Monday, December 11, 2017

DIY Christmas Book Tree - Blogmas Days




Hello friends!

You never really know how much stuff you've accumulated until it's time to move. haha!

Several years ago, while going through and packing up all our belongings, I realized how many college text books we had managed to collect. Let's face it, book buy backs are awesome, but not worth the hassle at the end of the day. Most of our college books we either gave away, or ended up keeping. That's a lot of books! 

A few years ago, a dear family friend shared a photo on my Facebook timeline. It was a gorgeous Christmas book tree. I thought, what better way to put those old college books to use than by creating my own? Of course, you can use any books you have, and I ended up using not only our college books, but my favorite novels, and my son's books. This has become a little tradition in our house every year.

It's incredibly simple to make, but does take a little trial and error to get the tree just the way you like it.

Once the books are all stacked up, you can have fun decorating your tree with lights, fake snow, ornaments, and little knick knacks. Don't forget a fun top! Sometimes I use a small book, other times I use everyday household items.




Click here to read my DIY Christmas Book Tree article! 

Have fun!

And if you make a tree, send me a picture! I'd love to see yours! 

<3
-A

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Get Ready For The New Year: 9 Inspiring Quotes to Let Go and Move Forward




Hello Friends!

Happy Sunday!

I realized the other day that my son only has a few days left until his winter break. I couldn't believe it! Time has really flown by these past few weeks! 

I mentioned last week that this month, I wanted to revisit some of my favorite posts from this year. Because we only have a little over two weeks left of 2017, I thought this week was perfect for sharing a post from July.

-- 9 Inspiring Quotes to Let Go and Move Forward --

Let's get rid of everything and anything that no longer serves us.. including social media (go through and unfollow anyone that doesn't inspire you) .. and let's start 2018 fresh and ready to accomplish our goals! 



"Let go...
How would your life be different if you learned to let go of things that have already let go of you? From relationships long gone, to old grudges, to regrets, to all the 'could've' and 'should've,' to the dead friendships you still hang on to..
Free yourself from the burden of a past you cannot change."
-Dr. Steve Maraboli





"Letting go means to come to the realization that some people are a part of your history, but not a part of your destiny."
-Dr. Steve Maraboli



"Anything I can not transform into something marvelous, I let go."
-Anaïs Nin




"If you can't do anything about it then let it go. Don't be a prisoner to things you can't change."
-Tony Gaskins



Friday, December 8, 2017

Adventures in the Kitchen - Blogmas Days





After posting my 4 favorite Christmas Cookie Recipes, I knew I needed to make some cookies. We've had a bag of chocolate chips sitting in the cupboard for about two weeks.. and I had already broken into them. Sometimes you just need a sweet treat ;) 

There was a slight issue with making chocolate chip cookies. I didn't have any eggs. What's a chocolate loving gal like myself to do? I knew I couldn't eat those chocolate chips on their own... 

So, I decided to conduct a little experiment. You gotta have a little fun in the kitchen. 

I made chocolate chip cookies without eggs... and they turned out to be soooo delicious! 

The best part? 

I could eat the cookie dough without worrying if I would get sick.. 


..and yes, I ate one or two (or three) little spoonfuls. I mean, you have to test it out, right? haha!

Simply delicious, egg-free chocolate chip cookies 

Don't those look amazing? 

Click here for the recipe and whip up a batch tonight! Your whole family will love them!! 




Wednesday, December 6, 2017

4 Scrumptious Christmas Cookie Recipes




Hello friends!

One of my favorite parts of the holidays are all the sweet treats! I love putting on a Christmas music playlist and baking cookies with my son. We have fun singing, dancing, and trying out the cookies of course!

Today I am sharing my 4 favorite Christmas cookie recipes.  These come straight out of my Secret Family Recipes book... (which is full of my husband's grandma's recipes... so you know they're delicious!!) 

Let's get started! 


Classic Christmas Sugar Cookie Recipe




It's just not Christmas without sugar cookies! These are a classic! This recipe is simple and easy... make sure you have some cookie cutters on hand to create fun shapes with your kids! Top with homemade frosting, or funfetti frosting, for a unique twist! 

Classic Christmas Sugar Cookie Recipe



Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe 



Mmmmm. Chocolate chip cookies are my favorite! This recipe is perfect for all of you chocolate lovers! My secret? Using little chocolate chips.. but you know what you could do? Use both regular and mini chips. How yummy would that be? Let me know if you do that. I might need you to send a box of your cookies to me haha!! 

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe


Peanut Butter Cookie Crispies


I'm going to let you in on a little secret: this is the best recipe in this post. If you love peanut butter cookies, you need to try these. They are the best peanut butter cookie I've ever had.. I will warn you, they are filling and you will not be able to stop at one. They make a perfect breakfast cookie.. they are amazing with coffee... They are delicious, crispy, and full of peanut buttery goodness!

Peanut Butter Cookie Crispies



Delicious Mini Reese Peanut Butter Cup Cookies


It doesn't get much better than a peanut butter blossom.. that is, until you replace a Hershey's Kiss with a Mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. Oh My Goodness... these are amazing! They do not last very long at my house... haha! 

Delicious Mini Reese Peanut Butter Cup Cookies


Enjoy!


<3
-A


Monday, December 4, 2017

14 Must-See Christmas Movie Favorites




The Christmas season is officially upon us! --Which means Christmas movies!!

Whip up some popcorn and get ready for a holiday movie marathon! 





Here are my family's favorite Christmas movies, in no particular order. 

ELF


Source



"The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear!"


Buddy was accidentally transported to the North Pole as a toddler and raised to adulthood among Santa's elves. Unable to shake the feeling that he doesn't fit in, the adult Buddy travels to New York, in full elf uniform, in search of his real father. As it happens, this is Walter Hobbs, a cynical businessman. After a DNA test proves this, Walter reluctantly attempts to start a relationship with the childlike Buddy with increasingly chaotic results.


Will Ferrell is hilarious as Buddy the elf. This is a wonderful family film that will have everyone laughing!






The Polar Express


Source


Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis reunite for "Polar Express," an inspiring adventure based on the beloved children's book by Chris Van Allsburg. When a doubting young boy takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole, he embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe.


This is a wonderful family movie! We watch it every Christmas Eve.


Home Alone


Source



When bratty 8-year-old Kevin McCallister acts out the night before a family trip to Paris, his mother makes him sleep in the attic. After the McCallisters mistakenly leave for the airport without Kevin, he awakens to an empty house and assumes his wish to have no family has come true. But his excitement sours when he realizes that two con men plan to rob the McCallister residence, and that he alone must protect the family home.



This movie is a classic from my childhood. I remember exactly where I was when I first saw this movie. From the moment Kevin slapped his face with aftershave and screamed I was hooked.  Who didn’t love this movie? I’ve watched it every year since.  Even as an adult, I laugh and deliver some of my favorite lines along with the actors.





Home Alone 2



After snarky youth Kevin McCallister loses track of his father at the airport, he mistakenly gets on a plane headed for New York City -- while the rest of the McCallisters fly to Florida. Now alone in the Big Apple, Kevin cons his way into a room at the Plaza Hotel and begins his usual antics. But when Kevin discovers that the Sticky Bandits are on the loose, he struggles to stop them from robbing an elderly man's toy store just before Christmas.

Sometimes sequels are absolutely horrible. Other times, they are better than the original. In the case of Home Alone, I’d say it’s the latter. This is my favorite and my son and I will watch this all year long. 

Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal… And a Happy New Year!




National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation


Source



As the holidays approach, Clark Griswold wants to have a perfect family Christmas, so he pesters his wife, Ellen, and children, as he tries to make sure everything is in line, including the tree and house decorations. However, things go awry quickly. His hick cousin, Eddie, and his family show up unplanned and start living in their camper on the Griswold property. Even worse, Clark's employers renege on the holiday bonus he needs.


 It’s not Christmas without seeing this classic. Full of laughs, I think this movie is on everyone’s favorites list.



 Christmas with the Kranks


Source



 Finally alone for the holidays, Luther and Nora Krank plan to eschew the Christmas traditions and take a cruise in the Caribbean instead. This doesn't sit well with their Christmas-obsessed neighbors Vic Frohmeyer and Walt Scheel, who are determined to win the annual "best decorated street" competition, and the Kranks soon find themselves social outcasts because of their lack of Christmas spirit.

This movie is fun for the whole family!




The Santa Clause

Source


Divorced dad Scott has custody of his son on Christmas Eve. After he accidentally kills a man in a Santa suit, they are magically transported to the North Pole, where an elf explains that Scott must take Santa's place before the next Christmas arrives. Scott thinks he's dreaming, but over the next several months he gains weight and grows an inexplicably white beard. Maybe that night at the North Pole wasn't a dream after all -- and maybe Scott has a lot of work to do

Another classic from my childhood. I fell in love with this movie when I first saw it and every year, I watch it with my son.  The sequels were just as entertaining and we usually have a little Santa Clause marathon over Winter Break.



How the Grinch Stole Christmas




 In this live-action adaptation of the beloved children's tale by Dr. Seuss, the reclusive green Grinch  decides to ruin Christmas for the cheery citizens of Whoville. Reluctantly joined by his hapless dog, Max, the Grinch comes down from his mountaintop home and sneaks into town to swipe everything holiday-related from the Whos. However, the bitter grump finds a hitch in his plans when he encounters the endearing Cindy Lou Who.


Every year on Thanksgiving, my family watches this movie. It has become our tradition of greeting the Christmas season. Jim Carey brings the Grinch to life in this hilarious, heartwarming film.





A Christmas Carol


Source

Though London awaits the joyful arrival of Christmas, miserly Ebenezer Scrooge thinks it's all humbug, berating his faithful clerk and cheerful nephew for their view. Later, Scrooge encounters the ghost of his late business partner, who warns that three spirits will visit him this night. The ghosts take Scrooge on a journey through his past, present and future in the hope of transforming his bitterness.
This Disney animated film is a wonderful take on the classic Dickens' story. This movie is perfect for all ages and teaches a valuable lesson.


Bad Santa


Source


A miserable conman and his partner pose as Santa and his Little Helper to rob department stores on Christmas Eve. But they run into problems when the conman befriends a troubled kid, and the security boss discovers the plot.


Not for children. This movie is perfect for after the kids are in bed and you want to relax and laugh.


And of course, what is Christmas without the wonderful TV specials? It's tradition!


A Charlie Brown Christmas





Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer





Frosty The Snowman




How The Grinch Stole Christmas







Those are our favorites. What are yours? Leave a comment and let me know!

<3
-A

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Get Up and Move : 5 Reasons to Workout Today!



Hello Friends!

Happy Sunday!

The holiday season is officially upon us! We have four weeks until the end of 2017...

What? 

Isn't that crazy? 

This month, I want to re-visit some of my favorite posts throughout the past year. As the title suggests, today I am sharing 5 reasons to workout today. And these reasons apply throughout the rest of the week.

Ready? 






Most people will never be motivated 100% of the time. The truth is that we get busy in our lives. There seem to be 20 million things that need to get done, and oftentimes, working out gets pushed to the back of the list. Sometimes an illness prevents us from getting our exercise in and once you've had a week or two of rest days, it can be difficult to find the energy and motivation to get that workout done.

These are just two examples of why it can be a challenge to fit exercise into our schedules. There are many more and the vast majority of them, in my experience, are simply excuses to not put in the work. The mind is a wonderful thing that can either push us toward success, or sabotage any effort you might put forth. Attitude and mindset are everything!

I could go on and on about this topic, it's one of my favorites. However, the whole point of this post today is to get you up and moving. It really doesn't matter what you do, just get up and move your body.

5. Working out boosts your immune system and can help prevent you from catching a cold!


Winter is here! Flu season is upon us. People coughing, sneezing, blowing their nose... No one enjoys being sick. Go workout and help your immune system do its job.

4. Working out helps alleviate anxiety and stress.


The holiday season is in full swing. There are work obligations, holiday parties, and family obligations -- That means possibly dealing with your least favorite relatives for at least five hours. In addition, ads for Christmas are all over the place. What gifts are you going to get for everyone? Are you sending out Christmas cards? Are you baking delicious sweet treats? Don't you want to spend a ton of money on decorations? All of this creates a lot of anxiety and stress. Channel all of that energy into a workout. I recommend HIIT, cardio, or yoga to help with this.

3. Enjoy dessert guilt-free.

Speaking of sweet treats... Candy, cookies, cake, pie, cupcakes, brownies.. you name it, it's all out and it's all calling to you. (okay, maybe just me.) I'm all for indulging and enjoying life. Everything in moderation. When you've gotten in your workout, and you are consistent, there's no guilt when you are enjoying that cookie. 

2. Exercise improves your focus and concentration.

It's Sunday. For most of you that means that tomorrow starts a brand new work week. Prepare yourself for a productive week by getting in a workout. It will help you feel amazing and set you up for success. Also, thinking ahead this week, even if you are super busy, take 10 minutes on a lunch break to get up and walk around. This is refreshing and allows you to be more productive and efficient when you return.

1. Working out helps you look and feel your best!

Confidence. Plain and simple. When you are active and move your body, you release those endorphins. You feel good. Not only that, but when you consistently show up for yourself and exercise, you help your body in a variety of ways. All of that makes you feel good about yourself and you project that confidence. And when you take of yourself, you are better able to help others and enjoy life.

There you go! Now log off and move your body!




Friday, December 1, 2017

Do You Want To Build A Snowman? - Blogmas Days




Hello Friends!!

It's December 1 ... which means it's Blogmas!! I'm so excited! :)

This year, I will be posting on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. 

I'll be sharing fun DIY crafts, yummy recipes, and much more! 

I also may be making posts randomly throughout the month of December to share Bumble's Adventures. (You can follow me on Instagram to keep up with Bumble too. #BumblesAdventures2017) 

Do you want to build a snowman? 

Today I am sharing two cute DIY snowman crafts. Get your kids, turn on some holiday music, and have some fun! 

First up, turn your refrigerator into a snowman! -- This one is fun and easy.  

Just clear all the magnets and papers on your fridge. 

Wipe it down with warm soapy water.




Grab some construction paper and cut out eyes, a nose, circles for the mouth, and buttons. We added a mustache to ours.

Tape your features to the fridge. Top with a hat. 






Voilà! 

An adorable snowman in your kitchen! 

Next up is A Festive Snowman Wreath -- made with common items around the house. 


This was one of my favorite decor items to create. I used a couple old wire hangars and an old string of garland. It turned out to be pretty cute! Click here to check out the step by step article. 

Happy Crafting!


<3
-A