Monday, December 17, 2018

Christmas Ornament Blogger Exchange

*This post contains affiliate links. When you click a link, it is no cost to you and I make a small commission (pennies) from it. Thank you for supporting Sparkles and Lattes.

I participated in a Christmas ornament exchange this year. I did one last year as well. I love these exchanges because Christmas ornaments are a favorite of mine. I was paired up with Nichole. She doesn't have a blog, but is an avid reader of blogs. She also has twins, but boys and they are 17. So crazy how twin mamas were paired up. She even left me a sweet note about twins and how things get easier as they get older.

I sent her the cutest snowman 2018 ornament. She loves getting ornaments that have the year on them and this one fit the bill.
Hallmark Snowman Ornament

Nichole sent me a few goodies.

She got me a sweet card, candy canes, Hersey M&M's, a snowman frame and a wagon with snowy Christmas trees.

Frame Christmas Ornaments

I will definitely be putting a Christmas photo of my girls in this frame.

Wagon Christmas Ornament

How cute is this wagon? It reminds me of the wagon we pull the girls around in (Radio Flyer wagon).

Plus she sent me the fruity candy canes which are my favorite and I probably will take them to work and eat them there so I don't have to share. Ha.
Friday, December 14, 2018

Friday Favorites and Happenings

*This post is sponsored by Minted, but all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. When you click a link, it is no cost to you and I make a small commission (pennies) from it. Thank you for supporting Sparkles and Lattes.

I didn't have my act together at all this week. I had planned to have a post ready on Monday, but that never happened. I did manage to get one up on Wednesday where I shared our Christmas card (that I love so much) and today I managed to get another post up. It's not that I haven't had any ideas on things to write because I have had lots of things I want to write about, but I just have been soooo busy at work and then at home. Hopefully this weekend brings some down time for us.

ONE. I found the cutest Christmas sweater to wear to work and to our friends annual Christmas party. It is a "Ugly Christmas Sweater" but I love it so much. I LOVE National Lampoons Christmas Vacation and I wanted a sweater with one of the many sayings that I quote over and over. Things like "Shitter's Full" (but inappropriate for work and the party) or "Why is the carpet wet Todd?" "I don't know Margot". And then I found the one. It is the Griswold House all lit up. So I ordered it and I LOVE it.
Griswold Family Christmas Sweater

TWO. It is no secret that we love Hanna Andersson, but the prices are always so high. My MIL shops here for the girls often and their quality of clothing is great. So when there is a sale, I definitely buy them things. Right now, they have their PJs on sale for 40% off and if you order by December 19th, you will get your items before Christmas.

Anyways, HA has the best underwear. I know, random, but they do. We have bought the girls so many different pairs and these ones hold up the best. So you can see where I am going with this, but the girls are getting new undies from there (I got them at 30% off) for Christmas. These are the ones we got them.
Hanna Andersson Classic Undies

We also happened to snag them the cutest Velour Joggers. I not so secretly want a pair for myself. We got a pair of these pink ones and the navy ones. And they are on sale for $24.99 right now.
Hanna Andersson Velour Joggers

We also grabbed them these basic long sleeve tees which hold up so well with kids who are in school. I got them a couple colors. Right now they are buy one, get one.
Hanna Andersson Pima Long Sleeve Tee

THREE. So I finally started reading The Good Widow on my Arizona trip and so far it is really good. Thank you for the recommendation, Andrea!

FOUR. Last weekend, Rory and I had a weekend away to Phoenix, Arizona. It was so much fun. Since I once again didn't get a weekend update out, I thought I would share some photos and some of what we did. You may have seen some of them if you follow me on IG.
 I had to send a photo to the girls since they are obsessed with airplanes.

 Our view on our flight to Phoenix.

 Jerry Colangelo Classic (the reason why we went to Phoenix)

Phoenix artwork

 Tacos from La Santisima

 Old Town Scottsdale

 At a golf course in Scottsdale with Rory's family.

Gonzaga vs. Tennessee
 Gonzaga vs. Tennessee

Gonzaga vs. Tennessee

 GCU vs. Nevada (we are 10 - 0)

GCU vs. Nevada

GCU vs. Nevada

FIVE. Next week is our monthly Girl Chat link up and this months theme is Your Favorite Christmas Ornaments. I have yet to take photos of my ornaments, but I will be doing that this weekend when I have sunlight and free time. I hope you join us next Thursday.
Girl Chat link up

Girl Chat link up

Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Our 2018 Christmas Card with Minted

*This post is sponsored by Minted, but all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. When you click a link, it is no cost to you and I make a small commission (pennies) from it. Thank you for supporting Sparkles and Lattes.

So if you have followed me for awhile, then you know that one of my Fall Bucket List items was taking family photos. You would also know that sending out Christmas cards was part of my Winter Bucket List. I didn't think we were going to get our Christmas cards out this year since we took our photos later in November, but Heather and Minted came through for me.

While I don't have all of my photos ready to share with you all, I am going to share the process of choosing, creating, and perfecting your Christmas cards with Minted.

First, you go to Minted's website and chose the kind of card you would like. We picked the Christmas photo cards. Then you can browse all the options you would like and finally pick one. I chose two different ones, built them and then let Rory chose the final option.

I chose the Merry stacked because we love simple cards and this one stuck out to me.

Minted Christmas Cards

Once you chose your card, you can customize it. You will need to chose the size you would like. I chose 5" x 7". Then you will want to chose how many cards you would like (which changes the pricing). Next, you will chose the layout, greeting (Christmas), the color (I chose red), shape and then paper.

Click Personalize and you can upload your picture. I chose one of the first photos we took. Then you can change the wording. I chose to change mine from Happy Holidays to Merry Christmas.

Minted Christmas Cards

Once your card is to your liking, I would recommend saving it.

Minted Christmas Cards

Click Next and you can customize the back. I chose to keep it simple and went with white. I almost chose red, but opted to leave it white. You can also write what your family has been up to or a special message.

Minted Christmas Cards
 Click Next and you can customize the envelopes. I chose simple white envelopes, but chose to have Minted print all of my addresses for me. This will save me soooo much time. Plus they "design" an address that goes with your cards.

Minted Christmas Cards

Once you have chosen your address box, you can upload your addresses from a spreadsheet, use ones you have already uploaded or manually enter them. I keep my Christmas card list in a spreadsheet, so I just uploaded it with a few changes matching the requested columns.

Minted Christmas Cards

You will get to preview one of them once it is uploaded. Click Next and you can preview and add your design/card to the cart.

Minted Christmas Cards

If you want to speed things up, you can opt out of them sending you a sample Christmas card. Then simply checkout and wait for your beautiful cards to arrive.

Our 2018 Christmas Card 
Friday, December 7, 2018

Friday Favorites and Happenings

*This post contains affiliate links. When you click a link, it is no cost to you and I make a small commission (pennies) from it. Thank you for supporting Sparkles and Lattes.

I have been looking forward to this weekend for quite some time. We are having a weekend away from the girls, watching the Wolf Pack play Grand Canyon and Gonzaga play Tennessee, and several date nights! Basically a bunch of fun during one of the best times of the year. Don't worry, the girls and Walter are being well taken care of and we have so much planned for the rest of the month.

Onto Friday favorites and happenings.

ONE. A few weeks ago, I posted about my jean dilemma and not finding any that fit me right. Well, I tried the A&E jeans like my co-worker recommended and I love them. So far they are great. They have enough stretch in them, but they don't stretch out so much that I am constantly pulling them up. They come is a variety of colors and they don't have a bunch of distressing (can't where distressed jeans to work). I liked them so much that I bought another pair in a darker color while they were on sale last week.
AE Next Level Jegging

TWO. Since I didn't do a weekend update, I thought I would share some of my weekend here. First up, on Friday we went Christmas tree cutting. This was a lot of fun, but oh so cold. We picked up our tree tags and were told to go back down the mountain a bit and look around a place we normally hike at since it has snowed a lot the previous days. Well that was a bust, so we headed up to where we went last year which had about 8 inches to 2 feet of snow.

The girls hung out in the back of the truck with my MIL and Rory and I ventured out. We hiked around for an hour and didn't find anything. The problem was all the trees had so much snow on them that we had to knock it off and check out each tree. After we almost gave up, I went across the highway and found several trees. I brought Rory over to my favorites and we got our tree. Then Rory went with his dad over there and they got their tree too!!! 

The girls had fun hanging out and playing in the snow a bit.
Mt Rose mountain
 Mt Rose area

Mt Rose mountain

Christmas tree cutting

We checked off cutting down a Christmas tree off our bucket list.

The girls couldn't really help us go looking as they didn't have the proper boots. They outgrew their snow boots and they are not getting new ones until Christmas. Here are the boots that we got them.
LL Bean Kids Snow Boots

THREE. Friday evening, I headed out with my girlfriends which was sooo needed. I haven't seen these girls in months. We went to a new bar/restaurant, Rue Bourbon for some wine and small bites. We spent hours talking and catching up.

FOUR. When I came home, I had to get our Elf ready for his grand appearance the next day. I set up some powdered donuts, Snowman at Christmas book, holiday plates, Christmas socks, Rudolph bandaids, holiday hand sanitizer and Christmas pjs. 

elf on the shelf hiding places
 Where Giuseppe was hanging out

elf on the shelf welcome breakfast
 One set of gifts (most items are from Target dollar spot)

elf on the shelf welcome breakfast

elf on the shelf welcome breakfast

elf on the shelf welcome breakfast
Giuseppe's note

The girls loved coming out to see that Giuseppe came back and he brought them goodies and a breakfast. We did the powdered donuts which Sutton loved, but Avery only had one. Ha. Then Rory made a bigger breakfast to go with the donuts.

FIVE. Saturday we decorated our tree and finished putting up the rest of our decorations, so another item is checked off of our bucket list.

We also did the salt flour ornaments on Saturday evening which the girls loved. I had a hard time with the dough and it not sticking to everything, so we only got about 6 good ornaments out of it. That is fine though because we wanted to keep some and gift the others to grandparents and aunts/uncles. The girls painted them and then I put modge podge over them when they dried and put the ribbon on them to complete them.

SIX. Sunday we tried to see Santa at the same place we went last year, but the girls were not having it. They threw fits before we even walked in. We decided that this year isn't our year and we left. I wasn't going in with them acting like they were. I even tried to bribe them with getting their nails done, but they still didn't want to. Oh well. Maybe next year.

That evening, I went out (again) to celebrate my friend Heather's birthday. While I had a great time, the food was soooo pricey and the portions were crazy small. I woke up Monday morning very hungry. Ha. But the company was amazing.
 The birthday girl and I (and I am wearing my A&E jeans)

The birthday crew

Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Toddler Stocking Stuffer Ideas

*This post contains affiliate links. When you click a link, it is no cost to you and I make a small commission (pennies) from it. Thank you for supporting Sparkles and Lattes.

If you are like me, finding stocking stuffers is hard. Especially for kids. I don't want a bunch of "crap" around my house, but I want to find them all the little things that don't cost an arm and a leg. That is why I searched high and low a few days before Cyber Monday to pick out the things I wanted for the girls stockings. I have other items that are not listed here, but these are some that are my favorites (tried and true) and some that get great reviews and I hope the girls love just as much.
Toddler Stocking Stuffer Ideas

ONE. I wear cozy socks around the house all the time. Especially in winter. The girls always comment on my socks and how much they want a pair. Well I know they need gripper/non-slip ones since they tend to run on our tile floors, so I found these and hope the girls love them!

TWO. The girls are at an age where they need bigger kid utensils, but sometimes our "smaller" spoons and forks are just too big for them. I got them these forks and spoons in hope they are better. We used to use the plastic ones made from milk jugs, but they are getting older where they want to cut things themselves.

THREE. I have never had the water beads before, but we have played with them at stores and friends houses. I know the girls will love these and this bag is huge.

FOUR. After two 7ish hour drives with the girls over Thanksgiving, we realized they need more than just their kindles and babies in the car. These Melissa and Doug kits allow them to color with only water, so no mess. Sign me up.

FIVE. I have gotten several toothbrushes for the girls and these ones have worked out recently. They love pushing the button and brushing until it stops. We do have the electric ones, but the girls say they tickle, so we will wait to try those again (soon).

SIX. I feel like everyone has raved about Kinetic Sand lately, so I got my girls a bag of it.

SEVEN. If you have little princesses living with you than you know they always want their hair done. Since I can't go all out on their hair everyday (they take forever to wake up), these hair ties with bows will help their ponytails look even cuter and more princess like.
Monday, December 3, 2018

TBB Asks - Holiday Edition

It's time for another round of The Blended Blog Asks and this months theme is everything holidays. I love Christmas so much. From the cozy feeling to the decorations to the lite up tree, it is just amazing.
TBB Asks - Holiday Edition

1. Candy Canes? Yes or No? Yes. I really do love candy canes. From the peppermint ones to the fruit ones, I love them all.

2. Christmas morning early riser or sleep in? Growing up, I would be an early riser. Now I love to sleep in, but my kids don't really let me.

3. Did you shop on Black Friday? Yes or No? No. I hate shopping on Black Friday.

4. Christmas tree up in November? Yes or No? Yes. We always put it up the weekend after Thanksgiving.

5. Do you get Holiday ideas from Pinterest? Yes or No? Maybe Elf on the Shelf ideas, but otherwise no.

6. Christmas Glam or Ugly Sweater? For parties, I go with the ugly sweaters, but Christmas day, I usually dress up.

7. Stocking stuffers: wrapped or unwrapped? Both. I wrap some of them, but leave some of them unwrapped.

8. Traditional or modern Christmas songs? I love the traditional ones.

9. Fruitcake? Yes or No? NO!! So gross.

10. Is your Christmas shopping finished? Yes or No? No. I got a lot of it done on Cyber Monday, but we still need a few things, but not many.

11. Is there snow in December where you live? Most definitely!

12. Classic show: A Charlie Brown Christmas or Rudolph? Charlie Brown. I love them both, but I really do love the Charlie Brown Christmas.
Friday, November 30, 2018

Friday Favorites and Happenings

*This post contains affiliate links. When you click a link, it is no cost to you and I make a small commission (pennies) from it. Thank you for supporting Sparkles and Lattes.

Happy Friday all!!! And happy almost December!!! It has been snowing off and on the last two days and I am super excited about it. I hate driving in it, but it is just so beautiful. We have quite a bit on our agenda this weekend, or I do, and I couldn't be happier.

Onto Friday Favorites and Happenings.

ONE. We are going Christmas tree cutting today. We have been trying to figure out a time to cut down a tree and it feels like we have no time. So since we get off early on Fridays, we are meeting my in-laws and girls at the ranger station to purchase our tree tag and go out and find a tree!! I hope we find the best one!!!

TWO. While looking at Instagram stories a couple days ago, I came across a DIY Christmas ornaments that I made when I was child. Now I want to make them with my girls. They are the ones that you make, bake and decorate. They would also make the cutest little Christmas presents for family.

I wanted to share the recipe with you all in case you want to make them with your kids.


2 cups flour
1 cup salt


1. Add 1 cup of cold water to the flour and salt. Add it slowly and mix.
2. Once it is incorporated, knead your dough for 10 minutes.
3. Let the dough sit for 20 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
5. Roll out your dough and cut out your shapes using your favorite cookie cutters.
6. Poke a hole for a ribbon using a toothpick.
7. Bake for 2 hours.
8. Let them cool down and then decorate.

THREE. This is more of a PSA for people who have dachshunds or dachshund mixes. When we first got Walter, I bought him a gray sweater that we love. It has held up for 6 years, but he really needs a new one. We have bought him about 10 other sweaters over the years and none of them are good. They either unravel after the first wash, unravel after a few days of wear, rub against his legs or are just awful. I wanted to get Walter a new sweater this year and so I searched for sweaters for dachshunds. I found several websites, but decided on the one below. This isn't a sponsored or an affiliate link. I just want to share it with you all in case you have a weenie dog, a mix bread or a dog with a long body.
Dachshund Sweaters

FOUR. So Monday was Cyber Monday and I went a bit crazy. I bought a ton from Amazon, things from Uniqlo (the best heattech shirts for the girls), new Vans (the best shoes for toddlers since they last through anything), new undies from Hanna Andersson, and a few things from LL Bean for them. Wednesday our packages started arriving. I had 6 packages from Amazon outside my house when we pulled up. Can I just say thank you to Amazon for putting everything in their boxes because I don't want my girls seeing that they are getting new bikes with training wheels and those are huge boxes that I was hoping would be in a discreet Amazon box (they were!). 

But I feel like I need that Ring doorbell more now than ever because people suck and steal things. Luckily, all of my packages were there, but I just hope and pray each day that they are. We used to be able to send them to my work, but people abused that, so that is a no-go now. 

Anyways, do you want to see the things we got for the girls for gift inspiration? Since I mentioned the bikes above, I will share those with you right now.

FIVE. So we have been invited to another New Year's Eve party (the same one as last year) and I need a new outfit and your help. Which should I chose? Or do you have a suggestion?
Glimmer of Hope Sequin Top

So this top with a pair of skinny black pants that I already have from J Crew.

Or this top with my skinny black pants from J Crew.
Holiday Sequin Drape Top

Velvet pants and a sweater that I already have.

Or this dress from Leith. It is sparkly, longer (the reviews all say it is long which is good when you are 5'9"), and covers me up.
Leith Shine Dress

Have a great weekend!