How To Be a Little Girl

How To Be a Little Girl

This is my daughter Lily.

She is constantly messy.
How To Be a Little Girl
If you wipe her down or give her a bath, without fail within five minutes she will find a way to return to her regular state of messiness.
Take yesterday, for example: Right after I pulled her out of the bath and put her in pjs, she proceeded to dump a sippy cup of milk on her head. (But then she made up for it by diving headfirst into the bath tub again—this time when it was occupied by her big brother, and while she was still wearing those pjs I’d just dressed her in. It was a good night.)
An object in motion stays in motion. An object at rest stays at rest. And a grimy and grubby Lily stays a grimy and grubby Lily. Just ask Isaac Newton.

More →

My Family’s Zero-Pressure Summer Bucket List

My Family’s Zero-Pressure Summer Bucket List

Our Zero-Pressure Summer Bucket List

At first glance, the concept of a “summer bucket list” might seem like a really bad idea.

I mean, by its very nature a bucket list is just another to-do list (albeit a fun one), and if you’re anything like me, you have enough of those in your life already!

No, summer is supposed to be different. It’s supposed to be about slowing down, kicking back, and savoring life’s sweet moments—not about checking things off and getting things done.

That’s why this year my family is making an alternative kind of summer bucket list, one that doesn’t come along with so many requirements or restraints.

It’s the kind of bucket list that will leave you feeling “lazy” rather than accomplished—which is actually quite perfect for the lazy days of summer!
More →

7 Simple Ideas for July 4th Fun

7 Simple Ideas for July 4th Fun

The Aquafresh brand has compensated me in connection with the statements made in this post.

7 Simple Ideas for July 4th Fun

Independence Day in the United States is a unique holiday in that it occurs during the lazy months of summer.

While holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas often feel rushed and frantic because they fall right in the middle of the busy school year, 4th of July celebrations are usually more relaxed to match the slower pace of the season.

With that in mind, these seven simple ideas for July 4th fun will help make your family’s Independence Day special while still keeping with the laid back, no-fuss vibe the holiday usually has.

More →

7 Fun Ways to Foster a Love of Reading in Your Preschooler

7 Fun Ways to Foster a Love of Reading in Your Preschooler

Thanks to Speakaboos for sponsoring this conversation.

7 Ways to Foster a Love of Reading in Your Preschooler

One of my 3-year-old’s favorite treats is when we let him stay up late and hang out in our bed reading as many books as we can.

“Tonight I want to read FIFTY books!” he’ll declare with delight. 

I’m delighted too (even if the idea of actually reading fifty books with him sounds a bit exhausting!). It’s wonderful to see him that excited about reading.

That’s because I know an early love of reading creates lifelong readers and learners. A child who loves reading from a young age is more likely to succeed in school and develop a healthy curiosity about the surrounding world.

But like many passions, it has to start early. It’s much easier to cultivate a love of reading in young children than it is to try to play catch-up later on.

Want to encourage your preschooler to #ChooseReading? Here are seven fun ways to get your 3, 4, or 5-year-old enthusiastic about books and learning. More →

12 Painless Ways To Be a Greener Family

12 Painless Ways To Be a Greener Family

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Scott Tube-Free. All opinions are 100% mine.

12 Painless Ways to be a Greener FamilyEvery morning, after I’ve scooped my morning yogurt into a bowl already filled with fruit and granola, I have an important decision to make.

Am I going to rinse out and recycle the empty yogurt container, or save a few seconds in my busy morning and toss it in the trash?

Some of you might be horrified that I even consider pitching it, but the truth is that I struggle with this daily. Deep down I believe in being environmentally friendly, but in the moment I sometimes choose the easier option because life is hectic, and I also believe in cutting myself some slack.

I’m no psychologist, but I think the internal discomfort this causes me is called cognitive dissonance.

Part of the problem, I think, is that I’ve bought into the myth that being green requires a complete lifestyle overhaul.

I’ve convinced myself that if I truly showed more care to the environment, it would totally alter my schedule, my day-to-day activities, and my budget.

But that’s not really true.

While a total lifestyle overhaul is probably ideal, small changes—painless changes—can actually add up to a big impact on the environment.

Here are some of the practically effortless adjustments we’re making in our family to show a bit more care to our earth.

More →

Here’s a Better Way to Juggle Your Crazy Life

Here’s a Better Way to Juggle Your Crazy Life

Here's a Better Way to Juggle Your Crazy LifeHave you ever said a single word over and over again, repeating it aloud until it lost all of its meaning and started to sound downright ridiculous? 

It’s kind of a fun exercise, if you want to try it out. Just take a word—any word, really—and say it over and over again for about 30 seconds. And suddenly that word, which felt totally normal to say just a few moments before, will feel strange and meaningless to you.

There’s actually a psychological term for this experience: semantic satiation. Basically, when we repeat a word or phrase over and over again, it temporarily loses its meaning for us. It becomes no more than a string of random sounds.

I just did this with the word “balance.”

Balance, balance, balance, balance, balance, balance, balance, balance, balance, balance, balance…

There, now it means nothing to me. It’s just a nonsense word.

Truthfully, though, “balance” was already a bit of a nonsense word to me, even before this little repetition exercise. Or maybe not a nonsense word, but definitely an annoying one. One that has been overused, clichéd, worn out and has now lost all of its significance. More →

25 Mouthwatering Crockpot Desserts

25 Mouthwatering Crockpot Desserts

25 Mouthwatering Crockpot Desserts

When it comes to getting a hot dinner on the table at a relatively reasonable time, a crockpot is a busy parent’s best friend.

Indeed, I’ve previously named the crockpot as one of my top 10 must-have products for working moms.

But who says your crockpot has to be limited to dinnertime? Turns out this versatile cooking gadget makes equally delicious desserts!

These crockpot desserts take the phrase “fix it and forget it” to a whole new level.  More →

Work-Life Balance Tips You Probably Haven’t Heard Before

Work-Life Balance Tips You Probably Haven’t Heard Before

Thanks to Eyezen glasses for sponsoring this conversation. 

5 Work-Life Balance Tips You Haven't Heard Before

If you’re a working parent, you’re certainly no stranger to work-life balance tips.

There are countless articles and books out there ready to teach you how to juggle it all effectively. They’ll tell you to let go of your perfectionist tendencies and recognize that you can’t do it all. They’ll tell you to schedule some “me time” every now and then. They’ll tell you to do just one thing at a time because multi-tasking is the enemy.

Not bad advice, certainly. The trouble is that we’ve heard those tips so many times they’re starting to lose their meaning. 

We read the articles, think about the tips, and yet nothing in our lives really changes.

That’s why I want to shake things up a bit with these 5 work-life balance tips that you probably haven’t heard yet. More →

Simple & Fun Ways to Teach Kids About Gratitude

Simple & Fun Ways to Teach Kids About Gratitude

Simple & Fun Ways to Teach Kids About Gratitude

It’s that feeling you get when you leave the store lugging a shopping bag, an overstuffed diaper bag, and an infant in a car seat, and a stranger offers to help you carry it all to your car. 

Or when your partner knows you’re having a rough week and comes home bearing a bouquet in one hand and Ben & Jerry’s in the other.

Or when you take a few minutes at the end of the day to listen to your sweet children breathing as they sleep. 

It’s gratitude.

Psychological research shows a strong association between cultivating gratitude and greater happiness. When we’re grateful, we’re often healthier, more positive, and more resilient.

All things we want not only for ourselves, but also for our children, right? More →

25 Comforting Sweet Potato Casserole Recipes to Complete Your Thanksgiving Menu

25 Comforting Sweet Potato Casserole Recipes to Complete Your Thanksgiving Menu

25 Comforting Sweet Potato Casserole Recipes to Complete Your Thanksgiving MenuI know there’s a lot of attention paid to the turkey on Thanksgiving, but for me, the real stars of the show are the sides.

In particular the sweet potato ones.

I adore a good sweet potato casserole, and these days they come in all styles and flavors: marshmallows, no marshmallows, pureed sweet potato, cubed sweet potato, healthy, totally indulgent, etc. 

If you’re finalizing your menu for Thanksgiving dinner and are on the hunt for the perfect sweet potato casserole, you’ve come to the right place. One of these recipes is sure to satisfy your Thanksgiving side-loving guests. More →

“Her House Was Spotless.” And Other Things Your Tombstone Probably Won’t Say

“Her House Was Spotless.” And Other Things Your Tombstone Probably Won’t Say

15 Things Your Tombstone Probably Won't Say...Plus 3 Things It Might!© Kzenon/Dollar Photo Club

Last weekend I had a really wonderful time with my family. We played. We laughed. We relaxed.

And as we tend to do, we made the house a giant mess in the process.

Low and behold, at the end of the weekend a friend of mine sent a text asking to stop by for an impromptu visit.

I looked at the clutter on the kitchen table and the toy cars strewn across the living room floor and started to politely decline.

But then I reconsidered.

All that playing and laughing and relaxing left me energized and full of life—and a desire to live it to the fullest. It left me longing for a legacy far more important than the amount of dust on my mantel or dirty laundry in my hamper.

So I texted back, “Sure, come on over!” Then I got to thinking about all the things we worry about that simply don’t matter—the stuff that, when the time comes, certainly won’t appear on our tombstones.  More →

25 Seriously Delicious Pumpkin Recipes for Fall—Or Anytime!

25 Seriously Delicious Pumpkin Recipes for Fall—Or Anytime!

25 Seriously Delicious Pumpkin Recipes

Over the past few years, pumpkin has become the “it” food for fall. It’s as trendy as trendy food gets. All the cool kids are adding pumpkin puree to their muffins and cupcakes and smoothies

I don’t want to be a cool kid, and I usually don’t love trendy stuff. But for pumpkin, I make an exception.

Why? Well, it’s trendy for a very good reason—because it’s delicious! 

So if the back-to-school craze, the slightly crisper air, and other signs of fall have kicked your annual pumpkin craving into high gear, don’t miss these seriously delicious pumpkin recipes—which are really perfect for any time of year! More →