Friday, November 28, 2014

2014 Gift Guides

Gift Guide posts are one of my favorite parts of blogging. I love scouring my favorite sites for fun items to share with you. This year I've divided the content into four categories: Young at Heart, Organizer, Book Lover and Munchkins. I hope I help you check some of the names off of your list!

Click image to enlarge. (c) Laurealism
1. Lawn Dice | $50 | Amazon or UncommonGoods | Spring will be here eventually
2. The Martian | $10 | Amazon | Who hasn't imagined life on Mars?
3. GoPro Drone Quadcopter | $429 | Amazon | What? You might totally win the lotto!
4. RC Helicopter | $20 | Amazon | Amazingly affordable fun
5. Bocce Ball Set | $45 | Amazon | This games needs to make a comeback
6. Magnetic Voice Recorder | $15 | Amazon | Well, this could be fun
7. Perpetual Calendar | $17 | Amazon | A cute way to keep up-to-date
8. Shower Squid | $36 | UncommonGoods | Everything you need at an arm's length

Click image to enlarge. (c) Laurealism
1. Retro Pens | $9 | Amazon | Quite the stylish stylus
2. Wine Preserver | $10 | Amazon | What do you mean leftover wine?
3. Snack Attack Storage | $8 | Amazon | Stores snacks and dips to-go
4. Nesting Mixing Bowls | $50 | Amazon | Pretty and practical
5. Nesting Food Storage | $35 | Amazon | Time to organize the tupperware drawer!
6. Wooden Desktop Clock | $29 | Amazon | Wood you tell me the time?
7. Journal | $24 | Urban Outfitters | Record your world
8. Lip Butter | $13 | Amazon | Assorted flavors. Pomegranate, please!
9. Refillable Travel Perfume | $10 | Amazon | Travel-sized spritzing
10. Felt iPad Case | $10 | Amazon | Doesn't your iThing deserve to be cozy?

Click image to enlarge. (c) Laurealism
1. Books | $4-$23 | Amazon | Books for a book lover? Imagine that!
    The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry | A book about books? You know me too well.
    All the Light We Cannot See | Historical Fiction hit of the year
    Big Little Lies | Surprisingly Insightful chick-lit.
    Tequila Mockingbird | Cocktails with a literary twist. Yes, please!
    1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die | You'd better get started.
2. Novel Teas | $15 | Amazon | English breakfast tea tagged with literary quotes
3. Felt Mini Journal | $15 | Amazon | A cozy place for your favorite quotes
4. Sprout Bookmarks | $7 | Amazon | No green thumb needed
5. Literary Scarf | $34 | UncommonGoods | Wrap yourself in Jane Eyre, among others

Click image to enlarge. (c) Laurealism
1. Julia's House for Lost Creatures | $13 | Amazon | Adorable story and illustrations
    Ki, Koo! | $11 | Amazon | A sweet introduction to haiku, and the seasons
2. Bubble Gun | $6 | Amazon | Seemingly endless bubble fun
3. Magnatab | $20 | Amazon | An interesting spin on an etch-a-sketch
4. Jellycat Cordy Roy Animals | $25 | Amazon | 2014 was Chinese Year of the Horse
5. Nerf Bow Blaster | $20 | Amazon | Can you say Katniss?
6. Story Cubes | $16 | Amazon | A creative way to encourage storytelling
7. Family Dinner Game | $10 | Amazon | Dinner conversation inspiration!
8. Castle Tent | $20 | IKEA | Black Friday Discount: $14
9. Break the Ice | $10 | Amazon | A throwback game that'll work for many ages.
10. Rainbow Maker | $25 | Amazon | Sometimes you'll want to make your own rainbows

So, what's on your wish list this year?

Also-- if you're doing a lot of online shopping this year, you may want to check this post out!

Oh, and full disclosure: I'm an Amazon Associate. And total Amazon Prime addict as well, which you likely see reflected above!

Happy shopping :)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Let's be thankful for mornings.

Thanksgiving, of course, makes us think about the things that we are thankful for. 

I'm thankful for my life: and everyone and everything in it. I could write an endless run-on sentence of thankfulness. But I probably wouldn't really be telling you anything you couldn't surmise for yourself.

So instead of counting my blessings, I'm choosing to find the good in something that I didn't recognize the good in before:

Mornings.

I can't do mornings the way I'd like. I'd love to jump out of bed, ready for the day, and immediately be able to tackle my children with energy. I'd love to spring from my bed: shower, unload the dishwasher, put in a load of laundry, do a morning sweep of the floors, all while preparing a nice hot breakfast for my family.

But I can't. I just can't. It's exhausting. Instead my mornings are:

6:30- Alarm goes off: an alarm I set the previous night. I was probably inspired by whatever book I was reading/Netflix show I was bingeing on and stayed up way too late. I always go to bed thinking, tomorrow is going to be amazing. I'm totally going to rock at life tomorrow. I'm actually going to shower in the morning and blow dry my hair for once. I'll even have time for makeup. The drop-off lady at school won't know what hit her. And then that damn alarm sounds, and I'm like eh, maybe tomorrow. And I turn it off.

Ultimately, I get up when I have to, which is usually when my husband is trying to leave the house for work without a baby or small child attached to him. The remaining three of us scramble to get fed, dressed, and out the door in time to get to school/speech/etc. Sidenote: coats, hats, gloves, shoes and socks are especially difficult in the mornings. By the time I dress child #2, child #1 has removed most everything I've already wrestled him into, and it's just a really long cycle. Really, long because I probably didn't manage coffee yet.

But you know who does rock mornings?? My children.

The moment they hit consciousness they are wide-eyed, balls of energy. Energy that can't be contained in those tiny bodies.

Henry will likely have a series of unrelated, unending questions, more so than any other time in the day. They must build up in his little head while he sleeps, and he can just now get them out. Anything he wants he asks while jumping. Please can we!? Please can we!? Please can we has pancakes/play dinosaurs/get monsters???

And William seems to wake up thinking that he didn't successfully explore every drawer and cabinet yesterday, so he dives head first into that task, opening anything he can open, and pulling everything out. I can only imagine what goes through his head: This box of pasta? Miraculous! Like nothing I've ever seen! Let's dump it on the floor and examine every glorious piece! Yes! Glorious! But what is this? Cupcake liners! I pull one out and there is still another one to pull out! And another one! And another one! It could be a tiny hat! Or a tiny boat! Or... oh! I bet I can rip this into more pieces than that napkin I shredded yesterday. He's the tiniest tornado I've ever known.

So lately, I've been wondering: How can they wake up every single day filled with such excitement, while I'm silently asking: can everybody just stop talking and be still for 10 minutes? I need to pull myself together.

And I think I have an answer: Their world, everything and everyone in it, is still so new to them. Henry didn't know yesterday that Grammy is Mommy's mommy. Or that a wrench is a wrench. Or that a pilgrim is a pilgrim and not a cowboy. 

And William probably doesn't remember having ever seen snow. So he needs to sit at that window: Face, nose, snot, spit and hands smeared against it and take a solid ten minutes to squeal, shriek and check it out.

And so on an average Monday, while my day likely entails things I've already seen and done hundreds of times before, these precious littles still have so much to discover and learn.

So I'm going to make an effort to be more grateful for mornings and the childish excitement that goes with it. I'm going to try to wake up excited for them. Because really, shouldn't I be absolutely thrilled that I'm getting to rediscover the magic that is this world, every day-- through my children?