Why I Love Elf on the Shelf


I’m one of those people.

I move our Elf on the Shelf, Cookie (not sure if it’s a boy or girl?), every night to a new place. I try to be creative. I try to be funny.

And once Cookie is in her (his?) place for the next day, I snap an Instagram so I’ll have a bunch of pictures for our 2012 photo book. And I usually upload that photo to a few social media sites.

(Well, except for today. The picture I took was super up-close to the brick on the fireplace and the natural chips in it made the brick look dirty. And I’m certainly not going to share that with the world.)

And then I read this blog post.

She clearly never made it on Santa’s Nice list.

If you didn’t read it (because, let’s be honest, you didn’t), it basically says that she’s annoyed by the over-achieving Elf-on-the-Shelf-ers. She wants to know why we can’t all just put the little red guy on an actual shelf and call it a night. And, according to her blog title, she wants to punch us in the face.

She’s certainly not the only one. After Thanksgiving, I saw a bunch of Facebook posts that were all, “Crap, now I have to look at all your Elf-on-the-Shelf pictures for the next month.”

Yeah, well, I have to look at your face show up on my news feed all year long, so you can deal with this for thirty days, okay?

I went there.


I get that it’s most likely annoying that I (& everyone else) share our Elf photos to every. social media site. ever. I mean, I don’t particularly enjoy reading statuses about people’s kids taking a crap in the potty for the first time with a photo to boot, so I totally get the overshare factor. There’s a Hide From Timeline button for a reason.

But I don’t do Elf on the Shelf just to be able to upload photos.

I do it because every morning when Christian comes down the stairs, hair dripping wet from the shower of which he just jumped out, buttoning his pajama shirt as he walks, one of the first things he says is, “We have to find Cookie.” And then he walks from room to room, looking on the mantles, in shadowboxes, under the tree, on the tables. He asks Faith to help, and she always does.


They look together until one of them inevitably proclaims, “I found Cookie!,” and then the other runs to meet up. And when they see the silly new place and position of our little Cookie, their eyes actually light up.


Sometimes they laugh big from their bellies, and sometimes they ask how in the world did Cookie do that? Always, though, Christian is amazed that our Elf can move from one place to another, by herself, just to watch over him.

That’s why. The magic of Christmas.

There’s not a chance I’d stop these fun, silly things with the Elf and go back to just moving her from shelf to mantle to shelf to mantle, because the whole five minutes it takes to set up her nightly scene is so stinkin’ worth it. There’s not a single episode of the Kardashians that can’t be missed for this.

And you know what? In no time, these innocent little babies will grow out of their morning Find-Cookie routine. Faith already has – she just plays Big Sister. But next year? Christian might not care. So I’m soaking up every single moment I have.

You should, too.




149173_10100315056701063_288529684_nMe & the Mister. Reverse photo on the iPhone sucks. Sorry about the fuzzy. 

I’ve noticed several new people commenting, liking P&P on Facebook, saying “Yo, lady, I read your blog.” (People still say “yo,” right?) So, I thought it might be a good idea to kind of re-introduce myself. Tell you a little bit about me.

Hi, I’m Jen.

I love coffee and George W. That’s really all you need to know about me.

But I’ll tell you more anyway.

I’m 26 years old, which is young, regardless of what my husband may tell you. But that’s just to make his 33-year-old self feel better about his old age.

Obviously I’m a wife (who sucks at the Stepford thing), and I’m also a StepMom to a couple of pretty cool kids.

I have two furbabies, Daysie & Piper, who follow me everywhere I go. Seriously. Sometimes, I shut them in a room and then just walk around the house – just because no one’s following me.

I wear leggings as pants. Go ahead. Judge me, I don’t care.

I have a thing for pitchers. Not like tobacco-chewin’, spitting-on-the-mound, Nolan Ryan pitchers. Like, water pitchers. Pretty ones. I want them all.

And books. I love books. Not necessarily to read, but really just to put on my bookshelves.

I mean, sometimes I read them, too.

When I am cooking with eggs, I alternate taking eggs from each corner, diagonally. This keeps things balanced. There’s really no other way to do it.

Also, when I’m cooking eggs, I always make a couple extra, just for my Piper girl. (Maybe this is why she follows me around?)

I wish I hadn’t named my dog Piper, because I really like the name for a human child.

Also, Cash, which is my old dog’s name. Think my future kids would find that disturbing? Eh.

Sometimes, I leave my chipped nail polish on for days. And my husband calls me a 16 year old. Which I don’t hate.

I think Little Debbie Christmas Trees are just about the best thing ever, just beating out Little Debbie Valentine Hearts. You know, because they’re so different.

I should work out. But I don’t. Like, ever. I mean, unless you count carrying the vacuum back to where it goes. Actually, don’t count that. I usually just prop it up in the corner of whatever room I just vacuumed. Unless you count that as a work out, and then be my guest.

One time, I went to a Billy Ray Cyrus concert and rushed the stage when he sang Achy Breaky. I’m not talking 1987 here – mainly because I would have been all of one year old. This was definitely last year. And he still had a mullet.

I’m not funny in real life.

I’m not funny in fake life, either.

The End.

**So, now that you know me, let me know you. Comment below (come on, people!) – especially if you never have. I’d like to know who reads this silly thing.




I heart Thanksgiving. I look forward to food (duh), sitting around with my family, looking through the Black Friday ads with the girls and – most of all – putting up the Christmas Tree!

That is, until it’s actually time to do it. And then I tend to get a little Scrooge-y.

We started the day after Thanksgiving this year, while watching The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, a little tradition my mom made with me years ago.

imageIt’s a bit heart-warming (not to be confused with heart-worming, which I originally typed) to share this tradition with my own family. Except when they all stare at the TV in an unbreakable daze-gaze while I do all the decorating. See?

photo (3)

image_1Ignore their appearances. It was a don’t-get-out-of-our-pajamas day. (And clearly we didn’t brush our hair, either.)

So, they fluffed the branches while I strung the lights. I had six sets of lights. Two worked.

photo (2)And because it was already past the time of leaving the house (read: makeup off, nightgown on), we turned off The Grinch and put Christmas-tree-decorating on hold for just one more day.

Saturday came, and after hours of, “Is it time to decorate the tree yet?,” I finally set out to buy some lights.

And after dinner, we tried again.

Grinch on. Daze-gaze commenced.

I swear those aren’t dreadlocks on the girl’s head (although, in reality, it’s not too far off, the poor thing). Also, don’t judge my bare brick wall. I’d prefer it to have a nice big mirror leaning against it, but unfortunately, that won’t be happening – a blog post I want so badly to write, but never will. Nevermind.

image_3I strung all the lights, with a little help from my Goliath husband at the tip-top.


And then we plugged ’em in. Twinkle, twinkle went the lights. And then…

image_7I didn’t read the box that said the maximum number of light sets to be connected was three. I had nine. Nine. So, the bottom set of lights blew a fuse.

Husband to the rescue (because I was ready to throw the entire tree on the curb and call it a day).

image_5He changed out the fuses not once, but twice, because we actually didn’t read the box until after it blew a second time.

So I strung a white extension cord up the tree to alleviate some of the pressure on that first set of lights. I never said we weren’t white trash.

Then I got the cookies and brownie-bites out of the oven. And captured a thief!

image_4We added our ornaments – Crayolas from the ’80s, basketball players from the ’90s … even a special one from the ’70s!

photo (4)How am I married to a ’70s baby? Good Lord.

So, anyway. Our 2012 Diversity Tree is complete. If only we could find a black angel to put on the top…


photo (1)A little project I worked on this weekend.

listening to Christmas music. All of it. Even the Chipmunks. Because it’s the most wonderful time of the year. That’s why.

crying over spilled milk. And anything else that is minuscule and ridiculous. Being female is awesome.

eating every freaking thing in sight. I mean, I don’t even like ice cream with chocolate syrup and sprinkles, but guess who was sitting on the couch eating every last bite last week? This girl.

wondering how my house is a disaster only moments after I’ve finished cleaning it.

feeling a little bit of everything. Content, wishful, confident, self-conscious, sad, terrified, hopeful. The list changes every day minute.

wanting Christmas Eve to be here, so I can sit with my family and talk and laugh and forget about everything for a night.

drinking way too much coffee and soda, and not enough water. As in, none.

trying not to let the things others say about me hurt my feelings. But it does.

catching up on Emily Giffin’s Where We Belong, which is currently collecting late fees at my local library.

knowing God hears my prayers, and trusting in Him.

needing about twelve more days in the weekend.

realizing this is a really depressing and self-pitying post. Sorry, y’all.

Summer is Leaf-ing. Hello, Fall.

Driving by the park last Friday after school pick-ups, I noticed the trees were bare.

Which meant summer is gone. {Sniffle.}

Which meant the leaves were on the ground (because, let’s be honest, the good workers of Huntington certainly aren’t picking them up anytime soon).

Which meant it was time to jump in huge piles of leaves!

Which is exactly what we did on the gorgeous, sunny, 70-degree fall Sunday yesterday!

First, we picked up lots of leaves.

And we kind of played …

… while Daddy did all the work.

But then we all helped. (Well, I took pictures. Somebody has to!)

Piper supervised.

Can we go now?!

Couldn’t wait any longer.

And it continued.


 Well, that’s one way to do it.

And then they just got mean.

My poor Daysie girl. She was terrified. She did the Doggy Paddle out of the leaves. (I laughed. Don’t tell her.)

Kids in the leaves…

… leaves in the air …

… leaves in the hair …

… love everywhere.

But not there. (Scrooge of picture-taking.)


Trust me. When she is trying to sit in your lap for some lovin’, she ain’t lookin’ so small.

You’re welcome for 500 pictures of leaves.

I’m so sad this morning. Not angry or bitter or vindictive. Just purely, unequivocally sad.

It seems silly to say out loud, but this uneasiness in the pit of my stomach is so similar to the feeling of losing someone you love. I suppose it isn’t too off base, though. I love my country. I love America. And I’m afraid – actually, quite terrified – that we may have just lost it.

I don’t understand the reasons behind those 60 million votes. I don’t understand how there could be a reason, at all. But here we are.

There are so many things I want to say. On here, to people on Facebook and Twitter, to whoever will listen. I want to list out all of the crazy, illegal things that happened yesterday. I want to tell all of those people that they’re biased, racist and bigots, just like they have done to me.

But it doesn’t matter. It will change nothing.

From here, ironically, I’m going to go Forward. I will do whatever is necessary to keep and protect my family, because they are what matter.

I will do my part as a Christian, and pray for the President, because I do not want him to fail again. He fails, we lose.

Most of all, though, my heart is broken for the next generation. Faith and Christian will never know the America that I knew. I will teach them to love and serve their country, just as I was taught, but I can’t blame them if they don’t understand why.

Fortunately, I know Who is in control, and that eases my heavy heart.

As for my mascara that is now smeared down my face, well, that’s a tragedy in itself.

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll know that I was seriously stressing out about this Halloween party. (And if you’re not following me, click on the links and DO IT!)

I feel bad for complaining because I know it always comes together nicely in the end, no matter how stressed I get. And this time was no exception.

Christian was uber excited about this party, and even though he told his classmates it was his birthday party, no one showed up with gifts (thank goodness!!). He also wanted to know why I hadn’t decorated the house a week in advance.

Because I ain’t magic, kid. ‘Kay?

With ridiculous help from my Mom & Aunt Tarah, it all worked perfectly.

Here’s some of the decor:

And some of the food:

I’m really upset with myself for not taking a picture of the blood shots because they were a hit. And, I’m not going to lie, they were really awesome. (It was just red jello in a syringe. Minus the needle, of course.)

And some games:

Do you see the confetti busting out of those balloons? Yeah, I’m not smart.

And wrapping people in toilet paper? Always fun.

And the treat bags:

Evan said, “You’re already throwing the party. Why do you have to give them stuff, too?”

Clearly, he doesn’t understand. Again, I didn’t take a picture of the stuff inside, but (toot, toot, goes my own horn) – super cute.

Besides, these kids are too cute to NOT give them stuff:

First guests to arrive:

Christian won the Best Costume for his age group. I know the host isn’t supposed to win, but the kids voted, and, well, he won. What was I to do?

And finally, at the end of the night, we all gathered in the front yard for a little story of spookiness. It was followed by a man on the roof, a chainsaw, tubs of intestines, eyeballs and maggots, a graveyard with a scare and the inevitable piercing screams of 13 children.

Also, I sent a child home that was scared. to. death. And I felt horrible. (Fail award!)

And then everyone went home, and I sat down and thought I might cry from relief. Until we made this video, and then I cried from laughter for the next three days. Not even kidding. (Watch it ’til the end. It’s not that long.)

I get it. We’re horrible. But what is a Halloween Party without a little scare?

And, because you haven’t looked at enough photos yet, here are some other Halloween events…

Pumpkin carving:

And Trick-or-Treat (in November, thanks Hurricane Sandy!):

Holy 1 Billion Photos. I’m so sorry. Except I’m not.

Happy Thank-Goodness-Halloween-Is-Over!

%d bloggers like this: