Unique Valentine’s Day Gifts

Hi lovelies!

Can you believe Valentine’s Day is almost here?! Is it just me, or does Christmas still feel like it’s around the corner. I was walking through my local JC Penney’s the other day and there was a blow up Santa in their appliances section with a sign that said “85 days until Christmas”. That means we get to do Halloween, Thanksgiving, AND Christmas all over again, right! 😂 At least I’m not the only one having a hard time letting go.

Thankfully my love for holidays is being fed by the upcoming Valentine’s Day. This will be our daughter’s first and I can’t wait to get her a cute gift! As far as my husband, I sometimes feel like I am major lacking in the unique gift ideas department. Especially since his birthday is only a couple weeks before and Valentine’s is also our anniversary! We will have started dating 10 years ago this Valentine’s so I want to make it extra special. Are you also lacking in gift ideas? Never fear! I’ve came across a couple great products and gift ideas that hopefully you’ll love and will make your Valentine’s easier!

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Is the DockATot worth it?

Hi hi everyone!

I received such a great response to my last “is it worth it?” post that I was thinking of making this a new blog series! Let me know what you think down in the comments & share what you’re interested in seeing whether or not it’s worth it next!

Today I wanted to give you the scoop on the popular, yet some may consider pricey, DockATot! We were gifted the DockATot deluxe from a family member at our baby shower. Our daughter slept in it from the first night home from the hospital until she grew out if it. We were just recently sent the next size up, the grand, from DockATot. Thank you, DockATot for collaborating with me on this blog post!

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Is the Owlet worth it?

Hey everyone!

This post has been long awaited. I remember a few months back I posted one of my very first blog posts and included the Owlet Smart Sock 2 in my 0-3 Month MUST HAVES. (Read that post here) I immediately received questions about the Owlet in particular. People wanted to know what my experience had been with it. I knew I had to write this post so that other mamas could know all of the details! I’m so excited to be collaborating with Owlet on this blog post to bring you my honest experience and opinion!

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Best Gingersnap Cookie Recipe (GF + DF)

Hey guys!

Today I am sharing the best recipe for holiday gingersnap cookies. I never really knew how much I LOVED gingersnap cookies until about a year ago. I was pregnant and out of the blue they sounded so bomb! My Mom is the best and she whipped these up multiple times for me and the rest is history. 😜

The original recipe was actually handed down from my 1st grade teacher! It was her mother’s recipe and she enjoyed sharing it for others to bake. She has since passed away but her and her mother’s memory live on. Thank you, Mrs. Johnson!

I also filmed a video that is up on my channel the same day this post goes live. You can watch me bake these cookies here. Get your ingredients and bake with me!

In the title it says these are dairy and gluten free. I have an intolerance to both of those allergens and substitute ingredients accordingly. Be careful to make your ingredients fit your needs!
Ingredients:

3/4 c. Shortening (vegetable based)

1 c. Sugar

1 egg

1/2 c. Molasses

2 t. Baking soda

2 c. Flour (gluten free)

1 t. Cinnamon

1 T. Ground Ginger

1/2 t. Salt
Directions:

1. Set oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine dry ingredients and stir until evenly combined.

3. Add remaining ingredients and stir until evenly combined.

4. Roll dough into balls, then roll balls in sugar.

5. Place dough balls on ungreased cookie sheet.

6. Smash slightly with base of glass cup.

7. Bake for 12-15 mins. Do not overbake!

8. Take out, let cool, eat and enjoy!
As you can see this is an extremely indulgent recipe but what other time than the holidays can you get away with it! I honestly love these cookies and hope you do too. Wow your family and friends and bring these to your holiday get-together!

Let me know what you think!

Straight up sincerely,

Alyse

Who is Santa? – GIVEAWAY

(Giveaway Closed)

Santa. 
He’s the jolly old soul who comes down your chimney early Christmas morning and leaves gifts under the tree. Or is he the weird old man who is always watching and breaking and entering? 😂

How did you decide as parents whether or not to tell your children about Santa? 
Growing up, I knew Santa. I remember him as a happy guy who brought magic to Christmas. He had elves who worked year round to make toys for every girl and boy nationwide. He lived with Mrs. Claus at the North Pole where it was snowy year round and where we would mail our gift requests. He drove a shiny red sleigh with magical flying reindeer. Movies like The Santa Claus were classics and something we loved watching over and over. We left cookies for him Christmas Eve night. We would go to bed but could barely sleep from pure excitement. Christmas morning my brother and I would wake up easily 3+ hours earlier than normal, run to the living room and gasp at the amazingness that was our gifts. Santa always got credit for the best gifts. It was great!

I have such fond memories of those Christmas mornings. I am lucky enough to have a mom who still makes Christmas magical which definitely impacts why I still love this holiday as an adult. You’ll find me putting up our tree right after Halloween. I love spending extended time with friends and family, decorating my home with lights and everything glitter, of course the yummy food, and seeing everyone’s faces as they open gifts. Christmas time is so amazing.

In addition, I was raised in a religious home. I still depend largely on my relationship with God. It was known even at a young age that there was a reason for the season, that we were in fact celebrating Jesus’ birth. Gifts were a bonus. The time spent in service leading up to Christmas could be described as magical as well. Advent is still such a special time to me.
So where does Santa fit in all of this? Depending on your background, religion may not be a factor but there are countless other ones that are making parents second guess telling their children about Santa.

  1. There are Santas everywhere. How do you know which ones are good and which ones are in fact creepy?
  2. How do you combat spoiling your children with the constant expectation of gifts? How do you ensure they are thankful?
  3. What will your child think when they find out Santa isn’t real? Will they be upset that you lied?
  4. If you are religious, how do you keep the focus on the real reason for the season?

As a new mama, I might be a little bit overworried. 😏 Thankfully we are not quite to the point of deciding whether or not we will tell our daughter about Santa. We have a few years. But I’m hoping that maybe by the time its an appropriate topic I will have found a middle ground somewhere within all the Christmas madness – one that allows my daughter to experience the magic but be protected at the same time. I have such fond memories surrounding Christmas in general, including Santa, that I can’t imagine keeping any of that from my daughter.

Let me know, how did you guys decide on what to tell your kids about Santa? Anything you would do different? 

If your child is of appropriate age and you’ve decided to tell them about Santa you must check out Certainly Santa! I love this book because not only does it allow for Santa talk but it also reminds us how important it is to be grateful and helpful. Curious? You’ll have to check their book out to read all the cuteness! 

I have teamed up with Certainly Santa to do a GIVEAWAY for my IG subscribers. Check out my IG here to see how you can enter! If you don’t win the giveaway, my followers will still receive a 15% discount + FREE shipping if you order before 12/7/17. Discount will be listed on the IG post!

Hope everyone’s holiday season is filled with peace and joy.
Straight up sincerely,

Alyse

Why I am not a Sharent

Hey everyone! Long time, little talk. I have been so busy creating over on my YouTube channel and spending time prepping for the holidays.  If you haven’t checked out my channel yet I will link it here for you!

Today I wanted to blog about something that is near and dear to me, while also avoiding offending anyone. I recently read an article on The Bump app about the term Sharenting. Basically it was described as the act of oversharing about your child/ren. I believe this applies mainly to social media but in my mind it would be all the time. Whether you’re sharing a story, photo, video, sound clip, whatever it may be, in person or online, have you ever asked yourself, “am I a sharent?”

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New Adventure

Hi guys!

Today’s post is going up later than usual and its going to be short. But hopefully my news will make up for that!

I am officially a YouTuber! 

Now I know some of you may be cheering while others groan but let me clarify, my YouTube channel will merely be an extension of my brand. I will continue to post regularly on my blog, just maybe not every Friday like I previously promised. You can count on 1 video or 1 blog post per week or maybe both! I’d like to keep up with posts more than that but I’d rather it be a nice surprise when I upload more frequently rather than a disappointment when I don’t. To be honest, I’m writing this on my phone while breastfeeding baby for a nap so when I say time is limited I mean it!

What is my YouTube channel going to be like?

I’d really like for it to be a look into our real lives as The Sykes Family. 

Have other questions? Leave them in the comments below and I will answer some of them on a Q&A soon! In the meantime, hurry over to my YouTube channel and check it out!

Sykes Fam

Straight up sincerely,

Alyse

Enchilada Bake

Ya know what I hate? Recipe blog posts where you have to scroll for 2 years to find the actual recipe. If you’re looking for a bunch of recipe fluff, you won’t find it here.

Today’s post is the recipe for my enchilada bake. Its quick, easy, and budget friendly because as a new mom I barely have time to eat let alone spend the evening preparing something elaborate. Lets be honest, I end up eating every meal cold anyways. Is that a permanent thing when you become a Mom? I’ll keep you posted.

As a disclaimer, I am not a chef. This is merely a description of how I like to cook this meal. I inherited my grandmother’s cooking skills – do you want that burnt or extra burnt? Happy cooking!
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