I am a busy and often overwhelmed mom. With three kids in three different schools (high school, middle school, and elementary school), I often feel like all I ever do is manage their schedules and chauffeur them all over the place. Which doesn't leave much time for cleaning the house, cooking, or working.
I know I'm not the only mom in this predicament. I used to think it would get better as my children got older, but it's definitely proven to be the opposite, just as all the more experienced moms I knew promised it would. Sigh.
But! There are things that can help. And if you have a busy and overwhelmed mom in your life, this list is sure to give you a couple ideas for gifts. If YOU are the busy mom, send it on to your husband and kids and mark just what you want! (Affiliate links)
Busy moms not only want to look good, they want to FEEL good.
Monday, November 30, 2015
Last year, I splurged at Pottery Barn and bought an amazing advent calendar. I'd actually gone 14 years of motherhood without ever owning one! Sometimes we bought the little cardboard advent calendars with the chocolates, but usually we never bothered with it.
Until I just had to have this giant Christmas tree advent calendar! It's so much bigger than I thought it would be—I thought I could hang it on a door, but it's much larger than all of our doors! I love it anyway, though. (Want one? Buy it HERE.)
Last year, I just stuck some chocolates in each pocket, and the girls took turns getting it out every morning. But I didn't want to do that this year for several reasons.
1. They get enough candy and sweets during this holiday, I don't really want to add to that.
2. They bickered over whose turn it was to take the chocolate every single day. That is not what Christmas time should be about.
3. Nothing about the activity really supported my main priorities for Christmas—I really want all the activities we do to point us to the celebration of Jesus' birth.
I've thought about it, and I came up with the idea for a Kindness Advent Calendar.
Sunday, November 29, 2015
Several years ago I found myself standing in a very long line at the Post Office on December 19. That year had been insane as far as the holidays went and I was not enjoying myself. Instead, I was completely stressed out and overwhelmed and just trying to keep my head above water to make the time happy for the kids. As I stood in that line, trying to balance the pile of packages I hoped would arrive to family members before Christmas Day, I vowed that I would never again let the holidays become so crazy that we couldn't even enjoy them.
While I certainly haven't been perfect—we've definitely had our crazy holiday moments since then—I will say that I have been much better. The first step to simplifying the holidays is to recognize that things have gotten a little too overstuffed and reevaluate your priorities.
What is the most important thing about Christmas for you and your family?
For me, it's that my family is together, that we're happy, and that we are focusing on the birth of Christ and all that entails. Hopefully everything we choose to do during this season will accomplish those three things. If something detracts from those goals, it's now much easier for me to cut it out of our schedule without feeling too bad.
The following four ideas have helped me greatly to focus on what my Christmas priorities are:
Saturday, November 28, 2015
I asked my 15-year old daughter, Bria, to make a gift guide again this year. Her gift guide from last year was a big hit, and she is so detailed and conscious of what's cool right now that I knew you would love another Bria researched gift guide for teenage girls.
She came up with an absolutely amazing list of things that a typical teenage girl will absolutely love. It includes all the basics: Make-up, hair, skincare, jewelry, electronics, and more. I have NO idea what I will be getting her for Christmas this year since I obviously can't purchase all of it! Plus, some of it I want for myself now. I guess the teenage girl in me has never quite grown up!
With no further ado, here is Bria's ultimate gift guide for teen girls (affiliate links):
Friday, November 27, 2015
First, let me show you just how beautiful this blanket is! You can go with fleece, plush fleece, or the woven throws. I'm a sucker for the woven throws, so that is what I chose. I chose the 60x80 size because I wanted it to be a warm blanket we would actually use as a way to keep warm while watching Christmas movies together.
Even though I knew I wanted to also display it while it wasn't being used for giving warmth, I didn't think about just how large that size was—it takes up my entire couch! Still, it's big and beautiful and I love it, even though I don't have a blank wall in the whole house that is big enough to show the whole thing!
I knew I wanted to do a curtain rod display on the wall, but I did not want to be drilling holes in my wall or have a permanent curtain rod there. I ruminated on that a bit, and I came up with a really simple solution using the velcro Command strips for picture hanging.
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
This post is sponsored by International Delight, but all opinions are my own.
I love the holiday season! Beginning at Halloween and lasting all the way through the new year, this time of year is my very favorite. I love all of the family traditions we have established and always look forward to creating new ones. I love the time spent with family and friends. I love the extra dash of happiness and goodwill that seems be in the air wherever you go.
And I love the flavors.
That's right. The flavors—not necessarily the food. I look forward to a handful of flavors that seem to just inspire holiday cheer: peppermint, pumpkin, gingerbread, cranberry, and eggnog. Add spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to the mix, and I am one happy girl.
That's why I was so excited to try out International Delight's Holiday Nog. We always break out the eggnog right around Thanksgiving and especially love to drink it while we decorate the house for Christmas on the day after Thanksgiving. They offer both original nog and "very vanilla" nog—which is my favorite. Add a sprinkle of nutmeg on top and a little bit of Frank Sinatra's Christmas songs and you are instantly full of Christmas cheer.
Because eggnog is such a big part of our day after Thanksgiving traditions, I thought it would be fun to try a muffin recipe featuring the nog. The plan is to eat them for breakfast before we bring out the bins of holiday decorations. Instant Christmas cheer in (gluten-free) muffin form!
Gluten-free Eggnog Mini Muffins Recipe
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
It's always nice to have a simple Thanksgiving craft for the kids to do while they are waiting for Thanksgiving dinner to begin. This adorable little Thanksgiving turkey treat bag is super easy for even the littlest kids to make. Plus, if you let them fill it up with an assortment of their favorite little candies, it will give them something fun to look forward to later!
Set up a craft table for the kids while the adults are busy in the kitchen, and let them have at it. Since there is some cutting involved, it's good to have an older child or an adult who isn't carving the turkey help to supervise. But, like I mentioned before, it's super easy and preschoolers will be able to do it just fine!
I've also provided a printable template for you below to make the process even easier.
Supplies needed (affiliate links):
Monday, November 16, 2015
Normally by this time in November I would have put up our Thanksgiving tree. I like to have it up all of November so we can focus on our gratitude all month. But here it is 10 days before Thanksgiving Day and I barely managed to get the Halloween decorations down just a few days ago. I just haven't managed to go dig up the hedge clippers and trudge outside to get some branches for the tree, so it hasn't gone up yet.
So, tonight I decided to do something different—and a whole lot easier! A thankful jar. I plan to keep it on the coffee table with blank strips for the kids to write their gratitudes every day until Thanksgiving. Then we will read them around the Thanksgiving table as we usually do with the tree.