Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: A Year in Review

I honestly felt like 2013 was a bit of an average year. 
Not bad, just nothing that was extra special. But that's okay! 
Every year doesn't have to be over-the-top amazing. Because that's just not real life.

 But next year? Well, we've got big things ahead of us ;)

Here's a little recap of 2013!


*Lexi turned 6 months old

*We found out that we were moving back home to central CA


*Lexi turned 7 months old

*We made some cute preschool and teacher valentines


*I wrote about how being a mommy to littles is hard

*I explained how we were becoming crunchy and gave you a few real food recipes


*I talked more about how we were becoming crunchy and talked about a few of our favorite products

*Lexi turned 9 months old

*Jax started t-ball with his friend Ben


*I showed you all of the Pinterest projects I have done in my house

*I talked about the kind of mom I want to be 


*Jax turned FOUR and had a pirate party

*I showed you Lexi's room


*Lexi turned ONE and we had a great Fourth of July party

*Jax took swim lessons

*I showed you Ryan's awesome Keurig hack

*I talked about some of my favorite Pinterest recipes


*We randomly went to Disneyland

*Jax asked Jesus into his heart and Lexi was dedicated at church

*I talked about how I struggle with fear and anxiety

*I launched my Etsy shop


*I wrote about teaching Jax about money

*I gave you a delicious recipe for caramelized banana bread with brown butter glaze

*I showed you our "real food" pantry

*I gave you another delicious recipe for pumpkin cookies with maple brown butter frosting


*Lexi turned 15 months old

*The kids and I went on a day trip to the coast


*I showed you some Halloween pictures


*I gave you a Christmas home tour

*I talked about some parties we had and gave you an amazing sangria recipe

*I showed you some pictures from our Christmas

I hope you have a wonderful, safe night tonight!

Goodbye 2013!

Hello 2014!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I hope y'all had a wonderful Christmas this year! We sure did! Lots of time with friends and family, a ton of yummy food, fun presents, and of course we celebrated the reason for the season... Jesus!

We went to church on Christmas Eve, then had dinner at my parents' house after. 
The kids woke up bright and early on Christmas morning (530am), so we opened stockings, then watched a movie until it was time to go to my in-laws' house for presents and breakfast. 

After that, we headed home and did presents with my parents and brother.

Jax got this awesome car that he had been asking for! 
Santa even threw in a cool graphic with his name on it ;)
We hosted Christmas dinner at our house and it was so great to have both sides of our family together to celebrate. 
I'm working on a post with a recap of our year... so stay tuned!!!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas parties galore! And an AMAZING sangria recipe!!!

We had a very busy weekend! I hosted parties on both Friday and Saturday night. It was exhausting, but SO fun!

Friday night was a graduation party for my hubby! He completed his Masters of Business Administration degree through University of Phoenix and I couldn't be more proud of him. Or more happy to have him around on nights and weekends again. He's been in school for almost all of our 6 years of marriage. I'm looking forward to being able to plan fun trips and spend time as a family without the ever-present homework lingering over our heads. 

We had family and close friends over for dinner and drinks. There was no agenda... we just wanted to spend time and celebrate with people we love. 

We had a wine bar with lots of different types of wine, plus sparkling cider for the kiddos. It was a hit and the perfect addition to our fun night!

On Saturday night I threw a Pinterest Party. I had seen the idea online somewhere, but I decided to just do it how it seemed easiest for me. I picked three crafts that I found on Pinterest and pinned them to a board I created for the party. I then allowed other people (aka- the people I invited to the party) to pin to the board. Everyone chose a food they wanted to bring, then pinned it to the board. This allowed us to have a variety of delicious food, and also allowed everyone to get any recipes that wanted for themselves. Everyone chose a craft or two to do from the ones I had posted. I bought supplies and each person chipped in money for each craft they chose. It was a great night of crafting and cocktailing, and we had so much fun!

One of the recipes I pinned was for a "Thanksgiving Sangria", but I didn't have all of the ingredients on hand, so I adjusted it for what I had... and you guys, it was SO delish! I will definitely be making it again! 

Interested? Here's what I did...

-1 bottle of dry white wine (Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay)
-1 bottle of sparkling apple cider
-1/4 cup Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey
-2 red apples, diced (I used Pink Lady)
-2 green pears, diced
-1.5 cups club soda 

Stir everything but the club soda together in a pitcher and let sit for 6-8 hours in the fridge. When ready to serve, remove from fridge and gently stir in club soda. Enjoy!

(Ignore the fact that this pitcher is almost empty. I'll let you guess the point during the night when this picture was taken. Wink wink.)

And here's the crafts I made! LOVE!

Polka dot stemless wine glasses HERE
Glitter stemmed wine glasses HERE
Coasters HERE

Some people also made these adorable ornament wreaths.
 I already have one hanging on my front door, so I stuck to the other crafts.

We had a lot of fun, but I'm glad the weekend is over. 

And now the countdown to Christmas is really on.... 8 days!!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Home Tour

Hello friends! We've been staying busy with lots of holiday activities.... school parties and performances, driving around to look at Christmas lights, watching Christmas movies, hanging out with family, and drinking lots of hot chocolate. 

Since this is our first year in this house, it was quite a rude awakening when I pulled out our Christmas stuff and realized that I didn't have nearly enough stuff to make our house look festive! That's what happens when you buy a house that is literally twice the size of your last house!  I would have loved to go out and buy tons of new stuff, but who has that kind of money?? I've been doing lots of DIY projects and fun little things to help make our house feel Christmas-y. I think I've done a pretty good job! But you better believe that I'll be heading to the stores on the day after Christmas to scoop up some clearance goodies!

Here's a little glimpse into our house at Christmas time...

Have a wonderful week!!!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Five on Friday

 Happy Friday!!! 

I can't believe we are less than a week away from Thanksgiving and barely a month away from Christmas! Time is FLYING by, as it always does during the holidays.

Tell me, friends… are you a before turkey day Christmas decorator or an after turkey day Christmas decorator? 

Growing up, we were always an after Thanksgiving family. My dad was adamant about that... and for the most part, I stick to my roots. But I may or may not have some of my Christmas decor ready and waiting in the garage. And I may or may not have bags of newly-purchased Christmas stuff in our spare room. And I may or may not already be listening to Christmas music. 

 Moving on ;)

I'm linking up again this week for Five on Friday, so here we go…

She's not big enough to actually swing by herself on the big swings, but she wanted to sit there while I slowly pushed her (while clingy tightly), and she loved it. 

 I worked on a custom order this week for some pirate ship decorations and cake toppers. They're a fancier version of the one listed in my shop. I'm pretty proud of how they turned out!

We got Jax's preschool pictures back (finally…) and they're pretty stinkin' cute! 
I'm not quite sure why they chose an open mouth picture, but it's still adorable. 
And please excuse the blurriness… a picture of a picture doesn't lend itself to good quality. Ha!

This cheesy girl is such a handful at times, but she is also such a sweet girl. 
I had always dreamed of being a "girl mom" and she is my dream come true. 

And in the season of giving thanks, I will never, ever let stressful days and temper tantrums and butt wiping and personal chef-ing get in the way of remembering how incredibly thankful I am for these two. 
I am so very blessed to be their mama. 

Happy almost Thanksgiving
happy weekend!!!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Veteran's Day

I had scheduled Monday's post a few days ahead of time and didn't connect the fact that it would post on Veteran's Day… and that I didn't even mention it. It wouldn't be too big of a deal, except that I am married to a veteran. Ahem. So it would be wrong not to mention him!

Ryan was in the Army for 8 years, before being honorably discharged in April 2012. He has been on multiple deployments and traveled all over the world for his job. 

I've posted before about him leaving (although that post was quite cryptic due to security reasons)

and about him coming home from deployments.

I've talked a little about how bittersweet it was to get out of the Army.

But overall, I'm so very thankful for my veteran. I'm so thankful for all the sacrifices he has made (although they weren't always pleasant). And I'm so thankful for the other men and women we met along with way who have done the same.

(Circa 2007... the day he returned from 15 months in Iraq. We got married the next day!)


Monday, November 11, 2013

Catching up

You've probably noticed (or maybe you haven't?) that things have been rather quiet around here lately. Ryan was out of town for work for three weeks, and I spent most of my time trying to keep my sanity while taking care of my littles ;) 

I've also been SUPER busy with ElleJayPartyDecor stuff! 
I've been getting lots of orders from the shop, some from friends, and have been working on adding cute new holiday items! I'm also hosting a booth at a holiday boutique, so I've been trying to make lots of ready to sell items. 

So, I just haven't had a lot of time for this little ol' blog of mine. It's mostly just a journal and memory book for my little family, but I'm so thankful to those of you who care enough about us to follow along! I will probably continue to post less throughout the holidays, as it's a busy time of year anyway… and then add in my shop, and I don't wanna get burnt out. 

I'll be sure to check in and post pictures and updates regularly, it just may not be quite as often. 
If you'd like to see more day-to-day stuff from me, come find me on Instagram (jennahansen).

Happy Monday!!