my first christmas as a wife and stepmom

Christmas this year was a different experience for me than years past. As a new wife and stepmom, my perspective changed as I planned Christmas for my own family instead of merely being a participant as a daughter and sibling. I definitely garnered a new appreciation for my mom and all the Christmas seasons she's made special for my siblings and I over the past 30 years.

It felt like I blinked and the holiday season was suddenly upon us. I guess that's what happens when you get married in November. It was fun decorating my own home for Christmas and combining Dale's decor with mine (I admittedly have too much Christmas stuff that I still need to downsize).  Decorating our new home together for the first time, I also made some compromises for the sake of simplicity and budget.

5 things I've learned from my husband

36 years ago, on a cold, snowy day in Michigan, my husband, Dale Roland Earl, was born. He loves Star Wars and prefers Captain America to all other superheroes. A wicked smart archaeologist and graduate of the University of Utah, his mind never ceases to amaze me. I love being able to talk with him about everything from bacon and donuts to politics and spiritual experiences.

Dale's sense of humor matches mine perfectly and when no one else might understand something, we just get each other. He is also a truly devoted father, a trait I find extremely attractive and endearing. I've told him a million times that it's one of the reasons I fell in love with him.

10 stocking stuffers for her (all under $15)

Truth be told, I created this post for rather selfish reasons. This is our first married Christmas and consequently, first time doing stockings for each other. Stockings have always been my favorite part of Christmas morning. So to help my darling husband out, I put this little stocking stuffers list together to give him some ideas. Hopefully you get a few ideas for yourself or others too!

I'm all about budget-friendly items so everything listed here is less than $15 with most things actually coming in at under $10. That way you can actually afford to fill a stocking and still get quality presents.