Monday, December 31, 2018

Christmas 2018 Recap

*This post contains affiliate links. When you click a link, it is no cost to you and I make a small commission (pennies) from it. Thank you for supporting Sparkles and Lattes.

On New Year's Eve, I thought I would recap our Christmas since I dedicated the end of last week to my little birthday girls. I will recap their birthday weekend on Wednesday.

I hope you have a safe and fun evening tonight....should you go out. We usually don't go out for New Year's Eve, but our old neighbors invited us to their NYE party again and it is parents night out!

I am going to rewind to Saturday before Christmas. Rory had a basketball game to go to, so once the girls got up from naps, we made sugar cookies for Santa. I used a recipe off of Pinterest and they were supposed to cook quickly, but they did not. We had to almost triple the cooking time. So between the cook time, cooling off and impatiently waiting in between to decorate cookies, the girls lost interest. Ha.
Christmas sugar cookies
 First batch in

Christmas sugar cookies
 Decorating batch #2

Christmas sugar cookies

Since we took so long to make cookies and clean up, we were able to meet Rory after the game for some Mexican food. We didn't do much else after, but I did admire our Christmas tree after the girls went to bed.
Christmas tree

Sunday was spent at the park to burn off some pent up energy for the girls. We went to my in-laws house for dinner and pre-Christmas festivities. On the way home, we stopped by the house around the corner to admire it one last time.
Christmas light display

Monday we had to work, so we dropped the girls off at my parents house. We only worked until 2:30 and then headed over to my parents house. It started raining really hard and didn't let up until later that night. We were hopeful for snow, but we didn't get any where we lived. Only in the mountains.

At 5 pm, we headed to my parents friends house for their annual Christmas Eve party where we had so much food, fun and chats.

 This wine was heated up in a crockpot and was soooo good.

We drove home and the girls were exhausted, but Avery was up for putting out carrots, milk, bourbon and cookies for Santa and his reindeer. Sutton was too tired, but still took a few photos.

After the girls went to bed, we brought out all of our presents since we can't put them out before or our dog will open them for us. Once everything was set, we watched some Christmas Story and headed to bed.

 Giuseppe's parting gift (Madeline's Rescue)

Christmas morning the girls slept in until almost 7:30. We started the fire and then had the girls come out to the living room. I got a cute video of them checking everything out and then running to the kitchen to see if Santa ate their cookies. And then we opened gifts. The girls couldn't get enough and wanted to open everything so quickly. Ha.

We opened so many gifts. Once we were done with the gifts and stockings, we baked our cinnamon rolls and fried up some sausage. Then I gave the girls a bath and they wanted to put on their new matching pjs with their dolls matching pjs.

Then they got dressed in their Christmas dresses, we snapped a cute photo and then went out to ride their new bikes. They had a bit of trouble figuring out the pedals and that they had to keep going forward in a circular motion to get them going, but once they got the hang of it, they did great.

The girls went down for a long nap while I prepped the roasted carrots and the homemade rolls. They got up about 15 minutes before family arrived. Once family got there, we had some appetizers, opened more presents and finished making dinner. We had ham, my FIL's special mustard sauce, scalloped potatoes, roasted glazed carrots and homemade rolls. Then we had the traditional chocolate yule cake for dessert.

 Our table isn't long enough anymore, so we had to use a card table and some old chairs to make enough room. I bought some new candles and gold leaf decor from West Elm to compliment the table.

 My parents, my in-laws and my family

chocolate yule log cake

After dessert, we sat around chatting for awhile and watched some Christmas Vacation. Everyone headed home around just before 9 pm. It was a crazy busy day, but such a good day with family.

How was your Christmas?
Friday, December 28, 2018

Happy Birthday Sutton and Avery!

Tomorrow is the girls 4th birthday. I still can't believe we are 4 years in, but here we are.

I remember the day of their birth like it was yesterday. The good, bad and the scary. It all started four years ago today. We spent the day relaxing, going to Target to finally get the items we needed for our hospital bags (we never got to pack said bags), went to dinner at a favorite Taiwanese place and then dessert over at my in-laws house. We had brownies and ice cream which I ate happily, but sat very uncomfortably.

By the time we got home, I felt like I did two days before and knew something wasn't right. Well after being stubborn and denying that I was in labor, we headed to the hospital. I came in at a 4 cm dilated and within about an hour, I was a 9 1/2. And at 2:37 am, the girls entered this world and forever changed our lives.

Dear Sutton

You are such a little fireball. That is why your nickname is bear cub. You have definitely been a little ferocious lady lately. But I know that your sweet little self is always peeking out.

You are my sweet little helper. I just love when you sing your clean up song and how helpful you are to your sister. If she needs something, you always help her find it. If she wants something that you have, you always share it with her. You are the sweetest, kindest and most caring little girl. I hope that never changes.

You have blossomed so much over the last year. You have found your voice. You love to dance and are excelling at ballet and tap. You love to sing. Snuggling and cuddling are your most favorite thing to do. You always want to cuddle just before bedtime. I love that.

You give the best hugs. You are full of sass. You love to explain things and remind us of what the day is to hold for you. You are adventurous. You love to go on walks and hikes. You love trying new things. You love riding your new bike. You love to go first and show your sister the way. You love to wear dresses. You love your sandals and would wear them in the snow if we let you. You love Walter something fierce. You love to swing. You love to go to the park. You love to go to Home Depot and Target. You love your shoes. You have the best smile. You love your family. You love to play dress up. You love to play pretend. And you love being a big girl.

You told me that you want to be Elsa and a princess when you grow up, but I have a feeling you might go into the medical field. Your passion for helping others and your fascination of doctors, leads me to believe you would make an amazing doctor or nurse. But whatever you chose to be, we will be right there supporting you.

Sutton, you came into the world quickly, but you have forever changed our world. I love you baby girl.

Dear Avery

You are my sassy girl. You usually chose your dad over me for cuddles and to carry you to bed, but sometimes you chose me and it makes my heart burst. But you are definitely a daddy's girl through and through.

This last year, you have really changed. You are very articulate and love to explain things. You love to learn and are definitely showing a passion for teaching.

You have the sweetest little voice. Especially when you sing to yourself in the car. You would rather hang out and play, than take hikes. You leave that up to your sister.

You love to tell the story of how you were born. You giggle the whole way through explaining how you were taking up too much room and were basically pushing Sutton out of me. You were just too cozy inside my belly and wanted to stay there...without your sister.

You have the loudest scream. You love to swing. You love spaghetti and chocolate. You would eat mac n cheese for every meal if I would let you. You love to play house. You are always hungry and ask me what we are having for dinner every day when we pick you up from school. You love to give the biggest hugs. You love being a mommy to your babies. You love your technology. You love to dance. You love to help everyone. You getting your nails painted. You love playing chase with your grandparents. You love to take charge. And you love being a girly girl.

Avery, I love your approach to life and the world. You are a no non-sense girl and fight for what you want. I love your goofy self and your silly smiles. I love you baby girl.

Girls, this last year has been full of fun, incredible adventures, sass, love, hope, wonder and excitement. I won't lie and say it has been all sunshine, but you two sure have made it an amazing year. I love watching you both grow and become little girls. You are no longer my tiny babies, even though I still call you my baby girls. I love when you tell me that you can do xyz when you get bigger. Girls, just take it one day at a time and enjoy being little.

Thank you for an incredible year and letting us experience everything again through your eyes. It is amazing how beautiful the world is. Especially with you girls in it.

I LOVE you both!

Have a great weekend!
Thursday, December 27, 2018

4 Year Old Birthday Interview

I can't believe my baby girls are 4. How is that even possible? I have seen interviews of your children at xyz age floating around and I thought I would do one for each of my girls.

Up first, Sutton since she was born first. Even if it was only by a few seconds.

How old are you? 4

What is your favorite thing to eat? Strawberries and cupcakes (but she rarely eats strawberries).

What is your favorite toy? Mickey phone.

Who is your best friend? Harper.

What is your favorite color? Pink.

What is your favorite thing about school? Playing.

What is your favorite book to read? Goodnight Moon.

What is your favorite animal? Dinosaur.

What is your favorite thing to do? Play with mommy and daddy. And Avery.

What is your favorite song? God's Plan (but she calls it Dog's Plan).

What is your favorite TV show? Mickey and the Roadsters.

What do you want to be when you grow up? Elsa.

And now Miss Avery.

How old are you? 4

What is your favorite thing to eat? Spaghetti.

What is your favorite toy? Giraffe (a stuffed toy she got for Halloween).

Who is your best friend? Abby (another twin at school).

What is your favorite color? Green.

What is your favorite thing about school? Playing with toys.

What is your favorite book to read? Night Night London.

What is your favorite animal? Giraffe.

What is your favorite thing to do? Play with Abby.

What is your favorite song? Sunshine in My Pocket (Justin Timberlake).

What is your favorite TV show? Mickey and the Roadsters.

What do you want to be when you grow up? Superhero.

It is amazing how alike and not alike the girls are getting. They did so good with their questionnaire and I didn't have to ask the questions several times or try to get their attention. 

I can't believe my baby girls will be 4 in a couple days.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas!

I am sure not many of you are reading here or anywhere today, but if you are....

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

I hope your Christmas is filled with cheer, love, amazing food, great chats, many hugs, smiles on your face and complete and utter happiness.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Eve and a Late What's Up Monday

*This post contains affiliate links. When you click a link, it is no cost to you and I make a small commission (pennies) from it. Thank you for supporting Sparkles and Lattes.

I missed the memo that What's Up Wednesday was last week, so I thought I would share it today....on a Monday and Christmas Eve. Ha. I am at work today, so I will be reading blogs, daydreaming of being off work, hoping we are getting off work early and getting excited for the upcoming festivities tonight and tomorrow.

What's Up Wednesday


Monday: We are going to a Christmas Eve party tonight, so we will be eating ALL.THE.THINGS. 

Tuesday: Merry Christmas! Rory and I are hosting Christmas dinner for our families. We will be eating ham with my FIL's special mustard, scalloped potatoes, honey glazed roasted carrots, rolls and pie. I hope to make a hot crab dip for an appetizer, but that is still undetermined.

Wednesday: We are having "Christmas" dinner at Rory's Aunts house. 

Thursday: Going out to dinner with my friend who is in town for the holidays.

Friday: Not Sure.

Saturday: It is the girls birthday, so it is their choice which I am sure it will be Pizza.


Our past Christmases and the time when my girls were born. In just a few short days (Saturday), my girls are turning 4 years old. How did that happen?

Here are some past Christmas...

2014 (having lunch with my friends who were in town for the holidays)






So my LL Bean Duck Boots arrived and I am sooooo happy with them. I caved and bought them as a present to myself and I couldn't be happier. 

I am also LOVING this holiday season. Sure it is stressful at times and the girls have been acting up lately (hello Sutton), but I love the house all cozy and decorated. I love the traditions that we are sharing with our girls. I love seeing Christmas through my girls eyes and just spending quality time with our families.


Well December has been interesting. We started the month off decorating our house, welcoming Giuseppe into our lives again (he's our elf). Rory and I went on a weekend getaway to Phoenix, AZ to watch the Wolf Pack play GCU. We have been checking off items from our bucket list like sending out Christmas cards, making gingerbread houses, crafting and Christmas light looking. We checked off others, but I will save that for another post.


Remembering to write 2019 on everything. The struggle is real. And taking down all of our Christmas decorations.


Welcoming the new year. Finishing planning my upcoming work trip.


Christmas, our Christmas Eve party, the New Year (new beginnings), my work trip.


So I am reading The Good Widow, and so far I really like it. I read a lot of it while I was on our weekend getaway, but not as much since then. In my free time, I have been watching all the Christmas movies that I can.

As for TV, pretty much anything Christmas. I have watched about 10 Hallmark movies and another 5 on Netflix plus the usual holiday favorites...Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, The Santa Clause, Home Alone, The Grinch, etc. I have also been watching Riverdale, Modern Family and Escape to Dannemore.


Christmas music.


Work clothes, sweaters, jeans and boots since I am cold all of the time.


Friday I don't have much planned, but Saturday is the girls birthday and the day is all about them. They are picking a place to go out to breakfast, followed by a trampoline/adventure park, followed by lunch at home and naps, followed by manis and pedis for the girls and I and then a dinner out with all of the family. Then we will do some presents and cake for dessert.


My work trip since I am going to two new places that I have never been to. And it is another foreign trip, so we will be having a tasty steak dinner when I get back....courtesy of me.


Nothing much.


Scratch off lottery tickets or a gift card to Sephora/J Crew/Amazon.
Friday, December 21, 2018

Friday Favorites and Happenings

*This post contains affiliate links. When you click a link, it is no cost to you and I make a small commission (pennies) from it. Thank you for supporting Sparkles and Lattes.

Can you believe that Christmas is just a few short days away? I seriously can't. Luckily, I finished all of my Christmas shopping last weekend because Target was a nightmare. I only had a few stocking stuffers left to get, but the lines were crazy, the people were mean and I was ready for a drink or three. This weekend, I only need to go to the grocery store for Christmas dinner fixings, things to make cookies, cinnamon rolls and any other meals we plan to make in the next week.

How much will you all be reading next week? I am gauging how many posts to post. I have one planned for Thursday which is an interview with my girls. I did a 4 year old interview with them this week and it is just the cutest. But I want to know if I should write a few posts for next week, or just let it be. I do have to work on Christmas Eve, so I know I will be reading that day and Thursday and Friday.

Onto Friday Favorites and Happenings.

ONE. When I was in Scottsdale, I happened to go into the Urban Outfitters store looking for a neon light for the girls room (this one to be exact) that I had seen online and I came across the coveted button up thermal. I decided to try it on since I had seen one on Amazon that I thought about getting. Well this one fit really well, was soft and I knew it was coming home with me. It was normally $44, but when I went to check out, they had 30% off their sweaters and cold weather gear and it was already on sale for $39, so I got it for $27.30. More than the Amazon one, but I know this one has great reviews on it.
JoJo Button Up Thermal

TWO. We checked off Christmas light looking off our Winter Bucket List last weekend. We went on Friday and Sunday. Friday was around a big neighborhood that has a yearly contest. Sunday night was about a 25 minute drive from our house. We saw three different huge light displays out there, but sadly, the one I drove out there for is not longer doing Christmas lights. That was a bummer. We also drive by some houses in our neighborhood nightly for the girls to look at those Christmas lights. I will be sad when all the Christmas decorations and lights are taken down.
Christmas light displays

Christmas light displays

Christmas light displays

Christmas light displays

Christmas light displays

Christmas light displays

THREE. So after hearing so many good things about Mario Badescu's Drying Lotion, I finally bit the bullet and bought some. For the last year or so, I have been getting small zits that just won't go away. I get extractions when I get a facial (so painful), I wash my face twice a day with a great cleanser, I try not to touch my face, and I try to manage the stress (as much as I can). But after hearing that about the drying lotion and how it zaps away your zits while you sleep, I had to give it a try. And so far it has been great. It is $17 per bottle, but I feel like it will last forever since you only use a tiny bit on the zit itself.

FOUR. I really wanted soup this week and was going to go to one of my go-to's, but Rory suggested we try a new one. I looked in my Pinterest board and decided to make the Minestrone Soup that I have had pinned for awhile. This recipe calls for bulgar which I had never heard of or used before, but it was a really good addition. Instead of pasta, use the bulgar. It gives a chewy texture and really adds to the dish. We loved the way it turned out and will definitely be making it again. Plus it is an instant pot (that is the one I have and it is on sale for $90 right now) meal.
Instant Pot Minestrone

FIVE. Last year, I shared my Cinnamon Rolls with you all. I wanted to share the post again seeing as I will be making them again this year, but this time we are making them at my parents house on Christmas Eve. The girls will be helping us and I am amping up the filling more this year.

homemade cinnamon rolls

I am linking up with April, A Little Bit of Everything, Meet @ the Barre and Cup of Tea.

Have a great weekend!