by Leslie

I tried two new recipes in the past week and they were BOTH big hits! This rarely happens. I am a minimally skilled cook on a minimal budget, preparing meals for four kids, two parents, and one “basic” husband. Ordinarily there’s someone who isn’t jazzed about what I’m putting on the table. But conditions were perfect. The recipes were for the crock pot – my wheelhouse. I’m really quite good at throwing ingredients together and walking away until they become a meal. I had most of the ingredients on hand already. My regular dinner rotation was getting tired and we were short on snack food. Everyone was pretty hungry for something new come dinnertime.

So, the meals. Slow-Cooker White Bean and Kielbasa Stew and Ham and Wild Rice Soup. The stew actually seemed more like soup, and the soup cooked up like a stew, but the thing about it is they tasted good enough that the kids cleaned their bowls and the leftovers were all eaten.

I’ll be making them again.

Another thing I’ll do again? Sock curls! Julia and I had seen them at Cute Girls Hairstyles and decided to give them a try.

Sock curls

Sock curls - the result

Super cute. Super fast. Super easy.


by Leslie

This is Fluffy Ufferton, the most recent addition to our indoor cat gang.

Fluffy Ufferton at the piano with Julia

He loves Julia.

Fluffy Ufferton loves music

He really loves Julia when she plays the piano.

Fluffy Ufferton loves Julia

And she loves him back.

Snow Day Rules

by Leslie

1. Sleep in.

Jack and Julia

2. Stay in your pajamas.


3. Play in the snow.

Snow day!

(Under their snow clothes, they are still wearing pajamas.)

Snow Angel

4. Do whatever else you want, in your pajamas, of course.

Proud can stacker

I didn’t intend to take such a long break from my blog after my last post in April. I thought I’d give it a rest for a few days, maybe a week. I kept taking photos and making notes about the stories I wanted to end up here, when it felt right to share them again. But, as you and Alan Parsons know, time keeps on flowing, like a river. To the sea! Till it’s gone forever!

By June, I couldn’t remember what all my scribbled notes meant. And then my hard drive failed and the SD card in my camera went kablooey and I lost everything I’d been saving for months – piano recitals, dance recitals, Jack’s first hair cut, Julia’s tenth birthday, and so much more.

For almost eight years, I’d written here. I spent a lot of that time trying to figure out exactly what I was doing and who I was doing it for. Over the summer, I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and I realized what this blog is: a treasure house of happy memories. My Mommy’s Place makes me happy. My family, too. I feel good when I look back at what I’ve written. I get excited when I think about what I’ll publish next. And it forces me to do the everyday tasks it takes to build a legacy. Like uploading photos, for example. Reguarly. You know, before I stuff so many in my camera it gets corrupted.

Also, there’s something else I read, in the book Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed, and it’s this excerpt about her mother:

She could be cool and often distant with her friends. She loved them, but she kept them at arm’s length. I don’t think she truly let any one of them all the way in. She held to her belief that “blood was thicker than water,” in spite of the fact that my family was rather short of blood relations who didn’t live hundreds of miles away. She maintained an air of insularity and privacy, participating in the community of friends, but also sealing off our family from it. This was why no one had swooped in when she died, I supposed, why her friends had left me in peace in my inevitable exile. Because she had not held any of them very close, none of them held me. They wished me well, but they didn’t invite me to Thanksgiving dinner or call me up on my mom’s birthday to say hello after she died.

I think I do this. And this is something I don’t want to do.

So, it’s 2015. Blogging year 9.

Rub a dub dub, four in the tub

Because one day I’ll find it hard to believe that there was a time when they all fit in the tub together.

This year, our Christmas Countdown is threefold. Each day in December leading up to Christmas we have (and will continue) to:

1. Place a cotton ball on Santa’s beard. (This is where you can get the Santa’s Beard Christmas Countdown Advent Calendar Free Printable we’re using.)

Santa Beard Christmas Countdown

(It’s a great visual representation of how long we have left to wait.)

2. Take a wrapped Christmas book from the Santa sack, open it, and read it.

Sack o' Christmas Books

(We’re honing our unwrapping skills. We’re gonna kill it on Christmas.)

(Also, if you want to know what we’ve been reading, you can see the list here on Amazon.)

3. Open a packet containing a piece of chocolate for each child and a slip of paper with an activity printed on it.

Christmas Countdown Packet

We eat the chocolate. We read the paper. We do what the paper says. For example:

Make sugar cone Christmas trees - and eat them!

Julia's Sugar Cone Tree

Jack decorates his tree

Icing is the best part!

More sprinkles


Lucy's Sugar Cone Tree

I actually had the countdown prepped BEFORE December this year. I’ve never been so prepared! I think it’s all that time I’m not spending on Facebook. Or out in the world, in general. I’ve sort of been hiding out, I guess. That’s something I’m hoping to change.