david's class thanksgiving party

How was everyone's Thanksgiving? Full of all the good things I hope?

I'm still playing a wee bit of catch up, starting with David's class party. His teacher wanted it to be a Thanksgiving type party instead of say, Halloween. Which was fine with me, gave me more time and all of that. I came up with a few games and some activities, and then an Indian corn craft followed by snacks. Which I figure is how every class party should end. With food! David seemed to have fun! And I think it is so wild that he has like four kids from his baseball team in his class! I mean out of what, seven second grade classrooms in this elementary school alone to have that many? Wild, absolutely wild. And for once I feel like he's getting himself a little tribe going you know? And they are all such good kids I am a major fan! 

dom is some indian

Well it is official. This was our last preschool Thanksgiving thing. It's our third, and our final. Dom was just the cutest little Indian there ever was! I loved watching him act out the prayer and he just is so so cute for his teacher! If only he was so sweet and cuddly all the time right? There was a ton of food there! Dom had chips. And a cookie. And the tiniest bite of a cornbread muffin. And Mrs. Olsen? Well she just waited till she got home to eat. Potlucks... You feel me. 

tree farm photo shoot

All of these gorgeous photos were taken by Wishbone Photography for you locals.... And I love how they all turned out! How does one choose just a single photo for one's Christmas cards? I mean, first world problems and all of that, but still! It is such a good thing that these shoots don't come with audio because you can  be sure that there is a lot of yelling (oh my end) and corralling and repeatedly asking the kids to stop running or tickling or whatever.... and somehow Ashley captures just a ton of really nice photos that make you think wow, that family has it together! And well, we don't. But Ashley sure does! She works magic behind that lens to be sure.

Anyways so I could have just shared them all (and I wanted to) but I narrowed it down to just a few (ha) of my favorites. Thanks so much Ash!

olsen thanksgiving

I don't know how you and yours handle in-law holiday situations but me and mine? We always pick another day and call it Olsen Thanksgiving. This way the food is spread out... the time is spread out. It just makes it all the more enjoyable not having to pick sides or rush from one family to another and hey! My waistline appreciates not having to eat two meals in one day. Bonus: for Olsen Thanksgiving we rarely have the typical fare, normally Matt does Italian. Just like I like it.

We were missing Matt's youngest brother and his family but alas, I wouldn't leave Florida either so, we get it. It was just a day of hanging out and catching up and of course lots of food. And lots of cousin play time!

a christmas candylane visit

I'm going to go right on ahead and annoy a whole lot of people but here we are a week prior to Thanksgiving and yes, we got our Santa visit done already. We had a free Friday last week which is such a shocker during these final few months of the year and it wasn't raining and it was (sort of) not too cold so I'm sure you know we just had to go. My sister and her family and my mom joined us as well. My father is on a Hersheypark Boycott of sorts. It just isn't Disney right?

christmas decor tour: the kid's rooms

If you are still with me then I applaud you (mom)! I thought I'd throw the kid's trees up here just for memory's sake!

Letty's Christmas decor is all things pink and girlie and she does not care a lick for that to change. Last year I entrusted her with my Snow Baby collection and that still gives me some emotions but she is nine. She (should) can handle it. My mom got me one every year (just like with the ornaments) and the one of the Snow Baby on the swan's back was given to me the year I found out I was finally pregnant (December 2009) and it is of course the most special. So it is fitting that Letty has my collection. Now don't break them. Please!

christmas decor tour: the master bathroom

This too was a last minute addition last year when I was on the home tour.... But again, I'm so glad that I did it. I love the garland and the pops of red and green in this room. And well yes, there are palm trees in my bathtub. We are trying to baby them through the winter. We shall see. In the meantime there's a punch of tropical in an otherwise winter wonderland...

christmas decor tour: the master bedroom

We made it upstairs so we are getting places people! I added decor to this room last year before I was on our town's holiday home tour... and I'm so glad I did! Since last Christmas we also installed a mantle and faux fireplace in there so you all know that had to be decorated!! And then that husband of mine said he thinks we needed a tree in there and well I made that happen faster than even I thought possible. Speak it and it is done! I stayed with reds and whites and silvers for the tree.... and the mantle. And as always I am loving the sign above the bed! It's just so cozy and the perfect place to end our day!

christmas decor tour: the living room

The living room always houses the main tree... this is the one with ornaments from my youth, an ornament each from the year we got engaged, married, got our first apartment and bought our first house, all the kid's first's and an ornament for each of us from every vacation we have ever taken. Well, mostly. I don't think I got one from like Great Wolf Lodge or Shenandoah... shame on me! It's always fun to hang up the ornaments I got in Italy, or Barcelona, or Maine, or Alaska, or Canada, or Disney (so so so many Disney ornaments it could practically be the tree's theme!), or all of the Caribbean ones we have collected over the course of ten cruises.... Every year my mom got us an ornament that symbolized something that happened over the course of the past year, and I've been trying to do the same for my kids. This year Letty got a black cat in a Santa hat, David got a baseball mitt and glove, and Dom chose an astronaut, since that is what he was for Halloween. Third child problems. Let's go with that.

New this year is the whole shelving situation above the tv which I really didn't do too much to. The room has a lot going on with the tree and the gallery wall and the mantle so that is probably best. So for now I put up a few greens, some pine cones and some silver ornaments. Wink wink.

And as always there are the photos of my kids with Santa each and every year.... how about baby Dom in a Santa hat right after he was born? Almost five years ago now! My baby is five.... I'm feeling things. Nera! Come cuddle with me!

christmas decor tour: the kitchen

The kitchen kind of turns out like a big giant present. All the ribbons on the cabinets pretty much make it so. That's where I hang all of last year's Christmas cards from friends and family and then when I get a new one I replace it. My other very favorite thing to decorate is the galvanized tray on the island. New this year are the little antique Santa mugs! I mean, totally practical thing to purchase right? Not even big enough for the kids to use but still! Love me Santa mugs!

christmas decor tour: the dining room

I have loved the transformation this room has gone under since we moved in here almost six years ago... I love this neutral version the most. During the holidays this is where my wine tree and my wine Santa reside. Every lover of wine should have fun decorating a tree in all the things wine! This room is also basically a green house. And that is because it is a south facing room and the kids aren't really supposed to be playing in there so the plants are generally safe.... for now. Nera will soon be the next one I have to train to not play with my plant babies.... 

christmas decor tour: the playroom

Turning left from the foyer you'll enter into the most insane room of the house, the playroom. I've recovered a bit of this room from the kids since last Christmas, but it is still their room. Their little school desks are in there, the dress up station, and of course all the toys in their bins and assorted crafting supplies. It is what it is and someday I am sure when the room is cold and lacking life and noise and matchbox cars I'll miss it tremendously. So I call this room Santa's Workshop. Fitting with all the toys and such. It's also where I house my Santa every year since we got married collection. Quite a lot of them now! Normally they are all on top of the bookshelves but this year I sprinkled some throughout and I like it! All the Santas!

christmas decor tour: the foyer

I decorate super early. I do. And that's ok! And it's ok if you don't do it till after Thanksgiving or on Christmas Eve or not at all, I don't care! But for me? I like to get it done riiiiight after Halloween ends. It is no small feat, typically taking me 5-6 days to get it all up and everything. So it is worth it to me to stand against all the judgement because once December hits I can relax and just enjoy the holiday season. So. Anyways.... it brings me joy and every room in the house should have twinkle lights in my opinion. From now till March, at least.

Up first, the foyer! A lot has changed in how I decorate for Christmas over the years, including the addition last year of this gorgeous foyer tree! It's the only flocked one I have and I just love it. See also the bunch of trees up on the foyer ledge. I tried to keep my crazy hidden from my neighbors for a few days but once that ledge is decorated the Christmas cat is out of the bag....

trick-or-treat night

Our town always has trick-or-treat night on Halloween, school schedules be damned! But this year the weather was supposed to be quite nasty and so after much debate on social media and what I can only imagine multiple nasty phone calls to the township it was rescheduled for the following night, a Friday. Annnnd spoiler alert, the weather would have been nicer had it not been changed. Because Friday? It was so so cold. All the layers. 

Because of this change in schedule we also were missing my brother and  his family as they already had plans Friday. So missed they were! We had dinner as we do beforehand and then it was time for the donning of the costumes! When I think back to the first few Halloweens and then compare to now, wow! How much has changed! How much easier it is now and so much more enjoyable! I don't have to psychically dress each kid! As much as I lament the loss of babyhood there are some perks to be sure!

so what’s new with you?

October was like, the fastest month ever can we agree on that? Baseball and field hockey (well, one league and then we started another. And basketball here soon.... Letty is doing all the things) finished up last month and we have been slowly reclaiming life as we know it... with Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts and church and so on. So you know, still a lot.

a second grade field trip

Having two kids back-to-back in grades is starting to really throw me. Not to mention the weird parenting time warp thing and I'm all sorts of confused. Didn't I just have a field trip to Zoo America? Like, yesterday? It sure feels that way. And yet here I was, again, with a child, heading on that bus to Hershey.... to the zoo. 

Slightly different of course because instead of having a group of girls to watch I now have a group of boys. Only three, thank the heavens. And they are such good boys too so that helps. We had some time to kill before the nocturnal animal program... during which we wandered around and tried to stay as bundled as possible because goodness it was a bit nippy. The boys especially liked the spiders and snakes of course! What is not to love! 

The show was the same as last year, the skunk of course got huge squeals out of the kids. And then it was time for us to shiver and eat our packed lunches before heading home!

pumpkin carving night

Last week we all got together as an extended family for our annual pumpkin carving night! The kids act all cool like they actually do the carving and well, they don't. Except Letty, she went totally off the grid and made it up as she went. It sure helped too that my mother had emptied out all the pumpkins before hand for the kids. No messy hands for her grandchildren, no ma'am! David wanted to do a ghost but didn't want to touch a knife or a saw and Dominic wanted Jack from Nightmare Before Christmas because he is a boy obsessed but again, he didn't touch the knife. Another year in the books! And of course a whole lot of these photos are my sister-in-law's.

pumpkin glow painting

Every year since my brother and his family moved to Millersville we have been heading there to watch their annual Homecoming Parade. Last year Letty was with a friend because she is too cool for school and then this year lady friend had her final field hockey game. So. Us Olsens missed the parade boat. But we still were able to join for the second half of the festivities, mainly lots and lots of carbs and then pumpkin painting! Ashley got glow in the dark puffy paint this year and the kids just had the very best time!