My Favorites:

Christmas Card Display: I love how simple this card display was.  I was pinning thing after thing, and nothing was quite right until I decided on this.

Interview with a 5-Year-Old: Our yearly Q&A is always fun for me!

Bathroom Makeover:  I have wanted to do this for 2 years, finally done!

Learning to Mow: I still hate it.

DIY Color Block Vase: I tried dumpster diving


Most Read:

Pickle Wrap Dip: yum.

No-Sew Roman Shades: Easy lil’ DIY project


All the Christmas decorations are down.  The gifts have found homes.  The wrapping paper was been thrown out and HJ is already working on his list for next year.

cmas colla

We kicked off Christmas week with dinner at my parents on Tuesday night.  The kids had fun ripping into presents and running around the house.  The next morning was spent at my grandparent’s house.  All of the great-grandkids ran around anticipating opening gifts and playing outside (In Iowa, in December!).  We also had the official duck raffle, and another year has gone by that it does not have to be displayed at our house. *It is a hideously wood carved duck dressed like an angel that I gave my grandpa as a gift years ago.  Each year, everyone gets a ticket and it is raffled off.  The winning family has to have it on display all year….my mom won this year.

That night, HJ and I read The Night Before Christmas and put cookies out for Santa.

The next morning, HJ ripped into his new gifts.  He was so excited with each and everyone.  Even the dog received a bone in his stocking, and ate it all immediately.


Christmas is always my favorite time of the year.  I love the cozy decorations, family time and generosity of the communities.  I hope you all had a blessed Christmas!

In our house, the stockings are hung by the doorway with care.  We don’t have a chimney.  This poses a slight problem for how Santa is supposed to shimmy down the chimney and place goodies in our stockings.

Thankfully, tonight our Elf is delivering a little help for us.  Santa has a magic key.  He got in the dollar section at Michael’s, along with a wood box that was stained and lined with red felt.  The elf will leave this for us to place by the door.  That way, Santa is able to get into the house with no trouble and snack on some scrumptious cookies.


The elf is also leaving a little story, letting us know about the key, and reminding us of the true meaning of the season.

Dear Santa,

This magic key works just for you, so open the door and come on through.  Thank you for coming to our house tonight, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  Thank you Santa for the gifts you bring, and thank you Lord for everything.

I love when the Elf leaves us magical surprises and can’t wait to see HJ wake up to find our magic key.


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!