Christmas decorating has always been a great challenge for me, and sometimes my family teases me about being “the grinch” and there’s always a story or two about how I’ve taken down the tree on Christmas Day, while there were still guests in the house. I love Christmas. But we have always had a very small home – going from 1000 square feet to 800, and in the dead of cold, long, dark winter in Alaska, with the kids trapped inside, it gets even smaller. I feel claustrophobic with just the toys not put away, or if there is a project going on on the dining room table.

So I always keep my Christmas decorating to a minimum, and only have it out for about a week. The other great challenge with Christmas decorating is we live 350 miles from a Target. There is some shopping about 100 miles away, but with a one year old having to ride four hours in a car seat, trips to “town” are rare, and so full of necessities like doctor appointments, business needs and grocery shopping that I rarely just get a chance to shop for things like clothing or home decor. This is the big reason why I do so much DIY.

This year, my Holiday mantle is true to who I am right now – simple and DIY.

In a small space, wall decorating is your best option.  A few fun holiday pillow covers bounce the Holiday spirit around the room, and is just the right amount of Christmas decorating for our small space.

It was the Joy sign that made everything come together for me this Holiday season.  It is of course DIY.

For tools I used my Ryobi AirStrike Crown Stapler with 1″ long staples.  A brad nailer or even screws or a hammer and nails would do the trick too.

Whenver you use nails or staples, make sure you use glue.

I had some leftover strips of 1/2″ plywood that were 8″ wide and about 40″ long.  I simply glued and stapled to some 1x2s on the back.  If you don’t have leftover plywood, anything from cedar fence pickets to new plywood ripped into strips 8″ wide to a full plank of plywood would do the trick.  At this point, I was just using scraps to create an economical canvas for me to work on.

The plywood was reclaimed from some other project, and had this gray tint to it.  A gray wash paint treatment or gray stain would give you a similar look on new plywood.

I used a 1×2 to create my J and Y letters, leaving a 1x2s width around the outside, and then the letters themselves are 1×2 width wide.  The I just painted inside the letters with white paint.  

Then I just added a nail and hung a wreath on the nail (wreath is from Home Depot). My little niece helped out and was quite proud of the finished project too.

I love it, and hope you do too!

Want more Holiday Mantel inspiration?

Jen Woodhouse hosted an amazing blogger mantel tour this year – check out all the mantels below!

I’m so proud and humbled to be a part of this blog tour this year.  Aren’t they all just beautiful and inspiring?

Well, like you, today is going to be a busy one, with last minute gifts to wrap and a family Christmas party, so I better get to it.  

PS – Don’t forget to pin this wood Joy sign for next year!

Photograph by Jim Watson / AFP / Getty

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Donald J. Trump warned on Wednesday that a caravan of Democratic women was heading toward Washington, D.C., with the explicit goal of invading the nation’s capital.

Speaking at a press conference at the White House, Trump acknowledged that he had failed in his bid to stop the caravan, which is on schedule to arrive in Washington on January 3, 2019.

“The Democrats are responsible for sending this caravan, and, frankly, it’s a disgrace,” he said. “They are sending some dangerous women.”

Elaborating on the threat posed by the caravan, Trump said, “Some of these women have fought in wars. They have fired guns. One of them is a mixed-martial-arts specialist. These are women who will kick your ass without hesitating.”

Trump denied that he was irresponsibly stoking fears about the caravan of females. “Every Republican in Washington should be scared shitless of these women,” he said. “I know I am.”


How to Write a New Yorker Cartoon Caption: Jon Hamm Edition

The actor, who stars in the movie “Bad Times at the El Royale,” tries his hand at our cartoon-caption contest.

Satire from The Borowitz Report

Scott Walker had been an employee of Koch Industries since 2010 until he was unceremoniously dismissed.

Satire from The Borowitz Report

“Maybe if Facebook and Twitter hadn’t banned so many of my fake accounts, the results would have been different,” Putin said.

Annals of Medicine

Why doctors hate their computers.

The Current

As technology advances, we’ll have good reason to grow more skeptical about the videos we see. At the same time, we will struggle to make use of that skepticism.

Delish: Eat Like Every Day’s the Weekend

My family has never been the type to wake up on Christmas morning and sit around in our matching pajamas, but that might change this year. Taco Bell just released its holiday collection, and I’m pretty sure hot sauce packet onesies are something everyone in the fam can get behind.

Taco Bell teamed up with Tipsy Elves, and the duo (that already made T-Bell friendsgiving sweaters) created all kinds of fun taco-themed gifts fit for any Taco Bell fanatic. There are three onesie options: Fire Sauce, Hot Sauce, and Mild Sauce, and each has a hood. Imagine lounging around the fireplace with your family (or friends) wearing hot sauce-inspired onesies.

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Taco Bell

Each onesie has a ~spicy~ message printed on the back. Fire Sauce says, “I KNEW I WAS YOUR FAVORITE”. The Hot Sauce onesie has “I’M SPICY, DEAL WITH IT” on the back, and Mild says, “GOOD CHOICE.”

There are several sweaters and shirts in the collection, as well. One sweater features Santa on a taco-led sleigh. Another has the chain’s iconic bell and a border of tacos around it. The t-shirts have festive puns such as, “‘Tis the season to be saucy”.

The online shop includes two pairs of socks, which would be the perfect small gift or stocking stuffer for your T-Bell obsessed bestie. One pair has hot sauce in the shape of holiday lights!

Taco Bell

The rest of the collection has home accessories, including a throw and a hot sauce packet pillow, which says: “I can’t let you go.” You and your crew can lounge around and sip hot cocoa from a Taco Bell mug (there’s four varieties).

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Whether it’s a comfy sweater or pajama pants, any Taco Bell gift will be the main attraction at your White Elephant party or gift exchange. I would definitely trade my gift for hot sauce packet p.j. shorts, or a pair of Taco Bell socks. Wouldn’t you?!

There is many a way to ruin Christmas. A college-aged child could slam nine egg-nogs and pick that day to (aggressively) tell their mom that they don’t believe in God anymore. An uncle could decide that the dinner table is the best place to lay out his thoughts on America as an ethnostate. A grandparent could declare that noted hater of no one, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, hates homosexuals. You could barf in church from a Christmas Eve hangover. So many options!

Let’s go ahead and add being given a Mac and Cheese flavored candy cane to the list. We should maybe even put it at the top of the list because this is trash. The flavor is obviously a stunt, but the candy cane’s maker Archie McPhee sells it with a straight face on their website along with rotisserie chicken candy canes.

Macaroni and Cheese Candy Canes are a particular favorite of picky eaters. These candy canes taste like your childhood favorite — mac and cheese. It’s like comfort food-flavored comfort food! Macaroni and cheese has become a holiday family tradition in many parts of the country, so why not let our holiday candy reflect that?

No one wants this. No one. I don’t want my candy to taste like mac n cheese any more than I want my cheese to taste like a grape popsicle. If I want cheese I’ll eat cheese. This just strikes me as another case of science doing something without considering whether or not it should. This abomination is the Jurassic Park of Christmas treats.

The candy promotes its cheesy flavoring for cheese lovers everywhere. But that’s not all, Archie McPhee has released more gag-worthy flavors for the holiday season. If you like seafood try out Clamdy Canes. Meat lover? The bacon candy canes are more your style. And above all, the pickle candy canes will never lose traction on social media.

The one upside to the mac and cheese candy cane is to use it for a prank. An older brother could easily trick his younger brother into eating this garbage, causing the latter to gag in disgust while the former squeals with laughter. “Hey Billy, try this lemon flavored candy cane!” That’s all this is good for.

Write it on your wish list and ask Santa this year to bring you some Christmas Candy that tastes like he just pulled it from out of his pants. Let’s just be thankful you’re not getting coal candy canes this year.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, said Sunday that caravan migrants seeking asylum should be able to enter the country immediately, challenging President Trump’s efforts to keep them in Mexico while their cases are processed.

“That’s not the law. They should be allowed to come in, seek asylum. That’s the law,” Mr. Cummings said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Asked if he would support changing the law, the Maryland Democrat said, “No.”

Mr. Trump is seeking a deal with Mexico in which the thousands of asylum-seeking migrants massing on the southern border would remain there until their applications are approved, insisting he will close the border if necessary.

Mr. Cummings said he disagreed with the effort.

“I think we have a system that has worked for a long time,” the Maryland Democrat said. “This president’s come in, wants to change it. That’s up to him. But now the Congress has got to stand up, and hopefully they will.”

Mr. Cummings, who is expected to take over the committee in January, was also asked if he thought what Mr. Trump was doing was constitutional.

“I don’t know,” he said. “We’ll see.”

EXCLUSIVE: @RepCummings says he does not support a potential deal where asylum-seekers coming through Mexico would stay in Mexico until their court date in the United States. #MTP

Cummings: “That’s not the law. They should be allowed to come in, seek asylum, that’s the law.”

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…welcome to the Resistance.
Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Ammon Bundy is best known as a leading light of the American militia movement (a motley coalition of various different flavors of firearms enthusiasts who hate the federal government). He’s famous for getting into armed standoffs with federal agents and violently occupying bird sanctuaries. His friends are the kind of folks who co-chair pro-Trump veterans groups; his father is the kind of man who says, “I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro” — and proceeds to explain why black people were “better off as slaves.”

So, this being 2018, Bundy naturally just disavowed the militia movement in solidarity with the migrant caravan, suggested that nationalism is actually the opposite of patriotism, and said that Trump’s America resembles nothing so much as 1930s Germany.

Last week, Bundy posted a video to Facebook in which he criticized
President Trump for demonizing the Central American migrants who were traveling in a caravan to seek asylum in the United States.

“To group them all up like, frankly, our president has done — you know, trying to speak respectfully — but he has basically called them all criminals and said they’re not coming in here,” Bundy observed. “What about individuals, those who have come for reasons of need for their families, you know, the fathers and mothers and children that come here and were willing to go through the process to apply for asylum so they can come into this country and benefit from not having to be oppressed continually?”

Bundy went on to observe that “faith is the opposite of fear” and that “we have been asked by God to help, to be welcoming, to assist strangers, to not vex them.” He also provided his viewers with a quick fact-check of the president’s claims that liberal billionaire George Soros had orchestrated the caravan, and that there were terrorists embedded among the migrants.

Bizarrely, the following that Bundy had amassed by threatening insurrectionary violence against Barack Obama’s government did not take kindly to his call for solidarity with the oppressed of Central America.

“It’s like being in a room full of people in here, trying to teach, and no one is listening,” Bundy told BuzzFeed News this week. “The vast majority seemed to hang on to what seemed like hate, and fear, and almost warmongering, and I don’t want to associate myself with warmongers.”

Thus, Bundy shut down his social-media accounts Tuesday, and announced that he was cutting ties with the “patriot groups” that had once rallied to the cause of helping his dad shirk over $1 million in grazing fees. Here are a few other words of wisdom Bundy dispensed during his interview with BuzzFeed’s Salvador Hernandez:

“I believe President Trump, the best way I could explain it, is that he’s a nationalist, and a nationalist in my view makes the decision that best benefits the nation, not the individual,” Bundy said. “That is not freedom, and that is not what America was built upon.”

… “The time we find ourselves in now that is closest found in history is Germany in the 1930s, and they had a leader that was loved, and it was the same kind of following,” he said. “I don’t want to say there is that extreme similarity, but it very well could go that way, and people just give up their thinking, their rights, and they give up their government because they were so willing to follow him.”

As Hernandez notes, Bundy’s heretical hostility to xenophobic hate isn’t as out of character as it might appear to a lay audience. While the Bundys are heroes to a movement associated with militant nativism, they’ve always belonged to a peculiar strand of the American militia movement — one whose hostility to the federal government is rooted less in white nationalism than a libertarian Mormonism that honors the Church of Latter-day Saints’ traditional support for refugees.

Nevertheless, “woke Bill Kristol” (and woker Axl Rose) notwithstanding, anti-Trump Ammon Bundy has to be the #Resistance’s weirdest recruit yet.