Tag Archives: shopping

10 Thoughts Every Mom Has About Holiday Shopping

This post originally appeared on The Grit and Grace Project.

Holiday shopping. Every year, it’s left to the moms. Well, usually. I pass off a few things to my husband, but generally, I do the lion’s share of our Christmas shopping. I don’t much like shopping in huge crowds, so I’m not usually a Black Friday frequenter – but here’s to you, Cyber Monday! Each year, when I’m going through the list of our family members and close friends we like to get gifts for, I have a series of thoughts that go through my mind… I’ll let you in on my secret questions.

1. Why does anyone need this junk anyway? All those gift kits of men’s “boutique” toiletries, women’s “specialist” manicure supplies, or a box set of cheap, miniature Marvel characters for little boys… does anyone like them? What about those department store “free gifts” when you spend a certain amount? What’s even in those things?! Usually junk, right? It looks nice all wrapped up, but who actually needs it?

2. What’s the point of getting anything for my kids? They are blessed with four living grandparents, all of whom spoil them with gifts and clothes and special time together. My kids are too young to remember who bought them which gift, and so I’m a little jaded about getting them anything from just me and their dad. They’ll have plenty of presents to open even if I buy them nothing. And hey, everything comes in those cardboard boxes they love!

3. Now where did I stash that gift? I’ve got this issue of hiding things from the kids… and myself. I start taking advantage of sales on websites like Zulily in September or so (yes, I’m one of those), so I have to have the top shelf of several to keep the kids from finding them too early. I get bonus points because I have a son with a birthday three days after Christmas, so I’m hiding his birthday gifts as well.

4. Oh, but she’d love to have this, too! I’m so guilty of over-buying for some of our people. When I find more than one thing that’s just perfect for someone, I want to get them all! I love giving good gifts – maybe because it’s not something I’m particularly good at. I find the perfect thing (or five) and I want to get it!

5. Do my kids all have the same number of gifts? My kids aren’t old enough to be counting their presents quite yet, but I definitely look at the piles and see if there’s a significant difference. I know it’s the thought that counts, and that quality is better than quantity, but if my boys have huge piles of presents on Christmas morning, and my daughter only has a couple of things, you better believe she’s going to notice. AND say something.

6. I can’t remember whether I bought that person something… Since I’m often an early shopper, I sometimes forget when I’ve bought someone something. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve got several little spots I hide things, and I frequently spend about a week before Christmas re-finding them.

7. Is this outfit going to fit? I don’t know about you, but every time I’m in a store, looking at clothes to buy for Christmas, or birthdays, I immediately forget what size my child wears, or what they even look like. I hold up a pair of pants (you know, the kind I fold ten of each day) and I can’t tell if they’ll fit my two year old or my five year old. You call it lack of spacial reasoning, I call it holiday brain freeze.

8. Have I eaten today? During the holidays, I’m so overwhelmed with cleaning my house (because I’m usually a host of something or another), cooking something, baking something, grocery shopping or gift shopping, I totally neglect myself. I tend to forget to eat, shower, exercise, and do pretty much anything except my chores, and collapse on the couch with a glass of wine when things finally slow down. So while I’m out in Target, checking items off my list, I often wonder, “Have I even eaten anything besides those samples at Costco?”

9. What in the world am I going to buy for him? Typically, I’m asking this question about my husband. He’s the guy who just buys himself whatever it is he wants. I have to remind him a couple of months before Christmas to please, please just let me get it and wrap it. It won’t kill him to wait a couple of weeks for whatever it is, right?

10. I wonder who is shopping for me right now. It’s not totally selfish to wonder whether anyone remembered ol’ Mom this Christmas, right?

I love everything about Christmas, but these semi-stressful thoughts usually run through my mind every December. Please, tell me I’m not the only one!

Grocery Shopping with Toddlers in 64 Easy Steps

As you may or may not know, grocery shopping is one of my favorite things to do, and my kids typically have a good time doing it as well. Our neighborhood grocery store is a place we goseveral times a week and everyone knows us. It’s really close to our house, so I don’t feel bad hopping down there pretty frequently. Anyway, when I pack up the kids and take them with me (that’s most of the time), it takes a little more planning and effort. Here is what grocery shopping with my kids usually looks like.

1. Park not in the closest parking space to the door of the store, but in the closest parking space to a cart return (for easy pick up and drop off).

2. Hold one kid on your hip and hold the other’s hand because, of course, there weren’t any carts in the cart return.

3. Choose the cart with two seats and steering wheels.

4. Buckle in your toddlers.

5. Wait for your oldest to complain because she wants to use a “little shopper” cart instead.

6. Unstrap her and let her pick out the “little shopper” cart of her choosing.

7. Wait for her to bash your ankles while you unstrap your second toddler.

8. Put second toddler into a regular cart, because you can’t seem to justify taking the one with the steering wheels for just one kid.

9. Finally enter the store.

10. Get your ankles bashed, because your daughter eyed the lovely display of donuts inside the door, instead of watching where she was going.

11. Tell your daughter you can get donuts on a different day, if she stops bashing your ankles.

12. Peruse the produce quickly, giving only the most durable items to your “little shopper”.

13. Watch as a carton of blueberries is dumped sideways and hits the floor.

14. Shout, “Freeze!” so that the least number of blueberries are smashed.

15. Stoop down (around your swollen, 39-week belly) to pick up any whole blueberries that are left.

16. Add the partially-full carton of blueberries to your cart, because you feel bad spilling half of them out and then putting them back.

17. Feed the toddler in your cart a quick snack, because he’s burned up all his calories watching you clean up the blueberries.

18. Skip over the rest of the produce and head to the meat department, because who needs veggies today?

19. Grab chicken and steak and get the heck out of the meat department, because your “little shopper” is already in the dairy section, headed for the eggs.

20. Give the toddler in your cart another snack, because he’s eyeing the not yet purchased bananas.

21. Take out the salted butter (why?) and the store-brand can of biscuits (still why?) from your “little shopper’s” cart.

22. Get both of the last two gallons of organic whole milk, and cry because the price went up again.

23. Say no to the ice cream.

24. Wipe away the tears, and say no to the ice cream.

25. Explain that you’ve already got ice cream in the freezer at home.

26.  Offer ice cream for lunch on the condition that you don’t have to get a second container of ice cream.

27. Go to the check out line.

28. Leave your cart in the line, and go retrieve your little shopper from the ice cream aisle (thankfully not far away).

29. Come back to the line with your little shopper and her ice cream.

30. Get your ankles bashed because the little shopper is eyeing the candy.

31. Give in and let the toddler in your cart watch videos on your phone while you help bag the groceries.

32. Say no to the M&Ms.

33. Say no to the York peppermint patty.

34. Say no to the random candy bar you’ve never heard of, but now you want to try.

35. Peel your “little shopper” off the floor.

36. Give her the “special job” of returning her tiny cart.

37. Swipe your card and bust it after your little shopper before she hits the parking lot (her logical next step after returning her tiny cart).

38. Realize you forgot the eggs.

39. Resign yourself to not caring.

40. Scoop up your little shopper as she’s activating the automatic door.

41. Squish her in, even though there’s no room, next to the toddler already in the cart.

42. Watch the hair-pulling begin.

43. Walk as quickly as you can to the car, waving one hand in the air to the oncoming traffic.

44. Smile apologetically at the cars who stopped to stare at your toddlers making a scene.

45. Thank God for the button that cranks the car before you get there.

46. Wrestle toddler number one into his seat.

47. Give him back your phone with the videos to watch.

48. Wrestle toddler number two into her seat.

49. Explain that you only have one phone.

50. Try seven other methods of distraction.

51. Finally pacify her with a banana.

52. Pack groceries into the car.

53. Take cart to cart return.

54. Praise yourself for parking so close to it.

55. Get in the car, already nice and cool.

56. Turn around to look at toddlers, and see banana in everyone’s hair.

57. Turn back around like you didn’t notice.

58. Drive home.

59. Unpack children.

60. Give them ice cream.

61. Unpack groceries.

62. Think of several other things you didn’t get, and figure you’ll just do without them till the next trip. 

63. Ice your bashed and bruised ankles.  

64. Hope the next trip isn’t for a while, but know it’ll probably be two days later. 

December Is Here!


It seems crazy that December is already here. There are already a million things I need and want to do in these next few weeks before the new year arrives.

Our basement renovation has become really real… pardon that weird grammar there, but that’s exactly how I feel! Measurements have been taken, and plans are in the works. We are housing family over Christmas, so things won’t really start till January, but we’re ordering a Unit (one of those storage containers that you can have at your home instead of storing elsewhere) for the next week or so to go ahead and start packing/weeding out/moving things out of the basement. It’s happening!

We’re also gearing up for musical performances, family Christmas parties, and sweet traditions with our kids. I want to take EK to the Old Salem Candle Tea this year, because I think she’s old enough to like it now. I’ve been almost every year with at least a few of my college girlfriends, so I think it’ll be sweet to take my daughter this year. She loves sweets and Christmas music, so I’m hoping it’ll be a win! We’re going to the Tanglewood Festival of Lights on the 12th, on the hayride, just like two years ago! EK loved it then, so I bet she will really love it this year. And our cousins are going, as well as a few other friends, so it’ll be freezing but fun. It’ll be like a birthday celebration for me, since my birthday is the 13th!

I’m almost done Christmas shopping (winning SO MUCH) so that’s a load off my shoulders already… and I’ve got mixed feelings to say that I did a lot of online shopping. I did it before Black Friday and Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday and blah blah… so I can safely say that I avoided crowds in every manner possible. My Christmas cards are ordered and have arrived (make sure I have your address if you want one!) so I’m in the midst of addressing and stuffing those. All that’s left there is to go spend an obscene amount of money on stamps (blegh).

We’ve also got the Advent calendar I painted last year full of the tiny ornaments and Scriptures. I found the wooden calendar at A.C. Moore and just painted it myself. Cute, if I can give myself some credit!




I went to a Salem alumnae holiday party with Lauren and Anne last night, and it was lovely to be out in high heels with the girls for a couple of hours. Yay Salem!

This blurry picture is the only one I got, but I love my college roomies!

On Monday night, my sister-in-law Hannah hosted a cookie swap. Best idea ever, by the way, coming from me, a woman who loves cookies! I baked three batches, haha! But the spread was glorious!






I’ve also started to plan J’s first birthday party! I can’t believe he’s almost one year old. It literally blows my mind that it’s true. I mean, I know he’s big, I know he’s smart, I know he’s developmentally a one year old. But it seems like just weeks ago that we were worried about him not gaining weight (hilarious to me now…) or re-babyproofing because he was starting to crawl. And now he thinks he can walk! Slow down, time!

Anyway, I just wanted to have a “welcome December” or “oh my gosh, it’s already December!” post. What are you plans for the month? Fun holiday traditions? Finishing your shopping? Cleaning and cooking and baking for the masses?



First Ever Friday Finds!

I’ve always liked checking out “Friday Finds” from other blogs, so here’s my first one ever!  I haven’t figured out a layout I love, but I didn’t want that to stop me, so here’s a simply laid out FF.  Happy Friday the 13th!


Angel Blue Ahhh Shark! Robeez,  $15.99 on Zulily

Malta Bib Statement Necklace by Stella & Dot,  $118 on StellaDot.com/whitneyhsu (Choose me as your Stylist!)