Thursday, November 11, 2010

10 Holiday Survival Tips

They say "tis the season to be jolly", so why does it feel like we are running around, everything BUT jolly trying to create the perfect holiday?
After a few years of hosting holiday events, juggling 3 kids, and trying to do it all- I have learned some tried and true ideas to keep your holiday merry and bright!

1- Get your cards ready to go ahead of time.
You can easily prepare your holiday card online and grab some great deals early in the season. Then you can get them ready to go, with addressed envelopes. Once you are ready to send them, the leg-work is done, all you have to do is find yourself a post office!

And really, browsing through some of the exclusive designs offered at Tinyprints, this holiday prep work is a lot of fun! I have ordered from Tinyprints before and know first hand how wonderful their items are.
Check TinyPrints holiday card selection.

2- Just say No!
It's easy to get caught up in all the events the holidays have to offer, but you don't have to say "yes" to everything that comes your way. You'll wear yourself and all your little elves out too. Instead, just say "no" and enjoy a quiet evening with hot cocoa and your family. Those are the memories you will remember.

3- Keep a list, check it twice!
Keep track of everyone's holiday wish list through out the year, and when it comes time to buy gifts, you'll have lots of ideas to choose from.

Check it twice by noting gifts you have already bought and it will keep you from overspending on too many gifts!

4- Make a budget and stick to it!
This means a budget for everything. A budget for gifts, holiday events, a baking supply budget, a grocery budget...and well, you get the idea.
If you plan ahead of time just how much you are willing to spend, both you and your wallet will be much happier at the end of it all.

5- Freeze it!
Double up on some of your favorite winter time meals and desserts, and freeze half of it. Then you will have the other half to use as a quick meal during a busy holiday-packed day or give to a neighbor as a holiday treat.

6- Wrap it up!
Wrap your gifts as you buy them. Then you won't be up until 3 am Christmas Eve wrapping (I'm just saying). Be sure to put name tags on the gifts as your wrap them, so you will remember which goes where (that is tip from experience).

7- Plan a pre-party day.
If you are hosting the big day, spend a couple hours a day or two before baking items that can be frozen, prepping sauces that can be refrigerated or one dish meals that can be heated in a casserole dish. You don't have to get up at 5 am to start your big event baking.

8- Find some time to yourself.
Whether it's a few minutes in a bookstore, or a quick run on the treadmill, a few minutes to yourself will make you feel much more energized and ready to take on the holidays...and we all know, a happy Mom, equals a happy family.

9- Shop onine.
That's a no brainer. Avoid some of the lines, the endless rides around the parking lot and the grumpy crowds by shopping online at your favorite retailers. Your holiday items will arrive right at your doorstep! We all love to get packages at our door and you can find some great online deals and free shipping if you do a little searching.

10- Do less.
Simplify...sometimes a little less will bring you more. Will anyone really notice if your return address labels don't match your holiday card? It's doubtful. Even if you buy some premade bows and don't spend a whole afternoon going all Martha Stewart on your wrapping, chances are, no one else will notice, and you may just save yourself a little stress worrying about such tiny details.

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Tiny Prints provides stylish, modern and unique stationery from photo cards to personalized greeting cards to thank you cards and business cards. Offering exclusive designs from the nation’s top designers, easy card personalization, a powerful preview engine and top-notch customer service and paper quality, their designs have been lauded by numerous television networks, publications and celebrities. With Tiny Prints by your side the Holidays will be a cinch! They offer adorable Thanksgiving Cards, Christmas Cards, Hanukkah Cards, and even New Years Cards. All fully customizable and personalizable.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

If wishes were fishes...

Today I watched my girls run around the yard chasing those fuzzy fluffy things from dandilions. (I think). We call them "Santa's beard". And the girls think that by catching them, they can make a wish, then release the fluff and it will magically make its way to Santa, so he learns what you are wishing for Christmas.
It makes me smile to watch them capture these little pieces of fuzz and then carefully cup it up to their mouth (you know, so the fluff can hear better) and whisper their secrets.
Then I got to thinking of all the crazy things we do for wishes. I am not superstitious, but I have many things I do in the name of wishes. I suppose you could call me "wishful".

Some of my favorites are: Wishing on Santa's Beards. Making a wish when you notice the double digits on a clock (like 12:12). Making a wish on a fallen eyelash. Making a wish when you eat a folded over chip or "wish chip". WIshing on a ladybug. The first star in the evening sky, and the first 50 robins of spring also get a wish too.

Yep, I have made thousands of wishes on these silly things and I don't really know if it works or not. But what cracks me up is that most of the wishes made were not for big, expensive items, nor lofty ideas, but rather a daily pleasure such as "No rain at the park" or "an early bedtime" and of course "to lose that last 5 pounds".

But I suppose that last 5 pounds will never lose its way from me if I am eating chips and such to make the wishes huh?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

9 months

Remember the sweet, teeny, quiet baby boy I had a few months ago?

I don't.

He is no longer little, but still as sweet. Little E is growing like a weed. A super fast, super wiggley little weed.
And because I know that he will be my last baby, I enjoy every last moment of babyness I can squeeze out of him.

I was ever lucky enough to have my littlest sister Sam visit us for a week. I also let Sam have full reign of my camera, and the trade was well worth it. She managed to catch a few pictures of my boy (and with his Mom).

He loves kisses,

...and piggybacks

And he especially loves to watch his big sisters.

At 9 months, Eric is learning to crawl(rather fast). He makes a beeline for every outlet, exposed cord and boingy door stopper he sees. It's going to be a whole new ballgame with his little guy. He is fast, man. Fast.
He started to use sign language for "more" as he is totally food-motivated like his Mom.
He is also a nightmare to feed as he's constantly bouncing and trying to escape his high chair, so I often end up shoving a spoon in places that are not his mouth.

He seems to be following his sister's lead in the language department and has a lot to say. Most of it is incoherant bable, but I recognize "Hiiiiiii" and "Mumumumumum", which I can only infer that he really loves his Mom and I am, in fact, his favorite (although he won't attest to this just yet).

Eric is happy. Happy is Eric.
I am a blubbering mess at the thought of my baby boy turning 9 months...I have no idea how I will survive his first birthday.
Either way, to say I am blessed to be his Mom is a big understatment.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

If Blogging were my fortune...

I'd be totally broke.

I suck at keeping records of our days, which is why I was doing this in the first place. I'm so busy in the daily routines/survivals that I have had a hard time finding any time to update here.

Life with 3 kidlets is starting to get a little busy.

Now I write from here in Ohio...yes Ohio. We have moved from my beloved Florida and are settling into a new Mid-West sort of life. I could write about how I miss my beloved Y, my bunco nights or my awesome old neighbors that kept Tom busy and out of my hair. Or I could mention how we have met some cool new friends, some fun parks and the relief of living close to family again. Either way, I'll post a re-cap sometime soon.

We are in the middle of a nice not-Florida-summer. A summer of sleeping in, popsicles on the porch and watermelon covered chins. Summer means food to me. (although so does Spring, Fall and Winter)..but I loves me some summer eats. I strongly believe the freezer should be well stocked with frozen treats and fresh berries at all times in the summer.

It's almost a daily post-dinner ritual that we all march outside on the front porch and enjoy something messy. Usually a watermelon or popsicle or Drumstick...anything that would make me cringe to feed them inside.

And we do nothing planned activity. Sometimes we just sit in the grass eating, slurping and enjoying.

This is probably one of my favorite parts of the day. The winding down of the kids, enjoying something sweet and of course knowing that bedtime is just around the corner.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ava is 4! Make way for Disney!

Poor Ava Flava. She's the middle child and already feeling the brunt on it.
She turned 4 on March 9th and I have yet to give her a birthday post.
It seems life has gotten the best of me and has flown by just as quickly as their birthdays seem to.
Because Tom has been living out of town, and we are getting ready to move, and I just couldn't get it together for a big party- we kept her birthday quiet.
There was cake of course, as I believe that every birthday needs a cake....and some cool presents too. We decided that Ava was big enough to enjoy a Nintendo like her big sister. (Before I had kids, I was the best parent ever! No one would watch tv before they were 5, there would be no icky video games at our house....then parenting happened.)
The Nintendo DS was the best idea ever! The two will race together for fighting and all! In fact, I may go as far to say that there is actual cooperation going on too. They also discovered how to chat to each other. Which is kinda funny, as they draw pictures to each other while in the car beside each other, so I get the constant *ding* *ding* of each of their messages being received....wait, did I say the DS was a good idea?
Anyway, there was cake. 'Nuff said.

And Ava seemed to enjoy herself.
No, really that IS her happy face.

Anyway, we told the girls that instead of having parties at some overpriced venue with overcrowded things going on, we decided that we would take them to Disney World before we left our beloved Florida. (yeah, I know, overpriced and overcrowed, but much more fun for Tom and I!) Besides, when we would get the chance to go again for a quick day trip like this?

So we headed for Disney during the Spring Break with my visiting family.
(like how I incorporated 2 different stories into one post to help catch things up??)
The day was beautiful and despite it being the week before the most popular spring break, the lines and crowds were not too bad. That means no more than a 30 minute wait for a ride.

Of course, Cinderella was once again not home.

So there was alot of walking, meeting the locals and checking out things to play on.

Or lack thereof- This is how Ava made her way around the park for awhile.

Getting all festive at Disney!
Meet Princess Kitty and Cinderella Face!

Poor Lil'E just resisted as much as he could.

The day was a long one and both Bryn and Ava went on quite a few rides. This was a huge change from our visit the year before when we could barely get Ava to walk through Mickey's house!
She was brave enough to go on a couple coasters!
Bryn is like her Mom and went on everything her height would allow her to ride. Infact, she even joined me on my lifelong wish to go on Space Mountain! (which was under repairs when I went 20 years ago).
Lil E was a sport. He did some serious people watching and didn't breakdown until we were all ready to head home at the end of the day.

Everyone had a great day. Especially those girls that were found like this about 10 mins after getting into the car. Because that's how you can tell if its been a good time- the faster they fall asleep, the better the time!

Part 2 of our Spring Break coming soon!!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Did I mention that I have a 6 year old?

6 years ago today.
I became a Mom for the first time.
I don't have the words to even come close to how life altering and awesome it is.
6 years ago, I held this tiny (albeit) very loud little baby with more hair than anyone could wish for and just fell in love.
The funny thing about birthdays with that it brings out all sorts of emotions. It reminds me of times that have past us by and reminds me to enjoy the moment of now.

Birthdays are bittersweet around here.
Bryn is a perfect example. I have loved every age with her. She was such a patient newborn, that helped me learn the ropes of becoming a Mom.

...and then she became a toddler. A rather easy going one most of the time (at least compared to her sister). Although probably one of the fastest kids around. I don't think we ever see her walk anywhere.

Bryn always = smiles.

One thing that has remained the same is the giggle on this girl. She has the same belly-giggle now that she had when she was 6 months old. Its such a carefree belly bellow that you can not help tobut to let loose a smile when you hear it. It's so contagious, that I believe it could solve world peace.
I hope she forever laughs this way through I am sure I will forever hear that baby belly-giggle as she continues to grow into the lovely little lady she is today.

Happiest Happy 6th Birthday my lovely Bryn!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Anna Howard Shaw Day!

Or as most of us know it...
Happy Valentine's Day! (those that watch 30 Rock will appreciate the Anna Shaw sentiment- hardy har)

Firstly- I can not believe its already February.
I suck. Well, I suck at finding time to blog anyway. I will add some new pics soon.

Today we celebrate the ones we love. I thought it would be fun to share some things I love in honor of Valentine's day.

Kind people.
My daughters.
My son.
Laura Secord chocolate.
Garlic and cheese bread.
Baby toes.
Baby smell.
Okay, anything baby...
Tom's hands.
Life Aquatic.
Cranberry Cosmos from Ruth's Chris.
A loud ipod on a silent morning run.
Bryn's giggle.
A lemony clean house.
Driving in my car with some loud tunes.
The first moments of silence after all the kids are in bed.
A silky smooth good har day.
The first Coke after I have tried not to drink any for a day.
Chic-Fil-A's chicken. Yum.
Chocolate Peppermint shakes.
Watching my daughters play ballerina.
Listening to Bryn read to the other kidlets.
Listening to a long forgotten song.
The Office.
The smell of fall.
Walking along the beach.
Tom's arms.
The protection that a Tom brings.
My Mom.
My sisters.
My brother.
Clinique's Raspberry lip balm.
A quiet afternoon nap with a warm baby.
Girl in the Pearl Earring.
Friday Family fun.
Pizza picnics.
Grocery shopping.
George Carlin.
Harrison Ford
Picking up Ava from school.
Cadbury Easter Cream Eggs.
The peace of Christmas day.
Family Fun magazine.
Funky diaper bags.
I Melt with You.
White cheese queso dip.
Pounding the pavement.
Cookie dough.
Rainbow cupcakes.
Selfless people.
Dry homor.
Vivaldi's Winter.
Little girl braids.
The Princess Bride.
Polite children.
Gummy smiles.
Dresses over pants.
Black tee and jeans.
Flip flops.
Macro pictures.
The feel of the warm sun.
Intense little Ava.
Chicken Alfredo.
Fountain Spout blue.

Just what I can think of today...I may continue this list as I go along. I seem to love a lot of things!