Current Faves: Little Luxuries (for chilly days)

In my experience as a mom, I have gained much wisdom and learned many life lessons that have shaped me into the amazing creature you see sitting before you. (….or…whatever.) Life lessons such as…

When one forgets to close the bathroom door, a wandering toddler may very well throw one’s lipstick in the toilet. 

…such as, Keep your children close, keep your candy stash closer.

…such as, No seriously kid, get your own candy.

The chilly, rainy weather has finally hit California and with it, I’ve found myself inside with the kids more. While Maddie is at school from 8:00-3:30, that leaves quite a stretch of time indoors with Jack and Ruthie. Keeping them fed and learning and having fun is my job, but I’ve been learning  really how important it is to make an effort in taking care of myself as well. As the one running things around here during the day, I am the one who sets the tone of the home. I’ve been seeing this more and more — when I am in peace, feeling human, having a few minutes set aside to be pampered a bit, it makes these long winter days indoors a lot less daunting and in turn, the atmosphere of our home is much lighter.

And that brings me to my current favorites, a few little luxuries that have been keeping me feeling like me, especially during those long days indoors.

Finding my happy coffee place

merman pop

My morning routine isn’t exactly strict and can change at the drop of a hat, but I do like to have a clean sink and a cup of coffee by 10:00. Don’t ask me why, I just feel better when I have a clean kitchen behind me. Since my ideal setting of a quaint coffee shop with a good book isn’t exactly in the cards, I try to make it a treat I look forward to anyway. An experience, if you will.

Something that makes it a little more special is having a cute mug. It’s just not as fun to drink out of a plain old mug! Also, I take a few seconds to froth the milk. I know, I’m a wild woman with my frothy latte in a cute mug. But it works for me. One more thing: I will sit and enjoy the heck out of that thing from start to finish, butt firmly planted on the couch with a cozy blanket. Yes, if the kids need me I’ll get up; I am not a monster. But I have let one too many cups of coffee chill to arctic temperatures on the counter while I do “just one more thing real quick” (hence, the clean sink method mentioned above). If I’m going to limit myself to one caffeinated beverage a day, you better believe I’m going to enjoy it.

Candles, candles, everywhere…

Target Candles

Candles make a house a home. Someone said that somewhere. There’s just something about the gentle flicker of warm light and the scent of baked goods filling the air that is soothing to the soul. Hey, at the very least, they mask the smell of the morning’s dirty diapers piling up in double-knotted grocery bags by the front door. But man, I do love me some candles. I have them in every room and except for when I’m cooking, there’s usually one lit in the kitchen.

Nailed it.

cuticle butter

THIS. STUFF. IS. LEGIT. Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream. I was having tea with my friends Sarah and Jimaie last year and Jimaie whipped this stuff out of her purse and started rubbing it on her nails, telling us how every new mother should be given this as a gift when she has her baby. I watched in awestruck wonder. The little tin in all it’s adorableness drew me in immediately… and then there’s the scent. It is lemony heavenly goodness. I picked this up at Target for a few dollars and now it goes where I go, it stays where I stay.

I ran out of catchy titles. This one is about soap.

african black soap

Okay, so this African Black Soap intrigued me as soon as I saw it at the store. It took me a while to gain the courage to buy it and see what it’s all about. For “acne prone and troubled skin”, which I do sometimes have, but let’s be real here, I bought it because it’s black soap! Keep the “soapist” remarks to yourself… I enjoy all colors of soap and do not discriminate. It just looks so exotic. It smells good too!  It’s a behemoth of a bar too and it’s lasting forever. Every product I’ve tried from the Shea Moisture line has been great so far. I also really love this Olive and Green Tea Bubble Bath & Body Wash.

olive green tea shea

You might be thinking, “meh, soap”, but girl, try this body wash. My skin is so soft after I use this stuff, like buttah.

These simple things may seem very “duh”, but it’s taken me a few good years to get my groove here. I’m sure some ladies would be surprised how many days they go without taking any time for themselves to just chill and be still. So yes, these things sure go a long way in keeping me feeling like me. What are your little luxuries?

Crafting Fail – “Nailed It”

Sooooo, yeah. Jack and I tried crafting today. Armed with my best intentions and a glue gun, I set out to recreate this little Pinterest classic, Melted Crayon Art (with a Batman theme). Because Jack hearts everything superhero and we had precisely 1.5 hours until the littlest Gable girl woke up. Seemed like a good idea at the time!

The inspiration:

There are tons of examples floating around the internet and also a few nice warnings thrown in there to fellow crafters that THIS DOES NOT ALWAYS END WELL. We tried anyway.

First of all, to use this specific technique, you are supposed to peel all the paper off the crayons before putting them in the glue gun. “One pinner says” it is a good method because the crayons fit perfectly into the glue hole and you don’t have to deal with as much of a mess.

Lesson 1: Don’t trust anyone who says to stick things in a ‘glue hole’ that clearly do not belong in a glue hole.

The crayons don’t fit perfectly, actually. They do, however, cause hand cramps as you’re trying to shove them in the God-forsaken glue hole. Shavings everywhere, dramatically clutching your arm in pain — the epitome of a First World Problem. But I persevered, yes I did! Jack had long given up by this point and was finding something much more significant to do with his life, meanwhile I was experiencing each stage of grief as I pressed through to the other side of this craptacular project.

And here is the finished masterpiece:

So do I get my award now, or

DIY Toilet Paper Pumpkins – Round 2

A few years back, I did a tutorial on how to make Toilet Paper Pumpkins for fall decor.

So earlier this morning as I was about to start folding laundry, I looked around my living room and realized I didn’t have anything remotely seasonal out and I decided to do what any procrastinating person would do — ignore the 5 foot tall laundry pile and go on a crafting adventure.

This is basically a reboot post from that original tutorial with a minor tweak, so feel free to check back and see exactly how I did it here.

The supplies list isn’t much different than last time, other than the use of more modern fabric. Oh! And also instead of, you know, trespassing on neighbor’s property to steal sticks from their yard, I opted for the more lawful approach — cinnamon sticks.

I wasn’t kidding when I said this was going to be a reboot… there’s not much left to explain after that other tutorial! I do love my little awkward pumpkins though. They brought a sprinkling of fall into my home in a pinch!

Too cray or not too cray? That is the question.

Being that I’m semi-new to the whole school mom game, I need to run something by you guys. Give me your honest feedback, okay?

What is truly acceptable behavior for a mom toward her child’s teacher whom she freaking loves? Because like I think I came on a little strong with Maddie’s Kindergarten teacher last year because she is my favorite and I’m afraid it’s going to happen again with her 1st grade teacher.

On the first day last year, Maddie’s teacher sent home this amazingly thoughtful little package with a note ensuring us she’ll be taking care of our sweet child and that there was nothing to worry about. It even had a tissue and tea in it for me to drown my sorrows in during that first day Maddie was gone. I MEAN. That won my heart immediately. This woman is everything. But that’s where things started getting weird.

And by “things”, I mean me.

I was immediately like, “Will you accept this rose and continue this journey with me?”

I spent the remainder of the year trying my hardest not to come across completely insane to this woman, but I have a feeling it was showing through anyway.

I just feel like I look around the campus at the other moms and they’re totally calm and collected while interacting with their kid’s teacher and I’m over here barely holding it together like

I can think back and remember this same pattern of behavior happening my whole life. For example, on the first day of high school, I spotted a girl sitting across the room of English class who seemed so sweet and I immediately tagged her BFF material. Then I WROTE HER A NOTE AND TOLD HER THAT VERY THING. Who does that?? “You’re pretty and nice and you’re my best friend now. See you tonight when I’m staring in your bedroom window, best friend!”

I mean, we did become great friends and still are to this day, so I guess the outward crazy paid off?

(Kristy, I still think you “look like a nice girl”, btw)

I really should just accept that this is the way I am and embrace my people-loving qualities, even if it’s a tad aggressive at times. I should be proud that I haven’t written any teachers a will-you-be-my-BFF-note. That is showing some mighty strong self-restraint and that deserves be celebrated.

A little note to Maddie’s new first grade teacher: I can’t promise I won’t try to hug you at some point in the near future. Shoot, seeing all the hardcore decor in your classroom made me want to run home and bake you a cake of appreciation. But I started eating the frosting out of the tub beforehand so I’ll have to think of something else.

And to Mrs. Favorite Kindergarten Teacher of All Time: