10 Things about Ashley from The Vanilla Tulip

I am so excited to have Ashley from The Vanilla Tulip joining in on my feature.
She is such an amazing woman of God, mom to three very cute little kids, & is also a wife.
I am so glad that you are going to get the opportunity to meet her on my blog.
She truly is an amazing woman!
So I am pleased to introduce you to Ashley: 
Twitter: @thevanillatulip
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Vanilla-Tulip-Blog/133993800026709
Etsy: http://www.thevanillatulip.etsy.com/

1. Favorite snack food:
Cheddar cheese, crackers and grapes!

 2. Favorite place you've ever visited:
 I LOVE Colorado! 
Trying to talk my warm-weather loving husband into moving there ;)

3. Favorite movie:
The Holiday with Cameron Diaz.

4. Favorite childhood memory:
When I was six I got my own white kitten...
Snowball :)

5. Favorite candle scent:
Candy Corn!  
It's from a local shop and smells like buttery caramel!

 6. Favorite way to travel:
 I LOVE to fly!

7. Favorite Starbucks drink:
Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa :)

8. All time favorite meal:
Anything Mexican! 
Chips, salsa, fajitas, queso, homemade tortillas... 

 9. If you could be on a reality show which one would you choose?:
The Amazing Race with my husband!

10. A fun fact about you:
I would rather be with my husband and babies than be by myself :) LOVE my family!


Best of 2011


I ended up in the ER and then spent the night in the hospital after having surgery for a kidney Stone.

James left for 4 months to go to Salem for training for work, leaving Zane & me home alone.


Zane was just too cute for his own good.

Zane learned to crawl!!

He also experienced his first snow... but wasn't too much of a fan at all.


I praised my Lord for giving the greatest gift of all my son!

I was loving on my boy so much this day. 

I shared two of my favorite praise video's.

Shared some extremely cute pictures of Zane here.


I had to take about a million pictures of Zane to get a good one for his Birthday invite!

Zane celebrated his first Easter, with going to church, lunch with James' mom & then dinner with my Family.


Zane got his first haircut & did wonderful {only time he has}!

I took this adorable picture of Zane drinking his apple juice and love it.

I found Instagram and it changed my life!

Zane turned ONE and I wrote him a letter!!


I shared all of Zane's Birthday party pics in these posts: here, here, here, here, here and here.

James & I celebrated 3 years of marriage.

I tried my first blog sponsor swap.


Zane did some adorable dancing.

I swapped blogs with a great blogger friend Paige. 

I asked for help on how to get rid of Zane's binky & we've yet to do this!


I took Zane to Pump it up and then we went to my dad's concert in the park.

I did an A - Z of me.

My mom & I took Zane to the zoo & he loved it.


I showed you what was on my Birthday wish list.

Fall began.


I did a month of giveaways in honor of my Birthday.

I shared the outfit I wore for my Birthday.

My sweet husband answered some questions for me in an interview.


I shared what Zane was for Halloween {cutest pro-boxer ever}.

I finally shared Zane's one year pictures with you guys! oops!

I started my new feature with myself.

Shared this cute video of Zane saying Gobble gobble gobble.

I shared Zane's Christmas list.


I shared both James & my Christmas Lists.

I got a fabulous new look on my blog and shared the maker with you.

I shared our Christmas tree adventure.

And finally shared some of our family Christmas traditions.

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Christmas Traditions

First of all I just have to tell you that both my husband and I LOVE Christmastime! We will start watching Christmas movies before Thanksgiving because we love it so much. But we wait to turn the Christmas music on until after Thanksgiving. But here is a list of Christmas Traditions that we have in our family.

1. National Lampoons Christmas Vacation: We watch Christmas Vacation after Thanksgiving dinner every.single.year without fail. It is my dad & brother's favorite Christmas movie and one of James's favorites so the boys always want to watch it together.


2. Christmas Tree Adventure: We go and cut our own tree down every year at the same Christmas Tree farm every year. We love the adventure of going out and picking out the perfect tree and then cutting it down ourselves, {well James does that} I just watch. ;) That is one of the perks of living here in Oregon because we grow Christmas trees like crazy out here. 


3. Decorating: We decorate {actually I decorate} the day after Thanksgiving every year. I like to have the decorations up as long as I possibly can because of how much we love Christmas. I decorate using mainly white, red & silver just because I like the traditional'ness' {I know I just made up a word} of it. I only use white lights both on the inside and outside of my house. I grew up in a house of just white lights and I love the simplicity of it. We did add some red lights this year around the banister on our deck in the front but that's all. We have also decided that each of our children will be designated with a certain Christmas "character" if you will, like Santa, Snowman, Elf, Reindeer, Angel, etc. Depending on how many children we have. Their stocking will be their character {Zane is Santa} and then his grammy will be buying him a new santa every year so that he will have a collection of them when he gets older and has his own wife, family, house etc. 

4. The Family Stone: I will watch The Family Stone about 100 times from the beginning of November to the end of December because it is my all time favorite Christmas movie. I love it more than any other movie. I dream of having a big family just like in the movie with a beautiful house in the country with snow and all my children and their families coming to visit us when they are grown and out of the house. It just is such a great movie and has such a great story to go with the wonderfulness that is the family in the movie. 


5. Books & Movies: James and I started this tradition on our very first Christmas together 5 Christmases ago. We buy a new Christmas book every year and write our names, the year and if anything big happened that year in it. {Like last year was Zane's first Christmas} We also buy a Christmas movie every year, whether it be a new one or one of the Classics. We want to own all the Christmas movies we can. Because we try to watch one almost every night during December. It's something we love to do with each other during this time of year.

6. Christmas "Morton Family Strata": {from the Family Stone} This is something I make on Christmas eve and put in the fridge for Christmas morning breakfast. We just started this last year but we decided that it was so good that we wanted to do it every year from then on. You can get the recipe either from the DVD special features or you can go here for the recipe.


7. A Christmas Story: This is James's favorite Christmas movie ever. He could watch it a million times and still love it. So on Christmas day the 24 hours of A Christmas Story on TBS is one of his favorite things. It is pretty much on all day and if it's not on on the TV we will watch it on DVD because most of the time he doesn't have Christmas off. {Police officers don't get holiday's off, that's one of the downfalls to his job.}


8. Twas the Night Before Christmas: James reads Twas the Night Before Christmas every Christmas eve to us right before we go to bed and put out the milk and cookies for Santa.


9. Christmas Music: We love Christmas music but our favorites are Jessica Simpson {both of her CDs}, Michael Buble, Lady Antebellum, She & Him, Rascal Flatts, SheDAISY, and any of the classics. It's the only thing I will listen to starting the day after Thanksgiving until New Year's day. Love love love Christmas music.

10. Visiting Santa Clause: Now that we have Zane we have been going to see Santa at the mall the last two years and we don't plan on stopping anytime soon, especially since we are going to be having more kids in the near future {as in we are going to start trying in March}! ;) It's so much fun to take him to see him and see his reaction to being put on a strange old man's lap. We had success both this year and last year! No crying at all. Hopefully that will continue with him and with our other future children. 


11. A few little fun extras: So there are a few things that we have done in the past or want to do but haven't had time yet for. The Christmas tree lighting downtown Portland in Pioneer Courthouse Square each year on the day after Thanksgiving. We wanted to go this year but decided against it because of the stupid Occupy Portland thing that is going on {they had just moved to the square a couple days before and we didn't want to take Zane down into that}. Zoo Lights of course we want to take Zane to Zoo Lights because he loves Christmas lights and would love to see all the lights at the zoo plus you get to ride on the train and he loves trains. So this is something we are hoping to do this weekend. The Polar Express on The Mount Hood Railroad it's a fun little trip for the kids {and adults too!} where the kids wear their pajama's and they give you hot cocoa and you meet Santa Clause at the end of the ride.


I find it funny how quite a few of our traditions involve movies. We are big into movies I guess. Oh well it's part of what's so great about Christmas are the movies.

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10 things about Kate from The Small Things

I am so excited to have Kate from The Small Things joining in on my feature.
She is such a sweetheart and has a great blog with tons of hair tutorials.
I am so glad that you are going to get the opportunity to meet her on my blog.
She truly is an amazing woman!
So I am pleased to introduce you to Kate: 

Twitter: @K8_smallthings

1. Favorite snack food:

Original goldfish 
(which I think they now call saltine). 
When I was a child I use to lay a line of them near the fireplace to "warm them up" before I ate them. 
I know, totally weird. 

2. Favorite place you've ever visited:
Park City, Utah.
My family skis in Park City and it is absolutely beautiful.
I love the mountains.

3. Favorite movie:
Newsies (have you seen newsies?
It's a disney musical from back in the DAY!)

4. Favorite childhood memory:
My family and I riding our bikes to dairy queen in our little downtown.

5. Favorite candle scent:
Right now,
Evergreen for the holiday season,
but other than that anything Vanilla flavored.

6. Favorite way to travel:
Unaware that I'm traveling.
So : sleeping on a plane. :)

7. Favorite Starbucks drink:
My all-time favorite drink is a Non-fat Vanilla Latte.

8. All time favorite meal:
Specifically Meat Lovers

9. If you could be on a reality show which one would you choose?:
I really want to be on ABC's Wipeout with my husband.

10. A fun fact about you:
I like to add "r's" to most words for special effect (for exermple: Hello=Hellur; What up=Wert Erp)

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I was tagged by Chelsea at *The Curly Cues* and thought this would be fun... WARNING: there are a lot of numbers in this post! Look away if you hate numbers (weirdo).

1. You must post these rules.
2. Each per­son must post 11 things about them­selves on their blog.
3. Answer the ques­tions the tag­ger set for you in their post, and cre­ate 11 new ques­tions for the peo­ple you tag to answer.
4. You have to choose 11 peo­ple to tag and link them on the post.
5. Go to their page and tell them you have linked him or her.
6. No tag backs.
7. No stuff in the tag­ging sec­tion about ‘you are tagged if you are read­ing this.’ You legit­i­mately have to tag 11 people.


11 things about me:
1. I love Christmastime so much, it's my favorite time of year for sure!
2. I have never lived anywhere but in Oregon.
3. I was a adopted @ 3 weeks old.
4. I love cupcakes, ruffles, polka dots, bows, the color pink & giraffes.
5. I am hoping to have at least 2 more boys & maybe a girl in there somewhere. {yes we want a big family!}
6. My celebrity crushes are Jessica Simpson & Shia LaBeouf.
7. I will be 30 next year and I am so excited!
8. I really want to have another baby... {we're going to try next year!! I am so excited!}
9. I still wish every.single.year for a white Christmas.
10. I met my biological mom when I was 18 and it was one of the best days of my life!
11. My house is pretty much never clean... it's very hard for me to keep up.

Chelsea's Questions:
1. What is the worst haircut you have ever had? in 7th grade I got my hair permed & the girl messed up so I had to cut my hair all off and I looked like a boy. My best friend tells me I used to look like one of The Beatles {she was my best friend then too} it was really awful!
2. What one trait do you possess that you hope to pass onto your current/future child/children? my green eyes. I would love to have a child with green eyes like me. 
3. What trait do you pray every day your child/children do(es) not inherit? my inability to lose weight!
4. Describe your favorite holiday tradition. Having Christmas dinner with my family every year... my mom makes the best turkey dinner and the family time is the best thing ever!
5. What one beauty product can you not live without? chapstick, my lips get dry very easily. 
6. Is there one book/movie/song etc. that has made an unexpected impact on your life? If so, what is it and how has it affected you? The Family Stone made me decide that I wanted a big family, I love that movie more than any other movie besides Dan in Real Life which made me want a big family even more!
7. What was the name of your favorite childhood stuffed animal/blankie? Bear, he was a big stuffed panda bear my grandpa got me when I was 5 and I slept with him every night.
8. What is your lucky number? Do you know why? 21... nope just has been since I was like 12.
9. In one word, describe the meaning of life. LOVE
10. If someone gave you 1 million dollars (tax free!) what would you do with it? Be honest! I would pay off debt, buy us a new house, get James a new truck, help pay off my families debt, donate some, & put some in college fund for Zane... oh and invest some!
11. What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you? oh man hard question... probably when I was pregnant and wet my pants when I sneezed in a store. 

My Questions for you: 
1. What is your favorite season?
2. How many children do you want to have or have already {if you are done}?
3. Favorite sport to watch and/or play?
4. What is your favorite Christmas movie?
5. Do you play an instrument {if so what is it}?
6. Do you have any pets {what is it}?
7. If you could go anywhere without worrying about money, time, etc where would you go?
8. What is your hobby?
9. Favorite drink {can be ANYTHING}?
10. Best gift you have ever GIVEN?
11. Can you speak another language {if so what}?

I am tagging Libby, Libby, Kinze, Ashley, Ashlen, Darlene, Lindsay, Krystal, Chelsea, Tiffanie, and Melissa {please do not feel obligated to do this, I just tagged people I thought might think it would be fun} I am not going to go tell you so if you read my blog go ahead and do it if you'd like if not, no worries!!

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Christmas in my house

looks like this...

My grandma painted the tree picture for us

James' stocking & all our Christmas movies

Zane's & my stocking and Christmas card holder

Part of my snowman collection & the new picture of Zane for his 18 months

Our tree

There are many more decorations around the house but these are just some of the favorites.
I am hoping our tree next year will not be so sparse with lights and ornaments!
We had to adjust because of Zane this year.

P.S. Happy Birthday to the best dad & poppa there is!
Today is his birthday & we are going to celebrate tonight with some pizza & playing.

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10 Things about Megan from Mackey Madness

I am so excited to have Megan from Mackey Madness joining in on my feature.
She is so adorable, she loves pink even more than me {which is hard} 
& has a very cute husband to boot.
I am so glad that you are going to get the opportunity to meet her on my blog.
She truly is an amazing woman!
So I am pleased to introduce you to Megan: 
Twitter: @MackeyMadness
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/mackeymadness/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mackey-Madness/173207399395068

1. Favorite snack food:
Anything chocolate.
I am obsessed with dessert.

2. Favorite place you've ever visited:
That would be Baltimore, MD.
It was just beautiful and stunning!
I could not get enough of it.
But I love Jamaica, too!!

3. Favorite movie:
Serendipity and Armageddon.

4. Favorite childhood memory:
Oh gosh, so many!!
My childhood was seriously amazing.
One of my favorites is decorating the Christmas tree!!
It was one of our favorite nights.

5. Favorite candle scent:
Anything tropical smelling. 
Although right now I'm liking "Christmas Cookie" from Yankee Candle.

6. Favorite way to travel:
Definitely car. 
I hate flying...
I get SO nervous.

7. Favorite Starbucks drink :
Java Chip Frappuccino.

8. All time favorite meal:
Chicken fried steak!
With cheesecake afterwards!

9. If you could be on a reality show which one would you choose?:
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
Does that count?! 
I'd love to be able to give back!!

10. A fun fact about you:
I have three 70 pound dogs.
Is that a fun fact or an insane fact?! :)

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Our Christmas Tree Adventure

We went and got our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving.
We go to a tree farm by our house, so we can cut our own tree down.
{that's one good thing about living in Oregon, tree farms are everywhere}
I was really worried that Zane would be hard to control while we were picking our tree...
but he held my hand the entire time! 
He actually picked out our tree and it was the perfect tree. 
I was so impressed with how well behaved he was while we were looking.
He's such a sweet little boy when he wants to be.

He did NOT want me to hold him!

In front of the tree {on the right} about to cut it down

Here she is in all her glory! :) 

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Oh How Pinteresting


I love Pinterest and decided that I would join in on the Oh How Pinteresting over at the Vintage Apple and I love Christmas so I thought why not do a Christmas themed Pinterest post! :)

I am so in love with this simple wrapping

And this naughty vs. nice stocking stuffer idea!

Source: etsy.com via Libby on Pinterest

This wreath is beautiful and I know it took forever. I would actually love to make one. Maybe someday!

This is where I got the idea for Zane's Advent calendar.

These cookies look so yummy!

I also love, love, love this wrapping. So simple yet so elegant!!

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Red Velvet White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Recipe for Red Velvet White Chocolate Chunk Cookies: 

  • 1 box - red velvet cake mix
  • 1 cup - all purpose flour
  • 2 sticks - butter {softened}
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups - white chocolate chunks {chips}

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
In a mixing bowl, add the butter and mix until soft and fluffy.  


Then slowly add the cake mix and flour. 



Once that is combined, add the egg and mix completely.  


Add white chocolate chips, 


mix it for a minute or so until it is all well combined.  
{I use a wooden spoon to mix the chips in, I think it works the best!}


Form dough into one inch balls, 
{I used an ice cream scoop and it worked great}



place them into the oven for 8-10 minutes on an un-greased cookie sheet. 


{Makes about 24 small cookies}


If you dare make these you will love every. single. bite.
They are absolutely delicious! 

Christmas Cookie Countdown

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