Happy 2018!

One True Love: Candles

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If you’ll remember, I’m participating in Megan and Wendy’s “One True Love” campaign this year where we feature a favorite item once a month. Last month’s item was my favorite jeans (link HERE). February’s installment is candles.

I need to start with a backstory. Many, many years ago, I used to be a candle fiend. I was obsessed with candles. And, I had expensive taste in candles. Don’t give me any of that Yankee Candle mess. I liked fancy, boutique-y candles in the most interesting scents on the planet. “Compost and Ylang Ylang?” Absolutely! “Diesel and Coriander?” Here’s my credit card. I was a candle snob for sure.

Then, I had kids.

Continue reading “One True Love: Candles”

Happy 2018!

Christmas 2016

We’re still recovering over here from a Christmas full of merriment (and cream cheese) so I’ll be back in full-swing here on the blog later this week. 

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a photo of our Christmas Eve celebration.

The Christmas jammies were a huge hit. I made the right decision for sure (whew). 

Tell us about your Holiday celebrations in the comments! 

Happy 2018!

Friday Favorites–Simmering Stovetop Potpourri

This week, I whipped up a batch of Simmering Stovetop Potpourri to scent our house while we’re at home, baking, watching Christmas movies and bickering  enjoying each other’s company over Christmas break. 

This stuff smells divine and is better for you than chemical-y candles and wax warmers. Plus, I can leave this pot simmering on the lowest heat possible on our stovetop all blessed day. At bedtime, I just put the lid on it and turn the burner off, then fire it back up again first thing in the morning. I add water as needed and will likely only need a fresh batch every few days or so. 

There are lots of variations of this recipe so feel free to add or omit as you like. I’m planning to add in some rosemary sprigs in the coming days and I’ve read that you can add in small cuttings from your live Christmas tree as well. 

This would also make a lovely handmade gift for someone–you could put the ingredients in a jar with a gift tag, explaining the directions. Voila! Thoughtful neighbor gifts that are consumables and diet-friendly (like my homemade sugar scrub!)! 

How do you like to scent your home during the Holiday season? 

Happy 2018!

5 ways to spoil overnight guests


…during the holidays and beyond.

Disclosure time: I consider myself a darn good host but I haven’t always been. It’s taken me years and years to perfect the art of making my house guests comfortable in my home. Let’s just say that there were some incidents, early in my hosting, that maybe involved a moldy coffeepot and cat pee on the bed. But, enough of that…

Continue reading “5 ways to spoil overnight guests”

Happy 2018!

Friday Favorites–Advent Calendar

I’ve posted a photo or two of our wood Advent Calendar on Instagram and it’s gotten a lot of love from you all, so I thought I’d tell you a bit more about it today for Friday Favorites, because it is one of my favorite Christmas Decor items in our home.


My wonderful Mother-in-law made this for us (hooray for former art teachers!) the year we got married and it’s adorned our walls every Christmas since. It’s one of my favorite pieces of Christmas decor and my children will fight over it when I’m dead and gone. 


My mother-in-law cut out each individual piece and hand-painted it all. She’s something else.


The little orange kitty is a favorite of mine. Also, the year that our cat, Thunder was a kitten at Christmas, every day, he’d jump up and steal the baby Jesus out of his crib (he wasn’t glued in at the time–he is now) and hide him about the house. It was equal-parts hilarious and disturbing.

And, now that we have kids, I really appreciate that this Advent calendar has exactly zero to do with “getting something.” I don’t know about you, but my kids don’t need an extra piece of crappy chocolate to fight over for 24 days in December and I don’t need 24 extra mini gifts to come up with to fill an Advent Calendar. 

I didn’t want to show off my awesome Advent Calendar, then tell you that you’re out of luck if you wanted one too, so I did some looking around online and found some good options that can be purchased:


Merry Christmas Wood Advent Calendar, via Etsy


This one is a favorite of mine. Simple, rustic and sweet. If you’re crafty, you could probably make one of these rather easily too. 


Christmas Advent calendar pattern
Christmas Advent calendar pattern

Speaking of making an Advent Calendar yourself, this felt pattern is so cute! It would be extra fun for little kids. 

Lighted Santa’s Advent Wooden Workshop

This advent calendar above has the compartments for gifts or candy, but I love the authentic look of it. It looks like something that Santa himself made at the North Pole.

Do you have a favorite Advent Calendar in your home? Tell us about it…

Happy 2018!

Friday Favorites–Window/Mirror Decals

Last year, while shopping on Jane, I saw these Christmas decals and I knew that I needed them to dress up our mirrors and front door. As it turns out, they were my favorite part of our decorations last year and they cost less than $10 each! 

Mirror Decal

So, this year, I was on the hunt for something similar (because, when using decals like this on any surface–other than a permanent fixture–they’re not salvageable after removal). Yet again, Jane came through for me. Here are the decals that I bought this year and where I put them:


Our front door, demanding that all who enter “Be Merry,” dammit!



Our “freebie” mirror, from a neighbor who was moving and desperately dumping items right and left, needed a little Holiday cheer…



I’m so pleased with how the decals turned out this year too. Either I’ve become a decal-application-expert or maybe these decals were a little better constructed, but I had an easier time getting them on this year too. I love how the decals add a special Holiday touch to our home, without busting our budget! 

Daily Boutique Deals
If you’re not familiar with Jane, it’s an online boutique marketplace featuring the latest in women’s fashion trends, home décor and children’s clothing. Boasting upwards of 500 deals a day, Jane is the perfect playground for any savvy shopper. I’ve purchased everything from clothing, jewelry, home decor to toys here. Jane is one of my most favorite places to shop online…check it out and see what you think! 


(This post contains affiliate links which help to fund the upkeep of this website)

Happy 2018!

Christmas Home Tour

Before we get started on my home tour, I wanted to let you in on a huge Black Friday deal from Cook Smarts (meal planning site that I’ve talked about HERE and HERE). Use the code HAPPYCOOKING at www.cooksmarts.com and get 40% off on upgrades and gifts of their weekly mealplan service–the one that I swear by! The sale ends on December 6, 2016, so jump on this and prepare to make meal planning easier, healthier and cheaper for your family in the new year! 


In lieu of a Friday Favorites post today, I thought I’d share photos of our Christmas decor from last year. (Yes, 2015–lest you think that I already have my house decorated for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving). 

Two things: My photography isn’t at all where I’d like to it be. This is something that I’m working on. Also, these photos are from last year and I’m planning to change things up a little bit this year (spoiler alert: VINTAGE Christmas decor!), so stay tuned as things develop. In the meantime, enjoy our 2015 Christmas Home Tour and please link to your own in the comments below. 


Our front door…come on it! That door decal was one of my favorite decor items last year. Details on where I purchased and what I purchased for this year coming very soon!


Our entryway. I loved that skinny, scrappy little tree in the entryway. A sale-find from Hobby Lobby. I also bought that “J” mat just for Christmas use last year, but ended up using it all year. 


Another view of the entryway from the stairs. See those white deer on the red table? I scored those for 75% off a few days after Christmas, 2014. I came home with them, so proud, and left the bag on the kitchen counter, then immediately went out to run more errands. The dog decided that there must’ve been something totally delicious and eatable in the bag they were in and grabbed the bag off the counter and dropped my precious, discount deer on the kitchen floor. I came home to glittery deer parts all over my kitchen. I might’ve cried. I hot glued them back together (while cussing the dog) and now they’re super-wonky and awkward-looking, but I don’t care. I still love them. 


The decal on the mirror was another favorite item from last year. It was a bitch to apply, but it I loved the way that it looked and it was the most-commented on item at our family Christmas party. 

Mirror Decal

Our tree, lit up on Christmas Eve, before the “Big Man” made his delivery.  The deer pillows are a favorite of mine (Target) and will play a role in my decor this year too. I also love our German Christmas Pyramid (located on black table behind the tree). We bought it at Wurstfest last year. 

German Christmas Pyramid

Similar German Christmas Pyramid


This is the area right outside our guest bedroom. I had ball decorating the black shelf. The crocheted pink stocking, hanging from the hook, was made by my husband’s late grandmother. Kevin’s mother gave it to us, the Christmas right before Anna was born, when we knew that Anna was going to be a girl. It’s very special to me and I love that I’ve found a way to display it. 

Guest room

Our guest room, all dressed and ready for holiday guests. I love making our guest room comfortable for guests…it’s one of my love languages. Look for a post soon on how to make your overnight guests feel welcome in your home. 


Our dining room. Several years ago, I bought a few Department 56 pieces, used from a neighbor. I’ve since started a little collection. Kevin gave me the Griswold House (Christmas Vacation) last year for my birthday and I love it. This Christmas village is my kids’ favorite part of our Christmas decor. We typically put it out together the weekend before Thanksgiving, so that we can devote a fair amount of time to tweaking it and getting it just right before we’re inundated with the rest of the Christmas decor. 

xmas village

I hope you enjoyed seeing how our house was decorated last year! It was a labor of love, indeed! Stay tuned to see what I do this year–some exciting changes are coming! 


Happy 2018!

Fall home tour 2016


I have a couple of confessions to make. First of all, I decided on the rainiest day in months to take photos of my Fall decor. This, coupled with my already horribly shameful photography skills, resulted in some very “meh” photos. However, I have an unreasonable love for looking at Home Tours on blogs, so I thought I’d share mine today–for better or for worse. So, without further ado…


This is my purple front door that I painted last Fall. You can read about the process here.

fall mantel

Here’s our mantel–nothing fancy, but I do try to adhere to the “groupings of three” rule, when possible. I use a lot of white in our house, so I particularly love the white pumpkin and white birds on the mantel. Also, I’ve had those grapevine, lighted pumpkins for so long–probably 18 years or so. Every year, I hold my breath when I plug them in, but so far, so good. #fingerscrossed 


My kids insisted on getting the crow skeletons, which I have mixed feelings about, seeing as though I feed my beloved birds right outside. Oh well….on November 1, I’ll go bury them in the backyard. 


This is the shelf that I have outside of our guest room. I like to decorate it seasonally. I threw these things on it as an afterthought after I finished decorating the rest of the house, but it’s kind of growing on me.

Happy Fall

Thank you for indulging my paltry Fall home tour with sub-par photography. Link to your own home tour in the comments…