Have you heard of the shoebox project? Last night, I got together with a group of girlfriends and we made little gifts for women in shelters. The idea is simple - put together a shoebox full of little luxuries that a woman might need or want, but may not be able to afford herself. The boxes are donated to women's shelters across the country. Around the holidays, there are a lot of organizations that provide gifts to children in need, but sometimes the moms are overlooked.
When my friend Ainsley suggested hosting the get-together, I thought it was a wonderful idea. Each box is supposed to be valued at around $50, and I was shocked by how easy it was to 'shop my closet'. I found hand lotions, nail polishes, teas, and candies that were perfectly good, yet I hadn't used. I also bought a few new items to add, like cute socks and new gloves.
We had a great night - this group of girlfriends often host 'wine nights', and this was really no different, except we sat on the floor instead of crowding around the food:) In the end I think we completed 12 boxes. As the holiday sales try to entice me to buy, buy, buy, it's nice to give rather than receive. I'm sure I'll pull out my credit card for some 'must-have' black friday sale, but fresh in my mind is the idea that I already have more than I need, which is a great way to start the holiday season.
While the weather outside is much warmer than usual, it's hard to resist pulling out the cozy sweaters and wool socks. Something about sweaters... I have the hardest time exiting a store without picking one up for someone in our little crew! Shopping for the dude is always a little tough, as he's very lean, and I also prefer slim cut styles. Up until a couple weeks ago, I'd exclusively shopped in the toddler section at kids stores, which tends to run from size 1 - 5. Finally, I had a realization that the kids section starts at an x-small, which says it fits ages 4-5. After comparing a few size 5's to x-small's, I've realized that the kids version (x-small) runs longer in the body but without added width. Perfect!
I picked up his red plaid sweater from joe fresh, and of course now I see that they have a sale on. Isn't that always the case? And then I debate in my head how much of a discount I 'lost', and how much it would cost in time and gas to drive back and try to exchange or price match... and usually I give up there. The sweater is a little stretchy so I think it will hold it's shape well, and I just wanted to snuggle up with him all day:)
I also have to point out Soren's socks, which are happy socks from mini mioche. They are the best! He goes through socks sooo quickly, and these have lasted for a couple months with barely any wear on them. I would say I'll put them in his stocking - but he would probably cry if he thought santa brought him socks. Many a toy have been selected for santa this year, and clothes are nowhere near his list.
Poppy's cute winter sweater is from baby gap and was one of those $5 deals that tend to happen after the holidays. I used to be a boxing day enthusiast, but these days I just check out the online sales, which tend to run the entire week between christmas and new years. Gap / Old Navy have awesome deals where they'll sometimes offer up to 70% off the lowest marked prices, and I love to stock up on things for the next season.
Lastly I have to confess that these cozy pictures were not taken at our house. Sadly, while we have a 100-year old character home - we don't have a fireplace:( It is at the TOP of our list for a future house, so in the meantime we'll casually invite ourselves over to friends and family with fireplaces. I promise to bring baking!
We are enjoying an absolutely beautiful november, so when Soren asked if we could go for a picnic, I jumped at the chance to get one last one in before the snow (inevitably) falls. While the kids napped, I quickly put together a little picnic basket for us, filled with peanut butter and jam sandwiches, corn nuts, apple slices, raisins, a left-over bag of chips from halloween, and a juice box. I never buy juice, but you would not know it if you met these two. They are obsessed! This single box must have been a leftover from something, a birthday party perhaps, and Poppy would not let it out of her sight. Somehow I convinced them to share - I suppose half a juice box is better than none.
Saturdays are usually my favourite, unless I happen to have a week-day off. We start early - this week earlier than usual at around 5:30 - and I savour my coffee at home, as opposed to in the car. Poppy and I head out to gymnastics, and I love spending the hour with just her, teaching her to walk on the balance beam and attempt backwards summersaults. Afterwards we sometimes meet Soren and Tyler for a second breakfast, or do a few errands before coming home to meet the boys.
Today I'd planned to make Ina Garten's minestrone soup, so we hustled around getting pancetta, a baguette, and a bottle of wine. Of course we stopped in at the crusty bun for some german pastries and a second coffee. The soup did not disappoint, and if you are looking for a hearty winter soup - this is a go-to. It makes a ton, so next time perhaps I will invite some friends over to share it with us, Soren's been bugging me to plan a dinner party soon. It's odd that for someone who doesn't particularly like many foods, he sure likes entertaining. He is happy as a clam to help me grocery shop, and even meal plan, and he's been after me to host a dinner party soon. One of these days:)