Dressing Your Phone Up With CaseApp

Thank you CaseApp for sponsoring this post. All opinions remain my own. 

One of the things I've loved doing over the seasons is changing out my cell phone cover. I used to go with a neutral cover or just plain black, but ever since I was introduced to CaseApp my taste has completely changed. Bring on all the fun designs and customization options!

This season I decided to go with a silver and gold theme because I love those colors for this time of year.  Of course there is nothing wrong with going with the typical red or green, or even having a big tree or your favorite lyric from a Christmas carol on the back on your case. There are so many options that you can't go wrong. Speaking of carols, does anyone else think of the song from Rudolph whenever they hear silver and gold? No? Well, that movie has been a classic for our family ever since I can remember and that's what pops into my head every time.

It's so important to me to keep my phone protected because the boys love getting their hands on it or sitting me with to watch my friends insta stories. If there are other kids in the video or someone's pet, they are easily amused. We also have fun with some of the silly filters.  

With the holidays quickly approaching, I always like to check my lists twice to make sure I didn't forget anyone. Giving a cell phone cover makes for a great stocking stuffer. With the customization options you can make it personal for that special someone or keep it simple for your good friend.

I was so stuck between this case and this case that it was hard for me to narrow them down. I knew that I wanted to go with a marble one and the gold stripe caught my eye on this one. I plan on switching to that one for the new year. I also kind of love that it matches my nail polish. A girl can always coordinate, right?

Be sure to use code BCANDID20 for 20% off your next purchase until December 20th. Tis the season to be giving. 

Behind The Scenes of Our Christmas Card Pics

Who doesn't love a great picture where everyone is looking, giving their biggest smiles, and having everyone in focus. I'm raising my hand high over here, but as a mom of two rowdy little guys, I know that achieving this is far and few between. 

Every year we (ok, maybe more like me) like to coordinate taking pictures for our Christmas cards. Of course I could make it easy and just pick a random picture from over the summer or another event, but it doesn't feel the same to me. Last year our attempt at pictures for our card were nothing short of chaos. They sure made for some great memories though and Eric and I still get a kick out of them. I mean, little nugget surely did not want the Grinch to steal Christmas. I shouldn't have been phased by the chaos because A would not cooperate at all when he was younger. Those are still some of our funniest memories  and every year Eric and I pull them up and have a good laugh. Then, something unheard of happened this year. The boys looked at the camera, held hands, and cooperated! I still regret not playing the lottery that day because I think we could have won big. 

If it's not Eric or I behind the camera, it's usually my sister or my mom that I recruit and try to turn into my camera minions ;) This year neither one of them were available when we wanted to take pictures so I had to do what I dread doing—using the tripod. I was just telling Rebecca Jo that I don't like using my tripod because to me it seems so staged and fake. I love it for food photos but not for our every day moments. One of the things I love about capturing lifestyle moments is handing the camera over and saying, just click away. 

We have this large pile of wood in our backyard that we keep under the over hang of our shed/barn thing to keep it from getting wet. We took a picture in front of it last year and I knew it would make a great backdrop for something bigger one day. One of my friends even mentioned it would be great for pictures, so that sealed the deal for me. Of course I can't make things easy for anyone, so I asked Eric to move it out from under the overhang into an open area. We're just going to leave that right there because he was not the happiest with me at that moment. Husband of the year award should go to him.

We wanted to try and get pictures of all of us before we attempted the boys because it's always easier to break away than regroup.

If it's not my nuggets that love to find sticks, it's my dog. At this point it wouldn't be a picture for us if a stick wasn't involved. Coaty was more concerned about tearing into that thing and kept doing his own thing. I know I was probably asking for a lot here and might have been a bit over ambitious to think we could capture all of us and our dog, but when I have something in mind I have to try it out to see if it's doable.

With a growling bear face and a little rearranging, we all got it together. I think I yelled, Coaty look a squirrel! And then we got this.

And then he dropped his stick and gave the camera a look like, my family is cray cray.

With a stick on the lose, there is no room for leaving that thing untouched. Little nugget was the closest and eyed that thing up.

Mom to mom moment here, anyone who says they haven't bribed their kids for a picture (or a dog in our case) in my opinion can't be trusted. Eric was standing behind me with a piece of cheese, this bribe was totally for our dog, but it looks like both my dog and my son wanted the same treat. I mean, cheese does have that effect on people #allthecheese.

You see, sometimes I get these grand ideas in my head that I love to attempt bringing them to life, and what would taking family pictures be without adding some fake snow throwing into the mix.

It went a little something like this...

To finish it up, my precious nuggets were just that, precious nuggets that melted my mama heart. They smiled, they laughed, they held hands, and made looking at them behind the camera one of the best moments.

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends! I hope everyone had a great week. This one seemed to fly right on by for us. December in general is a busy month for us but it's all festive fun things so it doesn't really feel as busy, if that makes any sense. 

Here's a look at some of my favorites from this week...

1. Polar Express: this is the second year we decided to do some sort of train event with the nuggets and each times it has been a lot of fun. Instead of exchanging gifts with some of our good friends and their kids (because I'm already having anxiety about the amount of toys that are going to take over my house), we decided having an adventure together and making memories would be more fun. This year we did the Polar Express and all of us had a really good time. It was very well put together, they served sugar cookies and hot chocolate, even though A spilled his on me twice, and all of the workers were really into character. My only disappointment was that Santa didn't spend more time with the kids. I know they need to keep it moving but he pretty much just handed out bells and the kids gave him a high five. Overall it was really cute and a fun experience with everyone.

2. Santa: speaking of Santa, we also took the boys to see him. You guys, for a minute I thought we lost A's belief. I really don't know how many more years I'm going to get out of him and he's only four. My guess is maybe they are talking about it in school or this kid just has a certain way of thinking. 

Anyway, he started getting upset saying he didn't want to go because it wasn't the real Santa. I'm sorry, come again? I quickly asked him, well what do you mean? He said that there is no way the real Santa was waiting for him to sit on his lap because he's in the north pole making all the toys and sending them to Target. I had to laugh, Target! I've taught him well. He said these were Santa's helpers but they aren't cool and they only give out stinky candy canes. He then went on to say why would they give little kids candy canes because they're horrible and taste spicy. They're so disgusting. Why don't they just hand out m&ms. I'm telling you, I can't make this stuff up. I need to just walk around and record his explanations because I'm always so stumped. 

The overall visit went really well, and once he got up to Santa he ended up telling him, wow you are the real Santa because you have a real beard. Little nugget was absolutely adorable too and when we told him to smile for pictures and say cheese, he started yelling Merry Christmas instead and had everyone else smiling. A asked him for paw patrol toys and little nugget asked him for drummers (he really means a drum set) and the rest of us asked for more space to put everything in and earmuffs to drown out the noise.

3. You so ugly: my best friend had her annual ugly sweater party and it's always a great time to see what everyone comes up with. My other friend and I had the same idea with our sweaters since we both got them on a sale rack at H&M back in August. The funny part is, when I was shopping it was between the one she is wearing and the one I got. It's interesting to see how some of these "ugly" sweaters have become trendy now. I remember the first year she had her party we had to go to thrift stores to find something to wear. Now, you can't walk into a store without seeing one.

4. Christmas concert: It's hard to believe that three years ago A had his first Christmas play that I completely dropped the ball with. This year I am happy to say we were well prepared and well informed. The nuggets did great up there and made it through without tears or running off the stage. Little nugget didn't open his mouth once to sing but he sure looked cute sitting there. A sang along and did all of the little hand motions and I could not have been prouder. On a side note, I looked back at my favorites from a year ago and it's so bizarre that it's almost an exact replica of this post. History repeats itself.

5. Elf fun: I'll admit, I am not the most creative every night with our little elf friend. We do try to throw a few things in there every now and then other than just moving him to make it more interesting, but this little guy is a full time commitment for parents who take this on. I know some families that don't bring their elf back until the week before Christmas, and I'm starting to see why. Alvin did make an Olaf out of toilet paper and cheered the boys on the morning of their Christmas concert. How he made both the Olaf and the marshmallow microphone of course were questioned but our little detective buddy.

I hope everyone has a great weekend that's filled with festive fun. Don't forget that our last Girl Chat of the year will be happening on Thursday when we'll be sharing the best gift we've ever gotten. We'd love to chat with you then. In the meantime, here's where you can find me linking for all the link up fun. 

Looks Great! Little Full, Lotta Sap—Our Tree Adventures

My husband would be so proud that I used a quote from one of his favorite movies. Would you believe me if I told you it wasn't until last year that I finally gave in and watched it with him? For some reason Christmas Vacation just wasn't one of those classics that played in our house when we were growing up. I'm glad I finally watched it with him though, and now I know some of the inside jokes him and his brothers rattle off around the dinner table. 

Getting our tree is always one of my favorite things to do and really kicks off the Christmas spirit for us. We never had a real tree when we were growing up but Eric's family always did, and I remember going over to visit and loving the smell and look of it. 

I was so excited the first year we got to celebrate Christmas together because I knew a real tree was going to happen. If you've been a long time reader around here (and always a big thank you for those who visit this little space) then you might remember how I mentioned our first tree was one that we cut down from our front yard. We used the top, and by top I mean the first 9 feet of it, which made up our beautiful tree. We loved that tree, and ever since then it sparked something in us. So much so, that we would love to own a tree farm one day. I'll drop a little hint here, we are getting so close to potentially making it happen that I am anxious to see what 2018 has in store. 

There's a place in our town that we've been going to now for the past few years which makes it super convenient to just put the tree in the back of Eric's truck and drive it right home. Last year the boys (well mainly A) were very opinionated about the tree we chose, and this year wasn't much different. It actually might have been worse because now we have two from the peanut gallery that had their opinions on trees. They were really cute about it though and you could tell they were taking the decision making process very seriously. 

After we decided on our tree, the boys got distracted by sticks and rocks and had more fun collecting them #priorities. It's all fun and games until your little brother whacks you over the head with a stick and the tears start flowing. Thankfully​ they immediately stopped around an, I'm sorry, that was followed up by a hug. Isn't it amazing how they can just stop crying like that? 

I will say though, the nuggets were huge helpers this year which was a nice surprise from the extra messes that were made last year. They helped Eric carry the tree in, cut the netting from it, secured it in the tree stand, and did a fantastic job decorating the first three rows of it. The top of my tree might be a little light on ornaments this year, but I like to think some of the best things start from the bottom up ;)

Sharing Holiday Moments With Shutterfly

Thank you Shutterfly for sponsoring this post. All opinions remain my own.

It's that time of year when even your mailbox starts getting some holiday cheer and receiving fun mail. I don't know about you, but I would much rather see cards from my friends and family than another boring piece of a mail that usually just get tossed aside. One of my favorite things to do around the holidays is to send out our annual Christmas card, and as much as I love sending them, I also love receiving them.

We have always enjoyed coordinating family pictures to put on our cards and thinking of a general theme we want to go with. It always ends in some sort of adventure and usually not how it played out in my head, but we always enjoy the memories and end up with something to work with. Before the boys came along, our cards used to just be us and our dog, or just him by himself. Now a days, it's a family afar and we're all involved.

Shutterfly makes designing your special card so easy and the only hard part you might face is deciding what design to go with. They have so many great options to choose from that I even contemplated doing several different designs, but I think I might save that idea for next year.

I love the design we went with and the shiny metallic feel really gives it a little something extra. Every year I have always done something different with the way I address my cards, but this year, they made it so easy for me to pick a design, uploaded my card list, and have the envelops arrive already addressed. I am kicking myself that I haven't taken advantage of this sooner. It was seriously a beautiful thing and such a time saver. The back of the envelopes even have our return address already on them. We also went with a fun silver snowflake envelope liner to make opening the card even more interesting.

The boys have enjoyed helping me stuff the envelops and put the stamps on them, but we did have to explain to little nugget that they weren't stickers and he couldn't just put them anywhere. Of course that resulted in some tears but once he got the honors of gluing the envelops shut, he was proud of his new task. They love opening up the cards we've gotten so far and seeing their friends pictures on them. Now there new favorite thing to do when we get home at the end of the day is ask if any letters came in the mail. 
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