Friday, December 30, 2011


I am not big on New Year's Resolutions. (In fact, did I post about this last year? Something related to fitness? Clearly that didn't pan out). I do like to reflect on the past year and think, generally, about what I would like to accomplish in the new year, but I'm not one for grand statements.

That being said, I am feeling a bit like an old lady lately. You too? I just sometimes feel in a rut with everything - what we eat, what our house looks like, what I wear, how I do my make-up. Nothing life-altering or super important in the grand scheme of things, but I do think it is those little details that add up to a happier day and happier year.

So ... I am going to challenge myself to get outside the box a bit. I am frugal, but would like to add more color and fun to my life. I find some inspiration in these blogs and maybe you will, too.

Ain't No Mom Jeans - perennial favorite, check them often
Kendi Everyday - daily outfits, love the way she uses color
The Daybook - I just started reading this and really like the way she uses color. I dislike how thin she is immediately after giving birth, but I'm getting over that
Scout - A Mom's Guide to Stylish Living - this is a local KC gal
The Hairpin - I just randomly came across this blog and I find it very entertaining. Good writing on lots of subjects. In particular, I really like the posts by Jane Marie Feltes under How to be a Girl. She is a producer of This American Life on public radio which is one of my most favorite things in the world. Back to the point, though, her make-up advice is good entertainment. Not the look I would generally sport, but encourages me to be more creative. I confess that I am strangely entertained by watching makeup tutorial videos. I think it is kind of escapism from my normal life - who gets to sit quietly, drink wine, and do their makeup for 30 minutes? Sounds like bliss sometimes.
Pinterest - you are doing this, right? You must. It is a bit of a time suck at first, but becomes less so over time. My Pinterest feed is messed up and I don't think I get all new pins, which has helped with my addiction. I get all kinds of inspiration here. I like it a lot to catalog visual inspiration (clips from other blogs and stuff), whereas I still really like Evernote to catalog any text item (like recipes - can search by word).

Any good resolutions on your list? Where do you find inspiration?

Wishing you a Happy (and Colorful!) New Year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What to do now?

I'm not quite sure how to discipline my child now without the threat / promise of Santa and Nicholas the Elf.

So far, I've used painted toenails as a bribe ("tailnose" as Ellen calls them) ... I'll paint your toenails, but only if you sit still for 30 minutes after to let them dry.

"Ok, Mama. "

Friday, December 23, 2011


We were at Erik's work holiday party the other night and heard a cute story. One of his coworkers has a 4-year-old daughter who got really nervous last year visiting Santa and could only think to ask for marshmallows. Ha! Marshmallows it is (was). Her parents and family commented all year on how charming and sweet and funny it was. So ... year 4 ... she geared up for her conversation with Santa. She sat down on his lap, got nervous again, and could only think to ask for marshmallows!

Her parents will get her a few other special things, but it got me thinking ... how much do you pay attention to what your child asks for from Santa? Ellen has asked for NOTHING. Well, let me correct myself ... today I pushed her (yes, December 23rd) about what she wanted to ask Santa for. She was watching Cat in the Hat and asked (shockingly!) for a Cat in the Hat water cup. Ruh roh. Lesson learned. I will keep my mouth shut next time.

Though ... Santa pulled through on the water cup. Hallalu-yer!

Santa didn't go too crazy this year, though I think I over compensate because birthday and Christmas come so close together that I feel the need to stock up on some gifts for the year, but I think she would be happy with virtually nothing. If Santa brought a stack of copy paper and some Sharpies she would be thrilled. I buy her things because it makes me happy, but does it make her happy? I'm not so sure.

Life won't always be this simple ... in fact, this may be the last year ... something for you mama's with younger kids to keep in mind.

Happiest of Holidays to you and yours!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

You still have time!

I know you've seen this all over the Internets, but just in case ... get yourself a personalized Santa message! It's really cute and Ellen loved it.

Click here to see Santa's message to Ellen

My favorite part is his praise of her hard work on brushing her teeth every night because, YES, we have worked hard on that.

Happy, Happy, Merry, Merry to you and yours!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

In this season of sharing

Ellen graduated from Parents As Teachers this week. How is that possible? We talked about Kindergarten and everything, which is crazy town. Mind you, Ells has a late birthday, so she'll be almost 6 when she starts school, but still it's just right around the corner. (Literally, the school is right around the corner from our house and we talk about

Back to the topic at hand ... do you have a problem with sharing at your house? Ellen really does a pretty good job, for which I give full credit to daycare, but she does have her moments. Our P.A.T. educator gave us a good tip (especially for only children who don't have to share all day) ... have a chat with your little darling before a play date or big family gathering. Let them decide if there are 1 or 2 toys they don't want to share and put those away. Then, everything else is fair game.

We're hosting Christmas, so we might have to use this trick for a few of Santa's deliveries!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Best idea I've stolen this week

I still don't have our Christmas decorations up. Is it bad that I am dreading it? Yes, I think it is. I really do LOVE having a decorated house, and I love having the tree lit in the evenings when it is dark outside, I just don't like putting it all up. Or taking it down. This year, in particular, I am challenged with a new house and a new layout and no idea where to put things. Oh yeah, and no money for new stuff. Crafty holiday time at our house!

One idea I will be stealing, though, is to add a basket of all our holiday books by the tree for reading. We have tons of winter / Christmas / Santa books that I don't really know what to do with for the rest of the year. If you really had your act together, you could wrap each book and unwrap daily as an Advent activity. I don't have my act together (see above).

Also, while we're on the Advent topic, my sister-in-law sent us this awesome advent computer activity thingy. (My description is so appealing, right?) It is Jacquie Lawson's London Advent Calendar - you can see a demo on her website and it is some inexpensive fun. The animations are really charming and it doesn't really matter if you start it late!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

My favorite girl

To my most favorite girl -

Happy Birthday! I celebrate this special day with you, though I hope I have celebrated at least one little part of the last 1, 095 days I've spent with you. You have turned my life upside down, yet most of the time I feel that this is always the way it was meant to be. You are my buddy, my shadow, my comedian in the backseat, the thorn in my side, and the best snuggler I know.

Our year has been full of challenges and I have counted on your sweet smile, your smush-face kisses, your questions, your diversion, to get me through many a day. Life was probably more simple at your last birthday, but I hope our lives will be even more full and rich at your next one.

You amaze us with your memory, your kindness, your inquisitiveness, and your incessant talking. You are the soundtrack to my life, in the most literal way. I spend more time with you than any other human on this planet and your sweet giggle and full body guffaw (as well as your whines and tantrums) punctuate my days.

I love to get in the car with you and wait for you to say, "Let's talk about ...." (policemen, firemen, ambulances, our day, school ....). I hope you will always tell us about your days and talk with us about what is important to you.

I love to watch your focus - drawing is the most favorite activity of late - and I love that I feel I really "know" you now. I know what you will like and dislike and I feel that I can support your interests and encourage you to thrive.

I love that you love school and are so sweet to your friends. This year seems to have come with more separation anxiety and it tears at my heart to see you sad and missing me or your Dad, yet I also secretly love how you drag out our morning good-byes with "one more kiss! one more hug!"

Though your behavior may turn on a dime, you can be so charming and you love to tell us, "Mommy. Daddy. I love you so, so much." We feel the exact same way.

I can't wait to see what the next year holds. We love you to pieces, are so proud of you, and couldn't be happier to celebrate this special day with you.

Love, love, love,