This Week's Highlights in Parenting: Tips, Tastes, and Encouragement

It’s getting closer to the hosting season in our home. That means it’s the time of year I become really aware of the piles of laundry in my basement and how badly my baseboards need cleaned! So, I’ve listed a couple of inspiring sites to get a jump-start on holiday cleaning so you don’t have to do it the night before a party.


I’m always looking for someone to break down (nicely) the essential oils dilemma. Do I buy name-brand? Does it really matter? What types of oils can I mix together to clean my kitchen, bathroom, and dining room table?  Look no more! Our friends over at Live Simply have sorted it all out.




Over at Work It, Mom!, they have done all the hard work of getting a Thanksgiving checklist together for anything and everything you could possibly need, from a Campbell’s Soup hotline for leftovers to Loew’s Wine Line for good pairing suggestions.

By Alcinoe via Wikimedia Commons

By Alcinoe via Wikimedia Commons

Follow Work It, Mom! on Twitter for more great ideas.


Oh my goodness: These Thanksgiving craft ideas will inspire you to get busy with your little ones! I especially love the placemats and the thankful chart!



I have read both the children’s version, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift, and the adult version, The Greatest Gift, of Ann Voskamp’s Advent books, and they are a daily part of our Christmas celebrations. She gives inspiration for re-focusing your holidays before they’ve already passed.

I mean, it’s happened — I can get up caught up thinking November and December are about trying to jump through a million little Pinterest hoops—

And all my recipes end up looking like very bad science experiments gone wrong, and my crafty-decor looking like yeah, something you want to drop off at the thrift store as soon as you can, and frankly? I can waste my time looking for that more, trying to make, produce, perform, find that more — that ultimately doesn’t matter.

That ultimately makes me feel a failure.Worthless. 

But there’s a Word, this genuine Masterpiece, this Real Story, that reaches out on those days, the hard days, the holy-days, the holidays, and says, “You are not alone — Your messed up family, your wrestle to know what matters and what is  worth it? Let Me help you find your way back to who you really are…to what really matters…to your own worth.”

Read the rest here and follow Ann on Twitter for more inspiration.



We are decking our halls this weekend, and we will be celebrating being together with family and friends we haven’t seen in awhile. Here’s hoping your weekend is relaxing and filled with simple beauty.