Keeping Christmas Merry & Bright

Keep Christmas Merry & Bright

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s full of expectation and hope. As we approach Thanksgiving, we’re seeing more and more signs of Christmas. Lights on the trees, wreaths on the doors, and exciting reminders that December 25 is quicky approaching.

If I’m being honest, my favorite thing about Christmas is the anticipation of it. In fact, I go into a little bit of a post-Christmas funk on Christmas Day. I don’t even wait for the day to end before my funk begins, but I just get so sad that Christmas is over before it’s even over. I love the anticipation of Christmas that we get to experience in November and December.

But I wanted to toss out a gentle little reminder today. And it’s as much of a reminder for me as it is for you. And some of you may not even need it. But it’s the pep talk I need.

As you’re scrolling through Pinterest and you see that Christmas Bucket List that excites you? Go ahead and pin it, but don’t hold yourself or your family to someone else’s bucket list standard. Who says you even need a bucket list?

As you’re scrolling through Instagram and seeing what someone else’s Elf on the Shelf did last night, try to remember that your children probably have no idea what that person’s elf did and your children probably don’t care. If the Elf is your thing, then go all out and do it how you want to do it. If you’ve not introduced an Elf to your kids and don’t plan to, don’t feel guilty about it or feel critical about the Elf.

If you have a themed tree or you have a tree full of handmade ornaments, enjoy the tree that you have and the love and fun that went into putting it up.

If you haven’t hung your curtains or finished decorating your house, go ahead and open your doors and invite your friends in. Cook or order pizza and let go of perfection.

If you don’t want to print those printables or work on all of those handmade crafts, don’t do those things.

When I think of Christmas and how to be intentional, I just want my kids to enjoy it. I want a quiet December that’s free from obligation and full of love. And if I get myself hung up on a bucket list or having the perfect home, my kids won’t enjoy it. They’ll remember that their Christmas included a stressed-out mommy. And I know that my attitude toward the season and how we prepare for Christmas will affect how they feel about it most of all.

So we’re going to pop some popcorn and watch some Christmas movies. We may string the popcorn and hang it on the tree, but we may just eat it and not worry about that bucket list item. We may make some salt dough ornaments, but if we never get around to it, I may just do it in January to save for next Christmas.

We’re going to wrap some gifts for Angel Tree kiddos and we’re going to shop for our family members. If we don’t get the top item from the many gift guides, that’s okay.

If our biggest Christmas tradition ends up being sipping hot chocolate in our jammies and driving around looking at lights, my kids will remember that and the time we spent together.

So, this Christmas, I’m committing to being there for my family. I’m committing to not comparing our traditions to other families’ traditions. I’m committing to opening my doors to friends and family whether I’m “ready” for them or not. And I’m committing to slowing down and keeping the calendar clear so that our family is actually together this Christmas.

I know that a stressed-out mommy can steal the joy from my kids’ Christmas, and I’m committing to going with the flow this year. I’m choosing purpose over perfection.

Recipes for Thanksgiving on-the-go

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Aladdin PMI, but as always, all pins and opinions are my own. 

I’m still a little bit in shock that Thanksgiving is next week. The time has just flown by and the holiday season is rushing toward us! I’ve never hosted Thanksgiving at my own home. We’ve either driven to my parents’ house far away to celebrate or across town to celebrate with Todd’s parents.

We wake up early to watch the Thanksgiving Day parade. We slowly eat a breakfast casserole and sip our coffee. And then the food prep begins. So whether we’re staying in town and driving across town with our food or we’re spending Thanksgiving far away, there are some important traditions that stay the same.

One thing that is always consistent with Thanksgiving for me, though, is the food! I love my side dishes and casseroles. And even though I’ve never hosted, I always fix a couple of my favorite side dishes to bring to someone else’s house to celebrate. I would think it’s a challenge to take a turkey to someone’s home, but I can take a corn casserole or sweet potato casserole.

And when we celebrate at my in-laws’ home, I always get to bring leftovers home with me! Aren’t leftovers the best? Reheated turkey and dressing and sweet potato casserole? Oh my! The Aladdin food storage containers are perfect for leftovers. They are insulated and can go straight from the refrigerator to the microwave.

I’ve been pinning so amazing recipes as inspiration for some of the side dishes I may prepare for Thanksgiving this year over on Aladdin’s Thanksgiving board on Pinterest. These are perfect for making, taking and sharing, and then for bringing home later when you have leftovers. I’ve shared a round-up of some of my favorites.


Sweet Potato Casserole


Cranberry Pepper Jelly Dip


Twice Baked Potato Casserole


Orange and Pomegranate Salad


Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip

For more Thanksgiving inspiration and comprehensive round-up of fantastic Thanksgiving recipes, follow Aladdin’s Thanksgiving Pinterest Board. 

You can also receive 30% off Aladdin food storage containers and all other items in the Aladdin shop, by entering the code “TURKEYANDTUMBLER.

This is a great time to stock up on food storage containers and those adorable mason jar tumblers for stocking stuffers!

What are your favorite side dishes to take to someone else’s home for Thanksgiving?

Baby Boy Nursery Inspiration

Baby Boy Nursery Inspiration

Baby Boy Nursery Inspiration

I have been pinning nursery ideas like crazy and shopping around for unique pieces. (Are you following me on Pinterest?) It has been so much fun to start working on another nursery! When Hayes was born, we moved him into the nursery we decorated for Hudson and moved Hudson to a new big boy room. When we sold our old house, we sold the custom draperies that were in the nursery and I don’t have the crib bedding that Hayes and Hudson used anymore. But I still have all the furniture, which is a huge blessing. We’ll recover or slipcover our rocker and just touch up the paint on our changing table and crib. (Hudson and Hayes both chewed on the crib when they were teething!) We don’t need to get much at all!

But it has been fun to find new things to personalize the room like lamps and crib bedding, a pillow for the rocker, mobile, and the J.M. Barrie “Peter Pan” quote. I also have an antique trumeau mirror that I’m so excited to put over the changing table so baby boy can see himself in the mirror. I still can’t believe we’ll have a baby here again!

Hudson and Hayes’s nursery was bright and cheery and I loved it, but for our third baby boy I wanted to do something a little bit different and a little more my style. I want it to be calming and peaceful with sweet “baby” touches. I also plan to frame and hang some sweet newborn photos after he’s born.

Now we just need to get to work and get the room ready! I can’t wait!

Source List:

House of Belonging

Annie Selke Fabric Swatch


Peter Rabbit Collection

Pom Pom at Home Crib Bedding

Pom Pom at Home Bunny Comforter and Pillow

Bla Bla Kids Mobile


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