December 23

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I cannot even believe it.  Are you done with your shopping/baking/wrapping/etc???  We’re all done, but the boys and I went out this morning to grab some regular house items and it was crazy town.

Today’s kindness advent was painting rocks to leave at our community playground.  This is always a Kelley kid favorite.

Tomorrow we are leaving encouraging notes on cars.

2 Random Fun Things:

1)  Harper had a girls only cousin slumber party last night so we took the boys to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings.  Josh Kelley and myself dig chicken wings, so we were pretty excited to take the boys for the first time.  No lie, as we were walking in the door Hudson casually says, “So do they have anything other than buffalo?”  We died.

Major success.  They ate all their food, we had lots of fun conversations and they all enjoyed sports at every turn.  So fun.

2)  And I did a little more last minute Christmas crafting today.  Silverware I picked up at Goodwill + my metal stamps = more gifts. Inexpensive and lovely.  Harper loves when they match!

Happy Christmas Eve Eve!

Happy Tuesday night!

December 21 & 22

Yesterday’s kindness advent was our Redbox rental goody bag.  A little note, some popcorn, a few $1 boxes of movie candy and a couple of dollars for the next renter.

Today we left sticky notes on the mirrors in a public restroom.  I helped the boys spell all of theres, so I kind of love Harper’s “You are prity.”  Made me smile.

Tomorrow we are painting rocks to leave on the playground!

And I’ll leave with you a few brotherly loving pictures.  They can fight with the best of them, but they love hard as well.

Laura Kelley Fun Fact #37:  When I found out I was pregnant with Harper I begged God to let it be twin boys and even totally convinced myself it was.  Then we had the big ultrasound and found out we were having one girl 🙂  I cried.  Of course I wouldn’t have it any other way now.  No way…Harper is my sanity!  But, I also love that God gave me my twin boys…just later and a bit different.

Amon asked Hudson to sit by him while they ate their breakfast.  Hudson obliged.

Solomon and Hudson watched 1/2 a movie this way.  Made me laugh so hard because they were totally in their movie zone.

Amon and Solomon were having a sweet little moment together the other day as well.  Solomon’s high raised Ethiopian eye brows are my favorite of all time…makes me melt.

And then Amon went back to his crazy self.  Sol is super patient and tolerable of Amon’s toddler antics too.

Now I’m off to do some last minute Christmas baking and enjoy these wild Kelley children.  It’s Christmas week people…enjoy it!

Happy Monday.

December 19 & 20

Christmas time fun is kind of getting the best of my time…which I love…so today I’m covering two days again.  Yesterday we delivered one million and one baked goods, but our kindness advent was aimed at our pediatricians office.  I am constantly reminded of how good we have it with access to health care and amazing doctors on our side.  Our pediatrician’s office is The.Best and loves us all so well and I don’t mind one bit showering them with sugar.

Today we are delivering handmade ornaments.  One thing I hope we convey is that kindness doesn’t have to be expensive.  A lot of times it’s about your thoughtfulness and time.  I bought these craft ornaments for .50 at Hobby Lobby and then let the kids paint them.  Super easy.  Our niece Campbell joined in on the fun.

Tomorrow we are leaving a Redbox rental bucket filled with goodies for someone picking up a movie.

It’s the Saturday before Christmas and this is the time I love.  We’re all just hanging out, watching movies, wrapping presents, eating treats, crafting my last few gifts.  I’ve cleaned the house…shocker.  And I might have spent a little too much time on some chalkboard art.  Festive and bright and hopeful is how my heart is feeling.  Christmas and other holidays can be so hard for lots of people.  I’ve had a few weepy moments myself, but ever since Mom died O Holy Night has been my favorite Christmas song because of the hope and the rejoicing I can have in Jesus even when my heart may be a bit weary.  This is the world.  It can be so dark…so hopeless…so overwhelming…and sometimes I get so weary with how can we help, how can we love more, how can we show the hope in Jesus, how can our family really make a difference.  Sometimes I feel like our love actions are just drops in the ocean…never making much of a difference, but God confirms over and over again to keep loving Him, keep loving others and that those drops are making ripples.  He is working in the smallest and what we may feel is the most mundane love and kindness we can show.  So we keep on and we hold tight to that thrill of hope, choosing to rejoice in the gift of Jesus even when our hearts may be weary along with the rest of the world.  Grateful and humbled He would choose to come for me and every one of you.

Happy Saturday.

December 17 & 18

I have been in bake city the last two days + about a million other things thrown on top, but I love it.  I actually completely forgot to stop in and say hi yesterday.  Our kindness advent was way fun.  We did surprise chalk art in our friends’ drive-way.  Hudson tends to go a little rogue with his drawings…imagine lots of swords and ninjas and light sabers and very intense fight scenes, so I gave them one rule “You must draw something Christmas or winter themed.”  This was helpful.

Today’s kindness advent got changed around a bit and we did something different, but it’s one of those things you just choose to keep between you and those special some ones.  You get it…like the things God puts directly on your heart.

Tomorrow we are delivering bake goods to lots of people, but a whole bunch to our pediatrician’s office.  They are the best and take such good care of all these Kelley kids.

We also class partied it up today which was too much fun.  Amon is already out of MDO so he was in attendance for all the parties.  I was in charge of cupcakes and pinterest for the win on easy festive cupcake toppers.  Pretzel sticks, green candy melts and sprinkles.

I have been baking, baking and more baking.  I wanted to give you the rundown because I found a few slam dunks.  I  am happy to report all the recipes were delicious…minus me slightly burning the gooey butter cake…just slightly…and I did some cutting off of the a-bit-too-brown-pieces.  There may have been a few curse words, but alas, I survived and moved on.

So here’s what was made:  Gooey Butter Cake (an old fave), Sugar Cookie Bars (so good), Puppy Chow Cookies (crazy messy, but just do it), Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Candy (addictive), M&M Bark (hard to cut, but I totally loved this combination), Double Dipped Pretzel Chips (a fave of Josh Kelley), Gooey Butter Cookies (hold the phone, I may have a new favorite.  LOVE the texture and lightness of these), Oreo Cheesecake Cookies (I’ve made these before and they are always a hit), Andes Mint Cookies (another oldy, but goody and super easy) and Nutter Butter Balls (one of my all time favorites and I always use white chocolate).

Let’s discuss Amon while baking today.  All he wanted to do was A) Eat or stick his finger in everything.  *For those receiving baked goods…Amon did not put his finger in your food because that is just gross and kids are way germy.*  B) High-five over and over and over again with oven mitts.  And C) Stand way too close to the mixer.  God love him.

The conversation we had one million times today:

Amon: I eat dat.

Me:  No, were not eating these right now.

Amon: Maybe, morrow?

Me: Probably not tomorrow.

Amon: Maybe, Tooday?

Me:  Sure Amon.  We’ll eat these Tuesday.

I received the sweetest little package in the mail today from a blog reader.  There was the kindest note and then these two ornaments.  After all that baking, it made me tear up.  Thank you so much Ms. Linda…you made me day…and Solomon immediately hung both ornaments on our tree.

And after a quick dinner tonight and some cleaning of our kitchen, everyone put on PJs, got a sweet snack and we did our yearly Christmas lights drive-thru.  After we finished, Josh Kelley said, “Well, it’s officially Christmas.”  It’s what we do.

This was the best picture I could get of the boys and me.  It makes me laugh.

So how was your Thursday?  I am beyond pumped tomorrow is Friday and Christmas vacation has officially started.  Here’s to a grand weekend people!

Happy Thursday!

December 16

Today’s kindness advent was leaving moola on vending machines.  Two things: 1) Vending machines are kind of hard to find these days.  We looked all over until Harper spotted some outside of none other than Kroger.  2) Did you know there are still .35 cent machines?!?!?!  True story.  We found them tonight.  Like the mythological unicorn of vending machines.

Tomorrow we’re doing a little chalk art!

So I have about one thousand thoughts running through my brain.  I’ll let you in on a few of them.

*I’m officially done with all my orders that were needed by Christmas and that feels dang good.  I’m still taking orders, but will not start working on them until after Christmas.  So many orders to share, but for now I’ll just share this 11×14.  I really dig this dog.  And thank you again to everyone who has ordered this year.  I am constantly humbled and so grateful for your orders and to God for having a job I love.

*From now until Christmas I will be baking and making gifts for some family and friends.  I am way pumped.  I made my baking aspirations list and might even go do all my shopping for ingredients tonight before I head to bed.  Crazy excited.

*I always want to try and give people my best.  This doesn’t always happen, but I want to try.  I especially want to bring my A-game when giving to those in need.  Sometimes I hear people say “they’ll appreciate anything” when referring to giving to those less fortunate than themselves.  This kind of makes my skin crawl a bit.  I don’t want to just give “anything”…when we give to those who are in need we are literally giving to Jesus, so I always want to give my very best…treating people how I would want to be treated.

*Amon gets stuck in strange positions each day on a regular basis.  Today.  “Mom, heeeeeelp.”  He also is totally loving watering his Big Daddy and Nene’s tree.  Mr. Kelley, Josh’s dad, is literally like his favorite person on the planet Earth.  It’s kind of ridiculously cute.

*We have an elf.  My mom gave him to us, but we’re seriously the worst elf owners ever.  We can’t even remember his name.  And he hasn’t moved in over a week.  The kids all came to an agreement he has indeed lost his magic.

*The Kelley kids do chores each week and if they do their chores they get there allowance on Saturdays.  This year they decided to purchase presents for each other, but had to use their own money.  This has been crazy fun.  They each went out on their own with their choice of parent.  Josh Kelley got picked twice.  Harper finally threw me a bone and picked me as her date.  She chose Waffle House to eat and there was zero protest on my behalf.  Hello Allstar Breakfast.

*We also give them each a sum of money, but they have to give it away…however they choose.  We’ve talked about all the ways they could give this money generously.  I love hearing their ideas.  Harper made a plan on paper from the very beginning and stuck with it.  She bought books, pencils and bookmarks to take to the children’s hospital where Amon had his surgery.  The boys still go back and forth.  Hudson’s the most fickle.  He’s thinking about giving it all to the Goodlettsville Help Center, buying a goat, splitting it up…1/2 to the GHC and 1/2 for buying toys for kiddos, helping build a well in Swaziland or giving it all to one of his friends at school 🙂

*I’m happy to report the recommendation for using hydrogen peroxide on our bloody couch worked.  Insert raise the roof hands!

*I saw this recipe for Puppy Chow Cookies on pinterest and literally gasped.  And no, no I do not have food issues.

(photo source)

*And today I went to the dentist and got my temporary crown.  Mother of pearl.  It hurt like dang heck…and dang heck is bad.  I feel as if I have a pretty good tolerance for pain, but what was suppose to be a 30 minute in and out appointment turned into this dude drilling on one tooth for an hour and a half.  He used words & phrases like “cracked tooth”, “leakage”, “this was my challenge for the day”, “wow this is deep” and “death”.  I’m confident I almost died.  He had to numb me THREE different times.  This cannot be normal.  And my mouth is still hurting I just want to punch something.  I may have cried some…when they were out of the room…because I have pride issues and almost thrown up.  I’m a foot shaker so imagine how fast my foot was moving.  And I squeezed my own hand for pain.  I’ve never been an anxious/nervous/fearful dental person, but yep, that’s me now.

Now…to Kroger I go.  Here I come scrumptious ingredients.  Those Puppy Chow cookies are calling my name.  Maybe this is why I have bad teeth.  No way, I still blame pregnancy.

Happy Tuesday.

December 14 & 15

Yesterday our kindness advent was delivery breakfast to someone.  Harper has been sick, so sadly she missed out on this one.  Nothing says Good Morning like donuts and Arbys and coffee.

Today we left a little treat for our mailman.  He’s always super kind to the kids.  Fresh homemade chocolate chip cookies, some thank you notes and a Starbucks card.  He works dang hard.

Tomorrow we are leaving money on some vending machines.

Harper is home sick today and Amon is kind of totally excited about it.  They are the cutest together…they have a really special little love.

Amon Kelley Fun Fact:  He loves to eat on the floor of the kitchen.  He and I usually eat lunch everyday just like this.  For family dinners we eat together at our table, but when Amon is solo you will usually find him right here for meals.  And I oblige because why not.

And how about we end this post with another couch stain conundrum.  Amon strikes again.  This time with a busted nose…his nose on Sol’s hard head…and a bloody trail to follow.  I went with straight cold water, but it didn’t work and now in the light of the morning I want to weep big tears over our precious couch.  Remember…never ever ever again will we purchase a new couch until Amon moves out!

Hope your weekend was grand and your week is off to a magnificent start.  Happy Monday!

December 13

We experienced our first hiccup in our kindness advent yesterday.  We went to a fun Christmas festival at our church last night and thought it would be fun to take polaroids there.  Sadly in the rush and jumble of getting everyone out of the house we completely forgot our polaroid.  Gasp.  And didn’t realize until we were almost there, so we rolled with it because that’s just what you have to do.

The Christmas festivities were super fun.  A sweet young lady did give Hudson a peanut butter cookie.  As he was taking a bite she said something about peanut butter cookies and I from a far yelled out “Nooooooooooooooooo”, ran towards Hudson and smacked the cookie right out of his hand.  So maybe not exactly like that, but there was some mild panic.  Luckily Hudson barely bit into it and then freaked himself…spitting and scraping his tongue and mouth with the sleeve of his shirt.  He didn’t ingest any of it, so all he got was a fat swollen lip.  We hit up the smores station and all was right in his little allergy world.  Pour dude.

Today we handed out Christmas books to kids shopping with their parents at Target and Joanns.  This is Harper’s most favorite.

And tomorrow we are taking breakfast to a family.  We’re thinking donuts and chocolate milk because, yeah, donuts can change the world too.

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend.  So far we’ve been pretty chill and productive.  Harper and I got all our Christmas cards ready and in the mailbox today.  I’ve never finished our Christmas cards this quickly…Harper is the best…big kids who love to help are the best!!!

Enjoy the rest of your Saturday!

December 11 {my fave}

Today’s kindness advent was leaving one of those giant Christmas inflatables in someone’s yard.  This was the pure genius that is Josh Kelley.  Welcome to his wonderfully fun mind.  And it was easily one of our most favorites!  I mean, come on, who wouldn’t want a giant inflatable to greet you first thing when you opened your front door?!?!?  We went after school to make our final selection.  After much deliberation and some mild candy cane choking, we decided on a 7ft tall polar bear.  Hudson’s insight pushed us over the top in choosing the bear over Santa because they can leave the bear up longer for winter.  Made sense to the rest of us and an unanimous decision was made.

We decided to do a test run in our living room just to make sure the final drop went smoothly and we knew what to expect.  Not pictured is Amon permanently attached to my leg and terrified of the large friendly polar bear.  And Solomon, I mean, can I really say much more about his ability to nail that creepy face and posture…dude is spot on.  Cracks me up all over every time I look at him.

My friend Melody called just in time and she wanted in on the action.  We swung by Melody’s house to pick her and her son Luke up.  We decided to let the polar bear ride fully inflated around town to our final destination.  Amon’s seat is on the passenger side so when we rolled his window down the wind positioned the bear’s giant face right in his window.  He freaked out yelling, “No, no, no.  Up, up, up.”  He does not like mythical creatures or mascots of any kind.

I soooo wish I had taken a picture of Harper, Hudson and Solomon leaving the house.  They decided to try and disguise themselves…hats, scarfs, sunglasses…totally cracking me up.  Hudson is my cautious child and kept asking “What if they think we’re burglars?” “What if they think we’re trying to rob them?” When we finally got to our friend’s house Harper, Melody and myself were the only ones who ventured close to the house.  Hudson, Solomon and Amon stayed back close to the car with Luke.

We ever so slyly and quietly creeped around the outside of their house, got the polar bear in position and plugged him in.  It was so hilariously wonderful.  We wanted to make sure they couldn’t miss him.

Nothing says Merry Christmas like a 7ft tall festive polar bear.  Totally one of my most favorite things we’ve done.

And tomorrow we are taking polaroid pictures of people shopping together.  Also one of my faves.

Hope your day was awesome and maybe, just maybe you’ll find a giant Christmas inflatable on your front porch tomorrow too!

Happy Thursday Night.