I dabble…

What can I say? I’m a dabbler.

I love having hobbies and love them each passionately.

I read. I write. I paint. I sew. I garden. I bike ride. I organize. I bake. I make jewelry.

If I were to include my teenage years to that list would be much, much longer.

One of my all time favorite thing to create would be home decor crafts, especially holiday items. Pieces that are stored for a majority of the year until their time comes. I like the specialness of a good holiday piece.

I also hate paying retail for holiday items. In fact, I refuse. If there’s something I see that is seasonal that I can’t make myself I will wait until after that holiday to get it at 50%, 60% or even 75% off the original price. As soon as I come home I make myself put it away in it’s appropriate holiday storage box. Next time that holiday comes around I open the box and say “Ah! I forgot I bought that!” and that my friends it magic to me.

Right after Christmas this year, I had been crushing on all things vintage red truck carrying a Christmas tree. Since that season is typically busy I never got around to making anything red-truckish. After the New Year I broke out my watercolors and painted an item to stash away for next year.

Below is a before and after image of outlining my watercolor. It really takes it from flat to POP. If you’re a dabbler like me, add a little outline to make your work a little more professional.

IMG_4104

A day trip to DC (with kids)

IMG_4242-1

I’m all for getting out-of-town for the day. When I saw my kids spring break pop up on the calendar I started brainstorming.

We decided to hit Washington D.C. for the day. When I say we, I mean my six-year-old decided. While he was learning about the presidents during the month of February he  quickly decided that good ole Abraham Lincoln was his favorite. His teacher told him about the Lincoln Memorial and jumped on the idea to take the kids.

For this trip we decided to keep things simple by going just for the day and by parking at the metro station outside the city and riding it in. This saved us money since we didn’t have to book a hotel, eliminated the stress of driving the city and added to the experience big time!

Transportation. 

Riding the metro was fun for us all! I personally love people watching. The kids loved absolutely everything about the metro. Adding to their transportation experience was using a taxi once during the day and an Uber. It blew the kids mind that mom used her phone to summon a car and we hoped in it. Seriously, they are still talking about it.

Landmarks.

Truth be told, on this trip my kids were 4 and 6 years old. Did it really hit them that the monuments we saw were symbols to our country? Not exactly. Were they blown away at the massiveness of some of them? Yes. But, I know that it was memorable and once they learn more in school about history it will hit them.

Once off the metro at the Smithsonian stop it’s just a short walk to the National Mall area. One of my favorite things about this city, is how wide open it is and how much green space there is. The kids could easily take off running at the many large grassy areas.

Here we hit the World War II monument, Reflecting Pool, Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.

At this point we knew it was time for a taxi to get to our next destination. We had this in our plans and budget thinking we would get more out of the kids if we gave them a few breaks from walking.

We grabbed lunch near the White House and met up with a family member who lives in the area.

Visiting the White House was a quick, easy visit. Lots of security and I have to say it’s the only place that made me a bit nervous. Sure there was plenty of security guards around, but we visited a few days after there was a shooting incident at the Capital and I noticed a few protesters utilizing their 1st Amendment, and felt like a quick visit was perfectly fine.

Another short walk from there we visit the Renwick Gallery, which was suggested to us to visit with the kids. It’s a free museum and had an amazing exhibit called, Wonder, at the time which ended up as the perfect first art experience for the kids. We all can’t stop talking about this place! You can find out more about it here.

Before our trip, I did check the hash tag feed for this gallery to see if other people brought their kids to it and I saw plenty did, so I felt better bringing ours there. When we walked through it was packed with kids taking it in.

Washington D.C. Zoo

We decided to hit the zoo because it was about 2:30 p.m. and after a coffee and cookie break our kids were still feeling awesome! We’ve been here before but it’s so big we didn’t hit the entire thing. We decided to see that side this time. Great, great free zoo.

This was by far one of the best day trips we’ve been on. I can’t say enough about this city. It’s clean. Everyone we spoke to was so friendly and helpful. It’s kid and family friendly. It’s got tons of green space. Pedestrian and bike friendly. And there are so many free things to do!

Memorial Journal

Confession: My mom passed away suddenly a little over two years ago. I’ve slowly been dealing with my grief over this time period, but this post isn’t about me. It’s about my two kids. My mom’s only grandchildren. The kids she took care of while my husband and I worked outside of the home.

When this tragedy struck my family my children were two and four. Still in diapers. Still babies in my eyes. My son, the oldest, remembers more about my mom. She took care of him since he was an infant. He has a longer list of memories with her but recently he mentioned that he couldn’t remember somethings about her.

My husband and I have made an effort to keep her memory vivid in our house for us and especially for our kids. Photos of my mom are everywhere. We speak about her a lot. And we tell the kids stories. We want them to remember her forever. She was, after all, a huge part of their lives.

When my son mentioned he doesn’t remember somethings it gave me a swift kick in the butt that I needed. Right after I lost my mom I ordered a notebook. A notebook from one of those photo gift sites. I added photos of my mom to the front. Since then, it has been collecting dust. Over this time period my daughter grabbed it and stuck stickers on every single page. I was surprised she had that much patience and I was happy with it, because it’s something my mother wouldn’t have minded.

I’ve been jotting notes in it here and there. Creating a memorial journal for my kids. Collecting memories, thoughts and events that involved my mom for my kids to have. This is something they can treasure and have to remember her and to go to when they miss her or feel like they can’t remember fun things about her.

Here’s a list of events I plan on covering:

  • Birth stories (how my mom was involved in it)
  • Holidays
  • Birthdays
  • Special things about her house
  • Special things about our house
  • Her hosting style
  • Her cats with my kids

Call it a memorial journal, call it a memory book, the name doesn’t matter. What matters is that you get to relive these wonderful memories through pen and paper. My kids will have something hand written by their mother about their grandmother.

Friday thoughts

20141002-172102-62462420.jpg

 

This quote may seem a little unseasonal given we’ve just entered the month of October, but here at the beach the weather has been amazing. The crisp air calls for jeans, a t-shirt and flip flops.

This week has been a busy one in the mainstream news media. Each week I try to bring you stories that haven’t made it to the mainstream but I believe are important to working women.

The Tragedy of Beverly Carter. In my day job, I work with realtors and they have been following this story closely. This Arkansas realtor was doing what hundreds of agents do every. single. day. It can sometimes be dangerous working with the public. It reminds me of my days as a newspaper reporter- also a dangerous profession where you find yourself dealing with strangers on a daily basis. We can all learn from Carter and how she covered her bases. She told her husband where and when she was showing the property.

Capture the moment or live in it? As a full-time marketing professional this is a heavy topic for me. I indeed see the value of social marketing from a business stand point, but I do see the dilemma the our personal lives are getting too caught up in capturing the moment, sharing it on Facebook rather than being in the moment and seeing it for what it is. I’ve been trying to make more of an effort with my family to be there smiling at then rather than behind my iPhone. This a must-read for anyone with a smart phone.

Cheers to the weekend!!

Friday news round up

Happy Friday! Wondering what news stories have you missed this week? Use this post to catch up over the weekend.

This week’s round up has a theme. Food additives and how things are made. A very important issue to me because I’m the one who does the grocery shopping. Like many moms, I am the deciding factor to many of our family purchases. Except, vehicles, my husband handles those decisions greatly. I want to make sure that what I buy and bring home to my kitchen it the best quality it can be.

It seems that now more than ever, it’s hard as a consumer to trust manufacturers. We have to do our own research and know what companies are worthy of our dollar. Remember while you make think your voice is small, we vote with our buck.

1. The Diane Rehm show on NPR hosted a very informative program on food additives with some important guests that play major roles in what additives are found in our food. Listen to it here with your morning Saturday morning coffee.

2. Made to Matter. Have you seen the new promotions Target is running for their Made to Matter collection? Our favorite retailer has hit the nail on the head with highlighting merchandise that is created with love. Companies that care about their products and how they affect their consumers. Sure it might cost a dollar or so more- but isn’t it so worth it?

3. Fed Up is a new documentary about food and exercise in America. Katie Couric is behind this project and the trailer leaves you wanting to know more. It’s out on DVD and I can’t wait to view it! If you have older kids in the house, I would encourage you to have them watch it with you.

Hope your weekend is filled with fall fun!