Custom College Graduation Invitations and Thank You Cards from Basic Invite

Thank you to Basic Invite for sponsoring this blog post.

Can you believe that we will be in April next week? Time flies! If you follow me on Instagram, you know that we recently celebrated the twins’ second birthday. In just a few months, they will be entering preschool, and that makes my heart a little bit sad. And although the days are long, the years seem to be going by so fast! Pretty soon, they will be graduating from preschool, then high school and then college.

Although college seems like many years away, we have already started planning and saving for their tuition fees! Crazy, right? If you know me, I am a planner when it comes to my life and my family, sometimes to my husband’s dismay.

I love to plan and create special moments for my whole family and I am sure once college graduation comes around, I will take the opportunity to mark the amazing achievement in a special, personal way.

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Basic Invite is an online company that creates custom stationary for all of your business, holiday and special occasion needs. If you have a loved one graduating in the Class of 2019, Basic Invite has both modern and classic graduation invitations. One of my favorite graduation templates is the “then and now” template! It is so adorable. I would absolutely use my twins’ preschool pictures and senior portraits for these invitations. They also have options for text only, one or more images, foil cards and camo graduation invitations.

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Over 180 Color Options – Basic Invite allows you to change the color of each of the card elements with over 180 color options. You can also instantly preview how your card will look. I love that, with so many color options, you can give your cards the exact look and feel you desire.

Custom Samples – Basic Invite gives customers the ability to order a printed sample of your actual invitation so you can see exactly what it will look like and hold it in your hand before you place your final order. To me, ink and paper quality are so important when creating custom stationary, and Basic Invite is one of the few online stationary shops that gives customers this option.

Over 40 Different Envelope Colors – Basic Invite allows customers to make their invitations stand out even before they are opened. Customers can choose from over 40 different colors for their envelopes, which is another way to really stick to your personal theme and look-and-feel. Another thing I love is that all envelopes are peel-and-seal!

Address Capturing Service – Basic Invite offers an address capturing service that allows customers to simply share a link on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other form of social media to request their friends’ and family’s addresses which will be stored in the customer’s account and can then be selected during the design process. Basic Invite offers recipient address printing at no additional cost on all card orders.

Foil – Foil cards are available in gold, silver, and rose gold. Customers can choose flat or raised foil on all of Basic Invite’s foil designs.

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My Experience with Basic Invite

I got to try out the design and printing process with Basic Invite for myself, and I can tell you that it is user-friendly and the final product is high-quality and beautifully made. For the boys’ second birthday, we picked a dinosaur theme since they are obsessed with all things dinosaur. Basic Invite had the perfect dinosaur-themed thank you cards that we were able to personalize and customize to send our guests their thank yous!

Basic Invite has so many college graduation invitations templates. Check them out to see all of their designs. Right now, Basic Invite is offering 15% off orders with the coupon code: 15FF51

Check them out online and on social media at:

BasicInvite.com
Facebook/BasicInvite
Pinterest/BasicInvite
Instagram/BasicInvite
Twitter/BasicInvite

This blog post has been sponsored by Basic Invite.

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Tips for Visiting Disneyland with Twin Toddlers

We recently had the chance to visit Disneyland in Anaheim, California as invited audience members for the 2018 Disney Parks Holiday Special tapings. I wanted to share my thoughts on things we did to make our visit to Disneyland with twin toddlers enjoyable. While we spent the majority of our time waiting for and attending the taping, I still think many of our experiences could be helpful for a variety of situations.

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Visiting with Mickey Mouse
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Cameraman set up for filming on Main Street

Tip 1: Stay overnight

Since we live an hour-plus away from Anaheim and we were visiting on a weekday, we decided to stay overnight in Anaheim the night before our visit to Disneyland. The great thing about Disneyland, compared to Walt Disney World, is that there are a ton of hotels that you can stay at that are within walking distance to the park entrance. This time we stayed at the Fairfield Inn Anaheim Resort, which is a 6-minute walk from Disneyland (no joke)! Another great thing about staying off property was that we were able to leave our car there even after check-out time, we just had to pay the parking fee for an additional day, which was less expensive than Disney parking.

Tip 2: Get to the park early

Disneyland has added additional security measures in recent years, which makes getting into the park a little more time consuming. My recommendation is to get there early. If your toddlers are like mine, they are up and ready to go around 7 AM! You never know how long getting through security and the gate will take, so get there early and start your day of magic!

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Checking in for Disneyland

Tip 3: Take advantage of the Baby Care Center

The Baby Care Center is located on Main Street and has so many amenities for parents with infants to toddlers, including high chairs, toddler potties, changing tables and nursing rooms.

Tip 4: Get Fastpasses

Unfortunately, Disney does not offer Fastpasses for the majority of the little kid-friendly rides in Fantasyland. Making our kiddos wait in lines for at least 45-minutes sounded like torture for all of us, so we took advantage of one of the rides that did offer Fastpasses. We got Fastpasses for “it’s a small world” Holiday, and it was so worth it!

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“it’s a small world” Holiday

I love “it’s a small world,” but it is honestly one of my favorites during the holidays.

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For a current list of rides offering Fastpasses, check here.

Tip 5: Pack you own food

We didn’t have the chance to plan or meal prep for this visit to Disneyland, but hopefully, we can next time. While there are some good food options at Disneyland, when you are desperate to find food for your hangry toddlers, you might find yourself in long lines for mediocre and extremly pricey food!

Tip 6: Keep the kiddos occupied

Mickey’s Toontown is a no-brainer for letting your high-energy toddlers run around and have fun! There are lots of places where they can explore hands-on.

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Mickey’s ToonTown

My sons loved Goofy’s Playhouse. Goofy’s backyard has a toddler play area with a slide and play structures, including a giant watermelon and pumpkin! Goofy even came by to visit with guests while we were there!

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Goofy’s House

Tip 7: Make memories

I discovered that the memories you make are not necessarily the ones that you expect. My husband was very adamant about having our sons participate in character greetings, while I was thinking, they will never remember this! Little did I know, that meeting Mickey and Goofy were their favorite events of the day! Plus, we will forever have these photos of them!

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Hanging out with Goofy

Waiting for the parade was rough because we had over an hour before the thing actually started. There was a lot of juggling kids, getting up and walking around, and generally trying to get through it! Once the parade finally started, they loved it for the first 30 minutes or so, but little brother wound up falling asleep in my arms!

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Waiting for the parade
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Disneyland Christmas Parade

The parade was probably a little bit of sensory overload for them, but it is certainly something hubby and I will remember!

Tip 8: Keep your expectations reasonable and be flexible

We kept our expectations low for our trip to Disneyland. We just wanted to see the parade and go on maybe one or two rides, and make it home at a reasonable time. This was very doable for us and we did not feel the need to “do everything.”

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Main Street Christmas Tree

I hope these tips help you if you plan on making a trip to Disneyland! The Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade will be airing on Christmas Day: Tuesday, December 25, 2018 (10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. EST, 9:00-11:00 a.m. CST/MST/PST). We will be watching to see if we see ourselves!

Thanksgiving 2018 with Chinet

Thanksgiving is always such a hectic time of year! This year, it was especially so because we had visitors from out of town for over a week to entertain, and I somehow was given the responsibility of organizing Thanksgiving dinner for everyone!

To my surprise, I received a VoxBox from Influenster and Chinet earlier in the week, which made our Thanksgiving table a little prettier and clean up a little easier!

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Thanksgiving with Chinet Cut Crystal Collection

The VoxBox included plastic cups, cutlery, dessert plates and stemless wine glasses, all from the Cut Crystal collection. I love Chinet products because even though they are disposables, their plates, cups and other items are sturdy and classy!

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Chinet Cut Crystal cups, cutlery, dessert plates and stemless wine glasses

Throughout the week, I did my Thanksgiving meal shopping and picked up a lot of pre-made items from the HoneyBaked Ham store. Additionally, I baked two pies on Wednesday night.

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Let the pie baking begin!

I made a classic pumpkin pie and a pecan pie. I must say that my pumpkin pie was the most perfect that I have ever been able to bake! It was so neat (as in tidy).

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Pumpkin pie is ready!
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Pecan pie going in the oven

On Thursday, I put together a little appetizer tray with some inspiration from Google images! Lol…it’s a turkey! I also made a green bean casserole, which is one of my must-have Thanksgiving dinner sides.

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Turkey-shaped appetizer platter

We headed over to my brother’s house once the boys woke up from their afternoon nap and helped put the rest of dinner on the table, played with the boys and enjoyed the company of family.

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Our Thanksgiving table was full of delicious food! The menu included a whole turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, Cope’s corn pudding (a Pennsylvania tradition), candied yams (a Texas tradition), gravy and cranberry sauce!

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The dinner spread
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My plate was full!

Unfortunately, the boys were not too impressed with Thanksgiving dinner. They barely ate anything, although they did eat a bunch of the appetizer platter!

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For dessert, along with my pumpkin and pecan pies, we also got a cheesecake from the HoneyBaked Ham store.

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Pumpkin pie on Chinet Cut Crystal plate

Before calling it a night, we were able to take some photos by the Christmas tree. Our apartment is too small to accommodate a tree so I am glad that we got to borrow my brother’s for some family pictures!

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Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Celebrating Halloween with Twin Toddlers

Today, I am looking back at the twins’ second Halloween. Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays, and as you know, I love creating new traditions with my family, involving them in activities and making memories together. This year, I planned out, sourced and created our family Halloween costumes, we painted and decorated pumpkins together, we went trick-or-treating at a local shopping center and spent Halloween day playing at Kid Ventures.

Continue reading for all the details on our Halloween 2018. Since I did not start this blog until after last Halloween, I also wanted to share with you a look back on the twins’ first Halloween.

Pumpkin Painting with Toddlers

Pumpkin carving is one of my favorite fall activities. I have made it an annual tradition in our home since I was a young adult. I’m sure there were years, here and there, where we missed pumpkin carving, especially when we were in graduate school or traveling, but it has been a consistent activity for years.

This year, we tweaked our pumpkin carving tradition so that we could enjoy it with the twins without worrying about the mess or the safety of trying to carve pumpkins while getting our twin toddlers involved.

Pumpkin Painting with Toddlers
Pumpkin Painting with Toddlers

Earlier in the month, we purchased four pumpkins during our visit to Bates Nut Farm. Unfortunately, one of the pumpkins developed mold, so it had to go before we got the chance to paint it. When it was time for our painting activity, we were left with only three pumpkins to decorate.

Painting Pumpkins for Halloween
Painting Pumpkins for Halloween

I purchased some last minute supplies from Target, including kid safe paint, paint brushes and googly eyes. The pumpkin decorating supplies were pretty slim picking since it was the weekend before Halloween.

I also had some leftover tablecloth from a previous party that we used to cover the kitchen floor and smocks from Ikea that are perfect for arts and crafts with the twins.

Painting Pumpkins for Halloween
Painting Pumpkins

We noticed that older brother was a little bit more adept and focused when it came to painting the pumpkins, but little brother had a lot of fun too!

Overall, I would say our pumpkin painting activity was a success and they even turned out pretty nice!

Finished Pumpkins
Finished Pumpkins

DIY Halloween Costumes

We decided to go as our own little zoo for Halloween this year. I purchased a lion and a giraffe costume from Carter’s for the boys and sourced my and hubby’s costumes from our closets and Goodwill.

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I found the perfect khaki dress for myself and a khaki dress shirt for hubby from Goodwill. They were $4.99 each. To complete our zookeeper uniforms, I found the logo for the San Diego Zoo online and then re-sized and printed them onto iron-on t-shirt transfers. Finally, all I had to do was figure out the placement for the transfers and iron them on. Super simple!

DIY Zookeeper Costume
DIY Zookeeper Costume

Then, we were able to finish our looks with items already in our closet. I added a brown belt and black flats, and hubby wore brown khaki pants and a hat. I think our costumes come out so great, especially considering the cost!

Trick or Treating at the Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch

On the Sunday before Halloween, one of our local shopping centers held a trick-or-treating event for the kiddos and we decided to make that our Halloween activity for this year and skip trick-or-treating on Halloween night.

Trick or Treating with Toddlers
Trick or Treating with Toddlers

This year, the boys were able to walk to the stores by themselves and carry their Halloween buckets by themselves. We led them to each store that was participating, but they could find the person giving out candy, pick a piece and put it in their bucket.

Lion costume from Carter's
Lion costume from Carter’s

They totally got the concept, but at 19 months old, they still don’t know what candy is.

We went to the majority of the stores that were participating before we got exhausted and took a break in Starbucks.

When we got home, the boys played with the candy for a little while before we took it away from them. Most of it wound up being shared with hubby’s co-workers the next day!

Photo credit: Keane Studios

I had so much fun trick-or-treating with the boys because I could tell they were having fun and got the concept of it all. Plus, they were so freaking adorable in their costumes!

Halloween Day at Kid Ventures

On the day before Halloween, I got an email that Kid Ventures was offering 50% off admission for those dressed in costume on Halloween Day. Since we needed something to do anyway, I decided to take the boys there for a few hours. Kid Ventures is one of the local indoor play gyms for younger kids, and I had never been before and wanted to check it out.

Halloween at Kid Ventures
Halloween at Kid Ventures

The twins had a blast and could have stayed there much longer, but we had to attend a birthday lunch.2018-10-31 09.36.41

 

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Kid Ventures was also doing some activities throughout the day, but the boys were more interested in playing and running around.

Trick-or-treating – Halloween 2017

Last year’s Halloween was very different from this year’s mostly because the boys and I were still living at my parents’ house in Los Angeles, while hubby was living and working in San Diego and would come to visit us on the weekends.

My parents and I took the boys trick-or-treating on Halloween night at Del Amo Fashion Center, near their house in Torrance. They were only 8 months old at the time, so they had no idea of what was going on. When I look back, I cannot believe how little they were! We stopped by only a handful of stores, ate dinner and headed home with our little astronauts!

 

 

 

 

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Hope you enjoyed reading about our Halloween! I cannot wait to see how grown up they will be next year. Now on to planning for Halloween 2019!

Read about our visit to Bates Nut Farm here

July 4th Recap – 2018

Hope you all had a Happy Fourth of July! We had a relaxing day of fun with the kiddos and enjoyed the gorgeous San Diego weather. It was actually one of the more relaxing days I can remember since becoming a mom. This was our second 4th of July as a family of four.

We started off the day by visiting a local splash pad. We met up with my brother, sister-in-law and nephew, and we let the boys run around and play.

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splashpad

They were having a lot of fun running around freely, but I don’t think they appreciated getting water in their faces. They also looked ridiculously cute in their swimming outfits.

After they seemed to have their fill of water play, we headed over to Breakfast Republic for brunch. They were so busy but were able to accommodate our party of seven quicker than we excepted. I had a feeling that service would be slow and I was correct.

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I don’t drink much anymore and haven’t for years, but I thought that I deserved a drink this holiday. I ordered the michelada, which is basically a bloody mary with beer instead of vodka. It was actually quite tasty.

For my meal, I got the chilaquiles and I was pretty disappointed with them. They came out barely warm and weren’t great.

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After brunch, we headed back home to rest and let the kids nap. I also wound up taking a nap. We decided at the last minute to invite my brother and his family over to barbecue, so hubby had to run to the grocery store to get supplies. The pool in our community opened back up after renovations that day, so we were going to hit the pool and grill up some burgers.

We headed over to the pool at around 5:30 pm. It was still busy, but we were able to grab some lounge chairs all together and share one of the grills with another party.

One of our neighbors brought their pet bird with her and it was very interested in the babies.

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This was the boys’ first time in the pool and they were a little frightened to say the least. Hopefully, they start to feel more comfortable in the water once we start going to the pool more often.

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The guys grilled up some delicious homemade patties. They were half regular beef and half wagyu beef. So juicy and tasty.

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I also baked some boxed Funfetti cupcakes! That was all I could manage with the two guys on my hands but they actually weren’t bad.

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Once we finished dinner, it was already past the boys’ bedtime and we still had to give them baths and get them ready for bed.

I was hoping to watch some fireworks on tv, but our tv decided to have issues this week and we basically had to reset the whole system and have not had time to reprogram it yet. We also could not see any of the fireworks from our place, so none for us this year. One of the things I am thankful for about not living in New Mexico anymore is that fireworks are illegal here for regular folks to buy. Woohoo! So no more weekend after weekend of fireworks in our neighborhood.

Hope you all had a fun, safe and relaxing July 4th!

Easter 2018

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter! My what a difference a year makes. Last Easter, the twins were soooo tiny. In fact, they had not even reached their actual due date yet, even though they were almost 2 months old!

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My little guys are so big now compared to a year ago! Despite the fact that our family is not religious, I love celebrating Easter! I think it is the combination of fluffy animals, springtime and chocolate that makes me happy! My parents did not make a big deal out of Easter when we were growing up. There were no Easter egg hunts, Easter baskets, Easter dinners, photos with the Easter bunny or new Easter outfits. We pretty much got a few pieces of candy and went to church and that was it.

I feel like I am one of those parents that wants to give my kids experiences that I missed out on. Easter is no exception. This year, we headed to our neighborhood recreation center for the twins’ first Easter egg hunt. We were joined by my parents, brother, sister-in-law and nephew.

The field was set up for bigger kids and the little ones got the playground and a grassy knoll for their own egg hunt!

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There were plenty of eggs for everyone! My little guys got about five eggs each, which is just the right amount for these little dudes .
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After the egg hunt, we headed home to spend some more time with the family and ordered brunch at yummy Mendocino Farms. Mmmmm…What a great Easter weekend!

New Year, New City

What a year 2017 was! It certainly had its ups and a few downs, but overall, it was an incredibly stressful year!

We spent the last weekend of 2017 enjoying more of what makes California great – beautiful weather and great food.

On Saturday, we headed down to Irvine and visited the Mason Regional Park. It was a gorgeous, sunny day, and the park is splendid. I would love to visit again.

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After our visit, we headed to TRADE Food Hall for lunch with my brother, SIL and nephew. TRADE had a handful of options, all of which looked amazing. I decided on Two Birds and ordered the fried chicken sandwich and a side of mac and cheese. Yum, but so filling!

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Hubs had to have a waffle pop from Sweet Combforts, which I helped him finish! Lol. It was so yummy!

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Despite everything we ate at lunch, we decided to go to Grail Churros in Redondo Beach after the twins went to bed! OMG, help us from ourselves!

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On New Years Eve, my parents watched the kids during the day while we headed to the city for the day. I needed some healthy food, so we picked M Cafe on Melrose for lunch. A nice vegetarian, macrobiotic salad hit the spot!

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Afterwards, we spent a few hours at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to see the Chagall: Fantasies for the Stage exhibit. This was actually the third time we attempted to see this exhibit and the first time we succeeded! Not having the babies in tow certainly helped.

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Our New Years Eve celebration was not much to write home about. I have a glass of sparkling rose, some late night snacks and then called it a night around 11 pm!

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Happy 2018! This is actually our last week in Los Angeles. We are making the move down to San Diego this weekend. Wish us luck!

Christmas 2017 Highlights

Christmas 2017 was so special! It was my twins’ first Christmas and our first Christmas back in California! This year, we spent Christmas at my parents’ house with my brother, sister-in-law and nephew.

Christmas Eve

While the babies were down for their morning nap, we decorated cookies. I purchased a llama and ornament cookie decorating kit from Cost Plus World Market, which was super easy and fun to do. I just had to mix the icings and viola, time to decorate.

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My mom, dad, brother, sister-in-law and I put on our artistic hats for a half an hour and then enjoyed the fruits of our labor over the next couple of days!

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For lunch, we headed to El Segundo’s The Point for lunch at True Food Kitchen. I am so glad we went here for some fresh, healthy eats. I love the presentation of the crudite appetizer! So cute and colorful!

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That evening, we headed to the Sleepy Hollow Christmas Lights in Torrance. Christmas makes me so happy. It was nice to get out and enjoy the season.

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Plus, we were able to take the whole family: grandparents, babies and puppies all attended!

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The Christmas light viewing delayed our dinner by a lot since we still had to feed the kiddos and put them to bed. We had a late dinner at home of Chinese hot pot! So yummy that I forgot to take a photograph! For dessert, we had some beautiful pastries from Artelice Patisserie.

Christmas Day

Christmas morning greeted us with a refrigerator on the fritz, so we spent a lot of time cleaning up and trying to figure out what to do with the food. We wound up throwing out a lot of food. I also had to throw out my breastmilk and homemade food for the twins. 😦

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Once that was all sorted out, the kids needed to nap, so presents had to wait. We did get to Facetime with grandma and pappy though, and the twins got to show off their Christmas jammies!

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After lunch, we were finally able to open presents. We also Facetimed with auntie and uncle in Texas!

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I had grand plans of making salt dough ornaments for the kids and puppies, but with the delays and the fridge issues, it did not happen.

For dinner, we scrounged up some things that were still good from the fridge and bought pre-made sides from the only grocery store that was open.

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It was such a stressful and tiring Christmas Day! Way too much for this momma, but it was lovely none the less.