Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Best of Pinterest: Christmas Edition

You know when you have a post that has been brewing in your mind for weeks, but other posts (for whatever reason) get shoved to the front?  Yet you still have that post that MUST COME OUT?

That is this post.  Yes, I realize it is almost February and that I am writing about Christmas.  But as I said above, I need to expunge this from my mind.

This holiday was totally inspired from Pinterest.

Here are a couple of photos of my handiwork:

Check out that super retro cool craft paper!  And why is that real ribbon?  And stamps?  Nice job!
 Who are you?!

Loving that retro scrapbook paper and sticker!
Is it me or should I serve
a Sidecar or Whiskey Sour with this?

Of course, there is a story to accompany these photos.  Originally, Marie was interested in learning about Christmas during the 1930’s since she was reading the Kit Kittridge American Girl series.  I got all of the supplies and was super excited to do this craft with her.

As you can see, it didn’t go quite as planned.  
Note the red (washable-ish) ink everywhere.

They just weren’t that into it.  It ended up being more like art therapy for me.  So I guess that is a win for me.

Anyway, I was inspired by this book by Susan Waggoner.

I got it last year for Christmas and waas so excited to use it this year.  The book looks back at Christmas traditions from the 1920's - 1950's.  LOVE!

Here are some pins that helped inspired my art therapy:

I ended up using those Santa tags which was a brilliant idea.  

I also used made a book of Christmas cards inspired by this pin:

This was awesome because I no longer had Christmas cards hanging from my cupboards months after i put everything else away.

And in attempt to create a new Christmas Eve tradition, we tried this.  

They were not as excited about the hot chocolate, pjs and movie that I thought they would, but it was a nice way to segway into bedtime.

Thank you for indulging me in this late holiday post.

Did Pinterest inspire your holiday?  I would love to hear about it!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Good News: Ellen is Moving to 3pm!

Good news, Detroit!  

The Ellen Degeneres Show is moving to 3pm on February 4th!

Perhaps you are wondering, “Erin, you are an almost full-time stay-at-home mom.  What difference does the time make?”

To which I would kindly respond, “A lot.”

First of all, these morning where it is a brisk 2 degrees Fahrenheit, my go-getter routine slows a bit.  After freezing at the bus stop, I warm up with a cup of coffee and my warm fuzzy blanket as I tune into the Local 4 News and the Today Show.  I promise myself every morning I will only watch it until 8:30am, 9:00am tops (in case I miss the headlines).  

Next thing I know, 9:00am turns into 10am, and *poof* Ellen is on!  So I settle in to watch her show.  And before I know it, it’s already 11am, and I am scurrying around to make lunch and get on with my day.  My housework was beginning to suffer, but it was a sacrifice I was willing to make for Ellen because I think she is awesome.

I. love. Ellen.  LOVE!  In fact, when I became a stay-at-home mom, I was so excited that I could watch her in real time.  

And I realize that “love” is a strong word to use, but I am not afraid to use it with Ellen.  I love her because of the positive energy that she exudes.  I am inspired by how she lives her life truthfully and fearlessly.  I think her sense of humor is incredibly funny and smart without being hurtful to others.

Which brings me to my next point - I love watching Ellen with Marie, not only because Marie loves watching her, but because she presents fun, pop culture topics in a way that I feel is appropriate for my daughter.  In the past, I would always have to DVR important episodes that featured Marie’s favorite celebrities like Taylor Swift.  However, now that it will be on at 3pm, she can hop off the bus and tune in!  Next thing you know she’s going to live tweet from my twitter account (but perhaps that is a post for another time).

I’m excited that we can chill out after school together and bond over the Ellen Show since these days seem to fly right by in a blur of swim lessons, Daisies meetings, and homework, lot and lots of homework.

Do you watch The Ellen Show with your kids?  What is your favorite part of the show?

**I was selected for this sponsored post by Hay There Social Media. All opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Inauguration 2013 from a Six Year Old’s Perspective

It is consensus that our kids learn a lot from us.  They learn our good habits (good hand washing practice during flu season) and our bad habits (leaving dirty socks everywhere) (hangs head in shame).

We are supposed to encourage them and set a good example.

This is all true, but I love those moments where I learn a valuable lesson that from one of these young, yet wise little people.

Case in point - 

Marie had Martin Luther King, Jr. Day off from school.  From the moment she woke up, she was glued to the Today’s Show coverage of the inauguration.  Glued.  She took in every weather factoid that Al Roker shared about previous inaugurations.  She reveled in seeing former President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter.  This presidential history enthusiast was in. her. glory.

Marie was bummed out when we had to take Thomas to gymnastics because she was going to miss the actual swearing in of President Obama.  Luckily, the inauguration was being broadcasted in the gymnastics lobby.

In a room filled with adults barely watching their own kids, only one person cared enough to watch President Obama taking his oath.

I was able to snap a quick photo before she insisted
that I sit next to her to witness this historical event.

Later on that night while we snuggled, we had a debriefing of the day’s events.

Me: “Hey,I was proud of you for taking interest in the inauguration.

Marie: “Why do you say that?”

Me: “I just think it’s cool that you were into it.”

Marie: “Mom, I live in the United States of America.  Why wouldn’t I watch it.  Doesn’t everyone?”

Me: *stunned*  “Well,  sometimes adults get lost in their own lives and forget to care about their government.” 

Seriously, Marie totally inspired me to more passionate about government and politics.  I am one of those adults that has been sucked into my life, often turning to junk pop culture to numb my mind after a long day.

When I saw government and politics through the innocent, un-jaded eyes of a six year old, I am inspired to want to care more.

Sometimes I think about my parents during the 1960’s and 1970’s.  It seems that they were totally aware and engaged with the political scene.  In my mind, I envision groups of like-minded people working together to fight for their beliefs.  And I’m a tad bit envious.

I am not sure what my next step should be, but I’m definitely going to take time to educate myself with what is going on so I can guide her.

So maybe she can go forth and feel hopeful that real change can happen.

Has your child said something that has inspired you to be a better person?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Thank you. Signed, The Management: Holiday/New Job Edition

I wrote a post from the Management a while ago and decided it was time for another installment.  The idea originated from some twitter posts I saw about mothers writing notes around the house for certain things to get done and signed it from “The Management” to ensure it got done. 

Brilliant, I tell you!

Dear Erin,

We realize that we are a bit late in recognizing all of your hard work during the holiday season, but better late than never, right?

First of all, you rocked this Christmas season!  You had all of your shopping done two weeks before Christmas and the wrapping done a week before the big day.  This is an all-time best since you have had children.  And we know it’s not because you have less going on.  It’s actually quite the contrary since you were job shadowing, taking Thomas to the hospital for his surgery, working on family photo projects, and working on your blog.  We’re not quite sure how you did it (although judging by the trail of Via coffee wrappers that follows you and the stockpile of peppermint mocha creamer, we think that may be a clue as to what helped you through those long days).

We would also like to comment you on how you handled your Christmas events and kept your personal boundaries intact with dignity (and fierceness that may have frightened others away).

We also thought it was quite something how you decorated your presents with old-fashioned paper, stamps, and ribbon.  We know that you told everyone it was because Marie wanted to experience Christmas like the American Girl Kit from the 1930’s, but we really know that you used this opportunity as art therapy.  For that, we applaud your efforts in finding peace during such a hectic season.

We know that this kind of excellency did not come without a few hiccups.  We know that Thomas may have clocked in some extra hours watching TV.  The plus side is that he cultivated a love for the children’s classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas staring Jim Carrey.  True, it was not the classic cartoon that you grew up with, but nonetheless, he loved it (although Christmas commercialism message may be lost because he tuned out when the Grinch’s heart grew two sizes too big).

Our hearts felt for you as you became unglued in the recovery room after Thomas’s surgery.  You couldn’t be there for Marie in the morning before school and take Thomas to the hospital, and you just lost it.  Since human cloning is not yet an option, we believe that you should give yourself a break.  As The Management, we believe it is in your best interest to practice more kindness towards yourself.

We also noticed that, in fear of forgetting pajama day, you made sure that Marie’s favorite jammies were clean and ready for her to wear on the special day.  We are so proud that you didn’t forget, however, we noticed that in your overzealousness, you sent her to school in her jammies.   It was not pajama day.  Although we noticed that Marie was Ok with it, we could not help but feel sorry for you as you cried in embarrassment.  Trust us: this will be a story that you will find humorous one day!

You bounced back and right into your new job.  You managed a funeral and your husband’s extended work hours beautifully all without having to order carry out (although we think that might just be your stubborn streak showing). 

Great job, Erin!  If we could just leave you something to work on, give yourself a break and if even the crockpot seems like too much effort, go on and order carryout until you get the bugs worked out with this new schedule.

Thanks again for all your hard work,
The Management

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My Cooking Fantasy: Macy’s Culinary Council Chef Takashi Yagihashi at Macy's Somerset for a Cooking Demo

I have officially completed teaching two classes.  Within those two weeks, I’ve had to manage a family funeral and my husband’s late night schedule with his bosses coming into town.  I’ve also decided to not cut myself any kind of break and make all of our meals this week. And when Marie wanted veggie sushi, I made it.  I refuse to let this new job get in my way of the way I want to take care of my kids. 

You know what?  I kinda feel like a rock star.  Well, maybe the sheer exhaustion a rock star feels after a night of debauchery.  Minus the booze-y hangover.

What I’m trying to say is that this balancing act is not easy.  And it’s only one night a week!  So in the midst of walking this tight rope, I was contacted by Everywhere Society to attend the Macy’s Culinary Council Chef Takashi Yagihashi at Macy’s Somerset for a Cooking Demo.  Cooking demo?  As in watching a professional chef prepare food?  It’s like my Food Network dream come true!

A bonus for those who can attend this event: Macy’s is giving away a $10 Macy's gift card and copy of the Macy's Culinary Council Thanksgiving & Holiday Cookbook, signed by Chef Yagihashi with any $35 Home purchase on the day of the event.

So unfortunately, due to a scheduling conflict, I cannot attend this awesome event featuring Chef Yagihashi who was deemed the one of "America's Ten Best New Chef's" by Food and Wine.  Did I mention that Chef Yagihashi is most recently known for his Japanese tapas and slurping noodle bar called Slurping Noodle?  Japanese tapas?!  I wish there was a delivery option because I would be all over that!

If you are interested in attending this event on Thursday, January 17th at 6:00 p.m. (and possibly swinging on by to drop off some yummy Japanese tapas for me to devour), call 1-800-329-8667 to make your reservations.

*I was contacted by Everywhere Society and compensated for sharing this information. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My Mantra for 2013

Happy New Year!

I love Christmas, and it was good (for the most part), but I am totally OK with getting back into a regular routine.  Well, whatever regular is going to be now that I work one night a week teaching that social media strategy for business class.

I am just a mashup of emotions regarding this new venture.  Seriously, I have not been so excited/nervous/guilty all at once.  My internal monologue goes a little something like this: “Yea!  I get a break and trying something new and exciting!”/”Wonder if I am horrible and this ends in epic failure?”/”I’m leaving my kids!  Wonder if they feel neglected.  Or wonder if they are too excited that I am leaving for one night a week.  I never thought of that.  Ahhhh!”

That last thought combined with teaching and blogging for my site and contributing to other sites and raising a family, I start to feel a deep and fast tidal wave of guilt crash over me.  I decided that I needed something other than yoga once a week to keep my sanity from washing out with the tide, something I can while I am getting the kids ready for school or cooking dinner.

On New Year’s Day, I read one of my favorite blogs, Flourish in Progress.  If you are not reading this blog, then you must stop what you are doing and add it to your reader.  Elizabeth’s blog post mentioned her word phrase for 2013.  It wasawesome.  And she ended the post with a question, “What would your word or phrase be for 2013?”

As the gifted, thought-provoking writer that she is, I was stuck in thought for quite some time.  The question floated in my brain, struggling for direction.

My usual response to reflective question is typically something to do with my personal boundaries.  But since this is a new year, I felt that I needed to mix it up and keep things interesting.

I pondered about all sorts of themes: meditation,acceptance, patience.  Nothing seemed just right.

And then, when I stopped thinking about it, The Motto for 2013 ran across my mind like a huge, lighted billboard.

Trust myself.

I am going to trust myself that I am going to listen to that tiny, whisper of a voice in my head. 

I am going to trust myself that I will honor my priorities and not cave to make others happy.

Every time that I’ve been disappointed, hurt or let down it’s because I ignored my instincts and didn’t trust myself.  I often let the fear of letting others down dictate my choices.  I sometimes wonder where I would be if I trusted myself and not let fear be the ruler.

So let it be known – in 2013, I hope not to wonder anymore. . .

*deep breath*

. . . because I will

trust myself.