Merry Christmas 2016!

Merry Christmas 2016!

Merry Christmas 2016, everyone!

We are spending the holidays with family in Michigan. As I type this, downstairs I hear the rest of the jolly crew: 7 kids, 6 adults and 3 dogs. I’m taking the opportunity to curl up under a blanket and enjoy a few minutes to myself.

This morning I watched a bunch of kids tear through a roomful of gifts in a tornado of excitement. I had a mimosa. (Ok, two.) And I opened several presents that were brightly wrapped and thoughtful.

But the greatest gift of Christmas 2016 is seeing my girls together with their cousins.

Christmas 2016 Ten Thousand Hour Mama img_2290

The last time Peeper saw her five cousins was Christmas 2014; I was pregnant with Kiwi at the time, so Little Sis hasn’t met this crew.

They’ve been making up for lost time. Read more

Pretty Christmas cookies: Chocolate Candy Cane Pinwheels

Roughly 95% of the time I make cookies, I go for chocolate chip. They’re sure to please, I pretty much have the recipe memorized and I just drop scoops of dough onto a cookie sheet before—ta-da!—gooey chocolatey deliciousness. But for a Christmas cookie exchange party, I wanted to up my cookie game a bit. So I got all inspired and created these tasty, festive and pretty Christmas cookies: chocolate candy cane pinwheels!

Chocolate candy cane pinwheels are PRETTY Christmas cookies—and so festive! Ten Thousand Hour MamaVersion 2These chocolate candy cane pinwheels are festive, pretty Christmas cookies—perfect for a cookie exchange party! Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Dark chocolate, sugar cookie dough and candy cane chunks come together in something that tastes just right at the holidays.  Read more

When doing good goes wrong

Thanks to my post-election doldrums and the holiday season, my family has been trying to do a lot more good deeds lately. Unfortunately, sometimes doing good goes wrong.

Take, for example, the time a few weeks ago when Peeper and I baked cookies to bring to our town’s firefighters, along with a handmade card. But just as we arrived, they left with sirens blazing, so I ate the cookies. Later we tried again. No one answered at the fire house. So I ate the cookies. I decided to try once more: I bought a dozen cookies from the grocery store and took the kids to the fire house. Still no one there. So—you guessed it—I stress ate four gingersnaps on the drive home.

We live in a quiet little town outside Portland—not exactly arson central. So either these fire fighters are avoiding me and my baked goods or they’re posing for some sexy fire fighter calendar.

I’m hoping for the latter.

But seriously, all these attempts to do a little good are compromising my resolve to eat better.

Sometimes doing good goes wrong, especially when you give back with kids. Don't give up; try again! Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Holiday gift guide: Best WAHM gifts

Chances are, you know a work at home mom: Almost a third of moms in the US do not work outside the home, and if the number of mom friends selling leggings, face wash and children’s books is any indication, a good chunk of these work at home (including me!). And I can guarantee these mamas could use a thoughtful present this holiday—that’s why I pulled together a list of the best WAHM gifts to spoil the working moms on your Christmas list.

Shopping for a work at home mom? This gift guide with the 10 best WAHM gifts has working mother-tested ideas and products. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

DIY kids holiday gift: Glitter handprint craft

Y’all know how much I love glitter. So when I went to make a present for my mom, aka the girls’ grandmother and a Nana who has just about everything, I knew I wanted it to sparkle. So Peeper and I made this: a glitter handprint craft that will be a gorgeous, special and one-of-a-kind Christmas gift.

(Sorry, Mom, to spoil the surprise!)

We still have a few weeks until Christmas and other December holidays, but if you’re looking for a DIY kids craft to give as a gift, look no further than this fun, simple—and yes, sparkly—glitter handprint craft!

Glitter handprints are a beautiful - but easy - handmade holiday gift kids will love to make. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Network with bloggers—without feeling skeezy

The internet gets a bad rap these days, with hateful trolls mobbing people’s Twitter feeds and cyberbullies toppling kids’ confidence like a tower of stacking blocks. But online I’ve found a welcoming, encouraging and supportive community of bloggers. It’s no wonder I’ve been wanting to network with bloggers in person, face-to-face, in real life.

Giving online high-fives, hugs and fist bumps is all well and good but, as I’ve written about before, meeting up with internet friends—and yes, even network with bloggers (it’s not a dirty word!)—off the computer feels even better. Plus, meeting up IRL is a wonderful chance to share ideas, collaborate, give advice and learn from each other.

It can feel awkward or even intimidating to meet other bloggers face to face, though, especially if you don’t know them well. So here’s a little advice to help you feel confident, prepared and excited to network with bloggers in real life.

So you want to network with bloggers—but you hate networking. Here's how to meet up with online friends and colleagues IRL without feeling skeezy. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Why I give: Helping children and reuniting families in Syria

Our Thanksgiving was a little bit crazy, a little bit mellow, and a little bit oh my gosh I can’t believe I ate pie at three meals today. The entire Ryan clan convened at my parents’ house, so we did a lot of game playing, taking walks in the rain (so Oregon!), eating (obvi) and snuggling.

All that together time made me a whole lot of grateful. And as I gave my girls extra hugs, played with my baby niece, had actual face-to-face conversations with family members who live across the country and took ridiculous photos to commemorate our time together, I gave thanks for our good fortune to spend time together.

I’m still riding the high of our rare days all together, especially since the last time we all gathered was at my brother’s wedding three years ago. I’m also remembering that many families—way too many—don’t have the privilege of coming together at home. So today, on Giving Tuesday, this is why I give to a cause close to my heart: to support families who have left their homes to escape danger, poverty or war.

On Giving Tuesday, this is why I give: to support kids and families who want to build a better future. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

(See my post from yesterday on more about Giving Tuesday and donating on any budget.)  Read more