Dear Father Time: SLOOOOOW DOWN!

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I can’t wait to put up my Christmas decorations…but I must. Alas, lately there is not enough time in the day to do much of anything besides, work, eat and sleep. Pre baby, I woulda had all the halls decked by now. Now I’m just hoping we get the tree up for a picture.

I plan to actually send out those picture holiday cards this year. I’m fairly lazy when it comes to cards but I figured now that I have an adorable little lad, I wanna show him off to those that care. Here’s hoping I can get it done before thanksgiving or RIGHT after.

I’m not expecting we’ll have time to put up lights this year. It seems many wrenches are being tossed into our already busy lives. For example, getting sick, bad weather, and car problems have made a mess of what little extra time we have.

Oh and did I mention my little peanut is not so little anymore? He’s growing up so fast, literally. He’s in the 90th percentile for weight and is practically the same size as his one year old cousin (he’s almost 6 months). And everyday he is doing something new, I swear! He sits up all by himself, he grabs anything he can get his hands on, he says “dada” non-stop, and he’s a champ at gnawing on fruits and veggies (we’re doing baby led weaning, google it!).  I’m trying my best to keep up with photos and videos but I need to remind myself to be in the moment more.

Well, enough of my complaining! I’m going to turn up the Christmas music and Falalalala my way to a happy New Year! May you all have a wonderful Turkey day with those that matter most!

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6 DIY Christmas Gifts Anyone Can Do That DON’T Suck!

We live in the DIY era (if you disregard colonial times…), embrace it! People like making things (it’s especially handy in this rough economy). You just feel so good when you can DIY. How can you not? It’s creative, financially responsible and often environmentally friendly with upcycling. It can bring people together too. Craft parties are all the rage these days, at least in my little mom circle.

I love DIY stuff, especially when it’s simple and pretty neat. I love to receive gifts people made too! To me, it means so much more when someone put effort into something instead of simply clicking ‘add to cart’ or picking up a gift card. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never returned a gift card, but when someone put something together for me and added their own creative flare, it feels like it truly came from the heart. So I’ve compiled a list of some cool DIY gifts you can make for friends and family for the holidays. The key to DIY gifts is to think to yourself, would I like this if someone gave it to me? If you’re not big on it, chances are you’re friend isn’t either. Also, utilize your resources. Have tons of recycling every week? Look into the millions of neat things you can do with glass jars. Have kids? Grandparents love to receive things the little ones helped to make.

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http://youresomartha.wordpress.com/2012/12/22/handprint-ornament-diy/ <—-Tutorial

1) Handprint Ornament: Here’s a great way to exploit your child’s adorableness and gift it to friends and family, maybe more family for this particular present. Who doesn’t love kid hand prints? This would probably work best for a little tyke. But it’s so simple! You probably have all the ingredients and tools already: flour, salt, water, oven! You might have to go out and buy the polyacrylic spray to turn it from cookie to ornament, but otherwise this is a fun, family project. Add your creative elements with words, designs and paint.

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http://paisleyfarmhouse.com/tags/chalkboard-plate <—-Tutorial

2) Chalkboard Plate: I made these last year. It’s very simple. The trickiest part was putting the tape along the round edge. A square plate would be ideal. I also gave out a little picture frame stand to set the plates on. This can make a great message board on the counter or if the plate is somewhat ornate you might want to hang it on the wall.

infused olive oil

http://www.justputzing.com/2011/12/diy-infused-olive-oils.html?crlt.pid=camp.XO8846JJTItS <—Tutorial

3) Infused Olive Oil: These look so tasty and are pretty easy to put together. You can pick up adorable little bottles at your local craft store and they’re fairly inexpensive. Just put your infusing ingredients in and pour in the oil (olive, sunflower, etc). Some ideas: Rosemary, Garlic, Chili Pepper, Lemon, Basil, Oregano or some cool combination works too! Use a corked bottle since a metal top can rust.

watercolor portraits

http://growcreative.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/easy-watercolor-portrait-tutorial.html <—-Tutorial

4) Water Color Portraits: This seems tough, but if you have patience and a steady hand it’s really not too bad. Make sure you read over every step of the tutorial before you get started. These pictures will look chic and fun in any room! Doesn’t have to be your kid, could be a pet, yourself, an object, etc., probably nothing with too much of a background though.

tic tac toe

 

http://scrapmatters.com/news_sm/heatherw/sept11/sept11_p3.htm <— you have to scroll for a sec to find this tutorial

5)Tinny Tiny Travel Games: Perfect stocking stuffer for the kiddos! Looks like a piece of cake to put together. Magnetic pieces make this ideal for travel. Parents and kids alike will enjoy this small token of your affection.

old book marks

 

http://greenpaper.typepad.com/green/2009/12/now-the-clean-up-begins.html <—Tutorial

6) Book Marks: What a neat way to get a little more mileage out of that dusty old book that’s falling apart and taking up space! This is the perfect DIY gift for the bibliophile in your family! And it’s practically child’s play to put it together! Maybe add some beads to the ribbon or use a permanent marker to embellish the design on the spine?

Welp, hope you enjoyed my little list. Now go get craftin’!

 

 

 

Ladies Nights Out Are Good for the Soul!

ladies night

Moms: if you get a chance for a ladies night, TAKE IT! Don’t have any friends? Go with relatives, co-workers or something but get girly and go out! It can do wonders for the soul!

I was lucky enough to have one recently and it was a blast. We decided to try this new place that opened up in town called Uncorked Creations. You go with some friends, a bottle of wine and some snacks and they teach how to paint an awesome picture! I hear these kinds of things are popping up all over, maybe you’ve got something similar in your town? If not, you should definitely open one! I had seen the Facebook page for the place full of photos of people and their masterpieces and they all looked great. They insist you don’t need to have any experience and I was wondering what the secret was. Turns out they draw the picture on lightly with pencil and then tell you what colors to put where. I’m glad they did, because after a glass or two of wine, I think my painting might not have turned out so hot. The instructor was very cool. She is due to have her own little guy in just a few months, so we ended up chatting about mommy hood and all that.

It was so nice to unwind, be creative and chat with the ladies. It felt good to dress up and get out of the house as well. Getting out of the house was a key element in the evenings success. I originally wasn’t sure what time my husband would be home and as an alternative my friend and I decided to go out and buy the necessary supplies to have our own wine and painting party after I put my son down for the night. I’m so glad my hubby got home in time, it wouldn’t have been the same. We would have had to be quiet and not really make too much noise. And I’d still be on mom duty if he woke up for any reason.

After a long week with the hubs staying late for work and meetings and whatnot, the time out was just what I needed. Getting back into the routine the next morning was a welcomed pleasure instead of a monotonous job. I’m hoping to be able to have these nights out every once in awhile. I mean, it’s basically Doctor’s orders!

 

 

The Mall Stinks, Literally!

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I had this idea to start walking in the mall with my son in his stroller. We usually hit up the park or go around the block, but when the weather is bad we can get a little stir crazy cooped up in the house all day. So I thought the mall would be perfect. It’ll be cozy and warm and sheltered from rain and snow. Maybe I can even get a little Christmas shopping done and the little dude can be entertained by all the people, sights and sounds. 

Today we put this idea into action since it was rainy and cold. I was very excited because I planned to stop and get a tasty coffee to sip while we strolled. It was a nice calming walk. However, this is one of the first times in my life that I went to the mall without a shopping plan. I had nothing in particular to get and no stores I needed to stop in. This gave me more time to really take in the mall experience and to be honest, it felt a little icky. The glow of the lights and stores is actually a bit harsh. It seemed like all the shops were pulling out all the stops to get you to unload your dollars in their little nook. They tried every trick in the book, from pumping out loud music to filling the air with strong perfumes. I’m not big on perfume to begin with so for me, it was a huge turn off. And now I’ve had my wee one subjected to the noxious fumes too! There were over eager sales people all up in my face along with big ol’ signs about the imminent holidays, amazing deals, and exciting promotions. I felt like I had walked into the pumping heart of commercialism and it was sucking me in. 

That said, I’ll be back. It really is a great alternative to the park when it comes to getting a little exercise in yucky weather. And all the stimulation excited and exhausted my tiny tot. 

 

Photo:http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=successful-salespeople-have-moderate-temperaments

Post Apocalyptic Hydrangeas

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I’ve never claimed to be a green thumb, but I didn’t realize how scary plants can be! 

When we moved into our house a couple of years ago, it had a lot of plants and landscaping for such a small yard. There are three hydrangeas, an azalea, a rhododendron, a lilac bush, several other shrubs and snapdragons, roses and tulips too! The folks who lived here before definitely had green thumbs and I’ve wished I could carry on the plant legacy they left behind, but alas it is not meant to be. I finally started getting into simply maintaining the yard and growing my own little veggie garden last year. Then this year, boom! Baby Jones took over my life. I’ve not given a thought to my yard. I suppose these hydrangeas must have done something similar in years past but I never noticed before. Literally, two days ago these puppies were lush, vibrant green and blooming. Then yesterday, the frost got ’em and they look like something out of a sci-fi horror film. Well, no special effects here, simply lack of gardening. Maybe if I had trimmed them back it wouldn’t look so crazy? Just thought I’d share some cold, dead, plants. Hope next year is better for the little guys. 

 

Here is an earlier post about my garden philosophy: http://wp.me/p3pK5R-37

A Successful Trip to the Grocery Store is an Epic Win

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Now that I’m a mom, I’ve had to adjust my expectations for what constitutes something to look forward to. Pre-baby, I would be looking forward to Monday night trivia or going out to dinner with friends, maybe catching the latest comedy on the big screen. Post-baby, a trip to Wegmans (if you’re lucky enough to have one, you know how awesome they are!) is the highlight of my week. This past trip was no exception.

We rarely plan too far ahead, so yesterday night my husband and I are deciding how to spend the last few hours of our Sunday before the work week begins. We settle on a trip to the grocery store. We get a mental check list ready of everything we need for baby and the grocery list. We’re all set to go when I realize that I forgot to pump (see past post about exclusive pumping here: http://wp.me/p3pK5R-9l). I’m slightly devastated that our fun, family outing has been pushed out further in the week. But then we decide we can still make it work! Since I knew my little guy wasn’t going to sleep through our trip due to an earlier nap, I figured I try out my ergo baby carrier. Lately he’s been itching to get out of the car seat and I knew he wouldn’t be happy in it in the store. I’ve used the carrier before in the house and for quick walks around the block but never out in a crowded place. It went so smoothly, I could hardly believe it. On our ride home from the store I was basking in the glow of a trip well done.

We ate our dinner in the Wegmans eatery, did our shopping, and got home all in an hour and a half. It didn’t even feel like we were rushing. Baby Jonesy did swell hip side in the carrier just watching all the activity around him. I felt like a super mom, buzzing through the aisles, checking off stuff on the list with my little guy clinging to my side. My husband and I are a great team and work very well together. We just intuitively know how to be of maximum support to one another, especially in a crowded grocery store. The babe just started to get the tiniest bit fussy as we were checking out. I popped him back in his carseat with a pacifier and he slept on the ride home. It all went so well that I didn’t even mind that his diaper leaked and there was a little pee on my shirt. I know if I zoomed out on this moment, it would seem pretty insignificant in my life as a whole, but zooming in allows me to appreciate how truly epic the small things are.

Photo: http://www.yestheyareallours.com/2011/02/all-in-day-grocery-shopping.html