A Pinterest Christmas – santa hat brownies & christmas cards

This is the final installment of A Pinterest Christmas, where myself and several other friends and friends-of-friends
across the country are making fun, Pinterest inspired (Pinspired) holiday decorations, treats, and keepsakes!

pinterest christmas logo

The first (p)inspiration this week is Santa hat brownies!


We needed to take a yummy treat to our annual Christmas Eve open house,
so we scoured Pinterest for fun ideas. Greg was excited about these brownies, so we headed out to get our supplies.


We opted for the easiest ingredients possible.
Strawberries, brownie mix, and easy frost(ing).


I was in charge of washing & cutting the strawberries, while Greg baked the brownies.


We used a 9×9 pan, which turned out to be a great little round bite for the brownies.
With no round cookies cutters available, we had to get creative.
We ended up using a toothpick holder to make the round bites.


The Easy Frost was just as advertised… super easy.
We frosted the brownie and put the strawberry on top, then topped off the top of the Santa hat.


They turned out very well, but here are a few tips:
Allow the brownies to cool FULLY. We got a little anxious, so the icing melted a little bit.
We ended up sticking them in the fridge to help harden up the icing.

Once you wash & cut the strawberries, put them on a paper towel to dry them.
Along with not allowing the brownies to cool, the damp strawberries were sliding all over the place.

Having a cookie cutter would be much easier than using a toothpick holder,
but I think we get an “A” for effort, right?

I think they were a hit at the party. If nothing else, they were sure cute!


The next two (p)inspirations are related to the many
Christmas cards we received from our amazing friends.

Cabinet Christmas card display:


I opted to use painter’s tape on the other side of my cabinet to affix the ribbon,
because I do not think anyone will be looking at the inside of my cabinets;
and I will still be able to save the ribbon for next year.


I found this ribbon at Target early this season.
I originally used it for a bow at the top of our Christmas tree,
but I was happy to be able to reuse it!
I also looked for it the next time I was at Target, so I could stock up,
because, everyone knows how much I love chevron. But… no luck, they were out.

Maggi also created another version of this (p)inspiration on her pantry door!


The second Christmas card (p)inspiration comes from one of my favorite bloggers, Ashley Ann.
I had every intention of doing this last year, but somehow in the midst of having a 2 month old,
it slipped my mind and by the time I remembered, I had tossed all of our Christmas cards. Drats.

I knew I would not forget this year, especially once I saw it floating around Pinterest.


Um, hello! Genius!
Create your contact photos from their holiday cards!
Need I say more?


I hope you enjoyed A Pinterest Christmas series this season.
Next year, we have already vowed to get a head start on our projects!
If you missed any projects this year, here is a rundown of what you may have missed:

DIY Pom Pom Wreaths
DIY Ornaments
DIY Yarn Trees
mistle toes

Don’t forget to check out the other ladies’ posts who participated in A Pinterest Christmas this season.

Amanda @ Without a Doubt
Sally @ Chacha and Mogo
Michelle @ this grey house
Misha @ emerald city diaries
Maggi @ Greg, Maggi & Rodney
Abbi @ The Peña Family

my christmas vacation in photos

since i haven’t had the slightest idea what day it has been for the last week,
i figured this would be a good way to recap our christmas vacation.
have no fear, the my weekend in photos series will continue next year.


first happy meal at the airport!


we headed to indiana in the middle of a snow storm after an hour and a half delay.
overall, kenley was so so good. and slept in the most awkward position on the flight.


she was slightly confused to find a dog when she woke up the next morning.


trying to stay warm with temperatures in the high 20s.


check out that snow outside!


we were able to meet brittney, patrick & will for lunch!
brittney and i have been friends since birth, so it was fun to see our babies together.
it was also will’s first birthday!


katie & ashton were able to come play too!


kenley and ashton are about three weeks apart,
and played together so nicely.


it was fun to watch kenley open presents even though she wasn’t entirely sure what was going on.


michael, rachel & arie


we were so thankful that the peña’s braved the weather to come down to visit.
kp, jack & kenley… nothing but trouble!




cozy on the couch, all snuggled up, home for the holidays.


reading my christmas gift on the way to the airport that inspired us to get to work when we got home.


kenley trying to stay occupied on the way to the airport, too.


yet another awkward sleeping position.


more christmas presents once we got home to florida!
the little apron kills me.


kenley and kyler have been enjoying christmas break.


a trip to homegoods means lunch at which wich! so happy about both.


and an ikea trip means frozen yogurt!


four days worth of clean diapers and one cute helper.


we had a wonderful trip to indiana and a great christmas,
and have enjoyed the extra days off to do several house projects,
which i am anxious to share!

how was your holiday? and weekend? (it is the weekend right?)

A Pinterest Christmas: mistle toes

Merry Christmas!
It’s week four of A Pinterest Christmas, where myself and several other friends and friends-of-friends across the country
are making fun, Pinterest inspired (Pinspired) holiday decorations, treats, and keepsakes!

pinterest christmas logo

I really enjoy making homemade gifts and I wish I would do it more.
Time is always an issue and homemade gifts are not always conducive for packing in a suitcase
to travel here or there for the holidays.
Last year, I put together a sundae kit for our neighbors and their kids.

With that being said, here is this week’s (p)inspiration:


As soon as I saw this, I knew it would be perfect for the ladies in my office.
Of course, I waited until the last minute to put them together,
and I was worried they would be time consuming, but much to my surprise, they were not!

I didn’t have the supplies I needed on hand, but I had no issue buying them
because I know I will use them for future projects.
I purchased rubber alphabet stamps, a red ink pad, card stock, and ribbon
from JoAnn’s for around $15 after coupons.
Surprisingly, the ribbon was the most expensive! Thank goodness for a 50% off coupon.
The nail polish was obviously a tad more pricey, but I still chose to get Essie because it’s my favorite.
I cleaned out Target’s selection of red and got two shades: she’s pampered and fishnet stockings.


I cut one sheet of card stock into four squares and hole punched two holes at the top.
I used wire ribbon, so it was easy to form and look pretty.
Stamp the phrase onto the card stock and put it with the nail polish.
It’s that easy, but also adorable and my coworkers loved it.



Did you make any homemade gifts this year?
I’m going to make it a goal to do a couple more next year.
What do you think?


Don’t forget to check out the other lovely ladies’ posts this week in A Pinterest Christmas:

Amanda @ Without a Doubt – Christmas Cards & Wrapping
Sally @ Chacha and Mogo –
Michelle @ this grey house – Sock Vase
Misha @ emerald city diaries – magazine bows & chalkboard art
Maggi @ Greg, Maggi & Rodney – Yarn Trees

14 Months!

14 months really snuck up on us. This past month has been insane.
Aren’t the holidays like that for everyone though?
With that being said, however, we don’t have any 14 month photos,
so you’re stuck with my grainy iPhone photos. Lame, I know.

14 months. Where to begin?
Kenley’s vocabulary has exploded over the past month.
She tries to repeat everything, even if you can’t understand it, she at least will get the right syllables down.
She’s very good at saying “please” and “thank you”, most of the time.
Greg said just the other day how funny it is when you can’t understand what toddlers are saying,
but we totally understand what she is saying 99% of the time.
I’m sure no one else does, but we get it.
She will randomly say words so clear, like apple,
which is her new favorite word. Any fruit other than a “nana” is an “apple”.


Her latest thing is that she puts her lovie on the back of her neck when she sleeps.
We started noticing it randomly and then Greg watched her get comfy before a nap
and she wouldn’t stop moving until her lovie was in the right spot.
We think it’s because she sleeps with a blanket during nap time at school on her little cot,
so the weight of the blanket is right at her neck line.
She still doesn’t sleep with a blanket at home in her crib. Is that normal?
Should we be putting a blanket in there with her?

Speaking of naps, we are still moving towards one nap a day.
She is becoming less cranky when only napping once, which is definitely a step in the right direction,
but there are also days that she needs a second nap.
The one nap during the day is also getting longer, which is also awesome.


Kenley can point to her ear, mouth, nose (usually sticking her finger IN her nose),
and most importantly, her belly button (or bee bo, as in the Belly Button book).
She loves lifting her shirt to show off her big belly and her belly button.
So much so, that her teacher made a comment on how much she’s pulling at her belly button.
We are still working on her eyes, head, and hair.


It has been a little rough in the teething department.
Those back molars are not fun for anyone. We started working on teeth 9, 10, and 11
all at the same time. It seems like she constantly has her fingers shoved back there.
I had no idea how big those teeth were going to be, but dang, they are huge.
No wonder they hurt!


It’s funny to look back on pictures of the little one when she was bald,
because it seems like she’s had a ton of hair forever…which I know is not true,
but it is just growing so quickly! And there are at least some curls, so that’s good.


Obviously, the biggest change over the past month was the move into the new house.
I was worried about her, but she’s been a rockstar.
She had zero issues and actually slept better in the new house than she did
the week leading up to the move in the old house.
Greg worked hard to get her room done before we moved in,
to try to make the transition as easy as possible, so hopefully that helped.
I’ll be sharing her new room, hopefully after the start of the new year.
For the first two weeks, she pushed the laundry basket around nonstop,
I guess that was her way of exploring and the tile helps, too.



I know I say it every month, but this girl keeps getting more fun by the day.
Happy 14 months Kenley girl!

A Pinterest Christmas: DIY Yarn Trees

Welcome back to week three of A Pinterest Christmas!
If you’re new here, myself and several other friends and friends-of-friends across the country are making fun,
Pinterest inspired (Pinspired) holiday decorations, treats, and keepsakes.

pinterest christmas logo

Here is the (p)inspiration:



The supplies:
Styrofoam cones
Pom poms (in various sizes)
Hot glue gun & glue

Start the yarn at the bottom of your tree and have your pins handy.
Once you start wrapping around the bottom, pin the yarn every 2-3 inches to keep it in place.
I do not have a picture of this… fail.
After you’ve wrapped a few times, you can put the pins to the side,
because the yarn should stay in place.
Wrap the yarn around, and around, and around.


Keep wrapping.


You can choose to do these trees really any way you’d like.
Michelle went for a more whimsical look, while I did a more sleek look.
My way was a wee bit more time consuming.


The top of the tree is a bit tricky, and this is where the pins come in handy again.
Wrap the yarn in a circular motion around the top and pin as needed.
Use just enough yarn to cover the top of your tree.
Cut your yarn and pin down the tail end.


In the original tutorial, she continued to wrap her tree all the way down again,
but we decided to stop at the top and move on to the tree decor.

We used the hot glue gun to attach our little poms to the trees.


I really love Michelle’s red & white tree and I have a feeling I may be making more of these.
They are super easy and really fun to do.
Even though it took us two separate days to complete them, I promise, they can be quick.


Have you made any yarn trees? What did you do differently?


If you’ve missed the last two weeks, check out my wreath and ornaments.
Don’t forget about the other Christmas projects from these awesome ladies:

Amanda @ Without a Doubt – Christmas Tree Forest
Sally @ Chacha and Mogo – A Stocking for Mogo
Michelle @ this grey house – Yarn Trees
Misha @ emerald city diaries – paper tree forest
Maggi @ Greg, Maggi & Rodney – odds & ends
Abbi @ The Peña Family – Yummy Treats

my [long] weekend in photos

Thank you so much for the sweet, congratulatory comments about the half marathon.
Ya’ll are awesome!



our weekend began on thursday night as we headed to grammy’s house for an early christmas


kenley and her cousins at grammy camp!


no smiles from kenley and cullen. can you tell these two are related?


it was a gorgeous friday & kenley loved strolling on the beach


mama loved it too!


kenley loving her present


the other gilbertson kiddos


testing out the new wheels on our way to breakfast


my store!


adventures in the wagon continued at the beach


cullen teaching kenley how to play in the sand


testing the water…which was freezing


jumping off the dock!


manatees in the water in the distance


adventures in the wagon continued. dinner time downtown.


my favorite niece


we had a great, early christmas celebration at grammy’s house,
which is one of our favorite traditions.

now it’s time to unpack and repack!

how was your weekend?

my first half marathon

I ran my first half marathon on Saturday, December 1st, 2012.
I still am somewhat in shock that I can even say that.

This has been a long time coming, so, let’s rewind.
One of my new year goals was to get back to my pre-pregnancy body.
Almost a year later, I can say that I have completed that goal.
Yes, breastfeeding for over 11 months helped, but I knew I also wanted to get back in shape.
That’s where the whole crazy idea of running a half-marathon came into play, way back in March.
In July, I took the next step and actually registered for the race.
It wasn’t the race I originally thought I was going to do, but it turned out to be one of the best decisions.

I didn’t actually start training until the tail end of my breastfeeding days, which was early September.
For three months, I followed the Half Marathon Training Plan by Cari Fit.
I tried my best to follow the plan and sample training schedule as much as I could,
but life does happen, and I didn’t stress out or get discouraged (too much) when it didn’t work out perfectly.
Honestly, I didn’t do as much weight lifting as I would have liked and the interval trainings were few and far between.
The intervals came in handy when I was pressed for time. I would bang out 2-3 miles in 20-30 minutes.
I did make it a point to run 4-5 times per week. I usually took off Fridays and Sundays.
It helped immensely that Greg and I would run together during the week with the stroller.
Later on I realized how much it helped running with the jogging stroller,
because it was so much easier to run without it!
The plan I followed was adamant about tapering. My furthest long run prior to the race was 10 miles,
and that was three weeks before race day. I went down to 7 miles, then 4 the weekend before.
I also only ran 3-4 times total the two weeks leading up to the race.
This is not something I would do again, it just worked out that way since it was moving week.

In the days leading up to race day, I was so incredibly nervous.
Everyone kept telling me that, “I’ve got this” and not to worry, but I still did.
Greg worked the night before the race, so I didn’t end up going to bed until after 11pm,
which I didn’t mean to do; and my alarm was set for 5am the next morning.
We headed downtown and arrived with about 30-45 minutes before the start of the race.
I was feeling good, but nervous, of course. There were so many people running before the start,
but I opted for just walking around and stretching as much as I could.


I started the race with our buddy, Stan. At the start line, we talked about our goals.
The entire time I was training, I made a point not to set a time goal.
I knew I just wanted to finish. And run the whole time. Run and finish. That’s it.
At the start, I told Stan that I would like to pace around 11 minutes per mile, or even 11:15,
based solely on my long runs that I had completed.

The gun rang out and it took a couple minutes to get up to the start line.
I knew I started out fast, but I didn’t realize how fast until I finished the first mile and my watch beeped.
I knew in my head that I should slow down a bit, but I ended up seeing Greg & Kenley,
unexpectedly, between mile 1 and 2, so that was super fun and gave me a little energy burst.



I think I was doing pretty well through mile 6.
I opted for Gatorade instead of water at mile 3 and mile 6, and it tasted so good.
Around the 6.5 mile marker through about mile 8, I knew I would really benefit
from seeing Greg and Kenley again. We hadn’t discussed where they would be on the course,
but I knew Greg had the map and the suggested short cuts through the downtown streets.
He was scared that he was going to show up to a spot and would have missed me,
so he went ahead down the course to ensure he got a good spot to cheer me on.
I remember passing 903 Mills Market after mile 9 and seeing a mom waive at her hubby and kids.
I got a little choked up, wishing that was me.
Sure enough, not a half a mile later, I see Greg and Kenley!



My first question was “How is she doing?”
Greg said she had been great and had been in the stroller the whole time!
I later found out that she had spilled her milk all over her,
so her PJs and jacket were wet, but thankfully it wasn’t too chilly out.
I tossed my arm warmers to Greg at this point too, so that was a good change of pace.


After I saw them, I felt re-energized, which was awesome.
There were also some really funny signs around the corner as I left them.
One said, “Your husband just saw your credit card bill and he is coming for you.”
I think I laughed out loud.
Then, I could feel myself hitting the wall.
Miles 10 through 12 were the absolute worst.
No doubt about it, no way around it.
Once I passed the 12 mile marker, I felt better just knowing I was so close.
I reached Lake Eola, where we started, and could hear the finish line.
The only problem was that it was on the complete opposite side of the lake,
so that was a bit of a let down, but again, I was so close.
I saw Stan as I was coming in to the finish and gave him a high five.




I thought for sure that I would be much more emotional crossing the finish line,
(I am even more emotional writing this now than I was actually crossing),
but I just crossed. And I was done.
I immediately grabbed a cup of Gatorade, then went back for two more.

I far exceeded my own expectations.
I ran the entire race and my average pace was 10:46/mile.
The time and distance on my Garmin was slightly off the official clock,
but nothing too drastic and nothing I’m losing any sleep over.


I told you that miles 10-12 were tough!
The other tough part was the terrain. 1.9 miles of the race were on brick roads.
I am honestly shocked it was only 1.9 miles, it felt like it was way more.
Apparently, there are also hills in Orlando.
This was quite different than the flat, residential sidewalks that I had trained on.
My legs felt the difference.
It’s funny how I ran 10 miles before the race and was barely sore at all,
but after 13.1, I could barely walk that night. It’s only 3 miles more!

I learned a few things during my first half marathon.
First, it’s ok to walk. And I was shocked how many actually do walk/run.
I’ve since learned that is it actually recommended,
and there is a complete “method” that you can follow to do a race this way.
Second, I will never do a full marathon. I have absolutely no desire and cannot even imagine it.
On the other hand, I may do another half. As hard as it was, I did enjoy it.
I have answered the “are you going to do another?” question with “maybe after another baby”,
but it wasn’t until someone offered me a bib for the Disney half marathon in January,
that I realized I actually may do another before that.
I honestly considered doing it, until I realized I will be out of town the same weekend.
I was surprised at myself for not turning her down immediately.
So, we shall see!

This post turned out to be a novel, so thank you for sticking with it,
and thank you for your support through this entire process,
especially to my awesome hubby who was so amazingly supportive and my biggest fan.
I can safely say that I have accomplished what I set out to do!


I ran a half marathon!

A Pinterest Christmas: DIY Ornaments

Welcome to week two of A Pinterest Christmas blog series happening this December,
where myself and several other friends and friends-of-friends across the country will be making fun,
Pinterest inspired (Pinspired) holiday decorations, treats, and keepsakes.

pinterest christmas logo

We put up our tree just two days after moving into the new house over Thanksgiving.
It was high on my priority list, because, who doesn’t love decorating for the holidays?
Once it was up, I realized that you can now see almost the entire way around the tree,
unlike in years past when we put in a corner of the room and just had to decorate the front.
With that being said, we needed more ornaments!

(P)Inspiration – Scrabble Ornament


Knowing I didn’t want to take Scrabble letters from my game,
Michelle and I searched for replacement letters, only to find,
it is more economical to purchase Super Scrabble and get 200 letters!
This worked out well since there are only two “K” letters in the entire game,
and both of our girls have “K” names.

Michelle’s hubby cut the the Scrabble trays to fit each name and
we hot glued the letters on to the tray and added ribbon.


We also tried to create other fun, Christmas themed phrases and words.
They looked adorable at first, but I soon found myself re-gluing the tiles together,
and then, again.
So, I’m not sure how long these will last on the tree.


(P)Inspiration – House Key Ornament


This ornament could not be more perfect!
I got the Baby’s First Christmas kit from TJ Maxx and was able to get 4 ornaments out of it!



Since we have not closed on our old house, I still had my house key!
I was able to do an ornament for our first home and for our new home,
it worked out perfect.

We ended up having more putty to work with, so we got creative.


His + hers wedding rings with our anniversary date.
I really love it!

(P)Inspriation – Keepsake Ornament

Misha made this for Kenley’s first Christmas last year,
so I made it a point to save the birth announcements we’ve received over the past year.


for miss lindsay


and miss kyler

I also made one for Ben for his 1st birthday in November,
even though it wasn’t his first Christmas, but failed to take a picture of it;
and I am planning on making one out of our wedding invitation.

Have you made any fun ornaments lately?


Don’t forget to check out the other fun posts for the week:

Amanda @ Without a Doubt – DIY Ornaments & Alternative Christmas Tree
Sally @ Chacha and Mogo – Ornaments & Junk
Michelle @ this grey house – Ornaments & Scrabble
Misha @ emerald city diaries – Clay Ornament & Pom Pom Santa
Maggi @ Greg, Maggi & Rodney – Ruffle Tree Skirt

my weekend in photos


kenley got her first sticker at the doctor on friday.


frozen yogurt on a friday night.
we may have worn our pjs.


i had to work on saturday, but at least i got some good lunch.


saw this picture while i was at work and thought my child aged 5 years while i was gone.
she looks so old!

such a big girl with her apple.


having a great conversation with ryan.


spiked apple cider. so good.


shock top with freshly squeezed oranges. also so good.


kenley and carly playing on saturday night.


kyler and kenley loving riding in the laundry basket before night-night.


melissa was in town for the weekend and it was so great to have her back.


the second annual s’mores party.


just roasting some marshmallows.


we had a fun and festive weekend with great friends.
how was yours??