Some hacks to make the holiday a little easier
It’s not Christmas with its gift list or Easter which requires your Sunday best, but Valentine’s Day does take some effort. It just doesn’t have to be a lot. Here are some parent tips to ensure an easy bull’s eye for cupid.
The first Earth Day was back in 1970 and mobilized 20 million people in the U.S. to advocate publicly for a cleaner world. Now in 2021, the 51st anniversary, the whole globe is in on the act.
Sometimes I think people get stymied in their efforts to go green because the problems seem so large. But as my husband likes to say – “How do you eat a whale? One bite at a time.” Which is not very earthy, but you get the picture.
Here are five easy ways for your family to love the earth this year.
Like my friend Andrea, my husband has always been the ‘Thank You note enforcer’ in the house. Over time, I have come to really appreciate his effort with our kids. Good manners are important. So is gratitude.
And hopefully the habit of writing a personal note – in an age of quick texts and “likes” – is one that will stick until my children are grown.
“It’s important to be gracious,” Andrea said. “It makes people feel respected and special when you are gracious, and that can only be good. It is so vital that kids know this.”
In addition to demonstrating good manners, Sarah also notes another benefit.
“Someday they will need the skill for college and job interviews,” she said.
It is coming up on crunch time for getting the annual Easter basket together. If you’re coming up short on ideas, consider the following.
While candy is a basket staple, consider gifting your kids with things they will use in the months ahead too.
Easter Bunny Marina likes to include summer items that are fun – and needed – like a coverup, swimsuit, and flip flops.
“This year it will be summer shorts [and] tops and a fun item, like a mini backpack,” she said.
Allison is including new rain boots and raincoat along with summer shirts, water shoes, a water bottle – as well as an electric toothbrush.
“She’s fascinated with these,” Allison says.
Tara McSherry is a hand embroiderer living just outside of Chattanooga, TN with her husband and two boys. She says that whenever people call her an artist, she just laughs.
“I’m incredibly practical,” she says. “I don’t paint, I don’t sculpt. I think of myself as utilitarian. I’m more like a carpenter, but no one would deny a carpenter is an artist at some point.”
We wanted to find out more about her artistry and her inspiration – so we did.
For many, January is the month parents tackle closet cleaning and sort through clothes for donation, or possibly resale. The biggest decision– to involve the kids, or not.
If they are small, then it’s a job best done alone. But if your children are older, they can help.
Mindy even asks her kids to do most of the work, making three piles: a giveaway pile, a “maybe” section for things that they might have outgrown or aren’t sure if they like, and a “keep” pile.
“I ignore the keep pile and do a swift look through the giveaway pile to make sure they didn’t just put all their church clothes in there,” she said. “Then we’re left with the “maybe” pile. I usually talk through that one with them. Somehow, it is always the smallest one, too.”
Rachel keeps a plastic laundry basket at the bottom of the closet.
“If they try something on and it doesn’t fit, they put it in the basket,” she said. “Once the basket is full, I send it on to cousins and friends. If it is monogrammed or otherwise special, I keep it in a box at top of closet with the thought I will one day have it made into a quilt.”
Some parents have children who don’t mind dressing up for the holidays and some parents just get lucky.
“We took Christmas pictures in early November and my then 2.5 year old decided it was another dress up for trick or treating,” Lauren said. “We told the photographer to ask her to say trick or treat instead of cheese. Worked like a charm!”
There are some tried and true methods to get the kids on board with holiday attire. And one of the first is to try and find clothes that are both cute and workable.
As someone who hit the breaks at two kids, I am always in awe of those who go for three or more children. People say that you are transitioning from man to man to zone defense, but I’ve always thought it looked more like herding cats. At any rate, I wanted to know how on earth they do it. So, I asked.
Every mother I talked to said that one thing is mandatory – readjusted expectations. Especially when the kids are small, it is just a matter of getting through it.
“My advice is to lower your standards, and then lower them some more and just roll with it,” said Sarah. “Early bedtimes are critical. And always have snacks.”
If you want your little prince or princess to look just like the fashion authorities of Kensington Palace—by that we mean Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, obviously—then you’ve got to turn to the British baby boutiques that outfit them. The Brits have always had a special way of dressing their little ones, and it’s not all that different from the sweet Southern styles we’re used to. Think tartan plaid, pea coats, pretty pleats and plenty of smocking…all topped off with some British flair, of course!