This year, give your child (or any child you love) a gift that’s healthy and keeps the FUN in the holidays! Playful Planet has you covered, from stocking stuffers like our award-winning children’s yoga DVD, Storyland Yoga, and its accompanying Condor Trek book, to a travel set complete with a colorful kid-sized yoga mat! Winner of 4 national Awards,Storyland Yoga is a fun-filled adventure that teaches kids yoga poses along with an eco-conscious message. In “Save the Whale” and “Condor Trek” kids engage in a story where they learn yoga poses by imitating animals. Now Storyland Yoga is also available for download or rental via Amazon Instant Video! Download it today! Condor Trek Kids is the book version of the fun-filled Storyland Yoga Adventure that teaches kids yoga poses, while it infuses children with eco-conscious messages, physical activity and literacy. And now you can get Condor Trek Kids FREE with a 30-day trial of Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited! (700,000 book titles to choose from!) […]

{ 3 comments }

I’ve been binge reading again, and I love sharing books with you. Today I want to tell you about another book written by a Midwestern (MINNESOOOHTAN) woman, Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew. You guys, read this book.   Hannah, Delivered is about midwifery, natural childbirth and allowing your soul its own rebirth again and again, through pain. It’s about trusting the process, surrender and truth. I could howl like a mama in labor over the way I enjoyed…devoured…this book. I’m fascinated by the things of childbirth, the ways our bodies know, the ways our medical system is broken, the ways women belong to themselves and each other. There is so much to learn and that knowledge is often born (pun intended) of story. Hannah’s story is a journey through the powerful mystery of births, and the path of a woman seeking answers and redemption. Two things that so often cannot come to life, take a […]

{ 0 comments }

{Disclosure: I am being compensated for sharing my thoughts on this book, but the thoughts remain all mine and true.} I suppose I’m biased, but there’s something extra magical about books written by Midwestern women. Susan Gloss, a Madisonite, is no exception to this. She tells a beautiful story of the connections between women, our connections to history and how it comes alive through vintage items, and redemption. Stories of redemption make me feel alive, and I love that this book held surprises after the pain and angst, with an ongoing theme of what it means  to trust another person, even when trust seems too hard. This story takes place in Madison, Wisconsin and is rich with the imagery of that beautiful and folksy yet eclectic city. The main character, Violet’s, business is built on a passion for the stories behind every item in her vintage shop and a love for connecting with […]

{ 4 comments }

{This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cardstore.} There are so many things I never would have guessed I would do as a mother. My days are never dull and always extraordinarily ordinary. Had I known that every day would mean staying on my feet most of the time and always answering questions while also wiping noses and bottoms, I would have rolled my eyes.  Oh what an exaggeration, I would have said. But I quickly slowly learned to expect the unexpected after I became a mom, and the unexpected does so often include standing up and wiping all the things. And somehow, amidst all the chaos and the change, the surprises and the mundane, I can honestly say that I continue to experience joy, every day. You guys have seen the #WorldsToughestJob video, right? If not, you totally MUST watch it. I couldn’t stop laughing, and then I got […]

{ 0 comments }

Mother’s Day is fast approaching, and I’m realizing once again that the gift for my mom should be special, but I don’t know what to get. Whenever this happens, I can honestly say that I love to turn to Uncommon Goods. I always find something unique that can’t be found at the mall, something personal or funny, different and meaningful. (So even though this is a sponsored post, all the words are mine. Full disclosure.) As a way to help you overcome the What Do I Get for Mom (or Grandmom) Conundrum, I wanted to share some unique gift ideas for Mother’s Day (and beyond!) from UncommonGoods!  — From the Uncommon Goods section, Gifts for Mom:     From the UncommonGoods section, Gifts for Women:   From the Uncommon Goods section, Mother’s Day Gifts       These are just a few examples, my friends. You can find so many more options on the Uncommon Goods website. […]

{ 2 comments }

What can you do when you’re bored and it is raining outside? If you have kiddos, you know that no one knows better than The Cat and the Hat, right? This is what he would say to do: You show up and use your imagination and make a mess and hurry to clean it up before Mom gets mad. Asher and I got to see this happen LIVE the Saturday before last at the Zach Theater in Austin at The Cat in the Hat play. You guys, it was so good, so funny, and so entertaining. It was just the right length for the little ones, at about 45 minutes. The characters came off the pages of the actual Dr Seuss story in the intimate Zach Theater space. We felt like we were part of the show and never took our eyes off the action. Asher laughed and sat enthralled the entire time, […]

{ 0 comments }

{this post has been written as a part of my partnership with ebay. The things I admit in it are still totally my own.} Back when I received the Moto X smart phone, I had several people ask me if I wanted to sell them my iPhone because they assumed I would no longer need it. But, truth be told, I couldn’t sell it because I need it for an app that Moto X doesn’t have yet. Yeah, I kid you not. I’ve been keeping my old smart phone for just one app I cannot live without. It’s my white noise app, and I cannot sleep without just this particular one. (I see you there, rolling your eyes at me and all my smart phone dependency. Stop judging. It’s mean of you to wish for me to NEVER sleep again because of this conundrum.) At some point I’m either going to get over […]

{ 2 comments }

As I told you recently, I’ve created two new Collections for the Curate for a Cause endeavor through ebay. Today I’m sharing more books from my #ImBornTo Read Collection. If you love to write, or love someone who loves to write, you’ll love this list of the 9 best books on writing! And while you’re there, you can curate your own Collection to take part in Curate for a Cause. Every Collection = $1 for March of Dimes. Hurry! The efforts will end tomorrow! (If you do so, please come back here and leave a link to your Collection in the comments.) Here are the nine best books on writing, in my humble opinion: 1. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott 2. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon 3. On Writing by Stephen King 4. If You Want to Write by Brenda W 5. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield 6. Use Your Words by […]

{ 2 comments }

A few weeks ago I was sitting next to a guy at Roaster’s Coffee who was leaving a voicemail and I thought he said, Hi, this is John from Mobile Blogs. Of course, my attention went away from my laptop to Did he say Mobile Blog? I wonder what that means….I should ask him…but that might be weird for him…I wasn’t eavesdropping…I was just….hearing.  After he hung up, I asked him what he had said. (Not weird at all.) He didn’t appear scared of me and answered, Mobile Cloth. OH, okay. Gotcha.  No, wait, I thought. I don’t get it. So I asked, What does that mean? I was about to leave to get the boys from school, but I have to tell you, he had me at, Cleans the screens of your mobile devices safely and wipes away 98% of germs. We talked about kids goobing up all the screens of all the devices, and […]

{ 18 comments }

I am not being paid by the Voxer App people to explain what it is. So, if you’re asking What is this Voxer App everyone is mentioning? you might not get the most technical description here, but I do explain, in simple terms, what it means to vox.. I just want to tell you because I love voxing: That’s right, I’m now an avid voxer. I have been voxing. I will be doing all the voxing… logo from voxer.com GRANDMA, I KNOW. IT SOUNDS NAUGHTY, BUT IT’S NOT. I PROMISE. The Voxer App was introduced to me by some friends who have been using it for quite some time. I told them on Facebook that I finally looked it up in the app store and read the description. Before that, I had been staring through them as they talked about voxing each other. I didn’t ask, because…huh? am I supposed to know this? How […]

{ 9 comments }

I swung the minivan around the cul-de-sac to park and caught sight of our friend Dio on his front porch, sitting on a bench, his eyes closed. The sun was bright but the morning had not slipped away into the afternoon blistering heat of Austin yet. It was comfortable and breezy. We had just moved to Austin and were adjusting to this new-to-us kind of heat. I got out of the van and crossed the lawn to a smiling face, eyes open now, and I asked, “What’re ya doin’, Dio?” “Nothing.” He said this as if he had answered, “Something”, and not just because English is his second language. Dio can speak English just fine, though his accent trips people up sometimes. He said it like it was an important activity, doing nothing. “It is good to do nothing. There’s no time for it very often.” “So true,” I answered. “And now I’m […]

{ 2 comments }

(Disclosure: I am a sleeping-with-white-noise addict, and so is my entire family. This is our true White Noise Story. This story is  compensated by Marpac via the Mom It Forward Blogger Network. It is true and in my own words.)   We’ve been using fans for white noise to help with sleep ever since our firstborn came along. Sometimes I worry that it was a bad habit to start, but it got us through, and we do what we have to do, right? In the baby stage, one has to do what works and white noise was essential to our getting the sleep we so desperately needed. So, our only regret is that for most of these years we used fans, sucking money from our bank account using too much electricity and drying us out as the unneeded blast of air blows around the room. For all these years, I hadn’t found a white […]

{ 2 comments }

*in my humble opinion It’s cold, even in Austin. Every day I stand in my closet and wonder why I only have one throw-over-what-you’re-wearing-comfortable-and-adorable sweater. Today I asked my friends on Facebook to point me in the direction of their most favorite throw-on sweaters. I love a cozy wrap or cardigan for layering, and of course, my Facebook friends came through. So I give you (and my pocket book weeps)…the best comfortable and cozy cardigan, pull-over or wrap style throw-on sweaters:   (from top, going left to right) 1. H&M Boucle Cardigan 2. Sundance Falling For You Pullover 3. Vintage Glam Winter Why Not Cardigan 4. Land’s End Women’s Vintage Blend Zip Cardigan 5. Vintage Glam Crossing Paths Cardigan 6. Nordstrom Bobeau Asymmetrical Flece Wrap Cardigan 7. Sundance Spring Blooms Cardigan 8. Express Striped Cover-Up 9. BCBG Beret Color-Blocked Cardigan Wrap Feel free to add your favorite cozy sweater link in the comments! (I […]

{ 5 comments }

(first photo via abc.com and logo photo via groovebook.com) When I heard that the makers of the awesome app GrooveBook will be on ABC’s Shark Tank tonight, I may have squeee’d a little. Shark Tank is one of my favorite shows and I’ve been honored to be connected to the creators of GrooveBook for quite some time now via email and their app. It’s brilliant, this app, my friends. In short, you can upload it for free and then get your phone photos made into a photo album each month for 2.99. (That includes shipping!)  Even better, you can get your first book FREE by entering code EXTRAORDINARYGROOVE Then watch Shark Tank with me and cheer on Julie and Brian as they do their best to convince the Sharks to invest in their genius idea. One of my favorite parts about the GrooveBook app is that it means I can send little photo […]

{ 6 comments }

I really didn’t think I could move on. I mean, once your smart phone has been an iPhone, what more do you need, right? I had an iPhone for a long time and I didn’t know much about the Moto X until I was at BlogHer Pro and met some people who make them. Friends, this is a great phone. (Full disclosure: Yes, the nice people gave me a Moto X. But, they did not require or even bring up my telling you about said phone on the Internet. So you can be sure, I’m just telling you because of the warm fuzzy feelings I have for this phone.) Why, you ask? For starters. You get to pick your own color, for the front and the back. Nextly. To get the phone ready to take a photo, like at the very last second…you twist it back and forth. No really…I mean, like…you flick […]

{ 2 comments }

{My eBay Collections were curated as part of my collaboration with eBay}   As I drove home from dropping off the boys at school this morning, Silver Bells started playing on the radio and I sang along and pictured it all just like that. All that happiness. I love this season. There really is magic in the air. One of my boys still believes. In Santa and in the Elf that flies around the house at night. It must be so great, so inspiring and exciting, to believe! And can you remember? The joy of opening gifts that you thought Santa had carried right to you, just exactly what you wanted? And MORE? Not all of us were so spoiled, and I hope that means we’re helping each other bring that magic to those who can’t afford it. Donating toys is a beautiful way to feel the Silver Bells Feeling of the Season. The Salvation […]

{ 2 comments }

  ARTIFACT UPRISING // inspired by the disappearing beauty of the tangible / bettered by a community of inspired storytellers / driven by the belief everyone has a story to tell. Tell On. — from the Artifact Uprising website   Hello friends, we both know there are loads of places you can purchase gifts for your loved ones like personalized calendars, soft and hardcover photo books and other photo gifts. But have you heard of Artifact Uprising? I love a company that isn’t just another company doing the same things as other companies are doing with one simple goal: to make money. Artifact Uprising is truly unique, connected to its community of supporters and is simply a company built on GOOD. All of the AU products are made in Colorado out of “the disappearing beauty of the tangible”, and this means that the interior pages of all of their books are made from […]

{ 5 comments }

If they can build it, the boys will come… that’s what we say about our boys over here. We also say that they become crazy little guys when allowed to play Super Mario Bros on the wii because they love it so much. Now, the love of building and the Mario craze have been brought together with K’NEX y’all! My boys are in heaven with the SUPER MARIO 3D LAND BOWSER’S CASTLE BUILDING SET:   What I love about this is that it gets the boys off the screens and imagining and playing. They love Super Mario so much and I love it when they act it out or create in response to that passion. My 8 year old explained that in the directions, instead of one step at a time, it shows how to do multiple steps on one page, which is harder, according to my boys. That said, it’s probably best […]

{ 0 comments }

{these Collections have been curated as a part of my collaboration with eBay} I’ve gathered some truly unique, hilarious and just plain FUN gift ideas all in one spot for you, friends. Collections on eBay make it easy for you to look up specific categories of items and keep them all in one place, while also getting them at the great eBay prices we all love!   Everyone knows someone who can’t put their smart phone down for fear of missing a tweet or comment on Facebook. I found some hilarious gifts for just that person and called that collection: hashtag holidays: gifts for the social media addicted. I add things as I find them, and I’m having so much fun searching and refreshing the collections. Feel free to follow along. Here are just a few of the great gift ideas I came up with:   Gifts for the Social Media Enthusiast   […]

{ 0 comments }

a bedtime routine story

November 14, 2013

{This post is about our bedtime routine and there’s a good chance it could help you with yours. It is a sponsored post in partnership with Smart Electric and the words are all mine.} The doctor brings it up, it’s in all the parenting books, and your friends ask when you’re having trouble getting your kids to go to sleep: Do you have a consistent bedtime routine?  “They” all bring it up, because a consistent and predictable routine works. (True, so much of what “they” say is just opinion, but this routine thing totally has proven results.) Our kiddos need signals that become ingrained in their little noggins., so this is one bit of advice we’ve actually stuck with over here at our house. Our boys have never known anything other than “same bat time, same bat channel” bedtime routines, and then Elsie came along and BOY OH BOY does she ever need […]

{ 3 comments }

Disclosure: This blog post was written for The Momiverse, pursuant to their engagement by brightpeak financial. All views expressed are entirely my own, and were not influenced or directed by either the Momiverse or brightpeak financial.  :::::: It’s not like I haven’t kept it real around here from the start, so let’s just keep going with that: I’m terrible at managing finances. Maybe it all started with my brain’s inability to math. Seriously, my brain cannot math. (That was not a typo, my friend Vikki taught me that math is a verb, one I cannot do.) Through all my single years I didn’t have a budget. I was vaguely aware of how much was coming in via my high-powered and high-paying social work position and how much was going out for my fancy lifestyle tiny one-bedroom apartment, but I spent money without really considering the consequences and held back only when I started […]

{ 1 comment }

Ready for Air by Kate Hopper

October 14, 2013

My love affair with Kate Hopper’s first book, Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers is clear–I mention it often. It is a book for every writing mother to carry with her through the years, a resource filled with valuable advice and encouragement. Now, Kate has released her memoir Ready for Air, and it is a beautiful example of what a mother can do when she “uses her words”.  Kate’s daughter was born prematurely and needed to stay in the NICU, battling for life. So many families have experienced this painful journey, waiting and hoping, fearing and waiting. Kate writes beautifully, with humor and candor, of her own painful struggle to accept life’s terms when it came to the wait; to motherhood’s harsh introduction. One of the gifts that Kate’s book brings is an opportunity for every NICU to carry this book, to give to parents who are sitting in the struggle, waiting, watching the monitors, […]

{ 7 comments }

Postable Magic

August 29, 2013

This is one of my favorite thank you cards from Postable, a new discovery I made thanks to BlogHer ’13 in Chicago…. In a nutshell, you upload all of your mailing addresses (or send out a message asking your friends and family to click a link and they fill in their address) OR you fill them each in manually. I sent out a Facebook message with the link to my account and people quickly and easily typed in their address, saving me from having to do them all one by one. (I hadn’t stored addresses on my computer before because I was pretending it was a party like in 1999.) Postable is a new-ish company that’s worth checking out, friends. It began when two young boys named Jesse and Scott met at camp in 1982. Well, okay. It didn’t actually begin right then, but that’s when they met. I love stories like that. […]

{ 0 comments }

I use and love the photo editing site PicMonkey. I edit the photos you see around here on the EO, and I even used it to edit the photos I took for my cousin at her wedding. I love how user-friendly PicMonkey is and how there continues to be no registration required. Not jumping through hoops is a win. That cute little PicMonkey is good about keeping up with the changing seasons as well. He (she?) had great Halloween fonts and creepy overlays, frames, etc., and now for winter, PicMonkey has a wide variety of wonderland tools. I truly love giving photos that extra personal touch, so I’ve gotten to know PicMonkey very well. But just in case you’re a photo editing novice and wonder what you would do with Winter Wonderland editing tools, here’s some help for you: On the home page, click on upload a photo. This opens the photo editor with […]

{ 10 comments }

books for every mother

August 27, 2012

Maybe you love funny and irreverent with a tender dose of mother-love. Or maybe you like poetry and stories that’ll make your heart all swell-y. Maybe you want to learn something, about motherhood and writing or how to chase dreams while being home with a baby. Whatever you love to read, I’m sure you love relatable and real…so here you go, mama friends. All different books by all different mothers for all different mothers… Fellow Austinite and successful creator behind glamajama, Heather Schuck is honest about the inevitable imbalance that is motherhood and work. What needs to give? How do you go about painting your life on YOUR canvas, the way you’d love to live it? Heather answers these questions and so much more in her vulnerable and inspiring book, The Working Mom’s Manifesto:     My friend Robin O’Bryant is the most honest mother you can find, most likely. She’ll tell you […]

{ 10 comments }

The dresses really do make me swoon and I don’t really swoon over a lot of things. Except my kids and their eyes and hair and the way they smell. SWOONABLE sniffy goodness.  But I digress… Katie Hanson is the owner and creator of the handmade goodness that is The Crafty Chic. I’m lucky enough to live very near her, so I went to see her (and her gorgeous smile–seriously best smile ever) at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday and ended up coming home with this dress for Elsie Jane: I bet you had no idea that fabric owls could scream, WE BELONG TO EJ! but they do! Oh how I love the fabrics that Katie chooses when she sits down to sew. Aside from the beautiful little dresses, Katie has Nook/Kindle cases, smart phone cases, headbands, skirts, camera strap covers and MORE:       and now Katie is doing us a solid […]

{ 25 comments }

We only got into one fight on our road trip. What? You didn’t know that we fight? Of course we do. We’re two human married people with three small children, a dog, three chickens and a work-in-progress house and jobs and a minivan that isn’t a Chrysler Town and Country. Heh. Anyway. We do fight, but we also almost always figure out how to work through whatever it is I’m mad about we’re arguing over. Ryan loves vehicles almost as much as he loves the good old fashioned actual paper newspaper, and that’s a lot. When Chrysler contacted me to offer a Town and Country to drive for a week, I forwarded the email to my dear husband and within about ten seconds he emailed me back. It was a long heart-felt love letter to me and minivans that went like this: SAY YES! The first day we got the minivan, I couldn’t […]

{ 5 comments }

{This is sponsored content by outmywindow and BlogHer.} This is a story about how I left Elsie for the first time and was Phoebe instead of Heather, for a moment. If one can randomly fly to California that’s exactly what I did. I wrote snippits of the journey for Just Write this week and I don’t really know why but it’s one of my favorite posts ever. Maybe because snippets of life is where it’s at, you know? It was a whirlwind trip, just an arrival in the afternoon, an overnight, a full day at Warner Brothers studios and back home again that same day. Or night, really, since I pulled in the driveway at about 3a.m. This was my first time away from Elsie and even though it was super short, I missed her and her brothers super much. But I had a great time and it was so good for both […]

{ 7 comments }

Nope, I was not driving while photo-ing. But I am giving everyone suckers every time we go somewhere far, even Elsie Jane no matter if her thighs and toes get all sticky or not. Aaah, the quiet! ::::: You won’t believe it. We started off on our road trip yesterday, right? And we were prepared for a rough time, since EJ pretty much hates road trips. But then, this beautiful thing happened in which… it went really well. Maybe I’m a pessimist about such things, but I was utterly shocked and so was Ryan. Is it naive of me to give a whole lot of the credit to the Chrysler Town and Country we’re using? Does it sound like I’m just saying that because I’ve been given the use of this vehicle for one week for the sake of review? Well. I’m not. I sincerely love this vehicle, and my dear husband, who […]

{ 8 comments }

My Facebook status, “It’s not that I’m more thankful than other people for my kids, it’s just that Asher has had this journey with hydrocephalus & we watch him so closely and every birthday that he has pretty much has me weeping with gratitude for his life. The Ash Man, The Noggin, the totally hilarious Asher Michael is FIVE today.” Yesterday he would touch his forehead and say ouch ouch ouch. A little pocket of panic always rises up from my gut to my chest when he does something like that. It’s probably the heat, the way humidity and barometric pressure play games with someone with head pressure issues like hydrocephalus. But I always watch closely for anything more and then I hope hope hope that it isn’t a shunt malfunction. He’s okay. He’s five years old today and he’s okay. He’s more than okay. He’s Asher. “Mommy, look! I put on your […]

{ 17 comments }