14 Days of Love

Tomorrow is February. How about that?

Last year, I saw this pin about an easy Valentines Day craft where you cut out 14 construction paper hearts and write something you love about your child on each one. Starting on February 1, you tape a heart to their door every day until Valentine’s Day.

This craft checks so many boxes for me!

1️⃣ It’s a countdown to help young kids understand waiting for a holiday.

2️⃣ It’s a cheap, easy way to decorate for a holiday.

3️⃣ It’s a lesson in being thoughtful, all while reinforcing a child’s confidence and sense of self-worth.

I also love this pin:

In the article, the mom does this for her kids but I also love the idea of having siblings make a heart for each other each day.

As a soon-to-be mom of two boys, I really want to foster positive relationships between my kids. It’s so easy for sibling rivalries to grow in the absence of affection and appreciation towards each other. I hope I can help my boys celebrate their brother’s strengths and understand that they will not always be good at the same things – and that’s okay. 🤞🏻

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Isn’t it interesting how we experience holidays differently through the many stages of our lives?

When we’re young, there’s the fun and social aspect of getting treats and Valentines from our classmates … with the beginnings of crushes, the excitement of getting a special Valentine for the first time, or the fear of giving a special Valentine for the first time!

Personally, I will always treasure how my very sweet father got flowers and chocolates and cards for me and my sister every Valentine’s Day until we went off to college.

Then we start romantic relationships and experience the holiday in a totally different way – there’s passion and these big displays to impress your significant other.

The holiday changes again when you’re married. Or it did for me. Suddenly, it’s less flashy, more sentimental, and maybe even less important than the daily ways we show our love.

And now I’m finding a whole new way to enjoy Valentine’s Day through my children!

There are certainly valid arguments about holidays being over-commercialized, just another reason to buy more meaningless stuff. It’s up to us to keep the focus on family, friends, and of course the little things. Holidays are important for many reasons besides what they stand for individually: the rituals and rhythm they bring to our year, the family traditions they help create or preserve, and the excuse to make things a little more special and a little more beautiful.

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Thinking Outside the (Christmas) Box

January is almost over. Christmas is long gone, and I’m still packing away the remnants of the holiday. These things take longer when you’re almost 8 months pregnant, right? 😉 As I box up my decorations and massive amounts of … Continue reading

A Different Kind of Resolution

New year, new me! Out with the old, in with the new! 

Sound familiar? Don’t we all have our list of resolutions come January 1? There is something magical and irresistible about the potential of a new year, it’s true. But what might we be losing with this “clean slate” mentality?

Japanese philosophy of kintsugi

What a beautiful way to look at life. And at ourselves.

New Year’s resolutions so often focus on negative things – what we don’t like about ourselves or our lives. They’re centered on leaving behind the past, leaving behind faults and vices, bad memories or relationships. But our pasts are a part of us, always. True, we can choose to let things go, to forgive, to change … but we can also celebrate the trials when we persevered, the heartaches we endured, the lessons we learned from failing, and especially the dreams and people we have lost along the way.

We get distracted by the idea of “perfect” and forget the importance of embracing and celebrating our present. Yes – make resolutions, set goals, and strive to be a better you … just don’t forget to love who you are today and accept who you were yesterday.

Anywho, I’ve got some fun projects to post about in the new year, so for now, I’m wishing you all a happy and healthy 2017!

Grateful Is As Grateful Does

I’m sure I’m not the first person to comment on the irony of Black Friday. We spend Thanksgiving counting our blessings, reaching out to family and friends and neighbors, and paying forward our bounty to those in need; the very next day our country displays the most extreme commercialism on the planet with outrageous lines, disregard for our fellow man, riots and brawls … all over STUFF.

I don’t mean to bash anyone who loves hunting for the deal or those who’ve made a fun, family tradition of it all. I come from a long line of thrifty shoppers and sale hunters, though it’s never been my cup of tea. It is just difficult to ignore the sharp contrast of gratitude one day and greed the next. 

The danger of Black Friday isn’t in the act of shopping; we all have our Christmas lists and our big ticket items we save for all year. The danger comes in the careless materialism that leads us to mania, that leads us to idolize STUFF and prioritize acquiring that STUFF over anything else, and that leads us to believe STUFF will make us (or our loved ones) happy or whole.

I say all this knowing that I am guilty of these things in my own way. That’s why we have to check ourselves whenever our inner voice starts nagging and asking “why?”

So at the end of this rant I guess I just hope we (myself included) can all strive to be more conscientious and kind consumers. Because no TV is worth harming another human being, and the value of a gift isn’t in the price tag but in the love and connection between the gifter and the receiver. 

Today is #SmallBusinessSaturday. So maybe we forgo the big businesses and their doorbusters and instead channel our commercialism back into our local communities and in support of entrepreneurs and artists and craftsmen.

Let’s support philanthropic businesses that donate to causes we care about. There are so many out there: like these, or these, or these, or try AmazonSmile or Heifer.

And maybe we shake up our Christmas lists and trade out some of the STUFF for cool experiences and memories to make together: a cooking class, movie tickets, a day trip to a museum, or a dinner date.

Or just ignore me and my ranting and do what makes you happy. As long as you ARE asking yourself, “Will this make me happy?” And really listen to the reply.