Monday, December 19, 2011

My Favorite Things

Who out there is missing the Oprah's Favorite Things Episode this Christmas? Maybe reading this post will help fill the void this year (impossible, I know.)

I'd like to bring all you Oprah fans...Jolyn's Favorite Things 2011! This is a list of things I LOVE and some that I LOVE to wish for - it's kinda like a virtual letter to Santa.

I wish I could give all my loyal blog readers one of each of the following...

1. Tervis Insulated Cups
This will be your favorite beverage glass (especially if you get the Longhorn design.)
2. Cashmere Scarf
The only thing better than getting this scarf would be a class on how to tie it.

3. ipad
idie for the ipad. ilove it.

4. Wine Saver Vaccuum
I'm notorious for opening a bottle of wine and pouring only one glass. Wasteful? Very. Do you have a toddler? And a husband who works late? Please don't judge. With this handy gadget, you can have a glass of wine on Wednesday night, one on Thursday AND one on Friday too (if you don't cheat and have 2 or 3 on Thursday.)

5. Tory Burch Flip Flops
Has Tory Burch made anything that is not fabulous? Answer: NO. Even her flip flops are fantastic.

6. Kai Fragrance Gift Set
I hope Santa has a tuck load of these gift sets in his sleigh because is sold out of them right now.

7. Jonathan Adler iphone Case
Yes please! If you've ever grabbed someone's phone because it looked EXACTLY like yours then you need one of these too!

8. Michael Buble Christmas Album
You'll actually look forward to wrapping those Christmas presents if you add Michael to your holiday playlist. If you have TONS to wrap, press repeat.

9. Frye Boots
Do you know that show called Hoarders? I could hoard Frye boots.

10. Babyliss Hair Dryer
I'm cheating on my Chi with my Babyliss. The best way to start a day is with a good blow dry, no?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Happy Holidays

From our family to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Love, David, Jolyn, Colin (2) and Monster

Christmas Party

I know this is Santa's hectic season, but he's never to busy to stop by the Gorgeous Millie Christmas party...

and help kids make Ginger Bread Houses...

(Colin ate a bunch of candy and put a few pieces on his house too.)

What a fun party! Check out my favorite "treat platter" complete with flashing, battery-operated lights!

Fall Colors

We've had some amazing fall color this year despite the extreme drought in the hill country.

It seems like mother nature changed our landscape overnight, however, most of our beautiful fall palette is now on the ground. These ornamental pear trees are so colorful it's like they are on fire this time of the year.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Colin's Aquarium

I'm always in need of projects or activities that I can do with Colin - especially on rainy, cold days. If I don't think of something engaging by 9 o'clock, then we usually end up stuck in front of the tv until I can think of something more interesting than watching the Disney channel!

Today we made an aquarium, complete with rocks and vegetation. This activity was worth blogging about because it held Colin's attention for a record breaking 30 minutes or more. I picked up some plastic frogs and turtles at Michael's and dumped them into a plastic container filled with water. We had a lot of fun decorating the aquarium and we even "fed" the frogs (I used rice but you could use just about anything: cheerios, oats, etc.)


I saw this on Lauren Conrad's blog, and I thought it was the cutest idea! David and I went to a holiday party this evening, so I brought Rein-beer as my hostess gift. I bought Snow Day which is a spicy pale ale made by the same company that does Fat Tire. You can get any seasonal beer if you want to be festive, or it would work well with plain Rootbeer if you want a non-alcoholic version.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Happy Birthday David

What do you get a guy who has everything?

Colin and I had fun singing to David at breakfast this morning, and Colin even helped blow out the candle. We love you!!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Children's Art Wall

This is something I've been wanting to do forever! It was a super-easy project, and it had such a big, personal impact on our space. All I did was "shop the house" for black and white frames to make a collage. Luckily I had a several different frames in a variety of shapes and sizes (mostly from Aaron Brothers.) Then I scoured the clutter piles in our house for Colin's old artwork (I had to get him to make a few more pieces bc I like having current hand/foot prints.)

Colin is so proud to have his artwork displayed - I already have plans to grow the collage to the full length of the wall. The best part is that once the frames are hung, all you have to do to update the collage is pop out the old pictures and insert new ones (as your young artists grows up.)

As I child, my mom always framed and displayed my art projects. I remember being so excited to bring home a frame-worthy painting to see if she would add it to the wall. Now I think displaying your children's art is one of the coolest things you can do to make your kids feel like they've been included in "decorating" your home.

Monday, December 5, 2011


I can still feel the tiny hairs on the back of my neck standing straight up. David just discovered this in the garage...

Luckily we got him out without too much hissing (on the part of the possum.) Note to readers: Promptly close your garage doors after taking out the trash to avoid "an intruder" of your very own.

Three Little Words - Spoken!

I had to blog document this because I don't want to ever forget it! Yesterday Colin said "Love you Mama" for the first time. It was so sweet and made me smile all day.

We were all sitting on the couch, and I was giving Monster a big hug and I said, "I love you Monster." Then Colin leaned over and hugged me and said "Love you Mama." I heard it. David heard it. Even Monster heard it. Made my day! :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

5 Highly Inappropriate Elf On The Shelf Ideas

This blog post makes me positively giddy for starting the Elf on a Shelf. Because David and I are really awesome and creative parents, I'm sure we are going to have some fun with this too! These are a few of my favorite inappropriate elf ideas...
Elf on a Bender

Hangover Elf

Crime Scene Elf

Toe Tag Elf

Closet Crossdresser Elf

Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

I could not wait to put our Christmas decorations up this year. After all, I haven't seen them in two whole years! Last year I made the difficult decision NOT to decorate in order to protect Colin (and my ornaments) from total destruction. But this year, I was chomping at the bit to bring all the holiday decorations down from the attic. After all, I missed seeing my reindeer statues, snowy villages and those handsome nutcrackers!
To be honest, taking out my decorations, was like opening presents on Christmas morning. As I unwrapped each ornament, I smiled. I had almost forgotten how beautiful they all were and how happy and festive it makes the house feel.

Colin (now 27 months) can distinguish between "toys" and "decorations." And he only needs a gentle reminder 1-2 times a day not to touch (or climb) the Christmas tree. Despite his new found "maturity," I decided it would be best to decorate the house during nap time. And when Colin woke up, he saw our Christmas tree for the first time and said "Awwww, it's boot-e-full"(melts my heart!) Then we spent over 30 minutes inspecting every corner of the house for more new decorations.
It didn't take long for him to find the remote controlled Polar Express Train Set, a gift from his aunt Ducky on his first Christmas. Between the Polar Express and my Snowy Village Train, I think I can safely say that we have delighted sweet Colin with the joy of Christmas (Santa + trains = Colin's heaven on Earth)

And if that weren't enough, I think this is the year to start using the Elf on a Shelf. The premise behind the book and the elf doll is that Santa sends one of his elfs to watch the children during the day. Then the elf reports back to Santa every night on who was "naughty or nice." How cute and clever is that? I'll try anything that encourages good behavior, and if it works, the elf might stick around way into 2012. haha

So it's Christmas time again at the Peden's house!!! And I have a feeling this year might be our best holiday ever. Because what's more special than seeing your child's excitement on Christmas morning? Baking cookies for Santa? Reading Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? Going to the children's service at church? Having kids is kinda like being a kid again. Does that make sense? It's been a long time since someone believed in Santa around our house. Let's hope it lasts! ;)

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Someone's been baking this Thanksgiving...drum roll please...surprise, it's me! Don't get too excited, I'm not confident enough in my abilities to tackle turkey and dressing or pumpkin pie, but I have been working on a "beginner level" by testing out my skills on a very tough critique...a toddler who thinks that a cracker makes the perfect meal.

This is an easy mix-it-up-in-one-bowl-and-cook recipe. I've found it's a good way to sneak eggs and veggies into a delicious cheesy creation. I highly recommend it to anyone with kids or husbands who think they don't like quiche.

* 2 cups milk
* 4 eggs
* 3/4 cup biscuit baking mix
* 1/4 cup butter, softened
* 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* 1 (10 ounce) package chopped frozen broccoli, thawed and drained
* 1 cup cubed cooked ham
* 8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a 10 inch quiche dish.
2. In a large bowl, beat together milk, eggs, baking mix, butter and parmesan cheese. Batter will be lumpy. Stir in broccoli, ham and Cheddar cheese. Pour into prepared quiche dish.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes, until eggs are set and top is golden brown.

I usually don't take pictures of food (most of my cuisine doesn't exactly live up to a "Kodak moment") but how pretty is this?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Around our house we "worship" cars and trucks. Just can't get enough of 'em: big trucks, small trucks, dump trucks, trash trucks, firetrucks, the list goes ON and ON. So we decided to participate in Touch-A-Truck this year. I did the logo, collateral and signage, and Colin...he literally touched ALL the trucks!

BTW, if you have a truck-worshiper in the family, this is a book you should buy!