Thursday, December 29, 2016

Christmas 2016 Recap

Well that happened fast, didn't it? I'm usually a little bummed when Christmas is over, but this year I seem to be more OK with it. Maybe I'm just ready for a fresh start and a new year? Anyone else? 2016 has been a doozy, #amiright?
We had a really happy Christmas, despite the fact that I am still sick...going on 8 weeks, folks. I'm on round 3 of steroids and round 6 (yes, 6!) of antibiotics. Y'all can thank me for the slew of antibiotic-resistant bugs out there. Mercy. But, I do feel like I'm getting better, and I'm seeing an ENT next week to evaluate why I can't seem to get well. So, onward! And enough about that...
Our festivities started when my older sister, Chris, and her kids came into town a few days before Christmas. They were only able to be here for the day, but it was SO good to see them. We met over at Pop and J's to visit, exchange presents, and eat a yummy meal.

Pop and J gave Lily and Hadley a Baby Alive doll, which they both wanted so badly. Y'all, these things are so funny, but the girls love them, and that's all that matters!

Hadley got dinosaurs from Aunt Chris, Alec, and McKenna, and she was in absolute heaven!

On Christmas Eve we normally go to church, but because I wasn't feeling great we stayed home and just took it easy around here. The girls opened their matching Christmas pajamas and opened their presents from one another.

Then it was time to put on their Christmas pajamas, sprinkle reindeer food on the lawn, and put out cookies for Santa!

Mom and Dad stayed up late prepping for Santa...we knew the girls would be excited, so that made it that much more fun for us! Below are Lily's Santa presents.
And now some of Hadley's things!
The girls slept until 7, and by that point Rob and I were too excited so we got them up!
This picture cracks me up...I promise they were happy, and we had a really special day!
Daddy had some help opening his present from the girls...some new shoes!
After we finished our presents, we had a Christmas Day feast. Sausage pinwheels, fruit with the world's easiest dip on the side (see below for recipe), cinnamon rolls, and our annual Christmas Day Breakfast Casserole...I've tried many a breakfast casserole, and this one is always my favorite. Recipe below!
Pop and J came over a little later and opened their gifts from us. Teddy was in the Christmas spirit and gave Pop some extra Christmas love.
We spent the rest of the day lounging and overeating; the girls played with their toys, and we watched "A Christmas Story" about seven times! It was a perfect day with family, and I'm grateful for every second.
The day came to a close, and Lily was excited to wear her new Peppa Pig nightgown...and even more excited to dress her new doll, Camille, in a matching gown.
Rob took the girls to visit his parents the next day, and I was planning on going but ended up back at the doctor instead. I decided to stay home and rest, and I missed everyone so much, but I'm glad I had that time to rest and recover.
So that's a wrap! Christmas 2016 is in the books. I hope everyone reading had a happy day with their loved ones. Are y'all looking forward to a fresh start as much as I am? And have y'all taken your tree down yet? We're guilty!
Lastly, I'll leave you with this...I imagine we can all relate!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Getting Organized with the STARTplanner

**This post was sponsored by STARTplanner. I'm very picky about sponsored content, so anything I share is something I truly love. All opinions are my own and were not edited by the sponsor.**
Confession: I used to be a really organized person. Almost to the point of annoying, if you know what I mean. I'm not sure when or where I lost that piece of me, but I'm guessing it might have been around the time(s) two little girls named Lily and Hadley made their way into this world. Anybody else have a similar story?
One of my (many) goals for 2017 is to be better organized. Right now I'm the person with post-it notes scattered who eats lunch in her car. Important appointments are scrawled on grocery store receipts, and I, admittedly, end up missing probably half of them. Our girls are involved in more and more activities, which requires some schedule juggling and staying on top of things.
I always love a new year and a chance to start fresh, so I was beyond giddy when my 2017 STARTplanner arrived in the mail. And y'all, how pretty is this planner? It's like a work of art sitting out on your desk!

I chose the Hustle Daily and just adore the fact that it contains so many sections to help me stay on top of this often crazy life. In addition to tabs for each month, there are Goals and Plans sections that allow for areas to write in budgeting and savings, long-term projects, cleaning schedules (to keep you on track), and annual vacation plans.

At the start of each month you are able to write out mini goals and a monthly budget, then you're given an entire page for each day to fill up with all of the normal life stuff that keeps us so busy! I really like that the creators of this planner devote an entire page to each day. Even if some days aren't as full as others, I like to have room to write down a memory or two. That way, your planner becomes a journal of sorts that you can keep forever...and then when your daughter asks you when she lost her first tooth, you can give her an exact date!
I'm giving away a planner to one lucky winner so y'all can join me in trying your best to get organized for the new year! To enter, all you have to do is:
1) Enter the contest here. I promise it takes about half a second.
2) Comment on my Instagram (@Lsummer23) STARTplanner photo and tell me one goal you have for 2017.
Contest ends on Friday, December 23, at 12 noon CST. I'll announce the winner on my Instagram. Good luck! What are some goals you have for 2017? Are my friends reading organized or part of the #hotmessexpress train like yours truly? :)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Our Home at Christmas

Decorating for Christmas is one of my favorite things to do on Earth. Pulling out the decorations from years prior, adding a few new things, and just getting to live in the mix of it all for a month or so brings me so much joy. With that said, I thought I'd share some pictures of our home. Hope y'all enjoy!
Our front door. I had to get new wreaths this Christmas since our new home has two doors. I found these at Target, and they were just the right amount of Christmas whimsy for me!
I planted some pansies and kale to go on either side of our doors, and you know we had to go with purple.
These little trees are wrapped in big colored lights, and they look especially fun at night!

Our tree at night. This beauty was created with a lot of sweat and tears, and not going to lie, a little blood. Rob and I bought this pre-lit tree the first December we were married, and it worked beautifully. Now, seven years later and about one pre-lit light works. Enter me cursing every year. This year I decided to string on 1,000 white lights, and that was an undertaking. But it was worth it.
One more view of this having my morning coffee in this spot!
The tree lives in our keeping room, which is where we spend the most time as a family. Below you'll find more pictures from that room!
I picked up these stockings a few years ago from West Elm. They're traditional but fun nonetheless. The little red stocking on the end is for our newest family member, Teddy. Yes, Santa brings the animals a few treats too!
I had to add some red wooden beads to this funky plant. Aren't the colors pretty together?
I found these ginger jars last year at a post-Christmas sale at Walgreens! Went in for medicine, came out with ginger jars. Who'd have thought? They sit on the mantle in our keeping room and flank either side of the TV. I added some red berries to make things festive.
When I saw this throw at Target, I knew we needed it in our lives. I keep throws everywhere, because you just never know when you're going to be chilly. We keep Christmas books in this basket and put them up after they're special every year.
I've had a hard time with this corner in our home ever since we moved. Normally a chair, side table, and floor lamp live here, along with this beautiful painting by a local Mississippi artist. I found this deer head at HomeGoods recently, and I just knew it'd make this spot complete. I love the way it looks perched over the artwork!
Our kitchen table resides in the keeping room as well. I keep this neutral runner on it throughout the year but change up the placemats and centerpiece. I picked these placemats up at Target, and the wooden centerpiece is from Pier 1. The filler balls (that sounds weird?) are just a collection from over time. And then the salt and pepper shakers were my mom's. They're my favorite.
Our kitchen is connected to our keeping room, so I didn't add to much there. Just some festive dish towels and a little tree.

Our living room is next. Here it is from one angle. I kept things pretty simple in here.
I got this little tree at Target this year and added some red berries I had on hand for some color. After our sweet Teddy knocked over a reindeer and snow globe I had next to the tree, I picked up this house and added some white mini lights on the inside.

This is my favorite area because it displays the girls' pictures with Santa from over the years. I keep the photos behind other photos that I keep out year-round, so changing them each Christmas is a breeze. The garland is from Target, and the candlesticks are super old.
Some Target dollar spot bottle brush trees tucked inside a bookshelf.
More of the candlesticks I've had for years. And the candle holders were my mom's. Aren't they beautiful and classic? The mirrored tree was a Target find from about eight years ago!

A cute little Fa La La La La sign from the dollar spot at Target. You don't have to spend a lot to be festive! I like to mix old and new things!
I flanked our TV with some old trees from Target. They were plain green, and I added the red berries for more color. The sweet manger scene was my grandmother's.
We got a lot of Annieglass for wedding presents, and I break out a good bit of it during the holidays. I added red ornaments and berries to this serving platter for a simple centerpiece.
I decorate this chair according to the holiday. Cheesy, I know. The throw and the pillow were recent Target finds.
Now on to our dining room. We rarely use this room, but I'm so happy we have it. In our old house we had converted ours into a playroom, so it's been fun to have a place to display our china and other collectibles.
The Christmas china was my mom's. It's so special, yet bittersweet, to bring it out each year.
I found this centerpiece "boat" at Pier 1 and have enjoyed putting new things in it to match the season. The red balls are from Pier 1 as well, and the green and white balls are from Target.
Our foyer is where I like to display our Fontanini Nativity. This was a gift from my parents, and they've added people and animals to it each year. It's like a work of art, and I love the fact that the characters are not breakable, so the girls can play with them and rearrange them as they see fit!
The girls enjoy decking their rooms out a little bit, so that's just what we do each year. Lily's tree is, you guessed it, purple. Fun fact, it was my tree when I lived in NYC so many moons ago.
Hadley wasn't too interested in having her very own tree until this year, and her favorite color is blue. She wanted a blue tree, but I of course couldn't find one. We settled on a white tree with blue lights and blue ornaments!
The playroom is where the girls spend most of their time, so we had to decorate it a bit too! Next year I may try to do a little more in there. I made the Merry Christmas banner with some watercolor paper, watercolor paint, cardboard letters, and twine. It hangs above their play kitchen, which is still one of the biggest Santa hits ever!
I found some pretty and simple Christmas hand towels at HomeGoods and added those to our guest bath, along with a lovely tree from there. The smaller white trees are from Target.
My parents gave us the funky tree below when they moved! We call it our Dr. Suess tree, and I can't tell you how much joy it brings! It originally was covered with green pre-lit lights, but those stopped I cut them off and added fat colored lights. This tree sits on our screened-in porch, and I love that we can still see it from inside too!
So that's case you can't tell I like to go all out at Christmas! I'll probably add even more next year, and one day our exterior might look like the Griswold's! I would love that. Hope everyone has a happy Monday! I can't believe Christmas is in 13 days!