Our Maple Tree

Keeping up with The Maples


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Mama + Mini Monday: Hearts

‘Tis the season for heart-shaped everything! It is so easy and fun to celebrate and decorate for Valentine’s Day. And with all the Christmas decor gone, Ada is loving all the heart shapes and fun colors! She has been loving how I cut her food into heart shapes. She just points at her pancakes saying, “Heart, heart!”

Not to mention, all the clothes for littles’ this time of year are so adorable! I just love all the hearts, cute sayings, and cheery colors!

Just like this sweatshirt and leggings from Old Navy. Not only are they super cute, but they are soft and warm. Perfect for this wintry rain we have been having lately.

We celebrated with our friends last weekend, by taking fun photos and eating homemade heart-shaped pizzas. You can find my favorite pizza dough recipe here. I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out pepperoni hearts (it was harder than I thought it was going to be!). But they turned out cute and delicious! 😉

The photo back drop was just plastic tablecloths and the two banners came from Target. The heart garland was something I made using my Cricut machine and bakers twine.

My t-shirt is from Hello Apparel and I have had it for years. They no longer carry this design but they have a sweatshirt that is similar that I love!

As you can tell, Ada was thrilled to have her picture taken with me. 🙂

But I was able to get a few good ones of Ada.

I hope you all have a wonderful week full of love and hearts – lots of hearts! 😉

“But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13


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A Broken Home

I come from a broken home.

My parents are not divorced. I have been so very blessed to have been raised in a home with two loving parents and siblings. I couldn’t ask for a better family. The broken home that I am referring to, is my home church.

When I was a child, my family and I went to an amazing church. The church itself was nothing much to look at. No tall spires, gleaming towers, or bells. Just a simple brick church with a small white steeple and tiny stain glass windows. What made this church so great, was the people. I bet you never heard of a child begging to go to church every single Wednesday night and Sunday morning. But I did. I remember one Wednesday night a snow storm came in and my brother and I were begging – no crying for our parents to take us to church. Of course, my dad took us and church services were inevitable cancelled. We were devastated. That is because going to this church, was like coming home.

This church was my second home. It was the most comforting, most secure, and the most happiest place of my childhood. I instantly felt better the moment I walked through those doors. The people that made up this church were the most loving, genuine, supportive, God-loving people I have ever met. It was the one place I felt like I belonged. And to a middle school kid, that meant a lot. Because isn’t that what we all want in life? To belong?

In this church, we did have separate groups and classes arranged by age. But a lot of the time, we spent it together as a whole congregation. One of my fondest memories, was getting up before dawn for a Easter sunrise service. We all met at the top of the hill behind the church and watched the sun rise, while our pastor would give a short sermon about the resurrection of Christ. Afterwards, we all headed back down to the church for huge potluck breakfast. All 250 of us, crowded into the fellowship hall and enjoyed a warm meal together at long tables – family style.

The youth group that I was involved with, is what made this church so special to me. We were a group of about 80 kids, ages from 6th to 12th grade. I know you won’t believe me when I tell you, but this youth group did not have any cliques. Unheard of, with a bunch of teenagers, right? But we did not split up into a bunch of different groups – we were one group. Everyone truly loved one another, respected one another, and most importantly, had a passion for Christ. It didn’t matter where we came from, how we looked, or how we dressed – everyone accepted everybody for who they were.

Every year, the youth group would go on trips called, Youth Tours. Over the year, we would put together a drama, filled with dances, songs, and skits. It was quite the production. We had costumes, fog machines, black lights, strobe lights, and all kinds of props and backdrops. We would then all pile into church vans and travel around the country to perform for other churches. I always had an absolute blast on these tours. I could go on for hours telling you funny stories about these trips. But the one thing I think I remember the most, is how many lives we touched with our stories and how our own lives were forever changed.

The youth tours taught me a lot. They taught me how to be brave, how to work together with others, and most importantly, they gave me a different perspective on life. Going to different places in our country, helped me to become more aware of the world around me and it opened my eyes to see the world as it really is. And to be honest, the world is a pretty sad place. But the youth tours also gave me hope. Hope that the world can one day see the Light, as long as we can continue to be the Light for the world.

Everything sounds so perfect, right? And it was for a long time. But as you all know, humans are not perfect. Because of our imperfect natures, my church fell apart – just like so many others. I do not know all the details on what happened and to be honest, I do not want to know. All I know is that I watch my home, my sanctuary disappear right before my very own eyes. What was suppose to be a normal Wednesday night service, quickly dissolved into people arguing, pointing fingers, and discord. It was like watching parents argue – the argument that you know down in the pit of your stomach that this is it. This is the argument that will forever change my family and my life. And just like that, my home church was no more.

Going through that was very hard for me and thinking about it now, it is still hard for me. But I believe that God gave me my childhood church when I needed it most. At a time when I was still figuring out who I was and figuring out my faith. I am so thankful that God put people in my life, as a child, to help guide me and to help my faith grow. It is because of them that I now have a strong, passionate, unwavering faith. When I look back on all my memories from that church, I remember them with fondest. I imagine that heaven will be something similar to what I had at that church. A big, happy family – laughing together, crying together, eating together, learning & growing together – but most of all, praising & worshipping the Lord together.

I know this post is different from the norm. I don’t really enjoy sharing these intimate thoughts to the world. But this past week, the pastor of this wonderful church, was killed unexpectedly in a car accident. So here I am, grieving over the loss of a friend and mentor. All the while, I am reminded of the loss of my home and my family. I will never, ever forget the time I had at that church and I will especially; never forget the fire, the passion, and the love that my pastor had for his church and for Christ.

I didn’t write this post to point fingers or to cast blame. On the contrary, I wrote it to share the deep appreciation I have for my childhood church. To publicly thank all who helped make me the person I am today. And even though my home church is broken, I still carry it with me everyday. Everything that I am, everything that I believe – it all started in that little brick church.


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Mama + Mini Monday: Gray & Pink

There is always something magical about snow days. Snow always brings such a beautiful peace. I love watching the snow fall, snuggled up to the fire while reading a good book. But now that we have a little one, all we want to do is enjoy the snow with Ada all day! So our days here lately have been filled with bundling Ada up, playing outside until our noses are red & running, then running back inside to warm up, peel off all of our wet layers to be dried in the dryer, make some snow cream, and then repeat. It is a lot of work, but it is totally worth it to watch Ada light up every time we go outside.

Taking our photos out in the snow, was so fun and probably my favorite pictures of Ada and I, so far! Tesla even join in on the fun!

Ada’s dress is from June&January. I love their dresses and Ada has a few in different colors. The white cardigan is from Target and the detail around the bottom is so sweet. Her rose gold shoes are from Livie&Luca – they have worked very well for her since she is starting to take steps. They are soft and bend easily. They also fit her feet better than StrideRite shoes. She has tiny, narrow feet and these shoes fit so much better.

It was all I could do to keep her from sitting in the snow. But she did manage to touch the snow – which she did not like. Hence, the face below.

Snuggling with this girl is my favorite. 🙂

My dress is my gray pinstripe dress from Kin&Kith. This dress is so versatile and I love how comfortable it is. My cream sweater is from Loft and this is my go to cardigan during the fall and winter months. It is so very warm (similiar)! My rain boots are from Joules and I love the height of them. Being a bit on the short side, these shorter rain boots work so much better for me. Taller rain boots hit right at my knees and it is hard for me to maneuver in them. My hat and scarf were Christmas gifts this year and I love the metallic rose gold thread.

I hope you are enjoying the snow and staying warm! Happy Monday ya’ll!


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Our Holidays in Photos

Our holiday season was sweet and simple, filled with family, friends, and good eats! 😉 We enjoyed spending Christmas with our families and had special visits from old friends for New Years. Ada loved every minute of it and I am so sad to see Christmas end. Ada is already missing her Christmas lights in her room and the choo, choo train around the tree. I am going to have to think of something fun and festive for Valentine’s Day just so Ada (& I) can enjoy another celebration. 🙂

One of my favorite activities that we did this Christmas, was taking Ada to see Christmas Lights in Asheville. It is a spectacular light show that you drive through and all the lights are schronized to Christmas music on a dedicated radio channel. Ada loved it! She just talked and pointed at everything as we drove by. It was simply the best!

Ada and I spend two days making Christmas cookies for our family and neighbors. She had a blast getting covered in flour and eating cookie dough behind my back.

Afterwards, we all enjoyed some milk and cookies by the Christmas tree.

Freshly made Christmas cookies, ready to be delivered.

For New Year’s, we stayed at home and enjoyed playing with Ada and her new toys. Her favorite – the elephant ball popper! But we also enjoyed some cake, sparklers, and champagne (for mom and dad)!

I made us some mini party hats and was delightfully surprised when Ada loved having it on.

I adore this picture! Just look at that adorable, cheesy smile! 🙂

Clapping in the new year! Ada’s favorite word right now is, “Happy”; because of us saying, “Happy New Year!” So now she is running around the house saying, “Happy, happy, happy!” Yeah – it is pretty darn cute.

I hope your holiday season was filled with love, family, friends, and happiness! And may God’s peace and joy continue to bless you all through out the new year! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year ya’ll!


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Christmas Family Photos

One of the things that I look forward to during the holiday season is making and receiving Christmas cards. It makes getting the mail everyday so much fun! I love seeing everyone’s beautiful families and all the different styles of cards. I have been using Shutterfly for our Christmas cards since we have been married and I have saved each one. It has been so much fun looking back and seeing how much our lives have changed from year to year.

This year we took our photos at my family’s farm. Our dear friends helped us take our pictures. It took a village – one to take the photos and the rest jumping around and dancing to get Ada to smile and/or laugh. My so serious child! 😉 But I love how the turned out and they will be treasured photos that I can look back on and remember this sweet time.

I just love these two!

Ada was really into growling at this time. Thanks to Halloween and Randy. 😉

And my favorite picture of all time! Definitely hanging this one up in our house somewhere! Those big, blue eyes – makes my heart melt when she looks at me like that.

Special thanks to Adam Zipperer for taking these great photos.

Merry Christmas from the Maples Family!


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Mama + Mini Monday: Emerald Green

Christmas is just 6 days away!! I am so excited for Christmas morning. I can not wait to see how Ada reacts to all the chaos of opening presents, eating cinnamon rolls, and being past around the family for some love! It is going to be so much fun!

Today, I am sharing another simple holiday outfit. I feel that the color green gets overlooked at Christmas time. Don’t get me wrong, I love red. And red pretty much looks good on everyone, but a beautiful emerald green is hard to beat. Today I paired my green top with jeans. It is hard for me to wear dresses or skirts right now, because I am mostly on the floor playing with Ada. I spend a lot of my days sitting on the floor while she sits on my lap or me getting up and down to help her walk around the house. So pants are necessary anymore. 😉 This green blouse is one of my favorites and I have it in cranberry red as well. It is comfortable, flowy, and flattering – what’s not to love? I bought them both at TJMaxx and have been hunting for more. There are a few options on PoshMark and eBay – just look up Violet and Claire blouses.

Ada’s shirt is from Kidizen – I cannot describe how much I love this app. I have found so many beautiful clothes for Ada already! I love the green flower with a gold button center. Such cute detail!

My little scooter is always on the move. She can crawl and stand while holding on to something, but her preferred method of transportation is still scooting on her booty. 🙂

This face though! How can anyone say no to this face? We certainly can’t! 😉

And my favorite gold velvet bow from Small Peanuts Shop is on repeat here lately.

She gets her silly faces from her mama. I’ll show you what I mean as soon as I can get a hold of my baby pictures.

My jewelry is another TJMaxx find. They are very unique pieces, I have yet to find anything else like it. The necklace and bracelet are even prettier in person. If anyone knows where I can find more jewelry in this style, please let me know! A sapphire blue would be gorgeous, right?!

I hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas week!


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Christmas at Home

I have really, really struggled on decorating our home for Christmas this year. I would put together something, then tear it down. Then I would hang up something, leave it there for a day or two and then tear it down again. I did this for about two weeks! But I can gladly say, that I have finally completed our decorations for Christmas! Whew! Just in time, uh?

Although I struggled this year, I love decorating my home for Christmas. Especially, since Ada loves it all! Every time she sees the tree she says, “Tree… Lights… Pretty.” It makes me so happy to see how much she enjoys it all. This season is just so joyous and I am grateful that I get to make beautiful memories with Ada and Randy! I hope you enjoy this little glimpse into our home!

One of my favorite Christmas decorations that I look forward to pulling out every year, is this nativity set. I love it and I am so glad that we have something like this to have as a family tradition and heirloom.

A special shout out to my dear friend who inspired my mantle this year. She had this gorgeous scroll hanging above her fireplace and I just had to have one, too! I have been looking for a Christmas sign to put above the fireplace for years now and this is perfect! You can purchase it here. She is working on some new designs that you can peek at on Instagram – there is one that I need for my bedroom…. now to convince Randy that I need this one too… 😉

We got to add another stocking this year! I couldn’t get her stocking last year because they sold out! So I bought it early this year. You can get these stockings here.

The tree skirt is from here.

I think these Santa hat glasses are so cute! I have had them for years and love drinking my eggnog in them! You can buy them here. And of course, one of my favorite candles that smells like Christmas! The white tray is from Pier1.

For our dining table, I used a wooden box that my dad made me. He used barn wood from his old barn. I love it and keep it out all year long.

We do not have a bar cart – which is sad! 😉 But I use this little corner in the kitchen to make our favorite drinks. This year’s favorite, Moscow Mules.

Happy Friday ya’ll!


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Holiday Gift Guide for Little Ladies

Deciding on what to get Ada for Christmas this year has been so much fun and at the same time, difficult. She is at an awkward stage right now. She is too grown up for the toys that were made for babies who are mostly sitting, but she isn’t full on walking yet. So she isn’t quite ready for the toys that require walking. But after weeks of searching, I think I have found a list of toys that she will enjoy; along with some items she needs.

I think Ada is going to love this Tubby Table, especially with the tea set. Ada loves to pretend eat. Her favorite toys right now are a bowl and a spoon, so I think she is ready to play tea. She is in desperate need of new bath toys, so I can not wait for her to try out this table! I also got her a few more bath toys since she hasn’t had any new ones for months now. I know that she is going to love them all!

Pjs are always a need for Ada (she is growing by the minute), and these lamb pjs are so sweet. Plus, Ada loves lambs.

It is time to start Ada’s Christmas book collection – this, Night Before Christmas, has great illustrations and the Mouse one is a favorite of Ada’s. And of course, adding an Owl book to her library is a must, considering how much she loves owls.

I have decided to try out this ball popper, since Ada loves to play with balls (when I take her to a toy store, she goes for the balls). Her mimi got her a ball pit a while back and she loves playing with the colorful balls. I think this will be a nice addition and might encourage her to start walking even faster.

These wooden cupcakes are so adorable! And I think Ada will enjoy having some play food and I look forward to the day that she can play with them in her play kitchen.

Ada seems to feel more confident in taking steps in shoes. I have tried stride rite shoes and they are way too big for her little feet. So I am going to try out these Livie & Luca shoes. Plus, they are the cutest shoes ever! I love the rose gold and vintage look. I hope they work out for her, because I love them! 😉

And a stocking full of things that she needs – new socks, a hairbrush that doesn’t hurt her, shampoo, and some new bows.

I can not wait to see the look on Ada’s face Christmas morning, when she opens up her presents! Although, I am pretty sure she is going to enjoy the paper and boxes more than the actual gifts. That is how it goes, right? Regardless, it is still going to be so much fun! What are your gift suggestions for toddlers? Hope you are having a great week!


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Mama + Mini Monday: Black & White

“The weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful…” This pretty much sums up our days here at the Maples’ house. It has been very cold and rainy for days now – the kind of weather that you really don’t want to take a toddler into. We have spent a lot of time snuggling up by the fire in our pjs. But we have gotten out and enjoyed some Christmas festivities. So today I am sharing a casual holiday outfit to wear when it is too cold to wear a dress! 😉

As I have said before, buffalo check is one of my favorite prints for Christmas. And the black and white buffalo check is perfect to pair with holiday colors. You can pair it with red, emerald green, metallic silver or gold. Today, we paired it with gold.

My shirt is very warm and soft – just perfect for these cold days (similar). My scarf is a favorite of mine. It is really soft, like a silky material and the color is the prettiest mustard/gold color. I finally found some black jeans. I have been on the hunt for a little while for black jeans and got them during the Black Friday sale at Loft. My black pom pom beanie is from TJMaxx, but you can find these anywhere. I have been wearing this hat on repeat because it is so warm and because, who has the energy to fix their hair during this crazy holiday season?! 😉

I purchased Ada’s shirt through Kidizen. Have you heard of this app, yet? A friend introduced me and I love it. It is a place to easily sell all of your baby’s clothes. And they have beautiful, practically new clothes for a great price. This shirt is from Gap (similar) and it was brand new with tags for $8! I love the details in this shirt – it has ruffles around the buttons and there is a metallic gold stripe woven in with the plaid – perfect for Christmas! I have started to sell some of Ada’s clothes, for anyone interested, go check us out (JamaMaples)! Ada’s bow is my new favorite. Small Peanuts Shop have the prettiest velvet bows you have ever seen. I really struggled to pick out a color, but you all knew that I had to get the gold one, right? 😉

As we were taking these pictures, the lights came one. Ada was so excited when they turned on. This girl loves her some Christmas lights! 🙂 #makesmyhearthappy

And some of my favorites. I love all the faces she makes. She is so sweet….

Well, most of the time! 😉

I hope you are all staying warm and enjoying all the fun that Christmas brings! Happy Monday ya’ll!


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Holiday Gift Guide

Happy Friday ya’ll! The weekend is almost here and so is Christmas! Thankfully, most of my Christmas shopping is complete! But there are still a few little things that I would like to get. I sometimes struggle picking out Christmas presents, especially for Randy. That is why I love reading blogs to get ideas and inspiration to help me pick out the perfect gift. So here is my gift guide for Christmas this year. This list is basically mine and Randy’s wish list this year, with a few extra items that we need.

For Her: Necklace / Mixing Bowls / Pom Pom Beanie / Candle / FitBit

For Him: GoPro / Camper Mug / Fleece Pants / Moscow Mule Mugs / Socks

 

For all the ladies, this necklace is so sweet! It is custom made and you can get anything stamped on it – a name, a date, etc. Such a sweet gift for a mom or grandma. I know it is on my wish list this year! 😉

A few days ago, I couldn’t sleep and decided to get up and make muffins for everyone. It was then that I realized that I do not like my stainless steel mixing bowls. They make the most awful clanging noise with just the slightest touch (which isn’t good when everyone in the house is still sleeping) and they can not be microwaved (which you need to do to melt butter). So I decided I was ready for different, prettier mixing bowls. I love the ones from West Elm that are labeled whisk, mix, and stir. But since those are no longer available, these will do just fine.

This candle is my most favorite candle of all time! No joke! It has such a nice clean smell and I love using it in my bedroom. But it is nice for anywhere! Also, I am in love with their fir & firewood candle for Christmas. Most fir candles smell disgusting, but not this one! Just try it – you will love it, I promise! 😉

The FitBit has been on my wish list for a little while, but I am glad I waited. Isn’t this rose gold one, great?!

Randy has been wanting a GoPro for a couple of years now; so I know that he is excited for Christmas morning (yes, he picked out his Christmas this year.)! Plus, we plan to use it as a family camera – I can’t wait to take some fun videos of Ada.

Randy can always use a new pair of fleece pants to lounge around in and his favorite ones are from REI. He also can always use dress socks for work. His favorites come from Banana Republic and they have fun Christmas print ones, too!

Happy Shopping! 🙂