Saturday, February 25, 2012

When Blankets Just Won't Do

Like all women everywhere suddenly, I am constantly on Pinterest. I mainly pin cool DIY things to keep kids entertained, although the end result is always so much more work and less excitement than anticipated.  I'm starting to discover the dark side of pinning. Beside the time sink, it gives you this hope of having a neat, beautiful home, stylish clothes, delicious and beautiful things to eat, and lively and creative children. In reality you get messy projects with lousy instructions, kids who are unimpressed with the craft you spent all afternoon setting up, bland food served in the same cluttered old house by a frazzled mom in jeans and a t-shirt, and dashed hopes.

But the Pinterest dream life is a gorgeous one, and occasionally something pans out. As part of my no-shopping streak I decided to make instead of buy gifts for some upcoming kiddie parties. I loved all the DIY Fort Kits and decided it would be easy enough to whip a few up. Of course I had to buy various supplies to pull them together, but it seemed more heartfelt than another store-bought toy.

Naturally I underestimated the time it would take to do the only crafty bit, getting the ribbon ties onto the sheets. Or rather I overestimated both my sewing skills and level of patience.  Despite a good bit of screaming and lots of wasted thread, they turned out pretty spiffy. We also kept a set for our own living-room for adventures, though the ribbon ties may never make it on to those. Sorry kids!

My current vow is to lay off the insane super-mom ideas for a bit. But I plan to go right on pinning and pining. It's too tempting not to dream.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I *heart* Breakfast

Holidays are so exciting for kids, but it's hard to get into it without going overboard on the stuff. To keep it simple but still special, I snagged a great idea from The Happiness Project Blog: Holiday breakfasts. The night before a holiday I decorate the kitchen table using whatever I have around the house. I've gotten a lot of mileage incorporating Lucas' preschool artwork in the  decor. The next morning I cook up a theme breakfast with little festive touches. Nothing crazy here. Heart-shaped toast, red and green sprinkles on the pancakes, that sort of thing.

Lucas seems to like it, though I'll admit I'm way more excited than he is at this point. Still, it's a nice tradition I hope to continue. And not just for the major holidays. I fully intend to throw some curveballs in now and then. A Groundhog's Day feast?  Arbor Day brunch?  I could go crazy over here.

Here's this morning's Valentine breakfast. The flicker stream also has a few shots from to Halloween and Christmas morning.

Holiday Breakfast Set on Flickr.

Valentine's Day Breakfast 2011 Valentine's Day Breakfast 2011 Apple & Pear Hearts DIY Heart Portuguese way to say I love you
Lego my heart Curtain Fun Curtain fun Heart Eggs Heart Eggs
Valentine's Day Breakfast 2011 Valentine's Day Breakfast 2011 Ready to eat Love Ya, Bag Cincher

So much decor!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bye Bye Buy

I'm really not a shopper. Despite having worked at two shopping-based web startups, buying things does not come naturally to me. I am one of the cheapest people ever and mostly opposed to buying things unless I really really need them, and maybe not even then. Or at least I used to be. Ever since leaving the workplace for the non-lucrative stay-at-home mom gig, I've taken to the notion that wisely spent money is a good idea.  The cheapest thing just ain't going to last. Get the well made, the pretty, the right thing instead and it will not only leave you happier but save you money in the long run.

Problem is that line of thinking can get out of hand, and lately for me it had. Spending good money on the right things had transformed into acquiring cute but useless things any time I went into a store. When I caught myself browsing every aisle in Target wondering what else I might get, I knew it was time for a change.

In a nice bit of perfect timing, the ever-stylish Raven posted about some friends taking on a "no shopping" challenge for a month, or even a year. It struck me how easily I could stop shopping and really not miss it. I've got more clothes than I need. The library has books for free. It seems easy enough to work around the things I want by using the things I already have. Since time-based challenges aren't my thing, I'll be keeping up a streak. How long can I go without buying anything?  The nice thing about a streak is if you break it, you can start again the very next day.

Of course I'll still need to buy food and household goods. I'm not trying to live off the land here, just put an end to non-necessary spending. Gifts are an exception, but even then I'll try to get creative and make rather than buy. That's going to be the goal for most things. Making coffee instead of hitting the Starbuck's drive-thru. Trying homemade recipes for cleansers. More DIY crafts instead of picking up little toys for the kids. Already I've skipped buying character valentines  for Lucas' preschool party and instead printed out candy hearts on construction paper. Baby steps.

Hopefully I'll be able to keep this little experiment up for a while. At some point I expect the line between needing and wanting will get mighty blurry and I'll cave. But if I can stay more mindful of all the ways money leaks out of my wallet, it will be worth the effort to go without.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

More Than Meets The Eye

As the season of store-bought love approaches, allow me to share the best licensed valentines ever printed: The Transformers Valentines.
I expected the cheesy lines like a helicopter guy saying "Let's fly high this Valentine's Day" but I was thrilled at these gems: 
 Romance Formula: [MYPERSONALPHILOSOPHY], Valentine!
 Keep believing that.
This one is nice for stalkers.

Collect 'em all!
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