Sunday, December 30, 2012

Good Fortune Cookies


You can learn a lot about a person by the way they watch a Packers game. When Jorden and I were dating, he used to gather all his Packers bobbleheads on the coffee table in front of the tv.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Baked Blueberry Oatmeal

Jorden is off all this week, which means a different pace at our house. PJs until noon, lots (and lots...) of family time, a chance to sleep in (ha! yeah right), and... the thing I'm most excited about... yummy breakfasts! Not having to shuffle a husband and kiddos out the door means more time for the most important (and most delicious) meal of the day!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Little Ornaments (That Almost Weren't)


It's been a rough year with Christmas ornaments. I've had A LOT of fails, a few near misses, and more time wasted than I care to talk about. I have chased children around Michael's on numerous occasions while searching for inspiration, I have ransacked our craft supplies and littered our dining room table for weeks now with the beginnings of ideas that were never brought to fruition, and I have considered (briefly) the idea of just not making any this year.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Seasonal Scented Play-Doh


Today is the last day of school before Christmas break...and you know what that means...time to search the depths of our creative genius and find ways to occupy the kiddos during their week off!!  I am usually one to let the kiddos figure things out for themselves, but yesterday's unexpected day off was a reminder to me of just how quickly kids become bored... and just how nice it can be to have some tricks up your sleeve!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Card Bouquet


Dear Christmas Cards,
I kind of despise you. Not so much receiving you, but sending you. Year after year, you threaten to put me over the edge on the Christmas stress-o-meter, and year after year, I curse you and vow to do something different in the future. Well, it's that time again, and guess who hasn't even started my cards? Yep, that's right! Apparently we were just not meant to be.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday's Find: Faith in the Midst of Tragedy

These are my 3 kiddos. It goes without saying that they are the center of my, I'm sure, all children are. My heart is breaking today for all the moms and dads whose universe was forever altered by the senseless violence in Newtown, Connecticut.

An elementary school - one place you know, for sure, you are safe.

A Kindergarten classroom - the most innocent of all the children there.

11 days before Christmas - I know there is never a "good" time, but this seems especially cruel.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

White Chocolate Raspberry Oreo Truffles


What is it about Christmas that turns us all into little kids again? Ooh-ing and aah-ing over twinkling lights, belting out Christmas tunes in the car, sipping hot cocoa by the fire, searching for the perfect branch to hang our favorite ornament, writing out wish lists and anxiously awaiting the presents under the tree, making (and eating) a ridiculous number of cookies & treats...

...and then decorating them like little miniature Santa hats...!?

1000 Words

We all know the saying "A picture is worth a thousand words".... and when you have kids, it sometimes feels more like two thousand!! I've been wanting to find a way of incorporating more of my "real" life into my blog, and what better way to do it than with pictures?!

...Like this one of Nora's little fingers messing with my photo shoot! When I looked back through my series of pictures, her fingers were in half of them, and always in the same spot. She was obsessed with a little nub of white chocolate and kept grabbing for it! Right after this photo was taken, I turned to find her with the entire truffle shoved in her mouth....where was my camera when I really needed it??

Monday, December 10, 2012

DIY Festive Holiday Plates


Okay...I have to admit...this was not my original intent for the doilies. No, my original intent was some type of framed wall decoration. But somehow, in the midst of cutting and placing and setting aside for later,

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Bare Branch Christmas Tree

When Ellia was in kindergarten she came home with an assignment: Guess how many trees are in your yard, then count them all to see how close you came. Simple enough, right? Well, the guessing part was okay. But then the counting started. And we very quickly realized that:
                                                       (a)we were living in a forest  and
                                                       (b)our guess was WAY off! 
The 'simple' assignment took us forever, and at some point (around 150) we decided to stop counting and go back to just guessing. There were just.  too.  many.  trees.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Waiting on a Winter Wonderland

This morning we stepped outside and it finally felt like December! least a little...

Monday, December 3, 2012

Broken Twig Tree

 This simple Broken Twig Tree comes together in just minutes and uses natural elements to create a beautifully striking DIY Christmas decoration!

So...have you heard Christmas is almost here? Ha! Between frenzied shopping trips, family get-togethers, cookie baking, unpacking boxes upon boxes of ornaments and decorations, meal planning, party hosting, and, of course, trying to keep some of the magic would be almost impossible not to feel the pull of the Christmas season!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Jingle Bell Napkin Rings


I'm cooking up a dinner party. Which makes me laugh, because we've hosted two family parties in the past three weeks, and I'm pretty sure the laaaast thing Jorden will agree to is another party. But who asked him, anyway?  :)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Friday's Find & A Wish Come True

So....not only is it Saturday instead of's also reeeallly late Saturday and I am just sitting down to write this post. That seems to be the way things are going around here lately - 'tis the season, I guess. The good news is that Cubby has returned for the season (yay!), promising good behavior from my kiddos (we'll see about that one...) and a rekindling of Ellia's faith in wish-making :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Almost Advent Calendar

It's almost Advent! Time to start the countdown to Christmas! Which means, in addition to anxiously awaiting the return of Cubby the Elf, it's time for an Advent calendar!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas JOY Mantel

I used to think that, as a society, we rushed into Christmas. That we allotted a disproportionate amount of time and energy for it. That Thanksgiving got cut short, every year, by our eagerness to move on to Christmas.

It used to really bother me. So much so that I used to delay Christmas decorating as long as possible.

But this year? This year's different.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Chocolate-Orange Pretzels

The other day I had the unique experience of Ellia actually wanting to come grocery shopping with me. How nice, I thought. Some mommy/daughter bonding time! Until I realized the only reason she wanted to come with me was because she had seen our next door neighbors drive away a minute earlier and was somehow convinced we would run into them at the grocery store....

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Framed Keepsake Art


Love: It's a beautiful thing. It supports. It protects. It nourishes. It grows. It heals. It creates.

Somewhere in the midst of planning my parents' 40th anniversary celebration, we honed in this last one and, as has become customary in my family, we came up with a list: "40 Things Your Love Has Created."

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thankfulness Turkey Wreath

Thanksgiving is in 3 days....can you even believe it? I suppose I should start pulling out some recipes! Ha! But before I do that, I just want to share one little tip with you: Save the feathers!!

Gratitude, Presence & Letting Go

This past weekend my parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. 40 years!! That's a long time! My parents are, and always have been, a wonderful team. They love one another, encourage one another, help one another, take care of one another. After 40 years they still show great tenderness and affection toward one another. They make decisions only after consulting with one another. They play games and take trips and go for walks with one another. They truly enjoy one another's company. My parents are a great couple.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Easy Pumpkin Spice Waffles


I woke up this past Saturday and realized it had been a loooooooong time since I had made breakfast. It kind of goes in waves around here...sometimes the eatin' is good and other times we're just getting by. I guess the same could be said about most things around here - at times it feels like all we can do to keep from being overrun by sheer chaos (you know the feeling?)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thankfulness Mantel


This is officially my first time decorating a mantel. We've lived in our Lemon Tree Dwelling for a year and a half, we've celebrated every holiday here once before, and we've decorated for most of those holidays in some way, shape or form. But we've never done the mante..

I blame it on Nora:

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday's Find: Lemon Tree Redux

It's Friday.....! Time to show off my best recent Goodwill find.
Guess what it is..... that's right.... a twin for my little lemon tree (fraternal, of course :)  It's a tiny little orange tree!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thanksgiving Table Setting


I have this image of Thanksgiving as everyone gathering what they have and bringing it to the table to share. The fruits of the harvest, brought together to build community, to nourish the body and soul. And, of course, we all know that when people come together and share what they have, there is always enough.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thanksgiving Napkin Rings


One of our favorite dinner conversation topics is, "What was the best part of your day?"  The answers we hear always provide great insights into what matters most - in terms of school, activities, friendships, work - to each member of our family.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Straw Painting


Every now and then (very rarely) we have a weekend with no plans. This weekend is one of them. YAY!! Time to clean the house, make yummy food, catch up on laundry, stay in pajamas, and sip tea all the live-long day. If only it weren't for those darn kids... :)

Friday's Find: Dinner Table Caddy


Is dinner time at your house anything like dinner time at my house? Where you finish making the meal and the entire family comes and sits down at the empty table, waiting to be served? And you have to get out the plates and the forks and the knives and the butter and the drinks and the condiments and the serving tray.... and then you finally sit down and start eating.... and someone asks for a napkin?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sweater-Vest Necklace Tutorial

I'm a sucker for accessories. (What girl isn't, right?) But when I started getting my scarves out for the winter, I have to admit I was a little disappointed by the selection. The same scarves in the same colors year after year was getting a bit.......boring! So I decided to make one. Or so I tried...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Blessed to Be

This past weekend I celebrated my birthday. It was a wonderful weekend and (as much as possible when you have small children) it was all about me. I enjoyed delicious food and drinks out with friends, had my favorite bagel sandwich for breakfast, found some amazing deals at GAP, spent an entire day with my parents & siblings (yes, that's a good thing...) and ate a week's worth of desserts in a day. More or less a perfect celebration.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday's Find: Serving Tray Wall Art

The minute I saw this red metal serving tray, I knew I had to have it. Not only is it a perfect match for the red in our kitchen, but the cut-out border mirrors a shape found all around our house - in pictures, on curtains, on lampshades.... Funny how we are drawn to the same things over and over again....

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bored Out Of My Gourd


Today is the start of Ellia's Fall break.
I should be excited....... (Right?)

No morning rush, no lunch to be packed, no homework to be signed, and most importantly, more
time to spend with my sweet 6 year old....... (Right?)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mulled Cranberry-Orange Sangria

Have you ever noticed how drinking something warm makes you feel....well....just better? It's the reason I love my coffee in the morning, my green tea at night, warm cider on a crisp Fall day, hot chocolate after playing in the snow, and mulled sangria pretty much....anytime!?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Candy Corn Peanut Clusters


Some people say "Don't mess with perfection." That was my initial thought when I tasted the handful of candy corn and dry roasted peanuts from my sister Carrie. It was absolutely delicious - the way the sweet candy corn mixed with the dry, salty peanuts - clearly a match made in heaven.
But I couldn't leave it alone. I had to mess.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Leaf Rubbings Reimagined


Paper. Crayons. Leaves.

Sometimes the simplest things in life are the most beautiful.

Like Fall colors. Collecting leaves. Memories of childhood art projects.



The best part about this project wasn't the time spent collecting leaves with my kids. It wasn't the  process of choosing the right colors of paper to match the colors of Fall. It wasn't the careful peeling of the paper off the white crayon.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Entryway Makeover Part 1

I am, by nature, a taskmaster doer. I like to get things done, if for no other reason than the feeling that my busy, anxious little mind can rest (momentarily) in the doneness. I know, of course, that I am not alone in this.... and I know, of course, that there are upsides and downsides to being a person who can't rest until the work's done.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Hallowine Risotto


Risotto is one of those dishes that just screams comfort - it's warmth, its creaminess, the way the flavors meld together in the pot. It is one of my favorite meals to make, especially when the weather turns cool (although who wouldn't love a wine-infused dish anytime...??) 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday's Find: Repurposed Drying Rack

It is a common occurence around here that when friends and family come to visit they take themselves on a "scavenger hunt" of sorts to find out what's new. I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I can't remember the last time someone set out on one of these hunts and came back empty-handed. Turns out there is ALWAYS something new!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

I am SO not in Control

My mom's favorite mantra when things seem to be going awry is, "I am not in control." Well, my mom is in Spain right now, and it seems that, while she's away, I may be channeling her energy.

Let me back up.

It all stated last Monday, when we had an electrician come to begin addressing the problem of darkness/cavishness that is rampant in our home.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sweet Taste of Fall: Spiced Pumpkin Cookie Cups

Mmmmmmmmm...... what is it about Fall that is so delicious?? After a summer of corn on the cob and fresh fruit, grilled chicken and giant green salads, there is something wonderful about switching gears to foods that are warmer, heartier, and oh so much more satisfying.

There is a lot about Fall that is wonderful....

Friday, October 5, 2012

Words to Live By

This is Nora.

It is an exciting time in Nora's life because she is learning to talk! Actually, she has had some words for quite a while now - baby, ball, bye-bye - and has been slowly picking up new ones as they suit her needs - uh-oh, shoes, outside... Of course, they all sound adorable coming out of her little mouth, and because of her insistence on saying hi to everyone we pass in the grocery store,
we have been making a lot of new friends.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Houses Are A Lot Like Husbands

Yesterday Jorden and I celebrated 8 wonderful years of marriage!

(The most recent picture I have of us, taken on Stallis Night in May. Don't judge.)

And when I say we celebrated, I mean Jorden went to the Brewers game while I stayed home and cleaned the kitchen. No kidding! I guess that's what 8 years will do to you... (Not to worry, we're going out tonight.)

In honor of our anniversary, as well as this being my inaugural blog post, I'd like to spend a moment explaining how, in my experience, husbands and houses really are one and the same.

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