Thursday, January 15, 2009

Steals, Deals and Free Stuff

Preparations are in full swing for our big family trip back to Seattle this weekend and let me just say how INCREDIBLY excited I am. We've not been back for a visit since our family moved to the Dallas area in 2006 and it's been a long two years. Can't wait to (please cooperate, weather) catch a glimpse of Mt. Rainier and see that gorgeous skyline surrounded by lush, wet greens and the winter greyish-blue of the bay.

While I'm out, the Etsy shop will remain open, with Valentine's Day shipping guaranteed. I continue to work on some special sets of valentines and hope to have them finished before we leave. As we know, however, sometimes life gets in the way. If it doesn't happen, c'est la vie. I will still have some special offerings for Artiste's Valentine's Day stocking on the 25th.

In the meantime, there are lots of places to get your Macaroni on (like that?) for cheap and/or free! First, today is the very last day of the EtsyGreetings thank you card promo. Participating EtsyGreetings members are offering free domestic shipping on thank you card sets. Check out my thank you card section here.

Second, I'm in the process of clearing out my studio in preparation for some big changes to my product line and am offering some ginormous clearance deals. Wonderland is closing for good this Saturday, and as a last hoorah, I've got a two-for-one boxed set and some individual greeting cards at 75% off.

In my little Artiste "nook," I have some special OOAK stuff and a custom package available for one more week.

And if you're looking for a freebie, you've got one more day to enter my giveaway on the EtsyGreetings blog. I'm giving away a boxed set of my "Just a Note" cards - just leave a comment on the post with your favorite item from the shop. While you're there, don't forget to take a peek at all the gorgeous handmade cards by those super talented EtsyGreetings members.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - "OK, I'm all ready for school!"

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Dear Kid Saturday

Welcome to this week's installment of Dear Kid Saturday, which I am once again considering on-time given that the writing part actually did take place on Saturday. It's just the picture and the publishing part that are taking place today. To be honest, it's a miracle I've gotten it posted at all.

In general, this week has been a bit of a challenge, I'll admit. There were few post-holiday re-entry issues with babysitting and preschool, plants to be made for next week's trip to Seattle, some technical glitches to be solved with laptops and printers, an about-face on decision I thought I'd made with regard to the business, an unexpected issue with a supplier wreaking havoc on my business plan and budget, and a completely overwhelming to-do list to face each morning. I'm working hard on staying focused and, given the limited amount of time that any work-at-home mom has to spend on her business, tackling projects based strictly on priority. So, having shifted priorities earlier in the week, I decided not to do a 2008 retrospective, but rather to stick with the usual "week in review" format for this today's letter. By the way, have you checked out Cutest Kid Ever this weekend? As always, many thanks for the idea and inspiration behind Dear Kid Saturday.

Dear Flawnin (love the new name, by the way),

Happy birthday! I know, it's not really your birthday, but this week you decided you can make a birthday party any time you want. I tried explaining that birthdays only happen once a year and that they're very special occasions, but you very patiently reminded me that every day should be a special occasion (nice one) and therefore any day can be a birthday. For a 3-yr-old, you sure are wise sometimes. Now, if only we could agree that we don't need to make a cake every night...

This Monday was Ms. Twinkle's first day back with us after 2 weeks of being with her other cousins. She sure was happy to see you! I'd planned some things for us to do in the morning, but the two of you didn't need any help from me - you entertained yourselves for a long time just being silly and chasing each other around. Twinkle loves to copy everything you do, and you absolutely love the attention. We spent most of the morning in the playroom so you could show off all your great Jump-O-Lene tricks. She was really impressed. At lunchtime, you wanted to do the cooking, so we set up a chair for Twinkle and she got to watch. She sure was filled with giggles! Later, in your bath, you prepared special bubble potions called "talents." You said only your special talents could help my hair look better. Hmmmm... Right before bed, you told me that only "true love's kiss" would wake you up in the morning. I promised I'd do my best. You sure do love your fairy tales.

Tuesday morning you called to me from your room to say you were ready for true love's kiss. When I got there, you were pretending to sleep. I gave you a pretty big smackaroo and you fluttered your eyelashes, and then with all the grace and elegance of a true princess, slowly arose from your bed and looked around. "It worked! I'm awake!" you said. Whew! I was hoping Mommy's kiss would do it. You were surprisingly hesitant about going to preschool Tuesday morning. When Daddy tried to get you in the car you told him, "No! You're just a man I don't even like very much!" Harsh words for Dad. Sometimes you come out with some real zingers. You did fine at school, though, and told me all about this week's lesson when I picked you up. Sometimes I worry about whether you're making friends at school. Your teacher says you tend to keep to yourself and spend most of your time with the teacher's aides. I asked you about it on Tuesday, and you said that the kids just "don't answer your words" and that they "just look at you." You don't seem to be too bothered by it, just confused. In fact, you told me you have a boyfriend at school and that you know he likes you because he "can't stop looking at you." Oh my goodness, you're growing up too fast.

Wednesday morning, we had Twinkle, and the two of you were on fire from the very first moment. I'd planned some errands, but you wanted to have a dance party instead. Ok, then! Music and dancing are Twinkle's two very favorite things, so the two of you were definitely in sync. We all danced for a looooooong time, and there was a LOT of laughing and spinning. You asked me to put on a song you like that has thunder in it and violins so you could do your "mean dance" for Twinkle. The mean dance is awesome - you get super serious, scrunch up your face, narrow your eyes and do big, low, stomping moves to the music. Generally, the mean dance makes me shiver in fear, but Twinkle thought it was hilarious. You weren't sure how you felt about her laughing, but you pressed on. At the end, she was scrunching up her face and trying to copy you. Very funny. Right before nap time, the two of you were playing quietly together when I suddenly heard Twinkle start to cry. I looked over and saw you holding a plastic block in the general vicinity of her head. From the look on your face, it was pretty clear that you'd hit her with it. I started to talk to you about the consequences of hitting (we do time out in your room with no warning for something as serious as that), but it turned out that I didn't need to. You took one look at how upset you'd made your cousin, and burst into tears yourself. You told me later that it felt bad to hurt someone you love. We had a long talk about empathy and guilt. Those are some pretty grown-up feelings and I'm really proud of you for trying to understand them.

Thursday morning you gave me quite the surprise. When I went to get you ready for school, I found you covered in red lipstick - on your face, your hair and your clothes. Wow. Remember how I told you that the play makeup had to stay out of your bedroom? This is exactly why. I think it's just too big of a temptation. We had to give you a quick scrub and you got pretty angry with me. I was impatient and in a hurry, and you weren't having any of it. We got you off to preschool on time, but you informed me that I was making you "stinkered" and wouldn't give me a kiss. Oh well. I suppose we don't have to get along perfectly all the time, right? Later, you made up a game with Twinkle you called "hibernating," which apparently means "finding out who needs a rescue in this neighborhood." Who knew? That night I decided to give in and have a pretend birthday party. You made a "list of all the things you're allowed to do on your birthday," and I agreed to let you do almost all of them. We made pretend cakes for you and Daddy to share using graham crackers and writing icings. You had a great time decorating them. This week, by the way, is our second week of trying new foods for dinner, and you've been handling it like a champ. No more hot dogs and mac and cheese for you - youve added lots of new stuff to your repertoire. We've done spinach ravioli, tilapia, breaded chicken, whole wheat pasta and a whole lot of vegetables. You've been helping me cook each night, which makes you more willing to give things a chance. I really enjoy the time together and am so proud of you for being such a big kid.

Friday was kind of rough. Maybe you woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Maybe I did. But it seemed like everything we tried to do went sour. I finally decided to take you to the bouncehouse place to burn off some energy, which was going fine until I told you it was time to go home. You don't usually get upset about things like that, but you sure did kick up a fuss. I picked you up and carried you to the car, with you yelling at me all the way. You cried and told me all the way home that I'd hurt your feelings and made you angry. You said you don't like it when I don't let you do what you want, and that you don't like me anymore when I "boss you around." While I'm glad you can express your feelings with words rather than just throwing a tantrum, it is hard for me to hear you say those things. By the time we got you into your bed for nap time, I was frustrated and sad, and I'm sure you were too. I wish we never had days like that, but I know that for me, it's all part of being a mom, and for you, it's just part of learning to be your own person. We did ok that night, but we were both a little standoffish. You mostly wanted to hang out with Daddy, which was just fine with him. I decided that tomorrow would be a new day, and we'd just have to put it behind us.

The weekend promises to be fun and filled with lots of great family time. I'm excited to take you ice skating on Sunday for the very first time. You've been looking longingly at the mall's ice rink for months now, so hopefully you'll think it's pretty cool to be out there slipping and sliding yourself.

I love you so much, sweet girl. Looking forward to learning and laughing even more this week.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Best Friends (Ms. Twinkle)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Waterslides and Friday Feature

Don't start on me about Dear Kid Saturday - it's coming! In the meantime, did you check in on Cutest Kid Ever? This week, rather than recapping our past few days, I'm working on a 2008 retrospective. I'll try not to make it a novel, but you know how long-winded I can be...

We spent this weekend at Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine and it was CRAZY fun. That's not us in the pics, by the way, but I wanted to give you a sense of the experience. We spent a total of 10ish hours at the water park over the course of two days, and spent the rest of our time going nuts in the arcade, stuffing ourselves at the awesome restaurants, and winding down at Story Time. Needless to say, we're tired and behind on everything, but I wanted to drop in and say thanks to Tess of Six Feet Under blog for featuring Macaroni and Glue as this week's "Friday Favorite". You can read the feature here.

Join me here tomorrow (I hope!) for this week's Dear Kid letter. And don't forget tomorrow night's Artiste Congo stocking on HyenaCart. I've got a Valentines Day preview coming, some new mini cards, and some awesome deals - all available starting at 9 PM EST tomorrow.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

December Featured Blogger -- Spotted Cow Soaps

True to form (ok, yes, I'm a blogging procrastinator), this morning I present the December 2008 featured blogger, Spotted Cow Soaps!

Congrats to Ms. Moo (or Aunt Soapy) of Spotted Cow Soaps on Etsy and the Spotted Cow Soaps Blog for this distinct honor. A school food service coordinator by day, and self-described fragrance junkie, this mom and soon-to-be grandma creates skin-loving goodies that are a feast for the senses. In her own words:
Nestled deep in the heart of Vermont amongst the mountain views and dairy farms you will find Spotted Cow Soaps. I have been formulating and selling homemade natural soaps for over 8 years.

What started out as a necessity to cure skin issues of my own has grown into an obsession and love for handcrafting great smelling soaps that leave your skin saying..."THANK YOU!"

The Spotted Cow Blog is an eclectic blend of shop news, features, snippets of family and home life, and fun Etsy finds. Congrats to Spotted Cow for this well-deserved honor. Hope you enjoyed your month of EtsyBloggers fame!