Gift Wrapping

Gift wrapping is just not my thing. I always love receiving a beautifully wrapped gift, not to mention they look so much better under the tree! This year I wanted to make mine look pretty but still simple and in keeping with my style. I love the look of the brown paper packaging tied up with string. I just so happen to have a few holly bushes by the patio so that was the perfect thing to give the gifts a little color and keep it natural. 

Here is also another use of the birch rounds I used for the Merry Christmas garland. I just used one of my husbands drill bits to make the hole and then used the same twine I used for the gifts to give it something to hang by. 

I used a fine point sharpie to write out what I wanted. I tried to stamp it but the ink didn't take to these rounds as well and there just wasn't enough room to do it the same was I did the garland. 

I used simple brown tags that I picked up at Hobby Lobby and then used my snowflake stamp with brown ink that I already had. 

I love the holly. That is definitely my favorite part. 

I did all my gifts this way. I like them to all match. Is that weird?

I hope you are enjoying this exciting time leading up the Christmas day. I know I am trying to make time slow down  and enjoy every second.  My oldest little girl is having so much fun with everything which makes this time of year soo much better!!!

Mary Elizabeth



Christmas in Indiana

Well, winter is in full swing here in northern Indiana. I say, if it's going to be cold it may as well snow and since the temp's are in the teens I am happy it's snowing! I love snow this time of year. It makes the Christmas season complete.  I have a few photos of my home with our Christmas decor done, at least I think it's done. I am always adding and taking and changing....it drives me crazy:)

table by front door

I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas trees. I am always on the hunt for the perfect one and it has yet to be found. I always settle. This year has proven to be no different. I really like my tree this year though. It's just not what I was looking for...... We have decided from now on we will get the worse tree we can find rather than search for something that isn't there { maybe }.  :)

Christine sent this for Lyla last year
my tin ornaments are favorites
christmas chimes
white snowflakes in the tree

love burlap

The dining room center piece is very simple. Just some greenery, pine cones, cinnamon sticks and holly from my backyard....

This little lantern is my favorite thing this year. I found it at TJ Maxx while we were visiting my sister Rhiannon over Thanksgiving. 

My coffee cup for the winter season. I had to show you because it is sitting here next to me as I write and looked so cute:) 

I really like my mantle this year, again very simple but still looks great. I always struggle here because I can't put anything too high in the middle. My husband doesn't like to move around too much just to change the channel:)

I hand stamped this little garland for the mantel. I love it!! Did it on little birch chips I found at Michael's.

I took the pictures at different times of the day with different weather conditions....can you tell? :)   
Simple seems to be the theme for everyone this year, at least from what I have been reading online.
 I like simple.....:)   Merry Christmas!!!

Mary Elizabeth



Cinnamon Biscuits

I see it is my turn to give a tour of our Christmas home. I am working on it...finishing up some pictures first. Meanwhile we were hungry this morning { while working on Christmas pictures }, a perfect morning for something warm and sweet. Something called a Cinnamon Biscuit!!!
 There is a restaurant back home in North Carolina that had the best cinnamon biscuits. 

I have wanted to make my own several time and just never did, until today. They took all of 5 minutes to make, 15 minutes in the oven.....

This is what we ended up with.  A cinnamon biscuit so much better than any restaurant could make.  Light and fluffy, which is essential in any good  biscuit. A sweet topping and crust that was just the right amount of sweet. No sugar high here today:)

We don't have this kind of breakfast very often. Despite all of my sweet treats I post on here, we actually do eat pretty healthy....most of the time:) These would be great Christmas morning. So quick and easy!!

But not today. Today was a cinnamon biscuit kind of day, something special, something warm from the oven as we sat and watched the snow fly.


 Mary Elizabeth


2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into small cubes
1 1/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375. Butter and medium cast iron skillet.
Mix together the dry ingredients and then cut in the butter until you get course crumbs. Add just enough of buttermilk until everything pulls away from the sides and is just combined. { Sometimes I use it all and others I leave a tablespoon or so out }.  Drop large spoonfuls of dough into skillet, lightly smoothing out the tops. Cover with brown sugar topping and bake for about 15 minutes. 

Yields 8-10 biscuits

Brown Sugar Topping

1 stick very soft butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Mix together until smooth. Spoon onto biscuits and gently spread on top.


Christmas in Alaska 2013

Normally, I decorate for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. We get our tree, wreaths, and garlands on Friday. I start decorating on Friday and finish trimming the tree on Saturday after the branches have fallen from being wrapped. This year some things happened to our family right before Thanksgiving that preventive the usual from happening. This year we spent the Thanksgiving  weekend really being thankful. Our oldest son got sick on the 10th of November with what I thought was the flu. By the 14th we were in hospital and preparing for emergency surgery on his intestines. The only thing we knew was that there was some sort of blockage. Doctors had no idea what was causing it and wouldn't know until they opened him up and see what was going on. The short version is that after thirteen days in the hospital and some VERY long nights praying for God to heal him we came home the Tuesday night before Thanksgiving. It ended up he had the worst Mekal diverticulitis that the Doctor had seen. He still isn't completely healed and is still dealing with some issues, but thankfully so far he seems to be on the road to recovery. I have been spending a lot of time cooking. After seventeen days of not eating he had quite the list of things he wanted as soon as he was able to eat again.
The decorating took a while this year. It's still not as much as I would like to do or usually do, but it's about all that is going to get done this year.

Just realized that one of Luke's get well balloons made it into a picture. 

Thought I would throw in the last two. I was trying to take some pictures to put into Christmas cards this year. I don't think the cards will get done. I took twenty two pictures are those two are the best. I know I really need to work on my photography skills. It's on my list of things to do everyday, but just doesn't seem to make to one of the very few things that I seem to get done. Jax and Rhiannon are the only ones that like to get their picture taken. Luke will smile the first couple, but then he's done. Mac he hates to get his picture taken. If he sees the camera he usually runs. I've read to get good pictures just let the kids play and interact. I get that part, but don't can't figure out how to keep a 5, 4, 3, and 19 month old playing close enough together to fit into one picture.

Merry Christmas,



Christmas At Our House

~Welcome to our Christmas Home~

I was finishing up some homemade presents for a family Christmas party this weekend, and I decided to do a quick Christmas tour....I hesitated to do it because I never feel like I am done decorating....(am I the only person who feels this way?)....(always adding and making it better until it is time to take it down?) Well, here it is in its current state... 

 The island is a new addition...we just had it built a couple of weeks ago by a talented friend, Levi Edy, owner of Edgy Woodworking, it is exactly what we needed to complete the kitchen! 

As you can probably tell I don't spend much money on decorations, I like the natural texture of Georgia pine cones and the scrap limbs off my live Christmas tree :)...this year I bought one poinsettia. I usually buy a few things after Christmas every year on clearance and that about sums up my decorating.  I use my everyday decorations in different ways and it works for me....imagine that...I like the way I decorate. :)  By the way, I am listening to the Piano Guys on youtube as I write this....they are AmaZiNg!

This is the Laundry room...we built the magnetic chalkboard a month or so ago and I love it...the kids do as well....I was in the attic getting my Christmas decorations and I found that deer head/skull...hope Grant doesn't mind that I hung it up...he hasn't seen it yet..he is too busy trying to get more antlers for me in Illinois.

Claira hangs her tests on the board when she gets a perfect score...(I rotate them out because she usually gets 100% and I run out of room on the board)

The rest of the pictures are just different shots of the living area....When we renovated the house we took out walls in the main living area and it turned a little house with small rooms into an open and inviting living area...we had over 20 people in here the other night for my sons 4th birthday party and we had plenty of room....I'm a fan of open living areas!

Here is a good example of my crazy rearranging...the jar on the end with the acorns (which the kids and I picked up off the ground) and candle, usually, holds my brown sugar in the kitchen.....but, it will act as a candle holder during the Christmas season. Typically,  the black lantern is on the porch but I thought it added a nice touch here....The nativity painting is a clearance item from Kirklands last Christmas...$19.99...I bought 2, one for me and one for my mother in law...I believe they were $89.99 regular priced.

I have enjoyed decorating our little cottage "fixer-upper" for the first time....it's Home....Cozy, Warm and our Little Refuge from this crazy world....Obviously, decorating is not the important part of Christmas, in fact it's irrelevant. It's something we do for ourselves...the importance of Christmas is solely the acknowledgement of the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.  ~Luke 2 is a good place to read all about it~

Merry Christmas!



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