the 2014 Christmas Card..

Hey all! Christmas is a week away, a week!! My son's first Christmas is happening soon and some ways I am looking forward to it and in some ways I want to put the brakes on life and say slow down. I don't have enough time to enjoy it all and soak in his precious first year. 

Our Christmas cards have arrived, were addressed and stamped but I did manage to take a few photos before they got mailed out. Courtesy of Cardstore (thank you again!), this is the Henning's Christmas card of 2014! Yup pumpkins in our Christmas card. It was the most recent family photo we seemed to have taken and we just didn't have time to go out and get professional photos done so iPhone photo from the pumpkin patch it had to be. 

One of the best features in my opinion that Cardstore offers when you are ordering your Christmas cards is having your return address printed on the envelopes for you. Yup, no having to rewrite your address over and over again or use up those labels. All I had to do when our cards arrived was stuff them in the envelope, address them to our friends and family, put a stamp on them and take them to the mailbox to be delivered promptly.

Have you gotten your Christmas cards out? Or are they still on your coffee table waiting to be addressed?


Its Cookie Time!

Usually I do a week long posts of Christmas cookies, 1 Christmas cookie for each day. Have you seen the price of butter lately? Ouch! So I am scaling back a bit and providing alternatives for food treats like spiced walnuts with cranberries (I'll be posting the recipe later this week) and chocolate truffles 4 to a box! A good Christmas cookie includes ingredients like chocolate, cranberries, orange, molasses and ginger. These cookies I am sharing with you today don't have all of those ingredients, just a few like chocolate, orange and cranberry. Doesn't that sound like a tasty combo?

Well they are, trust me I made them twice already. I packed some cookies for Sean when he left for a trip last week and then the next day, I was craving them so I made them again for myself :-) 
To make these delicious cookies, you need 1 cup softened butter, 1 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup white sugar, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 1/2 cup flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 3 cups rolled oats, 1 cup dried cranberries, 1 cup chocolate chips, zest from 1 orange.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease two cookie sheets.
In your mixing bowl, cream the butter. 

Add in both sugars. 

Then add in the egg and mix the ingredients. 

Add the vanilla extract and orange zest. 

 Now is time to add the dry ingredients. Add in the flour and baking soda then mix. Finally, add in the rolled oats, cranberries and chocolate. Mix the cookie dough thoroughly. 

Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto the cookie sheet, leaving about 2 inches between cookies because they will spread out a bit during baking. 

Bake cookies 10 minutes and not a minute longer! Remove cookies from the oven, let cool on a cooling rack then eat and enjoy!


Gifts for her Guide

Have you figured out what you are asking for for Christmas this year? Were you good enough to deserve presents? If you still don't know what to ask for, I collected some items I think you will want and any of these items are under $50, majority of them actually under $30. 
womens gift guide
Booties, who doesn't love booties and I have been eyeing these for a while now. Even checking about every Forever 21 near me just to see if they were on clearance. The good news is Forever 21 seems to indicate at least on their website they will be coming back in stock. Good news because I am a firm believer in having a black pair of booties and a brown pair!

A great cheek color is important when applying your make-up. It is just enough to give you a rosy glow but not give you clown cheeks. This Laura Mercier cheek melange would give that perfect rosy glow!

An on the go black tote is a necessity and this one from Nordstrom is just perfect to throw everything you need to as you run out the door for that date or coffee with a friend you are late for, shh I won't tell anyone.

A cream beanie is a cold weather clothing must-have, it just is, no debating that!

Do you have a chic jewelry box to hold your most precious jewels? This mosaic box from West Elm will replace that twirling ballerina childhood jewelry box you have.

Another tote? Yup, you can't never have too many and this red one from Nordstrom is such a stand out color! It is a must have for any purse or tote lover.

Lately, Caleb has been reaching for my earrings so that means it is time to wear studs at east until he becomes disinterested in my jewelry. These studs in a gorgeous color are a must have and will fit nicely inside that mosaic jewelry box.

You need a beanie in every neutral shade, you just do. So this black beanie is the next neutral you need and a cute pouf is a fun addition.


Baby Guide Gift

In a few weeks we will be celebrating Caleb's first Christmas and oh what a special time this is with a baby. I love discussing with Sean what traditions do we want to start with Caleb, do we want to tell him about Santa or will we teach him the REAL reason for the season starting now?
Anyways I pulled together a few gift ideas for babies from 9 months on up. 
All of these gifts are under $30!

gifts for babyPicking out toys for this gift guide was harder than I thought I admit. I do have my son in mind of course for this gift guide and he will be opening up a few of these gifts on Christmas morning. I guess the reason this gift guide was harder to pull together was knowing if these toys would actually be played with or used. Only time will tell, right?

A shape sorting cube is perfect to help a baby learn their shapes, with bright colors this toy will encourage creative play and try, try, try again to get the right shape in the right hole.

Caleb is crawling all around and pulling himself up and standing up all.day.long. If we blink we might miss the time between now and when he is officially walking. To encourage walking, this Sit to Stand Learning Walker will be perfect. The front of this walker is interactive and help encourage learning as well.

What kid doesn't like six feet's length of a tunnel to crawl through?  It can provide plenty of hours of fun!

Want your kid to be a one man band or at least play one instrument? Start them early with this Band in a Box. Macaras, a triangle, a drum and a clapper will keep your child entertained for hours.

Being handy with tools is an important skill to learn so start them early with this Learning Workbench. Watch as your kid pounds the nails with the hammer, paints with the roller brush or drills!

Every Christmas my parents have given me a puzzle so why not continue that tradition with Caleb? It is never too early to teach him how to fit a cow piece into its proper spot on the board plus you teach them all the farm animals with this Farm Wooden Chunky Puzzle.

Just 22 more days until Christmas and 21 more shopping days, better get started!!


Its December!

Wow November went by fast! Especially when you have to move by the end of the month, your husband is traveling a lot for work and then you have the Thanksgiving feast to cook along with whatever life decides to throw at you. Sometimes it can be a lot to take in. With Christmas in just a few weeks, it can be hard to slow down this time of year but sometimes that is what is truly needed. 

This time of year it can be easy to put up that perfect photo that shows a perfect family in their perfect clothes. The photo doesn't tell that just a few minutes later chocolate milk was spilled all over the carpeting or the cat started eating the Christmas presents under the tree. Sometimes the not so perfect photos make the best photos and those photos have the opportunity to win you a great prize package from Cardstore

Want $1,500 towards a holiday trip, a Nikon CoolPix camera and free Christmas cards to mail out to all your friends and family? Grab that not so perfect photo like the kid screaming like sitting on Santa's lap or your dog in the most ridiculous I can't believe you put me in this Santa costume face and enter it into their Candid Christmas Cards Contest. Hurry! You only have until December 3 (12/3) to enter!

Want to see my entry? Let's just say someone is a bit too excited for Christmas...
Originally we were going to use this photo for our Christmas card 3 Christmases ago but then I noticed a little ahem sticking out on Kip. 
Yup thats my dog and something that has been fixed since he has been fixed :-)

If sharing this contest or your photo on social media, use #MyChristmasStory to encourage friends to vote for your contest entry or if you know someone with a hilarious candid Christmas photo tell them to entry!
Remember you only have until TOMORROW to enter the contest!
Happy December friends!


Colgate Enamel Health toothpaste for healthy enamel!

“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Colgate. I 
received a product sample for this review and a promotional item to thank me for 

This time of year is when plenty of photos are taken whether unwrapping presents on Christmas morning or hanging out with family and someone decides to capture the moment. Therefore, you want to make sure your smile is in tip top shape! How can you help that smile of yours stay healthy and white? With Colgate Enamel Health toothpaste, which will help protect that precious enamel to provide a longer lasting smile. 

I have been using Colgate Enamel Health whitening toothpaste for about a month now and I can definitely tell a difference in the smoothness of my enamel. You know that glide your tongue over your teeth smooth after you get up from a cleaning at the dentist's office, yup it is that glide over the teeth smoothness that I am loving with this toothpaste. Knowing that I am brushing my teeth with a toothpaste that is replenishing and protecting my enamel boosts the confidence I have in my smile. 

There is so much to smile about in life and having healthy teeth makes it easier to smile!
Having a confident smile will help you smile more, encourage you to maintain the health of your smile and wear a great bold lip color for that New Years party coming up in a few weeks. 

Whose smile brings you the most joy? Whose smile do you look forward to every day? There is no denying that Caleb's smile literally lights up my day every single day. When I am feeling down for whatever reason, his smile has the ability to brighten that depressive mood and help me to remember to just smile. 

How about who will you share a smile with today? Your barista in the early hours of the morning before work? The cashier at your local Target while they ring up your purchases? How about your children or significant other? A smile can tell them thank you or I love you or show them you care about what is going on in their day. While you are smiling at them, keep their enamel healthy too by putting some Colgate Enamel Health toothpaste on their toothbrush and tell them to brush in the morning and at night!


Gingerbreadman Cookies in a Time Crunch!

It is that time of year again when the smells of gingerbread wafts through kitchen. Time right now doesn't allow me to roll out dough, cut it out then decorate those yummy men of molasses and ginger. So I did the next best thing, ginger molasses cookies. Just mix the ingredients to make the dough, roll the dough into balls then into white sugar then bake for 10 minutes. You get the taste of gingerbread men but saving TONS of time. 
So grab your ingredients and lets make the cookie thereby accomplishing two tasks, making your house smell absolutely delish and giving you and your family a sweet treat!
To make the cookies, you need 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup molasses, 2 cups flour, 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon ginger and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. 
*The original recipe calls for double of all the ingredients. I halved the recipe and it made plenty of cookies.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In your mixing bowl, cream the butter. 

(yup I just gave you two photos of butter!)

Add in the brown and white sugar then mix the ingredients. 

Add in the molasses and egg. 

Now you add in the dry ingredients, the flour, baking soda, ginger and cinnamon. 

Once the cookie dough is completely mixed, roll the dough into balls then roll them around in white sugar then place on the cookie sheet. 

Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. 
Enjoy the cookies by themselves or with a mug of hot chocolate! You deserve it, you saved some time by making these cookies instead of the traditional gingerbread men but still get the same great taste!