{Happy Birthday my love!!}

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Happiest of birthdays to my sweet, sweet love! It's been such a blessing to spend the last 20 birthdays with you, Nathan. Thank you for being my Lobster and my person. Each year just keeps getting better and I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for us this upcoming year. I do know there will be adventure, happiness and a whole lot of love. 

And for 19 days you can't poke fun at me being your "old lady" because we are the same age!!!

I love you, darling! 


{Elf on the Shelf Shenanigans // Part 2}

Hall Around Texas Elf on the Shelf

Our elf, Max has been so much fun this Christmas season! Mason jumped out of bed each morning with eager anticipation to see what shenanigans Max was up to. Max sure does make mornings easier and better! I wish that little guy could stay year round for that reason alone. Today I am sharing the 2nd half of what our Elf on the Shelf has been up to. Well, I was going to...

{The Guys Behind the Blog // December}

Hall Around Texas Guys Behind the Blog

Time for the Guys Behind the Blog - December edition!! I love getting a chance to feature my sweet man on this blog! And it's fun to drill him with questions each month, too! He's always such a good sport about it. Sometimes I know exactly what he will say and sometimes his answers totally surprise me!

{Winter Bucket Update // A Polar Express and Grinch filled weekend}


Time for another bucketlist update! This one deserved it's own post. It's one of our favorite trips and we look forward to it each year...our Polar Express and Grinch weekend! We travel a couple of hours East to a quaint little town nestled in the Piney Woods for a weekend of camping, train-riding and Grinching. This year it rained the majority of the time, but we still had a great time.

{Three Things // December Edition}


Several of my blogging friends have started writing a 'three things' post and I loved the idea, so I borrowed it. It's such a fun and simple way to share current happenings in our lives at this particular time. Here are three things about my little family.

{15 Ways to keep CHRIST in Christmas}


As Mason gets older it is very important to us that we keep our focus on the true reason that we celebrate Christmas. It's so easy to get wrapped up in the tinsel and the lights, Santa, parties, and gifts. Especially the gifts. But, God gave us the ultimate gift and He was laying in a manger. A manger, friends. Our Christmas celebrations should be a reflection of the love our dear Savior so graciously gave and continues to give us. Below are 15 ways to keep CHRIST in Christmas.

{My Favorite Christmas fonts and apps}

Hall Around Texas Christmas Fonts and Apps

Today I wanted to share with you my favorite Christmas fonts and apps. I use the fonts for any Christmas graphics that I make and the apps to make the Christmas season a little more magical.

{$10 Target Challenge}

Hall Around Texas $10 Target Challenge

I really didn't have anything in mind when I went to Target for this challenge. Our dollar spot has been pretty picked over for the last several weeks now. I really thought I'd just spend the $10 on wrapping supplies. However, I got to Target and found three things I have been looking for all season long!

{2016 Winter Bucketlist Update // Santa, Bethlehem, Tree}


We have been busy little elves over here and steadily crossing things off our 2016 Winter Bucketlist. I just haven't had any time to blog about it. We've literally had something going on every single night since November 29th. It's all good and fun stuff though, so no complaints here. Today I am sharing some of the things we've checked off our list.

{2016 Christmas Pajama Party // Link-up}


When some of my sweet friends asked if I wanted to help co-host a Christmas pajama party I couldn't say yes quick enough! Pajamas are my jam. Festive holiday pajamas are really, really my jam. I love buying Mason Christmas pajamas. And the way I see it, I only have a couple {maybe a few} more years before he's completely over it. I hope not, but we will see.

{TKBTB // December}


Eleven months ago some of my sweet blog friends and I started the Kids Behind the Blog series. It's been one of my favorites ever since. The things that kids say never ceases to amaze me. I love putting them on the spot each month and having them answer a few questions. And it gives me a chance to learn a little more about my friend's little(s). I just love it. If you're new to this link-up you can find all of the details here. I hope you will join my co-hosts {Stephanie, Meghan, Jessica and Beth} and I and link-up with us. We went with a Christmas theme this month. And because my hosts and I love Christmas we threw in extra questions. We couldn't narrow it down to just five.  You can ask your little(s) all ten questions, or pick and choose the ones you want to ask. Either way, we can't wait to read your posts.

{2016 Christmas Ornament Exchange // The Reveal}


There were so many great Christmas exchanges happening this year and I wish I could have participated in them all. But with a busy travel schedule I could only pick and choose a couple. I am so happy that the 2016 Christmas Ornament Exchange was one that I was able to join in on.

{Max Shenanigans // Elf on the Shelf}


Max, our elf returned on December 2nd making our Christmas season so much fun! He arrived a little later this year because he was needed at the North Pole for a special project. Mason has been anticipating his arrival since the day he left last year. He loves Max so much and wishes he could stay with us the whole year. I'm not so against that either since Mason jumps out of bed so easily every morning so eager to find Max. Thank you Max!!!

{Final Fall Bucketlist}


I got so behind on posting about our fall bucketlist! We did so many things and crossed so much off our list, but I couldn't find time to blog about it. Today will be a final update since I'm already knee-deep in everything Christmas!!

{Tis the Season // Christmas cards with Tiny Prints}


This post is sponsored by Tiny Prints, but all opinions are 100% my own.

I really wanted to hire a photographer this year to take our family pictures in hopes of having some for Christmas cards. But, despite my best efforts we just couldn't fit it in. We are notorious for having the busiest of schedules which is both a blessing and a curse at times. Since Christmas cards {both sending and receiving} are one of my favorite things during Christmas time I knew I had to make this happen. So, I grabbed my boys, my camera, tripod and remote and we headed down to the pond to capture a few. It really went seamless and we were done in less than 10-15 minutes. For what it was I was ecstatic that we got a decent shot we could use for cards!

{2016 Holiday Home Tour}


 I know that I say it every single year, but I wish we could leave the Christmas decor and twinkle lights up all year long. I love it so much and know without a doubt that I could never grow tired of it. It's so magical and beautiful. And I love adding new touches every year. Today I am linking up with some sweet blog friends for a Holiday Home Tour. It's been dark and gloomy here for days so my pictures are grainy and disappointing. But, I am certain I will post more pictures throughout the month so that you all can get a better idea.

{2016 Winter Bucketlist}

Hall Around Texas 2016 Winter Bucketlist
 
Christmas time truly is the best time! All of the togetherness, festivities, lights, traditions, church, cheer, etc. just makes my heart so full and happy. I really wish that Christmas time lasted longer and if it were up to me I'd leave the Christmas tree up year round. There is something so special and magical about the glow of a Christmas tree. I can't wait to make memories with my sweet family this season. I am so excited that this year we get to be in church service both on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It brings me to tears that I get to celebrate my Savior's dear birth at church. How amazing is that? Today I am sharing with you our 2016 Winter {and Christmas} Bucketlist. I ran out of room on my bucketlist, but there is even more we have planned this year...all of those little things like Christmas crafting, trimmin' the tree, Elf on the Shelf Shenanigans, building a gingerbread house, making reindeer food, watching the reindeer cam, having a Christmas movie night, camping out by the Christmas tree, etc. I posted more about what we'll do this season in my 25 Ways to keep the Magic in Christmas post. Bring it on!

{Currently // Catching Up}


It's been a while since I have visited this space. The last two weeks have been a blur! I left last week for a business trip in Seattle, WA. Our home office is there and we went to visit and to join them for a Christmas party. It's been 8 or 9 years since we have visited WA and we have never attended the Christmas party. It was a wonderful trip! It's always so hard to leave your family, your home and your comfort zone, but I am so glad that we went. The trip really put many things into perspective for me and I left with a full and grateful heart. I work for such an awesome company. The owner and his wife really value their employees and they are just amazing people. Plus I got to see snow, mountains and one of my dearest and best friends!! So incredibly thankful for this!

{Christmas Pajama Party // A Link-up}

Christmas time is the best time of the year! And one of my favorite things to do is buy Mason festive Christmas pajamas every single year! I am relishing in the fact that he still lets me dress him in holiday pajamas and pray I still have a few more years of doing so. A few of my blog friends love Christmas pajamas just as much and thus the Christmas Pajama party was born.

{25 ways to keep the Magic in Christmas}


Seeing the magic of Christmas unfold through Mason's eyes will forever be one of my favorite things. I've always loved the Christmas season, but there is just something so special about sharing Christmas with your child(ren). It's so important to Nathan and I to keep the magic in Christmas for Mason. Even though it's a lot of work on our end, it's worth it and we enjoy it. Seeing his face light up and the way he believes makes my heart and soul so happy. And if we're being honest, there really is only a short period of time that they truly believe. Why not make that time as magical as possible?

{Avoid the Black Friday madness and shop online with JORD Wood Watches}

This post was sponsored by JORD Wood watches. A product was given to me in exchange for this blog post. All opinions are 100% my own. 

Today is Black Friday and I don't know about you, but crowds and early mornings are definitely not my thing. Like not at all. I like my sleep and I like to keep my blood pressure at a healthy level, thank you. Don't get me wrong I love shopping {probably a little too much}, but I love shopping in my pajamas from the comforts of home. Over the years I have learned that you can get most of the same great deals online, some even better. And I will be doing just that.

Hall Around Texas JORD Wood Watch

{Happy Thanksgiving // A special day}


Not only is today Thanksgiving, it's also a very special day in our household. Two years ago today God answered our prayers and brought our sweet Diesel boy back home to us! {To read Diesel's story click here. And for his 1 year home post click here.} Diesel has quite the testimony and truly is a miracle pup. We are so grateful for his little life and for his return home. God is so, so good.

{It's the most magical time of the year // Portable North Pole}

This post is sponsored by PNP. All opinions are 100% my own.

One of our favorite Christmas time traditions is to create a personalized video from Santa to Mason using the Portable North Pole console. I enjoy creating the videos, but I enjoy watching Mason watch the video even more. It's so special to watch the magic unfold as he watches his video year after year. Seeing Christmas through a child's eyes is the most amazing thing ever!

{$10 Target Challenge}

Hall Around Texas $10 Target Challenge

I'm sure you already know, but Target is dangerous right now. Like so.incredibly.dangerous. I want all the Christmas things. Not only are they killing it in the 'dollar' section, but their Christmas section too. Have you seen this vintage camper? Or the red truck to pull the camper? Oh my word. I need these, right? The answer is yes.

{Saving money with Groupon Things To Do}

This is a sponsored posts. All opinions are 100% my own.

Hall Around Texas Saving money with Groupon Things to Do

{The Guys Behind the Blog // November}


Back for our 2nd installment of Guys Behind the Blog!! I had so much fun reading all of the guys answers to our Halloween themed questions last month. This month we are focusing on Thanksgiving themed questions. I haven't met a guy that doesn't love Thanksgiving {eating & football}, so this should be fun.

{Uncommon Goods for everyone on your Holiday list}

This post has been compensated by Uncommon Goods. All opinions are 100% my own.

If I am being 100% honest, I started thinking about Christmas the minute Halloween was over. I know, I know, I should respect the turkey, but Christmas is the absolute best time of the year! I get so excited about Christmas and want to decorate earlier and earlier each year. However, I am not one to shop early for Christmas. I just can't do it. I always end up giving the recipient what I bought them way before Christmas arrives. Plus, there aren't many places you can hide things from a very curious six year old. So, my shopping usually starts right around this time. Normally I would be stressed to the max about Christmas shopping, but since I found Uncommon Goods I have felt that stress melt away. They have the neatest things for everyone on your Christmas list. I'm crossing people off my list right and left.

Uncommon Goods was founded in 1999 and headquartered in Brooklyn, NY in the historic Brooklyn Army Terminal. Being an independently-owned business they have the freedom to support causes they believe in and to impact the world in a positive way. With every purchase made they will donate $1 to the non-profit of your choice. Since they started the Better to Give program 12 years ago they have donated over $1 million to charities around the world! Who doesn't love to support a business that gives back? I know that I do.

{Christmas Book Wishlist // Christmas Cash Giveaway}

Sunday afternoon Mason and I rearranged his book shelf in order to get ready for the upcoming holidays. We moved the Halloween books back to the shelf and brought down all of our Christmas books. We filled up two baskets worth of Christmas books!! They are our absolute favorite! I shared many of these last year. You can find that post here. But even with two baskets full we still have a Christmas book wish list. I mean, you could never have too many Christmas themed books right? Today I am sharing with you some books we hope to add to our basket this year.

{Pumpkin Delivery Guy}

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One beautiful afternoon we were outside playing and Mason had the cutest idea! He was going to collect all of the pumpkins off our porch, put them in his truck and then deliver then to me. He even got some paper and a pen and wrote a check for me to give him as well as a receipt for him to give me back. It has been one of my favorite fall moments so far. And doesn't he make the cutest pumpkin delivery guy ever?

{Concept Day // Neil Armstrong}


Today is Social Studies Concept Day at Mason's school and they were invited to dress as an influential historical person. Mason chose to dress as an astronaut, but more specifically Neil Armstrong. Mason's art teacher is a Granddaughter of Neil Armstrong, so he thought it would be awesome to dress as him.

{October in Numbers}

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24

42
Number of pictures I posted to Instagram this month. 


2060
Number of pictures in my October folder on my computer. These are pictures taken with my Nikon only and does not include the pictures taken on my phone. I can only imagine it's going to go up from here with the holidays coming. 

3
Number of Sundays that Nathan, Mason and I served at our church in October. On the 16th we had a water leak in one of the buildings and had to shut off all water to the campus. And because of that we had to cancel church services that day. And then we were out of town on the 23rd.

4
Number of miles we hiked at a Cub Scouts Event. Four vigorous miles. Up and down huge hills. It was tough! And there's nothing like a bunch of 6, 7, and 8 years olds showing you up and proving how out of shape you might be! 

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1
Big ol' mistake made by Nate. Mason was off school and Nate was off work. Nathan took Mason to run some errands and they came back with a drum set. A freakin' drum set. Really?? haha! He is cute with them, though.


5
Weeks that Mason went without touching an iPad. I had noticed that he was coming home from school and watching Netflix or YouTube for hours and I didn't like it. So I made a deal with Mason that if he gave up the iPad I would do things with him. We did all kinds of crafts, built Legos, played outside, etc. It went so incredibly well. And after 5 weeks we started letting him have 1 hour of iPad time.

2
Number of lizards Mason caught this month. This boy has no fear when it comes to creepy crawling things. It makes my skin crawl. He kept one for a few days as a pet. He told me that one day at school he had to help a teacher rescue some crickets to the outside of the school. No one else would get near them, but he didn't mind. Eeek...all boy!





2
Number of rides I took in a haunted elevator at a haunted hotel in town {The Rogers Hotel}. My brother in law and Nate wanted to check out the cigar shop at the bottom of the hotel so we went around 8:30-9:00 one night. One of the workers was telling us about the elevator and how it starts going by itself sometimes. We decided to take a ride in it. So creepy! And then we walked around the hotel and it was just eeery. I had a nightmare that night!


Number of pumpkin patches we visited in October. The first was Country Critter's Farm and the 2nd was Mainstay Farm {which I still haven't blogged about}. We had so much fun at both, but I would say more so at Mainstay Farm. There's just more to do there and we had the whole family with us.


1 / 6 / 1 / 2:00
One concert attended with 4 other ladies from my church! We saw Lauren Daigle at the Bomb Factory in Dallas. It was such an amazing night of worship. After the concert we spent some time in Deep Ellum. 6 delicious pies were split among the 5 of us. One is the number of tattoos that happened that night. 2:00 am was the time I got home. GREAT night! And worth every bit of staying up about 4 hours past my bed time.


50
Days of First Grade under our belts and 50 days of perfect attendance for Mason and one cute little dude dressed in 50s attire. He got an award at his school's award assembly for perfect attendance.

17
Number of days Mason had good behavior at school with no marks on folder.

4
Number of days Mason had a mark on his folder...all for talking. Go figure!



14
Number of apples Mason shot out of a cannon.


200
Number of paintballs Mason shot at zombies at Jellystone Park.

9
Number of books we bought at Mason's school Scholastic Book Fair.

7:20
 The time that I woke up one morning. We were out of the house by 7:30 and at the school by 7:45 only to find out that school doesn't start until 7:55. We made it in plenty of time! For some reason my sound on my iPhone doesn't want to work sometimes. The alarm goes off, but there is no sound. It's happened 2 more times since this one. Ugh! 

76546895
The approximate number of people that were in my town for the Texas Country Reporter Festival. I had it on our 2016 Fall Bucketlist to go to the festival, but it didn't happen. We drove around for 25 minutes looking for parking and then gave up. The crowds were ridiculous!!

10
Number of Halloween costumes or masks and number of pumpkins bought in October.

18
Number of items crossed off our 2016 Fall Bucketlist in the month of October.


And that is a wrap! This month I did something different and kept an 'October' note in my phone. Each day I would document anything we did that day and any numbers I wanted to share. I had a lot more to share by doing this.

http://shoestoshiraz.com/

{TKBTB // November}


Ten months ago some of my sweet blog friends and I started the Kids Behind the Blog series. It's been one of my favorites ever since. The things that kids say never ceases to amaze me. So, I love putting them on the spot each month and having them answer a few questions. And it gives me a chance to learn a little more about my friend's little(s). I just love it. If you're new to this link-up you can find all of the details here. I hope you will join my co-hosts {Stephanie, Meghan, Jessica and Beth} and I and link-up with us. This month's questions are Thanksgiving/election {but only a little} themed.

{Bits of Fall // Home Tour}

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It's no secret that I love fall and love decorating for fall, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't totally ready to start deckin' the halls! I can't wait to snuggle up on the couch with a warm cup of coffee by the glow of the Christmas tree! But before I do that I thought I would share a fall home tour.

{Cub Scouts // Hike}


I mentioned in an earlier post that Mason had joined Cub Scouts. I am sure some of you are wondering what happened to karate? In my post on Whitney's Mommylogues Series I shared that Mason has ADHD and with that he tends to not want to finish things that he starts. Once he starts playing a sport he feels like he is 'done' with it after the first game. So, after a month and a half of going to karate four days a week he didn't want to go back anymore. It broke my heart because I know that he loved it. He still walks around doing all of the karate moves that he learned...all day everyday. But, we weren't going to make him go. It makes it too miserable on all of us when he puts up a battle and cries to not go. And that's how we wound up in Cub Scouts. A representative came to Mason's school and talked to them about it. He came home with the flyer and asked us if he could sign up. He was so excited about it. We've had 6 meetings/activities since he started and so far he is really enjoying it. I have faith this might be the one thing he sticks with more long term. We only meet once a week on Sundays after church unless there is a weekend activity. His cousin just joined the 4th graders, so that is a bonus for Mason.

{Five on Friday // Halloween // Science Concept Day // Cub Scouts}



Wow! It's been a while since I have been able to write a Five on Friday post! September 16th to be exact. October was a crazy busy month and it flew by too fast for my liking. I have a feeling things are not going to slow down until at least January. Our November calendar is already filling up fast. But today I am sharing a bunch of randomness...

{Fall Scarf Exchange}


For some reason I didn't join this exchange last year, but I was sure to sign up this year. Scarves are one of my favorite accessories and blogger exchanges are also my favorite. I was so excited to hear that I was partners with Courtney from A Plus Life Blog. 1.) I adore her and her sweet little family, and 2.) I was so sad to hear that her partner last year did not follow through with the exchange. I was happy to send her a little scarf love. To see what I got Courtney head on over to her blog.

Courtney sent me the most beautiful scarves. I pulled them out of the box and was swooning over them immediately. I am obsessed with the color mustard this fall and the floral is gorgeous and perfect for fall. Now, if only the Texas weather would calm down a little bit so that I could wear these beauties. Courtney's note said that she sent one for when it's cold and one for when it's not. I am heading to Seattle in late November and I will definitely be planning some outfits around these scarves!

(ignore the selfies...I am not a good selfie taker)

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Gorgeous, right? Courtney, thank you so incredibly much. You were so generous to send two scarves. They are both beautiful and I know that I will get so much wear out of them.

**Update** - we finally had one cool-ish day and I was able to wear the floral scarf! I got a ton of compliments on it.



Also, a big thank you to Courtney, Liz and Whitney for hosting this awesome exchange.