Tag Archives: holidays

School Break

Quinn the Panda

My kids are on school break this week, so I’m a little busier than I normally am during the day.  With all four kids home, hours fly by in minutes and I basically never leave the kitchen — someone wants to eat at every moment.

Here are some old posts to enjoy while I enjoy some much-needed play time with my kids:

Dinner Rules — somehow writing it down makes it official.

Boys are Weird.

Hard Work Pays Off!

The Puzzle of Preteen Girls.



The hardest thing — in fact, one of the only real downsides to living in England — is how far away we are from our families.  We miss them.  A lot.

Matt’s parents came to visit in October and it was so great.  Although we did lots of tourist-y things, we also just hung at the house a lot and enjoyed some time together.  We played dominoes and the kids and their grandparents did the entire Harry Potter movie marathon — all eight movies — over the course of the week.  Big events are fun, but the down time is even better.


My parents are coming tomorrow and will be here for Christmas and we are all so excited.  We have plans, again, to do some sight-seeing and touring a bit, but I’m also just looking forward to hanging out and playing cards.  The only thing that could make it better would be if my sisters and their husbands and kids were here too.

I hope you all have your favorite people by your side over the holidays, whoever they are, and you just soak up every minute of it.

Also, this was our last visit with my sister and her kids, and here’s my thoughts on what’s really important.


Happy Thanksgiving

cousins at Thanksgiving

We’re not in Boston for Thanksgiving for the first time in my kids’ whole lives.

It’s totally weird.

We miss the cousins, the whole family, the food, and the annual layover in NYC on the way up the East Coast.

This is the first holiday we’re really missing because of the move — there’s no equivalent in England, and the kids have a normal school day. 

But we didn’t want to be sad about the one real downside to living in England, so we’re making the most of it and instead of eating turkey and pie today, we’re actually flying to Edinburgh for the weekend!  We miss our friends and family at home, but we won’t let that be the overriding theme of the day. 

Happy Thanksgiving from Scotland!

Also, adventures from Thanksgiving’s past, and the Christmas Creep, which isn’t a problem in England where it’s Christmas season basically on November 1!


Gift Guide: For the Bigger Kids

Gift Guide for the Big Kids

We are just about done with Christmas shopping here, but in case you’re still looking for gift ideas, I have another Gift Guide to share — this time for the bigger kids in your life.

As I mentioned, I do try to avoid toys as gifts if possible because I know that as a parent, we get SO MANY toys that another type of gift is often much appreciated.

For the slightly older kids, these are my favorite gift ideas:

h nichols macaroonsH. Nichols art prints for a girl’s room

I do really love giving wall art as a gift, and this artist, H. Nichols, is so fun!  Bridget and I both follow her on Instagram and any of her prints would be a sweet gift for a fashion-forward tween, teen, or even an adult!  I’d hang these in my room over my vanity as inspiration.

watercolor map wall artMap wall art for a boy’s room

I think boys tend to have fewer options for cool wall art, but it’s really important to make sure they have some so they don’t end up thinking art is just for girls!  This wall map comes in a ton of sizes so it could be a real statement.  I know my boys would like this in their rooms.  Actually… not a bad idea!


penny boardPenny Board skateboard or long board

My kids are sort of obsessed with these.  They’re fun, they come in tons of color combos, or you can even personalize your own.  Technically these are sort of a toy, but they would live in the garage or shed and therefore wouldn’t clutter up your living space, so I’m okay with it.  Make sure the recipient has a bike helmet. (And maybe wrist guards too, just in case!)


husband pillowHusband Pillow

Each of my kids has one of these on their beds and they use them every night for reading before going to sleep.  Plus they take them to the living room for movie watching.  They’re functional and useful and comfy.  And you can gift them along with…


HP Box Seta few books!

Obviously we love Harry Potter around here, but some other great book series for older kids are the Golden Compass books, The Penderwicks series (these are aimed more toward girls), or the Fablehaven books.  We also really love and recommend the Magic Tree House books and Fact Checkers for slightly younger readers (say up to age 8 or 9).

Finally, my kids really, really, really love office supplies, and I’ve had it verified by other parents that they are not alone in this!  Notebooks, cool pens, markers, stationery sets, highlighters, colored pencils, stickers, stamps, and cases to hold them all have always been popular at my house.  Strange but true.

Before we moved, one of our neighbors put together a Letter Writing kit for us, complete with paper, envelopes, stickers, pencils and pens, and even international stamps!  You could definitely put together a cool box like that and have it go over really well.

There’s only ONE MONTH left until Christmas Eve, so get shopping!

Also, here’s what we do for Sibling Gifts each Christmas, and these are the Gift-Giving Rules we try to follow each year.


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