Fly on the Wall: #LifeGoals and Shams

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 9 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house.

Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:

Baking In A Tornado        

Menopausal Mother           

Searching for Sanity       

Eileen’s Perpetually Busy  

Spatulas on Parade          

Never Ever Give Up Hope         

Bookworm in the Kitchen  

When I Grow Up             

Here’s who you’ll be hearing from in my house:

  • Me, Mama O.
  • Daddy O.
  • Big Sister, age 7
  • Little Brother, age 5

When I was a Baby

The kids have been fascinated with stories of themselves when they were younger, especially babies. We’ve had some fun sharing memories and have had some funny conversations along the way – like this one:

Little Brother: When I was just born, did I jump into your arms.

Me: Well, not exactly. You came out, and they put you in my arms. Babies can’t really jump when they’re just born.

Little Brother, crawls on my lap, as I’m seating on a glider chair with my feet on the ottoman and says, “toilet.”  I had to think for a bit, but remembered that the kids made up this “game” when I sat in this chair with my feet up.  “Oh yeah, that’s what you meant when you sat on my lap and said toilet.” It’s not that he had to use the toilet. Just go with it, Mom.


Me to Big Sister, “I like your cardigan. I’d wear it if it were in my size. Someday maybe we can share clothes.”  And possibly shoes too…fingers crossed! Seriously, sometimes her clothes is cuter than mine! Someday – #lifegoals

Me & Daddy O.
Daddy O (referring to the pillow shams: These are on the floor 90% of the time!
Me: Yeah that’s why they are called a sham.

Daddy O. (looking at Big Sister’s jean jacket): Shouldn’t you iron that?

Me: (who HATES ironing): No, you don’t iron jeans, silly!

What Really Goes on at Scout Camp

Me: I was thinking about looking at sending big sister to a girl scout day camp.

Little Brother: Do they hunt deer?

Me: No, it’s not like they live off the land.  They may make a fire, but I’m sure they have food ready for them.

Daddy O: It’s not like Oregon Trail.

Me: Where they hunt for berries and then get dysentery. (This joke is going over the kids’ heads completely, by the way.)

Big sister: That doesn’t sound like fun.

On Money

Big sister:  Can I just get an allowance?
Me:  No, you need to do chores for money.
Big sister: No, just get money every week
Me: Just for being my daughter? No. You need to do work to earn money.

Learning Early

Little Brother goes to school half days, but has recently shared with me, “Mom, I wish the school days were on weekends and the weekends were on school days.”  I just reply, “Well, those two school days would be super long. I don’t think it’s going to change.”

He then said, “Maybe God could change that.”

I think that may fall under the “unanswered prayer” category, but I think it’s sweet that he’s already pining for longer weekends at age 5.


Spectacular China Lights Exhibit

If you ever hear of the China Lights Exhibit in your area, I’d highly recommend going! We went several months ago, but I enjoy looking at our pictures from that night so much that I decided it was “blog worthy.”  My entire family really enjoyed it!

We had tried going during the week, but arrived too late to really see much before our kids needed to go to bed. For our second attempt, we arrived extra early to buy tickets before the gates even opened. To pass the time, our kids played in the leaves, and we took a selfie with the entrance gate in the background.


Fall fun as we waited for dusk – playing in the leaves, Daddy & Mama O. with the red entrance gates behind us.

While it wasn’t yet dark when we entered the exhibit, we did enjoy grabbing some Chinese food to fuel up.  Around the dining area were animals representing the Chinese zodiac signs. I’m a monkey. Daddy O. is a horse. My daughter is definitely an ox – well described as determined and a bit stubborn. My son is a rabbit, which was not as easy to see, but he is fast!

After eating dinner, I managed to grab this great picture of the pagoda with the brilliant blue sky behind it. As you can see in later pictures, the sky turned to black as time passed.


The pagoda was one of the highlights of the exhibit, positioned right near the entrance. 

The dragon was huge and beautiful. The white speck in the sky is the moon. It really was a lovely night for viewing the lights.


Huge dragon, bottom left: Gates near the entrance, me & Daddy O., Fish, and Flower Lantern walkway

These pictures were just a sampling of the exhibit. There were animals of all kinds – zebras, giraffes, swans, penguins, bears, birds, fish, and more!


This dragon was made from glass bottles. 

You can see some animated characters from “Finding Dori” in the background too. There were a collection of four glass-bottle dragons.


My daughter really liked the flowers and peacocks on this giant fan display. 

The China Lights truly were beautiful! We had such a fabulous time walking through them as a family.  Have you seen them before? What lovely pictures are waiting in your queue for your blog?


Sort of #SilentSunday

I would normally stick with the theme #SilentSunday, but I have been so absent from my little blog that I feel obligated to write something!

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I setup a wide variety of paper, stamps, heart punches, and other craft items for the kids.  They went CRAZY making pictures and cards. While I wasn’t thrilled with the mess (or using blank cards as “picture paper,” I stepped back a bit after a few days and just enjoyed their creations that were made with love.

I believe my five year old made most of these. They are pretty sweet.


A whole lotta love went into these masterpieces

After all of their card-making, the kids insisted that we make cards for them, and so Daddy O. and I did.  It’s becoming a tradition each year, as I shared in this Fly on the Wall post from two years ago now.  Daddy O. broke out the Spirograph and even made me a card. It was pretty sweet.

So cheers everyone! I hope you felt the love this past week as much as I did!

Fly on the Wall – Holiday Sentiments

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 9 bloggers are inviting you to catch a Fly on the Wall Postglimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house.

I love this challenge so much that I even have my own page for it on my blog HERE.

Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:

Baking In A Tornado         

Menopausal Mother          

Spatulas on Parade           

Searching for Sanity          

Never Ever Give Up Hope   

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

Southern Belle Charm         

A Little Piece of Peace         

Thanksgiving Leftovers

My 5 and 7 year old kids had some silly thoughts on what to be thankful for on Thanksgiving. Here’s what they shared as we were driving to Grandma and Grandpa’s house:

Big sister: I’m thankful I’m not an ant, so I won’t get squished.

Little brother: I’m thankful I’m not a tree, then I won’t get cut down. (He was thinking of the evergreen trees that we cut down for our Christmas tree)

Little Brother: I’m thankful that God made candy.

Many of Little Brother’s religious ed classmates also were thankful for candy, though some did say things like, “family, friends, our house.”

Decorating our Home

Little brother: Do you know that this stocking is a sock for a giant?

The kids went crazy decorating the tree. They wanted to put ornaments on so quickly. I just listened as I was nearby:

Big sister: Let’s put the cross next to the angel.

Little brother: Yeah, it’s like God is watching over us.

It was too sweet! I guess he is learning something from church / religious ed besides being thankful for God making candy.

 A New Rule

It was a frightfully frigid day with a high of five degrees, so I felt motivated (finally) to make something. We had shredded zucchini in the freezer, so I made zucchini bread. When it came time to eat it, I helped myself to the crust and an inside piece. Little Brother said, “No fair! You got two pieces.” I replied, “Yes, the baker gets two!”

Our Affordable Art Gallery

We have been coloring and painting (as usual), and I wanted to finally clean up our creations. Little Brother and I decided to hang up some of our favorites in an “art gallery” in our home.  We have two display areas. Here they are:


I overheard Little Brother talking to Daddy O. about the gallery, and he said, “Yeah, I think we should charge 299 for some pictures.”  Then he paused, “or maybe 199.”  I am not sure if he meant $299 and $199 or $2.99 and $1.99. Either way, some of his priceless works are saved in a storage bin under his bed.

Santa, You are the Best

FINALLY  after five and seven years, respectively, the kids are okay with visiting Santa this year. Here they were with him earlier this month:


Little brother and Big sister hanging with Santa

Big sister has been consistent in asking Santa and writing about what she wants: “I want a puppy that eats its own poop.”

Santa’s response, “We’ll try.”

Bless your heart Santa! This ACTUALLY is a real toy. See Target, FurReal Friends Pax, My Poopin’ Pup.  The food that you can feed it is actually then pooped out, and I believe you then feed the same pellets to the dog. Sigh.

She has been so consistent in asking for this toy, writing a letter to Santa over the weekend and asking for the same thing. I told her today that I emailed her letter to Santa, since it wouldn’t reach the North Pole in time via the postal service.

Santa’s response was cute –

“I see you’d like a special friend for Christmas. Now one thing about a puppy, real, or even pretend, is that flying in my sleigh can be a bit scary for them….. Now you know I will try my best for you, but I will have to check with your family if that’s ok. Will you check too? “

Santa, you are the best!!

I hope Santa is good to you and yours this holiday too! Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Tips and Tricks to Make your own Christmas Card

This is a sponsored post and giveaway in partnership with Nakturnal.

Every year I make our own Christmas Card with family pictures. For the past two years I have been entrusted with doing the same for my parents’ Christmas Card (pressure, I know). Sometimes I use our own pictures taken throughout the year, and this has mixed results. It certainly does the trick, but I recently came across a few sites that give me some new ideas to make your own Christmas Card. I’ll have to implement some of these ideas for next year!

Plan your Outfits

I am starting with the clothes because of our Christmas card picture from last year. It looks nice, right? My talented sister in law took pictures for us and did a nice job.

Go Mama O 2015 pic.png

2016 Christmas Card picture: Daddy O., Big Sister, Mama O., Little Brother.

But THEN a family member pointed out that it looked like my legs really belonged to Daddy O., and I can see that since the color of my pants match his sweater. Oops. I guess that it does look a bit weird.  Maybe I should have used a black and white image instead. All in all, everyone is smiling, so I am okay with it. For next time, I will plan outfits a bit better!

One year I really want to have matching outfits or pajamas with my entire family. Daddy O. is not yet convinced of this plan. Maybe we could go with some family ugly sweaters, like I saw from Target on Pinterest. With a Star Wars theme, I may be able to talk my entire family into it.

Ugly Sweater from

Family Star Wars Ugly Sweaters, what could be better attire for a Christmas card?

Brush up on Photography Skills

We haven’t planned well enough in advance to have professional photos taken, but I always drool over the professional pictures that are featured on the beautiful holiday card sites. How cute is this picture below? I also love the gold foil.

confetti-branches-kate-spade-christmas-card-Paperless Post

I love the adorable grin and nose wrinkle in this photo card.

signs-of-joy-pei-design Christmas Card Paperless Post

If you’re a DIY photographer, check out this post on Making Lemonade called “Tips for Amazing Holiday Photos.” I definitely pinned it, as it has so many links and ideas to try.

This infographic from Skyes Cottages reminds me a lot of my high school photography classes and is another excellent resource.

Tell a Story

While we went with pictures from this past year, I found a card that told a story that fit a “Year in Review” theme.   I included the pictures below from our family trip to Arizona and Big Sister’s big accomplishment: riding her bike without training wheels!

I love these two pictures from this year, as they tell a story about fun things that we did together as a family. Pictures like this are ideal for holiday cards. A year in review card, like this one below, is a great way to combine a family photo with more text than other photo cards, which is a nice hybrid between just a greeting and a full fledged newsletter.

Year in Review holiday photo-card -Paperless Post

I also like this Calm and Bright Card for something that I could have done with a picture from vacation.

calm-and-bright-card-the-indigo-bunting photo card Paperless Post

I think this is another nice choice for a vacation photo that you have on hand, but just set to black and white. It looks very glam with the gold foil!

konfetti-gold-card-kelly-wearstler Photo Card Paperless Post

How to Save or Display Holiday Cards

With all of the work that goes into making Christmas cards, you should find a nice way to display them during the holidays. Currently I place the cards that we receive in a festive looking basket, but I am thinking of trying a new way to display cards after finding this pin on Pinterest from Hip2Save.


She has covered canvas with ribbon to display cards in her picture above and shares a lot of other cool ideas from around the blogosphere – hanging them from a banister, attaching ribbons to kitchen cabinets and clipping cards on with a clothespin, and more.

I really like the idea of hole punching all of your photo cards from each year, and putting them on binder rings, as blogger Oh Louise does. Aren’t they cute?


She gives step by step instructions on her blog post.

Now that we’ve talked about outfit planning, photo composition and selection tips, shared some great holiday card options, and gave a few display ideas, it’s your turn:

What are YOUR Favorite Ideas for Making your own Christmas Cards?

What did you think of these tips and ideas for making your own Christmas cards? What will you try for sure? Your comments on this post will enter you in my giveaway!

FREE Giveaway to Paperless Post!

Comment on my Rafflecopter entry form for a chance to win:

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Coins will be awarded in January, giving you the perfect way to send New Year’s greetings in case you didn’t have time to make your own Christmas card.  There are also many gorgeous other print or online card options from a wide variety of designers. Check them out!

ENTER by clicking on the link below:

1000 Coins on Paperless Post – Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be selected December 22, 2016 via Rafflecopter. Additional terms and conditions can be viewed in the entry form. Good luck!

Disclaimer: I received compensation in exchange for writing this post. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.