Friday, January 10, 2020

Imagine

Hi! It's been a while, right? The last time I posted any words in this space was November, 2018. For a while, I really didn't miss it, but lately I've had the tech to write again - not the time, but the itch!

So, when I was asked to choose a "star" word for the year at work AND saw that was the prompt for Finish the Sentence Friday, I thought maybe this was the time to drift back to this distant, but familiar spot. 

I've never been very big on resolutions. I've made them half-heartedly and, like most, they fall by the wayside within a few weeks or months. It's the same with the word of the year trend that has erupted the past few years. It never hurts to give it some thought, though. 

Have you ever heard of Star Words or Star Gifts? It is a spiritual twist on the idea of a word of the year. It is a tradition that coincides with the Christian celebration of Epiphany which focuses on the journey of the Wise Men or Magi who followed the tar to find and offer gifts to  Jesus. Often, the star words are simply given out and people are asked to focus throughout the year on the word they have been given. We did it a little differently, though. We were offered a variety of words written on stars and had the opportunity to choose one that "spoke" to us. So what word did I choose?



My word is IMAGINE and this here are the reasons why. 

I chose this word at work because I want to imagine new ways to do things. I work at a church that is pretty traditional, but we are preparing for change because we will have a new pastor soon. Tradition is great, but, in my opinion, we need some new energy, some new ideas, some new . . . something! 

At home, I have started a new diet plan. Yes - you have permission to roll your eyes! I mean, how cliche, right? New year, new diet! It deserves and eye roll. However, I'm not doing it because it's a new year. I'm doing it because a few minor but significant things have happened lately that have pushed me "over the edge" and propelled me to attempt yet another weight loss plan. (The timing just happens to coincide with the new year.) I'm trying to imagine personal place where I don't hate my reflection anymore and I'm working to get myself there.

I'm actually trying NOT to imagine what life will look like in the fall. My oldest daughter is a senior in high school this year and we are in the midst of the college application process. Actually, the applications are done, so we are really in the midst of waiting - waiting for acceptances and scholarship notifications (hopefully!) so we can make a final decision. It is nerve-wracking & gut-wrenching. In the end, I'll be sending her off somewhere and we will all be entering a whole new phase of life. 

Lastly, I am imagining what it might be like to write again. It's one of those things that is just in my soul. I frequently compose blog posts in my head. Blogging had become a burden, though, and I lost that for a while. I'm in a very different stage of life compared to when I started. I have teenagers, not toddlers. With a different focus and no pressure put on myself to write on a particular schedule, I think I might find myself back here a little more often and I'm looking forward to that. 

Speaking of writing again, I wrote something about my 20 books to read in 2020. At the time, I wasn't sure I'd be coming back to write here, so I submitted it another, NC local website. You can read it HERE

What are you imagining in this new year and new decade?


This is a Finish the Sentence Friday post. FTSF is hosted by Kristi at Finding Ninee. 







Monday, November 12, 2018

Holiday Gift Ideas for Tweens & Teens

What seems like many moons ago, I used to post a "Hottest Toys of Christmas {Insert Year}" post annually here on the blog. It was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. Then, as my own kids got older and less "toy focused," I stopped doing that post because it just didn't fit my parenting stage anymore. 

Last year, for the first time, I did a "Creative Holiday Gift Ideas for Tween and Teens" post instead and it was so much fun! Through the research, I actually got some great ideas for my own daughters, too, so I decided to do that post again this year! Maybe this one will become the new holiday tradition here on the blog. 

Be sure to check out last year's list again - all the ideas listed there could be used this year, too! However, if you're looking for some new suggestions, here you go! 



**Note: I have three daughters, so I openly confess that this list has a feminine slant, but I think it can be useful for the teen guys in your life too! 

1.  LED Light Box -Your teen can brighten up his/her room by putting this light box on a wall, shelf, or desk. The messages are changeable and can be used to add fun to parties, photos, or even as a table centerpiece. This particular one is available on Amazon for $24.95, but there are lots of others available at various retailers and ranging in price from around $15-$50. 
Available at Amazon.com
2. GlamGlow #Mulitmasking Mask Treatment  - My teen girls love a good face mask! This set from Sephora offers six different, travel-size face mask favorites for $39.00.
Available at Sephora 
3.  Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer - I'm no makeup expert, but apparently this make up line is hugely popular and this particular shade works well on everyone! It's available for $18 from Spehora or directly from Fenty Beauty online. 
Available at Sephora
4.  Cool Sunglasses - When my oldest daughter started driving, I realized that a pair of sunglasses was not only a fashion accessory, but somewhat of a necessity for teens. Aviator glasses seem to be a popular style, but, of course the are tons of options that range in price from ten dollars to hundreds of dollars!
These aviators from YuFalling come with different lens color options and are  $15.99 on Amazon
5.  Caboodles - Do you remember these from the 90's? I had one I used to store make up and a smaller one I used for hair accessories. Well, guess what? They are back! And, they're still great for storing make up, hair accessories, jewelry, or art supplies. Available at Target , the large size runs $16-20 with smaller ones available for around $7-10. 
This one is listed at Target.com for $16.99
6. 3-D Monogram necklace - Available at mynamenecklace.com, this is a unique version of a popular jewelry item. I love the round, three dimensional design of this necklace that is available in silver, gold, or rose gold. With a sale price of $89.95 on the sterling silver version, it's a bit more expensive than most of the things on my list, but might be worth the investment if you have a jewelry loving teen! (The site also has flat, disc, and acrylic monograms necklaces available at slightly lower prices.)
Available at mynamenecklace.com
7.  Teen Cookbook - Tweens and teens certainly can eat some food, right? So, why not help them learn how to cook it?!? This book, titled Teens Cook: How to Cook What you Want to Eat is a best seller on Amazon for $13.99. There are other cook book options as well including some that focus on baking and some from your teen's favorite You Tubers. 
Available via Amazon
8. Umbra FishHotel Mini Aquarium - I like to think of this as a modern, contemporary fish bowl! It was once featured on Oprah's Favorite things and what teen doesn't need to practice a little responsibility?!?! 😜It's just under $40 on Amazon (fish not included!).
Available via Amazon

9. #Hastag it! Board Game - This game sounds a lot like "Apples to Apples" with hashtags!  #fun #lotsoflaughter #stopwiththehashtags Each round starts with a silly picture and players try to choose the best hashtag from the cards in their hands. It's available on Amazon for under $20. **It is recommended for ages 18 and up. If you have younger teens or tweens, check out the family version, also available on Amazon
Available via Amazon
10. The Night Sky - These star maps are a super unique idea! You enter a special date and location (such as the day and place someone was born or a graduation date), and they will create an 18" x 24" print of the stars in the night sky at that specific time. You can include a message, such as "On the Day You Were Born" and it's available in four different colors. The print is $60 and, for an additional $60, you can add a frame. Check it out at www.thenightsky.com.
This is one I created just for fun! You can create without purchasing 
11. Fun Rain Boots - My daughters all have to walk outside between buildings during the school day, so they are not happy campers when it rains. Why not add some sunshine to rainy days with a pair of bright rain boots?!? You can purchase inexpensive ones from somewhere like Target or Kohls for less than $50  or pricier ones like Sperry or Hunter boots that cost upwards of $100. It just depends on your budget and the fashion sense of your teen! 


(L to R: women's Hale boots from muckbootcompany.com, Sperry boots via sperry.com, and floral boots via Target.com)

12.  Classic Crocs - Speaking of shoes, it seems that old school, classic Crocs are coming back into style (worn with socks, of course!). No, I'm not kidding. Keep your teens at the peak of fashion by wrapping up a pair and putting them under the tree this year! They will cost about $40 via crocs.com and come in a wide variety of colors.
Available at www.crocs.com
13.  Coffee Mug - I'm so old that, when I was a teenager, Starbucks wasn't a thing yet (except maybe in Seattle), so I didn't start drinking coffee until motherhood necessitated it several years later. Today's teens, however, are coffee fanatics (at least some of them). So how about a fun mug like this heat-sensitive, color changing unicorn mug? Yes, it seems a little silly, but if it changes your teen's morning scowl to a smile, it's definitely worth the $11.99 you'll pay Amazon! (If unicorns don't float your teen's boat, there are plenty of other coffee mug options including sports teams, funny sayings, and travel mugs!)
Available via Amazon
14.  Bubble Pop iPhone Case - This case, available from Urban Outfitters, works for an iPhone 6, 6s, 7, or 8 and costs $24.00. It will surely provide hours of fun for your teen's fidgety fingers! 
Available through Urban Outfitters
15. Pup socks - Does your teen love his/her pup? or cat? Take a pup pic, upload it, and receive some fun, custom socks that he/she can wear everywhere! Check out www.gopupsocks.com to create pair!that will run you about $30. They also have mugs, blankets, shoes, and bags! 
Available at www.gopupsocks.com
16. SoundSoul Bluetooth Water Dancing Speakers - These speakers, available through Amazon, put on a great light and water show while playing your teen's favorite tunes! Great for parties or just to add pizazz to their bedroom.
Available via Amazon


A couple other suggestions:
  • Don't rule out gift cards! Many people feel like giving gift cards is taking the easy way out, but I can assure you that there is nothing a teen would love more than to have some "free money" to spend at his/her favorite store. If it makes you feel better, tie the gift card to a giant candy bar or stuff it in a fun pair of socks, but don't worry that teens won't be happy with a gift card (or two!). 
  • Enough with the stuff! Despite the list I just shared, there is not a single teen I know who needs more stuff. So, I encourage you to think about giving the teens in your life some experiences instead! Movie tickets, concert tickets, escape room tickets, and sporting event tickets would all be great gifts that would allow your teens to have some fun and make some memories without putting more things on their shelves or in their closets. 
  • Back to basics! I am guilty, myself, of trying so hard to be creative that I often overlook the "run of the mill" basics. Clothes, shoes, winter gear (like hats and gloves), and personal care items (such as bath sets or hair styling products) are always welcome AND useful! 
  • What matters most to YOUR teen? I've got one who loves make up, one who loves horses, and one who is a budding architect! Maybe you have a sports fanatic, a music connoisseur, or an artist. Think about what tickles your teen's fancy and, then, go down that road. 
Hopefully, this list has helped to ignite your holiday spirit and you have found at least a couple ideas that might help answer "What in the world am I going to get my tween/teen this Christmas?" If you've got any other great ideas, please share them in a comment below - I need all the help I can get, too! πŸ˜‰

**Disclaimer: I have not purchased, used, or reviewed all the items on this list and inclusion on this list is not an endorsement of these products. Please take time to read reviews and research on your own before purchasing. 



Monday, November 5, 2018

Sometimes Motherhood

Motherhood used to sometimes be sleepless nights and baby snuggles. Sometimes, there were toddler tantrums and tickle monsters. Sometimes, sippy cups and potty training were of upmost concern. Sometimes, I miss those days that seem so long ago and, yet, just like yesterday. Most of the time, though, I am quite happy right here where we are now in the midst of middle school, high school, and teenager-hood.

Now, our sometimes are a little bit different now . . 
Sometimes you say, "Mom I need to stay after school for . . . ." and, then I forget. 

Sometimes, I skip something I'd like to do to drive you to your activities instead. 
Really, I don't mind.
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Sometimes, we eat frozen pizza or cereal for dinner because I don't have the energy, time, or creativity to make herbed risotto with spinach and sun-dried tomato marinated chicken. You wouldn't eat it if I did. 

Sometimes, we sit around the dinner table eating pancakes for supper and we laugh until         we cry at some silly something.
Those are the moments I treasure.
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Sometimes, our house is a wreck with laundry piled up, dishes in the sink, shoes on the floor, and strange smells emanating from your bedrooms. I get frustrated and wish you were more responsible and tidy.

Sometimes, home is the only place I want to be, surrounded by all of you, each in your separate rooms or totally disregarding my personal space as you sit next to me on the couch while we watch something ridiculous on TV. 
These are moments I savor.
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Sometimes, you are moody, and sulky, and you spend all day in your room being excessively teenager-y. You are teenagers, after all.

Most of the time, it's not. 
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Sometimes, I am reeling at how fast you are growing up and I worry about the future. How do we pick the right school? Are you safe when you drive? Are your friends good friends?

Sometimes, I cannot wait to see what the future holds; what amazing things you will do; what amazing people you will be. 
I look forward to finding out. 
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Sometimes, motherhood is hard.
Sometimes, motherhood is fun. 
Sometimes, motherhood is stressful.
Sometimes, motherhood is inspiring. 
Sometimes, motherhood is frightening.
Sometimes, motherhood is rewarding.

Most of the time, it's all of the above. 
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