Friday Love 9.14.18

We’ve had a pretty crazy week around here so I’m looking forward to some major relaxation this evening with the hubs and our girls. The temps didn’t get above 80 here the past couple of days and that has really put me in the mood for all things Fall! One of the things I love most about Northern California is the presence of actual seasons. I did not have that growing up in Florida, it was pretty much just hot all the time. Now, it won’t get really cold here until end of October/November but this little sneak peek of lower temps has me feelin’ pretty good, happy Friday!

Friday Love pink-watercolor-heart-art-by-linda-woods-linda-woods

FALL DECOR

A couple of years ago, I decorated my house for Fall in September, took it down in October and put up Halloween, then took that down and put up Fall/Thanksgiving in November, and of course Christmas in December! It was quite a bit of work and so I didn’t do it last year but I found myself missing my decorations. Sophie and I got our Fall stuff out this week and it makes me so happy to see it, it’s Fall Y’all!

 

FALL COFFEE MUG

I’ve been on the search for a Fall mug. I have a Halloween mug and a Christmas mug but not one for Fall. Now my sensible husband couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t just get a regular mug that could last all year long… now what fun would that be? With a plethora of Fall mugs available at Target, Marshalls and Michaels, it took me a while to look around but I finally found it. This little cup makes me so, so happy. And the price (only $4 at Marshalls) made me even happier!

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CLASSES AT THE GRAND

We’ve been taking music classes at the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts since we moved to Tracy back in 2014. I cannot say enough good things about their art education program.  My girls just started two new classes there, well new to us. Lyla has wanted to take acting class for a few years now but was never old enough (age to start is 9). We gifted her with acting classes for her birthday this year and so far, she really loves it. Sophie started a pottery for preschoolers class and had her first session yesterday. I think it’s going be just like everything else they offer, great!

 

NEW MAKEUP FROM ULTA

I’ve used the Bare Minerals foundation powder for longer than I can remember. I really love that product but I’ve wanted to try something different for a while now. I feel like my skin has changed a lot and what I’m using now isn’t the right product for my face anymore. I worked for Clinique while I was in college and was pretty knowledgeable about makeup back then. Fast forward many years, and I feel like I know nothing at all! I headed into Ulta this week and after a great consultation, I left with three new products. I absolutely love them all! I decided to try a tinted moisturizer type of foundation and it’s working out wonderfully for me. I rely heavily on concealer and used to use a Bare Minerals one but the Ulta brand full coverage liquid concealer is awesome. I also picked up a hydrating face primer. This has been a game changer for me. It has helped my makeup and skin look so fresh. My budget for makeup is not what it used to be, nor would I want to spend a fortune on product these days anyways so the Ulta brand is perfect. They are high-quality products with an amazing price point. I’ve been loving putting on my makeup in the morning!

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HOMEMADE TUNA HELPER

I’ve always loved Tuna Helper. It’s a nostalgia thing – my stepdad would make it whenever my mom was out of town for work. I wanted to make a homemade version since we try not to eat many processed foods so I went searching online. This recipe was a hit with my family. I was worried how my kids would feel about it but my four year old even asked to eat it the next morning at 9am! I followed the recipe exactly but used whole milk instead of cream. It was so good.

 

 

 

 

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Friday Love 9.7.18

Happy Friday!

We had such a great and relaxing Labor Day weekend, which made going back to school and our regular routine on Tuesday pretty rough. We are so happy it’s Friday again!

I thought it would be fun to start a series of sorts, or rather a recurring blog post. Every Friday, I’ll share a some “Friday Love” and talk about things I really loved over the past week and the weekend prior. This will help hold me accountable to my goal of publishing one to two blog posts each week, as well as sharing some fun stuff! So let’s dive right in, my first Friday Love!

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One of my favorite online brands, Little Choco Pink, held a search for new brand reps on Instagram and I entered both of my girls. I literally couldn’t believe it when they were chosen to represent the brand. We’ve never done anything like this before. My girls love fashion as much as I do and we are so excited to see what’s it’s like to be a brand rep. I will definitely share our experience here on the blog. Make sure the check out their site and follow them on Instagram. Their pieces are really unique and many have a vintage, boho-flair, while others are modern and edgy. Perfect for those who want something a little different than what’s offered at the mall. Use code JILL for 10% off your order!!

Grayson Threads is one of my favorite Target brands. We have been in the low 90s this entire week and these lightweight tanks are the perfect attire for an Indian Summer Friday. It’s hard to see in the photo but mine says weekend. And don’t we all feel that “It’s All Good” on a Friday??

  • ROCK PAINTING

A rock painting craze has taken our town by storm! We first discovered this fun hobby at the Downtown Artwalk. People paint and then hide rocks for others to find, posting pictures and clues on Facebook group. My girls just ate this up. They loved searching for and finding the rocks, competitively of course. We finally painted and hid our first rocks this past weekend and oh man, we are hooked! I don’t know what it is but we had the best time paining rocks all weekend long. We went to Michaels for new paint and brushes, and Home Depot for sealant (to keep the rocks weather-proof), and sat by the pool and painted. We listened to music, chatted and ate, it was such great quality time.

  • FAMILY BIKE RIDE

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We went on our first family bike ride on Monday and it was so much fun! We didn’t go very far but just being together was really special. I see many more of these in our future!

  • HALLOWEEN EXCITEMENT

I took down the bin of my girls Fall/Halloween clothes and pajamas on Friday. This prompted Sophie to wear some sort of Halloween attire all weekend long. She also requested to watch Nightmare Before Christmas, listen to a Halloween station on Pandora and visit the costume store. I have to say, her excitement for holidays is absolutely contagious! I love the holiday season and it looks like I have passed that on to my girls. Now Lyla was telling her all weekend long, it was too early but Sophie finally got her in the spirit on Monday night.

 

WHAT’S UP WEDNESDAY: AUGUST 2018

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I’ve been reading Mix Match Mama, The Larson Lingo and Sheaffer Told Me To for quite a few years now. These are blogs I’ve really grown to love and I especially love the What’s Up Wednesday posts. I have always wanted to link up to one but have never done it. Right now, I’m trying very hard to be more mindful of my goals and blogging more is one of them so today, I’m finally going link up! Enjoy!

What We’re Eating this week…

Monday – Pigs-in-a-Blanket, baked beans, corn (a comfort food meal I grew up on!)

Tuesday – Homemade meatballs (my hubby’s recipe) and spinach salad

Wednesday – Breakfast for Dinner – now I am not the biggest fan but we have a lot of breakfast stuff in the fridge right now and the kids got so excited when I mentioned the idea so breakfast for dinner it is!

Thursday – Teriyaki Salmon, white rice, broccolini

Friday – Homemade pizza night! Friday night pizza night is our family tradition although, and I hate to say this but, my hubby and I are actually getting a little tired of pizza every single Friday. Now don’t get me wrong, he makes the most delicious homemade pizza but the consistency gets a little old and we find ourselves craving something different. He will still make a small cheese for the girls because they love tradition but we’ve found ourselves ordering in a lot of Thai or Salvadorian food on a Friday. It’s nice because I still don’t have to cook and we get to eat something we love but the girls won’t touch.

Saturday – No clue! My hubby takes over the cooking on the weekend and we tend to go a little more gourmet since it’s not the usual weeknight rush.

What I’m Reminiscing about…

My girls! Watching them grow up as been pretty tough lately. Lyla turned nine on August 10th and Sophie will be five December 23rd. I feel like their baby years just flew by and I find myself thinking about those days all.the.time. They are turning into amazing young ladies, smart, kind, funny, beautiful but man do I miss the baby days!!

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What I’m loving…

New skincare products. When we were in FL in July, my mom gave me two Neutrogena products and I’ve been loving them. I use their day time facial moisturizer but these two were new to me. I really love the rapid tone repair moisturizer. It almost feels like a serum.

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What We’ve been up to…

August is a always a busy month for our family. The first day of school and my older daughter Lyla’s birthday are usually within a couple days of each other so that makes August CRAZY for me. Lyla’s birthday this year was a Unicorn pool party and her first big sleepover with nine kids! It was so much fun. My hubby and I really enjoyed listening and watching her and her friends, so sweet and so funny.

 

What I’m dreading…

Some very personal stuff but other than that, I’m focused on being positive and being grateful for the good things I do have in my life.

What I’m working on…

Everything and nothing all at once… kidding! Between my part-time job with Orangetheory and all that comes with having two kids and being a stay-at-home mom, I feel like I’m constantly working on something, cleaning something or rushing to something BUT I love this stage of life! I really do 🙂

What I’m excited about…

Many things! Lyla tried out for the school play and got three roles. She was in the play last year and it was such a fun experience. I’m looking forward to all that comes with this production. Lyla starts acting classes next week at our local theatre. She’s wanted to take acting classes for a long time now but you  had to be nine years old to do so. I’m also excited for Fall, Halloween and Christmas! We’ve been discussing Halloween costumes, thinking about decorating for Fall and talking about all our fun traditions and outings we like to do during the holiday season, lots to look forward to.

What I’m watching…

House Hunters. To say I have an obsession with this show is an understatement! I literally can’t get enough. Both my girls now ask to watch it with me. We love nothing more than House Hunters!!

What I’m reading…

Over the summer my mom gave me her Kindle Paperwhite! I was so pumped because my Kindle just stopped working a couple of years ago and I never replaced it. My hubby has a major issue with lights being on when we go to sleep and I love reading before bed so the Kindle was our middle ground. I felt I stopped reading as much as I used to because I didn’t have a Kindle so I’m very excited to start reading more.

I just downloaded Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup. I started it last night and so far, so good. I went to college in Silicon Valley (San Jose State) and worked for three different tech companies, one a start-up, right after college so the title immediately peaked my interest.

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What I’m wearing…

Workout clothes! I live in yoga pants, leggings, workout tops, sweatshirts, etc during the school year. I try to run/do a home workout about three times a week and love to do it first thing in the morning. Getting in the right clothes is half the battle!

I did wear regular clothes for the Lyla’s 9th birthday. Her party was a unicorn theme and I wanted to fit the theme as the Mamacorn 🙂 My girls just love this shirt. I also got an adorable C&C California top from Marshalls recently for only $8! I felt that deserved a share because it was such a great deal. It’s a simple top but so comfy and made me feel put together yet still casual.

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What I’m doing this weekend…

I don’t know! We’ve been pretty busy so we may just take it easy and do our favorite thing – spend the day by the pool! We love nothing more than pool days in our own backyard, lounging on our floats, grilling out and going in the hot tub. We have to enjoy it now before it gets too cold!

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What I’m looking forward to next month…

Lots of fun stuff! We are helping paint sets for Lyla’s school play, our city is having another downtown Artwalk (my girls love this), acting classes start, and we are attending our (well my) first quinceanera!

What else is new…

My younger daughter Sophie starts Kindergarten next year and I have started to homeschool her. We had to take her out of her Pre-K program (I’m hoping she can go back in January). I really didn’t want her to fall behind so I’ve been using every internet resource I can to keep her on track. This is very new for me but she loves being home with mom (she has since birth) and has been the best little student.

Bonus question this month:  WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BACK TO SCHOOL TRADITION?

The first day of school picture! We make a big deal out of it and get one of the girls by themselves, together, one with mom, and one with dad. I love looking back at these pictures every year to see how much the girls have changed and to look at their outfits – haha! Girl mom! We love fashion around here.

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3rd grade/Preschool 3’s

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2nd grade

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1st grade

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Kindergarten

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Wow, so that’s my first What’s Up Wednesday! I’m really excited to link up and share this post. Now I have to sign-off and get back into mom mode, its time for school!

xo JRS

Lyla Rae’s birthday interview – nine years old

My big girl hit her last year of single digits on Friday, August 10, 2018. How is this even possible? At times, I truly feel like she was born yesterday. It’s hard to put into words just how much I love her and just how proud I am of her. She is growing into such a poised, curious, passionate, talented and smart young lady. As much as I wish she was still my chubby little baby, being her friend and watching her grow is pretty darn amazing. Happy 9 Lyla Rae!!

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Lyla Rae, Age 9

Nickname: Pies

How old are you? 9 years old

What is your favorite color? Mint green

What is your favorite animal? Unicorn

What is your favorite book? Sideways Stories from Wayside School

What is your favorite TV show? Mia and Me

What is your favorite movie? The Greatest Showman

What is your favorite song? Come Alive from The Greatest Showman

What is your favorite food? In-N-Out Cheeseburger

What is your favorite drink? Root beer

What is your favorite breakfast food? Pancakes

What is your favorite snack? Fruit snacks

What is your favorite outfit? Workout pants and top

What is your favorite game? Mario Cart

What is your favorite toy? LOL doll

Who is your best friend? Chloe & Stefanie

What is your favorite thing to do? Talk to Chloe on FaceTime

What is your favorite thing to do outside? Swim in the pool

What is your favorite holiday? Christmas

What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Polar Bear and Unicorn

Where is your favorite place to go? The Villages in Florida

What is your favorite restaurant? Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville in Hollywood, FL

Where do you want to go on vacation? New York

What do you want to be when you grow up? A pastry chef

What did you do on your birthday? We had a unicorn birthday bash with seven of her friends. It was a pool party and her first big sleepover. It was such a fun night!

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New playroom

One requirement I had when looking at houses was a big space for the girls playroom. Our previous home had a great fourth bedroom that we used for their playroom and I knew, based on the amount of stuff they have and how often they used the room, that our new house must have a big space for the girls to play.

When I saw the fourth bedroom in our new home, I immediately marked it the playroom. It was a big, open space with lots of light, wood flooring and a bench seat that ran along almost the entire back wall. It has a fireplace, which I love but may be an accident waiting to happen (so far we’ve had no injuries), BUT with a fireplace comes a mantle and so much design potential. I can’t wait to hang Christmas garland there!

My husband really, really wanted to use this space as a media room but I had to remind him, we hardly ever watch movies and where would all the girls toys go? In the end, it became the new playroom and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. I still plan to order a castle shaped mirror to go under the princess gallery wall but other than that, the room is done. It’s such a beautiful, bright, happy space!

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Sophie Gray’s birthday interview – three years old

My sweet second baby turned three on December 23, 2013. She truly is the sweetest thing. Because of how close her birthday is to Christmas, my husband really wanted to do something special and we took her to Disneyland on her birthday. It was a whirlwind trip but she had the best time and is already asking to go back.

Happy 3 Sophie!

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Sophie Gray, Age 3

Nickname Soph

How old are you? 3 years old

What is your favorite color? Orange

What is your favorite animal? Giraffe

What is your favorite book? Muddle & Match Mermaid

What is your favorite TV show? Bubble Guppies

What is your favorite movie? Shrek

What is your favorite song? Chillin like a Villian from Descendants 2

What is your favorite food? French toast sticks

What is your favorite drink? Lemonade

What is your favorite breakfast food? Pancakes

What is your favorite snack? PB&J

What is your favorite outfit? Flower dress

What is your favorite game? Mario Party 8

What is your favorite toy? Corn Monkey and Corn Lion

Who is your best friend? Annabelle & Stella

What is your favorite thing to do? Play at the park

What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play with toys

What is your favorite holiday? Halloween

What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Corn Monkey and Corn Lion

Where is your favorite place to go? Disneyland

What is your favorite restaurant? Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville in Hollywood, FL

Where do you want to go on vacation? Mexico

What do you want to be when you grow up? Grown-up girl

What did you do on your birthday? We went to Disneyland!

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Lyla Rae’s birthday interview – eight years old

How can it be that my last post was a birthday interview a year ago? I really need to get better about blogging more than once a year, lol. But here we are again, conducting Lyla’s annual birthday interview. At least I’m doing it sooner two months after her birthday.

Lyla turned eight on August 10, 2017. It was a busy day because both girls had back-to-school night so our family party was a little rushed. We had a pool party for Lyla and her friends the next day. It was emoji-themed and so much fun.

Happy 8!

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Lyla Rae, Age 8

Nicknames Pies

How old are you? 8 years old

What is your favorite color? Mint green

What is your favorite animal? Unicorn

What is your favorite book? Rainbow Fairy chapter books

What is your favorite TV show? Cake Wars

What is your favorite movie? Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

What is your favorite song? Despacito by Daddy Yankee & Justin Beiber

What is your favorite food? Cheeseburgers

What is your favorite drink? Root beer

What is your favorite breakfast food? French toast sticks

What is your favorite snack? Fruit snacks

What is your favorite outfit? Dresses & Jojo bows

What is your favorite game? The Game of Life

What is your favorite toy? Nintendo 3DS

Who is your best friend? Stefanie Valle

What is your favorite thing to do? Play my DS and look at my iPad

What is your favorite thing to do outside? Swim in the pool

What is your favorite holiday? Christmas

What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Polar Bear

Where is your favorite place to go? Jupiter, FL (Grandma and Grandpa’s house)

What is your favorite restaurant? Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville in Hollywood, FL

Where do you want to go on vacation? China

What do you want to be when you grow up? Pastry chef

What did you do on your birthday? Opened small gifts, went to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast, gave out cookies to my class as a treat, had a small party at home with Mom, Dad and Sophie then had a emoji-themed pool party with friends the next day.

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Lyla Rae’s birthday interview – seven years old

Year two of the birthday interview and I’m late again!! Lyla turned seven on August 10th and here we are on October 17th and I’m just now getting the time to sit down and do this. BUT I’m getting it done and that’s all that matters. I can’t wait to read these with her when she’s older, year seven here we go!

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Lyla Rae, Age 7

Nicknames Yaya, Pies

How old are you? 7 years old

What is your favorite color? Turquoise

What is your favorite animal? Parrot

What is your favorite book? The Berenstain Bears and the week at Grandma’s

What is your favorite TV show? Elena of Avalor

What is your favorite movie? Nightmare Before Christmas

What is your favorite song? My Time from Elena of Avalor

What is your favorite food? Chicken Teriyaki

What is your favorite drink? Orange Fanta

What is your favorite breakfast food? Donut

What is your favorite snack? Fruit snacks

What is your favorite outfit? Dresses

What is your favorite game? Bean Boozled Challenge (Jelly Belly game)

What is your favorite toy? My Elena doll

Who is your best friend? Stefanie Valle

What is your favorite thing to do? Look at my iPad

What is your favorite thing to do outside? Jump rope

What is your favorite holiday? Halloween

What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Polar Bear

Where is your favorite place to go? Jupiter, FL (Grandma and Grandpa’s house)

What is your favorite restaurant? Red Robin

Where do you want to go on vacation? Disneyland

What do you want to be when you grow up? Teacher

What did you do on your birthday? I had a special donut breakfast, opened a small gift, got a surprise lunch at school (McDonald’s), and had my party with friends after school at the Mountain House splash pad. After that, I had cake and ice cream at home with just my family at home and opened more presents.

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Halloween 2015

We had quite the Halloween this year. Lyla got to wear her costume five days in a row! I know this was fun and exciting for her but quite a bit of work for mom – hello hair curling, hair color, glitter spray and full makeup five different times! But I’ll do anything for my baby. Our week started on Tuesday night when Lyla’s dance studio held a studio-wide costume contest. Lyla was so excited to wear her costume “officially” for the first time and she was determined to win the contest. She went as a Shopkin this year, the limited edition Cupcake Queen.

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On Wednesday, we headed to the Bass Pro Shop. We live about 20 minutes away and I have to say, I’m always very impressed with their special holiday events. The store is always beautifully decorated for each holiday, they offer one free 4×6 picture and have free crafts for the kids, I mean, how can you beat that?

Before moving to Tracy, I had never even been to a Bass Pro Shop. We went for the first time during Christmas last year and again for Easter. The girls love the store, its huge and there’s so much to see. They have a big fish tank and waterfall, a fun country store, its really neat but I have learned a few tips if you plan to go for a holiday event. Arrive EARLY! At least an hour early. We skipped the picture with Santa on our first visit because the line was out the door and this is a BIG store. For Easter, we came about 30 minutes early and were maybe 20th in line. For Halloween this year, we got to the store an hour before and were the first in line for pictures, the first! We got some popcorn, fudge and a drink from the country store, trust me, a little snack makes all the difference when waiting in line with children. They had the cutest set-up for Halloween and offered one free picture with characters from the Peanuts gang. Such a fun outing!

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On Thursday, Lyla’s Girl Scout troop had their Halloween party. She had a blast with her friends.

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Friday was the big Halloween celebration at school. She walked in the Halloween parade and showed off her costume to the entire school.

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The parade ends in the large field behind her school. All of the students (K-8) form a very large square. The school brings in a DJ and the kids get to watch the 8th graders perform to Thriller. It’s a really fun time. Afterwards, we spent the day in her classroom for her class Halloween party. It was a fun, but long day.

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On Friday afternoon/night, we did an easy Halloween craft (pumpkin magnets), carved pumpkins, made Halloween Rice Krispie treats, ate Jack-o-Lantern pizza from Papa Murphy’s and watched Hocus Pocus. That movie is one of my all time favorite Halloween movies and was worried about Lyla being too young to watch it and getting scared but she ended up loving it. It was a busy, exhausting but very fulfilling day.

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On Saturday, we had a very, yummy, festive Halloween morning breakfast. I used this amazing mix from William Sonoma and added orange food coloring and chocolate chips to make Jack-o-Lantern pancakes. A hit all around except that I forgot to pick-up syrup while at the grocery store and we only had enough for the girls pancakes…. wah, wah, wah. I put butter and cinnamon on mine and it was still good. Just had to work with what we had.

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We spent the rest of the day just being lazy and lounging around the house. I wanted to get ready in time to take some pictures outside but I underestimated how long it would take all of us to get ready and by the time we were, the sun had gone down – momFAIL! The lighting definitely wasn’t as good inside the house but at least we got our pictures. Only one kid smiling but you can’t win em’ all. I went as a baker and my girls were my two little cupcakes, my sweetest creations 😉

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We met up with some friends in our neighborhood and were ready to trick-or-treat! Because it rained last year, this was Sophie’s first experience trick-or-treating door-to-door. It didn’t take her long to figure out how to get the candy. We had such a fun time and Lyla filled her basket pretty quickly. It was a successful Halloween!

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Throwback Thursday – Halloween 2014

With Halloween quickly approaching (this Saturday! ekkk!), I thought it would be fun to look back at last year’s festivities. Halloween has become Lyla’s favorite holiday (that is until Christmas arrives) so I do my best and try to make it really special for her. Halloween fell on a Friday last year, so I surprised her with a Halloween themed breakfast, a balloon, card, and a fun, little message on the chalkboard.

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We had been watching the forecast like crazy because it had been raining on and off earlier in the week and rain was scheduled for that day but thankfully it held off and we were able to enjoy the festivities at Lyla’s school.

Here’s my girl dressed as Kiera from the Barbie movie, Princess and the Pop Star. The picture does not do her dress justice, it was absolutely beautiful! We ordered it from Etsy and fell in love. Not only did it look exactly like Kiera’s dress, the quality just blew me away. It was so well-made and she’s worn it many times since Halloween. I thought she looked awesome and so much like Kiera. She loved getting into character and singing and dancing along to the movie.

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PicMonkey Collage

Lyla’s school does a Halloween parade and then everyone watches the eighth graders (her school is K-8) perform Thriller. I have to say, it was such a fun day. She had a class party afterwards, which I helped plan and organize, and it was just great. I’m so sad I didn’t take more pictures. It was a busy, hectic day and I barely had time to pull out my phone or camera. Normally, I’m snapping away like crazy, especially since it was Sophie’s first Halloween but between the parade and the party, I just wasn’t able to.

We ended up at the mall that evening because the rain came back with a vengeance. Here’s my little cat Sophie at the mall play area. Again, I’m so sad I don’t have more pictures of her. She wore Lyla’s old Pottery Barn Kids cat costume and looked just adorable.

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I love to do family costumes so Sophie was the Figaro to my Minnie (again so sad we didn’t take more pictures). The mall has an inflatable indoor play area and they were letting the first 50 kids jump and eat for free. We got lucky and happened to be at the right place at the right time. We met Lyla’s best friend and her family there and the kids had a great time. I think this made up for not being able to go Trick-or-Treating outside. Lyla was so tired by the time we got home, she didn’t even want to go to one house. In my book, that makes for a successful Halloween.

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