Men's Gift Guide

Monday, December 11, 2017

Today I'm here to help you with gift ideas for all the MEN in your life! I'm not going to lie..this one really stumps me. Usually I know what my husband wants but throw in uncles, brothers, and DADS and I'm often stumped! Dads are typically old enough to buy what they want, when they want which makes gift giving impossible!

So here we go! I asked some pretty awesome men (and women!) what they get the dudes in their life and this is what they said...

I hope that was maybe a tad bit helpful! If you have any great gift ideas let me know below! Happy Shopping. :)

Gift Ideas for 1-2 year Olds

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

It's usually pretty easy to pick out gifts for your own kids but I tend to struggle with gifts for my friends' kids... especially if they have a sex/age that I haven't raised myself yet ;). I pulled together some gifts that I grabbed for Cal and Evie this year (some from extended family). If you are shopping for a 1 to 2 year old boy or girl check out my ideas below!

Cal is totally into trucks, cars, diggers, etc. He loves playing outside and enjoys having books read to him. Here are some picks for him

1. trucks

Evie is also obsessed with playing outside and climbing everything. She loves sitting on my lap when I blog and trying to type (hence her own mini lap top). She also digs coloring with Blair and pushing the stroller around.

1. laptop
2. slide
6. baby
7. castle

Christmas Ideas: 5 Year Old Girls

Sunday, December 3, 2017

I'm a little late to the toy game but I thought I would give you a little peek to as what Blair is asking for for Christmas! Let's hope she doesn't have a repeat of last year's behavior (insert eye roll). As long as she stays on the nice list these are some of the things she's been talking about...

1. jewelry kit
2. princess activity kit
3. glitter glue
4. princess necklace kit
5.glitter paint
6. girly crayons
7. canvas painting set
8. ceramic painting set
9. my little pony set
10. plush unicorn set
11. operation game
12. crystal growing kit
13. Moana lego kit

Clearly Blair has a love of all things crafty. Those are the toys that entertain her the longest (aside from her ipad of course). Hope you got some good ideas here! Next up will be gifts for one year olds... obviously!

Girls Night In: Gingerbread House Making

Friday, December 1, 2017

Recently I spied some super chic gingerbread houses in The Magnolia Journal and I told Matt, "I reallly want to make these!" I originally thought making them from scratch would be fun and he was like, "Are you nuts? Just buy the houses and then add your own decorations." Done!

I thought that maybe some of my friends would enjoy it too so I planned for a "Girls Night In!" I detailed what I did below so you can throw your own Gingerbread House Party this holiday season.

What you need
-gingerbread kit (I got mine at Target on sale for $9 each)
-outlining frosting (comes in kit)
-flooding frosting (recipe below)
- vanilla wafers
- mini marshmallows
-skinny pretzel sticks
-fresh rosemary sprigs (got mine from my running trail LOL)
-white sugar sprinkles (HERE)
-white pearl sprinkles (HERE)
- icing bottles (HERE)
- meringue powder (HERE)
-butcher or kraft paper (to protect your work surface)

Royal Icing Frosting Recipe
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2.5 tablespoons warm water
-1.5 tablespoons meringue powder (Michaels)
* mix it all together. If you need your icing more runny (I usually do) then keep adding more warm water till the consistency easily spreads out when you fill in the cookie.

Tips for Your Gingerbread House Party
You can choose to get your guests either one large gingerbread house or 4 mini ones. The larger ones are definitely easier to decorate but the mini ones are easier to put together. Unbox the houses before your guests arrive. Otherwise there is too much trash everywhere and it makes for a big mess.

Make sure you do all your decorating BEFORE you put your house together...otherwise the royal icing will slide down the walls and roof. Make sure your icing is completely dry before you assemble your house...otherwise the icing will slide. It is best to have two people assembling the houses. It can be very frustrating trying to glue walls and holding them together with only one set of hands.

It would be best if you had one bottle of royal icing per guest. It is too hard to share since all the steps have to be done at the same time. Guests should "outline" their houses first which requires them to all use the firm icing first followed by the flooding icing second.

I put white butcher paper down on my table to protect it because once the frosting hardens it's like cement. It also made clean up easier because I just folded it all up and threw it away.

I hope this inspires you to have your own girls night in! Just add some hot cocoa (in a crock pot!) and a dessert and you're set! Oh, and wine never hurt anyone either. ;)

Our Christmas Card 2017 by Minted

Sunday, November 26, 2017

* This post is sponsored by Minted This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links

Our Christmas card photos were *almost* an EPIC FAIL this year. I had this grand idea of an uber beautiful and dreamy bohemian look complete with yucca trees and hazy sun filtering through our hair. As soon as we rounded the bend in the road I panicked...our location was freaking TORCHED from a previous fire...that happened TWO years ago! My photographer, and best friend, was like, "Ummmmm?"

We continued to drive and things weren't getting any greener. Matt suggested turning off the main highway and once we did that things started looking less singed. Phew! Crises #1 averted. Because let's be real... there was no way I was getting all five of us ready again and making the hour long drive out to Victorville. As fun as car rides can be with two babies and a five year old I wasn't looking forward to doing round two.

We pulled off on the side of a deserted road and then had the pleasure of realizing the sun was going to set in about five minutes behind the tall mountains. My dreamy photo was slipping away! We were in an absolute stage 5 panic as we threw shoes on babies, hair sprayed cowlicks, and slapped headbands on. We trampled through some brush, smiled for about 2.5 minutes and this is what we got...

PERFECTION! That's a Christmas miracle right there, folks! ;) So... now you know the story behind the magic. There is beauty in the chaos! And doesn't it make you appreciate the photo more?!

One of my absolute favorite things about the holidays is Christmas cards! I just love seeing my mailbox stacked high with festive envelopes and then opening the cards and seeing my friends' smiling faces. I tape mine up on our wall with some plaid washi tape and everyone enjoys looking at them when they come over.
behind the scenes ;)
This year I partnered with Minted to create the most beautiful Christmas cards. I'm absolutely in love with the cards and how they accentuate the photo we used. We went with a "boho" themed photo (yucca trees and all!) and I wanted to keep the card very simple so the picture could really shine.

I like how Minted gives you the option to personalize everything down to matching stamps! I chose to personalize the back of our card with a picture of the kiddos along with a verse that I've had up all year in our home, Psalm 126:3 "The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with JOY." I also added our return address (in the font and color of my choice) to the back of our envelope...less writing for me!

The quality of the printing at Minted is what really impressed me. When I opened the box I immediately noticed the thick paper and how clear our photo looked. Nothing is more frustrating than knowing your photo is high quality and having it come back fuzzy.

If you guys haven't ordered your holiday cards yet now is the time! Minted's Black Friday deal ends TODAY so hurry over there! Use code BF2017 for up to 20% off your order.

When Christmas is over I hole punch them and tie a ribbon around them and keep them under the coffee table. People flip through them throughout the year which is fun. I used to cut them down and tape each photo to the side of our fridge which is always a nice way to see our friends' faces throughout the year. What do you guys do with your Christmas cards?

all family photos by Carrie Johnson Photography

Festive Bed Sheets by Linens and Hutch

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

I've been decorating Blair's room for Christmas for years. This year I decided that I wanted in on the fun and added some festive decor to MY bedroom! Why should kids have all the fun?! ;)

I recently picked out some darling sheets at Linens and Hutch to add some magic to my bedroom. We've been sleeping like babies in our cozy new sheets and my hubby even said, "Are these new sheets? They're so soft!" And that's saying a lot from a guy who doesn't usually notice when I change things around in our house. ;)

I love that when you walk into our room everything looks clean and white but when you get up close you can see the small swiss dots on our sheets. I like that they add a little playfulness to our space. These durable sheets resist static, stains, are fade resistant and are wrinkle-free! Bonus points that they are also hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, and antibacterial (perfect for people with allergies).

If you want to add a little Christmas spirit to your bedroom (or your kiddos!) make sure you check them out! Their prices are super reasonable for such a high quality sheet. 

Use code "natyouraveragegirl" to get 30% off your order from Linens and Hutch! With Christmas right around the corner this would be a great way to save on a thoughtful gift.

Halloween 2017

Friday, November 17, 2017

Before it gets too late (is it too late?!) I wanted to post our Halloween costumes! I decided that it would be funny to have the twins dress up as Grumpy and Happy from Snow White (because at least one of them is grumpy at any given moment). At first Everly earned the Grumpy costume but we ended up pulling a switcheroo because Cal has just been such a baby lately haha. And you can see he is playing the part in our family photo below!

Matt thinks I should wear the beard on a regular basis...thoughts?! ;)

A big thanks to Matt's Mom for making the twins' costumes...they were a hit! And what a good sport M was wearing his Dopey ears. :) Blair actually decided I should be Sleepy because I'm always tired and that M should be Dopey because he's such a silly Dad. Of course nothing fits her better than being the princess!

If You've got Ears Say Cheers!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Welp, I've officially signed up to gain ten pounds. Yep, that's right. I bought a Disneyland pass and you know what that means...corn dogs!!! Ha ha but for real I am SO freaking excited!!! We went to Disneyland last week with my family and it was so fun we decided to sign up for the year. I've missed the mouse house these last couple years!

My parents treated us to stay at the Grand California Hotel in Disneyland and omg what a treat! Blair loved the water slide there so much she didn't want to go to Disneyland (haha!). We stayed in a massive three bedroom suite with all six grandkids. That means the five of us were all in one room but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Nothing was going to get me down at the happiest place on earth!

The twins had a great time although Everly enjoyed the rides much more than Cal. No surprise that he was a little scared by everything. Evie in particular really liked the carousel, Dumbo, Ariel, the Ferris Wheel, Toy Story, and Winnie the Pooh.

We're headed back again in a couple weeks and I just can't even wait to see the Christmas decorations!