Getting Ready for Advent

If I am completely honest, I have to admit that Christmas is not my favorite holiday. I don’t know when or exactly why it happened, but for as long as I can remember, Christmas makes me kind of sad.

I want to love it for my kids if nothing else. So I am really trying. Last year we celebrated Advent and it really did help us take time to reflect and enjoy the true meaning of Christmas.

Last week I went out to Hobby Lobby and got little envelopes that the Bible verses and the message about their treat or activity will be in.




I found a list on Pinterest last year for the verses and plan on using it again this year. It comes from a great site called The 36th Avenue


photo credit: The 36th Avenue

I came up with the little gift or activity for each day.

Some include:

Drive around and look at lights

Christmas movie night with a Christmas snack

Starbucks gift cards


Make and decorate cookies

Go to a Christmas concert

Make ice cream cone Christmas trees


making ice cream cone Christmas trees 2014

We’ve decided to do another activity to help turn the kids attention to others instead of themselves. I hope to share that with you tomorrow.

In the meantime, if anybody out there has suggestions or some ideas of ways to make Christmas more meaningful and enjoyable, I’d love to hear them! I can use all the help I can get.

Spicy Broccoli Casserole{Low Carb}

My sweet husband loves broccoli rice casserole. It’s one of the dishes he looks most forward to eating for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Going low carb means finding an alternative to that rice filled dish.

I came up with a recipe this Thanksgiving and it received rave reviews from both carb eaters and low carbers. We also have diabetics on both sides of our family, so it felt good to give them a dish that wouldn’t contribute to raising their sugar levels very much, if at all.


2 large broccoli crowns

1 container of Philadelphia jalapeno cream cheese

1 can jalapenos

2 small blocks of habenero cheese (cut into small pieces)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup full fat sour cream

Steam the broccoli. In a bowl, add broccoli, cream cheese, habenero cheese, sour cream, jalapenos (I drained mine and only used the juice). Gently mix until everything is well incorporated. Pour into a greased baking dish. Put shredded cheddar cheese on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until bubbly. Serve hot.

I would love to hear if you try it. I hope you enjoy it as much as our families did.



Harney and Sons Tea

One of the blogs I enjoy reading is Dixie Delights. She mentioned in one of her posts how much she loved this tea.

I am very particular about tea and only like a handful. So, when I decided to start replacing a few of my many cups of coffee with tea, I decided to give Harney and Sons a try.

I tried the Hot Cinnamon Spice. It tastes like a Red Hot candy to me. It doesn’t need any sweetener. It is perfectly sweet enough without it. After two weeks, I’m headed back to buy more and maybe I’ll try some other flavors while I’m at it.


Photo credit: Harney and Sons


Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. I have so much to be thankful for and hope I don’t take too much for granted. I am blessed in countless ways and far more than I deserve. Life isn’t always perfect; but there is always something to be thankful for.


Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours.



If you knew me in real life, you’d figure out pretty quickly that I’m very frugal (most of the time). I usually won’t even look at clothes that are not on sale. I love discount stores like Home Goods and TJ Maxx. I am always on the lookout for a good buy.

So, since it’s shopping season I thought I’d share some great sales going on right now. Many of these will be over before Friday , so you may need to act fast.

Vera Bradley has many of their items 50% off

My youngest daughter loves their backpacks so that will be in my cart soon.


Kate Spade is having a Surprise Sale. Many of the items are 75% off.

They have this sale every few months and I always buy things for upcoming graduations, birthdays, etc.


Vineyard Vines has an additional 40% off their already reduced items with the code GOBBLE2015

The quality of their clothes makes their prices a little easier to swallow. This shirt is $49 once the additional reduction is applied.


Ballard Designs has free shipping (with some exclusions) and 10% off storewide.

This isn’t the best sale I’ve seen; but if you sign up for their catalog you can get 15% off. These Jute bags are only $19.

jute bag

Pottery Barn has free shipping through today (with some exclusions) and 30% off holiday decor. This throw is on sale for $41


I hope you get a great deal wherever you shop!!

Christmas Eve Countdown

Christmas Eve is one month from today.  What that means to me is that I need to kick it into high gear and get stuff done.

One of the subjects in our homeschool is Handicrafts. So, the girls and I will be working on some DIY projects that will double as gifts.

We will be working on several of the Handicraft projects I’ve pinned in Pinterest.

These little bow bracelets are so cute. The tutorial we are using is on the Polka Dot Chair website.


Photo credit: Polka Dot Chair

Another craft we’re going to work on is a reusable cup sleeve. This tutorial  is on Crafty Staci

coffee sleeve

Photo credit: Crafty Staci

Of course, there will be body scrubs in Mason jars. I have a true love with Mason jars. Don’t get me started…

Back to the body scrubs, there are lots of recipes online. I’ve always just made my own with coconut oil, sugar, and whatever essential oil I like best at the time.

I’m sure there will be many projects and crafts done between now and Christmas Eve.

It’s countdown time…Let the creating and crafting begin!

Understood Betsy {Great Books}



Another great book that we discovered this year is Understood Betsy. This may be in my top ten favorite books of all time. The narrator is funny and sharp. The characters are so well developed that you will feel like you know them personally by the end of the book. The story couldn’t be better. I loved every page in this book. I told my husband about each chapter after we’d read it. Just hearing about it from us left him wanting to know how it all worked out in the end.

Here’s what Goodreads has to say about Understood Betsy

A warm and charming portrayal of life in the early 1900s. Sheltered 9 year old Elizabeth Ann has always heard her Aunt Frances talk about “those horrid Vermont cousins.” Now she is terrified. Aunt Frances can no longer take care of her, and she has been sent to stay with her New England relatives. “Betsy” gradually comes to enjoy the challenge of living with her country cousins, and she has a difficult choice to make. A delightful book.

This was a literature book for our homeschool. It didn’t feel like school at all. We all cried at certain chapters and my girls made me hold off with the final chapter for a week just because they could barely stand the thought of it being over.

This would make a lovely Christmas or birthday gift for a child.




When I found out I was pregnant about 3 years ago, I was sure it would be a girl. We had four girls and I knew that statistically our chances of having another were very high. So when at around 15 weeks, I had an ultrasound and the sonographer said,”it’s a boy,” I was in denial and shock and so utterly excited!

Every moment with our little boy has been exciting and fun! He is the funniest, silliest, sweetest little boy. He tries to make us laugh all the time and loves to be loved .

The biggest difference I’ve seen is that he is always ready to get into mischief. He makes me laugh all the time with the things he gets into.

He loves to color on himself. I only bring home ultra washable markers, paint  and crayons that wash with water. (Yes, once he gets started his sisters love to add to his art)

We’ve all learned that even if he’s just on the other side of the island in the kitchen there’s potential for him making mischief.


He loves to be silly and goofy. He loves to make us all laugh.




We all enjoy this little boy so much. We don’t mind the mischief very much at all.

Corn Casserole {Thanksgiving recipe}

049For most people who celebrate Thanksgiving, there are foods that make Thanksgiving… Thanksgiving and not just another day with another meal.

Where we live most everyone will have turkey, ham, dressing, and gravy. For dessert there will most certainly be a pumpkin pie and a pecan pie. Of course, there will be way more food than just these items, but what they are will vary by family.

In my family there will be corn casserole, deviled eggs, green bean something, scalloped potatoes, some broccoli dish, a sweet potato item, and too many pies to mention.

I asked my youngest daughter what was her favorite part of Thanksgiving and she said it was the corn casserole. So, I thought I’d share it with y’all.

This is not low carb of course, but it is delicious.

CORN CASSEROLE:   Paula Deen’s Corn Casserole Recipe

Now, the only difference between Mrs. Deen’s recipe and mine is that we don’t put cheese on ours.


  • 1 (15 1/4 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (14 3/4 oz) can cream-style corn
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 (8 oz) package corn muffin mix

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray an oven safe dish with cooking spray and pour it all in. Bake about 45 minutes or until browned on the top.

This is super easy and fast to put together and it is always a hit!

Thank you Paula Deen for sharing this recipe with the world. It’s a family tradition and a truly delicious dish.

As always, I’d love to hear from you. Did you try it? What foods are your family eating this year? What makes Thanksgiving Thanksgiving at your house?

Low Carb Key Lime Cheesecake

This is my favorite low carb dessert.

If I could only have one dessert the rest of my life, it would be Key Lime Pie. I love the tart, slightly sweet flavor. So, since sweetened condensed milk and graham crackers are off the table, I came up with this little recipe which fills my need for Key Lime just right.




1 block full fat cream cheese

1 to 1 1/2 cup Splenda (depending on how you want your sweet to tart ratio)

1/4 cup Key lime juice

1 egg

1 to 2 tsp. Key lime extract

( I’ve only found Key lime extract at Whole Foods and Amazon, but you might have more luck)

Mix it all in the blender. Pour into a glass baking dish that has been sprayed with Pam and bake at 350 degrees until it browns a little and it begins to crack. Let it cool. Place in refrigerator until it is cold. Serve with whipped cream. Enjoy!!

If you try it, I’d love to hear about it!!