Unpacking, Putting Away, Getting Out

After our trip to WA to see my side of the family for Thanksgiving, we got back home last night after running into some unprecedented traffic. The girls did amazingly well. I always love getting back into Oregon. Climate wise, one could say that Washington and Oregon are pretty similar, but Oregon is always my favorite.

IMG_3110I detest packing, and I detest unpacking just slightly less. It is all done though, clothes put away, suitcases back under the bunk bed, mail sorted and opened. After conquering the dishes, Abrielle and I got the happy task of taking down the fall decorations and pulling out all the Christmas decorations. I know a lot of folks have already done this, but I’m a bit of a purist and I like Thanksgiving to have its day before I move forward with Christmas.

One of my favorite childhood memories is decorating the Christmas tree. We always had a real one growing up and I loved getting out the tinsel and the ornaments. My mom always had the delicate, glass ones carefully wrapped and she carefully hung those high on the tree. The less fragile ornaments were bulging out of a produce sack and were lovingly sorted through as my sisters and I grabbed for our favorites to hang them. I’ve always been a hodge podge Christmas tree kind of person, although I have admired many carefully coordinated trees as well. When you look at someone’s hodge podge tree, it represents a piece of that family. First Christmas ornaments, old family pictures, that one year with the salt dough ornaments. IMG_3109

Living in an apartment with space at a premium, our tree is a fake, two foot high tree. It’s tiny and charming and this year, really loaded with ornaments. Abrielle is more aware of this season than ever. She saw some Christmas decorations on some light poles and exclaimed today, “It’s Christmas outside, Mommy!” So here’s to the season!

I would love it if you took a moment to comment below and share how you decorate your tree!


Thanksgiving Eve

When you have two little kids, ages 3 and almost 1 year, packing can take a long time. As in, I’ve spent the last 3 days working on it. We’re headed to my parents’ home for Thanksgiving weekend tomorrow.

When I was a kid, I always felt like the holiday season lasted so long, taking up a third of the year. In reality, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, it all lasts about a month and a half. It’s a whirlwind of shopping, wrapping gifts, preparing food, visiting family, and if you’re traveling…packing.

As we enter the 2015 holiday season, it (like each holiday season) means a lot of things to me…

It’s a time to enjoy special food when maybe the whole year has been a rush of bolting a meal and moving to the next task. It’s a time to recall the best memories of the year. It’s a time to share photos and savor the best parts of the year. It’s a time to reflect. It’s a time to let go of the hurts, betrayals and disappointments of the year. It’s a time to give thanks. It’s a time to celebrate friends and family. And best of all, it’s a time to thank God from the bottom of my heart that this life isn’t it. It’s not the end. It’s just a glimmer of eternity.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Just Little Things Friday

Happy Friday! What do you have planned this weekend? We’ll be catching up on family time and visiting some friends.

You should definitely try this dairy free peanut butter mousse (3 ingredients!)

Quotable from my daughter this week after she watched me kill a spider. She jumped up and down shouting, “Mommy, Mommy!! When I’m older, can I kill spiders???”

One of the bloggers I follow just opened up an online shop with these adorable prints

I really like these little “Choose Love” journals


3 Tips for Buying Things on Amazon

I’m a total Amazon.com junkie. This year to date, I’ve placed 50 orders. For today’s busy lifestyles, it is often more convenient and cost effective to order items on Amazon. Here’s a short list of tips to give you the best success shopping on Amazon (this is not a sponsored post, I just really love Amazon).

  1. Sign up for an Amazon Prime subscription. It’s $99 a year which averages out to $8.25/month. That’s probably the same as what you are paying for a Hulu or Netflix subscription, and guess what? Amazon offers a video streaming service with your Prime subscription. The most important thing about a Prime subscription is that it gives you free 2 day shipping and free returns on most items.
  2. Check the reviews and be discerning. I research the price on everything I buy, from toiletries to books to kid toys. Remember that phrase “safety in numbers”? Well, it’s true for reviews too. An item with 132 reviews where 80% are 5 star or above is a much safer bet than an item with four reviews that are all over the place. That being said, don’t let a few bad reviews prevent you from buying an item. Pay attention to what the majority of people are saying. I usually disregard bad reviews that are extremely short, or sound like someone who is a negative type of person. Look more closely at the longer, more descriptive reviews.
  3. Check seller ratings. Sometimes I’m interested in a used item, say a book or music CD and I will look at the other sellers to see what they are charging. It’s a pretty safe bet to use a seller who has a lot of ratings and 95% or more are positive. For example, I just bought a doll for my daughter’s 1st birthday on Amazon. I decided to buy it directly from Amazon as that was the best price ($10.99). However, I could have purchased it from a few other sellers. One of the sellers wanted $17.99 (including shipping), but they only had 82% positive ratings based off of 20 ratings. I don’t like those odds and wouldn’t choose that seller.

Coming soon….a list of the best things to buy on Amazon!

Drowsy Test

My husband and I just coined this term. “The Drowsy Test.” It’s for when it’s just after noon, kids are down for naps, and you are debating whether or not you are tired enough to take a nap or whether you want to just veg on the couch reading or playing video games.

To set up for the test, you get yourself completely comfortable on the couch (or in bed if you are reading). Warm socks, nice blanket, beverage nearby. Get your video game or book ready. Sometimes I get myself all set up like this and suddenly, the tiredness overtakes me and I realize I do want a nap. Other times, my brain seems to wake up and I feel a renewed interest in the novel I was reading.

So excuse me…I’m off to do The Drowsy Test.