Family Life
  • Simple Ways to Include Your Kids in Everyday Tasks

    Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. Thank you for supporting our sponsors.

    One thing I've really worked on this past year is including my boys in what I'm doing at home. Whether it's laundry, dishes, cleaning or cooking. There never seem to be enough hours in the day so including them in the things I do gives us that time to talk and feel connected. 

    It also teaches me patiences like none other. ;)

    And I feel like including them in cooking requires the most patience. But they really love to be included. So I set aside times that I plan to include them. And I mentally prepare for it to take much longer than expected. :)

    I also pick something that doesn't require too many steps to include them in.

    Muffins are a good example.

     With cooking, getting this customized 'sous chef' apron from Minted just filled my 5 year old's little cup and added that 'extra special' factor for the times he helps me in the kitchen.

    pssst here's where you can grab one for the little sous chef in your life! Only $28 with free personalization!

    Other simple ways to include your kids in everyday tasks:

    (Note: My kids are 5 and 3 so that's the skill level I'm working with)


    Dusting: put socks on their hands and assign them an area that doesn't have anything breakable

    Dishwasher: let them be the one to put away the silverware

    Dinnertime: let them set the table for you

    Laundry: have them match up all the socks

    Sweeping: let them hold the dustpan

    Groceries: let them help you carry lighter things in and put things away

    Picking up: make them responsible for their own toys

    Is there something you do to include your kids that you find helpful? Share in the comments!

  • Holiday Home Tour (With Bonus Printable)

    Welcome to our home! Grab a cup of cocoa and come on in!

    When it comes to Christmas decor, I try to go more wintery instead of in-your-face Christmas.

    This is so I make less work for myself in January. The tree is the main attraction of course.

    And those white twinkling lights up the cozy factor by, like, 1000x. 

    My son Grady added this Santa hat to the TV and it's probably my favorite touch to this room.

    Switching out the colors and the art helps set the tone for me.

    p.s. I'm sharing this You Warm my Heart printable at the end of this post!

    I shared about this Mother Embrace art piece in another blog post but I felt it was still perfect for Christmas decor thinking about Mary and Baby Jesus. That story just does wonders to my mama heart.

    I'm a little non-traditional when it comes to our tree too. A pom-pom blanket for a tree skirt and a homemade ribbon ball tree topper. No two ornaments are the same on our tree and they all hold the dearest memories.

    G poster

    Making Christmas fun for the boys is such a joy for me. 

    They've enjoyed doing our Advent Calendar each day.

    And our Christmas books are being read on repeat.

    Our dining room didn't change too much from fall to winter. I did add some seasonal and festive touches and rearranged my shelves.

    Pinecone Still Life Poster

    Mornings Away Art Piece

    Felt Like Sharing Letter Board

    I pretty much keep the Christmas decor to our main living areas. Adding it everywhere is just too much for me. I do super small touches like the mistletoe in our bedroom.

    Or a few Santas in the kitchen.

    But my favorite thing to do in our house at Christmas is share it with people we love.

    With festive dinners,

    Hot Cocoa bars,

     Felt Like Sharing Letter Board

    and just sweet times spent together.

    So while of course I want my boys to remember us baking cookies together, being granted all their requests for hot cocoa, dancing to Christmas records, and watching Christmas movies by Christmas tree light, I really just want them to remember a home filled with love because of the One who first loved us. 

    Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

    xoxo, the Goodmans 

    Family Photos by Adam Mullins Photography




    You Warm my Heart Printable

    Adding seasonal art prints are an easy way to change up your decor!

    Check out my shop for loads of other prints and printables!

    Click here to download this print

  • Fall Traditions

    I love having traditions. To me, they're a huge part of the makeup of our family.

    They're things we always do. Things that our kids can count on us doing.

    Admist everything that changes each year, these are things that are constants. 

    The stuff memories are made of. 

    One of our favorite fall traditions is going to pick apples.

    There's just something about the light in the apple orchards. About rows of trees.

    About picking something to eat right from the source. 

    This tradition started when we lived in Virginia and every year we would go with my brother and his wife.

    I always took my nice camera and I always smiled when a picture I took of them turned out to be their Christmas card. 

    Indiana doesn't have quite the selection of apple orchards that Central Virginia does and we miss the company of my brother and his wife dearly, but we continue to keep the tradition alive.







    The other part of the tradition that I love is coming home and making us a dessert to share with our apples. A shared experience and shared food are the most bonding experiences in my book, so this one's a double whammy. 

    If you've been around here at all, you know I love to make a pretty pie. And this year I tried something new. And I got a lot of request for the recipe so I'll do my best to remember cause this one I made up on the fly. 


    First off, I use store bough crust. Cause if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    I put the first crust on the bottom and then use the second one for decorating this particular pie.

    I used an apple slicer to cut the apples evenly and then from there I used a paring knife to cut each slice even thinner.

    Then I just started layering the apple slices on top of each other going around in a circle until I'm back where I started.

    Grady used a leaf cutter to cut out the border for the crust and then I made a pie crust rose to fill in the center of the circle.

    For the filing, I melted 3 TBS butter in a sauce pan and combined some sugar and cinnamon and boiled until it was a little thick and then I just poured it over the apples.

    I put an egg wash over the crust and topped with sugar in the raw. 

    I baked it at 350 for about 30 minutes watching to make sure the crust didn't get overdone.


    We enjoyed this as a family.

    And I also ate if for breakfast 3 times. IT'S FRUIT, don't judge me.

    Nothing about a tradition needs to be fancy. It's just a story that you get to write and re-write and add to every year. One year it might be filled with whiny toddlers and one year might be filled with eye-rolling teenagers but that's just a part of something bigger you're building. 

    Where hopefully one day you'll all think back and say, 

    "This is where some of our best memories have been made..."







    Does your family have a fall tradition? I'd love to hear about it!

  • Griffin's Birth Video

    One of the best gift's my husband ever gave me was the video he made the day our first son was born.
    I have watched it so many times over his short 2 year life and it is so special to relive that day.
    So, when our second son was on the way, he assured me he'd do the same thing so that we could have one for him. He's got a quite a knack for editing video and compiling songs to correlate.
    This video is such a treasure to me.
    While Josh has the video skills, I've got the graphic skills. So, I was in charge of designing his birth announcements. I had designed this birth print for his room and decided to combine that with a photo for his birth announcement.

    We are so in love with this new addition to our family!
  • Printable Advent Calendar

    Advent is upon us. The season of anticipation, of waiting, for the Hope of the world to come.
    That's why I get behind Advent calendars so much. Because I think there's much to be said about really soaking in the anticipation. Counting down the days until we celebrate the day the weary world did rejoice and gets to again and again. 
    I started dreaming up this design last year because I knew the boys would be at good ages to
    participate. So our days alternate between a Scripture reading and a Christmas activity. 
    What I love about it is that you can totally make it your own. Write down whatever traditions are important for your family!
    I had fun thinking up ideas to write down but the Scriptures are so important to me too. 
    Every year my kids are able to soak in the real meaning of Christmas more and more and
    that makes my heart so excited!
     Since this Advent Calendar is really for the boys, I like to put it right int he heart of their playroom.
    Last year I gave them their own little tree if you will. 
    String them together like a banner, washi tape them to the wall like a tree, or just keep them in a little basket at the breakfast table! Sky's the limit with these cards!
    This calendar is available for purcahse through my shop!
    And here are some more ideas if you're drawing a blank for what to write on them:
    Wrap Christmas Presents
    Make Special Cocoa
    Get Cocoa and Go See Christmas Lights
    Put on a Christmas record and Dance
    Dinner by Fireside
    Watch a Christmas Movie 
    Give an unexpected Gift
    Read a Christmas Book 
    Give an unexpected gift to someone in Need
    Bake Christmas Cookies
    Give Cookies to the Neighbors
    Sing your Favorite Carol
    Kiss Under the Mistletoe
    Smile at a Stranger and Say Merry Christmas
    You can also tape little gifts or candy to them if you like to add in that sort of thing!
    Tag me on Instagram if you post yours, I love to see what other people do!
    I love what @stephandtheboys did
    And here's mine from this year:
  • Holiday Home Tour of Our Cottage Craftsman

    It's our first Christmas time in our new home. And it just feels like it was made for holiday decor. 
    From the field stone fireplace to the big dining space for guests to the perfect corner for the tree. 
    Enjoy a little peek into where we're cozying up this cold Midwest winter!
    You can find this O Holy Night print for sale in my online shop.

    You can find the fine art pinecone print in my online shop for instant download.
    Breakfast nook
    Dining Room
    This is our place to celebrate and entertain. :)

    Playroom/Office/ Craft Room
    More on the Advent Calendar here.

    Thank you all for reading and following along. I really love getting to know you all.
    And an extra special thank you to those who support the shop!

    Merry Christmas to you and yours! xoxo
  • The gift of pictures

    The one gift I always know I'm getting on Mother's Day is the gift of pictures.
    My husband carves out some time and gets behind our nice camera to take
    some non-iPhone pictures of me and the boys. It's such a treasure to me to have these pictures and see us grow and change together every year. 


    Me and my babies on Mother's Day 2017

    To me, the gift of pictures is a priceless one. 

  • A Dino Party fit for a FIVE year old

    You guys, my baby turned 5! I know everyone says this, but I really don't know how it happened.
    I feel like I blinked. Wasn't it yesterday that I just gave birth to him?
    And I'm not sure why 5 feels like SUCH a big milestone but it does. 

     It also felt like a big milestone because this was the first year HE knew exactly what he wanted.
    He understood his birthday was coming and he wanted to plan his day, invite friends, the whole nine.
    And one day while we were at Walmart he saw a dinosaur piñata and that was it, he was sold.
    A dino party complete with piñata would be the perfect celebration for this 5 year old.

    And if you've been around here for any time at all, you know I'm all about cuteness on a dime.
    Getting creative with what I already have and challenging myself to spend as little money as possible are usually my method. Things that cost little money but make a big impact (see balloon 5 below).
    I brought out Grady's plastic dinos, went and scrounged up plants from around the house, and got out our family party hats + Happy Birthday banner that we use for everyone's birthday in our family plus a couple cute pictures of Grady and made this little scene!

    The only thing I really needed to make was the Gradysaurus banner. I bought a $3 pack of letters from the Target Dollar Spot and painted them green. It didn't have all the R's or S's I needed so I just traced them on cardboard and added them in.

     The cake is a big deal, of course.  And while I love to decorate a cake, I'm no baker.

     So I made it easy on myself and just did a triple layer boxed funfetti cake.
    Store bought icing as well. If it ain't broke, why fix it? That's my motto when 
    it comes to baking. hah!

    To make it even easier on myself, I made cupcakes for all the kids.
    Pre-measured, contained cake for the win.
    The only other decor we did was this super fun balloon 5.
    If you're looking for a statement decor piece and don't want to spend much money but don't mind investing some time, this might be for you!
    We just bought a big piece of plywood and painted it white for the backdrop.
    Then I freehanded a huge number 5 outline for us to follow. 
    We bought six $1 packs of balloons for 72 balloons total and then went to town blowing them 
    up in all different sizes. Start with your big balloons first to make the shape and then fill it in with the littler balloons. Use strong, white tape. Enlist someone else to do all the balloon blowing (that's what I did, hah!)
    This was my first time hosting a *real* kid party. Like with more kids than adults.
    I was not really sure how it was gonna go, but it was great.

    We did some simple dino themed games for the kids:
    Dinosaur Egg Hunt
    Dinosaur Dig
    And of course, the thing that started it all, 
    Dinosaur Piñata 

    My boy had a great day. He is such an extrovert so being surrounded by his
    people was the best gift of all. 
     (Thank you to my friend Trish who grabbed my camera and took pictures so I could 
    be in the moment. That's a good friend right there.)

    My sweet Grady boy, I count it such a privilege to be your mama.
    We've done this thing together from the start. So, your birthday kinda feels like my birthday - the day I became a mom. You've turned into such a kind, compassionate, and helpful little boy.
    You are by far one of my greatest blessings and I love to celebrate YOU.
    Every year we try to take pictures of our kids on/around their birthday and here are a
    few to remember our Grady Boy at age 5. 

  • Sunflower Field Pictures + Other Family Date Ideas

    Some of our most favorite family dates are experiencing new things together.
    None of us had ever been in a field full of sunflowers before so that's what we did for our most
    recent family date. The boys enjoyed running through the path to the middle of the field and hiding from us midst the tall flowers. We got there right at sunset and it felt pretty magical.
    Then we let them stay up late and go for ice cream. It was a great way to say goodbye to summer.

    Some other ideas for family dates:
    The Zoo
    (it's so fun seeing animals we don't see on the regular)
    Fort Movie Night
    (everyone watches in the fort and gets their own popcorn bowl)
    Make Your Own Pizza Night
    (I recommend this easy Naan Bread Pizza recipe)
    Bike Rides
    (head to a trail or somewhere new)
    Scavenger Hunts
    (now that fall is around the corner you can use this one)
    Game Night
    (with prizes for the winners)
    Build Something Together
    (get creative with cardboard boxes + duct tape & let kids decorate)
    Bookstore Date
    (parents get coffee and get an endless supply of books to look at)
    Dance Party
    (with dance-off's of course)
    Experience something new together
    (Get creative! And bring your camera!)