A Visit to The American Girl Outlet Store in Oshkosh, Wisconsin


Yesterday while visiting family, we made a little day trip to visit the American Girl Outlet store in Oshkosh, Wisconsin with Zoey's grandmother and Aunt (Ethan's side of the family) and we had so much fun!!  We found several things but I wanted to share a couple favorites...I found a box that was a bit beat up sitting on a shelf in the store and when I opened it up I discovered that it was a girl and doll matching apron set (the kind that they have worn in the Bistro Cafe at The American Girl Place) and there were also matching pink flower head bands, mini cookie cutters and some cute recipe cards with recipes on them.  I picked it up right away since it was the last one and we actually put them to use today already!  Soooooooo cute!!  

The outfit that Zoey and her Bitty Baby (Lucy) are wearing are matching outfits too...her Aunt got her the girl sized outfit and we already had the doll sized one.  Lucy feels so loved!  Thanks Aunt Serena!!

We also found this adorable little birthday dress set...and here Emily is wearing it while she is catching up on some studying.

We found the cute adorable aqua plaid jumper dress and tights...both of these outfits came with the original shoes too but we thought the boots were more stylish for today.  :)  McKenna is pictured in her gymnastics leotard (which was a Christmas gift from grandma and NOT found at the outlet).

Here are the professional shoppers!  Zoey, Aunt Serena and Grannie Annie!!

Here are some of our finds...I didn't find images for everything since some of the items we found were retired or specialty things only sold in the stores.

Zoey loves the shower play set and I think my favorite find were the aprons.  In addition to the pictured items, we also found a bottle for Bitty Baby and a 3 piece diaper set, a pair of red and white shoes, a striped turtleneck, a pink knit sweater and two more girl sized outfits for Zoey.  Super fun visit to the outlet, totally worth it!!

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It's Been Awhile...


Since we have PLAYED together...really had the heart and energy to get down and PLAY and it feels so good!!  Makes me miss my days of being a stay at home mom for sure, but I am ever so thankful for having a job that allows me to be home with my family for holidays and school breaks, etc. Soaking up this time and seeing it for what it is, a gift!  I love my family sooooooo incredibly much and I feel like shouting it to the rooftops, so here is my rooftop.  :)  It's so easy when days run one into the next and we are filled with busyness...and are tired, to forget who we are, let alone who the person is that shares everything alongside of you is.  Anyways, we're obviously in a good place here...and that feels so good! 

We've been busy playing in the snow, sledding and building snowmen...

We've been enjoying tea, cocoa and Ethan and I have even had an evening or two sipping an adult beverage (gasp!).  

We've been enjoying reading favorite books, some old favorites as well as some of our new books that we got for Christmas.  Zoey and I have been cracking up reading my old childhood copy of The House at Pooh Corner.  LOVE these stories!!

We are enjoying the lights and our simple decorations...and staying up a little bit later than usual.

We made a Christmas card/photo wall this year and it's been fun seeing the images daily of friends and family.

The Jesse Tree that my grandma made for me is hanging and we've read all the corresponding passages from the Bible...

Christmas pajamas are being snuggled in...and there may even have been a day or two where we've stayed in them all day!!

Oh yes, and Christmas toys are getting played with!  I have to admit that I could hardly wait to play with Zoey with the Deluxe Doll Dining set from American is worth every penny in our opinion!! So many fun things to create and do with this set.  We'll have to do up an official review of it, it's that cool!!

And I have to share one of my favorite Christmas gifts...I hung them today, I love my Prosperity Hens!!

Anyways, it's been a wonderful break so's just what we all needed.  Time.  To use it wisely is a craft that I want to perfect...time is family, time is breath, time is love.  Time is ours to use as we choose.  Here is to using it wisely!

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Merry Christmas!

Santa came!  Our day started with Zoey waking up at 3 in the morning...and me trying reallllllly hard to pretend that I didn't feel her trying to shake me awake.  It worked for awhile and she went back to sleep for a bit and we finally later both woke up at 6 at which time she looked at the tree in amazement while I put the cinnamon rolls in the oven and then we both sat and waited in the dark, tree-lit living room for Ethan to wake up an hour later.

Santa left a heavy duty pink sled this year...he must have known that the orange one she has had gotten a crack in it recently.  Thank you Santa!

First up at our house is checking out what Santa brought in our stockings.  Every year we all get the following: an orange and a Mr. Men or Little Miss book (this year Ethan got Mr. Tall, I got Little Miss Wise and Zoey got Little Miss Helpful)...and then other random little things.  Zoey got a mini Hello Kitty calendar for her dolls, some chapstick, a fairy wand, The BIG book of Happy, Coconut, and a chocolate orange, old fashioned candy cane and an organic chocolate bar.

Zoey is so unlike me when it comes to opening gifts...when I was young I opened up the smallest packages first and saved the biggest for last.  Not Zoey!  She goes for the biggest first and ends with the smallest of gifts!

We aren't super big on the idea of a "wish list" here which can make gift giving more fun because then things are a complete surprise...Zoey was thrilled to get a horse and stable set for her dolls from Santa this year...

We open gifts one at a time here and rotate is Ethan's turn opening something.

Zoey was REALLY surprised to find that we had given her a doll that she had been adoring in the magazine for awhile now.

Meet Bella Luna...she loves to dance and loves...HORSES!!  :)  Thank goodness!  She fits in wonderfully with our growing doll family.

Here are the boys chilling out on the couch in between some gift opening...

Santa AND the fairies left a special gift for Zoey this year under the tree...matching wood fairy costumes complete with wings and tiaras.  So beautiful!!

It's safe to say that everyone is tuckered out here in this house, including the dog!  It was a very full day and what a lovely one to get to share together.  It was sunny and we even got some Christmas snow!

I am so thankful for my little family and that we are together and healthy and happy.  Merry Christmas!
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Merry + Bright


We managed to eeek out a family portrait in front of the tree this year after attending church...Leo doesn't look enthused but that's nothing new.  :)

It's been a great year!  Merry Christmas!!!

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Random Photo Love


Yesterday before the dance recital Ethan was playing around with his camera settings and he snapped some photos of Zoey and I in front of the tree and these are the shots that he got.  I think they are some of my new favorites!

This one makes me so happy (and hair has really gotten dark, I kind of feel like I'm turning into my mom!).

And of course a little bit of loving on Leo is always good...

Thanks for taking these photos Ethan...I need to remember to get in the photos with Zoey more often!
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The Nutcracker - 2012

The above photo was taken at home before the show right before leaving...she LOVES ballet and dance and couldn't wait to get to dress rehearsal!  I'm so happy that she gets to be involved in something like this that she can totally immerse herself in.  It's so fun too that she has the older girls to look up to as role models.  

Here is a slide show of the whole performance that I put together...I know that the grandparents and my family always enjoy seeing these.

And then here are some of my favorites of Zoey that I wanted to share...

Zoey was the doll that was "forgotten" on stage this year...she was so thrilled to have this part.

She was also one of the mice again this year...

Here she is at intermission...she got to watch the rest of the performance with us since both of her parts were in the first half of the show this year which was nice.

Here is the dance crew at finale time...

And some of her dance buddies back stage after the show...

It's always so fun to see this every year at Christmas time, it's a great way to ease into the holidays and it's so fun to see all the little changes made to the program as well as to have the familiarity of the show for the girls.  We love dance!

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