Happy New Year

What a wonderful and crazy journey this life is! As we eagerly wait to see what this new year will bring, we also reflect on all that has happened in the last year.

Jesse and Kristin

Many of our favorite memories from this past year are focused around the children who have come to stay in our home. We had the joy of having several kids stay with us for short periods. It’s so fun to have the chance play with them and love them as our own, even if just for a few days. Our oldest child last year was five years and our youngest was only six weeks, and we had most every age in between.

This past year we were most thankful for A coming back to live with us again! He’s been with us for eight months now and we just couldn’t love him more. As we wait to see what his future holds, we try to enjoy every moment we have.

bbq boys

Our family celebrated quite an exciting summer. My bother got engaged in May! My sister got engaged in June! My mom and I had fun planning surprise engagement parties for both of them. Andrew and Nicole as well as Ashley and David will have their weddings this June!!

I took a trip to California to see my sister and participate in helping with wedding planning. It was pretty hard to decide to leave my boys at home and travel across the country. It was also exciting to be able to travel on my own, I don’t think I’ve done that since we were married. Wedding planning was fun, girl time… and also exhausting. Ashley had a well planned schedule full of appointments.

sleeping girls

I have three favorite memories with A that stand out from this year. Our trip to Disney! A friend of Jesse’s offered us free tickets, that was a fantastic day. Our celebration of A’s birthday. We had a monster themed party at the park. He loved every minute of it! Our family vacation to Ohio. I love all the new and exciting things he gets to experience when we visit an entirely different place in the country. A’s best memory of the trip has to be the combine ride. We were just watching the corn field when the owner came and offered that we could ride. It was awesome!!


Our family ended the year enjoying time together for the holidays. It was extra special to be able to include A in our traditions this year. As I did every year as a kid, we took him to pick out his own ornament to add to the tree. It was also fun to play Santa for the first time. The first gift A opened from his stocking was a pack of socks. A responded with “Socks!! It’s new socks!!” When he was that excited about socks, we couldn’t wait to see him enjoy the rest of his gifts.

A ornament

Looking forward to what 2014 will bring…

Easter Bunny Cake Tutorial

This Easter bunny cake is a must-have around our house. My mom has made this every year for as long as I can remember. Each year, as we get older, Mom tries to think that she can get away with not making it anymore… but we always find some way to talk her into it. Of course, it has nothing to do with the true meaning of Easter, but it just wouldn’t be fun to celebrate with our bunny cake. Since this is just SO much fun… Mom said I could share her “secret” design so that you can impress your family and friends.

Start by covering a cookie sheet with foil, or finding some other type of serving platter that will be large enough. You will need to have your round cakes baked and completely cooled… best to bake them the day before.

Spread icing over the bottom, flat side of one round cake and stack them on top of each other so that the round sides are facing out… to give your bunny a round body.

Cut your cakes in half as set one half aside for a moment. Spread icing over the sides of the remaining cake half and position it near the back half of your cookie sheet.

Mom has designed templates to make the perfectly shaped bunny head and legs. Use the second cake half to cut out the shapes for the head and legs. Notice the bottom edge of the head is rounded to better fit against the bunny body.

Attach head to the front of the body and generously add icing to cover cake and fill in any gaps.

Using more of the second cake half, cut out the shapes for the the bunny legs.

The expert suggests using only a slice of the legs to make for a more proportionate bunny. Bonus: the middle part of the leg shapes provides an excellent cake to icing ratio for a little snack for the sculptor!

Once the bunny is assembled, finish icing the entire cake. The entire process of this cake may take close to two cans of icing with all the extra gaps there are to fill in. Some years we have added coconut to the bunny body to make it look like fur, but this near we had some people who were not coconut fans.

Lastly, add all the fun extras that really make the cake come to life! Use a few drops of green food coloring to turn coconut into grass for the bunny to sit on.

The finishing touches for the bunny include ears made with paper and a pink marker taped to tooth picks, extra tooth picks for wiskers, pink jelly beans for nose and eyes and a cotton ball tail. Add extra easter candy as desired for decoration.

Fun, fun, fun! And almost a completely edible craft for kids of every age. I’d love to see a picture of your bunny cake when you decide to make this!

O Christmas Tree

I love to decorate for the changing of any season, but Christmas is definitely the most fun to decorate for. I especially love looking through each of my tree ornaments as I put them up every year because each ornament has a special memory or story that goes with it.

Every year, for as long as I can remember, each of us kids got to pick out one ornament for the tree. It’s fun to look back at the different things I chose through the years depending on what my interests were at the time. I’ve kept each one with the year that I got it attached with it. My parents not only made this one of my favorite Christmas traditions, but the first year that I was married and out of house I had a enough unique ornaments to fill a Christmas tree of my own. The best part is that the tree has such a personalized look to it. I could have taken a picture of every ornament, but instead I took just few…

Obviously, I had this first one chosen for me, but I really it. It has the year printed on the back, Jesse has a neat one with his birth year too.

First Christmas

I specifically remember picking this one out. I used to take ballet lessons… not sure if I still was when I got this one. I remember loving this one and just having to have it for my ornament that year.


This is one we always kinda laugh at because I’m not sure what the significance of a sequined house was to me, but that was what I wanted that year. Most likely I just liked it because it was sparkly.


One that is still one of my favorites is my snowman bell. His feet dangle and make the bell ring. So cute!


Some years have multiple ones if I got some as gifts or made them for school projects. I have lots of pretty ones that I’ve received from my Grandma. This is one that Nanny made for me when I was just a baby, and one I made myself in first grade.


This is a cross stitch one that my mom made for me, and a nativity one that my mother in law sent me from Honduras.

Gift from MomGift from Mildred

Now that I’m married, Jesse is included in the tradition. We usually go together to pick one out that we both like. Some years it’s just been a cute one that we agreed on, but the year that we bought and moved into our first house we wanted to find one to symbolize that.

First Home

Mom and I even made my angel tree topper at a craft party one year. All together it comes out to a tree that is unlike any other!

Tree topFinished tree

Happy December… do you have your Christmas tree up yet?