Merry Christmas!

Andrew with Santa

Andrew got to meet Santa for the first time this year. We took him to meet The Big Guy at A Real Bookstore in Fairview (thanks for the recommendation, Jamie!). This Santa is the real deal. He was awesome!

At first, Santa held Andrew so he couldn’t see who was holding him.

Andrew with Santa 1

Pretty soon, though, it dawned on Andrew that *someone* must be holding him if Mommy and Daddy were standing over there.

Andrew with Santa 2

It was at this point, he started to freak out.

Andrew with Santa Comic

But Santa gave him a candy cane and they were friends again.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas, filled with joy and happiness (and lots of presents from The Big Guy!)

Happy Holidays, y’all!

 

Don’t miss my recommendations for the best places to visit Santa in Dallas!

Visit Santa

Family New Year’s Eve Extravaganza at the Medieval Times Dallas Castle

Medieval Times Dallas

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know that one of my absolute favorite places is the Medieval Times Dallas castle. It sounds silly, but any time we have a special event come up, we head to the castle to watch the knights joust and eat with our hands.

A few years ago, we even celebrated Valentine’s Day at the castle and The Nerd was jealous of my seat on the throne.

I love it.

This year, Medieval Times Dallas is going all out to help families ring in the New Year. This is one of the only NYE events I’ve seen targeted specifically for families and children, so if you’re like us and have a little munchkin hanging around, you won’t want to miss this!

Medieval Times Dallas

Family New Year’s Eve Extravaganza at Medieval Times
4:30 pm Dec. 31 at the Dallas castle
Featuring Free Knight Training and Free Face Painting*
Every child will receive a Free Action Poster!

Adults are just $35.95 and Kids are $29.95. Tickets include admission to the castle, two-hour live show, and a four-course feast!

*There is limited spaces available for Knight Training. First come, first served for kids ages 5-12.

You can book tickets by calling 1-888-We-Joust or visiting MedievalTimes.com.

And be sure to LIKE the Medieval Times Dallas Facebook page — they always have lots of fun giveaways going on!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Medieval Times Dallas, and I received tickets to the show in exchange for writing it. All opinions are my own.

Easy Holiday Chocolate Chip Cookies

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The Christmas season is my absolute favorite time of year. I love holiday decorations, Christmas music, and the excuse to do lots and lots of baking — especially when the recipe is an easy one, like these holiday chocolate chip cookies.

While stocking up on baking essentials (you know, like candy canes and butter — lots and lots of butter), I found these Nestle Toll House Holiday Morsels and knew I had to make some holiday chocolate chip cookies.

These cookies are super-easy to make but still look fun and festive. They would be a great treat to serve at a holiday party or bring to a potluck!

Easy Holiday Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted From: My Recipes.com

Ingredients:
1 c butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour $
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 bag Nestle Toll House Holiday Morsels

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400-degrees F. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. Add in eggs and vanilla and mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to the wet mixture, stirring until dough is consistent. Stir in Holiday Morsels.

Drop by the spoonful onto a lined baking sheet and bake at 400-degrees F for 8-12 minutes, until bottom edges begin to turn golden brown. Cool for a few minutes, then transfer to wire baking racks to cool completely.

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Enjoy!

Don’t miss these yummy holiday cookie recipes!

Holiday Chocolate Chip Cookies Microwave Gingerbread Cookies Dear Santa Cookies Christmas Oreos Stained Glass Cookies Chocolate Peppermint Cookies Fruitcake Cookies Snickerdoodles Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cookies Image Map

 

Giving Back to Mission Arlington With Chevrolet #ChevyGivesBack

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Sometimes, it’s easy for the true meaning of the holiday season to be lost in the hustle and bustle of this time of year. But thanks to Chevrolet, my family had the AMAZING opportunity to donate some much-needed toys to Mission Arlington, a local organization who helps provide Christmas presents for families in need.

Buying Gifts at Toys R UsMission Arlington Christmas #ChevyGivesBack-001.jpgMission Arlington Christmas #ChevyGivesBack-005.jpg

We headed to Toys R Us to pick out some toys to donate, then loaded them into the back of the 2013 Chevy Equinox to deliver them to Mission Arlington.

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We met with Tillie Burgin, the executive director of Mission Arlington. Tillie and her family founded the organization, which provided gifts for 35,000 children last holiday season through their Christmas Store.

We were able to see the power of our donations as we stocked the shelves with the toys. Families gathered around as we unboxed some of our items, eager to see what we had brought. It was a very powerful moment for me.

Mission Arlington #ChevyGivesBack
I am so thankful we were able to start this tradition of giving while Andrew is young. It is a tradition I hope to continue for years to come, and I am thankful to Chevrolet for giving back to the local community.

How do strive to remember the “reason for the season?”

Disclaimer: Chevrolet provided me a gift card to purchase toys for donation to Mission Arlington and loaned me a 2013 Chevy Equinox for a week. All opinions and photos are my own.

Cypher Kids Club Augmented Reality Learning Cards #CBias #CypherKidsClub

Cypher Kids Club Augmented Reality Learning Cards #CypherKidsClub #CBias

Andrew’s favorite toy right now is our iPad, and I’m always looking for ways to help him engage and learn about the world using educational apps, like Cypher Kids Club. They have three apps for Apple devices that integrate with tangible cards to deliver a 3D learning experience for your child.

Read More…

How Braces Made Me Look Like a Nerd {Invisalign: 2 Million Smiles!}

Thank you Invisalign for sponsoring this post. Invisalign, a new alternative to braces, is celebrating 2 Million Smiles (2 million straightened smiles and counting!).

Growing up, I always hated my smile. I had a gap between my two front teeth that seemed to be a mile wide. I never felt confident. I never felt beautiful.

I know I’m not alone in my adolescent misgivings. Can you blame me for feeling that way, though? Looking back at photos of myself, I laugh. The hair! The missing teeth! That tutu!

In high school, I had the, err, opportunity to get braces. Don’t get me wrong — I’m grateful to my parents for spending, literally, thousands of dollars to correct my smile.

It was my freshman year, and I was the new girl in school. What else could boost my confidence and secure my place in the social hierarchy of a small town high school than to affix metal bars and glow-in-the-dark rubber bands to my teeth?

Really, what the braces did was alert everyone (myself included) to my uber-Nerd status.

It was the time of flannel shirts, shell necklaces and Backstreet Boys vs. *NSync arguments. Each visit to the orthodontist, I got to pick the color of my bands. Yeah! I remember trying to color coordinate my outfits to the bands.

Gosh, I really was a Nerd.

But then! I got to get the braces off, right before Junior Prom. I was in heaven, let me tell you. I could not wait to get those things off my teeth!

I was confident, strong and I felt beautiful. What a difference a smile makes!

After getting married and having a baby, I can tell you that my body has definitely changed, but one thing hasn’t — my smile. I am still confident, strong and I still occasionally feel beautiful.

A beautiful smile made the difference for me, and now, there is an easier way! Invisalign, a new alternative to braces, has launched their “2 Million Smiles” campaign, celebrating the fact that they have effectively straightened two million smiles and counting!

Invisalign uses a series of clear, removable aligners to gradually straighten teeth, without metal or wires. After detailed impressions are taken of the teeth, the company utilizes proprietary 3D computer imaging technology to map the patient’s complete treatment from start to finish. Patients wear each aligner for about two weeks. During this time, the aligners gradually move their teeth until they achieve the prescribed final position.

Nearly undetectable, Invisalign’s invisibility is still one of the most popular features; treatment is very inconspicuous, making it easier to “fit in” without calling attention to treatment.

You can read more about the advantage of Invisalign over braces and see for yourself!

I wish there had been this option for me when I got braces…Maybe my uber-Nerd status would have remained hidden for a bit longer. Eh…who am I kidding? I fly my Nerd flag proudly!

Disclaimer: For more information, please visit Invisalign. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

The Eiffel Tower At Night in Paris, France

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One of my favorite things to do while we were in Paris was walk around the city at night. The lights were beautiful and the city was quiet. And the Eiffel Tower at night — oh, it took my breath away.

Our second night in the city, we walked to the tower from our hotel. I’ll never forget seeing it lit up that way. It was pure magic.

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More Paris photos to come!



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