Valentine’s Day!

Valentines Day is a made up Hallmark holiday, sooo cheesy, way overrated, and I lurve it. Why the heck would anyone be against a holiday that promotes telling people how much you love them, surrounding yourself with flowers, and eating chocolate/champagne?!

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If you have people in your life that love you, take the opportunity to show them you love them right back. Even if it’s as simple as a heart shaped grilled cheese! You could also take the time to slice strawberries into little hearts…just to have your kids tell you they taste funny. Ah, love!

My favorite Valentine tradition is indulging in complete gluttony with Chris. Nothing says romance like over-stuffing yourself with super rich pasta. This year we indulged the day before Valentine’s since Chris is traveling for work the rest of the week.

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Sundried tomato, baby portabella, garlic, shallot, Alfredo with filet mignon. We like to show our love for each other with a side of borderline diabetes.

Valentine’s Day is also a great excuse to pretend you’re a skilled “Pinterest Mom.” This year we went with a Lego themed card for obvious reasons. I found the easiest free printable card, had Brady cut them out, and ordered a 2lb. bag of Lego candy from Amazon for the win!

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I also love Valentine’s Day because it’s an excuse to drink champagne! I’m not sure if it’s our proudest parenting achievement, but our kids love when we pop bubbly!

Of course the best part of this oh-so-corny holiday, is lovin’ on your favorite people. In our family we use this day to not only tell each other “I love you” but we make a point to tell why we love each other. Chris and I have a scrapbook that we pass back and forth each year on Valentine’s Day with a list of the top reasons we love each other that year. This year it’s my turn to make the list for him. I used the fact that he’s out of town this week to postpone doing it until this weekend when we are doing a night away in St. Simons Island. We also made cards for each of the kids telling them why we love them. Love, love, love, love, LOVE! Super sweet, over the top, in your face, love! #NoShame #AllYouNeedIsLove #AndPasta

Happy Valentine’s Day Y’all! Find someone you love, and show ’em!

2016 ChristSMITH

This holiday season came and went so super fast! (That seems to happen every year.) While there was lots of hustle and bustle of travel, gift buying, parties, and baking, we were able to find time for lots of simple moments with the boys. They really enjoyed listening to Christmas music (and haven’t stopped singing holidays songs yet), finding our Elf “Pixie” every day, and seeing what Advent Calendar activity we would do each day. We try to fill our calendar with a mix of fun moments for the boys and activities that will help them learn to enjoy the spirit of giving. Here are some of the highlights and special moments from this past month…

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Delivering presents to our trash collectors!

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Mommy/Brady day date

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Gato doesn’t understand the Elf on the Shelf craze either.

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#NotAmused

 

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We said goodbye to our sweet boy Albert on December 1. Christmas just wasn’t the same without him this year.

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Thank you to my sweet friend Lindsay for sending us this adorable ornament to help us honor our fur-baby.

 

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Shopping day to buy gifts for our teachers

 

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Decorating Christmas cookies at Aunt Claudia’s house

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Nolan’s Christmas program at school. He was a big ol’ bundle of nerves but he conquered his stage fright and gave the cutest performance!

 

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One of our boys’ favorite things to do during the holidays is put money in the Salvation Army bucket.

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We always take turns taking each kiddo to buy presents for their brother and mommy and daddy. On this occasion Brady insisted on buying me this fancy red polish.

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Christmas movies! Our favorites this year were Elf on the Shelf and Rudolph.

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Chris surprised us by buying an inflatable hot tub for our patio. We have all enjoyed it this month!

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North Florida has perfect fire pit weather in December! Lots of S’Mores were eaten.

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Our Gator tree which Nolan claimed as his own.

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I got to volunteer in Brady’s class a lot recently and Chris even got to spend the afternoon doing Winter Crafts with his class one day.

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Date night checking out the Nights of Lights in St. Augustine. I am a SUCKER for Palm Trees with Christmas lights!

Christmas Eve…

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Sweet boys before the Christmas tree pose turned into a wrestling match

Christmas Day…

 

 

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Christmas day selfie with my big boy!

 

 

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Poor kiddo passed out before Christmas dinner and missed the whole thing.

 

 

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Intense Lego building with Grandpa on Christmas night.

Christmas vacation trip to LEGOLAND…

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Our boys surprise Christmas present- LEGOLAND Passes!

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Brady loved the Lego city- especially the space shuttle.

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With Brady on the Sky High ride.

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Nolan loved the Duplo train ride!

New Years Eve…

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Fishing in our neighbor’s backyard

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In awe of sparklers!

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Making homemade pasta with daddy!

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Saying goodbye to 2016 the right way!

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Toasting to the Netflix ball drop countdown.

 

I can’t imagine anything better than experiencing the holidays with a 3 and 5 year old. Seeing Christmas through their eyes was so special and nothing short of magical. We are certainly blessed in many ways and look forward to what adventures 2017 will bring our family. Happy New Year!

Thanksgiving!

For our first Thanksgiving back in Florida, we decided to host dinner at our new home. We had my Aunt, cousin, his girlfriend, my mom, and Chris’s brother and his family join us. It was a very relaxing day full of food, football (Thank you Jesus for letting the Cowboys win for Chris) and fun. The kids played outside in the bounce house while we got to have adult beverages and play corn hole and enjoy the perfect weather.

Here are some pictures from not only Thanksgiving day, but also a few from the Thanksgiving celebrations at the kids’ schools.

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Please note the little turkey in orange and blue who is blowing kisses to his mommy and daddy before his performance!

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Look at that little Indian! Side note: Nolan put down an embarrassing amount of chicken nuggets at his school feast.

 

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Thank God he used the non-Fitbit arm. Ain’t nobody got time for a fitness tracker in their turkey.

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It just doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving without Grandma Dot’s pumpkin bread.

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Me, Aunt Claudia and mom

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Brady all tuckered out after a day of food and fun. (Again, obsessed with sleeping pictures!)

The day after Thanksgiving we went to Savannah to spend time with my dad and Pat. We got to hang out downtown, see Santa, go to our annual Christmas light event at the Botanical Gardens, and watch the Gators get destroyed by FSU (boo.)

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The only Santa lap Nolan will be sitting on this year!

 

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So much to be thankful for, today and always!

 

 

 

 

Halloween!

This Halloween was one of my favorite with the boys. They got SO into it! Trick or treating was super enjoyable because the boys are finally at an age where they can walk on their own and go up to houses without our help. (We stood on the sidewalk sipping our adult beverages reminding them to say thank you.) We also got the benefit of having my mom nearby so she was able to participate in Nolan’s Trunk or Treat event at his school and hang out on Halloween night.

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Our not-so-elaborately decorated trunk. We’ll step it up next year! (Maybe.)

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We loved spending the morning at Nolan’s school on Halloween. Little stinker.

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Spoiler alert: the boys have already been talking about their costumes for next year. Nolan wants to be a, wait for it, mosquito.

‘Tis the Season!

We’re loving the Christmas season around here. The Smiths are the type of people who listen to Christmas carols a little too much, decorate way too early, and head to the mall in the peak of crowds. We love spoiling our kids this time of year, but we’ve made a conscious effort to teach our boys the joy of giving. I’m not gonna lie-it’s a little tricky when so much focus is given towards, “what are you going to ask Santa for?” and “how many days until you get to open your presents?” Our hope is that they will learn that giving and doing for others can bring as much enjoyment as receiving gifts some day. After all, there’s nothing quite like putting a smile on someone’s face to make your heart happy.

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Like this charitable act. “Put your heads in those things so mommy and daddy can get a good laugh!”

 

Since the boys are only 2 and 4, it takes a little creativity to think of ways to get them involved in the act of giving or doing for others. Here’s some of the ways we tried to get them in the “giving” spirit this year…

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We donated money to the Salvation Army red kettles.

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We made cards and artwork for our friends who donated money to our St. Jude fundraiser for sick children.

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They delivered cards to all the kids in their class.

 

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They picked out and purchased a toy for the Toys for Tots bin.

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They each went shopping for a Christmas present for their brother. (Dollar Store finds- gotta love ’em!)

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They went shopping for presents for Albert and Gato.

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We made cards for the mailman and trash collectors.

 

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The mailman’s surprise.

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The trash collector’s gift and card.

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We brought a small gift for each of their teachers. (Contemplated the ol’ alcoholic gift for Nolan’s teacher. Bless her patient heart.)

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They gave a small treat to each of their classmates.

And probably the biggest sacrifice this Christmas season was cleaning out their old “baby toys” and donating them to a local ministry thrift shop. This was the toughest part for Nolan- he insisted that those were HIS toys. He had a hard time letting go (but was more willing once he realized that made more room for new toys!) We also gave away all of their clothes that they outgrew recently and donated food to a food bank- thankfully that was done with a more generous heart. It was so touching to hear Brady’s thoughts about how much he cared that other children might not have all of the things that he has. Kids can be amazingly empathetic.

I hope this is the start of raising children who have a love of doing things for others. While I still fully intend on taking part in all the sparkly, indulgent, over-the-top Christmas traditions, maybe, just maybe, it will be done with a charitable mindset that rubs off on our kids!

Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving! Our day was spent cooking, lounging, eating, drinking, golfing, watching football, and spending time with family.

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Now that we’re all fat and happy, I thought I’d take a moment to recap some of the things (big & small) that I’m most thankful for. After all, reflecting on your blessings is the key to happiness! (I’m not sure if I stole that from a decorative pillow or something, but you can quote me on that either way.)

In no particular order, here’s what I’m thankful for…

Our kids. (ok, I put them first for a reason.) They’re bright, healthy, funny, crazy boys. They epitomize all that is good and innocent in the world.  To know them, is to know true love. Simply put, they make me happy when skies are gray.

My hubby. He’s exactly what you’d want in a husband- perfectly imperfect. He never lets me down and I feel like I’m a better person when I’m with him. He loves me through and through and you can’t ask for much more than that from someone you’re sharing your life with.

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My parents. They always support my decisions and love me unconditionally. And now, they are the best grandparents to my kiddos.

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Extended family. While I don’t get to see them as often as I’d like, I was blessed to be raised in a family where there was always lots of love (and food!) every time we got together. My Grandma Dot loved big family get togethers and around the holidays I am missing her more than ever, but I am so grateful for the memories and traditions that she created for us.

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Fur babies. Albert and Gato make life so much more interesting. Yes, they cause me a lot of headaches and laundry, but they also bring us joy in the form of excited, jumping up and down barking, and late night purring and snuggles.

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Chick Lit and Girly T.V. shows. As much as I love having my hubby around, I’m not going to lie, I kinda enjoy nights when he’s out of town and I get to catch up on episodes of Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy. And, I certainly couldn’t live without books. Shout out to anyone else who owns a book light that they attach to the top of their books!

Music. Country, classic rock, R&B, pop, Christmas music…you name it. We do not go a day without jamming out. Between dance parties with my kids, to listening to Pandora while I read, I’m so grateful for it.

Friends. I’m so lucky to have met my best friends in college. They know all my crazy stories, have seen me at my best/worst, and still love me. I’m also grateful for all the friends we’ve met over the last couple years as we’ve moved from state to state. Every place we’ve been, we’ve been so blessed to find people who have made us feel at home.

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Wine. Not sure if that really needs an explanation, but, it’s tasty and I think life is better with it. The same goes for alfredo sauce, doughnuts, birthday cake, fresh picked strawberries, champagne, and tacos.

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Faith. I’m grateful for the comfort of knowing my future is in God’s hands and that all of my blessings come from Him.

The University of Florida. It was my home for 4 years and still feels like it every time I go back. It’s where I got my college degree, where I “grew up”, where I found my best friends, and where I met my husband. Going there was most certainly the best, most life changing thing I ever did. (I should also add that I’m super thankful for college football!)

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These are a few of my favorite things! While every day is not perfect, there are certainly blessings all around us each day if we take the time to look for them.

We hope everyone had a blessed day that was full of the 3 F’s- Family, Food, and Football. HAPPY THANKSGIVING Y’ALL!

 

 

 

St. Patrick’s Day- Kids Cook Monday

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We love to celebrate any and all holidays around here. An excuse to give a gift, decorate, or make a special meal- and we’re on it! For Kids Cook Monday we decided to start celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with some green food. Last year we attempted green smoothies and, while they were delicious, they weren’t, um, green. This year we were determined to have GREEN smoothies. And we got our wish! We also made some cute little shamrock quesadillas to go with our smoothies.

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Green Smoothie Ingredients

1 banana
2 kiwis
1 bag frozen peaches
1 container flavored Greek yogurt
about 1/2 cup of Orange Juice
about 3/4 bag of spinach leaves

Brady enjoyed helping me pick out green ingredients for our smoothie at the grocery store. He even chose key lime yogurt because of the green container. He was also excited to try kiwi- which he described as green strawberries with lots of seeds. Sounds about right to me.

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We tossed everything in the blender (tasting each item along the way.)

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Nolan did the honors of pushing the blender buttons. He’s come a long way from being terrified of it and running away screaming.

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Here’s how our smoothie turned out. Super green!!! This batch made enough for me and the boys to each have a very big glass. Nolan finished his and then asked to finish mine. That’s a big deal because he is not an easy kid to get healthy food into.

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And because we couldn’t just eat smoothies for dinner, we made some fun cheese quesadillas using Spinach wraps and a shamrock cookie cutter.

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These took just a few minutes to cut the shapes out and cook up in a pan.

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Helpful hint: these were much easier to cut out when warmed up for about 15 seconds.

We served them with some bright green guacamole and felt super festive!

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Not exactly an Irish tradition, but tasty and GREEN!

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Oh, and because I can’t leave well enough alone, here’s Brady’s lunch for school tomorrow!!!

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Turkey spinach wrap, green apple with peanut butter, and cucumbers and hummus. Wonder if he’ll notice the color scheme?