Life is Beautiful – A Feel Good Post

Life is Beautiful.  Image provided by Stock xchangeI was out pretty late last night.  I’m usually in bed by 10 at the latest, but my natural circadian rhythm makes me an early to bed, early to rise kind o’ gal.  When I was driving home at 11:00 last night, all alone in my mini-van on the snowy roads, I had a moment.  It hit me.  Life is beautiful.

Sure, we all tend to appreciate life, but every now and again, there’s a moment of pure bliss when you realize that life is beautiful and all is good.

I started out over at my favorite diaper store.  It was late, but we ended up sitting on the floor and just talking for two hours.  It was a wonderful happy fun chat.  Then I stopped by a friend’s house to drop off some diapers that we’d ordered together and ended up picking up some diapers for Cloth for a Cause.

When I was heading back, that was when I had my “life is beautiful” moment.

I have a wonderful husband that I love and loves me.  I am a stay at home mom to two beautiful children.  I have a teenager who is growing into a responsible young man, and he’s finally living up to his potential.  I have my hobbies.  I have my wonderful pups.  I’m active with a charity that I really believe in.  I have great friends.  I have a wonderful extended family.  I live in a beautiful place and am surrounded by natural beauty as soon as I walk out the door.

In spite of all of the frustrations that happen every day, in the end, life is beautiful, and I’m so fortunate to have the life that I have.

Have you had a “life is beautiful” moment?

Christmas Traditions – No Elf on the Shelf for Us!

Christmas Traditions – No Elf on the Shelf for Us!

How can little kids look at that and not have nightmares?

Every year, I see some awesome things done with the Elf on the Shelf.  One of my favorites, actually, was the Elf on the Shelf appearing in some rather adult poses, like when he was passed out next to a pile of beer bottles.  Some families gleefully embrace the Elf on the Shelf as part of their Christmas traditions.

As a two year old, Norton is probably at the perfect age to start moving around the Elf on the Shelf.  He’s young enough to just begin discovering the magic of Christmas.  This is when developing our own Christmas traditions really make a difference.  Theoretically, the Elf on the Shelf should grace our home.

That being said, there will be no Elf in our house.  There’s a very simple reason: that thing is creepy as all get out.  I find it unnerving, and quite frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if that evil looking little thing decided to start moving around on its own and pestering the puppies.  Maybe I still have a very vivid imagination, but I swear I’ve seen movies where dolls that look enough like that little Elf has run around with gigantic butcher knives and such.

Mind you, that elf is in fairly good company.  The Elf on the Shelf is not the only creepy doll out there that I won’t allow in my house.  Treasure Trolls are out.  And Norton has his own little aversion to Thing 1 and Thing 2.  (He sees one of the Thing 1 and Thing 2 dolls and he runs away screaming.)

Are there any toys that are too creepy to be in your house?  What Christmas traditions does your family skip out on?

Top Five Toddler Bedroom Organization Tips

tidy toddler bedroomTidy that Toddler Bedroom Frequently

By spending five minutes here and there picking up Norton’s toddler bedroom, the debris never gets too rough.  At least once a day, I go in and do a quick clean up on Norton’s room so that things are taken care of and not destroyed. [Read more…]

The Beauty of Heirloom Gifts

While blog surfing yesterday, I came across a post wondering which was better: heirloom gifts or practical gifts?  While both are great, it really depends on a couple of things: who is giving and who is receiving.  Sure, I may do practical gifts for my father-in-law and brother-in-law, but I always do heirloom gifts for my mother-in-law.

I also know that my favorite gifts from my husband have always been heirloom gifts.  I love the watch that he gave me last year for Christmas, and the sapphires that he gave me a few years ago.  (Granted, my most favorite and beloved gift ever from my husband was the year that he gave me my Winston the Wonder Chihuahua for my birthday, but still.)

Heirloom gifts are something to be treasured and passed on.  I love that I have my grandmother’s wedding ring and my other grandmother’s high school class ring… from nearly 100 years ago.  I think it’s absolutely amazing that I’ll someday be able to sit down with my own grandchildren and show them pictures and jewels from my grandmothers.  I’ll know the stories of the various heirlooms from my mother-in-law’s side of the family and be able to pass those items on to my descendents along with the family lore that goes with them.  To have that and the family trees for both sides of the family is a tremendous blessing and an enormous responsibility.

You see, to me, I don’t own these heirloom gifts.  I’m just the custodian who cares for them and makes sure that they are protected for the generations that follow.  (And if those generations that follow don’t treasure them and protect them, rest assured that they will be haunted by a very irritated grandmother.)

Do you have special heirloom gifts that you look forward to passing on to your children and grandchildren?

Pumpkin Fun – Wordless Wednesday

We had a great time making Rice Krispy pumpkins together.  Here’s more pics from that wonderful event!

Is that a look of wonderment over the goodness that is Rice Krispy treats?

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Daily Toddler Play – Pumpkin Crispy Rice Treats

Norton “helps” me shape the Rice Krispy treats into balls

Since it seems like some of the most memorable moments of toddler play for Norton and me are in the kitchen and we had so much fun making them together last year, we made some pumpkin crispy rice treats.  It’s pretty easy.  You use your standard Rice Krispy treat recipe, but with some minor alterations.  (For starters, we doubled the size.)  We had so much fun making them last year that we decided to do it again this month.

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Daily Toddler Play – Caramel Apples

I haven’t done as awesome with my daily toddler play goal as I’d wanted to, but we have gotten to do some pretty cool stuff.  Since it seems like our most successful toddler play efforts (at least, the really cool memorable ones) involve the kitchen, I decided to make caramel apples with Norton.  After all, we still had some goodies left over from the cookie decorating kit, so why not?

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Ground Beef, Recalls, and Safe Handling

Recalls happen.  I know that they do; I’ve been writing about various consumer product safety recalls for years.  Until now, the only experiences I’ve had with consumer product safety recalls have been with things I’ve bought for my kids: our Phil & Ted Sport stroller was recalled (and quickly handled by the company) and, more recently, our Bumbo seat.

I’ve never had a recall impact my dinner plans before.

Yesterday, I was enjoying some quiet time with no children.  They actually took a nap at the same time, so I was able to enjoy a bit of downtime with no one climbing on me.  The phone rang, and I quickly snatched it up before Eudora (who may very well be the world’s lightest sleeper in the baby category) woke up.  I heard a recorded message.  Usually I hang up on those, but this time I listened.

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Top Five Cleaning Products that Have Saved My Sanity

I have two children living in my home.  One is a toddler who likes to feed puppies.  The other is a baby who spits up like no tomorrow.  I also have two dogs, including a moderately incontinent Chihuahua and a Border Collie/Husky cross who sheds so much that I could make another puppy with what she leaves on my floor.  There have been days when I’ve had to clean up blood, mud, spit up, spilled beverages, food, finger paints, ink, and any number of other biohazards.

These are the products that have made it possible for me to actually keep my house in presentable condition.  Without them, just lighting a match would have seemed like a very good idea on some days.

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Am I An Organized Mom or a Hoarder?

I have a lot of stuff.  I know that the reality is that I have far more stuff than we need, and we could probably live a lot more simply without it.  Is there any real reason why we require four laptops and a netbook, plus a company provided laptop?  Or why my kids need so many toys, or why I have a massive cloth diaper stash?  I’d like to think that because I’m an organized mom, this is a non-issue.

Unlike the hoarders we see on TV, I’m not buying duplicates of things because I can’t find the one I bought in the first place.  (Or at least, I’m not doing that very often.)  I can part with things.  My house doesn’t have any rooms that can’t be used in the manner intended due to having so much stuff.  But I like things for contingency plans.  Maybe it was hoarding behavior, or maybe it was smart and organized mom behavior… but I kept every single piece of Norton’s baby clothes that were in great condition after he outgrew them.  I hung onto outgrown baby toys, the whole nine yards.  I knew that we were going to have another baby, and it just made more sense to me to keep the bottles, the breast pump, and everything else instead of buying it again.

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