Kids have pretty low expectations

It’s easy to forget that everything is new for kids. The other night, I wanted to take the kids driving to see Christmas lights. Joe and I struggled to research the best ones near us and almost didn’t go. Instead, I had us all hop in the car and drove. I told the kids that they had a super-special mission—point out all the lights. They got excited over all of them, even the simple white ones. They didn’t need to see an over-the-top, extravaganza synchronized with the latest p

Talk to Yourself

I've recently started a new habit that could certify me as crazy. Instead of listening to the radio or a podcast on my commute to work, I talk. To myself. My brain is overloaded with over-consumption of info. Emails. Podcasts. Calls. Audiobooks. Articles. Reports. It's just too much. I need some time to think and process. I want to start getting more things out of my head than in. So, I've turned dead-time into some of my most valuable of the day. I spend those 20-minu

A Simple Question to Save Time

In this week's spending to save series, we've been showing how you can spend more money to save you time, buying you happiness. Today's tip is simple: Each time you open your wallet (or hover over the Buy Now button on Amazon), ask yourself, "Will this purchase change my use of time in positive ways?" Pause if not. Do you really need this? So often, when we buy something, there are so many hidden time costs—unpacking, storage, maintenance, and disposal. How would your life

Create a Sleep Drawer

My bedside table drawer was unruly. At 4 AM, I needed a pair of headphones to listen to a back-to-sleep meditation. Couldn't find them anywhere, even though there were three pairs in the drawer. The next morning, I decided to take a different approach. What if I turned the drawer into a shrine for sleep? I kept only my necessities: an eye mask, a drinking glass, headphones, some lotion, some lavender, my journal, and some pre-sleep supplements. I even mounted an in-dra

Mom Hack: Leave it Empty

When I was bulk preparing my kids' lunches on Sunday for the week, I complained to Joe that I had no idea what to put in the smallest compartment of their lunch boxes. "Chloe doesn't like raisins, and Rowan's teachers won't let me add M&Ms." He responded, "You know what I did last week when you were traveling? I just left that compartment empty." I mean, why not? How often do we put stress on ourselves to fill in all of the 'compartments' in our lives when they ultimate

Take the Easy Way Out

The holidays are always a bit nutty, so I'm continually looking for how to prune. Stressed about the pile of gift wrapping on my plate, my first instinct was to think about outsourcing. Could I hire a TaskRabbit for a few hours? But, the thought of spending money on this made me see another option—simplify. I immediately ordered gift bags and tissue from Amazon. I could throw all the gifts into bags in under an hour myself. Do I prefer wrapping paper? Yes, but even more

Why I'm Not Sending Holiday Cards

I love my collection of holiday cards hanging on my kitchen wall. Seeing my friends' faces every day brings me joy, especially last year after my move to a new city. Unfortunately, getting my own out brings me the opposite emotion. I always wait too late, struggle to find addresses, and am shocked by the price tag. Last year, as I sat stuffing envelopes with our family update late one night, I swore not to send cards this year. Fast forward 12 months. I am so happy wit

Create a Mental Health Shelf

How is your Friday looking? You survived the week. Nice one. Today's hack: Create a mental health shelf. Designate a place in your house with items that bring you joy. Think of it as the comfort food of your stuff. Your favorite photo. Incense reminding you of backpacking in Thailand. That book you could read (if you had the time) for the umpteenth time. Or even make it virtual—your favorite curl-up-under-your-favorite-afghan RomCom or a Playlist of songs that bring you back

Stop Giving a F*ck

I love this quote and wish I could figure out who coined it—What others think of you is none of your business. Too often, we get sucked into the trap of caring what others think—me included. Today was "Dress like your favorite book Character" day at Rowan's school. He showed up sans costume. I'm sure it looks like I plain forgot. What is not shown is the multiple rounds of bunny costumer orders from Amazon or the four costumes we tried on this morning. Let's just say that hav

Take the Best Parts

Last weekend, we planned to take the kids camping. Then the weather report forecasted lows in the thirties. I was nervous about disappointing the kids, but that sounded like a miserable proposition. In enterprising mom fashion, I asked, "What were going to be the highlights of the trip?" Smores, fires, and hiking. None of these required sleeping in the cold. So, we took the best parts. We set up the fire pit in our backyard. Roasted marshmallows and hot dogs. Then we woke up