Evening Walks in our New Hood

One of the main reasons we moved was because our old house was set against a bit of a busy road. The street in front of our house was one of those streets that people would use to cut through neighborhoods. Typically, going a bit over the normal 25 MPH. We would go on evening walks and I would have to bite my tongue from yelling at cars driving by (so fast!). It made me nervous to think my kids would learn to ride a bike on a street like that.

We moved into a gated area at the base of a mountain and it’s so incredibly quiet! We just went on a walk/ bike ride / scooter / wagon (three kids all want different methods of transportation) and we didn’t see a single car! I’m still a bit of a nervous Nelly though seeing these kids on their bikes. Ryan has to keep reminding me that they are kids and it’s okay if they are riding their bikes more than an arms reach from me. ha. I can’t help it though. There’s something about being a mom that makes you want to always surround your kids, as if you are their protective bubble that will keep them from harm.

I realize they are getting older and letting them go is part of the gig, but for now, allowing them to ride their bike as far as the mailbox is a big step for me. ha. Here are a few pictures from our winter walk. Aren’t the desert flowers beautiful?

We wear Santa hats, helmets and carry giant sticks when we hike. You too?

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you know this face very well. It’s Kelsey’s resting face and I love it. Such a sassy one.

Our Gingerbread House

gingerbread house many hats mom blog
One of my favorite things to try to do is build a gingerbread house. I always see them at the store and think … I can do that! The problem is, I have zero patience and skills for this. So Ryan does it instead.

This morning, the kids (and the patient parent) built a cool, edible house. It even had a chimney! Pretty good if you ask me. I watched Nolan and kept overhearing “That’s enough icing. Hurry and spread it before the icing hardens. Don’t eat that. That’s enough. If you keep eating that, then we won’t have enough decorations for the windows.” Oh, Ryan.

Anyone else on a sugar detox after the holidays? Us too. After we devour the house, of course.

gingerbread house many hats mom blogger

gingerbread house many hats mom blogger

gingerbread house many hats mom blogger

gingerbread house many hats mom blogger

gingerbread house many hats mom blogger

Teacher Gift Ideas

Magenta Sip Coffee Gift Ideas

Magenta Sip Coffee Mug

I actually made these for my direct reports, and as I was walking out the door, Ryan said, “Who are those for? The kids teachers?” To which I thought that would have been a great idea. So, I’m sharing with you. I bought these Magenta “Sip” coffee mugs (that I just adore so much! The little grooves in the cup fit so comfortably in your hand) along with some caramel corn clusters from Target.

Oh, and a Starbucks gift card too. Super simple. Super easy. And who doesn’t love a cute mug? Enjoy!

Happy Fourth of July

fourth of july kids clothes

fourth of july kids toys

fourth of july kids toys

Happy Independence Day (a few days early) from the Cross family. I hope your weekend is long, restful, and filled with tons of birthday wishes for America. Since you can’t have fireworks in Arizona, we’ll party with pinwheels! The kids haven’t noticed yet that the pinwheels are filled with sugary candy. Let’s see how long we can keep that secret.

PS – It feels like it was just 2013 when my kids looked like this? Boy, time sure flies!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am so thankful for the jogger who ran by and asked if she could take our photo (yes, please!). From my family to yours, have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy your weekend. xo

thanksgiving family


Where do you purchase your holiday cards? Do you send cards out with pictures or without? I like to mail my Christmas cards with one family photo on the front and one family photo on the back. Sending Christmas cards is a great excuse to step in front of the camera with my family. Plus, it’s fun to see the little ones grow with each passing year.

Do you remember my holiday cards from last year? I ordered my cards from Minted.com for the very first time. I was so impressed! From start to finish the process was easy, fast and perfectly designed. Here’s our card to jog your memory – can you believe Colton was so itty bitty … and bald … and not tan.

If you haven’t done so already, start planning your family photo sessions with a local photographer. Make sure you color coordinate and choose a time when your kids are apt to be on their best behavior (but, really … is there a such time?).

There are a lot of online stationary sites, but what I love most about minted.com is their amazing selection, great quality and the “Find it Fast” feature. You upload your photo and instantly see all of their designs mocked up with your photo on them – it looks like this. See Kelsey & Colton?


Let’s talk envelops for a second because this is where you’ll fall in love. Minted has matching envelop designs and recipient addressing (you ready for this?) – FREE for a limited time. Click here to see the designs and more details.

minted envelops

I partnered with Minted.com to bring you some of my favorite holiday cards from their website. I’m crushing on the foil stamped cards and the cute designs that are in store! Here are some of my favorite holiday card designs from Minted.

minted photo cardsminted christmas booksminted holiday cards minted holiday designsMinted - Foil Pressed Cardminted holiday cards2minted christmas card

Shop their whole holiday card store here. Good luck choosing … can you believe it’s almost the holiday season? I say … bring it on (I’m clearly a Christmas geek).

The Holiday Hat: America’s Birthday

Happy Independence Day! We’re spending it with family, pool time, barbeques and lots of red, white and blue! Meanwhile, Ryan’s at work. Boo for him. It’s Quarter end. Or month end, or something like that.

I took some photos of the kids this morning and boy was it a big deal! I have to wonder, who are those moms who can get their toddlers to sit, smile and be patient while you take photos? And what do those moms bribe their kids with? No. Seriously. Tell me how!





OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANanni stopped by to help out. Isn’t Colton a little giant? He’s 7 months old and nearly taking Nanni down like an anchor.

july 4

We wish you a wonderful day of celebration. Freedom. Independence. And equality for all.

The Holiday Hat: Gifts Ideas Under $25

For holiday teacher gifts this year, we are going to give personalized notes along with a sweet-scented gift. I am going to pick out something from Philosophy’s Holiday Gifts Under $25 list. I am leaning towards the Cinnamon Buns Ornament – it’s only $6 and this is truly one of their best scents for the holidays. Not to mention, the packaging is adorable.

A hand-written card is always a great way to go. Especially if you’re giving something a little “less formal” – like a gift card. For our team appreciation event at W Scottsdale (seen here), I purchased holiday cards from Target, slipped in a $15 Starbucks gift card and wrote each person a note from our heart.

If you’re looking for additional ways to save this season, or you’re like me – and love to give extra “little” things to the ones you love – below is a list I put together of gifts ideas under $25.

25 Gift Ideas Under $25

1. Personalized memory game by Pinholepress- $19
2. French Bulldog Coin Bank – $18
3. Candy Cane Salt Sugar Scrub by Philosophy – $25
4. Whiskey Stones for the particular drinker – $19.95
5. Pretty iPhone case from Anthropologie – $24
6. Super-chic Passport & Luggage set from Z Gallerie – $19
7. Table Topics, always a present-stealer at work gift exchanges – $20
8. Verve Champagne Flute by Crate & Barrel – $12.95
9. Chloé Eau de Parfum miniature duo – $18
10. Elf of a Shelf DVD at Target – $9.95
11. Neiman Marcus ’40 Lane Peanut Brittle’ – $25
12. Owl Kitchen Timers, very retro and cute! – $8
13. Face plates for the kids (we have this and love) – $10
14. Personalized holiday labels to put on your homemade gift – $12
15. Pins and Needles Pinwheel Gloves – $20
15. Suri’s burn book (for the girl with a sense of humor) – $12
16. Alphabet mugs at Pottery Barn – $10
17. Domino: The Book of Decorating – $20
18. Golf ball personalizer – $22
19. Watch me Melt Snowman (for the kids or kid in you) – $15
20. Cranberry Infinity Pashmina – $10
21. OPI Tinsel Town Set – $19.50
22. One Hope Bottle of Wine (50% goes to charity) – $19
23. Dylan’s Candy Bar Holiday Hot Cocoa Set – $20
24. Barefoot Contessa: Foolproof cookbook $20
25. William-Sonoma Soap & Hand Lotion Set – $29.99 (close enough)
One more … Cheryl’s cookies is a bit over the $25 range, but way too delicious to pass up- $44. My aunt just sent us some of these cookies and they are pretty amazing. And that is not just my 39 week pregnant self talking.

Don’t forget about Oprah’s Favorite Things 2012 List – it’s on Sunday, November 18th. You’ll get a lot of great holiday gift ideas, I’m sure of it.