A Christmas Evening at Home...

We spent last night celebrating our own Christmas.  It was relaxing, chill, and exactly what we needed before a busy next few weeks.  Enjoy your own holiday time with family or traveling or whatever you do!

Christmas 2012 from Leah Rife on Vimeo.


Merry Christmas!

I have been so bad about posting regularly...life gets crazy in December.  (New Year's resolution...be a consistent blogger.)

Well we are bustling and hustling around here to get ready to leave tomorrow.  We are headed back to Landon's parents' house to enjoy the next week and a half celebrating the holidays.  I am planning on making some Christmas treats to take, we have almost all the gifts wrapped, and I am searching for a book to check out of the library to take...I'm thinking a good mystery.

Landon will work in their Columbus office for a couple days after Christmas, so I get to tag a long and stay in the hotel and go out with him in the evenings.  We'll leave Finn with his grandparents and they'll have a great time.  We treasure those times when we get to spend alone time without our sweet baby boy.

I must admit, there have been a lot of things lately that have gotten me feeling blue despite all the holiday cheer.  The tragedy of lost lives, the mad materialistic dash I see every day, some decisions that are popping up for Landon and I to make very soon...it's all a little overwhelming.  But then, I looked closer and I saw and heard things that inspired me and completely blew all the sad or anxious things out the window.

I heard about how my boss and her husband sacrificed their entire Christmas to adopt two families in need...and gave generously to them without thought or care about themselves.

I saw my dad lead a group of people from our old church back home to spend their entire day ministering to the elderly and shut-ins and bringing cheer to those that don't have family or can't get out anymore.

I heard about how my mom has taken the time to listen and hurt with a fellow student in her study group who has experienced loss these last few months, and makes time in her busy schedule to be available to just listen.

I heard about how my sister made a small (but big) gesture of giving, and paid for someone's coffee...and she didn't even know them.

I witnessed my husband excitedly give away a huge chunk of his bonus, and all of his birthday money to a cause that brings clean water to those without.

And I was concerned about finding the right outfit to wear to Christmas Eve, or if we'll be where we want in a couple months, or if I have enough chocolate to make truffles.....

See, even though this world is full of hatred and loss and evil, I still see a glimmer of light and kindness and self-sacrifice.  The little things that I get anxious about each day don't really matter.  I see how I am loved by an amazing group of people, and how I am loved by an even Greater love than those.  This season isn't about Santa or elves or cookies; it's about sacrificial giving, self-less-ness, and unconditional love.  I am so inspired and humbled when I think back and reflect on all I've seen this season.  I hope that you are inspired by things you see in your day to day tasks, and that you would also take some time to reflect on if you've been able to give freely to someone as others have done before.

Merry Christmas to you all, and the happiest of New Year's!!


the guys...



I love watching Landon and Finn interact.  Yesterday after Landon got home from work, we had a play time in our driveway.  Finn loves the open space to push his toy around.  It's so nice to breathe in the cool air and feel toasty warm when we go back inside.  The cold won't stop us from having a good time outdoors!

Also, just got a sweet tip from my sis that Starbucks is doing a BOGO on their holiday drinks today through Sunday during the afternoons!  Well, now I know what Landon and I will be doing this weekend.  Thanks for the tip, Hannah!


mama style: coconut oil uses...


I have been using organic coconut oil for about a year now, and love it for its many uses in beauty, health, and the kitchen.  After reading an article about coconut oil, I went to Whole Foods and picked up my first jar.  Now, a year later, I'm still finding new ways to incorporate it into my beauty routine and everyday diet.
Here is a good article on the benefits of using this amazing oil.  Top on the list for me is heart health, and boosting metabolism...things I'm sure I will care more about (and should) as I get older.

Some of my favorite uses for coconut oil are:

*Skin - I use it on my lips and face as a moisturizer, and it also works great on pregnant bellies to prevent or control stretch marks.

*Teeth - Have you ever heard of oil pulling?  Neither had I until a few months ago.  Here's the video I watched, and now I regularly practice oil pulling.  A nice side effect of this practice is natural teeth whitening.  After only one time, I noticed my teeth were brilliantly white, similar to using the whitening strips.  Now, I have a perfect way to rid my body of toxins, and get a great smile at the same time.

*Diet - After learning of the many health benefits of using coconut oil in my diet, I now try to incorporate it into our meals at least once a day.  It's a great fat to put into Finn's oatmeal in the morning, and I also love to add it to my eggs or toast instead of butter.  It has a slightly sweet taste, but it's very pleasant, and not overpowering.  Here's a good blog post on ways to use coconut oil in your home.

Things I'm wanting to try with coconut oil but haven't yet:

*Hair - I've been reading on how you can use coconut oil to condition and repair hair, and I'm hoping to try it soon!

*Natural Diaper cream - I am still doing some reading, but I think I can use coconut oil as a cloth diaper safe cream.  Finn has very sensitive skin, so it would be a great way to keep him comfy and not ruin our cloth diapers in the process.

*Homemade natural sunscreen - I found a recipe, now I just need to make it!

Needless to say, there are so many uses for coconut oil, and I just love that I can buy one product instead of 10.  Better for my health and body, and better for my wallet.

What about you, do you use coconut oil?  And what's your favorite way to use it?


mama style: lips...




I have only bought lipstick twice since being married, and I was looking for something new and fun for the holiday season.  My sister-in-law told me about lip stain, and I found this one at Target recently.  It's lip stain with balm, so it doesn't dry out my lips, and the color stays vivid all day.  I normally don't wear lipstick, as it tends to leave my lips dry, but I am loving this stain!

Landon is taking me to his work Christmas party in a couple weeks, and it's a fancy affair this year, so I'm putting on a dress and heels, and this lip stain will complete the look perfectly.

I will be posting some other fun beauty tips this week that I've learned in the past year or two, so stay tuned!


things i relish...

*authenticity and openness

*seeing my breath in the winter

*watching my son's face when he sees his dad come home in the evening

*licking the brownie batter out of the bowl

*warm fires and cozy blankets

*seeing someone help another person when I'm out and about

*listening to someone's life story

*good books and long naps

*a beautiful wedding photo

*the wind in my face

*peanut butter on bananas

*cafe string lights lit up in our bedroom

*getting hugged by my good friends

*watching my niece smile

*avocados with cheddar cheese

*stories of sacrifice and redemption

*hot drinks

*seeing a breathtaking landscape for the first time


*being alone after a day filled with busy things

*singing softly to my son as he cuddles against my chest

*playing my violin

*sitting with my husband and talking about life, dreams, and everything else


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