How do you like your eggs? I prefer mine covered in glitter or stuffed with chocolate 😉
The kids, well, they love their eggs filled with all kinds of fun.
I now have 13 years of Easter Egg fun under my belt so I figured it was about time to put together a giant list of non-candy Easter egg filler ideas. (Trust me – we stuff plenty with candy, but it’s nice to have some variety, right?)
So there you have it – a giant list of non-candy Easter Egg filler ideas. If you think of any I missed please feel free to share!
*Post may contain affiliate links for your convenience.
Spring is on its way (I hope, I hope, I hope) and what better way to get in the mood than by making your very own Spring Tulip Wreath?
I posted this tutorial last year right after I make this quick and easy wreath for my Mom, but the post seems to have been lost when switching blog hosts. Just in case it looks familiar too anyone 😉
Making decorative items for spring is one of my favorite things to do. There are just so many options and color combinations and ideas. I have a soft spot for wreaths, so when my Mom asked me to put together a wreath for her similar to one she has spotted at Pier One, I was happy to accept the challenge.
Want to know my favorite place to buy afforadable silk flowers? The dollar store. You can’t guarantee the selection, but often I get lucky and find some great options.
In this case, I picked up the flowers shortly after Valentines Day so they still had a selection of roses as well as other spring flowers. I noticed that a lot of the roses were kind of tulip-looking and when I was only able to find a few bunches of tulips I decided to improvise.
It is a pretty simple to turn a silk rose into a pretty good imitation of a tulip. I just remove a few of the petals, dicard the leaves, and cut the plastic around the base of the flower into a more compact rounded shape.
Once I had a nice stack of flowers with their stems trimmed to only a few inches long, out came the trusty glue gun. I started glueing the flowers onto the grapevine wreath base, all facing the same direction and alternating colors and styles of flowers as I went. I also added a few sprigs of silk grass here and there to give the wreath a little more texture.
In under an hour and with less than $20 invested in materials…
I’ve said it before (and will probably say it a hundred times again): making something pretty does not have to be hard or expensive. A little time, a little creativity, and a few tips along the way and you can make something beautiful.
I would love to hear about your favorite wreaths or other ideas for spring decorations. Please feel free to share!
Let’s go create something great, shall we?
*Posts may contain affiliate links.
Linking to: Creativity Unleashed Party, Home Matters Party, Pretty Pintastic Party, BFF Open House, Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make Party, Homemade and Handcrafted Party, Saturday Sharefest, Merry Monday, Made By You Monday,
Hello Spring! Well, close enough, right? I told myself to wait until the end of February before I could think about Spring but now that it’s March… 😉
We may not see flowers popping up anytime soon (at least not here in Northern Utah) but all of the Spring holidays are certainly on their way. I often like to get the ideas flowing by looking at some of my past holiday ideas for Spring. And since I have yet to share the Spring Care Package I put together for my husband while he was deployed last year, let’s start there, shall we?
Getting the timing right for sending care packages can be a tricky thing, especially if they are being sent overseas. I found that I had to think ahead at least 3 weeks when sending packages for the last deployment.
After a look at the calendar last year, I decided to hit all three of the big Spring holidays in one box. Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, and April Fool’s Day all got their own mini care package.
My favorite are the Regional Rate A b0xes (the catch with those is that you have to order them in sets of 10 online – but they’re free!) whose rates are based on how far away the box is being sent but still not tied to a specific weight. The Regional Rate A boxes are only slightly smaller than Medium Flat Rate boxes, but can save up to half the cost of the Medium Flat Rate shipping costs. The added bonus of the Flat Rate boxes of any kind is that they ship quickly, only 2-3 days in transit if shipping within the USA.
First step for putting together a care package is decorating the box. I always try to use patterned scrapbook paper from my stash on the flaps and something fun/funny for the bottom of the box. In this case I had my daughter draw a picture for St Patrick’s Day with the stipulation that part of it should look like a pot of gold. Then we added chocolate gold coins (glue dots work great for keeping them in place), placing some beneath a slit in the paper along the upper edge of the “pot” so it looked like the coins were being held inside it.
Isn’t she cute?
Another integral part of the care package is the card. In this case I wanted to create a unique card for St Patrick’s Day. I took a photo of our dog for the front of the card and added the quote “I wanted to give you a big kiss for St Patrick’s Day…”
and the inside reads “but I don’t have a LICKER license.”
Items for the St. Patrick’s Day portion of the care package included beer-flavored Jelly Bellys, a couple of pin on buttons (in case the husband needed a touch of green), Lucky Charms cereal (printable tag found HERE), and a few more chocolate gold coins (of course!).
I wanted the Easter portion of the care package to have it’s own container so I cut down one of the Flat Rate boxes. Some more patterned scrapbook paper, some Easter basket “grass,” and the quote “Some Bunny Loves You” completed the decorations for the box.
Inside: Easter candy! Some stuffed in plastic eggs, some left in it’s own packaging. His favorites include Robin’s Eggs, Reece’s Eggs, and Peeps. My husband also loves chocolate-covered gummies so I was happy to run across the bunnies at World Market. (Which is also where I got the Jelly Bellys). And of course, the kids and I each wrote a note inside some Easter themed cards I had in my stash.
April Fool’s deserves a nod, doesn’t it? I decided to keep it simple and just put together a small “open when” envelope. A fun meme and a box of Bean Boozled jelly beans are just the right size for the envelope. The jelly beans are the kind where you have to guess if you’re eating a good flavor or something crazy like ear wax.
And there you have it all together in the box – a fun Spring Care Package for all the holidays. As you can see, I added a few other things either as requests from the husband (the poster tack for hanging photos on his wall) or something I thought he could use (the coffee mug and a dish wand and soap so he could wash the mug himself as needed). Round it out with letters from the kids and myself and the package was ready to go.
I hope this gave you a few new ideas for sending a little something to your loved one. We all deserve a little happy mail…or a gift basket? Something to think about… 😉
Searching for more Care Package/Gift Basket Ideas? I’m developing quite the collection. Like the Beat the Heat Care Package, Half-Way There Care Package, or Deployment Survival Kit (for the spouse at home).
*This post may contain affiliate links.
With just over a week until Valentine’s Day, if you don’t have your Valentine’s Care Package in the mail you’d better copy this idea, quick! 😉 (And in case you didn’t know, Flat Rate boxes only take a couple of days to reach their destination.)
Naw, you’re probably all on top of things like that already, right? Goodness knows I was last year. At the time, my husband had just left on a six month deployment and one of the things that made all of us feel better was putting together care packages.
What I wasn’t great at during deployment – blogging regularly. Most of the care package ideas never made it onto the blog and we all get to have some fun revisiting them this year.
The husband left on deployment two days before his birthday in January. This may have been the very first care package the kids and I put together last year. Getting input from the kiddos and having them shop for things to go in the box – fun, fun!
I have to admit, I purposely kicked up my Care Package Game with this last deployment. Sure, I’ve sent care packages before, but this time around I was determined the husband would get at least a couple of envious glances from the other guys when he opened them. I wanted that wow factor as soon as the box was opened, so I made sure to decorate the inside of each box.
According to Pinterest one of the easiest ways to decorate the box is using wrapping paper. (And yes, I have an entire board devoted to Care Packages if you want more ideas.) I used THIS tutorial for that, which basically instructs you to diassemble the box, glue the wrapping paper on to the flattened box, trim the paper, and reassemble. It worked pretty well (don’t judge that one crazy edge on the bottom) though my personal preference for the *easiest* way to decorate the inside of the box is to use patterned scrapbook paper and double stick tape.
As soon as the husband reached his destination he was requesting flavorings for water. Those were a constant for every care package. For everything else, I went for sentimental or fun.
One of the big trends in care packages for deployment or other long distance relationships seems to be Open When envelopes. I thought these were a great idea, especially since it would help spread out the fun of the care package a while past the initial opening of the box. (More details on those in another post soon!)
Did you notice the envelope marked Date Night? My goal was to send a care package every couple of weeks. I also wanted to send a specific Date Night envelope at least once a month. Inside each one was a different idea for a faux long distance date night – movies, a TV show we followed together, hiking. (I’ll give this one its own post as well. Check back soon!)
No Valentine’s Care Package is complete without something sweet so we included a few treats.
These oversized Kisses became a constant in each care package as well. I thought it would be a nice touch to have something the husband knew he could look forward to in every box. Plus, well they’re kisses. Read into that any way you like 😉
One of the Open When Envelopes was, of course, dedicated to Valentine’s Day. The kids each made their Dad a card and I found funny printable cards and sent a few of those. (Sorry, I’ll include the link for the printable when I find it. It was a year ago, after all.) Plus, a box of chocolates tiny enough to fit in the envelope.
The kids also helped me write messages on balloons. We blew them up, wrote on them, and deflated them for easy shipping. That way, the husband got his own little DIY balloon bouquet.
I love those Sharpie Fine Point pens, don’t you? I used them for everything lately. (You can purchase some HERE).
Anyway, back to the package.
Every deployment needs at least one stuffed animal, right? (preferably covered in perfume. Trust me on this one.)
Kaitlyn picked this cute little guy out and wrote the tag. I’m sure her dad loved it, and everything else in his Valentine’s Care Package.
As much fun as it was to put together this Valentine’s Care Package, I’m much happier to have him home with us this year. For those of you celebrating Valentine’s Day apart from your loved one, I wish you a good one.
In search of more Care Package Ideas? I have more great themes like Beat the Heat and Half-Way There care packages. (I still got compliments on that last one at the squadron Christmas party!) Or for that spouse that is holding down the fort at home during deployment, a Deployment Survival Kit care package.
Linking to: Home Matters Party, BFF Open House, Pretty Pintastic Party, Pin Me Party, What to Do Weekends, Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make, Saturday Sharefest, Creativity Unleashed,
I’m trying not to dwell on the Monday-ness of today, so why don’t we do something fun and explore Tyler’s Nerf Gun Party? I was a little too busy to post it in December. (You can’t blame me, right?)
My kids’ birthdays aren’t exactly back to back with one in October and one in December. However, there is always a lot going on both months, and this year in particular I wanted to keep things as easy as possible on the birthday party front.
Tyler is in 4th grade, and at that age all of the boys seem interested in three things. Video games. Legos. And Nerf guns. So it was easy enough to convince Ty to revisit the Top Shot/Nerf Gun party we did for his birthday a few years back.
See how smart I’m getting?! Not only is that an easy party to pull off with his already large collection of Nerf Guns, I had already done most of the research for it a long time ago. Hehe. (You can check out my Nerf Pinterest Board for ideas.)
Plus! I was able to use all the printables I created for the last party. Here is the invitation:
For the invites, I simply searched Google for images of the Nerf Logo and the Top Shot logo (tell me I’m not the only one that remembers that show? My husband used to watch it all the time). Then I added the wording for Tyler’s Birthday Party and it was done.
I printed out signs with the party logo and used them on the door, in a frame on the cake table, on the favor bags, etc.
Just a few things I wanted to point out about the party decorations. I kept it really simple by using the colors orange and blue for everything (those are the colors on some of the Nerf Gun darts). These also served as the team colors for the kids throughout all of the activities during the party.
And if you have followed my blog for a while you probably recognize that Happy Birthday banner. My beadboard pennant banner is one of my favorite Go To items for parties. It’s durable and versatile. The only thing I have to do to make it match any party theme is change out the ribbon or fabric ties. In this case I simply used scraps of fabric left over from the bandanas.
Speaking of bandanas – there they are, along with the rest of the favors for the party. I purchased a couple yards of inexpensive blue and orange fabric and cut them into squares (approx 22″ x 22″). Once we designated teams, the kids put on the bandana in the color of their team. Some used them on their heads, some as arm bands, but most followed Tyler and wore them on their faces like bandits.
We didn’t want to deal with anyone “shooting their eye out” so the safety goggles were a must. (Purchased in a set of 12 HERE).
The bandanas and the safety goggles worked as party favors, along with some Nerf Gun darts and candies in blue and orange packaging (we were kicking ourselves for not buying these on clearance after Halloween). The kids carried everything home in their “gear bags” which were just paper bags in a color that matched the party theme.
Typically I like to go with a few snacks and cake/cupcakes for kids’ parties. Let’s face it – the kids are always more interested in playing than eating. However, for this particular party we knew we wanted the extra space so we rented one of the town halls. Since it was December, our options on dates were limited and we ended up with a Friday night reservation and I felt like we needed to serve them dinner.
We decided to go with pizza and breadsticks, since they are Tyler’s favorite. And the pizza is round like a target 😉
And a simple 3 layer cake with ice cream. Kaitlyn was pretty annoyed that I wouldn’t let her decorate the cake, but I had a vision. And I had left it ’til the last minute and wanted it done quickly.
Aren’t the candles cute? Tyler picked those out.
The birthday boy had wanted a two-level cake but my small pans are in storage so I convinced him that three layers in different colors would look good. He was happy with that. Phew.
As you can see, I used a couple of the leftover paper bags for the centerpiece on the table. Orange bags, blue tissue paper, party logo – done!
Station 1: DIY blow dart guns and tissue paper targets
Kids are so excited to get the party started as soon as they arrive so I always plan an activity to keep them busy as soon as they walk in the door. For the Nerf Gun Party, that meant they got to make their own blow dart guns and tissue paper targets.
I provided 12″ lenths of PVC pipe (I believe it was 1/2″ diameter – just large enough for the darts to fit inside), along with colored duct tape and markers to decorate them with.
I also precut holes in the center of super-cheap paper plates and slightly larger circles of patterned tissue paper. The kids were able to decorate the plates then glue the tissue paper in the center.
Then they were able to hang their tissue paper targets on a length of rope and test out their blow dart guns. If they were good shots and the darts tore through the paper they could glue on another piece of tissue paper and try again.
Destruction – lots of fun for 10 year old boys!
Station 2: Plastic Cup Pyramid
From this point on we divided up the teams and each team at a different target station. First up, simple plastic cup pyramids. We gave them one of Tyler’s larger Nerf guns with 10 shots to see how many cups they could knock over.
PS – don’t forget to put tape on the floor to mark where they should stand to shoot.
Station 3: Cardboard Cut-out Target
This one was recycled from last year’s Avenger’s Birthday Party. (Bonus!) The target is just a large piece of cardboard with different sized circle cut-outs. A couple coats of spray paint makes it look great. Avenger red was just fine with me for this. I simply covered up the Avengers logo with our Nerf Gun party logo.
My intention with this one was to change it up a bit and get the kids to shoot from the prone position, but few of them remembered to do so. Not a problem.
Station 4: Army Men and Plastic Cup Pyramid
Once they had warmed up their shooting skills, we made it a little harder with this one. The goal was to knock the Army men off the cups without knocking the cups down.
Station 5: Spinning Targets
This one was probably my personal favorite – targets that actually spin when you hit them!
The base is a white cardboard tri-fold display. I cut squares out of the cardboard and used the discarded cardboard to cut circles for the targets themselves. The design for the targets were found on Google, printed and attached to the cardboard circles.
To make the edges look finished (and more durable), I duct-taped the edges of the square cut out. Then all that was left was to tape a portion of a plastic straw to the back of the targets, thread a wooden skewer through the straw and tape the edges of the skewer to the back of the cardboard.
Adhering a penny to the bottom of each target helps them return to their proper position after getting hit. (Glue dots work great for this!) The original idea for this target (found HERE) said to experiment with the placement of the straw and the penny but I found that keeping the straw centered in the middle worked best.
At this point we paused for pizza, opened gifts, and had cake and ice cream. Then on to the main event!
Two teams, each hid a flag on their base then attempted to steal the flag from the other team.
Rules were simple. If you got hit (on your honor!) you had to return to your base and touch it before returning to the game. No hitting above the chest. If you hit someone above the chest you had to return to your base and touch it before returning to the game.
Chairs and buffet tables provided perfect “cover” for the game. Extra bullets were provided in containers (flower pots recycled from Kaitlyn’s Cupcake Wars party) throughout the room.
The kids didn’t seem to care if they all had the same guns, though we did provide enough guns similar to THIS ONE for everyone to have one. Those that brought their own guns used them for the battle.
We found a great deal on extra Nerf darts HERE.
At times we would call a halt to the action and get everyone to pick up all the extra bullets. Other than that, I just had fun watching the action and taking photos. It was fun to see how the teams handled strategy and teamwork differently and how the different personalities came out during the game.
All in all it was an energetic, chaotic, and fun party – which was exactly what my little guy wanted.
Think I can convince him to do the same theme again next year? I saved all the targets! 😉
Looking for more party inspiration? Stay tuned for a post about Kaitlyn’s 13th birthday party (right, I was too busy to post that one too). Or check out the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, Monster Truck Party, or Farm Birthday Party.
*Post may contain affiliate links.
(May contain affiliate links)
It has been a snow-filled couple of weeks here and we’re almost to the end of January. That must mean Valentine’s Day is on the horizon.
Has anyone come up with good gift ideas yet?
The husband and I decided to forego gifts this year and spend the money on something to do together. I ran across this great cooking class for couples on the 14th – five courses of fancy food, plus chocolates and flowers. It sounded great. Sadly, it was sold out.
I may have thrown a little temper tantrum because I really wanted to go. And because now I have to come up with Plan B.
But. At least the kids’ gifts were easy. The little guy’s teacher and classmate Valentine’s gifts came together no problem as well. Want to see?
My little guy has a planner that he brings home every day in which his teacher has him write anything he needs to do for homework, reminders, and so on. Every day they also have a motivational quote.
I thought it would be fun to give her a way to display some of those quotes thus – the Quote Clipboard.
The base for the quote clipboard is just a 12″ x 12″ piece of wood that I stained and coated with poly. (Link to my favorite poly)
To make it stand up, I drilled a hole on the back and inserted a 3″ dowel. Silly me left the stain down at the shop, so I ended up painting the dowel black. In a perfect world, the dowel gets its own coat of stain too.
You could glue the dowel in, but I left it loose and just taped it to the back of the board so it would be easier to gift wrap.
Adding a clip to the front completes the assembly process.
See? Totally easy.
I have a whole box of clips but I know that they can be hard to find. So (nice person that I am!) I’ll save you the trouble of hunting them down – the clips are generally referred to as Bulldog Clips and can be purchased HERE.
Tyler helped me select three of his teacher’s most-used quotes from his planner and we found a few new ones for her as well. The top row of quotes in the photo came from HERE.
I loved the rainbow colors on the printables, so I used a similar style on our quotes (bottom row).
Not bad, if I do say so myself.
I like my kids to be involved in the process when they give gifts. So after a quick review of my Pinterest Boards I gave my little guy a short list of ideas he could give to his classmates. He chose bouncy balls. Nice.
It was a simple matter to come up with a “punny” saying for the tag. It reads: “I have a BALL with you Valentine.”
As luck would have it, we had these bags leftover from some of my husband’s pre-Christmas baking. Easy peasy.
Tyler stuffed the bouncy balls into the bags and I stapled on the tags. Teamwork, people. Teamwork.
Now we’re all set for Valentines – more than two full weeks ahead of schedule! (I get a high five for that, right?)
Now back to figuring out what to do with the husband on Valentine’s Day. Any suggestions?! Please?
If you are still in search of more Valentine’s gift ideas feel free to check out my Pinterest Board or some of my ideas from previous years like my Crazy Cool Valentines last year or Teacher Gifts in a Cup.
And as always, if you make your own DIY Quote Clipboard or anything else you see on the blog – pease share!
That’s right – it’s time to start thinking about Valentines for classmates and teachers. At least, it is if the stores have anything to say about it. I even spotted some bikinis for sale the other day (said as I look out at the new 6″ of snow we got this week, on top of what was already there. Eesh). Sometimes it feels like retailers are rushing us a bit, though I’m all for staying ahead of the curve.
Keeping that in mind, why don’t we take a look at the Valentines my kids gave to their classmates and teachers last year? (One of the few posts that didn’t transfer from the old domain so now is a great time to repost, don’cha think?)
With the kids bringing home dozens of small gifts from classmates every year, my goal is always to do something a bit unique. I also try to keep it easy and inexpensive because dozens of gifts can add up fast! So, I was happy to run across these cute printable tags on Pinterest.
I kept the design on the tags just as in the printable and added the “love Tyler” to the bottom (he would do anything to keep from having to write his name 30 times!) then printed them on cardstock. It was a simple matter to cut a couple of slits in the tag to slide the straw through. A quick staple attached individual Koolaid packets to the tag.
Bonus! Non-candy Valentines make us happy!
Now the teacher gift is where I truly out-did myself. 😉 Knowing I was going with the “cool” idea for the classmate Valentines I kept my eyes open for something that fit that theme. So, when I ran across these great containers when I was grabbing a few more lunchbox containers for the kids I was soooo excited. (What?! You don’t get excited in the container section of TJ Maxx?!) The containers have mini ice packs in the lids – perfect!
The containers came in a set of four, so I had enough for both kids’ teachers with just one set of containers. Change the “kool” to “cool” on the tag (that font is called Jokerman) and we were all set.
I’ve already started working on ideas for this year’s Valentines for my son’s classmates and teacher. Stay tuned!
Want more teacher gift ideas? Check out my Teacher gifts in a Cup
Or. While we are on the subject of lunchbox containers, check out some of my Lunchbox tips and tricks (for picky eaters).
Until next time. What should we create next?
Ah Christmas. We’ve made it!
Cards are sent, gifts are wrapped and waiting under the tree, the weather is attempting to give us a white Christmas, and everyone is home for the holidays (except for my parents who just left to get that “one last gift”). Time to relax and enjoy it.
From my family to yours – wishing you love, joy and adventure the whole year round. Merry Christmas!
In November I was asked to help with the decorations for the church Christmas party. The person organizing it knew she wanted the theme to be Polar Express but at that point she was still nailing down the details. We tossed around the idea of making a ticket booth or a big train out of cardboard coming out of the wall.
Fast forward to just after Thanksgiving when we returned from our big vacation to Florida (Disney tips coming soon!) and had a small break in between holidays and we spoke about plans again. This person was finding a train backdrop and that person was making the ticket booth and so-and-so was in charge of getting some guys together to hang lights. And for me? Well she wanted to cover up ALL the ugly carpet on the walls with paper and would I paint some silver trees on that paper?
I spent chunks of that next week painting trees on the floor of the kitchen, one 6 foot section of paper at a time. I did have some help lined up but once I got started I decided there just wasn’t enough space for more than one person to work on it. Don’t feel too badly though – a lot of the time was spent waiting for the paint to dry (not one of my favorite things). Once I got into the rhythm I would spend maybe 10 minutes (20 on the big leafless trees) on the trees, let them dry for a bit, another few minutes for highlights, then let it dry completely.
I am not an artist but one thing crafting has taught me is not to be afraid of trying something new. And I did ok on my tree during paint night last spring. 😉 So I did a quick internet search for images of trees for inspiration and just ran with it.
Pretty cool huh? All pulled together with the twinkle lights and everything it was pretty impressive.
Other than my trees, there were a lot of fun party details
The tickets/invitations (aren’t they adorable?)
The ticket booth, where the bishop dressed as the conductor and punched tickets as everyone arrived.
The entry to the gym. Isn’t that duct tape train track a nice touch?
The young women and activity days girls did all the coffee filter trees and the snowflakes. Impressive.
The party was held at 9:00 AM on a Saturday. Everyone wore their pajamas and they two buffet tables set up with french toast casseroles, sausage, fruit, milk and juice. They also had a fun hot chocolate bar. I didn’t get photos of anything after people started arriving since I kept running into people I hadn’t seen in a while and was having fun just visiting.
They had conductors set up to punch tickets at each of the stations (arrival, hot chocolate, Santa, etc) but I don’t think the guests were fully clued into that part of the party as I didn’t see much punching going on.
Once everyone had started eating. they had someone sit on stage and read the Polar Express, along with showing a few clips from the movie. They also had a young couple with a brand new baby dress up as Mary and Joseph. Then Santa arrived!
I was Santa’s helper for the morning and oh what fun to see all the interactions with Santa and the kids (and the teens and the adults!). Santa was in top form and was really hamming it up for photos.
Little gift bags from Santa held a silver bell, train whistles and treats.
They also had family photos being taken in front of the big train backdrop by one of the members with her professional photographer set up.
It was a little more work than I was expecting when I agreed to help, but all in all I’m very glad I agreed. Everything turned out nicely and, even better, I got to spend some time with a lot of great people I wouldn’t have had the chance to see otherwise.
Have you done something new this Christmas season that has added to your holiday experience? I would love to hear about it!
Today we are hitting the tail end of what has been one of the most eventful weeks I have had in a very long time. I’m not sure why things didn’t end up more spread out this month but events seemed to happen back to back to back this week. We had birthday parties and band concerts and shopping to do and gifts to wrap and elves to supervise (tons of elf on the shelf inspiration here and here if you need it!) and I joined in on a couple of things I don’t normally do for the holidays. Plus add in keeping up on the routine things like running kids to the orthodontist, checking homework, cleaning the house, volunteering in Tyler’s classroom, paying bills, running errands, and getting the husband to cook dinner as often as possible…
Among all of this I keep seeing mentions of simplifying the holidays on social media and it has me wondering – do I really want to simplify my holidays this year? Did I somehow take on too much or do it wrong this time around?
I hate feeling like I’m rushed or stressed and typically I’m pretty good at saying “no” to things that will bring too much of that into my life. I almost always plan ahead and try to get the prep work done for big projects, parties, etc. days or weeks before they need to be done because I dislike doing anything last-minute. My goal for Christmas is to have the majority of my gift shopping done by December 1st and here it is the 11th and I’m still missing things and in some cases I don’t even had decent gift ideas figured out.
When I pulled out my calendar Thanksgiving weekend and realized that we had committed to sooooooo many things that fell this second week of December I had a moment of panic wondering how we were going to handle it all. I’ve been hoping daily that I won’t get sick because things would come to screeching halt if I did. I have had to keep pretty close track of my time and priorities since then. And there has been more than one night when my elf alarm (yes I set a nightly alarm on my phone for 30 minutes past bedtime to help me remember those elves) went off and I found myself wishing Tyler was ready to move on to being Santa’s helper along with his big sister (not that I ever want to wish my kids older or more experienced and jaded than they are – they grow up WAY too fast already).
I haven’t regretted a single event or plan we made this week. Not one.
My son had an awesome amazing birthday and a crazy chaotic joyful birthday party (birthday on Monday, party Friday night. blog post to be determined!).
My daughter shone in her band concert, more poised and confidant each time one of these comes around.
Our Bunco Christmas party was a pajama-clad, gift-stealing, fun tradition.
I got to know a lot of great people in the neighborhood and renew acquaintances with other fantastic people I haven’t seen in a long time while I spent hours helping decorating for the church party (a church I don’t actually attend). It turned out beautifully and there is satisfaction in that along with the pleasure of watching the party itself happen. I was busy most of the party as well, playing Santa’s helper and the interactions between Santa and the kids, teens, and even the adults were so fun to watch. (Santa was really on his game yesterday – it was awesome). PS – I’ll blog about the party details soon!
And for the first time since high school (I think we hit the 20 year reunion this year!) I took the opportunity to sing with a big choir at the community Christmas concert last night (a much bigger event than I knew it would be when I signed up).
So my take-away from this week?
Sometimes putting in the extra effort is totally worth it.
No matter what you are doing or what you may need to be doing in an hour, be fully in the moment and enjoy that one thing on its own.
Don’t be afraid to say yes.
Do I recommend filling every week to the brim? Nope. Do I want to take on every single thing someone asks me to do? Nuh-uh. Do I intend to take one day next week and spend it on the couch binge watching a show, drinking hot chocolate and forgetting everything else for an afternoon? Absolutely.
Life isn’t about doing only the minimum or cutting out some of the hoopla simply because it’s what other people are doing. I think we need to give ourselves things to look forward to.
You can’t do everything but you can do anything you choose.
So choose wisely but don’t be afraid to push yourself a bit. I don’t think you’ll regret it either.
We are now off to the big gingerbread house decorating party with the husband’s family…