family

How to embrace your family’s winter chaos.

If it’s raining – or snowing again, and the kiddos have been cooped up for what seems like an eternity. They are wiggly and whiny and sometimes you feel like the weather tries to suck the joy out of life.

One quick tip to help embrace family chaos this winter.

If that sounds like your typical winter day, it might be time to embrace a little Hygge in your family life. But if trying to achieve that level of perfect coziness stresses you out, have no fear – throw a little Craic in there for balance and everything will work out just fine – trust me.

Definition of Hygge and Craic and how to embrace it in your family this winter.

I know the hype is all about embracing Hygge, and don’t get me wrong, I adore fluffy socks, pillow forts and eating by candlelight as much as the next mama. But striving to find that level of calm with my rowdy boys gives me anxiety!

Family Hygge doesn't have to be perfect this winter.

We have very Irish roots in this household, and I was tickled pink to find a name for what we’ve already been doing all these years with our kiddos. It’s called Craic, and though it doesn’t have a direct translation, it basically sums up the raucous joy that is shared when good friends or family come together and enjoy each others’ company.

Ideas on how to embrace your family's winter chaos this year.

Craic describes our family nights to a tee! Learning about it has helped me to embrace our less-than-perfect Hygge family model. We definitely dig eating home-cooked meals by candlelight & pulling out the blankies and pillows for a good old-fashioned family movie in a tidy and warm space. But we also enjoy a rousing game of ultimate uno or exploding kittens, around these parts. Family game night is epic around here. It’s too loud and full of craziness to be considered Hygge, but it brings us closer together & it makes wonderful memories just as much a calm Hygge evening does.
And, let’s face it, a little Craic helps to get the wiggles out during a big storm.

Embrace a little Craic in your family this winter to balance out the coziness of Hygge.

I know it’s easy to get sucked in to technology – especially on those blustery days, but let’s make a pact that we’ll work on some family-care during the next big storm, no matter what that entails. Whether your family needs some calming Hygge or some rousing Craic, don’t let perfection hold you back!

No matter what you choose, you’ll be making amazing memories with your kiddos and starting traditions without even trying. They could be traditions that are passed down for generations…or not, and that’s okay.
Embrace the calm AND the craziness of family life and enjoy the ride. They grow up so quickly, I don’t want you to miss it.

Mom, how to stop stressing over Hygge this winter with your family.

I’d love to hear about your favorite family traditions during storms. Comment below, and give us some ideas for our next winter storm!

Life’s too short for Black Friday!

Let me paint you a picture: you’re standing outside in the freezing cold at 4am with a mob of strangers, all clamoring to get the latest and greatest toy or tech.

Mama, Life's too short for Black Friday and what to do instead.

You think you’re calm and just here to pick up something perfect for…someone – until you hear that nagging voice in the back of your brain that sucks you into the urgency and madness of the whole thing.
That voice is the voice of FOMO (fear of missing out): it’s totally a real thing, and it’s trying to ruin your Christmas

Black Friday madness has become an expected – and even celebrated – part of the holidays for a lot of people. But I want to challenge that.

When you stand in line before dawn – with your teeth chattering, hands wrapped around your hot coffee, and wholeheartedly wishing you were still back in your bed, ask yourself this: is it worth it?

When I ask myself that question, the resounding answer is, “No! This is not the start I want for the season that I love so dearly.”

all the reasons you should stay home on Black Friday and what to do instead

What if this year, you chose to:

  • Sleep in with that snuggly toddler who climbed into your bed at midnight,
  • Wake up slow and make pancakes while your kiddos hang out around the breakfast table
  • Simmer some cider on the stove, so the house smells amazing,
  • Make Black Friday a family day instead of an insane shopping day!
  • If you skipped Black Friday, how would your life change? How would your perspective on the season change?

Now, don’t get me wrong. When my boys were little, we spent a couple of those Black Friday mornings frantically shopping in the dark with the hordes of other shoppers. Last year, I got sucked in to the online frenzy of deals – afraid I might miss out.

But guess what? I didn’t get even one single thing that became something they loved and valued. In all that craziness, I didn’t find the perfectly meaningful gift or start a wonderful family tradition. What’s worse? It got my holiday self off on the wrong foot.



So we are purposefully UNPLUGGING FOR THE ENTIRETY OF BLACK FRIDAY WEEKEND.

Mom, here's what you should really be doing on Black Friday, and it's not shopping.

Yeap, for the first time in my 19 years in business, I will be doing nothing but making memories with my kids. No shopping. No lines. No sales. No insanity. Just some good, old fashion bonding time with my husband and teenagers.

I’m picturing family hikes, lazy breakfasts, a great movie or two, a trip the the beach, a round of pool, and of course, ultimate Uno.

Why you should stay home on Black Friday and what to do instead.

Just writing that makes my heart rate slow down a bit. And at the same time, I am giddy at the thought of starting the season with some family fun – forgoing the insanity.

So, as a small business owner, I have decided to embrace this professionally as well. Instead of sending a crazy sale with lights flashing at you, screaming to buy stuff, I’m not sending out one single sales email during that weekend. You’re already bombarded enough as it is! I want to be a part of your respite & peace, not your overwhelm.

Mom, let's skip black Friday this year, and let's do this instead.

I’m still going to offer you a sale at the beginning of the season, but a calm, lovely sip coffee in your fluffy socks kind of sale.

My annual sale will be a full three days – so you can leisurely browse in your PJ’s with your favorite cup of jo. No rush, no craziness, just some much-needed holiday calm. And it won’t happen during that onslaught of emails you’ll be getting about “ALL THE BEST SALES!”

I won’t limit you to times or specific things – you get to pick your very favorite heirloom piece from the whole shop, and you can do it on your own clock. The entire three days will have all the same discount, so there’s no hurry, no rush, no craziness. No FOMO!

Cause you aren’t missing out when you decide to avoid the crowds & chaos.

Click here to take a peek at all of the sale details.

Hooray! I’ll even wrap it up in our signature pink jewelry box, wrap that in a gift box & top it with a pink satin bow – like I always do. It will have all the trimmings, care instructions, a special pearl pouch made just for you, and a polish cloth to keep her piece shiny through the years.Fancy Christmas Gift Wrap is included with all heirloom pearl jewelry for girls from Little Girl's Pearls.

So mark your calendar for November 16th, 17th, and 18th. A full three days to find a keepsake heirloom that will be passed down for generations.

If you want to get a reminder of the sale & get more ideas on how to start family traditions & put family first, Join the Little Girl’s Pearls Family, because you’re my favorite, and giving joy to the people I care about is my favorite part of the season! Way better than shopping lines.

Wishing you the very loveliest holiday season and the very delicious-est cider too,
~ Julie ♥

Strength and Dignity Free Printable

She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25 | free printable from Little Girl's Pearls ♥ #freeprintable #proverbs31 #littlegirlspearls

“She is clothed in strength & dignity & she laughs without fear of the future.” – Proverbs 31:25

This verse has always sounded lovely to me when I was growing up and in college, but it wasn’t until I had my own kiddos that it really spoke to me.  It seems when you are put in charge of the care and feeding of tiny humans, fear of the future just settles in – it hunkers down and lurks in the back of your mind.  There are always worries about making sure we do everything perfectly as parents.  Laughing at fear of the future was a completely foreign concept to me.

Proverbs 31:25 free printable from Little Girl's Pearls | she is clothed in strength and dignity

Our family was a bit more on the “crunchy granola” side of things with co-sleeping, breastfeeding, baby wearing, homemade baby food & cloth diapers…  We did what “felt right” for our kiddos.  But oh man were there nay-sayers along the way & they shook me to my core!  I questioned our decisions regularly.  It seems that when you are raising tiny humans everyone and their brother has an opinion on the best way to do it to be sure your kids turn out to be productive members of society.

free printable from Little Girl's Pearls ♥

Now that my boys are 13 and 16 (seriously, when did that happen?), I can look back on all of the minute decisions and see that whatever we had chosen, our boys would’ve turned out just fine.  I am not kidding you.  As long as your kids are loved, fed and safe…really the rest is just details.  So if you’re just starting out on your mama journey, please know that all will be just fine.  Raising little people is stressful and exhausting and harrowing – our oldest had colic for four straight months of nightly crying (both him and me) & our youngest didn’t sleep through the night until he was 7.  But had I known I could have done it all without fear of the future, it would have made my new mama life so much easier.

free printable 8x10 print from Little Girl's Pearls | laugh without fear of the future ♥

So I’m giving you permission.  Permission to do what works for YOUR family.  What works for your kid.  What works this time, might not work with the next one – and that’s okay!  Seriously.  Roll with it.  You, my dear, are clothed in strength and dignity.   So whether you are a working mom or a stay-at-home mom, whether you breastfeed or bottle feed, whether you cloth diaper or regular diaper, whether you homeschool, private school or public school…they will turn out just fine.  Just love them.  Love them with all your heart.  Give them your time.  Give them grace.  Then head on into tomorrow and laugh without fear of the future.  You’ve totally got this, mama!

Click here to download the free printable from Little Girl's Pearls. ♥

So click on the button above to DOWNLOAD your free printable to remind you that you are AWESOME and you’re gonna rock it, mama! ♥  To fit an 8×10 frame, simply trim 1/2″ off of either side and 1″ off of top and bottom.  Voila!  A perfect little printable for her nursery or your refrigerator!

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Second Star to the Right Free Printable

Second star to the right and straight on 'til morning - Peter Pan | free 8x10 printable from Little Girl's Pearls ♥

I have two boys.  They are so old now.  I can’t believe how quickly they’ve grown.  12 and 16 is far too old for this mama.  When did this happen?  When they were little, their imaginations soared.  Just like Peter Pan and Wendy through the night sky.  They were gleeful and giggly and silly and wonderful!  Now that they are older they are just as imaginative.  Far more creative and brilliant than I ever imagined they could be.  The things their minds dream up are crazy amazing and wonderful and insane.  They make this mama proud.  It’s amazing how it’s hard to watch them grow up, but it’s so wonderful to see the people they have become.  They bring a joy to my heart that I will never be able to explain.  I’m such a goof – I’m tearing up a bit thinking about it!

My husband and I always joke that before kids we never lost our temper, yelled, worried or cried nearly as much as we do now.  However, we also never laughed as hysterically, dreamed as big or imagined as much as since our boys joined our family.  My mama hope and wish is that they never lose that creative and imaginative outlook on life.  Enjoy, my sweet not-so-little boys.  Know that this mama is right there behind you, cheering you on as you soar through the night – to the second start to the right and straight on ’til morning.

Before kids, we never yelled, worried, or cried as much as we do now. But we've also never dreamed as big, or imagined so much. Celebrating the imagination of children, I've got a free Peter Pan printable for you. | free 8x10 printable from Little Girl's Pearls ♥️ #freeprintable #littlegirlspearls #peterpan

This little free printable is set up to print neatly on a regular 8 1/2″ x 11″ piece of letter size paper.  The file is set to print at a very detailed 300 dpi (so it’s nice and crisp) – but it makes it a bit of a big file, so download it & walk away to get a cup of tea while it finishes popping up on your computer.

It is a PDF file, so you’ll need a PDF reader (like adobe PDF) – they’re available free online.  Simply print, cut off 1/2″ off the top & bottom and 1/4″ off of each size.  Voila – a great 8″x10″ print for your kiddo’s wall!  Just click on the image above to download your PDF.  If you have any troubles, give me a holler. ♥

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Fun things to do with your kids when it’s cold outside

Are you for ways to keep your kids busy when the weather is chilly? Check out these creative ideas to let your kiddos keep playing (and protect your sanity)! https://blog.littlegirlspearls.com/bunnies-tea-printable-valentines-day-cards-for-kids/ ♥️ Little Girl's Pearls | #indooractivities #rainydayfun #winterfun #funwithkids

January means that winter is in full swing, and winter brings with it some bad weather & right now there’s a massive blizzard in parts of the country! Kids may love to play outside in the snow or go puddle jumping in the rain, but sooner or later you’ll be faced with bad weather that keeps kids inside for most of the day. Puzzles and cartoons will only get you so far; eventually kids need something active and exciting to get out some of their abundant energy. Keep these game ideas up your sleeve to avoid getting pent up with bored children.

Cardboard Hallway Castle   Geodesic Dome cardboard house
Image sources & instructions from Handmade Charlotte and Tales of a Monkey, a Bit and a Bean

 

Cardboard castle – this was one of my boys’ favorites when they were little!

What’s even better than a fort made out of pillows and blankets? A castle made out of cardboard boxes. Save any boxes you have leftover from Christmas or from other deliveries; the bigger the better. We found our best boxes at the appliance store.  We let them know what we were doing & they saved them for us!  Let your kids arrange these boxes into a castle of their own design. You can help by cutting doorways between the boxes, and kids can get creative by decorating the outside with whatever arts and crafts supplies you have on hand.

I love the two tutorials (links below).  Using cardboard in a hallway is genius!  The second tutorial is dear to my heart.  I helped build and grew up in a geodesic dome when I was little.  So I adore that there are instructions to make a cardboard version.  LOOOVE it, and your kids will, too!

freeze-dancing

Freeze Dancing

This is like musical chairs without the chairs. Pick out one of your kids’ (or your) favorite songs, play it, and dance like no one’s watching. We put on songs of the composers we’re studying.  Before we start dancing, we all have to yell which composer it is.

Let out your silly side and encourage your kids to show off their goofiest dance moves. Then pause the music: everyone has to freeze in whatever position they’re in. This game is sure to burn off some energy and to bring out some laughs.  My boys are now 12 and 15, and they still love this game!  This is a fun way to switch off nasty attitudes, too. ♥  Seriously look at those sweet faces!  My kids are awesome, and crazy, and adorable!


painters-tape-race-track
Image by Joe Polillio from Parents Magazine

 

Tape Traffic

Do your kids have toy cars or toy animals they love to move around? Let them design their very own road system. Kids can use painter’s tape or masking tape to plot out roads all around the house: on the floor, onto the furniture, and maybe even on you. Especially if you have older children, they might really enjoy planning out and designing a complicated road system complete with city landmarks along the way. Because it’s painter’s or masking tape, it’s easy to clean up, so they can make roads as long as they want. Then they can have fun racing their toys all along the roads.

pillow-sumo-wrestling

Pillow Sumo Wrestling

Oh my goodness, look at our youngest’s toes!!!  He’s seriously into this.  Do you have some roughhousing lovers? Try pillow sumo wrestling to let them get it out of their system without getting hurt. Equip your kids with some adult-sized t-shirts, and stuff them with pillows. You may want to place some extra pillows around the “wrestling” area (don’t do it anywhere they can land on something hard or sharp). Then let your kids bounce around to their hearts’ content. You’ll probably want to supervise this one carefully to make sure no one gets hurt, but as long as no one gets carried away, it can be definitely get the cold weather wiggles out!  These are my boys – even as big kids, they like bouncing around with their brother!

So enjoy!  Have some fun with your kids, no matter what their age…they’ll love being a little creative and a little crazy with you!



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Fun things to do on cold days
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