More is Better {+ $500 Giveaway!}

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cottonelle.

I can think of a lot of things I’d like to have more of. Cookies. Dollar bills. Gluten-dairy-soy free foods. Time. Sunshine. Energy.

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I say most of those things as I joke, but I’m not so un-serious about the time part. Time with my family to be specifically. Actually being a family, not doing 394 different things all at the same time. To spend the holidays soaking up the season, cherishing the twinkling Christmas lights and the smell of evergreen. Savoring each moment as my son experience’s the first Christmas where he’s aware something special is happening. To have my husband not traveling for work, missing bedtime stories and bath times. Wrapping presents for weeks. Burning frosted cranberry candles when it sun sets too early. A glass of wine at 5 when the kiddo’s asleep, sitting down to … nothing.

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To revel in the moment of having nothing to do {what’s that?}. Not worry about cleaning up after a hurricane of a meal with toddler three times a day. Forget about the bills that need to be paid and paperwork I need to. Toss aside the research I need to do for an article and instead curl up with a good novel, drinking hot apple cider while the husband watches football.

Instead I’d like to spend that time watching my son’s face light up as he finds his stuffed elf hiding in a new place each morning. Laughing in awe as he counts all the snowmen on the Christmas tree and finds each ornament as we call them out. Big bird! Football! Rocking horse! Heart! Train! {He finds them all. I’m thinking about rearranging them and seeing what happens.}

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Spending more moments watching him jump on my bed or in his crib and telling me what sounds all the different animals make. {Most of them roar, of course.}

If I had 25% more time to cram into the holiday season, it’d be right here in my living room, living for the moment. Having 25% more of whatever you desire this holiday season makes an impact. Be it time, money, peppermint bark, or toilet paper, more is better.

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So in case what you desire more of this holiday season is in fact toilet paper {or money}, you’re in luck. Here’s a giveaway for a chance to win $500 from American Express DAILY between Dec 9 – 20h. And since more is better, the winner also gets $500 for a charity of their choice. Now that’s what the holidays are about.

more is better giveaway

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cottonelle.

Choosing Traditions

You’d think after six years of marriage the husband and I would have this holiday traditions thing figured out.

Not so much.

For the first five years of marriage, it was just us. It didn’t really matter what we did. We mostly stuck with each of our “own” traditions when we were with our respective families; it made sense and it worked.

But now we have a little one to think about and the responsibility of the magic of Christmas falls on our shoulders. No pressure or anything.

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Last year wasn’t a big deal. Our little guy wasn’t old enough to know anything was going on. He didn’t even get a kick out of tearing paper off of boxes.

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This year? It’s going to be wonderful madness. But that also means it’s time to start our own little family’s traditions. While he may not remember every detail just quite yet, we will and it just feels like the right time to start.

I asked my friends and scoured the internet for other people’s traditions. Here are my favorite holiday traditions I found. I really like the “want, need, wear, read” idea along with

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After writing that post I stumbled across another one I like – crepe-paper your kids’ doors so they have to bust out of their rooms. {I guess that slows them down at least another 30 seconds before they wake you up?}

Starting new traditions is no big deal. It’s when our traditions conflict with each other that it’s tough. Our biggest stumbling block is the husband’s “Santa” present was left unopened under the tree so it’s the first thing you see when you get up. Mine were always wrapped and kind of went for a “save the best for last” kind of thing.

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My stocking was always left at the foot of my bed with things mostly wrapped, whereas the husbands was hanging on the mantle half-wrapped and half-unwrapped.

Sooo I don’t know what we’ll do yet… KB’s present might be a little awkward to wrap which isn’t good for my vote of wrapped Santa gifts. {I’m not even sure about the whole Santa thing anyways but that’s a different story.}

What are your favorite holiday traditions?

Season Favorites

I suppose since I can officially see December on my calendar it’s time to embrace the holiday season. It took the course of several days, but our tree is finally up & decorated, and most of our household decorations are up.
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I’ll be honest, not everything made the cut this year- chasing an almost-walking baby away from breakables and enticing, sparkly, pullable things just isn’t really my idea of holiday fun.

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Nonetheless, it’s time for some of my tried & true holiday favorites to start making their appearances.

First up: Sugar Plum Spice Tea, aka holiday in a toasty warm mug. Forget Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride {I do not understand the widespread appeal of that nastiness}. Warning: not gluten free. Yup, glutened tea.
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Next up: Evergreen room spray. The only thing that makes an artificial Christmas tree semi-acceptable. I spray it approximately 800 times a day.

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Coffee & cute reusable mugs: ok, this isn’t seasonal…but necessary and eagerly welcomed on a daily basis.
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Green smoothies: not seasonal either, but gotta counteract all those holiday treats with some power packed nutrients, right?
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All things fleece. Blankets, pullovers, and of course, baby goodies. The best.
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Notebooks/Journals. Because let’s be honest, my brain isn’t remembering anything on its own any time soon. And there’s LOTS to remember this holiday season!
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What are your seasonal favorites?

The Great Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup Roundup

Tap tap tap…

Hey, is this thing on?

Normally people abandon their blogs when life gets chaotic, busy, and overwhelming.

I’m pleased to say things have been quiet around here lately for exactly the opposite reason. After a rather rough first 8 months, we’ve hit a sweet spot.

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10 months is officially my favorite age. It may {definitely} have something to do with my consistent greater-than-2-hour-stretches of sleep. Much greater than 2 hours. My little one is happy, alert, curious, and complete delight to be around. I’ve just been soaking up as much of that as possible. Things with babies change faster than Lady GaGa’s outfits.

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Picture from With Style & Grace

So instead of running to my computer every spare minute, or slaving away in the kitchen while simultaneously trying to entertain the baby underfoot, I’ve been skipping a lot of that stuff. So that’s why during this Thanksgiving week, also known as food blogger heaven, I’m not whipping up creative cranberry sauces, elaborate pies, or healthy side dishes for that deep-fried turkey you know you want to try.

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Picture from OhSheGlows

Instead, I’ll rely on some of my favorite foodie experts to provide that for you. I know present you with the greatest roundup of Thanksgiving round ups ever.

Thanksgiving recipes roundup

You’re welcome.

Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup

Delicious Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Vegan Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas

Thanksgiving Breakfasts

Paleo Thanksgiving Recipes

Last Minute Thanksgiving Recipes

A Blogger Thanksgiving Feast

Ways to Use Up All Those Thanksgiving Leftovers

citrus pecan bread

And just to round things out:

Thanksgiving Week Workout

Holiday Blaster Workout

Election Day Workout

Let me start by stating the obvious. It’s Election Day. Time to vote!

The babe and I voted last week during early voting just in case there were long lines at the polls today. Of course since we did that it means there won’t be any lines at all. You can thank me later.

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I forgot about the excitement and anticipation Election Day can bring. The news coverage has already started, with live coverage at Independence Plaza, interviews with political experts and former First Family members, and predictions being thrown around right and left.

The first time I was old enough to vote in a presidential election I was in college, living in a dorm on a sorority hall. The Republicans were piled into one room; the Democrats in another far down the hall. And then there was me, bouncing back and forth between the two rooms because I couldn’t stand to miss what was happening in either camp.

It’s been 8 years since that initial election excitement. It goes without saying how different things are now. I’m married, have a job, a family, and am more aware of how I can influence my own {& my son’s} future. I thought a lot more about my vote before clicking confirm on my electronic ballot.

I didn’t have the forethought to plan an Election Day party complete with Campaign Trail Mix, donkey & elephant cookies, and Political Punch, although that would have been fun. I’m sure there’s no lack of Pinterest-inspired election day drinking games out there either. Instead this year I’ll put a tired babe to bed and curl up on the couch with the husband watching the electoral votes roll in in eager anticipation. There’s no doubt I’ll throw in my hat and head to bed long before the outcome is decided.

I’ll be hitting the gym earlier in the day {when I can actually keep my eyes open}, but for those of you with slightly more end-of-day energy than I have, try trading in your debate-style drinking game for this Election Day inspired workout routine. Just a fun way to keep you energized instead of keeping your butt parked on the couch for hours on end while you watch the election coverage tonight.

Election Day Workout

Put each of the following exercises in a bowl. {Use colored bowls or colored paper.}

Election Day Workout

What to do:

Each time a state is filled in, draw an exercise from the appropriate colored bowl. Perform exercise for number of reps that matches the number of electoral votes in that state. If it’s an exercise without reps {ex. plank} add a zero to the end and hold for that many seconds. Example: 9 votes = hold plank for 90 seconds.

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What creative ways are you celebrating election day?!