Finished: Christmas Napkins


I’ve been a crafter for my entire life. In my adult years, I’ve enjoyed making handmade items around the holidays. However, in an effort to avoid half-finished projects in December, I always make it my goal to finish any crafting by Thanksgiving. That way I can turn my attention to all of the other holiday merry-making as we lead up to Santa’s arrival.

This year I want to have a beautifully set table for Christmas meals. I just bought a few items to serve as the table’s centerpiece, and I’ll use these newly made napkins for each table setting. Generally I am a low-fuss entertainer, but there’s something special about having a beautiful home around Christmas. Plus, I have piles of Christmas fabric sitting in my attic waiting for me to do something with them.

These were easy to put together. I got in my head that each napkin should have perfectly mitered corners but quickly gave up on that after taking a step back and asking myself who would notice. With just a few creases to iron and a little straight sewing, these came together in no time.

I am enlisting the kids to make some napkin rings to adorn these cute vintage-inspired Santa napkins. This is the same fabric on Carson’s Christmas stocking, and I am glad to feature it elsewhere in our decor because I adore the print.


In Praise of November


So far, November has been good to us. We packed the beginning of it with some exciting excursions, plan to relax in the middle of it, and will round it out with more excitement come Thanksgiving.

I’ve opened Santa’s Workshop (aka Nat’s Workshop) for some holiday crafting, so there’s lots going on but with very little stress because it’s still November. I am an early planner, so I am aiming to get most of my shopping and making done this month.

I was excited to make an alphabet photo book for Carson for Christmas (the cover is above). This contains family photos that represent every letter of the alphabet.

I am also inspired to fill the kids’ advent calendar with homemade Perler bead items, so I hope to find some time for that before December 1. That also depends on the kids skipping naps and going to bed early.

We’re previewing some Thanksgiving foods tonight and staying cozy under blankets during our first blustery day of November. I am also sending warm thoughts to those who are affected by recent events worldwide. We are so lucky to live where we do, and every day I say words of thanks for our life. If only all could live with such peace and ease.

Finished: Kid Hats

I’ve caught the yarn crafting bug again. This stress reliever has been good to get me away from the computer screen so I don’t obsess about my small business 24/7. It’s also been fun to make hats for free using my massive stash of Vanna’s Choice yarn.


I crocheted basic beanie hats for my kids this week. Nora’s is a rainbow pattern and Carson’s is inspired by our favorite adolescent mutant turtles who are also trained ninjas.


Both kids agreed to model these hats, but the weather has been in the 70s lately, so we’re not sporting winter accessories outdoors yet.

Preschool Halloween


I am not sure if I’ve mentioned this, but I LOVE this year. I have two of the cutest preschoolers around, and I am amazed by their capabilities and their cuteness. Next year we’ll begin at the elementary school, so I am really trying to savor this final year of little kid.


With that being said, the fact that my kids (who are besties) decided to go as Buzz and Woody from Toy Story warmed my heart. They truly encapsulate the “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” ideas, and tandem costumes can be so much fun. Nora loved being Buzz Lightyear so much that she wore her costume for two days straight. And I can’t wait to put these costumes in the dress-up bin once they are washed.


The kids sang Halloween songs and marched in their costume parade on Friday at preschool. They both love singing so much that I hope to get them in choir or another musical avenue soon. “Roll that pumpkin down to town …”

We had a great time canvassing the neighborhood for treats. The kids came out with a TON of candy and had a lot of fun in the process. Our neighborhood knows how to host a great Halloween night.


Oh, and since I totally believe in that “Mom Gets in the Picture” movement, I had to snap one of us together.

I hope you had a great Halloween too!

Seasonal Changes and Seasonal Illness


I’ve had the good fortune to watch one of our Japanese maples turn into a orange fireball this week. It’s been welcome since the fever-gone-round-the-neighborhood hit Nora again this week, and we’ve been a bit stunted in our usual schedule. Also, yesterday brought some hurricane-created rain, and this vibrant tree reminded me of fall’s splendors — avoiding feelings of despair.

Can you believe November is around the corner? It’s hard for me to accept that it’s nearing the true holiday season. I always start thinking about holiday activities and gifts in October, which makes me feel crazy. But then a few weeks go by, and I realize that it isn’t so insane. Being a parent and someone in the sandwich generation requires a lot of organization and planning. Now when I start thinking about this in July, please give me a good shake! I am excited for what’s to come in the next few months, whether I am ready for it or not.

But before I get too ahead of myself, we’re ready to enjoy Halloween here! The kids have their preschool parade and parties tomorrow, and we’ll carve pumpkins and trick-or-treat Saturday evening. Should be fun!


More Fall Fun


Our calendar has been jam-packed with fall fun in the last few weeks. The recent celebrations have included the kids’ preschool fair and another local pumpkin festival. We’ve thrown in a few date nights too!  (Yay for crisp nights and delicious drinks.) Now that I have coverage for the kids during weekdays, my work schedule is a bit more under control, meaning I can enjoy these festive days more than I could have this summer, when I was truly juggling it all without any regular child care help.


Our Halloween celebrations begin tomorrow. I can’t believe that we’re just a week away from November and falling back on the clock. I’ve even started buying some Christmas gifts, which seems ridiculous, but it’s always good to start November with a little edge on the months to come.


I’ve found my groove with yarn crafting again, which I hope inspires me to make some gifts this year. Here’s a recent hat I made for myself. I am spending less time in front of a screen intentionally, and hanging with the family while working some yarn with a crochet needle is very relaxing right now.


I hope you are enjoying this season as much as us!

Self-Care and Stuff


I’ve been a mom now for more than five years. This little girl’s birthday reminded me of that recently. It stopped me in my tracks, to be honest. How have we been doing this for so long?

I am happy to report that my young family is thriving these days. Gone are the days of struggling to sleep through the night (though we do have a visitor or two to our bed sometimes), strict this-kid-will-turn-into-a-deamon-if-not-asleep-by-7:30 bedtimes, and even potty training (though it seems to always be a work in progress). It’s been a crazy train, but now it’s turned into something else.

This change has happened slowly and suddenly. I find parenting always to be paradoxical. As you phase out of one stage and its challenges, you find yourself in a new phase with (yes) new challenges. We’re in a good rhythm of preschool and extra child watching, though that brings the worry of more expenses and time management. I love my free mornings when the kids schedules align, though I have more than enough to accomplish on my to-do list during these brief hours. And sometimes, strangely, I long for those baby years, where walks around the neighborhood in the Ergo comprised our morning hours.

I imagined this time without the kids to be productive and distraction-free, allowing me to work on my editing and writing projects without interruption. But I forgot that I might want to socialize, run errands, or exercise during this time. So far I feel double-booked, feeling the pull of work and all the other stuff. Again, it’s a luxury to have such a problem, but it’s not what I expected.

Another feeling that has come on suddenly is the desire to be more put together and more proactive in having time out of the house with my husband. I’ve been on a bit of a shopping spree lately, updating my clothes, shoes, and accessories. I want to look nicer because I feel more together. Like adult life has finally resumed after a long (years-long) pause. And I want to get out and enjoy time with my super-awesome husband more than twice a year.

Another thing: Now that there’s less time with my kids, I want to be present with them in the afternoons. I’ve noticed myself checking my e-mail less during rest time, opting to go phone-free to the park, and choosing to do more interactive activities than I had engaged in this summer. The autonomy my kids and I now have most mornings seems to be bringing us closer together, interestingly.

Though this transition period from little, little kid (pre-preschool) to little kid hasn’t been too difficult, it hasn’t been as straightforward as I once thought it would be. I spent this week reminding myself that what we are going through IS a transition, and that I need to give myself time to adjust. By November, I am sure we’ll be used to it.

First Stop: The Pumpkin Patch

As I mentioned last week, I am determined to make October more lighthearted than September. We’re off to a good start after enjoying some time at the pumpkin patch this afternoon.

We were drenched with rain late last week and this weekend, so this 65-degree, sunny day felt glorious. Plus, we’re all about maximizing our Monday family days to avoid weekend crowds. One bonus for Steve’s Sunday work schedule!

While at the pumpkin patch:

We checked out the corn and hay bale mazes.



We enjoyed a hay ride.


We took annual measurements.


And we got some really cute pics of these growing kiddos.



The rest of our month is filled with Oktoberfest, football watching gatherings, campfires, pumpkin festivals, fall fairs, and Halloween events. What a great time of year!

Happiness in October


Happy October!

We are welcoming this new month with cool temperatures. The week started with stifling humidity, which is a sure way to blunt enthusiasm for fall. However, this turn in weather has me excited. I am ready for crunchy leaves, long sleeves, and fire pits.

Last week I shared how busy we’ve been. In October I am pledging to curb the insanity and focus more on quality time with my family and create more strict boundaries with work and life, which can be tricky as a small business owner. I am trying to write out the expectations for my work week and be more strategic about what I say yes to. Money doesn’t buy happiness, so I need to find balance, while keeping my business sustainable. If this works, it could be a future blog post…

I promise to be blogging more frequently as I take back my life this month!

September Madness


Last days of summer

Just like its counterpart six months ago, I feel like September has its own Madness tournament, though there’s no basketball involved. Instead, the tournament brackets are something like “School,” “Work,” “Extracurricular,” and “Other.” The month starts with tens of items on the calendar — school shopping, yearly photos, school meet and greet, first days of school, first television shows, meetings at church, first day at church, first day of Sunday school, checks due to X, Y, and Z, back-to-school night, school picnic, church picnic, first day of gymnastics, work deadlines X, Y, and Z … well, you get the picture. Then, throw in a child’s birthday at the end of the month and the prep, thought, and execution required for it, and it’s one hell of a crazy month.

Oh, and the Pope’s arriving in our area tomorrow. Add one more thing to this madness!

I am happy to report that we’ve nearing the end of this tournament, and Nora’s birthday on Sunday encapsulates this harried (yet exciting) month. I’m hoping that October leads to a little more time and a little less stress. We’ve got to get to the pumpkin patch and pick some apples, so if that doesn’t happen, it’s time to re-evaluate.

It wasn’t a big photo-taking month, but here are a few pics recording this monumental month:


First days of preschool


Fall fire prep


First day where both kids go to school at the same time!


First pedicure

Here’s to the final weekend of September. It’s going to be a big one. Was it really five years ago when I welcomed my first baby to the world?!