Christmas Recap 2017

Happy January guys! I can’t believe it’s now 2018. How many of you are still forgetting and writing 2017 on everything? Hand raise! We had a great Christmas, but just like every year it flew by so fast and I want it back! Here are a few of my favorites photos and things we did.

The Friday before, Emma Kate had PJ day at school and obviously had to show them off.

Saturday we made reindeer food and fudge.

Christmas eve we went to church along with my mom and dad. 

Love singing Silent Night with just out voices and the candles. So beautiful. 

After church, we hit up PDQ. I know it’s not very traditional, but we knew we were going to be cooking all the things that night and the next day so I was not up for cooking again for lunch.

Bobby cooked pork chops for dinner and mom was in charge of bread, which is terrifying because she always burns it. So she sat in front of my oven to make sure she didn’t. Bless it. 

We made cookies for Santa and left them by the tree with some milk. 

We read the Christmas story from the Bible and the Night Before Christmas. My sister’s plane arrived just in time for her to get to join in and tell Emma Kate good night.

My mom, dad, and sister left to go to their house, then Santa came!

On Christmas morning, I made EK sit at the top of the stairs and wait just like I used to do. She was a trooper even though she didn’t really understand ha.

She ran downstairs to see that Santa came, and was so excited! She even had gifts in her stocking.

This is my FAVORITE Christmas photo from the day. Sums it all up perfectly. 

Happy girl loved her “doctor things”

Self timer for the win!

We got ready then drove down to my parents new house for the day. It was my first time seeing it with furniture and I love it!

Emma Kate even has her own room.

Also, Santa made a visit to Grammy and Papa’s house, too.

Bobby also got in on the gift action. (and he got me a laptop!)

Maybe a future career?

The weather was in the low 70’s and perfect.

We had our big meal at lunch, and it was delicious.

Santa even left Emma Kate a cupcake.

Self timer again! 

Lunch goodness.

Christmas day is also my moms birthday so we had a cake, of course!

Emma Kate learned how to “drive” papa’s golf cart.

The sign of a good day, asleep int he car by 7:30. We drove home and were so sad it was all over, but thankful for the great memories!

I hope you had a great Christmas with your loved ones. I’m already looking forward to next year.

Merry Christmas 2017

From my family to yours, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas with those you love.

Luke 2 New International Version (NIV)

The Birth of Jesus

 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

 

Holiday Like This at Universal Orlando Resort

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Universal Orlando Resort, however all opinions are my own.

It’s always fun to Visit Universal Orlando Resort, but if you want a little “extra” something, be sure visit for the holidays. There are so many fun decorative touches throughout the parks as well as special shows and events you won’t want to miss. It’s just the perfect thing to get you in the holiday spirit!

1.) Universal’s Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s: If you have any Mischievous Minion fans in your house, this parade is not to be missed. There are adorable floats with your favorite Despicable Me characters as well as those from Shrek and Madagascar. Don’t forget about the Macy’s balloons flying high in the sky! There’s singing, their’s dancing, and a lot of smiling (trust me on this one!) Be sure to catch the action
Dec. 18 – Jan. 6 at 8 pm.

2.) The parks all decked out for the holidays: Going from attraction to attraction at a Universal Orlando Resort theme park is a blast, but it’s even better when there is Christmas music in the background, beautiful lights, and garland everywhere you look. That little bit of extra magic was really fun to see and kept us smiling all day long.

3.) Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular at Islands of Adventure:

Seuss landing was adorably decorated and full of whimsy. I could have just walked around looking at the decorations all day! But, there is even more to see with a live retelling of the classic tale “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” featuring music recorded by Mannheim Steamroller.

You can even meet the green guy himself after the show. There is also a character breakfast with the Grinch, but it’s a separate ticketed event.

4.) Christmas at Hogwarts: This was definitely a highlight of our trip, and I’m so glad we went back into Islands of Adventure to see it. Walking through Hogsmeade all decorated for the holidays was cute, but the projection show took the cake.

Shows are done every few minutes, and the projection on the castle is breathtaking. Seriously, the pictures don’t do it justice. Trust me, you do NOT want to miss this!

Universal Orlando Resort

5.) On Site Hotel Decorations: 

We had the privilege of staying at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, which was also very much in the holiday spirit. There was a huge tree in the lobby as well as an adorable village make of candy and desserts. They will also be having Christmas character meals, so be sure to call for more information if you will be there over Christmas. The other in site hotels have their own decorations as well. It would make for a fun evening to go visit them all!

These special holiday events and happenings are going on now through January 6th at Universal Orlando Resort. Which one are you most excited about?

 

 

Tips for a Healthier Holiday

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Purell, however all opinions are my own.

I will be hosting Christmas Eve at my house this year, which means a lot of planning, organizing, and making lists, as well as lots and lots of cleaning. When you have family members flying in from different states that are just coming from the airport, it’s even more important to make sure your house is clean and organized to keep germs at bay.

No one wants to be sick for the holidays, right? Here are five of my best tips for preparing for having a healthier holiday:

1.) Get exercise: The holidays are extra busy, which can make it tough to fit in your regular workouts, but this is something you really shouldn’t skimp on! Exercise can help boost your immune system and in turn may cut down on the amount of colds you get this year.

2.) Get enough sleep: Another tempting thing to skip out on is sleep. With late holiday parties and staying up past your bedtime getting your kids costume ready for the Christmas play, you may find yourself reaching for the snooze (and the coffee!) more often. Aim for 7-8 hours a night to keep your immune system up. Also, infection-fighting antibodies are reduced when you don’t get enough sleep.

3.) Wash your hands/sanitize when often: PURELL® Hand Sanitizer is the #1 selling sanitizer, and they also make soap, too! While washing with soap and water is best, sometimes it’s not possible to get near a sink, so make sure you have PURELL pocket sanitizer in your purse, car, and we like to keep a pump of it by the back door as we come in and out of the house. When you sanitize, make sure to leave your hands wet for 15 seconds!

4.) Disinfect and clean your house: The PURELL® brand has an amazing new Multi Surface Disinfecting spray that I am obsessed with. It kills 99.99% of bacteria and viruses in 30 seconds, is worry free around kids, pets, and food, and there is no water rinse required! It cleans with the power of bleach without harmful chemicals. Here are some common things to make sure you sanitize with your disinfectant spray: Highchairs, soft surfaces you can’t wash, your refrigerator, doorknobs, remotes, counters, light switches, handles on kitchen appliances, computer keyboards, and toys. (YES it’s safe on all of those things!)

5.) Sanitize your kitchen before meal prep: When cooking and preparing in the kitchen, it’s easy to forget about wiping down counters, cutting boards, and water faucets. Make sure to use the PURELL Multi-Surface Disinfectant for meal prep! Don’t worry, it won’t stain clothes or fabric, and is designed to quickly kill the cold and flu viruses.

healthier holiday

It comes in 3 scents: fragrance free, citrus, and fresh (my favorite!) and is available for purchase online at Amazon.com, Jet.com and Walmart.com. In addition, it is available at select grocers: Publix, H-E-B, and Shoprite and at Harris Teeter in January 2018.

Westfield Shopping Spree Giveaway

It’s time to get serious about your holiday shopping! If you live in the Tampa area, you can also check out all the fun holiday offerings at the Westfield malls in Brandon, Citrus Park, and Countryside.

Of course the thing every child wants to do is visit Santa! You can come tell him what you want for Christmas through Christmas Eve. You can even get a fastpass (shorter, faster line) by purchasing your photo package in advance online. (visit each mall’s website for a complete list of hours). 

Emma Kate was SO pumped to meet Santa and tell him what she wanted for Christmas. The photographers were great, and the set up was super cute, too. I was not expecting to see Mrs. Claus so that was a fun treat! Our photos were ready instantly to take home with us, no waiting around. 

There are last minute/extended hours shopping from December 15-24 at the malls. Also, be sure to check out the website for more details on discounts and special events.





Not sure what to get that special someone on your list? A Westfield gift card makes a great gift, because then they can pick out what THEY like best!

westfield

Who wants a chance to WIN a $100 Westfield gift card? Just follow the rafflecoptor directions below. I will announce a winner on the 12th. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, however all opinions are my own.

Winter’s Wonderland & Sea of Lights Holiday Events

Living in Florida, we have learned that there is so much to see in and do, especially around the holidays. Something that is new to us is Winter’s Wonderland & Sea of Lights Holiday Events at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. We were invited to come check out the aquarium and learn about the holiday events that you and your family can enjoy this year.

Emma Kate loves animals, so she was pumped to see the turtles, otters, sharks, and in particular, the dolphins, like Winter and Hope of Dolphin Tale fame. We met some super sweet volunteers who gave us so much information about the animals that call the aquarium home, and the rescue and release process for some of them. I in particular love their mission:

“We believe in preserving our marine life and environment while inspiring the human spirit through leadership in education, research, rescue, rehabilitation, and release.”



There were so many adorable animals at the aquarium that for one reason or another can’t survive in the wild, and while some will live there permanently, there are some that are able to be released back into their natural habitats which is so awesome.

Ok, so moving on to the awesome activities going on for the holidays! So in addition to touring the aquarium, you can also do these things on select dates:

    • 11/24-12/23 – Come see Winter Claus: Guests have the opportunity to meet Winter Claus (set-up in Spectrum Theater)
    • 12/15, 12/16, 12/22, 12/23 – Stay Late: The aquarium is staying open late until 9 p.m. This way guests can best enjoy the lights, see Winter Claus, enjoy free cookies and enjoy a “Sea of Lights” 45 minute boat ride! (Sea of Lights will run from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. on select dates with $9.99 admission starting after 4 p.m. The Sea of Lights Boat Cruise will take you around Clearwater Bay to see the holiday lights by boat!)
    • 12/27-12/30 – Meet and Greet: Actors from the Dolphin Tale movies will be at the aquarium to meet guests. (<—-awesome!)

  • Don’t miss out on Experiencing Winter Wonderland with lights and décor all around the aquarium. There are also special santa dive presentations at Mavis’s Rescue Hideaway.winter's wonderlandAnyone recognize the above office from a certain dolphin related movie?

You can also purchase 20 oz. Coca-Cola products in the park like Coke, Sprite, and Dasani water to enjoy during your visit to the aquarium.

marine aquarium


I highly recommend taking your family to enjoy the special holiday offerings at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium this year!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored, however all opinions are my own.

Thanksgiving 2017

This year, I hosted Thanksgiving at my house. It was just us and my parents, but we ended up with enough food to feed a small army, and ate leftovers all weekend. It was nice and relaxing, and I’m glad I got to spend time with my family.

Thursday morning I started cooking and getting ready, and soon my parents arrived with the turkey, an it was time for the parade.

It was also time for mimosas!

Bella is one smart cookie. She knows when the turkey is being cut, every year!

After we ate, everyone but me napped (what’s new) and we watched football.

The next day Emma Kate and I went shopping with my parents while Bobby was at work.

Is it just me or does she look way too grown in that picture?!? Anyway, Saturday we went to the playground, and found a turtle (we are VERY exciting people).

That night we met one of EK’s friends from school at our local outdoor mall for the dancing lights and a kids sing along show.

She has a BLAST and we were all worn out after. On Sunday, Emma Kate and I went for a stroller run to the playground while Bobby was at work, and then we met up with my parents at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, but more on that in another post. Anyone recognize that office from a certain movie about a dolphin?

We had a great holiday, and I hope you did, too! Now, on to my favorite…Christmas!

 

Halloween 2017 Recap

Happy November! Just like pretty much every other month this year, October flew. Now it’s on to baking and turkeys and Christmas carols and Hallmark movies. Ok, so maybe I have already started watching Hallmark movies. I just can’t help it guys. They suck me in to this sappy vortex of holiday cheer. Anyway, before I get completely sucked into the holiday madness, I wanted to recap our Halloween. Now that we live in Tampa, there is TONS to do for Halloween, so we ended up doing 4 events plus the main event Halloween night. Let’s take a look:

Friday, Emma Kate’s preschool had a parade and trunk or treat. Through a communications mix up (grumble grumble) I didn’t know about it until the day before. Thankfully I found out because the first think Emma Kate did was look for me when her class walked out to do the parade. I also would have felt horrible if she was the only one not in a costume. Thankfully the #MomFail was avoided, and she paraded her little heart out and got her first taste of 2017 Halloween candy goodness.

When we got home from school, she was conveniently able to stay in her costume because we had our neighborhood trunk or treat to attend. Emma Kate perfected her manners with “trick or treats” and “thank you’s” but was getting confused with the candy part. Some people put it in her basket, some tell her to pick what she wants, so she ended up just grabbing candy herself every time. Oops.

She also got her face painted for the very first time. It was short lived because we went home ten minutes later, took a bath and went to bed, but I’m still so glad we did it because she was SO excited and sat so still while the lady worked. Too cute for words.

Saturday my parents went with us to a nearby fall festival. They had a trunk or treat, and also businesses had booths set up and also had candy. There was also a carnival but we conveniently skipped that part. I have heard way too many news stories lately of rides breaking down and people falling from them or dying. Anything that can be put up or taken down in a matter of hours is not considered safe in this mama’s book. It ended up raining but we stayed anyway. Emma Kate was super cute and brave going form table to table and getting candy.

Sunday afternoon we headed to the local outlet mall for another fall festival. Same thing, the businesses had tables selling things and also buckets of candy. Like we really needed more, right? They also had “Disney characters” (I use this term very loosely) wandering about and singing (the incorrect) words to songs from their movies. It was a gorgeous weekend so a perfect one to be out and about though.

Then Tuesday night, the main event. The second I walked into her classroom to pick her up from school she came running over saying “I want to go trick or treating!” I had to convince her to eat dinner and wait until the sun went down, but we were finally dressed and ready to take on the neighborhood. Funny story about this costume…I always assumed she would be Elsa, or Cinderella, or Moana for Halloween since we already have those costumes. Last Thursday she got in the car after school and declared she wanted to be a pumpkin…Say WHAT?!? She was so sweet and serious, so I hurried home, got on Amazon, and praise Jesus for prime. It arrived Monday, and she was a sweet little pumpkin for Halloween.

Of course, the first door we go to a teenage boy opens it and jumps out wearing a scary wolf head thing…terrified EK and she didn’t want to ring doorbells alone anymore. Thanks kid. She got the hang of which houses to go to (“mommy they don’t have lights on so we go to the next one”) and wanted to keep going to more and more houses. I’m glad we brought the stroller because she ended up in it some and poor thing got so tired she could barely stand up and fell down several times.

After dumping out her haul and looking at her candy, it was time for bed. She passed out immediately and then wanted candy for breakfast. I was sure to hide most of it while she was at school. Thankfully shes young enough that she won’t know!

Bobby and I ended the evening with a tradition, watching Hocus Pocus.

I call Halloween 2017 a huge success, and can’t wait to see what kind of fun we can find next year.

QOTD: What did you/your kids dress up as for Halloween? 

Merry Christmas 2016

Merry Christmas from the Montgomery family!

ChristmasCard2016two

Luke 2:9-11

9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

May the love of Christ be in your heart today and all year through. I love yall!

Emma Kate: Two Years Old

I can’t believe I am typing these words out. My little baby turned two years old on Saturday. It’s a bittersweet time for me, knowing that she is no longer a baby, but also very glad she is more independent (ha is she ever) and can do some things on her own. There is so much to say that I don’t even know where to begin, so let’s start with the stats.

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EK had her two year old check up yesterday, and weighs 31 pounds and nine ounces (96%) and is 36.5 inches tall (97%). Head circumference is 87%. She is in size 5 diapers, and clothing is a really wide range. She is mostly in 3T, but in some things can wear a 2T or a 4T. Footed PJ’s are a 3T. She is about to bust out of her size 6 shoes, I’m hoping we can get another couple weeks out of her sandals while we still have warm weather.

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Emma Kate loves to try to put on clothes and shoes, and always reminds me to put a bow in her hair. Poor child has been brainwashed by her southern mama to think she has to have one every day. Bless it.

We hit the terrible twos a long time ago, and girlfriend has quite the sassy attitude and loves to push the limits. We have been using time out, and she (usually) responds well to that. She likes to do things herself, and won’t let me help with her food, utensils, or when she can’t get a toy just right. She gets easily frustrated and likes to throw things down she she gets mad.

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Emma Kate has had an obsession with Finding Nemo for a couple months now, and we legit watch it every single day. She can say a lot of the lines, and is mesmerized by the fish. Never did I think my super hyperactive child would sit still and watch a movie, but she will sit and watch Nemo for 20-30 minutes. She still likes Mickey/Minnie mouse and Elsa, but as far as TV prefers to watch Nemo. She also has an obsession with YouTube Kids on my iPad and will ask to watch it all. the. time. (Gasp. I know, go ahead. Judge all you want, but sometimes mama needs 30 minutes and the iPad does the trick). She still loves dogs, and really all animals and making animal sounds. Lately, she has been singing a lot. Her favorites are the ABC song, and the happy birthday song. She still loves puzzles, and also likes to do anything I am doing around the house like sweeping, helping with the laundry, etc.  It’s funny how quickly things change, because I know in a couple months she may have totally different things she loves!

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As far as speech, Emma Kate is always talking, but I don’t always know what she’s saying, although I have gotten better at using contextual clues to decipher. She’s speaking in a lot more over two word sentences lately, and says the funniest things. If she bangs her head on the door, she will wag her finger at it and say “no no, bad door!” and she is always saying “hush Bella, get down!” to the dog. She loves going outside “outside mama outside!” and eating.

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Speaking of eating, she went straight from her highchair to a “big girl” chair several months ago, without a booster seat. Oh well. Saves me some money I guess! She loves to eat cheese, apples, strawberries, yogurt, lasagna, beans, and chicken. I kept sweets from her as long as I could, but now she asks for cookies. Whoops!

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Sleep is still going great at night. She is still in her crib, and goes to bed at 7:15, and waked up between 6:00-6:15 usually. Naptime still isn’t going great. I had hoped after she turned one and dropped that second nap that her one nap would get longer, but it unfortunately didn’t. An “average” nap is 45 minutes to an hour, and anything over that is considered “long” for her. I so envy my friends who have kids that nap 2.5-3 hours a day, but i’m also grateful to have a great nighttime sleeper.

The best is when she gives us kisses at night and says “I love you too” when we say prayers and put her to bed. I know I will blink and she will be 12, then again and she will be 22, so as much as I want her to get a little bit older so we can do more fun things together, I don’t want it to happen TOO quickly. We love you bug! Happy birthday!

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QOTD: What is something funny you did as a kid or something your kids do that your parents/you still talk about?

 

**The WINNER of the Keep it Chill gaitor is Lisa Schneider! I will shoot you an email.