Christmas, Decorating, Elf on the Shelf, Life, NaBloPoMo

November Blog Wrap Up

Well, I (sort of) made it: 30 posts in 30 days (well, more like 27 posts in 30 days, but who’s counting???)

So on this very last day, I leave you with a summary of the month, that didn’t make the blog.

The Elf Is Back on the Shelf

He arrived the Sunday after Thanksgiving and has already been into lots of mischief. I have a love/hate relationship with this Elf. I love being creative and making him do fun things every day, however, I hate when my “Move Elf” alarm goes off every night (and occasionally after I’ve fallen asleep on the couch!). One BIG benefit of the Elf is that Little Mister pops out of bed each morning to look for him (instead of waxing on each morning for 20 minutes how it’s not fair that he has to get up and go to school), and is dressed, fed, and teeth brushed 20 minutes before we need to leave for school.

I leave with this Elf Inspo from years past (our elf was masked in 2020 because, well, COVID):

We Decorated for Christmas

In lieu of sharing my entire living room Winter Wonderland, I leave you with one of my favorite nooks: My Ode to Boston.

I Have Completely Abandoned Any Thoughts of Eating Healthy

Who wants salad when it gets cold? Not this girl. And who can stay on track with so many reasons to have a cocktail, the multitude of cheeseboards I’ll encounter, and the ease of ordering take out instead of cooking because truly, online shopping is exhausting.

This is my favorite fried chicken sandwich from Mikro Depot, who also happens to have the very best french fries in the universe.

I mean, COME ON.

We Have Officially Become a White Board Family

I never imagined I’d succumb to the white board, let alone hang it on my refrigerator; but, here we are. Even with one kid and barely any type of sports or extra curricular activities, our white board is filled with appointments, reminders to return library books, and notes when we are eating the school lunch (LOVE the days I don’t have to make a lunch). My favorite part of the white board is when it’s gleaming – all empty and clean – and awaiting it’s monthly mark up.

I’m the Note in the Lunchbox Mom

It’s me, the Mom putting notes in his lunchbox or snack bag every day. Sometimes I wish him a good day, sometimes I draw a silly picture, and other times, I make Mom jokes:

Made that one up myself!

I Tried to Enjoy the Small Things

Whether it was reading an extra book in bed with Little Mister (and not writing a blog post for the night), or keeping the dogs outside a little extra on the morning walk to enjoy the sunrise, I tried to be present and in the moment. I think that’s my New Year’s resolution this year: be more present. Make more time for what’s important. And to clean out the hall closet.

This beautiful scene is literally in my backyard.

If you read even one of these posts this month, I hope you laughed a little, found a new favorite thing for yourself, or maybe tried a new recipe. Cheers to the end of blog month – and best wishes for a happy holiday season!

Christmas, cooking, Decorating, Elf on the Shelf, Entertaining, NaBloPoMo, thanksgiving

Why Am I So Behind This Year?

Yesterday, a family member asked me what they could bring to Thanksgiving. My first thought was like, ‘I’m not even thinking about Thanksgiving yet,’ and then my second thought was, ‘Wait…Thanksgiving is next week?’

Next week!

Last year at this time, the house was already decorated for Christmas, but last year was “Because, COVID” so pretty much anything was acceptable. This year, Mr. KK has given me the firm “not until after Thanksgiving” rule for Christmas decorating. So I patiently wait until Black Friday to change over our house…

Do I feel so behind this year because last year I was so ahead of the game? Did not leaving the house and having zero social life mean that I was able to kick start the holiday season? I feel like I had more gifts bought, more meals planned, more holly jolly going on.

Next weekend our little elf on a shelf arrives, his annual journey down from the North Pole, the weekend after Thanksgiving, with a box filled with goodies to kick off the holiday season: Christmas jammies, a new Christmas book, and a Christmas ornament. And, of course, the start of Elf Shenanigans for the season.

And don’t get me started on holiday shopping. I have about 3 gifts purchased, and zero ideas for everyone else.

It’s not only the feeling of being behind on the holidays, it’s the feeling of being behind on life in general. Was I always trying to juggle this much? Did I always feel this overwhelmed? Was preparing dinner every night this much of a dreaded task? (Likely, yes.) When did we start wearing all of these clothes that needed washing? How are we dirtying so many dishes? Why is the countertop constantly covered in piles of mail and ‘stuff’? And why can I never find the time to clean up/put away/wash anything?

If I was waking up early to overthink my life before, it’s in overdrive now. Mentally making lists for gifts, recipe planning for holidays, thinking through an email to send for work, remembering to send in Little Mister’s library book on Tuesdays, and his homework on Fridays.

It’s apparently time to start thinking about Thanksgiving, a mere week away; appetizers, side dishes, desserts…holiday cocktail! And right after turkey day, turn around and do it all again for Christmas…and including a mischievous elf, a man in a big red suit, and FINALLY…Christmas music.

Christmas, Decorating, Target

Target Has All Of The Things for Christmas Decor

All of the photos here are from Target.

This time of year is when some of my most favorite things convene into a perfect storm of bliss: Christmas, decorating and Target.

Last year (also known as ‘The Year with No Rules’), I decorated for Christmas before Thanksgiving because it makes me happy and last year sucked big time. Plus, I was spending so much extra time in my house, I wanted pretty things to look at 24/7.

This year, Mr. KK (sort of) put his foot down that I was to not decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving. Which I heard as, “You have extra time before you have to decorate, so you should buy more stuff!”

Personally, I can’t wait to start decorating because I am running out of hiding spots places to put my new decor purchases.

If you haven’t been to Target yet this season, prepare yourself. Their holiday offerings are on point.

The minute you walk in you will be greeted by Bullseye’s Playground (formerly known as the Dollar Spot). During the holidays, they have great items like gift bags, gift tags, little houses, greenery…all for $1, $3 and $5. I have a love/hate relationship with Bullseye’s Playground; I love how cheap and cute everything is, and I hate how fickle the inventory is. I stalk Instagram accounts that showcase holiday finds, and I am SO JEALOUS of how awesome Targets are in other areas of the country.

And now, for the good stuff. No matter what your holiday decor theme is (or even if you don’t have one!) there is something for your home at Target. I’m obsessed with little houses, red trucks and bottle brush trees. And Target does NOT disappoint.

My Favorite Target Holiday Decor Finds

Light Up Trees, $10+

Target light up tree

These trees come in 2 sizes, and are a perfect way to light up your decor. I have a similar version of these trees that I put in a bookcase where I don’t have any lighting and it lights them up so nicely! (NOTE: I will also be purchasing these this year!)

4-Pack Bottle Brush Trees in Pink, $5

You can never have too many bottle brush trees, that’s my motto! And I love that there are a few different styles of trees! I can’t wait to add these to my collection.

Metal Truck with Tree, $10 (medium size)

I love, love, love the truck trend. In fact, I have an entire side table dedicated to red holiday trucks in our living room. And only $10 for the medium is a great price!

Metal Bus with Tree, $20 (large size)

If you get the metal truck, you have to get the metal bus to keep it company. How cute is this??

Ceramic Tree in Charcoal Gray, $5

If you have a more modern decor or a darker color palette, this little ceramic tree is perfectly understated! I would mix this with cream and gold decor items of different textures.

Pom Pom Wreath, $20

If you’re looking for an alternative to a traditional wreath, this is it! It’s so colorful it can go in almost any room, and would be especially amazing in a kid’s room or playroom!

Christmas Tree Colorful Tree Skirt, $30

If you get the colorful wreath, you need the colorful tree shirt! If you’re like me and you have more than one Christmas tree, this is a great skirt for the secondary tree, wherever it may be!

Tassel Tree in Teal, $10

Oh my goodness, I need these funky trees! They also come in red, purple and light blue. Going for glamorous, these are your trees!

Modern Wood Tree, $15 (small size)

These sleek, neutral trees will blend into any decor. They would be great on a mantel, mixed with other tree types in a cream and gold color palette.

Antique Table Top Tree in Gold, $20 (large size)

These three dimensional trees are the perfect accent, and would go beautifully with the modern wood tree above.

Ceramic Houses, Assorted prices and sizes

I mentioned my affinity for little houses – wood, metal, ceramic – and this little collection makes a cute little village. The glitter roofs add a special sparkle.

Paper Decorative House, $10

I can’t wait to add this sweet house to my paper house collection for the top of our living room built ins. Best part is they light up!

Trio of Winter Birds, $10

I have a few of these birds (the Fall version is out in my bookcase right now!) for Christmas but I love the red and pink outfits on these three. I’m sure I could fit a few more birdies into the decor…

Faux Fur Wreath, $15

Glam, glam, glam! Who doesn’t need a feather wreath in their lives??? Honestly, this could stay up year round!

Metal House Stocking Holders, $30 (4 pack)

How cute are these?? If you have a little house theme, these are the perfect addition to your mantel.

There you have it, all of my Target Christmas favorites. Stores have had limited stock, but everything is online! For your late night/early morning shopping!

Christmas, Decorating, Pandemic, shopping, Target

Today, I Busted Out of the House

This year, I’d like to skip right over Thanksgiving and dive antlers first into Christmas. I mentioned this constantly casually to Mr. KK who replied, “It’s not even the middle of November.” Well, seems the Grinch came early this year at least!

It goes without saying that this year is unlike any other year we’ve experienced. I remember being on a neighborhood walk in April and a house was decked out in holiday decor, with 3 different Christmas trees in the windows. Everyone’s mantra is basically, “Because, 2020.” And I’m totally down with that.

As COVID cases continue to rise, schools move to remote learning and states threaten to shut down, I saw my opportunity for one last hurrah before the sh*t really hits the fan. I took the day off from work to run a few errands on a weekday to avoid the crowds. And, in true KK style, I made sure I was at the stores waiting for them to unlock their doors for the day.

After being the envy of the entire country all summer, this is what CT looks like now.

My agenda for the day included Target, Homegoods and TJ Maxx. I broke my Target hiatus in the summer, but I haven’t been to Homegoods or TJ Maxx since before last Christmas. I was looking forward to a day of me, wandering down empty aisles with a highly-sanitized cart.

Before I left the house this morning, Mr. KK lovingly said, ” Have a great day off today! Buy everything you want, but remember that we already don’t have any room for more Christmas stuff in the basement! Love you!”

Talk about a pep talk.

I spent the morning in my glory, wandering aisles and perfecting my anti-social behavior of avoiding all other humans (except for the cleaning aisle at Target, where they were restocking Clorox Wipes; you’d have though they were handing out winning lottery tickets). I wasn’t even there to Christmas shop – as a family we talked about not really going crazy with gifts this year (what do you get for the person who doesn’t leave the house?) – but instead to hoard bottle brush trees and wooden houses from Bullseye’s Playground. Mission accomplished!

You can’t have too many mini trees is my motto!

And, because Mr. KK has so wonderfully reminded me that we didn’t have any storage room for additional Christmas decor, I smartly purchased a nice red bin to store all of my new Christmas! Problem solved!

I spy dog toys!

While it felt good to be out, between my hat, mask, glasses and Airpods, I’ve never been so decorated from the neck up. I got my fix of Christmas Inspo (and a few small gifts) and headed home. I spent the rest of my rainy day off on the couch with Mr. KK, Little Mister, Rocco and Bruno watching a movie. Which was better than any shopping trip.

Christmas, Decorating, NaBloPoMo

Trading Turkeys for Trees

(Second to last day of NaBloPoMo)

FINALLY!

I can stop shame-listening to Christmas music in the car along and blast Burl Ives and Mariah Carey proudly in the house!

The Thanksgiving decorations are down, and I’m ready for the 47 bins of Christmas decor to make their way up from the basement! Today we got our trees, and those will go up in the stands either today or tomorrow. One full day getting acclimated to the house and they can be decorated!

Today on the way to get our trees, Little Mister asked me why I like Christmas so much.

“Is it because Santa comes and you get lots of presents?” he asked me.

“No,” I told him. “It’s because Christmas is magical and it makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. And we get to have lots of people over our house all season long to visit us. We make cookies and have parties and stay up late and eat yummy foods.”  And because I get to buy lots of presents for people!

December is by far the busiest and craziest month of the year. Between work and family, there is so much to cram into those 24 precious days: Santa visits, shopping, family parties, work parties, cookie making, Christmas Light spectaculars, decorating, wrapping and…whew!

But I LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT.

In our house, Christmas means the music is always playing, the bar’s always stocked, and we have snacks at the ready – because you never know when someone is going to stop by to say hello and have a cup of cheer.

And that includes a drop-in visit from Santa!

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Is there anything more magical for a child than seeing Santa?

Growing up, I remember many years with our artificial out-of-the-box Christmas tree, and bending the branches into shape and trying to cover up the green pole that held the tree together (my how artificial trees have come a long way!). We’d set up our tree in the basement where my playroom was. I have always been an early riser, and I distinctly remember waking up before the sun had come up, begging my parents to get out of bed in the dark to see if Santa came. (Now that I’m a parent, and we tend to go to bed rather late after our Christmas Eve dinner and putting out all of the gifts and filling stockings, I realized that my parents were likely exhausted and hung over when I wanted them to get up. Somehow, I was blessed with a child who prefers sleeping in no matter what day of the year it is).

At some point we started getting real trees, and I remember going to cut down a Christmas tree one year. I feel like that’s someone you feel you need to do once – bundling up and trekking out into a field where every tree literally looks the same and you have no concept of how big of a tree you need (every tree looks small in the forest…and then you bring it into your living room!). And after that year you realize you’re just as happy going to a place that has already cut the trees for you and you can simply browse them like winter coats on the rack at the mall.

As an adult, we are a ‘real tree’ and an artificial tree family. Each year we get two real trees – one for the family room and one for the kitchen – and we have a small white artificial tree that goes in the Little Mister’s playroom.

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There’s decor throughout our main living space, and there’s always a ‘Christmas Cookie’ or ‘Sugared Plums’ candle burning.

I hope the Little Mister continues to love the traditions we’ve started: getting our trees as a family, decorating, ginger bread houses, cooking making with my mom (he’s mostly a cookie taster!) and having family and friends over throughout the month.

No one loves a party more than our Little Mister, who can work a snacks table like it’s his job!

Time to get decorating! Only one more day of NaBloPoMo!

Christmas, Decorating

Hurry it up, Thanksgiving. I’m ready for Christmas.

If you’re like me, in the last few weeks you’ve been wondering where the hell this year went. I could swear it was just 100 degrees out and we were sweating.

Now the trees are bare, we build a fire every night, and the holidays are knocking on my door.

And, to make things even MORE fun, this year there are only 27 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

That’s only 3 weekends to prepare for Christmas: tree getting, house decorating, present buying, holiday meal planning. How is a girl supposed to get everything done and have time for a holiday manicure?

And while I like Thanksgiving – we host every year which is fun, though I could do without the turkey – I’d jump right into full-blown Christmas mode and trade my turkeys for trees if I didn’t think my Thanksgiving guests would be confused by the holiday mash-up.

My holiday worlds are colliding; on Sunday I started my Christmas shopping and made a Thanksgiving menu in the same afternoon. The season says pumpkin but my heart says gingerbread.

Because of how late Thanksgiving is this year, that long weekend is going to be jam-packed with all things Christmas (sorry, Thanksgiving; you’ll still get your one day).

So here’s the game plan on the big holiday switcheroo:

Thursday, November 28th: Thanksgiving! Turkey! Pumpkins! Gourds!

Friday, November 29th (aka: Black Friday): SEE YA, Thanksgiving! All Thanksgiving decor gets packed up, Christmas decor gets brought upstairs and the Christmas trees (yes, trees plural) are purchased!

Last year’s decor prep:

IMG_2698

There are about 20 holiday bins in our basement. When putting it all away last year, I tried to label everything to make it easier on myself this year:

Saturday, November 30th: decorate, decorate, decorate!

Last year I was pretty proud of my red tractor sideboard:

IMG_2701

And the mantel:

IMG_2919

Sunday, December 1st-24th: FULL BLOWN CHRISTMAS MODE. Shopping. More shopping. Planning. Santa visit. Wrapping. Hosting. Last-minute shopping. More hosting.

If you’re looking for me, I’ll be in the garage shame-listening to Christmas songs on Sirius in the car.