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January Must-Haves…

Be still Mama’s beating heart, are we already in new year?! And to top it off, Mama has only made it here three times this week…better than not at all these days. Let Mama back track…because for some reason people think that Mama can do it all. While Mama tries her hardest…sometimes Mama does fail. It doesn’t look that way on the outside but on the inside — in the “inner circle” — we know that Mama didn’t make those holiday cards or the birthday invitations. Nope, not in the least. Did Mama bake that bundt cake? Nope, not this time.

But you know what? Mama is okay with that. For now. Letting little things slide in order to get more quality time with the kids is worth it. For now.

However, it’s now time to put the holidays behind us (and the birthdays…for now) and head into a new month, a new year and a new way of living because isn’t that what January is all about…a clean slate and all that jazz?! So here’s a few things to cheer you up this BLAH-U-ARY and make this month go by a little bit faster so we can rush into hearts, lollipops and lots and lots of XOXOs in February!

Must-do — Mama can’t believe that so far this one hasn’t been leaked to the masses and well, Mama was kind-of keeping it a secret because it’s one of the secrets to Mama’s success…well at least in the DIY craft world. This is how Mama and Lily-girl made Christmas this year — via the Web site, PickYourPlum.com. It’s fabulous and well, a must-do to start your year off right. PickYourPlum.com is a discounted craft site that sells one item a day until it sells out…and believe Mama, they sometimes sell out in minutes. For teacher gifts Mama picked up personalized “desk” stamps for $6 each, bought hair clips and flowers for $10 (and it made like 50!), and bought these amazing scarves for $6 each (high-quality too!). Doesn’t cost you anything to sign-up so be glad you did and you can thank Mama later! The only thing that worries Mama now…is more competition on the things that Mama wants to buy mass quantities of…

Must-have — did you know that girls are supposed to wear shorts underneath their uniform skirts (and everyday skirts for that matter…)?! No, either did Mama! Probably because when Mama was going to school, they were built-in (hey, it was the style way back then). Well, not wanting to leave Lily-girl up to humiliation because she wears Barbie and Princess underwear, Mama just found MonkeyBar Buddies. They are specifically made to wear underneath skirts and come in tons of colors to match the skirt they’re wearing. Buy a few pairs to keep on hand because you never know when they might come home crying because some little boy or girl saw their underpants (devastating…). MonkeyBar Buddies, $16 for shorts.

Must-read — this month’s book club pick is Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein. It’s just what it says and it’s actually frightening when you think about how American Girl, Disney and toy companies shape the way our little girl’s think about themselves. It’s pure marketing genius all engineered to make a quick buck based on adult/parent behaviors. This gives you an inside look at how the “girlie-girl” culture we live in could have a negative impact on our daughters as they grow up including pre-mature sexualization and self-esteem issues. Definitely a must-read in today’s world! Cinderella Ate My Daughter, $10.19, at amazon.com.

Must-do — if you’re like Mama you’re probably thinking — what am I going to do with all those beautiful holiday cards we received? Never fear…there’s always an answer from Mama! Yesterday Mama’s friend said she takes them all and wraps them up in craft paper like a present with twine, labels with the year and puts them away in a box for safe keeping. Then one day the kids can look at them or she can or maybe they may never find their way to light again…however, Mama thinks it’s a brilliant idea. So thank you Nancy for one of this month’s to-dos! Other things you can do with them — make ornaments by cutting them into shapes, hole-punching and adding ribbon to hang for next year’s tree; taking pictures of them and adding them to your phone as their contact photo; and making a photo collage. What do you do with the holiday cards?

Must-have — Speaking of memory keepers, Mama is ordering this memory box from PaperCoterie.com that commemorates 2011. It’s a great place to put in the photos of the year and display on a coffee or side table where you can look through it. You can also put the holiday cards in there…brilliant! Memory Keepers, $38, at papercoterie.com. Now through January 23, 2012 use the code REMEMBER2011 and receive 40 percent off the Remember When Memory Box…SWEET!

Must-wear — And because Mama always says get something for yourself to start out the month…how about something in Pantone’s color of the year, Tangerine Tango, to start off the year right. All Mama’s picks are at StyleBakeryMom.com today but this is the one Mama is betting on…Accidentally In Love Long Sleeve Chiffon Dress, $64, at piperlime.com. While it’s not quite the reddish orange of Tangerine Tango, it’s a great orange color for the winter season!

Happy January!

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