Disneyland + Christmas Recap

Happy week after Christmas! I truly hope you experienced joy & peace and were able to celebrate with friends and family. This was a really sweet holiday for us, since both my brother and I (and our spouses) were all in town at my parent's house this year. But before we celebrated Christmas with family, my husband, parents and I went to Disneyland last week! My husband has never been to Disneyland or World, and our family hasn't seen the park decorated for Christmas, so it was a blast. 

I thought I'd share a few pictures from our trip and give some of our favorite rides!

Of course we had to take a picture by the beautiful castle! It's even more pretty at Christmas time! No detail is spared. PS. I picked up this shirt the night before we went to the park in Downtown Disney, because I couldn't resist Minnie Mouse's bows all over it!! I'm not much of a character-shirt-wearer, so this was perfect for me.

Me and my mom:

McCann was LOVING the park. He couldn't get over how many details there were from the rides to the different "lands".

 My cute parents:

My Star Wars loving husband just had to stand in line to meet Darth Vader. The loving wife I am, stood in said line for 20 minutes with him, even though I've never seen a single Star Wars movie ;) We got up there for his picture, which I was just going to take, not be IN, and Darth Vader came over to me and got up in my face, called me a "rebel" and told me to get in the picture!! I couldn't believe it...ha! This picture is so awkward...why are we so far away from him?!

We enjoyed wayyy too many snack and treats at the parks. Everything just smells SO GOOD.

Every square inch of the park is decked out for Christmas. I love main street where they have these beautiful buildings and shops, along with the garlands stringing across the street.

One night, my best friend and her family met us at downtown Disney for dinner. I met her in college and we've been friends for over 8 years now. They live in Southern California, so it's a rare occasion we get to see each other. I was so thankful for our time together!! I can't wait to meet the little girl in her belly :)

This picture was taken in California Adventure, which we went to on our second day there. We got hopper passes, so we could go back and fourth between parks. We loved a bunch of rides here, too!

The castle lit up at night was so magical!

This is It's a Small World, all decked out!

After the firework show at night, it started snowing (peppermint scented soap bubbles!) on Main Street. Kids were yelling "It's snowing!!" which was so cute, but we get real snow in Michigan soooo... ;)

Farris wheel in California Adventure:

Incase you're planning a trip anytime soon, here are a few of our favorite rides and restaurants:

RIDES in Disney:
- Big Thunder Mountain
- Indiana Jones
- Star Tours
- It's a Small World (we liked the Christmas version WAY better than the normal one)
- Haunted Mansion
- Space Mountain (if you get easily motion sick, this is not a ride for you!)

EAT in Disney:
- Bengal BBQ in Adventure Land
- Corn dog stand at end of Main Street
- Carnations Ice Cream

RIDES in California Adventure:
- Soarin' over the World (we liked it when it was Soarin' over California better, but still beautiful and fun. If you get motion sick (like me ;)) you may want to sit it out or go, but close your eyes through some of it!)
- California Screamin' (my favorite rollercoaster ever)
- Cars (by far our favorite ride ever!)

- Frozen (sooo incredible!)
- World of Color 

EAT in California Adventure:
- Trattoria

Sheraton near Disney (it was a really quick 8-10 minute walk to the park. Great pool and hot tub)

Once we got back from Disneyland, it was all things Christmas! My brother and sister in law got into town the night we got back from Disney, so we had fun catching up with them.

My mom did an amazing job decorating! Usually I'm there to help, but this year she did it all by herself and I was so impressed. Our hand-stitched stockings (from my Grandma) are some of my favorite pieces of Christmas decor.

My mom has always given us Christmas PJs on Christmas Eve, and this year the tradition continued, even on to our spouses! You can find mine here. Runs a little big, so size down. Worth every penny!

Also on Christmas Eve, my mom and dad hosted our whole family for a party! It was so fun to gather with everyone and play games. We played Fishbowl (like catch phrase) and LCR (a dice rolling game)

The amount of laughter in this photo is so great. Fishbowl always somehow makes me cry laughing so hard!!

Christmas morning came and we all opened our stockings then opened our wrapped gifts. A few of my favorite things included Aveda Shampoo & Conditioner, this Kate Spade pot holder, warm socks, a Swell water bottle, new work out pants and a new lipstick

We enjoyed our traditional Christmas morning breakfast that my mom makes each year-- egg casserole (recipe here) and this delicious cinnamon coffee cake. Whenever I smell either of those things, I can't help but think of Christmas!

While in town we also went on a family walk with Hope to Starbucks. Of course she wore her Christmas collar ;)
My mom and I also enjoyed a tea luncheon out, just the two of us. I am a total tea lover, so this was a highlight!

Hope you had an equally wonderful holiday weekend! How'd you celebrate?

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Our Christmas Card Photos

Merry almost Christmas, everyone!! One last post before heading off the grid for a few days. We wanted to share our family Christmas photos with you, taken by my friend Ashley, of course! We took these back in fall and I love how they turned out. Our first Christmas card with our puppy, Lincoln! His hair was so long for these photos, but I think he looks cute (and pretty funny actually, like he couldn't be more bored!) I love documenting all these seasons in our life and can't wait to look back on them one day. Scroll to the end to see our Christmas card!

And then there's these ;) Ashley was making the funniest noises to get Lincoln to look at her and I was loosing it!!

Ashley Slater Photography

These are the cute Christmas cards we chose from Minted! I always use Minted, because their cards are such great quality. I love the thickness of the paper, the quality of the printing and the adorable envelope and stamp designs!

I love how these turned out this year. Our first Christmas with our new pup! He definitely stole the show ;) I always do a fun holiday stamp and then get some coordinating washi tape for the back of the envelope. This year I found red stripes and silver polka dots to tie everything together. I think I found the tape at Target!

If you still want to send out cards, make them New Years cards! You can get 20% off at Minted now

I hope you enjoy this Christmas weekend with your loved ones. It's such a special time of year, filled with much joy, but also sometimes it can bring up tender memories. I pray that you'll find hope in the true meaning of this season!


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Our Holiday Traditions

We are driving to Disneyland today because my husband has never been before! We're so excited. But I wanted to share some traditions with you that we cherish at the holidays...

Part of the reason I think a lot of us love the holidays so much, is because of the memories created surrounding traditions we do with our friends and family this time of year! As a newly married couple (well, sort of...a year and 4 months in ;)) I love thinking of traditions we can start for our new family, even before adding kids to the mix. I thought I'd share some of my family's traditions + some that my husband and I are doing now.

- Getting our tree the weekend of Thanksgiving: this is one my husband and I have started, though this year we got it just a few days early! We always take a timelapse of us decorating the tree and save it so see how each tree turned out. Kinda fun!

- We decided last year that every year we will get each other an ornament. Last year I got him a beautiful sea turtle to remember our honeymoon in Hawaii, when he got to see them up close while scuba diving! This year it's more generic, but still cute. This way we will be filling up our tree a little more each year with meaningful ornaments! 

- Growing up my mom and dad got us an ornament every year, too. This stopped when we both got married, so now we carry on the tradition. My grandma gave me a Precious Moments ornament each year, all the way from my very first Christmas to when I was 25. I have 25 beautiful Precious Moments to look back on. They are some of my most precious things I own! I can't wait to pass them down to a daughter one day.

- The other fun thing we always do, ever since I can remember, is open a pair of new Pajamas on Christmas Eve from my parents. We all change into them and wake up in our new jammies on Christmas Morning. My mom has already let me know that the tradition will carry on this year -- even spouses get new PJ's now! ;)

- Every Christmas Morning my mom makes the most glorious breakfast. A delicious egg casserole and sweet cinnamon coffee cake. If I ever smell or eat either of these two things in different times of the year, I'm immediately transported to Christmas Morning with my family. The recipe for the casserole is below! When we were here in Michigan for Christmas last year, I made the casserole myself and it turned out great. I even made it a few weeks ago for a girls Christmas brunch. It's easy!

- I would always make sugar cookies with my grandma when I was younger. Now I make the recipe on my own, but this year since we'll be in CA for Christmas, I'll try to go over there and help her make them like old times. The recipe is here. 

- A few years my mom has hosted a Christmas Eve party at our house for my family. This year all of our extended family will be in town so there will be somewhere around 30 people in our home. We can't wait to see everyone from all over the country! Sweet family time :) I usually think of a game or two we could play.

Quite a few Christmasses ago (like 2012), I made a video of our celebration with my dad's side of the family, then the next year made one for my mom's side. If you care to watch them, then there are the links!


Here's the Egg Casserole Recipe: (you need to do part at night and part in the morning!)

6 cups Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded and divided
1/2 medium onion chopped
1/4. cup sweet red and yellow pepper, thinly sliced
8 oz cooked sausage (the recipe says ham, but we use sausage!)
1/4 cup butter, melted
8 eggs beaten
1 3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tblspoons fresh or dried basil, tarragon, thyme, oregano

Sprinkle 3 cups of cheese in a bottom of a 13x9" baking dish. In saucepan, cook the onion and peppers in the butter until veggies are tender but not brown. Drain well. Sprinkle veggies over the bottom layer of cheese. Cook the sausage and arrange on top of veggies. Sprinkle remaining 3 cups of cheese over the sausage. Cover and chill the refrigerator over night. To serve, combine eggs, milk, flour and pour over cheese layer. Sprinkle spices (along with some salt and pepper) on the top. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes - an hour. Let stand 10 minutes or so. 

Serves 12.


Hope you try it and enjoy it as much as we do!

The holidays are often a sweet time of family and celebration, but I want to take a moment to note that I also understand this time of year brings up a lot of emotions and sometimes sadness, yearning for a person who might not be at your table this year, or grieving another form of loss. We have experienced that loss with my husband's father passing away almost two years ago now, so you are not alone if that is you. We try to do a few things to remember his dad in the month of December, as it was his birthday month. This is a sweet way to keep his legacy alive.


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Holiday Dresses Under $100 + FREE Shipping

Hey friends! Happy Friday. Thanks for all the sweet comments about our home all decked out for Christmas. It's an extra great Friday for us, because we're leaving tomorrow for California! Can't wait to be in some 60-70 degree weather. Yesterday morning was 0 degrees when I got in the car. ZERO. What the heck?!

Anyone got any holiday parties coming up? We are hosting one at my parent's on Christmas Eve and I've already got my dressed picked out. Spoiler Alert: It's this one :) It's a great time to get dressed up and feel all fancy! Today is a fun day because a ton of stores are offering FREE SHIPPING on their orders! So I rounded up a few favorite holiday dresses, all under $100 + they will all ship free! 


Here all all my personal favorite stores offering free shipping, with ship times that will arrive before the 25th. This really is your last chance to get things before Christmas!

Anthropologie: free over $100
Loft: free shipping + 50% off everything. Code: VERYMERRY
J.Crew: free shipping + 40% off code. Code: TIME2GIVE

J.Crew Factory: free shipping + 60% off everything. Code: DASHING
Williams Sonoma: free shipping + 20% off. Code: GIFTMORE

Pottery Barn: 30% off furniture sale + free ship with code FREESHIP.

West Elm: free shipping + up to 40% off. Code: MERRY
Macy's: free shipping over $25
Kate Spade: free shipping + up to 15% off

S'well: free shipping + buy $50 or more = 15% off // buy $100 or more = 20% off // buy $200 or more = 25% off.
Last thing!! Beautycounter (safe makeup and skincare!) is offering FREE SHIPPING on orders over $150 and they are ensured to arrive by December 23rd, so incase you missed the cut off on Wednesday, this is your second chance! Also, the ocean eye shadow palette is reduced to only $48 ($10 off!). Get it while they last, as they sold out quickly last time they stocked them.

And just in case you missed them....
Past Gift Guides:
Personalized Gifts
For the Hostess
For the Home
For Him
For Her
Stocking Stuffers
My Wish List
Have a wonderful weekend!
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Our 2017 Christmas Home Tour

Hello everyone and welcome to our Christmas home tour! I'm so glad to be hosting The Most Wonderful Time of the Year link up party today! Thanks for having me, Victoria & Sarah. You know me-- I LOVE the home and I love christmas, so this was the perfect day for me to host. If you're new here, we live in a one bedroom townhouse, so we have a small, yet homey place to decorate. I hope you'll come in and look around!

Here's the front porch! We have a plug on our porch, so I put this tree up with a sequin runner around it as the tree skirt. It's just adorable at night!

My boxwood wreath is from Trader Joe's (which is where all my wreaths and greenery are from) and last year it lasted well into January.

On our patio upstairs, I hung another mini wreath on our door. Love how you can see the tree lights from inside!

As you walk into our home, there are stairs that take you immediately up to the apartment. We have a garage on the main floor, so that's why when you walk in, there are stairs right away. The fun part is there is a ledge around the stairs that acts as my mantel! One day I'll have a real fireplace mantel, but for now, this will do!

I got this beautiful Lily & Val print for the faux mantel and I adore it!! Then I found this rustic barn frame at Hobby Lobby. Fresh greenery sits all along the mantel, so it smells lovely when you walk in!

This little rosemary tree has my heart big time. I tied a gingham ribbon around the top to tie in the gingham tree ribbon we have.

My mom got us this bride and groom ornament last year for our wedding, so I have it out front and center.

We love displaying our holiday cards on the "mantel", too!

Next up is the buffet. I always have these candles and the gold tray out, so I accent with some small pops of red.

This house budvase is from Magnolia.

The bathroom doesn't get any natural light (ugh!) so black and white photos it is! We have a shelf that I put a few decor items on then also decorate a little tray on the vanity with greenery, a Christmas candle and holiday matches.

I even put a few Christmas touches in our bedroom! This pillow is a favorite and I will probably always put it out.

A poinsettia on the dresser to add some height:

Now for the living room! The most decorated space of them all. If you missed our Christmas Tree post, you can find it here.

This little pup can't help himself. He's stealing the camera time ;)

On our bookshelf we display this nativity scene that was actually carved from olive trees in Israel, by people in the lineage of Jesus. Isn't that amazing?! My friend got it for us for our wedding present! It is one of my favorite things we own.

 On the middle shelf I display this pretty snowy cityscape...

 These spray roses were so gorgeous, I couldn't resist! Trader Joe's again :) Only $5.99!

I love this gold wreath that I got last year, so I decided to hang it over this wood sign (in the middle of taking pictures I thought of this idea! ;))

Incase you're wondering about some of the items, I'll link to them here:
Lily & Val Christmas Tree Print / Gingham Christmas Tree Ribbon / Magnolia Wrapping Paper / Little Snow Scene similar / Red Truck PillowPlaid Pillow / Gray Floral Pillows / Reindeer Pillow

I can't wait to see YOUR Christmas home tours! Link them up below. I'll be sure to visit everyone's!

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