How NOT to get that perfect holiday photo for your cards

how NOT to take a holiday photo

I have had many, many Christmas card photo session fails. One year, I thought I would be proactive and try to get a picture of the girls during the fall. And this is about how well it went down…

1. Decide THIS is the year! The year you will finally create a beautiful, artsy, unique holiday card in which both girls are nicely dressed, have their eyes open, and are smiling!

2. Debate between casual-chic and fancy-schmancy outfits for your kids. Settle on casual chic and carefully pick out outfits for each kid that coordinate but aren’t too matchy-matchy.

3. Tell the 5yo to get herself ready. Show the 3yo what she’s wearing.

4. Watch 3yo throw herself on the ground in a massive tantrum because the tights you picked are white and not hot pink with purple hearts.

5. Try to explain the importance of looking casual-chic to a 3yo. Realize the futility.

6. Let the 3yo wear the hot pink with purple hearts tights. Run to the 5yo’s room to pick out something that won’t clash with the 3yo’s neon legwear.

7. Go back to the 3yo’s room. Find her dressed in pink with purple hearts tights, teal blue summer skirt, red sparkly shoes, yellow tank top that says “BORN TO SHOP,” and a Wonder Woman headband from Halloween.

8. Wonder if it’s too early to have a glass of wine.

9. Decide to do just a headshot this year. Convince 3yo to put on a red long-sleeved shirt and a sparkly headband.

10. Get kids settled on the front steps in the perfect pose.

11. Realize you left the camera in your office.

12. Come back with camera to find kids jumping in moldy, wet leaf piles.

13. Decide it is definitely not too early for a glass of wine.

14. After downing glass of wine, decide to take pictures of kids jumping in leaves. It’ll be cute, right? Kids in leaves, smiling, happy, etc. The sun is setting. It’s pretty! Good stuff. Should’ve done this from the beginning! GENIUS!

15. Upload pictures that night to computer. Find out that the wine colored your judgement.

16. Debate between picture of wet, filthy, moldy-leaf-covered kids wrestling in the mud (but with their eyes open) – or picture of wet, filthy, moldy-leaf-covered kids sitting in the mud looking at camera (but 5yo’s eyes are closed).

17. Pick out a random photo from the summer where both girls are sweaty and a little disheveled, but at least have their eyes open and they are sort-of smiling.

18. Upload mediocre picture to Shutterfly. Pick a generic border. Click “purchase” with a heavy sigh.

19. Decide that next year, you’re spending the money you’d normally spend on holiday cards on something for yourself instead. Like better wine.

photo credit: Glenn Waters ぐれんin Japan. via photopin cc

Give my kid any more of these party “favors” and I will end you.

8 worst kids party favorsMy house is overrun with crap toys. We have several bins of plastic junky stuff that my girls never play with but yet can’t bear to part with. And you know where we get all this crap?

Birthday party “favor” bags.

I put “favor” in quotes because parents who give my kids this crap are doing no one favors. Amiright?

Every single time after every single party, Annie comes happily bouncing over to me with a little plastic bag in her clutches. She waves it gleefully, yelling, “Look what I got!”

And I sigh, preparing myself for the onslaught of crap that Annie will enthusiastically ooooh and ahhhh over. Until it breaks. Or breaks something of mine. Like a window. Or my spirit.

Here are some of the worst offenders:

Makeup. Because it’s so fun to discover at 7:30am that your 5yo has smeared on green eyeshadow, bright pink lipstick, and glittery blush, and declared herself ready for school. I was kind of hoping this wouldn’t happen until she was a tween. But thanks to party favors, we have already had several makeup arguments. Yay!

Gum. I’m okay with some chocolate or sugary candy that I can dole out as bribes later. But gum? For preschoolers? Why not just send them home with Sharpies? Because they can do similar damage to my kid’s body and clothing – and my furniture.

Whistles. Really? REALLY?

Yo-yos. Seemingly harmless. Easy mistake to make. But do you know how frustrating it is for a preschooler to try to use a yo-yo? And you know what yo-yos do? They get tangled up. And guess who has to untangle them over and over? Yo-yos are also dangerous projectiles, as my face can attest to. Just say no to the yo-yo, people.

Bouncy balls. Talk about dangerous projectiles. Kids come home from parties and want to bounce the crap out of those things. Your kid gets his hands on a bouncy ball and it’s like racquetball game suddenly began inside your house. Say goodbye to your windows, picture frames, and lamps! Get ready for a trip to the doctor’s office after your kid’s eye and the bouncy ball get intimately acquainted!

Weapons. Water guns. Slingshots. Bows and arrows. WTF? I sent my kid to a birthday party. I don’t expect her to come home ready for battle.

Typical junky plastic crap. Cheap-o jewelry, silly bands, jump ropes that don’t work. Pinball or maze games that immediately break, leading to tears of frustration. Teeny tiny choking hazard toys. Stupid mini-coloring books with pictures too tiny to color. Anything that makes noise. This should ALL BE BANNED. In the end, it all ends up cluttering my house or sitting in a landfill. Total waste.

Anything alive. I’ve heard of parents giving out goldfish or beta fish as party favors. Thankfully this has not happened to me. If it did, I would march right back to the mom throwing the party, hand her the baggy o’ fish, and tell her we are unfortunately allergic to pets. And starting then we would be officially allergic to her, too.


I know, I know. The junk toys are easy. We’re tired parents and we don’t have the energy to make fancy party favors. I hear ya.

To that I say get thee to Target. The dollar bins often have great stuff. Once for Annie’s birthday I found wildflower seeds, little buckets and shovels, and books about butterflies. Packaged them up and voila – $3 favors that were super cute.

Another time when Annie was younger, I got bubbles, chalk, buckets, and glow sticks from the dollar bins. That was another cute $3 favor.

And if you’re too tired to think of some creative party favor (like I was this year), just give each kid one extra-large lollipop, say “thanks for coming!” and send her on her way (like I did).

I may have given the party attendees a little sugar high, but at least I didn’t add to the never-ending crap collection their parents undoubtably loathe, right?

What are the best and worst party favors your kids have received?

Honest Voices linkup at NEW

In which I make goofy confessions for all of Facebook to read.

It all started with an innocent confession as I sat in a chair in my daughter’s room, waiting for her to fall asleep.

Yes, I do that.

And apparently a lot of you do, too. Because when I admitted it on Facebook, 100 people liked it and 28 people chimed in, confessing they did the same thing.

Hmmmm, I thought. We are honest moms, indeed.

So I fessed up to this one:

Hundreds of people admitted to doing the EXACT SAME THING.

Not only that, but I was thrilled to read that many of you also forget your wet laundry in the dryer for days and rewash it because it gets stinky. And re-dry your clothes in the dryer over and over, hoping it’ll get the wrinkles out.

We are a sisterhood of laundry avoiders.

Next, I admitted that I may not always be attending to official business when I’m in the bathroom:

Me too! chorused the masses. I, too, do whatever it takes to get in a game of Words With Friends or play on Facebook for 10 minutes!

But some of you poor mamas have kiddos who won’t let you even tend to your needs in the loo alone. I remember those days.

Now, however, my kids just bang on the door and proclaim they need me RIGHT NOW MAMA because they must have a snack / are dying of thirst / need help with putting on a fairy costume IMMEDIATELY.

And really, unless I hear crying or screaming? I tune them out.

Then, as I was thinking about my oh-so-riveting social life on Saturday night, I threw up a quick question on Facebook:

“Ah, another fabulous, exciting Saturday night, folding laundry before crashing at 9:45pm. Good times, good times. Is anyone’s night as riveting as mine? Or do some of you actually, you know, do stuff and go places?”

Apparently I am not alone. You people are as boring as me. My laundry folding and TV watching was frankly a big wild party compared to some of you. Martinis and Minivans busying herself by chowing down multiple Little Debbie snack cakes. Mrs. HouseTalkN herself was in her jammies by 8pm. And one mom wasn’t even aware it was Saturday.

Today, to round up my series of confessions, I told the Facebook masses about my guilty little secret:

I don’t exactly hurry my way through the grocery store when I get to go alone. I may even dawdle. You, too, huh?

“As refreshing as a trip to the spa,” agreed one mom. And RachRiot loves her grocery getaway, too: “It’s like a little vacay, plus my grocery store plays kick-ass ’80’s music. WIN.”

So many moms, so many confessions, so fun to read. I still can’t get over the fact that I am not the only one who is hopelessly laundry-challenged. THANK GOD I am not alone.

Fess up – do you do these things? What other “bad mom” stuff would you like to confess to?

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