Hello, Spring!

I’ve had a few readers request for me to talk about my family’s life, which I’m thrilled to get to do. I think my famils is the foundation for who I am and why etiquette and traditions are so important to me. I also believe that, as a mother, I understand the struggles other parents share with trying to teach etiquette to their kids. It isn’t all sunshine and roses, but it’s also truly worth the effort.

Pear blossoms

I absolutely love spring. Actually, I love all seasons, as there is just so many possibilities that each season holds. I thrive on anticipation. Spring brings warm days, picnics, new growth, promises and so many more “good” things. I struggle, though, with sharing any difficulties I experience because I feel as though I never want to be a disappointment to my readers. However, I’ve resolved to be completely authentically real. So, each month I plan to share areas of etiquette I’ve either struggled to understand or implement. I hope this will give you hope.

I’ve mentioned in the past I have a *slight* Pottery Barn addiction. I get frustrated with how the world seems to glorify failure. I’ve read a lot of good articles recently on it, as I’ve attempted to understand why it’s become so popular lately. In my opinion, it goes beyond the idea of us all being human and making mistakes. I don’t believe that mistakes doom us to simply giving up trying. My goal in sharing my struggles is for us to share ideas on how to help each other.

Outdoor eating is one of my favorite things about warmer weather!

In no way do I believe that life should look like a Pottery Barn magazine all of the time. I also disagree with the idea that we should all give up trying. So, here’s to sharing what makes us real while continuing to try our best. There will be a lot of grace along the way.

In Your Easter Bonnet…

            Classic dress from Boden

Easter is one of my absolute favorite times of the year. If you haven’t noticed, I’m a fan of all holidays. There’s something very special, though, about the trees sprouting new leaves and the smell of spring rain in the air. I also notice that people tend to use Easter as the one occasion they still dress up.

             Floral Boden dress


A tradition in my own family is for everyone to get new clothes. I enjoy wearing dresses regularly, and the clothes my kids gets for Easter are the church clothes they usually wear throughout the summer, with some variations.

              Traditional Easter outfit

My kiddos are four and five years old, so I don’t buy a ton of nicer clothes for them. In addition to both kids growing quickly, they also tend to be a bit rough on clothes. Still, at Easter all rationalism flies out of the window.

I love classic clothing, particularly for kids. Seersucker and bowties are top picks of mine. My hubby will occasionally humor me with both options. Here are a couple of picks for my kids this year.

You can shop these looks at http://www.janieandjack.com and http://www.bodenusa.com/en-us/kids-clothing.

Bonus: In the South, it is traditional to bring out your white clothes again!

Library Etiquette

My kids and I like to go to our local library on Thursday evenings. It’s open until 8pm on Thursdays, and, as a working mom, this is our little getaway each week.

I enjoyed just walking the aisles until something catches my eye. My daughter, 5, always migrates to the My Little Pony area, despite my attempts. I was always a Romona Quimby girl, to the point where I wrote “Ramona Quimby, age 8” at the top of all of my school papers when I was in the 3rd grade. I’m just grateful I went to a small school and my teacher, Mrs. Jaggers, knew who that was. My son likes The Berenstein Bears (it’s how I know he’s mine) and books about firemen.

Regardless of your interests, I’d bet you’ll be able to find them at your local library. I’ve surprisingly had a few emails informing me that people want to go to the library in their hometown, but they’re unsure of how to act. Here are a few pointers.

  • Unless you have a bottle-fed baby, don’t bring in food and water. Many libraries will have signs letting you know it’s not allowed, but it can easily harm books, which is the reasoning behind it.
  • Bring your kids! Most libraries have a kids’ section/area. Ours does, and it brings out their love for reading, which is essential.
  • Be timely in your returns. Aside from the minimal fine you’ll incur, it’s inconsiderate to other people who may have wanted to read that book.
  • Take phonecalls outside or to a designated area.
  • Don’t fold the pages! This one goes for any borrowed book. Don’t earmark the page to let you know where you are. Get a bookmark.
  • Limit computer use to an hour, if a time limit isn’t stated. Plenty of people use the library and all of its abundant resources, such as computers and/or wi-fi to do work. An hour is usually enough time to do what needs done while not preventing someone else getting their work done.

What other guidelines would you add to the above list?

As always, thank you for reading!

Southern Traditions

I am absolutely mesmerized by various Southern traditions. The South is uniquely made up of various culture, creating a new one in its own right. I love this so much. However, it’s easy to be drawn into other cultures and fail to see what’s so special about your own.

For me, this is best highlighted by my own family’s Christmas Eve meal. Instead of having the same food each year and having that be our tradition, we explore new cultures and even time periods. In 2016 we had an Italian feast, and in 2017 we were transported back to the 1950s. This is our personal tradition.

I’ve always been one to romanticize what others do. After watching Pocahontas, I desparately wanted to be Native American. It’s this way with everything, though. I think it’s what makes etiquette so special to me. Traditions are the foundation of who we are, making traditions a cornerstone of culture. I get such a thrill learning about new people and new cultures.

I had the opportunity when I was in undergrad to study abroad in China. Again, I was struck with wanderlust. I genuniely felt sad at the thought of leaving this world without ever having seen it.

While we may not be able to travel extensively now, I enjoy bringing other parts of the world to my family.

However, it’s also important for me to not forget about the culture I live in. I mean something on a more micro level, though, than Southern. The South has several regionally distinct areas that all have their own sub-culture and traditions.

Today I want to highlight a favorite tradition of mine here locally in Hopkins County, Texas – Hopkins County Stew. It’s amazing. If you’ve never tried it, I enjoy mine best with crackers crushed in it to soak up some of the broth, loaded with cheese and a side of pickles (which may or may not also end up in the stew). It’s simple and comforting. If you’ve never made it before, this cold weather is the perfect time to start! Enjoy! Learn more about our annual stew contest! Fun fact: I worked this event the day before Grant was born!

P.S. If you try it, let me know what you think!


In Defense of Trick-or-Treating

I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe Halloween! Also, Happy All Saints’ Day!

Our family enjoyed Halloween this year a lot. Garrett was Patrick Bateman from American Psycho {and not Dexter, as everyone thought he was 🙂 }, I was a black cat, Katherine was Minnie Mouse, and Grant was Leonardo (I think….blue ninja turtle).

For Katherine’s first Halloween, she was a black cat who was terrified of Minnie (me). We’ve come a long way, baby. My parents were both penguins, and they truly waddled due to the design of their costumes! It is the funniest thing ever.

One thing I noticed, though, was the rarity of porch lights in our area. We live in a very residential area, but most people (even those who decorated) didn’t participate in Trick-or-Treat. My theory? Truck-or-Treat. I understand the reasoning behind it. However, I think the “risk” associated with traditional trick-or-treating is grossly exaggerated due to social media. Social media usually exaggerates (or blatantly makes up) most things. I get it. Sensationalism sales. However, common sense should rule. Don’t trick-or-treat at shady places. Halloween, though, is about so much more than candy (to me, at least). I love the experience of going out. The excitement of the unknown.

As a kid growing up in the country, trick-or-treating consisted of going to family members’ homes. I longed for the experience my dad talked of from when he was a kid growing up in Irving.

Halloween also, in my opinion, can be a way we finally meet our neighbors. How many of us can name by name the people who live near us? What a great opportunity to meet someone new.

I am so thankful and proud to live where we do. I love having easy access to Brookshire’s and the library, as well as having friends who live a block from us.

When we first moved into our home, I was beyond excited about the mail slot on the door. It seemed to urban to me.

This post is not about bashing trunk-or-treats. I just think that traditional, old-fashioned trick-or-treating has a lot more to offer than meets the eye, and I would encourage anyone who is home next Halloween to consider flipping on your light and seeing who you might meet.