Writing love letters to my boys.

Yesterday I was driving home from work on Lindbergh and a motorcycle passed me on the left.  He was ahead of me about 4 car lengths and in front of my eyes out of nowhere, a deer ran on this busy street in the middle of the day and smashed right into the guy on the motorcycle.  He went flying.  A car in front of me stopped to check on him and I pulled over and called 911.  I’ll spare you the graphic details but it made me think how things can change in an INSTANT.

I have a really stressful week of work, working on some major deadlines and managing my boys myself this week so I’ve been overwhelmed, tired, stressed, and trying to do too much.   Then I saw that guy on the motorcycle lying on the road and it clicked for me what really matters.

These precious kids matter.

Logan with chickens

I went to pick up my boys early and decided to be 100% present with them.  We took a picnic to a playground and went exploring and played outside.  I decided to write my boys a letter to tell them how much I love and cherish them.
I love writing them letters throughout the year and stashing them away so hopefully on a very special occasion they can look back on all the letters from important events in their life but sometimes it’s nice to write them just because.

I asked grandparents to do this too.  Babies birth, Baptism, Preschool graduation are all good occasions.

Mason with muffin

This is sentimental to me because I lost my dad a few years ago.  He was the most amazing man and always excited to hear what was going on in my life.  He always had fun stories to tell and was one of those people that everyone adored.  A few months after he passed away my mom brought me a box of letters she found from him.  He and my mom would write to me in college and when I lived in Dallas.  Just seeing his handwriting brought back so many special memories and gave me a sense of peace.  He was my biggest fan and always believed in me.

I want my boys to see in writing how much I adore them.  They are incredible kids.

Here is the letter I wrote to Logan:

Dear Logan

If you need some guidance writing your child a letter, try this.

  1. Tell them you love them
  2. Tell them what you like observing them do, about their talents or what you see in them
  3. Talk about the things you like to do with them, your special relationship

Here is my letter to Mason.

Dear Mason

I have been praying that the guy on the motorcycle is ok.  Thankfully as we were all sitting on Lindbergh one of the people in a vehicle beside me went up to check with the paramedics and said that he was responding.  It was shocking to watch such an event and then to see the paramedics come and do such an amazing job jumping into action to help this guy who woke up not having a clue what today has in store for him.

I share this story as a reminder that tomorrow is not guaranteed.  Tell the people you love how special they are and live each day to the fullest.

XOXO  Sarah

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Instacart grocery delivery

Here is the play by play on using Instacart grocery delivery.  Copy my promo code SSCHUMACHER2B5144 for $10 off your first order.

  1. Copy and paste this link to Instacart: https://inst.cr/t/N7fnYTDuh
  2. Select your store:  Remember if you want to shop at Sam’s or Costco you don’t have to have a membership to Sams or Costco to use them.  Instacart has the membership so you don’t have to.  🙂  yeah.
  3. Select your groceries and other items
  4. When finished select your delivery time.
  5. MOST IMPORTANT STEP Before you hit place order UNCHECK the Service fee Change to $0.  The drivers told me this fee does not go to the driver it goes to the company and it’s not necessary.

Instacart grocery delivery

6.  You can also pre-tip the driver but I usually give it to them in person.
7.  Copy and paste this promo code to save $10.  SSCHUMACHER2B5144
8.  Place Order
9.  Spend time doing what you really want to do by saving time running around the grocery.  🙂

What to expect.

*They will send you a text when they begin shopping to alert you they are at the store if you need to add or change anything.
*They will send you a text saying when your delivery is expected to arrive closer to time.
*If any of your items are not available when at the store they will alert you and get your approval for a replacement.

Enjoy!!  XOXO  Sarah

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Choo Choo,  All aboard the Kozy Kaboose.  Over Christmas break, I took my boys on the ultimate little boy staycation.    I gave them clues to where we were going and when they saw the caboose they couldn’t believe their sweet little eyes.  Spring break and Summer break are approaching and KOA’s campground in Eureka, Missouri has just the answer for those wanting a memorable camping experience without battling the St Louis crazy hot/cold weather.  

Kozy Kaboose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kozy Kaboose authentic caboose has the original Route 66 nostalgic feel.  It was completely refitted to a modern condition.  If your child is a train enthusiast, they’ll go crazy over spending an overnight in this choo choo delight.  It sleeps four people comfortably; 2 adults and 2 children, with a queen size bed and a bunk that my boys couldn’t get enough of.  My youngest spent almost an hour just going up and down the ladder.  

Kozy Kaboose

 

 

The bathroom has a shower-tub combo.  A small fridge is supplied and is large enough to hold some basic food supplies and drinks.  When eating, or playing a fun game of candy land you sit at a cute booth that seats four.  Also, there’s a TV with over 20 channels, and swivels from the dining area to the bedroom location.     

Kozy Kaboose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just steps from the back door, which has a porch with furniture, a grill and there is a fire ring that’s ready for roasting hot dogs and making s’mores.  My guys devoured more chocolate bars than anything else, which made bedtime a lengthy process.  Instead of purchasing pricey firewood, you can save yourself a lot of hassle by going to Academy Sports.  They have these convenient tree stumps, which have a core that’s soaked in lighter fluid.  All you have to do is light the middle and you have a toasty fire that lasts around two hours.  We added some Funky Colored Flames, that are also available at Academy, and your kids will be mesmerized by the variety of colors it produces.     

Kozy Kaboose

 

 We stayed for just one night, but given the chance, multiple nights would make for an awesome staycation.  They gave us a scavenger hunt on arrival the kids could hunt for.  When it’s warmer they have a pool, a playground and tons of fun kid-friendly activities.  For more information check them out at Kozy caboose Eureka

Kozy Kaboose

So, gather your family and get on board for an experience that’ll create great family memories!  If you missed our other family-friendly trip ideas check them out here:  

Echo Bluff state park

Bentonville, AR

Big Cedar Lodge

  • This post was sponsored by KOA but all thoughts are completely my own.

 

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Target has a new line out in their women’s clothing department that has the best basics.  I did a little try on the session today at lunch and found so many versatile must-have pieces.  I tend to have a classic style when it comes to clothing but I love layering jackets and adding accessories to complete the entire look.

The new Universal Thread line at Target has so many great pieces.  In my opinion every wardrobe needs:

  1. Denim Jacket
  2. Denim Dress
  3. Classic solid top
  4. Olive jeans

Universal Threads Navy top and Olive jeans

Target Universal Threads Denim Dress

Target Universal Threads Denim Dress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Universal Threads Olive top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out my favorites here:

 

Some other fun tops and layering pieces I loved.  Check it out here.
 Universal Threads off the shoulder denim top Universal Threads striped top
Universal Threads striped jacket
Denim top with accessories

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Happy New Year.

Each year in January I like to do what I call “Sarah’s Life Edit”.  I try to edit and declutter all aspects of my life:  finances, kitchen, closets, kids stuff, etc.

I like to start with finances since coming from December where there was an excess of spending, parties taxes due, tuition, etc.  So here are some simple ways I edit my finances in January.

Finances:
1.  Cash only in January.   I make saving a game with myself.  I take 1/4 of my normal variable expenses out in cash and this forces me to get creative, plan ahead and be resourceful.

2.  Print a calendar and write down expenses each day.  If you know ahead of time pre-track your expenses.  I like to use the calendar as a visual and challenge myself to stick to my budget.  Add up all your expenses at the end of the week to make sure you’re on track.

3.  Gather all unused gift cards.  Separate into categories:  Retail, Restaurants, and Entertainment.  Plan shopping dinners out and activities around your gift cards.

4.  See if your credit cards have cash back rewards programs.  My credit card gives you an additional 50% bonus if you get the cash bonus deposited back into your account.  No Brainer!

5.  Sign your kids up for a kids club checking account (First Community Credit Union-has one my boys love).  My boys got some money for Christmas and when they deposit up to $250 a year they get a $10 gift card.

 

 

Dierbergs Holiday Appetizers and Cocktails Class

I’m always looking for new and fun experiences.  So when Dierbergs invited me to one of their “pop up” cooking classes, I was thrilled.  This particular class was for holiday appetizers and cocktails, which is right down my alley.  I’ve been to some classes recently for a girls-night-out and work team-building activity, and each time picked up something new.  

Dierbergs offers some of their more popular classes as “pop up”, or last minute, so make sure you follow them on social media.  Their Instagram handle is @Dierbergs, or sign up for their newsletter here so you don’t miss anything.  They do fill up quickly.  

If you’re looking for a unique gift for someone celebrating an anniversary or birthday, these classes would be something interactive and fun.

Dierbergs holiday appetizer and jim beam cocktail class

Here was the menu:  

  • Seared Tuna Skewers and Spicy Avocado Cream & Pickled Cucumber
  • Sun-dried Tomato & Mozzarella Bread Sticks with Olive Caper Cream
  • Candied Bacon Cornbread bits glazed with Sweet Tomato Jam
  • Chocolate Caramel Mousse Cups with Candied Pecans

This class was a demonstration with Chef Christie Maggi.  In demonstration classes, you get to sit back and relax while the chef does all the work.  

What we ate:
While Chef Christie was starting to cook, she passed around a couple of apps from the store for us to sample.  We had a festive olive and salami tray along with a cranberry pecan torte you can pick up from the deli, which makes for a quick party-pleaser.  

Salami and olive tray

torteRecipes and a couple tips Chef discussed.

Seared Tuna Skewers and Spicy Avocado Cream & Pickled Cucumber

This was my favorite appetizer of the night.  Chef Christie had a great tip about working with food on skewers.  Instead of soaking the food on the skewers, she recommended cooking the tuna first, then add the skewer after.  This prevents the skewers from burning and falling apart. 

Seared tuna skewers

Avocado substitution option: if the avocados you were planning on using aren’t ripe, you can substitute with Wholly Guacamole.  

Lemongrass substitution option: use lemongrass puree in the squeeze tube.  

Candied Bacon Cornbread Bits glazed with sweet tomato onion jam

Candied bacon cornbread bits glazed with sweet tomato onion jam

Sarah’s Scoop: These would be great served at a brunch or holiday appetizer party.  The tomato jam is what transforms this from good into an amazing item!


Sun-dried tomato & mozzarella breadsticks with olive caper cream

Sun-dried Tomato & Mozzarella Bread Sticks with Olive Caper Cream

sun-dried tomato breadsticks

Sarah’s Scoop:  If you don’t want to make the dough from scratch, Dierbergs sells pre-made pizza dough in the same aisle where fresh pasta is made.

Chocolate Caramel Mousse Cups with Candied Pecans

Filo cups are very versatile, so pick some up in the deli department.  I love using them for holiday appetizers too (see how I did for my holiday appetizer party here) but using them for desserts is equally delicious.  

Chocolate caramel mousse cups with candied pecans

Chef’s Tip:  This mousse can be made a day or two ahead of time.  A snazzy serving option is putting them in a shot glass with berries on top, or use a martini glass for a larger portion.  

Chocolate caramel mousse cups with candied pecans

 Jim Beam Cocktails

Jim Beam Side Car

Here’s what Stephen, the Jim Beam rep, made for us to sample.

  1. Moscow Mule
  2. Sidecar
  3. Manhattan
  4. Penicillin
  5. Maker’s neat

Up until this point, I hadn’t drank any whiskey since I was in college, so I didn’t know what to expect.  The Moscow Mule is definitely something I would serve at one of my own parties for my girlfriends.  My friend Jana recently served it at her house, and she threw in some cranberry to make it festive for the holidays.  These drinks ranged from light whiskey taste too very strong.  Penicillin and Maker’s Neat are more for whiskey lovers that enjoy the taste.  There were several whiskey enthusiasts in the class, that really enjoyed these cocktails.  The cocktail size was quite large, more than just a sip, so you really got to enjoy it.

This class truly had something for everyone, including dessert.  So, do you prefer to savor a rich decadent chocolate mousse or sip on a warm whiskey at the end of your meal?

Maker's neat and chocolate carmel mousse cups with candied pecans

Jim Beam cocktail recipes

Overall this class was a lot of fun, with a lot of pleasant surprises and fun people willing to learn.  Many attendees were celebrating a special occasion or having a fun night with friends. One couple in the class said they were hosting a lot of guests for the holidays, and wanted to gather some ideas.  They love to go shopping right after the class so they picked up the ingredients of the apps and drinks they liked the best.  Very smart.  Thanks to Dierbergs for such a fun experience.  

Did you know Dierbergs has classes for all tastes and preferences?  Even if you are not a cook.   Check out their list of options for January and February here.  Here are some I’d like to attend:

New Year, New You
Make it- Take it Valentine Spa-tacular non-food class.
Friday Night Dine:  Classy Appetizers and Craft Cocktails (super popular)
Gal-entine’s Brunch
Crock Pot or Not (for those who can’t live without their crock pot)
Puppy Love, Parent-Child Kids Class (My boys love helping me in the kitchen)

Dierbergs is so much more than fresh groceries, my boys love it too. 

We thoroughly enjoy their children holiday events.  We recently saw Santa and did fun kid activities around the entire store; such as sampling foods, getting balloons, face painting, and making ornaments.  It was a win-win for everyone.  

Dierbergs Santa fair

Dierbergs Santa Fair

Dierbergs Santa Fair

Also, I hosted a pumpkin beer and treat tasting with friends this past fall, where I picked up some pumpkin beer and snacks for my girlfriends to enjoy.  If you’re looking for a great place to host, but don’t have the time to do it at your place, this is a perfect solution.  They even have live bands every Friday to make for a really festive atmosphere.  Read all about it here.

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Swag Bag Party Photo Wall

I have always loved taking and having lots of photos so when I was planning my Holiday Swag Bag Party I knew I wanted to do some sort of fun photo wall.

I have an accent wall in my office that is a leopard pattern so I thought I’d start with that.  I rented a “pipe and drape” (poles and drapes) at a party rental store that defines the space a little more for the background.  Then I pushed aside the furniture in my office.

I found some fun photo props at TJ Maxx and got the letter balloons to spell out FUN.  The day before the party I took the balloons to my local grocery and had them filled with helium.  Then Wal-la!  A photo backdrop.

I have loved looking back at these photos.  Life is too short not to have FUN!!  🙂

FUN photo wall Swag bag party FUN photo wall Swag bag party FUN photo wall Swag bag party FUN photo wall Swag bag party FUN photo wall Swag bag party FUN photo wall Swag bag party FUN photo wall Swag bag party FUN photo wall Swag bag party

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fun Photo Wall Swag Bag Party | Sarah Out and Aboutpics were taken by @verajeanaephotography

Have you seen the other Holiday Swag Bag posts?

How to host a holiday swag bag party here
Holiday appetizers and drinks I served at the holiday swag bag party here

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Leopard coat two ways!

Hello Winter!!  What’s better than a leopard coat?  A reversible leopard coat.  You decide what mood you’re in.  All out leopard or just a hint of leopard.  I know having options makes tolerating this cold weather so much more bearable for me.  🙂

Leopard reversible coat with denim

 

 

 

 

Some of my other winter favs are from ABLE denim! Beautiful leather bags, jewelry, denim, apparel, and shoes… all made by women locally & globally who have overcome extraordinary circumstances… from addiction to homelessness to prostitution. Check it out using my link: http://able.refr.cc/sarahschumacher & sign up for their emails to get $10 off your first purchase!

All amazing jewelry from Collections by Joya

Leopard coat and denim

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Easy appetizers and drinks I served at my holiday swag bag party.  

Cheers Sarah, Christine, Rachel and Ann Santa define nice

 

 

 

 

 

I was in search of some easy appetizers and drinks to make for my holiday swag bag party.  I called my go-to foodie friend Christine to discuss options.  I knew she’d be a big help, because she knows I don’t have time to spend hours in the kitchen cooking, but still want to wow my guests with a fun snacks and drinks.  

The primary goal for my menu was to serve appetizers I could assemble quickly, that would require three or fewer ingredients. I decided to showcase a mix of sweet and savory apps that were served cold and hot.

Here’s what I chose:

filo cups

Spinach Filo Cups.  

  • Filo cups
  • Your favorite dip (spinach artichoke works great!)

This is my “go-to” appetizer for all my parties, and are a huge hit.  They look really fancy, but they’re the easiest tasty bites to assemble.  Dierbergs carries already-baked filo cups.  While you’re there grab some of their fresh spinach artichoke dip.  All you do is spoon the dip into the filo cups, and bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.  You can also order them at pre-assembled, and take them home to bake.  

Anne and Sarah Jessica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crockpot Meatballs

  • 1 package of meatballs
  • 1 bottle of BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Rays’ Honey Chipotle is really good).
  • 1 jar of apricot jelly

The crockpot can be your best friend when hosting a party.  Just throw the ingredients into the crock, and it takes care of the rest.  The apricot jelly adds a different twist to this classic appetizer.  My guests raved about this one, and requested the recipe.

cream cheese stars

Red Pepper Stars

  • 1 brick of cream cheese
  • 1 bottle of red pepper jelly

Divide and cut the cream cheese into a creative shape using a cookie cutter.  To prevent the cream cheese from sticking, spray the cookie cutter with Pam.  Then just top your shapes with the red pepper jelly, and enjoy with toast bites or crackers.  These are a simple way to make the holidays special.  For Valentine’s Day do hearts, shamrocks for St Patrick’s Day, and pumpkins for Halloween or Thanksgiving.

Baked goat cheese and marinara

  • 1 jar of your favorite marinara
  • 1 log of goat cheese
  • Fresh basil for garnish

This appetizer was inspired by my favorite tapas restaurant in St. Louis: Barcelona.  It’s so simple and looks so festive.  All you have to do is pour the marinara sauce into small baking dish.  Next slice the goat cheese and bake at 375 for 15 minutes, or until toasted and sauce is bubbling.  Serve with toast bites.

Cinnamon Chip Breadbowl

Cinnamon chip bread bowl

  • Cinnamon Chip bread bowl  from @Great Harvest Bread Co
  • Cheesecake fruit dip
  • Apple slices

I love making this Cinnamon Chip bread bowl into an amazing party treat.  This bread tastes like heaven!  Just core out the top and put in the smooth and tasty cheesecake fruit dip from Dierbergs’ deli department.  I also like to serve it with fresh apple slices.  If you’re looking for a show-stopper; this is it!

 

chocolate dipped clementines

Chocolate covered clementines

  • Clementines
  • Dark chocolate or chocolate chips
  • Sea Salt

First, peel and divide the clementines.  Next, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, and dip half of the clementine into the chocolate.  Sprinkle with sea salt before the chocolate hardens.  Finally, place them on parchment paper and let cool in the refrigerator.  

Veggie Platter

Veggies and Dip from Dierbergs

I like having veggies as a healthy option for my guests.  I ordered a veggie platter from Dierberg’s because they’re always fresh and beautiful.  Just throw them onto your own platter and it looks like you did all the preparation.  

Buntini's

Bundtinis from “Nothing Bundt Cakes”

These delicious miniature bundt cakes, may be small, but pack a punch for any sweet tooth. Nothing Bundt Cakes has two   locations in Chesterfield and Brentwood.  They have a compact variety of flavors in six types of products (i.e. bundt cakes and bundt towers).  I went with chocolate chocolate chip (yep, that’s twice the chocolate) and red velvet for this party, and they all disappeared quick.

What we drank:

Very peary cocktail

Very Peary Breeze

  • 1 part pear vodka
  • 1 part cranberry juice
  • 1 part apple juice
  • Frozen cranberries
  • Rosemary

Just like the name indicates, this drink is like a fresh breeze.  Once mixing the three drink ingredients, throw in some frozen cranberries.  These make for festive ice cubes, a nice pop of color, and keeps your drink cold without watering it down.  Finally, garnish with rosemary.   

Wine decisions red or white? Heather C

I also had a variety of red and white wines and water on hand.  You can jazz it up the water by putting a large ice cube with frozen oranges and cranberries inside the container.  

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So that covers what we ate and drank at the Swag Bag Party.  If you missed all the fun swag items you will want to check that out here.  The recipe for the Peary Beary Cocktail here and other party ideas here.
Next I’ll be showing you how I turned my office wall  into a photo back drop.  Here’s a sneek peek.
Photo wall
XOXO  Sarah
Party Pic photos by the talented @verajeanaephotography

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I was tagged by @Kaitlinclaywell to share my answers to 15 winter related questions.  I absolutely loved reading Kaitlin’s questions and answers.  She is so happy and fun and lives life to the fullest.  I love following Kaitlin’s blog because you never know where she’ll pop up that week  major benefits of being able to work anywhere on the planet.  So I thought this would be fun.  

I absolutely love the holidays but I don’t like winter.  While holidays can be stressful, I thrive during this time.  I enjoy fun activities with my boys, parties, food and drinks, shopping, checking out Christmas lights, and much more.  Because I get so much enjoyment from the holidays, it’s no surprise I go into an activity slump in January.  

  1. What’s your favorite holiday tradition?  

Our favorite tradition, which has been around since my oldest son was little, is our “Elf on the Shelf” who’s name is Chip.  I sometimes wish he would be around the house all year, because the boys behave knowing Chip is watching and reporting to Santa.  The only downside to Chip, is remembering to move him to a different location around the house each night after the boys go to bed.     

Elf on the shelf trouble

  1. What is your favorite go-to lippies?

A makeup artist at Nordstrom told me red lips were big this winter, so I wear a subtle Bobbi Brown shade called Cranberry.  Besides lip stick,  Burt’s Bees’ lip balm is amazing.  Several of my friends gave it out at my swag bag party in November, and it was very popular, so I’ve started using it.  

  1. What is your favorite winter scent? (perfume, candles, etc.)

My favorite winter smell is pine greenery and Christmas trees.  

To wear I prefer sweet perfumes like Viva la Juicy and Daisy by Marc Jacobs.  

  1. What’s your go-to winter fashion trend?

My style is classic, but I try to incorporate leopard, sequins, fur, leather and lace when possible.

Leopard coat and denim

  1. What is your favorite holiday movie?

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  We watched it recently for our family movie night, and my boys are now obsessed with it.

  1. What’s your favorite holiday tune?

All I want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey.

  1. Do you prefer to travel or stay home?

I enjoy both, but if I had to choose, being home Christmas morning is so fun.  Some of my family live out of town, in Cape Girardeau but not too far away, so it’s easy to travel and join in on all the festivities.

  1. What’s your winter skincare must have?

Without a doubt, moisturizer.  My dermatologist says the best thing for your skin is moisturizer, sunscreen and retinol, so I never forgot to stay moisturized during the cold months.  I use Aveeno

  1. What is your favorite winter haircare product?

I really don’t have a favorite haircare product, but I love wearing stylish hats.  I’m in and out of buildings all day for work, so it’s easier for me to throw on a hat and still look put together.  (@NeverEnough)

Never Enough

  1. What is your favorite winter activity?

Looking at Christmas lights, especially ones that have pulled out all of the stops.  Two winter activities I’m hoping to do this year is tubing at Hidden Valley and sledding at Art Hill.  

  1. What is your favorite winter beauty product?  

I always feel better when I have a tan but I don’t want to damage my skin so, I use L’oreal’s Sublime Bronze towelettes  during the winter to get a little glow.  

  1. Love or hate the snow?

I love snow once a year.  I prefer just a dusting, because I don’t like driving in a lot of it; especially when I’m  “white-knuckling” and I hate being cold.  

  1. What is one item on your wishlist?

Having two busy-body boys, a full-night’s sleep would be tremendous.

  1. Favorite holiday treat?

I can’t pass up an Oreo cookie truffle ball.  The problem for me, is limiting myself to just one.  So, when I do eat one of these tasty treats, I savor it.

  1. Do you finish your holiday shopping before December or are you a last minute shopper?

I start early, but I always have some last minute things to grab too.  

It has been fun reflecting on why I love the holidays so much. I love reading these kinds of posts because I feel like I get to know my favorite bloggers better. If you do this tag, be sure to let me know! I want to learn more about you all. I’m tagging some amazing St. Louis mom bloggers below that I’m obsessed with. Be sure to check out their answers.  

Katelyn @thebejuledlife

Emily @emmyloustyles

Jen @andhattiemakesthree

Meghan @meghan.lane

Happy Holidays and thanks to @@Kaitlinclaywell

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