Simply Spooky

Halloween last year was pretty darn awesome. The fact that it’s on a Saturday this year could be a good thing…or not. We’re hoping that it will, at the very least, make for a more relaxed day. We can visit the grandparents early in the day to show off the little guy’s costume, maybe do some baking or movie-watching, not have to rush for trick-or-treating (although we’re only going to hit a handful of houses, like last year), then finish the night with some hot cider or cocoa and popcorn. I mean, really, what’s better than that?

Of course with baby stuff going on, my brain has been all over the place lately. I keep telling myself to get going on the little guy’s costume…then work on something for the baby’s room, or a writing project, or planning for school…and it doesn’t get done. It’s time to change that! I’m sick of having half-done projects EVERYWHERE. But, we’re hoping to simplify stuff to the point of “that wasn’t so bad”, if you catch my drift.
When Hadman was a baby, he was a giraffe. (He was only 3 months, so it wasn’t even really a costume as much as just an outfit and we didn’t necessarily “do” anything for it.) The following year, we got a Snoopy stuffed animal and did the Charlie Brown thing, which was pretty rad. Then, last year he was an apple. Clearly he’s starting to have a say in what he gets to be.

So, what did choose this year? Unfalteringly, he selected…ghost. The classic ghost. 

I remember stories of my big brother tripping over his sheet ghost costume a million times on the steps, and having the eye holes shift downward while trying to walk. Sounds like a good time for all, right?

Let me just say: Thank you, Pinterest!!! I ended up finding this spooky (and safe!) inspiration from Parenting magazine, and was hooked…

ghost

Not only is it WAY safer, but it’s adorable, classic, and kitschy…just like our kid! 

So, I’m doing it a bit differently. I’ve assembled a thrift store ladies’ white long-sleeved t-shirt for the base (going to trim and hem the arms), black felt to make the mask (which I can’t wait to add to his dress-up box), black (and white) sneakers, and even a pair of black and white striped leggings.

I may switch those leggings for black sweat pants if it’s cold (please…no…snow). Here’s what I’ve got left to do: cut out the mask, make the white hat (probably from an old t-shirt), and alter a white pillowcase to fit comfortably over top (if I can find a reasonably-priced pillowcase; seriously, how are they more expensive than the frickin’ sheets?!). If there’s time, I may get some gauzy tulle to go over top and some white gloves, but I’m not worried about the small stuff.  

Oh, and we’ll be putting out our jack o’lantern and painting a teal pumpkin like last year to let folks know we have allergen-free goodies. This year, we’ll be handing out more of the glow-in-the-dark teeth and spider rings from last year, comic books the Dorky Daddy has stocked up on, and I DID grab a couple of bags of Surf Sweets goodies. I wrote a piece for them awhile back and am in love with their products AND ethical, inclusive practices! (Plus, I can trade out some of the candy Hadman gets with these and he won’t know the difference. Candy = candy.)

So, slowly but surely, it’s coming together. I love hearing the ideas that kiddos (and parents) come up with for costumes every year. What’re your little ghosts and goblins going as this year?

Or, better yet, what was YOUR favorite costume ever? I loved the year my mother switched my costume, last-minute, from a princess to the Tooth Fairy (since I was missing 3 or 4 front teeth at the time). She’s super creative that way.

Christmas in July

My mother had a tendency to be early…for everything. I kind of agree, and get anxious when we don’t leave early (or, God forbid, when we leave late!). But, one thing I remember her saying a lot over the years is that when we were kids she liked to get her Christmas shopping done by sometime in September. If she could do it before school started, all the better.


The poor woman can’t do that anymore since it’s like pulling teeth to get lists out of all four kids, spouses and grand kids. I get it. We’re annoying. 😉

But, this year, I’m hopping on the “the earlier, the better” bandwagon. With a second little one coming mid-November, my usual Black Friday fun with my sister will have to be skipped. Heck, a lot will probably get skipped. But, Chrismas fun? NEVAAAAHHHH!!

We actually have a stash that we add to throughout the year for monkey, anyway, so we’ll be inspecting that to see what, if anything, we need to round it out. (Figuring out his size will be a challenge for clothes.) Dave and I have a tradition of taking a Saturday to shop together for a couple of special little guy gifts from Santa and getting coffee or lunch together, so we’ll most likely drop him off to the grandparents and take the little one with us to do that again.

Otherwise, I’m already searching the interwebs for deals. There are a handful of things we need to buy for the baby, so my eyes keep wandering, but my focus is CHRISTMAS SHOPPING. Lots of online sources are touting Black Friday deals in July, so I’m hoping to stock up and get some stuff off my list sooner rather than later.

So, here’s my strategy:

Paring down. Since my side of the family is doing the “only buy stuff for the kiddos”, that cuts back on the number of people we need to buy for. We will still always get something for all of our parents since they do SO much for us. I’m also hoping for “quality over quantity” for Dave and I, too, and will be setting a smaller limit than usual for ourselves and the kiddos. They’ll still get stuff, but a reasonable amount, especially considering that our extended family will be getting them stuff, too.

Infant gear. We’re not buying a ton of stuff because, well, we have a lot. However, because Hadley was a summer newborn (and some of the stuff has worn out), we’ll be in need of some new clothes. In advance, we’ll be getting some new cloth dipes, a new carseat, and some cold weather essentials. However, we won’t need a million outfits because that’s what we’ll get (and ask for) for Christmas, along with a couple of other baby items.

Keep things flexible and open. It seems the closer to “Santa time” you get, the more the list grows, doesn’t it? The week of Christmas, it’s common for a kiddo to add one thing they RRREEEEEEAAAALLY want. Hadman was so all-over-the-place in the past that it didn’t matter if Santa missed something here or there. This year, I’m asking early, working on the list *together*, and getting stuff early. However, this is why Dave and I have a shopping date closer to December — just in case there’s an item that we’d really like him to have or that he adds.

Organization! Lists are the only way I sleep at night, I swear. So, I’ve got a Google Doc of my list and everyone who needs to be gifted. (I’m also going to have a list of the to-do’s as far as pre-baby planning and when we get closer to the holiday, too.) Seriously, savior.  

Do as much online as possible. Sure, I could schlep out with the 3-year-old to try to buy full-priced stuff in the stores…but isn’t there a better way? Yep. Shopping during naptime in your sweat shorts with free shipping and pretty decent deals? I’d call that better!

Am I the only one who is planning for (and starting in on) Christmas now? Can you blame me, though, really? 😉 Honestly, if I don’t start planning now, I’m going to put off any thoughts of what’s to come (and, honestly, it makes the baby feel more “real” when planning for after he/she comes) and find myself completely unprepared.

And you know that I’m starting to browse Pinterest for simple ways to celebrate Christmas (along with space saving nursery ideas).

Driving

The first time I tried driving, my mother took me to the same spots she had taken my three siblings. We started in our church parking lot, which went quite well. She was so confident in my ability that she let me hit the mean streets of Mohawk. Everything was going fine until it started raining, hard, at which point I fiddled switches until I had my lights and wipers going. By the time we got home, we were getting angry beeps and shouts. My high-beams were on. (In retrospect, I’ve seen people do this and while people might get irritated, it seems like all these people were having a REALLY bad day, excessively freaking out.)

My mother was at the end of her rope. It wasn’t a huge deal, but she angrily slammed the door and muttered throughout the kitchen that she “couldn’t do this one more time; three was enough.” I understood. She had already diligently taught my brothers and sister how to drive; her wits were shot. But, it still saddened me. 

But, then appeared a beacon. My normally quiet stepfather chimed in. “I can teach her to drive. I’m sure she’ll do great.” 

It was the first time that I found myself excited to spend time with him. For the previous two years, I had made life for Jerry a veritable hell under our roof. He was one of the kindest people I had ever met, yet the simple idea of him and his entrance into our family, I took like an immature brat. There was a lot of hurt in my heart and I thrust it all upon him in heaps of the silence treatment and corrections (I’ve always been the grammar police, but his intelligence has always been of a technical/mechanical ilk; thus, I attacked). 

So, we hit the road a few times. 

That summer, I signed up for driver’s ed classes. The instructor had warned us not to do “too many lessons” since he’d have to fix incorrect driving methods. Unfortunately, I was stuck with a different fellow and had next to no skills aside from the occasional drive. He took to taunting me in other classes (a friend relayed to me) and cut my confidence down. Far. I learned next to nothing from the man but to fear driving and hold the wheel. I improved, much to his chagrin, but only from Jerry’s efforts.

The only bright spot that summer were the rides I took with Jerry. Getting behind the wheel with him was a joy rather than a lesson in humility. We would listen to the oldies station (which we both enjoyed) and he would simply tell me to drive. He would sometimes lean back in the seat and pretend to take a nap; he was actually quite awake, keeping an eye on me, but silently reminding me that he trusted my driving. I only got us lost once, and he immediately knew what strange back road I had happened upon, getting us back on track without a single scold. We would often end up at a local ice cream joint before heading home. 

Any time we had an errand to run, I drove, learning how to park in the busiest of situations. He took me a couple of times to try 3-point and parallel parking; with him, it was easy and simple compared to the high-stress situation at summer school. When I suddenly returned knowing how to park, the instructor was palpably frustrated. It felt great.

I “passed” my class, but continued driving with Jerry. He brought me to my driving test and happened to know the gentleman overseeing the thing; distracted, the man signed off on my sheet before I had clicked my buckle. Luckily, I did fine (well, my parallel park was kind of crappy; I’ve since mastered it) and earned my license.

That winter, as a good-sized squall started outside, he called out to my mother that we needed to go pick up some ice cream. Why on Earth he wanted to get ice cream was beyond me, especially with an impending blizzard, but I went. He hopped in the driver’s seat. After driving a block, he pulled over and told me to get out. We switched seats and headed to the next town, back tires shifting and sliding in the building slush. On the way home, the snow had become white-out conditions. I was at the front of a row of drivers, but he kept me calm. He explained that I should follow the ruts of the driver before me and how braking is an entirely different beast in the snow. Every time I’m caught in snow (which, in Central New York, is about half the year), I remember that experience. 

I have since learned countless other lessons from this man. He couldn’t wait for me to get my first house and help me fix it up; turns out, he also ended up teaching my husband (who has been such an eager learner, I couldn’t be prouder) about plumbing, electrical, and hundreds of other home improvement things. Now that Jerry’s older, we find ourselves sad to think that he won’t be as hands-on with any future home we finally hunt down.

But, beyond those practical lessons, he has become a guide. Time changes minds and hearts, and through his quietness, occasional common sense opinions, and dry but hilarious sense of humor, he has made himself an essential cog in our family. There was a time that I insisted that any child of mine wouldn’t call him “Grandpa”, but today I welcome the name (although Hadley actually refers to him as “Papa”, which is just fine). There was a time I wanted Mom or maybe my dear grandfather to walk me down the aisle; on the special day, I instead asked Mom and Jerry, both, to be at my side. 

There was also a time that I could picture him outlasting all of us, with a youthful energy and endurance to undertake more puttering and heavy-duty outdoor tasks in a day than a man a quarter of his age. Unfortunately, while he’s still as virile as any of us, he has been forced to slow down by some health complications. We are reminded that we will not always have our practical guide to turn to, and it brings me tears to think we’ll lose another father. When I hear people younger than him complain about getting older and “not being around forever”, I find myself angered that they don’t do more with their youth while they have it. Jerry is no self-pitier, nor should anyone be.

So, with Father’s Day upon us, I hope this year to salute not only the father of my children, whom I am grateful for on a daily basis, and all the fatherly figures who have touched our lives and hearts in so many ways, but specifically Jerry, who gets little credit for the huge job he has happily taken on. For those fathers who may not be related by blood, but have quietly fought their ways into our rude little hearts. For those fathers who had a choice, and regardless of the mountainous task ahead, took that choice to be someone’s father and to fill the role.

And for teaching me how to check my oil, I thank him. 

Five Yummy Treats for Your Easter Basket

Monday, I shared with you guys what fun stuff the Easter Bunny likes to stuff H-man’s basket with. Today, I thought I’d mention the “other” goodies he sometimes gets.

Yup. The food!

As I mentioned Monday, we don’t go overboard on candy. He gets a little from other family members, so we try to maintain that whole “moderation” thing. If he’s going to be getting a buttload from either Grandma (or even aunts or uncles who like to make him up a little bag), he doesn’t need a lot at our house.

But, that bunny’s gotta bring SOMETHING, right? Here are some of our favorites to include:


YumEarth Organics Gummy Bears – The ONLY things H has mentioned the Easter Bunny bringing are “fake eggs” (the plastic that we reuse every year; he’s still a bit too messy for real coloring) and “real gummies”. That’d be these! I can attest, too. They’re delicious.


Annie’s Homegrown Bunnies Baked Snack Crackers – We’re not usual Annie’s buyers anymore. Ever since their buy-out, we’ve decided to stop eating cheesy crackers. But, since this is a special occasion (and bunnies are PERFECT for Easter!), we make an exception. I’ll buy little baggies to put these in so that he gets basket-sized treats. (Also works for Christmas stockings!)
Surf Sweets Organic Jelly Beans – Dave’s a jellybean guy, so I’ll probably grab a few bags of these for a communal bowl of yummies. We’re so lucky that these are carried at our local grocery store! (I’ve written a couple of articles for this company, so I get pretty proud seeing their products locally.)

Annie’s Homegrown Chocolate Bunny Grahams – Just like with the cheesy ones, these bunnies are perfect for celebrating the holiday. They’re whole grain and may not be organic, but have far less “junk” in them. 

Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups – Our little man isn’t a big chocolate guy, so I’ll get these to see how he feels (if they have milk chocolate, I’ll get those). And if he doesn’t eat them? Well, you know I’ll be happy to help out. 😉

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I just read a blog post that makes me think about today’s topic, so I just thought I’d put my two cents in. The blogger pretty much thumbed her nose at people who “make” their kids eat fruits and vegetables, among other things. (We actually provide the food and if he eats it, great; if not, he won’t die.) By no means do I think that everyone needs to eat this way. We’re far from healthy (today’s list is all processed foods!) and definitely don’t go out of our way to change people’s minds. I’m not here to brag about all we’re doing or guilt-trip you for choosing traditional candies.

Heck, I look forward to grabbing one or two of the traditional snacks at my mom’s Easter shindig (but it’s just not worth it to buy an entire BAG if we’re not going to eat more than a couple).

What’s right for us may not be right for you. So, if your family loves Reese’s peanut butter eggs, regular jellybeans, and chocolate bunnies, go for it and enjoy! Just sharing what we’ll probably be including in our basket this year. 🙂

On another note, what are your plans for Easter? Staying home with the family? Having extended family over? Going to an egg hunt? Can’t wait to hear!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. All this means is that if you make any purchase through Amazon links above, I make a tiny percentage of the sale. Thanks for supporting us!

5+ Great Simple Ideas for Non-Food Easter Goodies

Happy Monday, guys! Can you believe Easter is in less than a week?? Today, I’m sharing a few simple ideas for Easter basket gifts, aside from the candy.

We keep the sweets at Easter to a minimum. Sure, we still enjoy a visit from the Easter Bunny, and our little man definitely gets his fill of candy (a small amount of organic from the Easter Bunny and some of the “traditional” stuff from his super generous grandmas), but as far as what he gets for the day, the candy isn’t the main event.

We don’t treat the holiday like the next coming of Christmas, either. It’s a pretty low-key day for us. We have a couple of family events, so it’s really all about the FUN FUN FUN rather than the STUFF STUFF STUFF.

That said, here are a few of our favorite non-food treats for H to find in his Easter basket that never get old:


Clockwise from top left:

Urban Infant Chunky Chalk – This will be the first year we take to the streets for some sidewalk graffiti, but isn’t it fun?? Since spring is just around the corner for us (or already underway for some of you), Easter is an awesome excuse to give “think spring” gifts.

Ollie’s Easter Egg – We have multiple of these Olivier Dunrea board books with feature various adorable fowl (chicks, geese, etc), but any books your little one will enjoy (Easter-related or not) will be fine. This is one area that I don’t mind overdoing a bit. 😉

Kids Tool Set – Another beckoning of springtime, these tools will allow the whole family to get their hands dirty this planting season. Yes, it’s messy, but it’s also incredibly fun, educational and rewarding. Toss in a couple of organic seed starter kits (from the $1 area at Target, score!) and up the excitement level.  

Zoe b Organic Fantastic Beach Toys – Any little beach toys or ball or pail will work, but we like to give any new “summertime fun” stuff at Easter time. Feel free to include a floppy hat and sunglasses if you want.

Melissa and Doug Sunny Patch Turtle Bubbles – We ALWAYS got bubbles (and jump rope, which Hadley’s too small for yet) in our baskets. Even on the coldest Easter, we’d beg to go outside and blow a few bubbles. It was heaven when it was warm enough to actually do so, but most of our memories involve frozen fingers and very brief outdoor visits.  

A few more ideas…

Clothes – I know, boring, but depending on the season (and if he’s already got sneakers he’s using or not), we’ll include a pair of sneakers or sandals, and maybe one outfit. It’s a fond memory of mine to have our white canvas “play” sneakers peeking out from the top of the basket.

Stuffed animals – We’re not huge stuffed animal fans, so sometimes we’ll reuse a forgotten little bunny or chick here and there. May not be able to do that for much longer, though. 😉

Coloring books and crayons/markers/watercolor paints – This one’s always a hit, especially if you buy a book with some favorite characters. 😉

Play-Doh – I know it’s not super eco-friendly, but just one new canister of a new color blows his mind. Sooooo, yeah.

A figurine of some sort – We’re into the Fisher-Price Little People ones, so we’ll grab one of the two-packs to fit in the basket if he doesn’t have too much yet. We definitely try to keep tabs on how much he’s getting!

I’m hoping to be back this week to share with you some food treats that the Easter bunny does bring. We’re not complete monsters, y’know. 😉 They might just give you some new ideas of what to give your little ones!

Feel free to share any additions you’d like to make in the comments!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. All this means is that if you make any purchase through Amazon links above, I make a tiny percentage of the sale. Thanks for supporting us!

  

St. Patrick’s Day Green

I’m an Irish girl. Er. Irish-American. Whatever. But, still, the vast majority of my ancestors? Irish peasants. I’m fascinated and proud of the heritage.

That said, I’ve never used the traditional “Irish” holiday as an excuse to drink. It’s an awesome holiday, of course, but the people who tend to go all out (whether Irish or not, whether they know a lick of information about St. Patrick himself) make me shake my head. I still remember going to a college class on St. Patrick’s Day only to observe heads in garbage cans and bodies of passed-out people riddling the common areas. At 9AM. I’m not a prude, but… No. Words.

But, if you’re planning on hitting the pubs this year, try a different green beverage before donning those green beads.

We recently tried out this recipe for super-simple “beginner’s luck green smoothie.” Dave hadn’t jumped on the smoothie bandwagon yet, and none of us had tried a green smoothie. Of course, Hadley LOVED the thing, and Dave enjoyed his more than I expected. Our variation of the original goes like this…


Beginner’s Luck Green Smoothie
(adapted from 100 Days of Real Food’s recipe)2 cups spinach
1 cup milk (any kind)
1 cup water
1 banana, in chunks
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup pineapple chunks

Blend the spinach with the liquid until smooth. Then add the rest of the ingredients and blend until you’ve reached the consistency you prefer. (Add more liquid if you like it thinner, or use all frozen fruits or ice cubes for a thicker consistency.)

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Ours was perfectly sweet with the mix of banana, strawberries (which Hadley requested) and pineapple (although the pineapple admittedly left a few random “strands” of texture here and there), but you could drizzle in agave, honey, or a sprinkle of sugar if you need it. 

Leftovers might just help alleviate a hangover. *wink, wink*

And if you wear some green in celebration (or, um, drink green beer), here’s a little trivia for you: The green (of the Irish flag) doesn’t represent the green grasses and shamrocks of Ireland so much as it does the many Irish Catholics who died at the hands of Protestant rulers. In the 1700s and 1800s, while England and Ireland clashed, Irish persons were hanged for wearing green.

So, please. Wear it proudly.

Or drink it proudly, as the case may be.

Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Crafts

Happy Friday the 13th! So, the one and only way that we get anything done around this place is by taking everything in several small steps. That said, it’s no surprise that I just finished our Valentine’s Day crafts last night. Under the wire, yeah!

I love what we did SO much and for several reasons. One, they’re completely handmade. Two, they’re 100% F-R-E-E. Three, they’re easy enough that even H and I could do them (albeit over several days). Four, and most importantly, they’re downright adorable.

Here are the Valentines we’ll be giving the special ladies in H’s life:


All I did was give him a white piece of construction paper to paint. We stuck the paintbrush in a mix of white and red, then random splotches of magenta which ultimately gave for mostly pink splotchfest artwork. Then, just last night, I cut the art into three strips and free-handed Xs and Os (as you can tell…fancy) that I then glued to more folded white construction paper. Instant card!

The fact that he wears my old theater shirt from my high school senior year as a smock melts my heart. That thing has splatters from every set I ever painted, and now splatters from every piece of art he has done.

Anyhoo, I love that this art was free form and simple. The only instruction he needed was “here’s some paint, go at it!” He’s still not great at taking directions, so the fact that I took what he created and made it into something practical is pretty rad. Oh, and it has a total Eric Carle vibe to it, which I absolutely adore.


In that last picture you’ll also notice a rainbow heart stack. We started with this tutorial and simplified it to only a few colors. Simply put, I cut down a diaper box into 1″, 2″, 3″, 4″ and 5″ squares, had him paint them, cut them into hearts and glued them together. Then, I punctured holes on the top and strung them with some kitchen twine, and ta-da! Cute little decoration and gift in one.

So, that’s it! Cards and hanging hearts, but they were made with pudgy little fingers and love.

Did you make anything homemade to celebrate V-Day? Food? Gift? Do tell!
(I’ll be back tomorrow with my clean eating challenge. Half way, folks!)

Christmas 2014 Recap

Holiday greetings, all! I’ve been in denial about Christmas being over; gotta ease into it like a cold pool, y’know? So, while working hard at avoiding the letdown (let’s face it; it’s depressing) and getting very little done otherwise, I thought I’d share a quick recap of our holiday this year.

Our actual get-togethers were awesome, and we were extremely lucky that gifts were kept in check (and what we did get were so thoughtful, sweet, and useful). By other “green mama” standards, we personally went overboard, I’m sure. By the standards of other parents, we probably did too little. But, for our purposes, it was perfect.

Here are some of the year’s superlatives as far as gifts (although it’s clearly NOT about the presents, but…y’know)…

Best “Free” Present – Dave and I agreed to “get” each other a free gift this year. Mine ended up being a few “gift certificate” type things (like purging/organizing/zen-ifying the office), which are fine but kind of lame. HE, however, made me stationery. Not just normal stationery, though. Included are envelopes and sheets of paper specifically to write Hadley letters, to be opened at special days (or not-so-special) throughout his life. Talk about a tear or two (or a dozen). So. Darn. Sweet. So, yeah. Dave won by a mile.

Hadley’s Gifts – We also ask Hadley what he’d like to get each of us (um, separately…in secret), which is fun. His suggestions for Dave changed daily, although he always went back to, “A car. A real one. Big. For him to drive.” Uh, no. Apparently he suggested the same to Dave for me. (A toy one wouldn’t do.) Finally, he landed on tools, which we picked up individually at Lowe’s, along with a couple of framed pictures for Dave’s desk. Dave proudly bought exactly what Hadley had told him – every day – to get me: red socks and apple pie (a Hostess, which we normally wouldn’t get). It was the sweetest gift, guys, seriously.

Most Successful Toys – Our little guy’s not hard to please. I grabbed some last-minute wooden train tracks to add to his collection (which he’s been using constantly) and any of the Lego sets he received are a huge hit. But, honestly, he seemed to enjoy absolutely everything (even some of the clothes) and is learning the “appreciation” part of the season.

Oh, and I love that he finally has a play knife (and wooden fruit that he can cut), some pie (um, I made more felt food as his “handmade from Mama” annual gift) and Santa’s felt board. I’d do a tutorial for the board, but it’s so simple I’d feel silly. I ended up using my upholstery stapler to staple the background felt on, then cut out simple shapes (you do NOT have to be artistic to do this!) You can even just do shapes; kids don’t care!

“Made” the Holiday Present – I guess this could be considered a “free” present, too, but the best part of the holiday this year was walking into my mother’s house on Christmas Day to find our out-of-town brother had traveled home to surprise ALL of us (our mom included). I immediately cried. It was insane and perfect. The fact that Hadley is still talking about the family members he now has much stronger connections to (especially Uncle Ryan, the relative that likes to rough house) is heartwarming.

The Grown-Ups’ Favorites – So much of this year was about awesome experiences, I feel guilty picking my favorite gifts. I got an eco-friendly pot from my sister (which was equally touching that she thought about what I’d like rather than just getting another pot) and  renewal to Ancestry.com from my mother-in-law, but generally all those practical things (and the books from Dave) touched my heart. Oh, and “turkey joints” (a local candy) is always a super special treat. Oh, and if I had to pick for Dave, I’m pretty sure his set of Batman (the entire 1960s show) was his absolute favorite.


From our family to yours, we truly hope that you had a glorious holiday full of new and happy memories. I do hope to get myself motivated this week (I’m actually feeling a little rundown, so hope that I can keep it at bay), but if it doesn’t happen until later in January, so be it. Is anyone else feeling like that this holiday season?

New Year Intentions

res-o-lu-tion (n) – a firm decision to do or not do something


in-ten-tion (n) – a thing intended; an aim or plan


I feel like there’s a big, mildly depressing letdown after all the Christmas cheer and busy-ness has come and gone, and the dull, cold winter ahead can appear daunting. The one bright light in the midst of it all comes from the freshness of a new year, and along with it the opportunity for internal (and external) transformation.

I have nothing against resolutions. I’ve flipped and flopped about whether I’m for or against them, and I know myself well enough to admit, simply, that they’re not for me. The idea behind trying to improve oneself or one’s life is awesome and I’m totally on board for it, but for the sudden, rigid change that is needed to accomplish a resolution is the reason that diets don’t work for many people — it’s so sudden, it’s so strict and all-or-nothing, that it’s near impossible to hold oneself to such high standards, no wiggle room allowed.

So, this year, I’m choosing to make intentions. As you see the definitions above, an intention seems more flexible, less strict, and even a less stressful of a decision. We can aim for a particular goal while making steps, big or small, along the way. It’s definitely a slower, more intentional (see? Intention?) way of hopefully putting forth positive change in your life.

Here are some of my goals and a few of the steps I hope to take as part of this new year:

Get healthier. I love that this isn’t a specific goal beyond FEELING healthier. A little at a time, I’m hoping to get our diet even cleaner (we’re currently pretty much natural and organic, but still need to eat more ‘real foods’) and have finally told Dave that, yes, we’re going to take part in a CSA when the season comes. It wasn’t worth it, financially, before because much of the stuff we’d be receiving wouldn’t really be eaten by 2/3 of the family. I’m determined to make it work, though, and to start diversifying our diets. Oh, yeah, and I need to get into yoga or SOMETHING again since I’ve fallen off the “exercise for energy” bandwagon.

Enjoy gardening. I’ve had issues with our garden (last year was a complete failure thanks to neighborhood cats), but I think that if I learn to enjoy the process of gardening, I’ll be more successful with it. That said, I’ll do smaller-level gardening due to the CSA I already mentioned.

Embrace the happy. This is probably the biggest of them all. I try to do this currently, but being more present and seeking out the simple joys of our family life is a priority that needs to be appreciated. This also involves our quality of life, which means that we may be doing some house hunting and some other changes may be on the way. Even in the midst of changes, though, it’s important to remember that it’s not important to seek out “bigger and better,” but rather to take the everyday miracles to heart.

Write more and find opportunities to share it. I’ve finished the premise of one children’s book and have one or two stories on simmer, in addition to the writing I do for Green Child Magazine, but would like to find other opportunities to flex those writin’ muscles. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed doing (or else I wouldn’t blog, of course!), so nose to the grindstone! The steps here include regularly hunting for freelance opportunities, searching for writing competitions to enter, researching publishing options, and partaking in writing prompts. Bam.

Blog focus. I’m still not super happy with the look of this tiny corner of the blogosphere, so I hope to work on the aesthetic. Also, though, I’d like to get the business side of things and, of course, quality content organized. Hand-in-hand with this is the fact that I’ve been slowly but surely saving up for a DSLR camera, so I’m itching to finally buy the thing (and take some online classes to get to know it).

Continue to simplify. This time of year, we always do a big purge, so that’s nothing that new. However, especially with the thought that we may be moving, I’m hoping to REALLY purge every last thing, keeping only what will truly serve a purpose. Simplification can also be seen figuratively…so, yeah, I hope to do that, too. 😉


What about you guys? Share your resolutions/intentions/goals for 2015 in the comments and we’ll be sure to send you positivity and support for achieving them!
   

Wordless Wednesday

What better day than Christmas Eve to share a Wordless Wednesday? Here are a few moments from around our house lately…


Sharing our cookie…

Making gingerbread boys ‘n girls…

This last shot is one of two handmade projects for Hadman’s Christmas. I decided not to kill myself over them and chose just ONE type of felt food — he requested “pie” for Christmas, so of course I took him quasi-literally — and a felt board, which I’ll show in the future. Oh, and Santa’s giving the felt board. I’ve given him fake felt food in the past, so it’s clearly a “parent gift.” It’s also pretty cool that we can keep adding to his collection depending on his interests. Oh, and the textured one is apple and the other is blueberry (or use your imagination, really). 🙂


And, last but not least, our wish to you all. Thanks for reading, and we truly hope that you have a joyful holiday season.


How’re things with you guys? Ready for Christmas? I’ve got a little last-minute wrapping and one quick project to finish, aside from a couple of recipes and probably one or two “oops, forgot that!” loose ends to tie up. We’ll also drop off a neighbor gift and a treat and coffee at the police station before joining one of our family celebrations tonight. Let the fun begin!