Small Business Saturday.

November 30th, 2013

We got our tree this morning.

It’s 70 degrees out and Ashlyn is wearing shorts.

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It doesn’t feel right.

But it had to be done.

Mostly because my Raising Up Rubies mason jar garland banner arrived.

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anything cuter.

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And I need to decorate today or Christmas will be ruined.

Kim took our Christmas card pictures yesterday.

Safe to say Lincoln didn’t make the cut this year.


Katy is designing our cards again.

She and Lindsay have opened a special Christmas card shop.

Sheer collaborative creative genius.

15% off today until 8 PM.

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Hope Church has a Ladies Tea and Ornament Exchange in 2 weeks.

And it’s my most favorite event of the year.

Linnea Ruth made this for me.

And I want to keep it.

Or accidently lose it the day of.

By hanging it on our tree, way in the back and out of sight.

But that wouldn’t be nice.

Needle point rockstar she is.

I think it’s needle point?

See this is why I order.


I have my phone alarm set for 4 pm.

My friend Julie is selling perfectly adorable holiday garlands today.

Instagram only.

Follow her shop for details.

It’s Small Business Saturday, you guys.

Be sure to check out these little, sweet shops.

They are moms like me.

Using their talents to help support their families.

And they are my friends.

Happy last day of November.

Christmastime is here.

Our Perfect Baby. And Winner Announced.

November 22nd, 2013

Sweet little miss has reversed her nocturnal tendencies.

So I am officially declaring her best baby ever.

Although I did say the same thing about her brother puppy.

And he promptly ditched his kibble for a steady diet of My Little Ponies, toilet paper and underwear.

So I’m not holding my breath.

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She is mellow.



Praise Jesus because she pretty much lives in the car.

She has started smiling.

And cooing.

And it’s the sweetest sound ever.

She’s living up to her middle name quite nicely.

She’s a joy.

And we really love her around here.

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She also likes give-a-ways.

And her Auntie Julie who is the big winner this month.

Jules, Starbucks and Pen and Paint happy mail are en route, my friend.

Thanks to everyone who linked up this month.

That was fun.

Helping Cebu. And Why Technology is Amazing.

November 11th, 2013





I was hesitant to post this because I don’t want to seem boastful in works.

Look at OUR church.  Look at what WE want to do.

I hope you know my heart.

God uses social media for good.

I’ve seen it many times.

And He has burdened me greatly over the past few days for my friends across the world.

Friends that made us lumpia and rice every day because we loved it the first day.

Friends that gave up their room and house fan and slept on the couch to make us comfortable.

Friends that laughed at us when we screamed at cockroaches.

Friends that are now with Jesus.

I will never forget my time in the Philippines.

It changed me.

It shaped me.

It’s part of the reason our church will always have a heart for those all over the world.

“Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

Galatians 6:2

Are you are interested partnering with us?

Please know that 100% of your contribution will go from one trusted source to another to help those directly in need.

Make checks out to Hope Church of San Mateo and write “Cebu Relief” in the subject line.

You can either drop the check in the Grace box on our resource table during service.

Or mail the check to:

Hope Church of San Mateo

Attention: Cebu Relief

P.O. Box 25268

San Mateo, CA  94402

Thank you!

November 10 on 10: Any Given Sunday

November 10th, 2013

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Pintertest Kitchen 26: The Best Frosted Pumpkin Bars Ever.

November 6th, 2013

I get excited about things pretty easily.

Every song is my favorite.

Every baby is the cutest one I’ve ever seen.

Puppies, too.

Most desserts are the best I’ve ever tasted.

It doesn’t take much.

Dave calls me a “divide by.”

I call him a “multiply by.”

This is why we are a good pair.

But I really mean it this time.


These are a MUST try.

I mean.

Just LOOK at them.

I was pretty sure a Mique recipe wouldn’t let me down.

The testing was a mere formality.

They really are wonderful, you guys.

One more thing.

To all my friends that ask how I find time to blog?


I bake stuff I’d bake anyway.

Then basically shove toys and hardwood floor cleaner out of the way and take a picture.

In the playroom because it has the best light.

It really doesn’t take much.

But back to why we’re here.

The bars.

They truly are the best ever.

The texture is almost like pumpkin pie.

And the frosting is perfect.

And they are EASY to make.

A winning combination.

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She’s almost falling out of her Bumpo she’s so excited about them.

Original recipe here.

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What have you and Pinterest been up to lately?

Grab a button a link up below.

Don’t forget – there is a sweet giveaway this month.

A Pen and Paint mini-canvas and $20 Starbucks gift card.

Link up below for one chance to win.

Instagram your process and/or final result  - mention me (@keepupwithjj) and include the #pintertestkitchen hashtag for another chance to win.

Two entry max per person.

Link will close on Thursday, November 21.

Winner will be chosen randomly and announced on Friday, November 22.

Good luck!

Around Here.

November 4th, 2013

We had a fun and eventful Halloween.

Originally the older girls wanted to be Lego Chima characters.

But we soon realized Lego Chima costumes are a big huge racket.

Since our costume budget is not five thousand dollars,

I would have to make them.

And we all knew that wasn’t happening.

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So, please say hello to $12.99 Catwoman and $19.99 minion.

And $9.00 Costco mouse.

Money well spent if I do say so myself.

Ashlyn thoroughly enjoyed trick or treating.

“Hello!  Have a nice time!”

“Happy fun!”

She said a variation of these to every home owner in our neighborhood.

I’m eating their loot as I type.

Don’t tell Catwoman.

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She started the violin.

Lord, come back soon.

I spend most of my day being sure the dog doesn’t chew up the case.

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Baby girl is a brick house.

Letting it all hang out.

I love her.

And her changing table.

Which is always the least cluttered bed at the time in the house.

Third kid and all.


I’m guest posting HERE today.

About something I’ve never blogged about before.

Click on over and have a read.


This Thursday is Pintertest Kitchen.

There is a really fun giveaway involved.

This Pen and Paint mini canvas.

And a Starbucks gift card.

Blog your Pinterest adventures and link up here for one chance to win.

Post a picture of your process and/or end result on Instagram,

mention me (@keepupwithjj) and include #pintertestkitchen hashtag

for a second chance to win.

Two entry max per person.

I’m making pumpkin bars with cream cheese icing.

They seem quite promising.

Happy fun.

Come back Thursday.

10 on 10: October

October 11th, 2013

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Fairy failing.

Sorry, Ashlyn.

Mommy slept for 47 minutes last night.

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Akita snacking.

Too soon, Lincoln.

Too soon.

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Hair styling.

She starts junior high next year so I figured it’s time she did her own.

So there you have it.

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Hepatitis preventing.

Pre-shot, obviously.

I like the days when they are unaware.

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Pre-nap snuggling.

I’m just going to say it.

I’m a little concerned she might have a slight variation of the Teresa Giudice hairline.

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Margaret visiting.

She was gone a whole month.

Don’t let that happen again.

We’re more interesting than Ireland.

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Diaper collecting.

There is a trend happening in case you didn’t notice.

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After-school snacking.

Sunflower seeds.

Every time.

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Daddy cuddling.

She likes him.

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Presentation prepping.

Fifth Grade Healthy Choices.

“Chewing tabacco is such a hassle.”

Or hassel.

So is spelling, apparently.

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And that’s a wrap, folks.

On an ordinary, not-very-exciting Thursday.

Of which I’m quite fond of these days.

The Kitchen is Closed.

October 3rd, 2013

At 7:35 this morning I realized it was the first Thursday of the month.

While getting two children ready and out the door for school drop-off.

And nursing and changing a stow-away.

And dropping off a dog who is currently at the vet losing his reproductive freedoms.

And delivering church insurance papers to the school district office.

On 47 minutes of sleep.

And fueled by a leftover birthday Cookie by Design and Sierra Mist for breakfast.


I’m throwing in the Pintertest Kitchen towel this month.

Until someone pins how to make a baby not be nocturnal.


Link up below if you want to.

Even though I didn’t.

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And be sure to come back next month.

There will be a fun giveaway in November.

If I remember.

Just kidding.

I’ll remember.




A Baby Story: Holland Joy

September 18th, 2013

We welcomed a special little gift on September 9.

We are overwhelmed at the miracle her life represents.

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And that God chose us to be her parents.

And will continue to bless us and stretch us as she grows.

She sleeps quite often.

Except for last night when she decided to be nocturnal.

And eats quite often.

She’s already almost up a full pound from when we left the hospital.

She is mellow.

And sweet.

And quiet.

Her flaky newborn skin is becoming less flaky and more perfect.

Her umbilical cord fell off yesterday morning.

Her smell is my favorite smell in all the universe.

She has long eyelashes and her daddy’s almond shaped eyes.

She has my lips.

She looks like Kayla.

But has Ashlyn’s chin.

She was the smallest of the three girls.

The true baby of our family.

And this is the story of the day she was born.


I was a week overdue.

And had been having contractions for a few days.

So strong, in fact, that we went to hospital on Sunday morning, the 8th.

The nurse checked us in and I was only 2 cm dilated.

The contractions stopped and we walked the halls a bit.

My doctor was not on call that day so they sent us home.

Not before scheduling an induction for 7:30 am the next morning.

This made going home a little easier.

As soon as we walked in our door, contractions started again.

I timed them with an iPhone app.

They were mild and far apart.

We watched the Niner season opener.

My crazy friend Julie drove up from Orange County.

And we waited.

And tracked.

And I stayed up all night.

They got less mild and less far apart.

And by 2 AM, I wanted to throw my phone and that app out the window.

I became worried that I wouldn’t make it until morning.

But I was hoping to avoid the induction.

So I made it a goal to wait until 7:30 and prayed for progress.

I made it.

And have never been so happy to see the sun rise.

Our friend Margaret came over.

She and Julie stayed with the girls and got them off to school and we headed to the hospital.

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I had the same nurse as the day before.

Her name was Angie and I loved her.

She rolled out the induction kit as I was having a contraction.

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She decided to check and I was 5-6 cm dilated.

The homework paid off.

She yelled at me for not coming in sooner.

We happily said goodbye to the induction kit and hello to my best friend, the anesthesiologist.

I got an epidural right away and then we waited.

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Family and friends came in and out.

We chatted and passed the time quite peacefully.

They all went to lunch while I rested.

She arrived fast.

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Which I was thankful for.

Dr. Diaz barely made it in time.

At 2:10 pm I started pushing.

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And at 2:54 pm we welcomed her into our world.

A world that will never be the same.

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Family and friends came in to meet her.

They were as overwhelmed as we were.

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Checking her fingers and toes.

And her sweet squishy face.

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Rejoicing that she arrived safely.

And was healthy.

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A little bit later, Margaret and Kim brought the big sisters in to see her for the first time.

They brought her tulips.

“Because of her name, mama.”

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Ashlyn asked if she was a doll.

Kayla wanted to know when the umbilical cord would fall off.

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They are smitten and sweetly obsessed.

We all are.

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We love you, Holland Joy.

You have been prayed for by so many.

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You are a gift from God.

We are so grateful for your life.

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And we can’t wait to see you grow.

Pintertest Kitchen 24: Pina Colada Bars

September 4th, 2013

I read last week that pineapple starts labor.

And I need help, people.

So I decided to sift through my pinned pineapple desserts.

And I found one.

I present to you Pina Colada Bars.

They are quite delicious.

And easy to make.

Even when you’re crazy pregnant.

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I made them on Tuesday.

And had some for breakfast on Wednesday.

And lunch.

And dinner.

And will probably do the same thing tomorrow.

You know.

To get this party started.

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My pictures are not the best.

Because nothing I do at 40 weeks, 2 days pregnant is the best.

You should see our laundry.

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Original recipe here.

What have you been up to this month?

Grab a button in the sidebar and link up below!

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