5 Things To Do Before 2016

Although the high temp in Lenexa is 56 degrees today.  (Woo Hoo!) It’s officially winter. Yes, winter is here and spring is just around the corner.  From now on, the days will gradually lengthen.  I love this time of year.  It’s a time for reflecting on everything you have.  All the things, people, and experiences you are grateful for. This is the time to look forward to a new beginning.  It’s the time for setting goals and intentions for the new year.

Amidst the buzz of the holidays, take some time to quiet your mind and do these five things to prepare yourself for the new year:

1. Make a list of all the things you love.

2. Make a list of all the things you are grateful for.

3. Answer these questions and set your intentions for 2015.

   -When are you the happiest?

   -What is something that you can share with others to improve their lives?

   -Where do you see yourself one year from now?

   -What is your personal mission statement?

   -What are your values?

4. Make a vision board.

5. Take time to play. Be silly and have fun.

The greatest gift you have is the gift of creation.  You were born to create.  You are constantly creating and you probably don’t even realize it.  You create thoughts, love, kindness.

You create your own future…what will you create in 2016?


The BEST jeans for the kid that ONLY wears elastic waisted athletic pants.

For the past two years, my 9-year old son’s wardrobe has rarely deviated from elastic waisted athletic pants.  We have endured tears and tantrums about putting on a pair of pants that have a zipper for class programs, weddings, and family portraits.

I am not the mom who picks out their kids’ outfits everyday.  I’m exactly the opposite.  Anyone who has seen my kids on any given school day knows that I let my offspring choose their clothing–almost always.  

  A handful of times each year, I ask ny kids to wear something that matches and looks like they didn’t just roll out of bed or walk off the basketball court.  

Special occasions requiring dressed-up attire have been a tearful, sweaty disaster with my big-guy.  UNTIL, my neighbor enlightened  me about Abercrombie & Fitch’s sweatpant stretch jeans.  

That’s right.  SWEATPANT. JEANS. 

Jeans that fit and feel like sweatpants. This is not a joke. This is a real thing. If you don’t know about it, you are missing out.

After purchasing a pair of the $39.95 a&f straight sweatpant stretch jeans, my 9-year old son who hasn’t worn a pair of jeans without crying in 2-years exclaimed,

“On a scale from 1-10, I give these a 9.75!”

Then, HE WORE THEM TO SCHOOL! All day.  Without complaining. He even rode his bike around the block wearing them after school.

I am getting ZERO kickbacks from a&f for this blog (although I would gladly except some in order to afford multiple pairs of these magical sweatpants jeans).  I wrote this so other mothers with “husky” “sensory-sensitive” boys can experience the bliss and freedom from a life lived solely in athletic pants.  
 Disclaimer: my husky 9-year old needed a size 14 in the skinny stretch jeans, so size up if your little man is a bigger-little man.

Seriously…Give your family the gift of a athletic pant-free holiday and order some of these magical jeans today!  You will not regret it.  Especially when it’s time to go to Aunt Vivienne’s fancy China-clad Christmas Eve dinner and you kid wants to roll up to the table in his Under Armour apparel.

 A&F Sweatpant Stretch Jeans

That Elf on the Shelf…

Why does Elf on the Shelf catch so much flak?

Meet Buddy. He is our family’s elf.

Unless you have been living in a cave for the past few years, you probably know who these little elves on shelves are. These little elves get plenty of praise, but they sure do catch a lot of flak!


That joy was sapped last Christmas because of a villainous invader whose very presence was meant to enhance that Christmas experience, not destroy it. That villain was the Elf on the Shelf.

Parents use Elf to scare their children into good behavior, and that is not a very nice thing to do.

I agree with these comments (to a certain extent). Just like any toy created with good intentions, it can be misused. Elf on the Shelf is not intended to replace the meaning of Christmas and it is not nice to “scare children into good behavior”, but who says you have to invite a spy elf into your house to change the meaning of Christmas?
Couldn’t you just as easily choose to create a tradition of a fun-loving, silly, crafty, and creative elf that brings your family closer together, inspires creativity, imagination and wonder?

Most evenings, after the kids are in bed, my husband and I sit at the kitchen table chatting and finishing our daily paperwork together. BORING!
However, during “elf season”, we share hours of laughter scheming up creative stunts and pranks for our silly elf to do that we know will make our kids chuckle.

Don’t get me wrong, we have our moments where we are snuggled into our warm, cozy bed, just about to fall asleep, when–€#@$!–we remember that we forgot to move Buddy!
However, the moments spent together as a couple inventing, creating and watching our children hoot, howl and belly laugh as the witness the elf magic far outweighs those “oh $hit” moments.
As the parent, YOU get to choose how you invite this tradition in your home.
The true JOY of having an Elf on the Shelf is not in frightening your children to behave. It is in creating lasting, happy memories for your children and your family.

At our house, Buddy Elf, does not “keep tabs” on the kids. He doesn’t need to. Our children know the house rules and our family’s expectations for behavior. When they misbehave, it is our responsibility to discipline. Not Santa Claus or Buddy Elf.

In our home, Buddy Elf is a source for creativity, imagination, laughter and fun for my husband, my children, and me. I guess you can add grandma and grandpa into the mix too.
Just this morning, my mom, who is staying with us for a few days, poked her head downstairs and asked, “Where is Buddy?”
“Why?” I responded.
“Well, I guess I am just as curious and excited as the kids are to see what he has been up to!”

We all have a wonderful time “playing” with Buddy.

Childhood is so short. It’s just a small blip on the radar screen before reality sets in. The magic, the wonder, and the curiosity dissolve so quickly.
What is wrong with diving in and fully embracing those years of mystical, magical, playful youth?
What is so wrong with creating opportunities for laughter, imagination, creativity, and fun?
Our world needs MORE fun, MORE laughter, MORE wonder!

Say what you want about Elf on The Shelf, but in my home, Buddy Elf has created magical, happy memories and a tradition that we will continue to cherish for years to come.