This and That


1. What are you doing to Light the World? We hope you will take a minute to watch this video to see how our family is finding joy this Christmas season. #LighttheWorld

3. I am not so sure about these flavors.

4. Maxwell is an early riser. I want to get this for him.

5. Basement update-we are making progress. The tile is going in, the finish work is mostly done, the painters are prepping, and the custom bunk beds are going in. I am stoked for the bunk bed room.


1. The Christmas countdown is on! Are you hanging in there? We are decorating gingerbread houses this weekend, going to a few parties, and of course baking more cookies. I have a few last minute gifts to finish up too. If you still need gift ideas, check out our gift guide and cookbook gift guide.

2. New this week: an easy weeknight dinner and deep dish cookies! I also posted a new video for our favorite salted caramel sauce!

3. I don’t bake cookies without these.

4. We finally started watching Stranger Things. We are into it. I have also been watching lots of Christmas movies. The Holiday, Home Alone 2, and Elf are a few of our favorites.

5. I got a lot of questions about the lip color I was wearing on Instagram stories this week, the color is Heartbreaker and you can get it here.

6. Perfect meal prep containers.

7. Perfect for hot chocolate.

8. Cozy sweaters are my jam.

9. Tips for making a relationship thrive.

10. What are you reading? I need a good book to read over the holiday break. Ok, I probably won’t get a break, but I still want to read a good book:) Maybe this one or this one? Leave your suggestions in the comments!

11. A great thought a day.

12. These are too cute!

13. This party is amazing. Can you imagine if I tried to do a party with my boys? Ha! I can barely manage the two of them. I just hope our gingerbread house stays together this weekend. I will consider that a win.

14. Such a pretty sparkle cake!

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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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This and That

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  1. If you haven’t read The Orphan Keeper, it’s amazing. It’s a true story and made me feel like I traveled to India!

  2. Lilac Girls and Small Great Things are probably the top 2 books I read this year. I would read them both!

    I need to get moving on my holiday baking! I haven’t started yet 🙁

  3. Lilac Girls is great. I highly recommend it. The Jodi Picoult book looks really good. I may get it for a vacation read.

  4. Just purchased on the recommendation of our local bookstore owner, The Essex Serpent, Sarah Perry.    I am 74 years old and I love your blog and make many of you’re ipes.  You are the best.  Enjoy fooling your family.  From Thomasville GA.

  5. hey y’all- great list- love the video! So happy that ya’ll are doing that. Jesus is the reason for the season!

  6. I enjoyed Liliac Girls, love the Jan Karon series, currently reading, To Be Where you Are by her. Will begin reading Bruno, Chief of Police series because I love reading books set in a beautiful setting like France!

  7. Stranger Things only gets better!!! It’s so hard to stop watching once you start. Loved, loved, loved watching that Light the World video – what a wonderful cause and thing to be part of. I especially loved watching the boys drop off the groceries – too cute. Thank you so much for sharing the cheesecakes!!! <3 

  8. I read “The Girl You Left Behind” by Jojo Moyes and “A Hundred Summers” by Beatriz Williams recently, and I really enjoyed them both. It’s in the Young Adult genre, but “What to Say Next” by Julie Buxbaum was a nice, refreshing read with “non-traditional” YA characters.

  9. Tyler Perry’s new book Higher is waiting was SO good! It was easy to pick up and read a few pages when I just had a quick minute…but it was very moving.

  10. Love the video and the spirit behind it. Your boys are so adorable and are learning the true meaning of Christmas.
    I am a former Kindergarten teacher and my assistant and I organized a Gingerbread House decorating week  every December. We pre-made the houses with small milk cartons as a base and graham crackers for the structure. The kids worked in groups of 4 or 5 , decorating to their hearts’ content, until everyone had a house to take home at the end of the week. We also did a wholistic literacy based  project around the Gingerbread Man story that usually lasted for 2-3 weeks. It was so much fun for the kids …and the adults ,too!

  11. try the author Lisa Jewell. A bit slow to start but pretty good. lots of characters. I’m reading The Third Wife right now

  12. The “thought a day” notebook looks awesome!! I would definitely love it use it. I am also planning on reading Little Fires Everywhere, which is another Jodi Picoult book, really soon. Looking forward to it!

  13. The OK To Wake clock you mentioned is my #1 favorite purchase EVER and a must have for children who are prone to wake up in the wee hours of the morning. I had to share a blog post with tips and tricks and dos and dont’s about how to make it work for your family and your kids. It has been a smashing success for our family–and I know it will be for yours! Lots of solid sleep ahead…

  14. The Nightingale: By Kristin Hannah. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, (you’re not sure which sister is telling the story until the end) separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France—a beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women