Families That Play Together…

Stay together looking like fools.


Yes, we are that family. Go ahead and laugh and pin us on Pinterest. I know someone somewhere is looking for a tacky sweater theme for a family of five. We’re ok being weird and laughing at our tree selves!

We went to a tacky sweater party and we won a prize!! I’ve always wanted a Chia Head, as seen on TV!



I loved seeing all the creativity and so many people participating in a night of fun and festivus.


Life is good.

Our Christmas Tree Gifts

We had so much fun making and decorating our Thanksgiving Tree this year with leaves of thankfulness. We decided that we would make a Christmas tree next and decorate it with ornaments that described the gifts we all bring to this family.  We each took time to think about each other and what we like about one another and our family as a whole.  We joked about the negative stuff too and decided we’d leave those off, but that one could be really funny!

This was a really cool project, especially reading all the ornaments and stringing them on our family tree.


If you’d like to make your own family christmas tree, here is how we made ours:

– We first looked on Pinterest for Christmas Wall Trees but couldn’t find something we liked. Juliana had seen something on Buzzfeed that used tape and we liked this idea.

– We went to Michael’s craft store and purchased green printed masking tape with a pattern that won’t hurt the paint.

– We also bought precut snowflakes that actually had holes we could use to string them together on purchased twine. We bought craft paper and patterns to copy and cut, but when we found the precut ones, we decided to save time and go with the easy ones.

– I made a free-form Christmas tree with the masking tape. You could make it with just a triangle for the tree, and a small rectangle for the trunk, if you feel this might be easier. Then I cut twine to drape across the branches and taped them onto the tape from side to side, as we created the snowflake ornaments. Once the ornaments were done, I strung them onto the strings and taped them up again.

– The star on top was made by Charlie with pipe cleaners.

– I made a card and put this on the trunk that says, “2014 Hartley Family Gifts” and added more tape lines to tape up the card and to decorate the trunk.

Pretty simple and fun!  If you make one, I wonder if you can share your pictures in the comments??  That would be cool.

Merry Christmas!!  xo Adriana

Giving Thanks

I just got the Thanksgiving box down on Monday. In the box, I found some of our Thanksgiving thankfulness projects. We haven’t done something every year, but I do have a few mementos. In 2003, we made foam trees. I must have been inspired by a preschool project.


In 2004, we were thankful that Charlie survived and didn’t take the time to create another project.

In 2005, we made placemats with each of our homemade trees of thanks. They are sitting around our table now and we are all getting a kick out of what we were thankful for back then.

In 2006, we made bookmarks. I have these hanging on a mirror in another hallway.


We must have been really busy living and were not that creative in the past 8 years!!  This year we are settling again and are ready for another thankfulness project.

We looked on Pinterest, and both Juliana and I gravitated independently toward the same 3D tree idea. This morning the aha light went on, and after yoga I went to the craft store to get supplies and came home and began building our Thankful Tree to surprise the kids before they came home.

Later while I was out running errands, Charlie decided to adopt the tree and made it his own. He decided our tree needed birds, and proceeded to find the ones he liked, printed them, cut them out and attached them to our tree before asking what anyone thought of his idea. I loved his creativity and independence, even though this idea was NOT on pinterest and was NOT mine! Juliana was clearly bothered by his creative freedom and wanted them removed. Even though I preferred our simple tree idea, I loved his personal touch and ownership of our family project and I didn’t want to take away from his creativity. The birds stayed.  

We are creating our leaves of thanks and adding them as we think of ideas. I can’t wait to see how our tree grows.

We have so much to be thankful for. I hope the tree is overflowing in abundance and I wish you happiness, good health and peace.

What are you thankful for this year?

xo Happy Thanksgiving next week!  xo

Connecting the Dots


I love facebook and social media. I love learning and connecting and knowing what people are doing and thinking about and am curious about what they share and why they share what they share and how they’re feeling. I love people and I love that sometimes what others share inspires me and opens up my world to thoughts and ideas and feelings I might not have come across.

I can get lost in the connections that come from one post, that link me to a cool article, that links me to a brilliant author, that brings me to a personal website or blog or pinterest to see their interests and I want to know more, and then back to scrolling through facebook status updates again. This probably happens every day. Does this happen to you?

My favorite thoughts this week were sparked from a facebook status update posted by Cassia Cogger. She shared a link to the Good Life Project that was started by Jonathan Fields and I’m just in awe. This guy gets it. And the stories he is sharing, especially the one from Christina Rasmussen today, are the golden tickets. She talks about how to reclaim your life after experiencing loss, and how everyone experiences loss. She is brilliant. You’ll want to check out her beautiful soul, and leave the “waiting room” as soon as possible. I love when people can use beautiful, simple words and imagery to really describe our experiences that we don’t always know how to label.

My other favorite link I discovered this week came from a facebook status update from one of my Stella & Dot connections. She shared a link to an article posted on the Good Men Project blog about 25 Rules for Moms with Sons that was brilliant too. I hand wrote all her rules down, because when I write with a pen the information somehow seems to feel more important and the process of writing helps me to really think about the words more deeply. She has so many good tips to share and I’ve already started practicing some of these with my sons. Take a peek.

And I’ll leave you with a quote from Tabitha Studer’s rules about teaching your son to read that made me wonder and maybe understand why it is I keep writing every night. Thanks for sharing the journey and reading along with me. I hope you feel inspired and connected too. xo

“…writing words down is a way to be present forever. Writers are transcribers of history and memories. They keep a record of how we lived at that time; what we thought was interesting; how we spoke to each other; what was important. And Readers help preserve and pass along those memories.”