Christmas 2018 Recap

Christmas is officially over, and like every year, I am officially sad. It seems to go by faster and faster every year, no matter how much I vow to “soak it all in this time” or “slow down and enjoy.” That being said, we had a wonderful 4 day weekend with family, and I have nothing to complain about (except for how quickly it went by!) I thought I would share a little recap with you all today as we prepare to close out 2018.

We kicked off the holiday weekend on Saturday with some wine and cheese outside with my parents. Christmas music played non stop every day, and we had great weather.

On Sunday, we had lunch with Bobby’s family. All of his siblings were in town which never happens (there are 5 of them total) so lots of photos were taken.

That night we went to dinner for my moms birthday and I didn’t think to take photos. The Saints almost gave us a heart attack, but managed to clinch a #1 seed for the playoffs!
Christmas eve was laid back, we went to the store (again) and hung out at the house doing some cooking and watching Christmas movies. Emma Kate and I also made and decorated sugar cookies for santa. She LOVED it and it kept her busy for almost two hours, which if you know my child, is a long time for her to stay focused on one thing.

That afternoon, we all got dressed and went to the 4:00 candlelight Christmas Eve church service.

The service was great, I love closing it out singing Silent Night with all the beautiful candles. (It wa slightly terrifying seeing my clild with fire, but she insisted on having ehr own.)

We went back home and ate Bobby’s delicious chicken and dumplings, watched more movies, and read the Christmas story from the Bible and Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Then it was time to set out the cookies and milk and head to bed.

The next morning, Emma Kate was up at 6:00 on the dot, so it was most definitely still dark when we opened gifts.

We had a very happy little girl, and took our time enjoying opening gifts, drinking coffee, and listening to Christmas music.


I made a special tequila sunrise mimosa for breakfast to go along with the sausage casserole I make every year.

We spent the rest of the morning playing and cooking preparing for lunch.

Emma Kate was super pumped about her new bike. After a new death experience (I forgot to explain the brakes to her), she got the hang of it and had a blast.

We had a delicious lunch, and sang happy birthday to my mom (she is a Christmas baby!)

That evening we hung out with more family and ate…again. (so. much. food.)

After we left, we drove around and looked at Christmas lights. There were two houses that had music and lights flashing together via a radio station! We got home and I realized we had not taken any family photos that day in front of the tree, so we did that before Emma Kate’s bedtime.

We were all pretty exhausted and went to bed early. The next three days we ate nothing but leftovers, and I enjoyed every bite! I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and made wonderful memories with those you love.

Merry Christmas 2018

Merry Christmas from the Montgomery Family! I pray your holiday is merry and bright, and 2019 is everything you want it to be. Never forget the reason for the season. Happy Birthday Jesus!

Isaiah 9:6

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Holiday Traditions Revisited

This post was sponsored by Amazon as part of an Ambassador Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

I am really big on traditions, especially around the holidays. So big, that one year at Christmas I cried hysterically because my family decided to “change things up” and go somewhere else for Christmas instead of my grandparent’s house per usual. I was devastated. Now that I have a child of my own, we have started some of our own traditions, as well as continuing a few from when I was a girl.

One thing that is different from…well I won’t say what year, let’s just say “way back when”, is the technology. Technology has made connecting, learning, and entertaining that much easier (and more fun!) and I love that there are options for Emma Kate. One of our favorites is the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablet. This tablet is the #1 kids’ tablets in the U.S. and comes with a kid-proof case. (My child is quite the dropper!) It also includes a two-year worry-free guarantee—meaning if it breaks, just send it back and Amazon will send you a new one without asking you a bunch of questions.

How do we incorporate this device into our holiday traditions? Easy! For example, we love to read to Emma Kate, especially Christmas books. It’s been fun to read titles right from her Fire HD 8 Kids Edition like Winter, Cold and Snow, and also listen to books audibly like The First Christmas Tree and the Great Sled Race.

For a lot of people (and usually for us, except for this year,) Christmas means traveling, which also equals bored kids in the car. Emma Kate loves it when we pre-download books, games and videos for her ahead of time to enjoy in the car.

There are even kid-friendly cookbooks available in Amazon FreeTime on the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition. What is Amazon FreeTime? Each tablet comes with a one-year subscription to Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, giving you access to over 20,000 books, videos, Audible books, educational apps, and games. There are also over 1,000 Spanish language books, videos, educational apps, Audible books, and more.

Another thing I love about this device is the Parent Dashboard. By using the Parental Control settings in FreeTime, parents can set time limits, adjust age filters, change web browser access, and turn on or off in-app purchasing. (That one is huge. Emma Kate is always trying to buy stuff!) You can also review the things your kiddos are using and seeing in FreeTime, and even remotely adjust your child’s FreeTime settings.

fire hd 8

We are all about education and learning games, so I love how the technology of the device allows Emma Kate to have fun and learn at the same time. (ssshhh don’t tell her she is learning!) It’s also something we can do together as I guide her, read with her, and watch alongside her. It has been such a great and fun addition to our holiday traditions this year, and I can’t wait to see how they evolve next year!

Babbleboxx: Gift’s for Everyone on Your List

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

Everyone loves getting gifts, and sometimes it can be hard to know just what to get for those in your life.  Any gift listed here be an amazing gift for any girl on your list!

My box was super cute and came packaged very nicely. There were cards on top explaining all the items inside.

I am so pleased with it all! Let’s take a look at what was inside.

Aftershokz Trekz Air headphones: I already use and LOVE this headphone brand, so I was excited to see Aftershokz in my box! As an avid runner who hates cords, these are perfect for the fithusiast on your Christmas list. The open ear design allows you to hear everything going on around you, and they are so lightweight for forget you are wearing them. Check out their cool colors like Midnight Blue, Forest Green, Slate Gray, or Canyon Red.

Charles & Colvard
Signature Halo Moissanite Necklace 0.91CTW in 14K
White Gold: This is called the Forever One halo necklace, and it is
set in 14K gold with a 6mm hearts & arrows center stone that is surrounded
by 1mm pave stones. I didn’t know that Moissanite is a naturally occurring gemstone. It’s also an environmentally responsible and ethically sourced gemstone. It’s also beautiful with unique optical properties that are super sparkly.

Be sure to check their social media handles and
www.charlesandcolvard.com for seasonal savings.

Chesapeake Bay Candle: Looking for a gift for that hard to shop for family member? These soy wellness candles with botanical inspired ingredients are perfect. They are designed an poured right here in the USA, and below is the info on the amazing scent I got in my box:

awaken + invigorate lemongrass eucalyptus
Includes essential oils of: eucalyptus, lemongrass, peppermint, spearmint
Fragrance description: Awaken your senses with the energizing notes of lemongrass and
verbena wrapped in invigorating eucalyptus leaves, aromatic lavender, and garden
mint.

Finishing Touch Flawless: I was skeptical about the Finishing Touch Flawless at first but now I love it! This device gently erases facial hair instantly & painlessly. It has a cool built-in light and is 18-carat gold plated. Your hair will not grow back thicker, and there is no redness or irritation after!

Fun Socks
Fun x Fiorucci Women’s Sheer Crew Socks: These sheer socks are from a limited edition collection with Fiorucci. They also have t-shirts, winter accessories and more! I love that you can dress them up or down, they work for all types of outfits.

They also have a special offer for you! Special Offer/Discount
Take an additional 15% off your entire order at FunSocks.com by using code
BABBLEBOXX at checkout. One use per customer. Code expires 12/31/18
Discount is automatically applied by clicking the link: https://funsocks.com/discount/BABBLEBOXX

ALDI
Cocktail Shaker and Glasses: ALDI has gifts for everyone on your list at affordable prices. You won’t want to miss these Crofton Chef’s Collection Cocktail Shakers and Drinkware
available for a limited time starting Dec. 19 for $9.99 each for the shaker and $8.99 for a set of two glasses. I was so excited when I saw them in my box, as believe it or not we don’t own a cocktail shaker! Not to mention it’s the cutest one I have ever seen.

I was really pleased with the contents I was given, and would happily gift to any of my friends or family! All useful but fun things I think any girl would be excited to receive.

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?

 

 

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.

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!