Perfectly Imperfect!

It’s the time of year where we spend massive amounts of time with family and friends. I am super excited to be able to use the entire family’s creative skills and make these the most memorable times ever. There’s decorating, cookie baking, gift giving and so much more, I love it all. My family has opted for a non-traditional white tree (it’s been with us a few years) and we never go with the traditional holiday colors which I love. Blues, purples, deep pinks, emerald green, fire red have donned our tree and home since we moved in 7 years ago. Why change the formula, right?! This year the kids request to take over the decorating. It can’t be that hard I mean I’ve mapped it out for them every year they just have to duplicate and VOILA, decorations complete. I’m excited to decorate until our drive in the car to get a few new things to add this year turns into, I don’t like our decorations! What?! I’m confused they represent our personalities. I would learn there that day in the car my children prefer traditional colors (bah-hum-bug!) Then I had to remember it’s not just about me, it’s about the family so off to the store we go…

I have to say I was impressed by some of the pieces they picked out and it was fun to see the excitement in their faces as they go about the store comparing prices, colors, and the look they can agree on. We collect our haul and head home. In my typical takeover fashion I begin putting pieces together and I can see their vision, it may work out. I get a little tap on my arm and I’m escorted to my seat, apparently this year I am to observe and participate as needed. (WOW!) This is torture! I know I’m not the only mom who likes for the look of their home to duplicate a magazine spread. Ornaments are not bunched together, the wreath is hung perfectly this is what brings Christmas cheer right? As I sit grinding my teeth, I’m amused at how take charge the kids are this year. Not everything is where I would put it, but it’s perfect. As they finish decorating my heart is filled with joy, 1. They did not argue while completing this mission, 2. The look of satisfaction on both of their faces made my heart grow three times that day.

To my surprise they had more in store for me. Not only were we decorating but we were building a gingerbread village. This should be interesting! We open the box spread out the parts, look at the box, look at each other, look at the box and get to work. Each one of us is given a house to complete for the village. Have you ever put together a gingerbread house? It’s messy, well at least for us. There’s mounds of icing and candy pieces that don’t look that appetizing everywhere. We each take a stab at creating our masterpieces, some did better than others, while others just gave up and licked icing and ate gingerbread. Our houses look nothing like what’s on the box. As I try to piece together the village I look at both my children and they are happy, laughing, and there are no electronics in sight. We are actually spending time, just us. It’s a mother’s dream.

Although my home doesn’t look like a magazine spread and our village is half eaten and loop-sided, I’m fine with everything being perfectly imperfect. If I would have spent time trying to get everything just right I would have missed out on just being present. I’m thankful my children dared to be traditional, the gift of their time and attention and thoughtfulness will go a long way this season.

What are your holiday traditions? Have you ever tried switching things up?


Just One Hot Crafty Mama!

Pinterest has become a way of life. Anytime I need to figure out outift ideas, decor, how to fix something, ect. I go straight to Pinterest and I begin to search. It’s the Google for craftiness. As the holidays approach I was looking for a inexpensive way to celebrate my kids teachers. There are so many and let’s face it my budget won’t allow me to purchase individual gifts. Enters my good friend Pinterest. I was excited to see what would come up in my search and I am extremely excited to get to crafting.

My daughter’s homeroom teacher and I have become close. She reminds me of myself if I had the patience to become a teacher. I want to give her something just for her. Not to negate her supporting cast, members of the office team, I have to come up with something. Last year I gave her teacher a mug, so why not fill that mug up with somthing! I’ve opted to make her a relaxation tea tree. If she drinks tea or not I think, she can use it for herself or to entertain guest. For the rest of the staff I’ve selected a sweet treat and one I don’t have to bake. Reindeer brownies for the win. I like the thought of this gift because it will allow Anissa and I to work together. I love including her in on projects.

Now as for the teen man of the house, he could careless about giving anything to any teacher. Finals weeks has been brutal and he is over school for this semester. Even with that said I still believe the teachers and staff of the school community deserve a little treat. Jamiel’s school is significantly bigger than Anissa’s school so the reindeer brownies will not work, I’ve opted for Candy Cane Reindeer. I can buy a bunch of candy canes and drop a basket off to the main office as a gift from the family. It’s the gesture that counts right?! Either way I’m excited about crafting and spending time with the kids doing so,

What are some holiday crafts you do as a family? Please share them in the comments.

parenting, self care

My Top 5 Tips To Stay Sane This Holiday Season!

Let’s face it the holidays can be overwhelming! There’s a bunch of stuff to be done and everybody is depending on you to do it right?! I use to despise entering into the holiday season. During a time where you should be enjoying family you are bogged down by the business of the season, not able to fully enjoy and embrace this time. Well no more! I’m going to give you the top 5 things I’ve done to make the holiday season cheery and bright again. So let’s do this…

1.       Make the decision today to not lose your cool. Now you may be thinking that’s easier said than done and you’d be right. I consciously make the effort to make sure if I feel myself getting overwhelmed I take a moment. I find a place that allows me to just breathe and be. When I go to this place I don’t take any to-do list with me or my phone, I inform my family that I am going to need a few moments (giving no reason) and I just step away. As moms we get so wrapped up in the details making sure things are good for everyone around us, all while not taking a moment to just take in the fact that this is a season to be with the ones we love. #MommyNeedsAMoment is real and we must take advantage of this practice so that we can be more present in our lives.

2.       Plan & Prepare! Often times our failure to plan and prepare prevent us from enjoying our holiday time. Mama you can’t do everything and that’s okay! Break out your calendar, update events that you must make an appearance at in red, events that you would like to go to but may not have the time in yellow, and events you want to say no to in green. Now let’s organize that calendar. Place the red ones on your calendar in pen, if dates cross see if you can call on your village to help you meet the obligation. If not you will have to choose and deal with the outcome of that decision. Trust that people know your heart and if you could be there you would. Now place the yellow ones on your calendar in pencil. If you come across some free time and can attend then do so if not then that’s okay too. The green invites don’t make it to the calendar, they are a flat out NO! RSVP in a timely matter for the events you choose to attend and don’t allow anyone to guilt you into doing something you don’t want to do. This is your opportunity to set boundaries and give yourself permission to be free!  Make a list, check it twice! I have become the queen of lists. This may be new to you but list can save your life. In the evening before I decompress and prepare for bed I list what I would like to accomplish the next day. I get detailed with the list so I can be prepared. Even in the event that something disrupts my plan I can always get back on track or adjust my list. For example: 

To-DoHow or What
CleaningAll the rooms upstairs
LaundryWash/Dry/Fold 2 loads
Purchase giftsMom/Dad/Anissa (Budget $150)
Prep for Ugly Sweater Christmas PartyPurchase sweater/RSVP to party
Schedule beauty appointmentsHair/brows/mani/pedi

Whatever you place on your list, don’t be discouraged if you don’t accomplish them all that day, just try again the next day. For time sensitive items prioritize them first.

3.       Budget! We make a big fuss out of this time of year. There’s decorating, gifts, places to go, and things to do. Yet we are still working with the same funds we do throughout the year. Reality check…DON’T GO BROKE during this season! It’s one season! If you plan on attending activities then budget for those activities and stick to that budget, if you are buying gifts make a list of the individuals you need to buy gifts for and budget for each person. You control how you will spend your money. This is supposed to be the season of love and goodwill toward everybody, remember a gift is just that a gift, it truly should be the thought that counts!

4.  Rest! Most of the time when I’m frustrated and easily angered during this season is because I have not gotten enough rest to deal with myself let alone anyone else. There’s always something to do or some place to be. Thus the reason for #2! Daily fit in some time to take a nap, sit, or meditate. We all need time to clear our minds of the wrestling of things going on around us. When we don’t get rest we can’t focus which makes it harder for us to engage with ourselves and others.

5. Do unto others! One of my favorite things to do to keep me grounded in this season is doing something unexpected for someone else. Tis the season right?! There are plenty of things you can do that lift your spirits and help someone else. Suggestions:

  1. Adopt a family in need for the holidays and fulfill a wish for them (remember to budget for this)
  2. Volunteer at a retirement facility. There are a lot of elders in our communities who are alone and would enjoy your company.
  3. Visit with a friend! We often talk about getting together but life happens and we can’t. Make it a priority to just go, sit, and be with a friend.
  4. Volunteer at a homeless shelter.
  5. Send out encouraging notes to help people jump start going into their new year. (budget for this)
  6. Volunteer on the teen floor of a hospital! I always want to hang out with the babies they are adorable, let’s not forget the other children in the hospital who could use that same love. 
  7. Take a little kid to the dollar store for Christmas shopping. Help them create their gift list and give them their budget. This has been one of my greatest joys to see what they think people need or would like.
  8. Make homemade gifts for teachers. This is also one of my favorite things to do with my family. This requires some budgeting as well, but let’s face it our teachers deserve it. I’ve pinned a few of my favorites here.
  9. Invite another family over for cookie baking, hot chocolate, holiday music, and time together. You can split the cost for this and enjoy time with each other.
  10. Call up people you may have lost touch with. Note: Not all will be receptive, but hey you’re making an effort! We are entering into a season of loneliness for some it’s nice to know that we are thought of.

If you know of someone and this is their first holiday alone or their 10000th holiday without a loved one, be mindful to love on them extra hard this season. Living without someone doesn’t necessarily get easier and a little love can go a long way!

How do you keep from being overwhelmed during the holiday season? Drop your tips in the comments.