December 2017

Countdown to Christmas!

The countdown is on! Just a few days to go, friends! ….are you excited?!?!

We are in full Christmas spirit around here. It’s been a busy month, so let’s catch up.

Right after Thanksgiving, Our scout elf, Mr. Elf, flew back from the North Pole. He brought Liam a Disney Tsum Tsum Advent Calendar. It’s been really fun watching him open the door each day & see what new character he discovers.

Mr. Elf also brought a letter from Santa. Liam was able to read most of it himself this year, so that was pretty cool.

We decked the house out in our season’s best decorations. I have to say I am proud of how the front door turned out this year. I finally decided to buy fresh arrangements to display & am really loving it! Clearly, Timber is too πŸ™‚Β  — lol!

With Liam getting bigger, it was harder to lift him to place the star on the top of the tree, but he insisted. We did good with the tree staying nice & decorated for that first weekend. I actually thought that Simba was going to leave it alone this year. Well… I was wrong. On the 3rd day, as we were getting ready for work / school, I heard the jingle of ornaments. I came into the living room only to find him flying out of the tree at me. At this point, we’re just trying to keep it looking decent. No breakable ornaments were placed on it this year, so at least there’s that.

Toward the beginning of the month, we enjoyed a date night for a holiday party with all of Stephen’s work peeps — the Orlando Claims Association Holiday Gala. Always a fun time!

The next morning, we were all up early for Breakfast with Santa at Liam’s school. The theme this year was the Polar Express, so he wore his PJ’s & had hot chocolate. It was super cute!

We didn’t slow down that day ….in the afternoon, we headed over to the Bengel’s for our SEVENTH Annual Gingerbread Decorating Party. This really is a great time with all our friends & the kiddos. Stephen & Lisa took their game up a notch this year & decorated a manor. They are crazy!!

We took time out during one of our busy weeknights to check out Light Up UCF. We have made it a point to stop by there the last few years when the reindeer come, so we didn’t want to miss it this year. We all think they are kinda magical in the true Christmas spirit πŸ™‚ ….and, Liam LOVES riding down the ice slide there!

Last weekend, my dad & stepmom (Papa G & G ma) came down & we headed to Animal Kingdom for the day. It was fun to show them the park for the 1st time, as they had never been, and also check out their holiday decorations. Stephen ended up getting pretty sick, so sadly, he missed out on the fun that day.

The safari ride is one of our favorite things of all the parks. I feel like you can always see something unique or different. That day, the elephants were so close & the hippos looked adorable sunbathing!

We finally rode on the Wildlife Express Train & discovered Rafiki’s Planet Watch. I’m not even sure how we kept doing it, but until this visit to the park, we kept completely missing this. So, this was our very 1st time back there. It is awesome!! The train ride is great, there’s character experiences and this petting zoo area is so neat! We will definitely be adding this to our itinerary for future visits.

Great weather & a great day ❀

As we wrapped up this last week, Liam had his Winter Holiday Show at school. His music teacher, Mr. Mason, worked with all the kiddos to learnΒ  Christmas songs with choreography. We just love it!

On Wednesday, it was Ugly Christmas Sweater Day for Liam at school. I am normally not very crafty for making these type of things, but I tried my best based on what he requested. We planned it out & it took me awhile (& a few pin!), but I think it turned out pretty good…or pretty ugly, right? πŸ˜‰

Last, but most certainly not least, we took our annual PJ pictures by the Christmas tree. We tried to get both Timber & Simba this year with Liam, but Simba (as you can imagine for a cat) was not cooperating. Actually, in Timber’s pic below, Simba is behind them….you just can’t see it. Haha! This pic of Simba is as good as it gets.

This year’s pic of these two boys is a little bittersweet. Timber sleeps a lot these days….we actually had to wake him up to do this pic, so he was pretty groggy in this one. He’s in great spirits, still, but he’s our little old man. His most recent visit with our amazing vet revealed he does have kidney disease now. We have been watching his numbers slowly go up in his blood work for a few months now, so it’s not a shock to us…but still is not the news we wanted. We are working with the vet to do all that we can to help him & give him the best for as long as we can ❀

It’s almost Merry Christmas Eve, friends!! I am really looking forward to seeing little man’s excitement over these next few days!

Until next time,

December 2016

It’s Christmas Time!

As we wrap up this 1st full week of December, I am definitely feeling the Christmas spirit all around. Maybe part of it is because decorations have been out in the stores since August….#kiddingnotkidding

No, but really, we were completely excited to break out the holiday decor as soon as we wrapped up Thanksgiving. It was a busy weekend after coming home from my dad’s for Turkey Day, so it took us a bit longer than I had planned to get everything up, but the house is looking festive now ❀ …Of course, the kitty is keeping us VERY busy with his mischief & antics with the Christmas tree.


Last week, we kicked off the season with our annual Gingerbread Decorating Party. This is always a great time with our friends. A few of us girls gathered together a couple nights before the party to put all the houses together & have a few laughs πŸ™‚


Liam was excited to get to work on his house. It was hard to even snap some of the pics this year because almost every time you asked him to stop and ‘say cheese’…he would reply with “I can’t, I’m busy.” …hilarious!


I might have bribed him to get this pic ❀


This was his, ‘can I eat another piece of candy?’ face πŸ™‚


He wanted to spread the icing himself this year and he picked out all the candies. He’s getting to be so big and he’s very creative. He also knows exactly how he wants things to be & look.




And, of course, as soon as the kiddos wrapped up, the big kids jumped in. Lisa & Stephen have gotten very serious about their joint decorating adventure over the last few years. It’s quite amusing!


We joked around this year that this party is going to turn into the kids just playing & only the adults decorating houses. Hahaha!


I have to say that their house turned out pretty amazing! They were impressed with themselves, too, as you can see from their pic below πŸ™‚


The Bengel’s neighborhood has a cool Santa that comes by, and the night of our party was actually the night he came! It was SO exciting for everyone.


We grabbed all the kids really quick and headed out front. Santa came up the driveway, greeted everyone, and gave each kiddo a little box filled with small trinkets & candy. It was so sweet ❀


Afterwards, we headed inside & had our gift exchange for the kids with a few of our friends.


Liam was stoked — he got his 1st NERF gun! ….P.S., Daddy was too πŸ˜‰


We’ve really enjoyed attending our new church home this past year, as I’ve mentioned in past posts. It’s such a blessing to share a deeper learning and understanding Β of the Advent season with Liam.

We had a guest speaker, Brad Gray, last Sunday for the 1st of a two-part series about the meaning of Advent. Let me tell you ….it was so good!! He covered so much education & history about the Bible and what was happening in the world at the time of Jesus’ birth. I honestly had no idea. I can’t wait to hear the rest of his message this weekend!

It’s called the Fullness of Time and I highly recommend you take a listen, as it’s available onlineΒ HERE


Sunday morning, before church, Liam popped up & immediately declared he had to write his letter to Santa. So, that’s what we did ❀

Had to grab a pic of these two putting the star on top of the tree πŸ™‚


It felt good to finally have the house decorated by the end of the week. This pic is kinda dark, but the living room looks so cozy with just the glow of the Christmas lights & the fireplace.


Some of our other decorations….and Christmas cookies about to bake!


Can’t forget the outside decor, too!


And, this gem! If you read my last post, you know we went to see the big guy last month, so I’ve been saving this for awhile now. We LOVE our Santa at our local mall. Liam was a little nervous again this year, but he went up to him without any forcing. He asked him for Hot Wheels. Afterwards, you could see the excitement in his eyes, and he said to me, ‘that wasn’t bad at all‘.


We have a lot to look forward to this month & much to share! This is truly a magical time. Especially when you share it through the eyes of a child. Hope that your Christmas season is off to a fantastic start, as well!

Β Until next time, friends!

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December 2015, Latest & Greatest News

How to Host a {Stress-Free} Gingerbread Decorating Party

Hi Friends!

I’m sharing some holiday fun over on Orlando Moms Blog. I hope you will check it out πŸ™‚


You can link to the full article HERE


I am all about having fun with my kiddo at the holidays and making memories to last a lifetime. What I am not about, however, is stressing myself out in the process. One tradition we enjoy each holiday is getting together to decorate gingerbread houses. Over the years, we’ve perfected the process to make it as simple as possible, so today, I’m sharing my tips with you!

Happy Reading!

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December 2014, Latest & Greatest News

The Aftermath {A Gingerbread Tale}

The story I am about to tell is true. No names have been changed to protect the innocent. The guilty party is the cute, furry boy below. Perhaps, he was mad at me for putting him in the santa suit??? πŸ˜‰

santa boo

Last Wednesday, I told you all about our gingerbread house decorating adventures from the weekend prior. If you didn’t get a chance to see our pics, be sure to check it out here. Let’s just say that I am SO HAPPY that we took pictures of Liam with his masterpiece that night because what transpired a few days laterΒ could NEVER have been imagined by us πŸ˜‰


Stephen stopped home for lunch on Tuesday…..opened the front door & saw a gingerbread masacre all over the entryway. O.M.G.!!

You see, we had to move our loveseat couch in order to put up the Christmas tree, and so it ended up underneath the bar {as you can see below}. When we came home with the gingerbread house on Saturday night, I put it on a glass plate and placed it on the corner of the bar {for decoration}. It honestly never, ever crossed my mind that our little stinker of a fur baby would literally walk up from the arm of the loveseat and PULL THE GINGERBREAD OFF THE BAR!! hahahahahahaha! I am sorry, but when Stephen texted me these pictures, I laughed so hard, I cried. I guess it just smelled too good to resist for him. Too much temptation for the little guy.

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Miraculously, the plate did NOT fall off the couch. Also, let me just tell you that Timber is FINE ….he had an upset belly and went potty A LOT that night but I am sure he thought it was totes worth it πŸ˜‰

This pic below is lovely candy cane stuck to my couch. Gotta luv it!

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Stephen’s observations reported that a good majority of a wall of the house was gone. We had also put a ton of frosting on the roof and covered that with shredded coconut to make it look like snow….Timber did a number to that πŸ˜‰ ….we think he also ate a half a candy cane.

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The sweetest part of the story is that Liam wasn’t even mad when he found out later that afternoon. For a very short time, we tried to not tell him, but he’s too smart { and observant} for that. He quickly asked, “and, where is my gingerbread house” ….so, we were honest and told him the truth. He was more concerned about Timber having an upset belly and wanted to give him a hug. Such a sweet boy ❀

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Oh, gingerbread house… were cute while you lasted!! I am sure Timber enjoyed how you tasted, though! Never a dull moment in Casademurphy, folks! We are definitely feeling the Christmas spirit around here πŸ˜‰

Until next time, friends!


December 2014, Latest & Greatest News


Last Friday, we had the amazing opportunity to go to the Marvel Universe LIVE! show at the Amway Center.

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Don’t have to tell you that little man was pretty captivated πŸ˜‰ ….full show review with fun pics coming soon on Orlando Mom’s Blog!

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Saturday, we were excited for our Annual Gingerbread House Decorating Party with our gang! I can’t believe this is the 5th year we’ve gotten together to do this. So fun!

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For a look back on last year’s festivities, check out our post here.

BEFORE the craziness
BEFORE the craziness

Lisa is AMAZING because she collects ALL the gingerbread house kits from us beforehand and works hard to build them & puts together this beautiful spread for the families. All we have to do is show up & have fun πŸ™‚



Daddy & Liam kicked off the decorating.

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Someone might have been eating more candy than what was going on the house, at one point πŸ˜‰

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Working hard…..

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Mommy helping out with the action

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All done & proud of his work of art ❀

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So much fun!!

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And then, peeps…..there was this πŸ˜‰

Lisa & Stephen continued their crazy {yet hilarious} tradition of decorating their own house after the kids wrapped things up. Let me tell you….it was serious business. They even recruited Haven this time around to help them.

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Gettin’ crazy!! LOL! πŸ™‚

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Ta da! ….they are not proud or anything…ha!

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The Bengel’s neighborhood has a fun tradition in December of a surprise visit by Santa. We were thrilled that he came by after the party…great timing!! Liam was SO surprised that he came all the way down from the North Pole just to say hi to them! πŸ™‚

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After that, he discovered the Bengel’s Polar Express choo-choo train {again} & that was all she wrote, folks. If you recall, he found this last year & we couldn’t pull him away. He LOVES trains!

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It was a fantastic evening at our Gingerbread Party with friends!! We laughed that we’ll be doing this each year until at some point, the kids will be sick of it and it will be just the adults on the patio decorating the houses πŸ˜‰ …

Until next time, friends!


December 2013, Latest & Greatest News

Visions of Sugar Plums

Here comes Santa Claus, Here Comes Santa Claus….yes, friends, last week we tackled a visit with the big man, himself. I have to admit that we were skeptical going into it as to whether or not we would find success, as last year was NOT a winner {there is no pic …MANY tears were shed}. Also, thinking back to his 1st Christmas in 2011, I wasn’t sure we could top that Santa pic ~ it was epic by my mommy standards & totes adorbs!! Here’s a look back on that one before I get to this year’s:


Back to this year’s adventure, we decided to go after work on Wednesday. My original plan was to see Santa at Millenia, but time is precious & since we’ve had luck with Oviedo in the past, we decided to give it another whirl there. Amazingly, no one else was in line when we arrived. Liam was in great spirits UNTIL we got up to Santa. Then, it was not fun & games. We didn’t want to be “those parents” who force a crying kid pic. HA! The photographer was super nice and since no other family happened to be waiting, she was able to work with us for a short time to get Liam comfortable to sit next to Santa. I want to note {in the most hilarious way} that Santa was NOT allowed to touch Liam. Snoopy even had to act as a safety barrier. Notice in these pics below that no part of Santa is touching Mr. Liam. LOL! We tried a few different poses but Liam caught on every time. Overall, I would say we had pretty good success and these came out really cute. Such the little man!


ok, Santa, you can read me a quick story….


impromptu family shot….


Next up, we had the super fun, 4th Annual — Bengel Gingerbread House Decorating Party!!

The 1st year I was just newly pregnant and I honestly don’t even think I realized it at that point. 2nd year, Liam was just a few months old and we were just there to have a good time πŸ™‚ …3rd year / last year, we decorated a house together but he had no idea what was happening. So, this year I was a little more excited to do it. I knew he still wouldn’t fully grasp the concept but could still have fun with it.

I have to say I was surprised that as Stephen & I began showing Liam how to decorate the house, and choose the candy that he wanted to put on it, he began TO.EAT.THE.CANDY — our child does not really like candy OR chocolate, so you can imagine our surprise when he began shoveling the M&M’s in his little mouth. HaHa! What a kid!

Let me also mention that little man had spied the Bengel’s super cool Polar Express Electric Choo-Choo Train that circles their Christmas tree when we walked into their house. Sooo, the whole time we did the gingerbread house, we kept hearing, “i wanna play choo-choo” …hahaha. Niiiice!!

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train-tastic!! Now THIS is where Liam spent a LOT of time after we finished his house. While the adults chatted in the kitchen, we just kept hearing the whirling of the train going around the track πŸ™‚

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Both sides of the Murphy’s finished house!!

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Buuut….let us not forget…

After all the kiddos where done with their houses and playing in the house, I went back out on the patio and this is what we found:

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Stephen & Lisa were decorating the leftover {pink} house and let me just tell you…it was INTENSE. Here’s what they came up with:

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These two are already planning next year’s masterpiece….sad or exciting? not sure yet …LOL


Always fun times with these crazy friends!! Love ’em