Top 12 Photos of 2012

1. Outside. It's become this child's mantra. And thankfully, we've learned together that this can be the best kept secret to spending the day home as a quasi-SAHM. February 2012

2. Swinging brings this sweet toddler just as many giggles now as it did his very first time. These moments make my heart so happy. February 2012

3. First haircut. March 2012

4. First Birthday. Not sure how this moment has come and gone so quickly. And now, we're preparing for Jackson's second birthday!! May 2012{photo}

5. We spent many moments this year at the farm watching Brandon fish. I love that we have the opportunity to share my family's farm with Jackson and that he too can have memories of time here. April 2012

6. Sometimes, motherhood is about the mess and learning to embrace it. March 2012

7. Brothers coming together is a great thing. End of story. May 2012

8. These two are my whole heart. We've grown so much as a family this year. It's safe to say my cup runneth over. May 2012

9. Refreshing joy of an innocent child. Also, a humbling reminder of sweet South Carolina summers. June 2012

10. Summer may be his favorite season. July 2012

11. Through laughter, life has been found in this year's grief. October 2012

12. Motherhood is the greatest blessing I'll ever know. November 2012

Five For Friday

1. That Toddler has stolen my heart. Oh and, he's managed to turn another month older.
2. Christmas is still happening in this house. My in-laws will be here tomorrow to begin our last leg of the Holiday.
3. I've been a bit short on words lately as I reflect on the year and plan for the one at hand.
4. Resolutions, adventures and undetermined awesomness lies ahead for this space.
5. Have I mentioned it's Friday and I'll have a babysitter all weekend? Yep, date night is in my future!

Happy Friday, friends!

Christmas Outtakes 2012

I couldn't have dreamt a more perfect Christmas. Sure, most of the day was spent in Santa jammies, sporting our new backpack. But really, the entire day was another reminder of how blessed this year has been.

Gifts were exchanged, Santa made his appearance, drinks were had and time with family was shared. It was a very merry Christmas indeed. We hope yours was as well.

From Our Family to Yours

Hoping this day is very merry for each of you!

To follow today's Christmas shenanigans find us on Instagram or Twitter!

What I Learned in Taking my Toddler to See Santa

1. Even if said Toddler has been roaming the house whispering "Ho,Ho" in that teeny deep voice of his, he will inevitably freeze when confronted with the big man.

2. I know for a fact the Santa we saw growing up was the real one and, ahem, much less creepy than this dude. The more I looked at this guy the more I questioned our visit to Santa.

Funnily enough, it's about the same reaction we got last year.


As we round out the last days before Christmas, I'm holding my family close and counting the many blessings this year has seen. I've surprised myself by enjoying a bit of time disconnected, which I'll continue to attempt in the days to come.

That being said, don't go running. I do have some sweet last minute Christmas recipes and crafts to share.

Silence & Support for Sandy Hook

Today, as a blogging community, we're coming together to ask support amongst each other and our readers for the Sandy Hook community. And while it's a day of silence I think a few quick thoughts are needed this morning:

To donate to the Newtown Youth and Family Services who are providing emergency counseling please follow this link. NYFS is currently assessing the needs of those in Newtown as far as volunteering and nonmonetary donations are concerned and will post details soon. 

If you're looking for even more ways to give back to Sandy Hook? I encourage you to visit this post from AP in which she shares some great shops and links who are contributing profits to Sandy Hook as well.

Oh Hai, It's Me, Elmo!

Before Jackson could even properly babble, I knew we'd be in for it the day he set his sights on the iPad. Over time, I tried to keep my ears open to other mama's recommendations for their go-to apps for toddlers. But the second my Toddler was frantically screaming and pointing to the iPad demanding immediate entertainment I was stumped.

The first thing that came to mind?

At just $.99 I jumped on the Elmo Calls app quickly. Since that fateful day, we've never looked back.

And now, Jackson requests Melmo {Elmo} on a daily basis. Cup in hand, iPad propped up, he's ready.

Not too fast though. While the app features multiple types of calls from Elmo, even voicemails, my Toddler is fixated on one call in particular. For now.

Jackson has always found sneezing funny, but Elmo? He's taken the hilarity to an all new level. This kid impatiently waits for Elmo to grab his tissue, take his deep breathe and finally sneeze. All the while he's looking at you motioning to his own nose.

Gets me every time. It's one of those moments that only a Toddler could make into a heartwarming moment, teaching us yet again about the little things. We've shared more giggles over this app than I could count.

If you've been searching for that app to grab your toddler's attention as he's bouncing off the walls in a restaurant, doctor's office and/or living room well, here ya go! At $.99 you won't regret it. I promise.

Have a favorite app? Let me know so I can test it out!

*linking up with Cassie for Mommy Brain Mixer

**I was in no way endorsed for this review on the Elmo Calls app and am in no way affiliated with their app. All opinions are mine. 


Seeing as I'm in a self-proclaimed {but-husband-agrees} funk, there's no better time for a little So What Wednesday with Shannon!

So, yeah, what if...

Blogger keeps screwing up the formatting of this post. 

Jackson woke up at 5:50 this morning. 

We've had Barney and Elmo babysitting recently. I'm sorry, but this mama needed a shower and our house had to be cleaned. Well, it really still needs to be cleaned {that's a whole other so what}. 

Our resident babysitter aka my mom has the flu. She's now offered to pay for a date night complete with babysitter funding :)

I haven't sent out our Christmas cards. They did at lest arrive yesterday!

I schedule out blog posts for the week and 98% of the time end up changing what is posted. 

Our Christmas tree fell over not once but twice this week. 

We never had any family photos taken this season. 

I still haven't had the chance for the classic baby with christmas lights photo session.

I've cut myself off from looking at the Zulily sales because I'll want to buy something and Santa has been more than kind to Jackson this year. 

Today feels like it should be Thursday!!! 

Join me in saying so what and leave a comment letting me know what you're saying SO WHAT to this week!
So What Wednesday


I've been stuck in a funk the last few days and I just can't shake it. It begins early in the morning with a screaming toddler who for whatever reason thinks this is the way to wake up right now. But other than that insane screaming, I really have no other reason to be in a funk, yet here I am.

After a laughable conversation with my best friend, she suggested continuing to remind myself why I'm happy. SO?

1. We're in the thick of the Christmas Season!

2. South Carolina has been gracing us with some beautiful weather. (yes, I get happy because of weather.)

3. My best friend will be arriving back in America SO soon.

4. This sweet blog of mine has some fun things in the works and giveaways already happening that I'm so grateful to be able to offer to my readers! (p.s. last day to enter the Blue Bird Bride Giveaway!)

5. After an uphill battle during the Fall season, things are finally winding down at work.

6. Christmas gifts have come together almost painlessly. And? I even have a surprise present for the husband!

7. Jackson got a perfect bill of health at the 3-month follow-up with our ENT yesterday.

8. In just over a month we'll be back in DC for the Inauguration.

9. Today is Wednesday. This is always cause for happiness, yes?

10. I am blessed with an amazing husband and child who love me to the moon and back.

Really, I could go on and on with little things on this list and perhaps that's what I need to do during the days right now. Getting in a funk during this time of year is just awful timing, but reading through these little things does bring a little cheer to my heart.

How do you get out of funk?

Christmas M&M Cookie Bars

Truth be told, I've never been to a cookie swap, but this Friday I'll be attending my first one! While I have a few classic recipes to turn to, it's always nice to try out new ones each season. When I found Jamielyn's recipe for M&M bars, I knew these would be a hit at any gathering!

Not only does this recipe fall under the "easy" category, it's also completely from scratch. No semi-homemade goodness this week, y'all.

Two things to know about this recipe ahead of time:
1. The "optional" glaze in the recipe is really mandatory.
2. Ensure you have a very tall glass of milk to accompany your M&M Bar. You've been warned. 

Oh and also? Be sure you have people to share this with or you will eat all of it! Enjoy!

M&M Cookie Bars
recipe from I {heart} Naptime

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2  tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cube butter (12 TB) softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
11 oz  bag mini baking M&M’s (save a few to go on top)

1. Combine flour, baking soda and baking powder in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
2. Mix together in a large bowl: sugar, brown sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla. Mix for about 1 minute, or until fluffy. Then slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients.
3. Fold in m&m’s and then place dough in a 13×9 baking sheet lined with foil. Then place a few M&M’s on top.
4. Bake at 325 for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes clean.
(Optional) For glaze: Combine 1 cup powdered sugar + 1 TB milk and drizzle over cookies once cooled.
i love you more than carrots

Looking Back & Moving Forward {Giveaway}

So, you didn't win my most recent giveaway for some Erin Condren spending money, but luckily, the sponsors at Two in Diapers have come together to offer another chance! 

We've teamed up to give you the chance to win a $25 Starbucks gift card and a $50 Erin Condren gift card! Have you seen Erin's Life Planners? They're absolutely to die for! And guess what else... they sell for $50! Yep... that was planned!

Before we get started, don't forget to pay a thank-you visit to these fabulous ladies:

Cassie from Live.Laugh.L0ve
Erin from The View From 510
Lena from Lena B, Actually
Jelli from Jellibean Journals
The last six months at Two In Diapers and The View From 510 have been a fantastic whirlwind! So today, join the sponsors of Two In Diapers in celebrating the past and planning the future!

Enter via the Rafflecopter below and good luck to you!

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High Five For Friday

This is my golden hour. The one hour every week that I usually manage to sneak in each Friday.

With my current office's flexible work schedule we're out by 3 pm on Fridays.  For me, this means getting  one/two hours a week to curl up with some coffee, a blog and the DVR. Just me and the dogs. Like before our days jumped into the current fast-forward mode parenthood creates.

My friends, this deserves a very big high five. So yeah. High Fives all around!

p.s. Have you entered my Blue Bird Bride Giveaway?! Go, now, it's as easy as clicking here :)

That Time My Baby Fever Never Broke

And just when I thought maybe I might be out of this dreadful baby fever season, I stumble across this sweet face while making Christmas cards...

In an instant I was a melted mommy puddle.

My mind can't even fathom this was almost five months ago. My how he's changed over the last 20 months. The very early stages of this little guy's second birthday party are in the works and I'm just all kinds of teary-eyed thinking about it.

But Baby Fever be damned because this mama has been given the red light to Baby #2. I'm going to need to find a newborn to snuggle with STAT.

Blue Bird Bride Giveaway

Just in time for the Holiday Party Season, Blue Bird Bride is here to share some of her jewelry with the Five Ten readers! Featuring necklaces, bracelets, earrings and more there's a bit of everything {and in every color}.

The Blue Bird Bride shop is full of classic pieces perfect for a day at work or a night on the town. Forget purchasing for others, you know you've been eyeing that bubble necklace all season! Why not grab one for yourself before the year ends?

Keep up with Blue Bird Bride via Facebook and receive 15% off at checkout when using the code "FALL2012".

Now it's time to get your entries in! Follow the Rafflecopter prompt below for your chance to win a $20 Gift Card to the shop! Good luck and happy shopping, y'all!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I was not compensated for this review or giveaway. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

New Year Giveaway Event: Call for Sponsors

Great, big, huge EXCITING news y'all!

My friend Sarah from It's a Vol! and I are teaming up this January to bring our readers a ton of great giveaways in our Celebrating The New Year Giveaway event! We are so excited about what 2013 is bringing for us and for our families and we want to share it with all of our fans!

We've got a bunch of great sponsors for some awesome reviews and giveaways lined up already, but we are looking for a few more! We want this to be the best event yet!

Do you have a great company you would like to see promoted? Do you own an ETSY shop and want more exposure? Do you have a fledgling business you want to see grow? Do you need to increase your direct sales numbers?

Then this event is for you!

Here's a little insight as to the exposure you could gain: It's a Vol has over 650 GFC followers, 300 Facebook fans and 850 Twitter followers and Google PR of 3 and see 30,000+ pageviews per month. The View From 510 has 741 GFC followers, 1271 Facebook fans, 1,123 Twitter followers, a Google PR of 2 and sees 7,000+ pageviews per month.

We would love to use our resources to promote you and your business! If you would like to sponsor the Celebrating The New Year Giveaway Event please contact me at magnoliamom365 {at} gmail {dot} com, on Facebook or Twitter!

2013 is going to be a great year y'all! Let's kick it off with a bang!

Christmas Book Advent Calendar: What We're Reading

There's no secret Advent Book Calendars have taken the blogeshpere by storm, and this household is no different. I'm sure this idea was around long before Pinterest and Blogging, but I'm going to credit this festive idea to Jennifer from Life in the Green House.

Her post last year inspired me to hit some post-Christmas sales and start our very own book collection. Now, I sit here in front of a pile of books ready for my little one's unwrapping and reading pleasure.

For those of you who may not have heard of an Advent Book Calendar, the general idea is to gather 25 Christmas books, wrap them and then each day leading up to Christmas have your child open one and read it together. Easy enough, right?

Well, there are few catches to creating the perfect Advent Book Calendar I've found so far:

1. Do not run out and buy your books right now. No. Wait until after Christmas then hit every book store in your city. In fact, wait a week after Christmas and you'll find items are doubly discounted. I did not spend over $5 on any book. Don't under estimate how quickly 25 books will add up. We're all on budgets.

2. Take time to read the books before you purchase them. I'm not telling you to overanalyze every single Christmas story ever told. Just flip through and read the stories. I was in awe of how many awful story-lines I found in some of the book selections.

3. Think ahead. What age will your child be next Christmas? Will they prefer board books, touch & feel books, Curious George books? Keep in mind, there will be some books you can reuse and others that may be too young for them by next year.

Here are a few books Jackson will be reading this year:

What's your favorite Christmas book? I'd love some recommendations to add to our collection!

North Pole Breakfast 2012

It was about this time last year when I became inspired to plan this North Pole Breakfast memory for our family. I ran across this blog post and knew this was a tradition we'd carry on for years.

Sure enough our first year is one for the books.

Not only did our breakfast kick off the beginning of the Christmas season in our house, we also introduced Jackson to The Elf on the Shelf. After sifting through hundreds of pins last year and debating whether or not I loved or loathed the Elf and his antics, I've landed on love. And for now, since Jackson is still so young, our Elf will be keeping things relatively chill.

Now? Onto our sugary collection of breakfast yummies!

Gathering sweets for a North Pole Breakfast really doesn't have to be difficult. Grab some Krispy Kreme Powder Donuts, Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls and Duncan Hines Brownies.

Really, whatever menu you choose, there's no doubt your little ones will gobble up those sweets!

As we munched on our goodies, I talked to Jackson about Santa and Christmas and his new Elf who'll be joining us for the next few weeks. He listened, he babbled and he at a ton of food. Like a lot.

He may or may not really be up to speed with the actual Elf thing but I figure repetition will be key.
As per usual in toddler life.

The rest of our day was spent in a sugar coma enjoying ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas movie specials. We didn't change out pj's all day. We shared snuggles on the couch.  We trimmed the trees. Decked the halls. And

As predicted, Christmas Jolly is bursting from the seams of our view here at Five Ten. Breakfast bloopers and Five Ten Christmas details ahead this week. The Christmas Holidays are officially here, y'all! Just ignore the flip-flop weather :)

If you've been thinking of doing a North Pole Breakfast, I highly recommend it. Hop over to my Elf on The Shelf Pin Board for more breakfast and elf ideas. 

printable courtesy of: Lil Luna