Getting in the Christmas Spirit

With Christmas right around the corner, it seems like everywhere we turn, there are trees up and holiday tunes playing. I love Christmas and the holiday season. I love to get totally into the spirit of the season. Here are some ways I get ready for the holidays!

Decorating

This is my favorite part of the holidays. I love decorating my home. Even though we just moved two weeks ago, I have still managed to do a fair amount of decorating. Usually I go more all out, but at least we got a real tree, and I filled up our shelves with decor.

Huge icicles!

Connor gets a little holiday cheer in his room!


 

Shopping

Of course, a huge part of Christmas is the shopping. I have a lot of my list done but still have a few more people to buy for. I love Christmas shopping, and try to do at least some of it at the stores because it always feels so exciting and cheerful in the stores at this time of year. Of course, a big part of my shopping is done online. I usually end up buying myself a gift or two because I come across things I can’t pass up! This year I’m eyeing these comfy but nice looking pants for my upcoming trip to Europe this spring. Betabrand has tons of comfy but nice looking pants and they fit so well with my current lifestyle of being casual but still wanting to look put together. 

Hot Chocolate

For some reason, hot chocolate is one of my favorite things about Christmastime and winter in general. Last year when I was pregnant,  I got hot chocolate almost everyday towards the end! I have been making it at home this year a lot to try to save a little money. I love hot chocolate as a sweet treat at the end of the day, and it helps me get some calcium from the milk. Totally healthy ­čśë I have the tree turned on, and love cozying up with a nice warm mug of hot chocolate and a warm blanket.

 

How do you get into the holiday spirit?

Christmas Decorating

I love the holidays and I love decorating. This year I didn’t do anything too new or creative but I’m still happy with the way everything turned out!  Here are a few pics of our holiday decor this year! 
Christmas tree! I also somehow managed to wrap way in advance this year. 

  Mantle- I bought this lighted garland this year and love the extra sparkle the lights give off.  
Apothecary jars filled with ornaments.

  Some decor on the book shelf- a nutcracker, snow globes, and a Nativity scene.   
Little trees above the kitchen cabinets. 


 My grandma’s Lenox figurines.  
A mini tree by the front door- I went with a silver theme this year! 

 

That’s pretty much it! Nothing too fancy but it does the trick! 
Do you have a favorite holiday decoration or tradition?

Thankful

I have so much to be thankful for this year! Here are just a few reasons I feel blessed to have the life that I do. 

Jim

Obviously this guy is my number one reason I’m thankful! He is my partner and my friend. We have so many fun times together. He has been my rock during some really hard times and I am forever greatful for this. I can’t wait to become a family of three with him in two months and navigate parenting together!  

 
Family

Words can’t even express how thankful I am for my family. Both of our families are wonderful and I feel so lucky that we live so close to both families and are able to spend holidays with everyone.  My mom and little brother are two of my best friends and I would be absolutely lost without them. 

 
Friends 

Most of my friends I met in college and we’ve remained close ever since. Even though we don’t see each other as often as we would like, we pick right back up where we left off every time.  

 
My job 

My teaching job is challenging every day, and it can sometimes be quite stressful. I enjoy the challenge and like being kept on my toes. I have an amazing class this year and am so thankful to be in a good school in the city! 

Yoga and running 

Although I’m on a hiatus from running, I still love it. Yoga has been my go-to workout during pregnancy. The combo of running and yoga keeps me healthy and does wonders for my stress levels. If I didn’t work out I would be a crabby, stressed out lady!  

 Healthy pregnancy 

I am thankful to be healthy! It is amazing what your body can do- carry a baby and teach 6 and 7 year olds all day! I am happy that I have had a relatively easy pregnancy and still feel pretty good at 31 weeks preggo!  I am beyond thankful I am pregnant! I expected it to be a long journey to getting pregnant and was shocked by how lucky I was that I happened easily. 

 
Coffee, tea, and dessert

It sounds silly but these things have been my favorites during pregnancy. Many evenings we would have a glass of wine to end the day, but now I have a sweet treat and some decaf tea.  I have eaten a dessert every day of pregnancy. While this sounds crazy, I think it’s all about balance. Sometimes that dessert is a small piece of dark chocolate, and sometimes it is a more decadent dessert. Even a tiny treat makes the day feel happy to me!   

 
This blog

I am so glad I started this blog! It has been so fun to get some words out. I hope to increase my posting in the future. I am thankful for my readers who faithfully read all of my posts!! 
I hope everyone has a great holiday week and takes a few minutes to be thankful this week! 

 

Adding some fall 

Fall is my favorite time of the year. I love the changing weather, the leaves, and the excitement of the new school year. While I miss my laid back summer days, I am happy to replace those with productivity and all things pumpkin! Here is how I added some fall to our home this year!  

I bought these pumpkin dish towels from Target on a whim. 

  Orange candles and some mini pumpkins on our table.   

An orange vase and fall leaf display.

  A welcome sign by our door downstairs 

  
Apothecary jars with fall leaves and pumpkins, plus my favorite fall scents from Bath and Body Works.

Fall bouquet and a pumpkin plate.

  
A black cat for Halloween ­čśë 

 

Now that October is almost here I am excited to add some Halloween into the mix!

Friday Peaks of the Week #2

Saying goodbye to summer!

It’s been a busy week getting ready for school! I can’t believe summer is over and school is starting! I went into my classroom a few times this week, and also tried to enjoy my last few days of summer, and my last few days off EVER where I only had to worry about myself and could┬ánap and read a book in bed if I wanted! I watched my fill of HGTV, The Real Housewives, online shopped, and read a lot of good books this summer. While I will miss it, I am excited to get back into a routine, and meet my new kids!


Listening to my body

I have been super hungry this week and yesterday was so hungry at 10:30 that I ate either a second breakfast, or an early lunch of peanut butter and honey on toast. It has been pretty fun to not worry about counting calories or if this was in my “plan” for the day. I have always been good about listening to my body, even before pregnancy, but have been even better about it now. If I’m hungry, it is for a reason, and I need to eat! I have been eating very healthy, and always make sure I have lots of fruits and veggies and dairy in my diet. I have also let myself indulge in a daily dessert- a few pieces of dark chocolate, gelato, or sometimes a more decadent dessert out at a restaurant. I don’t feel guilty at all about this because I eat well and stay active so I know I’m doing everything I can to help the baby grow and be healthy! ┬áEarlier this week I had been forcing myself to get up at 5 and stop taking a nap to try to get ready for my school schedule. I was doing a million things and was super tired. Coupled with restless sleep at night, I ended up with a huge headache on Thursday. I took this as a cue to chill out and relax. In a few days I won’t have a choice and will have to power through my days, but for now, I should listen to my body and sleep when I’m tired, and take it easy when I have the chance!


Cuddly cat

The weather was quite fall-like in Chicago this week, which meant my cat Penny was super cuddly. Even when I was trying to type on the computer or needed to get up, she wanted to still be on my lap. I’ll take all the cuddles I can get!

Easiest dinner in the world

I whipped up a super fast and healthy dinner this week for us. I got a pound of cooked shrimp from the grocery store and stir fried it with a bag of frozen stir fry veggies and a bit of soy sauce. I served it over brown rice- the Uncle Ben’s 90 second rice. It came together in a flash, and was tasty and healthy!

Pottery Barn Baby 

Somehow I got this catalogue in the mail without signing up for it. I normal would be annoyed and toss this type of mail, but I LOVE Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids, so I was super excited to look at all of the beautiful things and start thinking about our nursery!

Updating our Home

We moved in about two years ago, and didn’t do much.  This winter and spring I got the itch to make it feel like our home and change some things that the previous owners had done.  I just wanted to feel like ours. We started by getting rid of the old yucky brown curtains and blinds.  We moved the rod down to expose the transient windows and picked a light colored curtain.  Now there is so much more light!

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Next, we decided to repaint.  The downstairs and stairwell were a dark red color, and it made everything so dark and gloomy.  We went with a pale blue for the whole downstairs, and our main living area.  It made everything so much brighter and more cheery!

Before

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After!

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Our next big change was getting the floors refinished.  They were a light, dated color, and were really scratched up, so we had them sanded and stained a darker color.


Of course, after we had the painting done, it was glaringly obvious that the carpet was in dire need of a change! I picked a grey berber carpet to go with our color scheme, and to hopefully show less dirt and stains!

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One last small change we made was to get rid of our big ottoman and get a smaller, lighter colored coffee table.  The ottoman was nice for lounging on the couch with our feet up, but it was so huge and with the dark floors, it felt like the room was too dark. The white table brightens up the room, and also takes up a lot less space.


All in all, it was really fun updating everything.  I would do more and more, but, alas, we don’t have unlimited funds.  Most of these changes were surprisingly affordable, and we had budgeted for months ahead of time.  I loved planning, and searching online, on pinterest, and in decorating magazines for ideas!

Friday happenings

My brother and his fiancee are coming in town today!  They live in Copenhagen, and are getting married in Chicago next weekend.

I am SO excited because the distance makes it hard to see each other. ┬áIt has been a whole year since I have seen Felicia and I miss her so much! ┬áLuckily modern technology makes it easier to stay in touch, but there is nothing like spending face-to-face time with the people you love. ┬áI will be doing a full post about all of the wedding fun soon, but don’t want to spoil the surprises before everyone sees them!

We have done a lot of work to our home in the past few months!  There are lots of before and after photos to share, but one of the easiest (and cheapest) things we did was to switch out our giant, dark ottoman for a smaller, white coffee table.  I love the difference it has made!  The room feels much bigger, and the color is just what I was looking for!

And finally, this is a quote I have been thinking a lot about today.  There are plenty of not-so-nice people in the world.  Instead of stooping down to their level and being mean, I choose to be kind and live my life in a way I am proud of.

Happy Friday!  Have a great weekend!

Apothecary jars for any season

I bought a set of apothecary jars this spring. I wasn’t quite sure what I would do with them or where I would put them, but I had seen them in magazines and liked the idea of being able to switch out what is inside. The possibilities ┬áare endless! This spring I got some neutral decorations. Because the mantle and tv are so dark, I try to even things out by using light colors on top of the mantle.

I liked these a lot for spring but now that it is summer (although the weather doesn’t reflect that!!) I wanted a beachy-themed idea. Goodbye browns and spring!

I found a shell theme at TJ Maxx, so that is what I decided to go with. I think it would be fun to collect my own shells on the beach to use, but these will do in the meantime! They are pretty similar to my spring decorations, but have more white, and the shells are perfect for summer!

 

The finished project!

 

Now if only I were on the beach sipping a glass of chilled white wine….

Pie-making rookie

I really enjoy baking but somehow have never made a pie! I decided to try my hand at it this weekend for the fourth of July. I wasn’t brave enough to make my own crust yet, so I bought crust, and made my own fillings. I got fresh blueberries from the farmers market, which I think made a big difference in the taste! ´╗┐´╗┐I used the good old Betty Crocker recipes and made a cherry pie and a blueberry pie. I was pleasantly surprised that they came out tasting great! Now that I tried it, I am ready to be more adventurous and make my own crust next time! 

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