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Cupcakes n Crunches

Kit Life Giveaway + An Official Hashtag

Posted by on Jan 9, 2017 in Books, Girly Things, Giveaway | 17 comments

Good morning and happy Monday to you! I hope you’re checking in today after a restful weekend. We got snowed in, which hijacked plans I had to go to Florida for a quick trip, but we made the most of the cozy weekend at home and enjoyed our first Georgia snowfall.

Last week I shared some of my personal goals for 2017. Today, I’m popping in to share one of the tools I’m using to help me stay on track with my goals!

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, then you’ve probably read about my love for a good ole’ school planner. I know in today’s world, everyone keeps their life on their digital device but I still cling to my paper calendar because I love the joy that fills my soul when I physically cross something off my to-do list. I also feel like writing tasks and appointments down by hand helps me commit them to memory. And I just don’t trust technology. The other day I accidentally deleted a note from my i-phone. Suddenly, there was a “whoosh” and it was gone and I was freaking out because I couldn’t figure out how to get it back (I’ll fast forward to the ending of that dramatic story for you: I never did figure out how to get it back).

This year I am using the Kit Life Crown Planner to keep track of my daily to-do lists, appointments, reminders, birthdays, vacations and goals. I’m already in love with this planner and we aren’t even half way through January yet!

I initially fell in love with the Kit Life Planner because the cover was beautiful. That’s right. I judged a book by it’s cover. Don’t act like you’ve never done it.

But upon opening it and diving into it’s pages, I realized this planner was even more beautiful on the inside. This calendar is designed for the girl who wants the ‘big picture’ to guide her life, rather than being driven by random daily to-do lists.

Every 3 months, there is a quarterly check-in page. This page makes you stop and think about not only where you are in relation to your big picture goals, but also what your intentions are for the next quarter. It allows you to pause and rejoice over what you’ve accomplished and also refocus on the areas that need some extra TLC. It also has a space for personal inventory, which I think is so great. You can jot down the current details of your weight, sleep, overall health, etc. I wrote all these things down on the last day of 2016 and while I was content with my weight and activity levels, I made sure to note that my sleep patterns have been atrocious, causing me to feel less than healthy. Something about actually writing that down made me realize that I’ve got to make my sleep a priority. As a result, I decided to commit to reading a book each night before bed (instead of working on my laptop in bed). I’ve already seen a drastic improvement in my sleep + I get the bonus of quality reading time, which is another goal I have in my planner – to read more books this year (I know, how cliche of me).

As far as the actual day-to-day pages go, my favorite feature is “The Big 3” box. I’m not entirely sure what the purpose of this box is, but I have personally made it my space for writing down the 3 most important things of the day – and those ‘things’ aren’t necessarily tangible tasks. For me, they are usually the things that can’t be quickly checked off, but rather thoughts I want to keep in mind as I navigate my day. So for example, one day last week I just wrote “Embrace my children” I wanted to be sure that as I went about doing laundry, responding to e-mails and paying bills that I consistently took a break to embrace my kids in the crazy, loud and messy stage they are in. Another day I wrote “Lower my expectations of this world” and that worked out nicely since that was the day I took Atlas to the dentist to find out he’s got some cavities. When I looked back at my calendar to schedule his follow up appointment, I was reminded that this world isn’t supposed to be perfect and free from trouble and pain.

The other section I love is the “Gratitude” box found on each day. I’ve been writing down 2-3 things I’m thankful for before bed in the evening. I find that it’s a positive way to end a productive day (or not-so-productive day…because let’s be honest – those unproductive days are common during this season of motherhood). This tiny section has big implications for me because it reminds me daily that I am balancing so many blessings. Whether I am running a sick child to the doctor or I’m drowning in laundry (or both), I can always find something to be grateful for. I am constantly muttering the phrase ‘balancing blessings’ under my breath as I go about my day because it helps keep my stress in perspective. Because I say it so much around my house, I’m going to start saying it on social media too. I’m going to be using the #balancingblessings this year and if you like it, feel free to use it too! I’m declaring that the official hashtag of Cupcakes n Crunches. Wait, can Cupcakes n Crunches have an official hashtag? Please say yes! Don’t crush my dorky dreams.

Anyways, other cool features included in Kit Life Planners are:

  • The Peek at the Week: This allows you to see an overview of your week ahead – I like to think of it as my ‘bird’s eye view.’
  • The Wellness Box: This is where I write my daily workout goals and dinner menu. This is also where I’m reminded that I don’t drink enough water each day (8 glasses is a lot, ya’ll). I seriously find myself chugging water at night now just so I can cross those dang water glasses off my day.
  • Monthly Page: This page appears at the beginning of each month and is filled with fitness tips and fun facts about the specific month ahead.

There are a few more features that I love, but this post is getting lengthy so I’ll wrap it up and get to the good part!

GIVEAWAY

YOU have a chance to win a Kit Life planner of your own! One lucky girl will win a Kit Life Classic planner this week on my blog. If you crave organization and you are hoping to live 2017 with more focus and intention, then this giveaway is totally for you!

To enter the giveaway you just have to:

  • Follow me (AshleyMarieAndrews) AND Kit Life (KitLifePlanners) on Instagram
  • Like the picture on my IG associated with this giveaway AND leave a comment on this post telling me a goal you have for 2017!

That’s it! Easy Peasy!

*For a BONUS entry, you can comment on my IG post associated with this giveaway by tagging a girlfriend! Every girlfriend tagged counts as an extra entry!*

The giveaway closes on Thursday night at 9pm and I will announce the winner in Friday’s blog post, so be sure to enter by Thursday night!

I owe a HUGE thank-you to the sweet girls at Kit Life for partnering with me to bring you this awesome giveaway! I love sharing my favorite products with you guys and not only do I adore my Kit Life planner, but I also believe in the company’s mission and I love the girls behind the brand. I’m so honored to get to partner with them to share the love! 🙂

Now, let’s make the best of 2017 and balance those blessings like a boss, shall we?

Weapons of Mass Distraction, Solid Soil and The Art of Listening

Posted by on Jan 6, 2017 in Bible Study, Serious Stuff | 2 comments

In Wednesday’s post I talked about the importance of being still (for me, personally). I shared how I can let myself get swept up in the busyness of life and that always leads to a physical, mental, spiritual and emotional burn-out for me.

I love when people pick a word as a ‘theme’ for the New Year. I believe the kids are calling them ‘focus words.’ Have you seen this idea before? You pick a word like ‘bold,’ ‘hope’ or ‘creative’ and you kind of let that word guide you through the year. I’ve never done this before and to be honest, I’m not sure I can get my mind to recall one word throughout the entire year, but if I were to participate in this trendy little game I think I would pick the word ‘listen’ for 2017. I want to listen more. I want to listen to Atlas as he tells me the longest stories known to man (because it is adorable). I want to listen to Dave as he recounts the details of his day over dinner (because it is important). I want to listen to Andi Rose as she learns all the new words (because it is priceless). And I want to listen to the Lord as He calls and He leads (because I’ve got questions and He’s got answers).

But if I’m going to listen to my loved ones more, then I’ve got to turn the volume of the world down a notch. Here’s my {personal} plan for tuning into what matters most and becoming a better listener in 2017…

Clearly Label the ‘Weapons of Mass Distraction’

 

I am so easily distracted – especially by technology. I love social media, but I’ve realized that it is only a blessing as long as it is in its proper place. When kept within its boundaries it adds to my life – I love seeing what all my friends are up to – however, when I let it bleed into other areas then it distracts me from my purpose. So, I’m committing in 2017 to not turn on a digital device until I’ve spent time with Jesus. I won’t check an e-mail or scroll through Instagram until I’ve checked in with the Lord. Now, I realize that I have 2 small children who sometimes wake me up earlier than anticipated so during this season of life there are going to be days where it just isn’t feasible to start the day sitting in a recliner with my Bible and journal because a child needs me before my eyes even have a chance to open for the day. And you know what I’ve come to realize? It is on those days – the days that seem to start in utter chaos – that I especially need to omit the unnecessary distractions. Because let’s be honest – when I’m up before the sun with a sick child, looking at other people’s #ootd and vacation photos doesn’t raise my spirits to new levels. Am I right, Mama?! In addition, I won’t allow myself to be on my phone checking e-mails or perusing Nordstrom’s website (that will be a painful habit to break) while I am at the dinner table or in the playroom. I’ve labeled those places “no-phone-zones” because I want those spaces to be dedicated to family engagement. I got into the bad habit of using breakfast time to check e-mails and it almost always ended with the kids and me being frustrated with each other. It’s not worth it,  so I’m just not doing it this year. I’ll still play on social media and tune into Live with Kelly because I like those things, but I’m going to be intentional about keeping them in their proper place on my priority list.

Prepare My Heart

If I’m going to be a better listener, then I’ve got to prepare my heart for what others – specifically God – want to tell me. I’ve been studying the book of John (I do a study called BSF, for those of you who have asked) and during my study I’ve grown increasingly frustrated as I’ve read all the times where Jesus spoke to people – especially the Jewish pharisees – and His words fell on deaf ears. The Pharisees come to Jesus repeatedly with questions, all of which he answers in terms that would have been so clear to them, and they continually fail to hear Him. Even Jesus gets frustrated with them, basically declaring, “Guys! You’ve already asked me this and I’ve already answered you!” (I’m obviously paraphrasing there.) I began to wonder why they missed the message in every single one of Jesus’ stories. As Jesus spoke and performed miracles, many people believed Him. In fact, 12 left everything to follow Him. Many people encountered Him and left changed, immediately going to tell others about their experience. But the Pharisees also heard him. They also followed him around, although their motives were quite different than that of Jesus’ disciples. They asked Him questions and waited anxiously for His response…but yet His words never changed them. Why? I believe it is because their hearts weren’t prepared for His truth. And if I’m honest – there have been several times in my life, where my heart was also not prepared for a word from God.

I love the parable Jesus shared of the 4 soils. Here is Matthew’s recount of this parable…

“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Matthew 13:3-9

Just as a seed needs good soil to grow, so does the word of God need a prepared heart to take root. Now, I don’t know that much about planting gardens (may my poinsettias, hydrangeas and geraniums all rest in peace), but I do know that if I throw seed on concrete, it won’t grow. The same is true of my heart. If I have a hard heart on an issue, God can give me a word, but my heart won’t receive it, just as the Pharisees couldn’t receive any of the words God spoke directly to them. However, if I throw seed down on solid soil I can see growth almost immediately. Within days, I can see signs of life. I think there’s a whole blog post to be written on the seed that sprang up quickly, but withered because it had no root. That’s just a good freaking word. But the final thing I want to comment on today is the seed that fell among thorns, which eventually choked the plant. Jesus explains this parable in further detail in Matthew 13:18-23 and this is what He said about the seed that fell among the thorns…

“Now the one sown among the thorns – this is the one who hears the word, but the worries of this age and the seduction of wealth choke the word and it becomes unfruitful.”

When I read that, I was convicted because for me, I think that is a daily issue I must battle. Sometimes the truth that God so clearly gives me gets suffocated by stuff. Whether it be stuff on my calendar, stuff on my kitchen counter, stuff in my online shopping cart, or stuff in my mind – the ‘stuffiness’ stunts the growth of the seed God planted.

So, this year I’m attempting to cultivate an environment – not only in my home, but in my heart – where seeds of truth can take root. But I believe it all starts with a prepared heart and being aware of the weapons of mass distraction that are at my fingertips.

***

I realize all my posts this week were kind of centered around New Years and resolutions. You guys are probably due for some lighthearted short reads, which is why I think Monday will be the perfect time to host my first GIVEAWAY of 2017! 🎁 I’ve got 1 awesome prize for 1 lucky winner coming at ya next week, so be sure to tune in Monday to get the deets (Mom, I’m pretty sure ‘deets’ is what the kids are calling ‘details’ these days).

What are you most distracted by? Which soil do you most relate to in the above parable?

P.S. If you like this post, feel free to share it on Facebook. There is a share button at the bottom of each post. And if you enjoyed this, please leave a comment letting me know or if you have a specific topic you would like me to write on, let me know that too. I would love ideas from you. I know a few of you have requested that I share more workouts, so I’ve got a fun one for you next week. There’s probably going to be more fitness talk on here soon because Dave & I have plans to do a detox and cut out all bad snacking. That post will probably just read, “Send help. And Carbs.” I’m sure it will be short because I’ll be too weak to type. Or it might just read, “Nevermind. Changed our minds & thought ‘mmmm…better not.'” 🙄 #LawdHelpMe

Being Still So He Can Be Heard

Posted by on Jan 4, 2017 in Bible Study, Serious Stuff | 5 comments

Last week I woke up to a quiet house, which never happens. Dave was already at work and my babies were at my mom’s house because she was kind enough to offer (*ahem* insist) that they come stay with her for a few days after Christmas.

I had a growing to-do list hidden in the notes section of my phone and the post-Christmas clutter was calling me to get to cleaning, but instead I kicked on the fireplace and sat down in Dave’s recliner. I think I’ve sat in that chair 3 times since we bought it…because I never sit. I felt awkward sitting in silence in my living room all alone because being still has become an unfamiliar feeling for me.

What’s not unfamiliar are the feelings of anxiety, fatigue, busy-ness and tension. In fact, I’ve become all too familiar with those things.

I knew I had a lot to do that morning, but I also knew that I had reached a point where I was trying to pour into others from an empty cup. My well had run dry. I was depleted and as a result, completely overwhelmed at the idea of going into 2017 doing the same juggling act I had been doing for the last several weeks. So, I opened up my prayer journal and I asked God to give me a word from Him. I poured my heart out onto those pages, as I so often do, and I ended it by telling God that I felt far away. I knew He hadn’t moved, but I had. The busy-ness of life had carried my thoughts and heart away from the purpose and passions He originally planted in my heart.

When I opened up my Bible, my study took me to John 10 and it is there where God gave me a word, nourished my soul, refocused my thoughts and refilled my cup. This is the passage of scripture I read that morning…

“Very truly I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they recognize his voiceBut they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.

I instantly connected with this message because it so clearly states that God speaks and we can hear His voice, which comforted me since the only thing I’ve heard for weeks is the screaming of my schedule. I love knowing that God calls me by name and if I tune in, I can hear him. I love the imagery of the Good Shepherd calling the sheep by name and leading them out because I can picture Jesus going before me and calling me by name to follow.  However, it says the sheep follow Him because they recognize His voice. To recognize somebody’s voice you have to be close to them. I can recognize Dave’s voice over the phone, no matter what number he calls me from, because I converse with him daily. The only way I can expect to recognize God’s voice is if I also regularly communicate with Him. However, to have a proper and intimate conversation, the setting must be relatively quiet.

For the last several weeks, life has felt deafeningly loud for me, which has made hearing the still small voice of God difficult. When I can’t hear God, I feel disconnected – not only from Him – but from everybody else in my life too.

I sat in that chair with my Bible open that morning thinking about the endless demands of motherhood coupled with the daily to-do list and the unrealistic expectations I place on myself and I realized I couldn’t hear God if he was sitting right next to me. I had created an environment – in my home and in my mind – that was just too dang loud. I imagined my life as if I were sitting in a football stadium filled with thousands of cheering fans. If God were seated 3 seats down from me and tried to talk to me, I wouldn’t be able to hear Him over all the noise.

I admitted in that moment that I had allowed the sweet voice of my Shepherd to get drowned out. He never stopped speaking during those weeks filled with anxiety – I just couldn’t hear him while I was racing from one tasks to the next or scrolling through Instagram. I decided that morning that while I’m not one for New Years Resolutions, I needed to make a change in 2017. I needed to free myself from some of the hustling and bustling.

So, you’re probably wondering why the heck I’m telling you all of this. Well, I’m telling you because in an effort to ‘quiet’ my environment, there will be a new blogging schedule on Cupcakes n Crunches this year. Last summer I decided to make this blog a priority and I’m so incredibly grateful for that decision. As this little space has grown, so has my confidence and satisfaction. This creative outlet is one of my favorite places and you guys enriched my life so much in 2016 (seriously – more than you know). However, I really felt as though I was failing at blogging (and ‘life’ because I’m oh-so-dramatic) if I didn’t publish 5 posts each week and 5 posts is just unrealistic for me – at least during this season of life. And to be honest – I’m not sure how many of you even want to devote the time to read 5 different posts each week detailing what’s going on inside my brain. That’s just too much of me. Like the person who post 7 selfies of themselves in the same day. #overkill

With that said, moving forward I will be blogging 3 days a week. The current plan is to have a post published for you every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning. I’m hoping that this will serve as a blessing to you and to me because while it certainly will allow me to free up some time, it will also allow me to focus more on providing you with quality content. I still plan on blogging about the same things and sharing everything from my workouts to my style to my Bible studies and I plan to do it with consistency, but I am changing the frequency.

In 2017, I’m actively seeking stillness because I’m finding that in order for me to hear God’s direction, I must be still sometimes (mentally and physically) and in order for me to be still, I must free myself from some of my busyness.

So, on that note – I’m going to be still right now…except right now it will be in front of the TV…with the Bachelor. Every season I’m all, “I’m not watching this show again because it gives me stress dreams and it’s stupid.” And then every season I get sucked in because I’m like, “But it’s going to be the most dramatic season EVER so I’ve got to see how it all goes down!” I’m a sucker for Chris Harrison. What can I say? 🙄 Anyways, I will see you lovely people on Friday! ❤

Please chime in the conversation below! Have you ever experienced ‘burn-out?’ How did you overcome it? Do you carve out ‘me’ time  or ‘quiet’ time regularly? Are you hoping to do more or do less this year? I like to think I’m trying to do more of what matters and less of what doesn’t. That sounds like a greeting card, doesn’t it? I think that’s all those Hallmark movies still talking…sorry about that. P.S. Is anybody else ridiculously sad about having to wait 11 months for the next Hallmark Christmas movie? The only thing getting me over that heartache is the Bachelor.

Happy New Year!

Posted by on Jan 2, 2017 in Bible Study, Sprinkles | 1 comment

Hello & Happy New Year to you! New Years has, admittedly, never been my favorite holiday. I’m not one for making a bunch of resolutions and Lord knows I don’t love staying up until midnight. However, as I’ve gotten older I’ve grown to appreciate that ‘fresh start’ feeling that comes on January 1st. I think one of the most exciting parts of the New Year is that it feels a bit like a blank canvas. I love anticipating what’s to come, the milestones I will cross with Atlas and Andi Rose and the adventures I will have with Dave. But with that anticipation also comes some anxiety, because I know enough to know that the blank canvas won’t be filled with just happy memories. I’m learning life is a mixed bag. Joy and sorrow seem to intermingle – they aren’t as mutually exclusive as I once believed. Some parts of parenthood get easier, while other aspects simultaneously grow in difficulty. God gives…and He also takes away. In the last 3 years, I’ve birthed 2 children and Dave buried the 2 people who raised him. God gave…and He took away. And that’s life. One word can’t describe life (at least not my life), because it is beautiful and broken. It is hope-filled and hard.

As I looked at the empty pages of my 2017 calendar this morning, I couldn’t help but notice my prayer journal laying beside it. One book is blank, waiting to be filled with future plans. The other is full of prayers from the past. As I recalled all the issues/fears/dreams/frustrations/plans I brought to the Lord in 2016, I was reminded of all the many prayers He answered. There were those requests that He graciously answered with a ‘no’ because He knew better and there were requests that He answered with a ‘yes’ that far surpassed anything I could have hoped for or imagined. And as I reflected on His many provisions in 2016, I felt my anxiety over what’s to come in 2017 slowly slip away. I looked back at the blank pages of my new calendar and allowed myself to breathe in a little longer and get excited all over again about what’s to come because I trust that God is going before me and as a result, there are endless possibilities awaiting. So, whether I find myself in the midst of painful experiences or precious memories – or some weird mixture of both – I am forging ahead into the newness of 2017 with hope, gratitude and an expectant heart.

I spent the final days of 2016 in a lot of prayer and planning, trying to get my spirit focused for the New Year and I told Dave while we were at dinner the other night that God laid a verse on my heart in the midst of my planning and I just can’t shake it. Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” When that verse popped into my mind my initial thought was, “Omg. Which one of my grand plans is about to be hijacked, Lord?” But then I immediately thought, “Thank the Lord. Thank the Lord that my plans don’t prevail because my plans aren’t perfect, but God, your plans are.” A few days later, God led me to Ps. 37:23-24, “A man’s steps are established by the Lord and He takes pleasure in his way. Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed because the Lord holds his hand.”  

I hope as you navigate your way through this year, you remember that no issue is too small or too big for God. He cares about every detail and every dream. When the troubles of life overwhelm us, may we pause long enough to look for His hand.

So, to 2017 I say….Let’s do thisssss!

Are you a resolution maker? If so, what is your resolution? I actually did make a few this year, but I think I’ll share those in another blog post. 🙂 One is to eat clean…because everyone else is doing it, so why not?!

Christmas 2016

Posted by on Dec 28, 2016 in Family Fun | 0 comments

Hey there! I’m popping in today to share some photos from our first Christmas in Georgia.

I can’t believe the holiday has already come and gone. It was such a wonderful time in our house and I think that was partly due to the fact that I let go of a lot of the expectations I typically place on Christmas.

Ever since Dave & I had kids, I feel like I’ve been struggling to find my footing with holiday traditions. The last 3 years I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to make Christmas ‘perfect’ and as a result tension seemed to run high in our house around the holidays. Last year I wanted to make all the casseroles, decorate all the trees, see all the lights and have perfectly coordinated wrapping paper under the tree and it all ended up falling rather flat. This year I decided I didn’t want to make any of the casseroles, but instead I wanted to make a lasagna since I could do that ahead of time. That allowed me to spend the entire holiday with my family instead of 4 hours in the kitchen. (Atlas and I did spend a little bit of time in the kitchen making cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve. I don’t think Santa could see his cookies underneath all the sprinkles though.)

I also decided I didn’t want to have a perfectly decorated tree because what I wanted more was to enjoy the days with my children instead of telling Andi Rose “NO TOUCH” 83 times a day.

And I decided that instead of attending every holiday event that came across my calendar, I would rather drink hot chocolate by the fire and watch Hallmark Christmas movies with Dave. And I let go of my dream of perfectly coordinated wrapping paper and allowed Dave to pick out Paw Patrol wrapping paper for Atlas, which was the best decision ever because Atlas lost his mind on Christmas morning when he saw that Paw Patrol paper under the tree.

I guess what I’m saying is that this year I finally let go of my picture perfect Christmas and as a result the magic of the holiday actually came back to me. Dave and I agreed that this was probably our very favorite Christmas together thus far.

We wrote a poem to the kids from Santa, which is something I think we will now do every year moving forward.

And we spent almost the entire afternoon outside in our pajamas with no jackets because that is what Christmas in the south looks like.

I hope your Christmas was just as magical and you are going into the New Year filled with joy, contentment and peace. This will serve as my final blog post for 2016. I’m taking these final days of the year to reflect and refill my tank. I’m so excited to see what God has in store for 2017 and I’m praying that He will use me and this little blog to encourage you and I’m looking forward to sharing more of my life, motherhood musings, workouts, treats and style with you. See you next year, friends!

Pajamas & Pancakes Party

Posted by on Dec 22, 2016 in Family Fun, Girly Things, Motherhood | 4 comments

Hey, hey, hey! I’m sorry things are a little quiet around Cupcakes n Crunches this week. Last night we made the game time decision to go look at Christmas lights at Lake Lanier and we didn’t get home until 10pm. I feel like despite my best efforts to immerse myself in the holiday fun, somehow the season slipped away from me, so I’m trying really hard to soak up these last few days of Christmas fun with my babies. (Although today they were super grumpy so I was all, “when the heck is nap time?!”) #fulldisclosure I’m hoping to keep the blog alive over the next few days but I may be tuning in and out and I kind of hope you’ll be doing the same and you’ll be swept away in family fun and holiday activities. 🙂

On Tuesday morning, Atlas and I headed to a ‘pajama and pancakes’ party at my friend Nicole’s house. Andi Rose stayed with Dave since she is wild and cannot be trusted in public places (or any places, really). But she sure is cute…

The kid-friendly get together also served as a cookie exchange and each guest was asked to bring 24 cookies to swap.

When we arrived in our pajamas (can I get a big ole’ ‘hallelujah’ for not having to get dressed before leaving the house?!), Nicole had pancakes, fruit and cheese for the kids to eat and a delicious frittata with a side of the most amazing cheese grits for the adults. She also had a coffee bar set up + the world’s best apple cider (it seriously tasted like Christmas in a cup and I couldn’t get enough).

After the kids ate, they played their hearts out while the women sipped on coffee and chatted the morning away (in our pj’s!!). It was such a lovely way to spend a Tuesday morning and I didn’t feel ‘guilty’ for relaxing with my girlfriends because Atlas was having a blast playing with all the kids.

Nicole also had cute Christmas crafts set up for the kids to do and then before we all left, we loaded up containers with cookies to take home.

I just wanted to share this idea on the blog, because I thought it was so adorable and perhaps some of you may want to recreate it with your girlfriends.

Oh, and the beautiful pictures of the cookies in this post were snapped by my girlfriend, Jessica. I stole them from her Facebook because the only photo I took during the party was of Atlas & his little girlfriend. Jess is super talented behind the camera. So, to summarize, I have 1 friend who is the hostess with the mostess and 1 friend who can take gorgeous photos…and my talent is…eating my bodyweight in cookies…