Thursday, December 31, 2015

Making 2016

2015 has been a year full of learning for me. I've learned so much and I'm grateful for life-long lessons that came in some pretty easy-to-use packages--like one cute little girl. 

I've learned so much and if I had more time I'd love to share some of the major things I've learned, but the one thing I know I've learned is that in our first world way of living--you don't get dealt hands and life doesn't just give you a future, you make it. It's not easy-but nothing worth doing ever is. But you can make the life you want for yourself--it may take time, there will absolutely be setbacks and challenges, and it will take a great deal of patience and faith--in yourself, in God, in those around you, but you can do it. That's truly the one lesson I am thrilled to walkaway with. 

So that's the word of the year I've decided to focus my goal-setting on:

MAKE



Last year I made a resoultion or goal to simplify my life in some way every month. I mapped out the entire year before January 1st. But so much ended up changing last year. I went from an exhausted person who felt trapped in her body with no hopes of moving forward toward her financial goals on one income--to a well-rested mom, with an ideal work-from-home situation, with a much healthier relationship with food, exercise, and her body. EVERYTHING changed last year and so my goals were much harder to stick with. The life I was living in January changed drastically--schedule-wise, needs-wise, wants-wise and more.

This year, I want to set monthly goals but I'm going to do them one at a time. And I'm going to set several goals each month using two sets of criteria--using my word of the year and using these areas of focus: homemaking, financial, work, health, spiritual, motherhood, and marriage/date night.

I will set 8 goals in each of those areas each month. Ultimately I hope to

Make my home more "us" and make small and manageable changes that will help any who enter our house quickly recognize our values and priorities. 

Make our financial situation more of what we want. Whether that's making a better budget plan, making better strides in our efforts to become debt free, or something else entirely--we'll see where the year takes us by setting a goal to make our financial situation more what we want it to be.

I'm going to make my work from home situation more ideal for our family. It is right now (with a few kinks) but it's not permament. I will need to put great effort into finishing out my work in June and finding a new situation that fulfills our financial needs as well as my personal needs.

I'm going to make my body healthier. No, I'm not setting a weight loss goal--for probably the first year ever. Instead, I'm just going to keep finding healthy recipes, keep moving in ways that I find enjoyable, and keep working on finding a healthy relationship with food. I've made such great strides that I can't wait to MAKE more in 2016.

I'm going to make my faith stronger. I am going to make more efforts to attend the temple, read my scriptures/other spiritually edifying literature, and more. This area needs to be a constant focus so I'm going to make it such.

I'm going to make motherhood what I want it to be. That doesn't mean that I can't control JaiseAnn's bouts of displeasure when she throws a fit or that I can control her good/bad moments, or even her sleep. But I can make myself the mom I want to be. I won't be perfect but I can do things that help me make better choices in response to those patience-trying moments. I also want to create a healthy home life and schedule that helps both JaiseAnn and I thrive. 

And last, but certainly not least--I'm going to make my marriage more of what I want it to be. Whether that means I need to make personal goals to change my attitude or approaches or I need to make plans to do things with Zach that improve our marriage. We are much stronger than ever before, but I really want to strive for continuing that as well as finding more peace, more compromise, and better communication in some things. 

I'm going to focus on the things that matter to me each month of 2016 and MAKE it a year to remember and a year to see changes. I'm expecting miracles in 2016--I just feel them. 

I will share a bit of my goals each month with you-though I might not share them all--but I will check in here. I never think those posts are super popular, but I actually like reading them on other blogs and so I will be doing so here-for my own accountability and maybe to inspire someone else.

How do you approach New Year's Resolutions? 


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

What Alice Forgot-Book Review


I had some last minute posts for gift ideas planned for this week, but they are not going to happen. I'll have to adapt them for useful posts after the holiday season. I am not sure if I'll be back before Christmas or not, but I'll be back. In the meantime, I thought I'd share my thoughts on What Alice Forgot with those of you that might be interested in finding something to read with a cup of hot chocolate over the holidays. 

What Alice Forgot


I decided that once I got my own bit of a break this Christmas, that I would read a book. Just one (but maybe two or three). And once I decided that, I wanted to find one that I knew I would enjoy. When Brooke reviewed three light-hearted clean romance picks, I decided What Alice Forgot was right up my alley.

Alice is a 39 year-old mom of three in the middle of a divorce. She hits her head at the gym and forgets the past decade. She wakes up thinking that she's 29, pregnant with her first child, and very happily married. 

I loved this book. It was a super quick read. And while it was light-hearted it really made me think about what I would think if I woke up thinking I was 21 or if I woke up 10 years from now thinking I was my age now, but really my daughter was 12. What would I wish was the same? What would upset me about what's changed?  (In fact, I have a few posts planned to answer those questions in the new year.) 

It was fun to put the missing decade together through bits and pieces told to Alice from friends and family. It also really drove home the idea of perspective. It was really interesting to see Alice's perspective of herself based on the opions of others--especially compared to the truth. For such a light-hearted book, it still really left me thinking. The book has discussion questions at the end and I think it would be a great book club book. 

This book will become a movie rumored to air in 2017 and also rumored to star Jennifer Aniston. I can't wait. 

Does this sound like a book you would like? Why or why not? 

Friday, December 18, 2015

My Favorite Resourceful Posts of 2015

Last week I shared my Favorite Posts of 2015 with you. Those were my personal essay-type posts. Those are usually my favorite to look back on. But I can't overlook the posts I shared this past year that were more of a "How To" nature. 

My favorite recipes, tips, and more from 2015:

Favorite Recipe:

Turkey Sandwiches with BBQ Dip (You guys! This isn't as popular as it should be. You need to try this out--sooner than later. And I need to create a better image or something. I promise it's good!!!) 


Runner Up: Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Maple Glaze

Favorite Dessert Recipe:

Easy Late Night Cookie Recipe

Runner Up: Caramel Apple Salad Bar

Favorite DIY:

DIY Fingerprint Necklace 

Favorite Budget Friendly Tips:

Dressing Well on a Budget (includes a referral link to thredUP which will get you a $20 credit)

Runner Up: Finding Work From Home Jobs (one of my most popular posts) 

Favorite Date Night:

Dollar Store Date Night Ideas

Runner Up: GIF Date Night-At Home Date Night Idea

Favorite Educational Post:
Tips for Building Number Sense with Small Children
(I'm hoping to share more like these in the future) 

Linking up with Aubrey ZarubaOur Pretty Little GirlsThe Adventure Starts Here, and Wife Mommy Me for the 2015 Blogger Year in Review.


Our Pretty Little Girls

We've got all sorts of exciting plans this weekend. I'll be sharing on both my blog Instagram and my private Instagram--follow along. 



Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas Movie Date Night

Sometimes the winter months make it a bit difficult to be creative when planning date night. Between going to parties, addressing Christmas cards, shopping, wrapping, delivering, baking, and more--it seems money and time are tight. In addition to that--it's cold(ish) outside and there are huge crowds that you don't want to face if you don't have to.

So I advise giving yourself a break. Keep it simple and low key, but don't leave date night out. There are no excuses with this fun and easy date night IN--and thanks to Casper (the mattress experts), I've even got a little checklist to help you make sure you've got the basics covered for this simple at home date night and then some suggestions below to enhance the evening--if you'd like! 


improved_stay_at_home_date_ideas

The Basics

It starts with choosing your favorite movie or movies if you're up for a marathon. 

My five favorite Christmas movies are as follows:
*The Santa Clause
*Mr. Kruegger's Christmas
*The Family Stone (I at least consider this a Christmas movie) 
*Elf
*Home Alone

Zach's Favorite Christmas movies are:
*Muppet Christmas Carol ("only for sentimental reasons")
*Elf
*The Santa Clause
*Home Alone
*How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the original) 

 We have plenty of choices for date night. Of course, for this particular date night we're going with The Santa Clause. (I just love it so much you guys!) 

Next, make sure you have somewhere comfortable to be, something delicious to eat and drink, something comfortable to wear, and your favorite holiday movie to watch.



Enhance It

Liven Up the Food
Change it up by baking the cookies together first--maybe even have a cookie decorating contest, setting up a hot chocolate bar, or having breakfast in bed--you'll be there anywhere, right? 

Boost the Location
Buy some new holiday flannel sheets, set up a fort in the living room, or 

Movie Fun
Find or create some Christmas movie trivia--or just Christmas trivia in general and play that before or after, try having a conversation just using the lines of your favorite Christmas movies, or rewrite the ending to one of your favorites together. 

Turning a simple movie night into a memorable holiday tradition isn't too hard and is so worth it. 

For more winter date night ideas check out this awesome winter date night collection

Now I'm dying to know, what's your favorite Christmas movie? 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Leaving it Behind

Yesterday I went into my old school for the first time in over a year. A favorite teaching friend of mine (I used to call her my "work mom") is allowing me to use her students to test out some work for my thesis. I got dressed (and double checked that I looked okay with my mom) and then  left JaiseAnn with my mom-almost like I was going on a date. I had butterflies in my stomach and I was a bit anxious, though I couldn't pinpoint why exactly. 

The drive to work came back like second nature. I know that drive like I know the back of my hand. Every weekday morning and every evening for six years I drove to school using that route. It all felt very normal and natural. But when I arrived at the school, I parked in the visitor parking lot. It felt so strange to park there. Like I was a stranger in my own home. 



It seemed I didn't belong in the place that shaped and formed me. In the place where I walked the halls without an engagement ring on my finger, and then the place where I proudly wore that ring. The place where my name and title changed on the nameplate above my door. The place where I literally carried my daughter for nine months--up and down the halls. It's even the last place I was before going to have her. So much of the person I am now was built inside of those walls. 

I walked down the halls with an odd feeling of foreigner and native all in one. My head flooded with memories, each one fighting for my undivided attention. I wanted to stop and indulge each one. Lack of time and a desire to avoid too much heartache kept me from fully embracing each memory. Instead, I stuffed them away. Hoping they wouldn't get too dusty and that they'd still be there, waiting for me when I was ready. 

When I walked past my own classroom it didn't hurt as much as I thought it would. It didn't really hurt at all. In fact, it was almost poetic the way that little area had changed so much. I didn't feel like I was the only one missing. More than just my absence was recognizable. A lot had changed and that made it feel like I wasn't missing, but I had moved on--just like everyone else. 



Getting back in my car I thought about it all. I thought about my feelings going in and my feelings leaving. I think I honestly felt a little guilty going in with such conflicted feelings. Like I shouldn't be sad to have left those memories behind to start new ones at home with JaiseAnn. I should just be happy. And then I thought about a post Bailey wrote earlier in the week about leaving things behind and giving things up to get married in the military

I did comment (you can't see it because I accidentally commented on my phone which had me commenting on Blogger-Bailey saw it but you most likely won't.) I wanted to assure Bailey that she had a whole world of adventure ahead of her. That she should focus on all the opportunities that might await her. I congratulated her on her potential engagement and just explained to her how much I have loved staying home and what an honorable (but maybe unappreciated) job it is to make a home. 

But I didn't tell her that it was okay to be sad. And that she might be sad off and on for a while. And that that's okay, too. I didn't tell her that being sad didn't mean that she couldn't be fulfilled and happy at the same time. 


I think we're all compelled to have a resolution whenever we have feelings of sadness, discontent, or even anger. Whenever something doesn't make us feel 100% happy, we want to fix it, change it, analyze it, and more. We want closure. We want to tie it up with a happy bow.

I did it to Bailey and I had to stop myself from doing it while I was back in my old school. I had to fight attempts to either justify or shut off any feelings of sadness or just maybe missing certain aspects of my life. 



But life isn't that clean, as I'm learning. The truth is, I honestly go to bed every.single.night so excited for the next day. I love being home with JaiseAnn in a way that I never loved teaching. Never. And that's okay. It's okay that I didn't love teaching the way I love being home but it's also okay that I still miss parts of teaching. The truth is I am not sure I will ever want to return to the classroom, but I still love the memories of being there. The truth is I left some people behind there that I thought I'd never miss and it turns out that I have a place in my heart for them--in some miraculous way. The truth is I feel like I have so many more opportunities now that I'm home with my daughter--I have freedoms to learn and grow in a way I never had before. And I love it. But sometimes I miss the routine. And the boundaries. And the safety that came from being just a little less free. 

This is the part where I should tell you it's all okay because I love being home more than I loved teaching and far more than I miss teaching. And that's true. It's incredibly true. But that's not the point. 

The point is that I think I've figured out that I don't always want to tie it up with a bow. I don't always want to give everything closure so I can move on. If my heart aches every time I walk back into that school until I'm old and gray--well then so be it. If it doesn't, that's great, too. But I'm going to ride out those emotions and allow them. It doesn't mean I'm not happy and not fulfilled. It most certainly doesn't mean I wish I could go back.  If I could tell Bailey one thing, it would be this:

Leaving things behind is hard. It will always be hard. And while you may leave behind the thing you'd have an easier time leaving behind, it doesn't mean that it's going to be easy. It will hurt. There will be growing pains. And it might hurt for a while. Moving on is fun, too, though. Those pains you have about leaving things behind don't mean you made a bad decision--they just mean you're moving on. Moving on is hard--but also so so good. Embrace every opportunity you get to move on, but don't try to tidy up the grief of saying goodbye to the things you leave behind. Allow it all. 

I'm coming to find that those feelings--those sad, excited, unsure feelings you get when making changes--are what life is all about! 

Do you ever feel compelled to tie things up for the sake of closure? 

Friday, December 11, 2015

My Favorite Posts of 2015

I can't believe that a new year is just around the corner. As we near the new year-I'm getting ready to set new goals and I have so much to look forward to. 

Narrowing down my favorite posts of 2015 was not easy--not because I think they're so wonderful, but because these posts are so representative of so many good/bad/important memories and it's hard to pick a favorite. I do have a Favorite Lines page, though, where I highlight my favorite posts and I think it's time to update it with some of these:



How We Met--My Husband's Story
Way back in the day (when I had a different blog) I asked Zach to write up the story of how we met. He wouldn't let me read it until it posted to the blog and it had me on cloud nine all day that day at work. Years later, I found it and put it up on this blog. So for those of you who like to hear those kinds of stories, you'll like this one. 

Motherhood Did Not Steal My Identity 
Before Motherhood I heard all the warnings that told me I might "lose myself" in motherhood. I believe just the opposite has happened. 

I Don't Parent by a Label
I'm not loyal to a single parenting label because I am loyal to my daughter and her individual needs. 

My Parenting Choices Shouldn't Offend You
When someone defends or explains their parenting choices do you get offended thinking they are not valuing your different choices? Perhaps we should start considering the real reason people share their choices. 

If I'm Not Looking
A reminder to pay a little more attention to the little things my husband does. And to nag less--a lot less. 

Each Season
A discussion about the changing seasons of motherhood.

Marriage is Tough
A discussion on what calling marriage "tough" means to me and why. 

Why I Haven't Lost the Baby Weight
A post I was scared to share for a number of reasons. I open up about the weight I'm still carrying, a bit about why, and a really honest look about my struggle with body image. 

Moms & Politics 
My thoughts on politics now that I'm a mom. 

I'm Not the Woman He Married
I've changed a whole lot since I got married and I have my marriage to thank for that! 

Check back next week for a few of my favorite resourceful posts! 


Linking up with Aubrey Zaruba, Our Pretty Little Girls, The Adventure Starts Here, and Wife Mommy Me for the 2015 Blogger Year in Review.

Our Pretty Little Girls

Happy Friday everyone! What are your plans for the weekend? 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

How We Wore It: Holiday Style

I really get into winter styles and winter stuff for the months of November and December. I embrace scarves, tights, boots, and warm layers-I love it. 


I assure you, JaiseAnn is not being ignored. Anytime I tried to interact with her for pictures, she threw a bit of a fit. So we just had her there--that with her wind blown hair and she looks like a neglected child--which is most definitely not the case. 

When Brooke shared this month's How We Wore It look, I was excited! The look was inspired by Because Shanna Said So.


Via Because Shanna Said So
For the How We Wore It collaboration, Brooke sends out an email with one look. She encourages us to come up with a look inspired by the look she sends--whether it's the theme, the color, the mood, the textures, etc. We then create our own look, post it, and then look at all the other bloggers participating in the collaboration. Everyone puts a bit of a different spin on the look and it's so fun to see people get creative when putting together the looks. (If you'd like to sign up for next month's collaboration, sign up here.) 

I love red and black and I had just purchased a red and black skirt to wear out for our anniversary and was saving it as my "Christmas skirt." I only wore it out that one night. I couldn't wait to bust it out for this post. But I got a little self conscious. The skirt is more form fitting than I'm used to--I felt like I was wearing leggings (which I've never worn in my life) and I felt pretty exposed--if that's the right word. I felt this way when I bought the skirt, but Zach was with me when I tried it on and he genuinely liked the skirt--actually a lot--so I ended up buying it, but I'm not sure it's my favorite. So this month's look ended up being a little hard for me. 



I added a scarf to add to the "cozy" factor--a scarf that I made, I might add. I thought the contrasting reds would work, but they really don't do it for  me. Maybe if my scarf were wrapped properly? I don't know. 



I loved the "inspiration outfit" and thought putting something holiday-ish and cozy would be easy, but I most definitely am not loving this look I put together. I needed to either use a different scarf or wrap mine around-for crying out loud. I think I could have styled this much better if I'd taken these photos early enough to realize this look was not working, but since I didn't--let's just say I know that the work was not lookking. 

And of course, JaiseAnn in her holiday look. This is her Christmas dress from last year that I loved so much it's not even funny--so I was thrilled when it fit again this year--a bit shorter, but still fit. WOOHOO! 



Now go check out these ladies, I can't wait to see what they come up with! 


Brooke at Silver Lining
Robin at Penn & Quill
Aubrey at Aubrey Zaruba
Maren at Maren and Co
Brielle at Breezy and Co
Tayler at The Morrell Tale
Berkley at Berkley Anne
Jennifer at The Pepper Express
Alexa at He and I
Hannah at Hannah Rae
Rachel at Rachel Sayumi
Amy at Harris Inc.
Brooklyn at Brooklyn Jolley
Jennifer at Jennifer Sikora
Bonnie at The Life of Bon
Sarah at My For Real Life
Kyla at FordOlogy
Riley at Riley Jo Blog
Shelbie at R+S Brereton
Sierra at Sierra's View
Emma at Ever Emma
Danica at Danikan Skywalker
Deidre at Deidre Emme

How would you wear this look? 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Christmas Activity Tree

I love making these little activity trees (see my original Activity Tree and my Fall Activity Tree) with JaiseAnn. They are not the best looking--but they are toddler friendly and they help us keep track of the things we want to accomplish each season. We make a tree that fits the season and find a way to decorate the tree with all the activities we want to do.

This month we made a Christmas tree and put our top activities on red ornaments. JaiseAnn helped me "hang" the ornaments on the tree and then we put our tree up on the fridge. 

toddler Christmas tree activity


The things on our list include:

*Going to the Christmas show (a tradition I have with my mom and we went this past weekend.)

*Trip to the post office with a hot chocolate stop

* Tour of lights 

*Handmade ornaments

*Gingerbread Men (after reading The Gingerbread Man

*Decorate our Christmas tree and watch A Muppet Christmas Carol.

*Clean and organize room to prepare for gifts (got this idea from Alexa-here)

*Deliver gifts to friends and neighbors

*Make cookies for Santa and write him a letter

Our Christmas will be simple but it will be filled with traditions and so many memories I will cherish. I wrote out this list and nearly started crying. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be JaiseAnn's mom and to experience this holiday season with her. I am so looking forward to it. 

What are your "bucket list" activities for December? 

Friday, December 4, 2015

Why Buy the Cow When You Can Get the Milk for Free--A Blogging Lesson Learned

When Aubrey announced the 2015 Blogger Year in Review and one of the ideas for posting was lessons learned, I knew I needed to pull this post out of drafts. I've had it sitting there for a while and I'm not really sure why, but this has been the biggest lesson I've learned this year and the one I'm still trying to figure out.
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You know the old adage--"Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?" I think we all know what it's often used in reference to. The other day, though, after beating myself up about an image I pinned to Pinterest, I realized that I gave away the milk! And let me tell you, it's kind of a bummer.


Pinterest marketing mistakes

Many bloggers use online/social media marketing to gain readers. We use Twitter, Facebook, Google +, sponsorships, blog comments, and let's not forget...Pinterest to connect with readers and promote posts. Pinterest is a major tool for gaining readers. It's important to choose your images carefully. I have made a personal goal to work on the images I choose for my blog, not to a point of derailing the mission of my blog, but enough to generate some traffic so more readers can visit and benefit from the content of the blog (and because I want readers-I won't lie.) 

Just before Mother's Day, I posted this DIY Fingerprint Necklace tutorial and I was so proud of it. I carefully crafted two "pinnable" images and felt sure that this would be my big break. I pinned each image over the next few days after the post published and something incredible happened---my image was repinned by more than two people! I was ecstatic. The image was repeatedly pinned and I continued to receieve notifications throughout the month leading to Mother's day. I received more repins of that one pin, than I had repins of all my other pins combined.

I was sure that my traffic would see a boost...perhaps a temporary boost, but a boost nonetheless. Imagine my surprise when my numbers didn't climb. Not right away and not as we edged closer to Mother's Day. No jump. No new visitors. Pinterest is a great source for driving traffic, but it's important to choose your images carefully. The image I chose for my post, gave too much away. Nobody needed to stop by here to see what I did, I shared it all in the picture. 


fingerprint gift from kids

 I chose it because I found it to be helpful, and I think it should remain in the post, but I personally shouldn't have Pinned it. I should have known better-I've been known to select a Pin just because all of the information is "right there" and I don't have to visit a site--shame on me! I should have just pinned the finished product (and I need to start visiting sites instead of using Pins--those bloggers deserve the view if their Pins are worthwhile). Other viewers are free to Pin from my page, but the Pins I chose to share should be carefully selected. If I had chosen just the finished product, I would have at least gotten some new visitors and potentially new readers.

That is the toughest lesson I've learned about Blogging in 2015--as that Pin is still often repinned all over the place. It's Christmas time so I've been seeing a lot more of it as people are looking for handmade Christmas gifts from kids.

What is a big lesson you learned about blogging (or life) in 2015? 



Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Currently {December 2015}

It's the last month of 2015 and I have all sorts of emotions about that. I haven't been around here much lately. I wanted to come with some good things to share--and I promise I have some good things in the works, it's just that life has completely taken over me. Some days I feel like I'm drowning.

I feel like my time is never valued the same way other people's is--if that makes any sense. When I was teaching I always felt like I was expected to volunteer for more things and to put more work in because I didn't have kids. At church I felt the same way, " You don't have kids, you're not as busy." And while that may very well have been true, I've always kept myself busy (I have a love/hate relationship with keeping myself busy) and so I've always felt the pressure when adding more to my plate. This week I had some church responsibilities come up and literally for such a small job I have, I felt like it was going to push me over the edge. I felt like I did not have a single second of more time. And yet a comment was made that was along the lines of, "You only have one kid, I have more. I'm bussier than you. You should take on more."


So this is all to say that I feel like this week is eating me alive. This semester is eating me alive. And I feel like the past few weeks have really helped me isolate and identify what I really want after this school year is over.

So let's catch you up with some more uplifting things that are going on around here and I promise to be back with some more worthwhile posts--including a new Winter recipe.

Currently...

Wishing: That time would slow down and simultaneously speed up. There are so many things this month that we're looking forward to and I'm so excited to share them with JaiseAnn. At the same time, she's growing so fast. She's almost two (!!!) and I know that this is the only Christmas season I get with her where she's like this--next year will be a completely different experience and I just want to soak in all that I can with her right now. 

Remembering: SO many things. I am remembering last time this year and am just filled with immense gratitude. When I set a goal to have all of our Christmas shopping done by December 1st I wondered if we'd even be able to do any Christmas shopping. I wondered if I'd have work and what our holidays would be like. I was so incredibly stressed. I was stressed about sleep because I was so tired I felt like I was walking in a constant fog. I was stressed about all the decisions I had made as a mom. It was a sweet time, as it was JaiseAnn's first Christmas, but I was not myself and things were so stressful. JaiseAnn sleeps, and I have work--work that I love and work that pays well--and most importantly, work that allows me to be home during the day. I love it and I feel beyond blessed and grateful. I am also GETTING SLEEP! Some nights are better than others, but I am definitely a different person. I just feel so much better these days--about everything. Last year was amazing but hard--so hard on me in some ways. While I wouldn't categorize this year as easy, this has been an easier year--and for that I am beyond grateful. **With JaiseAnn being a January baby, the Christmas season will most likely always bring back those weeks just before her birth--but there's so much to say there it probably deserves it's own post. 



Wrapping: Wrapping Christmas presents is one of my all-time favorite things. I am ALL DONE with my shopping. (Okay I lied, I have one more thing I have to order today online and then I am done.) . I love wrapping gifts and that's one of the reasons I wanted to be done, I wanted to spend time enjoying the wrapping part of the season. Some day I want to wrap Christmas gifts for people for money--no joke. I would love that so much and I've thought about starting a little business doing that for years now. Some day I might bite the bullet. I am teaching the 8 and 9 year old girls at church how to wrap gifts today. I'm a little nervous because the paper we have for the activity is flimsy stuf and basically you can't wrap a present well without decent wrap, but we'll try I suppose.

Baking: I made these cookies last weekend, but they aren't Christmas-y. They're still so good though. I am not much of a baker, but I do want to work on baking with JaiseAnn more-I just don't want the treats around the house because I'm not there just yet. Zach has a book club at work every other week and I told him that I'm going to start baking with JaiseAnn to make stuff for him to send to book club. That way I get the experience of baking with my daughter without the lingering food. Zach was thrilled so it's a win win. (Zach if you're reading, stop now: I'm making these (or something like them) in a couple of weeks and labeling them Leia's Buns for the new Star Wars movie premier. He works with a bunch of nerdy guys so they'll appreciate it. It's my way of acknowledging my husband's over-the-top excitement about the movie--he literally counts down almost every day--without watching it with him.:)


Decorating: Our house decorations are pretty minimal (hey-there's a post coming up on that) but our Christmas decorations are out--with the exception of our Christmas tree. We're waiting a few more weekends (a time/scheduling issue, not a preference) for that. We can't wait to attempt to have JaiseAnn help us decorate and participate in our traditions with us this year.


Linking up with Jenna and Anne

What are you currently up to?