It's the week before Christmas, and I am sure I'm not the only one who is scrambling to get things done. I have gifts to still buy, holiday baking to do, a house to clean, and just a bit of party decorating to put up.

Every year we have a very casual, but festive Christmas celebration. We definitley don't do anything even remotely fancy, but I usually do fun little touches with my food and decor to make things a little more merry. This year I decided to have a hot cocoa bar and it turned out so cute. 

It was so super easy to put together. I used a bunch of Felicity Jane cut files and let my Silhouette do most of the work for me. This project ended up being very cost friendly because I used mostly what I had on hand! I still have to add a couple of things like my whipped cream and maybe some marshmallows, but other than that I can check this chore off my to do list!

I am sharing this project over on the Felicity Jane blog, so be sure to hop on over there for all the details, plus a few more photos!


1. Over this past year I have been really trying to find a planning style that fits me and my budget. I have discovered printable planner stickers on Etsy, and I quickly discovered how awesome they are. Really affordable, and so many options. I have found that if you are going to go down the road of printing your own stickers (and you get super frustrated by your Silhouette) the Gyro-cut is a must. I am still getting the hang of this handy tool, but it does a pretty decent job at kiss cutting my stickers.

2. I have a lot of lip products that could put on my Top 5 list, and I have. This month I have found myself reaching for is the Smith's Rosebud balm. This salve is helpful for so many things (minor burns, diaper rash, cuticles) but I just use it on my lips! It is pretty moisturizing, but my favorite part is the fantastic scent. It has the pretties rosebud smell that is not at all overwhelming! 

3. When I saw the Celestial holiday teas show up in my grocery store, I nabbed them up as fast as I could. I got all the herbal flavors I could find, and they are all so delicious. My favorite of the bunch though is the Gingerbread Spice flavor. It spicy and gingerbready and just delicious. I like drinking mine with a little honey and cream in it! So so good.

4. My hubby bought me some super comfy Mini Ugg boots for Valentines day last year. It finally got cold enough this month that I went searching for them. I forgot how much I love them! If they weren't so rough on the ol' wallet I would probably buy all the colors I could get.

5. My Top 5 would not be complete without the Gilmore girls: A Year in the Life on it. I was SOOOOOO excited for this to come out. I know they everybody has their own opinion these new episodes, but I really like it. I didn't have any expectations going into this, so I wasn't disappointed by any of it. Of course I had my fair share of "are you kidding me", but over all I loved it. Crossing my fingers that this is not the last we see of those Gilmore girls.


One of my favorite things to do at Thanksgiving is decorate the table. It is never anything over the top or fancy, but once it's done it always make me happy.

Over the last month I had seen the prettiest flowers at my local grocery store. Every time I would stop in for groceries I was always so tempted to pick some up, but never actually did. While I was shopping for our Thanksgiving dinner I thought the holiday was the perfect excuse to by those flowers. I knew they would make our table beautiful!

Banning Lane | Thanksgiving Table

I went back and forth with on wether I should buy one or two bouquets. I went with two and I am so happy I did. I placed the flowers in mismatched glass vases that I already had in my closet. I am the first to admit that I am no florist, and had no idea how to arrange these bouquets. I just tried to find a nice balance of color and size. 

Last year I used a long skinny box filled with pumpkins and candles as my Thanksgiving table center piece. The burlap ribbon, place mats, and napkins were all repeats from last year. I loved the box of candles, but I think I love the flowers even more. I think our table this year was the perfect blend of fancy and rustic!

Banning Lane | Thanksgiving table

No table would be complete without some place cards. At least no table of mine. I don't really care if people actually sit where I put their name, I just think they look super cute on the table.

I was inspired by some place cards I found on the Teaspoon Living blog. I knew they would be really easy to create, and I also knew that my little London would have so much fun helping me with this project. The hardest part was actually creating the turkey, but I found a Silhouette cut file, so even that was pretty simple.

On the inside of the place cards I wrote one "would you rather" question that I had planned on everyone reading and answering while we ate. It was a fun game that took minutes to play and added a fun little twist to our Thanksgiving dinner!

Flowers are seriously one of my favorite ways to decorate my home. They just add the nicest touch to any room. So even though Thanksgiving has come and gone, these flowers are still sitting on my table and make me smile every time I see them.


1. I am the type of person that likes to have a beverage on my desk as I work. If it is not a glass of ice cold water, it is usually a cup of herbal tea. Lately I have been really enjoying this wild berries tea from Twinings. I add just a bit of honey to it and enjoy it hot or cold, which makes it the perfect go to drink.

2. I went to a Norwex party a few months ago and picked up a few things. I haven't tried all of my products yet, but one thing I have tried is the EnviroCloth, and man is it amazing. Not only does it "safely" clean my home, but it does a really good job at it. Plus I love that it comes in pink.

3. I seem to go through bath phases. I either want to take one every night, or not at all. This past month I have been on the take one every night phase. Of course I want my bath to be a super fun girly one, so I always like to add a bath bomb or bubble bar from my Lush stash. My favorite go to faves are the sex bomb and the butterball.

4. My hubby bought me this Kate Spade glass water bottle for my birthday back in March. I seriously love it so much and want it in every color option. When I am drinking my ice water or cold tea, this is what I am drinking it from.

5. Ah Felicity Jane papers. I can't say enough good things about them. I especially love the colors and patterns that are in the October's "Emeline" kit, but I think I might say that every month. I actually decided to make some new dividers for my planner out of these beautiful papers. 


Today was London's annual cardiology checkup.

The truth is, I hate these appointments. I always have, and I am betting I always will. I know it is at these appointments that I am going to find out just how good or bad London's little heart is doing.

For the last couple of years I have made it a point to have lots of talks with London in the days leading up to her visit. I like to tell her exactly what is going to happen so that she doesn't have to be scared of the unknown. I also like to remind her how important it is to be a good girl and to do exactly what is asked of her. I know that it is hard for a 4 year old to stay still, and this is an appointment that you have to do a lot of sitting still.

What surprised me the most about our pre-appointment talk was that London had a lot of questions for me. I had to remind her several times that this was just a check up, and that nothing scary was going to happen. It was the first year that she seemed genially nervous. It made me realize that she is becoming more aware of why she has a belly full of scars.

As we were getting ready on the morning of her appointment, I asked if she was nervous. She immediately said nope in the most confident of voices. But a little later, as I was braiding her hair, she told me she might be a little nervous. It made my heart a little sad for her. I told her it was ok to be a little nervous, and to keep her mind off of the day we spent the rest of the time talking about what movie she was going to watch when they were taking pictures of her heart. 

When they called us back for her ECHO, I could see all over her face that those nerves hadn't gone away yet. I was pretty grateful that Tony and I got to go back with her, and that she didn't have to be alone. 

When the tech asked what movie she wanted to watch, she immediately looked at me. Having to make that choice in that moment scared her, and I could totally relate to those feelings because I have them too. I had an overwhelming feeling of gratefulness that I was her safe place. After hearing her options, she decided on Inside Out. The tech seemed pretty happy with her choice and admitted that he was happy that he didn't have to watch frozen again.

The ECHO tech was so great, and was really good at explaining everything that he was doing. It didn't take London long to realize that she was in good hands. At one point during her ECHO you could hear her heart beat. I told London what the noise was that she was hearing and you could just see her little brain start to work. She got the biggest smile on her face every time she heard that thump thump thump. 

Next up was her EKG. Definitely not as stressful as her ECHO because it doesn't take as long, but it still required London to sit very still and quiet. It must have been our lucky day, because she did great and it took no time at all. The worst part of the whole day may have been the removal of all those stickers!

For London the hard part was over, but for me it was just beginning. 

Sitting in that room waiting for the cardiologist to come in is probably the worst feeling ever. I know that as we are sitting there keeping our little girl entertained, her doctor is in another room looking over the results of her ECHO and EKG. 

We know what if feels like to get bad news, we've been there. We also know what is feels like to get good news, we've been there too. I was obviously praying that at this doctors visit, we would get the good news.

What I wasn't expecting was great news!!

Dr. G said that London was doing exceptionally well!! And it wasn't a "for her condition" kinda well, it was a for real your little girl is doing pretty darn amazing! 

So for the next 12 months I can breath a little better, and love my girl a little more fully, and soak up everything this life as London's mama has to offer. For the next 12 months I can smile a little bigger because I know that my little girl is going to be ok! It the best news a mama can hear.

What happens in 12 months, we get to go to London's next cardiology appointment and feel all of those scared, overwhelming, anxious, and hopefully happy feelings all over again. But for now we are just going to breath

(journaled September 9th)


Tuesday's are usually a little less stressful because the only thing we have to do is get to dance class, and that does start until 10:00. Today however, was picture day at dance so that added more stress than usual. I had to get and keep London beautiful and picture ready!

I woke up to London playing the iPad in my bed. She usually will ask Tony to get her a snack and this morning it was cheese and crackers. Tony was just getting out of the shower and I decided to jump in real quick while I had the chance.

After I got out of the shower and put a bit of make-up on, it was time for London to take a bath and get ready for dance. I knew I was going to be making her pigtails curly today, so I left us plenty of time to do that.

I was pretty stressed about the whole picture situation, but London looked absolutely adorable. Plus she was a super good girl, and did exactly what was asked of her. Super grateful for that!

After dance class we usually will stop in to visit Tony at work. It's just a good day to do it. London usually has one goal in mind and that is to check out what goodies they have back in the pharmacy for her to snack on. Today's selection wasn't that great, and Tony took her to the front to pick out a treat. It's almost always strawberry ice-cream bars.

When we got home, London wanted one of her ice-creams first thing! Of course I said yes!

Mornings are a little hectic around here no matter how much time we give ourselves. So while London ate her ice-cream and watched some cartoons, I straightened up the house and emptied the dishwasher. 

London had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, oranges, and almonds for lunch, while I had blueberries, a hard boiled egg, and some almonds. I wasn't feeling my typical cottage cheese and tomatoes today.

The mail man was a little late today. I must have popped my head out the door a dozen times to check and see if the little red flags were down. Of course Felix took the multiple opportunities to sneak out the front door. He LOVES to be outside.

Most Tuesday's look the same around here. London picks a movie to watch on Netflix while she plays, and I scrapbook. Today she got a little restless of the normal routine, and asked if she could get her melty beads out. She always sits at the dining room table to do that activity, and she always wants me to sit with her. I'm ok with that.

When snack time rolled around she asked for M&M's again, but this time she didn't want the nuts and cherries with it. I let her win today.

This little girl of mine is at a really fun age, and I love to just sit and watch her play. Especially if she will have a conversation with me. I know my time with her is limited and I soak up these little moments. Today she did a lot more tickling than talking. I loved how funny she thought it was.

We have a camping trip planned for the weekend (first camping trip of the season) so Tony picked up the trailer on his way home from work. London was so excited to see that trailer hooked on to Tony's truck.

I think it's pretty cute that she loves the trailer so much, but I know the next couple days will be a struggle. If London is not in the trailer, she is pestering me about being in the trailer. 

We spent the next couple of hours getting our trailer ready for our trip, and talking about different things we will need to pick up before we go. I eventually head inside to start cooking dinner. I turn on a Scrap Gals podcast to keep me company.

By the time we get done with dinner it is London's bedtime. I do the dishes and wipe down the kitchen while Tony and London turn on Curious George. Most nights she gets to watch a couple episodes before going to bed. Sometimes she gets lucky, and Tony falls asleep. She is good about being extra quiet when that happens so she can sneak in another episode or two.

After George is over, Tony and London head upstairs to start the night time routine. 

Most nights I head to my scrap desk to work on a layout or browse the internet. Usually a little of both. Tonight I got distracted by a new cuticle treatment that was sitting on my desk, so I decided to test that out instead. I am always on the hunt for the perfect manicure products. 

Tony's plan was to go back out and work on the trailer some more after London went to bed, but he got distracted too, (by his phone) and never made it back out.

It was past midnight when we finally sat down to sit down and make a grocery list for our camping trip. Tony's plan was to run by the grocery story on his way home from work the next day. I am lucky that he takes on that chore most of the time.

Once our list was complete, we made sure everything was locked up and headed to bed. Tony fell asleep right away, but I watched the Golden Girls for a bit before I ended up falling asleep. That is very much a typical routine for us.

Week In The Life™ 2016 | Monday

When I woke up this morning the first thing that popped into my head was take a picture. I was totally ready for this full week of documenting our lives. Ask me if I am that excited come Sunday!

London was already downstairs eating her breakfast, and I could hear that she was watching Shrek. I decided to lay in bed for a few more minutes and chat withTony while he finished getting ready for work. After he left I went downstairs to help London finish eating her breakfast. Today was a bath day so she didn't have too much time to linger.

London was a good listener this morning and we got ready with a few minutes to spare. I asked  if I could take her picture before heading out the door. 

She always wants to open the gate by herself, always. She also always runs down the sidewalk and yells "beat you" when we get to her door. Everything is always a race these days.

London's teacher is always so exited to see her and London is so happy to be there. It makes dropping her off so much easier.

I drop off our payment at the office before heading home.

I have breakfast first thing when I get home. I usually have the same breakfast everyday, berries with plain greek yogurt. I usually will sweeten the berries with a bit of sugar, but I am in a weight loss competition with Tony and my brother, so I have been skipping the sugar.

Most days I eat my breakfast at the computer so I can check out YouTube, but today I decided to eat in the living room and watch an episode of Matlock.

On Monday's, the house is always a little more messy. I don't do much cleaning on the weekends besides dishes, and maybe a nightly tidy up. I have created the routine of doing my daily chores before anything else, especially on the days that London is in school. Sometimes I stick to that routine, and sometimes I don't. Today I did!

I still have a little under and hour before I have to get London from school, so I sit down at my scrap desk to either check out YouTube, or work on a layout that is on my desk. I check Facebook first and read that a one of my fellow Felicity Jane design team members lost her sweet baby over the weekend. My heart broke for her, and I found it hard to work or watch anything after that.

I am always excited to pick up London from school. Even though she only goes for a half a day, I still miss her! Can you guess what she learned about today?

This girl is all about comfort and will strip down to her undies the second she walks through the door if I let her. Today she ditched the jeans and the shoes, but kept that dress on.

I was ready for lunch, and just like I have the same breakfast, I usually have the same lunch too. Cottage cheese, and tomatoes for the win. I added the almonds today because they sounded good. This is the time of day I also take my vitamins.

After watching Aladdin and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood (at the same time) for a bit, London was done relaxing and off to find something better to do. She decided she wanted to play with some stickers, and had a certain set in mind. I was grateful that she was able to find them on her own. That is usually not the case

Soon after she was off to sorting her beads. She loves to organize her beads by size, shape, and color in anything thing she can get her hands on. Today she chose her kitchen.

Most days London will ask for a snack in the afternoon. Today she wanted some M&M's. I told her I would let her have the candy as long as she ate nuts and cherries with it too. She thought that would be fine, and I counted that as a win!

London had her snack while she watched a movie (one she picked on Netflix) while I did some scrapbooking. It is our usual afternoon activity.

London no longer takes regular naps. She only really takes one on days that she really needs one. Most days she needs just a little snuggle in the afternoon, and I always have time for a snuggle.

Tony got home around 6:00 and decided he wanted to go out to Cabela's to look for some new camping shoes. He went up to change his clothes, and London was close behind him. It is pretty normal for London to keep him company after work.

No luck with the shoes, but London loved looking at all the animals, so it wasn't a complete loss.

As soon as we got home it was time for dinner, past time actually. Most meals are a struggle for London. Often times Tony and I are still sitting at the table well beyond our meal waiting for London to eat even half of hers. I remind myself to take deep breaths and think of the progress she has made. This is part of our story.

Soon after dinner Shea came over to get a haircut. He brought Nora and Rosey over with him, and London was happy to play fetch with them while I cut hair. 

If Tony is home at night, he usually puts London to bed. The boys wanted to clean the guns so I did night time routine. That includes changing into PJ's, brushing teeth, reading a book or two, and saying prayers before getting tucked into bed. 

After getting London to bed, I browsed the internet and uploaded all my photos from the day to the computer. Shea got called home around midnight and I decided to give Tony a quick haircut before going to bed. Super glad to have that chore done!