December 29, 2023

The Best Week Of The Year

~ quiet mornings ~ leftovers for days ~ unending cups of coffee, tea, and cocoa ~ Christmas books on the couch ~ sleepy puppies on cozy throws ~

This is the Week In Between at our house 

( Not pictured: cookie crumbs on counters, wrapping paper scraps on the floor, laundry baskets overflowing, a half-lit Christmas tree, dust bunnies galore. Oh...and a grateful mother who could ask for nothing more. )

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Billie Jo

December 22, 2023

Merry And Blessed Christmas!

Here we are, my friends. We are entering the days we plan and prepare for and dream of all year long. I hope and pray your Christmas is joyous, peaceful, and comforting and that the time you spend with your people fills your heart with love. I am so thankful to be able to enjoy this wonderful time of year with you all, and I wish you the Happiest and Most Blessed Christmas this year!

I will be back next week, so until then, I will leave you with our family Christmas card. And with the wishes of a happy, healthy, fun Christmastime!

Merry Christmas!

Billie Jo

December 20, 2023

All The Christmas

Hello, my friends! I hope your last week before Christmas is going well in the way that works best for you. If I have learned anything throughout my life, and indeed I have, one of the most important is this: Do life in the way that works for you. Do what gives you peace. If being done with the shopping, wrapping, and baking brings you joy, then feel free to do just that. If the excitement of shopping on Christmas Eve among the music and people brings you Christmas spirit, then enjoy! Social media has allowed us into the homes and lives of complete strangers, giving us ideas and inspiration yet also bringing comparison and feelings of inadequacy. Our parents and grandparents never had to deal with that, and they created and enjoyed beautiful and joyous Christmas times by doing what they loved for the people they loved. So, this Christmas, give yourself the grace of confidence, peace, and contentment. You deserve it. Ok. End of speech! Moving on!

We spend a great deal of time as a family in the days leading up to Christmas. So far this week, we enjoyed a cookie decorating evening hosted by Peyton and Christopher at their cozy Christmas home. The girls and I went over early, and they cut out and baked the cookies. While I was sitting and visiting with them, I took this picture.

And realized this.

This was a year ago! My girls. Almost exactly the same, one year later! Everyone else joined us later, and we had pizza, decorated the cookies, and then watched Santa Claus is Comin' to Town, one of our favorites. It was a great night, made even better by the snow that fell all evening.

Thank you, Peyton and Chris, for a super fun evening!
( She reads here! )

Yesterday. Flynn spent the day with Madison, making their traditional gingerbread house together. This is a tradition Madison started years ago with Flynn and is something special they look forward to each year.

How special is that?? After the fun afternoon of making the gingerbread house and paper chains and eating dinner, they asked us to come over for an impromptu movie night! So, we piled into Steve's truck, me in my cozy clothes, and headed over. Rhett and Kyrstin joined us, and we enjoyed the movie and the most delicious hot chocolate ever! My sweet sister-in-law Beth gifted us a homemade mix she made from her mother's recipe, marshmallows and candy cane spoons, so we took that over and had it during the cold December night.

In addition, we are watching birds...

And snuggling in our cozy house this week.

Have a wonderful Wednesday, my friends. I will be around to visit soon!

Billie Jo


December 18, 2023

Monday Morning Coffee

Good Monday morning! One week to go! We did a bit of Christmas this past weekend, including visiting with some family and friends, making our Christmas apples, gathering as a family for Steve's spaghetti dinner, our Christmas with the Kranks movie night, and yet another one of my silly made-up games that concluded with everyone receiving a Christmas shirt I am sure they are excited to wear on Christmas Day. They really are good sports!


Have a wonderful day, my friends. I plan to spend as much time by the tree as possible this week, a cozy Christmas blanket on my lap, YouTube Christmas ambiance videos playing, and coffee in hand. Add in some planning, wrapping, and shopping, and I am all set. How about you? However you enjoy these days leading up to Christmas, I hope you can do that all week long. This is the time we think about, plan for, dream of, and long for. Enjoy, my friends. All too soon, we will add these days to our collection of Christmas memories.

Thanks for visiting!

Billie Jo

December 15, 2023

Friday Photos And Manger Cake

This week has been spent enjoying the simple joy of Christmastime, from the light of early morning to the darkness of an early night. Nothing exciting. Nothing pressing. Just normal days with a touch of Christmas sprinkled throughout.

If you are looking for an addition to your holiday dessert menu, you may want to give this one a try. We call it Manger Cake. A dear friend gave me the recipe years ago, and the kids and I used to make it as a birthday cake for Baby Jesus. Now, Peyton makes it for us as a weeknight treat. I have posted this before, but in case you missed it, here it is. Just click on this

Have a lovely weekend, my friends!
Christmas is near!

Billie Jo


December 12, 2023

This or That...Christmas Edition!

Where do you stand on these very festive issues?

Do you decorate a real tree or an artificial tree?

Do you stay home on Christmas Day or travel to visit with family?

Do you eat breakfast first or dig into the presents?

Do you enjoy The Twelve Days of Christmas, or is it a skip?

Eggnog or fruitcake? Be honest!

Rudolph or Frosty?

And a big one... Does Santa wrap the gifts at your house or not?

Finally, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?

My answers are down below!

Have a cozy Wednesday, my friends!

In case you were wondering...

We have an artificial tree. And I am ok with that.

We have called Christmas as a stay-at-home day since Madison was born.

We open stockings first, eat breakfast, and then gather by the tree for presents!

I really don't like that song. It is about the only Christmas song I skip!

Neither. Just...nope.

Love them both. But Rudolph is my favorite forever.

Santa wrapped at my house. He didn't wrap at Steve's house. Santa compromised for our kids!

Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the year! The anticipation, the excitement, tracking Santa, waiting for snow, baking, and cooking, the last-minute gift deliveries, and a beautiful mass. Family, food, chaos, and a quiet night by the tree. I love it all. Honestly, I feel sad as Christmas Day winds down. But then I think of all the beautiful days we have until it comes back around again!

Billie Jo

December 11, 2023

Monday Morning Coffee


Good Monday morning! I hope your weekend was just how you planned. My weekend was quiet and cozy. Everyone except Madison and I was off doing camp or football or concert things. We were happy to be home, not doing those things. Here are a few pictures of our cozy weekend.

Not pictured: eating leftover pot roast and macaroni and cheese, watching a BBC show about the best Christmas House in Scotland, getting Pizza Hut delivery, and simply spending special time together by the Christmas tree, just as we did all those years ago when two-year-old Madison snuggled on the couch with her pink jammies and matching robe watching Red Boots for Christmas. 

Only two more weeks, my friends. Let's hope they pass slowly, joyfully, and with health and happiness. I plan on being intentional in my daily life, soaking in the Christmas lights and music and the simple feeling of contentment that is December in our home. 

Have a wonderful day!
Billie Jo

December 8, 2023

Friday Family Fun And More Movies

Good Friday morning! Here we are smack dab in the middle of December! As expected, this month seems to be passing rapidly; I fear it will be over before I realize it is even here. I sent this message in our family group text a few weeks ago in hopes we could spend some time together enjoying the peace and joy of this Christmas season.

This week, Madison and Nicolas hosted a Favorite Things party! It was so much fun, and everyone was there. Madison asked each of us to bring three of the same item, a favorite thing. Something we used and loved, but nothing elaborate. Then, we each put our name in a bag three times. After each person presented his or her favorite thing, Madison chose a name, and one by one, we each picked something to keep. So we each came home with three special things. The most popular item was Flynn's Vaseline Advanced Care Body Lotion! She made such an excellent presentation that everyone wanted it, and it was the best! Rhett brought his favorite frozen pizzas and sodas. My item was a set of eucalyptus bath salt and lotion. One of the other favorite items was a huge pack of batteries! Anyone who wanted could also provide a favorite food. Flynn had McDonald's french fries delivered, Peyton made her chocolate chip cookies, Kyrstin brought shrimp cocktail, and Madison made her homemade macaroni and cheese, to name a few. We had a wonderful time and even watched a favorite movie, Leprechaun's Christmas Gold! 

In other news, my kids reminded me of several of our favorite movies I neglected to add to my last post. And yes. They read the blog! Here are some of our very favorites indeed.

The Grinch 2018

The First Christmas Snow 1975

Annabelle's Wish 1997

Red Boots for Christmas 1995

For the kids at heart...

Noelle 2019

Elf 2003

Christmas with the Kranks 2004

Falling for Christmas 2022

OK, I'm done! Promise! 
Have a festive, healthy, cozy weekend, my friends.
I plan on visiting your blogs this weekend.
Thank you for visiting mine!

Billie Jo