Holiday Spirit in your jammies.
- Jen and Ollie
Happy Turkey Day. Try not to go to the mall. Enjoy the first flakes of
Holiday Spirit in your jammies.
- Jen and Ollie
So this is one of my "all star" gift ideas and it can work for almost anyone.
The funny thing about this journal is that it doubles as an activity director/coffee table statement piece.
I like to page through it and chuckle just imagining the ways I could carry out the directions on each page.
Some examples include:
Use this page as a test page for pens, paints, markets or art supplies.
Space for negative comments.
Rub this page on a dirty surface.
Tongue painting: eat some colorful candy and then color.
Hang the journal in a public place. Invite people to draw here.
Axel has had one for a while. The other day he and his friend Chloe completed one page. I didn't notice it until later while tucking him in – the book seemed to have an unusual bulge.
Clean my lint trap more often.
The definition of "pocket lint" doesn't become clear until sometime after the age of 9.
Buy one. This is not an ad. Unfortunately. I love to plug products with no financial gain to myself. I have no plans to change that policy.
When was the last time you spent the day in a traditional public elementary school? Was it when you yourself were an attendee?
In my 3rd year as a compulsory education parent it is getting harder - not easier - to drop my son off each day.
Imagine being put into a machine each precious morning that whorled, rotated, directed, was loud, had over a million moving parts – did I mention you are required to remember thousands of rules, facts and keep track of 4 fundraisers simultaneously?
Think you can manage?
Here's more: you are among hundreds of "friends" – as they are called – who are completely different from you. You don't get to choose who's on your "team" and you're expected to get along with all of them...all of the time. You're required to be tolerant of the ones who face challenges, you're expected to be understanding when your leaders – without warning – are having a "bad day." The leaders aren't always up to par.
Your surroundings look like the explosion of a craft supply store with so much loud visual stimulation you want to scream. You are interrupted by voices and bells, never finish a sentence and are tested...CONSTANTLY.
Oh yeah. And you're 7.
While Axel rarely complains of the chaos that fills his day I can't help but compare what these kids experience to being the junior version of "wolf of wall street."
I'm sure moments of peace happen. I'm sure there are times that don't seem so out of control. In 3 years I just haven't witnessed one yet.
What I believe: every kid – and further more – each group of kids has the ability to operate with a quiet hum and to thrive in a calm environment where they can hear peoples thoughts and not their voices. I believe kids are naturally curious and given the tools will discover a love of learning on their own. No fancy gimmicks necessary, no hyper-stimulation required, just empty space to fill with discovery and silence to ponder their questions.
Utopian? I don't think so. Ever watched a Montessori class? It's possible.
Solution? Write out the check for a school placing students as the priority. Say no to fund-raisers that pre-maturely use children as marketing pieces. Home school - if you can't take it anymore.
None of these options work for your family?
Play hooky once-in-a-while. Take a "mental health day." Have "camp Mommy" where you relieve your kid from their day job and play in the woods. Let them work on something until they finish – not until the bell rings.
Let them be 7 or 8 or 3 or 15.
Just a thought.
Note to self: Never forget what 7 years-old looks like. Don't forget the year when your boy wanted nothing more than to match his dog. Remember how difficult it was to get 4 kids smiling and sitting still – one day they will pose on command and look positively old and boring.
It counts. It counts to make your kids costumes. It counts to try twice to take photos of their wiggly selves. It counts to get together and endure chaos. It counts to let your kids pass out from a candy coma. Halloween counts on so many levels.
I hope you experienced some haunting good times yesterday. I hope the kiddos were happy for a solid 6 hours and slept for a full 12.
Here's how we looked. Welcome to cousin time little Nolan. May you some day give them all a run for their lives...or at least try to pick them up by their heads.
Whether or not you're a "blogger" or a "maker" or a "foodie," odds are you've used the word "Pinterest" in a sentence or have "Pinned" something in the last 24 hours. Pinterest is everywhere. It's a noun, a verb, an adjective and a state of mind. It is literally squashing enjoyment and gratitude in all aspects of life and replacing them with guilt and a sense of "do better".
Don't worry, there are plenty of pins to help you deal with your guilt.
Blogging isn't the same since Pinterest. It's almost mandatory that you check the "board" for "5 Unforgettable Blog Topics" or "37 Ways to Get MORE Followers". You can learn to "Create Better Content in 101 Easy Steps" or "Engage your Audience with these 7 Secret Tips". It's absolutely flipping ridiculous that the idea of gaining a larger audience somehow substantiates your blog. What does it actually do? Set you up to sell ad space and post other people's content.
Don't we all wish we could "cook, clean, raise children, watercolor, take photos, make memes, dress, meditate, do our nails, relate to our husbands and pay off debt" BETTER, FASTER and in a more PINTEREST WAY? It's not going to happen folks unless you take a class, communicate with your people and save money the good-old-fashioned way.
Upcoming wedding? Don't even ruin your big day with a Pinterest comparison. Getting ready for Christmas? Your 1958 Rambler in the Burbs will never be that log cabin in the mountains overlooking a secluded valley of buffalo where blonde children frolic in the wavy grass. IT'S NOT REAL LIFE...and if for some it is, they didn't get there by taking advice from Pinterest...GUARANTEED.
Now contrary to what my title indicates, I'm not going to give you "3 Reasons why life was better before Pinterest" – I'll only give you 1 - BECAUSE IT WAS.
Disclaimer: Don't get your "11 Favorite Undies for Fall" in a bundle Pinterest – I'm a daily user and will likely continue as one into the distant future. I'm merely trying to add perspective to the younger generation who didn't know life before they were compared to the rest of the world.
Pinterest is a lovely collaborate for creative people. Be inspired, inspire others and stop quantifying (your posts, your repins, your life). More forward. Always. 1 Intentional step at a time.
Carving Pumpkins this week? These very UN-PIN-WORTHY pumpkins are 4 reasons why I LOVE my people more than Pinterest. Thanks Kenz for spending the night with us.
Food for thought,
Nothing more beautiful than an October wedding. This first glimpse at Jim and Brennas most meaningful day. Notice the calm and collected officiant? He doubled as master-of-ceremony and father-of-the-bride. Amazing.
I still have 2016 weekends up for grabs. I'd love to capture your walk down the aisle.
Hearing about the blind date that ended in these two finding happiness warmed my heart over the weekend. Fall engagement sessions are my favorite. This taken at St. John's University is just the tip of the iceberg.
Looking to book your photo session this fall? I'll wear my wool socks and hit the trails with you!
Our little Ollie has gone "Owlie" this Halloween an I am incredibly thrilled with how his costume turned out. With nothing more than his little person to trace for the pattern – I guess you could say we "winged" it.
Materials for this one were all things "scrap."
Here'e the run down:
Owl Wings - fleece + felt + random printed fabrics + elastic - Savers/Joann - $25
Hat - fleece + more fleece + felt + a teensy bit of stuffing - Savers/Joann - $5
Owl Tummy - furry fleece + jersey/sweatshirt material + elastic - Savers/Joann - $5
Owl Feet - fabric + felt + elastic - Scraps
Overall you could make this costume completely for free. I thought the wings would look extra cute by purchasing a few 1/4 yard cuts of fancy fabrics and it was completely worth it.
Total time invested in this costume = 4 hours. The best news? Because of how the wings are made they can be used for YEARS in the costume bin.
Inspired? Hope so! Go completely HOOTY this Halloween and think OWL!
I am in LOVE with Axel's idea for Halloween this year. I know it's only a matter of time before he requires dripping blood and a chain saw.
Inspired by his love of all things animal – he wanted to be something that could coordinate with our dog. While we're saving the big "bee reveal" for later in the month, Axel will be partnering as a Bee Keeper straight outta Savers...and the woods.
Pants - Cords - Savers - $4.99
Shirt - Button Up White - Savers - $2.99
Gloves - Gardening Gloves - Gift - $?
Hat - Spray-painted "old lady" hat + Mesh - Savers/Joann - $4.25
Bow Tie - Handmade from Scraps and Hot Glue - FREE
Bees - Pom Poms + Hot Glue + Mesh - Joann - $3.00
Bucket - Antique Metal + Yellow Paint - FOUND in the woods last summer
There you have it. Thrifty nifty natural. Inspired? Imitation is the #1 form of flattery. Take Axel's idea and RUN!
Stay tuned for Oliver's big reveal in the next few days!
We spent last weekend in Duluth. Not exactly the North Shore that Jahred and I prefer, but it's the closest spot to "throw rocks in the big pond" – which is exactly what the kids enjoy most.
Who brings their swim trunks to Duluth? Not us! That lake is WAAAAAY to cold – at least that's what we thought. Rock after rock the kids ultimately submerged in the crystal clear shallows – holding their jeans on with one hand and tossing "skippers" with the other.
For the first time we brought Oscar who experienced happiness for the first time in a long time. Can't get enough of this picture I took of him (see below). Bringing a dog on vacation was the most memorable part of September – the kids walked around with him on a leash like he was some sort of celebrity.
Simple. Life. Autumn.
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