Happy New Year Love.


Happy New Years Eve everyone!  Saw this quote the other day and found it to be a good challenge, possibly the best new years resolution one could make.  In 2014, resolve to write the best story you can write.

What makes a good story:  love when it is not easy, have courage when all you want to do is run, show compassion,  make someone's day, laugh often but allow yourself to cry when needed, do something that scares you every now and then, and take time to enjoy the details.

May 2014 be your best year yet!

Much Love, D+C

Merry Christmas!


Photo by Brittany Cunningham...legend!

Today we celebrate!  We celebrate love.  We celebrate joy.  We celebrate peace.  We celebrate hope.  We celebrate light in darkness.  And we celebrate the one who brought all of this into our lives, Jesus.  Dane and I want to wish you want to wish you a Merry Christmas!  We love you all!  Love, Dane + Christy

Christmas Eve Wrap Up Part 2


How's Christmas Eve 2013 treating ya?  Hopefully you are wrapping things up (literally and figuratively) and getting settled in so you can fully enjoy this amazing celebration of Jesus birth!

One last DIY before this amazing Christmas season comes to a close.  This DIY is inspired by my friend Rebecca.  Two weeks ago we had a long discussion about washi tape.  For those of you who don't know what washi tape is, it is decorative japanese tape and is very similar to the texture and feel of painters tape.  I absolutely love washi tape and its hard not to.  Look how cute it all is.  Over the past two years I have acquired quite a collection and Rebecca asked me, well what do you do with it?  So I decided as part of Rebecca's Christmas gift, I would include a little gift topper made with washi tape.

Thanks to pinterest I came across these super simple and fun toothpick stars.  They are quick and easy to make.  All you do is form a star out of toothpicks and tape the corners together.

Use them as gift toppers, string several together and make a garland or tie a string and add to your Christmas tree as an ornament.  Of course, if washi tape isn't something you have on hand you can also use masking tape, painters tape or even colored duck tape, all cut down into thin strips.

This is just one idea for washi tape, but the possibilities are endless.  Here are a few other washi tape projects (try me)  (try me) (try me) (try me) or (try me) that I hope will inspire you to go out and grab your own roll and get taping!

As for Dane and my Christmas Eve:
Tonight we are planning to attend Christmas Eve service, enjoy a family Christmas with my grandmother's side of the family, skype a few friends in Australia (because it is actually Christmas Day for them....Happy Christmas all my lovely Aussie Family) and then of course fall asleep watching A Christmas Story.  The next time we chat the celebration will be in full swing, I simply cannot wait!

Wrapping Up Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve, and chances are, a lot of you are trying to finish up some last minute shopping, baking, cleaning, or decorating.  As for me, it never fails, I always find myself wrapping gifts on Christmas Eve.  If you are like me, then today is the day for you here on our blog!  Today I have two Christmas posts for you, all about gift wrap.

Now I am sure a lot of you are awesome gift wrappers, but I have never been good at it.  Surprisingly, my brother, Brock, is the best gift wrapper I know, and he is stopping in today to give us a very simple, but important lesson on how to wrap a gift.

Hi, my name is Brock, and I am here to teach you gift wrapping 101.  I have two rules in gift wrap.
1. You only need three pieces of tape.
2. If it ain't tight, it ain't right.

Let's get started!

First thing you need to do is measure the paper.  Having the right amount of paper is what keeps the wrap job tight.  Keep the paper tight to the box on your top edge and bring it over next to the side of the roll.

Now bring the roll up on the side and add an extra inch.

Cut down this line.  I really prefer wrapping with paper that has grid lines, you can find this type of paper at Hobby Lobby.

Now you need to measure the correct distance going the other way.  Bring one end up just a little over half way.  Measure the same distance on the other side and cut along that line.

You should now have the perfect amount of paper.  Bring the long ends across the box and tape (that's one piece of tape).

Now crease the ends.  Make the creases on your ends as tight as possible.  Bring the bottom flap up, then cover it with the top flap and tape (that's tape piece number two).  And repeat on the other side.  (and that is tape piece number three).

There you have it, a perfectly wrapped present, also a blank canvas for you to add fun bows or embellishments to.  Stop in later this afternoon for all the fancy stuff via my sister.  Thanks for reading today!  +Brock

Thanks so much for your gift wrapping lessons Brock!  I did my best to follow your rules when wrapping your gift.  Can't wait for you to see it Christmas morning and see what a good job I did!  Merry Christmas Eve Everyone!  Will be back later this afternoon with a little pretty you can add to your perfectly wrapped packages ♥  Christy

DIY Christmas Ornaments


This past weekend all the kids were home at my parents house, and I thought it would be fun to do a quick little Christmas crafting project with the girls.  I saw this pin on pinterest and decided it was the perfect DIY.  What I love about this project is that there is a really good chance you already have everything you need to create them.

What You Need:
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup flour
Drinking glass or cookie cutter

To make the dough recipe simply mix the salt, water and flour with a mixer.  This is a lot like the homemade play dough your mama used to make for you.  If you wanted you could also add some food coloring to create a colored affect, but I really liked the natural look of the dough.

Roll the dough out between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick.  I found the thinner the better.  Then cut shapes with a drinking glass (for circles) or cookie cutters if you would like to do another shape.

Use a straw to poke a hole in the top of the ornament.

Now bake at 250*F for about two hours or until the dough feels dried out to the touch.

After the ornaments cool, simply draw on them with sharpies.  Don't feel confident in your drawing skills?  Neither did I.  The camera ornament is actually a rub on I got from the scrapbooking section.

This would also be a really great project you can do with kids, because crayons work well on the baked dough.  They would also make really fun and unique gift tags.  One batch of dough makes about 12 three inch circle ornaments.

Happy Christmas Creating!

Divine Divinity


One of the best Christmas traditions is to  make Christmas candy with my mama.  We get out the kitchen aid mixer, the flour, the baking pans, the butter, lots of lots of sugar, and we create quite the culinary delights, from homemade caramels to sugar cookies.  But divinity has become one of my favourites.  We have been making divinity for about 5 years now and this year we finally perfected it.

I first tried divinity at my neighbor Kathy's house.  I was over helping her make Rosettes (another fancy Christmas cookie), and she asked if I would like to try her divinity.  I was blown away.  It was deliciously soft, sweet, and moist, almost like a marshmallow, but so much better.  Immediately I called my mama and said, we have to try this.  Mom knew all about divinity.  Her mom used to make it and would beat it all by hand, which once you see the recipe you will understand why that is a big deal.  Kathy told me that there were lots of little secrets to making the perfectly moist divinity so mom and I went to her house for lessons.

 Now if you're up to the challenge, I hope you will try your hand at this yummy Christmas delight.


4 cups sugar
1 cup corn syrup
¾ cup water

Place these three ingredients in a sauce pan over low heat.  Stir until sugar is dissolved. Then continue cooking without stirring until the liquid reaches 255 degrees (use a candy thermometer to measure). 

While cooking the mixture, beat ½ cup egg whites until they are stiff. 
1/2 c egg whites equal about 3 eggs.  A little tip here, use eggs that are room temperature.  I don't know why, but it seems to affect things.  

Once the mixture on the stove has reached 255 degrees, slowly pour the hot mixture into the egg whites and beat consistently until mixture holds its shape and loses its gloss.  This is the most difficult and important part.  Too much beating and the candy will become tough and crumbly, too little and you have a gooey mess.  Just right and you have the best dang Christmas candy on the block, this is unless Kathy lives on your block.  Mom and I measured the time and we found for us that 14 minutes 30 seconds is about perfect.  

Now that you've reached the perfect texture add 1 tsp vanilla and mix for a few short seconds.  

At this point you can get very creative with the flavours of your divinity.  Mom and I like to add 3/4 cup chopped black walnuts (if you're into the whole nut scene).  Kathy creates fruity flavours by adding packets of Kool-Aid.  Yes you read that correctly, Kool-Aid.  She adds lime to create a key lime pie affect or raspberry for a nice berry flavour.  Or you can just leave it plain.  All are amazing, and all are delicious.  

After flavoured, spread it into a greased pan 9x9 pan.  Once firm cute into one inch square to serve.    

One more tip, make sure you keep in an air tight container, and most importantly, get ready for a sugar rush!

If you try making divinity I would love to hear how it went!  Would also love to hear about some of your favourite Christmas creations in the kitchen.  Happy Baking!

Goodbye Australia


Been putting this blog post off for a while now, but its finally time.  Yes, the final blog post about our time in Australia.  The last two weeks we were there were filled with goodbyes and celebrations.  Here is a look at our last few days in the Land Down Under.

Those last photos are Dane's graduation ceremony.  I am so so proud of my husband.  He has grown so  so much in all aspects of life.  Cannot wait to see how God is going to use him and the calling He has placed on his life.

If you want to see more pictures of our last few days in Australia check out our Adventure Album.

Many of you have asked what's going to happen to the Kids Down Under blog?  Well its going to stick around!  We have lots of fun stuff coming up before Christmas including what we've been up to since we've been home, some of our favourite Christmas traditions, and glimpses into our lives.

Much Love,
Dane and Christy