Category Archives: Holidays

My Daughter Teaches You How to Make an Adorable Christmas Ornament

I should have titled my last post “Sometime Next Week.” I’m such a jerk. I’m sorry for leaving you hanging.
Today my daughter brought home a beautifully wrapped gift with the most thoughtful note attached. I opened it up and found a hand made ornament.
I am a sucker for hand made ornaments. I’ve made them with my children throughout the years and they are by far my favorite decorations on the Christmas tree each year.
This ornament was particularly adorable– snowmen made out of her little hand print.
“This is adorable, G!” I said. “I absolutely love it and can’t wait to put it on the tree!”
I asked her to tell me how she made it because I would love to share the idea with my friends.
“Can I help you write it and put it on your Joy Unexpected?” She said.
(How does she know about my Joy Unexpected? And has she told my parents about my Joy Unexpected? Must investigate this further.)
I told her that I thought it would be wonderful if she would share how she made the ornament with all of my friends on my Joy Unexpected. So, we sat down at my computer and I typed while she talked.
“First, you need to tell them the ingredients.”

  • Clear, plastic ornament
  • White paint
  • Black and orange markers. A brown marker too if you want.
  • Blue straight, shiny ribbon
  • Gold ribbon

First- We painted our hands with white paint. Then we put our hand print carefully on the ornament.
Second: We drew the eyeballs on the five fingers to make them look like snowmen.
Third: We drew an upside-down carrot nose with orange marker
Fourth: We drew the mouth with little dots and buttons with a black marker.
Fifth: We added arms with brown or black marker and added a hat with a black marker.
After it dried all the way, we added blue ribbon to the inside of ornament. Then we tied a ribbon at the top to hang it from the tree.
Oh! Don’t forget to sign your name at the bottom!
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There’s No Crying In Tree Decorating (is a LIE!)

Last night was Tree Decorating Night.
The fantasy went like this: We would eat a delicious sirloin steak dinner. After we finished our dinner, the kids would clear the dinner table while I loaded the dishwasher while Christmas music played in the background. Everyone would be smiling and happy because soon we would be eating freshly baked cookies while sipping on hot chocolate while dancing around the Christmas tree that we would be decorating with the most beautiful ornaments!
The reality went like this: I was crying in the first 5 minutes because the red beads were not spaced properly and proper spacing IS EVERYTHING! (Also- see: PMS) The Teenager sat on his butt, making comments like “next year I won’t have to do this because I’ll be 18 and probably won’t even be living here.” G and The Middle Child argued over stupid things like “why does HE always get to put up the big ornaments?”
It wasn’t ALL bad. There were some wonderful moments. When we weren’t arguing/crying/almost breaking each other’s phones– we were laughing, sometimes until we cried and/or farted. We sang Christmas songs. We talked about our favorite Christmas memories.
However, the Christmas Joy Jesus Is The Reason For The Season Silent Night Peace On Earth moments didn’t last for long. By the end of the night, the kids were fighting over a blinking red nose while I took pictures with one hand and ate lots of cookies with the other hand.
So, the Decorating of The Tree didn’t go quite as I had planned (and our tree looks like a-s-s) but no one killed anyone and we still all love each other, so I say SUCCESS! Also? damn, the cookies were GREAT. All 7 of them. (Just kidding. I only ate 5.)

Graveyard Brownies: Not a (Total) Fail!

I am not one of Those Creative-Type Mothers and no matter how hard I try, I will never BE one of Those Mothers. But, it’s Halloween and I’m supposed to make crafts and create Halloween type treats with my children. So, today I attempted to make these graveyard brownies I saw a Picky-Palate with my daughter.

Usually, when I attempt these type of things, it doesn’t end well. There are usually tears, sometimes injuries, thoughts of divorce, threats to run away, etc…I’m happy to report that none of those things happened today.

G & Mommy make Graveyard Brownies, a Photo Essay.

Washing her hands, excited to get started on the brownies!
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Still excited! Mmmmm brownies!
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Will ours look anything like that? Probably not, but we’re doing the damn thing anyway.
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Helping is fun, but man, that chocolate sure looks good. I think I’d much rather be eating chocolate than making these brownies.

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Oh, look! A chocolate chip!

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Aaaand, she’s out. Thanks for the “help”, G!

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The thing that I was the most worried about was getting the brownies out of the pan in one piece. Turns out, spraying the crap out of the pan with Crisco flour non stick spray works!

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I wasn’t sure how I was going to write “RIP” on the cookies. Turns out, I’m kind of a genius.

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The end result? Definitely not as awesome as the the ones pictures in the recipe, but not as bad (ugly?) as I expected.

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(Originally found on )

Happy Girl. Happy Mama. Happy Halloween!

I wasn’t sure that G was going to be able to celebrate Halloween this year. It’s been a rough few days. But yesterday she showed huge signs of improvement. Last night, she asked if she could go to school today– she didn’t want to miss the costume parade/class party. I told her I’d make my decision in the morning.
She slept through the night for the first time in so many nights– Not a single coughing episode. And this morning when she woke up, she was happy and most importantly, cough free. My Mama Gut said she was fine to go to school and so I gave her the good news.
She smiled the biggest smile and hugged me tightly. Joy!
Of course, 20 minutes later it was all “MY HEAD ITCHES” and “DO I HAVE TO WEAR THIS HAT?” and “I HATE FRECKLES!”
But Oh My Justin Bieber (as G says), once I finished braiding and bobby pinning her 200 pounds of hair into that wig, she looked absolutely adorable.
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Happy You’re Not Going Out on New Years Eve AGAIN!

Two week ago, I was standing inside of Sephora with Lena, discussing plans for New Years Eve. The plans included dinner, dancing and wine! Or maybe a comedy show! THE POSSIBILITIES!
New Years Eve was going to be exciting and fun! A special occasion, no doubt.
So special, we were going to wear false eyelashes. (Did you know they sell false eyelashes KITS? Like, with all of the “tools” you need to put them on? I had no idea! But man, was excited to try it out for all of the New Years Eve celebratin’)
We spent the afternoon discussing important details– like, what would we wear? Whose husband would be the better dancer? (mine) Who would be the designated driver? (me) Jeans or dresses? (jeans)
Man, we were as excited as two women in their 30’s could possibly be about going out on New Years Eve.
We decided we’d go home, google things like “New Years Eve Hotel Parties!” until we found The Perfect Place.
We finally found a place. A place with an amazing view. A place that was offering appetizers, main course that included steak AND lobster, desert, a bottle of wine, dancing and party favors. All for only $150 a couple. (Bonus: For the 30 and over crowd. BOOM!) I guess what I’m trying to say is that we found THE PERFECT PLACE.
I was thrilled that for the first time in, maybe, ever? We had made adult plans for NYE. This was going to be so very great!
Monday morning, I got an email from Lena. Basically, it said “I’m sick.” My heart sank. But! It was only Monday! There was time for her to get well!
But yesterday came and went and she was still sick.
Then, PigHunter started having chest pains.
Lena’s husband injured his knee.
I got my period.
Plans? Canceled.
There will be no Hoe Down Arms from PigHunter. There will be no lobster dipped in butter. There will be no applying of fake eyelashes. There will be no laughing until I pee a little.
Instead, I’ll be cuddled closely next to my family on the couch while we (most likely) watch reruns of King of Queens, while eating sugar cookies and sipping on sparkling cider in our pajamas.
As it should be, I suppose.
Happy New Year to you and yours.

On Christmas Day

This year, we did Christmas a little differently.
Since there would be no dinner at Oma’s (because Oma now lives with my mom) we decided to open up our home to the family for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Everyone loved the idea.
I had family at my house from 8:30 in the morning, until 11 pm. One would think having family over for that many hours in a row would be kind of awful.
It wasn’t.
In fact, it turned out to be one of the best Christmas’ in recent memory. Here are a few reasons why.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner, all served out of the Triple Buffet Slow Cooker (which, if you haven’t figured it out by now, I am obsessed with.)
My brothers went through my underwear drawer, stuffed a box full of my giant bras and granny panties, wrapped them up and gave it to my son as a gift.
(Oh, look. My Dad! Looking at my bra and panties! MERRY CHRISTMAS, PASTOR DAD!)
The kids loved their presents.
But, the best thing about Christmas this year?

Besides laughter, love and family?
(Relax, gun hating liberals! They’re bb guns. The real guns are locked in a safe.)

We’ll Go Ahead and Pretend Like This is My Christmas Card, Since I Didn’t Actually Send Christmas Cards This Year. :-(

Tomorrow morning there will be 18 people sitting around the Christmas tree by 8 am.
We will have breakfast for everyone– biscuits and gravy. Sausage and eggs. A variety of muffins and fruit. There will be coffee, hot chocolate and orange juice.
We will open presents as we eat and drink.
There will be happy faces, maybe some disappointed ones. There will be laughter, maybe some tears. There will be lots of hugs, maybe some arguments.
There will most likely be spills that will stain (not) our carpet.
But it will all be wonderful and good.
Tomorrow can’t get hear soon enough.
Whatever your plans are for tomorrow, I hope you have a Merry Christmas with those you love the most.