Life Hack: Keep No Show Socks from Slipping

How to keep no shoe socks from slipping life hack

The temperatures are warming enough that the bare ankle look is in again here in Iowa. I love the look, but hate the feel of my feet in shoes with no socks. I hate how sweating feels if you’re wearing shoes and not socks. I also hate that every pair of no shoe socks I’ve ever tried keep slipping off my foot like a snake shedding skin.

Until I figured out a no cost life hack to keep no shoe socks from slipping. Prepare to have your life forever altered.

How to keep no shoe socks from slipping life hack FarmFreshJessica

Never have THIS uncomfortable feeling again!

I discovered no show “sling backs” if you will.

How to keep no shoe socks from slipping life hack FarmFreshJessica

Take your no shoe socks and snip off a small horizontal line off of one end.

How to keep no shoe socks from slipping life hack FarmFreshJessica

You’ve created a small hole.

How to keep no shoe socks from slipping life hack FarmFreshJessica

Don that end at your heel.

How to keep no shoe socks from slipping life hack FarmFreshJessica

They stay on all day. They don’t fray in the wash. There aren’t any issues with sweat. It’s perfect!

How to keep no shoe socks from slipping life hack FarmFreshJessica

Now if only there was such an easy solution to kids bickering.

How to keep no shoe socks from slipping life hack FarmFreshJessica


Pottery Barn Knock Off Budget DIY

I adore winter! It’s one of my four favorite seasons!

I am however, ready to think ahead to spring. Looking for some table decor which would make the transition from winter to spring, I came across this delightful hydrangea arrangement.

$49.50!?! Yes. You read that right. Immediately my evil little mind went to work, trying to think how I could steal this idea from Pottery Barn for much less.

Turning to the Dollar Tree, I bought a small glass jar and several hydrangea sprigs.

Total: $7

Supplies needed:

Hydrangea branches

Little sticks

Small round short vase


Wire cutters


Hot glue

Pottery barn dollar tree DIY craft table scape centerpiece table decor spring to winter centerpiece

I traced the top of my vase on this applesauce box, and then cut it a little smaller than that diameter so it would fit tightly a few centimeters inside the glass container.

Pottery barn dollar tree DIY craft table scape centerpiece table decor spring to winter centerpiece

I sent the kids out to get a branch from the yard and broke off tiny sticks from it.

Pottery barn dollar tree DIY craft table scape centerpiece table decor spring to winter centerpiece

Then I cut them all to the same lengths and glued them together once I made a roundish bundle.

I cut off most of the stems of the hydrangeas and bent what was left at almost 90° angles. I glued these to the cardboard, bending them as needed until they looked good enough.

Pottery barn dollar tree DIY craft table scape centerpiece table decor spring to winter centerpiece

Making sure the stick bundle would fit, I glued it to the opposite side of the cardboard circle as the hydrangeas.

Pottery barn dollar tree DIY craft table scape centerpiece table decor spring to winter floral centerpiece

There you have it! A Pottery Barn DIY at 1/7th of the price!

Where would you put a cute flower arrangement in your house?


Mascara Competition

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A while ago on my Instagram, I asked in my stories for people to recommend their favorite mascaras to me. Knowing me, I would buy one at random and try it, use it until it ran out and then try another one, and by the time I got to the end of the recommendations, have no idea which one I liked best. I do love mascara.

I decided to choose four that were available either in my Walmart pick up or on Amazon and try them all at once. It’s a mascara competition!

The contenders:

IT Cosmetics Superhero Mascara $22
 Definitely at the top of this price range, I almost didn’t purchase this. Then I thought to myself, let’s see if it’s worth it. It was. It glided on smoothly. It lengthened beautifully. I went for a walk outside in the snow and it didn’t budge. It looked good at the end of the day.   it has a weirdly shaped bottle and tips over in my make up holder. It came off easily using only I the homemade make-up wipes I prefer to use.

Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof $4

I really wanted to like Great Lash. Recommended by a beautiful friend, it’s also the exact same that my mom used all the while I was growing up. I nicked it one day in the fourth grade. While in school, I lifted my desk top, and without looking in a mirror, I piled and piled it on. My teacher made me go wash, but of course it didn’t all come off. I’m sure I looked like Tammy Faye Baaker’s white trash cousin.

Anyway, I did not like the tiny brush. The bristles were hard, so it was kind of scratching my eye lids going on. It lasted ok. I went for a walk outside  while it was snowing and it smudged. I couldn’t believe it! By the end of the day, the length was gone even though the mascara color was still there. It didn’t come off well with only my wipes; I had to use oil based eye make up remover several times. My lashes felt crunchy. Normally around $7, it’s on sale on Amazon right now for only$4, so I guess it’s a steal if you want to try a mascara I didn’t like.

NYX Pin up Tease  Mascara $6


I love the name of this. If I could dress like a 50’s (modestly clad) pin up girl every day, I absolutely would.  However, going on, it took a long time to dry. I thought it was dry and I smudged it. I blinked and it left large eyelash prints all my cheeks. I sneezed, and it did it again. The brush was hard and the bristles far apart. The length was glamorous. I loved how this mascara lasted; it kept the length even by the end of the day. Its bottle is too fat to fit in my make up holder.

L’Oreal Paris Makeup Lash Paradise $9

Hands down my absolute favorite! Not too bad of a price point. It goes on nicely. The brush is a nice width and the bristles feel good swiping it on. It dries quickly. No smudging during application or during the day. It makes for a beautiful length and the length lasted until removing it at the end of the day. It did need to use an eye make up remover to completely take off.

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how and why we celebrate valentine's day scrooge

I’m a Valentine Scrooge!

 (even though I also love it a little bit!)

I have a love hate relationship with Valentine’s Day.

According to various lore, there are at least three historical Valentines. One St Valentine performed weddings for people when he wasn’t supposed to and got put in jail, or even sentenced to death.

Ahhh…how romantic. He put his freedom – or his life- on the line for love.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. I’m a fan of people helping people. I’m wondering why no one knows we have a Harriet Tubman Day (March 10, if you want to add that to your calendar.)

One legend claims a man named Valentine was in jail and fell in love with a young girl who visited him. Before he was KILLED, he supposedly sent her a letter signed “From your Valentine.  That poor young girl!  Can you imagine if your daughter was getting mail from someone on death row, and later, everyone said, “Oh how sweet! Let’s make that a national holiday!”

The Roman Catholic church in the middle ages declared Valentine’s Day a holiday because they wanted to Christianize the February celebration of Lupercalia, a fertility festival,  which took place on February 15. Just as in the cases of the Christian celebrations of Christmas and Easter, early church leaders took dates on  which the people were already celebrating and tried to change them to worship the one true God, instead of whatever celebration they were having.

Maybe Catholic  priests didn’t think it was good idea for Luperci priests to run around town slapping women with bloody goat hides in a bid to make the women more fertile in the coming year. Don’t worry, the women liked it. (History claims.)

This doesn’t really have anything to do with my modern beliefs on Valentine’s Day, I just think history is interesting.


As a romantic holiday, I think it’s overrated and expensive. I think too much pressure is placed on guys to do the right thing. I also think giving stuffed animals and chocolates to women is stupid. I think it’s hard on people who are not in a romantic relationship.

I think waiting in lines to go out to eat on a certain day is ridiculous. Why spend an hour in line on the 14th, when you can be seated in five minutes the next week? how and why we celebrate valentine's dayIt’s crazy to spend $50 dollars on roses (how unoriginal by the way) when you can get them for $1 each a week later.if you’re going to spend the money, I’d rather have a single rose every week of the year because it meant someone was thinking of me at that moment, than a huge bouquet on a single obligatory day because my partner felt like s/he HAD to buy a bouquet on the 14th.

I saw the pressure in high school, and in the high school where I taught. The student council sold Valentines to be delivered during class, and the popular kids got a bajillion and the other kids got to watch and be reminded that they didn’t.  I witnessed the pressure in college and in my  twenties. People felt like they had to do something super special because Hallmark (and the jewelry stores, and the department stores, and even the grocery stores!) told them they had to.

What if you weren’t in a special relationship? What if you just started dating? What if you really wanted to break up but didn’t want to be alone on Valentine’s Day?  Or felt sorry for your boy/girlfriend, and didn’t want them to be alone on Valentine’s Day?

I’m a fan of jewelry, but not heart shaped jewelry. NO woman EVER buys herself heart shaped jewelry. Also, why would we want jewelry shaped like an organ? Nobody makes stomach or lung shaped jewelry and I’m as big of a fan of food and breathing as I am of love.

how and why we celebrate valentine's dayI’m too old for stuffed animals, and I was in my teens too (even though I still slept with my stuffed aardvark-that was different). I love chocolate but I buy it for my self when I want to. I don’t need someone feeling like they need to give me a pound of chocolate to tell me they love me. Since when is it healthy to eat that much chocolate anyway!? Also, none of these gifts show any originality, or  that the giver really KNOWS me. I want someone who sees me and knows that I want a tiny bonsai  for the mantel or that I would love a wireless mouse to replace my broken one.  Mostly it’s just that I hate presents given because you’re “supposed to”.

I also hate the obligation of a romantic relationship. I appreciate the recent uptick in “Galentine’s Day”. I still feel so much compassion for those people who feel sad, or wistful, longing for something they don’t have, on the actual Valentine’s and why we do what we do on valentine's day


I love a reason to celebrate in the middle of February. I love parties and any reason to have friends over is a good one. I love pink and red. I really do love chocolate and the shape of the valentine heart. I love my friends and my kids and my friends’ kids and want to give them sweet cards. I also really enjoy a good pun, and Valentine’s Day seems to bring out the punniest cards (See what I did there?)

I wish there was someway for us to have less marketing and consumption around Valentine’s Day so people don’t feel “less than” if they’re not romantically involved or obligated. All love to you, dear ones!


source :

January Books

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Thank you to the Instagrammers whose pictures I used. Their instagram names are above each photo. Go check them out!

“A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge. That is why I read so much.”― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

Great Train Robbery best books list

The Great Train Robbery ⭐️⭐️⭐️

As a novel, this book is too dry, technical and lacks luster. As a nonfiction account of a historical event, it’s very interesting and well told.

But then I learned he literally made it all up! He made up the transcripts, the dialogue and quotes, the newspapers he “quoted” from, all of it! Even some of the books he mentioned weren’t actually real. In that light, the book is genius!

I learned a lot about the time period as he would dive off into a tangential essay about some aspect of Victorian life that was germane to whatever plot trail he was next going to unveil.

I had a hard time with a lot of the period slang; some I could figure out from the context, some he did explain, but a lot of the time I felt the conversations read like The Jabberwocky. A Victorian criminal glossary would’ve been welcome. Modern dictionaries did not help with a lot of the jargon used in this book.

Other than that, it was an enjoyable read.

PopSugar Reading Challenge prompt:  A book you meant to read in 2018

“>the bird box best book list

Bird Box: A Novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


I’m one of those who hadn’t heard of the book until everyone started talking about the movie. I devoured both in short order. Both are powerful. Changes are made. I honestly won’t say “the book was better.”

I loved the style of writing. Sometimes it was lyrical. Sometimes short choppy sentences. Always got my heart racing. You never knew who the narrator would be. Usually Malorie, but sometimes a housemate or the omniscient narrator. The simplest act of drinking a glass of water was terrifying. Highly recommended if you like to be scared. Watch the movie too!

PopSugar Reading Challenge prompt: A debut novel


Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave⭐️⭐️ 1/2

The pictures are absolutely incredible. At the beginning of the book, it has good definitions of what your style profile is (farmhouse, modern, boho, etc) along with describing each house by what combinations of styles it’s decorated in.

There are 22 homes pictured randomly throughout the book and they are never really redefined. So if you like the style of one bedroom, you have to read through the text to see which house it is, then flip back to the front to find out what style it’s in. Total pain.

Also, the styles all seem to run together to me-they are very much “Johanna” with lots of black and white and neutrally muted colors, even the boho styles.

There aren’t a lot of ideas for people who have to store a lot of stuff. If you have lots of things you need to be able to access but want hidden, like a typical homeschool family would, you’re out of luck. Also, all the open shelving in all the kitchens is ridiculous! Who actually has the time and money to have that few things which all match and coordinate? There is a lot of impracticality.

Also, if you aren’t, or aren’t married to, someone incredibly handy and willing to exploit that skill, you’re out of luck. There are lots of custom beds and other furniture featured, which just isn’t possible for most of us.

If you’re looking for a pretty book, this is it. If you’re looking for a book with concrete design ideas which you can put to immediate use, look elsewhere.

“>warm bodies zombie book book list best books

Warm Bodies: A Novel (The Warm Bodies Series)⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I thoroughly enjoyed this tale from a zombie’s point of view. Of course it was little incongruous because- hey, they’re zombies how could they even be coherent to begin with? but if you suspend everything you thought you knew, you can really get into this book. It’s not super fast paced and rather a lot more thoughtful and even angsty than I expected.

I love the closing lines of the book and the idea that we CAN BRING ABOUT CHANGE!, even if up until this point, you’ve been a zombie.

PopSugar Reading Challenge Prompt: A book written by a musician  –Isaac Marion is also hilarious incidentally.cozy minimalist home the nester book list

Cozy Minimalist Home: More Style, Less Stuff⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

As I was reading, I thought of several to whom people I really wanted to recommend this book. She helps you step by step break down your home, rebuild your style, and design your home according to what you’ve discovered, and do it in the proper order.

She’s funny and has great ideas and understands actual people and their actual abilities and budgets. She recommends shopping your house first. She encourages you to start small. She says God was the first artist and created us in His image, therefore we’re all artists. It’s just lots of good advice and concrete how-tos. Highly recommend even if you don’t think you need home styling help.

Educated: A Memoir ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I was enthralled and deeply moved by this powerful memoir. Once I started it, I had a difficult time pulling myself away. I thought this book was going to be about homeschooling and then how, in order to be successful you have to be all “Ivy League”. This is not the case.

Tara wasn’t educated in the ways we think of education. She had never heard of many basic things until she went to college.

She knew her life didn’t feel right, but she didn’t know what it really could be like. Her grandparents both had “normal” homes but due to her brainwashing, she didn’t feel like that was how people should live.

Her childhood is affected over and over by serious injuries of family members, injuries which are not treated. Reading about the injuries that happened was terrifying for me. I couldn’t not read it but at the same time I was horrified. What saddens me the most however, was that her parents didn’t know her birthday, or how old she was at multiple points in the story. It seemed like that was what made it so real to me that she didn’t matter to them.

One older brother in particular starts tormenting her, and the tormenting rises to the level of devastating abuse. In part in response to this, she decides to go to college, and by pretty much sheer force of will, teaching herself trigonometry, after learning basic math. She does well enough on the ACT to get into Brigham Young University when she’s only 17. From there, she starts a college career that at first she fails, but with support she eventually gets a doctorate from Cambridge.

However, each time she is drawn back to her family, her brother’s abuse continues, and the family denial turns more and more severe. The memoir becomes a story of her internal struggle—to believe her own version of her life and to have the strength to break away from her past.

I can’t remember most of my childhood due to traumatic events, and hearing her struggle with not having her point of view believed, and her family trying to change her memories and gaslight her was sickening.

I hope everyone reads this book. To quote an Amazon reviewer’s completely apropos words: “It’s a powerful, amazing glimpse into a way of life that most of us will never know, and an inspiring story of one woman’s ability to change her future.”

PopSugar Reading Challenge Prompt: A book about a family

desolation mountain book lists

Desolation Mountain: A Novel (Cork O’Connor Mystery Series)⭐️⭐️⭐️

I saw this book at Barnes and Noble and was immediately attracted by the title and book jacket blurb. I didn’t realize it was the one of many starring the same main character, but it worked well as a stand alone novel. It opened well and I read half of it in about a day because it was riveting. Then…I don’t know. It just tapered off and seemed like it was just trying to add pages before the big reveal at the end. Then the end just boom! Finished up. I wasn’t a fan.

I loved the relationships. I loved that the grown daughter, her family, and the college age son lived with the dad. I wasn’t actually even sure if the dad, Cork, or the grown son Stephen were the main characters. I was a bit disappointed that the women were all peripheral characters, sort of back drops to the men. I loved learning about the Native culture in northern Minnesota. It was clean.

But all in all, it was a book that was mostly, meh.

PopSugar Reading Challenge Prompt: A book with a two word title

“>Bring Me Back: A Novel⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I loved trying to figure out the twist and am proud to say I saw it coming. My suspicions were a bit different than how it all played out. I thought Finn was pretty much a jerk who took advantage of the people in his life and he and the other characters seemed rather one dimensional. I wanted him to do the right thing so badly. By the time I got to the end, I didn’t even know what I wanted to happen. I was satisfied and left hanging at the same time. I say YES, if you like thrillers, give it a go.

PopSugar Reading Challenge Prompt: A book told from multiple character Points of View

“>stephen king outsider book lists best to readThe Outsider: A Novel⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

I haven’t read Stephen King in a long time. This book made me remember why I used to be obsessed with him. I love how he’ll take a minor character, one you’ll never see again and tell their whole back story in a such a compelling way that you’re riveted. Some of the characters here though were the red shirted Star Trek guys.

This particular book had some plot holes and repetition in the conversation. The first part was straight up CSI and the second part was “oh-call up Sam and Dean!”. It was also a HUGE coincidence how the main characters got connected-almost so far of a reach as to be unbelievable-but I lovingly suspend a lot of disbelief when I read SK.

Over all, I liked it. I may pick up another of his more recent repertoire. Probably closer to 3 1/2 stars .

PopSugar Reading Challenge Prompt: A Book featuring an extinct or imaginary creature

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Thank you to the Instagrammers whose pictures I used. Their instagram names are above each photo. Go check them out!

Things To Do When You Can’t Leave the House

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Baby, the weather outside is frightening. Not even exaggerating. The wind chill is dropping to dangerously low temperatures- life threatening, the weather man tells me. Banks and businesses are closing to keep their workers safe.

Speaking of keeping workers safe, farmers still have to go outside to take care of their animals.

Today was cold, but not deathly cold, so the kids still went outside to play. The next couple of days though, nature will be off limits.  What are some things to do when it’s too cold to leave the house?

  1. Bake something. Nothing warms a home like the oven wafting the scent of freshly baked bread or apple crisp. Here is a simple recipe to make alphabet pretzels. 
  2. Snuggle. We have one Lazy-Boy chair we call the Comfy Chair. It’s usually where I sit to read aloud to the kids. Despite the four youngest being 10, 8 6, and 3, we all somehow manage to fit! With a Schnauzer to boot!
  3. Blanket forts. Here’s a super simple idea my then six year old came up with.
  4. Piles of books.
  5. Car ramps. Lean a board or table leaf against the couch and test different kind of rolling vehicles and things that aren’t, like milk lids, balls of different sizes.
  6. Fashion show.
  7. Write letters. Cookbooks- let the kids write their own recipes.  News letters. Comics.
  8. Make newspaper hats.
  9. Do a puzzle together. My son’s favorite puzzles are Ravensburger.
  10. Board games. An easy one we all can play is Tenzis. (plus it strengthens math skills, but SHhhh…keep that on the down low.
  11. Light “Candles”. These are the exact ones we have, and they have worked forever! The flames look real and truly help to bring about that feeling of cozy. Turn off the lights and have a massage circle.
  12. Face paint.  We started with this Klutz Kit because it has great step by step directions and ideas. Then we switched to Snazaroo when the Klutz paint ran out. We still use the book though every time we do it.
  13. Bracelets and necklaces from cereal.
  14. Hot cocoa from a recipe, not a mix. Iowa Girl Eats has an excellent recipe for you to try if you don’t have one of your own.
  15. Watch YouTube videos of “the most dangerous bridges” ,”Most dangerous insects” , “Snake vs some other animal”; many great learning videos out there and the kids don’t even realize they’re doing science, physics, and geography.
  16. Indoor golf with a ball of aluminum  foil and solo cup holes. Pool noodle clubs.
  17. Pool noodle sword fight, (which, at my house the indoor golf invariably becomes).
  18. Have a picnic by just eating the food on the floor. Spread a quilt if you want to, but I guarantee you’ll end up having to wash it.
  19. Turn on the fireplace. If yours isn’t real like mine, you can find a youtube video of crackling fires to add to the ambiance.
  20. Print off one of those time capsule sheets for kids and fill it out. Hide it in a box in your closet. Put in your phone to open it in however many years- and remind yourself where you hid it. I like this printable.
  21. Painting. Or drawing. We love the book series Draw, Write, Now because it makes us feel successful at drawing what we mean to draw.
       We also love the youtube channel “Art  for Kids Hub” 
  22. Practice lettering.
  23. A craft idea from Who Arted?a local mama with lots of great ideas for you to get your crafty on, with and without your kids.
  24. Have everyone put their choice of movie into a bowl and draw one out. Watch it.
  25. Charades. Here is an excellent set of options to print your own set of idea cards.
  26. Table Talk prompts. You can buy a set of cards called “Table Topics”
    or you can find lists of great conversation starters on line. Here’s an excellent place to start.
  27. Do an exercise youtube video together.
  28. Look up trivia questions for kids and give stickers for prizes when someone knows the answer. This set is for the younger kids.
  29. Zentangles.
  30. Watch Joseph’s Machines on YouTube and try to make one tiny part of one of his contraptions.
  31. Raid the recycle bin and see if you can make a marble run. Here’s one we made a few years ago.
  32. Give the kids straws and tape. See what happens. I wouldn’t give them scissors though. I made that mistake.
  33. Make a hammock out of a sheet buy tying it around your dining room table. Knot on top.
  34. Make a puppet show stage by taping a sheet to a doorway (or use a spring release curtain rod) Draw on the kids’s hands, make sock puppets, paper bag puppets, print off puppets from Pinterest and glue them to straws or Popsicle sticks. Have the kids tell a favorite fairy tale. Here’s a great clearing house of patterns. 
  35. Give them marshmallows and toothpicks. Make some pyramids, towers, bridges. Challenge them to a contest.
  36. Let them climb the walls.

When it’s finally bedtime, cuddle up under your favorite blanket, with a heating pad and beverage of your choice. Binge watch something if you want creepy, try You. If you prefer comedy, I just started watching Parks and Rec. If you want some excellent acting, a poignant plot, and some feel good tears, check out Dumplin‘ on Netflix! SO FANTASTIC.

You’ll have to put together your own list if the kids are out of school another day. That’s all I got.  😉

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parenting toddlers and teens large family life big family

Parenting Teens and Toddlers

Six kids is a lot of kids. Just saying. I have a 14, 12, 10, 8, 6, and 3 year old.

My tween stays up later than I do and my toddler is still in my bed most nights. And then there’re all those kids in between.  My older girls want to be up with me, hanging out with me, talking to me. They come alive at night.  I remember doing that too. I’m a night owl myself.  And also a morning dove. So yeah, I’m tired.

My ten year old thinks he’s a Bigglet now too. I conveniently had my kids in pairs, so we refer to them often The Big Girls, The Boys, and the Little Girls.

Monday night has been our girl’s night, which means I hang out downstairs with my teens. Usually, we watch Gilmore Girls and have yummy snacks, and just be together. My boys get Stay Ups when they are halfway or all of the way done with one of their books in Barton Method Tutoring, which means they get to hang out with me like this about once a month.

Lately, it’s been a HUGE source of conflict at bedtime, because the ten-year-old is supposed to be in bed and we’re having so much fun without him. I end up going to bed cranky, he ends up going to be cranky, he keeps the eight year old, who really needs the sleep,  awake and the Girls don’t get to enjoy their evening.

In school, my Girls are in junior high and high school; they don’t need a lot of my help, but they do need a lot of my presence. My Boys have troubles reading so we need to do a lot of reading aloud. And the Little Girls are constantly finding ways to make messes, even though it’s usually just creative play.  When the Big Girls were five and three, I would sit and read to them for hours. We would have special snacks. We would do fun activities, like playing with paint, colored water, building a little pig house out of actual sticks. My Little Girls are lucky if they get one book just for them a day, and a craft or art project once a month. They have to make their own snacks.Parenting toddlers and teens large family logistics

My Bigglets help the Littles with many many things. My Eight is excellent at helpingThree with many of her self care routines. Ten makes breakfast. Fourteen and Twelve often help everyone stay on task to finish their zones. The Littles help the Bigglets. Three compassionately offers people kisses, tissues , and boo boo bags when they’re hurt. Five makes tea and poetry happen on the regular, which everyone loves. She loves to bring breakfast in bed to the Big Girls. Twelve plays swinging around games with the Littles which I’m too old for. Ten loves to give shoulder rides. We all love to snuggle up together and read or watch a cozy movie. 

It’s hard being the parent of teens and toddlers. There is so much happening all of the time, and so many words flying hither and yon. It’s an incredible blessing parenting toddlers and teens at the same time.  They’re getting experiences and opportunities they wouldn’t have had without having a crazy mama, who had six kids!


Bringing Hygge Home

In case you’re not on Pinterest as much as I am, hygge ( pronounced hooga) is the feeling of peace and cozy. Having six kids does not lend itself to much peace or cozy honestly, but I try my best.

how to make your home hygge family momCandles

Obviously, with a three year old getting into literally everything, real candles aren’t usually an option. I’ve been super happy with the tiny tealights you can buy at the Dollar Tree. I also really like Woodwick Candles, which are surprisingly available at Walmart now! I try to having a candle burning/turned on, all the time during the winter.


We have about a zillion throw blankets which we store by literally throwing them behind the couch. It’s so very hygge to snuggle up with people you love and share cozy blanket.


For me, this is paramount. My chicklets are wonderful and I thoroughly enjoy them. At the same time, they fight, argue, yell, make messes, be loud, interrupt me constantly, interrupt each other, have big feelings, crowd me… all the same things your kids do. I love to be silly and laugh with them. It helps diffuse a lot of the tensions when they arise. Being hggye is about comfort and relationships. I think laughter is component we all need.


I have a gas fireplace in the living room while it is delightful, it really does use a lot of gas so is impractical to run on a regular basis. The electric one in my room is a good option, but I can only be up there at night. I make do by listening to fireplaces on Youtube. It’s a fantastic discovery for me, because I can get that calming vibe in my ear buds, can still hear the kids, but their happy little (LOUD) cricket voices are dulled.fireplace home hygge winter family mom

Warm Drinks

Warm lemonade made with real lemons and stevia is a simple low carb drink I just love. You could also have hot water and plain lemon, tea, coffee, hot cocoa, a hot toddy, whatever you’re in the mood for.

Fuzzy Slippers

I love to barefoot inside of a pair of cozy fleece slippers. If your six year old picked you out a bright red pair covered with Christmas lights, all the better!

An Attitude of Being in the Moment

A practice I’ve begun this year is to say to myself “I am breathing in.” “I am breathing out.” It sounds a little trite but it is amazing how it helps me stop my racing thoughts and mental to-do list and calm myself.

hygge home family content mom

Hygge is a way of life, not only in the winter, but all year round, of being cozy and content. How are you bringing hygge home?


My Book Year in Review

BOOKS. Books and more books!

I love to read. I started keeping track of what I read a few years ago when I started keeping a planner, and I am loving it! Here is a peek of my book year in review.
Book Goal:100

Book Total:105
(and several half done which weren’t worth finishing. My life philosophy is that it’s too short for mediocre books. I rarely finish a book I would rate less than three stars.)

Five Star Fiction:

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Five Star Nonfiction:

My Average GoodReadsRating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

(That’s because I rarely finish a three star or fewer book)

Most popular book I read:
I re-read the Harry Potter series every October. This year I included the kids. It takes me a LOT longer to read aloud. I had them finish the last few on Audible.

Least Popular Book I read:

Book with the fewest pages: with 142

Book with the most pages: with 985

Highest Rated: (Good Reads average of 4.8 stars)

PopSugar Reading Challenge: finished all the prompts, including the advanced, except for “a book containing a heist” I finally finished in January.

Books that took place in Iowa: 3

Audiobooks or ones I read aloud: 6

Most books read in one month: 15 in July

Fewest books read in one month: 6 in June

Books on Kindle or Libby: 46

Murders: definitely more than 100

Goals for next year-Undecided

The average CEO reads 60 books a year so that may be my goal.  My goal of 100 this year was a HUGE challenge. Aiming for almost 2 books a week was hard with my busy life, but  I just wanted to see if I could do it!  Now that I know I can, I will likely back off so I can devote more time to writing (or watching Netflix. )