Oh Christmas Tree Oh Christmas tree...

Picking out a Christmas tree was such a fun tradition and memory from my childhood, yet I have been disappointed with the fact that the past few trees we've had haven't had much of that yummy pine smell. I mean heck that's the biggest payoff for dealing with all those needles on your floor right? So I was discussing my "plight" with some friends one day when someone suggested we try going to a farm where you can cut your own tree. Cut your own tree at a farm? I had heard of people doing this out in the random forest somewhere, but had no clue there were places where you could just pay to pick out your own tree and then cut it down. They even shake out the needles (and/or bugs yuck!) and net it for you. Genius! We found a place in Fillmore that also has access to the Christmas tree train. Families can board the train and ride it to the farm, pick out their tree- then its loaded on the train and you head back. Such a great idea. However, there was another train experience I thought would be even more fun. The Polar Express. On this train kids are encouraged to wear their jammies, they get Christmas tree cookies and chocolate milk, sing Christmas carols with elves (and even get a jingle bell for themselves) listen to a story and get to meet Santa. Very fun.
So we headed down early, picked out our tree, had a little dinner, rode the train and then talked with Santa at the very end so the kids could put in their "order" of course. ;)
I recommend this to anyone looking to start a fun family tradition.
I know it will be for us!

the ONE!

gorgeous scenery

strong daddy

hanging out while dad does all the work!

train time!

hanging on the train

violet liked the elf

Elf reading the Night Before Christmas

looking for Santa's house

carousel ride too? heaven!

Jesus got some love too. Amen.


Turkey Day

Thanksgiving is such a fun holiday especially if you're a foodie like me.
I've spent Thanksgiving in many different places and I must say as long as you have people you love AND food  you love around you really can't go wrong.
We had a nice big group this year with the entire fam and it was a blast. 
Thank God for Pinterest because it gave us plenty of inspiration to try new things and even put a fun spin on some of our more traditional recipes. I think some us got a little too inspired because well we had more food than we knew what to do with!
I know I know "first world problems right?"

Isabella proved her culinary skills this year by making these delicious smores cupcakes- she even made the marshmallow icing by scratch and toasted them!
the far bottom right is her butterscotch cake- yum!

dancing with Grammy

pumpkin butter rolls made by James's mom aka nana and the far bottom right is her Pinterest inspired turkey relish tray
what a crew!

another highlight was this yummy pumpkin apple cider martini


The Mouse

Since she before she was two Penelope has been obsessed with the mouse. 
I've been dreaming of the day when she would be ready to meet the big guy.
Well it finally came. We, along with her Papa, Aunt Isabella and Uncle Patrick took a few days right after her birthday to celebrate number 3 in style. Two days wasn't even close to being enough time. 
Can't wait to go back!

still asleep

awake and excited!

building the bear- or in this case Rudolph- Violet Mae got Clarice

viewing fireworks from our balcony

dancing with Mickey


enjoying her birthday cake!

chocolate mickey cake with sprinkles? heaven

not everybody was into it

meeting Mickey for the first time

I love the castle at christmas!

small world christmas!



christmas parade


mickey latte? heaven for mommy

hotel lobby-gorg!

small world christmas- only time it doesn't drive me nuts. ;)

first ears

meeting her Tink=LOVE
she was a little starstruck but she managed a kiss and to tell her she loved her