Thursday, November 29, 2012

Farewell, November!

It is full on Christmas posts & outfits from here on out! :) Tomorrow we will be kicking off our own 25 Days of Christmas! (I'm sure it will be more like 18 ..but I'll do mah best) FREE Christmas printables, gift guides, holiday outfits, recipes & other festive ramblings to come!

 I had a lot of questions emailed to me about our wreaths, so I wanted to share this It does seem like a pain in the ass task to buy & hang wreaths in all the windows, but it really isn't so bad! We bought real, fir wreaths from the Christmas Tree Farm to put on the front doors... but the rest? $2.50 fake wreaths from WalMart. They just needed a little fluffing! Rather than pay an additional $2 per window for hangers, the wreaths are attached with fishing wire looped around the locks on the inside. Clearly it was easy for me since Harper & I just stood around watching my husband do all the work... he may have a different opinion! :)

Leopard Onesie, Leopard Scarf (From H&M not stores, similar here & here online), Leather Jacket (Marshals but similar here & here)

I wish I had an unlimited exterior illumination budget so we could go fully Griswold style on our house. 

One last thing. I wanted to give a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has purchased chalkboard prints from my etsy shop! It is such an overwhelming feeling of success & happiness to know that you all want to have my hand drawn artwork in your homes! If you want to share a picture of your framed chalk art, upload on instagram use hashtag #JGRockChalk so that I can see them all!! :) And don't forget, if you are purchasing, be sure to use coupon code 30OFFCHALK for a 30% discount off the listed price!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

First Christmas Festiveness

Oh look, another Christmas post!

We are looking forward to lots of holiday fun this week! We have big plans to make cinnamon ornaments for our tree in the family room, Harper gets to meet Santa on Saturday & plan to do lots of Christmas shopping this weekend. We will probably even throw in a couple hundred attempts at taking pictures of Harper in front of the Christmas tree. We are going to milk every last drop of festive fun out of this holiday season!

Here's a look at all of the things that will be making Harper's first Christmas just a little more merry!

All of these festive things make me SO excited! Christmas pajamas might just be the cutest thing on this planet! :) I can just picture her now pushing that little red wagon around wearing striped jingle bell socks & some reindeer antlers... perfection! (Although she will probably be more interested in the giant box it arrived in!)

Outfit is from WalMart, Headband from JamesonMonroe

Also, guess what the eff is just around the corner... ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas! Time to pop endless amounts of popcorn, brew up some hot chocolate & cozy up in your couch-bed-fort to watch Elf, Christmas Vacation & Home Alone 'til your eyes go crossed.

 I'm a little disappointed that Prancer & To Grandmother's House We Go didn't make the cut... LUCKILY I have them both on VHS.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Garvin Family Christmas Tree

Over the weekend we hit up the Christmas Tree Farm, also known as one of my favorite places on earth. We look forward to picking out our tree every year... if you haven't gone the "real tree route" before... you absolutely have to. It will probably make you do back flips across your tree-lit living room.

Of course I dressed the munchkin up as festive as can be & then she barfed all over her clothes.

So, after a quick wardrobe change, we were off! She was MESMERIZED by all of the tall trees, lights & live music. Seriously, we would have stayed here all night if it were possible. (Did I just invent camping at Christmas tree farms?)

Bonus, Harper got to pet a pony. Which I totally thought was a reindeer at first.

This little kiddo was having a blast trying to touch everything in sight. I think she could sense the excitement & festiveness in the air because she was putting on quite the show squealing & chatting away while we picked out garlands & wreaths. We finally filled our cart, tied our tree on top of the car & headed home smelling like pine.

 Every year, the decision to decorate in color or white lights consumes me. Now that we have a house big enough, we are rocking two trees so I can do both. We got a monster, tall Christmas tree from our friends as a housewarming gift (I know, they are the shit!) so that tree is in the family room & the messy, real tree is in the entryway. As soon as the rest of my decorations arrive in the mail (yes, I greet the postman everyday outside) - there will be a full holiday house tour! But for now...
I give you... the Griswold Garvin Family Christmas Tree!

Uncle Lewis! Look what you've done to my tree! :)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Kicking off the Christmas Season!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, Black Friday & Christmas decorating weekend! The day after Thanksgiving is one of the most fun days of the year... even if you don't leave your house... there is just magic in the air! We loved our long weekend at home together.. fun was had & antlers were worn! :)

I cannot get over this little grin of hers! 

Friday we did a little Black Friday shopping... kicking off the early morning in our festive, comfy clothes at Target. It was anything but a mad rush... felt more like a standard Saturday morning shopping trip. We were totally okay with that! :) We hit up Original Pancake House for breakfast, stopped by the mall to scoop up a few more deals & then headed back home for a nap!

My scarf is actually from American Eagle a few years ago, but here is a similar one...
Striped Infinity Scarf. Other similar scarves can be found here & here. Harper's are Elegant Baby brand, but can't find them online anywhere.

We spent the rest of the weekend decking the halls!
 I discovered that I am definitely an a-hole when it comes to packing away last year's lights. I spent at least half an hour sitting Indian style on the entryway floor with a wad of tangled lights, cursing my last-year-self for apparently just ripping them off the tree & shoving them in a box. Between that mess & countless breaks to feast on Thanksgiving leftovers, decorating took much longer than expected. I can't wait to share pictures this week once it is all finished, but right now, I'm loving the messy colored lights strung around my Chalkboard.

I would literally string Christmas lights around the ceiling fans in our house if I could get away with it. Griswold style all day long.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Harper's First Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!! Also known in our family as Christmas-Tree-Decorating-Day-Eve! :) We had the most fun, festive day that included lots of dancing around the house to Christmas music & more delicious food than I could ever have imagined.

As you can see by the menu, the sweet potato souffle didn't make it. In the midst of drinking coffee while watching the parade this morning, I jumped up & shouted to Brandon "SWEET POTATO FRIES!" When we get out the fryer, we literally fry everything in sight since it's such a pain in the ass to clean. Go big or go home, right? :)

We managed to squeeze in one blurry family pic before we sat down to eat. Clearly Harper was unimpressed, yelling FEED ME to the camera.Wo

This kid went to town on her Thanksgiving feast. We gave her cheesy potatoes, green bean casserole & stuffing.

But at the end of the day, it was the turkey leg that rocked her world. Quite possibly my favorite picture of her ever taken.

She made a mess of mass proportions but it was CUTE AS CAN BE! I think she got just as full as the rest of us, because all she wanted to do was snuggle afterwards.

Now what's up? We are rockin' our Christmas pajamas & about to pop in Christmas Vacation. But first things first, we are making our Black Friday Game Plan!! We aren't the campers or the tramplers, but we do appreciate a good deal & a festive atmosphere. Even my husband loves it! We love to wake up early, go get coffee, shop & then go out for breakfast! So excited to have Harper with us this year!

I love that most Black Friday sales can be found online, so lots of time to keep shopping when we get home for Harper's morning nap! Here's a look at what is on my Black Friday shopping list for tomorrow!

Of course, our favorite place to shop, Baby Gap, is having a ton of great Black Friday Sales, so who knows what will end up in our cart! :)

I also want to say that I am so thankful for all of you, your sweet comments & encouragement, and for allowing me to do what I love so much... blogging about my sweet girl & chalkboarding like there is no tomorrow! I hope you all had the most amazing Thanksgivings with all of your loved ones! This calls for a big time virtual cheers!! CLINK! :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving EVE!

It's so hard to believe that Thanksgiving is already this week! It's true that once Halloween comes, November & December fly by in the blink of an eye. I wish we could slow time just a little bit and bottle up all of the sweetness that will come with Harper's first holidays!

Her festive outfits are in full swing, decked out in her little Indian shirt & moccasins as we ran all of our Thanksgiving errands. She loves sitting in the cart making friends & being a little chatterbox as we roll through the grocery store.

I can't wait to put her in her Thanksgiving outfit & let her feast on all the goodies we will be cooking up! I have a feeling I will have to fight her for the dark meat... a giant turkey leg is my fav part of Thanksgiving dinner! (Not to be confused with a "big ass turkey leg" on Melrose in Iowa City on gameday.)

Minnetonka Moccasins, Headband

We will be hosting a small Thanksgiving at our house with a few friends (the one and only reason that I have not fully decorated for Christmas so far... gotta keep the Thanksgiving vibe for just a little longer!) so I thought I'd share our turkey day lineup!

Mimosas & Muffins will be breakfast while we all snuggle up watching the Macy's Parade! I look forward to this part every year. Cheese & Crackers + Hot Wings will be the appetizers of choice while we watch football, visit with our friends & have our annual pumpkin destroying festivities. This includes baseball, target practice & various other events that will leave pumpkin guts all over our backyard.

The star of the show will be the deep fried turkey! This was a tradition from my husbands family, I was skeptical at first, but is delicious this way! Plus, it takes less time & frees up your oven space for other goodies! I will make cheesy potatoes & green bean casserole (both are staples that we have every year). Stuffing cupcakes are another favorite! When Brandon & I lived in out first apartment, I only had one baking pan & one cupcake pan. So on Thanksgiving, I had no choice but to use both... I ended up making our stuffing in cupcake form and have never looked back!

For the first time ever, I am going to attempt making a sweet potato souffle!! I found the Martha Stewart recipe , BUT if anyone has an another amazing recipe that you'd like to share... I would love to hear it! Rolls & cinnamon butter will be on the side... although I will probably accidentally fill up on that before I even eat the real stuff. And last but not least... some dessert that I haven't decided on yet. I'm sure I'll find some amazing recipe late tonight that will land me in world's longest grocery store line trying to buy molasses or some other unimaginable ingredient that I obviously wouldn't have on hand.

I created a RECIPE PAGE for anyone who is interested in any of the food items I mention (on here or on instagram) - but be prepared for some half-assed recipes, these are likely typed up from memory.

We plan to top off the evening by watching Christmas Vacation for the first time of the season (a long time family tradition on both sides) & drink hot chocolate (or other adult beverage) from our moose mugs! I can already picture Clark W. fumbling down the stairs with the squirrel on his back... Oh, the excitement is overwhelming! :)
Happy Happy Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Harper's Nursery Tour... Christmas Edition!

 Her halls have been decked, her stocking has been stuffed & her shelves have been elved!
I am so excited to share with you... Harper's nursery fully decorated for Christmas!

 Faux Fur Stocking from Target, Ornaments from Crate & Barrel

Chalkboard Basket, Owl from Pier One

  Even though I probably won't do all the silly elf on the shelf stuff just yet... I still wanted to get one for her so we can use it year after year. I will say, these things look pretty darn mischievous sitting there like that! :)

 Picture Frames, Felt Garland, The Elf on the Shelf, Similar Metal Fan  (I can't find the model that we have anymore)

I made the large red Christmas Print for her room.. to quote The Night Before Christmas (just like Clark W. Griswold would do..) "The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads."

   Changing Pad Cover from SallyCraftShop, Seagrass Basket, Wire Baskets from Crate & Barrel, House Tissue Box

It's not the most visually appealing thing in the room, but under her changing table is a Vornado Space Heater that we just got for the winter. I get so nervous that her room will be freezing, so hubby did lots of research & found this one with the highest safety ratings. It works like a charm! She has been sleeping in much later now since she is much more cozy in there!

The print above her crib is also one that I made, it says "Tis the season to be merry!" (Can't see the line, can ya Rus?)

I am so in love with these felt garlands!! This is my favorite part of the room... so festive & whimsical! Plus I will forever be in love with our zinc letters... placing them together to spell out her name for the first time was how we finally decided we would name her Harper!

I sort of love fun banners & garlands... can you tell? These were so simple to make, I just cut them out freehand with cardstock (no a-holes here!), strung on bakers twine & hung them with some festive washi tape! 

A special thank you to all of the amazing Etsy shop owners who crafted some of the most wonderful pieces for the room ...pulling out their Holiday fabric just a little earlier than usual so I could make this happen!! SallyCraftShop, Peppermint Pinwheels, MissCharlieBean and D'Nile Design.
 I tried to link sources for everything in the room, but if you would like more info on any of the furniture, here is the original nursery tour source post.

I hope Harper loves her sweet little room as much as I do! So excited now to decorate the rest of the house this week!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Eight Month Faves & Chalkboard Print Coupon Code

Happy One Week 'til Thanksgiving! More importantly, Happy One Week & One Day Until Christmas Tree Decorating! Even though I don't do a lot of decorating for this holiday, it is one of my favorites (although let's be serious...what holiday isn't...) and I cannot wait to plan our menu! Cheesy potatoes (yes, the ones that I dumped upside down into our brand new oven this summer), Stuffing cupcakes and a deep fried Turkey are the staples. Anyway, enough holiday chatter (ok, there can never be too much...) let's move on to 8 Month Favorites!

Silicone Baby Bib - As soon as you start finger foods... you should start silicone baby bibs. It is a catch-all and prevents you from having to sweep a thousand times per day or find cereal in between your baby's toes. Bonus, you can wash them at the end of the day in the sink with & not have fifteen bibs in the laundry at the end of the week! :)
Wooden Activity Walker - Harper absolutely loves this thing. Now that she is standing (and almost walking!) she loves to climb on this, push it across the floor (on it's back, not standing all the way up yet) and play with all of it's parts & pieces. Plus, it is the cutest wooden toy of all time. (Side note - we had to take the drum stick things away from her because she flings them around too much & I'm afraid she'll poke her eye out!)
Plum Organic Puffs - I had these on our favorites list from just a little before Harper turned 8 months. She has now progressed to eating cheerios, goldfish, and all other sorts of other finger foods in addition to these. But they are amazing for starting out with finger foods... they dissolve within five seconds of being in their mouth.
BabyGanics Foamin' Fun Bath Soap - Now that Harper is obsessed with her bath time, I had to go on the hunt for a cheaper (can't afford California baby every time!) bath soap that still gets lots of bubbles! This was the winner. The way it squirts from the bottle makes it extra foamy and she is mesmerized by all the bubbles in the tub. Plus it makes bath time way more fun  with a foaming Santa beard!
Elefun Ball Popper - Harper got this as a gift from our good friends who said it was always a big hit with their little boys...and as always.. they were right! She loves this thing! Her favorite part? Turning on the blower button and pointing the trunk at her face! :)
Summer Infant Sure & Secure Gate - Now that this kid is constantly on the GO... this is a lifesaver. We have been able to block off a whole room for her & it is secure enough that she can stand up and lean against it. And the mesh is great because she smashes her face against it at least thirty times a day.
Britax Marathon Convertible Car Seat - Finally time to upgrade from the infant car seat! Little munchkin was getting too cramped. The Britax Marathon has some of the highest safety ratings & almost everyone we know with kids has it & raves about it.

And finally, chalkboard prints have been listed in my etsy shop! For the time being, I am offering just the digital files until the holidays are over. With all of the upcoming festivities & travel plans, I have decided to hold off with printing & shipping until the new year. But until then, please use coupon code 30OFFCHALK for 30% off all digital chalkboard prints!
The sizes listed in the shop are all that I have available at this time. Unfortunately the Thankful print wasn't scaled properly when I drew it (not thinking about printing at that time) so it is only available in a 5x7. I hope to add some more Christmas prints before end of the month!

Harper's Holiday Nursery is up next!! :)