Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Preschool subscription smack down

I wasn't too impressed with day 1 of our "Berry Best Preschool" subscription.  I haven't looked ahead at all so I can only judge day by day....and today, day 2, was another bust.

It starts out so exciting, two activities organized into a little pouch with a theme...

Unfortunately,  the activities are just kinda dumb. The instructions say to have the adults cut out all the pieces - now I'm understanding why they sell a "pre cut" set for more $$$. I suppose I could try to have TC cut her own,  but scissors haven't gone well so far and I'm spooked. The learning activity was a worksheet - count the items and glue the number in the box. The cutting and gluing felt like unnecessary complications to make it a bigger activity. ..but it wasn't real educational or much fun. The artwork so far looks just like the mimeographed worksheets of my youth, these are NOT computer assisted I guess. Maybe that's whimsical.  It feels kinda slipshod.

Activity #2, the craft, was embellishing a snowy owl. Worksheet, 3 feathers, and a stick + feet to cut out and paste on. Eh. Meh. 

I felt like again this was more work for me than my preschooler, didn't occupy much time, and was very low quality.  It's not refrigerator gallery work. It came with just a couple facts about owls,  not enough to teach anything from, so I can't even really give it credit for being more educational. Carefree Crafts includes a set of facts about the month that are much more interesting and we'll curated.
and speaking of Carefree Crafts, they are KILLING IT this month. So much win. We're gonna do everything the first week and then be sad to wait for more. 
First up we stuffed a little teddy bear!  We were sent a bear "skin", fiberfill, and a little heart to stuff inside (like at build-a-bear workshop).  That went pretty smooth, then we didn't even have to stitch her up, it was velcro! Finally there was a little scrap of felt and a pattern to cut a vest, I did that and let TC color on it with markers for some additional mileage out of this craft. Her name is Pinky and she was a a hit:

2nd craft was to decorate a ladybug mailbox for Valentines.  This is exactly what I prefer in crafts right now for TC - stickers she can independently take the backing off (small motor skills + phenomenal practice with patience) nothing messy, no scissors or glue - and again TC loved it. Neither of these are projects we will keep forever but they will be played with some and ready to go once next month's projects come. 

If you are keeping track, Carefree Crafts is winning by a mile. I should be rationing the projects better since we only get 1-1.5 per week, but they are WAY more fun and interesting so far than the 6 per week we are doing with BBP. 

My Ipsy Glam Bag and Bijoux Box should arrive mid month, so we are just starting our subscription box odyssey.  Gotta do something to pass this long crazy winter! 

Monday, February 03, 2014

Berry Best Preschool Subscription + Other Crafting Meltdowns...

We had an utter craft-tastrophe this morning with at least a dozen mega meltdowns and a river of snot and tears, all caused by various craft frustration. Egads. It actually started with milk on the cheerios (I want it! No I don't! Now it's there! World is ending!) Three year olds are far from sensible (or maybe it's just mine who thinks the world is ending if I ask her to slow down, pause, or listen at any point), but this was a bit over the top. Scissors, stickers, coloring - it all just fueled the fire. Ugh.

Now that we've all calmed down (chocolate milk for her, Dr. Pepper for me, chocolate chunk cookies for all), here's a look back:

We're trying out a new monthly subscription sorta like our crafting one, this is from Berry Best Preschool and includes art + curriculum, supposedly a learning activity and a craft for each day. We ordered the 3 day a week subscription for February, and started it today. The "learning activity" was a worksheet to trace and practice making #9s. Sounds easy enough, and I'm pretty sure they do similar things at TC's daycare, so I didn't think twice.

Cue first meltdown.

I'm not sure what I did wrong here, but TC didn't want to follow directions, listen to directions, or allow me to demonstrate. It pushed her well over the edge into toddler tantrum territory. Not awesome. Also, she's terrible at making #9s, so I feel like I kinda failed too. Hmmm....

The "craft activity" was much more benign and one of the few things we accomplished today without tears (ahh, parenting....). It was a "puppet" to celebrate groundhog's day (which was yesterday, so kinda odd to make it today...). The package contained the groundhog printed on brown paper, and a paper bag. The instructions said to pre-cut the head and body of the groundhog, and allow kids to affix the pieces to the paper bag. I used some leftover glue dots (which I still hate, but were easier to use/cleaner than actual glue) and it didn't really feel like TC did much for this. Also, here's what it looked like:

Um....isn't the point of a puppet that the MOUTH looks like it is moving? this "puppet" splits head from body...WHY WOULD WE WANT TO DO THAT?!?!?! It makes no sense, and wasn't real fun to put together.

So, it's pretty early to judge this subscription, but day 1 was kind of a bust. I would guess we'll have a lot more tracing worksheets for the "learning activity" and I'm okay with that since it is a good thing to learn, but we'll have to come to a better working relationship with them (and each other). As for the crafts...very dubious so far. This one was sorta a dumb product AND not real kid-involved to make, so I give it pretty low marks.

Fingers crossed it gets better!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Carefree Crafts - subscription box update

Well I think we might be officially hooked on crafts. TC has become militant on getting at least one craft each day. Her policy is enforced with tears, temper tantrums, and what amount to toddler sit-ins. While a huge part of me LOVES that she took an interest in creative stuff, it's often not the most convenient. So I think the Carefree Crafts subscription is here to stay, since it means we have more easy projects on hand.

We have almost finished our January projects, and I'm bummed because it was really convenient to just grab a pre-packaged craft from the pile and jump in. Nothing required set up, or much clean up. I'm not sure if this happens every month, but everything also color-coordinated, so our little "gallery" was even cute. Here's a quick review:

Project #1 was a snowman "coaster." The coaster was silly, but it's fine as a wall hanging. We actually mailed it off to help decorate Lucy's hospital room, a little Midwest scene setting to go along with the hearts and princesses. Next we did the "stained glass" mitten sun catcher, which was the messiest because it involved glue, but not too bad overall. The snowflake lacing mobile was kind of over TC's head, but she colored the snowflakes and I did the lacing and she was not bothered by my contributions.

This little guy (well, below is a stock photo - ours is already missing in the tidal wave of toy mess that is our livingroom during this polar vortex) we assembled and were supposed to use to play "Huckle Buckle Beanstalk" which is a form of hide and seek where you hide an object, or sort of like "hot and cold." My favorite part has been listening to TC try to say Huckle Buckle Beanstalk, which she thinks is his name. Totally worth the price of the subscription. It comes out something like "hickle hickle beanpot" usually.
Polar BearPenguin

Then we did what was probably my favorite project because it was mostly peel & stick foam (no glue dots!), a little penguin measuring stick. This was also fun because we worked on counting when deciding which number to stick on which line, and TC decided that Huckle Buckle is the penguin's mom. So now they have earnest conversations and live together in a princess suitcase.

We have one more project that involves water colors, so I've saved that for when I feel particularly caffeinated and patient, though TC LOVES to paint, so I'm sure it will be a hit. We actually did the first step - coloring on coffee filters - and it was a bit of a mess, since TC decided she was going to give herself a "cat-too" and the so-called "washable" markers have decided not to wash off even after a soak and scrub in the tub. Oh well.

We went ahead and signed up for February's box, and I can't wait till it arrives! With the harsh cold we've had this month indoor activities have been particularly appreciated, I wish we had them today. We burned through several slapped together craft projects and could have used many more.

Verdict: feeling pretty good about Carefree Crafts, can't wait to get the next shipment!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

way too much about my water...

I am slowly but surely getting some big things off my home "to do" list, though they seem to get added almost as quickly. This week I think I've changed at least half a dozen lightbulbs (each one a different kind, of course), a ton of laundry and dishes (call me Sisyphus on those tasks), and I finally switched out our shower head.

We have a little shower in the master bath, and I was quite excited to see it had a fancy looking rain disc showerhead when we moved in. It seemed so fancy. Seemed. SEEMED.

The one major disappointment I have had in our new home is the water. Something is wrong. I'm still not sure what it is. Maybe I'm not used to soft water, maybe it was a flow restrictor in that shower head, who knows - but the result was super traumatic goopy hair for me. I developed some sort of sticky build up almost immediately after we moved in, and tried EVERYTHING to get rid of it - clarifying shampoos, stripping shampoos, REALLY EXPENSIVE DUMB NOT WORKING SHAMPOOS, and even Dawn dish soap. That actually worked - for a while. So did getting a couple blow outs at a salon - though it was mortifying to go in and explain that my hair was disgusting and yes I do bathe and sorry you have to touch this but please please fix me...

It's been emotionally painful. Embarrassing. I cut my hair to try and take some of the bulk off and hope that made a difference. It did not. I tried all of the other faucets in the house, including scrunching under the spout in the bathtub. Still sticky.

So next step in my quest was to try a high pressure fixture (and hope and pray and bargain with the universe). The "Thunderhead" had great reviews on Amazon, so I ordered it. Then I let it sit in a drawer for a few months while I thought about whether or not it was something I could do without causing more problems (home maintenance is not in my wheelhouse - at least not comfortably). Then one day I got super fed up with slime head, and decided to give it a whack. Got old shower head off, and upon reading directions found that THUNDERHEAD still was required by law to come pre loaded with a flow restrictor. All the online reviews mentioned to definitely toss it out (otherwise, WHAT'S THE POINT?) but I couldn't get the damn thing to budge. Even with tools. And a lot of googling. So finally I took a hammer and a pointy screwdriver and just bashed it in, which totally worked, and removed the pieces with a tweezers. Game on.

After that it went on pretty easy, and other than my guilt over using 5 gallons of water per minute (I'm cashing in my credits from years of not watering my lawn) it's working fine. I've only used it once or twice so can't tell yet if it will fix my goopy hair (pleasepleasepleaseplease) but here's hoping.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

easy crafted hair bow organizer

I made something! Something that didn't require glue dots! It came together so quickly I forgot to take real photos,  so here are just a couple from my phone.  I present to you TC'S new wall hanging hair bow organizer:

 It took less than a half hour to make and and under $20. For the base I used a 17" square canvas from the craft store, I think it was $12 regular so less with the ubiquitous coupons.  The fabric has bright little monsters on it and was $7.99 a yard, I used slightly over half of it.
I pulled it tight and used a staple gun to secure it to the frame. Then I ran three strip of ribbon across the front and stapled them to the frame in back. For extra security I stitched through the canvas and fabric and ribbon in a few places and adorned the stitches with a few beads I had lying around. This keeps the ribbon from bowing under the weight of the clips. Voila!
I'm so pleased! I actually might add more ribbon rows since we filled this up pretty quick, but I love that it is bright, organized, lightweight,  and basically makes functional things into art. Cheap and easy is also a bonus! 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Bucket List #161: Officiate a legal same sex wedding

August 1, 2013 - Marriage Equality took effect in Minnesota. At 12:01am I solemnized the first same-sex wedding in the city of St. Paul:

I did five more over the next 24 hours. Each ceremony was completely different, and personalized to the couple - and each couple was wonderful and inspiring. After years in catering I've learned how awful weddings can make some people act - but on this day (night/day/night) there was nothing but joy. I was honored to be part of this historic day for Minnesota, and for each of the couples I worked with. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Cupcake's First Haircut

TC's pigtails had gotten so long, they sometimes dipped in her lunch. Her PIGTAILS! That's some long hair! It was baby fine and a little scraggly around the edges, so it seemed like a good time to clean it up a little with her first haircut. I didn't know how she'd take it, but it all went well! Here is the before:

I thought we were going to one of the fancy kid salons with chairs shaped like dinosaurs and unicorns, but it turned out to be pretty plain. I hesitated for a moment, but it was completely empty and that seemed like a bonus, so we just went for it. They did have monitors at each station showing videos - TC's was playing Tangled, which is a favorite!

The stylist was patient and clearly used to dealing with toddlers, though TC was unusually stoic. She sat very still and quiet, and followed directions for the most part, it was completely out of character :) She only blanched for a moment when the hair dryer came out, but she let out nary a peep during the whole production!

They took off four whole inches, and it looks GREAT!

Happy little goon.

 They even gave her a bonus braid, and it stayed in the whole rest of the day, including a celebratory trip to McDonald's and a rowdy afternoon in Playland! I might have to try that one again, I'm stumped for styles that can last all day at preschool - she often comes home with her hair clips in a baggie when I try something new. Fresh look for a fresh year!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Carefree Crafts Subscription Review

 My first subscription box came! Actually, it was a bubble mailer, but still. Very exciting. And very quick!  I'm impressed by the turn around time, as the other boxes I subscribed to I had to wait for February. Carefree Crafts was able to get me on board right away!

The package included a color page showing all of the projects, the theme, and some trivia applying to the theme at the bottom. This month it's "Winter Wonderland," which works for me. There are 6 projects in this package with a variety of mediums - one is lacing, one is a little figure to assemble, one is painting, etc.

Inside the package are all of the supplies needed to make each of the projects, separated into packages, so you can just pull out the bag for what you are going to make and not have to sort it yourself  (all time saving is good when toddlers are involved!)

We decided to start with a "snowman coaster." Apparently to put beverages on. So...I'd never use this as a coaster, but The Cupcake is unconcerned with such concepts as "practicality," so "Frosty" was quite exciting for her. This seemed like the simplest project, and we've been doing a lot of foam sticker work lately, so I figured we could handle it. We did...but it wasn't quite as easy as I had hoped. It relied heavily on Glue Dots, which I have to believe are made of pure evil. I generally can't get them off their backing without significant trouble, and I have some crafting experience, so I don't know anyone who would think a toddler could do it. That meant I had to place all the glue dots and just let TC assemble, which was okay, but neither of us really had the patience for it. But you wouldn't know it by the end:

I asked her what we should name him, and she replied "FROSTY" in an exasperated tone, it definitely would have been followed by "Duh, mom!" If she knew the word "Duh!" :) 

Later that evening TC begged for another "cwaft!" so we tried the "stained glass" mitten. It was an acetate sheet that you covered with glue, then tissue paper squares, and a foam border. When finished it is a mitten shaped sun catcher. It was one of the messier projects, so I should have known not to try it at the END of the day when I was already tired, but the glue was the least of the problems. The tissue paper tiles had to be separated from a stack, and the instructions warned that there were just enough to cover the project, so after my hands were covered in glue I spent awkward and tense minutes trying to separate thin layers. It turned out that there were plenty of tissues so I didn't need to be so precise, but still...after the glue dots, this experience left me wondering if these boxes were for me.

But someone is a big fan so far. 

We still have 4 projects left, and so far some positives are that the kits are all inclusive, curated around a theme, and sized for just one kid. A lot of the projects seem to come from Oriental Trading Co, which always has dubious quality, but it is somewhat of a plus to be able to make just ONE of something, rather than ordering at least a dozen through OTC. There are a lot more glue dots included...but I'm wondering if I could just switch those out for double sided tape or something. I haven't yet decided if the projects are a great age fit - TC seems very interested, but she also want's to jump right in and these crafts so far have required patience and sequencing, which can add stress to a messy situation. The foam stickers are way easier. 

I got a great deal on the first box with a coupon code, but I can't decide yet if this is worth a monthly renewal. If I took the same amount of $$ to the craft store, I'm not sure I could get 6 different projects (since usually things come in packages or fancy kits), and I do appreciate not having to think about the projects and just having them on hand, having the experience and displaying things for a while but not feeling like we need to save them forever, and having TC get excited about it. Oh, and getting mail. I totally love getting mail. But man, I hate glue dots :) 

Stay tuned for more! 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Hearts for Lucy

We've been messy craft machines around our house lately, and yesterday we made some pretty special pieces - Hearts for Lucy:
The Cupcake with her creations

Lucy is the youngest of 4 children in the Marlett family. Lucy is dying. Soon. Her parents have realized this and made the difficult move to comfort care, and part of the comfort they want to provide to their daughter (and their 3 other young children) is to fill Lucy's hospital room with hearts and cards and love.

I found out about their request from a Facebook link to a blog link to a different blog link - I hadn't read the family's blog or heard of them before I saw it, and honestly I haven't read much beyond the most recent posts even now,  but I knew immediately we would be on board to send some love. I can't imagine these circumstances, and I hope I never have to, but I can do crafts and I too have a love of mail. I can only imagine that a Santa-sack full of sparkly envelopes just might perk up the family's feelings, if only for a brief time.

We had just picked up some foam hearts and princess stickers thinking they might be useful around Valentine's Day, so I rationed a few out to TC and just let her go to town. I did the letters in Lucy's name and centered one of the hearts, otherwise it's all 3 year old chaos and excess. I think that works. It's sparkly and happy, and that's what we'd like to send to Lucy and her family. A few moments of sparkles and happiness.

We're sending them per the instructions on the family blog:
Our hope and prayer for Lucy in these final days, weeks…is that we'll surround her with love, wrap her in it, bathe her in it, saturate her with it! 
So...I have an idea.  Not unlike any other admission in which our girl celebrated so many holidays in the hospital, we need to decorate her room.  It's time to take down the Christmas decorations, and bring on the LOVE!  For the love of Lucy send hearts, send cards, send love notes to Lucy, affirmations of love…help us surround her with love.
The hospital address is:
Nemours A. I. DuPont Hospital for Children
℅ Lucy Marlett Room 3708
1600 Rockland Road
Wilmington, DE 19803  

You can read more about Lucy and her family, or their request at AllTheMarletts

Sunday, January 12, 2014


I did it! I took the plunge! I'm signed up for 3 subscription boxes and I can't wait to try them out! - Jewelry! This was the first one I decided on, but I had browser problems signing up - I emailed the contact and received an immediate personal/human response that they were looking into it and apologized, and I got an update when they felt they had the problem fixed. When I still couldn't get my order to go through I asked if I could just do it over the phone, and promptly was allowed to, with excellent, friendly customer service (and anyone who knows me knows I NEVER get good customer service! So it was quite the pleasure!). I started with a 6 month subscription since this was my big splurgey birthday present. Should start in February, and I can't wait! - Kid friendly craft kits! I did this one on a month-by-month basis and used a coupon code for 40% off the first month so I can try it out with out too much commitment. TC actually loves to do messy crafts like painting and foam stickers (I call those messy because of the million tiny pieces of paper backing it leaves scattered across the house), it's me who runs out of patience (because guess who cleans it up?!?!?) but I resolved to work on my attitude towards such things this year, so we'll try it out. Tentatively :) I like that this is a kid thing, but not a "investment" kid thing like toys and clothes - we can have the experience, show it off for a while, and then get rid of the projects without adding too much long lasting chaos (or reselling, or donating, etc).  The subscription code I used was SAVE40, not sure how long it is valid. This subscription could start in just a week or two, which would be GREAT! UPDATE: FIRST SHIPMENT ALREADY ARRIVED! - MAKEUP! I know, this is so not my usual style, but maybe I'm kind of tired of my (lack of) usual style? This is one of the lowest cost subscriptions at $10 a month, and you get a makeup bag (GLAM BAG) with around 5 products. The site was a little confusing - at first I just clicked directly on the glambag subscription and was put on a waiting list, but if you become a "member" of the site first, then agree to share on facebook, they'll expedite you off the waitlist immediately, so I'm signed up to get the February shipment. And then I just deleted the facebook share right after. Supposedly your selection of products is curated towards your answers to the style profile quiz, but since I have zero makeup skills or personal style, I just checked that I was interested in all the boxes. The only weird question was about hair where you only got to choose from a few weird options like frizzy, needs volume, curly, or a few others that didn't apply to me. So we'll see what I get!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Neverland Party - Setting Sail

Neverland is a dream party theme because there are so many elements to use - each part of Neverland is literally a childhood happy thought - pirates, mermaids, treasure, Indians, a treehouse, and unlimited freedom to roam and explore. Here's a little mock up of a Neverland map whipped up in 10 minutes on the kitchen floor, made out of crayons and Amazon's packing paper that was literally laying around:

I decided that since pirates were the most accessible genre, they would take over the kitchen and living room. One I took down our Christmas tree, I had a huge open 11' wall to work with that just screamed for a big decor element - enter the photo backdrop!

I used two rolls of background paper (like giant tubes of slightly thicker wrapping paper) from a teacher supply store. I believe they are intended for bulletin boards, and recently I've noticed some JoAnn stores carrying them too, so you could use a 40% off coupon.  One was sky and one was "under the sea." I used blue painters tape to paste them up, and they looked adorable! We got a pop up "Bucky the Pirate Ship" (from the new Disney Jr. cartoon "Jake and the Neverland Pirates," which TC also loves and takes place in Neverland). I thought it would be great to take gag photos of everyone "sailing away" on the pirate ship. Of course on the day of the party I was too busy doing everything else (especially eating cupcakes) to remember. Oops! 

But the area was still enjoyed, and the few photos we did get are adorable :)

Thursday, January 09, 2014

3 happy thoughts on a random rushed afternoon

Happy moments of the day:

Impromptu dance party during breakfast.  TC can cut a rug! And I can flail wildly alongside her. Giggles ensued.  We were an hour later to daycare than our usual hour late.

Ran a bunch of overdue errands including returning helium tank to party store. Woman in front of me bought 4 gallons of confetti.  SO MANY TINY PIECES. My first thought was "I never want to clean that up." Second thought "...but I'd love to be invited to that party. "

Solo cheapskate lunch at Costco.  Mmmm, chicken bake. And in a life altering first, I returned a sweater AND BOUGHT NOTHING NEW. This might be a superpower. I'm tempted to go to Target just to test it.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Check (off the bucket list) - it's in the mail!

I'm excited to knock a bunch more fun things off my bucket list this year. There are a few that are potentially in the cards, though only one that is officially on the calendar. For Christmas we gifted my family with tickets to a charity ball (#21), so that will be exciting!

The next one I'm thinking of pursuing is #39 Join a  fun "of the month” club/subscription service. Yeah, you got me, it originally said "bouquet of the month club" but that's mostly because I didn't know these other subscription services existed, and anyways when I found out they did I immediately assumed it was on my bucket list, so close enough!

I've been reading reviews and lists of services, and I'm so excited! I'm completely jealous of the women who run the two sites below and apparently have hundreds of subscription boxes in their mail each month. I absolutely love to get mail. Love. The idea of getting surprises in the mail every month is extremely appealing - and remember, it's one of my resolutions to surround myself with happy things, so it's practically like homework, right?

Now I just have to decide what type/service to subscribe to. Jewelry, crafts, or kid stuff seem the most interesting so far. There used to be one that was about parties that would have been PERFECT, but appears to have gone away - anyone know anything about celebrate crates? Sadly I think they are no longer an option. For crafts I'm thinking maybe a cupcake baking one, or a kid friendly set of things I can do with TC that will give us a little structure and a nice  TV alternative. Beyond crafts I am wary of investing any more $$$ into much kid stuff - clearly this kid needs no more toys or clothes, so those kinds are out, but I do struggle for ways to fill our days beyond shopping and doing chores around the house, so one of the curriculum-esque boxes might not be bad. Or it might feel like another chore. I can't decide. Jewelry I would LOVE - especially statement necklaces, rings, and bracelets (even though I rarely dress up, I try to still wear a little sparkle every day.   Generally with my unbrushed hair). I'm hesitant because I don't have my ears pierced and don't want to "waste" money if I get a bunch of earrings, but it seems like some places I could specify. Similarly I don't wear much nail polish or makeup, but I'm not ruling it out. Might be time to give it a try. Bouquets are still an option as well, but with weather like we're having lately, I doubt even well wrapped flowers would be worthwhile...

Popsugar seems to have great reviews, but I'm not sure if I can dedicate $35 a month to such discretionary spending (I need to make sure the experience of getting surprises is exciting, but not feeling like a gamble). I'd love input from anybody who has done a subscription service before, there are SO MANY to choose from!

I'll tell you where you can spring to...

I stopped into Target yesterday (along with the rest of the metro population) for some last minute supplies before the world officially froze in place for a while,  and I was greeted (after a bleary eyed walk from the farthest parking spot during which I feared loss of my eyelids) with a huge sign proclaiming "SPRING FORWARD." Around the corner I found bikinis, and learned that all long sleeve shirts, adult and child size, had been banished for the year. Thank you, California purchasing agents. It makes sense that not only would it be impossible to find boots, coats, or replacement mittens this time of year, but anything even remotely weather appropriate is out. Hope your kids kept track of their mittens and nobody ripped their scarf or outgrew their boots, let alone needed an upgrade for the outrageous conditions. It's spring now,  Target says so.

It's -20 degrees today in Minnesota,  up to -60 wind chill in some areas. Luckily TC  and I plan to be hermits and wait it out today, though we might have to brave the awfulness tomorrow for a meeting (which I am crossing my fingers gets cancelled).

My plan is to munch on party leftovers and maybe do some dishes.  Pray nothing freezes, give thanks again for the freedom to hibernate on days like this.


Friday, January 03, 2014

Up Up and Away (from yesterday at least)

Yesterday was a "death by paper cuts" day with a million tiny things going wrong which felt after a while like torture and absurdity. In the middle of it all I was able to accomplish the one fun task on my list-balloon shopping!  I love balloons. TC loves balloons. Balloons make a party instantly festive and make everyday days into parties. Also, we've been watching the movie "UP" a lot lately, so TC and I are pretty much experts on balloons. I rented a helium tank and am looking forward to filling the house up with happiness. If it doesn't work, we're blowing up even more and heading off to Paradise Falls.

Neverland Preview

The Cupcake turns 3 on Saturday and we're celebrating with a Neverland themed party. She loves both Peter Pan and the Disney Jr. Series "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" and I love the idea of combining pirates, pixies, mermaids, lost boys, and so much more into one party theme, so we are all excited. Since today and tomorrow are pretty busy, I've already put up most of the decor! It's kind of fun to enjoy it a while.  Here is a tiny happy sneak peek:

I'm already thinking happy thoughts :)  stay tuned to see how it all comes together!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

2013 in review

2013 is over! I could never have guessed all of the great things that would happen to us this year (especially after a few pretty tough years of losing loved ones and struggling in other ways), but I sure am grateful. It's been a wild ride, too fast at times, but looking back I truly appreciate where we are now, and a lot of what we were able to do and say along the way. Here are some highlights:

Bucket list accomplishments:
-donated my hair to locks of love

-officiated a legal same sex wedding (actually, a lot of them!)

-bought my first new car

-hosted a holiday cookie bake, gingerbread house decorating party, and family brunch (all holiday traditions I hope to carry on)

Other milestones:
-TC's 2nd Birthday - and the accompanying party that I actually made crafts for!

-First major home renovations (just in time for someone else to enjoy, of course)
-sold our first house
-bought our 2nd house - and immediately made it a home, unpacking in less than a month!

-participated in MonkeeSeeMonkeeDo's Holiday Helping Hands
-Found a better balance with my part time job - stepped back to assistant coaching at 2 new schools
-started The Cupcake in preschool 2 days a week
-potty training!
-threw a shower to welcome one of my best friend's new son

-had professional family photos taken (first time since T.C. was a newborn)
- played a LOT of dress up

-Revive my blog! I bought web-hosting, now I just have to figure out how to transfer it over to "fix" my domain name again - but I'm back at Blogger for at least a temporary fix :)
-Have family photos taken EVERY YEAR
-Be less upset/insecure about tantrums, messes, and all the other unsightly parts of life (possibly grow a thicker mommy skin for interacting with other parents)
-Let things around the house be imperfect, or less perfect, in favor of being with family and friends - fill this amazing house up with great memories
-Catch up on scrapbooks (a reoccurring theme with my resolutions...oops)
-Add more things to my bucket list than I check off (but keep checking them off too!)
-Find something I love to do and make it part of my life
-Do something with The Cupcake every day that is just for fun (and realize it in the moment)

Best wishes to all,