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!!!

 

Color The Rainbow…Then Eat It!

Is it just me or do fall/winter meals take way longer to prepare? Suddenly I find myself serving dinner at 6:30 when I started chopping at 5:30, because I forgot that roasting all those brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and squash takes way longer than grilling up a protein to serve with a salad.

So instead of relaxing with my feet up sipping wine while the oven does all the work, I’m chopping carrots for snacks to stave off the “gungry” demands of my second girl. I’m answering, “not yet” on repeat to my first’s ever popular question, “Is dinner ready yet?” I’m trying dance-party distractions to keep my youngest away from the oven wondering… IS dinner ready yet?

WHAT IS A MOM TO DO?

Grab a bunch of markers, a NEW pen&thimble coloring placemat (and probably a few carrot sticks to be safe) and boom! Dinner wait magic! Let me explain…

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NEW IN THE SHOP!

This week we are welcoming a NEW and SUPER FUN line of pen&thimble coloring placemats! Oh my goodness! They are cute and functional as always but now entertaining!

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A placemat they can doodle on while they wait for dinner — at home, restaurant, museum!

PLACEMAT DETAILS

Placemats feature a 100% cotton upper with a soft waterproof backing.

I offer the placemats with or without Crayola Ultra-Clean Washable Markers*.

And you can pick your ideal placemat size! Toddlers are happy with our small 14×10″ placemat, but bigger kids may want to color and eat on our large 16×12″ placemat.

*I have tested a variety of “washable” markers, but so far have found that only Crayola Ultra-Clean Washable markers truly wash out all the way for a brand new coloring experience every time!

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I WANT THESE!

Small (14×10″) Placemat Without Markers: $12

Small Placemat With Markers: $17

Large (16×12″) Placemat Without Markers: $15

Large Placemat With Markers: $20

Sounds great, right? Shop quieter dinner prep here or check out our Coloring Placemats section at http://www.penandthimble.etsy.com.

Are You A pen&thimble Email Insider?

Check your inbox because I’m offering one FREE set of 8-count Crayola Ultra-Clean Washable markers when you include at least one of our new coloring placemats in your next order placed now through Thursday (11/9)! Not an insider but wish you got awesome deals like this? Sign up here and you will be able to get in on these deals too! If you sign up by Wednesday (11/8), you’ll get the reminder email with the code for free markers! Another way to sign up? Scroll up until you see the blue signup box under the header here at penandthimble.com!

Santa In October? But I Just Want To Be A Burrito!

Autumn is my favorite season. I think I write that sentence in a blog post every year around this time. My reasons change a bit each year, but my love of the season is mostly about boots,  food — butternut squash, brussels sprouts, warm apple cider — and the free pass to snuggle indoors. #hyggelife

As a human person who wants nothing more than to read under a quilt by the fire without worrying about ice dams on my roof, I never want autumn to end.

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Image Credit: lillisketchtumbler.com
As a small business owner, autumn is something entirely different. It’s when THE HOLIDAYS are meant to be start. No, not Halloween or Thanksgiving. Autumn marks the beginning of Christmas and Hanukkah and gift-buying and gift-giving (my favorite part). So instead of wrapping myself like a book-loving burrito by the fire, I’m supposed to be thinking of snowmen, gift wrap, and eggnog.

And each year, I rebel against The Holidays coming so soon — even as a business person — because my human-burrito side just wants all the autumn all the time! And if I can’t have it all the time, can I just have it during autumn? Pleeeease!

This year, the answer is no. No I can’t. pen&thimble is starting The Holidays “early” this year. Which is really just “on time” with all the other shops. Holiday items have been made and photographed and are just waiting for me to finish one last bite of an apple to be listed on my Etsy shop.

This year, I’m offering a gift wrapping option too!  Bright hand-stamped (by me) stars and a gift note wrapped in twine. It’s already designed and photographed and waiting to go live as an option soon! But first I’m going to slide on my boots and crunch up some leaves and maybe start a fire in my fireplace and read a bit.

Post Update: Holiday Items have rolled into the shop. Gift wrapping option coming soon! 

A Long Goodbye, A Sale, And Time Travel. All In One Short Blog Post!

So… This post is difficult to write but also exciting. That’s what growth is a lot of the time I guess… difficult and exciting?

Saying Goodbye

I’m saying goodbye to the baby items in my Etsy shop. Goodbye, bandana bibs! Goodbye, teething toys! It was a difficult decision, but one I’m super excited about. Did I say excited? Hear me out!

Exciting Thing Number One: 30% Off Sale

Yes! Same pen&thimble quality and care at a clearance-sale price! Super absorbent bandana bibs are now $7 each. Teething toys that crinkle and snap onto an organic maple wood ring are now $9.10 — that’s nearly $4 savings!

Baby sale items can be conveniently found in the Baby Bibs + Toys 30% Off section in my Etsy Shop. No coupon codes to worry about at checkout. The sale price is already applied!

 

Exciting Thing Number Two: More Time To Make More Of What YOU Want

As your kids have grown, and my kids have grown, so have the offerings in my shop. But now I have so many different types of things for different ages and I find I’m struggling to keep them all stocked.

And I still want to be the sole-maker in this business — to know that quality and double-checks and care have gone into each item that I create and sell. And I still want to play with my family on the weekend. I want it all.

While trying to figure out how to get more time, I did write down “time travel.” They say to write EVERYTHING down when brainstorming! Haha!

So to make more of the things YOU want– which is overwhelmingly napkins, placemats, zipper pouches, and crowns (restocking this week!) — while upholding my quality and and care standards, I’m saying goodbye, a long goodbye, to bandana bibs and teething toys. And if one of my daughters invents a time-travel machine… we’ll revisit this!

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This drooly baby was the best bib and teething toy tester!