These are a Few of my Favorite Things : Stocking Stuffers


I am joining Elise and Jen again to talk about my favorite stocking stuffers!




I have always looked forward to opening my stocking on Christmas morning because the gifts are always small, fun and sometimes quirky!



Stocking Stuffers

1. A good quality water bottle or coffee mug...these things are like gold at my house, so we are always "gifting" each other with good drinking products. They are much more expensive, but sooo worth it! What's your favorite water bottle and coffee mug brands? We are still debating over here...

2. Magazines. There's something about cozying up with a big cup of "something" and a magazine after the mad rush of present-opening.

3. A fun mug. Why not? 

4. Some good 'ole Captain Morgan (or liquor of your choice). This is always in my stocking (except when I was preggos), and it's always a delight to see. Put this in your big cup of "something" while reading your magazine, and you will have a very Merry Christmas! 

5. Eye cream, chapstick, mascara...whatever you need.

6. Candy. Gum. Pistachios. Something sweet to snack on while reading your magazine.

7. Gloves or scarves. These are always my go-to gift for other woman, and they are always appreciated. It really doesn't matter how many of these you have, another set of gloves or another pashmina is a great addition to any wardrobe!

What do you like to give/receive in your stocking?




5 (plus 1) on Friday: Favorite toys for 15 - 18 months

I am cheating a bit this week because I couldn't list just 5 of Cameron's favorite toys!




Cameron has always been a "holder" - he'd rather be held than play with toys! However, this has changed drastically in the last few months...he loves to have some independent play and makes me feel like we are spending our money wisely on his toys! ;)




Favorites toys 15 - 18 months




He loves this thing! He asks for "hep" a lot, but can get more and more in each time he tries! It's a little confusing since there are four sides, so I always put it on the side where it goes in to help with his frustration. :)



I am sure you've seen this brand all over the place, but so far, the guitar is enough for our little man! Cam loves music and loves to dance, so this is perfect for him. It sings 20 songs and has some "doggie" songs that are howled...sounds annoying, but it's quite cute!

Basketball, golf ball, football, soccer ball....we buy a ball almost every time we go to the store, so he probably has 2 dozen already, but it's still not enough. He loves to pick up as many as he can and pile them on top of each other. 

I bought this for Cameron hoping that he would love it so I could justifying buying a larger one for Christmas. My dream came true, and he plays with it every day! It makes noise, which is a bonus, and you can match shapes, which is another bonus. 

I buy these at our local consignment store for $2 or so, and they are worth every penny...I'm not sure I would buy them at full price, but Cam does love them.  The one pictured is his favorite...I think it has something to do with matching shapes. (Do you see a pattern here?)

This is another consignment store find for $6! I was so excited when we found this because Cam loves to play with our vacuum at home. He's always running around the house with it. It also makes music, so of course he loves it! I can't wait to get him more "appliances" to play with!



Books are also at the top of his list...you can see some of his favorites here


My mom got him the LATT table/chair set from IKEA, and this is where he sits to do his puzzles...it's perfect for him (and so easy to put together)!




Do you have any favorites for your little person? I always love seeing what other toys are popular!













30 While 30...less than 30 days left!

In case you haven't noticed, I have a "30 While 30" list going on up in here, and being 30 is almost over for me, so here's a brief update of my progress.


1. Get a stamp on my passport - DONE (Holland in Spring 2013)



2. Take a weekend trip with just Chad - BOOKED (Vegas in December for my 30th!)

3. Rent a camp for the week - this has been postponed to the next year....whomp, whomp :(

4. Get my teaching certificate in Maine - DONE

5. Pay off most of our debt - DONE (We have paid off almost $10k this year)

6. Plan a fantastic 1st birthday for Cameron - DONE 



7. Find a church to attend

8. Baptize Cameron

9. Get a permanent job - DONE

10. Save $2,000 cash - we've put most of it towards debt, but we are saving!

11. Have a date night at least once a month - DONE...We are good about this!

12. Volunteer - SCHEDULED for Thanksgiving

13. Read the bible

14. Have dinner with Dad at least every 2 weeks - DONE (We have dinner every Friday night!)

15. Go apple picking - DONE (Cam looooved it.)



16. Drive up Route 1 - DONE (Mom's Birthday)

17. Meet other Moms - Sort of...We have done swim lessons and some open gyms, but we honestly don't have a ton of time to do too many classes! I'm pretty happy with my current mom-friends, though. :)

18. Start my Arbonne business - DONE

19. Get Cameron involved in activities outside of day care - DONE (Swim Lessons)

20. Run in a race - not even close...this will continue to be on my list until it's complete!

21. Find our own house - DONE!! (We just started renovating.)



22. Do 30-Day Detox - DONE

23. Do 100 push ups and a 5-minute plank - in the same category as running...not even close

24. Pay for somebody's dinner at a restaurant - I buy the person behind me at Starbuck's a $5 gift card all the time...does that count? Not quite...I still want to do this!

25. Learn how to use my camera - I have used it, but have not learned how to use it properly. 

26. Send real cards - I have been down right awful about this. I need to get it together!

27. Contemplate another tattoo ;) - I've been contemplating it, but I haven't gone through with it. 

28. Get personalized stationary - nope...unless I get it as a gift. Hint, hint.

29. Bake something from scratch - Chad cooked an apple pie, and I ate it. Does that count?

30. Read a book. Yes, a book. - DONE (Two Kisses for Maddie)




So, I am not overly thrilled with my progress, but I feel like we got a lot done this year! We still have to work on our fitness and our faith: two major focus areas for 2014. 

Our Weekend Wrap-Up


Friday night, we skipped our Friday-night-date with my dad because we were invited out to a "real" dinner with no baby! We were so excited to get "dressed up," (which meant heels for momma) and enjoy some wine and adult conversation without nursery rhymes playing on repeat on YouTube.

I didn't snap any pictures because, well, I was too busy enjoying my dinner and wine and company. :) Actually, the company was the best, followed by the wine...the food was really nothing special, but who I am to complain? 

By the time we got home, I was lucky to make it to bed before falling asleep! Not from the wine, but from pure exhaustion. Sidenote: Cameron has decided that 4:45 is a good time wake up, so this has taken quite the toll on us!

Saturday morning, we went appliance shopping (again) to try to finalize an order. We ended up finding Chad's dream range: A Wolf 6 burner...holy moly was he excited! We also got a hood, backsplash, fridge, two dishwashers (yes, two...we can hardly contain our excitement), standing freezer, washer and dryer. Shew! Now, we just need a microwave and possibly a wine fridge...they are so darn expensive, though!


Saturday afternoon, we worked on the outside of our new house! It felt so good to get our hands dirty, but we were tired when we were done! We ordered in Thai and spent the night relaxing. :)






Sunday morning, we had some friends over for breakfast and Chad, once again, did not disappoint. He made a "European" spread with lots of meats, cheeses and chocolate!








After breakfast/brunch, we packed up our wagon and headed to our new 'hood...we just can't stay away! We explored the neighborhood and took in the beautiful views. We are so lucky to be moving to this area!



that's our green house...I cannot wait to fix her up!








Sunday afternoon, Cameron and I hung out with Jameson while Lynn and Gabe did some home shopping for themselves...they just bought a new house, too!! We watched Polar Express, went on another wagon ride and swung til we couldn't swing anymore. 
















Sunday night, we met up with my Dad since we skipped our Friday night date then cozied up on the couch to search Pinterest and watch football. ;)


I hope you all are having a great week!!!



Home Renovation: Initial Yard Work

Beware: My blog may turn into a constant-home-improvement-update, but that's our life right now!


Since we finally closed on the house last Thursday, we were dying to get in there on Saturday to do some work! The house hasn't been maintained in at least three years, so there is plenty to do...given the "nice" day (for November), we decided to work outside. 


looking up the driveway from the street and into the garage



The side of the back end of the house...we plan on taking out the bulkhead and making that our entrance into the house




There were so many metal and wooden poles for clothes lines...those were quickly gone!




We don't need this fence anymore!



the side of the garage...so many random cobblestones and this wooden triangle thing??



the back of the house...nice siding, huh?! :)




the front corner of the house...before and after 


We still have a veeeeeeery long ways to go, but we were so excited to get started that we couldn't wait for any "professionals!" 

Here's a sneak peek of our goals for the exterior of the house:


If you take a look at the garage we currently have, there isn't enough room for two SUVs, which we have. So, instead, we are going to build a one-car garage and have a carport/patio area. We will probably only use the car port when it's snowing or there's a parking ban (which happens a lot in Maine), but it will provide us with more outdoor entertaining space since our backyard is so tiny! The pillars will be more bungalow-style, which will match our front porch. 

We definitely want a fun door color




and some fun numbers, too!







These are a Few of my Favorite Things



I am linking up Elise and Jen today to show off my Christmas/Birthday list...I don't ask for much these days since we are saving and paying off debt like crazy, but I have a few things on my mind!








I have yet to join this bandwagon...I thought it was a phase. I thought it was for those younger than me. But I can't resist it anymore! I need a casual pair of boots to wear with leggings and jeans! I love my Fryes, but they aren't always appropriate. 


My only concern is that black doesn't look so pretty when it starts to wear...do any of you have black UGGs? Do they still look nice? Should I just got for brown and forget about the black? #firstworldproblems










REMOTE STARTER

If you live in a state with winters like Maine, you will appreciate this! I currently park in a garage, so it's not that big of a deal, but I would love one for when I come out of work in the afternoon on those blistery winter days or for when I won't be parking in a garage when we move! Please, Santa?













A FACIAL, MASSAGE, MANICURE AND/OR PEDICURE

I feel like these are such a waste of money when we are trying to save, but I would love a little pampering. Maybe even an eyebrow wax? (I think I may splurge before we go to Vegas...I can't be having bushes for eyebrows and chipped nails on the strip!)




You can find a more expansive list of my "wants" on my Pinterest page! Fun coffee mugs and tees, some jewelry and lots of home stuff are at the top of my list!


What's on your list of favorite things this year?

xoxo,
Jess


5 on Friday: Total Random, but Fun!


I am a bit behind this week, but I couldn't resist linking up with some of my favorite ladies today.



1 ) Please welcome Brooklyn Katherine Irizarry to this amazing world we live in. My best friend, Elizabeth, had a C-Section last night, and everyone is healthy and happy!! We are going to Vegas (where they live) in just a few weeks to meet this beautiful girl. I cannot wait!!! Seeing another miracle enter this world just brings tears to my eyes. I am not ready for Baby #2 yet, but being reminded of what we went through and where we are now just makes me stop and say, "WOW!" It's simply a miracle.



Look at those eyes...





2) Chad and I are going to dinner without Cameron tonight...as much as I love that little boy to the sun and back, I can say that we will enjoy a dinner full of apps, drinks, sharing and laughs without having to entertain a baby. We are taking Mark and Rhonda out as a "thank you" for hosting Chad's birthday dinner back in October. They have become wonderful friends and we are thoroughly looking forward to tonight!







3) I really had no desire to decorate for Halloween because we had our house on the market, so we had showings and inspections and appraisals all the time...we wanted the house to look as clean as possible. However, I have already started decorating for Christmas. I will throw some Thanksgiving stuff in there, too, but I am 100% ready for Christmas! I have our list and budget done, and I cannot wait to start buying gifts for everyone! The one thing that's lingering is pictures for a Christmas card...I can't miss out on Jillian's discount!





4) We own a home!!!! We can't move in for another year or so, but we officially bought our home this week and start demolition next week!!! Here she is: 


I will tell you that she is a disaster right now - I am talking tubs under the stairs, sinking floors and metal kitchen cabinets! We will be gutting this baby down to her bare bones then building her back up how we want...open living space, office and master suite downstairs, two bedrooms and bath upstairs, laundry and playroom in the basement. I. Cannot. Wait. I am sure I will be posting lots and lots of pictures along the way.



5) I am in a total wardrobe funk. I wake up every morning and just want to wear my pajamas to work because I hate 90% of my wardrobe. How does this happen? What in the world did I wear last year? I need an all-expense paid shopping spree to Nordstrom. Pretty please?


Happy Weekend, yall!!!! (Can you tell I had a lot of coffee this morning? I don't think I've ever written so many exclamation marks!)

xoxo
Jess

Favorite Books for Boys (Sorry Girl-Moms!)



When we decided to have a Gender Reveal Party, we didn't want guests to bring gifts or cards, so we asked everyone to bring their favorite baby book! This turned out to be one of my favorite things because now Cameron has an amazing library of books. Some are now too young for him and some are too old, but we have the best combination that will last him into his teens! It also introduced us to some books that we may not have otherwise picked up for him.

Here are some of our go-to books at the moment:





Favorite Boy Books




1. Little Blue Truck and Little Blue Truck Leads the Way
These are Cameron's favorites by far...I love the story they tell and Cam loves the pictures and noises I make...it's a win-win! I also just saw that they have a sticker book (sounds dangerous) and a Spanish version. Way to go! (PS HomeGoods and TJMaxx sell these for great prices!)


2. Dr Seuss' ABC
This is one of my favorites to read because of the rhythm. It was the first book Cam sat through until the end, and I credit it to the rhythm...he was hooked!


3. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
I think that all teachers have this book and for a good reason! This one has a great rhythm, too, and it's super educational. I just love it.


4. Corduroy
We have many classic books, but we have been reading this one to Cam since he was little. I'm not sure what's attractive to Cam since there's really no rhythm....maybe he likes the pictures of Corduroy!


5. Sandra Boynton Books
She's got it down. Cam loves all of her books, but his two favorites are The Going to Bed Book and Barnyard Dance...again, these have such great rhythms! She also has music, which is so fun!!




Another one of his favorites is Who Hoo Are You? Cameron gets a new book every time he gets shots, so this has added some very age appropriate books to his collection, too! This is the book he got at his 15 month check-up.





What are some of your favorite books?



xoxo
Jess

Our Weekend: Playdates, Appliances and Remembering our Veterans


Where in the world have I been? Yikes! We close on two houses this week, I had parent-teacher conferences last week and Chad got a crazy promotion at work...we have been quite busy!! :)

~~~~~~~

Friday night was date night with Grandpa (my dad), as always! This week, we decided on Red Robin. There's nothing better than a huge burger on a blistery night. Well, there are lots of better things, but that's what fit our fancy that night. 

Saturday morning, we headed out to stop for appliances. I have a feeling that you will be seeing lots of weekends like this until our house is finished (in ten months). Cameron was a trooper, as always, and even got a lollipop from one of the guys who worked at Agren Appliance. Do you know how expensive appliances are? Holy smokes...the only saving grace is that we will get a free dishwasher with our range. 

Saturday afternoon, we relaxed and let Cam run wild in the house. I always feel badly when we cart him around from store to store! We were invited to some friends' house for a pizza and beer playdate on Saturday night - my favorite kind of playdate! 

Robyn and Alex have Oscar, who's just 3 months older than Cameron. They are about to get Oscar's brother, Waylon, in just a week or two. They adopted Oscar then stayed in contact with his parents. When Robyn and Alex decided that they wanted another, they asked his parents to make a sibling for Oscar. They obliged, and he will be here before we know it!


Oscar and Cam wanted to take a bath together, so they splashed, played and drank each other's bath water. Ick. Whatever works, boys! When they were done, there was some "nakey-time" then play time again. These boys couldn't get enough of each other! (And Oscar has the best toys, so Cam was in heaven!)



On Sunday morning, we did another appliance run, but this time to New Hampshire. On our way, we stopped at Liz and Jay's house to meet baby Luca. Sofia is about 5 months older than Cam, so she controls that relationship. ;)

They weren't very thrilled about having their picture taken together!

How in the world did I not get a picture of sweet Luca? I got to hold him for almost an hour and he just slept and looked at me the entire time...talk about baby fever!! 

Anyways, the rest of Sunday was spent running errands, per usual, while Chad worked then we treated ourselves to Otto pizza (the best in Portland, hands down) and a relaxing evening.

Monday was Veterans' Day, of course, so Cam and I got the spend the entire day together. We went to Open Gym at Tumble Tikes, and he had such a great time...until he stepped right off a block and got a bloody nose and mouth. It really didn't faze him, and he was quite PO'ed when I wouldn't let him keep playing...BOYS! 








Sunday night, we wanted to take my dad out for Veterans' Day, but we chose Olive Garden who gave him a free meal! What a nice tribute to our Veterans. We still got to spend time with my dad and thank him for his services, even if we couldn't pay for his dinner.


We had a crazy busy weekend, but a fun one! Cameron is at SUCH a fun age, so anything we do is entertaining. He tests us sometimes, but all-in-all, he's an amazingly sweet child who listens very well. 

I hope you all had a great weekend and stay warm this week!!

xoxo,
Jess





It's the MOST Wonderful Time of the Year! {Christmas Card Discount}



I have made some lovely blog friends, and one of my favorites is Jillian. She's not a mega-blogger nor does she blog everyday (So, she's just like me! Haha), but she's an amazing mom of a gorgeous little boy and soon-to-be TWINS (yes, she's going from one to three), and she creates some of the most beautiful cards out there. 

Let me introduce Bella Carta Boutique:




Bella Carta Boutique was born from a love of design, and the joy that comes with creating something unique and memorable. We believe in timeless, classic designs, that are uniquely 'you'. From weddings to babies, we offer everything for your most special occasions. Let us help you create something beautiful!


Check out some of her Holiday designs:
You may recognize some beautiful blogging families!








(Jill's sweet baby boy, "A")








I am so hoping to be able to announce a pregnancy or birth at Christmas so I can use one of these designs!


Jill's beautiful announcement of TWINS!



Jill also does invitations, announcements, save-the-dates and more...just ask, and she will produce something beautiful.


Jill has been so sweet to offer a discount on any design ordered during November. She offers digital files so you can print the cards yourself (This comes in so handy for me when I don't order enough and need to print more in a hurry!) or customer order prints. 

For $5 off any digital file, use code STRAWBERRY5 (valid through November 30, 2013).

For 10% off any print order, use code STRAWBERRY10 (all print orders are custom requests, please message Jillian for pricing & availability; valid through November 30, 2013).

Which one is your favorite design? I have been eyeing a few for our Christmas cards this year!

Happy Shopping!!

xoxo
Jess