  ANYTHING can go on a tree – and I mean anything!)

 

The Winter Wonderland Tree

This tree has evolved over the years.  It started out very simple and each year I add a few new things; it’s just taken on a life of it’s own.  It is “matchy-matchy” but it’s fun and it goes in our formal living room (well, as formal as it gets around here.  Let’s be honest; there’s still unfolded laundry on that couch 67% of the time.)

 

The Candy Land Tree

The Candy Land tree is a close second-favorite for me.  I created this tree for my girls because it screams all things feminine, fun and fantasy land.  This is a white tree with colored lights and looks like it walked right off the set of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Because this tree is less traditional, we usually keep it up much longer than a regular tree.  We always keep it up until Valentines Day and, one year, my kids convinced me to keep it up until Easter.  I should probably be embarrassed, but i’m not.

 

The Angel Tree

This tree is a new addition this year that I created for my momma.  As many of you know, my dad passed away in October.  The holidays are going to be very difficult without him this year.  In his memory, I created an Angel tree so he can be with us for Christmas.  (Keep us in your thoughts and prayers – it’s going to be hard; he was hero.)

 

Decorating Tips

  1. Organization really is key.  Make sure to store decorations, lights, etc away in a neat, organized fashion.  Also, be certain to label your totes so you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for next year.
  2. There is nothing more frustrating than tangled Christmas lights – but, here’s a life hack.  Wrap the Christmas lights around a piece of cardboard.  When the lights have been wrapped firmly, plug the ends of the lights together to keep them snug on the cardboard.  This makes unwrapping the lights next year a breeze!
  3. When you take your tree down, make sure to place the items in the tote in the same order you take them off the tree.  By doing this, next year, the items that you need first will be on the top of the tote.
  4. Always keep crafting/floral wire handy.  I’m constantly wiring things in my tree if I can’t get them to stay with Christmas hooks.  You can buy green floral wire that’s the same exact color of the tree.  Total game changer.
  5. Before you start hanging ornaments, make sure your tree is level and sturdy.  If your tree is leaning to one side, you can place a small children’s book under one leg of the tree until you make it appear level.
  6. Another hack is wiring your tree to the wall.  I have two very small nails in my baseboards.  I wrap floral wire around the base of the tree and attach it to the nail in the wall.  This will hopefully keep the tree from being turned over by animals or small children.
  7. After building/fluffing the tree and applying the lights, my next step is to always put on the tree topper.  I use unorthodox tree toppers – never your normal tree toppers.  But I feel like it’s much easier to decorate the tree when the tree topper is already situated.  If you do the tree topper last you’ve always left too much room or not enough room.  This takes the guessing game out of things!
  8. To give the tree a three dimensional look, I love to have items sticking out of my tree.  I usually use glittery sticks, candy canes, snow balls, etc.  Basically anything that’s cute and I have on hand.  My favorite thing about building trees is to be creative and put unconventional items on the tree.  Don’t be scared to step outside the normal Christmas tree box.
  9. If you’re wanting to create a new tree theme, I suggest that you turn to Pinterest and find some tree inspiration.  Sketch out your ideas before you head to Hobby Lobby.  Once you get there, all of the options will be so overwhelming you’ll definitely want to have a plan up front.
  10. When starting a new tree theme, it can be really expensive (especially fancy ornaments.)  A cheap, yet pretty, way to take up some of that extra tree space is to use ribbon.  I like to use it in a fluffed, looped pattern all over the tree.  Make the pattern random for a more trendy look.

Cheers to a wonderful holiday season, my friends!  I hope your Christmas is filled with love and laughter.

 

XOXO,

Jill

 

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