My Grown Up Christmas List

Are you stumped when it comes to what you should get for your favorite gal pal/wife/mom/manicurist? Today I share with you my list to help inspire you in your shopping endeavors. Only 20 more days ya'll! Before I get started, when I was at my parent's house last week for Thanksgiving, I found my PJ Sparkles doll! I was so excited and after a few minutes of grooming, okay it took me an hour to brush her hair, but she looked as good as new!

 Here comes PJ Sparkles! I sang that all weekend.


Anyway, she was on my Christmas list in 1989, so now I'll tell you what's on my list in 2014.

First, the Fitbit. I have been hitting the gym a little more frequently and I would love to know how many calories I burn. I also plan to see how many calories I burn while I'm sitting on the couch watching Netflix. I love the teal one!

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 5.18.36 PM(Photo via Fitbit)

 Next, a Pandora bracelet, and some charms of course!

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 12.18.37 PM(Photo via Pandora)

And this mug from Starbucks. I love a good travel mug and I hope Santa already picked this up for me (ahem Tim) because it appears to be out of stock.

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 12.25.28 PM

(Photo via Starbucks)

A new phone case to match the mug! I absolutely love the phone case I have now but it has changed color from my jeans which is very upsetting. But how perfect are these gold and pink stripes?!

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 12.35.06 PM

(Photo via Best Buy)

And last, but certainly not least, smartphone gloves. I LOVE texting and I LOVE being warm so this one is so obvious! These gloves from J. Crew are to die.

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 12.42.10 PM

(Photo via J. Crew)

So hopefully that helps to get you through these last few weeks of Christmas shopping!

What are some things you would add to this list?



Christmas Cookies!

My mom LOVES Christmas. She always did the best job at making this time of the year so special for us. One of my favorite things she did with us was baking sugar cookies! We'd get out the amazing metal cookie cutters and cover the kitchen table in flour, then we'd roll out the dough with Grandma's glass rolling pin and the fun would begin! (The stars were my favorite so we always ended up with lots of those.) Then mom would whip up her incredible buttercream frosting in red and green and we'd try not to eat every single cookie we decorated. She stored them in the fridge which was my favorite part because it think they're the best when they're cold. It always seems like I run out of time and I have to skip the baking part of the Christmas season but this year I refused to skip it, so we baked them on Wednesday and I stayed up super late Thursday after a Christmas party decorating them. I used royal icing because I knew some cookies would have to travel. I was looking for sugar cookie recipes and came across the pioneer woman's sugar cookie post. She's my hero so if she has or suggests a recipe for something I want to make, I go with it every time. Here's what I used:

almond sugar cookies

royal icing

I used a piping bag and outlined the cookies with icing then thinned it out a bit and spread it on the rest of the cookie. Decorating is my favorite part!!

20131224-160735.jpg They turned out beautifully and were a real crowd pleaser! I loved the hint of almond in the sugar cookie dough.


Gettin' Ready for Christmas

It's official. Christmas is coming. It's that time of year when we get to bring a tree into our home that was chopped down in the forest (I like to think that ours was chopped down by a handsome lumberjack) and we hang strands of little tiny lights and ornaments shaped like snowflakes on the branches. We get to bake cookies and go to parties and our friends send us cards in the mail. It's wonderful! I absolutely love Christmastime. And of course, no one has more holiday spirit than my sweet baby cousin Eva (pictured left)..

Bless her heart. Santa better bring her a puppy to make up for that.

Speaking of holiday spirit, a couple of weeks ago pastor Allen talked about preparing our hearts for Christmas. His message really spoke to me because I so often forget to cultivate my heart for anything really.  I allow fear and doubt and anxiety and feelings of unworthiness to grow within me and that really doesn't leave room for much else. He said, "there's no room in our hearts for God when we harbor bitterness and envy and selfish ambition."  I wrote that down because I struggle with harboring these things in my own heart. It's a fact that when my thoughts are focused on my worries, I lose sight of all of my blessings. And what's funny is when I do the opposite of that and focus on my blessings, it's hard to worry about anything at all. God did not create me to be someone who feels unworthy and worries constantly. He created me to live as a woman whose faith can overcome every worry. He created me to be really good at Super Mario Brothers and dancing the cupid shuffle.

So as we prepare our homes and as some prepare their cars, I'm looking at you minivan with the antlers and red nose, let's prepare our hearts too. Let's think about all the things we're thankful for and all of the great things that happened in 2011. And for the next two weeks leading up to Christmas, I am going to post 3 things I'm thankful for.  Starting now.

1. Family & friends.

2. My job, work that matters.

3. Justin Beiber's Christmas chart topper, Mistletoe.