It has taken me a while to figure out the best way to display all the wonderful Christmas Cards we get.  Last year, they hung from a ribbon on the door.  I have tried a ribbon on cabinets, and a few other things, but nothing looked “right” in our house.  Until this year.

I hung some evergreen on a wall in the kitchen.  I was able to use command strips and floral wire to get it to stay on the wall with no problems.  I then embellished it with a strand of colorful ornaments, and added paperclips.  As the mail comes in, the cards are hung onto the evergreen.

I love how festive it is, and I know this wall is going to look bare come January.  I truly love receiving Christmas cards in the mail and watching all of the families grow year after year.



I should have known it was inevitable, but I caught the virus HJ had.  It started Monday night.  I was feeling decent, and all of a sudden I felt like I was getting something.  Within an hour, I had a fever.  My fever has stayed between 100-101 since Monday night.  I also have a body shaking cough, and no appetite what-so-ever.

Monday night, I was unable to throw dinner together since I felt so horrible.  HJ made himself a peanut butter sandwich and washed an apple, while I laid on the couch.  Around 7:45, I told him I needed to go to bed.  I got him ready for bed, turned the sleep timer on my tv and said, “when the tv turns off, it’s time for bed”.

Last night was a repeat.

HJ has put himself to bed for 2 nights in a row.  The poor kid is taking care of his mama.  I have been too exhausted to do much of anything, so I am so relieved my baby has been able to take care of himself.  Now, I just need to get better!

There isn’t much that will suddenly make me wide awake at 2am.  One thing that will, is having my child laying next to me and realizing he is burning up.

We were visiting my sister and staying in their guest room when I noticed HJ was shivering next to me.  I reach over to touch him and find out he is HOT.  I grab a thermometer and discover it is 103.8.  I wake my sister up to get some ibuprofen (thanks sis!) and lay with a cool cloth on his forehead.  I continue to take his temp every half hour and discover it to be slowly creeping down for four hours.  When the meds wear off, it shoots right back up.

We packed up quickly in the morning to head home.  I called HJ’s doctor and discover it is a virus going around, and he should be good in a few days.

This afternoon, I didn’t give him any meds to see what would happen.  It went up to about 102 by 5:30pm, and I gave in and gave him more meds as he looked miserable.

Luckily, my mom is going to take over for me tomorrow.  I have a new boss starting at work, so was quite worried I was going to have to be gone on her first day.

I am hoping HJ will be back in school by Tuesday, because I know he will be stir crazy by then.

This evening, I have some neighbors heading over for a cookie swap.  It is a great way to eat chocolate and drink Christmas cheer.  Everyone is bring cookies to swap. I made Salted Caramel Chocolate cookies.

IMG_3535It’s chocolate and caramel.  That’s all that you need to know it is wonderfully tasty.  If I had been more concerned, I would have drizzled a little prettier and purchased a coarser salt to sprinkle on top.

choc caramel

They taste best warmed up, so the caramel is nice and melted.  Enjoy!


6 Itty Bitty Sentences That Remind Me To Talk A Little Nicer To Myself With My Inner Monologue

You know those days where everything seems to crumble before you?  Where you feel like you are trying your very best, but your best just isn’t good enough?  Where your child tries to comfort you because he walked in on you trying to hide your tears?  Where you can easily turn people’s comments into things they didn’t mean?  When you finally feel like screaming, “I GIVE!” and hope an answer falls in your lap?

Sometimes the front I put up seems to fall apart and I am unsure how to move forward.  Sometimes I just want to pack my family in the car and drive far away.  Sometimes I wonder how I ended up where I am, and why I feel constantly tested.  Sometimes I wish my life seemed as easy as other people’s.

God is

Now that winter is upon us, I have to find ways to keep HJ entertained while being cooped up indoors.  I like to come up with fun, new activated for us to do that keep us away from the TV.

This past week, we made moon sand.


We took flour and baby oil, and mixed it up (take about 4 cups flour to 1/2 cup baby oil).  If the sand isn’t molding well, add more baby oil.  If the sand feels oily, add more flour.  We made about a triple batch, threw it in the water table and played in the kitchen (I did put a sheet down first).  HJ had a blast racing his trucks around and building hills.  Plus, it smells good.

When we were done playing, I threw it in a  Tupperware container, and ran a vacuum over the tiled floor.


I have a feeling this activity will be going on many times throughout this winter!


My goal this month is to relax…so, I have been trying hard to do just that.

Once HJ goes to bed at night, I haven’t been running around the house as much.  I have been reading, sipping tea and going to bed before 10:30.  This week, I finished Shopaholic to the Stars, by Sophie Kinsella.  I did like the book, it was a quick read.  However, I don’t feel it was as good as the other books in the series.  I loved the first one, where she was struggling and trying to manage a budget.  Maybe because I could relate.  Now, she can afford all the stuff she gets.  And, I am jealous.

I started Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes.  I have been trying to snag this book at the library for months now and it was finally available.  I can see why it was so popular, because so far I love it.  I can’t wait to see what happens and find myself even trying to read it while getting ready for work (it’s tricky to do).

HJ and I made a fabulous crockpot soup, Chicken Tortilla.  The recipe even said it can freeze, so half of it went straight into the freezer for another night.  And, it was simple to throw together!

Hopefully I will have some time this weekend to write about what we have been up to.  It has been fun…we even had courtside tickets to a basketball game!



One of my favorite Christmas traditions is one that I always wanted to do if I were to have children.   It was to start a Christmas Ornament Box for my child.

Every year, I think of something “special” that happened, a big moment for the child.  I then find a Christmas ornament that matches that moment, put a little card with it marked with the year and explain why that moment was chosen, and put it all in a plastic bin.

When the child moves out of the home and has their own tree to decorate, they are presented with the Christmas ornament box.

It is a way to help fill their tree with meaningful things, and hopefully they will see it as something wonderful to look back on.



Pictured above is HJ’s “first Christmas” ornament.  I ordered a second one to put in his ornament box back in 2009.  His ornament for 2010 was a University of Northern Iowa ornament to symbolize our move from Des Moines to Cedar Falls.  In 2011, I selected a truck ornament to match his big boy bedding.  This was to symbolize our move into our first “real” house.

2012, I picked a fish ornament.  It took months to rid HJ of his binky habit.  The only thing that convinced him to get rid of the binky, was to get a fish.

This past Christmas, I included a Disney World ornament because of our fun family vacation.

The ornament for this year is a wooden, two-wheel bike.

Christmas Tree Ornament/Gift Tag -- BICYCLE, Aqua Blue -- OV10

This year, my little boy grew up so much.  He no longer needs training wheels, he has learned so much, and is growing daily before my eyes.

It is so fun to pull out the box of ornaments every year and reminisce about all the ornaments and what they mean.


The final month of the year, December.  I have really loved having these monthly goals.  However, I feel like I started the year off being much more motivated with all of my goals.  By August-ish, I was a little more lazy with it.  Which brings me to my November recap.

I started the month strong.  I edited all of my pictures for the year and began a photo book.  The first 2 pages went rather quickly.  And then I quit.  I am not sure why.  Life got in the way, and I still have work to do on it.  I do think getting all of the pictures uploaded and edited is much more time-consuming then the book itself, so at least the hard part is complete.

Here is a recap of all of my monthly goals so far…

November: Start 2014 Photo Book

October: Night Out

September: 100 Miles

August: Back on Track

July: Get a Budget

June: Stay Unplugged

May: Run a 5K

April: Beautiful Nails

March: Get Organized

February: Picture Projects

January: Get Healthy


My goal for December is to RELAX.  December gets crazy.  It goes so fast, and there are so many things we try to accomplish.  I want to be able to enjoy and relax this holiday season.  Hopefully by having no goals in place, I will get ready to start again in 2015.


Pinterest always helps me find great, new recipes.  I usually try and research to see what ones have the best comments, that way I know they will be winners (after I experienced a few fails).  The other day, I was in the grocery store and decided it was perfect weather out for chili.  Only, I am not a HUGE fan because of the beans, I didn’t want spicy so HJ would like it, and I wanted to use the crockpot to make it simple.

Luckily, I came across this recipe.  I loved that most of the ingredients were canned, I only had to brown the meat (I also threw in some chopped onion).  While working in restaurants, I learned the key to great chili is using condensed tomato soup as a base, which this recipe had.  In addition, it called for a can of creamed corn.  I figured this would add some flavor and HJ loves corn.

And it is officially my go-to chili.  It was wonderful.  With my small family, I was even able to throw half of it in the freezer, which means dinner is already ready for another time.