Christmas Traditions

♪ ♫ ♬   “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…With kids jingle belling and everyone telling you be of good cheer…It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”  ♪ ♫ ♬

Kids jingle belling; that’s my 1 1/2 year old.  All day “JINGLE BELLS!  JINGLE BELLS!”, the best!  I’m so excited for Christmas this year, especially now that my daughter is a little older.  She can join in on all of the fun traditions and is full of excitement, kids really do make Christmastime magical.  9 more days!!!

This past weekend my hubby planned an out of town date to go see A Christmas Story: the musical.  It was perfect, right down to the hot cocoa, the real life dogs running around on stage, and the snowfall when we exited the theater.  I wouldn’t mind making this a new tradition every year; just the two of us escaping for an evening to catch a Christmas show.  While we were away the littles played games and built a gingerbread house with their grandparents.  It’s so fun to see the decorated candy houses each year.  (I’m thinking next year it would be awesome to invite some friends over for a gingerbread house competition!)

One of my favorite things to do every year is bake Christmas cookies with the kids.  I remember being a little girl and getting so excited to make spritz cookies with my mom, we would color the dough green + add sprinkles to the tops!  This year we made gingerbread men.  Hadley helped me mix up the dough while Daxxon was at school.  She loves to help out with anything I’m doing, so this was right up her alley!  The dough chilled as she napped and I even had time to cut them out + bake them before she woke.  When Daxxon got home from school they decorated away.

Another tradition I’m looking forward to is making popcorn + cocoa and driving around to see all the beautifully decorated houses with lights!  I’m thinking Christmas Eve will be perfect.

What traditions do you have for the holiday season?

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Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Busy – My word of the week last two months.  My oh my, the more your family grows, the busier the holidays get!  Between the family get togethers, cleaning, shopping, cooking & baking, decorating…this mama could use a vacation.  I’m thinking Christmas in a beautiful cabin decked out for the holidays, no where to go, just relaxing by the fireside ( a girl can dream, right? ).  Anyways, onto something festive…

Ugly Christmas sweaters.  You guys.  I’m kind of OBSESSED with tacky holiday wear.  It’s fun, it’s festive, and it’s usually comfy; what’s not to love?  I currently own 4 ugly sweaters, but it’s my dream to own at least 25…one for everyday in December leading up to Christmas!!!  Here is some fun ideas for the whole family!
❄ ❅❄ ❅❄ ❅❄ ❅❄ ❅❄ ❅❄ ❅❄
One Piece | Reindeer Sweater | Snow Flake Sweater | Merry Sweater | Slippers

Snowman Sweater | Christmas Print Sweater | Elf Sweater | Santa Hat

Hair Bows | Tree Hat | Boys Holiday Print | Girls Reindeer | Boys Hooded Reindeer
| Baby Holiday Print Outfit |

I hope you all have a great weekend!
The hubby and I have plans to see A Christmas Story: The Musical.
I’m ready for this much needed date night!  
(Our fun Christmas card photo from last year)

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Thankful Thursday | Family

My family is my world.  One of my favorite quotes is “Family: we may not have it all together, but together we have it all.”…this couldn’t be more true.  I remind myself of this all the time; when we are scrambling to get somewhere and everyone is frustrated, when we are having an argument, or just simply having a bad week.  No matter what, we will always have each other.  And that’s all that matters.
MamaGroveBlog | Thankful ThursdayMy children – I don’t think I truly knew how much I could love someone until I locked eyes on their squishy, little baby faces.  They have taught me so much about love & empathy, patience & forgiveness, and are always reminding me to enjoy the simple things in life.  I know there is so much more to come, and I cannot imagine my life without them.

My husband – This guy right here – he keeps me sane.MamaGroveBlog | Thankful ThursdayHe always knows how to make me laugh, never keeping things too serious around here.  He grounds me when I feel like I’m losing control of this crazy life.  He adores our children and is the most wonderful father I have ever known.  He provides for our family without complaint, and has big goals & dreams for us.  I have so much respect and love for this man, I wouldn’t want to do this life with anyone else.

Lastly but certianly not least, extended family and in-Laws – I am very lucky to have such a supportive bunch who always has each other backs, and who are always encouraging one another.  A crew who is always there in times of need, and in times of joy.  I am ever so thankful for every individual in my family.

MamaGroveBlog | Thankful ThursdayMamaGroveBlog | Thankful ThursdayFloral Dress | Pink Fit & Flare dress | Tights

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Pizza Hotdish

MamaGroveBlog | Pizza HotdishThe first time I had ever heard of or tasted pizza hotdish was when my husband made it for me (yes, he cooks occasionally).  Needless to say, I went back for seconds!  Since this recipe makes plenty, we always end up with leftovers, which is perfect if you have a large family.  And while it isn’t the prettiest dish to photograph, it sure is tasty!

| Ingredients |

   -Serves 6-8-
✷1 lb Italian sausage

✷1 package of pepperoni slices
✷16 oz box of medium shell noodles
✷24 oz jar of 3 cheese spaghetti sauce
✷1 oz package of dry ranch seasoning mix
✷16 oz container of sour cream
✷2 cups of shredded cheese (pizza blend or Colby jack works well)

| Directions |

Preheat oven to 375°F
Bring a large pot of water to boil, and pour in entire box of noodles.  Cook to al dente & drain.
In a heated skillet, thoroughly cook your Italian sausage and finely chop.  While your noodles and sausage are cooking, in a 9″x13″ pan combine pasta sauce, ranch mix and approx. 3/4 of the container of sour cream.  Stir until blended.  Add in cooked noodles, sausage, and as many pepperoni slices as you like.  Top with cheese & place into oven.  Bake for 30 mins.  

MamaGroveBlog | Pizza HotdishMamaGroveBlog | Pizza HotdishMamaGroveBlog | Pizza Hotdish

If you’ve never had pizza hotdish, I highly suggest you make this ASAP.
You won’t be disappointed!

MamaGroveBlog | Pizza Hotdish

 

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Thankful Thursday | The Little Things

This week, it’s all about the little things.
The things that make me slow down and see the simple joys in life.   

✓ Books
My kiddos treasure story time, as do I.  I love seeing their faces light up with every page turn, and smiles when my husband does a funny voice for characters.  I can remember jumping into bed with a stack of books for my mom to read to me as a child.  The Story of Ferdinand 
was one of my favorites, and The Poky Little Puppy another.  I feel so content when we are doing something we can all enjoy together as a family.MamaGroveBlog | The Little ThingsMamaGroveBlog | The Little ThingsMiss H loves her books!  I find her laying around looking at books all the time.  Seriously, the cutest little reader EVER!

✓ Music
Music is good for the soul.  I can be having a bad day, but turn on a little music and spirits are lifted.  And don’t get me started on the dancing!  Hadley can dance for days.  To any music, any where, anytime.  I predict dance class for her in the near future!  MamaGroveBlog | The Little Things

✓ Games
Our family loves board games!  Not only do we have family game nights with just the four of us, but we love to invite friends over to join in the fun.  It’s a time for everyone to laugh and enjoy each others company.  Some we like to play are Smash Up & Machi Koro, and the kids love Jenga & Go fish!
I would love some suggestions for new games to try out!

What are you thankful for this week?

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Thankful Thursday

Is it really November already?!
21 days to Thanksgiving, 52 to Christmas…bring on the holidays!

But really, this year has flown by, too fast.  And with all the hustle & bustle that comes along with the holidays, I want to slow down and take some time to reflect on what matters most in life and all that I’m thankful for.  When I was browsing Target’s Dollar Spot a few weeks back, I came across this cute little craft kit; a Gratitude Tree.  It’s simple really, you have the whole family come together and write down on the leaves things you are grateful for (this is something you could totally create on your own too, with just a few simple materials) and afterwards you end up with a sweet centerpiece for your table.  It was interesting to see what we all wrote down, and we even added in a few of Hadley’s favorite things (dancing, music and fries!).  I definitely foresee this becoming a yearly tradition in our family.

I hope this inspires you to create something similar with your family too!MamaGroveBlog | Thankful Thursday

I will be doing a Thankful Thursday post every week this month.
This week, I am feeling particularity grateful that I am able to be a stay at home mom.  This is truly the hardest but most rewarding job I’ve ever had.  It hasn’t always been a walk in the park;  there are times when I’m so stressed I could cry, I don’t get sick days or break time, and it isn’t always easy financially.  But I would’t have it any other way, this is the best choice for our family.   I am there to watch my children grow, not missing any milestones.  I am there to teach them, and watch them learn everyday.  I am there to keep the safe from harm.  I can care for them when they are sick or need emotional support.  I am able to get housework done and make sure every member of the family always has what they need.  The list goes on and on.

This Thursday, I am thankful for my title of a SAHM.

 

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Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween lovelies!

Our family started off the weekend on Saturday by attending a Halloween party, so fun!  I loved seeing everyone’s costumes, plus all of the creative food they had.  We began carving our pumpkins there, and finished them at home the next day.  Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to our local pumpkin patch this year, but luckily our grocery store was stocked up with plenty of options.  We had never bought/carved a white pumpkin before, they are thicker and harder to carve, but oh so cool!
We’ve had our Halloween/Fall decorations up all month long, I always look forward to holidays!  I’m slowly growing my Halloween decor collection (day after Halloween sales/clearance are awesome).  My favorite are the paper bats scattered along our entryway and living room walls.
MamaGroveBlog | Happy HalloweenI’ve got a Power Ranger and a tiny leopard to keep me on my toes today.  Our plans for the night are making tortilla pizzas for an early dinner, then trick-or-treating around our neighborhood.  Hadley will do well, her version of “Trick-or-Treat!” is to say “Chocclliitt!”.MamaGroveBlog | Happy Halloween MamaGroveBlog | Happy HalloweenMamaGroveBlog | Happy HalloweenMamaGroveBlog | Happy HalloweenThis girl LOVES to dance.  Anywhere, anytime.MamaGroveBlog | Happy Halloween MamaGroveBlog | Happy Halloween MamaGroveBlog | Happy Halloween MamaGroveBlog | Happy HalloweenThere is a thoughtful meaning behind our dalmatian pumpkin, and it was all Daxxon’s idea.  A sweet dog in our family passed this year, so he wanted to create the pumpkin in her honor.
I think it turned out perfectly.

I hope you all have a fun & safe Halloween…I would love to hear all about your costumes!

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Top 8 Halloween Movies

We’ve watched a couple of these so far, and are looking forward to more this Halloween weekend.  While this list is more family friendly, I do enjoy a true horror flick from time to time! 

 1. Hocus Pocus
MamaGroveBlog | Top 8 Halloween Movies

2. The Nightmare Before Christmas
MamaGroveBlog | Top 8 Halloween Movies

3. Casper
MamaGroveBlog | Top 8 Halloween Movies

4. Edward Scissorhands
MamaGroveBlog | Top 8 Halloween Movies

5. Beetlejuice
MamaGroveBlog | Top 8 Halloween Movies

6. The Addams Family
MamaGroveBlog | Top 8 Halloween Movies

7. Corpse Bride
MamaGroveBlog | Top 8 Halloween Movies

8. Room on the Broom
MamaGroveBlog | Top 8 Halloween Movies

I hope you all have a fun and safe weekend filled with lots of Halloween festivities!

MamaGroveBlog | Top 8 Halloween MoviesMamaGroveBlog | Top 8 Halloween Movies

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The Calm

Breathe.  And remember…after every storm, comes a calm.
I had to remind myself of that phrase this week.  Our weekend started off with a bang and it didn’t stop there.  Between a difficult matter with our son, our littlest one not sleeping, and all of that causing stress between everyone in the family,  I was almost to a breaking point.  At one point in time literally everyone was in tears.  It was hard.

There wasn’t time to relax.  There wasn’t time for blogging.  There wasn’t time to spend an hour at night with my husband catching up on one of our shows.  It felt like there was no end to the turmoil that had taken over our lives.  I felt helpless when we were struggling to help our children through their issues and couldn’t.  It broke my heart to see my whole family in distress.

But yesterday was better.  Yesterday the clouds cleared and there was a sense of peace.  Daxxon’s issues had finally been resolved.  Hadley was her normal self, and at nap time she even decided to cuddle with me just like she did as a little baby; I soaked up every minute.  When Daxxon came home from school the kids made Halloween cookies together, and all was right in our home.  The calm came, and I welcomed it with open arms.

MamaGroveBlog | The Calm After The StormMamaGroveBlog | The Calm After The Storm Oh how I wish these baby snuggles could last forever.
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So just remember mamas, when things get tough and it feels like there is no end in sight…

MamaGroveBlog | The Calm After The Storm

 

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Short & Sweet

MamaGroveBlog | Friday Favorites

This weeks Friday Favorites are short and sweet.  With one child recovering from sickness, and the other tearing apart the house as usuall, there hasn’t been much time for this mama to blog.

#1
When the chilly weather starts creeping in, sweatshirts become a staple in my wardrobe.  This one from Lakeside Clothing Co. is oh so soft, and I’m loving the stripes!  Find it here.MamaGroveBlog | LakeSide Clothing CoP.S. Their raglan tees look super comfy too!

#2
I’m a sucker for a pretty mug.  You won’t find a matching set in our house, no sir.  Just an eclectic mix of randoms found while shopping & traveling.  Find this ‘hello gorgeous’ mug here.MamaGroveBlog | Hello Gorgeous Mug

#3
I will never tire of watching little babes sleep, especially my own.  So peaceful, so innocent, & their whole lives ahead of them.  I wonder what they dream about.  ♥  MamaGroveBlog | Friday FavoritesMamaGroveBlog | Friday Favorites

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