My Weapon Against Holiday Busyness – Advance Planning!

As I have mentioned before, I am type-A leaning, so I value efficiency, organization, and planning. With my daughter in 4 year old kindergarten, our lives have certainly adopted a quicker pace week in and week out.  To stay ahead and not get overwhelmed, I always try to think ahead. I’m that person buying Christmas presents in July, picking up birthday party favors weeks in advance, and recording important dates and to-do’s in my planner.

My weapon against holiday busyness IS simple – Advance Planning!

As many of you have noticed, the holidays are ALREADY upon us. I’ve seen a mix of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas in stores lately.  YIKES! I do have a few gifts in hand, so I don’t expect to have a hectic, last-minute shopping season, which is SO not my style. Daddy O., on the other hand, is a different story, but that’s his deal!

Similarly, I often start looking at holiday card options this time of year.  I enjoy trying to find a good family picture to share in our annual holiday card. I love the old-fashioned tradition of sending and receiving cards.  It’s something that social media just can’t replace.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover a new holiday card source this year.  It’s a site called Minted. What I love is that it is an independent design community, so think small, talented, independent designers who have their works voted on and sold through Minted. This means my card won’t be like every other one I receive.  It will be unique!

This quick video is a cool intro to Minted.  Many moms (either working or staying at home) are also designers, pursuing their passion and submitting their work to the design challenges on Minted.  This community of designers (similar to the blogosphere) delivers beautiful, award winning design.

Moms pursuing their passions – hmm…sounds familiar. And yes, I’d like to support that community!  I bought my daughter’s Halloween costume from Etsy (an Elsa dress), and it seems that Minted is a sort of Etsy of cards, art, and decor.

The number of choices is a bit overwhelming, but I managed to find a few favorites.

Minted Watercolor Bunting Holiday Card

Love this Watercolor Bunting at the top of the card! There is also a gold foil, shiny option.

Being a proud Sconnie, or Wisconsin native, I like the idea of this card, but I don’t like that Wisconsin was covered up.  Daddy O. and I did, however, once call Pittsburgh home.  This COULD have been our card then when it was just the two of us! There is also a West Coast version of this card, but I think Wisconsin was covered up in that one too.  Bummer – this option is not for us.

Minted Holiday Map Holiday Card

Fun way to show off where you live in a holiday card.

I was drawn to the fun lettering on these cards.

I am not sure what family pictures I have to include in this year’s card, so I may have to get creative with multiple photos on one card.  Here were some multiple photo options that caught my eye:

Minted Holiday Collage Photo Card

A card with multiple pictures may work best for our family.

My family isn’t too big on super heros, but I someday we may be.  When that is the case, we’ll use a card like this:

Minted Comic Book Holiday Card

You could really have fun with this card’s comic book style!

Certainly professional photographers’ pictures are far superior to my own snapshots, and I’m having a little picture envy just looking at all these lovely cards used on the site.  In the spirit of advance planning, here are some tips on how to get a great family picture for holiday cards by Heather Lee on Julep. She recommends having pictures taken now and having a photo card in mind, so the photographer can compose the shot correctly.  Good tips!

For our own card, I’ll try my best to snap some good pictures within the next few weeks or use what we have.  I think these two cards are my top holiday card contenders:

Next step – playing on Minted with some of these cards and my pictures.  Stay tuned to see which pictures and what card I choose!

This was a sponsored post, but the opinions expressed were my own. Photography by Minted.

Kid Sabotage

I heard myself talking with my sister about some things going awry on my days at home with the kids, and it struck me that I am experiencing KID SABOTAGE from time to time.

What is Kid Sabotage?

The best way to define kid sabotage is a time when your own, adult plans are abruptly derailed due to your kids’ behavior. It’s a reality of being a parent – your time is not 100% your own anymore with kids who need your attention, care, and love.  And I’m okay with that…though I can’t help but get annoyed when I’m victim to kid sabotage.

my reaction to kid sabotage

Here’s my immediate reaction to kid sabotage (captured thanks to my dear husband)

Examples of kid sabotage:

  • I sit down after lunch to quickly pay some bills online. My dear son manages to press that big round button next to the green light and turn off the computer.
  • I just replaced the bathmat only to have my son “miss” the toilet. Laundry is a constant in our house…oh well.
  • My daughter shows me an unwrapped gift that I JUST bought an hour earlier for a friend. At least it was a gift bag & ribbon, so I could re-assemble it without anyone knowing.
  • Any phone conversation interrupted by, “Mom, Mom, hey Mom.”  You know the drill!
  • Freshly folded stack of laundry being “attacked” by my son. No idea why he likes messing up laundry so much!!
  • My son refusing to wear a pumpkin costume that his grandma & I spent a lot of time making. I told him he HAS to wear it at least once!
  • This one is part kid / part mom sabotage – the ONE TIME I forget to pack a change of clothes my son pooped his pants at the park. I did have some wipes and a spare diaper to help us through that situation.  As the saying goes, sh*t happens!
I can't stay mad at these cuties for long!

I can’t stay mad at these cuties for long!

I love my kids dearly, and I try not to react too harshly to moments of kid sabotage.  They are just KIDS (ages 3 and almost 5) after all. More often than not (as in the unexpected computer shutdown) I know they just want to be by me and are too young to understand needing some space and time to oneself. HOPEFULLY I can teach them that and establish a quiet-time in lieu of the now-extinct nap-time.

What are your favorite kid sabotage moments?

The Big Purge (of Baby Stuff)

I started purging (my house), and I can’t stop! It started with going through big sister’s clothes for a future niece, and then it expanded to look at little brother’s clothes. After rummaging through big sister’s big closet, I filled these bags and bins to pass along to four sweet, little babies.

lots of baby clothes

ALL this stuff to find a new home with sweet little babies! My son is playing on the couch behind everything (and yes, he does have pants on)!

I am so happy to be able to share and pass along our stuff to the next round of babies, knowing that friends and family were so generous to do the same for my two kids.  It is so fun seeing my favorite outfits on another little kiddo – a small trip down memory lane!

I also had the same reaction that Daddy O. had, “WHAT?! We had ALL of this saved?!”  I have saved one small bin of clothes for my kids, but again, I would much rather share the clothes and gear with another family than just keep it stored-up, not being used.

From the clothes, I moved on to gear. Infant bathtub, the dreaded diaper champ (so glad to be rid of you), bouncer, jump-aroo, high chair, diaper changing pad, blankets, bottles…the list goes on and on! Through our church, I discovered an organization for single moms that actively seeks such baby clothing and items. SCORE!  I loaded up my 3 year old son along with all the gear and drove it to the donation center this week.  On the way my son said, “I call this baby stuff junk. What is all this junk?”  I just laughed, saying, “hey you used this junk when you were a baby!”  But in a way yes, it is crazy how much we accumulated and used for our two kids. I hope the “junk” is useful and helpful to other families who need it!

There are still a few items for which I’m to find a place, but on the whole, our baby gear has been purged!

I thought I would be more emotional, but the practical side of me is over-ruling. The gear is simply stuff (or junk according to my son). I have a sentimental scrapbook and many fond memories forever in my heart of my two babies. My babies aren’t babies, and they’re eager to remind me of that!

Be gone baby gear! I was grateful for your service.