Cookie Heaven

This is heaven to me:

It is also proof that my sister loves me...she saved dough for me to eat raw. (But wait, maybe she had ulterior motive and wanted me to die of salmonella poisoning)

She’s too nice for that guys!

I have lots of fond memories of sitting around the table with family and decorating cookies. Today my kiddos got their first experience with it and it was so fun to watch and be a part of.

Great memories.


A Break

I have not blogged every day this month. I kinda struggle everyday when I think about what I should or could write about. In fact, I started a post before I started writing this and realized that I already had posted about the same exact subject earlier this month. 

So, I’m asking myself why I cannot come up with any subject matter to write about and then I realized something. I am on vacation. I am in a place where it is perfectly okay to do absolutely nothing and that feels wonderful. 

What have I done this vacation? I have visited with kin and friends, I have watched some TV shows that have sat for weeks in my DVR(I even snuck in watching a movie, “Collateral Beauty” is wonderful if you haven’t seen it), I went on a date with my cute husband(the new Star Wars movie is also enjoyable.), I’ve eaten much too much, I’ve fed my baby and cuddled with her lots and lots(that is something I don’t always make time for or have the time to fully, consciously enjoy), I’ve had lots of hugs and have kissed many faces of people I do not get to see as much as I would like, I’ve done sudoku, I’ve started the same “Peppa Pig” on my parents On Demand nearly one hundred times, I’ve opened many presents and wrapped lots too, I’ve bowled an almost 100, I’ve shopped with my mom, I tried to cherish the holiday even though it seemed to race past me and I now have realized that I have actually done lots of stuff lately but in a whole different, slowed-down kind of way. 

So, I guess I do have things to write about but maybe I just haven’t wanted to use the energy to do so, and that is perfectly okay. 

Just being is perfectly okay. 



Home is where you hang your hat and we have a new place to hang our hats. We recently bought a house and it is the best Christmas present ever(besides the first Christmas, that is!). 

It was official Wednesday and we move on January first. We have room for visitors so please come visit us. 

You can always hang your hat here for a few days or more if you need it!



Stop and smell the orchids...

We had an awesome stay at my sister’s house in Madison last night. She always makes us feel at home and makes the transition from traveling to home easy. E even said from the driveway: “I love playing at Andi’s house”. I have always loved playing there!

We stopped at the Olbrich Botanical Gardens on our way out of Madison. They have a real cool railroad Christmas display and their indoor  garden is amazing. 

Sometimes you just need to stop and smell the orchids. 


Magic Ring

It may not seem that significant, it being silicone and not gold and diamonds, but this ring has magical powers. 

Maybe it isn’t even the ring so much as it is the faith of the boy who asked to wear it today. Sometimes he is afraid to go to a class all by himself, well maybe not all by himself, but to him it may feel that way. 

I don’t know where my inspiration to tell him the story came from. Well, at least to some it may seem crazy when I say that the inspiration came from a loving Heavenly Father who both knows me and knows Little Ellis. This diety knows both of us individually and wholly. He knows that sometimes I don’t have all the answers to calm His and my son and He knows  exactly what can and will calm His son, so he bridges that gap through still , calm inspiration. 

The story I came up with that day was inspired by Him. I told Little Ellis, while he was upset about going to his children’s class at our church, that I had a special ring that had special super powers. I said that this ring can make you do hard things. I told him I knew that if he wore it, he could be calm and that he would even have fun while doing that hard thing. 

We sat, on cold concrete steps just feet from his classroom and he thought about it for a few minutes finally asking: “can I wear it now, mommy?”

I put it on two of his tiny fingers and took him by the hand leading him back up the stairs and through the door. He let go and said in a loud voice, “I can do it, I can do hard things!” And he did and he did it again today. 

Sure it isn’t anything special and it could even be considered cheap, but that ring has some super magical powers. That ring reminds both Ellis and I that we have divine power to overcome anything that stands in our paths. We can do hard things because we have the help of a Heavenly Father who loves us enough to make the little, insignificant things important and even powerful!

What inspiration have you had lately?


Not a wrapper...

I didn’t get the gene that makes you a good present wrapper like my sister, Andi, did. Nope, not at all.
But it doesn’t seem to really matter.
Santa had Twinkie deliver some presents to E and Z a little early. Santa’s a cool dude and realizes some presents just won’t fit in luggage in the return flight back to Utah from Wisconsin so he made an exception for us and our presents. I’m sure he will still be a sucker and find some small things to deliver Christmas Day, and that’s okay.
Are you a good wrapper? What’s the secret?


It Is What It Is...

This has been the theme of the past few weeks. Things have almost gone wrong daily. From electricians being weirdos, to carpet almost not being able to be put in, to having a new landlord for a few weeks that seems to be pretty hardcore, to title companies that have poor customer service, to not having access to our new house until after our trip to Wisconsin, we have had our share of challenges.
The thing is though, that if you don’t have control of things, it is just better to be like Elsa and “Let it Go!”

It really is what it is.


Countdown Chains

I have always made little chains to count down school days until Christmas Break. This year(and the past few) I have been too tired to actually care and to be honest, time is actually flying by. There are only four days of school left.  

Having something to countdown to actually seems to make the time go faster and the wait less painful though. I am very excited for my trip to Wisconsin, even if it comes during a very busy time as we prepare to move. There are only seven wake ups until that day!!!

My sister’s family always counts time in wake-ups. I didn’t quite understand that concept until I had kids of my own. See, little kids have no concept of time. They are very good at living in the now! But they can get the concept of wake ups because they can measure time by how many sleeps are in between this day and that day. We are very excited for our adventures to Wisconsin around here. 

What are some things you are looking forward to right now, besides the holiday of course? 

I am also looking forward to moving into our new house, which will then become our home! Inbeteeen then and now , I am looking forward to the end of my day long training today(trainings aren’t my fav), signing day, the end of being just a tenant in the home we have owned for five years(it’s just weird), hugging my mom, my cousin’s Christmas get together, the Ficklin family Christmas party, my school’s Christmas party at Brick Oven, the White Elephant extravaganzas at both parties, and rest, I always could use a bit of that. 

But who’s counting?


It’s Beginning to Look...

Guess what he asked for?

It’s amazing how a few decorations make a difference.

What’s your favorite Christmas decoration?

I have to say that the nativity that my parents still have is pretty much my favorite. It’s the true meaning of the season, afterall.

But I do also have a teeny-tiny Christmas tree that was given to me by a cute little family that also ranks up there. One year when I mentioned not having a tree, they showed up with the cutest little tree with lights and candy decorations. It made my year and as it was aglow on our mantle tonight I was reminded how special that occasion was. Thanks again Pipes family! You’re generosity and friendship still shines strong today! I’ll add a photo of it in the morning.

And that felt tree for my kiddos is always a hit.

It truly is beginning to look a lot like Christmas!


What I’m Listening To These Days:

I labeled myself a music nerd this morning when I shared this picture with friends:

I was actually looking for a Dolly Parton Christmas album on Apple Music but found this gem and enjoyed it while getting ready this morning. 

Do any of you just love music like this music nerd does? What are you currently obsessed with? I’m always looking for more music to explore and experience. 

Obviously, I’m listening to Kelly Clarkson lately.  

Her new album is candy to my ears. It is just so soulful and fun. I am always still in awe at how that girl can sing. 

I am often listening to Christian Rock music. It just makes me feel the spirit and brings light into a sometimes dark world. My favorite two albums are “Lifer” by MercyMe

And Casting Crowns new Christmas Album, “It’s Finally Christmas.”

I also am really enjoying Jiil and Kate’s Podcast, “Girls Just Pod to Have Fun.”


If you haven’t discovered their music, you must go to your streaming app of choice and check out the song “Same Side”. All of their music is awesome but that song just gets me. Ellis even loves to sing it because he finds it fun that they say brother a lot!!! Four year olds are funny. But seriously, these two and there harmonies. Smooth and amazing. Check them out. Their podcast is entertaining and funny and their music is a treat. You’re welcome. They are also blogging here.  They are the inspiration for me to blog everyday this month. They are better at not missing days than I am. (Oh well, it is what it is.)

Don’t forget to let me know what you are listening to either in the comments here or on instagram, Twitter or Facebook!

Happy listening!


A Tired Mommy 

Short post. Long week. Glad it’s Friday and pizza will be on its way shortly. What are your weekend plans? I’m just gonna enjoy being a mommy sandwich.  Maybe I’ll pack a box or two. Maybe not. It’s closing week next week. Monday we sell, Thursday we buy. The journey to new home ownership is exhausting. But, the good news is that it is sounding like new carpet and electrical will get done in time to move in the first week of January. The stars are aligning and I need to keep remembering just how blessed we truly are. 



The best things about Christmas, now that I am a parent, is being involved in the process of making my children’s Christmas magical. Today this is what Twinkie brought to E and Z today. For E: Play Doh and an emoji backpack. I’m not sure why he loves emojis so much, but he does. The cars are for Z. I have been feeling lately that she needs some of her own toys. I get that all the toys before her arrival really were E’s, but I hate that she often has toys ripped from her hands and her brother says: “Baby, that’s not yours!”  Twinkie is a tradition that still runs strong in my husband’s family. Each day of December, before Christmas, Twinkie comes and delivers little prizes. I’m still trying to figure out how it’s supposed to work. The balance of trinkets and toys to just treats is hard for me. The other hard thing is falling asleep without setting the Twinkie prizes out. Luckily, E is a pretty sound sleeper because the prizes were in the same room that he was sleeping this morning. Don’t worry, Twinkie is getting wiser and the box is now located closer to the drop off spot!!!

What are some of your favorite family traditions that are unique to your family? Please share in the comments. I know you all are reading, but give me a comment or two to read as well. 


The Christmas Spirit

Sometimes the Christmas Spirit manifests itself in ways that you wouldn’t expect.

Some think it lies in holiday music or in decorated sugar cookies.

Sure, the decor, smell of fresh cut pine trees and sparkling lights add to the feeling of Christmas.

But what about this image?

The crimson color a symbol of the blood of God’s only Begotten. The blood that saves us from our silly mistakes.

The Mohawk which is a symbol of this young man’s rebellion against any type of authority. That same rebellion sometimes seen in the pious of saints.

These lights a bit different than those on the tree, yet still a symbol of the Savior, who we celebrate this season. The true light of the world.

This image, though unique and at first glance not at all what we may label The Christmas Spirit but totally a reminder of what that Spirit should be about.

May we each look to those that need extra care. May we be a manifestation of the true light of the season. May we represent the love of our Savior and turn more purposefully toward Him and his example. (And not just now, in this season, but always!)

Love those who need your love most: the unique and those that wander.

Happy Christmas season. Let your light uniquely shine and light this often dark and scary world.

May the Christmas Spirit be found everywhere, even where it is not expected.


Christmas as a Kid.

I had a pretty good plan for my Christmas list every year. I always only asked for one thing. Sure, that one thing was usually pretty expensive and like most families, we weren’t the richest and I caught on to that pretty quickly. I also was cleaver enough to know that by only asking for one thing, even if funds were tight,  I was pretty likely to get that one great thing.

Whether it was a new electronic etch-a-sketch or another fairly expensive thing, Santa couldn’t resist getting me the one thing that I really wanted. It almost always worked, so I kept at it most of my childhood and truth be told, I might actually still keep this strategy alive today.

The funny thing is that I still would get other smaller presents even if I got that expensive gift. Now, my family thought this was a great way to pick on me and have a little fun. They would always have the little trinkets under the tree but that big and most wanted present was somewhere else in the house.

I always tried to not let them know that I was disappointed after opening all the other presents but the truth was that I always was sad and disappointed that my wish hadn’t manifested. (Funny how they always did this to me, I kept asking only for the big thing I wanted and yet I fell for it every year and was sad when that big thing was missing.) So, I’d be sitting, surrounded by lots of little presents, like socks, lipgloss and other clothes but without the one thing I really wanted. They agony was real but I didn’t want to seem sad on Christmas. They would let this go on for what seemed like forever when one of my siblings, who were enough older than me to know that Santa wasn’t real and who also found it fun to be a part of the scheme, would sneak away and come back with that one last present for me to open and it always was that one thing I had asked Santa to bring.

 I bet they all found it pretty funny to see me disappointed(even though I thought I hid it well) only to fix that disappointment for me last minute. Well played family, well played.

So what things did I ask for as a kid? That’s a tough one because I have a horrible memory. I do remember the year Cabbage Patch Kids were so popular and getting Abner Erich (I named him and my sister really thought that should have been Ellis’(my Son’s) name too.). I also was the kid who didn’t have the video game systems like most of my friends did , so getting the Gameboy one year was very big! And of course there was that Etch-A-Sketch. I made lots of trips from Wausau to Green Bay seem very short because I was creating pictures on that thing!

What are the big things you wanted for Christmas as a kid? Did you always get those things? Any funny family traditions related to the giving of presents? Please take a moment to recollect your childhood Christmases and leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from all of you that stopped by to read this! Have a great day and remember there are only 23 days to the big day. No pressure to buy that big present for those close to you or anything!

31 Days Of Blogging

Hi. I’m here and haven’t been for about a year. Well, I’m busy, get over it.

I’ve decoded to blog for the next thirty days.

I promise to try to be creative. I promise to try and publish before midnight my time. (Except for today!)

So. What’s new, reader? Happy December.

I now start my month of being Santa’s helper elf, Twinkie. He comes to our house everyday in December(until we go to Wisconsin) with little trinkets for the kiddos.

Today the trinket was a Santa statue. He’s always watching.

Tomorrow it is Mickey and Minnie ears and a third Unicom headband. They are labeled: “For Ellis, For Zarah, and Remember...Santa likes it when you share.” Let’s hope they do Remember for more than five minutes!

Well, if you’re reading and have any requests for topics for the next thirty days, please comment away.

And with that, I’m off to dreamland.



Six Months

December 10th, 2016
Six Months
Dearest Zarah-
Here is a list of just who you are right now:
  1. A food lover: cereal, bananas, sweet potatoes, squash, anything really. You sit in your bumbo with straight arms and legs, twirling both your hands and feet, dive bombing the spoon and moaning for more.
  2. A laughing fool. You think your brother is hilarious. Whatever he is doing, you think it's funny and great.   You love to be tickled, when mom comes home from work and when daddy plays heads with you.
  3. An ok sleeper. I think you are better than your brother was as a baby but you still get up once or twice at night. Sometimes you think you need an hour or so to party mid-night(like last night) which isn't mommy’s favorite. Thank heavens for a big bed and Little Einsteins.
  4. A roller. I rock, you roll. Soon you will probably crawl but now you get pretty far just by rolling and rolling.
  5. A giant. Not really but you are super good at growing out of clothes and your swing is starting to seem a bit small. You're almost into 9 month clothes and wear size three diapers.
  6. A girl who knows what she wants. You also tell us by grunting, screaming and by batting or throwing toys you don't want out of the way, so you already a communicator!
  7. A lover. You just love people. At first you may play a little bashful when you greet those you don't know well but you always give cute smiles freely. Your charm is irresistible!
  8. A talker. You have the cutest little voice. You talk both quiet and loud. You talk both high and low. You just talk and talk and talk.
  9. A wiggle worm. You're starting to be pretty squirrelly when held. A definite sign you'll be mobile soon. You can almost sit unassisted and can also almost get up from laying down.
  10. A sweetheart, a darling heart, an overall chill baby! Your calm calms me. Your smile lights up rooms. Your laugh energizes.

We love you sweet Zarah Sue. You are growing fast and I keep just loving every moment. It feels like tomorrow you'll be leaving for college but that you also will be my baby forever. Always remember how much I love and adore you and remember to text or call me today. I miss you!!