Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Day After Christmas

My favorite part of the holiday season is the day after Christmas...

when the floors are still covered in boxes and wrapping paper
when there's nowhere we've got to be
when there's nothing to do but snuggle and play.

So with a white day-after-Christmas this year, we cuddled by the fire and got into the groove.

While my hub and I opted to stay cozy in jams, the girls spent a majority of the day twirling in princess gowns. Fancy that.

Cities, constructed with countless Lincoln Logs and building blocks, were inhabited by a unique blend of nativity and Disney figurines.

Experimenting with color and design, we got swirly with our new Spirograph set.

These silly straw/glasses brought giggles galore to our lunch intermission.

And while the smocks were out, we created magnificent spin-art paintings to deck the halls with color.

Some people favor the build-up of Christmas—the shopping, decorating, planning.

Some favor Christmas Day—gathering by the tree with family, opening gifts and getting stuffed with love.

But for me, the real magic happens on the day after Christmas—when the whirlwind slows, the sparkles settle and the day is delightfully designated for comfort and play.

For me, THAT'S where it's at.

What's your favorite part of the holiday season?
I hope your days have been brimming with beauty, sweet friends.
Happy New Year's Eve! Cheers to ya!
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Red Wine. Purple Teeth? 5 Toast-Worthy Solutions, Friends!

Holiday parties are popping up everywhere, and I'd bet a few folks wouldn't mind getting toasted toasting in the merriment with some fine wine.
how to remove red wine stains on teeth
Mmmm...reds go so well with Sweet Dutchess!
Although my palate sings over dry reds, I find myself sticking to white wines at social gatherings to avoid the stained smile that accompanies a savory Syrah.

Oh how can I continue to turn my back to my reds, whose full-bodied richness beckons to me over the lighter whites?

So I made the move and researched how to practically avoid dreaded purple teeth when enjoying a fine red—without carrying a straw, a whitening pen or peroxide mouthwash in my purse. Because really.
Here are 5 convenient ways to beat the bummer...

1. Plaque on the surface of your teeth will absorb the color, so brush your teeth before (but not immediately before, to avoid tainting your palate) sipping reds.

2. Slap some petroleum-based lip gloss/balm on before you get into the goods. Inevitably, the coating will transfer to your teeth, acting as a light barrier to prevent the wine's color from sticking.

3. Swish some water around in your mouth (sparkling is ideal) between glasses to rinse residuals off your pearly whites.

4. Excuse yourself and give your chompers a quick scrub with some tissue or cloth. Rub that red outta there.

5. Hit up the vegetable tray. Those healthy goodies will scrub your teeth and produce extra saliva to wash tannins right outta town. For a double whammy, chow down on some hard cheese which will coat your teeth with calcium and prevent staining.
red wine
And there you have it! 
Smile away.
I will, most definitely, toast to that!

If you have any other tips for preventing red wine stains on teeth, please send them our way!

Salute, sweet friends! Here's to us all.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Learning to Love by Loving Lovies

I was a child addict...
a thumb-sucking, blankie-sniffin' addict.

I'd watch the clock in preschool, fidgeting with withdrawal, eagerly counting the minutes till I could get my blankie fix.

Oh, I loved that blankie to pieces. 
Want proof?
I still have it.
Yup. That's my lovey right there—a ball of string tied into knots.

I assure you that it used to be an actual blanket, but this is what years of cuh-raise-zee affection does to a lovey.

Eventually, with encouragement and support from my family, I kicked the blankie habit and graduated to THIS addiction (which I promise I've almost kicked).

Nowadays, I help my darlings round up "Ladue Baby" and "Kitty Cat" before bedtime, and their doting love is met with understanding.
Sometimes, it's easier to relax with a lovey by your side—be it a stuffed teddy bear, a family pet, a fella or a favorite pillow.

These objects of our affection feel like a warm hug, smell like the sweetness of home, remind us of the security and comfort of unconditional love.

So I'm okay with lovies and everything they represent.

I watch my girls have tea parties with their snuggle buddies, brush their fur, even wisely suggest their pals get an occasional "bath" in the washing machine, and I'm proud of the thoughtfulness they exhibit.

Kids learn to love by loving lovies...
and I couldn't love that more.

For smiles today, check out this amazing story of how social media helped reconnect a little girl with her lost teddy.

*And for more info on the psychology behind lovies, check out this article from Parents.com

May you love your loves to pieces, sweet friends!
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

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Monday, December 9, 2013

How to Avoid Static Shocks: Zap Attack!

Is it happening to you?

I mean DAY-UM!

Seems like, every time I get movin' these days, I get shocked (NOT electrocuted! Catch up on the difference in this previous post) at first contact.
static shock
You know me.
I spent an evening learning about static electricity and researched how to thwart the zap.

If you're a science nerd at heart :::high fives::: and would like to learn the hows and whys on static electricity, check out this post from Electrostatics.net and get in the know.

But here are some short answers to stopping the shock.

1. Watch yo' feet!
Shoes with rubber soles often generate a static charge when passing over carpeting. Try leather-soled slippers or shoes (my girls rock these), or walk barefoot or in cotton socks instead.

2. Rethink your socks/clothing/carpet materials. Wool, nylon, polyester and silk have a more positive triboelectric charge than cotton and are more likely to cause a shock.

3. Raise the air humidity in your environment. Plants, a humidifier, even boiling water on the stove will help add moisture to the air.

4. Dry or rub your clothes/hair with a dryer sheet to neutralize electric charge.

5. Rub some lotion, a barrier to prevent a static build, into your skin. Run your hands (with residual lotion) over your hair and clothes as well.

6. Condition your hair thoroughly to add moisture that will reduce static. Brush with boar's hair bristles (not nylon or synthetics) to tame flyaways.

7. Get rid of your charge by touching a grounded metal object with the (less sensitive) back of your hand. You can try to lessen your static by touching something made of wood before touching a light switch or metal object.

(I've had much success with this tip, especially before touching/hugging other people or hitting the light switches that tend to give me a jolt!)

8. Lastly, to get rid of the charge built from rubbing against the seat of your vehicle, touch and HOLD a metal part of the door frame as you leave your seat. Don't let go until your feet have touched the ground.

Also, try placing your hand against the glass window to diminish charge before touching the door.

Or, while holding your keys, touch the metal key to the metal of the doorframe to painlessly discharge the electricity.

Ditch the jolt, friends, and have a grounded season!
Any other tips or idea for beating static shock? Send 'em my way!
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours
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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Little Girls

I've never been much of a girly girl.
At the breakfast bar
I don't get my hair highlighted
don't have my nails done
high heels hurt me, 
and pink is just not my color.

But I do have daughters...
Lunch please, mom.
who want accessories on everything,
who can't get enough purple sparkle nail polish,
and who clop around the house, unfazed, in my brutal stilettos.
And you know what?
Having these crazy cats as daughters is just beyond best!

How could I not be inspired by their creativity
their dazzling whimsy
their uber-funky wackadoo?!?

Now there's a balance, for sure...a compromise.
I managed to convince them to get down with yard work though! See?

I mean, even the dog has to get into glam.
Because it's just easier when you don't fight it, right?
Oh, thank heaven for little girls...
Off to accessorize, friends.
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

P.S. I'm also a realist, so check back with me in about 10 years to see how I feel about having two teenaged little girls. Think my tone will change? 
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