Monday, December 31, 2012

That's the good stuff

Have y'all heard The Good Stuff by Kenny Chesney? If not you should. Here's the video.

As you know we just got back from Jamaica. It was amazing. I will do a full write up on it later this week. But our time in Jamaica got me to thinking.

I thought about Christmas, how different this year was than any other before it. We are new parents this year, and Christmas is 100% better. It's no longer about us or presents. It's all about her. The look on her face when she opened her presents. The squeal that she gave out when she saw that she had gotten a Lambie. The good stuff.

I thought about how nice it was to get five days of pure family time. No internet. No interruptions. Just us. Life gets busy y'all, and those five days were magic. Full of the good stuff.

I thought about how blessed I am. Married to my best friend. A man that makes me laugh, challenges me to be better, always keeping me on my toes. I have had the most amazing nine months with my precious angel. Brooklyn Grace is the best, most perfect thing we have ever done. We have an amazing support system of friends and family. We have wonderful "things". A life full of the good stuff.

2013 is going to be another big year for us. Our daughter turns one. My husband really begins his new position at work. I'm going to be working on me {come back for that tomorrow}. Most importantly though 2013 is going to be about raw & honest "good stuff". No room for negativity, drama, or pain. Just the stuff that our lives should be made up of... l.o.v.e.

All ad spaces are currently 50% off with the code NEWYEAR


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Holiday Clean Up + Guest Post

Today is the last of my amazing guest bloggers! Christina is here to talk about holiday clean up, and lets be honest we can all appreciate new ideas with regards to organization. I swear every year I contemplate throwing stuff away. Yes I'm lazy, I admit it. Y'all enjoy this sweet girl!


Hey, readers! My name's Christina, and I blog over at Behind the Eyes of a Butterfly. The beautiful Brandi asked me to guest post while she's sunning with the Mister and kiddo in Jamaica. LUCKY GIRL!

I want to share some ideas that I have about Christmas Clean-Up! I know, I know, the holiday's barely over. BUT, if you're anything like me, you're already wondering WHAT in the WORLD you're going to do with all these decorations that you bought/crafted/stole from your mom/otherwise added to your collection this year and whether your husband will be a ear and bring those boxes back down to the basement, please & thanks!

Now I admit, in years past I haven't done a very good job at this:



...but this year, I've vowed to do better. Let me share my "plan of action":

DONATE. Anything that you haven't used in a few years, send it to Salvation Army. Yes, even if you think it's hideous - there are tons of bored old ladies shoppers scouring the thrift stores for Christmas knick knacks every year! (Note: DO NOT under any circumstances donate that string of lights that doesn't light. That's just cruel and unusual punishment. You have my permission to throw those away.)

LABEL, LABEL, LABEL. That way your husband doesn't waste time carrying a heavy box up the stairs that contains the Easter decorations. (Sorry, babe!) Also, it makes it a lot easier if you're only decorating one room at a time, have decided to use colored lights instead of white, etc.

YOU DON'T ALWAYS NEED THAT BUBBLE WRAP! Seriously, bubble wrap is kind of expensive. Don't buy it to wrap inexpensive/replaceable items - save it for the expensive/sentimental stuff. Also, you can get creative - last year, I wrapped my Dickens Village pieces in layers of fake snow that I used for the display.

MAKE IT FUN. That way, it doesn't seem like a chore! Put on your favorite Christmas movie for the last time of the season, pour yourself a glass or four of wine, and dance around while you pack everything up!

Hope that this helps you all! Feel free to post your own tips as well - I need all of the help I can get!



Friday, December 28, 2012

Friday Letters

Friday Letters people!


Dear Jamaica- I miss you already! Our time went by too fast. Dont worry though, we'll be back!
Dear guest bloggers- Y'all are seriously the best! Thank you so much for taking care of this little space of mine. I cant thank you enough!
Dear readers- I'm baaaack! Well almost. I'm probably traveling right now, so I'll be back for real on Monday.
Dear suitcases- Kinldy unpack yourself, clean yourself, and put yourself away. K? Thanks!


Holiday Traditions + Guest Blogger

Anna is another fabulous lady that I met through the iPad Mini Giveaway. I just loved getting a glipse into her little family's holiday traditions!


Hi!  I'm Anna and I blog over at The Things I'm Learning.  I'm a recent newlywed to my sweet husband, Kevin, and Anna Belle to our two adorable boys!  I'm looking forward to our first married Christmas!

When Brandi asked me to write about the holidays, I thought I'd share with you three holiday traditions.

1.  Christmas Cookies
Every year at Christmas, for as long as I can remember, my mom and I baked cookies.  We did it right, too.  We made homemade sugar cookies cut out in various Christmas shapes like snowmen, stars, and Christmas trees and we sprinkled sugar and sprinkles all over them.  This is a tradition I want to carry on for our boys and one we did last year.  This year, instead of making homemade dough, I'm taking the easy route with Betty Crocker's Sugar Cookie Mix.  I've used this before and it tastes as good as homemade, so why not simplify!  If you're feeling more ambitious than me, the link below takes you to a great sugar cookie recipe from Southern Living.

(Source: Southern Living.  Recipe here.)

2.  Christmas Stories
Another tradition my husband and I both grew up with is reading "The Christmas Story" and "Twas the Night Before Christmas" on Christmas Eve.  Growing up, we usually had a Christmas Eve service at our church and my parents would have friends over to eat dinner or dessert after it.  Once everyone left, it was time to read about Jesus' birth and St. Nick!  We celebrate Christmas with my husband's family on Christmas Eve, and much like when I was growing up, we go to the Christmas Eve service at our church before our Christmas celebration.  After dinner, we all go upstairs while we wait for Santa to come fill our stockings.  During the wait, Kevin's parents read each of these stories.  It's a fun tradition!

3.  Christmas Ornaments
I love getting out our Christmas ornaments each year.  And I love remembering where I got them.  Each year, we give the boys and each other special ornaments of things that have happened during the year.  I also love the sweet ornaments that the boys make at school.  Kaden made snowmen out of his hand print this year and K.C. made a wreath with his name in it. Some of our special ornaments are below.

I can't wait for the boys to open one of their ornaments for this year.  We got them each an "I love you to the moon and back" ornament.  It's something we say to them each day.  I bought ours in a local store, but found it online here.  

(Source: Shop Glitzy Glam)

I hope you and your families have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cara Box Reveal

This month I participated in the Cara Box Exchange from Kaitlyn over at Wifessionals! And I was so excited. If you dont know anything about the exchange you should head over to her blog to get the full details. It is so much fun!
This months theme was Sparkle! Jackie sent me my Cara Box, and boy did I get spoiled! She is so sweet and I definitely made a friend in this process! Here are some pictures of my goodies!

I got a hand painted ornament + mercury glass candle holder + stickers + snowflake ornaments + yummy chocolate {that I've already started eating} + the perfect pen for filling out customs paperwork on our trip. And she even sent BK a perfect purple headband! How sweet is that?

Thank you so much Jackie!

I sent a Cara Box over to Sara so head over to her blog to see what she got!


Holidays + Guest Blogger

How lucky am I to have met such beautiful bloggy friends? I have another one for you today. Samantha is a serious testament to being a strong wife! And I am so happy that she gets to spend the holidays with her husband and little boy this year!

Hello Brooklyn State of Mind readers! I'm Samantha and I blog over at Hooah and Hiccups. A big thank you to Brandi for letting me visit with all of you today!


 The holidays are a time for family, get togethers, and traditions. But what happens when you're away from your loved ones during this time? Not by choice, not somewhere luxurious, and not somewhere fun. My husband and I are no strangers to being apart; he's a soldier in the United States Army and you guessed it, I'm an Army wife. 

 This time last year, he was deployed to Afghanistan and I was 9 months pregnant. Neither of us had a very Merry Christmas but had no choice but to brave it with strength and optimism. This year, he's safely on the home front and we're taking full advantage of our time together. 

 It's also our son's 1st Christmas and this is all the more reason to make it jolly. So far, we've been unwrapping a Christmas book each night and reading it by the tree. We've seen Santa, taken a ride on The Polar Express, and made "mistletoes".


 We plan to bake Christmas cookies, decorate a gingerbread house, and see ice sculptures. You can't get much more Christmasy than that! 


 I've always loved the holidays but last year was really hard for the both of us. You don't realize how much someone enhances your life until they're not there to do it.

 This year, I encourage everyone to take a moment out of the chaos and just take it all in. The smell of cookies baking, or of the fresh Christmas tree. Children's laughter, Christmas carolers, the warmth of the fire.


 These things are great by themselves but what makes them better are the people around us and the ones we spend the holidays with.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Guest Post + A Super Yummy Recipe

I hope y'all had a fabulous Christmas yesterday! I know ours was amazing. BK even got to meet Rasta Santa! More on that later though. Today's guest post is courtesy of the fabulous Kaitlyn.  Not only is she beautiful and extremely kind, she was the mastermind behind the iPad Mini giveaway!
Hi! I'm Kaitlyn and you'll normally find me over at Wifessionals.

Brandi was kind enough to have me over here today, so I wanted to share with you one of my favorite NEW holiday traditions.

It's a recipe, and it is AMAZING!
This is the first year I am hosting Christmas & I plan to make these every year on Christmas morning.

If you make any of my breakfast recipes, make this.

I am not kidding - I had no words when I put this delicious pancake in my mouth.

I wanted to figure out a way to make these by using a pancake mix, instead of having a laundry list of ingredients.


There are three parts to this: The pancake, the swirl and the topping.

Don't be afraid, I made these in less than 20 minutes!

Ok, here we go:

1// Cinnamon Swirl

- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1/4 cup & 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Mix the ingredients together in a bowl.
Pour into a freezer Ziploc bag and seal.
Place in the refrigerator.

2// Pumpkin Pancakes

- Pancake mix/batter for 6-7 pancakes
- 1/3 cup pure pumpkin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Make enough pancake batter for 6-7 pancakes.
Follow the directions on the box.
To the batter, add the rest of the ingredients.
Remove the Cinnamon Swirl bag from the fridge.
Snip a small hole in a corner of the bag.
Spray a large skillet.
Heat over medium low heat.
Drop pancake batter in circles on the skillet.
When it starts to bubble (about 4 minutes), grab the Cinnamon Swirl mix.
The swirl mix should be thick like toothpaste - not runny.
Pushing the tip of the bag slightly into the pancake, swirl, starting from the outside and working in.
It will look like a cinnamon roll.
Flip the pancakes.
Cook 4 more minutes.

3// Cream Cheese Topping

- 1/4 cup salted butter
- 2 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
-  1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place butter and cream cheese in a bowl.
Microwave on low until butter is melted and cream cheese is soft.
Mix in the vanilla and powdered sugar.
Stir until smooth.

Take a pancake.
Smother it with the cream cheese topping.
Do not, under any circumstance, skip the cream cheese topping because you are lazy.

Welcome to heaven.



Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Holiday Traditions + Guest Blogger

Merry Christmas y'all! I hope today is perfect for yall! I have Jami sharing some of her family's holiday traditions. Be sure to check her out, I mean how good looking is this family?

Hi Ladies and Gents, My name is Jami and I blog over at Lulu Mom.
I am a wife a pretty fantastic guy who happens to be a daredevil and is a cop in Aurora, CO. My daughter is pretty fantastic and in the middle of inserting her opinion (which is opposite mine) at every chance she gets. Some how we manage to juggle a pretty crazy schedule and enjoy family time as we go. I'm so excited to be invited me over here to mingle with you lovely Brooklyn State of Mind readers.  I mean how awesome is B?  So I just know her readers are just as awesome!  If only we could magically end up in Jamaica with her... right?  Ok that might seem stalker...ish. So let's get down to business, shall we? I really tried to slow down and enjoy the holiday season. I was determined not to be consumed by my millions of To Do List Papers laying around everywhere. I've come up with some pretty great ideas.... if I don't say so myself.
Hot chocolate and christmas light hunting with Little Miss.
Decorating the Christmas Tree
Stuffed moose races with our "reindeer" moose.... don't ask.
Christmas dog collars as belts (hey the fit and their festive.. no judgement)
Baking delicious treats to take to friends.
Gingebread Recipe HERE
But this, this was the worst idea of all time!
Glitter ornaments with a 2 year old!
Note to self:  If I make a mess while doing something, then a 2 year old will turn it into a disaster. And hubby will come home from a long day and wonder what in the world you were thinking. So please learn from my mistakes. But if you do decide to do it, proceed at your own risk and use THIS!!!!
Basically this miracle product (that I found at Michaels) turns anything into a beautiful, sparkly mess!  Yep, I think I might go a little crazy and add some pizazz to water bottles, Starbuck's cups, iPhone cases.... oh the possibilities are endless.  (And not I'm sure you are wondering, "Was it really the 2 year old that made the mess?") So I hope that my not so brilliant toddler craft turns into a great craft idea for you, a grown adult, an adult who can contain their excitement around glitter. Well enjoy this piece of advice and pop by my little ol part of the internet here.  I'd love to have you!  :)


Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Traditions + Guest Post + Giveaway

Happy Christmas Eve y'all! Can you believe that tomorrow is the big day? Today I have the cutest guest blogger for y'all. I'm telling you, Ashley is as sweet as pie! And I've officially claimed her as my new bloggy BFF.

A little Christmas Tradition Chat + a Giveaway!
First of all, let me just say that Brandi is simply amazing and I’m so thankful she let me take over her blog today. I love reading about all the fun things that she does with BK and she just inspires me to be the best mom I can be….later when I actually have kiddos. I’m super jealous that she’s in Jamaica right now as you are reading this but I will try to keep you guys entertained for a little bit.

So who is this Ashley girl anyways? Well, I am a newlywed, hazel eyed, first grade teaching, Dr. Pepper drinking, beach lovin’, mid twenties blogger over at It Is What You Make It  I am from the south which will be evident a little later on in one of my pictures and I couldn’t love my job more than right now at this very moment.
But enough about me…Today I wanted to chat with you beautiful ladies about family traditions. Family traditions are what make Christmas so special to me and I’m sure most of you all as well.
My favorite tradition with my little family was our early Christmas gift. My mom would always let us open just one gift the night before Santa came. She would dig around under the tree and find one for my sister and one for me….surprise, surprise mine and Mandy’s gifts were always the same thing, but in different colors…. PAJAMAS!!! It was a Christmas miracle! We would put on our new jammies, make cookies with my dad, cut up some carrots for the reindeer, watch A Christmas Movie (yea…the one with that title) and then fall asleep awaiting Santa.
Christmas Eve night has always been spent over at my mom’s parent’s house. When we were little, my grandmother would order my sister, my little cousin Brittany, and I all matching dresses to wear to church….and we loved it. After church, we would come home to a huge buffet of the best food you could imagine. While we were sitting around the table, we would hear bells ringing and a faint “ho, ho, ho” so we would all go run outside and see Santa and a little red nose that we all just new was Rudolph (I mean obviously). Santa would bring us our big gifts and then “ride off in his sleigh”. Mysteriously, my granddad was just never around to see Santa…..
I love being able to look back and remember such special things that we did with my parents and am so thankful that they did that with us each year. As I look back, I can’t remember what I got each year, what I asked Santa for, or what was in my stocking, but I can always remember the nights of snuggling up on the couch in my new awesome jammies and watching that movie with my family.
Since you read about my whole Christmas childhood up there, I figured the least I could do was let you share your favorite tradition and have the chance to enter a
All you have to do is scroll down to the bottom of this post, type your favorite Christmas tradition in that little white comment box, and wa-la… you will be entered into the drawing that will end Friday December 28th. I will randomly select a winner from all of the awesome posts and you could be the lucky winner of a....

Want more than one chance to win?
Follow Brandi on Twitter: DreamingOfBK
Follow Ashley on Twitter: ashleyrobyn12
and then leave a comment for each!
I so appreciate you reading along and learning a little more about my favorite traditions. I think that as we all get older, we realize that even though at the time the gifts were what we looked forward to, now looking back, it was all about the family time and those special memories we were making. I hope you all have/had a great Christmas.  </ span>


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Traveling + Guest Post

We're traveling to paradise today! Wish us luck! And guest posting is the fabulous Kristyn with a super funny story for y'all! Enjoy!


Hi Brooklyn State of Mind Readers! My name is Kristyn and I blog over at Carolina Fireflies where I share all aspects of real life and real love of my southern life in North Carolina. I am so excited to be guest blogging today for Brandi! I think I speak for all of us when I say we are totally jealous she is spending Christmas in Jamaica! Since Brandi is traveling today, I thought it was only appropriate that I share my traveling advice based on my personal experience.

5 Tips to Help you Miss your Connecting Flight

1. Choose the shortest layout possible. 50 minutes or less is ideal. Leaving room for error is for un-fun people. This is an even better idea when you are flying across the Atlantic and there are only 2 flights a day, at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m, and you are trying to make the 10 p.m. connection.

2. Forget to take your flip flops off when you go through security. This will result in you running barefoot from one end of the airport to the other stepping on the same floor that thousands of people have walked on that day.

3. Leave your directionally challenged mom to deal with all the carry on bags as you run from one end of the airport to the other (remember, you are barefoot) to find out that your connection has already departed. You will then realize that your mom cannot find the gate and she has your cell phone because she has your carry on.

4. When the airport you are flying into has been closed and there are multiple flights waiting to take off, go stand-by on the flight that was supposed to take off first instead of your original flight. The flight that takes off first will need to go around the storm and the flight that takes off a little later (your original flight) will be able to take a more direct path because the storm has passed. Therefore, your original flight will arrive before the flight you are on and will be in the gate that the flight you are on is supposed to be in. This is perfect because even if you have arrived in time to make your connection, you will have to sit on the runway for 30 minutes while the plane you were originally on unloads.

You really want to make sure you miss this connection because there have been many cancelled and missed flights since the airport was closed earlier meaning all the hotels are booked and you will need to take an hour cab ride into the middle of nowhere with a creepy cab driver that doesn't know where he is going.

5. Always remember to stop and get your Starbucks. You have time. I promise.

If you arrive at your connection flight gate to find that boarding has ended and you realize that you actually wanted to make your connection flight after all, sitting at the gate sobbing until an airport employee asks you what is wrong will make the employee feel bad for you and call some other employees and reopen boarding for you so you can continue to sob as you board the plane to evil stares from the other passengers.

I hope these tips help you the next time you are flying! And I hope that you all hop on over to my blog, say hi and follow along! I love making new friends! Thanks Brandi for letting me guest post today! I hope you didn't follow any of my tips and have arrived safely in Jamaica


Saturday, December 22, 2012

TTFN ~ TA TA For Now

I've got a super shiny prize for the first person that can tell me where my post title is from. That's the funny thing about having babies, they completely infiltrate every aspect of your life and make their presence known even when you aren't consciously thinking of them. Like now, all I needed was something to put in that little box up top.


Anyways, I digress. Tomorrow morning, earlier than God intended for us to wake up {no really, pre-baby S and I frequently went to bed at this time}, my little family will be on our way to Jamaica. My logic behind the early flight was two things. A) We will arrive to our destination early enough to enjoy the whole day. And B) BK will sleep most of the flight. My baby is not an early riser y'all. We are rarely out of bed before 9:30am. So fingers crossed this goes as planned. If not i would greatly appreciate the blogging community pulling some strings to get me released from airport prison in time to enjoy my baby's first Christmas. Please & Thank You.


We will spend Christmas soaking up some sunshine, partaking in a few adult beverages (me and S not BK), but mostly just getting to truly enjoy our little family of three. No Internet, no family holiday hops, no interruptions. To say that I'm excited is a gross understatement. We might never come back! Ha. Only kidding Mom. No really, our view will resemble this

Only this is from one of our trips to Cancun, but you get the point. I don't think digital cameras were even around on my last trip to Jamaica.


Not to worry though... I have set you up with the most amazing guest bloggers! Seriously you'll love them! I mean who doesn't need a good read when the cocktails are no longer doing it & you've had all you can take of "family togetherness"? Please give them lots of love and be sure to check out their bloggy homes!


We're off to Jamaica! I'll be back next week.


Happy Christmas Y'all!


Friday, December 21, 2012

Friday Letters!

It's time for Friday Letters!


Dear brother- You get in town in t-minus 2 hours and I am so excited! I hope your flights when well.
Dear packing- Please do your own job. I have other things to get done. Also, talk to your friend "laundry".
Dear Jamaica- See you Sunday my friend. I would love a Bob Marley shot waiting for me!
Dear S & BK- I cannot wait for 5 days of just us time!
Dear body- please erase all of the cookies I ate this week, I have a bikini to fit in!
Dear blog readers- I'll miss yall next week, but I promise to be back in full swing the week of New Year! xoxo

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...