Wednesday, July 29, 2015

8 year old guest blogger and Ninja Dolls!

As you may know I have been struggling with balancing blogging along with my new work schedule and family time (plus summer is just kicking my tush)! Today, I am making blogging into a little family project. A is here to show you how to make Ninja Dolls. She has made a whole family of these little dolls this summer, and they are as fun to make as they are to play with. Without further adieu, here she is:

Hi, I am happy to be here today. To make the Ninjas, gather your materials. You will need a wooden bead, a marker, some regular beads, 3 pipe cleaners and straws cut into eight pieces (four should be slightly longer):

Begin by taking two pipe cleaners and crossing them in an "x." Then, begin twisting those over each other like this:

Now take another pipe cleaner (mine is purple), fold it over the center of the twisted cleaners to form the stomach--twist it right above the swirl of the other pipe cleaners:

Now draw a face on your wooden bead with your marker:

Then slide four regular beads on the arms and legs:

Ten slide the shorter straw pieces on the arms and legs:

Next slide a bead on each arm and leg to form elbows and knees:

Bend the pipe cleaners to form feet and hands:

Now you are ready to slide on the head:

Style your hair as you choose. I did mine by bending mine backwards :

And your Ninja is finished and ready to play!

I had fun blogging with you!

No Minimalist Here

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Kind of a Big Deal!

I have an acquaintance who is a crafter and blogger just like me. Except for she isn't just like me because she's kind of a big deal!

Several years ago she created one of her many crafts (just like me), people started asking about her crafts (just like what often happens to me), and she started selling them (like I always mean to do). And that is where our roads diverge. She started selling this craft (a party supply) like hot cakes. They started appearing in magazine styling. Queen Martha even took notice. Celebrities began styling events using her crafts. West Elm and Pottery Barn sell her craft (which is now handmade in a studio she oversees using a patented process). See, she is kind of a big deal!

To top it all off, her crafts are now on the cover of a major magazine--not as an accessory, but as the main event. She is throwing herself a launch party that I suspect will be fabulous!! I never in a million years would have thought I'd be invited (as I said, we are acquaintances more than friends, though I do adore her). One of our mutual friends mentioned the party to me. Side note: I get my feelings hurt all the time over not being invited places, but truly didn't think twice about not being on this guest list (other than I knew it would be an awesome shindig). My friend, however, must have thought my feelings were hurt. She arranged an invitation for me. I was so embarrassed when the invite arrived. I was not sure if it would be better or worse to decline a pity invitation! I have decided to go, but actually had other plans, so I am just popping in.

I am actually thrilled to celebrate my big deal "acquaintance-friend"! I am taking her this fun little gift that I made using my silhouette on a frame from my beloved Homegoods. She is a big deal, but she is still a crafter at heart just like little ole me, and I think she will love it!

No Minimalist Here

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Surf's Up (and a Disclaimer)

If you are my friend IRL, here is an important disclaimer: When A was at camp, she had the option of staying past her birthday. When she opted to come home after a week, I frantically hand-delivered invitations. I accidentally missed someone--a friend who was already hurt that her child was excluded by others. It was not intentional in our case. I want to apologize, but I also don't want to open a wound if you are blissfully unaware. If you see this, you will know who you are. Please know that I am so, so sorry. Here is an invitation you would have gotten if I weren't a fool:

Other than the oops above, my sweet baby just had the easiest birthday party ever! You may recall that she wanted an Oregon Trail theme. For the first time ever, I was truly stumped. As I pondered what one earth I could do, inspiration struck. When Teen Beach Movie came out two years ago, Sweet Baby girl A became obsessed with surfing. I knew that by her birthday the new Teen Beach Movie Two would be out and that would possibly renew her interest in surfing. So, I called a local fitness facility that offers Surf-Set (google it-- it is amaze-balls). I tentatively asked if they would do a kid party. To my surprise not only do they do it, they do it well, with all the cute little details that I normally do myself. All I had to do was make invitations, deliver them (sort of a failed at that) and show up.

Here are the adorable party details. Note the handmade banner and water station to hydrate after the workout!
They even made chose Applesauce in color theme and put in in a cute jar:
Can you believe they get these cupcakes from the local grocer?!

First up, was the girls' surf lesson:

Next were crafts--- they made surf ninjas and beach bracelets:

Dinner was served as a beach blanket picnic (obvi):

After the dinner, it was back to the boards, where baby got to wear the mic and direct the class:

They truly thought of everything right up until the moment we left with these awesome gift bags:

She wants to do it again next year (but then again, maybe we will hit the Oregon Trail)!

No Minimalist Here

Friday, July 10, 2015

No Surprise Here!

I started a blog because I am a blog lover. Blogs are my ritual--I love to read them with my morning coffee. In a non-psychopathic way, I feel like I really know the writers. A few times in recent years, some of my favorite bloggers have shocked me by announcing that they had been on extended vacations, blogging the whole time from what seemed like home. Another blogger who everyone believed to be the quintessential SAHM shocked her readers by announcing that she maintained a high-powered job part-time the entire time she was blogging. Hundreds of her readers commented with their proverbial mouths agape.

I don't think any jaws will drop to learn that something has been up here at 31-derful. Just when I started actually blogging and got a few readers, there has been radio silence around here. While it isn't shocking, I thought I would write about my little summer hiatus: I have been working!

It is not the little "toe in the water" that I mentioned awhile back here. While I am still going to do that, I also have another part-time job with bona fide office hours and court appearances. I even have a law student! I can't elaborate on the job itself, but I can say that it has somewhat flexible part-time hours and that it will terminate in late August. This leaves me free to work elsewhere (and, shut the front door, I sort of already have an opportunity!!!). So, how's it going?

The Good:
I was scared to take on this job because, while it is in my general wheelhouse, it was a little out of my comfort zone. I am accustomed to representing one side in these matter, all in one little courthouse. I was terrified because this position has me advocating for different players in courtrooms all over our geographic area. I am happy to report that I overcame my fears, and I am kind of a boss y'all! I forgot that I really like using my brain and voice! I also just like being in the world and being in real clothes. Hooray for the small stuff!

The Bad-ish:
What I don't like so much is that over half of my earnings still go straight to childcare; during the school year I could have managed without the assistance of even one measly hour of a babysitting. As it stands, I am writing hefty checks each week. The flexibility which is a good thing, also means that there is no set schedule and that I am consonantly in flux. I think it would almost be easier for me to say, "Look, I work full-time, kids. That means you go to camp or school and I am not going to be a super-volunteer at your school." As my work schedule is now (and was for many years prior to this most recent hiatus--the original title of the blog was The Stay at Home Attorney), most people don't even realize I work. .....That's cool because I feel like I am doing good work without it impacting my kids. But, by the same token, people assume I am free for volunteerism and favors. Being me, I always oblige.

The Ugly:
.....And then there are my kids who refuse day-camps, stating summer is for relaxing (they do each do short sleep-away stints). I can't disagree since I left work to be with them after all! What they really want is for me to entertain them. Honestly, I am happy to oblige most times- you know I take my role as cruise director seriously. Long gone are the days of naps or even putting on a DVD while mommy caught up on email, write a quick legal memo, or folded laundry (they are 8 and almost 10). If we are constantly on the go or playing with each other, which we are, when am I supposed to get all this flexible work done? The constant rain has certainly not helped--I figured 75% of the time we'd be at the pool, and that I'd work while they swam. Ha! I have been to every kids' museum, mall, and movie to avoid rain.

And the extra stuff? You know, beyond keeping my kids alive, fed, and entertained..... Forget about it. A friend had a baby recently and I literally could not figure out how to get a meal cooked and dropped off to her. I cook for us every night so that part wasn't hard, but she lives 30 minutes away and I have certain standards for what I take. I usually cook a new mom one of my best meals from soup to nuts, label everything with cute tags, and place it in an adorable basket and deliver it to her doorsteps hot and ready. I couldn't do it well, so I just delivered carry out to her. She was grateful, and it worked, but I felt like a failure. What happened to you can do it all?!!! The 80's lied to me. I can't play with my kids all day and work; I can't be Martha Stewart and work, and I (obviously) can't be a diligent blogger and work.

There is going to be a learning curve and a process of figuring out what really matters to me so that I can do most of it--do the dinners I drop off have to be adorably styled? Must I tell my kids that summer camp us now a family requirement? Can I keep this blog? If anyone is still out there, I would love to hear how you do it!