Pinterest Love

I’m still in love with Pinterest.  It’s such a great way to quickly group all the amazing things I see online everyday.  I’m trying to figure out a way to get my boards to show up on the blog without doing a screen shot … I’d like for the link owners to get credit for their awesome stuff … but so far no good.  I have, at least, figured out how to link one thing …

 

So that’s good I guess … this project was made by spray painting shoe box lids … oh to have lots of free time to be this crafty … and look at that awesome blue table!!!  SWOON!

What are you thankful for?

In keeping with my holiday theme I came across this blog post yesterday about a “Thanks Jar”.  The post mainly details how to do a glass etching … which is also very cool and something I hope to try one day … but I was really intrigued by the idea of a Thanks Jar.

Basically, everyone in your family writes down one thing every day for the month of November that they are thankful for.  Then on Thanksgiving you crack open the jar and read what everyone said.  It sound like an awesome Thanksgiving tradition!

The Card Saga

ethical christmas cardsYesterday I talked about how I was going to do things differently this holiday season to hopefully make myself less crazy.  One of the banes of my holiday existence is the dreaded Christmas card.

I remember the first year I decided I was “adult” enough to send out my own cards … I was so excited.  I bought my box of cards, got all my family’s addresses from my mom, got all my friends addresses, bought a ton of stamps and sat in front of the tv ready for a night of adult sophistication filling out my Christmas cards.  Flash forward to 10 years later … ask me how many years I successfully managed to send out Christmas cards?

One.  Just one.  That very first year.

I am, generally speaking, bad at these types of things.  I’m bad at thank you cards (I know that makes me a terrible person), I’m bad a writing letters or those “how have you been?” emails (but they always sound like a good idea!), and I’m pretty bad at remembering to send people birthday cards.  It doesn’t matter how many places I’ve put reminders or how far in advance I try to plan.  I can never manage to complete the “buy a card, buy a stamp, fill out the card, address the card, affix the stamp, and put it in the mail” process.  Most times I can’t make it past step one.

But not this year folks!!  If you are among my near and dear you will  be getting a Christmas card!!  And it’s all thanks to little thing called Cardstore.com.

When Apple’s iOS 5 came out in October they introduced a new app they called, in their oh so simple Apple fashion, Cards.  Cards is the nifty little app where you can upload pictures and create cards (or create non-photo cards), personalize the message inside, pick who the recipient is … and for the low low price of $3.99 Apple will print and ship that card to your loved one.  Awesome, right?!

So, of course, I had to test it out.  I uploaded a picture of Tom and I from his 40th birthday party and made him a cute little “I love you” card.  It shipped quickly and looked awesome.  I was pretty happy.  I had the thought that this would be great way to do Christmas cards.  Only $3.99 per person would get rather expensive rather quickly and Apply only had 20 or so styles to choose from and none of seemed overly Christmasy to me.  Then it occurred to me that, also in Apple fashion (meaning they like to take other people’s good idea and make them “better”), someone else had to have thought of this.

Voila Cardstore.com!  They have a ton of different types of cards (photo and non-photo) for all sorts of occasions, they let you type in your personalized messages, they even let you upload your very own signature!  You type in the recipients address along with yours and BLAMO! the card gets printed and sent out.  And the most I’ve seen a card go for on there was $2.99.  The Christmas cards are around $1.29 and if you buy in larger quantities they get even cheaper!  So far I have sent my mom and dad an anniversary card, my cousin a birthday card, and myself 8 different version of my would be 2011 Christmas Card.

This website, without a doubt, is my new favorite discovery.  If you are bad at sending out cards like I am, I highly recommend it.  This had totally decreased some of my holiday stress and it’s actually fun!

Holiday Craze

Christmas in the post-War United States

Image via Wikipedia

Every holiday season I have this mental list of things that I want to do and I rush around like a crazy person trying to get everything accomplished … I spend entirely too much money … I get totally stressed out … and in the post-holiday recap I always wish I could have done more.  It’s a crazy horrible cycle and I’m sure I’m not the only person who gets this way during the holidays.

But I love it.

I love the holidays.  I love the snow and dressing up in lots of layers … I love Christmas music … I love making all sorts of cool holiday related crafts … baking all that warm yummy food … sending and receiving Christmas cards … and I LOVE seeing the giant pile of presents under the tree.  The pile of presents under the tree scream “Look at that.  Look at what you accomplished.  All that shopping for just the right thing.  Then all the time to lovingly wrap it and write their name on it.  And look at all the presents down there with your name on them!  Look at all the people who love you.”  I swear this is how shopaholics are born. :-)

But despite all the joy and fun of the holiday season there are the bad things too … the snow and dressing up in lots of layers (by February this gets pretty old … Christmas music (seriously, who needs a radio station dedicated entirely to Christmas music starting on Halloween?) … half finished holiday crafts that mock me with undoneness (yes, it’s word … at least it is now) … all the weight gained from eating more cookies, candies, turkey, potatoes, ham and who knows what than any person ever should … getting half of the Christmas cards addressed and stamped and then never finished the rest … and the shopping … oh dear lord the SHOPPING!!!!

via Flickr”]2006-12-03 All stars christmas shopping

Image by [ henning

Where do I even being on that?  Racking my brain for weeks and months trying to come up with new and unique gift ideas for people who pretty much have everything they need and want … fighting through the insane traffic to get to the stores and I’m not even

going to mention the mall … trying to resist the temptation to buy all the awesome stuff I accidentally find for myself while supposedly shopping for others … all the worrying if what you bought is really something they would like and is it the right size … keeping all the hundreds of stupid gift receipts straight on the off chance that it isn’t right … but I digress.

The holidays are time of great joy and anticipation … especially when you are experiencing it with a new child … but they are also a time of great stress, tension, and frustration.  I’ve decided this year to try to eliminate as many of the bad things that I can and focus on the good things by planning head and being practical.

I went to a seminar at work on how to survive the holidays and they had us fill out a sheet that look something like this:

  • I will START doing:
  • I will STOP doing:
  • I will do MORE of:
  • I will do LESS of:

The idea being to focus on the things that are really important to you and the things that make you the happiest and finding a way to make those things happen.  So when you do your post-holiday recap you have no regrets.  Here is what my list looks like:

  • I will START doing:  I want to create a holiday tradition that is new and special to my family … whether it be driving around and looking at Christmas decorations, or going downtown and seeing Michigan Ave … I want a new thing that is just for us and our new lives as a family.
  • I will STOP doing:  I will stop stressing out about spending lots of money on my folks.  Ever since I had my own semi-disposable income I have taken it upon myself to buy my parents lots of gifts every year for Christmas.  I suppose I feel like I need to pay them back for all the great gifts they’ve gotten me over the years and all the other amazing thing they have done for me.  But I’m broke.  I can’t afford that.  They know it and I know it.  And this year I’m not going to feel bad about it.
  • I will do MORE of:  Holiday crafts.  I love crafts in general and I wish I had more time to dedicate to the art of creating.  It givesme a lot of satisfaction a sense of accomplishment.  So this year, instead of spreading myself super thin trying to a ton of baking and card writing I’m just going to focus on making a few really awesome holiday related crafts.
  • I will do LESS of:  Getting useless things for myself (and Jack) that just take up space and have no purpose or meaning.  Every year there are at least a handful of gifts I receive that have no purpose or place.  A weird candle burning thing that plugs into the wall … 8,000 pairs of holiday socks … and pretty much everything that goes into a Christmas stocking.  In an attempt to make our gift giving seem plentiful we sometimes stray into the “useless crap” category.  You know you have bought this if it comes in a holiday patterned box and is sold in the middle of an aisle or an endcap.  I am putting a stop to this madness!  My three person family lives in one bedroom condo!  We have no room for it and I have told everyone who loves us to only buy us stuff we can really use or really need.  And I’m going to do the same.

Hopefully if I stick to these great ideas this holiday season will be stress free and full of awesomeness.  Wish me luck!