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DIY dehydrated fruit Christmas garland

I love the look of a dehydrated fruit garland, they make such gorgeous, minimalistic Christmas decor. So last week I played a little Michael Buble Christmas and made my own. It was super easy and fun!

You'll need:

Some citrus fruits - I chose oranges, grapefruits and lemons.
Cranberries
Bay leaves
Fishing line or twine
Needle

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven on lowest setting. I set mine to 200 degrees F.
2.) Slice citrus fruits thinly, about 1/4 inches thick.
3.) Place on an ungreased baking sheet.
4.) Bake in oven for 5-7 hours flipping each slice over every 2 hours or so.
5.) Let fruit cool
6.) Using a thin needle, thread the fruit, bay leaves and cranberries onto fishing line (I originally tried twine but I couldn't get the cranberries to thread) in whatever pattern you choose.
7.) Tie the ends and hang wherever you like!


Feel free to share your pictures of how yours came out!


My winter bucket list



Happy Friday and Happy December 1st!  Only 24 more sleeps til Christmas!

Today I'm feeling like baking some cookies, watching Christmas movies all day and drinking hot cocoa.  So in spirit of all things holidays I have put together a Winter Bucket List of things I'm looking forward to doing this year.


1.) Put up our tree
2.) Drive around and look at Christmas lights
3.) Take Maxwell to see Santa
4.) Bake Christmas cookies
5.) Play in the snow with Maxwell
6.) Drink homemade Baileys
7.) Make handprint ornaments
8.) Have a picnic on the living room floor by the fire
9.) Wear comfy pjs and watch Christmas movies all day
10.) Do something for a family in need
11.) Go skating
12.) Feed the reindeer
13.) Make a big comfy blanket
14.) Go snow tubing
15) Make gingerbread pancakes
16.) Read a book for fun
17.) Plan a fancy dinner to cook at home
18.) Organize all of my photos and make a photo album
19.) Do some meditation
20.) Have a wine night with friends

What are some things on your winter bucket list this year?






Asking for a friend



Ok really, partially I'm asking for me and I also want to get to know all of you a little better so here it goes:

1.)    Favorite book at the moment
2.)    Netflix series you're binging on right now
3.)    Favorite Christmas cookie
4.)    Best thing about being a mom
5.)    Hardest thing about being a mom
6.)    Biggest mom win
7.)    Favorite vacation
8.)    What's one item you splurge on?
9.)    Favorite place to buy clothes for your littles?
10.)  Favorite way to enjoy some me time

I will post my responses too. Can't wait to read all of yours.

Pumpkin cheesecake swirl cookie bars

Warm pumpkin swirled with creamy cheesecake, if you're looking for a last minute Thanksgiving dessert I got you covered friends! These cookie bars are super easy to make and are so festive for this time of the year. And your little helpers will enjoy helping too!

Ingredients

6 tablespoons of butter melted
1 3/4 cups of granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 can of pureed pumpkin
1 3/4 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
dash of pumpkin pie spice
1 8oz package of cream cheese

Directions

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2.) Grease a 13x9 casserole dish
3.) In a large mixing bowl mix together butter and 1 1/2 cups of sugar until smooth. Mix in pumpkin and 2 eggs.
4.) In a separate mixing bowl mix together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin pie spice. Mix into the large bowl containing pumpkin, sugar and butter mixture utnil there are no more clumps.
5.) Spread evenly into greased casserole dish.
6.) With an electric mixer or kitchen aid beat together cream cheese with 1 egg and 1/4 cup of sugar until creamy and smooth.
7.) With a teaspoon, drop dollops of cream cheese mixture on top of the pumpkin batter. Gently swirl with a butter knife.

8.) Bake in oven for 30 minutes then let cool before cutting and serving.


Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving! Pin this recipe for later with the image below


Minimalist Christmas Gift Guide for Her





As promised here is my Minimalist Christmas Gift Guide for her - for all the mamas, mother in laws, sisters, friends, and other special ladies in your life.

If you didn't already know, this year we're doing something a little different and focusing on minimalism in an effort to be more intentional.  If you didn't read my original post, you can check it out here.  We're following the something wants, needs, can wear and can read rule.

Below are some of my favorite things for her this holiday season.

(Check out my gift guide for kids)

(Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links where I will make a small commission. Thank you!)



1.) Amazon Echo dot - order takeout, play music, and voice control your home. Every multi-tasking mama needs this in her life.

2.) Cable knit throw blanket - curl up on the couch with this big comfy cableknit blanket

3.) Something Rae Dunn - because what woman doesn't love some Rae Dunn?

4.) These wine glasses - to keep her chardonnay perfectly chilled



1.) This hilarious but so true doormat - pretty much, no explanation needed.

2.) Ugg Slippers - lounge in style and keep those tootsies warm.

3.) Clarisonic facial cleansing brush - removes makeup, gently cleanses and softens to help keep that dewy complexion.

4.) Homesick candle - perfect for that family or friend that is long distance and needs a little reminder of home.




1.) Michael Kors crossbody bag -for the woman on the go.

2.) Flannel scarf - because no basic girl's wardrobe is complete without one.

3.) Kate Spade rose gold earrings - feminine, classic and simply elegant.

4.) Hunter boots - made for walking, puddles and snow are no match for these babies.




1.) Kindle Fire - read any book, magazine, or watch any movie at your fingertips.

2.) The Magnolia Story - because Chip + Jo =  #relationshipgoals

3.) Big Little Lies - drama, gossip and scandal galore. I watched the first season on HBO and can't wait for season 2!

4.) Dark Places - from the author of Gone Girl, another suspenseful pageturner.



If you liked the ideas on this list, you can pin this for later! Stay tuned for my gift guide for him. 




Minimalist Christmas Gifts for Kids of Every Age



As the holidays are quickly approaching, I am excited to release the first edition of my Minimalist Christmas gift guides.  One of the main reasons my husband and I decided to adopt this idea of minimalism this Christmas is to help cut down on clutter. (If you didn't see my original post on a minimalist Christmas you can read it here). In the one short year since we've brought home our baby dude man, our house has accumulated an unfathomable amount of toys and clothes, half of the things have gone unused.  It's no secret that staring at the piles and piles of stuff has contributed to my anxiety.  So in an attempt to help keep our home organized and be more intentional, this year when it comes to gifts we're abiding by the Rule of 4 - something wants, something needs, something to wear, and something to read.

Now I in no way want to be a fun-sucker or offend anyone, and I realize this may not be for everyone.  But in addition to helping cut down on "stuff", it's also important to my husband and I that we teach our son how to be more mindful and the real meaning of the holidays - getting together with family and friends, being grateful, and giving back.  

So here are some great gift ideas for the kids, all available on Amazon (because let's be real, I'm no Pinterest mom, I'm more of an Amazon Prime mom).

(Disclaimer: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com)




1.) Gears Gears Gears - I love this toy because it helps build fine motor skills as well as helping foster STEM.

2.) Mega blocks and table set- very easy to pack up and take on the go so your little one can create anything, anywhere.

3.) Water and Sand Table  -helps encourage outdoor play during the nicer weather months.

4.) Art set -because every kid needs colored pencils, watercolors, and crayons.





1.) Art easel - Inspire creativity in your budding artist

2.) Ezpz mat - It's a placemat and a plate that is super easy to clean and suctions to the table

3.) Montessori animal match -teaches kids their animals and allows them to compare similarities and differences.

4.) Melissa & Doug basic skills board -Let your little one explore how to dress this smiley bear with zippers, buttons and ties.



1.) Freshly Picked -ok so these are a little pricey but they're 100% leather, super soft, durable and will stay on your little one's feet.

2.) Northface fleece -lightweight and great for that in-between weather, and I love that the fabric doesn't pill.

3.) Skip hop backpack - let your kids carry their books and supplies in style with many cute creatures to choose from.

4.) Flannel pajamas - everyone needs a pair of flannel jammies and I love these from Burt's Bees. They're so soft and 100% organic.



1.) Melissa and Doug water wow - ok so it's not exactly a book but it teaches letters, numbers, and there's no clean-up.

2.) National Geographic Book of Why - very interactive and answers all those pressing questions inspiring conversation with your kiddos

3.) The Day the Crayons Quit - such a cute little story, you will never color the same way again.

4.) I Wish You More - this book brings tears to my eyes every time and it's one of my favorite books to read to my little Maxwell, everything you could wish for your child.


If you enjoyed this post and want to save this list for your future reference you can pin the image below. And be on the lookout for gift guides for her and him coming in the next few weeks!







A minimalist Christmas - how you can be more intentional this holiday season

I love the holidays, they are my most favorite time of year.  Some of my best childhood memories are from the holidays. Making cookies with my mom and the smell as they bake in the oven.  All of the family going to cut down our tree together. Listening to Christmas carols while we hang our ornaments on the tree. And of course Christmas shopping and wrapping all those gifts.

However, the holidays can also be stressful.  There's pressure to find the "perfect" gift for all your loved ones, keep up with family obligations and attend all those parties that sometimes it begins to feel more like a hassle than enjoyable.

This year I'm approaching the holidays with a new attitude. We're having a minimalist Christmas. You may have heard of the term "minimalism" - it means focusing on things that you value and getting rid of all the other "stuff".  And for me, this has become even more important as a mother and we start our own traditions with our son. When I think of the holidays, there's a lot of stuff - we stuff our faces and waistlines, we drop lots of dollars on stuff (decor, gifts, cards,) that sometimes we lose the true meaning.

Now I'm not saying we're going to go all "Christmas with the Kranks" and be Scrooge-like.  We're just going to be more mindful and intentional.

Here are some simple ways you can practice minimalism and enjoy the most this season has to offer:

1.) Mindful gift giving - The thought of inundating every room of my house with even more toys gives me so much anxiety, I'd rather step on a lego. This year we're going by the rule of 4 - something you want, something you need, something you can wear and something you can read.  Not only does this help avoid excess clutter but it also helps to be more mindful of the person we are buying for.  (Over the next few weeks I will be sharing some gift guides for your friends and family following this "Rule of 4" guideline)

2.) Focus on experiences - One of my favorite Christmas memories was when my parents, sisters and I went on a cruise for the holidays.  All of our friends thought we were crazy foregoing gifts and going on vacation during Christmas, but to be honest, we had the best time with each other as a family and we still talk about it to this day.  For us, the experience will last a lifetime and that is a true gift.  Find ways that you can have meaningful encounters with each other whether it be a Friendsgiving, getting the kids dressed in their jammies and driving around to look at Christmas lights or skipping gifts with your sisters and spending the day at the spa.

3.) If it stresses you out, nix it -  Dread sending out all those holiday cards? Procrastinating on baking cookies because you don't feel like doing a cookie swap this year? Don't feel like going to that annual Christmas Eve party? Skip it. No one says you have to do those things. Talk to your partner and your kids about the traditions you enjoy and you want to keep and those new things you want to do this year. Make a holiday bucket list.

4.) Give back - use the holidays as an opportunity to teach your kids the true meaning of the holidays - being grateful for all you have and giving back.  Volunteer at a local food pantry, help sponsor a family in need. These are experiences that will leave a lasting impression and show that this season is more than receiving gifts.

 I hope you enjoyed some of these ideas.  What are some ways your family is intentional this time of year?

Also stay tuned for my minimalist gift guides over the next few weeks!