Hello, Friday. We’re (Barely) Surviving The Chill.



Mamas, I apologize for the light week.  I had intended to post the promised hair article, but man.  I'm wiped out.  Mike has been gone (since Sun!!) on a business trip, and in his absence, I've broken one coffee cup and two plates, lost the car keys six times, left Pax's winter coat somewhere in Easton, PA (Crayola "Experience" – LAME), and have had to deal with snotty noses and freezing weather ALL WEEK.  Ugh.  (To make matters worse, Mike's trip took him to freakin' HAWAII, so my week has been peppered with super annoying texts like, "Aloha Baby!" and pictures of the big waves on the North Shore.  Awesome, but GAH!!!)

During weeks like these, our Kiwi Crates (full review here) are worth their weight in gold.  If you haven't checked them out in a while…they currently have a charming limited edition crate for Valentine's Day.  It comes with enough (pop-up!) Valentine's for an entire class and is nicely gender-neutral.  But be warned:  unless your little one is pretty dexterous, gluing on the pop-ups is a challenge.  R did exactly one, loved it, and then went about just making his own (non-pop-up) cards.  (Kiwi Crate, if you see this, we'd love more regular cards next year.  And more gem stickers.)  I ended up supplementing with plain folded cards (aka cut-up paper, LOL), and am planning to pick up a few sheets of gem stickers to continue the fun.  

I've been perusing through Laura Barr's list of Games That Make Children (and their parents) Smarter.  Raines is just starting to get into games (the old-school board game kind) and if this cold front keeps up, I may be making a large Amazon game purchase.  (R keeps asking for a chess set after playing a bit at the Art Museum.  How awesome is that??)

Also?  I'm feeling fat and old.  Fat, because my body is no longer making all of those holiday goodies magically disappear (GET WITH THE PROGRAM, aging metabolism!!) and old, because next week is my thirty*cough*somehighnumber*cough* birthday.  WOO. HOO.  To invigorate said metabolism, I signed up for Barre3's 28-to-great program…however, I have only managed to work out THREE times since the beginning of Jan.  Therefore, in order to complete my "goal", I must workout 25 more times before Feb 1.  Right.  Shouldn't be a problem.  

And thank you to Refinery 29 for these tips on how to eat healthy in the dead of winter.  Soup, here I come.

In the midst of one of my (many) pity parties this week, I bought myself a cute, cozy sweater.  (With hearts on it.  For $30.)  It's now sold out, but SheInside is my new favorite place for cute & cheap.  This might be my next purchase.  Of course, their things sell out in roughly 10 minutes, so…..

I also can't stop thinking about these Keds snow boots.  They have a super cool 70's vibe, and would be a fun change-up for anyone sick of their serious snowboots.  Did I mention they are on sale for $30?

Lastly, the highlight of our week was Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  If any of you follow me on instagram (@shanachristine) you'll know that I brought the boys to the art museum to see EB Lewis read from his latest book, Each Kindness.  Well.  Add this one to the List of Books That Make Me Cry.  In this very amazing book, the main character frequently rebuffs the attempts of the "new girl" to be friends.  In the end, the new girl moves away, and the main character realizes too late how she had not chosen the path of kindness.  The book ends with, "I watched the water ripple as the sun set through the maples and the chance of a kindness with Maya became more and more forever gone."  Heavy, right?  But I think it was good for Raines to hear that sometimes, when you make bad choices, you can't always fix it. Since then, we've been talking a lot about kindness, what it means to be kind, and how very small acts of kindness, when added together, really can change the world.  During Mr. Lewis' reading, he mentioned that the concept of kindness is so important that he wished we focused on it for longer than just a day.  I couldn't agree more.  So.  I've decided to act like the time between Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Valentine's Day is Kindness Month.  (I know it's not really a month, but still.)  I've been brainstorming ideas with the boys, and we're trying to do something kind everyday.  I'd love for you to join in – it's always so nice to get inspiration from others.  I'll be posting what we do to Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #kindnesscounts.  

Happy Weekend, Mamas!!  I can't wait for the love of my life to get back home…and I know he picked up some dried mango at the ABC store.  Yay!







  1. On the list of kid books that make me cry: Of The I Sing by President Obama. It’s probably the 1-2 punch of important American figures when they were kids and how amazing the kids of the future will be. And Lincoln + M.L.K. always make me weepy.
    I have to try those Kiwi Crates, because I’m so not creative enough to come up with my own art projects… and Z has zero interest in art projects at preschool, so maybe he’d be more into it if it were happening at home?
    Sorry you’re having a tough week, mama, it’s hard to parent solo! I often think my husband doesn’t help that much, until he’s gone and I realize how much of a relief his evening homecoming really is!

  2. I’m with you on the fat and old thing. I had the flu and couldn’t work out for two weeks in Jan. which is a bummer since I just joined the gym in Dec. And this summer my birthday will have me leaving the uh 30s. So I’ll be officially almost dead according to my children.

  3. There is a great book that I use when teaching my “Kindness” unit at school. My 2 boys love it too. It is called “Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed,” by Emily Pearson. It tells the story of a girl who gives some blueberries to her neighbor and that creates a ripple effect around the world of kind acts. “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” by Carol McCloud is another good book to teach kids how our words and actions affect other in positive or negative ways. And these to your big amazon list!

  4. Yeah, it sucks majorly when the guys are gone. We are a military family so I am “used to” 3-7 months of being on my own… with two babies. But the weird thing is, I hate it just as much when he’s gone for a few days as I do a few months. Everything in the house always breaks, the kids always get sick… p-a-i-n-f-u-l!
    But in happy news… I just bought some adorable Sorels! How about an article on Sorels?! Mine: http://www.zappos.com/sorel-slimpack-pac-boot-fossil

  5. Great post, as always. The piece about the book especially resonated with me, maybe because my daughters are the “new girls” in school/nursery, and we just moved to this country for a year… so, I do hope they’re getting and giving enough kindness. Thanks for reminding me that we should talk about it more often and be more “aware”.
    The fat thing: I can’t run because of the snow (and it is very rare in England), so I’m getting more and more frustrated too! :)) All that Christmas pudding is sitting on my waist!
    Board games: we love Orchard Toys (esp. Busy Little Bees), but Snakes and Ladders is a favourite too. Happy weekend! πŸ™‚

  6. Lololol!  Sad, but true.  Remember how old 40 used to sound?  Omg I remember my mom turning 40.  But hey – isn't it the new 30 blah blah blah?
    Sent from my iPhone

  7. Ooooof – the hubby is in HAWAII? That adds insult to injury methinks. Okay – I have never heard of Kiwi Crates, but am totally checking those bad boys out. My kids would have a blast with them!
    And ugh – I hear you on the slooooowwwwing metabolism. I came across Dr. Oz’s 3 day cleanse yesterday on pinterest and think I’m going to give it a shot starting Sunday. Sounds like a juice/smoothie fast, which I THINK I can handle – it’ll be giving up coffee for 3 days that does me in. And not, you know, CHEWING ACTUAL FOOD. But if it can get my diet back on track, I’m all in.
    Have a great weekend, mama!

  8. Great post! And thank you for acknowledging Martin Luther King Day and the importance of it. Most bloggers don’t even mention it!

  9. My daughters are 2 and almost 4, we are just getting into board games, too. One of our faves is Richard Scarry Busy Town..it is engaging not only for the little munchkins but also for mom/dad..another thing I like about the game is that although every player has their very own pawn it’s very much a teamwork game..so highly recommend it!!
    glad your handling being on your own..hopefully, your hubby will bring you back something pretty from Hawaii!! love your blog!!

  10. Shana-
    First off congrats on surviving the week! That deserves to be celebrated sister! Second off- if you are “old and fat” then sign me up for that any old day! You look fabulous!!!!!!!!
    I just purchased the EB White book- thank you for sharing it with all of us. I also have the “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” book- we give them to teachers as gifts and one teacher implemented it in his class and now his wing and next year the whole school will adopt the concept. So talk about the ripple effect- it was touching to see my boys recognize that in their own actions.
    Another series I love is The Weird Series of books. http://www.amazon.com/dp/1575423987. These books are beautifully illustrated and written in child friendly language on the topic of bullying from the victim, bystander and bully. My kiddos love these books and while many of your readers may have toddlers and preschoolers I find these books have such a beautiful message with such engaging photos that even younger kiddos enjoy them.
    Happy Friday mamas- TGIF!

  11. OMG – I am so glad I wasnt the only one thinking the Crayola Factory was lame. Literally 5 minutes into the experience my almost 4 year old turned to me and said “This place isnt fun, can we go home”. I thought about the drive to get there and the admission and forced another 20 minutes but in the end we headed back.

  12. You weren’t whining! Whether its 3 days or 3 months, I am always a relieved mess when my husband gets home so I feel ya! I’m glad you made it through… and now you have a little leverage for perhaps a night or two off by yourself. You can always say “…but what about Hawaii?…” πŸ˜‰ Not that I encourage guilt trips or anything…

  13. What did you think about the sizing on your sweater? I found a few I loved awhile back at SheInside, but I’m afraid of the “one size fits all,” thing.

  14. What did you think about the sizing for your SheInside sweater? I found a few things a while back that I liked, but I was afraid of the one-size-fits-all sizing.

  15. Love the kindnessmatters hash tag. Have you read the Love Bucket series? We started the program in some of our schools and its a very concrete way to show something so abstract when you create a bucket and fill it up. My 4 yr old neighbour heard me singing in my backyard and she said “do you think I should tell her I like her singing. I bet that would fill her love bucket ” it was so cute and wonderful evidence supporting the use of it at an early age.

  16. I can so relate to your feelings with your husband away. Mine was away this week and I feel like we were just in survival mode. It makes me thankful for his return!
    Love the book and game recs.
    In terms of games – Rush Hour/Rush Hour Jr. is a cool logic game my son enjoyed that is worth checking out. Also, if chess is becoming an interest – the Dinosaur Chess app is worth looking into. I try hard to limit screen time and would prefer playing real chess with my son, but this one is helpful for that teaching stage so you actually feel like they are learning something while plugged in on a plane or trip.

  17. I’ve just been having the same fat and old experience this week. My birthday is Sunday, and I’m less than excited about celebrating it this time around. I’ve been in a funk because the baby weight is not coming off as quickly after #3 and nothing fits. I’m definitely looking forward to the hair post, and here’s hoping next week will be brighter for you!

  18. AWESOME, Beth!!! I don’t know if you saw Nell’s comment above, but she is also using the Bucket books. Can’t wait to check them out, as well as the weird series. Thank you so much for these recos and the love!! xoxo

  19. Shana- I saw that you were looking for which Bucket books. I liked the series by Carol McCloud. “Fill a Bucket: A Guide to Daily Happiness for the Young Child” is great for toddlers and preschoolers. “Have you Filled a Bucket Today: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids” is great for preschoolers through upper elementary school. We bought both for home. Our preschool (also a Reggio Amelia based school) used the first one and the elementary school has adopted the second one.
    The “Weird!” series is also great as there are so many resources in the back for children- we use their idea of recycling thoughts a LOT in our house, and I liked the questions and activities. Again, my guys are older but I have used it with younger children with great results!
    Love that you support literacy and give us a forum for it all!!! You chicky are a rock star!!! xo

  20. I think we use How Full is your Bucket? (for kids edition) Some of the classrooms have paper bags with each students name on it to be their bucket. I love being able to respond to elementary school meanness by saying “is that filling up (kid’s name) bucket?” One of our writing centres is titled postman where the students write little messages and place them in the buckets.

  21. I will second this game! We got it for our 3 1/2 year old son and he loves it! (He loves all things Richard Scarry) Also, plus for parents: The games go really really quickly πŸ˜‰

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