Thanksgiving Recap

Having off the past five days was so lovely. We spent Thanksgiving up with my in laws and Sunday I had a girls day of shopping with my mom, sister and P. I am actually feeling recharged for Monday, especially since the city will be decorated for the holidays and who can't get into that spirit? Just a few snaps from our holiday hope you had a wonderful one as well! Now excuse me I have some serious Cyber Monday shopping to do!


Happy Thanksgiving!

We will be taking a little break from this white space to enjoy the holidays with friends and family. I hope that you have a wonderful holiday with yours!

I may even drag out the old maternity pants just so I can eat extra helpings on Thanksgiving!

Don't forget you have until Friday to link up your sweet treat - we do hope you join us!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Holiday Sweet Treats | Italian Christmas Cookies

Hey everyone! I hope that you have already started to feel the spirit of the holidays surround you. I can't believe Thanksgiving week is here! I have teamed up with my fellow Savvy Sassy Mom Scouts to bring you a fun holiday link up!

For the week of November 23 - 27th it's all about sweet treats so I hope you will link up a beloved recipe to share. At weeks end we will be picking some of our favorites! So throw on your apron and come join me as I make a mess in the kitchen.

I have to give a disclaimer that these cookies have an acquired taste. In total honesty if you're not a anise fan (think black licorice) then you won't like these...but there is an easy way to switch up the flavor and I'll show you down below.

These cookies remind me so much of growing up and my mom baking them in the kitchen. When David and I first started dating I went over to his grandma's house with him and what do you know just came out of the oven?

Italian Christmas Cookies.

I believe our fate was sealed.

Italian Christmas Cookies

4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder

Sift dry ingredients
Cream butter and sugar
Beat in eggs and vanilla
Add dry ingredients

Knead and add flour as needed to keep dough from sticking to hands

Pinch off dough, roll in hands
Form a log and twirl into shape

Place on greased baking sheets
375 degrees 10 min


2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
2 tsp anise (you can swap the anise with clear vanilla extract)
6 tsp water
stir until creamy

Dip cookies in icing and sprinkle 

Place on wire rack to cool

Now hop on over to see what my lovely co hosts are whipping up!

Joanna of Makingmine | Julia of My Life in Transition

How to join

  • Link up your favorite holiday sweet treat by putting the URL and name of your blog post into the InLinkz widget below.
  • Visit 3-5 other blogs in the Holiday Blog Hop and leave a comment on other posts.
  • Share this Holiday Blog Hop with your friends and readers on social media using the #SavvySassyHoliday hashtag.
  • Don't forget to head over to Savvy Sassy Moms next week to link up for Week 3 which is all about Dazzling DIY (decor, gifts, etc.)!



If you're a fan of Sugar Paper scoop up these goodies online or in store at Target. 
Free shipping no brainer!

I am ready to put away the pumpkins and start spreading the cheer. I bought P a cardboard reindeer  mount (from the dollar spot at Target) and I can't wait to dress him up for Christmas. I see pom poms in his future.

I  am not looking forward to that damn elf showing up all over social media. 

We finally had to suck it up and child proof our house. Walking has opened a whole new realm of trouble. Favorites include cleaning supplies, toilet bowl water and the dog's water. 

I hope you all have an awesome weekend! I am trying to crank out the very last of my holiday shopping before the stores turn into hysteria and the shelves all go empty!

Happy Friday!



I can't take credit for these prompts - it's all Sara.

Making // Plans with Stephanie and Caitlyn for a girls weekend in Napa for next year

Loving // the second set of photos I took of P
Waiting // on lots of Christmas presents to arrive at my office. I started early this year and I am feeling so good about that!

Wondering // what songs on Justin Beiber's album are about Selena Gomez

Drinking // Martinellis Apple Juice 

Reading // I just finished the book Waiting to be Heard: The Story of Amanda Knox - it was so good I couldn't put it down! I rented it through the Overdrive app which is pretty awesome. You link it to your library card and can check out books at no cost.

Planning // a fun link up next week with my Savvy Sassy Mom Scouts - sweet treats for the holidays! I hope you will join us!

Wanting //  a pedicure  (see also desperately needing)

Looking // through glasses that seriously need to be replaced

Listening // to a preview of Justin Beiber's album, Purpose.  

Playing // stinky feet with P. She thinks it's hilarious when I smell her feet and pretend they are smelly. 

Enjoying // being a mama

Wasting // sleep because I am browsing social media

Wishing // to win the lottery

Marveling // at how small we really are in the universe

Needing // this book for little miss 

Anticipating // Adele's new album, 25, on Friday - I totally pre-ordered that!

Smelling // Pantene - I just can't quit this cheap amazing smelling shampoo

Wearing // Pajamas

Liking // the holidays - I love this time of year!

Noticing // how much my photography has improved over the year 

Thinking // about Paul Walker and how I still miss him 

Feeling // sad now that I thought of Paul Walker - ha!

Opening // a pint of Steve's Southern Banana Pudding ice cream - so freaking good.

Watching // The Affair, the only reason I have Showtime

Don't forget today is the last day to enter our Holiday Shopping Giveaway! Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

4 things I'm thanking my parents for

The saying really is true that more often than not life becomes full circle. I am very much aware that I had it really good as a child. I always had a roof over my head, more than enough food on the table and access to education in addition to a myriad of other things. Although I may not have realized it back then here are four things I am thanking my parents for now.

1. Giving me a curfew

Honestly my 17 year old self is kicking me for typing this but it's true. I was so mad that I had a curfew when a lot of my friends did not. I had to come home at 11pm in high school and the first summer home from college it was midnight (which the curfew in college was so lame but I digress). Thank you for making me walk my butt into our house every evening because the truth is nothing good happens after midnight  - something P will also be learning!

2. My own bedroom

I was born 9.5 years after my oldest sister and 6 years after my middle sister, making me the baby by quite a bit. I am so grateful that my parents had the means to provide us with our own space. I may have liked to share the clothes in my sisters closets but we never had to share bedrooms. I really hope that I can give my children the same luxury.

3. Letting us have a pet

We didn't get a pet until I was about 10 years old (all in part to my sister bringing her home) but I was overjoyed my parents let us keep her. Shelby was my confidant, my companion, and so many of my memories from childhood involve her.

4. My sisters

I only want two children, but part of me thinks I may attempt a third if my next child is not a girl. The reason is because I cannot imagine P growing up without a sister.  The bond of sisters is really special and irreplacable. Sure it took us years to get here but knowing I get to have them my whole life is immeasurable.
Love you, Mean it!

What is something you would say thank you for to your parents?

(Psst....go tell them!)


Holiday Photos & Freshly Picked Winner

This past weekend I took P to the open space and snapped some photos for our Christmas cards. I did manage to get some sweet ones but I am going to try one more time today in effort to get both her and Finn to look at the camera. I won't hold my breath.

We didn't go the family photo route this year because honestly it was just too much work/effort (tell me I am not alone on that one?) Next year maybe I can pull it together. In other news I am seriously swooning over everything she is wearing, which may be more than half the reason she is the only one on our card. Finding clothes as cute as hers is near impossible!

I can't even tell you how much Presley loves her shoes. She will cry if you take them out and don't give them to her! These Freshly Picked Let it Go moccasins are perhaps my favorite color yet. I was so excited to break them out for our holiday photos. Let's just hope her feet slow down in their growth spurts!

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway - winner was chosen via rafflecopter and is listed below!

plaid pillow - similar // red pillow - old

Congrats to Lesley I will be emailing you shortly!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Toddler Holiday Wish List + $60 PayPal Cash Giveaway

Selecting gifts for my 15 month old daughter is actually is harder than I thought it would be. Sure it's easy to say we have everything we need (because we certainly do) but that doesn't mean that Santa skips over our house! So these are some items I think that she would love to discover on Christmas morning. 

Kitchen - I can still remember the kitchen I had when I was younger and the countless hours I would spend playing with it. There are tons of places to get kitchens but this one by Hape is a clear favorite for me. I love that the side can pull in and out and I see it being loved for years to come. Plus it doesn't scream primary or pastel colors - that's a win!

Alice and Wonderland book: It's no secret that I love Rifle Paper Co. and her latest illustrated book may be an easy favorite. 

Bubble Guppies Boat: P absolutely adores Bubble Guppies. I swear it is like a drug for her. Once it's on TV I can pretty much do anything because I know she won't move an inch while it's on. I know she would love this toy for in (or out of) the bathtub.

100 First Animals lift-the-flap: If your child is anything like P, lift the flaps books are where it's at. I try and find books that have pretty sturdy flaps because this little lady of mine likes to tear them off. Richard Priddy books always fit the bill for us and we have amassed quite an assortment.

Bla Bla Doll: If you have ever held a Bla Bla doll in real life you would know they are incredibly soft. I have always liked the looks of these stuffed animals and would hope P would too. I would pick the bird because it was one of her first words and she loves to point them out in the sky.

Loved sweatshirt: In terms of kids clothing, Peek Kids, has my heart. This sweatshirt is no exception.

Baby Lit Book: I love and desire every single one of these baby lit books!

Noodle & Boo Body Wash: When it comes to "smelling like a baby" Noodle and Boo does not disappoint. This is my first time seeing their Nectar line but if it smells anything like their classic scent I am all in.

Mini Boden Sequin Animal Sweatshirt: Sequins + deer = sold

Since its been a week full of fun giveaways here on Happily Ever Parker I have one more for you. To help kick off your holiday shopping, myself and a group of lovely bloggers are giving away $60 in PayPal cash!

See rules below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also make sure to check back tomorrow when I will announce the winner of the Freshly Picked giveaway!

Terms and conditions of the giveaway

Winner will be chosen via random draw through Rafflecopter. Winner gets to choose from a $60 gift card to either Target or Amazon or can opt to have the money directly deposited into their PayPal account.
Winner has 24 hours to claim their prize once their entry has been verified and they've been emailed by Stephanie ( If winner fails to claim their prize then a new winner will be picked via Rafflecopter.



I honestly cannot believe that we are looking at another year down. One more in the books. More photos into a album. More memories made. More little things that really are all the big things.

If you have read here for any amount of time you would know that my husband had a pretty serious accident in May of this year. He pierced his leg through to his muscle with a rod iron fence post. We are extremely lucky that he did not puncture the femoral artery in his leg - which would have caused fatal injury.

That being said its been a slow - but promising - road to recovery for him. While he has not fully gained all feeling back in his foot, he's slowly mending. He can throw P on his back for piggy back rides, he can bear hug the heck out of me and he still takes our pup out every evening. He can't run (yet) but I know with time and patience he will get back to an activity that he loves so much.

It's actually been a gentle reminder all year to realize all that we have and all that we could have lost. So when you are wrapping gifts this year and passing around the stuffing. Take a look at who surrounds you and remember those are the true gifts of the holidays. I know I will be squeezing my little family extra tight.


Girls Weekend | Calistoga

It felt so nice to get away this past weekend with some of my girlfriends. Every year in November we go on a trip to celebrate my friend Joann's birthday. Last year we skipped it for the first time in seven years (a two month old and one month old will do that to you!) While all the years past trips have led us to Lake Tahoe this year we decided to travel to Calistoga.

Calistoga was gorgeous as you can imagine Napa Valley is in the fall. Imagine all the vineyards in gorgeous hues of oranges, yellows and red. It's truly something to marvel at. Since I forgot the SD card to my DSLR (major bummer) these iPhone pictures will have to suffice.

If you ever want to visit Napa Valley/Calistoga area I highly recommend late October, early November. Think less tourists, nice weather and gorgeous scenery. It's truly a treat.

Our first stop was at T-Vine where my friend Nicci had set up a tasting for us. Nicci's family owns a winery, Bacigalupi, in Healdsburg and is always spoiling us with fun places to learn about other wines.

Next we had lunch at Solbar in Solage. By this time I was buzzing slightly and only remembered to snapchat pictures of food! Sorry if you watched any of those videos! I hope one day I can come back here as a guest with David. The spa area looks right up my ally (and right out of my wallet!)
We had convinced a kid (whose name badge said Taylor but apparently his real name was Josh) to give us a tour of the property. It was his fourth day on the job and I am sure once he discovered we were all twice his age and hooting and hollering he regretted it.
As you an see above the birthday girl had a great time and I am already looking forward to next year! Girls trips are just good for the soul!

Boo Monday - Freshly Picked Giveaway

I had such a fun weekend with my girlfriends in Calistoga it's going to make Monday extra hard. So I have a little something to brighten the day right up!
I have teamed up with Freshly Picked for a fun giveaway! One person will win a pair of soft soled moccs in any color/size of your choice. Susan, the brain behind Freshly Picked, is no stranger around the Internet but I love this video that explains just how Freshly Picked came to fruition - so inspiring!

We are big fans of Freshly Picked and P's collection is growing - well just about as fast as her feet! Meet Let It Go - our newest addition and boy is she ever pretty! I have just the perfect little holiday outfit to go with them too!

I just wanted to say thank you - to anyone who reads here, comments, emails, follows along on Instagram etc. I truly enjoy all the interactions and I am so happy to be able to host this giveaway as a way of saying thank you. 

The giveaway will run until Friday, November 13 (12 AM PST). 

Freshly Picked has sponsored this post and has provided a pair for review - as always here on Happily Ever Parker all opinions expressed here are my own.


Yay for Friday! I have been looking forward to this weekend as I am going away with some girlfriends for a mama getaway - sans little lady. As much as I want to spend all my time with her I think a little girl time is healthy, necessary and fun!
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend - if you need me I'll be having a spa day in Calistoga and wine tasting in Napa! The perks of living a short drive away.

Thoughts for Thursday

It's true Blake Shelton & Gwen Stefani are dating! Think there was anything scandalous behind closed doors?

If you have a little boy in your life who loves Minecraft this sweatshirt may make their favorite gifts list.

I am oddly interested in Justin Beiber's new album - only to try an figure out what songs are about Selena. Yes - I also realize I am way too old to care/know about these things.

Tell me you have seen Bat Dad? It makes me laugh every single time.

Happy Friday eve!


Toddler Girl OOTD

It's no secret that I love to shop but it also should be no surprise that I love a good deal. I very rarely, hardly ever, pay full price for anything. It's a blessing and a curse (thanks mom!). I've put together a little board and every single item is anywhere from 25-50% off! With the holidays coming up I am pinching everywhere I can! There are limited sizes so act fast if you want to swoop something up! These and these are still marked 50% off too!


The days have started getting shorter. I can see the sun start to set while I am on the train riding home in the rain. Rain. So grateful for the rain that we need so badly right now. I couldn't help but imagine all the strands of grass reaching a little taller and say ahh as it hit their blades.

As we creep closer to Thanksgiving and Christmas I can't quite believe that 2015 is almost over. I know we all say time goes fast - but to imagine I have been back at work for a whole year post P is something - well something I never thought I would be saying.

In the past I have never taken much time off work for the holidays. This year however I have someone I have to teach all about Santa Claus and why we break a wishbone on Thanksgiving. This year I have some to set out cookies for and nibble carrots - even if she won't remember - I will.

Out of all the things I have nothing gives me as much joy as making a memory with her. Ones she will never likely remember - but oh they are so etched onto this mama heart. I can only hope that one day when I am no longer here to tell her the stories behind the photographs she looks at them smiling - and knows I was smiling even larger behind the lens.