Kind of Like A Norman Rockwell

There was a moment last weekend, when things were nearly picture perfect. Like a Norman Rockwell illustration — real, a bit silly, a hint of chaos emerging or recently visited.

And having it come on the heels of a bit of a stressful week — starring visits from a few plumbers, sick kids, and a few additions to our house “need-to-get-done-ASAP” list — it was impossible not to feel so much joy and thanks for a nearly idyllic scene.

I had built a roaring fire, with the help of a YouTube tutorial. And at some point, before dinner but after the 50th plea for the 30th snack of the afternoon, I found myself sitting on the couch facing the fire reading (A Dragonfly in Amber), with my husband sitting beside me relaxing with his iPad, and our two girls playing independently on the floor in front of us. Our oldest was playing a very exciting game with seven DC Superhero figurines and a Fisher Price castle, and our youngest was putting George Pig to sleep inside of a bed she had built from Duplos.

I nudged my husband and we shared a smile at this rare and exciting scene — four humans happily pursuing their interests, independently but together near the active fireplace. It was excitingly peaceful. It was nice.

And, in all honesty, our full immersion in our individual pursuits didn’t last long. Maybe I read one more page after that shared smile and silent giggle of excitement.

And that was fine because I love the way my oldest squeezes between me and my husband for maximum snuggles. And I adore the way my youngest narrates her play to us to keep us in the loop!

And this is what I’m thankful for this week as Thanksgiving approaches. I’m so thankful, with an enormous heart, for my little immediate family. They are good and kind and silly and brighten my day.

And you shouldn’t listen to what I say when I’m tired and drained, I wouldn’t want to spend a single day or night without them right next to me!

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What are you thankful for? I know that blog comments are clumsy with having to prove you aren’t a robot and all that. So let me know on Instagram or my pen&thimble Facebook Page. I want to know! 

Also, in lieu of the typical holiday sales that roll around after Thanksgiving, I’ll be offering FREE SHIPPING IN THE US when you spend $40 or more November 20 – December 1 at pen&thimble on Etsy. No gimmicks, no coupon needed. My way of saying “thank you so much,” for being a customer and thank you for your support! I’ll be around –making and posting and chatting on social media — but I wanted to wish you very Happy Holidays now, before the overwhelm and hype starts.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays!!!

 

Hands, Faces, Bottoms, and Green Yachting Parties

Have I talked about the new napkins in my shop? They are my favorite and my most-used item that I sell now that my youngest has grown out of drool bibs.

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(Sob! Why do they grow so fast? When did my baby suddenly become a not-baby? She’s turning two in 2 months! Real talk, if I had a dollar for every time I wished my littlest was out of the baby stage, well I wouldn’t need to have this shop or blog or anything. I’d be sailing around Turks and Caicos on my yacht named “Hey Buoys”)

So all this talking to myself and tropical dreaming aside, these napkins are my favorite because…

  • At 7×7 they are perfect size for little hands, lunch boxes, bento boxes, and diaper bags
  • My little kids feel like big kids using them
  • They are tiny but backed with soft and absorbent paper towel-like fabric
  • I use them and reuse them and I feel awesome because they’re eco-friendly
  • They are useful and fun and I love useful and fun things the most of all
    • Use them for wiping hands and mouths after a meal
    • Use them for wiping tabletops before settling to eat
    • Use them to clean up crumbs and spills
    • Use a damp one for wiping baby’s bottom during a change
    • Use them as cocktail napkins or coasters during your yacht party
    • Use them for fancy tea parties on the living room floor

So what are you waiting for? Go grab some for your family!

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Parenting: My Perfect Children Are Perfect

Parents in my neck of the woods, and I’m sure yours too, are pressured to be able to do it all with minimal help and a smile on our faces. And we ARE doing it! ALL! Perfectly. With smiles on our faces, always! And tweeting about it (follow me @penandthimble)!

As I write this at 3:38 in the afternoon, I’m totally showered (nope), makeup on (what is a makeup?), dressed in clothes I could answer the door in (nope), and not at all nursing my 19 month-old while she does some painful boob twisting acrobatics thing (whyyy?). Doing it all!

Since I’m so perfect, and so are you, it is no surprise that our children are perfectly perfect in all the things.

My perfect children are happy and polite always. My 19-month old has never cried because she wanted a different water bottle. Neither has my 4yo. Not once! They love all bottles equally!

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My perfect little perfectionists started reading at 12mo. To themselves. Their favorite books are It by Stephen King and any lift-the-flap books they can get her hands on.

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She *read* the merchandizing plan, naturally.

My perfect-y perfect delights love balanced whole-grain, home-cooked meals three times a day (with one healthy snack at 4). I know this is how it is in my house. I could never imagine a life wherein my kid only eats french fries and cookies all day. And snacks all day long. And we never eat take-out. Ever. Real talk, my kids have never eaten a french fry in their life.

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My sweet babies of perfection take no interest in screen time because TV is gross and my kids are sacred jewels who hate the idea of TV and screens.

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My perfectly perfect children are in bed by 7pm and awake by 7am dressed, hair in a bow, teeth brushed, ready to start the day with a smile–that’s just how she wakes up! Yours too, right?
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Since I have been #blessed with self-regulating, non-snacking, reading-on-their-own toddlers, I try to fill my long days to myself with long bubble baths, journaling, naps, and just being, well…perfect! Which I’ll tell you all about in another blog post some day!

Spoilers:

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PS. Want to get your little bundles of perfection something extra? Help them clean up with a FREE reusable napkin with every $15+ purchase in my Etsy shop now through Thanksgiving!

Happy Christmas! Kidding, But Also Some Notes About Christmas Orders

It’s November 1st, so Happy Christmas!! Right? I’m not a fan of Christmas starting so soon either, but I wanted to post an early heads up about holiday ordering. Just so we’re all on the same page before we all get busy with the spirit of the holidays. Yayyyyy!!!!


Business As Usual: Just to remind you, every item listed in my Etsy shop is always ready-to-ship in 1-2 days! If you want a custom fabric or special sizing on an item I already sell, I’m happy to do that any time, but there is usually a 1-2 week wait on those items and custom fees starting at $5.

Holiday Orders: If you want your ready-to-ship or made-to-order items in time for Hanukkah and Christmas, well, we have some deadlines outlined below because we apparently don’t have shipping by owl mail yet:


Re-cap: Your holiday custom/made-to-order requests should be made by December 5th to give me enough time to order supplies, make your items, and ship them First Class.

Depending on your shipping preferences, order deadlines for ready-to-ship are as early December 18 or as late as December 22. 

Thanks In Advance: Handmade for the holidays takes a bit of pre-planning, but if you are a fan of handmade and supporting small business, you know it’s worth it! It certainly means the world to me!

Image credit: mygreenaustraila.com