Saturday, December 17, 2011

Owl Babies

As requested from sweet little Rachel, here are a couple pics of those owls that kept me up all night. Silly little things. B chose a pink one to keep, and sold the rest (for fake money) as part of a third grade project. There's a little tutorial here (yes, I know hers are WAY cuter than mine) if you would love to make your own owls. I would suggest not trying to make 11 in one night. They are a wee bit more time consuming than they look!

And, yes, I know how important sleep is. I am a much calmer, sweeter, spontaneous dance party type of mama when I have had my fair share of shut eye. Without it, I am a little slower, crankier, 'please go watch a show so I can rest for 15 minutes' type of mama. But every once in seems like every lots in awhile...something requires my staying up past my bedtime to finish. Maybe the number 1 item on my 2012 goals list needs to be: GO TO BED!

But, not until January. There's simply too much to do for Christmas to spend my time sleeping!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Tired Prayer

Life this week has been a little bit on the insane side. I will have to fill you in on all of it in a few days when things {fingers crossed} calm down a bit.
For now, I will simply admit that some days, my prayers are more real than others. Today is one of those days. It was not a kneeling on the ground, head bowed, pouring my heart out kind of prayer, but an out loud, while driving, with maybe just a few tears threatening to fall from my tired little eyes type of prayer.
"Please help me to stay awake and not crash and not hurt my sweet baby boys as I drive them to swim practice, since I'm so crazy tired because I was up til four in the morning making those crazy owl ornaments for B's Product Fair at school that were due this morning; and I'm kind of freaking out because I didn't get to work on the things I was planning to for the church party I'm in charge of tomorrow, or the t-shirt project for the PTA that is also due tomorrow, since I was sewing, and stuffing, and cursing those blasted owls instead.
And thank you for caffeine. Amen."

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Oh, Christmas Tree

I have nothing against fake Christmas trees, well, I take that back…I have nothing against the people who own fake Christmas trees. Some of my favorite people in the whole, wide world decorate and gather round absolutely gorgeous counterfeit foliage every Christmas.
I, on the other hand, just can’t do it.
Every year as my sweetie and I snuggle up to trudge through the Black Friday ads, he elbows my side over every single plastic tree deal. You see, this is one of those little things in our marriage that we will never, ever agree on. He dreads chopping down our own Christmas tree every year, and I happen to love it. Seriously. I love getting bundled up, donning my little ones in hats and mittens and setting out on an adventure to search for our tree amidst a forest of hundreds. I love that our trees have great character. They are not pretty, in the eyes of most. They are weathered and sparse, and sometimes have two trunks, and sometimes have to be balanced by a ten pound dumbbell duct-taped to one side to keep them from toppling over {true story}, but they are beyond beautiful to me.
They exude character and life and contain a uniqueness all their own.
We came to a compromise a few years back, after a particularly disastrous year of little girls stuck in snowdrifts up to their chests in the middle of the Pike National Forest. Now, we visit the Merry Christmas Tree Farm up the road. There is no more hiking through 18 inches of snow in the National Forest, but we still get to peruse acres of forest land scattered with 6500 Scotch Pine, find our {im}perfect tree, and cut it down ourselves.
It’s still not a flawless system. This year, our four year old boy had a meltdown in the toe-numbing cold. I ended up trekking him and baby brother back to the car while Dad & the girls sawed down the tree - but we made lots of memories, and have a beautiful Charlie Brown tree to show for it. A tree that upon most first impressions, receives the reaction: “Oh…{silence}…did you cut that down yourselves?”

To which I always respond, “Yes, and I love it!”
And I do. I love the tree. But more, I love what it represents. That one little tree, standing in my living room represents more than just family time, and the onset of the Christmas season, and eternal life which the evergreen branches symbolize…my imperfect tree also reminds me that while others may see it as damaged or flawed, I see it’s simple beauty, it’s strength, and it’s majesty. I am not perfect. I am going to go out on a limb and guess that you are not perfect…but we have a Savior who sees our simple beauty, our strength, our majesty. We can rise to our great potential which He sees within us, or we can become what everybody else sees on the outside.
My little cockeyed tree helps me remember those precious things every year. I would say those thoughts of encouragement and divinity are worth the chapped cheeks, the occasional boot stuck in the snow, and the vacuum full of pine needles. So sorry sweetheart…I think I’m winning this one!

Monday, December 5, 2011

And the Winner Is...


Woohoo! I hope you are jumping for joy! It was super scientific. I wrote all of your names on slips of paper, threw them in a bowl, and the first one I picked out was Melanie.

So congrats to you! You win one professionally printed and mounted {on foam core board} 11x14" print of this darling, if I do say so myself, Christmas Cheer design: And bless you to ALL of my new followers! So happy to have you! If you would really love to have the same mounted print that Melanie just won - you can purchase it from my etsy site:

Congrats again Melanie, and THANK YOU to all who entered. It brings me cheer to see your smiling faces on my sidebar!

Lots of love,


P.S. Melanie! For some crazy reason, I can't send you a message over Google Friend, if you would kindly send your mailing address to , I will send you your prize! Thank you!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Candy Cane Mountains Recipe

I am not a food blogger. Nor do I have a fancy camera to take adorable pictures of food with. ~Though I have a sneaky suspicion Santa may have stayed up all night on Black Friday to snatch up a good deal on the next step up from our mini point and shoot. And I have a sneaky suspicion that Santa might tell you all about that night on the town in a later post. Keep your fingers crossed!

So a little distracted there. Back to the matter at hand.

I may not blog about food. But I happen to love it. I consume it daily, and I like it to taste good. I am particularly fond of baked goods. Homemade dinner rolls fresh from the oven, cinnamon rolls, cookies, pies~you know, all of the delicious carbs. Love them. Love them all!

As mentioned in the previous post, I had the good fortune of attending two, yes, two cookie exchanges this weekend. I was planning on being super savy and bringing different treats to each one, but it just didn't happen. A little thing called life with four kids who needed their mom outside of the kitchen happened instead. However, I found/tweaked/combined two recipes to create what I am calling Candy Cane Mountains. And let me tell you, they are di.vine. Maybe even my new favorite Christmas cookie. So, in the end, I was pleased as punch to present these at both parties. And I thought, maybe, just maybe, you might be looking for a new favorite Christmas cookie too. So here it is. Please, look past the point & click pic, and just know that these little sweets are beautiful on the inside. Enjoy!
1 C. butter, softened
1/4 C. packed brown sugar
1 egg
a/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 C. flour
1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 320 degrees. Grease cookie sheets
2. Separate egg,. (you will only use yolk)
3. Cream butter, sugar, and egg yolk
4. Add vanilla, flour and salt, mixing well.
5. Shape dough into balls.
6. Place on cookie sheets about 2 inches apart, bake for 5 minutes.
7. Remove cookies from oven. With thumb, dent each cookie. Bake for another 8 minutes.

Let cool.. Then fill with filling

1/4 C. softened butter
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract.
1 1/2 C powdered sugar.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat butter, with electric mixer on high for 1 minute. Beat in peppermint extract. Gradually beat in powdered sugar. Beat for another 1 minute on high.

Top with Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips. {aka: Heaven in a bag}Share with neighbors, friends, your children, your childrens' teachers, or hide them all in your cupboard and keep them for yourself. They are just that yummy.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas Cheer GIVEAWAY

Get your popcorn ready people, it's time for SimplyCumorah's first ever Giveaway!
Simply click on the "Join This Site" button in the right column under FOLLOWERS, and you are entered to win a high quality 11x14" print {mounted on white foamcore board} of this cheer inducing, ORIGINAL design:
I will give away one mounted print for every 100 followers. And yes, to you little doves who have joined previous to this post ~ you are already entered! Woohoo! I know you are squealing with excitement right now! Good luck!

The winners will be chosen at random, and will be contacted via the Google Friend Connect 'Send a Message' button. Your names will also be listed here, in a contest winner post on Monday evening. So start following, start spreading a little Christmas cheer ~ yep, that's right, I expect you to run out and sing loud for all to hear right this second, unless it will get you fired, then wait to you leave the office to belt out that holiday magic that is within you~ and check back here Monday night to see if you are a winner! {No intent on inferring that you are not currently a winner in this grand thing called life...I am CERTAIN you are. I mean, if Charlie Sheen is WiNnInG, who isn't?}

Have a fabulous weekend! Mine is set to be chalk full of all things Christmas: Cutting down a *fingers crossed* Charlie Brown Christmas tree {the scragglier the better in my book}, baking for two cookie exchanges, singing in a choir, and attending a live Nativity in the rosy-cheeked, nose frosting cold with my sweetie and our little ones.