Last year I found myself struggling to find joy in my parenting. Granted, I was overwhelmed…but this year I want to make more of a point to find the joy. So yesterday I decided to write down (in my notes app) every time I felt joyful. At the end of the day as my head hit the pillow I read over everything I had written down. I was surprised by all the joyful moments I had and recognized. It helped me go to bed feeling grateful and thankful. Sometimes, in parenting we just need to pause and take notice…because all too often the hard and frustrating moments are what we remember at the end of the day. Below is the list I made: I challenge you to do the same…especially on days when you are lacking joy.
We all want reading to be fun for our kids, right? This year, I decided to do something a little different with our Christmas books. I placed all of the board books in a crate on the floor in our living room. This has made the books more accessible, and to my surprise my kids are actually wanting to read them more! It is fun to curl up in a blanket and read Christmas books together!
Here are some books I recommend that both my kids and I love to read! Some of these books are old and can only be purchased used…but nevertheless, they are good ones! Find the links below! If you have Christmas books that are must haves…would you leave them in the comments? I would love to add to our collection!
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Stockings are a big deal in our family. When I was little we occasionally had Christmas at my Grandma and Grandpas house with all of my cousins. My Grandma would hang hose as our stockings and stick an orange at the bottom to keep it weighted. It was so fun to see all of the gifts smashed into those hose. Now my mother in law has cross stitched stockings for our family. I love handmade stockings so much! For our family, it is tradition to first open santas gift, then open stockings in a free for all, have breakfast, and lastly come back into the living room together to open big gifts one by one.
I love having fun with stockings and putting in some things just to make people laugh…like fake tattoo sleeves or mustaches for the entire family. Here are some more gift ideas that the whole family will love! Best of all…they are all Amazon Prime ready!
Some of these items come in packs of 5+, I love to split them up and give one to each person in the family! Do you have any stocking stuffer ideas that have been a hit in your home? I’d love to know!
It started with drawing a tree on butcher paper and hanging it on a wall several years ago. Every year during the month of November our kids have looked forward to putting what they are thankful for on the “thankful tree”. This year I knew we needed it bigger because we are hosting Thanksgiving in our home. So, I came up with the idea of a real thankful tree! Part of me knew I didn’t want to decorate for Christmas yet, and so really it was an excuse to be able to put twinkle lights in my home! But, I love the way it turned out!
If you are wondering if this design is one year old proof…it’s survived so far! Thankfully most of the branches are taller than him! Here my one year old (Finn) is holding a leaf that his 4 year old brother made saying that he was thankful for him (written by me, of course).
Here is how I made it:
Thanks to the tropical storms we’ve had this fall, I had many branches to choose from in our yard. So I tried to choose a branch that was about 7 ft tall, and had many branches shooting out from it. Then I removed all the moss and leaves off of it.
I then placed my branch in a bucket and poured concrete into it. My branch was leaning up against a wall outside so I could stabilize it where I wanted it. Then, I added some water following the instructions on the concrete bag. I let it dry for 24 hours and then brought it inside.
I found some twinkle lights and wood leaf cutouts on Amazon! Fun story: These were supposed to be shipped together but then never showed up after 5 days! So Amazon issued me a refund, and guess what…they showed up 2 days later! Yippee!!
I made a Instastory of how I made this if you would like a visual! Check it out!
I love how this tree has become a focal point in our home…it is inspiring more thankfulness in all of us, and adding some twinkle to the holiday!
Fall is all about creating a cozy ambiance! So I attempt to add cozy lighting anywhere I can via twinkle lights, lighted pumpkins, or flickering (battery operated) candles.
Click on the image below for a FREE printable!
I’ve been eyeing these items for fall! With two holidays being part of fall (Halloween, Thanksgiving), I love decor that works for both! Also, I love that these items are also budget friendly…that wreath is 70% off right now! What have you been loving this fall?
The Pioneer Woman , everything she makes is delicious! I actually love several of her recipes, this quiche recipe in particular is a favorite in our home. My friend actually says this is the best thing I make, so there’s that. This meal…everytime I make it, is always a winner…you literally can’t mess it up! And it is so easy with minimal clean up! Can I get an AMEN?!
Because I like recipes that are easy, I mean I don’t love cooking…I altered this a little bit to make it even more simple!
-use refrigerated pie crust…2 come in a pack, so you can easily make 2 quiches! Though 1 feeds my family perfectly, without leftovers. I highly recommend leftovers, because it’s even better the second day!
- omit the onions, to save time and my kids don’t like onions
- use real bacon bits
this is a huge timesaver and it still tastes delish! 1 pack per quiche or split it both ways…though I think 1 pack per quiche is ideal.
It literally turns out perfect every single time. If it’s still liquidy, just cook it longer with foil on top. Once it is just a little liquidy on top, I remove the foil and cook about 10 more min. Let sit for 10-15 min before serving..because it is piping hot!
I like to serve quiche with a bowl of mixed fruit (strawberries, blueberries, melon).
***disclaimer…prep time is about 10 min, cook time I like to allot at least 50 min. ***
Need this sign in your kitchen too?!😆Click HERE
Have you heard the saying that kids spell love T.I.M.E.? This year has been a bit crazy for our family and I felt like we were lacking quality one on one time with our children. So instead of spending a lot of money on toys that they love for only a week. We decided to gift them with time for their birthdays.
It just so happened to be our oldest two sons “golden” birthday (when you turn the same age as the date of your birthday). So we made “golden tickets,” that read…
this golden ticket is good for one outing of your choosing with me!
Here is what our kids chose to do:
7 year old boy
with Dad- went to play tennis for the first time, then the local crab shack and to the beach to play soccer (we live near the beach)
with Mom- went to a baseball game --we actually just chose a local high school baseball game to go to…he was the most excited about the refreshment stand!
9 year old boy
with Dad- his first time go carting! He was finally tall enough to drive on his own!
with Mom- he had so much fun go carting with dad, he wanted to go again. So that’s what we did too…I dominated of course!
This one on one time was so special. I loved getting to give them my focused attention for a few hours and to do something that they wanted to do. So if you are feeling overwhelmed by throwing the traditional birthday party or giving the traditional gifts, try something different this year! We may not do this every year, but it was certainly needed and valued for this time in our lives.
African Basket Wall Art
Baskets are all the rage recently, and I am definitely a fan too! I fell in love with these colorful handmade baskets on my first trip to Rwanda. Rwanda is a tiny country (the size of New Jersey) in East Africa surrounded by Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
If you love these baskets too, they can be purchased by clicking on the photos below. I made sure to link a company that uses fair trade practices. It's truly impressive to see artisans hand weave these baskets, and I love supporting companies that give there artisans fair wages so that they can support their families! It really is a win win to collect these!
When I first laid eyes on these beauties I immediately knew they had to be displayed on a wall! All the different colors and designs on them are so gorgeous, and I wanted to just sit and stare at them.
In arranging the baskets I knew I wanted them out of arms reach from my kids. I also thought arranging them in an unexpected pattern would be fun too! So I dreamed up...the wave.
In order to create "the wave" I laid out the baskets on the floor and created the pattern. I soon realized in order to create a wave I would need baskets smaller in size as well (thank goodness I picked up some smaller baskets too!).
Here is the finished product...
I love sitting here and staring at all the baskets, I still can't decide on which basket is my favorite?! Are you drawn to one in particular? I'd love to hear! Also, let me know if you think I should give one away on my instagram feed?! I "might" have one to spare! Maybe. Maybe. ;)
Farmhouse Basket Wall
Am I officially basket lady if I have two basket walls in my home? Recently I've noticed a new trend to hang those seemingly useless rattan baskets of olden days on the wall. You know the baskets I'm talking about...the ones that are always at the thrift store and everyone walks by without a second glance?
To my surprise I found that they actually look pretty! So...I made it my mission to hit up the thrift stores in my area and to gather those unwanted/unloved baskets to give them new life. At 99 cents a piece I could afford to try it out...and if I didn't love them, I could just donate them right back. Turns out, I kind of dig them.
The key is finding baskets that are fairly shallow so they won't stick out to far from the wall. Also, if they are a similar shade/color than they look more cohesive hanging in a group. Lastly, hang the baskets in an interesting way...like surrounding a piece of art, or clustered together, and always in groupings of odd numbers. When you hang 3, 5, or 7 baskets it is easier to arrange in an interesting way, than if you have 2, 4, or 6.
Here is some more thrift store basket inspiration:
inspiration photos from bloglovin.com and simplestylings.com
It is so easy to get in a rut in making dinner. I haven't felt inspired or loved anything i've made in awhile. So, I love it when friends of mine share their dinner ideas that have been a hit in their family. That is why I wanted to share this dinner that was so.much.fun and easy!!! I found the recipe on pinterest, click HERE for this ONE PAN meal of fun! Actually, I have found many recipes on this site to be wonderfully easy and "damn delicious."
To make this dinner even more special and truly southern, I put a plastic table cloth over our table and dumped all of the low country boil out onto it. Then I invited the boys to the table and had them all take their shirts off. THE BOYS LOVED IT! This made dinner feel fun and the clean up was easy peasy!