Category Archives: Internet Gems

Hope + Help For Syria

April 5, 2017

Yesterday morning, as many as 100 people were killed in a chemical attack in the Idlib province of Syria, southwest of Aleppo. Many of the dead are children.

Right now, Preemptive Love is responding to victims of the attack to provide things like medical care and help for families who were evacuated.

A wonderful and hope-filled chance to give here. Any donation, no matter how small, is helpful and needed. This organization is trusted and vetted non-profit making a huge difference across the globe.

There is no such thing as other people’s children.

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Nov’s Nook: 10 Things For A Corner Nursery

March 23, 2017

A few years ago we made an office space in the guest room to give Austin a place to study and me a place to work but didn’t end up using it once due to the logistics of our house. Which made it that much easier to get rid of and replace with a tiny sleeping space for Nov. I’ve never had a nursery for any of my babies, so everyone be cool and pretend he’s still in utero while I “nest” and “eat for two.” Here’s the before picture. 

The first thing I did was sell the desk for 50 bucks (we got it free on the side of the road!) and use that money to buy a new in-the-box convertible crib on Facebook Marketplace for the same price (he was in a co-sleeper or a pack and play before). Next I pinned 17 complicated DIY mobiles and kind of sat around for awhile because honestly I don’t really know what an embroidery hoop is.

Then a few things started coming together and I realized I don’t need much, just a few things to make it cozy and, more importantly, satisfy some unflattering yet very primal need to make at least one nice space for one of my babies before I turn into a mother of sweaty teenagers who definitely do not want my help decorating their room. And so began what I like to call: Dads Hanging Things. A new Netflix documentary series featuring dads who absolutely do not want to hang things on a Sunday afternoon but do it anyway (may contain mild swears).

I really enjoyed gathering things for Novi’s fake newborn nursery. I was like a mother bird building her nest. Except instead of twigs, it’s a lot of Amazon boxes and instead of flying, I was just sitting around eating a sandwich and asking Austin if he was measuring right. It was a really beautiful experience for everyone.

Thank you to all the shops who generously sent your beautiful items (marked with a *). The rest I found on Amazon or from places like the free pile of the faculty lounge at my mom’s school (thanks mom!). This was fun.

1. Baby Jives Cloud Mobile.* (gorgeous)

2. Fox Wall Hanging.* (perfect)

3. Minted Map Print.* (cute)

4. Rookie Humans Crib Sheet.* (obsessed) 

5. Floating Bookshelf.

6. Target Faux Succulents.

7. Memory Foam Mattress Topper.

8. 3 Sprouts Fox Storage Bin.

9. Iviebaby Winter Cloud Blanket.

10. Fox & Bear Summer Blanket.

Extras: Fox pacifier holder, this amazing white noise machine, five dollar gold mirror from Target, Ikea faux sheepskin rug, & a handmade knit creatures from my mom.

 

Four Ways To Give At The End Of The World…I mean 2016

December 14, 2016

helping

It’s been quite a year, no?

Four ways to give back this season. A time of joy and sorrow.

1. Help the city of Aleppo. From my friend Suzie: I don’t think we have the right to say “never again” regarding the Holocaust anymore. We collectively do not deserve the credit that is implied by that. The credit that we would do anything differently, because it clearly has happened again. The world stood by and watched even as it was live tweeted for us. As my family celebrates Christmas this year, our focus for us and our children is on the fact that Jesus was born a middle eastern refugee. More on what’s going on here

2. Pay overdue lunch accounts at your local public school. School lunch is a big part of the day for students, but some families cannot afford it every day of the school-week. Anonymously paying off overdue lunch accounts at your local schools is a great way to support the community.

3. Support the legal defense of warriors protecting land, water, and human rights by donating and standing with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline from ripping through their ancestral homelands. It threatens their water, their sacred places, and the future of their children.

4. Raise awareness for gun violence against children. Four years ago today, 20 children and 6 adult staff members were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. You can donate in memory of Charlotte, Daniel, Rachel and Olivia. Josephine, Ana, Dylan, and Dawn. Madeleine, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Anne, and Emilie. Jack and Noah, Caroline and Jessica. Avielle, Lauren, Mary, and Victoria. Benjamin and Allison.

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Photo source

10 Things Moms Actually Want For Mother’s Day

April 22, 2016

No, she doesn’t want bath soaps and a Yankee candle.
Ten things she actually wants with plenty of time to get it right.

You got this.

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1. Food and sleep.

food and sleep

Austin likes to “joke around” that he’s never met someone who needs more sleep than I do, and I like to “joke around” that I’ve never met someone who feels the need to comment on other people’s sleep habits more than he does. Seriously though, moms need some serious horizontal time to feel sane all day long, and there’s no better opportunity than Mother’s Day to not bring her breakfast in bed at 6am.

In related news, moms also like to eat good food they didn’t make themselves! If this is groundbreaking information for you, I suggest taking a good hard look in the mirror and then making enough dinner reservations to last the rest of the year. Even if you don’t go out on Mother’s Day, may I suggest using the grocery store? That’s the place with all the ingredients you need to make a few of her favorite dishes. Tip: Don’t bother making something you aren’t going to clean up.

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2. Gift card for a massage or pedicure.

spa day

Cash is fine, too–as long as you designate where it’s supposed to go (not the grocery bill). Ways to find places to purchase spa gift cards: listening, observing, asking her, asking girlfriends, yelp, Amazon.

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3. Acts of service.

service

Once upon a time in the mid 90s, a man named Gary Chapman wrote a book about love languages and a world of women sighed, nodded their head, and said THIS IS HOW TO LOVE ME. In his book, Chapman outlines five ways to express and experience love called “love languages” including gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch.

I don’t know about you, but my love language has and always will be acts of service. There’s just something about someone taking out the trash and building a dining room table that makes me feel appreciated. This year for Mother’s Day, I’m asking Austin to help me finish a few projects around the house because a baby is coming and that means it is imperative we do rational things like clean all the ceiling fans. (More about love languages via this post)

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4. Gift cards for take-out.

take out

Ah yes, my second love language: take-out! The other week Austin surprised us with take-out from Panera and it was basically like renewing our vows. Even if your mom/wife/grandma/aunt/woman loves to cook, everyone needs a break once in awhile from meal planning and scraping the bottom of the crock pot (worst). As someone who does not enjoy cooking or baking or staring blankly into the pantry cupboard–gift cards for take-out to use throughout the year is an invaluable gift.

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5. Amazon Prime.

prime

For my birthday this year, Austin renewed our Amazon Prime membership after a nine month hiatus that had me making speeches at 11pm on the psychological importance of “two day shipping.” Let me tell you something friends, nothing says “I appreciate you” more than free movies, tv shows, music, and quick package arrival.

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6. Personalized necklace.

Looking for a sentimental but classy gift? Lately I’ve really been jonesing for one of these personalized necklaces with one letter charm for each of our (almost) three kids. Made by Mary on Etsy makes just that, with various options for lettering, charm size, and necklace length. Best of all, you are supporting a small business (and it’s fun to know all pieces are stamped one by one with hand held tools).

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7. Photobook subscription.

Another sentimental gift, except this one is only 8 bucks (a book) and gets you a little happy mail everytime you post 60 pictures on Instagram. It really is the cheapest way to print those pictures (and a small relief knowing there’s a real print of all your best phone pictures somewhere). How it works: Print your Instagram photos in a book series automatically. Every photo you share to Instagram creates a page in your book. You’ll get a notification each time you get close to 60 new pages. Excluding photos from your book is easy as a tap ( I usually exclude a bunch!). Curate as you go. Editing captions is also a snap, but I leave them out altogether. Don’t have Instagram? No problem. Just upload them from your phone. Order additional subscriptions so loved ones can enjoy your photos as well. Don’t ask Grandma and Grandpa to figure it out – just have them go to the mailbox. $8 dollars shipped. Get your first book free when you subscribe with the code KATEJBAER.

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8. An overnight trip.

airbnb

I love my kids. I also love being away from my kids, and I will always stand by the truth that there is nothing more important in motherhood than taking a break, recharging your batteries, and eating brie cheese on someone else’s sofa while you read a juicy novel or binge watch The Mindy Project. Sightseeing is nice too, but not all Airbnb stays have to be 100 miles away. I would gladly sleep over a few blocks away if it meant not waking up to demands for a banana and Caillou at 6am. Fact: We are our best selves when we allow ourselves time off to take a few deep breaths. Someone else planning it? Even better.

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9. The mother load tote.

TJM

My friend Candis makes the loveliest things. Find this Mother’s Day appropriate tote over at The Jones Market and fill it with love (bread) or things from her wish list (also bread?) she loves https://www.village-bakery.com and everything that has to do something with bread. Other bag filler ideas: books, flowers, new sandals, pens (why does everyone keep taking my pens), notes of encouragement from loved ones (I won’t hold my breath). Bonus: It makes the best library bag.

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10. Farm fresh flowers.

Things I used to say to Austin: “I don’t need flowers!” “Don’t waste the money on flowers!” “Look at me so low maintenance about flowers!” I don’t say those things anymore. Flowers are nice and mood boosting and for the love, who doesn’t love flowers? Bouqs offers especially gorgeous, eco-friendly, and affordable bouquets. Just make sure to order ahead.

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10 Perfect Galentine’s Day Gifts To Celebrate Our Favorite Women

January 29, 2016

Galentine’s Day is only a few short weeks away, which means that if you’re running on Leslie Knope time–you’re already behind.

What’s Galentine’s Day you ask?

gday

Every year on February 13th, Leslie fans gather together with their girlfriends to celebrate friendship and eat all of the things. Even if you don’t watch Parks & Rec, it’s a great holiday to adopt because 1) 100x better than Valentine’s day and 2) snacks.

A list of ten wonderful gifts to celebrate the women in our lives who make us better. There is no greater thing than women helping women.

Galentine’s Day Gift Guide

1. Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed.
A collection of quotes from bestselling author Cheryl Strayed, drawn from the wide range of her writings. The book captures her wisdom, humor, and insight and is presented in a lovely gift-sized package that’s as fun to give as it is to receive. Open to any page and at the very least—be amused. As Cheryl so bluntly puts it in the introduction, “Read it like a motherfucker.” I read it in a day, and will continue to reread to find the gems that spoke to me the most. Themes include body image, friendship, inner strength, and love.

2. This perfect Galentine’s Day shirt.
Comfy, affordable, and hilarious.

3. A bouquet of friendship flowers.
Beautiful, sustainable, and unique. Great for friends who live far away.

4. A tote, necklace, or key chain from this sweet shop.
Ten votes for the YES tote.

5. Matching robes for a fun at home spa night.

6. A three month subscription to Birchbox.
The gift that keeps on giving.

7. A one month subscription to Hulu Plus to binge watch The Mindy Project.

8. Free printable!
Danielle always makes the best printables. And their free!

9. This mini faux sheepskin rug because everyone is doing it and she probably wants to, too.
Perfect for photoshoots, a chair drape, or small floor space.

10. A love letter or email including a funny meme, an inside joke or two, and some heartfelt words of appreciation because uteruses before duderuses for life.

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