Wednesday, November 26, 2014

#shayeveryday2014 Week 47

Another week down in 2014.  This week, we were particularly busy!  The kiddos both had full weeks before their Thanksgiving breaks...lots of busyness and lots of fun!

Day 323: Andrew, Smith and I had lunch with Kensington on this day.  It was crazy hat day in her class...and she loved it!  We had no fun whatsoever during lunch ;).  Speaking of crazy...that lost and found pile back there is pretty crazy too, right?!?


Day 324: This was such a fun day!  My morning started with Smith's Thanksgiving BreakFEAST where they sang us the cutest little Thanksgiving song, showed us their crafts (hello, awesome turkey hat!) and we ate a yummy breakfast together.  Right after that, I drove home and then walked to Kensington's school for her Fun Run!  My friend Sarah said it best...we were standing there and she said that she waited her whole life to run from one kid's activity to another.  I feel the same way.


Day 325: Missouri Bound baby!



Day 326: Twelve years ago, I came to visit the farm for the very first time over Thanksgiving.  I'm so glad I met this Missouri boy.


Day 327: Wake them up at 5:15 to drive home, they watch 3 Christmas movies and stay awake until we're 5 minutes from our house...then they fall asleep.  Of course.


Day 328: I am so glad that I get to spend the week with this girl!  I love it when she's home from school!


Day 329: Lunch in our pjs...it must be Thanksgiving break!


You can keep up with me every day in 2014 on Instagram @mixandmatchmama or find me here too...

Find me on Twitter here.
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And don't panic if you're still needing some Thanksgiving recipes for the big day!  I have you covered over on my foodie blog!


See my 14 Easy Thanksgiving Treats here.




And see my Easy Thanksgiving Pies here.

And coming Monday...

Sheaffer and I have some Christmas cheer to share with you!  It's going to be fabulous!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Missouri Bound!

Whew!  We made a quick (but super fun) trip up to Missouri over the weekend to see Andrew's family and have a little pre-Thanksgiving celebration.

Right before we left, the doorbell rang and this sweet package was on my porch.  The wonderful people over at Erin Condren sent me this box full of monogrammed things for my family with Ashby's name on them!  I seriously got emotional over the kindness of their hearts.  It's hard to believe that people in California working hard at their own business are thinking about my sweet girl currently living in an orphanage on the other side of the world.  I've always been a HUGE fan of Erin Condren, but now I'm over the moon.  They will forever have a piece of my heart.


About to load up for our road trip!  Love this sweet boy :).


Right at 10:30, the Shull four loaded up and headed to Missouri.  It's about a 5.5 hour drive from our house to Andrew's parents' house outside of Joplin.  We watched Christmas movies and listened to Christmas music the whole way up.


For lunch, we stopped at Cracker Barrel, of course!  I don't think there is any better road trip fare!

We met Andrew's parents in Joplin for dinner (I forgot to take pics) and then headed back to their house.


I ate a peanut butter brownie (it was so good!) and read Andy's new book while the kiddos played a bit.  It was delightful!


Kensington drew a picture for me...such a sweet girl with her sweet picture.  It's raining on me in this pic (see the rain!) and I'm holding an umbrella.  I love that I'm wearing heels (of course), have on full makeup and that the roots of that tree are showing.  Girlfriend loves to add detail!


The next morning, I took in the view, enjoyed my coffee and more Andy.  My in-laws live on a working farm out in the middle of nowhere.  They've lived here almost 40 years.


While I was enjoying my quiet morning, Andrew and Smith were sitting in a deer blind.  They woke up at 5:30 to hunt.  Smith loves hunting with his dad.


Twelve Thanksgivings ago, Andrew invited me to his parents' farm for the first time.  As a city girl, I had never been on a working farm like this.  When we drove up, his dad was wearing overalls and driving a tractor.  It was true love with this boy :).  


We left the farm and headed to one of our favorite places (Sandstone Garden) for lunch and a little shopping.


It was raining as we walked in and Andrew took this pic of me...Texas girl, in Missouri supporting her Massachusetts team.  I'm a complex gal.


These two.


We made our way to a candy house outside of Joplin.  It's a little magical shop that makes me think I'm in Germany every time I visit.


Isn't it so cute?!


Can I please have jelly beans???


After lunch and the candy house, Kensington said she wanted to go on the afternoon hunt with Andrew.  She had never been before, so we weren't sure what she would think but she was super excited.  She put on Smith's hunting gear (and her Wellies) and they headed out.


He loved spending that extra time with her :).  My dad and I bond over baseball...maybe they'll bond over hunting????


Andrew said she sat there and worked on her French most of the time (totally my kid) and then he said she screamed out loud (a big no, no when hunting) when she saw this...


...the French word that popped up was "le chasseur" or "the hunter" in English.  Isn't that funny?!  What are the odds???


Legs crossed, watching a movie, eating a cookie...maybe I could hunt after all????


She spotted a squirrel.  I think we have those in our backyard at home too. ;)



Meanwhile, my mother-in-law and I found a Starbucks and walked through the mall.  That's my kind of hunting!


Later that night, we met Andrew's brother, his wife and their two kids for dinner at 609 (so good if you're in Joplin!).  Due to the nature of both of their jobs, they are not on any forms of social media, so I'll keep the pics of their cute kids to myself.  We had a great time catching up with family and enjoying a yummy meal before heading to Aunt Vicki's house for dessert!



At 5:15 the next morning, we woke up the kids and headed back to Texas.  They stayed awake and watched 3 Christmas movies for almost 6 hours...and then about 5 minutes before pulling into our driveway, they both fell asleep.  Always happens.

Such a great trip to Missouri!  We sure do love going to visit!

On my foodie blog today...


...a Black Friday Menu that uses your leftover turkey from the day before!

XO





Monday, November 24, 2014

Fifty Two Shades of Shay: Christmas Traditions


No matter how long you've read my blog, you probably know that we take our Christmas traditions seriously around here.

Growing up, my parents had several Christmas traditions that us Lowes did every single year (all while listening to the Carpenter's Christmas album).  So, when Andrew and I got married, we made a really conscious effort to start our own traditions (while still incorporating some of the old), and 11 Christmases later, we have really fine tuned this time of year.

Some of our traditions cost money, some don't...some are big, some are small...some take a lot of time, some take just a minute...but they're all so special to us.  These are things we do as a family that put us into the Christmas spirit, these are the things we talk about the other 11 months of the year, these are the things that I will remember when I'm old and grey.
  

 Carriage Rides
Our carriage ride tradition began when Kensington was two and Smith was 11 months old.  Our little town square offers reservations for this one hour ride that takes guests through the historic portion of our city.  Now, four years later, we know all of the horses' names and talk about them and the driver/owner Miss Shannon all year long.


Watching Christmas Movies
This tradition comes from my parents.  We are Christmas movie watching fools!  Usually the week before Thanksgiving we begin watching and we try to watch one every night (during the week, we usually take two nights to watch one).  Now that my kids are older, they love watching them too!

You can find my post on Christmas movies here.  My very favorite is The Holiday (hello, Jude Law!) but with my kids, we like to watch the classics like Rudolph, Frosty and Charlie Brown...plus, now my kids are into White Christmas (they love the singing and dancing!), Home Alone, A Christmas Story and then there are so many great ones that come on ABC Family.  

We pop some popcorn, curl up with our favorite blankets and watch a movie together.  Such a fun way to spend an evening!


Our Elf on the Shelf comes out for fun
Last year, I documented all of the funny things our elf did and you can see that here.  

We have brought this little elf out the last three years and it's become something my kiddos always look forward to (by day 4, I'm always tired of moving it and thinking of clever places to put it).

Sitting in Santa's Lap
We started this tradition with 12 week old Kensington back in 2008.  We have visited the same Santa at the Dallas Galleria every single year.









Hanging of the Green
Every year, we attend the Hanging of the Green ceremony at our church.  It's really just a fun service where we sing a lot of carols and look at how beautifully decorated our church is.  It's also the perfect opportunity to remember the real reason for this season...Jesus' birth.  

Jammy Cocoa Christmas
This is a Lowe tradition that has now carried into my family...we put our pajamas on, go to Starbucks and get a drink (you must be wearing your pjs when entering Starbucks...blame my dad for that idea), listen to Christmas music and drive around looking at lights.  I blogged about it last year here.


This is one of those silly traditions that I hope my grandchildren are doing too.  This can be my dad's legacy right here :).


 Christmas Journey

Every other year, our church offers a drive-thru nativity scene called Christmas Journey.  You drive up, we tell you what station to put your car radio on or hand you a CD and then you drive through and watch the story of Christs' birth, life, death and resurrection unfold through around 15 scenes.  It takes about 20 minutes to drive through and last year, almost 50,000 people came through.  We were cast members last year and it was so cold and fun!  This is a great tradition for us!

Other random things we do...
1. We like to drive to neighborhoods in our area with really big homes that are all decked out for the holidays and get out and walk the streets (verses driving).  We get all bundled up and take it all in.  If you're in the Dallas area, we like to walk around Highland Park.  After we're done walking several blocks, we'll drive the rest.

2. We sleep in our Christmas flannel sheets this time of year.  Whenever I put those on our beds, it makes me so happy!!

3. The town next to ours has a Christmas light display that flashes and dances to music.  We always go and just walk the two little streets and listen to the music and watch the light display.

4. Whenever the Rockettes are in town with their Christmas Spectacular, we go!  I've been once in New York City and three times in Dallas.  That show never disappoints!

5. We shop for our angels off of the Angel Tree.  This is a special time when we select a local family from the Angel Tree and shop for them.  I love doing this with my kids.  I also love doing Operation Christmas Child and filling shoe boxes with little treats and toys for kids to receive as their Christmas gifts.

6. Drive to North Park Mall (a mall in Dallas) and look at the pretty window displays and beautiful decorations.  Just stroll and look (and maybe finish up a little shopping).


I think my parents taught me when I was younger that you really just have to make an effort this time of year to celebrate a little every day.  Growing up, my parents would say we had to do one thing Christmasy (their word) each day.  Even if that's just listening to Christmas music (of course, the Carpenter's album) while eating our dinner or having a candy cane for dessert...something that keeps us in the Christmas spirit.

I would love to know what some of your traditions are!!  Please comment and let me know what you and your family do this time of year!

And on the foodie blog...it's Meal Planning Monday Thanksgiving Week Edition...you know, for when you're tired of eating turkey.


Merry Monday!




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