Easter Decorated Mantel


I love how the white POPS

Out of all the rooms in our house, we are in the living room the most.  I enjoy changing the mantel for the seasons.  Everything I used I already had in my home somewhere.  Thanks to the Nester, I have learned to shop at home.  The newest item is the white votive tree.  I won it at a silent auction last month at a school fundraiser.  I decided to put eggs in mine.

Spring has Sprung


Partial left side

Reason for the season

I cut a piece of burlap to make the bow for my chalkboard.  I used a frilly plate {I got at my swap party} to add to the candle holder to make a pedestal of sorts for the Jesus & Children figurine{I made that at church many years ago, was in my playroom}.

Book Paper Egg Wreath

I fell in love with decorating with book paper last year.  I found Erin at Lemon Tree Creations who inspired me to make my own book page egg wreath.  I began mine last year before Easter, but ran out of the size of eggs I was using.  I had to wait until Easter rolled around again to find the smaller size eggs to finish my project.  Finally finished it.  After looking at Erin’s again, I think I need to add more eggs to mine.  I like the fuller look.  The dollar store didn’t have the foam wreaths in stock when I decided to make mine.  All they had were small willow wreaths, so I used it.  I just decoupaged it with book paper before hot gluing the eggs. Guess what book I used pages from?

Right Side with Kids Portrait {taken several years ago}

My kids are much older now, but I really like the pastel blues used in this photo. {Who says you can’t have out-dated photos displayed? rhetorical question}  I love seeing the innocence in this shot.

I would love to see your Spring or Easter Mantel.  If you have a post featuring yours share it here by linking below.  Thanks for coming by!

Home Brings Joy,

Proud to Wear Red on Fridays

This is why I will wear red every Friday:

“Last week I was in Atlanta, Georgia attending a conference. While I was in the airport, returning home, I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer. I immediately turned around and witnessed One of the greatest acts of patriotism I have ever seen. Moving through the terminal was a group of soldiers in their camos. As they began heading to their gate, everyone (well almost everyone) was abruptly to their feet with their hands waving and cheering. When I saw the soldiers, probably 30-40 of them, being applauded and Cheered for, it hit me. I’m not alone. I’m not the only red-blooded American who still loves this country and supports our troops and their families.

Of course I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young unsung heroes who are putting their lives on the line everyday for us so we can go to school, work and home without fear or reprisal.

Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our Service men and women, a young girl, not more than 6 or 7 years old ran up to one of the male soldiers. He kneeled down and said ‘hi…’

The little girl then asked him if he would give something to her daddy for her…

The young soldier, who didn’t look any older than maybe 22 himself, said he would try and what did she want to give to her daddy. Then suddenly the little girl grabbed the neck of this soldier, gave him the biggest hug she could muster and then kissed him on the cheek.

The mother of the little girl, who said her daughter’s name was Courtney, told the young soldier that her husband was a Marine and had been in Iraq for 11 months now. As the mom was explaining how much her daughter Courtney missed her father, the young soldier began to tear up.

When this temporarily single mom was done explaining her situation, all of the soldiers huddled together for a brief second. Then one of the other servicemen pulled out a military-looking walkie-talkie. They started playing with the device and talking back and forth on it.

After about 10-15 seconds of this, the young soldier walked back over to Courtney, bent down and said this to her, ‘I spoke to your daddy and he told me to give this to you.’ He then hugged this little girl that he had just met and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He finished by saying ‘your daddy told me to tell you that he loves you more than anything and he is coming home very soon.’

The mom at this point was crying almost uncontrollably and as the young soldier stood to his feet, he saluted Courtney and her mom. I was standing no more than 6 feet away from this entire event.

As the soldiers began to leave, heading towards their gate, people resumed their applause. As I stood there applauding and looked around, there were very few dry eyes, including my own. That young soldier in one last act of selflessness turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney with a tear rolling down his cheek.

We need to remember everyday

all of our soldiers and their families

and thank God for them and their sacrifices.

At the end of the day, it’s good to be an American.

RED FRIDAYS —– Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing red every Friday. The reason? Americans who support our troops used to be called the ‘silent majority’. We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for God, country and home in record breaking numbers.

Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday – and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that.. Every red-blooded American who supports our men and women afar will wear something red.

By word of mouth, press, TV — let’s make the United States on every Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football game in the bleachers.

If every one of us who loves this country

will share this with acquaintances, co-workers, friends, and family.

It will not be long before the USA is covered in RED.

The first thing a soldier says when asked ‘What can we do to make things better for you?’ is…..We need your support and your prayers.

Let’s get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example. As a Company, Southwest Airlines is going to support ‘Red Fridays.’ “

Written by Sarah Barlow

One of my friends on Facebook sent this and it impacted me greatly.   My Dad was in the military.  He remembers coming back from overseas to American Citizens spitting on him and calling him names at the airport.  My heart breaks to think of such a thing happening in this nation.  Fortunately, by this story {written by Sarah Barlow} and many others, Americans are showing more support for the people who CHOOSE to risk their lives for our freedom.  I hope you will join me today and every Friday in doing this very simple actwear something red…to show our support.

Thank you for making a difference,

The Winner Is… {Drumroll}

Thank you so much for the participation in this awesome opportunity to receive a Hallmark Recordable Storybook.  I loved reading all your ideas about how you would use your book.  I want to thank Hallmark for their generous donation!  If you did not win, remember you can find these books near the Hallmark cards in a store near you.  They would make perfect gifts for Easter, Mother’s Day or really any holiday!

Sorry it has taken a while for me to reveal the results from the drawing for the Hallmark Recordable Storybook.  This morning my duties as Family Manager came first.  Anyway, I finally figured out how to do the Random.org drawing.  I’m adding a widget below. {Widget box was wigging out on me} Click here, instead.  Entrants can type in your name to ensure you were in the drawing.  It is important to me for you to understand I had no hand it choosing the winner.

The winner is:

I just realized the time on Sheri’s comment.  She lives in Mountain Standard Time Zone, so to her it was 11:23 pm.  My blog is set to Central Standard Time Zone.  I will be more specific on time zone on next drawing.

Congratulations Sheri!


The wonderful people at Hallmark

have graciously offered a superb product

for you to enjoy in your family

for generations.


Have you seen the

Hallmark Recordable Storybooks?


Here are some ways you can use these books:

  1. If you are going on a work trip or vacation without your children, record your voice reading this story.  They can listen to you while you are away…keep you close to them even though you are not present.  This would be especially meaningful for parents who are in the military and are gone for a long time.  I was able to do this before I went to my last blog conference.  My Husband texted me while I was gone saying how our youngest listened to the book every night before she went to bed.
  2. Have a grandparent or extended family member record their voice reading the story.  How special it will be for that child to have a recording of their Grandparents reading them a book.  They can pull it out any time they want to hear them.  My children only have one great grandparent who hasn’t passed on.  Oh how I wish I could have had these books recorded with their voice before they passed away.  I, personally, would treasure them and listen to them too!  They instantly become priceless when they have someones voice who is no longer with us.
  3. This next idea is what we did with this book.  My second grader has just become mastering her reading.  We both sat down with the book.  I took out the battery so we could just read it like a normal story book.  I read her the book first and then she read it next.  Some of the words were a little difficult for her, so I helped her and she practiced until she felt comfortable reading it.  {Shhhhhh….don’t tell them that this exercise helps them learn to read 😉 …hint hint}  Since I had read/recorded my voice in the other book I gave her, she had trouble understanding why I wanted her to be the one recording the book.  I explained to her how special it will be to her {and to us} to have her sweet 7 year old voice for us to listen to when she is grown.  Not only that, we can bring it out for her own children to listen and enjoy in the future.  How fun would it be for her own 7 year old daughter to hear her Mom’s voice when she was 7!!!  Again…priceless!!
  4. The next time my family from Holland are here I want them to record their voice reading one of these books.  If you have family who live far away, this is perfect to have them feel closer to you!
  5. When you are pregnant, you could record yourself reading this to your baby.  Then you can play it for them after they are born.  As they grow and get older you can share how you recorded this for them when they were still inside you.  Ahhhhhh :)

So you really want one now, don’t you?! I don’t blame you.  Hallmark is genius for coming up with these! There are many titles to choose from, however, Hallmark will be sending one lucky winner Bright & Beautiful, A Child’s Blessing.  The text of this book is based on the Hymn by Cecil Frances Alexander.

You will receive a chance to win when you complete the following tasks.  For each task you complete you will gain another entry into the contest.  This means if you complete all 4 tasks your name will go into the drawing 4 times.

  • Go to the Hallmark website here and click on SEE ALL.  This will show you all the recordable storybook titles to choose from.  Pick another one of these books that you think you would like.  Come back here and comment on which one and why.  Can’t wait to see all your ideas!
  • Write about this contest on Facebook or Twitter linking back to here.  All you do is add this link to your post: www.familybringsjoy.com
  • Write about this contest on your blog linking back to here.
  • Add my new button anywhere on your blog. :)

The winner will be chosen by Random.org and I will announce the winner on Thursday, March 10th.  The contest will close at midnight on March 10th.

Disclaimer: Hallmark offered to give me 2 of these Recordable Storybooks.  They gave me one to use/show here & one for the winner.  I was happy to feature a product I believe so strongly will help families create unity and joy.  I will only feature products that will help families.  No other compensation was given.

Good Luck,

Finding JOY in our own Story

The opening keynote speaker at the Blissdom Conference was Brene Brown.  She is a Wife, Mother, Author, Blogger (www.OrdinaryCourage.com), Social Worker and Professor.
 Brene Brown’s presentation resonated with me on a level I can not begin to describe or explain. {Not very good when you are writing a blog.}  She spoke about her current book titled: The Gifts of Imperfection.  The subtitle says, “Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are…Your Guide to a Wholehearted Life.
Isn’t the title of this book just beautiful?
Doesn’t it make you want to just exhale and feel GOOD?
Well then imagine how phenomenal her speech was.  Her slides had very yummy photographs as well.  But, that’s a whole different post.
Of course I took notes.  This line speaks volumes:

Owning our STORY and
loving ourselves 
through that process
is the BRAVEST thing
that we will ever do.”

I was delighted to meet Brene and have her sign my copy of The Gifts of Imperfection.  Since she is from Houston, Texas, I had to share with her my story of living in Houston.  Turns out, our husbands went to school together and share the same occupation! {Imagine Twilight Zone music here}  I appreciated her genuineness and sweet nature.  Just finished the preface of her book and I already feel SO GOOD!

If you want to learn more about truly living with JOY in your life, I completely recommend this book!  I have partnered with the Amazon.com Associates affiliate program to make things easier for you as well.  Just click on the link below and it will take you directly there. :)
You HAVE the control,


I’m taking a break from working my tail off at the house. It feels good to sit down. I began reading a new book this week called The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester. So far I have enjoyed the other book Stephenie Meyer reccomended, The Hunger Games. I figure I can’t go wrong on her reccomendations. :)

The kids are fighting & arguing constantly. I think I am going to go mad. I am so ready for school to start. It will be nice to have a few hours a day of peace and quiet. As a mom, it is hard not to wonder what I am doing wrong…why my kids seem to hate each other so much. So much for a little break…off to referee the kids AGAIN.