Decorating favorites

I have boxes (and boxes and boxes) of Christmas decorations. And a limited space to decorate. Also small children who further limit what I can put out and where. Point is, I switch out what I get out year to year. Maybe someday when the kids are older I’ll make our house look like a Christmas store. But not this year! 

Anyway. Here’s a couple of favorite things I put out this year. I know they don’t really match (and they kind of make me hate the wall color in the living room) but I love them. 

Because how can you not love glittery trees & a light up joy sign?

Now. Show me your favorite decorations! 


Try again next year

Growing up we would sometimes string cranberries and marshmallows to put on the Christmas tree. (A couple times we tried to sting popcorn, but that nonsense is HARD.) Anyway! I always thought it was fun, so last year I decided to do it with the kids. Recreate the memories and all that. It was…interesting. I didn’t think about how sticky fresh marshmallows would be and WHOA they are sticky. And then I forgot to put them on the tree before the ornaments so I used them as a garland instead. At least, I used them as a garland for a few days until Lydia ate most of it.

This year I was determined to do better. I opened the marshmallows early so they would get stale! I reminded everyone like a dozen times that the garland needed to go on the tree before ornaments! I had the kids all amped up to do it! And the stringing part did go better. The marshmallows were much easier to string stale, and I made sure not to make the strings too long (another issue we had last year.) But them everything seemed…sticky. The cranberries were dripping juice. EVERYWHERE. Turns out this was my fault. I bought the cranberries early and then put them in the freezer. And thawing cranberries drip juice everywhere! So I learned today! So our beautiful garland is currently outside on our deck where it will probably be eaten by squirrels and/or birds. (I should probably throw it away.) 

Anyway. Next year! Third time’s a charm! If I screw things up again next year I probably won’t ever do this again. 


Brian smoked our turkey, I made pumpkin pies (with a very messy first attempt at butter crust. Tasted fine. Kind of a disaster to make.) and we had all the delicious sides that Thanksgiving needs. So no cranberry sauce, because nobody needs that. Everything was EXCELLENT, so obviously the big hit of the meal were the pillsbury croissants. Whatever, more leftovers for me! (Will wouldn’t even eat pumpkin pie. That he asked for. Only the whipped cream.)

Now I’m in bed watching Netflix and wondering how soon is too soon to start eating leftovers. 


The weather has finally turned cold after a never ending summer. (Seems we basically skipped fall.) I put flannel sheets on the beds today and I’m getting out all the Christmas stuff on Friday. I don’t know that I’ve ever been SO READY for the Christmas season to start. 

As always, my mom got the kids each a new ornament! We’ll bust those out on Friday too. For Kalena, a Candyland ornament, because somehow she manages to win every time. (From Hallmark)

For Will, a light up BB8. Because STAR WARS. (Disney store)

For Daniel, a talking Mater, because he has been especially fond of Mater’s Tall Tales on Netflix. He loves trucks. (Hallmark)

And for Lydia, this sweet little snowman, because it makes me think of her loving her bear. (Also Hallmark)

And I got this for myself, because BOOKS! (From Amazon)


I kind of hate grocery shopping. I used to like it! When we were first married, Brian and I would go grocery shopping together every Saturday, and it was very nice. These days I go alone, because we aren’t crazy. And I have to go on Saturdays because I can’t take the kids. I mean, theoretically I could, but both Daniel and Lydia still have to ride in the cart if I have any chance of accomplishing anything, and that leaves zero room for actual food. I can generally get away with shopping every other weekend, although I usually have to go to at least 3 stores. 

Anyway, today was a grocery shopping day. I was extra prepared with a list (usually I don’t make a list, I just wing it based on what we have in the house and what I know the kids eat) since I didn’t want to forget anything for Thanksgiving! But as I shopped I discovered that the store was out of green beans (for green bean casserole) and mini marshmallows (for stringing with cranberries for the tree) and disposable roasting pans (for turkey, obvs) and canned pumpkin. And listen, I could maybe have lived without the other stuff, but WE ARE HAVING PUMPKIN PIE.

Back to the store on Monday.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming

How about an ornament tutorial? Great. 

I signed up for a felt ornament swap this year and decided to make snowflakes. And of course the ones I really liked (found on Pinterest, obviously) were just pictures, no instructions on how to make them, so I just guessed! Fun times.

I like how they turned out though!

So here’s what I did. Instead of cutting 6 individual points I cut 3 on the fold, like so:  

I cut one out as a patten, but I wasn’t super picky about symmetry or measuring (as you can see.)

Next I put a line of hot glue down the center of the narrow part. 

Then folded that in half and bent it at an angle. 

So you end up with 3 pieces that look like this: 

Then I cut out a very precise (no) circle to glue those 3 pieces on to. Here’s the front & back after gluing. 

The cutting on the points was just freehand, a SHARP pair of scissors is key to this projects. Seriously. If you try to do this with regular scissors you’ll just end up hating yourself. (I have fabric scissors that I hide from the family. Regular scissors in the kitchen for everyone, fabric scissors ONLY FOR ME.)

I tried a few things with the beads, this was the way I liked them best. The clear beads hold two points together to help the snowflake hold its shape, but it’d be fine without them. Blue beads are purely decorative. (Also, they are sewn on, but you could probably hot glue them too.) Then I glued on a loop of embroidery thread on the back to hang it from. 
Anyway, VOILA! Here’s the same picture I put at the start. 

Cute, right?


In 2013 we carved pumpkins. Kalena gagged every time she touched the innards, so I had to scoop her pumpkin. And Will was not quite 4, so I also had to scoop his. Then I also had to carve both pumpkins, because I’m the lady who thought carving pumpkins with a 3 year old & a 5 year old was a good idea. (Actually, I think I carved Will’s and someone else carved Kalena’s.)

Fortunately I learned my lesson and we skipped jack-o-lanterns for the next 2 years. This year I decided to try again. I told them I was not doing the work and if they didn’t want to we could skip the whole thing next year. 

They were still disgusted by the insides, but did a pretty good job scooping. In the end I helped a little, but they did all the carving themselves!

So. Jack-o-lantern success! Of course, October was still crazy warm, so they lasted about 3 days before the molded but they lasted through Halloween because I procrastinated. As I tend to do. WOO! 


Last year for Halloween Lydia & Daniel wore their costumes for approximately 6 minutes, so this year (even though I thought of some CUTE STUFF) I opted not to buy them new costumes. This worked well because in the end we took them to zero events. Daniel had a Halloween party at school so he wore the Yoda costume from last year. (Lydia wore it last year. Not the point.) 

Kalena & Will discussed about a million costumes each, but in the end Kalena was a witch and Will was Pikachu. By the time they decided it was too late to order a Pikachu costume but I thought- no worries, I’ll buy the Pikachu sweatshirt I’ve seen at Target, & find some yellow sweatpants to go with. You know what nobody sells? Yellow sweatpants. I *did* find some online. They would have arrived in time for Thanksgiving! So I busted out my super awesome sewing skills (if by super awesome I mean barely passable) and made Will some yellow fleece pants. (I was very impressed with myself. I told Brian he was not impressed enough.)

Brian took them to our church Halloween party, and his work Halloween party, and, of course, trick or treating. (All on different days. We aren’t crazy.) During all those events I kept the babies home so they could sleep. Better all around! Also I WAY over purchased candy. We had about 20 trick or treaters & about 300 pieces of candy. My mouth is happy. My pants are not. 


I have pictures from Easter in 2010 of Kalena dyeing Easter eggs. She would have been almost 2. Why I thought that would be a good idea I DO NOT KNOW. I don’t remember it being terrible, so it can’t have been too bad, but thinking about letting Lydia dye eggs this year makes me laugh. No. Talk to me again when she’s like 5.

It was nice this year, because Kalena and Will are old enough that I just had to set things up, and then they didn’t need help for the actual coloring. (I did have to resist boiling myself a dozen eggs to color because MAN that is fun.) I think I blogged about it, but the kids figured out the Easter bunny like a year and a half ago. That doesn’t dampen their enjoyment though, and they asked us to hide the baskets “extra hard” this year. ALSO, because Kalena is the sweet girl that she is, she made Brian and me each an Easter basket. Anyway. How about some Easter pictures?

Warm enough to dye eggs outside!


Matchy church outfits!


How most pictures of four kids actually turn out.


2015 survey

I know I’ve done this in past years, but I’m too lazy to look them up & link them.
1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?

Had a kid need overnight stay in the hospital (outside of immediately post birth.) Daniel had surgery and they kept him overnight to monitor him. I feel lucky that this is the first time we’ve had to do this in almost 8 years of parenting.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn’t make resolutions last year beyond: survive the year. Which I did! Yay! I do plan on making more this year. Lydia is finally doing more sleeping, and I feel like we’re in a better routine. A routine that’s more than just- do whatever it takes to make it through the day. (Don’t get me wrong, there are still days like that, but I feel like we’re finally moving past survival mode.)

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My college roommate, a few friends from church, some online friends, and my SIL.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No, thankfully.

5. What countries did you visit?

I didn’t leave the country this year. As per the usual. I did visit some other states: Colorado, California (and I drove there with my mom and sisters so we also saw Utah and Nevada.) and I went to Illinois for the first time! Also Missouri which hardly counts because we basically live there.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

Better time management. Some sort of workout routine. A lipstick that doesn’t make me feel like I’m in stage makeup.

7. What moments from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Daniel naming all the letters for me.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Nothing comes to mind. Which is pretty depressing.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not having enough patience with the kids

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nothing serious.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

New iPhone! First time I’ve had a new iPhone of my own instead of a hand-me-down.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Brian’s, as always. And the big kids. We have some really great kids.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Many people in the news.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Mortgage. Bills. Super fun things like that.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Christmas this year. We didn’t move!!

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?

Who knows. Probably some Justin Beiber crap that I don’t even know is by Justin Beiber.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter?
c) richer or poorer?

a) Happier
b) Same. SADLY. I started weight watchers & lost about 15 lbs and then gained most of it back and blahhhhh.
c) Basically the same.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Read. Exercise. Write.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Time wasting. Pretty sure I say this every year, which I think means I should REALLY do something about it.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

Home! No traveling, no company until after Christmas. It was really great.

21. Did you fall in love in 2015?

I feel super cheesy saying this, but I fall in love with Brian all over again every year.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

Arrow. Archer. The Great British Baking Show.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?


24. What was the best book you read?

All The Light We Cannot See. I actually listened to the audio book, but I really loved this one.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I’m not a “musical discovery” kind of person.

26. What did you want and get?

Some more downtime during the day. I skew to the very far introverted side of the spectrum and I go a little nuts when I don’t get any downtime. Having 3 kids go to school in the morning has helped A LOT with this.

27. What did you want and not get?

Lydia to start sleeping through the night EVERY NIGHT and also to start talking. (I’m actually planning to call and get her evaluated by early intervention next week.) Also, to magically fit back in my pre-Lydia pants.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

Jurassic World! But I haven’t seen Star Wars yet. So.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

On my actual birthday? I think we got takeout sushi? But I considered going to the Hoopla my birthday celebration. I turned 33. First year since I was 24 that I haven’t either A) been pregnant or B) had a baby under age 1.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I would find it super satisfying if Brian and I could get our acts together and stick to our budget. GAH.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?

Loungewear. Don’t worry though, for 2016 I bought new, nicer loungewear.

32. What kept you sane?

Brian. Internet friends. My sisters.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?


34. What political issue stirred you the most?

I don’t talk politics on the blog. Or anywhere, basically.

35. Who did you miss?

My sisters. My parents. My long distance friends.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

Oooohh, tough one! I met some lovely new ladies at the Hoopla, (plus one who SHOULD have been there & then couldn’t be.)

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.

That weight watchers doesn’t work if you don’t actually count points. (Alright, I knew this before, but learned it FROM EXPERIENCE this year.)

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Old song, but from Just Another Day In Paradise (Phil Vasser) “Well there’s no place that I’d rather be.”