Barefoot in High Heels

Archive for the ‘Things I Like’ Category

Inspired by this post from Domestic Accident, I give you my Thankful List (in no particular order, except for the top 2):

I am thankful for:

  1. My husband
  2. Our daughters
  3. Having family and friends over for Thanksgiving dinner
  4. Our jobs (yes, can you believe it?  In this economy, we’re both still employed!!  yay!)
  5. Our health
  6. Our home (it may not be perfect, and we would love a new kitchen, but it’s OURS!)
  7. Panera Bread chai tea.  MMmmmmm! 
  8. Online shopping
  9. 24  (yep, that’s right!  Season 7 starts in January.  Woo-hoo!)
  10. Really good books
  11. I’m thankful that Miss M likes to read, too! 
  12. The library
  13. Miss M receiving her first preschool progress report (and a glowing one at that — “She is so sweet and kind to everyone!”)
  14. Miss A sleeping through the night (it took 11 months, but we finally got there!)
  15. The extended family — ALL of them!
  16. My 97-year-old grandpa (and you’d never guess it.  You’d probably think 75-80.  Tops.)
  17. The Internet
  18. Facebook 🙂
  19. My girlfriends.  Love. You. All.
  20. Online banking.  I detest physically writing checks.
  21. Good customer service
  22. My new jeans!
  23. Tall boots
  24. A great impractical pair of heels
  25. Theater.  Quality, live, musical theater.  Not your local multiplex.
  26. Education
  27. The good old US of A
  28. Christmas
  29. Thanksgiving dinner — turkey, stuffing, gravy, potatoes, corn, the works!  And pumpkin pie with whipped cream
  30. A full-bodied California cabernet in a big red-wine glass
  31. Champagne.  I don’t care if it’s a $4 bottle from the drugstore, or Dom Perignon — I’ve had it all and I love it!  Something about the bubbles and the festive-ness.
  32. Fall colors
  33. The four seasons.  The actual four different seasons, not the hotel.  Although I’m sure I’d love that, too.
  34. Hugs from my girls
  35. Laying/sitting in the beanbag chair in Miss M’s room before bedtime, with her saying “Let’s talk!”   Usually it’s “Let’s talk about school.”
  36. Date night!
  37. Trying new restaurants, and being pleasantly surprised
  38. On Demand.  Is it wrong that my daughter knows the little PBS Sprout On Demand song??
  39. DVR
  40. Health insurance
  41. Renters in our previous 2 residences (yep, you heard right.  We own a few houses.  Can’t sell anything here!) who pay their rent!
  42. Traveling.   Doesn’t happen much anymore, but we still love it and appreciate it and can’t wait to do some more when the kids are older.
  43. The first snowfall.   But only the first one.  After that, I’m usually about ready for spring.  I know, #33 said I love the four seasons.  But it would be nice if winter were actually the shortest one.
  44. Opportunity.  The world is our oyster, my friends!
  45. Working on a job share, so I can be home with my girls 2-3 days each week.
  46. My mom watching my girls while I work!!!!!!!
  47. I have great in-laws.  I know not everyone can say that!
  48. Music.   Playing (piano), singing, and listening.
  49. Warm, fuzzy slippers
  50. Photo books from Shutterfly.  It’s the only way for me to organize my pics (although I’m dreadfully behind on this whole task)
  51. Chocolate chip cookies
  52. Ice cream
  53. The Thanksgiving Day parade
  54. Christmas tree-lighting ceremonies
  55. Christmas carols
  56. Sleep
  57. Food.  You know, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and all.
  58. Pure, unconditional love
  59. Democracy in action
  60. A good bra fitting
  61. Staying in pj’s all day
  62. Blogging as a way to stay in touch
  63. No long distance charges on my home or cell phone
  64. Every birthday, anniversary and milestone
  65. Miss A walking/running/climbing
  66. A handwritten note
  67. Receiving cards in the mail
  68. Babies
  69. A new coat of paint can change the look and feel of a room.  Thankfully.
  70. Deep-tissue massages
  71. Successfully nursing my girls for one year each
  72. Preschool crafts (but WHERE do I put them all?)
  73. Hot dutch apple pie a la mode
  74. Good movies that you can watch over and over and know all the lines (When Harry Met Sally, for one!)
  75. Strappy sandals
  76. Five years of marriage
  77. Long weekends
  78. Crossing off things on to-do lists
  79. Contacts
  80. Rare treats like pedicures
  81. Proper grammar
  82. Time (albeit at 5:30 in the morning!) to blog posts like this one.
  83. God’s grace and His work
  84. My nephew and my new nephew arriving next month
  85. $5 pizzas
  86. My kids liking vegetables
  87. Good neighbors
  88. Down pillows
  89. My husband letting me hog the bed
  90. My husband doing most of the laundry
  91. Those Fresh-Mex chains where they build your burrito in front of you.  Yum.
  92. Suave Kids’ detangler!  How else would I be able to brush my daughter’s hair without her crying?
  93. Bobux baby shoes.  Love them.
  94. Saving money
  95. Good sales on things I need
  96. My local international marketplace for fresh food
  97. Target
  98. A company car
  99. A tall glass of pink lemonade on a hot day
  100. Having so many things to be thankful for (or, for which to be thankful)! 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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I can’t wait to check out all the links on this week’s Works For Me Wednesday post.  It’s a themed edition — Toys Worth Buying. 

Well, considering I have a bunch of big, plastic-y toys (none of which I have bought personally!) that I do NOT want cluttering up my living room, I’m all for some good ideas.   And I have a few of my own. 

Here’s the thing.  Listen up aunts/uncles/grandparents/in-laws:  STOP BUYING THE PLASTIC BATTERY-OPERATED JUNK!  We had a birthday party for both of my girls this past weekend — one turned 3 and Baby turned 1 — and I swear the wrapping paper and cardboard boxes were just as fun as some of the toys!!  And, I’m all about creative play, imagination, art sets, no batteries needed.  So here are some good ideas from my own personal experience:

1.  Barefoot Books.  I know, I know, if you read this blog often, I can expound on how much I love Barefoot Books!  So much so that I started selling them last winter.  You can NOT go wrong.  And even better, if you’re buying for kids that are not your own, you never know what books are already in their library.  Since Barefoot isn’t as well-known as some of the big publishers, and WITHOUT LICENSED CHARACTERS (yay!), my guess is that MOST kids don’t already own any of these.  Check it out.  You WON’T be disappointed.

2.  Stacking/nesting blocks.  Two years ago I purchased a set that featured artwork from Eric Carle’s Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?   

ericcarleblocks

We.  Love.  This.  Toy.  I love that each side of the block features something different (an animal, a number, a touch/feel side, etc.  I love that it matches a book that we know.  And I love that the blocks are nesting, too, so they fit inside each other, and when put away don’t take up much room at all! 

3.  You can’t go wrong with some outdoor-fun toys.  As simple as it sounds, sidewalk chalk and big bubble machines or wands are a huge hit! 

4.  I’m buying one of these for my girls and my nephew this year:  Kids Busy Box.  How cool is this?  A whole set of arts & crafts supplies, complete with the glue, scissors, tape, felt, glitter, etc.  With instructions.  For me, who is woefully inadequate in the craft department, I have no more excuses when I shy away from crafts with the kids.  It’s all in here for you.  I can’t wait to try it!

5.  I bought my nephew a magazine subscription last year for his birthday.  His second birthday.  That’s right — there’s a few companies out there who cater to kids that young, but I chose the National Wildlife Federation and their Animal Baby magazine.  Every month he received a board book/magazine in the mail, and it was perfectly age-appropriate!  I want someone to buy this for my kids.  It’s educational, it’s fun to get mail, and you can throw it away recycle it when you’re finished.  No mess, no junk.   Love it.

6.  Now I’m not one for DVDs.  But I make an exception for one:  The Laurie Berkner Band.  My friend bought this for us when my daughter was 18 months old, and 18 months later, we still love it!  The 1/2 hour DVD is like a music video for a bunch of songs, and the kids will get up and dance.  The tunes are catchy, and the kids love it!  It’s great for a 30 minute diversion when I need to blog cook dinner.

7.  OK, OK, so I’ll add one brand of battery-operated toys here.  My daughter has really loved the Parents brand cell phone and the Parents microphone.  She sings her little heart out on her “stage” (the fireplace hearth) and she loves that she can record a snippet of her voice on both toys.  They’re small, they’re cheap, so again — they won’t take up much room!

8.  We also bought my 3-year-old a kitchen this year (but I spent about $35 instead of the uber-expensive sets.  I mean, it’s all pretend play — I don’t NEED the best out there.  She’d play with the $300 one the same way as the $35 one!).  We’ve had it for 2 weeks now and it’s a big hit.

So there you have it, folks.  Shop away.  But if I could offer some advice for you — wrap the gift in some fun shiny paper.  Because your kids will still probably have more fun with the wrapping and bows than what’s inside the package.  🙂

Remember how excited you were to receive your first parenting magazines?  Never mind your growing belly and the fetal kicks and the maternity clothes, your first subscription somehow made it official;  You had joined the ranks of mom-hood and wanted everyone (and all the mailing lists to whom they sell your name) to know about it!

I grew a little weary of these magazines after the first year.  But of course I signed up again (for my FREE subscriptions — even better!) when I found out I was pregnant the second time.  Parents, Parenting, Baby Talk, American Baby . . . there was nothing I wouldn’t know about how to raise my child the best possible way!

There were some helpful tidbits, that’s for sure.  In fact, I still have the article taped on the inside of my cupboard about food ideas to start your baby on solids.  But the second go-around of reading these magazines cover-to-cover really got me frustrated.  They were ALL. THE. SAME!  How many times did I need to read articles like “Sleep Strategies for Your Toddler” or “Ten Tips for Picky Eaters” or “Questions You Need To Ask Your Pediatrician” or “Taming Those Tantrums.”  Even worse were the mom-centric features:  “New-Mom Makeovers” or “Five Ways to a More Fabulous You.”  They were almost insulting. 

I found an alternative.  And I love it.  I’m almost afraid to buy the newest copy because I know I’ll read it cover to cover, and I want to prolong the joy of reading.  (is that crazy?  Am I the only one who does this?)   BRAIN, CHILD MAGAZINE is the answer!!  The magazine for thinking mothers (their words, not mine, but I love them nonetheless).  ***edited to add:  I’m having trouble with some of my links here.  But their website is www.brainchildmag.com ***

Oh, Brain, Child!  *sigh*  Go to their website (www.brainchildmag.com)  to read a few of the articles online.  It’s such a tease, though, because you’ll really want to run and get your own copy to have access to the whole shebang.   One of the quotes on the homepage is “BRAIN,CHILD provides an appealing mix of humor, wit and intelligence.”   There are essays, here, people.  Essays.  And debates.  A few months ago it was about childhood vaccines, and the last issue was about raising children with your political values.   This time is about vegetarianism.  Sound a little too liberal for ya?  Sometimes.  But both sides of each debate I’ve read were so well-written, insightful and intelligent that if you don’t agree with them, you can at least respect their opinions and their well-thought-out stances. 

Essays, debates, and fiction — oh my!  Can you tell how much I love this magazine?  You can imagine my excitement when I checked the website recently and saw the new issue.  Borders, here I come!  Brain, Child is published quarterly, so each issue is awaited with much anticipation.  And, you won’t have the trouble of receiving another one before you’ve even finished last month’s copy (I know I’m not the only one who had stacks of the “other” parenting magazines that I breezed through because next month’s stash was arriving in the mail).

So there it is.  BRAIN, CHILD works for me!  For other Works For Me Wednesday tips, head over to Rocks in My Dryer at http://www.rocksinmydryer.typepad.com/