how to decorate a charlie brown tree

This post is sponsored by Pier 1 Imports. All opinions are my own.

So a little backstory for you guys, we have a lot of stuff in storage (storage = our shipping container up at the lot where we’re building our house) and that included all our Christmas decor. Since we moved those items up there we had ALL our tile delivered and stored in that shipping container, too. Like 5,000 square feet worth. SO! I asked Russ if we could get to those boxes and he laughed in my face, so I knew we’d have to improvise this year on all our decor!

So you can imagine how grateful I was to team up with Pier 1 on our Christmas tree this year! They have decorations that represent trends and styles from all around the world and I knew I’d be able to create the perfect unique tree that represents my personal style! Now, onto the post!

I love a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. A little quirky, sparse, worse for the wear even. I am always drawn to those trees when we pick one out and I have learned over the years that there are different criteria for decorating a Charlie Brown tree than a typical full artificial tree or like a Douglas Fir. So I am sharing my tips today and you can peek at our tree while you’re at it!

Another sidenote: This tree is actually potted! It’s in dirt and we will be planting it at the house when Christmas is over! I loved the idea of getting some landscaping out of the deal and so that is why it’s in this huge basket! Inside it’s on a tray and I water the tray and let it seep up the roots. Charlie Brown TreeI also put it on a coffee table to try and keep it out of Raleigh’s reach, let’s see how that’s going shall we?How to Decorate a Charlie Brown Christmas TreeOf course all the decorations can be found at Pier 1 either online or at a store near you!

  1. LIGHTS – You will find that you can’t just wrap the tree in concentric circles like you would with a regular tree. There isn’t as much to light, and the wires will be EVERYWHERE. I like to follow the branches up and down and let them lead me to the next branch so I can hide the wires as much as possible. How to Decorate a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree
  2. THIN WIRE LIGHTS – I have been wanting to try these tiny wire lights because the one downside to the Charlie Brown tree is that it’s really hard to hide wires. These thin bendable wire lights are so sleek and easy to hide and be a bit more precise where you want the tiny bulbs to land. I totally recommend it for your next tree if you like the more bare ones! They’re 10 feet long so you will need quite a few more than a strand of regular lights. Worth it though! You can see how fine the wire is in this photo:How to Decorate a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree
  3. TREE PICKS – Even though I really like seeing the trunk and sparse spots, sprays can fill in holes or balance out some of the unevenness. I love these retro feeling sprays, they reflect light all over the place and are so beautiful!How to Decorate a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree
  4. THEME – I love picking a theme no matter what kind of tree I pick but I think a tight theme is especially nice for a tree like this. It can be easy to overpower and over decorate so keep it a little more simple! How to Decorate a Charlie Brown Christmas TreeI chose this set of metallic and glitter ornaments, these amazingly beautiful glass drop ornaments (everyone’s favorite)…How to Decorate a Charlie Brown Christmas TreeThen these oversized glitter stars (doubles as a tree topper, too!) and the sprays. They’re all metallic and varying in size for interest. How to Decorate a Charlie Brown Christmas TreeAnd then just having your themed ornaments out makes it easier to have your little ones helping!How to Decorate a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree
  5. WRAPPING – I also pick a tight theme for wrapping. This year I have kraft paper, a dramatic dark plaid and they’re all tied together with black twill ribbon. I think the less going on the more focus on your special tree!

Any other Charlie Brown lovers out there? What are your decorating tips?




White Chocolate Chip & Cranberry Pizookie

By Jenna:

It’s the Holidays so I’m in full on baking mode. My kitchen is a disaster 24/7 and I’ve probably gained a bajillion pounds but it’s all worth it in the name of festivity!! When Wayfair asked me to share a Holiday Cookie recipe on their blog I knew just the one.

Behold — White Chocolate Cranberry Pizookie. Wait what you don’t know what a Pizookie is? It’s only the BEST way to eat a cookie — warm, gooey, straight out of the pan and topped with ice cream. pixookie1 pizookie2

I took a pretty typical White Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe and made it my own by adding fresh cranberry. Quinn loves to help me cook so he was spinning away with this one. He didn’t even complain when we put berries in! I love these stainless steel mixing bowls and whisk.pizookie3 pizookie4

CAN YOU EVEN BELIEVE IT? Looks so good.pizookie5

Once you’re done mixing together the ingredients you’ll stick it in to a cast iron pan. I love this one — it’s only gotten better with time. You’ll cook it at a high heat for a low amount of time so it comes out cooked but gooey and amazing and all the wonderful things.pizookie6

Scoop your favorite ice cream over top and watch it melt to perfection. Wanna hear the best part? Grab a fork and dig in…right out of the pan! No extra dishes and because it’s a Pizookie and designed to eat that way — you don’t have to feel guilty for going to town 😉




  • 2 1/4 cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon  salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks)  butter or margarine, softened
  • 3/4 cup  granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup  packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 2 large  eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) White Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 cup fresh cranberries

PREHEAT oven to 370° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and cranberries. Drop in to a well greased cast iron pan, spread evenly.

BAKE for 8 to 10 minutes or until outside edge is golden.
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gift guide 2017: boys and girls

Back with gift guides today – and this time for boys and girls! I teamed up with Globber on a fun giveaway on Instagram so don’t miss that, too!

Gift Guide: Girls and Boys

  1. Playpa is essentially giant coloring pages that you can play on and interact with after you’re done coloring! Getting two indoor quiet activities out of one $20 gift is what I call a good idea. Especially during the long Winter break!
  2. My sister gifted this idea to my nieces and my boys flipped over it too. I watched them all sprawled over my floor making t-shirts together and it was so sweet. They even decided to all wear them to school the next day. You just need a few plain shirts and …
  3. Fabric Markers! These Yoobi ones could be the start of endless DIY crafts. Another Winter Break win.
  4. If I know kids, I know they flip over tiny things. This set from Yoobi is all miniaturized and darling. Watch them squeal, guaranteed.
  5. This is a new-to-me brand and a welcome guest. I went through several grocery store detangles and they all left this greasy film on my boys’ hair. Needing another bath to look clean. Oof. This stuff works great – I use it and am obsessed with how soft my hair feels, smells great, but doesn’t leave any of that residue. Stocking stuffer! Shiny Happy.
  6. Globber is sponsoring the giveaway on instagram today and they are a much less expensive balancing scooter option than the brands we’ve always used. Like half the price. But the kicker is they work the same. So be smarter than me and go with Globber off the bat this year! Or better yet, win two here!
  7. So many dollhouse options out there but I know when you have a certain aesthetic you like it can be hard to shop for. I think this one would fit a lot of yours out there! So pretty.
  8. A sweet little bonnet for Winter and beyond.
  9. Love this magnetized “paper doll” kit. Perfect for a quiet bag or flight.
  10. I’ve been on a big kick this year with promoting products I wish I had as a girl. Having a library of stories of women who dared to try something new, went against the grain, paved the way. I want those stories on my shelves! Women In Science book.
  11. Women in History blocks. See #10.
  12. Bravery Mag. See #10, too. This magazine is FILLED with activities, stories, darling design and Brave women. YES!

What are you getting your girls this year?


boys gift guide

  1. Another awesome idea from my sister! She gifted the boys their Christmas when she came for Thanksgiving and I had forgotten about these cash boxes! I had one as a kid and LOVED it. My boys are equally obsessed and love having their own key and spot for treasures no one else can get to.
  2. Who has a lego obsessed boy or girl? This book is so fun to flip through!
  3. Morphonauts was a Kickstarter awhile back that we got to try out. It’s all magnetized and interchangeable so you can be as imaginative as you want! I also love that its quiet. You can’t her them snapping together which is a huge win for church.
  4. Always love to give a puzzle and this one is large but also seems a little easier with all the variety and branding.
  5. Give a gift of music with this Cedar Thumb Piano! Its going to have a resurgence I am predicting!
  6. Driven by Battat makes all the most realistic big trucks which have bene my boys’ dream at one point or another their whole lives. They also sell pocket size too!
  7. I think Petit Collage has made our gift guides since the beginning of time. Lorena is so talented at creating toys kids like with designs parents like too. This Pop-out Space set for example.
  8. Another Globber option. They have scooters for babies on up to adults. Hayes wanted a more grown up scooter – I guess most of his friends ride on this type of scooter so I am excited to surprise him with this one!
  9. I would be remiss to not include Plants vs Zombies on this list because my boys are obsessed. I don’t know how they discovered it (blame YouTube, surely) but if you are looking for your own kids Amazon has the best collection I’ve found. I like that I can buy the figures in K’Nex sets so it’s a little more substantial then handing over a figure by itself.
  10. It’s hard for me to buy video games because I hate them. It doesn’t change that those characters are what my boys are into so I love finding non video game options that they’ll still be excited about – even if its just Mario’s photo on the box. They play this Monopoly Gamer at their friends house every time they go over so its high time to grab one for here!
  11. Tabletop Cornhole! Inside fun is a huge theme this year, can you tell? #noyardproblems
  12. Star Wars is all anyone talks about when I go into my boys’ classes. This Darth Vader backpack is “sick!” as they say and 40% off today!Happy shopping!!



holiday best 2017

We have our 2nd annual Utah Symphony concert for kids (we went for the first time last year and immediately aborsbed it into our traditions for each year, it was magic!) and I love getting everyone dressed up all festive-like so here’s our get-ups!! Don’t worry I am shopping for everyone below if you need more ideas!Holiday Best IdeasCal’s Suit c/o // Shirt // Wellies ($40) //// My Dress (old but simliar here// Booties ($50!) // Lip is Diva by Mac ($8 right now!) //// Raleigh’s Rag // Boots //// Hayes’ suit // Shirt // Boots c/o // Hat

Holiday Best Ideas Holiday Best Ideas Holiday Best Ideas I would never leave out the girls. Too much good stuff! holiday best: girls

Striped Faux Fur + Flutter Sleeve Lace Velvet dress  // Plaid Coat + Faux Fur Pocket Dress // Star Jacket on a Plaid Mini or a basic knit red dress // Casually festive with this plaid shirt dress + jean jacket. // A classic red coat with on-trend sleeves + an emerald polka dot dress

ADD ON: I love a girl in a dress with tights and boots. These boots are perfect! More budget friendly here. // Glitter Tights for extra festivity // A tulle headband for a party. // A beret to be warm and the coolest little chica.


A few more options for the dudes. will have everyone talking! // You know how I feel about Appaman. We have this Velvet suit and its to die for! Comes in a few colors! // As they get older and start fighting you on what you want them to wear its always a win to see a Star Wars fair isle sweater suitable for church. Compromise! // This rolled sweater is so nice, who needs a suit and tie! // Chukka boots /// Obsessed with these velvet loafers! // Plaid shirt + bowtie combo, so cheap too! // Needing cheap options for festive button-downs?  Love this green and blue buffalo, too!


seven year old christmas list

Sponsored by Amazon.

For the first year ever I am nearly stumped on what to get my seven year old, Hayes! Each year their Christmas lists are pretty straight-forward and it’s been easy to deliver the Christmas they are hoping for. What to Get a 7 Year Old Boy THIS year, all the sudden, Hayes’ list is so grown up. He asked for his own Fire HD 8 Kids Edition – we have one and of course he is over sharing. Happy to accommodate that as we have had a great experience with our first one! The rest of his list is simliar – more technology, a phone, and seriously on his list he wrote “$999,999,999 dollres” just like that. Santa has a tall order this year!

But what I noticed is not even one toy! Sort of broke my heart! How fast he grew up and how quickly his interests have matured.

With the tablet I would love to have it fully loaded for him so when he turns it on he sees all his favorites and some new games that have great ratings in Amazon’s app store. Here’s what I am thinking:

Backbreaker Football // Math Games by Grade level // Flow Free – a fun puzzle game for all ages // Crossy Road – a fun and simple problem solving game // Fruit Ninja – speed and hand eye coordination // Slice Fractions – a concept Hayes could use some more practice at // Cut the Rope – a game all about problem solving and thinking ahead // Monopoly – he has been loving playing this board game! // Tetris // Draw Board – perfect to doodle and be creative // Bejeweled 2 – I love this game so I am sure he will too! // Toca Boca – Amazon app store has all your regular favorites, too! // Plants vs Zombies 2 – my boys are obsessed with this game! // A game to teach about mechanics and physics! // Ansel + Clair – Create your own environment and learn how to best protect it. 

I’ve talked about this before but our screen time is limited to one hour each day and it’s never before school, only after. It’s also after they’ve done a list of things and proves to be our best motivator! I take time away, add it for special behavior, they can lose it all together and it’s something my boys – who are different as night and day – bond over. It brings them closer together and is something they talk about and strategize long after they’ve stopped playing the game.What to Get a 7 Year Old BoyThe Amazon FreeTime Unlimited service acts as my eyes and ears for the tablet and I can set the timer, shut it down when the time is up, make sure they’re only downloading things I approve of, monitor their usage on the Parent Dashboard and more. It’s included for a year when you purchase the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablet. As their interests expand and their knowledge of technology increases they are always wanting to, as Hayes says “search it out” and safe browsing is my #1 concern for them. I have filters on all our devices but love that Amazon’s is built right in with the FreeTime Unlimited service so I don’t even have to worry if my systems are working, they have one already! FreeTime UnlimitedToo bad for ol’ Hayesie but the rest since the rest of his list is a hard pass for me so I am hoping to fill the gaps with fun experiences, or things that he didn’t even know he’d be excited about – any ideas?


minted christmas

One of my favorite things to gift is art! Especially framed art – because handing over a print with no frame is like assigning them to an automatic minimum 4 hours of effort before they can enjoy it on the wall. Working with Minted today to share some of my favorite framed art that always comes ready to hang! I paired them all with thin gold frames but each selection has loads of other options from wood to metal to textured to colored. They also have pre-selected art pairs here so you can find things that look great together!

Minted Christmas

Love the texture on this abstract floral piece – Ivy. // This moody drizzly photo is so calming to me. // This photo does the opposite effect – I get butterflies looking at it because it reminds me of being on a ski lift climbing up to enjoy the snow at full-speed! – Winter Upon Us // Back to calming with this beautiful horse photo – Dominant Spirit  // Line drawings make such great pieces if you like a more minimal feeling. Interesting to the eye but not too noisy. – Standing Figure // I love being able to find the color palette you need for a gallery wall or to fit a room/ Love the pastels on this! – 66.

And a few other ideas for gifts while you’re shopping! minted christmas

Tents! So many good patterns // Journals, Calendars, Notebooks galore. I love all their designs on these too. Mind over Matter & App for That // Gold Foil cities, states, and counties! I have Paris and love it. // Love these personalized bar hung calendars. // This artist is so good at bright and fun, find Jordan Sondler’s offerings here!

Also, I am on the hunt for a new way to hang my Christmas cards. (This one I made a few years ago got “broken” but really Russ through it out in the move. Sad!) Loving this system Minted has!

Deals this week! :: 20% off holiday card orders $150+, 15% off $100+ with code: BRIGHT17, exp Mon 12/11 and and a new customer offer of: 20% off holiday cards with code: JOYNEW, exp Thu 12/7!

gift guides 2017: woman

Gift Guides are back today and gotta kick it off with my by myself.Gift Guide for Her

  1. Make-up gift sets are my favorite thing to get for Christmas. My mom always gifted these to us girls and its so fun to try out new things on someone else’s dime. Stila makes one of my favorite stay-all-day formulas and this pack is full of beautiful shades to try out!
  2. Vogue is on a daily deal over at Amazon for $10 for the whole year. Gift that keeps on giving and is such a great value to for the giver!
  3. A great coffee table book is a great gift because its something they’ll keep out all year and they can say “Oh Emily gave me that.” Ha. Jk. Sort of. Gray Malin photos books are always a win.
  4. This Sphynx travel razor is freaking sweet. I will show it in action on my Insta Stories because I can’t really do it justice here. But it rotates around to give you a spray bottle, soap and a razor to touch up missed spots on the go or to take with you on a flight.
  5. Sorry the numbering is so crazy but I ain’t going back now! Oprah’s Soul Sunday conversations are always so good and I love being able to gift all the best highlights in a book form!
  6. Kristin Ess is making some of my favorite hair products as of late, especially the texture spray. Her travel sets would all make excellent gifts but this set specifically also comes with a french pin which is beautiful for a day out but comfortable enough to sleep in – and no breakage! Genisu little contraption!
  7. I hear amazing things about these Mahabis slippers. I love their nordic feel – somehow less frumpy feeling – and that they have a rubber bottom in case you need to split quick to carpool.
  8. My favorite watch of all time. Its so beautiful!
  9. I swear by week at a glance pads and have shuffled through several. This one is ideal – full boxes for each day (none of this “weekend” slot for Saturday and Sunday) And a big note section. Its the best I’ve found
  10. Christmas Pajamas are best done when you can rewear them! Whether its a legging for work outs, or this incredible fluffy sherpa turtleneck that is 40% off.
  11. Sometimes you can’t be worried wearability and you just gotta go with festiveness. Flannel PJ bottoms always win.
  12. A version of this jacket has been seen on all my favorite fashionistas on line and its on super sale right now!
  13. This is freaking cool. Amazon Prime members can now sign up for sample boxes of all types of beauty products for $20. THEN you get a credit for $20 to buy a full size of something you like from the shipment. So basically all those samples are free. Cool right?

letters to santa party

Sponsored by The Elf on the Shelf.

I am SO glad our friends at the Elf on the Shelf launched this darling Letters to Santa activity because I am officially making it a family tradition and am sad I wasn’t able to start sooner! Now that I got my love for this out of the way, let me tell you about it!Letters to Santa - Shrunk down to an ornament!We had our cousins in on the fun and made it little party! We gifted them with their own box which comes with everything you need to get your letters ready and a sweet little book to explain it. Your kids may wonder how to get their letter to Santa AND if he actually reads it, I know mine do at least. First, you write your letter to Santa. Then our Elf Max P. (named “Maximum Presents” – my son is SO seven years old right now) needs to get it to the big guy but it’s a little large for his tiny elf hands. Letters to Santa Next you need to shrink your letter so your Scout Elf can deliver it! Put it in Mrs. Claus’ magic press and voila! It will be perfectly shrunken down so Max P. can deliver it.Letters to Santa - Shrunk down to an ornament!Then the big day was here – Max P. arrived! So we threw him a little welcome to the family party (this fun kit is filled with games, party favors, decor and more!) and that night donned him with the official Christmas Lists! Sure enough the next day Santa sent it back with him so you KNOW he read it and then you can keep it as a keepsake ornament!   I will be doing this every year and can’t wait to see the ornaments all together over the years and how my boys’ interests change as they grow. Letters to Santa - Shrunk down to an ornament!I really love this idea, way to go Elf on the Shelf!

Find your own Letters to Santa kit here!

cold care package

There is a nasty viral cold going around that poor Cal caught earlier this week. This is the first time he’s been sick since he was little and he’s moaning and crying and asking when he’s going to feel better and breaking my heart! His buddy from school heard he was sick and brough the sweetest little care package. It lifted his spirits so much and mine, too! So I wanted to recreate it today with Maty’s – which is an organic cough and cold line – that makes this amazing chest rub among other awesome things!Matys  Their Chest Rub caught my eye especially and I’ll tell you why. If you grab the leading vapor rub in stores (before I read up on this I had some too, no judgment here!) you will find a few key ingredients. Petroleum – a chemical that suffocates the skin and Hydrogenated Castor Oil – which is a chemically altered oil only one molecule away from plastic. Yikes! Maty’s never uses petroleum or hydrogenated oils This works just as good if not better, and is a lot better for these little bodies needing all their energy to fight off a virus!Matys

So here’s what I put it this care package today. It would make such a great gift for a fellow sickie and I am keeping a few things on hand for cold and flu season this year!

  1. Container – I love this acrylic holder because I know it can be reused which I love. Anything that doubles as a gift for mama is a plus since we all know how hard sick kids can be on a parent, too! (Container found here.)
  2. Maty’s Chest Rub and Baby Ointment. Chest Rub to help soothe coughs and congestion and the Ointment is great for chapped skin around the nose and lips. (This stuff is also incredible for diaper rash!)
  3. Fresh juice. Getting loads of vitamin C in is vital and fresh squeezed juice is packed with it! (Milk bottles found here.)
  4. Soup. Bone broth soup is a nice touch since it helps boost the immune system (and loads of other pluses!)
  5. Hot Water Bottle. This one is so cute and retro but if they get chilled (huggable with that cute sweater!) or feverish (put it on their feet!) it will come in handy!
  6. Tissues. Lots of them. I love this little house dispenser too.
  7. Cozy socks.
  8. A new movie or book. Or you could throw in a rental credit for their favorite streaming service!

We’re giving away goodies for your own care package for several winners on Instagram @smallfryblog so if you want to try it out head over to enter!! Check out a few more awesome products in their line-up. You can read the comparisons to other leading brands (for instance their cough syrup has double the immune boosters of other natural baby cough syrups.)Matys

Baby Ointment // Chest Rub // Nighttime Cough Syrup // Daytime Cough Syrup // Mucus Cough Syrup

holiday pjs 2017

If you haven’t already snagged your Holiday PJs it seems this weekend is a good one to go for it! So many great deals. 40% off Hanna Andersson, 50% off Old Navy (pug life, ha!), 40% off Gap etc. etc.

holiday pjs 2017

Fair Isle is a huge trend this holiday season and there are loads of PJ options to suit! Teddy Bear Fair Isle – comes in this one piece too if you prefer! //Burt’s Bees KILLED it this year with their PJs. Such perfect classic prints and even some less obvious but still festive. This plaid and the gray plaid and the black cuff one at the bottom, too! // This Yoda Gingerbread Fair Isle might be my favorite PJ of the whole round up. Too funny. // Also love this tiny gnome pattern! // Mini Boden has a set of PJs, perfect for a holiday weekend away! // Gray with Strung Lights – darling // I love this sweat suit set, wear it out and about, it feels a little less PJ and more loungey which I love. Rock and Roll Santa! // Academy of Cool for your too cool for crazy Holiday PJs kid. // Holiday Rags to Raches (did you see they make stockings, too!) // Classic Plaid set! // Darth Vader Fair isle // This isn’t Christmassy but still such an cool idea. Color on your PJs with their special markers and you’ve got something fun to do after you open them, too! // Aden and Anais makes the softest jams and they come up to size 4 now, too! This resembles a snowflake but actually isn’t so it works all year round! // Books to Bed is a line at Nordstrom that would make the most darling gift any time of year but especially their Holiday line. Go check it out to see what I mean – its so perfectly retro! Hard to see in this tiny collage, but worth a look for sure! And each set comes with a book!