All posts written by Aimee Farley

Why I Hate the Elf on the Shelf

I hate the Elf on the Shelf. There, I said it. Every year it makes me feel like a horrible parent. It makes me feel grinchy and ragey. It makes me feel like a bad Christian. It makes me feel disgusted. But this year, I’m not letting that little, weird-looking thing get to me. And you shouldn’t let it get to you either. Why? Because we are better than this. Let’s join forces, come together, and rise up against this Elf on the Shelf nonsense!

This year I decided not to take the elves out the day after Thanksgiving. Yes, we have two elves because my loving mother and grandmother to my children decided a couple of years ago that my two kiddos needed their own elves. (Mom, if you are reading this, now that we have added child #3 into the mix, please don’t buy a third elf!). I didn’t take the elves out because I thought the whole idea was stupid, and I didn’t want to become another victim of the Elf on the Shelf hype once again. But yesterday morning as I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, I noticed something that reminded me of why I really hate the whole elf thing. And in a fit of rage and passion, I marched down my basement stairs and dug out Mongonk and Stella. I wrote a couple of notes to my kiddos, and I hid those little elfers. You see, I don’t really hate the Elf on the Shelf. What I hate is the ugliness it brings out in us.

Every year it’s the same thing. The arguments start. Judgements are made. And all of a sudden you have parents feeling guilty for not having an elf, parents arguing with each other over the true meaning of Christmas and the proper way to teach kindness, and parents judging each other for not having enough Christmas spirit, or for buying into a messed up idea like hiding an elf around the house that creeps on little kids. Oh, and then you have the people who don’t have kids yet or kids old enough to know about the elf putting their own two cents in about how they know what’s better for our kids. You know what’s messed up? All. Of. This. This is messed up. It’s disgusting what shows up in my newsfeed sometimes. It’s sad to see people say and write such horrible things about each other and their parenting styles (because apparently having an elf or not having an elf reveals all of your shortcomings as a parent). And it’s especially disappointing to see that people feel like they can freely treat each other so unkindly on social media. What the elf???

When I read the comments about the elves that appeared in a story on my newsfeed, I couldn’t believe some of the judgements people were making about each other. In fact, I was really angry about it all day. But then I asked myself, “Why do I give a flying elf?” Why do any of us give a flying elf?

If there is anything I have learned from being a parent, it’s that I am in no way a perfect parent. I mess up every day. The other day I accidentally said the f-word in front of my first grader when I dropped and broke a dish in the kitchen. I was waiting all day for a phone call from the principal saying that my daughter decided to teach her friends that word. So far I think I dodged a bullet there. I make mistakes every day as a parent, and I know I am not the only one. We are human. We are imperfect, which means there is no way any of us are perfect parents. While there certainly are exceptions, I believe that all of us love our children, and because we love our children, we are all doing our best to raise our children right. But my way of raising my children is different from yours. And your way of raising your children is different from mine. That is the beauty of parenthood –our experiences are similar, yet also very unique. And perhaps we can learn a few things about parenting from each other along the way. After all, we are a village.

So, if you want to put that elf on your shelf, go for it. Nobody should be stopping you or judging you for it. I’ll admit, I enjoy seeing my kids get excited about looking for their elves in the morning. I also discovered that they have no problem getting out of bed on school days now, so I may just keep the elves around until June. If you think the elf is stupid, well, I get it! But that doesn’t give you a right to judge other parents who think it’s fun and magical. Some parents might think that dying Easter eggs, dressing up for Halloween, and sitting on a strange bearded man’s lap are weird traditions too. If you are confused like me about how you feel about the elf because you care too much about what other people think of you while also having a desire to go against the grain, don’t worry, you’ll figure it out. And if you do something different with a reindeer, Kindness Elf, or Snoop on the Stoop (just google it), that’s totally cool too.

I decided this year that Mongonk and Stella can stay in our home on a few conditions. First, I’m not going to move them to new spots every day. Second, I’m not even going to try to use them as a tool to get my kids to behave better because it hasn’t worked yet. Third, our elves don’t report to Santa or get into mischief. Instead, my kids are getting notes from their elves that highlight their accomplishments and good qualities. That’s it. It’s simple enough for me, and exciting enough for my kiddos. And I don’t give a flying elf about what you decide to do or not do with the elf because I trust that your decision is based on what you think is best for you and your kiddos this holiday season.

So here’s to rising up against the Elf on the Shelf nonsense and coming together to focus on spreading kindness instead of ugliness on the Internet this holiday season! Cheers!

 

Sawdust Savvy: DIY Kits for the Busy but Crafty Mama

Sawdust Savvy DIY Kits

{I received a complimentary DIY wood sign kit from Sawdust Savvy as well as a code for readers to use to receive $5.00 off an online purchase. All opinions about Sawdust Savvy are 100% my own. Thank you for letting me share my experiences with you!}

This October marks three years in our little brick house. We spent a majority of this time making our home our own by remodeling the attic, bathroom, and improving the landscaping. To be honest, we still have a few boxes in the basement that we have yet to unpack. And I have been saying that I am going to paint my middle child’s room for two years now. The projects will never end, and I suppose that is all part of the adventure of owning a home. But I am beyond thrilled to be at a point where we can take a break from major improvements for the time being. Our house is cozy and comfortable, and it’s been refreshing to enjoy more quality time as a family on the weekends.

We have settled in nicely here. The kids’ rooms are filled with toys, books, and their own artwork. Each family member has their “designated” seat at the dining room table. The bathtub is adorned with colorful bath toys. Our backyard produces fruits, veggies, and beautiful blooms. The kids have some amazing neighborhood friends that they can spend hours outside with on quiet Sundays like today. While we have settled in here, I have to admit that I am a little embarrassed that I have yet to hang anything on our walls. I have a Pinterest board filled with ideas for decorating the walls in my home, but I can never seem to pull the trigger and go for it. It’s overwhelming, and the last thing I want to do is put a hole in the wall. It seems like such a commitment! But, I finally found a solution to my problem: Sawdust Savvy.

Sawdust Savvy is located in Stillwater and offers instructor-led wood craft workshops, made-to-order wood signs, and to-go DIY crafting kits that can be shipped to you. I’ve been wanting to add more personal touches to our home, and while the thought of making a cute wood sign has crossed my mind many times, I simply don’t have the time these days to plan ahead for these types of projects. However, the wonderful thing about Sawdust Savvy is that you can make that cute sign you pinned on Pinterest years ago without all of the effort of getting the materials and tools together. The delightful ladies at the local shop do all of the prep work for you so you can enjoy the best part of making something beautiful for your home. The only prep work I had to do was to make the difficult decision on which sign to choose. Taxing, I know.

I couldn’t help but pick something for the Christmas season. How endeering is this “Noel” sign???

{Sawdust Savvy NOEL DIY Wood Sign Kit}

I stopped by Sawdust Savvy to pick up my sign instead of having it shipped to me. I was so curious to see what their workshop looked like. It’s a cozy space in the heart of lovely downtown Stillwater. The walls were full of inspirational projects, the employees were friendly and helpful, and the workshop was bustling.

Once I had my sign kit in hand, it took a few weeks to get the courage to make it. I didn’t want to mess it up, because in all honesty, I kind of suck at following instructions. Luckily, Sawdust Savvy has tutorials available to watch on YouTube that make it super easy to follow along and know exactly what to do when assembling the project.

 

If I didn’t spend so much time taking pictures of the fun process, I probably could have finished my sign in less than 30 minutes. Really, it was that simple!

While I do hope to attend one of the workshops at the studio in the near future, I love that I was able to order a project that I could complete on my own time at home. I’m a busy mama, so I was really excited about accomplishing a crafty project during the little one’s naptime! Now I just need to find the perfect spot to hang my new sign…

Sawdust Savvy is a local, women-owned business. The workshops are great opportunities for getting together with friends or celebrating special occasions. But for the mamas who don’t always have the time to get out on their own, DIY kits are great options for getting one’s craft fix in too. Check out upcoming workshops and the online shop here!

See something you like? I have a special code for you to receive $5 off of your purchase! When you checkout at Sawdust Savvy, be sure to use the code “blogger5”. Happy crafting, mama!

Adults Only Night at the Minnesota Children’s Museum + Ticket Giveaway

{I am an ambassador for the Minnesota Children’s Museum, and I received two complimentary tickets to the event in addition to two complimentary tickets to share with one of you. All opinions about the museum are 100% my own. Thank you for letting me share my thoughts with you!}

What was your favorite thing to play as a kid? When I watch my kids play in the backyard with their friends, I can’t help but feel nostalgic as I think back to my childhood days. I lived in a neighborhood that had five or six families with kids all around the same age on one block, so we would spend our weekends and evenings playing kickball in the street and running from one yard to the next. I remember some of those moments like it was yesterday. I can feel the warmth of the late-afternoon sun on my cheeks, the gravel in my knee after a trip and fall, and the stickiness of a Popsicle that had melted and dripped down my arm. I can taste the salt of my tears when I was upset that it was time to go inside for dinner. I can hear the steady squeaks of the neighbor’s swing set and a barking dog. I can see the faces of my childhood friends, their houses, and the chain-link fences that separated our yards. And now I watch my kids play with their friends outside, and I am thankful that they get to have this experience too because those years on Banfil Street with the neighbor kids were some of my favorite childhood days.

Do you still enjoy playing? Do you still make time to play? I think it’s safe to assume that we all work hard. Whether you have a job to support your family or you stay at home to support your family, we all work hard. We have many tasks on our to-do lists, and the lists never seem to get shorter. Our lives are scheduled. We have meetings, activities, drop-off and pick-up times, events, family gatherings, birthday parties, sports games, etc. It’s difficult to make time to play, and sometimes it feels like we have to try to pencil in playtime with our own kids. “Sorry kids, mom can’t play right now because she has to make dinner.” You know how it goes. Sometimes we stare at the clock while we are playing with our kids wondering how much longer we have until it’s time to switch the load of laundry from the washer to dryer. Even when we do have time to play, it’s not always easy to feel relaxed enough to play without worrying about all of our adult responsibilities.

Wouldn’t it be great to take a break from adulting to play for a whole evening? Wouldn’t it be fun to do this with your best friend, your spouse, or a group of friends? Play is important for kids, but it’s important for adults too. We can get so caught up in what we have to do and easily forget that we are not tethered to work. One reason why I love the Minnesota Children’s Museum so much is because the exhibits encourage parents to engage in a variety of playful activities with their kids. The museum gives adults a space to imagine, tinker, and create right alongside their children. And while I have always visited the museum with my children, I am super excited that the museum is offering an adults-only night coming up on September 28th!  Let me clarify, the event is 21+ because there will also be adult beverages available at the event!

The Adults@Play 21 + Museum Takeover event will feature a cash bar, interactive improve with The Theater of Public Policy, and make-and-take art projects with Can Can Wonderland. And of course, guests will get to explore the museum without having to keep track of their kids because the adults get to be the kids for the evening (just don’t forget your socks for the slide)! The event is coming up on Thursday, September 28 from 6 – 10 PM at the Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul. Come and make a date night out of it, or get some friends together to relive some of your favorite childhood memories of playing without a care in the world!

You can purchase tickets for the event here. I am also giving away TWO FREE TICKETS to the event, so make sure you enter the giveaway below! I’m going with my college roommate, and we are so looking forward to a night out! I hope to see you there too!

 

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Scary Mommy
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  • I was nervous all week for today, but I’m feeling pretty fearless in this moment now. I passed my first color belt test and earned my orange belt today 😁 #orangebelt #taekwondo #ninjainthemaking #taekwondofamily
  • This little lady got her first haircut today! Thanks @teasesalonstpaul for making it a great experience for her (and mama too) 😁
#firsthaircut #toddlerhairstyles #toddlermom
  • My copy of Rise and Shine by @araelizabethart arrived in the mail this morning. This book is beautiful in every single way. If you are looking for a special gift this holiday, or for other celebrations like new babies and birthdays, I highly recommend this book. Beautiful words. Beautiful illustrations. And a beautiful message to our children. It is truly lovely. 💛💛💛
  • Want to know why I hate the Elf on the Shelf? You can find the link in my profile to my latest blog post in which I share a few of my thoughts on this whole Elf on the Shelf craze. #parenthood #elfontheshelf #nomorenonsense
  • I’ve got a few things to say about the Elf on the Shelf. I’m really fired up this morning and I hope I find the determination at the end of today to finally write something new on the blog. I actually didn’t get the elves out until today. I’ve been having an internal debate about what to do with these guys. There is so much judgment being spewed all over social media about the elves. It’s disgusting. But this morning I thought, “Screw it!” I’m getting the elves out, I’m going to have fun with my kids, and I’m going to write a long ass blog post for all you haters and lovers. So watch out, I’ve got some words to share 🤔 And by the way, you should have seen how excited the kids were to discover the elves had returned today. Literally jumping up and down! Yeah, that made the whole morning awesome 😎. #elfontheshelf #mommyblogger #nomoretrollsplease
  • This little one enjoyed helping with decorating the tree this year 😍.
  • Time to trim the tree 🎄.
  • We found a keeper! 🎄
  • This little lady had a lot to explore at the tree farm this year! #christmastreehunting #christmasiscoming