4 Homemade Beautiful Kid-friendly Ornaments


The girls and I have plans to make ornaments twice this December. Once with another homeschool family and once with their AHG troop.

So I scoured the web looking for ones that are cute AND can be made mostly without grownup help. Because isn’t it a lot more fun for kids if they make it all on their own!?

I hate that so many of the actual cute homemade ornaments out there basically require grown-up assembly from start to finish—with hot glue guns or sewing or cutting with a knife etc.

And I didn’t want to compromise in the cuteness department. You know, opting for something that would look chintzy or fall apart before Christmas.

So, here are four I found that are adorable and can actually be made by kids. (Some of them do require some grownup prep and/or a few adaptations to be totally kid friendly.)


I found these cinnamon ornaments on Wholefully. Aren’t they great?!

We had friends give us something similar as a Christmas present two years ago. The girls loved them, they smelled delicious (ahhh…cinnamon is heavenly), plus they’re much prettier than the traditional salt dough ornaments I made as a child. Don’t you think? A win all the way around in my book.


Continue reading

Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse

Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse

We had the loveliest time at the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse in Maine over the weekend.

Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse

Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse

It was one of the less iconic lighthouses we’ve visited since moving to New England. As the lighthouse is on the top of the house and barely visible. But it made it no less special to visit–as I am sure you can tell from the pictures we took. The views all around were breathtaking. And the actual building was beautiful as well.

Continue reading

Snow day in Boston! (lots of pics)

We had our first “real” snow of the winter here in Boston today. We are supposed to get somewhere between 8-12 inches when it is all said and done. The girls and I talked Brance into going out after dark (which comes by 4:30 here!!) to play a little in the snow.

We played in the snow and had a couple of snowball fights while wandering down to the beach to make snow angels. It was beautiful wandering through our lamp-lit neighborhood in the falling, sparkling snow. What is it about falling snow that is so, so peaceful!?

Here we are starting out on our snow adventure. It’s adorable. Anytime we leave the house to walk somewhere (which you do an awful lot in the city) the girls say that we’re going Continue reading

Us (what we’re up to)

img_8149What we’ve been up to this Thanksgiving season…

Visiting and laughing and eating with family. Cooking and cleaning and chasing kids. Repeat.


Trying to avoid eating too much fast food. Is it just us, or does it make you feel bad too? Ugh. It’s hard to stay away from it when on the road though.

Cuddling and playing with two stinkin’ cute little nieces. Loving Lucy’s giggles and Eleanor’s smile. Missing our niece and nephews/ cousins in MO!!

Soaking up some serious sunshine. Hello 70’s, it’s been a while since we’ve seen you in Boston. Wondering how we are going to readjust to the 40’s (and lower) when we return.

Helping a bit with my parents’ huge, amazing  renovation project. Mostly I’m observing and learning (we’re getting ready to paint and hang trim in ours too!). Brance has rolled up his sleeves and has helped a lot though!

Watching our girls learn and grow and love. Thanking God that we get to be their parents.

Dreaming about and making plans for the future with my best friend (and husband). It’s one of our favorite ways to spend a date night. Might included working towards a Masters in biblical counseling for me. Which has been a surprising recent development. I’ll let you know what happens!

Thanking God for ALL of the blessings in our life—including our patient, thoughtful, and encouraging blog readers! We truly are grateful for each of you and seriously pray for you often. Thank you for being a part of this community!



Home renovations update!

bgWe have electricity and insulation and walls!!  I took these photos before the plaster was completely dry (so the walls look mottled) and the floor needs a good cleaning (and sanding!). It will be fun to share another update once we paint, sand floors, tile, and add trim. But I was excited to share with you all some of the progress we’ve made since our last post. I start at the top of the house and work my way down.
house_1Surprisingly the attic bedroom (on the 4th floor) has become one of my favorite spaces in this old house. We decided to leave the gorgeous wooden collar beams exposed and I am so glad we did. It makes the ceilings feel taller and I love how the wood looks. And no, they haven’t been stained. They darkened with age (also a little dirty with plaster).

house_3The master bedroom has 3 windows (a luxury in a city home). We wanted it to Continue reading

A quick update!

lgOh my. I think I may be experiencing a bit of blogger heaven on earth. Brance and I just updated our phones and they have Pages on them. Pages!!! No more typing posts in a notes app only to accidentally delete them.

Some of you may have wondered where I disappeared to in the last couple weeks/months. I have been posting less frequently, as of late. This was both intentional and unintentional.

A couple of months ago I decided to reduce the number of posts I wrote. Blogging takes a good deal of time and energy, as you can imagine. There is far more involved than simply writing posts (which I love to do, btw). And since time is sparse and precious these days, I decided to aim to post something new about once a week.

Well, August came and brought the plague to our family (an early cold/flu) and then September I jumped into officially homeschooling 2 instead of just 1. And I found myself a little negligent of this space. But I have missed writing and all of Continue reading

Our 3 Favorite Boston Walks

from castle islandGoodness. It’s been a cold couple of days here in Boston. It was minus 10 on Sunday morning when I woke up. Minus, did you get that?

I walked outside in my pj’s (big deal when you live in the city, ha), just to see what -10 felt like. Brrrr. It was cold. And it felt colder a couple of hours later when we walked to church, even though it was above zero by that point, because the wind was hitting our faces.

It feels like someone is sticking little needles into my skin, Haddie said. Yep, that’s exactly how it felt. Even being wrapped up from head to toe!

Thankfully this cold snap is to be short-lived. Today is suppose to get up into the 50’s. I can hardly believe it. And even though it is suppose to be Continue reading

A special woman and grandmother

Grandma!Brance’s Grandmother passed away on Sunday.

In honor of this amazing woman, here is an interview I did with her last spring.


Brance’s grandma Norma just celebrated her 90th Birthday. She is one of the most upbeat and resilient people I know. Her life has not always been easy. Norma grew up in poverty during the Great Depression, worked very hard her entire life, has lost many loved ones during her lifetime—including her husband and a son—but her joy and trust, even in life’s difficult circumstances, is something we could all use.

Norma’s positive attitude has allowed her to create a beautiful life for herself and her family. The love that they all share, the fun they have, and the financial stability they have experienced for years now can be traced back to this special lady. I thought it might be fun and helpful to ask her a few questions so that we can learn from her.

What things have  helped you the most in life?

I think the main thing that has held us together has been the love we have for one another.

Also, I have always had goals that I am working towards. You have to have a vision of what you want. In jobs or at home—in whatever.

What were some of your goals over the years?

To be a hair dresser and have a nice home for my family. We owned a motel, but during that time I took classes to work toward my goal of being a hairdresser. After running Continue reading

Our arranged marriage – sort of

ExitWhen people ask Brance and I about our love story, we often laughingly refer to ours as an arranged romance and marriage. And we are halfway serious.

In fact, early on in our dating, my mom told me that she and dad loved Brance, even before I knew I did. A funny story for another day.

A beautiful thing about our relationship was how many people, who loved and cared for us, helped to bring us together. Brance and I joke that our incompetence required this. But, in all seriousness, we now see what a gift this was to us individually, to our relationship, and now to our subsequent marriage. Plus, it makes for a fun story, don’t you think ?

To have outside guidance, love, and support surrounding your love life is a huge, huge blessing. This is how life worked Continue reading

Cool trick for tear-free detangling

imageI discovered the coolest thing when my oldest daughter Haddie was smaller. How to detangle hair without a single tear. No more pain or sadness or frustration. The tangles “melt” out with little effort. Detangling has become an easy, pleasant thing in our house. Amazing, right!?

Luckily for Abigail, being younger, I have used this trick all along. But that was not the case for poor Haddie. By the time Haddie was four her beautiful, thick, and long hair was prone to tangles and knots. I remember spending the longest time trying to detangle with special sprays and combs. Nothing made it easy for her or me. It was miserable.

There were lots of tears and broken hair. And I felt just terrible about the pain it caused and the time it took to comb her hair. I ended up chopping her beautiful locks off to her shoulders. I didn’t know what else to do. I felt defeated. I love, love long hair on little girls. But a 30 minute combing session every day? And sometimes longer when knots became impossible. It was more than she or I could stand.

And then, I discovered the coolest trick. Continue reading