In My House

2020: Make Time

Happy 2020, everyone.

Was anyone else as excited as I was to take down the Christmas decorations and get back into normal living?

Every year despite my best intentions to maintain some sense of routine, healthy living, and normalcy during the holidays, I’m left feeling I have fallen short in that field. I even Google-searched “self-care during the holidays” a few times during this past December.

Don’t get me wrong, we had a wonderful holiday season with family and friends, but there’s something about routine and the fresh start of a new year that calms my soul.

So this year I’m not making resolutions, but I am committing to getting back into the routine of regular exercise, self-care, and saying no to the things that don’t matter in order to make time for the things that really do.

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Time to rest: For me, this means getting good sleep (at least most nights) and taking a break to read for at least a few minutes every day. On especially busy and stressful days at work, it also means prying myself away from my office to go for a quick walk and decompress.

Time to just be: It’s safe to say that most of us feel over-scheduled at many times in our lives. Instead of taking pride in being the busiest, we need to allow ourselves and others to say no to requests once in a while without the inevitable guilt-trip.

Time to volunteer: This might be a bit in contrast to that last one, but I still think volunteering and community involvement are hugely important. The key is prioritizing and not saying yes to every single opportunity.

Time for self-care: Many of us are guilty of letting our own health and happiness fall by the wayside in favor of caring for others. It’s difficult to prioritize self-care, but how can we care for others if we aren’t properly caring for ourselves? For me, this means regular exercise, spiritual connection, and an occasional mani/pedi.

Time to hydrate: This is kind of a strange one, but although most Americans have easy access to healthy drinking water, many of us go through life dehydrated. I am leaving my refillable water bottle on my desk at work as a reminder to keep downing the water.

Time to play: What is life without a little fun now and then? Whether it is going to a water park with my daughters, a date night with my husband, or even just taking a moment to play tea party with the fam, laughing and being silly is good for the soul.

How will you make time for what is important in 2020?

In My House

Mama, Let’s Look at the Tree Together

Lately in the evenings my two-year-old daughter has a request around bedtime: “Mama, let’s look at the Christmas tree together.” So almost every night we spend a few minutes, just the two of us, in a room lit by only sparkling white lights while we admire the variety of ornaments.

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She giggles as I throw out names and descriptions of the ornaments, asking her to locate them on the tree. “Where’s Buzz Lightyear?”

I point to a ceramic baby carriage with “2017” engraved on it and she knows it is hers from when she was “tiny.” (She still is tiny.)

I smile as she recognizes and kisses an ornament that features a photo of my beloved late grandfather who she never knew, but would absolutely have adored her.

It’s no secret that Christmas time has a tendency to exhaust me. I do not think I am alone in that. Although I love the meaning of Christmas, traditions old and new, and the time with loved ones, I also thrive on minimalism, organization, and routine, none of which the holiday season seems to feature in abundance. These simple moments like enjoying the beauty of the tree through the eyes of a young child, are the moments that matter most.

In My House

Gifts That Give Back

In this season of giving, what can be better than a gift that, when purchased, also provides a charitable donation? Here are six gifts that give back. Happy shopping.

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1. Toms are a favorite of mine because they’re cute and comfy, but the company also provides a pair of shoes to a child in need for each pair of shoes purchased. The company does a variety of other charitable work as well. (Toms) 2. These adorable animals are a bit pricey, but every purchase helps battle childhood hunger. Each animal has a name, birthday, and favorite quote. (Cuddle + Kind) 3. These colorful stackable bracelets make a great gift and benefit a variety of great causes. (Pura Vida) 4. Kohl’s Cares stuffed animals each come with a book and purchases benefit the local community. The price point is usually between $5 and $10, making them a great inexpensive gift. (Kohl’s) 5. Each bottle of One Hope wine purchased benefits a different charity. (One Hope Wines) 6. A portion of the purchase of these celebrity-designed spatulas goes to St. Jude Children’s Hospital and No Kid Hungry. I have purchased a few of these. They are sturdy and can withstand high heat. (Williams-Sonoma)

In My House

Six Festive Advent Calendars

I love advent calendars. When I was little my great-grandmother would give my brother and me the cardboard ones filled with delicious chocolate pieces, always with a festive scene on the front. Now, there are so many candy and non-candy options out there when it comes to advent calendars. These are a great way to celebrate the holiday season every day of the month while also keeping in mind the true meaning of the entire Advent season.

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1. The Rifle Paper Company artwork on this little tree makes it truly special. (Anthropologie) 2. This wooden box features piece of a Nativity scene, perfect for remembering the true meaning of the season. (Meri Meri) 3. I love anything to do with The Nutcracker Suite, including this handsome soldier. (Pier 1) 4. My daughters absolutely loved this Playmobil Advent calendar last year. You can reload the pieces to use again year after year. (Target) 5. This calendar is a miniature mountain with a tiny colorful tree for each day of Advent. (Anthropologie) 6. Why should the humans have all the fun? This Advent calendar has 24 tasty treats for dogs. (Williams-Sonoma)

In My House

Some Fall Favorites

Fall is in full swing so I thought I would share a few items for this wonderful time of year. We had snow here over night, but I’m holding out hope we’ll continue to see some beautiful fall days ahead. So light a candle, put something yummy in the slow-cooker, load up on Halloween candy, and go ahead and order yourself a pumpkin spice latte.

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1. I have been burning this Golden Chestnut candle as the days have started turning colder and it smells amazing. (Yankee Candle) 2. I love the colors of this $20 felt wreath. (Target) 3. I like sending Halloween cards and the artwork on this is too precious. (Rifle Paper Company) 4. This is a spoiler alert on the hubby’s Buzz Lightyear Halloween costume for this year. He’s such a good dad. (Target) 5. I bought these booties a couple of months ago and am excited to pair them with tights and dresses this fall. (Report, available on Zappos) 6. A cozy plaid scarf is a go-to item all fall and winter. (Gap)

In My House

Little Moments of Gratitude

On most mornings I go to work before my husband and daughters leave the house. I back out of the driveway as the sun is starting to come up and can still see them through the dining room window, rounding out their morning routine. In this moment I am enveloped by the warm feeling of being so grateful for the three of them. They don’t know that in those precious seconds each day, my mind is completely on my love for them.

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Photo by Tayhart Photography

It doesn’t matter what I have on my plate at work that day. It doesn’t matter how difficult my two-year-old might have been at bedtime the night before. It doesn’t matter that my dog yaps at the deer or the neighbor dog every single morning. I take that moment to feel thankful for what I have. A job to go to, a cozy house to return to at night, and a husband, daughters, and schnauzer who make it all worthwhile.

Moments later I’ll be knee deep in budgets, emails, and meeting agendas. Life is busy and it is easy to be feel bogged down. Remember when I copped an attitude with my husband over a lost sock? The more stress creeps into our lives, the more challenging it is to really feel gratitude.

It seems like there is a lot of talk about being present and living mindfully, but I’m still trying to figure out what that all means. I think one way of doing that is to find more moments to let the gratitude wash over me. They’re so good for the soul.

In My House

My 2019 Summer Suitcase

I am finding it hard to grasp the fact that June is already almost over. With July comes our vacation to Alaska. I’m a little apprehensive about a nearly six-hour flight with a two-year-old and a four-year-old, but I’m really excited to visit the Land of the Midnight Sun for the first time. Weather is supposed to be in the 70s while we are there, which is perfect in my opinion. Here are a few favorites that will be in my suitcase.

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1. I fell in love with these floral pants and ordered them online a few days ago. They haven’t arrived yet, but I’m excited to dress them up or down for work and play. (Loft) 2. I love the poppy color of this dress. (J.Crew) 3. I am a big fan of Babiators for the girls because of their durability and awesome guarantee policy. (Babiators) 4. We are loving all things Toy Story 4 in our house right now after seeing the movie this past weekend. Both of my girls have been sporting this tee regularly. (Target) 5. I am always looking for swimwear that looks cute, but stays in place while I am playing in the pool with my daughters. This tankini set fits the bill and the price is right. (Gap) 6. My office has a no-denim dress code, but I have been living in this skirt on my days off. (J.Crew)