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Decorating for Christmas // Our Holiday Home Tour 2017

Welcome to our *home for the holidays*!

We have yet to get any snow, so there isn’t much to share outside (we did the same outdoor lights and potted trees flanking the front door as last year). It IS cold here, though, so come on inside!

We kept it simple in the kitchen this year — a little hot cocoa station, and a gingerbread house that is already mysteriously missing most of its candy…

…and our little felt tree and lots of mercury glass on the table. I love these all lit at night!

I wanted a little more color than last year when we did mostly white, black, silver, and copper. I’m a sucker for red at the holidays but didn’t want traditional green, so I pulled in pieces with a more blue-green hue that feels a little bit vintage.

In the flex room, I didn’t feel like I had to do much, since our emerald green sofa steals focus anyway. I did add a trio of collapsible tinsel trees I’ve had for years (love when decorating takes under a minute!), added a snowflake tray with a favorite read and heirloom snowglobe that a certain someone is OBSESSED with. #pleasebecareful #itsnotawreckingball #twohands!

A separate post on our master is in the works, but for the colder months, I added some cozier textiles. I don’t decorate holiday per se in our room, but I like to change it up with the seasons, since it’s visible off our main floor and is actually seen by visitors from time to time.

Pass under the mistletoe (muah!) and I used some coordinating garland on the stair rails. In the past I’ve used a really full, prelit garland and loved the effect. But it was scratching the stained banisters to death and I just wasn’t up for touchups again this year. So I went with this simplistic felt version to try something new (and softer on the finish).

I love having a second tree upstairs on our landing that can be seen out the back windows. Plus it feels like an unexpected surprise to go upstairs and find a tree off the main level. I also love having this all-kid-stuff tree for all the fun and whimsical ornaments, and Crew loves a tree he can be “hands on” with and rearrange to his heart’s content.

Nothing is breakable, and all of it is fun and has some little significance for us. All of the color just makes my heart happy. Would I do a flocked tree again? Not sure because it does shed, but I LOVE the snowy look.

Naturally, a garbage truck parked on it this year.

Thanks for stopping by!

(And hey Big Guy, we’re ready for you!)

Our Favorite Christmas Books

I have the fondest memories of pulling out favorite Christmas books each year as a kid and it’s been so fun to continue that tradition with Crew. Our stash has grown quite a bit this year, as we’ve moved firmly out of the baby/board book phase, and into the “real” storybooks. It’s fun to pull out old favorites, and discover new works and authors.

WHEN SANTA WAS A BABY. For a little boy who LOVES to talk about how he used to be a baby, and thinks Santa is his bestie, this book hits all the right notes. Love the illustrations in this and the story is so charming.

THE POLAR EXPRESS. Of course. Whether or not you have a train fanatic, this is a classic. And hit home especially hard this year when we were able to ride a “Polar Express” train in a nearby town and Santa handed out bells. The movie has been captivating as well!

OLIVE THE OTHER REINDEER. Crew is drawn to stories with animal main characters, so I knew this one would be a favorite. Love the clever take on the classic song lyric.

WHY CHRISTMAS TREES AREN’T PERFECT. This is one I remember loving as a kid and while it’s still a bit wordy for an almost three-year-old, we paraphrase it to get the message across.

HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS. Another classic and we are big fans of Dr. Seuss in general. Crew is starting to find the silly words and quirky characters funnier as he gets a bit older and understands the oddity of this writing style. Again, we love (both) movie versions of this fun story.

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS. We have a couple versions of this story but this one is, hands down, the coolest pop-up book I’ve ever seen. It’s truly a work of art, and Crew is fascinated with each page (some of them interactive). For a rather wordy and old fashioned story (who is this St. Nick they speak of?! And why is he smoking?! LOL) the elaborate art keeps him engaged and following along.

OLIVIA HELPS WITH CHRISTMAS. Crew has been an Olivia fan for a while — he gets a kick out of her naughty antics. So of course, this was a natural pick to keep the mischief going.

THE SWEET SMELL OF CHRISTMAS. This was one of the books that really helped Crew to “get” the whole idea of getting ready for Christmas (decorating, baking, etc) but also that Santa just comes on ONE night, not all month long. 🙂 Plus the scratch and sniff stickers are a fun sensory way to experience the season.

(Looking for younger readers? We’ve loved both Little Blue Truck’s Christmas – complete with twinkling lights at the end! – and Dream Snow by Eric Carle — love that you can feel the bumps of snowflakes!)

I’m a sucker for children’s books in general, so I love to hear what others are reading. Which good Christmas reads did I miss??

Decorating for Fall // The Halloween Edition

Decorating for Fall | www.29thanddelight.com

Fall has officially hit our home, and we’ve added a few Halloween items for the month of October.

Decorating for Fall | www.29thanddelight.com

I love to decorate with books — stacked, on display, covers framed — so naturally a couple of our seasonal faves are within reach at all times! (If you haven’t picked up Gilbert the Ghost or The Scariest Book Ever, you have to! Crew is obsessed with both.)

Decorating for Fall | www.29thanddelight.com

I’m not a huge fan of classic Halloween orange, so I kept it to a minimum and went for more corals and pinks and coppers. I made the felt ball garland after ordering a range of colors in berries and corals and black/white/greys.

Decorating for Fall | www.29thanddelight.com Decorating for Fall | www.29thanddelight.com

The truly Halloween stuff gets set up right inside the door to greet our trick-or-treaters!

Decorating for Fall | www.29thanddelight.com

Decorating for Fall | www.29thanddelight.com

I didn’t buy much new this year, but these three skeletons (hello! the glasses!) jumped in my cart and I couldn’t resist.

Decorating for Fall | www.29thanddelight.com

After a trip to the patch a few days ago, we are stocked up and ready to carve later this week! Hope you are enjoying a festive fall! <3

Decorating for Fall | www.29thanddelight.com

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Ten.

View More: http://aprilandaugustphotography.pass.us/des-moines-photographer-smith2017

Photo cred: April & August Photography

It’s been an entire decade since we exchanged vows, walked up the aisle, and started married life together in a little apartment in Des Moines, a city we had moved to just the month before. Married life has been nothing short of grand, and this city we love is a big piece of that joy.

View More: http://aprilandaugustphotography.pass.us/des-moines-photographer-smith2017

As we celebrate both a decade of marriage and a decade of life in Des Moines, we continue to live in the moment and our life goals are ever evolving. I’m proud of what we have embarked on, both as individuals and as a couple, these first ten years. I so look forward to what the next ten bring. Cheers to more adventures!

View More: http://aprilandaugustphotography.pass.us/des-moines-photographer-smith2017

In the spirit of anniversaries, I compiled a little playlist. It’s nothing overly lovey-dovey, just a collection of songs that bring on some anniversary vibes and have degrees of meaning to the two of us over the past decade.

Decade Spotify Playlist | www.29thanddelight.com

Happy anniversary to the handier, more patient, more tech-savvy, in general COOLER half of this duo of which I’m lucky to be a part. <3

Halloween Classroom Treats

Bugs + Kisses Halloween Treats | www.29thanddelight.com

I’ve always loved Halloween — it’s smack dab in the middle of gorgeous, festive, fall and the costumes, treats, and traditions are all so much fun. It’s a new (less spooky!) kind of fun with a kiddo, and this is the first year that Crew can actually understand reading and talking about trick-or-treating, answer people who ask him what he’s going to be, and (somewhat) understands how far off it is…(“I think Halloween is in two more tomorrows, Mom!”).

Bugs + Kisses Halloween Treats | www.29thanddelight.com

The minute the merchandise hits the stores, I’m all over it. Because we can’t bring homemade treats to school, I kept an eye out for individually wrapped candies, and per Crew’s interest in bugs, found some little spring spiders that you push down to “lock” and then a few moments later they jump a couple feet in the air, to the delight of a certain two-year-old. Sold. I can’t take credit for the “bugs and kisses” — I saw it somewhere on Pinterest at some point and it stuck in my head! The spiders are from Target and I used these treat bags), and whipped up a business card size design to fold in half length-wise and staple across the tops. Quick and cute!

Toddler Halloween Garbage Man Costume

I always appreciate some costume idea inspiration sooner than later — so today I’m sharing Crew’s costume he’ll be donning in a few short weeks (and who are we kidding, several times before then!).

It was no surprise that of course Crew wanted to be a garbage man for Halloween (the first year he’s had any kind of say!). I had grabbed the vest at IKEA for dress-up (he’s a size 3T and it’s the smallest size they make — Youth XS). As much as I love to make his costumes as opposed to buying them, we just had to have a piece of legit merchandise directly from Mecca — this youth size trucker hat was perfect, and he was SO excited when I showed it to him.

DIY Garbage Man Costume and Trash Can | www.29thanddelight.com

A search for “garbage man costume” turned up the following sources that inspired me to order a custom patch to personalize his vest (ours came from this Etsy shop), and gave me the blueprint for how to create his very own garbage can. (Is there any better way to haul that candy?!) Both Thrifty Artsy Girl and The Tolberts had posted similar vests with patches and pint-size push cans — perfect!

We bought the same black Sterilite flip-lid style can , hit it with some green spray paint, and added a WM decal bought on eBay. Even though it said it was meant for plastic, the spray paint is pretty delicate and scratches/flakes easily, so right before Beggars Night arrives, I’ll probably hit it again for touch-ups.

DIY Garbage Man Costume and Trash Can | www.29thanddelight.com

There are lots of spin-offs on this can that use everything from casters to grill wheels — we opted for the latter, after seeing Sherri’s post here (she does a much more thorough job of explaining this part of assembly!)

DIY Garbage Man Costume and Trash Can | www.29thanddelight.com

To make ours easier for Crew to pull, Page added a wooden handle that he also sprayed with the same paint. He drilled it directly into the back of the can.

DIY Garbage Man Costume and Trash Can | www.29thanddelight.com

Crew has himself a mini-version of the big guy, and he could NOT be more excited!

DIY Garbage Man Costume and Trash Can | www.29thanddelight.com

And if you’re in search of more ideas…see how we embraced the pacifier last year when Crew went as a scuba diver (and Dad was the shark who chased him!) and his very first Halloween when he went as Albert Einstein (scroll to the bottom of that post). 🙂 Happy costume planning!

Super Bowl Sandwiches

I first blogged about these mouth-watering sammies a few years ago. After making them about a bajillion times since then, I’ve updated the recipe just a tad, and included a couple little tips I’ve found helpful — although these are SO easy you really can’t screw them up! These are perfect if you’re looking for an easy Super Bowl recipe for Sunday!

SuperBowl Sandwiches05 copy

Melted swiss, hot ham, sweet Hawaiian rolls and seasoned buttah (er, butter) and you have yourself a ready-in-thirty crowd pleaser! (Scroll to bottom for full recipe!)

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  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Melt your butter in the microwave, then whisk in all other ingredients (except, of course, the ham and cheese and rolls).

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2. Slice your Hawaiian rolls, keeping them in a whole “sheet” right down the middle and drizzle half your butter-mixture on top of the “bottom” half of the sheet.

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3. Layer on slices of swiss and ham and put the “top” sheet on your rolls back on top. NEW TIP: I’ve learned that the very center rolls’ cheese doesn’t melt as well, so after I get these all assembled, I slide them down the middle to let a little more heat in.

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4. Drizzle those bad boys with the other half of the butter mixture. Cover with foil and pop in the oven. NEW TIP: I’ve bumped the cook time up to 25 minutes, but check at 20. Nothing bums me out more than to find the cheese isn’t gooey enough, three bites in!

SuperBowl Sandwiches05 copy

Note: If you want to keep these warm for an extended period of time (although damn, they’re tasty even when they’ve cooled), set your crock pot to warm and under-bake them initially by a couple minutes. We’ve taken these to a couple of tailgates this way and the crock pot method kept them perfectly gooey until they were gone! 

Also — yes, there are twelve rolls in a package, and mine are only nine. A certain toddler in my house is ob.sessed. with Hawaiian rolls, so I got what I got… 😉

Super Bowl Sandwiches (a.k.a. “Crack Sammies”)

1 package Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
1 package thin sliced deli ham
1 package sliced swiss cheese
1 stick of butter
2 tsp onion powder
3 Tbsp dijon or spicy brown mustard
1 Tbsp worchestershire sauce
3 tsp poppy seeds

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes (check at 20). ENJOY!

Camp Crew: A Camping Birthday Party

Crew's Second Camping Birthday

We had so much fun celebrating our two-year-old Crew Man this weekend!

Crew's Second Camping Birthday

I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking, but between some painting with pinecones, scooping and dumping ingredients to make our own trail mix, chucking marshmallows into a bear’s mouth, and munching on hot dogs (and barbecue for the adults!), Camp Crew was a raging success thanks to his buddies who made the morning so much fun! I refrain from posting others’ kids (even my friends’ kids) here on the blog, but imagine lots of squeals and sugar-highs! 🙂

(Click on any photo to view it full-size!)

Crew's Second Camping Birthday

Crew's Second Camping Birthday

Every camper went home with a canteen and a bag of gear (a.k.a. flashlight, whistle  –pretty sure the parents hate me! — and adhesive glow stars…so even if they didn’t get to at the party, they can sleep under the stars!)

Crew's Second Camping Birthday

Crew's Second Camping Birthday Crew's Second Camping Birthday Crew's Second Camping Birthday

Crew's Second Camping Birthday

Crew's Second Camping Birthday Crew's Second Camping Birthday

Page built the A-frame tent and I used the Target bear as a muse to paint a piece of plywood for the marshmallow toss.

Crew's Second Camping Birthday Crew's Second Camping Birthday

Crew's Second Camping Birthday | pillowfort target bear

Crew's Second Camping Birthday pinecone painting

Crew's Second Camping Birthday pinecone painting

Crew's Second Camping Birthday

Crew's Second Camping Birthday Crew's Second Camping Birthday Crew's Second Camping Birthday Crew's Second Camping Birthday Crew's Second Camping Birthday Crew's Second Camping Birthday Crew's Second Camping Birthday Crew's Second Camping Birthday

Crew's Second Camping Birthday log cake

Biggest birthday wishes to our happy camper! #campcrew