Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Finding Your Rock


What is a Rock? 

Everyone should have one.

I feel blessed to have mine.

Where is yours?

Life is hard.  It's full of crap.  Bills.  There's bad grades.  Fires.  Game losses.  Extra weight.  Evictions.  Divorce.  Teasing.  Pimples.  Feelings get hurt all the time.  Sickness.  Death.  We all get embarrassed.

But if you have your Rock... it's okay.

I met mine a long time ago.  Didn't know it at the time of course.  From the first minute... just a quiet strength from the man.  Soft, kind, good.  Not perfect.  Far from perfect, he was an occasional barker.  But who is perfect?  Rocks aren't.  For some reason, however, when life was (seemingly) falling apart... this person somehow had this effortless way to put it back together.  It was his demeanor during "crisis," his knowledge, his ability to handle things, his way to calm me, maybe it was even the fact that he could deal and lead me in exactly the right way.

Example.  Just this very morning I had a bad work deal go completely south.  AKA:  I got screwed.  He was upset too.  Yet he found the words, to calm me down, to explain, to assure me everything will be alright and by doing that... he makes it great again.

Where do Rocks come from?  I have no idea.  I think some people are just born that way.  Something inside of them makes them strong, sturdy, assured.  Then, at least according to BP (that's the husband, aka: my Rock), I stepped into his life and made him even stronger.  He says, that me being by his side gave him the ability to do things better.  Again, his words not mine, he could BE better.

So maybe, even though he is MY Rock, I'm HIS Rock right back.

Wouldn't that just be ideal? You may feel weak, but they see you as strong.  Where you fall, they catch.  Your cracks are filled with their crevices.


Turns out, as I learned today, sometimes people don't want to find their Rocks.  Or at least that's what they portray to the world.  It never really occurred to me that some would just prefer to wander aimlessly from lame relationship to the next broken one.  I was talking to a friend of mine, who happens to be on Match and Vine and Swipe or whatever it's called.  Sorry, I know not the websites.  Anyhow, she has bumped into many a men who are far from looking for something that makes them better.  Instead, they're looking for Mr./Ms. Tonight.  Stunning to live like that.  Simply because I guess they don't know, when you find your Rock, it's no longer what you're capable of doing today... it's more about what you can do forever.

Your Rock makes anything possible.

But maybe some people are just invested more in the now than the always.  Or they're afraid of losing their Rock once they find it.  That, is a real fear.  It can be devastatingly tragic of course.  But having it and losing it, is certainly better than never having it at all.  Nothing is forever in this life.  No matter how tight you close your eyes and wish it.  But you are now both better off for having it during that time.

If you're wondering, no one knows when, where or how you'll meet your Rock.  Of course, it's not on your schedule, that's for sure.  Maybe you're ready but your Rock isn't.  Or vice versa.  Of course, it's typically when you least expect it.  The day you're sick at the doctor.  On a golf course.  The time you trip in front of twenty people.  In the middle of a yoga class.  For me, it happened during Cheerleading practice.  I met my Rock about 20 years ago.  He asked me to a dance (pictured below).

This week, decades later, is our Wedding Anniversary.   No big, significant one.  Just another year.  What am I getting him?  Nothing.  Everything.  Does it matter?  No.  Yes.  Of course!  Not.  What does matter is what he gives me, what we hopefully give each other, everyday.  Of every year.  And every moment in between.  There are fights.  Here and there.  I don't always like him but I do always love him.  I admire him.  Yep, he's way too good at too many things.   That's kind of annoying by the way.

With my Rock, I feel stronger than the first woman who climbed Mt. Everest.  I am happier than the woman who invented Spanx.  I am more proud than the First Lady.  I'm luckier than a Lotto Winner.  Because I have my very own Rock.

My hope... is that you do too.


Friday, October 13, 2017

Your UnCOOL Mom

The Headlines:

When I was young(er)

I was cool(ish).

Wish my daughter knew that.

Once upon a time, I was cool.  I think.   It just occurred to me that by using the word COOL, maybe I'm not.  What should we be saying these days?  Sick?  Or Sic?  When I was young(er)... I was sic!  That doesn't sound right.  Not from old, unCOOL me.

Hopefully, if you're reading this, you get my drift.

So, let's face the facts ladies, no matter how cool you were back in your day, if you have a little girl (at one point) you will be cool no longer.

When that point comes, a little part inside of you withers away.  You are not the Wonder Woman you once were... you're just kinda lame.  You know the lame look, right?  It's the thing she does with her eyes from time to time.  It's something like this:

I've seen that look, plenty.

It's weird, this cycle of life, isn't it?  I remember some things like it was yesterday.  For instance, when I was in middle school... I would lay down in the car as my Mom drove.  I was embarrassed.  Of her car.  Of her.  Of myself.  But, I thought, she just wasn't cool.  Never did I know I would be stuck in that same position with MY little girl.  But, alas, it has arrived.

To be fair and understanding of that above look... I know I can be embarrassing.  I kind of grew up embarrassing myself.  On purpose.  I used to sing in front of people whenever I got the chance.  I occasionally tripped in the mall, because it was funny.  I would stand in front of a crowd and yell really loud.  I've always danced like an idiot.  And now, not much has changed.  I jump up and down and wave to my kids across the school yard.  I sing crazy songs.  I talk a lot.  Sometimes I laugh goofy.  I  stumble over my words.  I use the wrong words.  I don't know what outfit to wear with my uber hip white Adidas shoes.  I could go on and on.

Sound familiar?

Hopefully it does.  Why?  If you know you're being embarrassing then you might not really be embarrassing at all.  You're just being yourself.  Enjoying life.  Having fun.

Yes, hard for pre-teens to understand.

Mine made it clear she doesn't like me to speak in funny accents.  NO dancing.  Laughing is allowed, just not too much.  But she doesn't like me asking questions.  She doesn't like it when I look at something in a certain way.  She doesn't like my hair styling ability.  She does like me, if you're wondering.  Cause I've already asked.  I was worried for a while.

I wonder, is it just the time in her life?  Is it her hormones?  Or is it just being a MOM.  Does it simply come with the territory?  If I think back to the height of my Mom-embarrassment... I know it came when I was at my lowest "self confidence" point.   You know, the pre-teen time.  Once I got through that,  my confidence started to soar and so did the tolerance with my Mother.  If I was cool... then she was too.

So maybe it will just take time.  I have a feeling she must grow into her own skin a little longer.  Then someday, maybe she'll look at me as if I'm her Super Mom again.  Until that point, I think I'll team up with another Mom (who's cool of course), tell her the things I want my daughter to know, have that Mom repeat them to her, then the idea most likely will be heard AND received.  Gold.  Plus, I'm handing her my own, "I used to be cool" Resume:

Now that is sic.
Wait, no it's not.
She was right.
Maybe I'm just her unCOOL Mom after all.
Fortunately, I'm oddly okay with that.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

5 Things You MUST do for A Quick House Update

The Headlines:

You have a home.  

That needs a little updating.

Here are 5 things you MUST do.

And 2 things you should.

By now you may know me.  Or maybe you don't.  But if you do... you're pretty aware I like to make over things.  Take something mediocre and make it (close to) miraculous.

That can be done easily with tons of money.  But it can also be done with a little money, plus some resources and a knack for design.  That's what I did with this house:

This was a rental property which had been used, and somewhat abused, for years.  It really hadn't been touched much since it was built in the early 90's.  This is what the kitchen looked like.

Pretty bad.  But I knew I could take this place and turn it into something a little more special!
Here's the 5 things I did to do that:

1 - Counters
In many cases these days, if a house is in desperate need of new counters it's because there's an old Corian, laminate or in bathrooms, often times there is "cultured marble."   That, by the way, cracks me up... it's such a nice sounding name for TOTAL CRAP!  These days people are doing a lot of quartz (a man made product) and marble.  There's some concrete.  They're also still doing some granite, especially quartzite which is a more exclusive/expensive type of granite.

For the kitchen in this house I wanted to do a pretty Marble-looking white space.  But I did not want the upkeep of marble so I decided Quartz was my best option.  I like how clean it came out.  As for the edges, I'm always about classic so straight edge works best.

In the bathrooms, there are two, I decided to keep them consistent and do a White Ice Granite on both.  Granite has been on the way "out" for a few years but I'm not sure it will ever be totally gone.  At the time I needed it, it was the best option for my project.

2 - New Sinks/Faucets 
When you get those new countertops in, you most certainly, will have to put in new sinks.  Everyone is doing rectangle vs. oval now.  Also, it's all under-mounted sinks.  I like a bright white ceramic.  I know big surprise.  Just can't go wrong.  For the kitchen... stainless is still not a bad option.  I also like the big huge tubs versus the partitioned ones.  That is a matter of preference but it also seems to be more "in" right now.

Then, the faucets continue to set the tone for your area.  For instance, I wanted to go a little more "mainstream/classic" in one bath but for the master, I wanted it a little more special.  Hence, different faucet choices.   For the kitchen faucet, I wanted a simple goose neck.  That's what I got.  

3 - Painted Cabinets 
Once you get new counters in... you almost positively will want to do your cabinets.  And the fastest, most economical way to do that is paint them.  Period.  It just is... they can completely transform your house.  See for yourself.

I went with white but obviously the sky is the limit.  You can do light or dark gray, black or I've seen lots of blues lately too.  Just find someone who can do the job right.  They have to be sanded and sprayed.  Not just any painter can do this...

4 -  New Hardware
This is a no brainer.  Once you get those cabinets painted just add new hardware.  This is usually not that expensive to do.  Especially if you keep the pulls on the smaller side.  3 inches will cost less than getting a 5-6 inch pull.  Even though the larger sizes are really what people are doing today.  I also like changing up the pulls per space, like I did here in the Master Bath (pictures above in the cabinet picture) but that's not necessary if you want to keep it simple.

5 - Paint Walls/baseboards
Painting is always quick and easy.  It can dramatically change the look of your house.
This especially needs to be done if you have 10 different colors and 3 different accent walls in your house right now.  First of all, and I can't say this enough.  Choose neutral colors.  The days of purple, deep reds and hunter greens are over.  Those left when "Trading Spaces" was cancelled.  Remember that show?  I could not get over all those crazy paint colors.  If you stick with a gray, caramel or dare I say white... you will never regret it.  You may regret painting your dining room a bright orange.  Commit to colors with decor or maybe some furniture.  That way you can change things up when you feel like it.

Now, with that said, I will say crazy color can be super great in some cases.  I even saw a room painted black recently which was really intriguing.  But those cases are rare.  So tread lightly.

All in all, this was a quick house remodel update that worked.  Just check out the Before/After pictures:

Bath 1


Bath 2 (Master)

After those 5 things... you almost have a full remodel.  But not quite.  The next 2 things seal the deal entirely.  I did not do the following 2 in the home above.

6 - New flooring
This will make your remodel.  Choose the right stuff and bam - you're in business.  Wood is super hot right now.  Yet it's classic and will never go out of style.  It's not possible.  Concrete is always cool.  Tile is another great option.  So many amazing choices.  Here's my friends house.  She chose to go with a polished tile.  It ups the fancy factor a bit and looks almost like marble.  But it's not.

** Program note - if putting in new floors, don't do carpet.  For 3 reasons: 1, it's hard to clean.  You can never really get all the "germs" out.  2, your allergies will go away instantly.  No joke.  3, carpet chops up a room.  One floor throughout a house or continuous in large spaces makes the house look bigger.  I know, some people like the comfort of carpet between their toes in their bedroom.  But all in all, it's not worth it.

Finally tonight,
7 - New light fixtures   
This is the jewelry after the dress.  It's the icing on the cake.  The cherry on the sundae.  I did a blog about it HERE.  New light fixtures will take your remodel from fabulous to gorgeous.  Promise.

Now... you're done.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Boy Bathroom Remodel

The Headlines:

A boy deserves a good bathroom. 

And so does his mom! 

Here's how to get one.

As some of of you may know... I like to remodel.  The home in which you live not only matters to your eyes... it can matter to your heart.  People who have a space in which they are proud are more productive, organized and happy.  I'm sure there's a study some where that says that however I know not where it is...

When remodeling I have 3 steps:

Step 1 -  Make A Design Plan 
Think long term, classic (do what you like, not what Pinterest tells you).  Always.
I call it "Defining Your Style..." read about it HERE

Step 2 - Pick Materials
What or whom will the space be used for?  Then consider that when planning/buying.

Step 3 - Get to Work
How can it be done in the most cost effective manner?

Here is one of my latest projects:

Below was we started with.  No bueno.  See?

If you look around a bit on this blog you'll see some serious white in my house.  I know white is HOT right now but I love it for different reasons.  I wrote a blog about it HERE but one of the main reasons I use it so much is because it's just doesn't go out of style.   It can certainly be not "on-trend" but white is forever.  Ahhhhhhhh that's why BRIDES use it!

Step 1 - Make a Design Plan
However, with all of that said, unlike in all my other bathrooms, I did not want to use white in this room.  For a Boy Bath I took the stained cabinet approach.  My husband sanded furiously and stained for days.  It does take a lot of sweat and tears if you do it yourself - the right way.  There are kits out there where you don't have to sand but BP (the husband) is perhaps pickier than I am, in some cases, and wanted to do it this way.

With the dark cabinets, and dark brick floor (which was put in a couple years ago - knowing the long term plan in my head) I knew I needed to lighten it up a bit so I wanted a light countertop to balance the dark.  I also knew I wanted an overall rustic/rugged look.

Step 2 - Pick Materials (go shopping)
I used this stain from Home Depot.  The color is espresso.  It's a dark color.  It's dark here but can go darker depending on the application process.

I also picked out the industrial lights pretty early.  I happen to love the industrial look.  I'm hoping it's not a fad because I'm kind of using it a lot.

I got square, white, ceramic sinks to go with the white/grey Carrera looking Quartz.  It clearly looks so different in different light.  These are pictures of the same counter.

Sidenote, for those not familiar, Quartz is a man made material which people have been using for a while now since it's pretty durable and consistent.  There are MANY brands of Quartz out there.  Some really expensive... some more well priced.

As you can see above... I use CHROME FAUCETS.  Here's why:  they're classic.  I know I sound like a broken record.  But they just won't go out of style.  Oil rubbed bronze was all the rage and today it's passe'.   Now everyone is using the Antique Brass for hardware.  It is gorge.  It could stay current for a while.  Heck, anything with the word Antique in it will stick around I suppose.  But I believe it will never be as classic as chrome.   So, the faucets I picked were a small goose neck chrome.

One more thought on faucets.  Pick wide spread.  They are a much more "upgraded" look and don't typically cost a lot.

Next, I went with a small Subway tile back splash.  Which (skips the mirror but) extends all the way to the ceiling.  You can never go wrong with Subway tile people.  I also did it because of  the shower/bath which is across from the vanity.  I have not re-done that yet.  But if and when I do... it will be done in a subway tile which ties everything together!

Next up... fishing touches like the cabinet "jewelry".  That's what I call drawer pulls/handles/knobs.

I got Francisco pulls for most of the cabinets but in the middle I used the Cup pulls.  I thought the difference made it look more like furniture.  And yes, you CAN MIX METALS!  I get that question all the time.  Mix... for the most part.  But it may also depend on the entire design of the room so do so carefully.  I often times go with a Satin Nickel drawer pull and a chrome faucet.  Like in this case.

Step 3 - Get to Work. 
After you've designed and shopped you need to put it altogether and get crap done!  There are a few way to accomplish this.

A) If you're super handy you can do this all by yourself.  But you need skills, time and patience.
B) The other option is to be you own general.  That means you find your materials and workers, then organize it.  Don't worry there's still 2 more options.
C) You can also get a designer from a top notch, fancy firm.  They're out there.  But it will cost ya... plenty.
D) The final option is to hire a local blogger/designer where you live to help you pick out, organize, schedule and find your trade people.  Someone like me.  But who lives by you.  There are plenty of talented, smart, go get it done people where you live who can help you, you just have to find them.

When you do... they can help you with just Step number 3... or start you back on Step number 1.  Depending upon your needs.

Finally tonight,
We were basically done with the bathroom but I needed to frame the mirror.  I wanted something super simple to make it feel kind of hardy.  I went to a reclaimed wood place to see what they had.  They had great stuff... just a little too rustic for what I wanted.  So we did it on our own.

We went to Home Depot again and grabbed some (not warped) Red Oak.  Turns out they had wood with some character which is what I wanted.  Then we stained it with the same brand as above but got a much lighter color... I didn't want it to be too matchy with the cabinets.  We pulled out the saw, grabbed some wood glue and bada-bing, bada bang.  Done.

I absolutely love it.  I hope you do too!

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Monday, August 7, 2017

What I Will Tell My Child About Junior High

The Headlines:

We all remember Junior High sucks.

Can it ever be good?

It can.

I sit here quietly in my home for the first time in months.  Summer is over and the kids are back in school.  But this year is different.  This year my daughter starts Junior High.

She's a 6th grader.  Back in my time, when I went to JUNIOR HIGH it didn't start until 7th grade.  I'm not sure what's better but that's not the point.  Here's the point: we're at the point of no return.  It's big time from here on out.  Life is no longer as simple as it once was... and she knows it.

The other day she said, I kid you not:

"I think when I was "little-er" things were more fun.  Now everyone's on their phone."  

WOW.  As I listened to her make that slightly profound statement I may have been texting someone.  That's a whole other subject we should delve into but for now... she's right.  And it's not changing anytime soon.  Because with a locker, no recess, algebra and lunch time tutoring comes a whole lot more.  Stuff they can't really teach you at the best school... like hormones, relationships, "mean" girls, make-up and yes everything that comes with that darn phone.

So what do you tell your child?  I say this:  Junior High is tough.  Ask anyone.  You will not get out unscathed.  Because everyone has something.  The prettiest girl gets a pimple.  The smartest boy blows a major test.  The mean one gets bullied.  Make-up runs.  Pick 6's happen.  People say awful things.  It is complicated, it's difficult and it can be down right devestating at times.  But you will get through it.  Right alongside the rest of your friends.  You all will be going through the same kind of crappy stuff together.  You can trust that.

But while there will be many bad things that happen... there will also be bright spots.  

You will ace a test you studied for.  The girl or boy you smile at will smile back (even if it's just on the inside).  Your team will win.  You will walk into a room one day and everyone will turn.  Your birthday will be big.  You will meet a best friend.  Someone will vote for you.  You will be a part of a group/club/sport that matters.  People will laugh at your joke.  You will get a compliment.  All these things will happen... just not at once.  Everyday you will not hit the jackpot - but that will make the winning days even sweeter.

I tell my daughter she has to be strong.  And on the days she's not, her father and I will be strong for her.  I remind her that she can lean on good friends but that she needs to let them lean right back.  I want her to know if she's helping others more she may care about herself a little less.  I assure her tears will come and she can grab a tissue or even better yet.. someone may hand her one.

Because even though Junior High may feel like the end of the world... it's just the beginning.

No, I'm not a psychologist or a counselor, I'm not a doctor or teacher of any kind.  But I am a mother who remembers being in Junior High, like all of us were at one point.  It was exactly all of the things I mentioned above and more.  It doesn't make me an expert but it does qualify me to remind my pre-teen, we've all been there.  While it feels super big - it's just a moment in time - and everyone's standing in that moment with her.

Junior High will not define her... but it will begin to refine her.  She just needs to remember to toss the phone aside.  Here and there.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

How to Plan a Trip to the Redwood National Forest (and Mendocino)!

The Headlines:

The time has come.

Vacation Creation.

Here's why (and how) we did it.  

During the Summer, when I was a little girl... myself, my mom and my Dad would all pile in our Volkswagen (Pop Top) Bus and drive for miles.  We would drive, stop, camp and then drive, stop, camp some more.  Four weeks total.  Every year from the time I could remember... until I was in high school.  For it was at that time, we no longer had the time to pile, drive, stop and camp.

Because, like all kids, I grew up.  More on that later.

Since we've had our own babies we've definitely gone on vacations.  But mostly to relaxing resorts, beach destinations or family visits.  Traveling with "toddlers" is never easy.  I remember once we got on a plane, my son was maybe 2 years old, shortly after take off he stands in the aisle, points to the door and says: OFF PLANE NOW.   At this point, we've certainly turned the corner so it's time to do something different.

BP (the husband) and I made a pact last Summer to take a break once a year and do (at least) one real family vacation.  Preferably not the resort kind.  I just think more unique memories can be made when you hit the open road.  So, we decided our first go-round would be The Redwood National Forest.  For those of you wondering... that's at the very tip top of California near the coast.

It did not disappoint.  In this post, I'll tell you what we did, how it was so special, where you can do it and why the time is now.  I'll highlight the 5 Most Important Tips.

I have no known trip planning skills but turns out I didn't need any after I found this place:

TIP #1:
Redwood Coast Cabins & RV Resort (click the phrase to their website).  I basically wanted to go "glamping" without paying like 5 hundo a night!  At RCC, you can get a camp site for under $20 or you can stay in their "Deluxe" Log Cabin (with basic bath and kitchen) for under $150.  That was exactly what I wanted.  They also have really rustic log cabins (without the bath or kitchen) for under $100.  It gave us the feeling of camping, complete with pool, play area, giant chess and mini golf (all with the cost of the site).  Perfect.  I recommend highly.

But then what RCC also did, was give us a list of things to do while there.
TIP #2 Check it out here: Redwood To Do List

We started by going to the old, historic Samoa Cookhouse, which I did as a kid...

and it hasn't changed a bit.  Family style cooking.  Great for breakfast.  It was tasty as well as historic.  Don't miss it.  Read about it here: Samoa Cookhouse.  Then we headed up to the Trees of Mystery (click the phrase for more info).  There, we saw spectacular trees, Paul Bunyan and took a gondola ride.  It's just interesting.  You can spend hours reading and looking at all the stuff.  It didn't disappoint.  It was a little under $50 for the 4 of us... but worth it.

We also checked out the Avenue of giants, the Grandfather Tree and the Visitor Center (which obviously has tons of ideas too).

TIP #3
The National Park has a cool "Quest" series for kids.  The quests, essentially require the child to go searching for something, via clues given to them, at a certain hiking spot.  At the end, they discover the code which they turn into the visitor center and get a "prize".  My kids LOVED IT!  And it was FREE.

After 2 nights, we drove down to Mendocino.  ***Warning*** this drive is not for faint of heart.  I got incredibly car sick, there are very windy roads here.  At one point, I had to get out of the car and lie on the side of the road.  Memories were definitely being made.   But once we made it... there was this... bliss.

TIP #4
We stayed at the Little River Inn... which had a view of the water and it was breathtaking.  This property is just really precious.  See for yourself here:  Little River Inn

We were so close to the beach, Medocino and Fort Bragg.  Plus my kids could play some football on their lawn overlooking the ocean.  It was heavenly.  While here, we went on a "Skunk Train" ride... (in my opinion kind of expensive and a little over-rated for a family of four) and we hunted for
TIP #5 Seaglass at "Seaglass Beach"... it's a real thing.

After a recycling plant was located in the area, it left behind legit Seaglass.  But Beware: The city does NOT want you take the little treasures.

We also hiked the beach, dined overlooking the ocean and browsed their many roadside stores.  Two nights and we moved on.

From forests to cliffside beaches to the farm lands of the wine country.  On our way back to the airport we decided take a quick, final jaunt through Napa.  We stopped at a park, ate at a favorite,
BONUS TIP: Gott's Roadside (formerly Taylor's Refresher) Grill and took some pictures.  Nope, no wine tasting on this trip but it was just what we needed before hopping on a plane.

The odd thing, we were only gone for 4 nights and 5 days.  But it was just enough.  We packed a lot into our little trip.  And we'll do it again.  Not the same thing.  Something totally different.  I'm up for suggestions.

Because the fact is, time doesn't stand still.  I wish it did.  I wish we could pick a moment in our lives and just live there forever.  But sooner than later, as I often write in this blog... my kids will no longer WANT to be on vacation with us.  Let alone be able to...

When I started going to high school... "responsibilities" kicked in.  Sure, they were Cheer and Student Government responsibilities but they were mine and they were important to me.  The family vacations, like the old days, stopped.

So friends, we have a window.  A small window to enjoy the moments that become so very fleeting to us all.  Use it up.  DO things.  Not just resort things.  Go places that don't require a ton of money... camp.  Or glamp.  Pack your own food... but get out there.  Before the window is closed for good.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

How to Plan a Last Minute Birthday Party

The Headlines:

Sometimes you just don't have time.

So do a QUICK SIX (birthday party)!

Here are 5 Tips:

I love planning parties.  Kids birthday parties have long been one of my favs.  Your kids are only young once.  You get one shot of making those memories light up the rest of their lives.  Maybe yours too!

But let's be honest.  Life is busy.  We got things going on... we can't aways spend hours on party plans.  Like the "Police Birthday Party or the "Savvy-Chic" Birthday Party  I pulled off a few years ago.  Those took some time.

This year, when my son's birthday party rolled around I was less than enthusiastic.  I was worn out from busy holidays, sports seasons, work and family!  So I decided to do something that took little time.  And guess what?  It turned out great.  Kids happy.  People fed.  Love spread.  Memories made.

Here's how we did it.

1 - Find a Quick Theme
And embrace it.  My son LOVES football.   To date, he's now made AND thrown a Pick 6 (interception, followed by a touchdown, for those of you who, like me, knew not).  It's all he talks about!  So, I decided, rather than a Pick 6 - let's do a QUICK 6 Birthday party.  Yes, he was turning 6 years old.  It would be a generic, "thrown together," fast party!  Yes, I made the invites.  That's my own hang up.  But I will say, as I always do... it does set the tone.

2 - Hire someone  
It was time to call in a game truck!  I found a company to come in, for 2 hours, and the kids LOVED IT!  There were video games and dancing video games.  Room for like 22 kids (plus).  It not only made them happy - but me too.  It was the main source of fun.  It cost about $300, so it's not cheap.  But worth every penny!

3 - Decor
Sometimes you think of the theme and find stuff to go with that.  Other times, you make a theme around what you find.  In a last minute party that can easily happen.  At which point, number 1 switches with number 3.  Does that make sense?  Hopefully.  Here - while I had a basic theme idea in my head - I wasn't sure how I was going to pull it off.  So, I went to Michael's.  I saw some black and white cups and wrapping paper, both, you could color (below).  I also grabbed black and white serving items and black masks that scratch off to make designs.  Plus some B/W favors and the party was planned in minutes.

I used that wrapping paper to cover all table surfaces.  The main table, the cake table, the candy buffet and even my kitchen Island.  Then I threw markers and pencils around so kids could color anywhere!  

4 - Food/Cake  
I chose as many black and white food options as I could find!  Black (dark purple) grapes, white popcorn,  hot chocolate & marshmallows (which they were supposed to drink from their b/w cup they colored), white creme puffs... white bread sandwiches & a dark juice drink (not pictured) you get the drift.

Then of course that candy bar (which doubled as add ins to the take away bag)!

The cake... I made myself and not only decided to do black and white but gave it a sort of undone look... which was supposed to look like I did it fast but it also happens to be really chic right now!

5 - Other Activities
Finally tonight, even with the game truck and the coloring options, you need something else for kids to do.  Options at a party - are good!  So, the kids had a blast with our extra last minute addition which were these body bumper things.  A random, non-themed, fun activity which really worked!  Sometimes, it's the little things!

Not much work, last minute and generic... yet , a "Quick 6 Birthday Party" was born.  We all loved it.  And now you can too!  

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Bad Mom Moments

The Headlines:

Have you ever had a Bad Mom Moment?

Maybe there's no such thing.

Warning: the contents of this post may offend someone.  I am sorry for that in advance.  But you don't have to read it.

It happens to everyone.  We all have Bad Mom moments.  Heck, they even made a movie about the subject.  It's more acceptable now.  To make mistakes.  To get it wrong.  It happened to me recently.   I got something really wrong.  I'm not proud of it.  I'm actually really embarrassed.  But my Bad Mom Moment worked.  My son, who was on the receiving end of my "badness..." changed his behavior.  Which made me think, I wonder if all the Bad Mom Moments actually equal good life learning for our kids.

Wouldn't that be nice?   It would kind of mean Bad Mom Moments aren't really that bad after all.

My son is pretty well behaved.  When he's at school.  An event.  Or someone's house.  He's good for coaches, friends, other people in general.  He is not, however, always good for me.  Recently, I had a really busy day.  It was a day, quite frankly, where I felt like I was losing my mind.  I know you've been there.  Plus, I had a headache, had no idea what was for dinner and we had to get to an Art Walk at school.  Something I really didn't want to do.  Nor did my daughter.  But we were going anyways.  Because my son wanted to see his master piece.

As I was trying to round everything up to head out my little 6 year old man was barking orders at me.  "We need to hurry, I want a snack, let's go - I want to play!"  There were incessant demands that were very rude.  And because of my head space at the moment I completely lost my marbles.

I yelled, a loud and very long:


Dare I say, it felt good?  Not cool, I know... but good.  For 5 seconds.  During which time there was complete silence.  He was in shock.  I was in shock.  I rarely say bad words and I certainly have never told my children to shut up.  But in that moment it was the best word(s) to use and exactly how I felt.

5 seconds of silence quickly turned to 30 seconds of "that's mean, you can't say that to your child, that's a bad word, you've never loved me... you would never say that to me if you loved me!"  Of course I felt 2 inches tall.  He was sent to his room to cool off as I reminded him I have always loved him and say that at least 5 times a day, everyday!

Afterwards, once cooler minds prevailed, I explained to him that if he speaks to me horribly - I will speak to him horribly right back.  It doesn't feel good for anyone.  Including Moms.

So here's the thing:  since then he hasn't spoken poorly to me.  Not really.  Not beyond his usually whiny-ness at least.  It's as if the SHHHHHHUUUUUUUUUUT--UUUUUUUUUUUUUUP worked!?  I'm not sure why.  I'm guessing it has to do with the fact that I did something so unexpected that it made a huge impact.  It was a Bad Mom Moment that may have turned into a good life lesson.

For us both.

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