BIRTHDAY TRADITIONS TO REFRESH YOUR SOUL

I. love. birthdays.

I love them so much, you guys.

I love everything they symbolize, I love spending time with my family & friends, and (of course!) I love the cake. ๐Ÿ˜‰ but more than that, I love getting to use my birthday as a time to really set aside for the refreshment of my soul & a celebration of all the heart work that has taken place in me. because, friends, no matter how hard or frustrating or exhausting this year of your life has been… that is so worth celebrating.

I like to take the time to reflect on the year, release any burdens, and refresh my spirit going into the next year of my life.

so, here are a few of my own personal birthday traditions that I do every year, or have decided to do from here on out, and I think you might want to start them, too!

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MY BIRTHDAY TRADITIONS Continue reading “BIRTHDAY TRADITIONS TO REFRESH YOUR SOUL”

Black Friday shopping for the frugal girl MINI SERIES

my mama and I are HUGE fans of Black Friday.

we’ve excitedly participated in the shopping chaos for as long as I can remember, and it’s turned into one of our favorite traditions & most beloved mother-daughter dates. ๐Ÿ™‚

so this year as November rolled around, I thought it might be fun to share with you all some tips & tricks on how to make the most of this crazy holiday!! even if you’ve never done the whole Black Friday thing before, I’ll teach you how to enjoy it, while getting everything on your list, and avoiding the crazies out there!

and just for fun, here’s a photo of my mama & me, all cozied up in our Pats gear ๐Ÿ˜‰ย mama

here’s what you can expect out of this mini series:

how to create a game plan
any good black friday shopper needs a game plan so she doesn’t get caught in the insanity of the day! I’ll teach you how to create yours, complete with printables to help you outline your shopping list, budget, timeline (so you remember which stores open first & which ones you want to prioritize!), and more.

things to do ahead of time
don’t save all your planning for thanksgiving night! I’ll show you what can easily be done in advance to cut down on time & stress the day of!

what to do the night before
On your grand quest for sale prices, you don’t want to be left with a dead phone or without caffeine or (heaven forbid!!) no Christmas music!! Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. I’ll even include a printable list so you don’t forget a thing ๐Ÿ™‚

your Black Friday survival guide & GIVEAWAY
here’s everything you’ll need to bring with you & wear on the day-of. I haven’t left anything out, so you can be sure you’ll have everything you need to have the best ย Black Friday experience possible! Plus Iย will be giving away a FREE BLACK FRIDAY SURVIVAL KIT to one lucky lady!! You won’t want to miss it!! ๐Ÿ˜€

Well, there you have it! Make sure you’re signed up to get emails from me so you don’t miss a thing! And get ready for the best day of shopping ever ๐Ÿ˜‰

12 Christmas Eve Traditions for Couples (FREE PRINTABLE)

When all of the chaos of Christmas shopping and wrapping and baking and partying and all the other happy (but exhausting!) goodness that is the pre-Christmas season has finally come to an end, and you’ve reached the long-awaited Christmas Eve, there’s nothing better than settling in with your sweetie & enjoying the hush of the night before Christmas. ๐Ÿ™‚

and while spending time with the kiddos & getting their gifts under the tree is important, so is showing your love that they’re your #1! ๐Ÿ™‚ don’t forget about them in the rush!

I’ve compiled for you a few sweet ways to soak up the quiet and enjoy one another on this oh-so-special day!
traditions for couples

1.) Christmas jammies (or pajamas or pj’s…)
try on this grown-up version of the classic Christmas pj’s and buy one another somee goodies that are sure to have them ready to celebrate ๐Ÿ˜‰ red & green lingerie for the lady & some Christmas-themedย boxers for your man are just the thing and oh-so-fun!

2.) Christmas movie in bed!
pop the popcorn, fix up that cocoa, pull on those Christmas jammies, and grab your favorite Christmas-themed flick. there’s not much more time to enjoy those much-loved movies anyway, so soak it all in on Christmas eve. Cuddling mandatory ๐Ÿ˜‰

3.) Christmas memory ornaments
exchange ornaments that remind you of a favorite memory or special moment from over the past year. include a letter explaining what that time was and why it meant so much to you! โค you could even give each year a theme! (funniest memory, most romantic, etc…)

4.) Use the Santa tracker!
check it out here starting December 1st, then pick a country. when Santa “lands” on that country, celebrate Christmas withย their culture! If it’s Mexico, make tacos; for Italy, whip up spaghetti!

5.) Christmas Eve box
Throughout December, take turns adding items to a Christmas Eve box: a Christmas movie, wintery snacks, cozy items, Christmas-scented lotion, Starbucks gift card, etc…Then on Christmas Eve, open it up and use whatever is in it to create a day or nightย of fun! ๐Ÿ™‚ you can make this sexy, cozy, romantic, adventurous… whatever is best for the two of YOU!

6.) Christmas time capsule
make a time capsule that best describes the moments from the previous year. next Christmas Eve, you can open it and remember all the fun and special times the two of you shared! ๐Ÿ™‚

7.) wrap presents!ย 
if you’re a procrastinator (ha!) or even if you’re not, this can be SUCH a fun tradition! last year, my husband and I even wrapped one another’s stocking gifts “together” by sitting on either side of our bed! ๐Ÿ™‚ wether you’re wrapping one another’s or gifts for your friends and family, make a date out of it by brewing the coffee (or cider! or cocoa!) and turning on some Christmas music!

8.) Christmas Eve scavenger hunt!
make it into a competition, or do it together! head out to your local mall or shopping center to see what you can see! there’s sure to be oodles of laughs and so much fun as you search for everything Christmas from a decorated tree to the frazzled, last-minute shopper ๐Ÿ˜‰ you could also turn this into a fun double date, or a competition with other couples! (loser buys cocoa!) print out the list here:ย Christmas Eve Scavenger Hunt

9.) Ugly Christmas Sweaters
take a trip to the Salvation Army or other thrift store and pick out the ugliest Christmas sweaters you can find for one another! then wear them out to coffee together ๐Ÿ˜‰ ย (or to do your Christmas Eve scavenger hunt!!)

10.) Bake Christmas cookies
an oldie, but a goodie ๐Ÿ˜‰ who doesn’t love baking & decorating Christmas cookies? bonus points if you’re dressed only in aprons & Santa hats!

11.) Read to each other
I LOVE this tradition. J… not so much ๐Ÿ˜‰ he tolerates it for me! I love love love my Christmas books, and I never ended up outgrowing them ๐Ÿ™‚ I still love to read them every Christmas, and Joey often sits down and allows me to read to him, and once in a while will read them to me ๐Ÿ˜‰ but if you’re a couple who LOVES to read, then this is for you! give it a try, and see how much fun it is!

12.) Christmas special marathon!
watch all the Christmas specials of all your favorite tv shows… the office, friends, parks and recreation, 30 rock, and doctor who are a few of our favorites! spend the day inside with your favorite snacks, curled under a blanket! way fun!

I hope these ideas gave you some inspiration for starting some new Christmas traditions of your own! enjoy the beautiful season!

have the coziest christmas eve ever // aka, I’m giving you free recipes, so read this

hey you guyses ๐Ÿ™‚

CHRISTMAS IS SO CLOSE.
yeah!
Christmas!

Christmas Eve was always kind of a big deal in my house growing up, and there were a few components that made it just perfectly oh-so-special.
it was always the coziest, cuddliest night of the year (and I love all things cozy and cuddly!)

I’m going to give you a few ideas that are super easy to whip up and throw together last minute, which will make your Christmas Eve the coziest and cuddliest yet ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ll start with husband and my Christmas Eve itinerary (yes, I have an itinerary. stop laughing at me.)
early/mid day: pack for travelling on Christmas Day- suitcases packed and loaded in the car; presents to take set by the door to put in the car before we go
prep for Christmas morning- nobody wants to be stuck in the kitchen, so Christmas Eve, I’ll cook the bacon and sausage so I can just heat it up the next morning. I’ll also set out the ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  paper plates and plastic cutlery, since we’re going to be in a rush and won’t have time to do a bunch of dishes before we leave on Christmas.
put tonight’s dinner in the crock pot- beef stew! yum!! I’ll stick it in the crock pot, so it will be all ready to eat when we get home this evening.
afternoon: J gets home from work at 4, I’ll fix him a snack then
we’ll watch Frosty the Snowman and Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer to keep me from bouncing off the walls during this lull in the day ๐Ÿ˜‰
get ready for the Christmas Eve service at our church
go to Christmas Eve service (6:30)
look at Christmas lights on the way home
come home and open Christmas Eve jammies!! ๐Ÿ˜€
put on jammies, sip homemade cocoa, and eat that deeee-lish beef stew in the glow of the tree lights (and probably take some melatonin, because this girl ain’t gettin a wink of sleep ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  ย  otherwise)
tidy up the apartment, move the coffee table away from the tree, so it won’t be in the way the next morning- also set paper dishes / snacks on it so they’re ready
stuff stockings / watch Christmas specials of our favorite TV shows while we wait for the melatonin to kick in ๐Ÿ˜‰

whew! sounds like fun, huh? ๐Ÿ˜‰
but really, here are my favorite cozy Christmas Eve moments: Continue reading “have the coziest christmas eve ever // aka, I’m giving you free recipes, so read this”