Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas.



I hope you have a beautiful day full of love and remembrance of the greatest gift of all.

I am taking a few days off to enjoy time with my family.

See you soon.

Monday, December 24, 2012

J and A and Co. Question and Answer

I have been getting lost of questions lately. I thought I would answer a few right here.

1. When using the token system; please explain the cashing in process.


We try to cash in our tokens every Monday night. I say try because we do it when I am awesome and remember. During the week the kids are cashing them in all the time. They spend them left and right to play the computer and watch a show on Netflix and etc. On Monday, if they have any left and would like to cash them in for money they can. Each token is worth .5 cents. So 20 tokens will earn them a dollar.

I then write down that amount in their bank account, and they are welcome to spend it when we are out and about.(after they pay tithing first, of course) I don’t have money exchange hands at this point. I hate that when we are out and they want to buy something that they don’t have the money with them. This way I buy it and subtract it out of the bank. I carry the bank slip in my wallet at all times. The money they do receive is their tithing money. They then are responsible to pay that to our bishop. Tithing is 10% of what you earn in our church. So they receive one dime for every dollar they earn; and I put .90 cents in their bank account.

As a side note on tokens: I posted this token idea soon after we started tokens and we have been doing it for two years now. So everything I share in the post from 2010 is not really what I take and give tokens for. I have totally relaxed. I hope you can use it in a way that works for your family. For example; I don’t make them pay for treats. I didn’t really love that concept.

2. How are your stockings hung on your mantel?


I use small clear command hooks. I put them on the under side of the mantle, and then hang the stocking from it. They are pretty invisible.

I have also put them on the top part of the mantle in our other house. That worked great too.


3. Will you post your pancake recipe?

Sure. I would love too.


Oatmeal Buttermilk Pancakes

4 eggs beaten

1/2 C. of oil or 1/2 C. applesauce (sometimes I do a 1/4 of each)

2 C. buttermilk

1 C. milk, or if you want them really tasty(but also bad for you) 1 C. cream or half and half

1. tsp. salt

1 tsp. soda

1 T. baking powder

1 C. whole wheat flour

1 C. oat flour(oats ground in your food processor) if you don’t have a way to grind oats just use wheat flour

1 C. oatmeal

I combine all the ingredients into my blendtec blender and let it do it’s magic. I mix the oatmeal(not the oat flour; just the oatmeal) by hand.

If you don’t have a blendtec you could just do it in a mixer or by hand.

Combine the wet ingredients first and then add the dry.

Let the batter sit for 5 to 10 minutes to thicken.

Cook on a griddle sprayed with cooking spray.

Serve with syrup.

4. What is your bread recipe and will you share?


I would love to share my bread recipe. However, it is not my own.

The awesome ladies at pantry secrets came up with it.

I do think it is the best bread recipe ever, and it so worth buying the DVD to learn how to make it.

This recipe uses all shelf stable ingredients. It contains no milk, eggs, oil, or butter. It is amazing.

The best part is that it is start to finish in one hour.

Probably the best bread I have ever had; all my friends seem to think so too.(wink, wink)


I use it all the time for pizza, cinnamon rolls, rolls, artisan bread, and sandwich bread.

I believe the best way to start this process is to buy the starter kit. You can find it right here.

5. There is certainly a weight epidemic for our children in this day and age, eating right is only half the answer. Any suggestions on how to get our kids engaged in some sort of physical activity? It is easy when we are busy to put on Netflix and walk away. Before we know it 2 hours have passed. Any suggestions on how to get them moving when we are busy?

One of our favorite things to do at our house is have a dance party. It is certainly fun for all, and a great workout.

I have also enrolled my kids in a kids Zumba class. They go once a week, and really love it. They also attend my Zumba class and often times are doing it on the sidelines. If this isn’t offered in your area, your kids could take swimming, gymnastics, soccer or other activities to get them moving.


(this picture was taken at Halloween Zumba)

I also think it is important for our kids to see us get physically active. My kids enjoy watching me do Zumba, and for years I did my exercise at home with their little feet in my way.

When I am busy, I sometimes turn on one of my exercise videos for the kids. They think this is a hoot. They really enjoy it, and it entertains them for 30 minutes.

Another idea I have used when they ask me to play the computer, I tell them they can after they run 2 laps around the block.


There you have it.

Thanks for all your questions.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

December Instagram roundup.

I am still loving Instagram, and playing with all the fun editing aps.

Here is a little December roundup:


family picture framed and hung, christmas cards mailed, keeping Christ in Christmas

early morning piano practice; so dedicated, Isaac has his tonsils out, Stella surprises us with a candlelit dinner

showing off my new owl apron gift, that darn elf; MAXIMUS, Isaac cuts circle out of a mag. at school; funny he can’t read

Friday, December 21, 2012

Holiday treats…

Do you like to make treats during the holidays?

It is one of my favorite things to do.

Here is a little round-up from pinterest with some ideas of what I might make and share with neighbors and friends.

Maybe it will inspire you to get your treat on this weekend.


oreo swirl cookies



homemade thin mints



peppermint popcorn


White Chocolate Covered Peppermint Rice Krispie Treats

white chocolate covered peppermint rice krispies


Kelley Highway Cream Cheese Mints12

cream cheese mints



salted caramel shortbread squares


Have a magical Christmas

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What I have learned. {Servants}

Remember this series on JandA&Co.?  Well, every now and again I will bring it back.

This lesson I recently learned was definitely worth sharing.

I attend a mothering class twice a month with a group of Christian women.

It has been a huge blessing in my life.

It is taught by Linda Shultz Anderson.

I usually learn gospel truths specifically from the leaders of my own church.

However, it has been nice to learn more about parenting on a Christian level from other Christians and then add my own beliefs.

There are many many good people out there with so much to teach us; regardless of what faith we belong to.

I wanted to share something that I have learned from this group with you:

Cousin Pictures (66 of 74)cr

So much of mothering is Servanthood.

Jesus is the perfect example of service.

I think about the hours that I spend in my kitchen or laundry room serving my family.

Many times I begrudgingly do these things.

It is a lot of work to prepare dinner, serve it and clean it up.

Do I do it because I want to, or because 5 hungry people need to eat and might eat me alive if I don’t?

I am learning that I should do it because I want to serve my family.

Some of the most ordinary things reveal more than anything what we are made of.


I made this printable to share with you.  If you want it click on the image to download.

The Savior’s example has taught me about the type of servant I should be.

I often think of the Savior washing the disciples feet.

His ordinary was using a towel, a little water, and his hands.

I use those things in my life everyday, but do I do it with the same feeling as the Savior?

I can be ordinary, and use towels, water and my hands with a smile.

I believe that it was easy for Jesus to serve others.  He remembered from whence he came.

In order for us to serve like the Savior, we too must remember where we came from.


If we also remember where our children came from it often becomes easier to serve them.


Raise your hand if there are days that come dinner time you have nothing left to give; you are tired of the whole servant role.

I had to pause from typing.  Yes, I raised my hand.  In fact, I raised both of them.

This is why remembering where we came from is so important.

Remembering God’s unconditional love for us.


His love makes it possible for us to have an overflow for others.

When we have nothing left to give, we can ask God to give us his love for the rest of the day.

When we do, and take the time to serve our family with love; we teach our children to be servants also.

Which is what God wants for all his children.

We are raising servants for the Lord.

Healthy servanthood should begin at home; with parents as the teachers.

…and my favorite message of all:

Stella and Tess-10cr

This servant season will not last forever, our children will grow up to serve us and others.

Monday, December 17, 2012

How our tree comes together.

I had a request that I do one post all about our Christmas tree.

I thought I could tell you how it all comes together.

Next year, I will have to try to take step by step pictures.

First of all, I do not have a pre-lit tree.  I light this bad boy all by myself with some help from my hubby or the kiddos.


I think it is important to wrap each branch with lights so they go in and out. 

Although quite time consuming, it makes for quite a beautiful sight.


Tip: stand back and squint.  If the lights are evenly spaced and there are no holes in your tree then you have done a good job with your lights.

When I was taking these night pictures, this one ended up on my camera.  I thought it was fun.  Obviously, I bumped my tripod.


Once we have the lights on, we start with the basic ornaments.  I bought a box of 40 red and a box of 40 silver ornaments.  They are in all different shapes and sizes.  I found them at Target after Christmas one year.  This gives us some really good coverage with 80 ornaments.


The basic ornaments are the base of the tree.  They are the ornaments that fill in the gaps, but not the ornaments that catch your eye.


We don’t just hang on the outer limbs of the tree.  We stick our hands all the way inside and hang there too.


Now, begins the fun ornaments. 

I have collections of ornaments.  I buy a few new ones each year for our tree.


When I find an ornament that I like, I buy them in sets of 3 or 5. 

That way I have a variety of my favorite ornaments.


I have never been a matchy-matchy(my computer says this is not a word, but I am using it anyway) sort of girl.

 I like my ornaments to be a reflection of things I love, or to tell a story.


I only buy ornaments that fall into my color scheme of red, silver, gold, and white.  I have a few touches of black in there too.


When looking for ornaments, I tend to be attracted to glass vintage looking ornaments.


I also love things that sparkle with lots  of glitter.


I love ornaments with words on them.


I also think big ornaments, and ornaments with texture are always fun.


I have had lots of luck finding ornaments at thrift stores, hobby lobby, the dollar store, and target.


I pick up ornaments year round.


After we have added all the varieties, then it is time for the kids ornaments.

They receive an ornament from us each year for Christmas.  I also try to keep them in our color scheme(if possible), and I like them to be classy enough that they would want to hang them on their tree when they take them with them.


For example, although they might like sponge bob now, he might not look so beautiful on their tree when they are 30.

I do pick out ornaments that reflect them during that particular year.  For example, Stella will get a white ornament because she was baptized this year. They receive these on Christmas Eve.

Then it is time for the picture frames.  My personal favorite.


This is the part of the tree that really represents me and my love for photography.

I have just found frames at thrift stores, and spray painted them in white, and silver.  I found the red frames at Hobby Lobby.


I change these pictures from year to year.  The red frames have a picture of the kids, and the others have fun candid moments throughout the years.


The little white frames were a score that I found at a random store in Kansas City years ago for a dollar each.  These little white frames have some of our earliest family pictures in them.  I also put the date on each of these pictures.  It is kind of fun to look back and reminisce.


The picture frames are what make the tree. 

I also have ornaments that are picture frames as well.


(yes that is me, when I was a youngster)

Picture frames are what I use to complete my tree, and make a statement.

I don’t think you have to use picture frames to finish off your tree.

You can use anything you love.  It should be big, and make a statement.

A few ideas that I thought of; If you love to read, you could use books that you love, children’s books, and ornaments covered in book paper.  You could also use your initials(big wooden letters). If you love to bake you could make big gingerbread cookies.  If you love to sew, you could cover ornaments in fabric, or hang spools of thread from you tree.  I have also seen nice big words out there to buy.  I think those would look real fun stuck in a tree.

We top our tree off with our vintage topper; this topper reflects my style and goes well with my ornaments.


We can’t forget what goes below the tree.


I am in love with my new red tree skirt.  I made this in honor of Baby Ruby and I love looking at it and thinking of her.


(tutorial found here)

Thanks for asking me share this little post.  It was fun putting it together.

Oh, and one more thing.  You are probably asking if our kids help in this little process.  Well yes they do.  They help all along the way.

We have had a few ornaments broken, but it comes with the territory.

I would rather have ornaments broken and memories made.

Do I rearrange the ornaments on the tree when they go to bed?

Why yes I do.

Shhh. Don’t tell.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Looking for a some thing to delight?

Last year, I shared this FREEBIE.

singing loud

Well it is actually two printables in one.

They are perfect for 5x7 frames.

Just wanted to remind y’all it is floating out there in cyberspace waiting for you to print.

Isn’t it cute?


click on the print above to take you to the download


This is what they look like in my home.



Oh.. and one more decorating favorite.

Remember when I told you that I was going to hang Christmas cards on the new shutters that I added to the dining room.


I am loving it.


Keep those Christmas Cards a coming.


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