The Shortlist : Our Favorite Christmas Movies

Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg… While we could ramble off a dozen holiday films, we’re sticking to the shortlist. None of these are really appropriate for kids unless they’re on holiday break from college. These are movies our family watches year after year, knows pretty much every word to, and yet still laughs at the same corny jokes. We force our husbands and boyfriends to watch and we don’t tolerate any criticism, especially when it comes to our absolute favorite, so let’s start there :

Mixed Nuts – A Christmas comedy that focuses on a small office of crisis hotline workers in LA. It’s one of those films where the entire thing takes place over the course of a single day. Starring Steve Martin, Rita Wilson, Madeline Kahn, Juliette Lewis, and Anthony LaPaglia with funny and skillful appearances by Liev Schreiber, Adam Sandler, and Rob Reiner this movie has a ton of talent. It’s super quirky and offbeat, but that’s what we love about it. You can watch it on Amazon.

The Family Stone – Is a *must* for our family because it mixes equal parts comedy with drama is a melancholy, we’re all gonna survive, but feel something sometimes sort of way. There are a ton of heavy hitters in this movie, so each character really holds their own, just a few are : Rachel McAdams, Claire Danes, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Diane Keaton and those are just the lead females. IMDB describes the plot as such : an uptight, conservative businesswoman accompanies her boyfriend to his eccentric and outgoing family’s annual Christmas celebration and finds that she’s a fish out of water in their free-spirited way of life. Totally true, but it’s more than that singular storyline. The Family Stone magnifies the intricacies of family life, especially when there are a bunch of siblings involved. I love this film and I think it does a fantastic job of giving a realistic view of life in a large family, especially when trying to introduce a new boy or girlfriend into the mix. You can watch it on Amazon.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – Another Christmas comedy with a few huge stars : Chevy ChaseBeverly D’Angelo, and wouldn’t you know it, Juliette Lewis as a younger, sassier character this time. I think the relatability of this movie is why everyone loves it, whether you can sympathize with the stress of hosting extended family for the holidays or decorating your roof with thousands of lights or potentially not receiving that holiday bonus you’ve already spent in your mind, you’ll be snorting while you sip your eggnog from your moose glass all evening. You can watch it on Amazon, but c’mon, you already have the DVD.

Bad Santa – Fuck, we love this movie. I googled it and apparently the word Fuck is said 159 times and Shit 73 times, but that’s not the only reason we’re a fan. Billy Bob Thorton’s acting is impeccable. I just learned that he was pretty trashed for filming to better play the part. We commend you Billy. I don’t think I need to say anymore, just fucking watch it, shit. Hooraaay! Bad Santa is on Netflix, but you can also watch it on Amazon. I heard the Director’s Cut is better, but I haven’t seen it yet.

Cheers!

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Gift Guide : Games for Preschoolers

Today we’re sharing some of our favorite games for preschoolers. I’m on a mission to start family or family+friends game nights in our house. It hasn’t happened yet, mainly because I’m (almost) all talk and no game (hah!). I haven’t invited anyone over, and I haven’t opened an adult game box in years. But behind the scenes, I’m cultivating a few young game-lovers and am slowly building my game-night momentum.

With a 4yo and 2yo in the house, we’re still slightly new to the kids’ game section. Fortunately, I think we’ve already found some great ones. Sometimes we play in the evenings as a family, and I love the together time. But the mom in me also loves that playing games can be used to reinforce other skills that they’re learning. Read on to see what I’m talking about.

games_for_preschoolers

This guide contains a few games that we’ve played and liked. If you’re looking for a last-minute gift for a 3-5 yo, I really don’t think you can go wrong with anything on our list. A few are card games, making them perfect stocking stuffers.

Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Welcome December

Near the beginning of each month we like to pause and take a look at what’s going on in the world around us. Over time, these posts have transformed into a little op-ed about what’s going on with us each month.

We’re only five days into December, and I feel like it’s been here for ever. It must be the Christmas invasion.

December can create such a mix of emotions in us. There’s the obvious joy and celebration of the holidays, but there’s also the hustle and bustle leading up to Christmas and New Years. There’s the cozy feeling of evenings in front of the fire, but also the pent up energy and angst from short days and not enough time spent outside.

P1220398

Just reading that probably gave someone the shivers. Sorry.

Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

DIY Christmas Crafts

This post was originally published in 2015, we’re re-posting it again today to give you a few ideas to jump-start your holiday crafting.

Today we’re rounding up past Christmas crafts. While Sarah was busy ordering gifts yesterday, I was finishing up the decorating. I love to get everything up as soon as possible so that there’s plenty of time to enjoy it (plus, I need the decorating out of the way so that I have every extra moment left to think about gift shopping!). If you’re taking your time and in need of decorations, we put together a list of past DIY projects that we made, love, and were excited to put out again this year.

This list provides a range of projects from those that can be finished in 30 minutes to others that may take a few hours, and the skill-level required varies from the simple to the more complex. In addition to decorating your house, some of these projects like the felt and cinnamon ornaments make great gift tags. What we have here is a little bit of something for everyone.

liveseasoned_w2015_stockings7_wm

liveseasoned_w2015_cinnamonornament4_wm

Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Gift Guide : Play Kitchen

We’re sharing a variety of themed gift guides this year. Check out Dinos in the KitchenHeard You Like Cats, Ice & Drink Pairings, and DIY Edible Gifts.

**Quick note – all of the items below include an additional 15% off coupon on Amazon, but we’re not sure how long it will last.**

Last Christmas the boys received a play kitchen, and it’s become one of the most-used toys in the house.

Kitchens are such a great toy for creative and make-believe play. Sometimes our boys are making us coffee and toast for breakfast. Other times they are serving me ice cream cones for an afternoon treat or acting as waiters and chefs in their own restaurant.
gift_guide_kids_kitchen

I love big ticket toys like this kitchen because it’s a themed toy that you can slowly can add to over time. For us, this meant buying a few items to play with Christmas morning, and then letting our family give them additional kitchen elements on Christmas and again at their birthday.

The slow giving method is also a great plan if you’re not sure about how much your kiddos will love the big toy. For us, the kitchen’s a winner, and we’ve been happy to buy them quality items for it.

~

Below is a list of the exact items in our play kitchen with info about why we like them. *Notice that our list contains more items than are pictured above. It’s all so good!

  • kitchen (pictured above) : this retro blue kitchen is the exact one we have. We picked it because of looks and also because it seemed to have slightly more storage than others (key for all of the awesome accessories below!). The one downside to this kitchen is that it comes with a million pieces and takes a billion hours to put together. Keep that in mind when on Christmas Eve and pour yourself a big glass of eggnog before starting.
  • broom & mop set (pictured above) : the boys love this set and use it often. Almost never for cleaning, but always for sweeping out the marbles that roll under the couch. Patting myself on the back for encouraging them to be self-reliant.
  • cut-apart fruit (pictured above) : our boys love cutting apart this fruit. We also have this cut-apart food set.
  • espresso machine (pictured above) : if your kids love to help make your morning coffee, then they will love this! And you’ll always be caffeinated.
  • mixer (pictured above) : so cute and comes with a few cake-baking accessories. Our kids are always mixing up mini dinos. #boys
  • toaster (pictured above) : comes with bread and butter. A complete meal!
  • ice cream (not pictured) : BUY THESE! Even if you don’t buy the kitchen, this set is so much fun. They ice cream, spoons, and cones are magnetic, creating a bit of magical fun and driving the kids crazy as the ice cream tumbles when they try to make a four-scoop cone.
  • cookies (not pictured) : so cute and creative. The only bummer is that the tray is too long to fit in the oven (they’re different brands). Our boys don’t seem to mind, but some might.
  • canned food (not pictured) : a great food filler for the fridge, and all of the cardboard cans can be opened again and again, letting them do double duty as little storage containers.
  • tea set (not pictured) : comes with cups, wooden tea bags, kettle, etc.
  • pots & pans (not pictured ) : all metal and awesome
Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Gift Guide : Ice Cubes

We’re sharing a variety of themed gift guides this year. Check out Dinos in the Kitchen, Heard You Like Cats, and DIY Edible Gifts.

 

I know, who gives ice? We don’t.

BUT we do like a clever ice cube in our drinks, and so, we have a few ice cube tray + drink pairings that are perfect for that last minute gift or that dad mom that really doesn’t need anything other than a good drink.
ice_cubesice shot glass : perfect for your nephew going off to college. You are the cool uncle after all. Maybe don’t include the alcohol with this gift. Just get some gatorade for the morning after.

buddha : looks wise sitting in a good whisky

gin and titonic : Why don’t I own these yet? Pair it with a good gin, obvs.

polar bear and penguins : pair them with Kahlua because these would look awesome floating on a White Russian.

diamonds : champagne with the suggestion to make OJ ice cubes for a classy mimosa

The awesome thing about many of these molds is that they could easily do double-duty for someone that likes to experiment in the kitchen. Imagine juice-colored jewels for a summer day, chocolate shot glasses filled with a dessert, chocolate buddhas with gold leaf… talking myself into a few trays right now.

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Gift Guide : Cats

This year we’re doing a few gift guides that blur the line between whimsical and practical. See our Dinos in the Kitchen guide for further evidence. But if prefer making over buying, check out our ideas for edible gifts.

Do you know someone who likes cats? We do. (like ’em and know ’em)

You know how when you know that someone likes a “thing” then sometimes whenever you see something with that “thing”, then you have the urge to get it for them? Hold back.

But just a little, because if that “thing” is cats, then we have a few gifts that are totally worth giving this year.

gift_guide_cats

cat umbrella : because sometimes it’s raining cats and dogs!

candle : this thing burns down to unveil a metal cat skeleton… not sure if you’re supposed to buy it for the cat lovers or haters?

cat ring : subtle bling

mug : perfect for so many reasons.

paperclips : a stocking stuffer that will make them smile when they return to that boring cubicle

I’m proud of this list because we tried to go for some of the more tasteful cat gifts out there. We spared you guys the cat sweaters (for your cat, not you, silly), but can’t make any promises about what’ll happen next year.

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

DIY Edible Gifts

Do you need a reminder that the holidays are right around the corner? We don’t! WE CAN’T WAIT. too much?

Today we’ve rounded up a few ideas that make perfect edible DIY gifts. There’s a range of options on this list, from nuts in solid and liquid form to citrus peels and marshmallow. Some take a bit more preparation than others (some are so easy you’ll have all of your teacher gifts done in an afternoon). But I may be a bit biased when I say that possibly the best gift on this list is the one that takes the longest to make.

And, as we all know, the best part about giving receiving an edible gift is that you don’t have to remember to put out that neon light up statue of Mt. Rushmore every time Aunt Peggy comes to visit. So get on with it.

~

Spiced Mixed Nuts : a truly perfect blend of sweet and spicy. These are super easy to make with basic ingredients (think nuts, honey, cayenne pepper). Just make sure you share more than you eat!

~

Hazelnut Liqueur : give this and you will be loved by all. Especially if you pass along a few key serving suggestions, such as mixing a shot into a cup of hot chocolate or a vanilla milkshake. BUT start making this one ASAP, because you need about three weeks of steeping time.

~

Marshmallows! : There are so many perks to making your own marshmallows. You can personalize the color and flavor. Cut them out with cute cookie cutter shapes. Pair them with hot co for a real treat. And we aren’t kidding when we claim that these are easy to make.

~

Candied Citrus Rinds : Again, another super easy treat. I added chocolate to these, but you can totally skip that. And as a bonus – we shared our orange marshmallows at the bottom of that post.

~

Use this post as an excuse to get a jump start on the eating, drinking, and merriment! xo

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Winter Break Snapshots

What a winter break we’ve had! We have one more day left tomorrow, and we’re going to do what we’ve been doing the past couple of weeks – spend it outside. It seems like we’ve really hit our stride this year when it comes to embracing the winter. Of course, it’s all about good clothes, a good spirit, and just doing it, but I’ll talk about that in another post. Today, I’m sharing just a glimpse of what we’ve been up to these past few weeks.

christmas_break2016

We started our break in Steamboat Springs, CO (one of our favorite ski towns in the state!). We arrived at the start of a snowstorm that lasted well into the next day and maybe the day after? I can’t remember. But we still had a great time skiing and snowshoeing all over the mountain.

On our third, and final, day in town, we visited Strawberry Park Hot Springs before driving home. We had been here once last winter, and it was just as magical as I remembered.

christmas_break2016_2 christmas_break2016_3 christmas_break2016_4 christmas_break2016_5

We arrived home the same day that Sarah and our family flew into town, and then every pitched in and helped us prepare to host a big party for C’s office. There was definitely a moment of “what are we doing?!” the night before, but in the end, the party was awesome, the food delicious, the company amazing, and the music pumping.
christmas_break2016_7

The party was followed by a day of rest and then it was off to the mountains to ride the Georgetown Loop Railroad with Santa! We did this last year and I was really excited to do it again. When you arrive at the station, there’s hot chocolate and roasted chestnuts to munch on. Then you board the train and start riding with the excitement of knowing that Santa’s going to come and sit with you to say hi. It’s such a nice way to visit Santa, because there are no lines – you just wait in your seat on the train until Santa gets to you, meanwhile, the train’s moving through the beautiful Colorado mountains.
christmas_break2016_10 christmas_break2016_11

Back in Boulder, we did more hiking. christmas_break2016_12

And snowball throwing. christmas_break2016_13 christmas_break2016_14

And then it was off to the mountains again for more skiing and snowshoeing!
christmas_break2016_23

Home for more hiking…christmas_break2016_24 christmas_break2016_25

And here we are, relaxing, making our list of resolutions, and preparing for one more day on the slopes before we’re back to a regularly scheduled week.

I hope your break was full of warmth, family, food, and all of that holiday magic. xo

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone