Santa Christmas Countdown

There’s thirty-six days left until Christmas! We’re getting so close to advent season and counting down to Christmas everyday.

Although we have our normal candy one, this year I thought Mila and I should make another.

Say hello to the Santa Christmas Countdown.

With a square wood piece and a little paint, this Santa Christmas Countdown came to life.

The transformation of this piece is adorable. It started with just paint, then numbers, and each day it’ll be filled with cotton balls.

After filling it up, it becomes Christmas decor for years to come!

I love how easy it is and that Mila loves the idea of filling his beard in. Although I’ll just have her use regular glue for the beard, I’ll go back in and add hot glue so it stays on there.

Didn’t it turn out amazing? I love each step of it, but the cotton balls are my favorite. The added texture just makes it so much warmer and jolly. Just like Saint Nick!

You could DIY this Santa Christmas Countdown OR you could just have me make it for you.

I have a Santa Christmas Countdown listing ready to go on my Etsy shop or you could message me too. Either way, I love this piece so much that I wanted to share it all with you!


Let me know in the comments… Do you have an advent calendar every year? If so, what how do you countdown to Christmas?

Christmas Bucket List 2021

It’s almost the most wonderful time of the year!

Mila and I are getting so excited for this holiday season. Although we’re trying to hold off most of our activities until after Thanksgiving, we’re feeling the pressure!

A good middle ground was to make our Christmas Bucket List 2021.

This isn’t the first time Mila and I have made a Christmas Bucket List. During her second Christmas in 2019, we made a similar one! We had a ton of fun getting to every item, but she didn’t grasp it like she will this year.

Bucket lists are fun because you can prepare for an upcoming season and list what you want to do. Then, any extras are just added fun.

All of our Christmas Bucket List items are easy to do and most will just be at home.

Here’s what we came up with:

  • Decorate the Christmas Tree
  • Put up decorations
  • Drink hot coco
  • Write a letter to a santa
  • Visit Santa
  • Have treats for Santa and his reindeer
  • Sing Christmas songs and dance to them
  • Bake cookies
  • Christmas movie night
  • Eat a candy cane
  • Go look at Christmas lights
  • Make wrapping paper
  • Make gingerbread houses/people
  • Make an ornament
  • Wear Christmas pajamas
  • Take family photos
  • Christmas on the Square
  • FLORIDA!
  • Have a Merry Christmas

I can’t wait to celebrate Mila’s FOURTH Christmas season with her. She’s already so excited for Santa and the magic behind it all. And… she already wants to cross the items off.

Even though we paused our list due to the pandemic last year, I figured we needed to bring it back and make it our tradition.

As always, we’ll be sure to share our holiday experiences, crafts, and activities. Stay tuned.


All I did to make the physical list was unrolled craft paper and drew on it with markers. It was easy to do and it feels like we have another huge and interactive Christmas decoration for the year.

What would you add to your Christmas Bucket List that I missed? Let me know in the comments.

The BEST and EASIEST Jiffy Corn Casserole

Thanksgiving wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without tasty sides. Even though I love all the classics like stuffing and green bean casserole, this Jiffy Corn Casserole is a staple for our family’s Turkey Day!

Like the title of this post says, it’s so easy to make and will be the BEST Jiffy Corn Casserole you’ll ever have.

Intrigued to try? Here’s all you need to make it:

  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of creamed corn
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 box of Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 8 ounces of sour cream
  • 1/4 cup of sugar

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Then, in a large bowl or your greased/nonstick sprayed casserole dish, mix in all the ingredients. Just mix until it’s all together, minus the corn!

Afterwards, stick the uncovered casserole dish in the oven for 45-50 minutes and you’re done.

The first time I ever made this recipe, I was shocked! It tasted so good. It’s almost like corn bread, but softer and better? I’m unsure how to explain it. My best comparison is to Chi-Chi’s corn side.

Hello to that Chi-Chi’s throwback!

If you don’t like corn casserole sweet, just take out the sugar and you can still make it. My family usually likes cheese on top of it too. If I decide to make the casserole with cheese, I’ll sprinkle shredded cheese on, then put it in the over to melt it.

It just makes it even tastier!

Mila usually helps me mix everything together, but it doesn’t take any time at all. It’s so easy and tasty that your family and/or friends will ask you to make it for all your get-togethers!


What’s your go to side to make for Thanksgiving or any other type of gathering?

Pumpkin Pie Crescent Rolls

Want to know my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner? The desserts! I think it’s a lot of people’s favorite part too. Pumpkin pie, in my opinion, is the best pie of the day.

This year, I’ve taken this classic dessert and out a little twist to it and made: Pumpkin Pie Crescent Rolls.

Even though I love pumpkin pie, these Pumpkin Pie Crescent Rolls taste even better!

Here what you’ll need to make them:

  • 2 crescent roll tubes
  • 1 cup of pumpkin purée
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

First, preheat your oven to 375 F. Then you can line your baking sheet with parchment paper or spray your sheet with nonstick spray.

I used nonstick spray and they turned out great.

Then, mix the pumpkin purée, sugar, brown sugar, egg yolks, pumpkin spice, and vanilla in a bowl.

Next, unroll your crescent rolls. You can cut them in half, but I just went with how they were packaged instead of making smaller rolls.

After unrolling the rolls, spoon one tablespoon (or make your best judgment) of pumpkin pie filling on to the crescent roll. I liked putting a little extra so some of the filling came out.

Next, put them in the oven for 10-12 minutes and they’re done!

I ended up putting sugar and pumpkin spice on them when they were finished. It just made the flavoring pop more.

And who doesn’t love extra pumpkin spice.

Although we ate them as is, I think they’d be delicious with whipped cream or ice cream. Maybe even some caramel drizzle over them too! Either way, you’ll want to take these to your Thanksgiving dinner!


What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dessert?

Perfect Moments.

I wanted to post this yesterday, but, like this story, my Christmas was filled with Mila. This was my final story for my creative writing class this year. I’m proud of it and I wanted to share it with all of you.

I hope all of you had a very, merry Christmas. Enjoy.

My eyes blink open and everything seems so bright. The morning air feels chilly as I search for her in bed.

I realize she’s not here. Being alone can be so scary.

In the mornings, I typically love to cuddle up beside her. She is my safe place. Anytime I’m cold, she warms me up. When afraid, she shows me there’s nothing to fear. The mornings she’s not here, I try to tell myself she hasn’t gone too far.

The longer I wait in her big bed, the more I worry she’s forgotten about me. I let out a little whimper, then I call her name wondering if she’ll hear me.

“Mama?”

I hear the sweetest voice coming from the bedroom. Her footsteps start silently and get louder the closer she gets. All morning I’ve been up preparing for this moment.

It’s still snowing outside, as it has all night. My coffee has long been cold, but the hot chocolate on the stove is at the perfect temperature. There are only crumbs on the Santa plate and the milks all gone in the reindeer cup. All her presents are wrapped in shiny, red paper with big bows on top. The fairy lights around the living room and the Christmas tree are shining bright.


There will never be a perfect moment, but this is as close as it’ll get.

She’s running through the doorway at this point and there’s only one thing I can say.

“Merry Christmas!”

I can’t believe my eyes. Santa came and left presents at my house, just for me. The cookies Mama and I made are all gone and it looks like he loved the milk we left him too.

Mama is smiling at me as she holds her arms open for a hug. This is the safety I was looking for this morning. I look up at her and smile. She looks beautiful with the lights twinkling in her eyes. I tell her Merry Christmas back. I’m still in shock. Santa brought presents and I can’t wait to rip this paper off of them. Mama and I are going to play all day.

When she puts me down, she pours us hot chocolate and I guess I should take a drink first. It tastes extra chocolatey with peppermint! Maybe Santa left some for us.


“Santa brought me presents and hot chocolate!”

The only thing I can do is smile at her. Her innocence and awe of everything in the world has impacted me more than she could ever imagine. She sees the magic around us and I wouldn’t want it differently.

I wonder if she notices the dark circles under my eyes or that my hair hasn’t been brushed. Wrapping presents all night while trying to be quiet was no easy task.

She asks if she can open them up and I nod at her.

With every quick rip of the wrapping paper, she smiles even bigger. The presents she wanted and circled in the Amazon toy book are now in her hands. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her smile bigger.

I pull out my phone to capture this moment.

“Say cheese!”

Mama pulls out her phone again. I don’t know why she’s been on it so much lately. We have plenty to do here, but I say cheese as loud as I can. Can’t she understand that Santa has brought me these presents.

I go back to unwrapping. In the background, I hear her tell me if a present is from her or someone else I know. Between each gift, I look want to figure out how I can get them out, but Mama just tells me to give them to her.

We’re back to being a team.

She gets the first present open and it’s something I’ve never seen before. There’s still presents under the tree, but when Mama explains what this thing does, I want to play with it.

I run to get my snow coat, pants, and shoes. Mama gets my gloves and hat. She puts them all on me and I run out the back door.

The cold air stops me in my tracks. No wonder why I was so cold this morning.

There’s more snow than there was yesterday and it keeps falling. Where is my mama? She will love all this snow.

“Come on, Mama!”

This surprise gift caught her off guard. It’s one I don’t think she’s even ever seen one before. Her face when she saw it out was priceless.

She hurried outside and I have to get warm quick.

I’m moving more slowly than normal; the tiredness form the night is wearing me down. She’s yelling for me as I slip some boots on and wrap my big, winter coat around me. I rush out the door as she’s saying my name more.

It’s so bright out. The fresh snow is crisp under each step. There’s beauty all around me, but I can only look at her.

I lay her gift down and almost naturally she jumped on top of it. The rope feels rough in my hands, but I hold on tight. Its blades cut through the snow and her laugh somehow fills our whole backyard.

Who knew an old school sled could bring a toddler so much fun?

Time went by so fast. All I could hear was her yelling to go faster. I went as fast as I could for as long as I could. When I looked back, her cheeks were red and I knew it was time to go in.

“Let’s go get warmed up.”

My cheeks hurt from smiling and maybe cause it’s cold outside.

Mama scoops me up from my new toy, a sled. Instantly I’m warm again. We go into home and I remember something important.

I try to squirm out of my mama’s arms, but she’s holding me tight. Somehow, I kick enough for her to let me down. She’s saying something to me, but I don’t listen. This is way more important and my mama needs it right now.

Santa didn’t forget about me this morning, but I didn’t see him bring anything for her. She needs to know she’s been a good girl too.

In my room, under the rainbow Christmas tree, I uncover a pretty box. Then I run out to her.

“Mama! Mama!”

She’s so impatient. As soon as I get her in the house, she has to run off. Now she’s running back in here. There’s something in her hands.

Quickly, she pulls my hand to the couch and as I sit, she puts a box in my hands.

There’s a tag addressed to me in her writing. The present is wrapped with a lot of tape. She looks so proud of her little surprise to me.

I don’t even need to open it. Whatever is inside will be my favorite gift of all time.

This Christmas morning has been full of perfect moments. The dark circles under my eyes feel like they have vanished and the cold has left both of our bodies. I never want to forget this.

She is my safe place and always makes me feel warm. Anytime I’m afraid of what’s going to come next, she helps me realize there’s nothing to fear. She’ll never know how thankful I am for her.

I open the present from her and without even seeing it, I wrap my arms around her and she squeezes back.

“Thank you, for everything. I love you.”

DIY Ornament: Salt Dough Santa

Okay, okay. I know it seems like we’ve been making a lot of ornaments around here, but they’re fun!

These salt dough ornaments are easy to do and make great, last minute DIY gifts.

Here’s what you’ll need for these:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • Water (no set amount. I’ll explain!)
  • Paint
  • Glue *optional
  • Glitter *optional
  • Yarn/Ribbon
  • Knife

Admittedly, I have not had the best track record with salt dough. I think I’ve added too much water in the past. This time, they turned out great though.

First, preheat your oven to 250°.

Then, if your child likes to help mix ingredients, they’ll think this is really cool. Add the flour, salt, and a little bit of water together. Then start mixing with a spoon or your hand.

Here’s where the water ingredient is tricky. I just kept adding a little bit at a time until it got to a play-doh consistency.

Next, Mila and I rolled the salt dough out into circles. To get the Santa shape, I told her to keep her four fingers together and she kept her thumb held a little out.

For this part, just press their hands in there. It will imprint nicely. I trimmed around her hand to get more of the shape. All I used was a knife!

I ended up getting four hand Santa’s, a ‘snow globe’ with two of her hands, and two little circular ornaments so Mila could paint however she wants. Then I stuck them in the oven.

They’ll need to bake in the oven for two hours. Then take them out and let them completely cool before you start painting.

If you’re child is older, they’ll be able to paint the Santa’s on. Mila likes to paint crazy right now, so I did this for her. I used red, white, and tan paint.

After the paint was dried, I put glue and glitter down where I wanted it. Then, I used yarn to complete it. You could use ribbon too!

Honestly, I think they turned out so cute. They were simple to do and Mila just loves them.

Happy creating and making with your child.


Is your favorite ornament handmade, passed down, or store bought? Let me know in the comments.

Mila’s Easter Basket 2020

Easter is tomorrow and since Mila is napping (finally today), I decided to put together her Easter basket and share it with everyone! I might have went a little overboard this year… I’m blaming it on her birthday and Easter being so close together AND I went to this new (to me) store in a nearby town that I went overboard in.*

*Although getting Easter/birthday presents for Mila might not ‘seem’ essential, it made me feel better to keep the magic alive. We were safe! Social distancing and lots of hand sanitzer were used!*

Why did I go overboard in this store? They had really cute little wooden toys for not a lot of money. I’ve been into wooden toys instead of plastic the last few months for environmental reasons and I’ve noticed Mila plays for longer amount of times when she plays with simple toys. Wooden toys can be super expensive so just finding these small ones made me happy and it was nice to my debit card. Last year, Mila got a book, stuffed animal, and maybe one or two small things. I don’t really like making gifts a huge deal and she doesn’t need anything, but I think the lockdown has inspired me to get new toys and stuff for her rotation.

ANYWAYS, here’s all the items in her basket laid out.

  • Black and white ‘M’ leotard – Witts End Design
  • Pete the Cat: Big Easter Adventure Amazon
  • Bowling Game – Legacy Learning
  • Chocolate Bunny, Pink Bunny Chocolate Sucker, and Small Chocolate Bunnies – Eiler Candy Shop
  • Other Random Chocolate and My Little Pony Chocolate Egg – Local Grocery Store
  • Bath Bomb, Sticker Sheets, Chalk, Wooden People, Wooden Puzzle/Blocks, Stuffed Animal – New Local Consignment Shop

Honestly, this is everything Mila loves in a basket. The two items I ordered from Etsy and the Pete the Cat book were ordered before the lockdown. Once I realized everything was going to take a long time to get, I just hurried and ordered. I love her leotard and got her another one for her birthday (WHICH IS ON TUESDAY!!!). The material is so nice and I love the fluffy sleeves. I can’t wait for gymnastics to start up again so Mila can wear them, although she’ll probably wear them before then when we do at home practice moves. The toddler bowling game is made so nice. I absolutely love it and Mila’s really been into figuring out how games work, so I know this will be fun for us to play tomorrow. Legacy Learning’s Etsy shop has so many different learning toys and activities. I actually bought her a threading toy for her birthday too. They came in these cute little storage bags that we’ll use to keep everything together. Would so recommend them!

I’m a tiny bit worried about all the chocolate, but she obviously won’t eat it all in one day. She’s obsessed with M&Ms, but I think she’ll be super excited about the little ‘bun buns.’ Can someone come hide all the chocolate in my house so Mila AND I don’t eat it all.

When I find out the name about this local consignment shop, I’ll make sure to add it in here for my local friends. I got the wooden people (and there’s two dragons too), the wooden puzzle/blocks, the bath bomb, the stuffed bunny, and sticker sheets for under $15. I did snag other things for her birthday too, rolling my eyes because I’ve went overboard this year, but I didn’t spend more than $30 for everything I got her.

Tomorrow morning is going to be so magical when she has to hunt for her basket. I think she’ll be so excited when she sees it too. We’re going to be coloring eggs tonight and I have another craft I want to do when she wakes up from her nap. I’ll try to post our craft tonight because it’s definitely Easter appropriate and might be nice to do tomorrow.

If I don’t get to sharing the Easter craft tonight, I hope you all have a happy and peaceful Easter. I know it’s way different than past Easters, but we can do it.

I’d love to see your Easter baskets too. If you’d like to share, feel free to in the comments.

Mom Fail: Christmas Edition

Lately I’ve seen this image going around…

Not only do I appreciate everything my mom did for my brother and I growing up around this time and everyday, trying to make that magic happen for Mila has been exhausting but so worth it.

To keep the Christmas magic rolling, Mila, my mom, and I all made cookies. Every time we make cookies I have it in my head that they’ll be beautiful, Pinterest-worthy creations. We’re not the best at cookies, but I was feeling confident. Mostly because we bought pre-made cookie dough!

Mila was so into looking at the different shaped cookie cutters and even snuck a bite of cookie dough. She seemed pretty proud of that. We only cut a dozen or so cookies, which was plenty because she was ready to watch movies instead.

While they baked, I made hot chocolate and Mila ran my mom and dad around my house. Laughter and smiles filled the house. It started to smell like fresh baked cookies too. My confidence was skyrocketing.

When mom pulled the cookies out of the oven though, all I could do was laugh.

Our nicely cut out shapes, turned into blobs you could hardly make out what they were intended to be. One pan of cookies wasn’t even baked all the way. More laughter. I definitely wasn’t going to have the Pinterest worthy plate of cookies for Santa.

The thickest candy cane I’ve ever seen.

We totally failed at making beautiful cookies, but we didn’t on the memory front. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

Anyways, I don’t think Santa will mind our Thiccmas cookies one bit.

Santa Encounter #2

We’re back! We had an awesome vacation and I can’t wait to share more pictures and stories soon, but Christmastime is here and there’s so much to tell.

After a fun filled vacation to Aruba, I thought it’d be a perfect time for Mila and Santa to meet again. Mom and I found this outfit, which was my moms when she was a toddler, this fall and I knew Mila had to wear it for her Santa pictures. She loved strutting in her little outfit and gave us the weirdest look when we told her Gigi wore it at one point. That big smile lights up the room and I had hope she would flash it in front of Santa too.

While we were gone, Mila was a social butterfly who gave others hugs and kisses and wanted to talk to anyone who’d listen. I didn’t think it’d be any different with Santa…

Like before… I was WRONG. Obviously.

Well, sort of half wrong. At this initial meeting, Mila did give Santa a hug and said hello. I thought the camerawoman told me she was ready for pictures to start… she was not. The hug would have been the perfect shot and she held on for just long enough to capture it, but the person was on their phone. She caught the moment after Mila realized I had walked away.

Although I may have giggled a little bit, I scooped her up and asked if she would take a picture with me in there too.

And that’s the best one we got.

The Santa actually thanked me after Mila ran straight to my mom when I let her down. He said more and more people get angry at their littles when they start crying and can’t get the perfect picture. I think it’s crazy that he thanked me for not getting mad at Mila because she didn’t take the ‘perfect picture.’

Motherhood is anything but perfect. Why would a picture be?

As much as I hated seeing her cry, I know she’ll look back and laugh and wonder why she was so scared of Santa. After the pictures were taken, she gave him a high five and told him bye bye. No, it’s not the smiling picture I wish it could have been, but it’s real.

Tears or not, Mila is loving this time of year and so am I.

Santa Encounter #1

This past weekend, Mila, my parents, and I walked down to Christmas on the Square. If you’re not local, it’s just a holiday inspired get together with a tree lighting and kid activities. It’s a nice way to see people in the community that you haven’t seen in a while. Everyone’s friendly and it’s one of the reasons why I love living in a small community. Along with all the fun things and people everywhere, the man of the season was there too: Santa Claus.

Seriously just wrote ‘Santa Claus’ in this dooming voice. If that’s any indication of how the rest of the story’s going to go.

Before seeing the big man, Mila was having fun. She’s pretty skeptical of other people, but was enjoying others talking to her and she got a bunch of cookies too. That upped the fun factor. After she started refusing to ride the ponies there, jumping in the bounce house for five minutes, and being over the cold, I spotted Santa.

I was weary she wouldn’t want anything to do with him, BUT there was no line or other kids waiting to see him. A seemingly perfect Christmas opportunity… or so I thought in my head.

It turns out, Mila is extremely anti-Santa and was paralyzed with fear when he went near her. While this was all playing out, my dad made sure to capture Mila’s encounter with Santa this year.

As you can see, it was not a positive one… at all. I’m hoping the next planned time to see him goes a hundred times better, but knowing Mila, it’s pretty unlikely.

Here’s to trying not to scar my child during her second Christmas!