Friday, December 9, 2011

Fashion Friday: Gift from a Fashion Victim

My dad is the sort of guy who wears black socks pulled up to his knees with Teva sandals all summer long.  But don't worry because he'll pair it with too-short shorts and a button down western shirt.  You laugh but I'm serious.  So serious I'm not laughing (much).

Suffice it to say, my dad is not fashion conscious.  I mean the man was still getting perms--yes you read that right--perms well into the early 90s (oh those lingering '70s!).  And just a few years ago we finally talked him into giving up his rust and pink suit (was there chest hair showing with this hot number?  You know it!).

Imagine my surprise in the winter of 1999 when I opened up a Christmas gift from the man fashion hates and found an amazing surprise--a red leather jacket.  It was awesome and fit like a glove.  I know this jacket wasn't overly expensive but I can tell you this, in the past 12 years this jacket has gotten some play!

That's me wearing it below in the outfit one person thought made me look like a pirate. I'm still not over that.


Uber cute--no?

Anyhow, leather is one of those statement pieces that kind of comes and goes.  And guess what?

LEATHER IS BACK.  BIG!

Yes that's right.  Leather jackets made a splashing comeback this fall and I'd plan on having them stick around for a while.  From camel to black to mustard to red, leather adds oompf to any outfit.  And since you can find leather jackets anywhere from $30-$12,000, there's one well within your budget.  If my red leather jacket is an indication, than leather is one of those trend pieces that is never really out of style.

So if you are looking for a little trend item for your wish list, might I suggest of leather jacket?  Oh, but make sure it is fitted.

Want some style ideas?  Check out these sweet outfits I found on Pinterest.  Did you know I have a style board called NOW WEAR THIS on Pinterest?  True.  It's amazing I get any school work done.

Wear leather to work



Really. Work it (in a non-prostitute way).



Hot layers for cold days.




Chic when paired with a classic scarf



Fun for around town



If I was going to buy a leather coat today, this would be it!

Source: wanelo.com via Reagan on Pinterest

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Things I Love: Elf on the Shelf

Since we knew it was bound to be a tough holiday season, my sister and I have undertaken a search for new traditions to celebrate the season.  Not because we want to forget our mom but because we need to take this time of year, our mom's favorite time of year, and make it even more special.

Thus, we decided to do Elf on the Shelf.  Last year I shared that we don't do the whole Santa Claus thing at our house (you can read our reasoning here) but I decided to roll with Elf on the Shelf.

The skinny on Elf on the Shelf is this: an elf comes to your home and then watches children and gives Santa naught/nice reports on the kids in the family.

We are NOT doing this with our elf.

We explained to our children that our elf, Brownie, is here to add some humor and adventure to our days.  Like many people, our elf gets into trouble while we are sleeping and that's what the kids like--finding what "Brownie" has gotten into during the night.  It is pretty funny and I must say that Matt and I are having a blast finding "things" for our elf to get into.

So far our elf has:

  • made a mess in the craft closet in order to get crayons to color
  • gotten toothpaste all over the bathroom while trying to brush her teeth
  • spilled cocoa and marshmallows everywhere
I've been scouring Pinterest for other fun ideas.  Here are some of my favorites!

Baking:

Source: flickr.com via Reagan on Pinterest

Zip line (side note: my husband makes zip lines in our garage. So fun!)


Snowman:


Snow Angels:

Source: flickr.com via Reagan on Pinterest

TPing the Christmas Tree (my personal favorite!):




M.E. knows this elf is not real and still knows there is no Santa but my goodness is she having fun with this elf thing.  And for some reason, it's making things around here--without mom--just a tad bit easier.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What I Think About: Christmas at School?

Every year more and more schools are pulling Christmas out of the classroom.

No Christmas units.  No Christmas parties.  No Christmas.

Admittedly, I worked in one of these schools and I LOVED it.  I was so glad I didn't have to forgo curriculum time for sugar-coma induced parties and I didn't have to listen to kids who were upset that they got a "lame" book from "Tommy" when they wanted the "cool" book from Seth.  As a teacher, I loved not having Christmas in the classroom.

Now that my daughter is in school I'm geared up for a different environment.  Christmas parties with gift exchanges, Christmas programs, and stories of Santa abound.  Harmless, really.  Really?

Here's the thing.  My child knows Santa isn't real (if you just read that and didn't know, my apologies) and she has been instructed not to "ruin" it for other kids.  In school, however, even when she has let her teachers know that she's in on the secret, her teachers keep saying, "oh, of course Santa is real."  So now my six year old is confused.  Does she trust mom and dad or Mrs. So and So?

I was trying to think about this from another perspective--perhaps a Jewish child or Jehovah's Witness--and I bet this time of year is downright confusing and isolating.  I feel like people get so caught up in "not ruining it for our kids" that we aren't recognizing how we are ruining for other people's kids.

I'm not a crazy liberal (unless you are a hyper-conservative).  I'm not on a politically correct bandwagon.  But this year, when my little girl asks for the seventeenth time, "Are you sure Santa isn't real because my music teacher says he is?" I wonder if this "harmless" Christmas fun really is harmless.  And I wonder if Christmas should be at school.

We've taken the Christ aspect of Christmas.  I wonder if it's time for Santa Christmas to get out of classrooms, too.

What I think is that it is time to start having serious conversations about whether Santa should be in classrooms.

I still don't know which way I lean, but I'm ready to hear opinions.  So sway me.

Christmas at school? YAY or NAY?  The comment line is open!

Thank you to Shell at Things I Can't Say for supporting my random thoughts.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Days of Play: Ornaments

Tis about that time of year when you decorate the tree.

Or, you decorate it Novemeber 3rd. Whatever.

Regardless of whether you are a before Thanksgiving or after Thanksgiving tree decorator, there is no time better than NOW to make a sweet and nostalgic ornament with your kiddos.

Little Blots of Faith has a great manger ornament idea that is easy peasy. Click the links for step-by-step directions with photos!

Photo from Little Blots of Faith

Of course if you want to go super simple with your little one, you could try this reindeer ornament from Crafts for All Seasons.  Does anyone else wonder what we'd do without popsicle sticks?

Photo from Crafts for all seasons

Want a little challenge?  Yes, I consider working with children and glass a challenge BUT Full of Great Ideas posted a link to make a handprint snowman ornament.  Sooo adorkable!

Photo Source: Full of Great Ideas

Finally, if you are brave.  And I mean the kind of brave that will work with light bulbs and glitter with little kids, then you HAVE to make this ornament craft.  It's my favorite one this year.  Kelsey Bang has instructions posted so follow the link to that blog and make one of these (and then mail it to me.  Just a suggestion).

Photo Source Kelsey Bang

Monday, December 5, 2011

Music Monday: Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

Don't you just love a band with an eclectic name?   Deep down when bands name themselves things like Everything Absent or Distorted: A Love Story or Theory of a Deadman, I just can't help but love them.  It's a strange attraction--the weirder the name, the more I love them.  Maybe this is what I can't stand Katy Perry, Ke$ha, or Justin Bieber ... no, it's pretty much their craptacular music that makes me dislike them ...

I knew I'd love Red Jumpsuit Apparatus the first time I heard their name.  Good thing their American Rock music is as awesome as their name.

Give 'em a listen.

Face Down (my fave RJA song)



False Pretense (who hates those? I do!)



Your Guardian Angel (so Rockin' sweet!)



So now that you've given them a listen, what do you think of RJA?