Elf on the Shelf | 1st Annual North Pole Breakfast

Meet Gordon.

He's our Elf on the Shelf.  Named after Royal's left fielder, Alex Gordon.

Gordon's actually been with us for two years now, but we didn't do much with him that first year, and last year, well, we managed to move him every 4(ish) days.

This year, though, I am determined to make him a bigger deal.  We have boys who understand things and I'm all about making this time of year as magical as can be.

Yes, I've read the critics' arguments and reasons for not doing Elf on the Shelf.  My responses to that: 1) Your elf doesn't have to plan over-the-top antics (Gordon will most definitely not be participating in that craziness) and 2) You can teach your children the real meaning of Christmas while simultaneously participating in the Elf fun!  So, for us, it has always been a no brainer.

I've got a semi-concrete plan for what Gordon's going to do for the next 23 nights.  They are all very simple, but I knew if I didn't have a plan, I would never follow through!  I am so excited to see the boys' interest and excitement grow as we progress through the month of December!

Yesterday morning, Gordon surprised the boys with a "North Pole Breakfast."  Our first annual, if you will.  I'll let the photos do most of the talking, but I will say, I set my alarm for 6am to ensure everything was set up and in place by the time the boys woke around 7.  Totally worth the early wake up!!

(And I apologize for the poor quality of photos.  I was trying to capture everything in the dark without having to use my flash.)

Daddy read the story of the Elf, while the boys dined on muffins, doughnuts, and fruit.  And marshmallows.  That was their favorite part.

Brantley seemed equally surprised and freaked out that an elf could have done such a thing.  I agree, it is a little freaky.  But he totally bought into the story though.  Craig tried to touch Gordon at dinner time last night and Brantley yelled at him to stop.  As for Brantley's behavior yesterday, well, that was another story, but hopefully the elf will convince him that it's not okay to pee on the floor and whine every five minutes.

Holden, obviously, doesn't get it yet, but he does respond to the warming, "Gordon's watching" by looking towards the elf.  I'll consider that a huge success.

The North Pole Breakfast was a success and something I plan to continue next year!  Now, please let me remember to move our elf each night!

All supplies were either my own or purchased at Target! 
Dollar Spot: glass milk bottles, gold stripe paper straws, Rudolf books, holiday silverware, striped cake stand
Target's Dining & Entertaining: Naughty or Nice plates, trees
Target's Christmas Section: red tablecloth, red/gold striped napkins

Tis the Season for Holiday Cards with Tiny Prints

I am so excited about our Christmas cards this year.  I've always drooled over the adorable cards at Tiny Prints, but I've never actually ordered my cards there.  Until now.

And oh my goodness, to say it was a difficult decision is an understatement!  First deciding upon a design, and a color scheme, and a font, and a back layout, and a trim option.  And then choosing envelopes, and an envelope liner (did you know you can put your picture on the liner??), and any coordinating items like return labels.  Seriously, with all of the options that Tiny Prints offers, I think over a million people could order holiday cards and not one of them would be the same.  It's no wonder it took me about four hours to place my order!

Of course I'm not going to show you our cards just yet.  If you're lucky enough to know us personally, you'll be excited to know these were dropped in the mail on Wednesday and they should be arriving to your mailbox any day now, and if not, I will share our cards soon enough!  In the meantime, I'll go ahead and share a little sneak peak + a look at the gorgeous gold envelopes and bokeh confetti envelope liners to match.  Are you drooling?  Because I sure am!

In the meantime, here are a few of my "runners up."  It was so hard to choose between the foiled-stamped, the glitter, and the laser-cut cards!


Scintillating Snowfall


Laser Cut 

And this deserves a major shout out, too!  Perhaps my favorite thing about ordering my cards was the ability to see my photo in every card.  If you're anything like me, you typically design multiple cards and screen shot each one in order to compare and pick a favorite.  But that takes time - something you don't always have, especially this time of the year!  With this 'Change My Photo' option, you can literally browse the cards with your photo on each one.  Genius?  I think so.  Take a look.

Thank you, Tiny Prints, for the gorgeous Christmas cards!  I'll definitely be shopping with you again next year!

 Order TODAY, Black Friday, for 40% off of everything!  Use the code BLACKFRI40.

*Disclaimer: Tiny Prints gifted us these cards in exchange for a blog post, but all opinions are all my own.

Thankful on Thanksgiving

 In no particular order,
 ...the really great weather we've had this fall...

...current gas prices - seriously under $2 per gallon!...

...two happy, healthy, sweet boys who play well together 90% 75% of the time...

...the opportunity to teach two upper level classes at school...

...my hubby, also known as the guy who does 80% of the work at our house...

...blogging - seriously, it's basically how some of my really good local friends...

...our new house...

...our new house in a very social neighborhood...

...a healthy doggy despite being attacked over the summer...

...winning teams - the Royals (World Series champs), the Hawkeyes (11-0 and #3 ranked for the first time since 2002), and the Jaguars (my high school football team playing in the 4A State Championship game on Saturday)...

...both sets of parents who are still married 44 (Craig's parents) and 34 (my parents) years later...

...three grandparents (great grandparents to the boys) who are still alive and well...

...our Midwestern roots in Kansas and Iowa...

 ...a daycare provider who loves our boys like her own... 

...my health and well-being...

...the great city in which I live...

...five nieces and four nephews - cousins to the boys - whom they adore...

...jobs that allow us the time off to enjoy these holidays with said nieces and nephews (and the rest of the family)...

...friends, friends, and more friends - friends from high school, friends from college, friends from work, mommy friends, single friends, couple friends, blogger friends, neighborhood friends, friends that are past students - each is very special to me and reminds me of a different stage of my life... 

...my life in general - not sure how I got so lucky to be living the life I am, but I honestly wouldn't change a thing about it...

Stitch Fix #9

I can hardly believe seven weeks have passed since my last Stitch Fix (the one with all the jeans), but lo and behold, it has and it was time for another!  I didn't have any specific requests for this fix except no jackets, no coats, no shoes, and no jeans.  So, basically, I was asking for tops, without specifically stating such. :)  I pinned quite a few sweaters, including a handful with button-up backs and elbow patches, and I was happy to see a few exact matches when I opened my fix!

Fun fact: my high school bestie recently got a part-time job with Stitch Fix.  How fun is that?!  I would be all over that if they had a position in Kansas City!

Anyway, onto my fix!  I even busted out the big camera this time.  Big camera, but no hair or makeup. #itwastheweekend #andicouldntcareless

Item #1 | Market & Spruce Margerie Stripe and Dot Open Cardigan
This was an exact match to one of my pins.  I really love the mixing of stripes and polka dots and so badly wanted to keep this (it's totally my work style), but in the end, it didn't make the cut because of the price ($68).

Item #2 | Market & Spruce Denver Cable Knit Elbow Patch Cardigan
 Cute sweater with a fun elbow patch, but just not my style.  The fabric was really thick and I felt like it hung on me in all the wrong ways.  I didn't feel great in it and decided immediately to return it.

Item #3 | Colourworks Blake Poncho Pullover Sweater
I loved this from the moment I pulled it out of the box!  I debated for awhile because it was so big (I know ponchos are supposed to be big, but this one is huge!), but in the end, I decided to keep it.  This is, after all, why I do Stitch Fix - for fun, trendy, and different pieces like this.

Loveappella Deaver Shoulder Inset Knit Top
 Didn't hate this, but didn't love it either.  It was pretty clingy and form-fitting, and right now, I'm more into looser-fitting tops.  (And no, I'm not pregnant.)  Also, for $58, it was definitely going back.

41Hawthorn Presley Colorblock Button-Back Sweater 
Another item that was an exact match from Pinterest board.  The best part is the button-up back, but it's really hard to take a backwards photo in a mirror with a big camera.  This sweater is very me, in my opinion, and a no-brainer keeper.

That's it's for fix #9!  To check out my old fixes, follow these links:

Stitch Fix #5 | March 2015-Didn't blog it

Our Favorite Books

Both of our boys love reading books at bedtime.  Holden gets so excited to go choose a book from his bookshelf and he is usually mad about only reading three.  Brantley seems to always choose the longest, drawn-out books with 500 flaps, but he, too, loves this time before bedtime.  Although I don't read for pleasure like I once did, I hope their current love of books carries well into their adolescent and adult years.  I compiled a list of our current favorites, just in case anyone is looking for books to ask Santa!

Dear Zoo | Where's Spot | Yummy Yucky | Baby Beep Beep (and other DK Publishing chunky board books)

For the Sports-Lover
Goodnight Baseball | Hello Big Jay (and other mascot books)

Mommy's Faves

Boy Books

Other Favorites


Happy Friday, friends, family, and blog followers!   We have very few plans this weekend, which will be extra nice seeing that things will start to get holiday-crazy very soon!  How about a random Friday post?  Mmmmm-k?

| 1 |
Christmas is FIVE weeks from today.  Talk about insane!   It's all Christmas all the time here.  The decor.  The music.  The chit chat.  In fact, I get so excited to leave school each day and go home to our cozy, Christmasy-decorated home.  It's cold and dark by 5:30, the twinkle of the Christmas lights just puts me in a better mood!  Since we are in a new house this year, I plan to take pictures and do a blog post of what our house looks like at Chistmas time (similar to here) because after all, that's how I remember what goes where each year! 

The hubs is putting up our outside lights this weekend.  The neighbor guys all chipped in to rent one of these bad boys.  Have I mentioned that I love  our new neighborhood??

| 2 |
The holidays are so close, but fall is still hanging on in a few ways!  Mainly, my high school football team is playing in the state semi-finals tonight!  It's been fun walking to my car after work each day and seeing/hearing the team practice under the lights in the cool, late-fall air.  There's something magical about high school football in late-November and having had so many of these boys in class, it's fun seeing them experience such a successful season.  We will not be attending tonight's game , but will most definitely be following along on social media!  Go Jags!

| 3 |
This scarf is $3 at Target's dollar spot.  Go buy yourself one and you're welcome.

| 4 |
This week's been all sorts of girlie fun!  First, a LulaRoe party on Monday at Vanessa's and then a HyVee meal-prep workshop on Wednesday--followed by half-price sushi and wine!  I mean, I love the freezer meals and the cute clothing, but I love the girl time even more!   Thanks, Vanessa, for organizing both events and allowing us to shop in your living room!!  (Here's the LulaRoe top I took home.)

| 5 |
And last, but not least, I created a Facebook page for my blog.  Check it out here and like it to follow along!

Linking Up With:
Momfessionals and A Little Bit of Everything for Friday Favorites 
September F A R M for Oh, Hey Friday
A.Liz Adventures for Five on Friday