Daily Reads


Advent calendar

I love the idea of advent calendars, and now that Michael is old enough to be excited about Christmas I wanted to put something special together. After pinning examples all year (1, 2, 3, 4) I combined my favorite parts and came up with this! The materials and method are super simple. I found a pretty ribbon, tiny envelopes and cards at the craft store. I numbered the envelopes and decorated them with snowflake stamps, then hung the ribbon and clipped each envelope with a paper clip. I wrote a different activity on each card. Since Michael is so young, I kept the activities pretty simple: 

decorate christmas tree
eat a candy cane
unwrap a book
bake cookies
unwrap a toy
sponsor a child
take gifts to the neighbors
drive around and look at the lights
movie night with popcorn
sing Christmas carols
read 'The Night Before Christmas'

I hope to keep the garland and change the activities on the cards as Michael grows. 
Christmas season starts tomorrow - I can't wait to get started! Happy weekend, friends. xoxo


Do you have a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe? I always use the Nestle Tollhouse cookie dough - it's so easy and perfect! (I call it my mom's recipe since she uses it too - ha!) I no longer remember where I heard this tip, but it's so good I wanted to pass it on: to make the instant cookie dough even better, put a teeny sprinkle of kosher salt on each cookie before baking. 
So delicious

Christmas cards

A few weeks ago we took some family pictures. Michael was wild that afternoon - so wild that I hoped we would get just one good shot of the three of us. Somehow (in the middle of Michael's 6pm I've-had-enough tantrum) our friend managed to get this sweet shot. I love it so much and I'm so thankful to be able to share it with our loved ones in this year's Christmas card.
 From our house to yours - Merry Christmas! xoxo


Life {in Instagram}

Houston in November - running through a sprinkler! / pre-Thanksgiving and football / pretty flowers from a lovely friend
'give thanks' garland / pretty ironwork / the bath at the end of a long day
Mikey, me, and "Hobb" / home for Thanksgiving / a night out in Austin


A little inspiration

holiday inspiration
1 / 2 / 3 / 4

The Thanksgiving leftovers aren't even gone yet, and I'm in full Christmas mode! I can't help myself - I wait (and pin!) for this all year long. Here are a few things that have me inspired to make things merry and bright!


Season of light

The last couple of weeks have been long. Tim's hours have been long, our days at home have been long without him, 
and every evening the darkness comes a little earlier. We've done our best, but at times it's been dreary. 

But every year, just when it's getting too cold and too dark, little lights start appearing in windows and bare trees. And suddenly we've made it to my favorite time of year - the season of light. I used to see it as two holidays - Thanksgiving and Christmas - but now I see it as one. The season starts with a week of thanksgiving for all of our blessings, and gives way to a whole month of pouring out blessings on others. We love because we are loved. We give because much has been given to us. What a beautiful thing.

Tim is off for the rest of the week, and we're reveling in just being together. Tomorrow we will head to Austin and join my family for the rest of the week. My heart is full. I am so very thankful for the rich blessings in my life. 

Wishing you much love (and good food!) this week - happy Thanksgiving, friends! xoxo


My blog friend Lauren, of Crumbbums, has included sweetgrass in her nominations for the Liebster Award! 
If you don't know her yet, stop over to check out her sweet (and funny!) blog. Thanks, Lauren!
Favorite band/musician?
Ooh, this is hard. I love a little bit of everything, but a few of my all-time favorites are Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash, and Otis Redding.

What is the household chore you secretly enjoy (or don’t mind) doing?
I really love doing laundry. Even thought it's one of those never-ending tasks, all the sorting and neat folding really satisfies my obsessive compulsive tendencies. And it smells good!

If you had to choose one place to live for the rest of your life, where would it be?
Montana. I grew up there and consider it my home state, even though we live almost 2,000 miles away. It's one of my dreams to live there one day.

In lieu of the upcoming holiday; pies: pumpkin or pecan?
I love pumpkin (with plenty of cool whip), but my man likes pecan so we always have both. The only thing better than one pie is two pies, right?

What are your favorite things to place atop a burger? 
Bacon, mayo, and avocados. It's not healthy but it's soooo good.

Do you believe in ghosts?
I believe there is a spiritual realm that we can't see. And I know and trust people who believe they have encountered ghosts. I don’t know if those two things overlap, and I’ve never met a ghost myself, but I believe it’s possible that ghosts exist. 

Have you ever broken a bone? If so, how did it happen? 
My nose. When I was eight or nine I did my first and only back flip off of the rings on our swing set. I did not stick the landing.

Wearing socks to bed: do or don’t?

What do you consider your biggest accomplishment thus far?
Being Michael's mom. Every time I serve him a good meal and he wolfs it down and his little belly gets round and full. Every time we share a new experience and his eyes light up. Every time we put him to bed clean and warm and full. There's no doubt that the days are long and sometimes very hard, but being his mom makes me more proud, and gives me more fulfillment than anything I've ever done. 

What do you consider the funniest part of parenting? 
How unfiltered Michael is. There's no political correctness, no pretense, and no shame in a toddler. His words and his expressions are absolutely honest. If he meets a person who seems crazy, he stares at them like they're crazy. If he doesn't like a bite of food he spits it out. If he needs to go the bathroom, he stops right where he is, does his business, and then goes back to playing. He crashes around the house, partially-clothed with bedhead and food smeared on his face, wearing his Easter bucket as a hat (kind of like this little cutie). Hilarious. 

How do you take your coffee (this is important, you know, so I can buy you the right one when we hopefully meet- or meet again- someday)? Mmmm, a steaming hot latte is my favorite! With something sweet on the side, of course.

* * * * * * * * *

Thanks again for the nomination, Lauren! If sweetgrass wins I'll be back with some blog nominations of my own! 
Have a happy Monday, friends - it's a short week!!! xoxo


Ever since I saw this garland I've wanted to make my own (less-sparkly) version for Thanksgiving. Yesterday I was able to put one together with materials I already had in the house and it only took about an hour and a half - here's how I did it. 

First, I chose a simple, bold font in Word (this is Optima ExtraBlack). I enlarged the font to 400% and adjusted my margins so each letter would fit on a 5x8 notecard. Before printing I set the effects to 'outline', then I printed my letters on notecards. I cut each one out and used a glue stick to glue them face-down on the back of the patterned papers I wanted to use. After giving the letters a few minutes to dry, I cut out each one. I pressed them under some heavy books overnight and this morning I used a little dab of superglue to attach them to a ribbon. 

And that's it! It was quick and easy and I love the visual reminder to always give thanks.


I don't mean to keep posting bathtub pictures, but the light is so nice in there, and more importantly, when he's playing in the tub he can't run away from the camera. And, he's just so cute splashing around in there all naked. So it's kind of a magical combination for us. (I promise, we do play outside of the tub. Sometimes.)

So, this little nugget will be 19 months old on Friday. I find it hard to believe for a lot of reasons. Sometimes it seems like in an instant he changed from a little ball of a newborn into a boy who wipes his hands on his shirt and tries to catch lizards and loves to sit up front and "drive" the car. It seems, at times, like he's growing up faster than he should. He repeats everything - this morning I told him I loved him and he said "I love you" right back for the first time. I was impressed with how well he is talking, but before I could even get out a "good job!" he grabbed my face in his hands and kissed me on the lips. I was instantly the happiest and most heart-broken woman in the world. 

He loves me. And he's growing up. And I can't do a thing to stop it.

Not that I would want to stop him from growing up. It's just a shame that this precious version of him will be gone soon, and replaced by another and then another....

~ linking up with Monday Mom Musings ~


Life {in Instagram}

Texas sunset / roadtrip! / trunk or treat
Mike, meet Jack / candy "for the kids" / a boy and his tiger
our favorite new book / The Meatball Proclamation / she just wants some peace
cannonball / birds on wires / a rough morning


Rooms I love

I am so in love with this (kid-friendly) room, which just so happens to be a collaboration between two of my favorite bloggers. (That slipcover is pure genius.) See Joy's take here, and Emily's take here.


Family pictures

I've wanted some family photos for quite a while now, so I was thrilled to schedule a session with my new friend Erin of Lovely Light Photography! She did such a great job of making us feel comfortable in front of the camera and catching the sweet moments in between Michael's not-so-sweet toddler moments. These are just a couple of my favorites - I'm saving the best one for our Christmas card, so stay tuned! I'm so thrilled with how they turned out. Thank you, Erin!