Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mom Musing: School Start= Clean House

This morning, I am smiling. I'm smiling at the thought that school starts in less than a week. Actually we HAVE been smiling around here because of the start of school for a little while now. My kids are so very excited about school- one starting kindergarten, the other one going to preschool for the first time. I have been excited that we will be back on a schedule.  We need a schedule, but if we try to just make one up, we know its not true and we break the schedule for things like lying in bed and watching extra cartoons. We have tried.

Moments ago, my smile got bigger as my random thoughts have led me to believe that this time next week, my house will miraculously be cleaner! As I indulge the dream, my house practically sparkles with clean. Did I make too big of a leap that kids in school means clean house? Here's how I got there. The kids are going to school. Therefore they will be out of the house more. If kids are not in the house, they won't be here pulling toys out of everywhere, or getting toothpaste all over the sink in an effort to brush their teeth without assistance, nor will they be changing their clothes fifteen times a day despite my one outfit a day rule. This equals, less toys to put away, less bathroom cleaning, less laundry. Therefore, the house will STAY cleaner! (See kids, that a->b, b->c, therefore, a->c geometry stuff is useful.)

Kids NOT in house= House staying cleaner

I'm so relieved. If this isn't true, please don't spoil my little daydream. I'm going to have nine whole hours a week to myself while both kids are in school. I'm pretty sure I am going to be able to solve all of the ails of the earth in that time period. Now, if only I could find my magic wand (and maybe a Reese's Peanut Butter Egg) so I can get started.

(Yes, some things shouldn't make me smile, but the thought of getting the house cleaned and it staying that way for more than while the kids sleep, is a BIG deal. Don't laugh.)

Friday, August 10, 2012

National S'mores Day and Awesome Ideas, Stolen

Today is National S'mores Day!  The list of important holidays in my world goes something like this:

#1. Christmas
#2. Easter
#3. Halloween (which to me means, the most awesome holiday, Christmas, is right around the corner)
#4. Talk Like a Pirate Day

Of course there are birthdays and anniversaries too, but these other days warrant preparation and fun.  Then, today, I find out about National S'mores Day!  I'm adding it to the list!  

I have been drafting a post for a while now about the things that Pinterest, Martha Stewart, and S'mores have in common with the unraveling of the traditional means of succeeding at motherhood. I didn't want to sound bitter, but there is a point to be made.  And here it is:

Pinterest and Martha Stewart are responsible for making mothers everywhere feel like failures.

Regarding Pinterest, how can one thing give so many great ideas and make you feel like a failure because you don't do all these things, all at the same time? Don't get me wrong. I am totally addicted to Pinterest. It can be a great reference tool, but I really hate that now, when I have an original idea, the first thing someone says is, "Did you see that on Pinterest?"  I want to scream, "No, doggone-it. I thought it up in my little pea-brain all by myself." My S'mores idea that I am about to share, all mine!  I came up with it on my own. Just sayin.
Then there is Martha. She has been making us look bad for years, with her "Pay no attention to the throngs of staffers I have behind the curtain" approach to crafting she has had for years. I was just looking through a back issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine (which I am not really sure that I ever subscribed to, but somehow it ends up at my house, so I just HAVE to read it, right?) and on the cover- s’mores.  Yes, right there.  Martha Stewart claiming to upgrade the s’more.  Yes, upgrade the s’more.  “How?” you ask.  She makes the graham crackers from scratch and then adds imported chocolate.  Well, lady, let me tell you.  That may be a little too far.  Besides, years ago, I upgraded the s’more, and I have throngs of people who can vouch for me.  (And if Martha Stewart ever reads this, I'm sorry if I offended you. Really, your staff comes up with some really super cute ideas. I just can't in good conscience cover anything in my house with glitter and I hate paper crafts- paper cuts.)

Back to the S'more. 
The s’more you see, is practically perfect in its store-bought practicality from the get go.  It reminds me of childhood and camping with the Girl Scouts and visiting northern family and campfires.  Have you ever had a bad memory involving a s’more?  I think not.  
Well, you may be wondering where this tangent is going and how exactly I think I could possibly improve the s’more. My upgrade does not at all compromise the simple practicality of the s’more, it simply increases its deliciousness by substituting your favorite chocolate candy for the Hershey's milk chocolate. (Side note: If you weren't using Hershey's Milk Chocolate in the first place, you weren't doing it right anyway. In my opinion.)  My personal favorite is to use the Reese’s Peanut Butter cup.  (Anyone who knows me will not be surprised. I have an addiction, or is it an obsession, with the Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg)

Here is what you do:

1. Go to the store.
2. Buy Graham crackers and large marshmallows.
3. The hard part- buy Hershey's chocolate bars if plain chocolate is your favorite.  If not, substitute Reese's, York's, or any other flat-ish candy bar.
4. Make a fire or use the microwave to make your s'mores.  
5. Eat.
6. SMILE. 

Happy S'mores Day! I know what we will be having for dinner...I mean dessert. :)

And don't let anyone else's ideas ruin your really good ones!

Toast! Raise your marshmallow sticks!

Oh, yeah, and follow me on Pinterest! I have a whole board dedicated to how Reese's Peanut Butter Cups should come out with a star shape for summer, because the break from Easter to Halloween is just too long! :) 
Follow Me on Pinterest

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Market Totes: Back in Stock and NEW Colors!

If your weather has been anything like ours, which has been rain with about two seconds of sunshine before it rains again, you may also be starting to feel like you are NEVER going to get outside again.

Well, it cannot rain forever...right?
And football is going to start soon...right?
Therefore, we can get back outside and get ready for parties, picnics, tailgating and fun...right?

While you are surfing the internet, surely looking for ways to prepare for football season. So, now is a great time to order your very own Market Tote in Original-size or Mini-size.  These totes are so AWESOME for just about everything from daily errands to picnic basket substitutes to helping contain items in your trunk.  We LOVE ours!

Check out all of the colors and prints that are available! AND, these are all currently in stock for the Original size! Minis are available in a selection of colors and patterns.

NEW colors include: orange, lime floral, and royal blue!

If you see one you like, be sure to order quick because they sell out fast, especially closer to the holidays.
Peace Market Tote Peace Market ToteBlack Market ToteDottie Market ToteCamo Market ToteGreen/White Dot Market ToteHoundstooth Market ToteGrey Floral Market ToteHot Pink Market ToteRed Market ToteAqua Market ToteStripe Market ToteSwirl Market ToteZebra Market ToteTutti Frutti Market ToteRoyal Blue Market TotePurple Market ToteOrange Market ToteLime Green Floral Market ToteNavy Market ToteLime Green Market Tote
Market Tote Product Description:
- Mini size: 12"L x 9"W x 7"H
- Original Size: 18"L x 11.5"W x 9"H
- Collapsible Design (Stores Flat)
- Polyester Durable Removable
- Aluminum Frame
- Inside Open Mesh Pockets
- Easy To Carry Padded Handle
- Reinforced Bottom with Rubber Feet
- Colors and Monogram Options can be found at HappyLittleMonkeyShop.com

Monogrammed Floppy HatsEngraved Jewelry, and more are part of the Game Day and Sports Fan category at the new shop!  Please swing on over to check it out.

 Engraved Red Grand Stand Necklace and Earrings SetFloppy Hats

Friday, August 3, 2012

Pay No Tax! Florida Sales Tax Holiday

The Florida Sales Tax Holiday started at midnight! Have you started saving already?

If not, don't fret. The sales tax holiday doesn't end until Sunday, August 5th, at 11:59 pm.

Many HappyLittleMonkey products are included in the tax exemption:
- Receiving Blankets
- Baby bibs
- Clothes (also be sure to checkout my Facebook page for a dress special and skirts!)
- Diaper Bags (Check out this awesome "baby" bag from Trumpette that I recently added to the shop)
- Backpacks and Lunch bags
- Purses (two new bags at the shop- "LOL" and "dance" from Trumpette)
- Hats
- Hair accessories

As a bonus, any items not included in the Sales Tax Exemption are now priced with "Sales Tax Included" so your transaction will not incur additional sales tax charges. (This includes the engraved jewelry at the new shop!)

So, please go shop at my stores:

If you have any questions, please email me.

Happy Shopping!

The Florida Sales Tax Holiday takes place from 12:01 am on Friday, August 3rd, to 11:59 pm on Sunday, August 5th, 2012. For full information on the Florida Sales Tax holiday, please see this link to the Florida Department of Revenue

Friday, June 29, 2012

What's Up at HappyLittleMonkey?

It's been a great summer at HappyLittleMonkey!  Besides that I love being on my own schedule (ie. no school drop off), the kids and I have been having lots of fun together.  So far, the big things we have done are taken trips to Disney World, celebrated my daughter's 5th birthday, and completed swim lessons. We've also started bowling as a family and have had fun playing with our friends.  (More posts on these activities are planned too!)

As HappyLittleMonkey, I launched my new site, added some new products, and have had lots of repeat customers (which really warms my heart!).  

If you are looking for gift ideas, or maybe a fun sewing project, here are some pictures of what I have been up to.

Happy Friday!

Monogrammed Newborn Gown
Diamond monogram in light blue
Monogrammed bloomers in white with added scroll
(Love these as a great basic to go with everything!)
Bloomers in Classic Scroll in Medium Pink, as well as the white.
These were gift sets someone ordered!  Functional and fun!
NEW! Custom 4 Piece Newborn Gift Set
(Classic Scroll and Script Monograms in light pink)

Monogrammed Diaper Style Burp Cloth
Classic Scroll in red thread

Sewing Class Dress Sample
Classic A-Line Dress Class: Part 2
Adding ruffles, pockets and reversible!
Follow me on Facebook for class schedule
Perfect Twirl Skirt Tutorial- Easy and Lovely!

Tea and Cookies as Party Favors

Custom Newborn Gift Set featuring a Bee!  

Newborn Gown with Classic Scroll Monogram in light pink

Linen Sleeveless Dress and matching Bloomers
Classic Scroll in light pink

Newborn Gift Set in light blue
Engraved Jewelry Added to the Shop!
On SALE through Sunday
Custom First Birthday Set
#1 Birthday Bib, Bloomers, and Reversible
A-Line Dress

Monogram on the Dress

For help creating your own custom gifts, please email me and we can get to work creating your items!

Happy Friday!  Thanks for checking out my pics and for your support.  It means lots!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The "Brave Pill" My Son Needed

Ok, Moms, I'm sharing this little story from our world so you can tuck this solution away in case you need to pull it out when all else fails.

It was another one of those times when the idea popped into my head and I didn't really think about it before I was doing it. Here is what happened:

This morning I gave my kid a "brave pill." It was my brain's answer to the problem of a bad swimming lesson yesterday, meets pending swimming lesson today, meets candy jar sitting near the coffee machine.

"What?!?!" you say. Sorry, I'll back up.

Yesterday, my three-year old started swim class.  Within about 7.5 minutes from the start of class, he went from big boy excited to be in his own class, to wrapping his soaking wet little body around me screaming.  We sat by the pool, and waited out the remainder of the class with him barely daring to put his toes in the water.

This morning, I was somewhat dreading going back to lessons and having a repeat of yesterday's class. All the while hating that I know he will just love swimming if he would try.  As well as fearful that my three-year old was going to send the five other three-year olds in the class into the same crying tailspin.

My favorite thing about my brain is its ability to work on several things at one time. The swimming lessons issue was in desperate need of a solution because I had tried every rational thing I could. Then, in a moment of creative genius (genius because this idea came to me before 10 am and before I had consumed my coffee) this morning, I was plucking a "brave pill" from a jar.

Brave pills, you ask?  This brave pill was an orange jelly bean that I waved my magic (wooden spoon) wand over and said "Abracadabra, Allacazam. Turn this into a brave pill for Jack. Viola!" Then, I let him eat said "brave pill."  He instantly said he felt braver and stronger.  He decreed that he would be getting his hair wet in the pool.

Of course, his sister then needed one too. I performed the transformation on her pink jelly bean.

The whole way to swim class I was so skeptical.  I didn't want to get my hopes up.  Really, could this simple infusion of bravery work?  I was ready to be sitting by the pool again in wet shorts and a tank top while my son sent a class a three-year olds into a tizzy.  He continued to insist that he was braver and was going to get his hair wet and be so proud of himself.

When the moment of truth presented itself, he did in fact willingly go with the class to the pool.  He got in the pool.  He did all the things his coach asked.  He even got his hair wet.

Kicking with the kickboard 
Even jumping in
After class, he charged at me.  This time soaking me in his hug of pride.  He was beaming that he was brave enough to go in the pool and that he had even had fun.

I'm not sure why my words of reassurance, my husband's words of reassurance, and even seeing his sister have fun in swimming class weren't enough to ignite his confidence that swim class could be fun. However, telling him that a jelly bean would make him brave is something he can believe in.

Maybe, just sometimes, all one needs is one little magic bean to set the day on the right track.

So, that was my story about a little creativity before my cup of coffee and it worked.

When rational fails, sometimes the magical is what we need.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Awesome Spinning and Twirling Skirt! Pinned it and Did it

Who doesn't need super-cute summer skirts for their little girl?  A few months ago I collected a few DIY skirt tutes on Pinterest and I finally made one.  It was called the "Circle Skirt" but my daughter calls it her "Spinning Skirt." (Actually, it usually comes out "Sfinny Skirt"but I thought you may not be able to translate that last remaining vestige of her toddler lisp.)

This Pin by Made is quoted in multiple tutorials and after digging around on her blog, I can totally see why.  She has some really fun tutorials all over the place.  (insert the"Danger, Batman!" warning to anyone who loves good DIY tutorials that don't require purchasing anything)

Here is the link to her tutorial.

Armed with that Pin, some awesome knit fabric, 1.5" wide elastic, and an unplanned Saturday evening, I was able to tackle the mathematics, make a pattern and....drumroll.....a skirt!

Ta da!

Can you tell how much she loves the twirl power of this skirt?

For the most part, I followed her tutorial.  The math involved is easy and worked great. My fabric was a directional print (meaning all the little rainbows went the same way, so I had to cut two pieces and sew them together to make the circle.)  For fabric, I chose a knit, and although knit wasn't on her suggested fabric list. It worked great though.  The only other thing I did that she didn't do on her skirt, was to zig zag stitch over the elastic seam to provide a little extra durability and to make the elastic lay flatter.  Just be careful when you sew fabric to the band as it is a little thick in that spot and you don't want to break a needle.

I have now made five of these skirts and have a few more cut out.  They easily take less than an hour.   On the last one I made, I zig zag stitched the elastic to the fabric and was happier with the result than the straight stitch because I find it hard to sew perfectly straight lines and tug on the elastic.

5th Birthday at Walt Disney World Outfit!

Cinderella-inspired Cotton Costume with Twirl Skirt
I covered the waist-band on this one so I didn't have to dye the elastic to match. 
A side note on knits: Lots of people are afraid of knits since they can take a little more patience to cut and require a little finesse when you sew them.  However, I challenge you to conquer your fear of knits and try them.  Just pull on the fabric a little bit as you sew it to another piece and they will come out wonderfully.  It is actually a very forgiving fabric to sew with.

Happy sewing!

(And if you end up being inspired to make one, or ten, please let me know!)

On Pinterest:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mommy Genius or a Low Moment? Santa Claus in June

Every now and then I have these moments with my kids that make me wonder what someone else would think if they were paying attention.

At the grocery store today, my son was crying because he wanted me to lug his stroller out of the back of the van just so I could run into the store to order cupcakes.  (Really?  Where does he come up with this stuff?) He had pulled this stunt at the last two stores we had run into, and even though it didn't work there, for some reason his three-year old brain told him to try again.

After trying all the normal things to get him to stop, I spotted a man with a long white beard who I happened to hear mention something about Santa Claus.  Before I knew it, I was whispering to my son that Santa Claus watches kids all year and nodded to that man.

He stopped crying.
He stopped talking.
He just hugged me and was on his best behavior while I finished the errand.

I know that none of us think twice about employing the threat of Santa Claus in December, another reason it is the most glorious month of the year.  However, how wrong is it to use him as a pawn in June?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Baby Showers: Help is Here!

Hooray, one of your best girls just told you she is pregnant!  After the celebration dance, the next words that fly out of your mouth are "I want to throw you a baby shower."

Then, you start working to plan the perfect shower and there is just so much to do.  Just in case you needed a few ideas for baby shower decorations and gifts, check out these great gifts from HappyLittleMonkey:

Monogrammed Gifts Clothesline:

We have all seen the themed invitations with a clothesline of baby items.  A customer contacted me to help create a clothesline of monogrammed items, and I love to help someone put their ideas into action.  It turned out SO VERY CUTE, if I do say so myself, that it is now listed at the shop.

Ordering is easy. Pick five (5) monogrammable items- bibs, burp cloths, or bloomers.  Then decide on monograms and colors.  Your set will ship complete with 9 feet of coordinating ribbon and 10 wooden clothespins.  Your set can be further customized by swapping out one of these items with a newborn sleeping gown, onesie, or swaddling blanket (additional charges for these items of $3-5/each).

The monogrammed items clothesline will look adorable over a dessert table, food table, gift table, and more.  Where would you put one? 

Mom can even take the clothesline home to decorate the nursery until baby arrives.   All of the items are super-functional and sure to become some of mom's favorites!

Diaper and Blanket Cakes: 

These make the perfect centerpieces for a luncheon, food or gift table.  Each one is custom made and can fit your party theme.  The Mom-to-be will be sure to remember this great gift and you will be proud that the centerpieces were not only amazing but also practical.  

Cakes are fully customizable and can vary in detail, items, size, theme, colors, and therefore, price.  The cake pictured below features three layers of disposable diapers, a swaddling blanket, a knit hat, a sock monkey, and ribbon.  

Diaper and Blanket Cakes can even be shipped.  A great gift to send in lieu of flowers.  For example, a blanket cake with a swaddling blanket, two burp cloths, and a rubber ducky topper is typically about $32, and since that is cheaper than most flower bouquets, it will not only say "Congratulations on the new baby!" it is also something mom can use over and over again.  

We can even talk through your shower theme and create a totally custom item.  These items are only available by custom order, so just contact me when the time is right.  

Every baby is special, and therefore every baby shower should be too.  If I can be of assistance in helping you create the perfect decorations or gifts for a baby shower, please contact me and I will be happy to help!

Links to other other gift idea posts: