Things have been a bit quiet this week on the blog front, as I've tried to take a few steps back and focus the majority of my time on my family as we are in the final digit countdown to Christmas. There is something so magical about celebrating this season with children...seeing the excitement in Olivia's eyes, dancing with Penelope in my arms by the light of the tree, building gingerbread houses, drinking cocoa & watching Christmas movies...so many special memories are being made and I am just so overwhelmed with joy and gratitude that I get to make them all with my little family of four.
We've been in the swing of gift-wrapping, errand-running, tree-trimming & cookie-baking this week and I thought it would be fun to share a few of the things I've come across lately that caught my eye and that we have integrated into our own home and traditions.
F R I D A Y F A V O R I T E S
1 / Have you heard of The Giving Manger? I stumbled across it a few weeks ago and loved the idea so much. Dustin and I gave it to Olivia as one of her (early) Christmas gifts this year and it has been so sweet to teach her about the true meaning of Christmas and the spirit of serving others. It's an interactive family tradition that comes with a storybook, wooden manger, straw & baby Jesus. It encourages doing acts of service (whether big or small) for those around you -- people in your own family or people you don't know at all. For every kind act, you add straw to the manger and on Christmas morning, place baby Jesus in it full of love and service. Olivia is at an age where she wants to do so many things (hello, miss independent) and it's been especially fun for her to add straw to the manger after doing something nice for her baby sister, like tucking her in with a blanket or reading a story to her.
2 / Dustin and I decided to build Olivia a dollhouse for Christmas instead of buying one and from the initial drawing with measurements to buying the wood, cutting windows and doors, painting furniture and decorating, it has been such a fun labor of love. It is a gift I know she will always treasure and something that we'll keep in our family for generations. My favorite way to decorate is with the gorgeous florals from Rifle Paper Co. Their wrapping paper sheets make perfect dollhouse wallpaper and seriously, floral is always the right choice.
3 / When I meet people for the first time, I should probably introduce myself and say, "Hi. I'm Megan. And I'm addicted to wall decor." Because seriously, if it exists and can be hung on a wall, there's no doubt that I will find it. Yesterday I had the privilege of running errands solo and taking my time more than usual at Target and I came across a few pieces I knew would be perfect to finish off the final (empty) corner of Penelope's room. And I'll be the first to say it, Target is seriously stepping up their wall decor. I don't ever remember it being this good in years past. This rustic wooden shelf with hooks just leaped in to my cart and even though as he was hanging it, Dustin said "I could've made this," I would recommend it ten times over. Yes, making things is fun (see #2) but some things are just
4 / Starting on Wednesday, Gap + Old Navy began offering crazy good discounts for cardholders and stacking all my regular discounts on top of being a silver cardholder, I was able to get $250 worth of clothing for both Olivia and Penelope for only $35. Yes, $35!! A few favorites from my order are this floral windbreaker, the cutest onesie & this gorgeous scoop-neck graphic tee I've had my eye on forever that finally was available in 12-18 for P to wear next Fall! This darling dropwaist dress also made the cut for both girls to match in.
5 / Finally, something I have always enjoyed is playing games -- board games, card games, you name it and I'm into it. Before we had Olivia, a huge tradition of ours was playing games with my parents. The four of us would stay up into the late hours of the night playing games. My mom would make caramel corn on the stove and round after round, we never grew tired of it. After having babies we found it to be much more difficult, since really they have to (both) be sleeping to fully devote our attention to the gameplay. On Thanksgiving we were able to play games with my parents all afternoon while they napped and again in the evening after they went to bed. Our plans for Christmas day are no different, and my Mom is always bringing over new games she's been introduced to and wants to share with us. The game I couldn't get enough of on Thanksgiving is called Qwirkle. It's the perfect mix of strategy, forward thinking and problem solving. It's easy to learn and play but requires skill to win, and those games are my absolute favorite!
I hope everyone has a wonderful and relaxing weekend! Many hours over the past weeks have been spent laying on our couch looking at the tree, enjoying peace and quiet after the girls have gone to bed and reflecting on why -- and more importantly whom -- we celebrate this season. There are so many things to do + see + places to be this time of year but my favorite place is always at home with each other and our girls, enjoying being together and making memories. They are my gifts this year and every year. Being Dustin's wife and their Mama is a dream come true.