[Chasin' Mason] Top Posts

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Seeing as how we only have two days left in the year (how is this even possible???), I thought I'd do a fun little recap of the year - reader favorites as well as my personal favorites!

Top Reader Favorites :

1 // [Stitch Fix] Fix #1
2 // [Stitch Fix] Fix #2
3 // [Whole30] The Results!
4 // A Letter to my Son with Autism
5 // The Words You Never Want to Hear a Doctor Say
6 // [Thoughts] Baby #2
7 // [Autism Diagnosis] Thoughts and Feelings from a Mother with a Child with Autism
8 // [Mother's Day Mom Exchange] The Goodies!
9 // [Mason] An Update
10 // [Mason] A Preschool Update + Doctor Appt Update

Personal Favorites :

Honestly, this was kind of hard! I do love a lot of the reader favorites (not surprising that you all like what I like!), so I had to do some searching to find these ones. The 10 posts above are all high on my list as are the 10 below (in no particular order).

1 // Mason's IKEA Picture Ledge Bookshelves
2 // [3rd Birthday] Blogger Toddler Birthday Exchange - Round 2!
3 // [DIY] Children's Art Gallery Wall
4 // [Gifts for the Husband] DIY Beer Advent Calendar
5 // [Disney Cruise] Day 1 (and all other days recaps too!)
6 // [Mason] A Letter to Our Three Year Old + an Update
7 // An Ode to the Single Mom
8 // Motherhood from Every Angle
9 // [3rd Birthday] Disneyland
10 // [A Year of Dates] January (and all the other months!)

I know this sounds kind of conceited, but I had a hard time choosing my favorites! Looking back on all the posts I've done this year, I kind of love them all! Which I guess is good... since it is my blog... I should love what I post! But really, between our weekend adventures, various holiday and birthday adventures, my confessions, the Guy Behind the Blog, currently posts, and so much more, it was hard to narrow down my favorites.

Thank you all so much for reading (and commenting!) on my blog! I feel so lucky to have such amazing readers and to have met and connected with some even more amazing women (and even some in person!). Never in my wildest dreams would I have made real friendships through an online community, but I truly have, and am so grateful for it.

Here's to more fun in 2016!

Christmas 2015

Monday, December 28, 2015

Welp. Christmas came and Christmas went. And I seriously cannot believe that it is over already! I swear it snuck up on me so quickly and came and went faster than the blink of an eye. It's what we've been building up towards all month and it feels bittersweet that it's over. To some extent, I'm excited to get my house at least partially organized again, but at the same time, I'm sad that all the decorations have to go. I feel like I didn't get to do nearly half of what I had wanted to do this month. Next year, I vow to plan better to make sure to take some days off work and just enjoy the season instead of always being so busy!

The weekend started for me on Thursday. This is probably the first year in I don't know how long that I was able to take off Christmas Eve. Seth still had to work so Mason and I hung out all day and played and baked some cookies until it was time to go to my sister in law's house for dinner, presents, and a hot chocolate bar for dessert. This was the first year that Mason actually "got it" and he was SO, SO excited to open his presents! So excited in fact that he started to open other people's presents and we had to explain to him that he needed to wait his turn :)

After dinner, presents, and dessert, we came home and set up for Santa!

Friday was Christmas Day. We woke up early and opened presents at our house before heading over to Seth's mom's house for breakfast and to open more presents. Mason, again, was so excited to open his presents but really only liked the toys. When he'd open a book or clothes or shoes, I'd ask him if he liked it and he'd say "no" and throw it to the side. But give him a toy to open, ask the same question, and you'd get a "YEAH!!!!!!". Such a sweet boy. He was so excited!

After we opened our presents, we headed over to Seth's mom's around 9am. Christmas Eve is spent with my brother in law's side of the family and they have quickly become my second family. We exchange gifts for the cousins on Christmas Eve and family gifts on Christmas Day. I swear Mason gets more spoiled every year between Hanukkah, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day... we are so blessed and thankful! We spent the good part of the morning there and then came home to take showers and get ready and Mason took a short nap. Then it was back over to Seth's mom's for Christmas dinner with the whole family! My niece brought over Pie Face, which is quite possibly the most fun game ever. The best part was when she was explaining the game and telling us what to do and the pie hit her in the face on the first click. Another amazing part was when Seth's 96 year old grandma asked if she could play too and she ended up getting pied in the face as well. Seriously SO SO many laughs were had that night! (You might have seen some videos of it if you follow me on Instagram!)

The rest of the weekend was spent at three different malls on four different occasions.

The day after Christmas I hadn't intended on going shopping, but my sister in law and I had a couple things to exchange at Hanna Andersson so I decided to go with her. We had the most impeccable timing because we found parking so easily when we got there, the food court was nearly empty, and the stores were pretty bare able. However, when we left it was a complete nightmare.

After we left that mall, we had intended on heading home but I mentioned that I wanted to get some sheets for Mason's new bed (he got a twin bed for Christmas!) so we ended up going to another mall that had Pottery Barn Kids. This mall is one of the biggest in the county and was EVEN WORSE than the mall we just left. I immediately said oh never mind, let's just go, this is insanity, but my sister in law said we'd try down one aisle and if we couldn't find a parking spot, we'd leave. And lo and behold, someone was backing out right then. I swear we have great mall karma.  So, we parked and headed in and the store actually wasn't that bad. I actually found an Elf on the Shelf on sale (which I couldn't find a sale ANYWHERE) as well as an Elf Pet reindeer so I snatched those up for next year (yep, we're doing Elf on the Shelf next year! I don't know if I think I am crazy or if I am excited?!). Then I found THE CUTEST sheets for Mason's bed as well that were 20% off. After spending way too much money, we we left the mall and headed back home where we played tons of new games and hung out for a couple hours. Seth and Mason joined us as well as some friends and we all had leftovers and played another round of Pie Face. I swear the game never gets old. It's just as funny to see someone get pied in the face the first time and the twentieth time.

Sunday was spent doing an insane amount of laundry (all the new clothes!) as well as a trip to the grocery store. Then we headed to a different mall to meet family for lunch at Panini Cafe (if you have one nearby and haven't been, GO! SO GOOD!). After lunch I realized that we were close to the store that I got my current purse at and I've been dying for a cross body bag and asked Seth if we could stop over real fast. We went in to the mall, I wasn't impressed, and then decided that I wanted to go to the Fossil store (back at mall #2 from Saturday) so we headed back for our 4th mall trip of the weekend. I spent more than I thought I would on a purse but found one that I love! Success! We came home, took a little trip across the street to the park, and finished laundry and just hung out. It was a nice, quiet evening after a crazy busy couple of days. But I wouldn't have it any other way.

Now it's back to work for a few days and then another long weekend of fun! We have plans to hang out with some friends on New Year's Eve and then head out to the Rose Parade on New Year's Day so it's sure to be a fun, busy weekend again!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

I know that today is not technically Christmas or Christmas Eve, but this is my last post for the week. I can't say that I'm totally signing off because you know you can find me overgramming over on Instagram, but as my last blog post for the week, I wanted to share our Christmas card. By now, everyone should definitely have them, so I feel confident that I won't be spoiling anything by sharing today.

So, without further ado, our Christmas card for 2015!

I'm not sure if I've mentioned on the blog before, but we always choose to say "Happy Holidays" instead of Merry Christmas. We have family that celebrates Hanukkah as well as family that celebrates Christmas and while I don't think either side would be offended with a card with the saying of one way or another, we just prefer to make it "holiday neutral", if you will, and say Happy Holidays.

the front

the back

I have to say, I LOVE how they turned out! LOVE. The picture. The design. Everything. I think I may have found my new Christmas card company of choice - Minted. I already raved about Minted in this post, so I won't go into it again here, but seriously, every time I look at our cards, I fall in love even more.

And with that, Merry Christmas Eve Eve! Hope you have the best rest of the week and weekend with your friends, families, and loved ones! Merry Christmas!

The Guys Behind the Blog // December Edition.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Earlier this year, I found out through Crystal that Betsy from Heavens to Betsy has this super cool series called The Guys Behind the Blog. Unfortunately it was a little too late to join for March but I joined in April and have been ever since! While I do talk about Seth often, I don't really know if you all know him very well. Enter : this series. Every month Betsy has different prompts that the guys behind the blog answer.

Here are December's questions.

1 // What's on your Christmas list this year?
Beer. New softball equipment. Beer. Coffee. Beer. Angels tickets. Beer.

2 // Did you believe in Santa as a child? Do you have any funny Santa stories?
Yes, I believed in Santa as a child. No funny stories that I know of though.

3 // What is a Christmas tradition you hope to pass on someday?
Spending Christmas morning with family. Opening presents. Having breakfast. And enjoying the day.

4 // Do you open presents on Christmas morning or a different time?
Christmas morning.

5 // What is your favorite Christmas song? Christmas movie?
Carol of the Bells (composed by Mykola Leontovych, lyrics by Peter J. Wilhousky).  I really liked singing it in choir. Oh, and Adam Sandler's Hanukkah Song.
And my favorite Christmas movie is Home Alone.

And there you have it! Thanks for playing along again Seth!

$10 at Target [December Edition]

Monday, December 21, 2015

From the very first time I saw Becky do a post on $10 at Target, I was intrigued. I mean, who only spends $10 at Target??? Then I read a little further and realized she gave herself the challenge to only spend $10 at Target on something fun for herself and I was intrigued again. I commented on her post that I loved the idea of her post and would have to try something similar (and a few other people must have too) and this blog hop was born!

I'm excited to be back again today co-hosting this blog hop with Becky and some other fabulous ladies! I'll be honest... I thought spending only $10 at Target would be hard. Like hard to stay within the $10 limit. However, my problem ((again this month!)) was spending the $10! 

Last month, I opted to buy some Tazo Peachy Green Tea mix to try to re-create Starbucks' peach green tea lemonade at home. I used the pre-made mix and made some Country Time lemonade at home and it tasted pretty good. This month, I decided to splurge on the Simply Lemonade lemonade (since that's what the "recipe" for the at home drink called for) and I'm so glad I did! This lemonade is slightly more tart than the Country Time and gave it a different flavor. Also, an added bonus? The lemonade tastes pretty great on it's own!

I've been wanting to try these hair bands for a while but really didn't need any more hair bands (I have a pack of like 20 in my bathroom drawer right now and seriously use one for at least a month or until it breaks) so I opted to splurge on these too. I haven't used them yet, but am excited to see if they leave a kink in my hair like the other hair bands do.

And for my last item, I chose to spurge (theme of the month!) on these hot cocoa k-cups. I know I don't need them, I can make hot cocoa on my own, but it's so much easier to just pop the k-cup in, so hey, why not?

Oddly enough, I actually thought I was pretty close to the $10 this month, unlike being a little more than a whole dollar below last month, but when the cashier rang up my total, I had a whole additional dollar I could have spent again!

I had so much fun shopping for myself and am excited to continue this blog hop! Now, hop around and check out how the rest of my co-hosts spent their $10!

Elizabeth - Chasin' Mason
Rachel - Garay Treasures
Stephanie - Wife Mommy Me
Becky - bybmg

I actually thought I was pretty close to the $10 this month, unlike being a little more than a whole dollar below last month, but when the cashier rang up my total, I had a whole additional dollar I could have spent again!

Five on Friday

Friday, December 18, 2015

HOLY COW you guys. Christmas is NEXT Friday! While I am super excited about it, I'm also feeling a bit of anxiety right now... I don't think I'm ready! In reality, I probably am, but I'm just waiting for a few more online purchases to arrive and then I think I'll be done! Until I search online and find something on Amazon that I just HAVE to have. Thank goodness for prime 2-day shipping! But, before we get all wrapped up in the impending holiday, let's start with our weekly five.

Lily and Val.

I don't know if you've heard of Lily and Val before and to be honest, I don't know how I stumbled upon her shop, but I seriously LOVE her prints. I've been swooning over pretty much all of them. They make me wish I had a bigger kitchen (or at least some wall space to hang things in my current kitchen) so I could buy all. the. prints!

Pretend City Autism Event.

I've been SO bad and haven't blogged any of our Pretend City adventures. I really wish I would have earlier because the place is SO fun. If you're not local, Pretend City is literally a pretend city. They have a library, a grocery store, a fire station, a gas station, a garden, a construction site, and SO much more that kids can explore. If you follow me on Snapchat though, you probably got a ton of sneak peeks into what the museum looks like. It is such an awesome place! Before these special events, we had been once for my niece's birthday (pre-Mason) and once, maybe twice, with Mason. Since Seth and I both work full time, we don't get to take him to fun places like this on the weekdays when it's less crowded so we're stuck braving the weekend crowd. And this place? NOT GOOD on the weekends. It was a madhouse. So, when I found out that we could attend these events on Monday nights, I was in - and even better? It was FREE - for the whole family! Seth and I first took Mason at the end of September and more recently, I took him by myself to meet a friend at the end of November. Mason seriously has the BEST time and I love how un-crowded it is! I'm so happy and thankful that our local museum does this and that we got to go. I don't know that we will go every month, but I love that there is the opportunity should we be free and available to go. It's an amazing thing when museum's do these kinds of things for kids with disabilities!

Regional Differences.

I never really thought about regional differences before, but then I read this post from The Larson Lingo and it got me thinking! You never really realize how different all of the states are until you start thinking about the way we talk (we say 'you guys' here in California vs pretty much the whole South saying 'ya'll'), the things we eat, the clothes we wear, and more! If you have a second, pop on over and check out her post. I found it to be very interesting!

Annual Recipe Exchange.

I don't know if you follow Shay Shull at Mix and Match Mama but she recently posted about her 6th Annual Recipe Exchange. This year's theme was breakfast and sounds perfect. Personally, I love breakfast and would be so so excited to get some new recipes for it. But, the point of this comment is not to talk about breakfast. The point is that I hope, (one day!), I can do something like this.  I love her little group of girl friends and the fact that they do fun things like a recipe exchange (as well as a scarf exchange and more!) once a year. Seriously, SO MUCH FUN.

Straightener Winner!

I finally pulled the trigger and bought a new straightener! I did a lot of research (you'd think I was buying a car or something lol) and found one that I thought I'd like... and I was right! I ended up going with the HSI Professional Ceramic Straightener and so far, I love it! In fact, I've now straightened my hair 4/5 weekdays this week... which hasn't happen in I don't know how long. It seriously works so well and straightens my hair so fast. I love that it has different temperatures and that it has a little green light that tells you that it's ready and at the temperature that you want. I'd highly recommend it. Plus it was only $35.99! Win win!

Happy last weekend before Christmas!!!

Christmas Pajama Party Link Up + Holiday Home Tour

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Since it's Thursday (and I seem to like to confess things on Thursdays), I have a confession. I am a HORRIBLE blogger and have exactly TWO photos of Mason in Christmas jammies. Oh wait! I take that back. THREE. But only if you count the cousin Santa photo that Mason and his cousins did two weekends ago. {{insert monkey covering his eyes emoji}} Yeah, I know. AND to top it off, I am one of the hosts of the pajama party link up. So, without further ado, I bring you, my three failed attempts at pictures of Mason in his Christmas pajamas.

So this is attempt #1. He was playing with his new Go Go Smart Wheels set the other day and wearing his Hanna Andersson snowplow pjs and I snapped a picture real fast. Snowplows are used in the winter and Christmas is in the winter, so it relates, right? :)

And this is attempt #2. Same toy, different day, different pjs. These are his Hanna Andersson Christmas pjs. I seriously LOVE them. He got some last year as well and even though Christmas ended in December, I think he kept wearing them all the way until March or April or even May when it got warm enough to wear short sleeves and/or shorts jammies.

And attempt #3. His Carters "Santa's Helper" jammies with Santa. At least in this one he's facing the camera and smiling? Total fail on my part this year in the Christmas pajama photo department!

Link up with me (below) or with any one of my co-hosts and show us your kids Christmas jammies too!
Stephanie // Jen // Liz  // Jessica // Meghan // Whitney // Crystal

Since I was so, so horrible with the Christmas jammie portion of today's post, I thought I would share a little of our holiday decorations with you as well. I swear I love Christmas and all the festiveness but somehow I just never take a picture of my kid in his cute pajamas!

Please keep in mind that we live in a small town home. There's not much room to decorate, BUT I did the best that I could given the constraints.

One of my very favorite things to do is to hang lights inside. I think I've mentioned this before but ever since my mom first did this when I was a little girl, I have loved the look of it. I like to hang lights around our windows and then over around the door and around the bathroom door until it ends by the tree.

our tree topper - Mason's Santa hand print from when he was just 4 months old!

my first attempt at bokeh (taken on my iPhone 6 using the "Manual" app)

This is where I've been hanging all of the Christmas cards that we've been sent. I had originally planned on tying a ribbon around our closet door and hanging them on there but all I had was tape to attach them and because of the softness of the ribbon, the tape didn't stick well and I'd come home to a pile of cards on the floor every afternoon. So. I moved the cards to our pantry doors. I literally may keep them up way longer than I should because seeing all my friends and families faces just makes me so happy :)

This table is my make shift mantle. I'm DYING for a mantle to decorate. ONE DAY! So, for now, I decorate the table and pretend that it is my mantle. I absolutely love the look of hurricane glasses filled with Christmasy decor and I love to put these cute ornaments in them. I hope to get larger ones someday and possible fill them with those red, white, and silver bows (that you attach on to packages) or pine cones or candy canes or maybe just more ornaments. The possibilities are endless and one day, friends, one day I will be able to do this! Stay tuned!

I also updated the art gallery wall to reflect Christmas pieces. Thankfully Mason's school sent home some of his artwork early! That top left Christmas tree is my absolute favorite. They traced his hands and then cut them out using scalloped scissors (the teachers, not Mason) and then made a tree. He glued all the "ornaments" on himself!

And our last place of festiveness is Mason's room. He absolutely ADORES his tree. Every single night when he comes home from school, he wants me to turn on the lights. He loves to blow on the tree (I think to "blow out the candles" like on a birthday cake) and so we tell him to blow three times and then I plug in the lights. I don't know if he thinks that blowing turns them on and off or what, but he gets the BIGGEST smile and his face just lights up with joy when the tree turns on. I'm going to be crushed to have to take it down at some point in January.

So, even though it's small, I think we decorate a good amount where there is just the right amount of Christmas without being too overwhelming.

Some of you may have noticed that we celebrate Hanukkah too, which is true. However, I really only have one Hanukkah piece and since Hanukkah is over, I had already taken down the wooden Menorah that we have before I took these pictures. So just use your imagination on that one!

Don't forget to link up your Christmas jammies with us below!

Sweet Turtle Soup