I don't crave escape anymore; instead I hope to capture what's right in front of me. I want the moments we spend together to be simple and real, because I know they're running away from me now. I am certain it's these ordinary tick tocks of time that will measure the happiness of their childhood. Away from the world for the day, we can choose who we want to be and leave the hard stuff on the other side of the door.Read More
We have just stepped into the teen years around here—with our oldest already there and another just starting to dip his toe in the water.
With this shift in our family dynamic, comes a change in how we choose gifts for the holidays.
Packages are getting smaller and requests are more specific. The element of surprise is much harder in this phase, and it's more of a challenge to hold on to the magic.
It's a time when self-discovery is happening and identities are being sorted out, and it can easily become an era of me, me, me—it's part of the growing process. I remember going through it myself.
But it's also an era of becoming more aware of being part of a bigger picture. They are learning about and paying attention to world issues, as well as those in their own local communities.
And I want them to understand their value in being able to make a difference.
So, yes, we are giving them some of their requested items: iTunes gift cards, dance wear, sweat pants, video games, books, make up, monster hoodies, toques, sketch books and journals. But we are also putting items under the tree to remind them to think of others, too.
The magic of the holiday season is different now that they're older.
But there is still magic.
And we can remind them that it's their gift to give.
x x x
Disclosure: I was invited to a Me to We Artisans Holiday Preview, but our family was already an enthusiastic supporter. We happily gifted our complimentary Rafiki chains to friends and family.
We're having our first snow day of the year, so the kids are all home from school.
It's funny for a girl who grew up in the snow belt region of the province to call this a snow day. I remember following my mom through blinding snow conditions so she could drop me off at school, and even then she only put up with it until I was in grade two and my new school was close enough for me to get there on my own. We were exhausted by the time we got there, and we were still sent out three times for recess.
My school-aged kids are bussed to school, and when transportation is cancelled (for good reason in today's conditions), we easily make the decision to stay home and drive each other crazy make our own fun.
It has been a very wintery-winter for our town, and although I appreciate the beautiful scenery, winter is a lot less fun than it was when I was sprightly enough to be barreling down snow mountains on my Magic Carpet. Between the shovelling and the schlepping and the never-ending carpooling, I've been doing a lot of shivering and a little bit of whining.
By the time I've made sure four kids are well-dressed and ready for the elements, a pair of snow pants is the last thing I want to think about putting on myself. I'm lucky if I can find a pair of matching gloves.
When my friend, Pat, mentioned her Butt Warmer while we sat shivering outside our daugthers' dance class, I was intrigued. She pulled up a photo on her phone, and I knew I had to have one. Not only are they made from recycled sweaters, they are adorable and solve the problem of leggings (which are the only thing I want to wear in the winter) with shorter tops and jackets.
There's no reason my butt should be alone in its warmth.
Have you guys looked at the forecast?
I see a lot of minus signs in the next few weeks.
Karen has generously offered one of my lucky (Canadian) readers a 75% off voucher (excluding shipping) to be spent in her fabulous shop (there are arm warmers, scarves and slouchy toques, too).
Just let me know why you'd like to have one in the comments below.
Do you favour leggings, too?
Are you a hockey mom who spends a lot of time in the arena?
Are you a fun mom who likes to grab her Magic Carpet and go for a ride?
I'll randomly choose a winner on Feb 13th.
I have a brain that stores a lot of ideas—most of them never make it past my skull.
But a long and tiresome search for a memory board to hang in my sentimental tween's room (it runs in the family), was coming up empty. She has an eye for design that surpasses my own. And even though she's tenderhearted, she is not dazzled by the princess-themed stuff that's out there. In fact, it makes her gag (smart kid, too).
So I started thinking about making my own. With fabric and staple guns.
And the idea bounced around in my skull for several months, until finally her return from a month away pushed me to make it happen. She has piles of photos and mementos that she wants to display. And the piles they sat in were making both of us crazy.
Before I share this project, you should know: I AM NOT CRAFTY.
Usually when I throw around the words project and homemade, JB runs and hides. I was on my own for this one.
First stop, the local hardware store for a piece of wood. I asked for thin wood, not scratchy wood, about this wide by this wide (picture wildly waving arms). Apparently, I made some kind of sense. After being led to a frightening wood cutting machine at the back of the store, I came out with exactly what I needed.
I also found the right super staples for our long-buried staple gun (last used for our hand-me-down dining room chairs pre-kids).
Then on to the fabric store, which happened to be holding some kind of blow out sale. It seems there are a lot of crafty people in my town. I had to get my elbows out and do some serious manoeuvring to get close to the good stuff.
I had a hard time deciding. I wanted the board to be a surprise, so I had to guess what she might like.
At home, I pulled everything out and got started right away. If I had left it for more than 10 minutes, I'd be distracted by one million other things, and the supplies would have ended up in a closet beside my scrapbooking bin (waaaaaah! unfinished baby albums!).
I covered the plywood with a couple layers of cotton batting (I think that's what it's called) and left just enough extra to wrap around the back of the board.
I did the same when cutting the piece of fabric to cover both the board and the batting.
After flipping it all over, I got to work with the stapler. Actually, that's a lie. My dad happened to stop by at that moment, and immediately threw me aside and took over the staple gun. He knows me well.
I held the fabric in place; it's important to pull it very tightly and works better with two people (JB was still keeping his distance).
Here's the finished product. I've begged JB to fashion some kind of hanging mechanism (I know my limits). For now, it's leaning on top of her bookshelf.
As you can see, she wasted no time covering it with memories.
That's my girl.