Merry Christmas

I am so thankful to have you all here as readers during the year of 2015. Today, I hope you enjoy time with your family and friends. Christmas is my favorite time of year and I am so excited to have my family and close friends in town. It will be a little bit quieter around here until 2016 but then we will kick of the year with a bang! I look forward to all the great things that 2016 brings and I hope you will be here with me too.


Merry Christmas to you and yours. I hope you have a wonderful day.

Homemade Chocolate Syrup Recipe

Have I mentioned that my husband is a marathon runner?
He probably wouldn’t tell you himself unless it came up in conversation. He is too humble for that. This accomplishment is one of the many things that I love about him.
His reason for running….

“…because I can”.
When you ask if I will be joining him in this personal journey of new distances and times beat, my reply will be…
“I only run for chocolate”.

My Very Own Piece of Magnolia Market

close up

Usually, birthdays are amazing, exciting moments for me. This year my boys made me gorgeous cards and put them on my pillow to find when I woke up. My parents and in-laws sent my mad money to buy something special. My hubby asked and asked and asked what I wanted for my birthday dinner.

However; this year I had no clue. In fact, I really wasn’t hungry.

I’m not sure what it is, but this year, I really wasn’t into the whole birthday celebration.

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DIY Chicken Wire Message Board


My husband has been asking to build a garden full of fresh vegetables for a long time now. I have always been in favor, but we could never find a place for it. After thinking on it for awhile, we found a spot in the front yard and Matt got to work.

He up-cycled old pieces of wood, our wonderful neighbors gave us some dirt that was left over from their front yard project, we bought some chicken wire to keep the deer out. Then we all went and picked out the fresh, organic veggies….beans, watermelon, strawberries, lettuce, cucumbers.

Oh, I can’t wait to have strawberries and lettuce!

And as Matt was walking around the perimeter of the garden putting up the fence, I noticed that there was going to be left over wire.

The wheels started turning and I knew I would be putting that to good use.

So I searched the basement for an unused frame and made a few Miner adjustments. “Lettuce” get to work, shall we? Sorry, I couldn’t resist!

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May Day Craft: Paper Butterfly Box

Hello! Jennifer from Satsuma Designs here and very excited to be back at Just Us Four blog – thank you Shannah! At Satsuma Designs, I create Seattle-made baby products and content that help make caring for kids as easy as child’s play. At my blog, you’ll find crafts, organizing tips, recipes, holiday and everyday treats to delight you and your kiddos. Come by for a visit!

Do you and your kids love to surprise neighbors and friends with May Day flowers on May 1st? We do and if it’s not raining in Seattle this year, I want to drop a little butterfly on each doorstep to welcome spring in with a bang. Here’s an easy May Day craft to try with the kids. My Paper Butterfly Box requires only a few materials that you’ll have on hand and what’s more is that you can fill each little box with leftover Easter candy!

may day craft paper butterfly box pin

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Shopping CB2 – Brasil Style #CB2NovogratzBrasilSweepstakes

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of CB2 for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

CB2 is a one of those stores that is filled with high style and lots of design inspiration. Now, CB2 has partnered with Robert and Cortney Novogratz to bring the influence of Brasil into a new the new CB2 and Novogratz Collection.

The collection is filled with warm wood tones and pops of color.  It brings in the fun of a vacation home in Brasil to your home.  A few of my favorite items from the collection

I love the bright colors that are intermixed in the collection.  It is just enough to really make the items fun but still fit well into any home.  The Rouge Coffee Table is definitely my favorite item in the collection.

In addition to offering access to some high style inspried by Brasil through the new CB2 and Novogratz Collection, CB2 is offering a chance to win a trip of a lifetime in the CB2 and Novogratz Brasil Sweepstakes.

The grand prize winner and three friends will win a one week stay at the vacation home of CB2 collaborators Bob and Courtney Novogratz in gorgeous Trancoso, Brazil.  In addition, 10 other lucky winners will receive $100 CB2 giftcards along with a personally signed copy of the book "Home by Novogratz".
Want to enter to win the trip of a lifetime? I know I do!  Visit here between now and June 3rd for your chance to win one of the amazing prizes being offered from CB2.
I started following CB2 on Facebook to keep up with the sweepstakes {who knows, maybe I'll know the person who wins big…like you!} and other offerings from CB2. 

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Changing Tastes Means House Upgrades

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Moen, Incorporated for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

We moved into our house just about 3 years ago.  When we bought the house, we immediately painted all the walls and made some pretty big decorating decisions prior to living in the house.

Well, a ton has changed since then.  Our tastes have definitely changed from a more box store catalog look to a preferences that skew to a more collected look where everything isn't matchy/matchy. 

One of the rooms getting the biggest changes is the kitchen.  When the house was built and all the interior  choices were made, the buyer was single guy with no eye for any kind of design at all.  The cabinets match the floors and absolutely DO NOT match the countertops.  We've slowly been making changes in the room which started with cabinet knobs and then furniture. 

The next change I have my eye on is the faucet.  We currently have the original builder's faucet and it is starting to show some major wear.  One of the faucets I have had my eye on is the Kiran Spot Resist one-handle pulldown kitchen faucet.
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I love the stainless steel finsih on the faucet and feel it will go much better in our updated kitchen than the current dark {almost black} faucet we have right now.  Plus, the faucet is spot and fingerprint resistant which is perfect because I always have little kiddos touching it or getting water everywhere. 
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The faucet has an awesome high arch which is definitely own trend.  The pulldown design makes it extremely functional and useful for when I am doing dishes or working in the sink.

With the Moen name behind it, I know I am buying a quality product too.   I have even been out to Lowe's to check out the faucet and am saving my pennies for the purchase :)

I started following Moen on Facebook and Twitter.  Following your favorite brands through social media is a great way to keep up with info on their newest products and get tips on using the products.

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Heating Efficiently: Pellet Stoves

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Harman Stoves for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I am always searching for ways to be more responsible to the environment while also not breaking the bank.  For most households, their biggest expense during these cold winter months is heating.  Unfortunately, heating homes can also be one of the biggest contributors to environmental pollution too.

A popular heating alternative is a pellet stove.  Pellet stoves cost {on average} 44% less than oil, 47% less than electric and 53% less than propane heat.  Plus, biomass fuels used in pellet stoves are composed of renewable, carbon-neutral products so they are extremely environmentally friendly.  You can learn more about pellet stoves here
Pellet Stoves are Awesome

Another perk of pellet stoves: The federal tax credit on 75% efficient biomass heating appliances was reinstated on January 2, 2013.  The bill includes a "tax extender" which provides a tax credit for qualifying biomass-burning stoves. The credit is 10% of up to $300 on a qualified biomass heating appliance purchased between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2013! That makes a pellet stove an even better way to save on home heating costs.

One of the leaders in pellet stoves is Harman Pellet Stoves.  Dane Harman designed and built his first Harman stove in 1979 in an effort to reduce his family's heating costs. Now, after more than 3 decades, the Harman brand has 36 models of heating equipment including pellet stoves, inserts and home heating units.

Harman Pellet Stoves is giving away a journal sized notebook made of recycled materials to one Just Us Four reader! 

Want to win?  Simply visit Harman Pellet Stoves and then leave me a comment telling me what you like about the company or their products. 
The contest will run for 7 days and a winner will be drawn and announced here at the conclusion of the contest period.

Also, be sure to connect with Harman on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

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The Updated Blog

So, last week, you guys got a fun surprise and new blog design showed up here!  Monica, from Designer Blogs, worked her buns off to create the awesome design and all the great stuff that went along with it.  If you are shopping for a new blog design, I HIGHLY recommend them {and no, they did not pay or perk me to say that}!

A few of the highlights of the new design:
– Drop down menus: This will make it easier for you guys to find posts that fit into the categories you are interested in.  These do require me to update the categories on all of my posts which is a slow process so be patient with me…I will get them all organized!

– New Buttons:  Yep, those changed too!  Please be sure to update the button on your page :) You can grab the code from the sidebar or by visiting the Grab a Button page.

– Additional social media buttons.  You can now follow me via Google+ and BlogLovin simply by clicking on the icons in the sidebar.

– A fancy new picture.  I have the lovely Elevee Photography to thank for my awesome pictures.  My friend, Kere, hooked me up with some Stella & Dot jewelry to wear and Erica worked her camera magic.  I’m still trying to decide which picture is my favorite so you may see that picture in the sidebar change a few times :)

– LinkWithin – Now, each post has links to other relevant posts at the bottom. I hope it helps you find more content that interests you!

I think those are the major highlights of the blog design.  I had a great time working with Monica and she really helped me put my ideas into a real website.

Your Vote Makes a Difference

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of White Cloud for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I have a huge soft spot for anything child related.  My son has spent enough time in the doctor's office or hospital for children with illnesses to really get to me though.  Each year, we do our best to give back to charities and organizaitons that benefit children in need by donatining money, clothing, toys and our time.

White Cloud, the makers of facial tissues and toilet paper, has teamed up with one of those organizations too: Children's Miracle Network.  They collected artwork from kids in the 168 Children's Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals as potential new covers for the White Cloud tissue boxes.  Once all the artwork was collected, they narrowed it to 10 finalists.

That's where you and I come in!  The 10 designs can be found on the White Cloud Facebook page so fans can vote on their favorites!


Three winning designs will be chosen and printed on special edition White Cloud Facial Tissue boxes that will be sold exclusively in Walmart stores during the month of May.  Find a store near you!
In addition to featuring the designs, White Cloud will also be making donations to each of the CMN hospitals with winning designs.

Now, helping to score money for hospitals that serve children just by voting is a piece of cake.  But, there is some icing to that cake!  Fans who vote for the designs will be offered a chance to enter a sweepstakes to win $25 Walmart giftcards.  Three grand prize winners will get a one-year supply of White Cloud products.  Like White Cloud on Facebook to get all the details and keep up with the announcements.

Now, what are you waiting for?  It is time to vote.

Voting App

Abbreviated rules (a.k.a. legal mumbo jumbo that is important):  No purchase necessary.  Void where prohibited.  The CHilren's Miracle Network Contest and Sweepstakes are sponsored by Kruger Products (USA), Inc.  The Contest is open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, between the ages of 4 and 14, who are eligible paitents at one of the 168 participating Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.  The entry period for the Contest begins on November 29, 2012 and ends on December 28, 2012.  The Voter Sweepstakes is open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, 18 years of age or older.  The Voter Sweepstakes begin at 6:00pm ET on January 3, 2013 and end at 11:59pm ET on January 30, 2013.  For official rules, visit

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