All the Things

Things I Know For Sure:

  • When they say that wrap-style dresses flatter every figure, they are lying.
  • Tea and toast can cure any number of problems.
  • These are a terrible idea.

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Things I Am Good At:

  • Reading aloud to my kids.
  • Keeping my calendar up to date.
  • Buying good/cool presents.
  • Being silly.

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Things I’m Not Good At:

  • Owning plants.
  • Caring about/for my eyebrows.
  • Writing lunch box notes.
  • Decorating for holidays.
  • Meal planning.
  • Knowing military rank hierarchy.

Things That Make Me Cry:

wonderful

Things I Should Admit:

  • I try not to judge, but I might feel a little bit sad for you if you don’t vote, eat steak well done, or don’t read actual books.
  • I like the smell of skunk (from a distance of 15 feet or more).
  • I have never watched Titanic, or Casablanca.
  • I currently have 6,404 photos on my phone.  And 558 videos.
  • I have a love/hate relationship with all of those beautiful photos of kitchen renovations that don’t include upper cabinets.
  • I’m really tempted to dress my youngest in knee socks like Prince George.
Image from the adorable website "What Kate's Kids Wore" - click on the photo to go there.

Image from the adorable website “What Kate’s Kids Wore” – click on the photo to go there.

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Mother’s Little Helpers

Though I do make an effort not to over complicate or over schedule our lives, life can still be pretty hectic sometimes.  There’s just a lot to remember and a lot to do to manage a household, parent, work, make it all work.  I’m certainly not the most organized, or the most motivated. Example: yesterday I ate some Oreo Thins and took a nap instead of prepping meals for the week and organizing the toy room (a task that desperately needs to be done – we’re drowning in Matchbox cars and Duplo blocks!).  But I have found some tools and things that help me get stuff done, so I thought I’d share them.

 

Stuff that makes my life easier/more fun/less complicated…

I’ll start with the most obvious: my husband.  He’s amazing.  I’m also very lucky to have supportive family nearby and a kind and moderately flexible employer.  I am so grateful for all of these.

 

A shared calendar: My husband and I use a shared Google calendar.  We use an app called Tiny Calendar on our phones to access it there, too.  I could just use Google Calendar, but it didn’t work on our phones when we needed it 4 years ago, so we ended up with Tiny Calendar.  So I stuck with it.  I like it.  Admission: our calendar is color-coded, but only a little bit.

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A housekeeper:  For the cost of dinner out for 2 (with an adult beverage or two), I can get my house cleaned beautifully.  We hem and haw over this luxury.  Because it IS a luxury.  And it is not something we do all of the time. But it makes a huge difference in my stress level.  I love having my entire house clean at one time.  Someone once told me that when it comes to house upkeep and maintenance, you can pay with your time or you can pay with your money.  At this point in my life, though I am certainly capable and willing to clean my house (and I do!), my time is precious.  I’d rather spend three hours on Sunday with my children picking strawberries, or playing at the park.  So we occasionally pay to have the house cleaned by a professional.  I never feel like it is money wasted.

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Grocery list app:  There are several out there, but we use AnyList.  Mostly we use it for groceries (duh), since we share the shopping and cooking duties but you can make all sorts of lists.  Each week, my husband and I add items to the list from our phones and when one of us shops, we can use the list and cross things off with a touch.  We have a list of favorites that are easy to add to the weekly list, and updates are pretty much made in real time. Often I’m adding things to the list while he’s on the way to the store.  Very handy.  We also share a more general “to do” list using this app.  Very helpful when things get busy, or when we’ve got to pack to go away.

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Shutterfly app: This is a little glitch-y and imperfect in my experience but for the most part is a good way to make sure that the photos I take with my phone actually end up somewhere other than just on my phone.  The app is on my phone and my husband’s, and photos get uploaded to one account, so everything is in the same place.

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Chatbooks: I really love this app.  It links to my Instagram account.  Once I’ve reached 60 new photos, Chatbooks prints them into lovely 6×6 inch books ($8 and free shipping!). My favorite part is that you can set up subscriptions – so the lovely little books ship out automatically to grandparents and special people in your life. There is NO extra work on my behalf.   Win!  I also love that the books are customizable – the photo of my kids painting the walls of the shower au naturale isn’t really Instagram-appropriate, but it IS adorable, and I can add it to my Chatbook before my book goes to print.  I order the slightly more expensive hard cover edition as a keepsake for myself, and let my kids enjoy the soft cover ones.  Use my code to get your first book free: CYKKMXVK.

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Amazon Subscribe & Save: This is useful with small kids and saves on trips to Target (which always cost at least $75 more than planned).  I set up to send diapers and wipes on a monthly basis and there are some other household goods we get less frequently.  It is a time saver for me.  Prices typically end up being comparable to my local Sam’s Club.  I suspect I’d love the Dash Button too, but I’m reluctant to commit. Plus, I’m a little concerned that my kids would find the buttons and we’d end up with 45 packages of paper towels.

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Stuff I’m working on…

Who has advice on the best way to deal with all of their iPhone videos?  I do back up to the Cloud, my computer and an external drive, but I’d love to put them in a format for my family to enjoy. Advice?

I’m going to try to devise a way to keep in better touch with people who are important to me beyond Facebook.  I’ll let you know how I do!

 

PS – No affiliate links, they are just provided for your convenience.

The REAL Holiday Card 2015 Edition

Welcome to the yearly edition of “The REAL Holiday Card”.

Forget the lovely professional photos where everyone is clean, looking at the camera, and wearing coordinated (but not matchy-matchy) outfits.  Real life looks more like this:

Card design is "Jovial Holidays" from Tiny Prints.

Card design is “Jovial Greetings” from Tiny Prints.

 

Key to photos:

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Cards from past years are here:

The REAL Holiday Card 2014

The REAL Holiday Card 2013

Here’s hoping your holiday preparations are proceeding as planned!

With love from, The Tartlets

Midweek Morsels

A few little morsels for your Wednesday afternoon…

Laugh

I’ve been listening to The Moth podcast for years, but this story from their pilot episode is still my very favorite.  They replayed it a few weeks ago and I laughed just as hard.  It is the story about Matthew McGough’s first day as a Bat Boy for the New York Yankees.  I’m not going to spoil the story.  Grab a cup of coffee and give it a listen.

moth

 

I Bet You Didn’t Know…

At least once a day, someone I don’t know looks at my feet.  Really.  I’m an inch shy of six feet.  When I walk into a restaurant or store, strangers note my height and then glance at my feet to see if I’m wearing heels or I’m really that tall.  Next time you see a woman who is pushing six feet, I bet you’ll do the same.  (I suppose I should use this as an excuse to buy really amazing shoes.)

Perhaps these? So lovely! So impractical for a NH winter! Or a life spent chasing three small children!

Perhaps these? So lovely! So impractical for a NH winter! Or a life spent chasing three small children!

 

Instagram Favs

History Photographed is just that.  But the photos are interesting, and sometimes surprising.

View this post on Instagram

Early 1900s Lumberjacks.

A post shared by History In Pictures (@historyphotographed) on

View this post on Instagram

The original Addam’s Family set photographed in color.

A post shared by History In Pictures (@historyphotographed) on

Nitch has beautiful and interesting portraits of famous folks – authors, artists, actors – paired with quotes by them.  I look forward to these showing up in my feed.

What NOT to Get People for Christmas

I’m not sure how I stumbled upon this this hysterical, and strange Etsy store?  The Jennifer Mills Store is completely random, mostly tacky and really expensive (everything costs $999.99).  I’m sure it is a joke.  Right? I mean it has to be.  Items for sale include:

Val Kilmer Paper Doll Kit - only $999.99.

Val Kilmer Paper Doll Kit – only $999.99.

 

Whoopee Cushion for Rich People - it is bedazzled!

Whoopee Cushion for Rich People – it is bedazzled!

 

I <3 Email Necklace - CLASSY.

I ❤ Email Necklace – CLASSY!

Happy Wednesday, All!

Things I Love Thursdays

Just a quick post to let you know about a few things I’m digging right now.

Jack and the Flumflum Tree by Julia Donaldson

This great kids’ book by the author of The Gruffalo is a new favorite in our house.  The rhyme scheme is lovely, the photos are colorful and goofy and the story is fun.  In order to cure his Grandmother’s case of the moozles, Jack and his friends go on an adventure to the Isle of Blowyernose to find the rare flumflum fruit. They run into obstacles during the voyage, but are saved by the items Granny has packed for them.  I love the line that repeats throughout,

“Don’t get your knickers in a twist,” said Jack. “Let’s have a look in the patchwork sack!”  

Of course, my children get a great kick out of the “knickers in a twist” part, too.

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(Aside: if you have a chance to check out The Gruffalo short film, do!  It is on Netflix and it is beautifully done.  The cast is stellar – Helena Bonham Carter and Tom Wilkinson to name a few – the animation is lovely, and of course, the story is great. Be warned: it is a bit scary.)

*****

Chatbooks

I am loving my Chatbooks app.  You download the app, link your account to your Instagram account (or use photos directly from your phone), and the app creates lovely 6×6 inch, color, soft-cover books from your photos.  Cost per book?  $6.  You can customize, take photos out, add more pages, etc., but I’m taking the easy route.  When 60 new photos are added to my Instagram account, it automatically creates my book, and ships it to me. Done.  Captions and dates included.  I don’t have to think about it, and I don’t have to DO anything.   My kids love looking through the books, which become like little journals.  And the price is right.

If you use my code to subscribe I get a $1 credit, and you get a free book.  No pressure!

 If you use my code to subscribe I get a $1 credit, and you get a free book. Everyone wins! Please note that Chatbooks 2.0 will be released in July.  At that point their services will increase, but so will their prices.  Books will be $8 each.  Sign up before the new version is released to be grandfathered in to the new pricing for 2 years! 

The negatives?  The cheap shipping takes forever and I’m not sure I’d think it was worth doing if I didn’t have an Instagram account.

*****

Rimmel London’s Scandaleyes Shadow Stick

I should wear make-up more often, as evidenced by the WORST SELFIE IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE that I took two weeks ago.  Yikes.  And no way am I sharing it. Heck no.  So when I saw these recommended in one of my feedly blogs, I figured I’d give them a try.  I’m not usually a fan of eye shadow pencils – I feel like I don’t have enough control over the amount of shadow applied, and sort of feel like I’m drawing on my eyelids.  But at $4.50 a shadow stick (or even less!) I figured I wouldn’t be too mad about wasting my money if I hated them.

But I love them.  They work almost like a creamy, colored, primer. The shadow doesn’t crease or creep.  They go on smoothly and easily, and can be blended by fingers.  The colors I’ve tried are lovely. My only complaint?  You will eventually need a special sharpener, since they are large pencils. (I bought one at Target for $5.)

Photo by Rimmel London.  Click on it to be taken there.

Photo by Rimmel London. Click on it to be taken there.

I have three colors so far: Trespassing Taupe (matte), Bulletproof Beige, and Bluffing. I think I’ll go back for a few more colors (though probably not the turquoise).

Happy summer!  And remember, don’t get your knickers in a twist!

A Thousand Words

My children love to play with my iPhone.  This is a normal kid thing, I’m sure.  They mostly like to play games. Pickle likes the build-a-robot game and Plum prefers a game with a loud annoying monkey.  (Which reminds me that I should delete the annoying loud monkey game.) Pistachio likes pushing the button until Siri asks him what he wants.

The other morning Plum was using the camera mode in a Toca Boca game.  She was having so much fun demanding that we “SAY CHEESE!” that I switched the phone over to camera mode and let her have at it.

I adore the results.

The is something so lovely and refreshing seeing the world, her world, through her eyes, and at her level.  Coming soon to a gallery near you…

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Brother Little

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Oatmeal

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Breakfast

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Brother Ghost

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Bowl

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Tablecloth

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Cat Door/Eyes

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Legs

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Gate

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Cat

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Where Toys Go to Die

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Brother II

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Finger Brother

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Dad

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Dad II

 

When Pickle was 3.5 we got him a camera for Christmas, but it was a silly, unwieldy, children’s camera.  I should have sprung for the real thing.  I think this Christmas Plum will get her own.

 

The REAL Holiday Card 2014

I think some year we should all skip the professional photos, color-coordinated holiday outfits and kids with combed hair and we should put photos of our real lives on our holiday cards.  Last year, my card looked like this:

REAL Holiday Card 2013

REAL Holiday Card 2013

 

This year, we actually gave in and had professional photos taken.  Since I’m usually the photographer (and a mediocre one at best) I was thrilled to have some photos I’m actually IN.  We ended up with some good shots.  But my very favorite photo? No one is looking at the camera, my belly is hanging over my jeans, and my husband is being attacked by our cute 2-year-old.  But it kind of sums things up.  That’s my life.  Things don’t go quite according to plan and stuff is a little chaotic, but we’re in it together, we help each other out, and can laugh about all of it.

So without further ado, I reveal The Real Tartlet Christmas Card 2014:

Card design is "Winsome Holly" by Tiny Prints

Card design is “Winsome Holly” by Tiny Prints

“Christmas Day is in our grasp
So long as we have hands to clasp.
Christmas Day will always be
Just as long as we have we.”

– How the Grinch Stole Christmas