Joy Dare :: Unframed Art

Unframed art is really prolific around here. There are stacks and stacks of the stuff everywhere you look. Messy art projects are not something I am naturally thankful for, but I’m trying to not let the chaos bother me,

But recently, all the children have been branching out extensively in their artistic endeavors.


Sophie is the queen of all art forms. She’s not afraid to try her hand at anything, and is generally quite pleased with the results.



Kinsley seems to show some aptitude in the sculpting department.


Our charming penguin family was a gift from my creative mom. The kids love getting these guys out each Christmas season. They like to imagine all sorts of “clever” conversations taking place between the three gourds.

And the art behind them is by my awesome brother. I asked for an Ansel Adams style crayon art piece, and that is what he made me.



Puzzles, another art form we are certainly thankful for.  Especially these two.

Joy Dare Blog<



It’s one of those Mondays. You know the kind – they come after a busy week and they lead the way into another busy week. They bring with them heaps of laundry and dishes, and cranky children and messy bedrooms. They often do not accommodate school schedules, naps, or well rested mothers. They often do accommodate freak accidents like pudgy baby fingers stuck in heat vents, chalk drawings on the floors, and leaking washing machines.

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It’s the kind of Monday where I consider breaking my habit of procrastination by watching a marathon of Downton Abby (because really, I have been meaning to start that series!)

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I decide to wash the towels, since we are all out of clean ones and it’s quite possible that one of the parents in this house might get a shower in at some point today.

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There’s a load in the dryer that has probably been there since sometime early last week. That explains where all of our napkins have been! I heap it out onto a kitchen chair because there are no empty laundry baskets to be found and sit and stare at it while I consume my second cup of coffee this morning.

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Gillian gets right to work on the laundry. Oh, the energy of the twenty one month old! As I admire her cuteness, I remember my recently formed (even still forming) conviction to express my gratitude in all things. I begin to thank Him for pudgy baby hands and cheeks, Gillian’s frizzy baby ‘fro, clean laundry, the warmth of the kitchen, the heaps of dishes reminding me that my children have full bellies, the health of my children.

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I am blessed beyond measure. I am loved by a good God.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Joy Dare :: 3 Gifts Berry Red


I really don’t have much red around the house, but at Christmas time, there are always little pops of cheerful red to be found when you look hard enough!


This is still one of my favorite pops of red around Christmas time. I have blogged about it before…

A gift from a dear friend [the same friend that sent me this!]. I think it was given to us on our first Christmas together, but it may have been our second. They’re all starting to blend now…

When I was due with Sophie around Christmas time two years ago, we kept her name to ourselves. We were actually going to name her Lucy Sophia, and had experienced a few negative reactions to the name Lucy, so we decided not to share the name until there was a tiny girl to go with it. My little sister, Hannah saw this ornament hanging on the tree, and was certain that she had learned the name of our baby girl!

As it turned out, Sophie’s name got changed while I was in labor to Sophie Lucia Marie, so all that secrecy was for naught.


The Christmas tree skirt has been in my family since my first Christmas, and maybe even longer. I used to kind of wish I could have some fancy Anthropology tree skirt, but I am really glad that this is the one we still have and use. It’s really quite cozy!


Another gift from a very good childhood friend who also moved way too far away. Geeze, what is it with these people?!


My thrifted ice bucket sports a cheerful red!


A lovely ornament, made by Hannah, and particularly loved and adored by Sophie, who simply can’t resist bling in any form.


Our handy dandy red rubber scraper.


My red hymnal, as mentioned by Mom.


Really, once the kids and I got started looking for red things that we were thankful for, it was hard to stop!

Joy Dare :: 3 Gifts Ice Cold

I have NOT really been looking forward to being thankful for anything cold as ice. Cold is not really my thing. In fact, this first gift of cold comes to you courtesy of Dan. I was snuggled up with a fuzzy-sleeper-clad baby under three blankets and a down comforter.

Winter Morning Beauty

photo credit – Astro Bob

This morning it was cold. This I can personally attest to. Apparently it was under 20* when Dan headed out to work. But the sky was clear and according to Dan the crescent moon was gorgeous and there were three planets all in a row.

I am sure if getting up early in the frigid cold is your kind of thing, you would have loved it. I am thankful that my husband gets up and goes to work to provide for the family who is all snuggly and warm in bed.


When we did get out of bed this morning, the children and I enjoyed the sight of thousands of tiny diamonds sparkling on everything. A picture really can’t do it justice!

Sonic Ice


A good friend of mine told us about Sonic Ice, which has been a life saver for teething babies, children with sore throats, and lazy mamas who don’t make ice in trays OR unload children from a van to buy ice from a service station. We just pull through the drive through, ask for a bag of ice, fork over a buck-seventy and that’s all there is to it. Handy-dandy.

Cool Touch Kleenex


I accidentally grabbed a box of these Kleenex the last time I made an emergency kleenex run, and boy, were they a treat for the nose!

This post ended up being quite commercial in the end!

Joy Dare :: 3 Gifts Sweet

Mom and I were talking about Three Gifts Sweet, and we realized that could go a couple different directions. There’s sweet like, “Oooh, that tastes sweet!” Sweet like “Awww… so sweet!” and then sweet like “Schaweeet!” (didn’t think of that last one till just a bit ago, Mom!)

So, really, I only thought about the “Oooh, yummy!” kind of sweet.


We snagged these at our discount grocery store during an emergency run for flour and nutmeg. Yes, no nutmeg DOES qualify as an emergency. They were cute, festive, and dipped in white chocolate, which made the children very happy.




But look! Papa is helping the girls identify a bird that they spotted. Awww, so sweet!


I am very thankful that Dan can make it home on lunch breaks now. It’s nice to see an adult (and one I like so much!) halfway through my day. Plus, we give him a rundown of the school day while he’s here, and he often has something to add. It’s one of my happiest blessings right now!


I also managed to score this yummy Christmas-ish coffee at the discount store. Which is schawheet! (But shhhh… don’t tell anyone about this last one, because some just might make it under the tree for certain family members at Christmas time!)

Joy Dare :: 3 Gifts Silver


When I was thinking about Silver Gifts that I am thankful for, the first thing I thought of was my French press. Turns out, the French press ranks pretty high with my mom, too. Great minds, and all that. It’s a pretty multifunctional piece of equipment, and I am am very grateful to own one!


These pretty little shot glasses were a gift from my brother Jared. I think he snagged them from Germany on one of his trips ’round the world. I am convinced that Jared’s love language is gifts, because he and his lovely new wife Amber both just do gifts so well.


My third item of silvery happiness comes from a thrift shop. Thrift shops are the bestest ever, and every time Dan leaves me with the van he secretly worries what I will drag home. But we both agreed that this was a good find, since last year when we needed a tree topper, and had a very small budget we still hated what dollar general had to offer. Thrift shops are the best!

When life gave us strawberries…

we made scones!

Nod to Rachel, at Song In My Heart


My previous attempts at scone failed ten out of ten times. They were gross and tasted like baking powder. Frustrated at my failures, I decided that that it was a possibility that my three year old baking powder (purchased in bulk from Sam’s) might be the culprit. I got another can of the stuff and sure enough, that solved all my life’s problems. Morale of the story: Baking powder does go rancid. Yuck!

Armed with a great recipe, fresh baking powder, plump strawberries from Aldi, and 2 quarts of iced coffee, I trotted into the kitchen to make us some breakfast, and all was good.


Springtime Breakfast


One of the things that we love the most about spring is eating our meals outdoors. Especially in that precious week of warm weather before the mosquitoes get involved. We enjoyed quite a few breakfasts, lunches and dinners outdoors last week!





The slightly cooler mornings call for coffee, of course!



Some of us take a little longer to wake up and get with the program! 🙂