a life with style blog


Holiday Bucket List

family adventurescourtneeComment

It's official! The 2017 holidays have arrived! There have been times in the past where I've approached this time of year with dread. Going through the motions because it was expected of me. This year Rowan for the first time in his life, Rowan kind of gets the holiday. His eyes light up at the sight of twinkle lights and Christmas trees. He still approaches Santa with a healthy dose of side-eye but he is a frequent topic of conversation! 

Last week we decided to cross off one of the items on our holiday bucket list-The Festival of Lights. The first year we took Ro, it was the week before Christmas. It was freezing, crowded, and none of us enjoyed it very much. Last year we went the week of Thanksgiving and discovered it was the perfect time to go. The weather is more cooperative and the crowds are less intense. And, just like that, a new tradition was born! This year we ventured out the Tuesday night before Thanksgiving. We were not disappointed!    


It feels good to start a new tradition with our family. I'm hoping it's one we can continue. What do you with your family that signals the start of the holiday season? 

rocking the holidays{or the time i attempted to bake cookies}

heart+homecourtnee2 Comments

this shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertisers. all opinions are mine alone. #RocktheHolidays #CollectiveBias  

i can't recall one single christmas that doesn't include a memory made in the kitchen. whether it was watching my mom make her famous olive-cheese balls for the christmas potluck at church as a little one, trying sneak sips of champagne during a holiday cocktail party at our house as teenager or the first time i cooked christmas dinner for my family as young wife and mother-i aced the turkey but made mashed potatoes from a box!!! the one thing that links all of these memories is music! donny hathaway's "this christmas" , whitney houston's "o, holy night' and the jackson 5 singing "i saw mommy kissing santa claus" are all a part of my childhood christmas soundtrack.

rowan loves being in the kitchen so i decided this would be the perfect time to start our own tradition of holiday baking. over the weekend i hit up wal-mart for some baking supplies. while we filled our cart with flour, sprinkles, butter and cookie cutters i also picked up the T-mobile Samsung Galaxy Core Prime and a T-mobile $50 refill card. my interest was piqued because the $50 T-Mobile Simple Choice™ pre pay plan comes with Music Freedom and allows you to stream an unlimited amount of your favorite tunes at high speed. no worries about using up those precious gigs that are part of your data plan. i can literally carry the soundtrack to our holidays with me anywhere! i am listening to justin bieber's christmas album as we speak. yes, i'm a belieber! and, i regret nothing because YOLO!

it's good to know that no matter how long it takes me(the world's most okayest baker)to perfect santa's christmas cookies we'll be listening to our favorite holiday tunes!

  and my no fail, even if they're not pretty they taste amazing sugar cookie recipe 


  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 1½ c. sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • frosting (optional)
  • Coarse sugar crystals, silver dragées, holiday decors (optional decorations)


  1. in large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. in separate large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat butter and sugar until blended. Increase speed to high; beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. reduce speed to low; beat in eggs and vanilla until mixed, then beat in flour mixture just until blended, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula. divide dough into 4 equal pieces; flatten each piece into a disk. wrap each disk with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  2. preheat oven to 350°F. remove1 piece of dough from refrigerator. on lightly floured surface, with floured rolling pin, roll dough until slightly less than 1/4 inch thick. with floured 3-inch to 4-inch cookie cutters, cut dough into as many cookies as possible; reserve trimmings. place cookies, 1 inch apart, on two ungreased large cookie sheets.
  3. bake until edges are golden, 12 to 15 minutes, rotating cookie sheets between upper and lower oven racks halfway through. transfer cookies to wire rack to cool. repeat with remaining dough.
  4. when cookies are cool, prepare frosting, if you like; use along with sugars and candies to decorate cookies. Set cookies aside to allow frosting to dry completely, about 1 hour. store in tightly covered container (with waxed paper between layers if decorated) at room temperature up to 2 weeks, or in freezer up to 3 months.

a little christmas joy

family adventurescourtneeComment

how do you christmas? i wasn't sure what christmas our way meant until i sat down to write this post. after reflecting for a long time i would have to say that christmas our way is slow and filled with lots of inappropriate humor!

last year was the first christmas with rowan and the first year that all of the big kids were home for the holidays. may favorite part was watching them interact with their little brother, having all of their friends over to hang out and visit and sitting around the table laughing at all the wrong things!  i become overwhelmed around the holidays and experience depression. having a slow and smaller celebrations helps me maintain my focus. i only wish i'd figured that out sooner! 

top three memories of last year are taking rowan to see santa, having all 5 of kids together for a photo and our family of 7 all gathered around the tree watching rowan take everything in on christmas morning.


last year was so joyful that we've created our own december bucket list. i think that it will certainly change a bit from year to year but it's nice to do the things that have meaning for you and your family and forget about everything else!

i love seeing all the ways others are celebrating!

take a look at these wonderful posts by some of my blogger friends.

Sara Lafountain http://cookwith5kids.com

Erin Cox http://www.lifeabundantlyblog.com

Katie Mullis Crenshaw http://twelveandsix.com

Clarissa Laskey http://www.clarissaexplainsitall.net

Marcia Denise http://www.ciasays.com

Gillian Nicholl http://www.indulgingmum.com

Lauren Shoffner http://crunchandchill.com

Elizabeth Edgar http://mommygonetropical.com

Elanor Brammer http://tiggypoesandflutterbys.blogspot.co.uk

Jennifer Crowther http://www.jennyscrayoncollection.blogspot.co.uk

Kate Walton http://www.akreativewhim.com%2F&h=lAQFx3Niz

Marilyn Arriaga http://www.tiltamom.com

Cindylynn Calzone http://hometownqueenbee.blogspot.co.uk/…/what-will-our-chil…

Courtnee Garr Frimming http://www.ohmyheartblog.com

Kam Kay http://www.thewomentalk.com

Kelley Farrell Ferreira http://www.chicagonow.com/canny-nanny

Samantha Lamb http://mommawantsjava.com

Chanel Cumberbatch http://www.crunchychronicles.com

Rachel Newcombe http://smartmomsmartideas.com

Karen Marie Patten https://www.facebook.com/spoilmyfamily/?pnref=lhc

Brittany Lass Schwan http://www.beckyandbrittany.com

Rebecca West http://www.craftcreatecalm.com

Esther Steinfield Freedman http://blog.cuteheads.com

Kimberley Mazzarolo http://talesfromthecrib.ca

Liz Jean http://www.cheekydays.com

Julie McCorkle http://julesandco.net

Shannon Hughes Gauger http://dailymomtivity.com

Kristen Marie http://gentleparentingwny.com

Janella Panchamsingh http://www.mabellevie.ca

Kim Robertson http://1200milesaway.com

Lynzy Carey Coughlin http://www.sparklingfootsteps.com

Jannel Alisha http://thevanessachronicles.com

Jennifer Vleira McCullar http://lifewith3boys1girl.com

christmas{our holiday home}


we're already a week into december and the end of the year is approaching at breakneck speed!! i've taken a deep breath and i feel like i'm ready to embrace the craziness that comes with this season.  at least i thought i was until the reality of trying to get the house holiday perfect with a toddler hit me. 

i love the way the house looks fully glammed up for christmas. and i enjoy the process of making everything look pretty. fact:my kids told me that they didn't realize that decorating the tree was a family event for some. they thought everyone woke up to a fully decked out house and tree until they were in junior high!   

with rowan running around this year i've decided to keep it simple. i wanted everything to be pretty neutral with mixed metallic accents. most importantly, i wanted it to feel warm and homey!

the tree...our tree this year is crazy big and i was kind of intimated by trying to decorate it. it sat for almost a week with nothing on it. i finally pulled myself together and got to work! i love glass ornaments and every year we add a dozen or so more to the collection. this year instead of adding more glass i went nuts in michael's and purchased a bunch of wooden ornaments, a few metal ones and some chipboard letters. i also decided to repurpose some old ornaments.

i covered some of the wooden ones completely with copper spray paint and some of the others i taped off so there's a hit of metallic with the natural wood. i used some gorgeous yarn to recover old glass ornaments. i added the chipboard letters to spell out "ho ho ho". i wasn't sure about them initially but once they were on the tree i loved the effect! and finally i remembered that i had feathers-white that i'd sprayed the tips gold-from rowan's birthday party. i tied those on to some hemp string and hung them on tree as well. gotta say i love the mix of glass, metallics and wood!!         

have you fully decked your halls and gotten the ouse all pretty for the holidays?