Tag Archive: christmas


FullSizeRender (8)Somehow, over the last decade or so, we have lost our way when it comes to the holidays. It has become a stressful time that we have to ‘get through’, where we trying an jam all of our shopping into as little time as possible to ‘get it all done’, all while spending as little money as possible on as much crap as you can find on sale at as few stores as possible. Then we complain about the crowds and the parking lots and how rude everyone is and how that clerk had the nerve to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. Well, I have to say, we have done this to ourselves. What do we expect to happen when our intentions go from ‘truly putting thought and care into giving while focusing on time with loved ones’ to ‘sacrificing time with family so we can fill our houses with cheap crap from giant corporations who underpay their workers’. That’s the bad news. But the good news is, we can turn this thing around! Here are some tips to keep your money in your communities and support your neighborhood families this holiday season:

1. Buy from local business: Instead of going to Wal-mart or Amazon, try to buy at least half of your xmas presents from local shops. Does your city have a small book store, music store, or hobby shop, or toy store, or boutique, or pet store? I don’t know about you, but Target has enough of my money!

2. Buy from local vendors: examples of local vendors are someone who sells Shaklee products (me), or Avon, or Origami Owl, or Thirty One bags, or Arbonne, or Pampered Chef, etc. These companies are great opportunities for people (mostly women) to create a business for themselves. When we support women and mother’s that live in our neighborhoods, we are supporting children and families.

3. Support small, non-chain restaurants, bars, wine shops: Not saying that places like Olive Garden are somehow not worthy of our time, they are staffed by local people who rely on steady business too. My point here is that, they usually have a steady stream of people coming in regardless. They are already busy. Instead, lets support the new restaurant that just opened. Or that neighborhood wine shop where you might pay a dollar or two more, but they are staffed with people passionate about wine who are getting paid appropriately. Or, buy gift certificates to that cute little restaurant that is always offering farm to table menu options. By doing that, you are supporting a local business owner, the servers who are working their butts off (tip them!), and the farmers that are supplying the food. Win-win-win-win. And, very often, the food is better anyway. #firkin #shanty #adlibgeocafe #nirvanawineandgrillerie #stevenssteakhouse

4. Hire local, independent contractors, artists: Instead of going to JC Penny for family photos, hire a local photographer. You will support a local family and (likely) get way better quality photos. Instead of buying a picture from Pier 1, buy an original from a local artist. #katebogot #lifeographyphoto #youfail.com #basementtshirts

5. Give: Last, but certainly not least, give stuff to people! Buy less stuff for your family, and buy more for those in need. Think about the family that can’t afford a Christmas while you are watching your kids open their 16th present. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy presents and spoiling your kids, but there is a fine line. Make a point to talk to your kids about helping those in need, about donating things that they don’t use anymore. Have them pick out a present for a kid in need. #toysfortots #northernillinoisfoodbank #caringforkidsclothingdrive

If you are looking for a vendor event, there is going to be a great one on Dec. 8th at the Savana House in Wadsworth IL. Here is the info:

2014 Holiday Sip and Shop
Savana House
38905 Route 41
Wadsworth IL
Monday Dec. 8th, 2014
6pm-9pm
Shaklee, Jamberry Nails, Norwex, Jewelry in candles, Beach Body, Pampered Chef, Scentsy, Origami Owl, Thirty One, and Younique Makeup

Not to mention PRIZES and WINE and MARTINIS and BEER and…. 🙂

Advertisements

What’d you say to me?!?

How dare you tell me Happy Holidays!? Can’t you see my love for Santa and Jesus seeping out of my pores? Can’t you smell my love of traditional holidays (and traditional marriage for that matter)? Stop the madness! Christmas is the BEST holiday! It is the RIGHT holiday! My country was founded on love of God (my God) and Freedom! Telling me ‘happy holidays’ is a slap in the face! Why don’t you just piss on a snow man or flip off a nun or tell me Rudolph is gay (although I wouldn’t be surprised about that one)? You should be ashamed of yourself! This is America Jack!

What’s that? You were just trying to be nice?…..Oh, my bad.

photo (1)Anyone with young children know that the question of ‘what do your kids want for Christmas’ is one of the hardest questions to answer. When they’re older they want specific items, when they are younger they either don’t know or they want everything. Or, they are like my 4 year old nephew who only wants swords, even though he has 5 swords already (not to mention all the swords he makes out of every day household objects). And, I don’t know about you, but I have 2 kids and my house is full of crap! I have no storage space and every inch is covered in plastic toys. My kids have so many toys, we don’t even know what to play with any more. So, if you’re anything like me, this guide is for you! This is what to ask for this year, especially from the grandparents.

1. Experiences, not stuff! Maybe the grandparents or aunts/uncles want to take them to the zoo or the children’s museum or to a movie or to a special over-night outing (think Key-lime cove or some indoor water park, etc.). The kids will have so much fun, they get to enhance the relationship with the kids, and the parents might get a chance to get out and shop themselves (or nap).

2. Lessons, not stuff! My mom is getting both of my kids swim lessons this year instead of more traditional presents. My kids are going to be thrilled, they get to swim every weekend in the boring Jan/Feb months, my mom doesn’t have to run around town trying to figure out what to get, I don’t have to pay for the lessons myself, and we don’t have to bring another f’ing version of Elmo into our home. Everybody wins! (think also gymnastics, ballet, karate, etc.)

3. Family fun, not stuff! My dad is getting our family passes to Great America. Instead of them trying to figure out 4 separate presents for our family of four, they only need to buy 1 thing. And, instead of them buying stuff they we’ll be sick of by February, we will be able to enjoy this gift all summer long! (think also pool passes, museum memberships, vacations, etc.)

4. For the babies…. When our kids were really little and truly didn’t know any better, we asked for diapers and formula and wipes and pajamas and money for day care and….. You get the point. Babies really don’t need too terribly much for the first 2 years. They have fun unwrapping presents, playing with the paper and boxes. They don’t care that it is a box of diapers. Help them help you, ask for what you need.

5. For the parents…. Sure I love gift cards, sure I love crock pots, but what I really want is a baby sitter. I want a baby sitter that is easy and consistent. What if you asked for an over-night baby sitter once a month for six months? Or, every other month all year long? Did I just blow your mind? Something consistent too, like the 3rd Saturday of every month. Just think if before the year even started, you had scheduled/planned date nights simply built into your calendar. You’re welcome…

6. The chip-in…. Last year we did a combo birthday day party for both kids. Everyone was asking what to get and I had NO ideas. The only thing we actually wanted was a swing set for the back yard but those are too expensive. So, what did we do? We asked all of the family members to simply chip in whatever they would have spent on a present and we pooled the money together. We ended up getting a really nice swing set, and again, made it easy on everyone else.

What NOT to get:

1. Noisy bullshit! We don’t need anymore singing teddy bears or harmonicas or yo gabba gabba dancing monsters or any of that rage inducing non-sense. It will shortly ‘run out of batteries’ or ‘go to sleep’ or ‘I don’t know what happened sweetie, you went to sleep and it just disappeared…’

2. Plastic crappy cheapness! I don’t want ANYTHING that can possibly be gotten in a happy meal. You know the toys that cost $3 and will last about 3 minutes… I don’t want them, they don’t need them, stop the insanity!

3. Parental supervision needed toys! I love my children. I swear, I do! But, there are literally a million things I can do with them. If there is anything I need, it is toys they can play with without me. I need stuff that gives me 15 minutes to attempt putting dinner on the table. I need something the little one can play with when I am helping the big one with his homework. I need something the big one can play with while I am trying for the 13th time this hour to get the little one to ‘pee pee on the (m’er f’ing) potty’.

4. Lastly, I just don’t want a slutty barbie. My daughter is 2 and I really don’t want to go thru the whole barbie thing. Doctor barbie should NOT be in platforms and a mini skirt! I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. I would love her to play with a reasonable, normal looking female doll. The ONE barbie she has is in a mini-skirt, no underwear, and a pink stripe in her blonde hair. I will not start the unrealistic craziness that is barbie as long as I can help it. I also resent the fact that my son gets science and building toys and my daughter gets a pink shopping cart. Do better- entire world.

Ho Ho Holiday Letter Time

942064_10201449148613312_1625857794_nIt’s that time of year again to catch you all up on how the Reimholzes did in 2013. I realize that between facebook, my blog, twitter, and actual human interaction…. you might not get to know enough about me! Well I am here to fix all of that. These of course are the highlights, I wouldn’t want you to think we were just a normal family, we are a super-family of good fortune and joy!

The Kids:
Will is in kindergarten and is starting to read! I’m sure there are a lot of kids his age that are also learning to read, but there is just something about the way he does it. It’s like, he really gets it, you know? He is also super adorable and can run really fast in his new shoes. He also is very good at playing and sleeping and telling you he loves you. Will is also a great older brother unless of course it is one of those moments that ‘Ellie ruins EVERYTHING!’

Ellie, when she is not ruining everything, is very good at being two. She likes to say “no” and “I don’t want to”. She is so independent! She just really knows what she likes and goes for it. She is also very determined for such a little girl. One day I swear she said “Mommy” 86 times in a row until she got her way. You can’t teach that! She is also very sweet and maybe the cutest child to ever walk the earth (I know that seems like an exaggeration but I’m pretty sure…). I can’t wait until she turns 3 and she magically turns into a sweet child who doesn’t whine or complain or fight with her brother. These terrible two’s are rough, but it’s only one year, right? Right!?
1025346_10201362597089578_442416722_o

Brent:
Brent is having a great year just killing it at everything he does. He is a big fan of the Super bowl champs The Baltimore Ravens. It was a great start to the year because not only did they win the super bowl, but they finally listened to him and got rid of their ‘good for nothing’ offensive coordinator. Obviously they didn’t follow the rest of his advice building their 2013-2014 season. I really do think that one day they will realize they should just put him on their payroll and do whatever he says. I don’t think he’s been wrong yet. Or at least I hear a lot of “I told you so’s” directed at the TV. Other than that, great dad, husband, provider, fantasy football stud, and human being.

Me:
There’s not much to say about me, I’ve just been saving the world one blog post and opinion at a time. But don’t worry, I will not rest until you all find inner peace and contentment and look good in bikinis. Also, I have decided to buy all of my own Christmas presents this year so that I get everything I want, and really isn’t that the point? What else…. oh I have seat warmers in my new car. It’s a game changer. I’ll have a toasty butt while I am driving all over town buying myself presents.

That about sums up our year. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

1 teacherMy oldest is a kindergartner this year and I have been trying to think of what to get for his lovely teacher. Instead of trying to come up with something on my own, I decided to reach out to my friends on Facebook who are teachers and have them fill me in on what they REALLY want. The answers were all over the board, with a few surprises, and a couple of hilarious stories. I know this is not a one-size-fits-all, so if you disagree, that is fine. I am just going off the feedback I received. So here it is….But, first and foremost- they don’t want to hear from you or anyone else during their break!

The Good:
Almost every single person who replied mentioned gift cards! So, if you thought gift cards are too impersonal and you wanted to be creative- get over it. They apparently LOVE gift cards. 1. They can actually get what they want and 2. Many of them use the gift cards to buy stuff they need for their classrooms. You might not realize it, but teachers spend a lot of their OWN money on class room supplies. Giving them gift cards to Target, Walmart (boo), and local craft stores is a very popular present. Other gift cards that were mentioned a lot were Starbucks, iTunes, and bath and body works.

Also, it turns out a lot of teachers enjoy getting booze. I don’t feel comfortable sending liquor with my child on the bus, but if you have a personal relationship with the teacher and hand deliver it, this would be an appreciated gift. You could include a little note that says, “For all the times my little monster made you want to drink!” If I were a teacher, this is what I would want. 🙂

Someone shared a great idea for those of you who are good organizers or know the fellow parents well… You could all chip in and get one more expensive gift or gift card. It is hard if the teacher has 10 different $10 gift cards to 10 different stores. But a $100 Visa gift card is AWESOME!

Lastly, a few mentioned that they appreciate any and all presents (you know, those really sweet, selfless ones that think its ‘the thought that counts’.) What I took from this, is if it is something meaningful in some way or really original, the teacher will likely love it.

The Bad:
Teachers get enough strong smelling lotions and candles. They do not need more. Your favorite sent in the world might be vanilla or cinnamon, but that doesn’t mean your teacher will like it. A good quality neutral-smelling hand cream is different than passion fruit body lotion from bath and body works. Be smart here.

Ornaments, Christmas decorations, and #1 teacher swag. Unless the teacher is a first or second year teacher, they don’t want a #1 teacher coffee mug. I guarantee they already have one. And, how many ornaments do teachers really need. They have 20+ students a year for possibly 20 years! That is a shit-load of snowmen. Not to mention, how can you even be sure the teacher celebrates Christmas? You don’t really know unless you personally know the teacher. Don’t assume.

On that note, nothing religious. You might be devout, but the teacher might not be. Even if they celebrate christmas, it doesn’t mean they want a big gold cross. And, yes, even at a christian school. Unless the teacher is a nun, don’t assume anything.

Lastly, homemade treats are iffy. I would say no. 1. They probably get enough chocolates and sweets from everyone and 2. Most people won’t eat sweets from people they don’t know well. They don’t know how clean your house it, how fresh your eggs are, if you washed your hands, etc. Maybe that is over thinking it, but better safe than sorry.

The Ugly:
I should say the hilarious! Teachers really do grow to love our children and develop close relationship with them, but they don’t love your kid like you love your kid. They do not want a framed 5×7 photo of your child. (yes, that is a real story). Maybe a wallet size school picture that they won’t feel guilty about throwing away next year, but come on. Again, 20+ students a year for decades, your kid is not THAT special. That is not mean, it’s just real life.

Anything overly personal or inappropriate. One teacher friend told me that she received a bathrobe from a student. That is just weird. It’s too personal. A scarf is fine, socks are fine, a bathrobe just crosses that line.

Final Thoughts:
Take the time to write a nice thank you note. Teachers work so hard- SO HARD! They get a lot of complaints from students, parents, administrators, school board. They hear all too often that teachers are failing our students and take the blame when they are not at fault. They would love to hear that you appreciate what they are doing for your kid. They would love to hear a personal example of a time that they impressed you or made a lasting impression on your child. They would love to hear from the student how much they mean to them. They like to hear that you know how hard they work and that you appreciate all of it. Also, maybe if your kids are small, include a little question and answer. Mine and Will’s is below.

Q: What is your favorite part about Mrs. ________?
A: She always tells me what to do, and if I make her stuff, she gives me a hug.
Q: What is your favorite part about school?
A: I like walking in the hallway and seeing all the work the other class kids do.
Q: What is Mrs. ______ like?
A: She likes when we all listen to what she tells us.
Q: What is Mrs. ______ good at?
A: She is good at reading stories and teaching and telling me what to do.

Haha, sounds like Will’s teacher has good control over the classroom. 🙂

Oh, a holiday weekend

Time to run, run, runholiday couple

Worst parking spot ever!!

Isn’t this fun?

 

Don’t forget the teachers,

and the mailman and your boss

I’m blinded by the light

Of my neighbors neon cross

 

The kids are running crazy now

with tiny frantic eyes

Santa Claus is watching

so no more little lies

 

Dad hasn’t started yet

with two days left to spare!

Mom’s been out for months

and pulled out most her hair.

 

It’s great to be done now

Just need to sit and wrap

Son of a….forgot the stockings

To Target for more crap

 

Gained 7 pounds since Turkey day

Look like a Christmas ham!

Shit! Forgot my neighbor

Maybe I’ll re-gift this jam?

 

Griswolds on the TV set

makes the season bright

White Christmas is coming next

Ignoring husband’s plight.

 

Finally done with everything

Can’t make me go back out!

Mother.*@….! Cookies for Santa

Now mom is gonna pout!

 

Last time to the store I swear

Or so I’d like to think…

I’ll get some baileys while I’m there

At least I can have a drink!

Dearest Friends and Family and Strangers,

Once again the Christmas/Holiday season is upon us. It seems that 2012 was our busiest year yet! That is why you are reading this on your computer instead of an adorable, yet creative picture of our family in your mailbox. For all of you that did manage to get yours out on time- suck it! Alas, I knew I had to do something. Constant photos of my kids, daily FB status updates, and my blog is just not enough. Here are some things that you wish you knew about our family:

Ellis- What a little stinker this baby has turned into! I’m pretty sure she already knows how to give dirty looks and I swear the other day she rolled her eyes at me. She is awfully cute though, so it doesn’t seem that bad.

Likes: getting her way, tackling her brother, pooping, and throwing broccoli on the floor.

Dislikes: napping, being told ‘NO’, broccoli

She is also very good at brushing her teeth and blowing her nose. (We are pretty sure she is gifted)

048

Will- Have you seen the movie Elf? That’s Will. He loves to smile, smiling is his favorite. Will has glasses that are adorable and says things that are adorable.

Likes: pretending to be an animal, treats, cuddling, and being tickled

Dislikes: Aunt Brooke’s beans, bed time, having to leave Nana’s house (or pretty much anywhere…ever)

He also runs really fast, “like a cheetah” (We are pretty sure he is gifted).

080

 

Brent: What can I say about Brent? He is probably the best husband and father in the world (yes, better than yours). When I asked Brent what he wanted to share in this family newsletter, he said something like “No one gives a shit about what happened to me this year. Those things are stupid.” (I may have taken some artistic liberties on that quote, but I think I captured his holiday spirit.)

134

Me: Well, I have pretty much wrapped up my modeling career (I wanted to spend more time with my family). Other than that, I don’t have much. I don’t want it to sound like I am bragging. As for 2013, I plan to continue the ol’ 9 to 5, 1. because I love my job and 2. because I did not win the mega millions. I feel pretty good about my chances next year though.

058

I hope you enjoyed our family update. Wishing you a happy ‘whatever’!

It’s that time of year again… We are all focused on giving and making other

people’s dreams come true. We are all grateful for what we receive. Parents

especially forget about their own needs and just focus on what will make the

kids happy. Yeah, yeah, yeah. When it comes down to it, this is what I REALLY

want for Christmas for me and for my family.

 

Me-

  1. One date per month, planned out, with baby-sitters taken care of! This is different than a husband  agreeing to go out with me. This means: all planned, no loose ends, all I have to do is make myself pretty (done!).
  2. Personal assistant to do all the things I don’t want to do! I figure this is about 10 hours per week. He or she will be responsible for cutting my coupons, writing thank you notes (invitations, xmas cards, etc), handle any/all paper work in my life (bills, correspondence, program registrations, etc.).
  3. One goddamn minute to myself! (I can actually see the moms reading this smiling and nodding). I want to read a book, take a bath, pee alone….
  4. To be discovered! Whether it’s writing, or modeling, or…. Yeah, I guess those are the two things I excel at: the written word and being professionally good looking.
  5. Five things from Pinterest! Okay, maybe 10 things. I would love to actually have something that I have pinned. I have purchased 1 thing out the 17 million things I want. Wouldn’t it be nice to have just a few of those outfits, or the outdoor patio, or the vacation, or the dream house. Okay, 15 things. That’s it, I promise.
  6. Someone to lay out my outfits every morning! Maybe Stacy and Clinton? Anyway, I would love if I could just wake up and not have to think about putting an outfit together. But, if I can’t have that, maybe someone to just hang up all of the ‘out-fit fails’ that I put together and subsequently leave on my bed every day.

My Husband-

  1. A personal assistant to plan above mentioned date nights! Let’s face it, if this were a strong suit for (straight) men, we would have much happier women running around. He needs some help. No offense to my husband, offense is meant for all men in general.
  2. A ‘beam-me-up-scotty’ machine! I would love to give him this gift. He wastes so much quality time driving. All jokes aside, I can’t think of anything that would be more useful to my man.

My Children-

  1. NO toys that make noise! Thanks, we’re good. We have a drum set, a recorder, a harmonica, a tickle me Elmo, and a damn beat toy (like the vegetable) that signs ‘we got the beat we got the beat we got the beat’. I will cut you.
  2. Things that we actually need! You know what my 15 month old wants for xmas? Diapers, pajamas, shoes, money for day care… I know these things are not fun to buy, but that’s what we (I mean she) needs.
  3. Things that Mommy and Daddy need! I know this seems selfish, but it’s really not. We are the ones that spend every spare cent on these little free-loaders. We need money for school, day care, swim lessons, t-ball, student loans (oops, that might be me), etc.
  4. Toys that will keep them occupied for one goddamn minute! “Mom, mom, mom, mom, mommy, mommy, mama, mama” You’ve seen that clip of Stewie; welcome to my life.
  5. NO cheap plastic toys! No more crap made in China that will break in 3 minutes that fits perfectly into my running shoes. Save up the $3 for each crap toy and buy me a bottle of Vodka buy them a book to mold their young minds.

I think that about covers it. If you get confused, cash money son. I got bills to pay.