Our Maple Tree

Keeping up with The Maples


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Holiday Gift Guide for Him

And last, but certainly not least, a holiday gift guide for him. To be honest, I struggle the most with finding things for Randy. Not only are the things Randy is interested in expensive, but they are also things I have no knowledge on. Like, all the gadgets and tech he loves. Or all the gear for backpacking and biking. I can’t exactly go into REI and pick out something. He spends hours researching on the things he wants & needs. Even if I did pick it out, I would most likely pick out the wrong thing. What I can do is pick out clothing for him, but like a kid, he isn’t going to be jumping up and down at getting clothes for Christmas. So without further ado, here are a few of some of Randy’s favorite things, with a some added extras that I think he will love.

  1. Pants: Randy is particular about most things and one of them is his clothing. He only really loves clothes from Columbia, Patagonia, Arcteryx, etc. And since he is in desperate need of some new pants, these pants will fit the bill.
  2. Shirt: I love the colors in this shirt and Randy loves the brand/practicality of it. So win, win!
  3. Drone: This has been Randy’s most favorite toy ever. He has been researching for years on the perfect drone and he finally chose this one. He plays with it everyday and couldn’t be happier!
  4. Mug: This mug has our favorite quote, plus the design is really cool. And this mug is practical – it can be used on a camp fire, which Randy loves.
  5. MEEM: Ok, this little gadget is really nifty. It is a flash drive and charging cable all in one. It can back up all of your phone – photos, contacts, etc and charge your phone at the same time! Talk about being useful for when you are on the go! I imagine I would use this cable every time I traveled.
  6. Audible Gift Card: Randy and I use audible all the time and we just love it! Especially, when we are traveling together, we will listen to an audiobook in the car. (Puts Ada to sleep every time!) Randy prefers audiobooks over reading any day. And since he travels often for work, he loves having a book to listen to. So if you have a traveler, or a reader on your list – give him one of these!
  7. NEMO Stargazer Camp Chair: So this is a gift I want for myself as well. It is a hammock-like chair that swings/rocks and it also reclines so you can watch the stars. It is pretty awesome! I would be fine having some of these on the back porch instead of patio furniture.
  8. Fleece Pants: Now that Randy is working from home now, he really needs some comfy clothes to “work” in now. These would be comfy, warm, and they have pockets.
  9. Cocktail Kit: With all of Randy’s travel, I can imagine that one of these would come in handy every once in a while. I could use one of these when I travel because I hate flying! 😉 This would make a great stocking stuffer!

Hope this helps inspire some of you still looking for the perfect gifts! Good luck ya’ll!


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Gift Guide for Little Ladies

Ok, buying for Ada is seriously the most fun… ever! But man, I could easily go over board in gifts this Christmas! There are so many cute and awesome things for kids these days. All I know is, that if I had a princess dress & shoes when I was little, I would have just died! Now, you can easily pick one up at Walmart. With that being said, I am afraid that the princess dresses will have to wait because my little girl is not into Disney Princesses just yet. But don’t you worry, she will be! 😉 Instead of princess dresses, my daughter is into trains, cars, shopping, and bunnies. #thatsmygirl

This year, Ada’s big Christmas present is this jeep! I cannot wait for Christmas morning! I know Ada is going to love it because she loves cars and “driving”. She needs a car that can handle the steep hills and rocky terrain around our house; so I was thrilled when I found this one on Black Friday. And I will definitely be putting one of these stickers on the jeep!

Right now, Ada is really into shopping since I took her to the Children’s Museum in Charleston a few weeks back. She has talked about it non-stop and now wants to go shopping all the time. (I’m so proud!) 😉 So this shopping cart would be so much fun for her. She can also use some cozy sweaters & socks this winter and these are perfect for her. Not to mention, Gap is having a 40% sale right now.

One of Ada’s favorite movies, is “Trolls.” No surprise there, since this girl loves singing and dancing! I snag one of these Poppy dolls during the Cyber Monday sales and I am so glad I did. I got it for 50% off! It is so cute and I know Ada is going to love singing along with her.

Every season I get Ada new books. I figured that we had to have “The Nutcracker,” for our Christmas collection and the artwork in this one is breathtaking. BabyLit books are some of Ada’s favorites. She always picks one of them for her bedtime story every night, so “A Christmas Carol,” is one I picked for Christmas this year.

The Advent Puzzle is just as much for me as it is for Ada. She loves puzzles and I would love to display it on my buffet. So we both win. 😉 I think it would be so cute to use a mini Christmas wreath as the marker as you countdown till Christmas!

And last but not least, this PlayDoh Set. We just introduced playdoh (I was a little nervous at first, considering what happened not that long ago with the pine nut!) and she of course, loves it. I think this bakery set will make all her dreams come true, since her most favorite thing to do is make cakes and ice cream.

Well, I am off to have some hot chocolate by the fire and watch the snow fall! I hope you are enjoying this beautiful, snowy day (if you live somewhere that gets snow!) and happy Friday ya’ll!


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Gift Guide for Her

It is that time of year again, when you hear the same questions over & over, “What do you want for Christmas?” or worse yet, “What can I get so-and-so for Christmas?” It can be a bit difficult buying for others since we are all so very blessed. I know I struggle with new ideas for Christmas gifts every year. So I will be putting together some gift guides that are pretty much our wish lists for this year. Today, I started with the easiest one – my holiday wish list. 😉

  1. Wall Calendar: This is a mix of both need and want in my life. This calligraphy calendar is gorgeous and I know it would be something that I would use every single day. Life just keeps getting busier and busier & we could really use a family calendar to help keep it all together. Plus, it is so pretty that I wouldn’t mind hanging it up in my kitchen.
  2. Wreath: The Hearth & Hand line at Target is just simply amazing. Everything Joanna Gaines touches is magic. #numberonefan But my favorite is this wreath.
  3. Zella Pullover: I can’t really explain how much I love Zella products. This pullover has everything I want in a cozy shirt – thumb holes, pockets, and a pretty design so I can wear it out & about. The perfect addition to the mom uniform.
  4. Promptly Journals: This is a new journal that I just discovered in the last month or so. It is a simple journal that you can fill out each year about your children. It starts from pregnancy and ends at 18. After you have filled it out, you can give it your child as a graduation gift. *cue emotional mom*
  5. Blanket Scarf: Now if you are anything like me, you really don’t need another scarf. But this one… I just can’t resist… just look at all the beauitful colors! And it is reversible so it is two scarves in one! (At least, that is how I am selling it to my husband!) 😉
  6. Barefoot Dreams Pullover: I am sure you have all seen the craze over this brand, Barefoot Dreams. Their most popular item is their cardigan. Well, I saw this pullover and I am dying to try it! It fits all my criteria for a sweatshirt – thumbholes, pockets, and no hoodie! Not to mention, it is suppose to be the softest thing ever! #getinmycloset
  7. Candlesticks: As I mentioned before, Joanna Gaines is a rockstar and I can’t get enough of her pretty things. I have had my eye on these candlesticks since I saw them in her store during Silobration. They are extremely well made (forget the baseball bat when an intruder comes into your home, grab one of these instead!) and would match all the wrought iron in my house. And I just fell in love with them the moment I saw them.
  8. Camp Socks: Everyone can use socks for Christmas. And not only are these practical, but they are fashionable. 😉

Well, I hope this helps provide some ideas on what to get all the lovely ladies in your life. Good luck shopping and have fun! Happy Thursday!


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A Perfect Parent

These past couple of weeks have been some of the hardest weeks of my life. I know that sounds a bit over dramatic… and maybe it is. But I have really, really struggled here lately. Parenting is hard. And as much as I love blogging, I simply haven’t had the time or energy.

I believe we have officially started the terrible twos and they truly are terrible. I thought we started them months ago, but that was a walk in the park compared to what we are facing now. Ada is usually the sweetest, the most easy going kid ever. But here lately, it is like my sweet little kid has been replaced with Jack Jack from The Incredibles.

One minute she is happily playing with her toys, the next minute she is screaming at me because she can’t get the play dough container opened. And of course, she is asking me to help her when I am busying putting her breakfast together, so when I ask her to wait a moment, all hell breaks loose. That’s when she starts throwing everything she can grab while screaming/crying at the top of her lungs. Then I ask her to not throw things and to not scream, then she starts wailing and falls to the floor. Or she gets angry with me because I don’t want her to grab butter knives out of the kitchen drawer or because I don’t want her walking in a parking lot without holding my hand or because I am trying to get her to eat a sandwich that she asked me to make for her. Stuff like this happens all. day. long. 

After several hours of this behavior is when I loose my calm, logical demeanor. It has then been replaced with a frustrated, overtired, overstressed mama – and let me tell you, it isn’t a pretty picture. At this time, my patience has been throw out the window and this is when I scream. I start yelling things like, “I don’t know what you want!” or “I can’t take this anymore!” or “Why are you not listening to me?”.

And about two seconds after I loose my temper, I get a nice punch in the gut from mom guilt. Because I know that how I respond to her tantrums and how I choose to discipline will forever shape her personality and behavior. Talk about feeling great at loosing it, right? So yeah, these past couple of weeks, I have pretty much failed at parenting. And that mom guilt, is real and it is disabling. I can’t tell you how many times I have just bursted into tears after yelling at my kid (or after she has yelled at me).

So why am I sharing my failures? Because this is real life… I am not perfect, as much as I wish I was. I am not the perfect parent. But there is one perfect parent and that is God. Can you imagine how difficult it must be for Him? I mean, we are His children and we are constantly and frustratingly disobedient. And yet, His response to us when we disobey is never sinful. He is slow to anger, His love for us overcomes His anger every time – showing us the right path. Talk about the ultimate example for us to look to when it comes to parenting (and everything else in life).

This really is a humbling thought and helps me put myself in my daughter’s shoes. Because I am just like her; rebellious and stubborn.  I think it is important to teach our children that we are only human and that we are going to make mistakes. To be able to move our frustrations and anger aside and simply ask for forgiveness from our children is sometimes a Herculean task. At least it can be for me, because I suffer from pride and I want to be a perfect mom for Ada. But I need Ada to see me truthfully: as a flawed, sinful, imperfect human in need of God’s grace. This way, I can show her the way to God by walking the path to Him together.

So to all the parents out there, you are not alone, even though there are days that it sure feels that way. Not only are we imperfect people, we are imperfect parents. We are all in need of God’s grace, love, wisdom, and peace. It is ok that we don’t all have it together all the time. Because there is a perfect parent that does and He is there for you, to help you along on this wonderful journey called parenthood.


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I Heart Fall

I have to admit that I am a bit sad that fall is coming to an end. Thanksgiving is definitely my favorite holiday but there is always a sense of finality this time of year. Seeing the trees shed their glorious colors, the beautiful blue October skies being replaced by grey winter clouds, and the sharp chill of winter air blowing in; all reminds me that fall is gone and winter has set in. And since I traveled for most of October (not that I am complaining), I feel like I have missed a lot of fall here in the mountains. So to offset that, I have been trying to squeeze as much fall fun as possible. Unfortunately, it has been a rainy fall so a lot of it has been spent inside and at the library (thank goodness for libraries and all of their free awesomeness). But you bet when the days are pretty, we are out enjoying it.

When you ask your toddler to hold a pumpkin for a picture… I can’t imagine what the teenage years are going to be with this one! 😉

Ada loved the chickens and did not want to leave. She kept saying, “Ada hold it. Ada hold chicken.” I can’t say that I blame her, the chicken was so fluffy!

On the rainy days, we go to the library for story time, for crafts, and for a change of scenery.

At home we have been filling our days with reading and Thanksgiving theme crafts. We have colored many turkeys and discovered that gluing feathers is a lot harder than Pinterest mentioned. Our favorite craft has been watercolor tissue paper. You cut out bleeding tissue paper into any shape you like, place them on a canvas (or white paper of your choice), and “paint” water onto the tissue paper. You let the paper dry, peel off the tissue paper, and then you are left with a beautiful watercolor painting. Note: You definitely need bleeding tissue paper for this to work, at least in my experience. I tried tissue paper that I just had at home and it did not work. It sure did feel like a Pinterest fail moment.

I hope you are enjoying the last of fall and that you get so spend them with your loved ones. Happy Wednesday ya’ll!


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Mama + Mini Monday: Autumn Florals

Happy Thanksgiving week! It has been a mad house here trying to get everything ready for the big Turkey Day. I have felt like I have been working my booty off for days and have nothing to show for it… do you ever have days/weeks like that? I have been having a lot of these days here lately and they are starting to bum me out. Hopefully, things will feel like they are coming together soon! To brighten up my day, let’s talk clothes! 😉

The inspiration for today’s outfits began with Ada’s dress. I saw this dress at Gap at the start of fall and just had to have it. A good thing too, because it is unavailable now. I found a similar dress here (this one is really cute with all the woodland creatures on it and with all the right colors, too!) I paired her dress with mustard sweater tights from Amazon. I was pleasantly surprised with these tights. They are super soft, thick, affordable, and the color is a perfect mustard. And since Ada is all about dresses right now, (which is the greatest thing ever!) I plan on getting a few pair so she can wear her dresses this winter.

For my dress, I wanted one just like Ada’s because I love it that much. But unfortunately, they do not make that dress in my size. But I came across this dress from Ruche. I love the colors and a shift dress is perfect for the big meal on Thursday. My favorite part is the tie in the front. It helps gather the fabric just enough to give me a waist without being too tight. The dress is still loose, but not baggy loose. I was very lucky in getting this dress because it just kept selling out. Not only did I catch it in stock in my size, but on sale and I had some store credit! Woot, woot! My shoes are one of my most favorite purchases from Modcloth. I have had them for several years now and they go with so many of my fall outfits. Here are a similar pair.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and that you are more on top of things than I am! Now I am going to go pour myself a glass of wine and write down my to-do list. Here’s to getting things done – tomorrow! 😉


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Mama + Mini Monday: Thanksgiving Style

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is next week! I blinked and my favorite time of year is almost over! I am looking forward to all the delicious recipes that I want to try this year; most of them involving pumpkin. But what I am looking forward to the most, is spending some quality time with my family.

This week I have been in planning mode – deciding on menus, fun themed crafts for Ada, and of course, picking out the perfect outfits for all of our family pictures. At least, I am hoping we can get some family photos! Little Ada is getting harder and harder to take pictures of since all she wants to do is run. 🙂 Any advice on taking pictures with a toddler is most welcomed!

Ada has definitely gotten some Zoolander looks going on here!

I know that the holiday rush is upon us, but I hope that everyone will take a moment to stop and reflect. Reflect on all of our many blessings and on all the many small things that make us happy. And I hope you take a moment to dance in the leaves. Happy Monday ya’ll!

My Chambray Top – similar  //  My Corduroys   //  Mustard Scarf – similar  //  Ada’s Chambray Top  //  Ada’s Mustard Leggings  // Ada’s Boots  //  Ada’s Pumpkin Necklace  //  Ada’s Mustard Pigtail Bows


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Friday Fall Favorites

My favorite time year is here and I have been soaking in all that fall has to offer. The past few days have been delightfully cold so I have been enjoying cozy sweaters and hot coffee. Now usually I wear pjs all day but with the holidays approaching, I figure I better find something else to wear, you know like real clothes. But I will still wear all of my hats so I at least don’t have to worry about my hair. 😉

I came across this ribbon on Instagram and immediately felt like a winner because not only did I get myself out of pjs today, but I put Ada in something other than pjs as well! Go, me!

Anyways, without further ado, here are some of my favorites!

  1. Plaid Poncho: I love snuggling up in a poncho. I am so glad that these are still in style. I will be so sad the day that they are no longer in. This poncho can carry you into Christmas as well;  paired with red accessories. 😉
  2. Mama’s Floral Dress: This dress has been difficult to find in stock. This past week, I was able to snag one and I am so excited! I bought it when they had a 25% off and I had some store credit so yay! I plan on wearing this one for Thanksgiving to match my little (of course).
  3. Little’s Pullover: June&January has done it again with their holiday line. I can’t make up my mind on what to get Ada. But I am thinking the pullover will be the one thing I will grab for her; over and over again.
  4. Mama’s Beanie: Gigi Pip makes the best hats and their beanies certainly do not disappoint. I have been wearing this mustard beanie pretty much nonstop this fall. And I have been eyeing this one ,in blush, for a few days now… my Christmas wish list just keeps on growing! 😉
  5. Little’s Beanie: I bought Ada a beanie earlier this fall, but it doesn’t want to stay on her head. So I am thinking one like this will fit better.
  6. Little’s Floral Dress: I can’t express enough how much I love this dress! The colors are just perfect! It just screams fall! Matching autumn florals for the win.
  7. Campfire Mug: I have had this mug for a few years now and it is my favorite. It is big enough to hold all my marshmallows for hot chocolate or my much needed coffee in the mornings.
  8. Fall Garland: Pearl&Jane makes the cutest garlands. I love how she paired pink, mustard, and blue together for this one. Definitely fits all the colors in my home. Her Christmas garlands are so adorable and I am struggling not to buy them all!

I hope everyone has had a great week and Happy Friday ya’ll!


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Halloween 2017

This Halloween was probably the best yet! Ada is at such a fun age right now. I wish she could stay this age forever! I love her running around, asking questions, chatting with us, and understanding what a party signifies. (That’s my girl!) I told her several days in advance that we were having a Halloween party with our friends. She got all excited and started singing, “Happy Birthday!” I am so proud! 😉

We had a simple party with good eats, pumpkin painting with glow-in-the-dark paint, and glow sticks. I think my favorite part were the glow stick necklaces & bracelets. The kids loved them, of course, but watching the adults enjoy them too was even better! I had a great time decorating for Halloween this year, which was pretty much the first for me. Target had so many cute things that it was easy and fun.

After the party, Randy found a video of a boozy caramel apple bar. Sounds like it could be fun! I guess we will just have to have another party soon! 😉

Ada had her very first s’more, but I am not sure she liked it. Blasphemy I know… no way she can be my kid. Just kidding! I think she didn’t like the sticky marshmallow all over her face. She is such a little princess and I love it.

On Halloween night, we took Ada trick or treating for the first time. We stopped by a local petting zoo, where we trick or treated and got to pet animals. Ada, naturally, fell in love with this baby bunny. But who am I kidding? We all fell in love with this little baby bunny! It was all we could do to give the bunny back. She screamed bloody murder until we gave her, her very first sucker. After that, the bunny was old news. So now Ada has been asking for candy ever since. After the zoo, we took her downtown to go trick or treating at all the shops.

Celebrating Halloween with Ada has been so much fun! Seeing the joy and excitement in her eyes is, seriously, the greatest thing of all time. I loved dressing all of us up as her favorite characters from Monsters, Inc. I hope we can continue to do family costumes, but time will tell. Until then, I am going to soak it all in – the family costumes, the magic, holding her hand from door to door, and giving her candy for dinner. I hope you all had a great Halloween! Happy November, ya’ll!

 

Boo Balloon – Amazon

Jack O’ Lanterns – Target Dollar Section, similar

Pumpkin Garland – TJMaxx, similar

Glow Stick Printables


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Pine Nuts & Noses

Ada has always been a little different from other children her age, in a good way, of course. For instance, she has never been one to put things in her mouth or place things in funny places. I have never needed to worry about Ada playing with little toys or things. But that all changed a few nights ago.

Randy was away for business so it was just the two of us. Ada was sitting in her highchair eating a snack while I was chopping vegetables for our dinner. She was snacking on some pine nuts, which she has had dozens of times before. I was watching her occasionally while I was cooking and during one of my checks, Ada had this panic look in her eyes and I saw a pine nut in her nose. As soon as I saw what was happening, I dropped everything and ran to her to pull out the pine nut. But as soon as I got to her, she decided to sniff. And sniff hard. That pine nut went shooting up her nose.

I yanked her from her highchair and was trying to explain to Ada to blow her nose. She obviously had no idea what I was getting her to do because she just kept sniffing. Pulling that pine nut even further into her nose. I tried laying her down on the bed and using a flashlight to see where the pine nut ended up. I couldn’t see it anywhere. So I tried calling Randy, my parents, and my friend to figure out what in the world I should do to get the pine nut out. In my panic state, I decided to take her in to the ER.

Now as a back story, it didn’t help that I just watched a video on FB about a little girl who stuffed something up her nose. The doctor was too scared to try to pull it out because he thought he would just push it up further. Causing them to operate to get the object out of her sinuses. So this video was fore front in my brain… I just knew that the pine nut was too high for anyone to pull out.

On my way to the ER, I heard Ada sneeze a few times but I didn’t stop to check the pine nut, I just kept driving. My friend advised me to call the pediatrician, which was good advice. So glad someone was thinking logically. By the time I got the pediatrician on the phone, I was sitting in the parking lot at the ER. The pediatrician told me to just let it go and to not worry about it. The pine nut will eventually slide through her sinuses, down her throat, and into her belly. I was shocked that is what she suggested. She wanted me to sleep knowing that my daughter had a pine nut her nose! It was going to be a long night.

So I went back home. When we got home and I started getting Ada out of her carseat, I noticed that a pine nut was sitting on her chest. She apparently sneezed it out before we even got to the ER. *Cue huge sigh of relief* I am so relieved that we avoided our first ER visit, at least for now! 😉

At this time, my parents returned my call and I explained to them what just happened. They thought it was hilarious and my dad told me that Ada is just like her great grandfather. My dad told me the story of my grandfather placing a dry pinto bean up his nose. And as you know, as dry beans get wet they expand. So the bean expanded and got stuck. They made a tool to help get out the bean and created a funny poem to go along with this story.

“Little Johnny Greene

Up his nose he stuck a bean

Who got it out?

Little Eddie Stout.”

Now if only I could figure out a poem for Ada’s little pine nut incident. Anyways, I am just glad that everything turned out just fine and that I can laugh about it now. Moral of the story… no more pine nuts.