The truth about my Christmas guilty pleasures.

This isn’t an ooey-gooey- sweet post describing how the spirit of the season moves me. This is about the truth. This is about some of the things I honestly love at Christmastime. You can judge me, or you can just fess-up and admit you love them too.

1. Starbuck’s gingerbread lattes.
If loving a $5 cup of coffee is wrong, I don’t want to be right. You can only get this liquid gold in December and I lap up every drop I can. Ain’t no shame in it.

2. Watching my teenage daughter try to be nice to me.
It’s obviously painful for her but she does it anyway because she wants the goods on Christmas morning. I realize her affection is shallow and self-serving but, like my beloved gingerbread latte, I’ll take it while I can get it.

Christmas guilty pleasures

3. Black Friday.
Yep, I’m one of those sickos who like to shop on Black Friday. I don’t camp out in front of Wal-Mart or anything but I do love the hustle and bustle of the crowds. And nothing makes me more tingly than a good deal. I also think it’s the best day ever to people watch – there are some real doozies out there. One caveat: under no circumstances do I enjoy Black Friday shopping with my children. That should be against the law.

4. Justifiable shopping.
Shopping makes me feel happy. Really, really happy. Most of the year I have to restrain myself  like an AA member at a tequila factory. But in December I can go to Target three times a day, every day, and nobody says boo.

Target store

5. Buying presents for myself.
I won’t even bother explaining this one. I know I do it and you know you do it. Enough said.

6. Out-decorating my neighbors.
I could tell you I put out a dazzling display of lights and scenery for Christmas that puts all others to shame, but I promised to be honest so here’s the truth. Of the four houses surrounding mine one is abandoned, two don’t decorate at all, and one hangs up three strands of lights. My holiday decorations may be small and simple but I can still say they’re the best on the block. It’s all about perspective people.

Christmas guilty pleasures

7. The “threat” of Santa.
Right or wrong, we’ve all played the Santa card before. Melt-down at the mall? Santa’s watching! Won’t go to bed when they’re supposed to? Santa’s watching! Didn’t mix mommy’s vodka-tonic properly? Santa’s watching!

8. Eating, drinking, and eating and drinking some more.
You know those holiday tips for not overindulging during the holiday season? BAH! If I’m at a party and something looks yummy, I’m eating it. If someone wants me to toast the season, I’m drinking it – twice. I’ll worry about calories in January when I’m reorganizing my closet and donating all the pants that don’t fit anymore.

9. Watching cheesy holiday TV specials.
Traditional. Musical. Animated. Old. New. I watch them all. I know some of them are awful but I don’t care. I love them. My favorite this year is Michael Buble’s “Home For The Holidays”. He’s so dreamy. Sigh.

Christmas guilty pleasures

10. Guilt-free lying to the children.
Lying is bad – unless it’s during the holidays. Then, it’s actually a requirement. Think about it, how many Christmas surprises would be ruined if we were totally honest with our kids? So lie away, it’s ok. Besides, it’s not like you’re breaking a commandment or anything. (Wouldn’t that be ironic?)

How many will you admit to?


Santa Claus and the Bearded Dragon: I Believe

My daughter wants a bird for Christmas this year. I told her no, but remembering what happened last year maybe I should start shopping for a cage. Here’s the story.

bearded dragon

(Originally posted March 26, 2012)

This was the conversation between me and my 8-year-old daughter right before Halloween:

Her: I want a lizard for Christmas.
Me: Um, no.
Her: Please mommy.
Me: No. No way. No way in H-E-L-L.
Her: Why?
Me: Because they’re yucky and icky. And because I said so.
Her: Fine, I’ll ask Santa for one.
Me: Santa doesn’t bring gifts mom and dad haven’t approved.
Her: You don’t know about Santa or lizards mom. I’m asking him for one!

Now repeat this conversation each and every day for the next month or so, which puts us somewhere in late November. I’m at a neighbor’s house (a neighbor who knows nothing of the convo between daughter & me) for a fund-raiser/party when she pulls me aside to show me this “crazy new thing” she has. I follow her into the next room and find myself face to face with a large, scaly, beady-eyed bearded dragon lizard.

Neighbor: It’s not mine. A friend found it abandoned in one of his rental properties and couldn’t leave it there to die so he brought it here. I don’t know what to do with it. If you know anyone who wants or needs a lizard, let me know.
Me: (Insert stunned silence here.)

Folks, I’m not a religious person but I think my little girl must have been praying every single night for Santa to bring her a lizard. Praying hard. And since I’m too smart to spit in the face of divine reptilian intervention, Santa brought a bearded dragon to our house on Christmas morning. Her name is Elizabeth, Lizzy for short, and it took about a day for her to melt my heart. I’m not ashamed to admit I was wrong – she’s not icky or yucky. I love her. When I pet her I’m reminded that Christmas is a magical season, that you’re never too old to believe in Santa, and that my youngest daughter is a powerful force to be reckoned with.

bearded dragon

Last minute Thanksgiving decoarations

I don’t know if you’re aware but Thanksgiving is only EIGHT DAYS AWAY. This time next week people will be arriving at your house. Putting their feet on your furniture. Their heads on your pillows. Their bums on your toilets. It’s crunch time and while I’m no meal-planning or entertaining expert, I can offer some simple, last minute decorating ideas.

last minute Thanksgiving decorations

1. Dry erase markers on dishes: I can’t take credit for this idea but I also can’t remember where I saw it. It was an easy update to my Halloween plate wall but if you don’t want to hang plates on your wall you could have all your guests sign or write what they’re thankful for on a large serving platter. Snap a picture of the finished platter at the end of the night for a lasting holiday memory. (NOTE: I tested my dry erase marker on the back of the plate first just to be sure it would erase.)

last minute Thanksgiving decorations

last minute Thanksgiving decorations

2. Seasonal fabric stretched in a large quilters hoop: I bought this hoop and fabric at JoAnn’s. There are no rules. Just find something you like, stretch it in the hoop, and pop it on the wall for a splash of seasonal color and pattern.

last minute Thanksgiving decorations

3. Photographs: Scroll through your family photos and pick four or five faves that scream “FALL”. I’ve used several shots of my kids in the leaf pile, and this one of my baby girl holding an acorn sits on the mantle. Even photos that have an orange or yellow color theme would work. If you have digital images upload them to a one-hour processing center (I use and all you have to do is go pick them up.

last minute Thanksgiving decorations

last minute Thanksgiving decorations

4. Candles: Candles are one of the quickest ways to set a mood. Mine are actually the fake, battery operated kind. I added a strip of golden scrapbooking paper along with some alphabet stickers to make them Thanksgivingy. You could use the same idea with different sized candles and place them down the center of the dining table. Just remember if you’re planning to light them, wrap the paper around a clear glass holder instead of directly around the candle so you don’t burn the house down – not a fun holiday idea.

last minute Thanksgiving decorations

last minute Thanksgiving decorations

Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving “quicky”?

Easy fall decorations

Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the smells, the cool air, and of course, the decorations. I like to keep it simple and incorporate little bits of family. This bookshelf features a photo of my girls in this year’s leaf pile and one of the leaves, too.

easy fall decorations

Continue reading

Fall goody bags

fall goody bags

I’ve always made goody bags for my daughters’ classroom parties. Not because I’m one of “those” moms, but because we love to make things together and it’s become a mother-daughter tradition over the years. Halloween is a challenge because our school district doesn’t allow “Halloween” parties. (We wouldn’t want to offend anyone, would we? Insert sarcasm here.) Instead we have fall “Harvest” parties. That means the obvious goody bag ideas are not allowed. No witches, spiders, monsters, skeletons . . . you get the idea. My solution? Owls. Here’s a peek at the fall goody bags we made this year inspired by this post from Tales of a Trophy Wife.

fall goody bags

fall goody bags

And here are the lovely little hooters we made last year.

fall goody bags

fall goody bags

I love their crossed eyes. Makes me smile. Do you have any creative fall or Halloween traditions?

The tooth fairy’s epic fail.

tooth fairy fail

The tooth fairy got busted at my house last week. Our youngest daughter called him out, tooth in hand.

“Dad, why are you taking my tooth?”

“I’m not honey, I was just checking on you.”

“Dad, I SAW you take my tooth.”

“Um, yea, I took your tooth. Go back to sleep.”

Go back to sleep? Does everyone know what that means? It means he’s leaving for the train station and when she wakes up I will have to clean up his mess. It also means the tooth fairy is getting his ass kicked. Continue reading

Painted rocks

I was clicking through Pinterest the other day and found this.

Inspired Bohemia

Click on the link and you’ll find some incredible art work, all of it on rocks. Personally, my first thought was, “what a cheap way to get the kids out of my house for a whole afternoon.” So I found a couple rocks, dug out a box of acrylic paints, sent the kids outside, and locked the doors. I wasn’t expecting much other than a little peace and quiet. Super-proud-mama-moment when my eight-year-old pounded on the window to show me this.

painted owl rock

How freakin’ cute is he? Seriously, I underestimated the little booger-head. Tomorrow I’m putting her out with a hammer, nails, and some scrap wood. Maybe she’ll build an addition on the house.

T is for Tree Mural: A-Z Blog Challenge

A couple weeks ago I posted a picture of the “fashion girls” mural I painted on my daughters’ bedroom wall, and I promised to show you the mural that took its place. Here it is!

tree wall mural

The design is based on a picture my daughter found in this book, A Guide to Pixie Hollow, which explains some of my “artistic” choices. For example, you might think I painted random gold, glittery, vertical stripes in the trunk but those are actually pixie dust waterfalls. (This tree is where the pixie dust is created.)

tree wall mural

And those mysterious things stuck on the tree trunk? Those are the fairies’ houses. They light up at night and cast fun shadows across the wall.

tree wall mural

When I was done painting and stapling up all those branches I decided to add some patio lights to finish off the whole thing. See my baby snuggled up in her Tinkerbell bed tent under there?

tree wall mural

This was my first attempt at painting a tree and while I’m really pleased with how it turned out, it was a big challenge for me. Anyone out there done this before? Thinking about giving it a try? I would love to hear from you.