Christmas 2016

I hope everyone had a merry Christmas! My toddler is super into the holidays this year and I have been taking a little time off from projects to spend as much time with my little munchkins as possible.  I always enjoy the holidays, but they are even more fun with little kids who believe in all the magic and stories you tell them!

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We visited the North Pole in Colorado back in July and while we were there we signed Hollis up to receive a letter from Santa. We didn’t do one for Bowen because he doesn’t really get it yet, but Hollis was so excited to get hers. I think I read it 40 times in the days leading up to Christmas.  It also helped with all of the threats I made to her that Santa wouldn’t bring her presents if she was naughty. She is so, so naughty these days (three-year olds, am I right?!),  I don’t know what I’m going to do the rest of the year when I can’t use Santa as leverage! We are definitely going to do Santa letters again next year (one for Bo too!) and as many years as they will let me.

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I have dreaded taking the kids to see Santa because of impending freak outs, and waiting in long lines with very small, impatient children. Hollis has never been up for it in the past anyways.  But when Brian’s uncle told us he was dressing up as Santa at the Fort Hays basketball game, we decided to brave it. I talked to Hollis about it for a couple of days prior, and she promised me that she would sit on his lap. When the time came, she was a little hesitant, but once she was on his lap, she was good to go. I think it really helped that Uncle Rich was our first Santa.  My little stoic man Bo just sat there and took everything in like a champ.

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We spread our Christmas across three days with four different celebrations. We got to spend time with lots of family and got spoiled with food and gifts. I usually spend lots of time stressing about what to get everyone and worrying about whether or not I got everyone equally awesome gifts. This year I took a different route and made some handmade gifts. It was a lot of fun creating things for people and doing my favorite thing, DIY/crafting. It’s not something I would do every year, but it was fun to do something a little different for a change. They were so much fun to make that I am hoping to make myself one, and when I do I will try to do a little tutorial on it.

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I still can’t believe that the holidays are already over, but I am looking forward to taking all the decorations down and putting things back in their normal place…like my coffee table I had to put the Christmas tree on this year to keep it away from my busy-body 10 month old! I have a long list of projects I want to get to this year and I can’t wait to get back in the groove and get started on them. Hope you all had a merry everything!

 

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Maternity Style: Holiday Party

I know outfit posts aren’t usually my thing, but when I am  seven months pregnant, what to wear is pretty much all I think about. Getting dressed is becoming a chore. Nothing fits right, I feel super fat in everything, and I’m very aware of all the ways my body has changed over the last few months. I get especially stressed when I have to find something to wear for a wedding or holiday party. So I decided to throw together a little style post that includes some of my favorite party dresses I’ve found. (All of these dresses are from ASOS maternity, they have an amazing selection!)

P.S. I promise I will get back to more DIY projects and posts after baby boy gets here. I just don’t have the energy right now while so pregnant and with the holiday hoopla.

Maternity Style: Holiday Party

maternity style

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Holiday Gift Guide: For (almost) Anyone In Your Life

Hope everyone had great Thanksgiving!

Ours was awesome, I think living away from your family makes you appreciate every minute with them even more. We traveled to Kansas City the Wednesday before, my plan was to come back the following Sunday. The weather here at home had other plans though. They had quite the little ice storm here so I ended up staying in KC until Tuesday because the roads here were just too icy to travel on. I grew up in the Midwest so driving in ice and snow is nothing new, but being pregnant apparently makes everyone question your driving capabilities! The good news is, I got to spend my birthday there and did some solid shopping. And by the time I got back here to the farm, the ice was almost completely gone!

While I was getting my shopping done, I mostly shopped for Christmas gifts (and some baby stuff too!) Picking out gifts for my family is no problem, but you know those awkward times when you need to buy a gift for someone you don’t know all that well? It could be a white elephant gift, a co-worker, a new neighbor, or an extended family member. This is where I hit a snag. I have a couple of gifts to buy for people that I just don’t know that well and it has been stumping me.

I love to buy gifts, but when it comes to people I don’t know very well, I tend to second guess myself. What if I buy a bottle of wine for someone who doesn’t drink? What if I buy a beautiful pink cardigan only to find out that the receiver of the cardigan HATES pink? What if I buy a cute little dog figurine for someone and find out they have a debilitating fear of dogs?  These are the thoughts that run through my mind all of December!  I know it’s the thought that counts, but I still don’t want to be known as the person who gives crappy gifts. So I decided to come up with some gifts that require little knowledge of the person receiving the gift.

2015 Holiday Gift Guide: For (almost) Anyone In Your Life

2015 gift guide

  1. Stumptown Coffee and Mast Brothers Chocolate Pairing Who doesn’t love coffee and chocolate?! I like this gift because it’s gender neutral and feels decadent.
  2. Fringe Colorblock Soap + Dish Set Everyone uses soap…I hope. And this simple gold and white dish would fit in with almost anyone’s decor, anytime of year.
  3.  Ceramic Ring Holder How pretty are these ring holders?! I love gifts that are pretty AND practical. I don’t know any gal who wouldn’t appreciate one of these.
  4. Color-Cut Cake Stand Again, this falls under pretty and practical. I also love that this looks much more expensive than it is. It would be a great gift for anyone who likes to bake or entertain.
  5. Urban Cheesecraft: Mozzarella and Ricotta This would be great for the foodie in your life. Or anyone who loves cheese….which should be everyone!
  6. Branly Candle Holders So these may be a little too funky for some people. But they are so fun and would be great for anyone you know who has great style.
  7. Gold Cocktail Shaker + Strainer This classic style shaker is great for anyone who likes cocktails. Even if they already have a shaker, this one is pretty enough to leave out all the time.
  8. Just Add Color Adult coloring books are so popular right now. I love this mid-century modern one would appeal to guys, gals, young, and old.

Happy shopping!

Thanksgiving Dishes To Try

My grandmother is hosting Thanksgiving in Kansas City this year, she and my mom have been hosting it every year for as long as I can remember. They make a ton of delicious food that no one has room for more than a few bites, but we stuff ourselves silly anyway because it’s just so dang good!

They have gotten the Thanksgiving menu down to a science. Everyone’s favorites are always there and if something is missing, we notice. My favorite is my grandma’s praline sweet potato casserole….I could bathe in the stuff. (Is that weird?…That’s weird.) We all pretty much know exactly what will be on the table before we even get there. As much as I love the routine and comfort, I also feel like throwing something new in there from time to time. Now that I’m older and I’m having kids of my own, I kind of feel like I should be contributing too. I mean one of these days, I may be hosting Thanksgiving and I’ve never even cooked a turkey!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no hurry to host just yet. My mom and grandma love doing it and they are really good at it….like really, really good. No pressure. But I am on the look out for a good signature side dish, or appetizer, that could be my “thing”. I don’t want to replace anyone’s favorite dish and be shunned from the table, so I’d like to find something that we don’t currently have. I’ve gathered some options that are making me wish Thanksgiving was tomorrow….

Thanksgiving dishesClockwise: Whipped Goat Cheese, Curried Sweet Potato Rounds w/ Honeyed Walnuts, Cranberries and Blue Cheese, Spicy Fontina Spinach, Artichoke and Chorizo Stuffed Mushrooms, 5-Ingredient Cranberry + Brie Cinnamon Sugar Pastry Swirls

I’m leaning towards those stuffed mushrooms, but I just can’t decide. Who knows, maybe I’ll just make all four! Any good apps or side dishes you can’t live without on the big day?

 

Colorful Thanksgiving Tablescapes

My favorite holiday is this month. My birthday!…..Just kidding. Thanksgiving! I love a holiday centered around food and family/friends. No gifts to worry about, just getting together with people you love and stuffing yourself with delicious food.

Fall tablescapes have been popping up all over my Pinterest and Instagram timelines and some have me seriously swooning. I usually am really into a simple, neutral or monochromatic table setting, but this season, I’m really loving a colorful tablescape. There are so many awesome colors that work for a Fall table setting, like purples, navy, green, orange, maroon, copper, and of course gold.

Here are a few tables that I’ve found really inspiring and make me long for a formal dining room…

I love that this table has so much going on with the flowers and greenery, that you don’t even need a tablecloth, runner, or placemats.

 

I don’t know why I haven’t thought to use two table runners instead of individual placemats. This whole setting could be used for many occasions by just switching out the centerpiece.

Obviously this is set for a wedding, but could easily be scaled down for a holiday table. You could really get away with super simple tableware because these gorgeous flowers steal the show.

I think I could set this table up right now without even going to the store. It’s really elegant yet simple. I love all the mix-matchy colored glass goodness!

Navy just makes everything look better. All of these fall colors just pop so nicely against it. I also really like the idea of using produce as a centerpiece…you can eat everything when you’re done using it.

Simple tableware. Simple table runner. Stunning flowers that really pop against all that white.

Gift Guide: Father’s Day

Father’s Day is one of those holidays that constantly sneaks up on me. Like every. single. year. I find the guys in my life are pretty hard to buy things for. Anytime I ask what they want, it’s usually followed with an, ‘I don’t care’ or ‘I don’t know…whatever.’ Not helpful, guys! My usual go-to gift is an Amazon gift card or a tool of some sort, but sometimes I like to shake things up and give them something that they’re not expecting. I have come up with a list of gifts that I have yet to hear guys complain about receiving.

Gift Guide: Father's Day // thegoldbrickroad.com

1. Fitbit. My guy loves gadgets. And what’s better than a gadget attached to his wrist that he can play with all day? These are great for tracking your activity and sleep. My favorite part is that they have a silent alarm so that my husband and I can wake up at different times without waking the other.

2. Lab Series Face Scrub and Shave Gel. My hubby  has been using these since way back when we were dating. He loves this stuff and it’s very rare for him to get excited about toiletries. I’ve even caught myself using the invigorating face scrub “accidentally” and I agree, it’s pretty awesome.

3. Slippers. I love slippers. And I just sort of assume everyone else does too. This pair is great because they are nice and sturdy and have a hard sole. Great for slipping on to run the trash out to the dumpster.

4. Yeti Thermos. I had never heard of Yeti until my husband pointed out their insanely expensive coolers to me. Yeah….$400 for a cooler isn’t happening anytime soon, but I might compromise and splurge on a 20 oz. thermos!

5. Power Bank. Another good gadget. Keep your cell phone or other compatible devices charged when you’re on the go. My husband farms so he is outdoors most of the day and usually away from a cell phone charger so this little gadget is a lifesaver.

6. Favorite Sports Team Shirt. We love our Kansas City Royals around here, and my husband wears their shirts until they fall apart.

7. Tickets. Even better than his favorite sports team shirt….tickets to a game!

The Great Tablescape

I love a good table setting. So much so, that I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to them. My favorite part of decorating for any holiday or party, is the table setting. I just think it’s a really easy way to set the tone for whatever vibe you’re going for. It’s also a fun way to bring out some of my favorite pretties tableware that doesn’t get to see the light of day all year round. This year however, I have not done any kind of tablescape for the holiday. I don’t know what my problem is. Maybe because we don’t have a formal dining room this year, or because my table has been present wrapping central, or because I’m afraid our curious little toddler will pull down any tablecloth or runner and everything on top of it down onto her. (Probably that last reason.) So right now I’m living vicariously through my inspiration boards. I love this modern, rustic design. I like the simple white dishes paired with the pine cones and wood chargers. The simple plaid, or buffalo check, really ties it together.

Of course I love anything gold. So this setting with a mix of gold, white and pink is definitely my jam. I like the height variation they have going on with the candlesticks, deer and trees. The white dishes and clear glasses really help everything else on the table pop!

This next one is pretty fancy shmancy, I’m pretty sure it’s really for a wedding. But how pretty would this be for a holiday dinner table?! I like the neutral color palette. Again, they used wood chargers (need to make me some of those) and just some simple greenery. The all white candles make it feel sophisticated and keep it from being too rustic.

This next one is my favorite. It’s the one my hubby would totally hate. But hello, it’s Kate Spade and it had me at the sequins tablecloth! Simple, sparkly, pretty….’nuff said.

This purple, blue and brown is really not something I would normally gravitate toward, but for some reason I really like it. I like that they used colored plates and tied it together with just some similar colored candles and ornaments. I love how they made a non-traditional holiday color scheme feel Christmas-y.

This one just looks like Christmas to me. I love the crisp, white tablecloth and plates. The all-clear, vases and glasses really help all of the red and green elements stand out. It looks simple and festive all at the same time!

This last one I could really see myself doing (maybe next year). I’m not crazy about the star pattern tablecloth, but I LOVE the monochromatic look. I like that the table is the real star of the show while the rest of the room is really simple with minimal decorations.

Looking at all these pics really make me want to host a holiday party! At the very least, they are inspiring me to clear all the clutter off of our table and use it for it’s actual intended use…eating.