Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Photo Dump Wednesday: Thanksgiving 2016 - Celebration, Tradition and Creation

Happy Thanksgiving! I know I am a little late. I hope you had an awesome Thanksgiving celebration with your family. We had a great time and enjoyed the long weekend as a family. 

My mother in law cooked up a feast for Thanksgiving and we all had a great time indulging in the yummy goodness. I completely forgot to take pictures of all the delicious dishes :-(. However, I did get this picture of our traditional breakfast of eggnog french toast. John and I LOVE it :-).

On Friday evening, after work, J and I took the girls out to see the Christmas light at the part. This is a family tradition every year. This year, our back seat driver (aka JOE) called out all the pictures she wanted me to take. We often go to the same place so the show doesn't change much but it was nice for her to really get to appreciate it this year. The first time in 4 years :-). 

The next day, we took the girls out to see a movie after breakfast. The girls had breakfast by the warm fire place. We saw Moana and absolutely LOVED it! JAE to our surprise was very quiet and watched THE ENTIRE movie! She really loved the movie and I think it is because she sees a little bit of herself in the main character. 
JOE enjoyed the movie too although, she found some parts scary. I didn't think it was though. But what is scary to a toddler is likely not scary to an adult. 

Then we went to see a tree lighting not too far from us. We went to the same place too last year. The girls enjoyed the free hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies. 

On Sunday after Church, we decided to put up our Christmas decoration. Because we knew how long it would take, we only planned on doing the outside. However, JOE was so helpful that we were able to also do most of the inside. So next weekend, we will be able to spend more time putting up the trees and taking pictures.

After we got a chance to relax, we got cleaned up and headed to the mall so the girls could take pictures with Santa. They were too cute! JOE wants a pony! She doesn't even ride so don't ask me. We will get her one from the My Little Pony collection. 
JAE on the other hand wanted NOTHING to do with Santa. I count the visit a success though because neither of them cried. #winning!

We feel very thankful for our many blessings and being able to celebrate with family. 

On a side note, AyoBE Boutique has had a good year and I feel very blessed to be able to bring a dream of mine to reality. It hasn't been easy but I am very thankful for the gift of creativity. If you haven't already done so, please go check out the site. There's LOTS to choose from and something for everyone. Here's a quick video of some gift ideas/stocking stuffers. 

Have a fabulously blessed week and remember to be kind to strangers!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Tis the savings guide

This post first appeared on here.

Celebrating Christmas IS my favorite time of year. I love creating new family memories and carrying out family traditions.

The celebration of the holidays also means SHOPPING!!! I love to shop BUT I REFUSE to get up early or leave after a delicious Thanksgiving meal to go shopping. 

So what is a girl to do when she doesn't want to brave the crowds? Well, I shop online! It is easy, convenient and a lot of times you can get similar if not better deals from online. 

I figured since I am all about saving, I should share with you some of my TOP 5 ONLINE TOOLS this year that's been helping me with savings. 

1. EBATES: Ebates offers you so many awesome coupon deals. THE BEST part is that you get cashback on your purchases. So in addition to savings, you get some money back! Who doesn't like that? I have been using this for YEARS and have gotten money deposited in my account. So I know this is for real. 

2. HONEY: This is a relatively new one that I just discovered and I LOVE it! Basically, you sign up and add this extension to your computer browser. Can be combined with Ebates.

3. AMAZON PRIME: If you shop online, this is a MUST HAVE. I love it because you get free shipping on most items listed on the site AND some offer a 2-day free shipping option. The other great thing is that you can first go to the Ebates site, then select the store, use the honey button to find deals AND then use your Amazon Prime shipping. I mean, its like a triple savings! 

4. WALMART.COM: This can also be combined with Ebates and honey. I know there is a stigma with shopping at Walmart but honestly, I love that their items are affordable AND if you purchase a big ticket item over $50, you can also get free shipping. Another bonus is that you can also do the "site to store" pick up option. Which means that you purchase your item online and pick it up in the store. That way, you don't have to pay for shipping.

5. GIFSTER: This one isn't a deal per se. However, if you have a big family like mine with lots of kids and want to keep track of what everyone is asking for or what has been purchased, this is the site for you. You can sign up and your family members can input what the kids want and then people get to pick and choose. The great thing is that you don't have to be limited to just one store. You can use the site to access other online stores to make your purchases. I love that it also has a secret santa feature for families who do that. 

So there you have it. I hope this has been helpful. If you're looking for unique gifts for your loved ones, please be sure to check out AyoBE Boutique. There are lots of beautiful and unique items that'll add a little more sparkle to your holidays. Below are some great ideas!

Happy Shopping and now more than ever, remember to be kind to strangers!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Photo Dump Wednesday: Sisters and best friends

I am one of six. Specifically, the 2nd child but first of 4 girls. I love my siblings. I especially love the bond I share with my sisters. We haven't always gotten along but as we've all gotten older, we've hit our stride and everyone for the most part knows how to stay in each other's good graces. Don't get me wrong, my family does not sugarcoat things. They call it as they see it and I love that about them. But in-spite of that, we have learnt to appreciate our strengths and help when someone is weak in an area.

My sisters and I are close. Even though we are spread out around the world, we still check in with each other everyday even if it is a quick "have a fabulously blessed day" text or "I need prayers about...".
Having sisters is an awesome blessing and I look forward to growing old with them and chatting about the foolishness we participated in while we were young.Check out this oldie but goodie. I believe this picture is from Christmas of 2009 after I got engaged. Wow! Time flies.

This brings me to JOE & JAE. Being so close to my sisters makes me value just how awesome their bond is even at a young age. 
JOE knows she is the older sister and often keeps an eye out for JAE. JAE is the protector and will give you a mean look if you come at her sister. 
On Monday, JOE had her annual check up. She had to get 2 scheduled vaccinations. While JOE cried (she also had a bit of a cold), JAE turned to the nurse, pointed her little finger at her and started yelling gibberish at the nurse! She was NOT happy that someone was causing her sister pain.

JOE knows that JAE loves to watch planes. We live not too far from the airport. Often when JOE sees a plane, she'll say "look JAE, its a plane!" and this brings JAE so much joy. 

They are stroller buddies and often share their snacks. BUT not their water though. That is often cause for someone screaming so when we go out, we have to bring them their own individual bottle of water.

The love being around each other often. JOE plays the big sister and loves to help JAE out if she is trying something and hasn't been able to complete it.

And they have the most complementary personalities. JOE is playful and loves to help everyone.

JAE is more adventurous and wants to get to know you before she determines if she wants to play with you.

Last week, we have to take JAE in to get blood drawn for allergy tests. JOE wanted to sit with her. But when she discovered she couldn't, she sat with me and squeezed my hands to "help JAE." Not sure how it helped her but it was really nice to see.

They are the best of friends and love to goof around. I love watching them grow and forge a strong relationship. A fellow blogger often says giving your child a sibling is like giving them a built in best friends. I 100% agree with her. 

Speaking of, I even did the same braid style on their hair last week. Check out JAE's hair growing in nicely. She loves her braided hair and loves to shake it :-).

And just because...this is their pedigree...Love wins. I'm wearing the Everest head tie and earrings set from AyoBE Boutique.

Have a fabulously blessed week and remember to be kind to strangers.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Photo Dump Wednesday: JOE is 4

Our first baby turned 4 yesterday. FOUR!!!

Since she will likely be going to school next year and likely will be in school for years to come on her birthday, J and I decided to take some time off work to spend the day with JOE while our child care provider kept JAE. 

Before our day together, here are some pictures from last Sunday. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I love taking #churchflow pictures on our way to church. Well, here are some.

Car selfies with J.

Check out our duck lips! So I am REALLY REALLY loving the Chiclet African Print earrings from AyoBE Boutique. I keep going down to my office to take one from my stash! They are lightweight, colorful and really compliment your outfit.

3 of 4. JAE was sleeping in the car.

On our way home, we had to stop at Home Depot. J took JOE with him while I got to hang with my mini-me. She didn't want to take a selfie with me. 
And so it begins...

Now to the birthday girl. The morning of her birthday, I was working in her room. She came in and sat on my lap. She doesn't do this often and I just loved hugging my newly minted 4-year old!

We let her open all her presents on the day of her party. However, on her birthday, we gave her the presents J and I got her. 
As is our family custom, she got a bag of candy to sweeten her new year of life and a set of PJ Masks figurines that she really wanted. Then we brought out her very own Doc McStuffinsville Hospital. She was ELATED!!! I should add that EVERYTIME she saw the ad for this hospital on TV, she mentioned how much she really really really wanted it. LOL!

This hospital came with so many parts that Lambie was lost within hours. We can't seem to find her anywhere!

After unvailing presents, I did more work and then took the rest of the day off to spend it with our 4-year old. 
We took her to go see Stork. It was an animated movie. I'm not sure she fully understood it but she laughed quite a bit.

She loves popcorn but since JAE has had reaction to corn products, we don't let her have it at home. Well, for her birthday, she got her very own bag of popcorn!

Afterwards, we went to a local Hibachi grill place for lunch. She loved the whole food prep process and was fascinated by it. 

She attempted to use chopsticks and I helped her out a bit. My baby is growing up so fast!

By the time we got back in the car, she was pooped! She quickly fell asleep. Signs of an awesome day!

It was the best way to celebrate our little girl. Next year, she'll be off to Kindergarten and will be in school on her birthday. We both thoroughly enjoyed spending the day with her. 

Do you take time off work to spend time with your kids or loved ones on their birthda? J and I do it and love it. If you haven't tried it, do so next time. The best gift you can give a loved one is the gift of your love and presence. 

Have an awesome rest of the week. Regardless of who you voted for, it is very important that now more than ever, we endeavor to be kind to strangers!


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