This and That



1. We took the boys to see Santa and so far they are on the nice list. They only have a few more days to go. I think they will make it.


2. We had a blast making our first family gingerbread house. It took a lot of will power for Maria and I to actually let the boys decorate. At first, we were taking over and trying to make the house look good, but then Caleb asked why we weren’t letting him help, oops. We stepped back and let the kids go at it.


3. Maxwell really wasn’t into the decorating the gingerbread house, he just wanted to eat all of the candy. He had icing and candy all over his face. It looks like he got beat up, but I promise it is just sugar:)

4. Where are my goggles? This is funny!

5. I just got an iPhone 7 and ordered this wallet case.

6. Maxwell had his stitches taken out yesterday morning and his wound is healing well. Thank goodness and thank you for all of your well wishes.



1. We made a gingerbread house with the boys and they had a ton of fun. It is still standing so I am calling that a success:)

2. This book is on my reading list, has anyone read it?

3. My favorite booties are on sale! I think I need to order a few more colors.

4. This brie is almost too pretty to eat!

5. Stocking stuffers…give me some ideas!

6. All I Want for Christmas. Loved this!

7. Did you watch the teaser Nashville episode? It is on CMT now and the regular season starts in January. I am still watching. I am curious how things will play out. I need a show that I can binge watch over the holidays? What are you loving?


8. These two have my heart. I hope they will want to snuggle together forever:)

9. I have made multiple batches of these cookies, these cookies, and these cookies. I was going to call it quits on holiday baking, but I think I have one more batch in me because I am craving these! I don’t think I will share, well maybe with Santa:)

10. Homemade vanilla with the cutest labels.

11. So excited about this site!

12. We are going to take some time off during the holidays so this will be our last This and That for the year! Thanks for tuning in every Thursday. You guys are the best! We will be sharing the Best of 2016 and our favorite recipes from the year next week, so make sure you tune in. You can wear your pj’s and slippers:)

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. I listened to the audio version of A Man Called Ove and I really enjoyed it! It’s funny and heart warming. There is a foreign film based on the book that I want to see.

  2. Gosh, that Santa looks like he might be the real thing. The boys are adorable and clearly will be best friends for life.
    I want to thank you both for a year of wonderful posts and great recipes. I hope your little family has a joyful, blessed and cozy  Christmas in your new home.

  3. Merry Christmas to your family! Love reading your “This and That’s”. I’m glad Maxwell is recovering from his injury, I bet that hurt. Poor little guy!

  4. I’ve is a fantastic book! And I finally you enjoy it, I would highly recommend Backman’s book, My Grandmother told me to tell you she’s sorry. He is a great author!
    Happy holidays:-)

  5. hey y’all- great list! Love the booties Maria! And those cookies are to die for! Yummy! y’all have a great Christmas!

  6. A Man Called Ove – my all time favorite book at the moment!! I listened to the audiobook – twice!!
    I found this book to be uplifting not sad.
    I listened to another of Backman’s books. Brit-Marie was Here. Another quirky character. I enjoyed this book, but not as much as Ove.
    I have the audiobook of My Grandmother Told Me to Tell You She’s Sorry on hold through the library. I’m a bit worried about this one cause I have a feeling I might be sobbing through it all, but considering I have liked his other books, I’m willing to take a chance on this one.

  7. The pictures of Caleb and Maxwell are so cute and touching! I know they love each other deeply and it really shows. Can’t wait to see the “best of”.

  8. They will want to snuggle forever! It may not sound like it in their teenage years (my boys are 15 & 17), but that’s just the sound of brothers bonding!

  9. Firstly, I haven’t even started my holidays baking, lol! This year I’m taking it easy…tomorrow night I’m making Nutella puff pastry twists to bring to the neighbours. Last year I brought peanut butter sugar cookies ( As for Santa, my kids have no desire to take pictures with Santa. They know he’s bringing them presents and that’s all they care about. I think it’s also a result of me talking about how WE (my husband and I) will also get them gifts, and WE (as a family) have been bringing old gifts to charity. The focus actually isn’t even really on Santa at all – albeit, unintentional!

  10. That is such a great pic of the boys with Santa! They both seem like such happy boys and are too cute. My boys and I (same age as Caleb & Maxwell) just finished the exact same gingerbread house and had so much fun. I love that this one was premade so they could start decorating right away. Hope Maxwell’s finger is not bothering him too much! Merry Christmas!

  11. First off:
    With three young ones myself it is so hard letting them decorate the gingerbread house alone! Haha. I got over it and it is just fun now. We get a Christmas village so they each get their own house.
    Love OVE. Beautiful book. Reading his others now.
    Stocking stuffers: my four year old boy gets tooth flossers, a fun tooth paste we don’t normally get (I’m pretty granola about that stuff) and the electric Spider-Man type toothbrush. Plus standard matchbox cars, tic tacs (he is obsessed. He asked for them! Haha and gets them once a year) mini Lego figures…

    1. Oooo. I forgot. I am also making several more batches of the coconut lime snowballs. They were a huge hit at our holiday party and now are requested for our family party. Thanks for a favorite new tradition!!! So many of your recipes are family traditions now. Merry Christmas. Thanks for all you guys do!

  12. A Man Called Ove was one of my favorite books of the year!!  You will really enjoy it.  My other favorite was It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover – another must read if you are looking for recommendations.  Merry Christmas and enjoy your time off!

  13. I was sick last weekend and found When Calls the Heart on Netflix and binged on two seasons over the weekend. Love your site and recipes, Merry Christmas!

  14. I love the gingerbread house that the boys made.  Merry Christmas to you and yours!  See you on This & That next year!

  15. For binge TV watching, I recommend Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency on BBC America. It’s a weird show but in a good, fun way. It’s based on the Douglas Adams novel (he also write Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy).

  16. First off, your boys are adorable. I laughed to myself when I read about the gingerbread house. I too “helped” my 3 year old son decorate his first ever gingerbread house (the same one!). I’m a little ashamed to say that I couldn’t relinquish my type A tendencies (what? A tree on the roof?) and took over a little too much. It was a lot of fun though, and next year I may have to buy us separate house to decorate. haha.