We’re back to school this week.  It’s been good to be back to routine but it’s been painfully difficult to get out of bed on these cold mornings.

It was also a four day school week and that has me thinking that ALL weeks should be four day school weeks.  Can I start a utopian society where people only work for four days a week for about five hours each day?  I think we’d all be more productive and just embrace working harder for a short time, knowing you had lots of free time coming.  Who wants in on my future society?

Happy Friday y’all.





Every year we get a game for Christmas.  (Sometimes more than one game – because I heart games.)  This year one of the games was Quelf.  We played it last summer at the farm during the Fourth of July Festivities.  (Which is sort of like its own utopian society if you think about it.)

Quelf is hilarious.  It’s ridiculous and silly and lots of people can play it and all ages can join in the fun.  You end up doing all sorts of silly actions or saying ridiculous phrases over and over.  One teenager in my home did request that we never play the game with friends her own age because that would be embarrassing.  But I’m hoping she’ll get over that because I think it’s a really funny group game.

Speaking of games – and no this wasn’t planned but it fits so whatever – you can see a little link over on the right hand side of the page with a picture of Otto and Piper holding games.  If you click that link it will take you to an Amazon Affiliate page that has a list of games that we have played or enjoyed or owned.  Yep, if you happen to actually purchase a game from that list I do receive a fraction of the money you pay to Amazon.  (Thanks for that fraction, friends.  Penny by penny, all those fractions add up to a whole every now and again.)




Fashion for a purpose is pretty much the best sort of fashion there is.

I’ve talked on and on about Lost Valley Ranch (and I’ll talk on and on about it probably for literal ever) and one really beautiful part of the ranch is the people who work there and make our lives as dreamy as the mountains for that one week.  As a parent living alone with five kids, an absolute luxury to me during that week is the over the top kind and generous service – beds made daily, pillows fluffed, chocolate on the pillows, clean towels and tidy rooms day after dirty day.  One of the girls who worked our cabin each day and left me feeling so spoiled was a lovely young lady named Jada.  Jada has a beautiful smile and is quick to laugh and genuinely engaged in her conversations with any guests and exudes joy and she’s just simply pleasant to be around.



The ranch is amazing, of course, but I think her current adventure sounds fascinating too.  Jada is heading to New Zealand to work in a  college ministry there.  One of the ways in which she is raising support is by partnering with Go Rings, which is where we come around to the fashion part of this post.

Go Rings actually started when a college student was looking for a way to raise money for her own ministry.  She was traveling to 11 countries and she designed rings with 11 bands on them.  Eventually, the rings sold so well that she now works with a friend to sell rings and earrings that exclusively are crafted to partner with people working to raise money for ministries, nonprofits and missions.

For the month of January, if you buy any product from Go Rings, my friend Jada gets 30% of the money from your jewelry purchase.

I like their rings with all the bands – I think they would look great on an index finger or a thumb too.



Their rectangular earrings are super cute too.



If you decide to make a purchase, when you get to the final page after you’ve ordered you’ll be asked who you want to partner with through your order.  Find the name Jada Allen and that’ll take care of linking your purchase to Jada’s ministry.




Lots of you guys received an Instant Pot for Christmas.  It’s been so fun to have a renewed interest in all things Instant Pot and its magic ways.  Plus, it’s great to share new recipes and to bring old ones back.  I still have this post here for the basics of the Instant Pot.

For a long while now I’ve been intending to try out the timer feature on my Instant Pot but I’ve been afraid.  But what with the very cold nature of our home these mornings and my desire for something warm immediately ready coupled with my lack of desire to get out of bed and actually create that hot meal, I decided now was the exact right time to try the timer AND an oatmeal recipe.  (I’d also been afraid of trying to make steel cut oats in the Instant Pot.  In my memory I had tried steel cut oats and strongly disliked their flavor.  Hence my worries.)

Turns out – I had no need to be afraid.

The night before, like the easiest thing you can imagine, I added water and steel cut oats to the instant pot.  I followed the directions you’ll see in the recipe I’ll link here to set the timer.  It was shamefully simple.  Then I went to bed.

Guess what y’all?

When I woke up, we had hot oatmeal waiting on us.  Miracle of all miracles, everyone liked the steel cut oats.  They were hot (what a bonus as our home rests at about 54 degrees most mornings its seems) and they were not mushy and they were actually really good.  I had some fruit cut up and of course the obligatory maple syrup or brown sugar because we’re not crazy after all.

It will most certainly make the rotation for weekly morning meals.  Ye-haw.  It was so handy because it basically felt as if someone else had made breakfast for us.

Steel Cut Oatmeal.  (You have to scroll down for the recipe.)




Have I talked about the parenting book I am just going to keep slowly reading over and over and over and over again until I die?

It’s by Paul Tripp and it’s called Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Parenting.






Sometimes your kids make you feel old and tired and worn out and pretty bad at everything.

And sometimes one of your kids does or says something really kind.

Recently one kid and I were having an exchange and that certain kid was not pleased with what I was saying and that kid was letting me know about the displeasure being felt.

I thought it was just me and the one displeased kid experiencing this “banter”.

After the conversation ended and the one kid left the room, I put my head down and sighed.

That’s when Mosely walked in from an adjoining room.  She approached me slowly and with a sympathetic face.  She’s not an overly affectionate kinda girl so when she reached out and began to rub my back I looked up, surprised.

Her tender brown eyes met mine and she smiled sweetly, “Hey, Mom,” she said.  “I think you handled that really well actually.”

Ah Mosely.  She has no idea how much that made my day.