Fall (and Halloween) All Around the House

We love to decorate our home for the fall.  There is something about pulling out all our little creatures and favored fall items that make me excited and nostalgic all at the same time. The truth is once the calendar flips over to October, I am in a perpetual good mood pretty much until we get to January.  And then I find other happy things to focus on.

This year I added this new centerpiece box to my collections.   We have a new DIY workshop that popped up in our little downtown that I will be visiting quite often.   Although the centerpiece is not just for fall, I quickly added my fall obsession to it.  The fun little cauldron bowls in front are new from Crate and Barrel this year.  They were perfect for our first bowl of chili this year.


We have been married almost nineteen years so we have collected fun decorations over the years.  I love integrating the season into my house.  You might look on a shelf and see my usual decor but a little pumpkin or owl might be right beside it.  Take what you have and add around it.

For the past 6 years I have had a Halloween tree.  Honestly, it is just getting me ready for the Christmas trees coming in a just a few weeks.  I light up my tree every morning and it makes me happy as I pass by it throughout the day.  Instead of presents under this tree, I have glittery, fun pumpkins.


My side doors are complete with spooky wreaths and a simple burlap bow.


Yes, even my animal statues are subjected to getting into the spirit.  This is sweet Hanna.  She loves to dress up too.  (Yes, all my animals have names).


It’s not too late to add your flair to the holidays.  Also look for steals and bargains right after the holidays.  Pick them up and store them for next year.  I know I will be adding more before the big night.  Let me know if you find something I need.

Looking Forward,




What Happened in January?

I cannot believe January is over.  It was a good month of starting over and focusing on new goals.  We had a couple cooler days so we enjoyed more indoor activities.

It does not matter what time of year it is I LOVE having fresh flowers around the house.  In high school, one of my first jobs was working in a flower shop.  I loved this job and now realize how this job was just a cool learning opportunity for me at a young age.  My boss, who was my former Sunday School teacher, took time to teach me the art of arranging flowers.  I learned how to tie bows, care of plants and flowers, and how to deliver flowers to the happiest places and the hardest places.  Through it all, it was a perfect job for me.  I still love to buy my own flowers and create.  I have a thing for daisies so they are usually always around.


As part of our goals, we decided as a  family to focus on one scripture verse a month.  This month we chose, 1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  This verse was up in our mudroom all month and we would recite it, talk about it, and try to apply it to our daily lives.  So whether I was taking final bites of leftover Mac&Cheese, driving Will to school, or cleaning baseboards, I was trying to do it for the Glory of God.  A simple but powerful verse for my boys.  Will got so into focusing around a scripture, he asked if he could pick out the verse for February.


We experienced a few rainy days this month.  On one particular rainy day, Whitaker and I made yummy, simple chocolate chip cookies.  It is always fun being in the kitchen with my boys.  Plus the learning that goes on in the experience.

20170123_133058_001Plus little brother thought it was really cool to have a snack ready for his big brother’s arrival home from school.  You probably have all the ingredients right at home now for these Simple Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Welcome to February!
Looking Forward,




Happy 2017! Let’s Do This!

Well, Happy 2017!  As the year begins, we are all filled with hope and promise to make this year better than the last.  Some make resolutions.  Some don’t make resolutions because they know by January 16th, they might have fallen off the wagon.  I’m a goal setter.  I set goals each year.  Goals that I feel will be good for myself and those around me.  Last year, I added in a word that I would focus on while striving towards my goals.  I liked having a word that summed up my year so I did that again.

As I look back on my goals from last year, I can easily see that not all goals were achieved. I feel I made good effort but not all happened.  And that is okay!  I’m human and it makes me try to be realistic with my goals.


Sure there are many more goals or things I would like to achieve in the new year.  Let’s start with this.  Being Intentional! Intentional with my walk with God, my relationship with Chris, being a mom to the boys, my time, my friendships, and my commitments.

What are your goals or ideas for the new year?  Do you have a word that sums up your goals?  My hope is to use this blog to celebrate life and share why I sing and dance in my kitchen.

INTENTIONALLY Looking Forward,



My (I mean) Their Hopes and Dreams

Like with the beginning of any school year, you get all geared up with the hopes and dreams of what the year will hold.  As a teacher, my students would always illustrate their hopes and dreams for the year.  We would hang their drawings in the classroom and refer to them throughout the year.  I would ask questions about their hopes and dreams and as their teacher, I became a navigator for those hopes and dreams.  “My hope and dream is to learn to read a chapter book.”  “My hope and dream is to learn how to multiply.”  These were their thoughts and as their teacher I wanted to make sure they achieved their goals.

As a mom of two boys, I am constantly checking into their hopes and dreams.  Of course I have my own for them but it is important I know what they are wanting to achieve.  With my ten eleven year old, it is easy, “I want to score goals at my lacrosse game.”
“I want to raise my math grade.” “I want to be a leader at school.” 

And then there is my 2 1/2 year old son.  He has lots of words, actions, and ideas but they don’t come out the same way.  We began this school year with our second year of Mother’s Morning Out.  Whitaker loved it last year.  He loved his classmates, adored his teachers, and came home singing about Jesus and about wheels on a bus.  Life was good.  When it came time to sign up again, there was no question that he would move from two days to three days.  Wow, three days a week, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and I can finally get some things done.

I quickly planned out MY “Hopes and Dreams” on these three days a week.  Oh I would get some much accomplished.  Grocery shopping, volunteering, cleaning my house, the gym, doctors appointments, so many things I can take care of. 

The first week of Mother’s Morning Out was rough like most first weeks with little ones.  There were tears, extra hugs and kisses, and prying a child off of me.  He would get the hang out it.  It’s a new room, new teachers, new classmates, but it will all work out.  The first week, I accomplished so much.  The report each day was that Whit had a hard time with transitions and was sad most of the time.  It was very easy for him to tell me that “I just miss my Mommy.”  “I’m sad at school.”   I would reassure him that he was big and brave and Mommy would come back.  (Mommy had things to do!)

So the pattern should be that each week gets a little easier.  I have a degree in Early Childhood, I know what is supposed to happen.  But this was not the case for Whitaker.  He would greet me each morning with “No School Today!” Each week became harder and harder.  Phone calls with him crying in the background because they could not get him to calm down.  They/We tried everything :extra cuddles, a special place in the room to cry when he needed it, extra cookie in his lunch box, prizes when I picked him up…..  And continually, he was saying “I need my Mommy.” “I need to cry for a minute.” “I need to be with my Mommy!”  “I want to go home.”

These phone calls and early pick-up were beginning to weigh on me.  Thoughts like-  What is going on up there?  Why is he the only one doing this?  He is completely fine. I have things I need to do. 

It was a call on a Monday.  It had only been one hour.  I could hear him in the background.  They had tried everything and he was completely inconsolable.  I drove to the school wondering what I was going to face.  Praying the whole way to the school.  I wanted clarity and an understanding of what was going on.

The minute he saw me “I’m happy now.  There is my Mommy.  I need my Mommy.  Mommy, let’s go home.”  It was discussed that maybe we should take a couple of days off with Whitaker.  Maybe he would reset and be ready to try it again. 

“Are you serious?”  I have things I need to do.  My husband is hosting his coworkers at our home. I have company coming in. I have responsibilities at Will’s school.  I can’t have him home ALL day with me. 

I went home that afternoon with my sweet two-year old and tried to rationalize this all out.  Then that clarity I had prayed for came and karate chopped me in the face. 

‘What were Whitaker’s Hopes and Dreams for this school year?’ He loves life, people, activities, and his Mommy. 

This was my first time to stay at home.  With Will, he was with a caregiver at twelve weeks.  That became the norm for Will.  Now with moves, changes, and circumstances, I have the blessing of staying at home.  I had wanted this before and now I have it.  So, why am I chasing my two-year old off so I can get to my agenda.  He is my agenda.  I get to be Mom.  I get have someone miss me and want to spend time playing with me. 

That week, I put on some new lenses with Whitaker.  It was obvious as we drove anywhere near the school his adrenaline began to rise.  He wanted reassurance that we were staying together for the day.  I began to plan activities for him.  He sat a little bit longer in the morning.  No rushing to get out the door to school and to my agenda.  We had a combined plan of what we needed to accomplish for the day. 

We are on week two of “No School Today.”  The teacher in me has been planning activities complete with learning targets. (you can take me out of the classroom but it will still creep out of me).  I have been blessed by this time with Whitaker that I thought I so badly wanted to myself.  There has been quick reminders that this time is very short.  This season will not last long.  He will be going into a classroom and not turning back before I know it. 

So, I’m going to soak it all up for now.  God is still working on me.  I’m growing and learning as a mom everyday.  I get to do this.  And it is a blessing.   It is my agenda.

Looking Forward, (and open for play dates and crafts)

Amanda, work in progress


And We Say, “No School Today!”

That was not the plan of how that sign would be used but I’m so glad we get to begin again.


And of course an outtake to make life real.

Just Growing Grass….

Although it is 40 degrees outside today, we are preparing for spring and Easter in our home.  I have a tradition that about one month before Easter, I begin growing grass in the house.  Yes, it may seem silly but it bring me such joy.  And when the grass is perfect, I add eggs to complete my happiness.  It requires no thought.  You put dirt in your favorite container (I usually line my container with a plastic bag or trash sack), add some grass seed, and water!  This year Whitaker got in on the fun and got it all over the kitchen but he found happiness with the process.

I know there is worry and doubt.  What if my grass gets too long and I need to mow it?  Simple!   You have scissors to help you mow your little patch of grass.  What is my grass does not grow?  It will.  Just water and watch. And don’t store it in a closet.  The grass needs a little sun.  What if someone else’s grass is green?!?  Ha!  It always will be.


The past two years I have used an old bread pan to grow my grass.  I found this bread pan with my sister on 6th Street in Amarillo, TX.  Other times of the year, this pan holds mail, things I need to get to, and even hot wheels.  It is an equal opportunity pan!

Once your grass takes off, you can go crazy decorating and adding your favorite spring items.  Last year, our grass made its way to the dining table.


Life can be so simple at times.  The joy of seeing grass grow is one of those moments.  Spring is around the corner and it’s a reminder of all the new growth and the beauty that will surround us.  Easter is all about the new growth and life we have in Christ.  Enjoy this time of the year.  Sing and Dance!  We have been so blessed!

Looking Forward,

Love is in the air….

And it’s already February! Lots of celebrating coming up- Superbowl, Chinese New Year, Fat Tuesday, and Valentine’s Day! Be sure to search my blog for recipes to complete your festivities.

It is so important to let those around you know how much you love them. We all express love and receive love in different ways. If you have not read, The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, I encourage you to take the time. Chapman has a great quiz that identifies your love language. In my life, I have boys that receive love the best by quality time and positive words. Honestly, gifts don’t mean much to my guys. They want time and words. This year I added a door of love notes to my guys. So simple and it is fun to watch them look for their new note each day.


To add a little love to our kitchen doors, I found these chalkboard hearts in the dollar section of Target. I used washable chalk makers and they were ready to go!


Have a great week looking for ways to love on those around you!
Looking Forward,