Category Archives: thoughts

I’ll Show You My… Hometown

“Home is where your heart is.” If this is true my home is all over the country! When we first decided to write about our hometown this month I knew what I’d be writing about, the place I grew up and spent most of my childhood and teenage years, even part of my young adult life. Then I thought on this quote and all the other places I’ve lived, including where I currently live. How am I to write about my “hometown” when I have more than one? I thought maybe a quick internet search would help me decide. NOPE! Even Google says a hometown is “the town where one was born or grew up, or the town of one’s present fixed residence.”  Not helpful Google!

I narrowed it down to two (ok three) places I’d call my hometown. Let’s start at the beginning… where I began. Mission Viejo, California. I was born and raised in Southern California. Beaches, palm trees, delicious food, 6 lanes of freeway traffic, less than an hour from Disneyland. Yep this is my hometown and where some of my family still live. I love and miss them dearly. Let me show you…

Backyard in Mission Viejo
Nothing beats a gorgeous sunset over the ocean.
Going shooting with my Papa
Angels baseball games!
Watching my baby grow up here
Many hours spent at Disneyland
One of many delicious meal options.
Did I mention the beach?

Summer days and nights spent at the beach, I graduated high school and college living here. Would I ever move back? Probably not, the cost of living is ridiculously high now, ok it always has been. But part of me will always be a SoCal girl. Occasionally we visit and I am able to step foot on the glorious sandy beaches of the Pacific Ocean and grab a double-double.

Part of my youth was also spent living in Utah. The place has grown and changed much since I’ve lived there. As I’ve said before, home is where the heart is and I have much family in Utah still. While I lived in American Fork, UT, most of the Utah Valley and parts of Salt Lake Valley are my “home”.

Mountains are unbeatable
My Utah family

 

So many siblings, in laws, nieces and nephews living in Utah. Going back to visit is easy, leaving is harder every time.My current hometown is Milford, PA. I went from city life to rural life. I’ve never seen so many trees before living here. Just like each of my previous hometowns, there is beauty and excitement to be found here as well. We’ve lived in our home for 5 years now and I’m still finding the places for my heart.

PA roads and skies
Family friendly hiking trails along rivers and waterfalls
Sharing outdoor living space with deer
Milford, my hometown
Colorful sunsets over the lake
White winter views
Kids enjoying the outdoors

All in all I consider myself lucky to be able to have more than one hometown. Milford is my home and I’m learning more each day about myself, my family and this area. I look forward to finding where my next hometown will be, many years from now. Where is your hometown?

Share your hometown and link up with us here.

 

Momisms

Growing up I was always telling myself I would NEVER say the things my mom would say to my kids. Some of these are things I never thought I would need to say to my kids.  Over the last decade and a half I have heard my mother’s voice coming from my own mouth!

You’re not the mom
Worry about yourself
Get that out of your mouth
Shut the door
Did you wash your hands?
If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
Shut the door
Flush the toilet
Money doesn’t grow on trees
Eat your vegetables
As long as you live here, you’ll live by my rules
Shut the door (Did I mention this one?)
Are your legs broken? Go get it yourself!
Don’t make me come in there!

These are a few of my ever repeating statements to my kids. Sometimes I feel like I’m talking to a brick wall over here!  What are some things you find yourself saying and looking around the house to see your mother?

Real Talk, New Baby

 One of the biggest things I had to learn whilst being a new parent was that it was ok when my child was crying. Yes, I needed to check on them and tend to their needs but it didn’t have to happen that second. The world wasn’t going to end if I finished my meal or drink.

I would however get into trouble if I didn’t take care of myself and instead rushed to my child’s aid. You are not a bad parent by taking time for yourself. In fact, it is imperative. You cannot look after your child to the best of your capabilities if you do not take the time to eat, drink and rest.

As long as you know that they are not in trouble, you do not have to stop what you’re doing to ease their crying. Yes make sure they are fed, changed and comfortable but if tears come in spite of this, do not feel that you have to give up your meal to nurse your bub – they can wait until you’re done!

Christine – http://www.wealthinthebible.com/

FIRST YEAR
Remember how I said everyone has an opinion? This doesn’t stop… ever. You’ve spent nine months carrying this beautiful child around in your body, went thru your own personal hell to get it out and now that baby is here you need a whole new set of advice and tips from other parents.

Breastfeed vs formula: there is a hot debate and many good moms have fallen in the battle. Do what is best for you and your baby and stick with it.

If you do choose and can breastfeed my advice is don’t quit too early. This is not an easy feat. Finding the right position for baby and you and getting the latch is a difficult task. Breastfeeding doesn’t come naturally. All those sweet photos of loving moms nursing their happily sitting still babies can be a bit overwhelming and disheartening to a new mom.

Even after nursing two kids I did not remember the toe-curling pain involved with nursing a new born. The pain wasn’t from the onset of the first few latches or even the incorrect latches. The worst pain comes when the milk starts to fully come in and baby is nursing. I can compare it only to a sensation of microscopic needles sliding thru my ducts. Thankfully it does not last the duration of nursing, only the first few weeks of milk coming in.

When baby does get the hang of it he’ll get so comfy he’ll be zen, and start practicing baby yoga while nursing. Just let it happen, it’s a funny experience.

You do what you think and feel is best for you and baby. Mother’s intuition is a real thing. Trust it.

 

LESLIE
Emotionally, I was a wreck after they were born. I was worried they were going to die and that my babies would be taken from me. I couldn’t even text or talk to anyone without crying my eyes out for the first few days! I know my body was going through major changes, it definitely got to my head.
Pumping…I could write forever about pumping. My advice is to get a good pump if you plan to breastfeed. You never know, breastfeeding might not work out and if getting Mama’s milk is important — invest in a good pump! I pumped exclusively for 11 months and it was the single hardest part of the entire journey. If you are on fence about providing them breast milk — just do formula. It will be much less stressful — but it is more expensive, so be aware of cost. My point is, don’t stress about feeding the baby — formula, breast milk…whatever you go with, just be confident in your choice. The baby will grow just fine!
Sleeping is an essential part of your child’s growth. We avoided co-sleeping and put our babies in two separate cribs. They never slept in our bed and preferred to be in their own room. Get them into this habit early; you’ll be grateful for it later. If you still want cuddle time, do it for the first or last bit of naps. Avoid interrupting sleep cycles. They need sleep to grow, to build their immune systems and to be mentally happy! We also didn’t try to be quiet during sleep time. That gets them in the habit of sleeping through noise. You can’t shut your house down for naps! I have a friend that couldn’t even wear jeans in her house because the friction noise of her walking would wake up the kids — no bueno.
I am a fan of daycare or some kind of group learning (library time, outings with friends, etc.). My kids are super smart (and no, I’m not just biased) and they are very social — it’s because they spend time with others and have a lot of structured learning time each day. Have them go for a few days or hours a week, it doesn’t have to be a full time thing.
When they fall, have them get right back up (preferably on their own). For example, if your kid falls down the slide — have them go down that same slide immediately after — it helps them overcome their fears. Just don’t coddle… 🙂
I attempted to make my own baby food (all organic) and it was a short lived activity. I ended up just buying organic baby food and then pureed some things on-demand. Avocados were a great first food. Rice cereal is basically a waste, but we did it just to get them used to texture.
Make sensory toys! Crumpled up paper, bottles with water and glitter…stuff like that is a fun craft and is great for their learning time!
My last piece of advice is two fold:
1. Get out every day! It doesn’t have to be a grandiose activity, even just an outing to the store is good for them and YOU!
2. Lower your expectations and then lower them again!

RENEE

Being happy during the first year took actual effort. I thought just having a baby would be overwhelmingly satisfactual and fulfilling. In reality I had lost all concept of time management and felt I had no purpose other than to nurse this infant and shower away my strange new Mom smell. I had to come up with a personal mantra to chant during these low times and eventually I found happiness in my day-to-day routine and found an outlet through exercise.

Real Talk Part 2… L&D

L&D also known as labor and delivery is what naturally comes next in this segment. There are some great tips and stories for you to learn from, or just laugh at while relating.

  • If you think you can do it ala natural… more power to you. I tried it and my 9lb+ babies made contractions horrific
  • When you deliver in a hospital you’ll have tubes, IVs and straps on almost every part of your body. When you’re attached to these machines on your bed, don’t plan on getting up.
  • Not getting up means you’ll need a catheter… yep a catheter
  • While you won’t be eating… they’ll still let your husband eat, even when you’re bearing down trying to push his spawn out!
  • Forget the big overnight bag full of stuff for you, just grab a few essentials in your bag. I brought a cross stitch blanket I had been working on thinking I’d have time to finish it. I did except I was being hooked up to monitors making it nearly impossible to sew.
  • Ice, ice, baby. Then lots of fluids. Get a good lip balm and have plenty of ice chips nearby.

ELIZABETH

1. Just get the epidural 😉
2. I didn’t know my water could just slowly leak out. It didn’t really “break” it just leaked…
3. Be nice to your nurse and she will be nice to you.
4. Know yourself. This is about YOU! No one else. Don’t feel obligated to have a mom in the room.
RENEE
 
I had no expectations for labor or delivery but I expected to be fully recovered in six weeks. Due to complication during and after delivery it took me 12+ weeks to be back to “normal.” During labor (the actual pushing portion) I felt pain that was only outmatched by the sensation to drop a deuce. I asked the doctor-while pushing-if I could please take a break to go to the bathroom. I only remember asking once or twice but according to Dane I asked about 30 times!
ELYSE (check out her blog and adventures too)

When I first got my period, my Mom wouldn’t let me use tampons, which was terribly embarrassing, obviously. She said they were dangerous and yet I just couldn’t let it go. About a year later, she finally allowed me to use one, and of course, I was terrified. I had waited for that moment and begged for it, and then when it came down to it, I had to stick that thing, where!? I finally got the courage and it got stuck. Terribly stuck. Don’t ask me how, and I can’t even begin to explain it without further embarrassing myself, but my Mom wasn’t home and I called her in hysteric tears. So then here I was, sitting in the bathroom with a stuck tampon, with my Mom racing home to save me. And even better than that, within the next few moments, I was on that same bathroom floor with my Mom trying to take the stupid tampon out of me. It’s ok, you can laugh. If it weren’t weird to put emojis in here, I would be crying laughing with you. Probablynot our best Mother-Daughter moment!

So what’s this have to do with labor? Well, that tampon ended up creating this really strange tear. Every Gynecologist I ever saw, said it wouldn’t be a future problem, which always weirded me out. I couldn’t use tampons much because of it, so how would it not be a future problem?

Then I got pregnant with my first baby and I was in labor, and I kept telling the Doctor about the tear. I had this fear that the baby’s hand would pull it on the way out and make everything worse, as crazy as that sounded. And trust me, they let me know how crazy it sounded.

Sure enough, it became a big problem. It was the worst experience of my life, and it all started because that little baby hand pulled at the small tear and made it so much worse.

Not only that, I was at a terrible hospital, with a Doctor who wasnt present, and the nurse helping me was even worse. I kept telling her that I could feel my legs still and I was panicked. She kept telling me I was wrong.

And I felt wrong. I felt like since it was my first baby, I must not know anything; that since they were Doctors, they must know everything.

But here’s the thing; they don’t know me, and they don’t know my body.

You don’t need to know everything, but you do need to know yourself and know your inner voice. You need to trust your instincts. And that goes with being a Mother as well. With my second and third, I was extremely picky with my Doctors and did tons of research. With my third, I even switched Doctors when I was 30 weeks along because I didn’t feel right about going through the labor experience with the office I had been seeing. And I was incredibly grateful I did that.

No one told me how much I needed to trust my instincts.

There’s a lot no one tells you about labor, and I have stories for days of terrible experiences I had with my first. However, there is one thing I wish I would’ve been told that first time, and that is how important and vital and necessary a good nurse is. The Doctor? I’ve had a rainbow of them, and that doesn’t matter as much. But a bad nurse!? That could literally make or break the entire experience.

Some might disagree with me, but you have to think about the time they spend with you. In labor, you are with the nurse longer than you are with a Doctor. That nurse is tending to your needs, she is coaching you through contractions, and she even coaches you through pushing correctly if she is a good one. Because yes, there is a wrong way to push! If you need more epidural (that was me), she is the one that gets the right people, and she is the one who needs to be listening to you. The nurse makes ALL the difference. I honestly cannot stress that enough.

So then you are probably wondering how the heck you choose a good nurse.

With my third, I had thought I researched the Doctor heavily, but then there were many things within the office that were unorganized and appointments of mine were rearranged without notice. It made me uneasy, and even though I enjoyed the Doctor, I was not confident going into labor with that office. So at 30 weeks, after a lot of research, I switched Doctors. The first thing I did was ask to meet the nurses that had the potential of being with me through labor. It sounds so crazy, but I even had to go to the hospital at a random time to meet one of them. But this was my body! This was my baby! I needed to make sure I would be taken care of.

So meet those nurses. Make sure you know your team. And trust yourself and your instincts. Don’t feel bad if you have to tell someone they can’t work on you because you don’t feel comfortable.

Focus on getting a good team, not just a good Doctor.

LESLIE

I had a legitimate fear of pooping during delivery. Thankfully, I had a c-section and didn’t have to worry about that. It’s silly to even worry about something like that — the doc is up “in your business”, a little poop shouldn’t be a big deal!

During delivery I wish I would have been calm enough to appreciate that first view of my babies. I was so worried about their well-being, it was hard to be calm and appreciate that first look into their eyes. My babies went to the NICU, so I really feel like I missed out on that initial bonding time.
Get yourself a special robe and hard soled slippers for the hospital stay. Something just for YOU!
Hopefully you have found some helpful hints here. What are some of your L&D experiences? Want to share your experiences? Let me know!

Real Talk Part 1…. Pregnancy

The world is full of advice and helpful hints, on and off line. The trouble is figuring out what is helpful and what is utter nonsense. In this mini series I have asked some fellow moms in virtual reality and some of my own close friends for their experiences and tips. Together we are talking about and helping you tackle parenthood and giving it to you straight up. Follow along for the Real Talk as we dish out to you here on my blog.

Settle in and let’s get started with part one… pregnancy. My first little tidbit applies to all of topics in this series and is this; EVERYONE has an opinion. <insert eye roll>  Seriously! Complete strangers will stop you and give you advice ALL.THE.TIME. Learn the smile and nod method quickly, it will be used for many years to come.

PREGNANCY

Congratulations! You’ll hear this for the next 9-10 months. Yep, depending on how you count your pregnancy it will last from 9-10 months.
Let me break this down for you… There are 30 days in the average month, the rest have 30, except that one with 28. How many weeks are in a month? You don’t know? There’s no straight answer? When you are tracking your pregnancy it is by the week, 0-13 weeks is the first trimester, 14-26 weeks is the second trimester, and 27-40+ is your third trimester. Yes nine months and ten months become interchangeable in pregnancy. Save yourself the headache and start counting the pregnancy by weeks, much easier. If you must break it down into months, make each month 4 weeks long, hence the ten months. Let’s face it, when people ask how far along you are, the majority will not be calculating your pregnancy. You’ll know this because the next question is usually “When are you due?”

Around the middle of the 2nd trimester is when these questions begin because you have most likely begun to show your pregnancy. Yay! Baby bumps are cute and adorable, the miracle of life right there for all to see. Somehow this equates to your body suddenly becoming public property. There is something about the pregnant belly bump  which says, “please rub me” in our culture… hmmm is that something to do with a Buddha belly? It is completely acceptable for you to say please don’t touch my belly. Become comfortable with speaking your mind, blame the rudeness on the hormones… it is really ok.

Baby belly with Baby K

You will experience a plethora of emotions. I’m being serious here. I cried watching The Little Mermaid…. dead serious. I also was easily upset by the small things, like a single dish being left in the sink instead of put in the dishwasher. Yep, I admit it.

If watching sappy movies doesn’t make you cry morning sickness might.  Such a deceptive name… MORNING sickness implies you will feel ill in the morning… lies! There is no defined time it will hit you… middle of the night while you’re sleeping, cleaning the house, walking around the store… it does not and can not tell time.  From about the middle of my first trimester thru the rest of my pregnancy I had morning sickness. For all three of my pregnancies, especially my redheads. It didn’t matter what I did or did not eat, I was nauseous. Even taking a shower made me gag, acid reflux and stomach acid were no friend of mine.

Thankfully by the time I was pregnant with Little Man I had found a few tricks to help ease my stomach.  If you find yourself having all day sickness try snacking throughout the day instead of having three big meals. Ginger, in all it’s forms, helped me immensely. Particularly ginger ale and candied ginger. You may not like the taste but it may help.

Even with morning sickness I had pregnancy cravings. They would vary pregnancy to pregnancy as well as day to day. Generally with Dawn I wanted chicken, especially fried chicken.  With Little Red I craved pasta, and usually scampi or alfredo style.  AJ still says I asked him to buy pickles and ice cream so I could eat them together but I don’t remember that. I did like my pickles during that pregnancy tho. This last time with Little Man it started off as sushi (I didn’t eat it, except a crunch roll here or there) and then faded away to Italian cold cut subs. With each craving I managed to sneak in healthy foods here and there like a salad or a fruit smoothie. Most importantly I drank a ton of water.  Of course drinking that much water with a baby pressing on your organs means frequent trips to the bathroom…

Be prepared to lose control over your bladder. Sneezing… coughing… you’ll get a little bit of bladder leak. Kegel exercises will help strengthen those muscles, but let’s be real… buy some liners.

The last little bit of advice from me is you will lose your mind. I mean this literally. Once you are pregnant you slowly begin to lose your memory, it’s called mama brain. I misplaced an entire month one time, yep completely forgot all about March. You are your child’s life support, everything he/she gets is from you. It makes sense they will take part of your brain along with your blood and nutrients. It’s completely worth it!

Here’s a bit of advice from my gal pal Leslie, who had twins by the way!

Leslie’s cute pregnancy announcement.

I didn’t realize how swollen I could get! I had to wear flip flops in winter just to get through the last few months of pregnancy.

I also wasn’t expecting that I’d have my milk come in before delivery. It was just a bit of leaking, but I was very surprised.

Let’s talk Maxi dresses and skirts! Those were perfect for wearing throughout my entire pregnancy! I felt stylish, but oh so comfortable! Throw on a maxi dress and flip flops and you’re all set!

It was amazing to see the babies move in my tummy! It was an “alien” experience — but oh so wonderful! I remember worrying about the lack of movement toward the end, but that is normal as the baby (in my case, 2) run out of space.

I felt wonderful during pregnancy! My hair was more shiny, my skin was superb and I felt emotionally so very happy! Getting to the point of motherhood was a big hill to climb, so I think I was more forgiving of all the aches and pains.

Stretch marks…none of mine showed up until the 8th month. Then they just seemed to show up overnight. I was super careful about lotions — didn’t want any toxins; so just be aware.
Food! I ate whatever I wanted. I didn’t gain much weight, so I decided to just eat what felt right. Your body will have cravings, just balance them out with good food choices. I ate something raw with every meal and then ate that brownie if I wanted it!
I felt exponentially better when I stayed hydrated; very important.
Twins growing in mama’s belly very nicely.
My baby sister Elizabeth is the most recent first time mama I know and she has some great advice to share already!
  1. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep
  2. Forgive your husband because he just doesn’t get it. He does his best. Be patient with him. And really when he says something stupid…. just forgive him.
  3. Save your money! Don’t buy expensive stretch mark cream. Use coconut oil ALLLLL over your belly every single day. I did and I didn’t get any stretch marks.
  4. Enjoy every second. It goes by quick. You feel like you have been pregnant for years, but once it’s over, it feels like it just flew by.
  5. Take pictures.
Isn’t she a beautiful mama to be!?

Pregnancy advice quick view

  • full term pregnancy is 9-10 months, 40 weeks = 10 months, 4 weeks each
  • EVERYONE has an opinion
  • “How far along are you?” and “When are you due?” are interchangeable, sometimes used together, questions.
  • Your baby bump will somehow become “public property”.
  • Hormones will mess you up, emotionally and physically.
  • Stretch marks can be prevented
  • Drink lots of water
  • Find comfy clothes, maxi skirts and dresses are great
  • Take care of yourself
  • Cravings are normal and your body’s way of communicating
  • Pregnancy brain is real and will turn into mama brain.
  • Pregnancy is a life and body changing wonderful experience
  • Sleep is important
  • Trust your body
  • Your bladder will leak… no matter how often you use the bathroom
  • Love your significant other… and yourself!

 

I hope you’ve learned a few things, laughed a little (oops… hope you have a liner on), and found some helpful advice in our real talk. Do you have any tips or advice you’d like to add? Share with us. This is part 1 of the mini series. Part 2 will be about labor and delivery.  If you’d like to contribute your tips for any part of this mini series, let’s talk!

I’ll Show You My… Resolutions!

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, we are doing a New Year Resolutions post! Follow along in our series as we show you bits and pieces of our lives and who we are in our Mommy & Lifestyle Blog Collab. This month Katie, Tracy and I are joined by Dara and Jamie.

Each New Year seems to bring with it hope of revitalization and renewal of ourselves whether it be mentally, spiritually, physically or all of these aspects. Some of the more common “goals” seem to be to lose weight, quit smoking, eat healthier, quit sugar, read more, spend more time with the family, etc. Usually by the end of January most people have quit their New Year’s resolutions.

I am no exception! For the last few years we have sat down as a family to write out our personal and family resolutions. Each year a few of our goals are met but for the most part we have forgotten or lacked in one way or another. This year I have chosen a different approach. First AJ and I sat down and discussed things we want to improve upon as a couple and as parents.

  • planning out Family Home Evening (FHE) for each quarter
  • consistently saying prayers and reading scriptures as a family each night
  • say yes more often
  • slower to anger
  • focus more on the whos than the whats

Some of my personal resolutions are linked to my 40 by 40 goals.

  • continue working out to get into better shape and a healthier weight (my ultimate goal is currently 175 lbs but I will see how my body shapes out as I get closer)
  • participate in and finish my first Spartan race
  • read scriptures daily in my personal study
  • find and make more “me” time
  • make memories instead of stressing about cleaning
  • including more whole foods with meals (yep means more meal planning)
  • get pregnant – yes I said it, now hopefully it will manifest!
  • read more! in addition to spiritual enlightenment I want to read one self-improvement and one novel per month… realistically it’ll probably be once a quarter…
  • be able to interpret for ASL

I really am looking forward to finishing a Spartan race this year. Most of the time I am elated and can hardly wait… other times the thought terrifies me. I look back over the last year and realize I have become stronger and may be able to handle it. This incoming year shows much promise and room for growth. Whatever 2017 might hold I am waiting with open arms to embrace my future!

Tell me some of your resolutions or goals for 2017. What are you focusing on this year? Do you make New Year’s goals?

 

New Year, New Blog

For the new year I changed up my blog and am self-hosting now! Welcome to Simply Salisbury! This is a change I have been wanting to make for quite some time now. Yes I know it isn’t on my goals of things to do before I’m 40 but man it should be!

After much contemplation and deliberation for the blog topics, title and name I decided on something easy and I adore my alliterations (see what I did there?)

There are plans made for this blog. Things will get exciting around here! Stay tuned for:

  • home tour
  • family introduction
  • Real Talk mini series
  • More mommy blog collabs
  • photo shoot bloopers
  • recipes
  • shopping
  • dog rescue and fosters
  • product reviews & giveaways
  • and MORE!

I’m looking forward to what this new year and new blog will bring and allow me to share with you.  Make sure you are following along so you don’t miss out!

I’ll Show You My… Holiday Décor!

Welcome to the festive holiday season! This month for our Mommy Blog collab we are opening our homes and showing you our Holiday Décor. This month Katie, Tracy and I are joined by Dara and Danielle.


Our decorations are for Christmas and they go up every year on St. Nicholas Day. The kids also get a new ornament to hang on the tree and the family gets a new ornament to mark something special from the year. This year Dawn received a set of 3 ornaments to commemorate the first three years of the high school marching band. She has been participating since the inception when she was a freshman.
Little Red’s ornament is of kids on a school bus. She started public school this year and is thrilled with riding the bus, of course it was the best choice! Baby K is daddy’s little boy so his is baby snowman goofing around with daddy snowman. For our family ornament we purchased one in Williamsburg, VA of the Colonial district.

We have two trees, one for the family and special ornaments, the other is for the kids to decorate with their ornaments and whatever else they wish to use from my totes. In years past the girls have used all Disney ornaments and some balls. This year Dawn didn’t want any of those on the tree, she’s becoming an adult and too cool for all that nonsense. The kid tree is near the fireplace in the back of the house. We hang out stockings for Santa on the mantel with stocking holders.


Baby K has been grabbing ornaments off of the trees faster than I can pick them up. Instead of fighting him on keeping them on the tree I filled two Mason jars with the small ball ornaments from the kid tree. The big ones from the tree in the front room ended up in a glass bowl. It adds more décor and holiday festivities to the house. Besides I’m not going insane doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.


Here in the front room we have our tree where the presents are placed by Santa, ok and Mom and Dad.


A tradition on my side of the family is for everyone to have their own fancy Christmas stocking. My grandma started making these before I was born and everyone who has married into or been born in the Adams side of my family has one! When Dawn was born I began helping make them and have almost completely taken over. I enjoy watching them come together and knowing every year they are hung and enjoyed is an added pleasure. Being so far away from my family I can look at this wall and feel connected to them all during the holiday season.


We have three nativity sets, although two of them are missing a piece or two… The first was one AJ had purchased overseas, I love this little nativity scene we keep it out all year round.

The second is a set with a few missing pieces, they’ve been lost or broken and thrown away over the years.


Our third and newest nativity scene is this beautiful set with figures and all made from the wood of an Olive tree. It was a gift from my mom a few years ago.


We also have two advent calendars. This one I made when Dawn was a baby. The kids love pulling the little pieces out every year. I love it because I don’t have to remember to buy or put 24 little items in the advent.


A few years ago my sister Renee gave us this advent set. it is so fun and festive but I never end up putting anything in it, because I am forgetful to say the least!


I love all things about Christmas decorations. My home feels festive and homey this time of year. I enjoy the lights, shiny decorations, and all the little pieces of decoration that come together making a beautiful holiday season. I hope you have enjoyed this peak into our holiday home. What are some of your favorite holiday decorations around your home?


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Revisit 40

I had a reality check moment the other day. I was filling out a survey and I had to select which age group I belong in. My age wasn’t in my normal bracket, I had to check the next box! Oh man, only 5 more years until I’m officially in my 40s!!

Which reminds me, how is my progress on my 40 by 40 goals? What?! I have not been putting a great effort into my completing my list. Sure, one here and there have been accomplished. The point of creating the list was to have life experiences. Let’s take a look at the goals and my progress. If you see something on my list you can help me with, please let me know!

1. Get to a healthy body/lifestyle. I am still a work in progress. I have reached my pre-pregnancy weight from Baby K. 

2. Complete our family. Still no news on this front. 

3. Run and complete 5k. Done in combination with #4.

4. Complete a MudRun/FunRun/WarriorDash race. DONE. I “ran” an Insane Inflatable 5k a few months ago. 

5. Go on a cruise.

6. Visit at least 1/3 of the LDS temples, in America. 

7. Be free of unsecured debt and have rainy day fund built up comfortably. 

8. Travel to Jerusalem.

9. Read all Jane Austin’s novels. 

10. Go sky diving, at least once.

11. Go to a major league sports game with AJ.

12. Go to a movie alone.

13. Go camping with just the husband. 

14. Visit the beach/ocean/shore on the East Coast. We visited the Chesapeake Bay last month, walking on the beaches there, water from the Atlantic…

15. Attend a show on Broadway. Does Rockettes count?

16. Go to a concert in a park.

17. Write a letter to myself to read in 10 years.

18. Go scuba diving.

19. Learn a foreign language, fluently. 

20. ID and permanently remove a bad habit. Bad habit TBD.

21. Visit and help out at a food kitchen. 

22. Go to a mystery dinner. 

23. Learn to crochet. 

24. Organize all my old pictures and put them with my new ones into albums/scrapbooks.

25. Take a dance class. 

26. Actually make at least half the crafts on my Pinterest craft board.

27. Send notes/cards for every birthday, anniversary and event during one year for all my close friends and family.

28. Randomly send 12 “just because” gifts to unsuspecting friends/family members.

29. Donate my hair. DONE

30. Learn how to play the guitar. 

31. Learn and be fluent in ASL. In progress

32. Take a weekend trip to Vermont during the fall.

33. Go rafting and/or canoeing down the Delaware River.

34. Hike part of the Appalachian trail. 

35. Be more self-reliant on fixing my car. 

36. Really learn how to sew on my sewing machine.

37. Visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

38. Learn to surf, and do it.

39. Start a garden to grow own produce, and keep it up.

40. Take time out of my day, at least once a month to catch up with an old friend, via phone, visit or letter.

Pie Night 2016

Years ago when we first moved to Jersey, we were invited to our first ever Pie Night. When the Sommerkorns moved out of the area, many were saddened by their departure and the thought of the end of Sommerkorn Pie Night. We could not let this happen! I am no Liz the pie professional but I took on the task of keeping Pie Night tradition. Over the years I have incorporated many pie recipes from the web, old cook books and of course Liz’s selections. (Seriously this woman has amazing skill and talent with pies.)

The idea behind Pie Night is to enjoy and savor all of the delicious pies before Thanksgiving dinner. Usually on Thanksgiving the table is adorned with a gorgeous turkey and all the filling sides. By the end of a Thanksgiving feast there is no room for pie. It is shameful as pie deserves our love and respect as much as the turkey! Pie night to the rescue; an entire evening devoted to pie. Yum!

Pie Night, as is our spin on the tradition, is Friday night before Thanksgiving. This year I took a deviated path on recipes. This year’s pies came from old recipe books my Grandma has given me from the 60s, 70s and 80s (that’s fun sometimes just trying to figure out the ingredients and measurements), some came from newer recipe books, family recipes and of course Pinterest.

Instead of a traditional chocolate cookie crust (I ran out of Oreo’s) I opted to make some chocolate dough pie crusts. They aren’t the same as a cookie crust but served their purpose.

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Chocolate pie crust
Sometimes, even my large kitchen isn’t enough counter space for Pie Night prep.

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Beginning of pies

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Lots of delicious ingredients

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Lattice apple pie

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Gingerbread Pie

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All the pies ready to go

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…and they’re off!

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Must have a Kim photo bomb (even if it’s planned)

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Go ahead… finish that up
The favorite of the night was the chocolate mint cream pie (seen sitting in the middle of the table with the chocolate cookie crust). Down low on the list were Gingerbread Cream Pie, Salted Chocolate Pecan and Peanut Butter Bacon pies. In all fairness the Salted Chocolate Pecan and Gingerbread both did not set enough and ended up being devoured by my family the next day when they were set. PB Bacon is one I have not made in a few years but made it by request from Big D this year. A new concoction for me this year was an Almond Joy pie. It was scrumptious!

Things I learned/proved:

  • Instant vs Cook & Serve puddings… it makes a difference
  • some pies will take longer than the recipe says to set firmly
  • chicken pot pie will always be a favorite, it’s a staple now
  • Oreo cookies dipped in homemade German’s chocolate cake icing are delicious!
  • everyone has different taste

I think the last one makes pie night fun and worth while. I enjoy baking and seeing others enjoy the fruits of my labor.