Our cheerful little snow globe of love and happy-memory making is all shaken up right now with glitter and sparkles. It's a special Christmas around here and we put something together to share it with you!
Enjoy, and may your holiday season be filled with merry memories as well!
The Christmas season has a beautiful and extraordinary way of shining light on the things that make me so thankful and blessed, and in light of saying "yes" to the important things, I'm taking some extra time with week to spend it with my blessings.
FreshMommy is just one of the many things that bring joy into my life. With every comment you leave and email you send; I feel blessed to have you all as my readers and friends. I pray you and your families have a very Merry Christmas and a holiday season filled with the things that make your life bright!
Outtakes from our family Christmas photos this year... just as I set Brayden on my shoulders, he decided to let some gas free. Cue the family laughter.
"Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.”
See you all back here after the Christmas holiday, and if you feel like stopping by on Christmas, I'm working on something very special to share with you! Until then, see you on Instagram.
I started this post last night and a few sentences in, my eyes began to close. In the spirit of saying "yes" more... to the right things, like listening to my body and giving more attention to my kids, consequently hearing their hearts expressed through simple words, I decided to go with it and slid into the crisp, cool sheets of my bed, tucking under a thick layer of down.
So here we be. Rewind.
Taken on my iPhone while walking the kids out to P.E. today.
"I said yes, how could I have said anything but yes?" he recalled as we talked about our daughter's request this morning. Our 6 year old, our kindergartener, asked for her daddy to take her to school, and to walk her all the way in to class. We talked about the parents that may have even faced the same question, and whatever their answer... They would not have that same opportunity again.
She knows. Not everything, not all the details... But she knows something. Pointing to her new "security that's here for the week," as we pass by and at random moments asking questions.
Today I was in her class of 19 littles, something I try to do each week, but today? Today was different. The children are the same, with their energetic little bodies wiggling in line and sticky fingers learning how to write, and draw and cut. The difference lay in me, in the way I could see through different colored glasses. We are changed, we are all changed. I look at each moment differently, and though I thought I used to look at little moments with precious passion, I realize that my compassion for each moment, for each person in the moment, was waning.
"I was so cute when I was a baby," one little girl said as we worked together on tying bows. "You still are, and pretty too," I answered softly back and was rewarded with the upturn of her lips and a shy smile.
Another little girl's face was streaming with quiet tears after a fall. "Do you need a hug?" I asked, and before she said a word she was in my arms for a sweet little side hug. Is it all the correct way? I don't know. But do these kids need reassurance and compassion? Absolutely.
In a time when we're all looking for ways to learn how to say "No" more, something I do when I know I need to simplify... I'm now looking for ways to say "Yes." Yes to the right things. Yes to using what we have, who we are, to make a difference in someone else's day. We never know when we may see them again.
Waving goodbye to the security guard today, I nodded in heartfelt thanks and a quiet plea to keep my baby safe.
Welcome to our tradition here on Fresh Mommy Blog... on Wednesdays, when I try to be wordless, which doesn't always happen, I'm just going to dump the previous week's photos from my phone. Welcome to Hump Day Dump, we'd love to have you join, whether it's one photo or many, phone pics or camera pics, wordless or not! So just grab a photo and link up with us! You can grab my button from the sidebar, but it's not required. If you'd like to connect with some other great Wordless Wednesday participants, just click here or on one the thumbnails below. Don't forget to link up below!
“Loving is a feeling that brings both joy and pain to my heart. Joy from being with you, being filled with an emotion so deep and tender that no other feeling can compare. Pain from knowing that I'm so in love, that I'm more vulnerable than I've ever.”
For the heart broken, the ones who've loved fiercely and lived vulnerably, who've loved until it hurts, and now hurt the more. For those who may not be able to remember how to breathe, or move, or feel right now... we're with you. We're praying for you and being strong for you when you cannot.
As I hold my kindergartener, and kiss my toddler, knowing that they're here, and home, and safe, my heart breaks for those who have had that precious gift ripped from them. There aren't words gracious or beautiful enough to help, and with every fiber of my being I wish there were. Anger won't heal a person and fear will never protect us, but... Love.
Families of Newtown, Connecticut that have lost, we're sending you love and we're cocooning you in prayer. I know that right now, that doesn't seem enough, I just hope it's a start.
Since our move from Michigan to Florida over a year ago, we've been finding ways to make December feel like, well, Christmastime.
Item number one on the list? Decorate like Michaels and Pottery Barn threw up Christmas tinsel in the house. I'm a sucker for sparkle and glitter... and making our house one of the first on our street to glow. Now, I will say, I used a little restraint this year, since we decorated the weekend after Thanksgiving and then I was gone for the first 12 days of December and couldn't slowly add more, and more, and more each day.
Item number two that's being crossed off of the list... have a constant party. With that said, let me introduce you to a few festive favorite highlights to our week I thought you might enjoy.
Our new favorite tradition: The Kissing Ball.
One of our Advent Calendar activities this year was to hang mistletoe and get a kiss, and in preparation for it while I was still out of town, I sent Chris in search of the famed foliage. He came home with a kissing ball, and it's been a hit ever since! Disclaimer: Chris and I quite enjoy the kissing ball, I think as much as our kids like coming up with "reasons" for us to stand underneath.
Our favorite mail: Christmas Cards
We've been receiving something special in the mailbox daily, and it all gets hung and displayed on ribbon in the window, along with the hand-painted Christmas art, also one of our Advent Calendar activities. Speaking of which, the ribbon was already there and we're hanging the cards in the space left as we take down an activity each day.
Our favorite new friend: Candy Cane the Elf
Yes, I'm sure you're over seeing The Elf on the Shelfeverywhere these days, so I'm not going to clog my feeds with his daily happenings. Just saying... we're one of those families now, and our little ones couldn't be more thrilled. After naming him themselves without help from us, and by naming him I mean Brayden answering, "No," to all of Aliyah's suggestions until Candy Cane... they love waking up to find him hiding in the nativity, or gobbling up a bowl of candy, or hanging in the pantry drinking syrup through a straw. There are so many places to find great inspiration and ideas for your own little elf, like here and here.
Our favorite laugh: Kid Snippets
Okay, so maybe not holiday related, but it is something we watched near our Christmas tree... and laughed. A lot.
Our favorite wrap: Butcher Block Paper
It's been three years and it's still my go-to wrapping. I'll get a post together with some details and better photos, but for now I'll just say, it's great! And, I've been very quiet on Instagram these past couple of weeks, but I think getting back home and into the holiday spirit is reversing that trend. Come find me here!
So do tell, what's your favorite this week?!
And if you're still looking for a few ideas for a special kiddo in your life check our our Kid's Gift Guide here!
I'm finally home, sweet home, and in time to finish up Christmas lists, wrap presents and send out our Christmas cards. So in the spirit of sharing, I thought I post a few finds that I think would make great gifts if you still need a few stocking stuffers, a fun idea to kickstart your imagination or a little something for that special niece or nephew.
1. Tattley Menagerie Temporary Tattoos, $14.95
After twelve days away from home, I'm signing off too cuddle my family, or in the words of my two year old when I asked him to cuddle with me and he replied, "Can we snuggle too?"... I'm off to snuggle.
Romantic love reaches out in little ways, showing attention and admiration. Romantic love remembers what pleases a woman, what excites her, and what surprises her. Its actions whisper: you are the most special person in my life.
~ by Charles Stanley
They arrived at just the right moment, a moment I felt the sadness of being away for too long. These delicious little notes of pure love and delight, which weaved through the words of painful absence with the promises of forever love and a sweet embrace.
I've been working in Los Angeles for the past week and a half, surrounded by the shiny new cars of the LA Auto Show, catching up with friends, enjoying great food and seeing flicks in the famed Cinerama Dome on Sunset Boulevard, photoshoots in between and having to navigate around commercials being filmed on nearly every corner, yet nothing makes my heart flutter like a stack of hand written love notes and heart-felt poems penned by the hand of my love and delivered to my door. Romantic love, indeed. Pleasing, surprising, exciting romantic love.
I would love to have you join the Sunday Citar inspiration and have all of us come to your blog to read what quotes inspire you! Just leave a link to your blog post in the comments section of this post so that we can come by!
It's December and we are all getting our shopping on. This is the season of blessing others and finding that perfect thing to show them how much we love them. Today's list is for all the ladies in your life, your mothers, sisters, daughters and friends. The prices range from $18 - $200. I did my best to find a good variety of pieces that would suit a number of different women. There's a few quirky ideas, definitely some glamourous ones and even some flirty options.
It was just two short days before our monthly calendar read my favorite holiday month, December, and I stayed up late into the night, beyond the sleepy heads of the rest of my family falling into bed, to whip up this Advent calendar before I had to catch a flight out of town. I knew I couldn't leave without having this ready for my kids to enjoy... and I can't wait to walk back into the coziness of the Christmas season in our home in just a few more days and enjoy the rest of our Advent Calendar activities together.
It all came together in just one short night, and after hanging in the window I closed the curtains over it to keep it hidden until December 1st!
My inspiration came from Funkytime and I just made it a little bit easier... no hot glue or cutting of felt for this tired mama, stencils and a sharpie worked wonderfully and quickly under the wire!
Just cut out squares of burlap, use your numbered stencil and a sharpie (or just write with a sharpie if you've got some skills) to write your countdown days and wrap up your toys or goodies... or in our case, our daily family activity.
This is such a fun ritual that our family looks forward to every year, and this is probably one of the easiest Advent Calendars that I've put together, though I still love our Pottery Barn inspired chalkboard-paint infused project from last year and the sweet little paper bag calendar from 2010.
This feels so us right now... in keeping with a simple and cozy Christmas, with activities bringing the family together and crafted from materials that I mostly had around the house.
A crafty little Christmas it will be!
PS. I made my own printed calendar activities, but forgot to save the full template to share with you (it was late), so I found another great blogger with free printables for 100 activities for your own Advent calendar! Just click HERE.
I'm happy to welcome Xenon Project as a sponsor this month! A perfect addition in time for Christmas shopping.
Stay tuned for a special coupon code to use and get some of your shopping done early! (Is three weeks still considered early?)
What just so happened to be exciting about them climbing aboard the Fresh Mommy train was the fact that Aliyah has been asking for a remote control helicopter for some time now. Seriously. She wanted one for her birthday, but the ones she likes are all a little above her age range, so we decided to wait.
Xenon Project to the rescue!
They offer all kinds of remote control fun at great discounted prices, and although the age range still flies a bit above my girls head (yeah, cheesy pun intended, sorry) my kids love watching and trying to get it in the air.
I have to say, remote control helicopters are not easy to control. But we do have a ton of fun just trying to make it happen. One of the drawbacks is the long charge time and short flying time, but I've heard that's true of pretty much all little choppers. And if it's not charged up, it won't fly as high.
Even with all of that wrapped up in this cute mini helicopter package, we love it. It brings lots of laughs and fun into our house.
If you're buying gadgets for guys or toys for tots (well, maybe not tots, but the alliteration was there and I went for it), Xenon Project is definitely worth a look!
And to sprinkle a little Christmas cheer on it all, you can use the coupon code FreshMommy to receive a 10% discount. Shop away, friends.