a life with style blog


Sunday Family Funday

family adventurescourtneeComment

Last weekend we set out on our first official(since it's actually December!) holiday activity. We'd actually planned on doing something Saturday and Sunday but you know what they say about best-laid plans! Anyway, Sunday was a bright, beautiful and 60-degree day, so we ventured out. Our plan was to head to the Krohn Conservatory to take in the gorgeous holiday display. But, when the husband suggested we drive downtown, hop and the streetcar and have brunch first, I wasn't going to argue. There has been much debate about whether or not the streetcar was a wise investment for the city. I guess that remains to be seen but if my kid's excitement is any indication, the answer is YES! 


A quick ride on the streetcar delivered us to one of our favorite restaurants, Maplewood Kitchen. We got there at the perfect time. Shortly after our arrival, the line began to snake out the door! After filling up on bistro steak and eggs, lemon ricotta pancakes and chicken hash we made our way to Eden park to check out the holiday display at Krohn Conservatory.


The display never disappoints! Rowan could have stayed for hours watching the trains! 


 A streetcar ride, giant pancakes, trains and a Ferris wheel! This kid was on cloud nine for the next two days! 

holiday junction {family adventures}

family adventurescourtnee1 Comment

one of my favorite holiday activities is going to see holiday junction, an amazing train display! last year we went to see a smaller display, mostly for us since rowan was too little to know what he was looking at. but this year, he loved it!! i think we could have stayed there all day in one spot watching them go round and round and he would have been perfectly content!

most parents will tell you that attempting to do any sort of family activity, especially during the holidays, can be more hassle than it's worth. everything is crowded, the lines are long, people are grumpy and then there are the toddler tantrums! seeing his face light up. his delight at the train horn. this is why we do it! the giggles and clapping are worth it all, kiddo.  

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.

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?