Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Books

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland
A Change of Fortune by Jen Turano
Grandpa's Box by Starr Meade {read aloud}
Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White {read aloud}
Where the River Ends by Charles Martin
The Beauty of Broken by Elisa Morgan 
A Good and Perfect Gift by Amy Julia Becker

A Daughter's Inheritance by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller 
The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen 
An Unexpected Love by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller
A Surrendered Heart by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller

A Lasting Impression by Tamera Alexander
A Beauty so Rare by Tamera Alexander
To Whisper Her Name by Tamera Alexander
Portraits of Integrity: A Family Treasury {read-aloud} by Marilyn Boyer and Grace Tumas
In A Heartbeat: Sharing the Power of Cheerful Giving by Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy
Grammar-Land; Or, Grammar in Fun for the Children of Schoolroom-Shire by M.L. Nesbitt {read aloud}

Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good by Jan Karon
These High, Green Hills by Jan Karon
Restless: Because You Were Made For More by Jennie Allen 
Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
Let's All Be Brave: Living Life with Everything You Have by Annie Downs

Out of the Spin Cycle by Jen Hatmaker

Glamping with Mary Jane by Mary Jane Butters
A Lady at Willowgrove Hall by Sarah Ladd

Love Without End by Robin Lee Hatcher
A Matter of Heart by Tracie Peterson
Nourished by Rachel Randolph and Becky Johnson
With God on the Dog Team Trail by Walter Anderson as told to Meredith Carlson

Finding Mercy by Michael Landon, Jr. and Cindy Kelley
Steadfast Heart by Tracie Peterson
How to Catch a Prince by Rachel Hauck
Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck
The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle
Thirty One Days of Prayer for the Dreamer and Doer by Jenn Sprinkle and Kelly Rucker 
Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing by Sally Lloyd Jones {read aloud}
Princess Ever After by Rachel Hauck

Where Trust Lies by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan
Eight Twenty Eight by Ian and Larissa Murphy
To Everything a Season by Lauriane Snelling
Dancing with Fireflies by Denise Hunter 
Whenever You Come Around by Robin Lee Hatcher 
My Heart Stood Still by Lori Copeland

A Cowboy's Touch by Denise Hunter
Hero Tales by Dave & Neta Jackson {read aloud}

Come Rain or Come Shine by Jan Karon

Hero Tales Volume II by Dave & Neta Jackson {read aloud}

I've been in a reading funk lately, would love to hear some suggestions! What did you read this year that you loved?!

** Oops! I didn't realize comments were turned off on this post, they are open now!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Christmas Dinner

Fuzzy socks, paper straws, enamelware, fun art supplies, an awesome sign for our future house in the mountains and that mug! I feel known and loved!

David said Samuel found and picked out the mug -

A lull in our morning made a perfect time to get the table set for dinner. Again, the basics are the same. This time, I put back the canning jar of nature goodies and two pillar candles {these are from our wedding - thanks Mom!} plus some fun tinseled glass place cards I made way before I was married.

To make the tinseled glass place cards, get small pieces of glass cut {I got mine at Hobby Lobby I think} and draw a tree shape on the underside with a Sharpie. Paint inside the tree with green stained glass paint and the rest with white paint. After it dries, layer a piece of cardboard, a crumpled piece of foil and your glass. Cover the edges with copper tape and use a dry erase marker to label! The dry erase wipes right off so you can easily use and use again.

Hope you had a great Christmas!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas Breakfast

After getting my kids in bed on Christmas Eve, I wanted to go ahead and have the table set for breakfast to smooth our morning and so we would be ready to eat whenever we were ready!

It was fun to make a few quick changes - first of all the Jell-O tins with moss had to be taken off because the candles burned so fast and they had wax everywhere! Numerous tea lights were burned out too so I was sort of low on candle options.

I kept the table coverings and base the same and just switched out the galvanized tray for a chalkboard. I put our Advent Wreath in the middle and moved the little chalkboard wood slices up on the plaid memo board, slid the felt wreaths around the placecards and that was the extent of all switches. Super simple and quick!

We always have homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast, what is your traditional Christmas breakfast?

Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Eve

The girls in our house had fun making sugar cookies while the boys went to see Star Wars! After cookie decorating and lunch, we took a nature walk to collect goodies for decorating the table.

Setting a festive table is one of my favorite things! And I don't always have an idea in advance, the only thing I knew this time was that I wanted to incorporate things from our yard/neighborhood.

Three kinds of berries, moss, ivy, evergreen, oak leaves and pinecones were collected! I put a tablecloth on the table and then a runner of brown kraft wrapping paper with evergreen and pinecones on it already.

The plaid memo board was thrifted from Goodwill! I can't wait to show you how I used many of the same pieces and came up with new centerpieces for Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas morning breakfast and Christmas dinner. Time to switch things out is short but it's fun to switch it up a bit.

This round galvanized tray is my favorite! It works for so many things, I found it at TJMaxx a few years ago. Greens, berries and pinecones become a pretty centerpiece that adds height and texture. Simple cream tea lights encircle the jar. I put the evergreen clippings and some cranberries inside the jar.

Vintage thrifted Jell-O molds were fun for candle holders. I filled them with dried split peas and then covered with moss that we collected on our walk. The candles were in a box of thrifted Hanukkah candles - they burned really fast, but were cute while they lasted!

Felt leaf wreaths were $3 for three at Target - look for them on the after-Christmas clearance! I pulled out a few wood slices from our Gratitude Tree for a fun touch.

The same little placecard holders cut from sticks in our backyard that I used for Thanksgiving made an appearance!

With the table all set and ready, it was time to go to Christmas Eve Service at church. I love when we end with candlelight and Silent Night! Such a special time!

Christmas Eve evening is my very favorite - I love the glowing of the candlelight and Christmas lights! Seeing Christmas lights on the drive home from church, the same meal every year. Magical!

My kids favorite thing is our Christmas Eve pj tradition with scavenger hunt. Several years ago on a whim, I decided to hide their pj's and have them hunt for them. Well, it has settled in for a nice long stay! I try to run them all over the house back and forth before they find them!

Speaking of Christmas Eve pj's - I tried something new this year. I watched thrift stores all year for the girls pants, Samuel's are a hand-me-over from his cousin. I never had success finding pj tops but decided that making personalized long sleeve t-shirts would be a fun option. I got the t-shirts at Wal-Mart and ironed on with interfacing and stitched around the edge. I think I spent about $15 total for all three sets of pj's - I will definitely try thrifting Christmas pj's again!

And then there was this sweet bedtime scene, love.

Tell me the best part of your Christmas Eve!!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Snow Much Fun!

When you live in the South and it has been 80 degrees, snow is nowhere in sight. I thought we needed a little snow fun anyway!

We read some fun books about snow and I made Snowball Playdough so we could make mini snowmen. 

Here is where things get interesting - I had gotten this instant snow on clearance last year after Christmas thinking it would be a fun thing to try - and don't get me wrong, my kids loved it!!! It started out like powder or crystals but you were to add water and play with it. In the end, we realized it was moisture absorbing material {like you'd find on the inside of a diaper} and you can read my funny commentary on it over on Instagram. It was a mess to clean up!!!!

Not one of my best ideas for sure. I had them each save out a small bit to try and get them to blow it for a photo - not a success either! Oh well, we sure did make a memory and in spite of the mom-stress the snow caused, my kids had a blast.