Sunday, November 30, 2014

Holiday Room Tour

Harrison and Brooke are little Holiday lovers! I don't know if they feed off of me, or if they really enjoy all things festive so much all on their own. They loved looking at all the Halloween decorations. Motion sensitive decor was their absolute favorite. Cofins that make noise or candy bowls that grab your hand were their jam. Then the Christmas lights came out, and they became even more excited to visit the seasonal sections when we went to the store. 

We haven't decorated their room in previous years, but seeing their excitement over everything Christmas related made use decide we needed to. They helped pick out the majority of their items, and I of course provided a little guidance. They even helped decorate. "We decorating," became a favorite phrase during the week we put up decorations. The pom garland I made myself during nap time one day, and all the other sources are listed.

Dear Santa Signs ( Meijer, Available in Store)

Picture, Frame (Hobby Lobby, Available in Store)

Reindeer (Target, sold out online), Owl (Michael's, Available in Store), 
Penguin ( Meijer, Available in Store)

Joy Pillow, Merry and Bright Pillow (Target, Available in Store)

Felt Tree (Target last year, Similar here)

Tomorrow we start doing a book by the tree every night, and of course begin their Advent calendars. They have been having lots of fun playing with their felt tree and nativity scene. It's crazy to me that December 1st is already tomorrow. 25 days to fit as much holiday fun into our crazy schedules. Does anyone else decorate their kids' room? What about fun holiday activities or traditions? I love hearing how everyone else celebrates.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Small Business Saturday

This probably comes as no surprise to anyone, but I love shopping. I love going into a store and perusing what's available. I could spend hours in Von Maur if the kids would let me, but they don't. 30 minutes at Target is the best I can ask for these days. Since browsing in the store isn't an option, I do a lot of online shopping. My Amazon Prime membership definitely gets used to the fullest. The best kind of shopping is shopping a big sale. I will definitely be taking advantage of some online Black Friday sales.

As much as I love a good sale, I love supporting small business even more. Small Business Saturday is this weekend, and in honor of that I'm sharing a few small businesses with great products to consider for the loved ones on your Christmas list.

Dogs/Dog Owners

Obviously this one is close to my heart. I love when we get calls at work from people wanting to buy gift certificates for their family members pets. Finding a local daycare or pet sitting service and purchasing a gift certificate is a great gift for pets. If you live in Fort Wayne, Happy Dogs Daycare is a great place to check out. ;) Yes that was a shameless plug for my business.

A trip to their favorite groomer is also an awesome gift. Almost all grooming shops will be locally owned and operated. One of our favorite shops here is The Pink Poodle.

Another idea is to get a gift certificate with a pet photographer. Someone who specializes in working with animals. My favorite photog locally? Jen Moser with Paw Prints Pet Photography.

My favorite idea for dog owners is to buy them a month or two of yard clean up service. This is by far my favorite dog service. There are clean up services in every larger city, and most cleaners own and operate their business. We use Poop Happens, catchy huh?, and they are amazing. Our yard gets a full cleaning every Sunday and I don't have to spend time outside scooping poop, plus the dogs like having a clean yard. 

Local Fort Wayne Shops

Sweets So Geek has perfect stocking stuffers! Their chocolates are fabulous and adorable. Who wouldn't love a chocolate Millenium Falcon in their stocking?!

Hyde Brothers, Booksellers - Yes its super easy to find a book you're looking for on Amazon. Its so much fun though to spend time looking through a used book store and finding something special. They are a great place to find out of print books.

The Olive Twist has the most delicious infused oils. They are perfect for cooking with, or just serving with bread. They have a hop in Covington Plaza and are also frequently at the Fort Wayne Farmers Market. Their oils and vinegars would make a great gift for the ametur chef in your life, or someone who just loves food.

Symmetry - Whenever we have Indian for Sunday brunch, we wind up walking past Symmetry and I am always admiring what they have in their shop windows. They are a small boutique with with some gorgeous fashions. A great place to check out if your looking for a girl friend or that special lady in your life. Boys, take note.

Online Shops

Mary Kay - Every Mary Kay sales director is a small business owner. They have great makeup, body products, and skin care. Their botanical moisturizer is the only thing that keeps my skin from reaching lizard status during the winter. It's so good!

Ry and Rue Kids - They don't have a huge product line up, but what they do have is adorable. We just the woof shirt and paw print knee socks. I can't wait for Brooke to wear them. They will be offering 35% off starting tonight at 5pm and then a 30% discount after the initial discount period. Shop early!

Jameson Monroe - I can't speak highly enough about Chelsea's work. We have more of her bows than I can count. She is always a pleasure to work with and makes high quality products.

Jumping Jack Jack - I have not purchased from them before, but I will be making my first purchase from them tomorrow. I follow their shop on Instagram, and their shirts are so cute! The story of why they started their shop is heart warming. Definitely check them out!

I had every intention of putting together a much longer list than what I did, but sometimes life gets in the way. I am going to share a few links to other lists of great online shops. Most online stores have great sales starting tonight or tomorrow. Shop Small and Shop early!

Etsy Shops 1

Etsy Shops 2

Amber's Small Business List - Her list has some really great discount codes. Definitely worth checking out.

I want to take a minute to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! I am beyond thankful every day for everything I have been blessed with. My family, my health, my job, a roof over my head. The list could go on and on. I'm thankful to have a day to reflect, and celebrate all of the blessing I have in life. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

5 on Friday

TGIF!!! This week has been crazy for me. By the time 3pm rolls around today, I will have worked a 40+ hour work week and hired a new employee. I have been missing the kids like crazy, and am looking forward to a little down time with them. But for now, here's some friday randomness.

One - Every Friday my friends and I do #selfiefriday. We have a group chat on WhatsApp, and while we talk throughout the week, Friday is all about selfies. It all started with a selfie of the kids and I playing outside during the summer, and is now something I look forward to every week. Last week we all took coffee selfies. I can't wait to see what today brings.

Two - *NSYNC's Christmas album came out 12 years ago, and it's still one of my favorites. My Pandora Christmas station definitely plays a lot from this album. Yes it's boy band pop, but it also has a great jazzy feel to it. I've heard a couple other random Christmas songs of theirs from off of 'Now That's What I Call Christmas" albums, and I'm not a fan. But this album is the tits. #nsyncforlife

image enlargement

Three - I have been eyeing this dress for months. I almost bought it for a wedding I went to in September. I am already thinking summer and know that this dress would be perfect for my brother's upcoming nuptials next August. I'm hoping White House Black Market has a killer online Black Friday sale so I can score this dress at a great price. Because if they do, I will be checking my rehearsal dinner dress off the list way early.

Brussels Sprouts Gratin on Simply Recipes
Four - I still don't know for sure what I'm making to bring to Thanksgiving dinner. Considering it's less that a week away, I better make up my mind. While perusing Pinterest I came across this brussels sprouts gratin recipe, and my mouth started watering. Gruyere, pancetta, what's not to love?! I think this dish may make me love brussels sprouts again. Even if this doesn't make it to the Thanksgiving table, it will be making it to my dinner table very soon.

Five - Have you seen the Pitch Perfect 2 trailer yet? It just came out yesterday, and it has me so excited! It is set to come out May 15th, 2015, which just happens to be the day before the kids' 3rd birthday. I shall be celebrating their birthday a day early with a night out. I can't wait!!

I am linking up with these great ladies for a little dose of Friday fun. Stop by their blogs and check it out!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

H and B 2.5

I'd like to say I can't believe Harrison and Brooke are already two and a half, but I believe it. While the time has flown by, these two seem so grown up sometimes I have a hard time believing they're only two and a half. Sunday was the official day, so we of course celebrated with a mini photo shoot and cupcakes.

  • Weighs 33 lbs. and is 37.5" tall. Is wearing a size 8 shoe, 3T pants and 4T shirts.
  • Loves carrying her purse, wearing jewelry, and having clips in her hair.
  • Is constantly telling us she's a princess. Skirts, jewelry, and sparkly clothes equal princess in her mind. This may stem from her love of Cinderella.
  • Wants her blanket all the time. She has three blankets we rotate, and it doesn't matter which one she has, as long as she has one.
  • Also like to have all of her stuffed animals, pillows, and other belongings. Girl is a hoarder!!
  • Is always telling us she's really cold. She'll also tell us she's really hot too, right after she told us she was really cold. I'm not so sure she understands the concept.
  • Is potty trained except for naps and nighttime. We still have the occasional accident, but they are few and far between. She also wakes up dry at nap time most days.
  • Has become quite the picky eater. She's doing better recently with the promise of Halloween candy if she finishes her dinner. Most days it's a battle though. Unless we're eating Chipolte. Then she's ravenous.
  • Still loves picking out her own clothes. She even has an opinion on what socks and panties she wears.
  • Is constantly talking. Our favorite is when she tries to convince us something was our idea. B, "I play tablet." Me, "You want to play on your tablet?" B, "Ok."
  • Can count to 30. However she always skips 14, 16, and 21. If you ask her what comes after 13, 15, or 20 she knows the answer, but when counting they don't exist.
  • Knows the alphabet but forgets E and N every time she sings the song.
  • Understands that if she throws a fit she gets sent to her room. She will ask to go to her room and cry if she doesn't like whatever we are trying to get her to do, or not do.
  • Has all four 2 year molars.
  • Loves chapstick. Mainly my EOS that she gets all wet from her sloppy application. It's hilarious to watch her apply, but not so great when I put on chapstick covered in Brookie drool.
  • Has what we think is a nervous tic. She gulps in air and makes a "huhp" sound. Sometimes it's very frequent, and other times it will be weeks in between me noticing it.
  • Loves making faces. I often times catch her making faces in the mirror facing her car seat.

  • Weighs 35 lbs. and 39" tall. Is wearing a size 9W shoe, 3T pants and 4T shirt.
  • Would sit in his room and look at books quietly for hours.
  • Has definitely caught up to his sister in the vocabulary department. Watching and listening to him put sentences together makes me so happy, mainly because I can see how proud of himself he is.
  • Is a champion eater. He eats pretty much anything we put in front of him.
  • Still refuses to go to the bathroom on the toilet. He will hold it for hours, but won't go in the bathroom.
  • Is very emotional and throws tantrums often. When he gets upset he refuses to use his words and usually has to go to this room until he settles down.
  • Has his bottom 2 year molars.
  • Loves bossing around the dogs and helping put Jules in her crate. Hearing him tell Jules no or call her a bad dog makes me laugh inside. Trying to tell him not to yell at her while I'm dying to laugh isn't easy.
  • Loves calling our traffic signals while we're driving. He definitely understand the concept of stop lights.
  • Has been saying the same prayer every night for the last 4 months. "Thank you Jesus, mowers, diggers, amen." He also like to say he's tankful for completely random things like a fan or his toothbrush.
  • Is obsessed with vacuums, carpet cleaners, brooms, mops, etc. Not only his, but ones he sees in stores too.
  • Wants to snuggle all the time. He asks us to snuggle in his bed every night and nap time.
  • Is all about taking random pictures on my phone. If my phone disappears, chances are he has it and it taking pictures of the ceiling or his forehead.
  • Loves watching football.
  • Is very concerned about what his sister has. He wants the same as what she has, always.

They both
  • Know places we frequent and will point them out while we are driving. The car wash, bank, park, and grocery stores are most frequently noticed.
  • Love Target and know the bullseye. They pointed out a random Target that we drove by the other day. Brooke often times will clap when we pull into our usual Target parking lot.They know what's up!
  • Like to tell me they don't like coffee. They also say the same thing about beer. Forget the fact that they've never had either, and won't anytime soon.
  • Are still rear facing in their car seats. They don't seem to mind it, so we'll keep them rear facing as long as possible.

Time spent with you two is better than I could have ever imagined. You are both smart, funny, caring, and overall wonderful kids. Your dad and I love you beyond words. Happy two and a half, Brooke and Harrison!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Favorite Things Link Up - Christmas Wish List

Rob, I hope you're paying attention. This one goes out to you. ;) I'm joining some great ladies for a festively fun link up. Today I'm sharing some things I'd love for Santa to put under the tree for me. I'm also hoping to find a few good ideas from some other bloggers. So here it is, my list.

Tiny Tag Necklace. These necklaces are perfectly understated. I don't wear a lot of jewelry, so something simple and personalized like this is right up my alley.

NIKKOR 50mm Lens. I'm trying to get away from shooting in auto, and it's become quickly apparent that my kit lens is not so great. I'm hoping this one makes it into my stocking.

Starbucks Gift Card. To help feed my coffee addiction. Enough said.

Joules Navy Spot Wellies,. I have a pair of Hunters and love them, but I think these need to be in my closet. One of the main reasons I want them is so I can buy matching ones for the kids. How cute would Harry be in these?

Steve Madden Emojjii Boots. I have a couple pairs of black boots and would love some brown ones to wear too. I love the buckle detail and overall simplicity of these.

Sweater Socks. These look so comfy, my feet need to wear them. Maybe in all three colors.

Marc Jacobs Take Me Tote. I definitely don't need this purse. But what is a wish list without something you want but don't need? I saw this while walking through Von Maur the other day and was instantly drawn to it. I am a devoted Coach fan, but this MJ purse could make me switch brands.

Calphalon 8 Quart Multi Pot. My standard dutch oven isn't doing the trick anymore. When I make soup, most times its right to the brim of the pot and very often boils over. Time for an 8 quart.

Columbia Veloca Vixen Pants. I had a pair of Columbia snow pants I loved. They somehow got lost when we moved three years ago. Last winter I had to wear Aeropostale track pants from high school with UA compression leggings underneath every time I shoveled snow, which was a lot. This year I need some good snow pants, especially since it's already snowing!

I usually have a very hard time coming up with a Christmas Wish List. My parents have demanded lists from us since we were little, and still insist they get one every year by November 1st. With this in mind, I've been putting off buying a few things I need so I can have things to put on my list. I've needed a larger stock pot for months, but I've been holding off.

Want to join in on the fun? Click through to any of the blogs listed above and link up!

Monday, November 17, 2014


Another fun weekend is in the books. It was a busy weekend, mainly because it was my on call weekend with the dogs, but we also fit in a lot of fun around my work schedule. Be prepared for a lot of pictures. My phone camera was put to good use this weekend.

Friday morning the kids and I headed to Meijer for a grocery run. They were surprisingly good, and we managed to get everything we needed in under an hour. Right as we were checking out, I got a text from their Aunt Kim asking if we were free for lunch. We had a delightful impromptu lunch date that was filled with pizza, beer, and two toddlers who wouldn't sit still. I miss the days when they sat happily in their car seats snoozing while we lunched.

We took some killer afternoon naps, and by we I mean all three of us, and then headed into work. A couple hours of work, dinner, baths, and it was time to call it a night.

Since it was my on call weekend at the daycare, our usual donut and library date was on the agenda. They were so excited about their donuts, and then barely ate any. I helped eat what they didn't, and then we were off to play and find some new books.

After the library we went to Old Navy to make an exchange which turned into buying more clothes for the kiddos. They had winter coats 50% off, so I picked up this pea coat for Brooke. We made a quick stop by Hallmark for some wrapping paper, because I didn't need more, but it was on sale, and then hit up TJ Maxx where I was underwhelmed by their holiday decor. Our final stop was to pick up cupcakes for Sunday, and then it was home for lunch and naps.

Saturday evening we met Rob for the tree lighting ceremony at Jefferson Pointe. The kids got in some play time at the soft play area, and then it was off to see Santa ride in on his carriage. We got a brief glimpse of Santa and then watched the lighted tree show. After standing outside in the cold, we decided a hot chocolate and hot caramel from DeBrands were in order to close out the evening.

My boys. LOVE!

Sunday was a busy day for me, thanks to work, but a laid back day for everyone else. The kids asked for Cinderella first thing when they woke up, so waffles, berries, and Cinderella they had. We started decorating their room, which they thought was the best. We listened to Christmas music which led to dancing in their beds, and hung ornaments on their little tree. Brookie kept talking about how "we decorating," all day.

It started snowing just before nap time and continued all evening. I was hoping to do a mini photo shoot in the snow, but Harrison napped until it was pretty well dark, and neither of them were into the snow. They loved it from inside, but as soon as they were in it, forget about it. I still managed to snap a few pictures of each of them in the snow. Although they weren't happy about it.

They turned two and a half on Sunday, so CUPCAKES! Cupcakes after naps meant they didn't eat much dinner. I made veggie tacos along with carne asada for our TWD dinner. Those kids don't know what they missed out on. We did manage to convince them to eat a PB&J quesadilla before jumping in the tub. Of course once they were tucked in, we watched The Walking Dead. And that is how we finished our weekend. How was everyone else's weekend? Anything fun happen?

Today starts an interesting week for us. I am down an employee which means I'm working 40 hours plus interviewing to fill the open position. I am anticipating two weeks of craziness, and then hopefully things will be back to usual. And now I'm off to print resumes and get interview questions prepared. Happy Monday!!

Friday, November 14, 2014

5 on Friday

I seriously slacked off in the blogging department this week, but for good reason. See #1 below. I'm back today though, and teaming up with Darci, April, Christina + Natasha Five on Friday.

One - My laptop gave up on life Saturday. While I was ordering Christmas gifts on Amazon, it keep getting slower and slower and then wouldn't run any programs. After a couple days of fighting with it, I gave up and bought a new, inexpensive HP laptop. Getting used to the new Windows platform makes me feel old. Like eating dinner at Richard's restaurant at 4 in the afternoon old. I miss my old desktop and Start menu. 

I did have to take my old laptop in to have pictures and documents pulled from it. There are 17,005 picture on my old laptop. I think I can officially say I am a picture hoarder. 

Two - How cute are these buckets?! I found these at Pier 1 right before Brooke broke an ornament in the store. Oops! I'm not sure what I'll be using these for, but I'm sure we'll find something fun to fill them with. They also had an adorable reindeer bucket.

Three - It officially feels like winter here. We had light snow yesterday, and the temps won't be cracking 40 anytime soon. I love to wear fleece jackets and pullovers, and immediately snatched this one up when I saw it at Target. I love the high neck and tie detail. It comes in a few different colors and is on sale this week for only $15.99! I may only wear this and leggings for the next week.

Four - This shirt! If you follow me on Instagram (@jennpargeon) you probably already saw this shirt. I discovered Mave Designs through their Instagram page and fell in love. They still have a few kid sizes available and are taking pre-orders for adult sizes through tonight. Jump on it while you can!

Five - Today marks one year since we lost Layla. While I don't think about her everyday anymore, she is still on my mind quite often. Especially over the last few weeks. While the kids don't remember her, they know her in pictures. It tugs at my heart strings every time they point to a picture of her and say her name. This picture still hangs on the wall in the kids room. I've thought about taking it down since she's no longer with us, but I want them to always remember the sweet girl who loved them. And it gives me peace to see her smushy face. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

I Got 5 on It

So it's been a hot minute since I've done a Five on Friday post, but I am so excited about lots of things right now, so here we go.

Starbucks® 2014 Advent Calendar
Starbucks Dot and Holiday Collection - They knocked it out of the park this year. The silver star cold cup, red ribbon tumbler, and the red and chrome stacking mug will all be making their way to my doorstep soon. Their demi cups are so cute, I wish I drank espresso.

I procrastinated on purchasing their advent calendar last year and majorly regretted it. I ordered two of them this year and plan to add little notes with scripture to each tin. I think H and B will love opening a new tin each day. Of course they will, there's chocolate involved.

We love these Just One You winter sleep sets. We had been wearing every last inch out of their sets from last year. We finally had to give up when the buttons on Harry's barely closed a couple weeks ago. It was prefect timing though because the new ones came out a couple weeks ago too. Harrison has the seal print and Brooke will be rocking the deers. Mail day yesterday included their Christmas jams from Carter's and Osh Kosh, so we are rocking new jammies every night this week.

Target Holiday Decor - I am already in love, and I haven't even seen it all. What I have seen is great. I decided I am going to decorate the kids' room this year, so I picked up a few pillows to be our jumping off point. I can't wait to pull all the pieces together over the next few weeks.

I am a rather faithful La Croix drinker. It helped me drop my diet soda fix, and I am eternally grateful for the lack of Aspartame in my diet. On a recent Target trip, are you surprised ;), I found Simply Balanced Cucumber Mint sparkling water. For whatever reason, it wasn't with the other water, but on an end cap. It is definitely my new favorite beverage of choice. I haven't tried their other flavors, but this one is a home run.

It seems like everywhere is having big sales right now. Gap's friends and Family is this weekend. There's a Panty Party at Victoria's Secret. Pottery Barn Kid's friend tire sale is going on. Up to 50% off at Express.  My e-mail has been flooded with sale ads. It's a good weekend to do some shopping. Express is my favorite place to buy cardigans and sweaters. I've already purchased a few this fall, but I may just have to spring for this sequin beauty. If sequins, rhinestones, or glitter are involved, I'm in. Now my issue is deciding if I should get it in black or grey. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Etsy Favorites

I know that Thanksgiving is the next big holiday, and I'm super excited to stuff my face and give thanks for all I have, but I'm already getting excited for Christmas. It's hard not to. On our most recent trip to Target, we perused their holiday wares. When I got my hair cut yesterday, the salon already had up their decorations. I may even put up our tree a little early this year. One thing I am definitely getting on early this year is shopping.

I love shopping on Etsy, and want to support as many small business owners as I can this holiday season. I found quite a few great new shops and of course placed some orders from ones I already know and love. I know a lot of Etsy shops will stop taking Christmas orders by the middle of this month, so it was definitely time to get on it.

X-large Green glitter bow
Bub and Bug Studio - Kelly's bows and accessories are amazing! We have quite a few of her bows and clips, and we love them all. They are definitely our go to hair accessory. The shop is mostly closed right now, but there are a few holiday items still up for grabs. 

Metallic Polka Dot Headband-Baby/Girls White and Gold Metallic Polka Dot Bow with Black Glitter Headband
Charlie Cocos - I have been a long time admirer of Amber's accessories. Her bow, clips, and headbands are the cutest. We just purchased the snowman and penguin clips listed in her shop, and I can't wait for them to arrive!

Matching Twin Set, Later Alligator, In Awhile Crocodile, New Twin Outfits, Custom Baby Gift, Funny Baby Clothes Twin Bodysuit Set Twin Gifts
Babee Bees - This shop is a new find for me. I discovered their shop thanks to their adorable breed specific dog tees. "My best friend is a boxer," Super cute. While looking through their shop, I came across the shirts above. Santa will definitely be delivering these bad boys on Christmas morning.

MAGNETIC Rainbow Gradient Plush Alphabet Letters Toy - Made-To-Order
Margaux Makes - H and B got a letter and number set from Margaux's shop last year. They have held up well, and still get used on the regular. Quite often by adults spelling inappropriate things on the fridge. :) As much fun as we have with them, the kids have more. Whether is working on our letters, or pushing all the magnets to the floor just to make a mess, they love them.

Little Boy Messenger Bag in Charcoal and Gray FlyBoy Airplane Print
September Skye - Brooke got her first purse when she was just days old. Between her purse and my purse, Harrison has serious purse envy. I bought a pink and blue cat purse at Target for him, but I think he'll like this much better. I think an airplane messenger bag is right up his alley. and of course B is getting a messenger bag too. We have to keep things fair. There are lots of cute girl and boy designs in Debbie's shop.

Felt Counting Cupcake Number Match Activity/Handcrafted/Learning Tool/Educational/Numbers/Counting/Birthday/Holiday Gift
Garnished Girl - Karen has some very cute felt accessories in her shop, but what drew me in were her felt activities. We scooped up the cupcake set shown above as well as a letter train set. I think they'll love them, and I am definitely excited to get to play with them.

So there you have it, a round up of some of our old and new favorite Etsy shops. Any shops y'all recommend? We're always on the lookout for great small businesses to support. If anyone reading this in The Fort know of local shops, I'd love to hear those suggestions too. Just over 7 weeks until Christmas. Happy Shopping!