A Christmas 2015 Recap

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We had a big ol’ christmas at my parents house in Massachusetts this year. My sister Carrie and her husband Joel flew in from Vancouver and my other sister Amy came down from Rochester with her boy friend Matt. It’s very rarely that we are all together so it was a very special treat to spend the holidays all together. There was endless amounts of food, late nights, star wars, rope swinging and laughs. It was so warm over christmas. Like almost 70 degrees?!?! Wasn’t that crazy? We ended up giving the girls their Christmas present a day earlier just so they could go use them outside while they still could. Back in October I had gotten Kev a Micro scooter for his birthday. And since we’ve all been using it a ton, we ended up getting each of the girls their own for Christmas. It was so fun whipping around my parents driveway on them and having races all together in the warm weather. OOOh I was loving the weather!!! We need to move somewhere where that is the norm! We also got to spend time with Kev’s family. We are lucky our parents live so close to each other. We got to pop back and forth and see everyone.

Hope you guys had a great holiday season!

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IMG_7031^^When I got home I kept finding pictures like this on my camera from my sister. haha. Thanks carrie!

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Making Winter Fun With Annie’s Organic Soup…

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So I will be the first to admit that I kinda hate winter. Why we live in the Northeast is questioned daily when the temperatures drop and we are forced to spend waaaaaay more time than I’d like indoors. Every year I try my darnedest to get us outside as much as possible. The key I’ve found is to find fun activities to do while you’re out there. It helps take your mind off how cold you are, plus is makes really fun memories! Things like building snowmen, tubing (especially at those tubing places that have chair lifts and tracks!), skiing and snowboarding (getting Rowan in lessons this year!) and of course ice skating!! Growing up in Canada, learning to skate was like a rite of passage. We used to go skating every weekend after church. We’ve been making it a point so far this season to do the same with the girls. They really look forward to it! Rowan is getting pretty good too- she whips around the ice pretty fast. This past Sunday we headed down to Empire Plaza in Albany to skate outside on the little rink they have there. It can be pretty magical feeling when all the lights turn on at night. Love this family tradition we are starting! Can’t wait to get Orion on a pair of hockey skates!!

One of our favorite things to do when we come in from the cold is to make warm soup! I’ve always hated most pre-made soup, they’re loaded with ingredients I can’t even pronounce and frankly just don’t taste that good. Needless to say, I was super excited when I heard that our already beloved Annie’s just launched a new line of organic soups. They have simple ingredients, no preservatives, artificial flavors, or synthetic colors. How awesome is that? Helps save time and the kids are in love with them. Finley’s favorite is the Creamy Tomato Soup with Bunny Pasta (Hello! 1/2 cup of veggies per serving!). She’s asked for it for lunch for like the past week. The cherry on top for little Miss Fin is getting to put Cheddar Bunnies in the soup! I love coming in from cold with red roses cheeks, sitting around the table and creating more winter memories as we sharing a warm meal together!!

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Thank you ANNIE’S for sponsoring this post.

Finley James Turns Three!!

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Finley celebrated her 3rd birthday last week! Yippie! We had a low key birthday party for her at the house with some of her little friends. I posted a picture on instagram the other day with a little run down of Finley at this moment. Figured I would post it here as well…

“Finley still loves all stuffed animals, especially small, hand sized ones. She is perfectly average is height and weight. Just had her well visit this week. Such a difference from her off the chart in height older sister. She loves who she loves and if you aren’t in that circle then she probably won’t give you the time of day. She is wild and silly and brave. She has the sweetest little voice. We’ve nicknamed her finfin (which she thinks is her real name) and snacks. All she wants to eat are snacks… ALL.THE.TIME. She loves bean bags (or jumping pillows as she calls them), building with blocks and doing whatever Rowan is doing. She is the BEST big sister to Orion. Oh man this girl loves her baby brother. She has quite a temper when she is mad and loves things to be fair. She loves to drink everyone else’s smoothie except her own even when they are the same exact thing. And to her the only piece of clothing that should exist are dresses/skirts and tights. She insists on wearing all her dresses and tights from June&January all day, everyday. I think I’ve said more times than I can count “tights are not pajamas”. Haha. Welcome to 3 Miss Finley James!!”

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My Everyday Style | 01.10.16

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Did you hear about the new Pantone colors of the year? I am not quite sure why they do that each year but oh well, it’s kinda fun right? This year the colors are Rose Quartz and Serenity. Both are very pretty colors, although I would lean more towards Rose Quartz if I had to pick a favorite. So when T.J.Maxx and Marshalls asked if I wanted to team up and create an outfit based on the new colors, I bet you can guess which color I went with. They had tons of beautiful designer options to choose from in both colors. This very soft pink sweater was the perfect addition to my closet!

And guess what? Woot! I am down 6 pounds. I am not dieting but just working at eating real, whole foods (and staying away from sugar) and working out lightly when I can. I know you hear a lot “it took 9 months to put on the baby weight so expect at least that to come off” and I agree. I am trying to be safe, healthy and not obsessive about it. Although seeing the weight come off does make me feel good. It can be a bit of a weird mental game to be at a weight you just don’t feel like yourself at. Anyway, I started back at the hot yoga studio in town and goodness, I missed it!

How’s your new year going so far? Anyone have any resolutions they want to share? I’d love to hear.

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OUTFIT DETAILS:
Sweater: c/o Marshalls
White Tunic Button Up: Loft
Jeans: Loft
Doc Martins: Kicks USA
Sun Glasses: Target

Our Christmas Card

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Hey guys! Did you send out Christmas cards this year? It’s one of my most favorite things about the season! I love seeing our wall fill up with family and friends. We teamed up with Minted again this year for our Christmas cards. They’re hands down my favorite! I love the selection and quality. Did you know there is still time to order- you could get them out and delivered right on/after Christmas. I say the whole month is fair game and then there’s always a New Years card (which we did last year!) and that gives you all of January in my opinion. I love New Years cards. It’s like a little bonus after you think you’ve gotten all the cards in the mail. Boom! Another card shows up. We went with a booklette again this year because so many of our friends and family live far away. It’s a cute way to share a bit more information about the year. We also used it as a birth announcement for Orion. I was so happy with how they came out!



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Clean Eats | Lentil Soup

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It’s soup season!! Yippee. Well, I don’t like the cold but I do love soup. I am always on the look out for a good soup recipe. After Orion was born, the lovely ladies from our church blessed us with a crazy awesome meal train. We had meals for weeks. Such a HUGE, HUGE blessing! One of those meals was this lentil soup. I loved it so much I asked for the recipe. I have since made it twice and oh man! it’s good. I thought I would share it here with you guys too. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil (or coconut oil), plus extra for drizzling
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 1/4 cup of lentils (we love these Organic Truroots Sprouted Lentil Trio
11 cups organic veggie broth
4 to 6 fresh thyme sprigs
2/3 cup organic 100% whole wheat pasta (spirals work best I think)
1 cup shredded organic Parmesan (optional)

Directions:

1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
2. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper and saute until all the vegetables are tender.
3. Add the whole can of tomatoes (including juices). Simmer, stirring occasionally for about 8 minutes.
4. Add the lentils, broth and thyme sprigs. Stir. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and simmer over low heat until the lentils are just about tender, about 30 minutes.
5. Stir in the pasta. Simmer until the pasta is tender but still a bit firm (around 8 minutes). Season with salt and pepper.
6. Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with the Parmesan if you wish and drizzle with olive oil. Enjoy!!

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Recipe adapted from the Food Network

Creating a Giving Spirit in Little Ones.

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Christmas can be a tough time of year for little kids. They are bombarded with toy commercials and questions about what THEY want for Christmas. It very, very quickly becomes focused on getting presents. I really hate that about Christmas. I want Christmas in our house to always be focused first and foremost on the birth of Jesus and second to be filled with a giving spirit. An idea that is maybe embraced more at Christmas but hopefully an idea that last all year long. I want my kids to care for others deeply. To find needs that they can help meet, to be selfless and kind and to show the love of Christ to all that they come in contact with. Have you ever noticed how big kids hearts are? Did you see that video going around about the kids getting ice cream with their dollar or giving it to a homeless man? Kids are awesome!! They are natural givers (haha for the most part- we all have experienced melt downs over sharing toys). I really hope to foster that in my kids and help it grow over the years. Making it something that lasts.

I’ve been a big fan of Advent calendars over the years, but after feeling like we could be doing something more then just getting a treat everyday, I decided to ditch it all together this year. I wanted us as a family to be more intentional about how we could be giving and serving others this month. Rowan has been doing extra chores around the house to raise money for a special offering at church on Christmas Eve for Love 146, she is going caroling at a retirement home this week, we’ve collected hats, gloves and coats for a coat drive, gathered school supplies for a school in Uganda and various other little things. One day last week we headed to T.J.Maxx, HomeGoods and Marshalls and loaded up our carts for a local toy drive and picked up some presents for Rowan’s friends. She could have very easily asked for any one of those presents for herself. There were some awesome choices!! Love all the unique and wonderful toys there. But she happily pushed her cart up and down the aisles being very thoughtful about what she was picking out for everyone. Made my Mama heart proud.

Do you have any tips for creating a giving spirit in little ones around the holidays?
I’d love to her how your family works on this?

IMG_6633^^our finds

IMG_6636^^cutest little puzzle

IMG_6640^^working so hard on making little cards and wrapping paper for everyone

This post was sponsored by T.J.Maxx, HomeGoods and Marshalls. All opinions and words are my own. And to be clear any compensation for this post we used to purchase and donate toys. Thanks.
Happy Holidays guys!!
xoxox

Hi, I'm Jen!

Welcome to my personal lifestyle blog. It features topics such as motherhood, family life, fashion, cooking, and all sorts of adventures. I hope you enjoy what you find!

Jen Loves Kev
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