Our Mini Family

Our Mini Linky Party | Week 154

Happy Saturday!

Last week was insanely busy, and this week was no different. My to-do list feels sky-high and Adam is as busy as ever with his work schedule, so the two of us are just trying to stay afloat through the holiday season.

We finally got our Christmas tree fully decorated, and I was able to hang the ornaments my mom had made. I shared a little bit about these ornaments on my Instagram account this week in an Instagram Stories post, and I shared how it was my late grandfather's tradition to gift all of his grandchildren with ornaments as a Christmas present every year. 

After he passed, the ornament tradition stopped, but my mom received his ashes and took them to a glass-blowing artist and commissioned special ornaments to be made with his ashes inside for all of his grandchildren. I was finally able to hang his ornaments on our tree this year, and it truly makes our Christmas tree feel so special. 

How We're Successfully Adulting with our Ooma Home Security System

Your twenties are a time when you are just figuring out what #adulting is. We jumped on the bandwagon and stepped up our home security--thanks to Ooma for sponsoring this post.

You don't realize how amazing it feels when you are successfully #adulting in your twenties until it is actually happening!

There have been a few moments in my life that I have had the sort of realization that I am, in fact, a functioning adult women (even though most of the time I feel like I'm stumbling through my life and just making it by when it comes to my responsibilities and taking care of myself and Adam). 

One of those times I had that moment of realization that I was an adult was when I did my taxes for the first time--right after we got married when I was still young, I had not realized my mom could not continue to claim me as a dependent until she texted me and laughed while complaining that she was bummed she couldn't write me off on her taxes (and I had that sudden realization that it was now my responsibility to take charge of that). Learning how to do my taxes and submitting them on time felt like a huge win. "Yay, I'm a real adult!" Another time was when Adam and I were sitting in the bank together going through our finances and hearing about all of the different options for long-term savings for our retirement plans. Overwhelming, but awesome, we began making some financial future plans with a headache but we got through it like the young adults that we are!

Moving from apartment life to condo life was difficult earlier this year, but such a relief once our move was complete! We have always felt safe in our new home, but when I heard there was an affordable home security system I could get that I would pay a small fee for every month, I decided to go an extra step further and bring us some extra peace of mind by taking responsibility and stepping up like the proper adults we try to think that we are!

A Gift for Him (That is Actually More Like a Gift for You and Your Sanity!)

Kill two birds with one stone--save yourself some sanity, and stock on Christmas gifts for the loved one in your life who often misplaces or loses important items! Thanks to Tile for sponsoring this post (and for helping me save my sanity ever since I discovered them!)

When Adam and I first moved in together, I cannot count how many times he misplaced his keys/wallet/phone/anything relatively small in size. In fact, this was one of those first marital issues we had to overcome together as newlyweds that was the cause for more than a few arguments. 

Many times, I found myself in line at the local hardware store waiting to have a key made after my husband lost his set of keys. Or waiting by the door for the mailman to come to bring my husband's replacement driver's license that was lost or often misplaced (which we found after the replacement card arrived, of course). If you can sense a bit of hostility coming from me, well, you are right! Like I mentioned, Adam and his inability to keep track of important household items is certainly an issue that we deal with and is oftentimes the source of an argument and an inconvenience for the family. That is until this amazing product came into our lives and changed the game for us (and now we don't have to argue about misplacing items!)

Date Night Idea | Winter Wonderland Your Way

Today, we are sharing this winter wonderland-inspired date idea on the blog, featuring our partnership with Toyota USA and driving the 2018 Toyota C-HR on our date!

As a Phoenician, enjoying a winter wonderland scene takes creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. There are so many ways you can get involved in winter fun around the valley, thanks to so many awesome businesses and malls that provide DIY winter wonderlandscapes like outdoor ice skating rinks, faux snowfall at night, gigantic outdoor Christmas trees, meet and greets with Santa and his elves, and even a ride on the Polar Express (if you don't mind driving for a couple of hours up to northern Arizona). 

So many of these wonderous winter festivities are focused on children, but Adam and I have just as much Christmas whimsy as the kiddos. For our date night last week, Adam and I decided to take advantage of some of the fun (and in most cases free) Christmas activities available in the valley so we could enjoy a winter wonderland-themed date night!

For our date night idea, we want to enjoy a winter wonderland in our own way here in Phoenix since we do not get any snowfall or see our temperatures drop close to below freezing. Today, I am sharing the details of our latest date night out with the 2018 Toyota CH-R!

DIY Holiday Guest Gift Basket

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. Product was provided by the client for review; however, all opinions are mine alone. #WorldsSmartestToothbrush #PhilipsSonicare #OprahsFavoriteThings #CollectiveBias

Entertaining guests around the holidays can be a bit uncomfortable for everyone involved. But it does not have to be this way if you can take a few minutes to think about what you can do to make your guest feel most welcomed in your home.

I know when I am crashing at a friend's condo or a family member's home, I always feel like I am encroaching on their space and feel hesitant to make myself at home out of fear that I'll outstay my welcome. What I have learned helps is making small gestures that treat your house guest more like a traveler or hotel guest, and going out of your way to provide them with comfort and necessity items to make them feel genuinely welcomed and encourage them to really get comfortable and feel-at-home while staying at your place while they are in town.

One time, when Adam and I were crashing at a friend's house during a long road trip back home, we put our bags down in her guest room and I noticed there were two gift bags sitting on the edge of the bed with each of our names on them. It was nothing too fancy, but inside, she wrote a note welcoming us for the night that included a $5 gift card for coffee, as well as some toiletries we may have forgotten. I had never felt so welcome in someone's home before that moment, and I thought it was such a kind and thoughtful gesture that I had to start doing the same thing whenever we had friends come to crash at our place!

Every time we have a friend come to stay with us, I always make time to include a gift basket for her so she feels welcome in our home and that we actually want her to enjoy her stay with us. Today, I am sharing what I consider to be the must-haves for putting together a guest gift basket during the holiday season including the 
Philips® Sonicare DiamondClean Smart 9300 Rechargeable Toothbrush!

How to Host a Holiday Cookie Decorating Party

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GladeHolidayCheer #CollectiveBias

Is it even the holiday season if you aren't baking cookies? 

Nothing says winter like the smell of freshly baked cookies wafting through the kitchen and into the office, and having Adam run out of the office asking me for a warm cookie to nibble on. 

Since we live in Phoenix and we do not have some of the holiday and winter traditions we had as kids, Adam and I try our best to create our own traditions with our family to bring joy into our lives during this time of year! Having friends over to decorate cookies while we listen to holiday music and drink hot chocolate has become one of our newer traditions, and today I am sharing a few key recipes to help you host a holiday cookie decorating party of your own as well as some essential items to bring your holiday table to life!

Our Mini Linky Party | Week 153

Good morning!

This week was my very first ever Arizona blogger event that I hosted and I am so glad I finally did it! 

I have spent years attending events and socials since Adam and I moved to Arizona 5 years ago, and I have always wanted to host an event of my very own. For New Year's Eve last year, I made 'host a blogger event' one of my yearly aspirations and I prepared everything I needed to do to make it work and decided to just go for it!

If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat you know what I am talking about and have seen pictures. But if you are not sure what I am talking about, I will definitely share all of the details once I go through all of my pictures I took and share it with you between now and the end of the year. These chic, Rudolph-inspired party bags were just one of the adorable details from our AZ Blogger Bash (more details to come!)

15 Holiday Desserts that Are Not Cookies

Are you bored of Christmas cookies? Try one of these decadent holiday dessert recipe ideas! 

Christmas season means loads of cookies and cookie decorating, and after a few weeks, sometimes we can get a little tired of having nothing but cookies for a sweet treat to enjoy at a holiday party.

Don't get me wrong, I love cookies! But I feel like cookies are the most served dessert at all holiday parties and sometimes a girl just needs some variety. Whether it be a tart, a yule log cake, tiramisu, special hot cocoa, pie bars, or even ice cream, there are so many ways you can bring the holiday festivities to your favorite kinds of dessert recipes (that do not have to be cookies!) 

Today, I am sharing fifteen different dessert recipes from some of my favorite fellow foodie bloggers, including this recipe for hot buttered rum bundt cake from The Itsy-Bitsy Kitchen blog (as well as some fabulous giveaways you can enter to win below!)

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