All the Sun For You

A mom, two boys, a husband, and a whole lot of adventure!

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Advent Ornament Project – December 10

It’s been a rough few days over here, (which I’ll save for a separate post after this one), and I really needed some fun today. This project, believe it or not, brought me a lot of fun!

The boys and I came home after an exhausting lunch together and got to work on a project I found today at Michaels. They cost $1.00 each, so I was super excited about them! Well… They were total failures. They look nothing like the picture and I should know by now that if it says, “glue needed” on the box, to PUT THEM BACK. The cheap materials used in these kits don’t adhere well to my favorite glue. I know this.

Take a look!


Ha ha ha! The bear ended up looking like a llama because there is NO way to glue a relatively heavy ball on the side of another ball. It doesn’t work. So… Llama. I just had to laugh at this colossal failure!

After nap/quiet time, I invited the boys to do another project and Bryson said, “no thanks, Mom. I’ll watch Justin Time.” Ok, buddy. 😁 Matthew was super excited when I showed him our do-over project – painting wooden ornaments! He was even more excited when he saw, “all of those paint brushes!”. He started with the round sponge wand and put a different colored paint circle all around the top ornament. Then, he got started on his tree. I was painting my own tree and we both just painted beside each other, I helped when he asked. He kept looking over to check out what I was doing but did his own design. It was so fun! When we got done, Matthew said, “I had fun painting with you, Mom. Thank you!”

So worth it!

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Advent Ornament Project – December 9

It was time… time to do the dreaded gingerbread house/train.  Bryson’s been dragging the box out of the pantry for over a week now, begging to, “please make the train, please!”  I’d been thinking about it since Sunday and decided to finally bite the bullet today.  I’d taken out frozen homemade soup from the freezer and knew it was going to be an easy kitchen night ahead of me – so why the heck not?

The joint project on December 3 made me realize that teamwork is not the best idea for these two boys when it comes to crafty projects – they each want to do EVERYTHING “by my-seffffff.”  Once Bryson was up from his nap, Matthew and I turned on his new favorite show for him (“Justin Time” – OMG it is so cute and we’re so happy to have it back in our daily line-up!) and quietly ran out to the kitchen.  He and I had fun constructing the train before calling Bryson in to help us decorate it.  Bryson just wanted to eat every piece of candy in front of him, and Matthew wanted to do more than I would let him.  I was in a rush because the train was not stable and it was not going to hold for long!  What that meant was, “just help me with the icing and I’ll do the rest quickly.  You can hand me the candy pieces.”  Matthew came and went but Bryson stayed the duration and was super excited to stick on the Wilton sugar figurines I’d picked up at Target for this project.  Honestly, that little Santa, snowman, penguin, elf, and reindeer took this train from being cute to being adorable!

I took a few photos (which is always when I lose my cool because they cannot seem to cooperate during photo-taking these days) and Bryson asked if he could start eating it.  DIG IN!  Within a minute, the train was down (and I caught it on video!) and Matthew came out to help eat it up  🙂

Advent 9u

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Advent Ornament Project – December 8

My goodness, it was another day in the kitchen for me.  I’ve been thinking about certain aspects of the Christmas Eve cake and decided to bite the bullet and do some more decorations for it and figure out the part that has been giving me trouble – the cabin windows.

I started with the fondant snowflakes and after cutting and embellishing all of them, realized I’d done them in the wrong color.  I was a bit frustrated, but I knew Matthew would like helping me with them so I held off on doing them in the right color until he was home.  He had a GREAT time putting the silver sugar beads in the middle of each one!

I then moved onto the cabin glass.  I was thinking I’d buy rice paper for the windows but that didn’t sound fun at all – I really want the entire cake to be edible and hand-made (aside from the twiggy tree because, just.. no!), so I searched videos on making edible glass.  I found one!  I employed the boys’ help and they helped me from start to finish.  Bryson helped stir the liquid sugar, they both watched me spread it out, and Matthew got to break it up with a knife once it was hardened.  They had a great time and I was happy to have my biggest cake problem solved.

We had so much fun with this Advent decoration that we quickly moved onto making homemade dark brown sugar cookies.  It didn’t go as well as making the cabin glass, but the cookies taste great!



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Advent Ornament Project – December 7

I had high hopes for this project, but it ended up being just me working on it.  Notice – not a child in sight.

We made two of these foam scenes for Halloween and they were ADORABLE so I thought it would be fun to make one for Christmas too.  It’s cute, but man, it’s a lot of work.  There are no real directions, just pictures of a few steps, and you have to figure out what piece is what.  I thought the boys would love peeling the stickers off the backing, but that kept Bryson busy for only a few minutes before he found deconstructing my buildings to be more fun than peeling stickers  😉  I lost Matthew immediately when he got his own supplies to make a microscope or something – I can’t remember what.  I thought they were binoculars, but I was quickly corrected and I can’t remember what the correction was.  Bad mom.  I was too busy sticking foam pieces onto foam pieces that were attached to foam pieces.  😉

I regret buying the big foam train that’s in the basement, just waiting for us to tackle it.  Maybe we’ll make the gingerbread house tomorrow… much less stressful  🙂

Advent 7


Advent Ornament Project – December 6

We had a crazy busy day – and I didn’t leave my house!  I spent the ENTIRE day in the kitchen, kicking it off with a fresh-baked coffee cake for my in-laws.  My mother-in-law LOVES coffee cake and after I took one up to her on Thanksgiving, she said that she would love to come for a visit soon at our house and just sit and eat cake and drink coffee together.  So, we did that this morning!  While they were here, she asked me how we made the paint-filled ornaments and because I knew I had a lot ahead of me today, I figured we’d repeat that ornament to show her and to check off the Advent project for the day.  😉  The boys had a great time sharing this with Grandma and Bryson’s ornament looks like it will turn out much better than the first time we did it (I put too much paint flow releaser in his the first time).  Matthew picked some questionable colors that ended up looking awesome!

After the kids went down for a nap/quiet time, I got to work on my fondant decorations for my Christmas Eve cake (I am documenting the building of that cake here).  I finished them up pretty quickly so got to work on dinner (shrimp with garlic and breadcrumbs and roasted green beans – a repeater for sure!).  Our best friend came over for dinner, as she does every Sunday, and we all put the kids to bed rather quickly so we adults could frost sugar cookies. HA!  I am a total cheater and ordered unfrosted cookies from our grocery store because I do NOT like making cut-out cookies.  I love making cakes and pies, but cookies are not my thing (they’re Hottie’s thing!) – so I buy my cookies fresh-baked by the Hy Vee bakery and naked, ready for my frosting and sprinkles.  That’s the way to do it!

A day in the kitchen, on my feet, logging 11,000 steps without a single workout or venture outside of the house.  That’s a lot of cooking!

Advent 6

Bryson’s is the green one, Matthew’s is the blue one, and mine is the gold one.


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Friday Favorites – Fun Week!

When I went to select my favorite photos from the week, I was stunned by how many I had!  Last week, it was hard to find enough for this post, and this week, I found way too many!

Favorite Parenting Moment of the Week:

It has been a week of “snuggle buggles!”  Both of my boys have been very affectionate this week with both of us, asking for “snuggle buggles” and hugs and kisses all day long.  I’ll take as much of this as I can get, because I know that they won’t want me to love on them forever!  Bryson wants his snuggles after his daily nap, and Matthew wants them just before bedtime or right after he wakes up in the morning.  I caught a couple of these moments, one with each of them.  I feel lucky to have these!

Favorite Realization of the Week:


Matthew is so creative, and this week, we found out just how wild his imagination is!  We got a huge box from Amazon this week and it is sturdier than normal, so it’s lasted a LOOOOONG time in the house.  Matthew works on it daily, making it into an “ice cream robot” and he asked us for paper towel rolls for the arms.  Hottie brought a bunch home from work (don’t ask me why they had so many there, I don’t know) and Matthew got to work.  I have no tape left in the house  😉

Favorite Meal of the Week:

Whenever I go back to basics, we have a great meal.  I made curry bison burgers tonight, paired with roasted sweet potatoes.  The sweet potatoes are new – Hottie brought them home and I was going to mash them (like always) but he asked that I make them the way I make all of our veggies (tossed in olive oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper and put in a hot, hot roasting pan).  They were delicious and they were perfect with the bison burgers.  We were both so happy with dinner that we finished it off with an ice cream bar dessert!

Favorite Purchase of the Week:


I received a coupon code for a free metal photo ornament from Shutt.erfly because of my heavy usage of Bing, so I ordered one for the first time ever.  I love it so much – it warms my heart every time my eye catches it.  I love it so much that I’m having them made for all of our years with kids so far.

Favorite Project of the Week:

This one is a no brainer – our advent calendar project!  I am having so much fun with this and the kids are too.  Sure, there are rough moments, but all-in-all, the kids are loving it and every time I say, “let’s do our project!” they come running screaming with glee.  It’s actually quite unreal – they’re enjoying it way more than I thought they would!

Favorite Daddy Moments of the Week:

Like I said, these boys have been super affectionate this past week.  Matthew has been getting a lot of bloody noses at night and comes into our room in tears, needing help getting cleaned up.  Of course we let him climb into bed with us and we all snuggle.  Hottie and I don’t get much sleep, but there’s something magical about sleeping next to your child.

And straight from FB:  “This is evidence that a 4-year old cannot keep a Christmas present secret. I took Matthew to target today to pick out his gifts for Daddy and Bryson. Before Hottie was in the door, Matthew announced what his present was and, when we gave it to Hottie, Matthew shouted to Bryson, “AND I GOT YOU A HOT WHEELS TRACK WITH GRAVE DIGGER AND A DINOSAUR!!!!!”  Matthew is a giver, not a receiver, and he gets so excited about giving gifts to people that he can’t hold his horses.  He is  He cannot keep a secret (or lie).  It was the cutest thing ever and I just melted!  All three of my guys got to work on “Daddy’s present that he’ll share with us” and played mini-hoops until dinner!

Favorite Workout of the Week:


It’s been a rough week here, some devastating news came our way.  I REALLY needed to get out and run OUTSIDE and the day after receiving a tough phone call, the clouds parted and the winds stopped.  I went for a 5 mile run by the boys’ school and really didn’t know where I was headed when I took off.  I did an out-and-back for 3.1 miles and then wanted another 2 miles, so headed one way from the school for a mile.  I was really hurting after 0.6 miles out but for some reason, kept pushing.  Just as I was about to turn 1.0 miles, I looked up and realized I was right outside the cemetery where my friend’s nephew was buried in September.  I ran into the cemetery, turned off my music, and had a chat with Sam.  It was peaceful, it was calming, and my soul felt better.

Favorite Photos of the Boys This Week:

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Advent Ornament Project – December 4

Ahhh… much better today… sort of.  😉  This project was so simple that I thought maybe Matthew and Bryson would lose interest, but quite the contrary!  All you have to do is put a bunch of glitter and twinkly things in front of these boys and they’re all in.

I bought the clear, picture-holding ornaments at Michaels and then a bunch of filler stuff – glitter, sequins, snowflakes, buttons in the shapes of stockings and the such.  I couldn’t get the packages opened quickly enough for them – they just kept handing them over saying, “I want those, I want THIS!”  The main issue with this ornament is that they can be opened up, and Bryson did that quite quickly back in our bedroom.  There is glitter all over our carpet now  🙂

Advent 5



Advent Ornament Project – December 2

I almost forgot about this today after hearing some difficult news. It was about 5:30 when I hopped off the bed and said, “Shit! Our daily project!” I ran downstairs to get the supplies, did a test run, and called the kids in for their turn.

So today, we filled clear acrylic ornaments with paints and shook the hell out of’ em. After the day I’ve had, shaking those ornaments felt great! The kids picked their colors, I pointed them into the ornaments as they squeezed the bottles, I did the initial shake for good paint distribution, and I handed them over to the kids.


This was a great test run because I’m planning to do this with 20 kids at Matthew’s school Christmas party. It will go great!

No pics today of them hanging them on the tree… They’re drying right now in an egg carton!

Oh, and…. I did not raise my voice even once!




Tis the Season

The day after Thanksgiving is perfect for shopping, unless you are like me and can’t stand the crowds. In our house, this is the day of decorating.

Being perfectly honest, I don’t love decorating for Christmas. I grew up with a mom who was OVER.THE.TOP when it came to decorating for Christmas… But SHE didn’t do the decorating… We girls had to do it. Every year she’d shake her finger to and fro, telling us just where to put everything. We had very little creative license even when it came to her gigantic snow village, which really DID leave much up to your imagination. No no. “The man carrying the wreath goes here and the toy salesman goes there.” Good god, decorating her house was miserable. Even my dad would say, “if you want it a particular way, then YOU do it.” That never worked, she just would demand more.

So (and you thought this was going to be a jolly holiday post!)… Yeah… I don’t like decorating for Christmas. It makes me tense and sad. I really despise the Christmas village and just can’t bring myself to put mine up. I don’t think I ever will.

Because of my memories of preparing for Christmas, I refuse to make the boys take part in decorating for any holiday. I let them jump in when they want, and jump out when they’re ready for a break. I’d rather surprise them, quite honestly, with some decorations than make them be a part of the process. Matthew was adamant that we decorate right after thanksgiving but then he did very little once we got rolling, and I am fine with that. Decorating is my thing, I won’t force it on them.

I do, however, love decorating the front of the house! My parents didn’t do this until we were in high school and they hated doing it, so completely left it up to us, which we enjoyed! I always swore I’d be a white lights kind of gal but with kids, you just can’t be. They like color, and colors that do.not.match! Every year I get more stuff to put in my yard and I look forward to it no matter how cold it is outside. I’m doing the outside tomorrow, but I did buy some porch trees today that I’ve wanted since we moved into this house, and I couldn’t wait to get them outside! I added lights and ornaments and ta-da! Done!

We’re also decorating the tree tomorrow, but I told Hottie that’s his job. 😉