It’s easy to forget to enjoy little moments of bliss and joy, with our lives so hectic and pressured. Inspired by recent travels, I compiled a collection of photos called Looking Out My Back Door. It does make me want to hum a little Creedence Clearwater Revival, yes, but it also makes me marvel at how quickly the scenery can change. As in life, if we’re not careful, it can pass us by in the blink of an eye. As you browse through this collection, remember the wise words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around for a while, you could miss it.” With that, I’d like to share what I see looking out my back door and encourage you to enjoy little moments, whether out your back door or far from home.
While in Texas, this was my scenery most of the time. Oh, how wonderful it was to open the blinds and see the peaceful serenity of a lake and horses! It was my daily reminder to pause and breathe.
My husband and I snuck off kid free to downtown Dallas for a night. Since we live in the bush … >> find out more...
Did you take my advice a couple weeks ago and watch the series premiere of Outlander, your new favorite show of all time? If you haven’t, I’m about to reprimand you in my very stern mom voice,
It’s a shame you’re not being obedient. I’m quite disappointed in the choice you just made. I still love you, but I wish you’d listen to me because I’m looking out for your best interests.
Was that passive aggressive enough for you? Ha!
If you didn’t watch the first episode of Outlander, no worries, you can still catch in on STARZ. In fact, it might be good that you waited because now there are two episodes ready for you to binge on, and tomorrow night there will be one more!
You guys. Seriously. Outlander is so good my own super manly man of a husband is waiting for the next episode. Have you watched it? If you have (thank you for being obedient) what do you think of Jamie? He’s kind of perfection. Sam Heughan, (the actor who plays Jamie) is actually a Scot so he’s making it WERK, and Claire! She’s the very best. A modern day feminist … >> find out more...
My daughter has made it through the roughest year of her young life, and it’s not over yet. She’s been through so much, for so long. Really, WE have been through so much together this year, as both a mother and her beloved daughter. We’re somewhere in the middle of our journey, but there’s no light at the end of the tunnel quite yet, and it’s hard stuff. This daughter of mine is handling this heartbreak with a strength and dignity I didn’t possess at 15, and even now as a full-fledged adult. I’m learning, and stretching, and crying a lot as we go through this awfulness together, and in the end I think I might even be grateful for what I’ve learned.
But, don’t quote me on that.
My strong, willful, graceful, funny, smart and beautiful daughter and I participated in a video in celebration of mothers and daughters making promises to one another. Tori Amos, celebrated musician and fellow mother of a teenaged daughter, has just released an album Unrepentant Geraldines, featuring a song called ‘Promise’. In the song, Tori and her gorgeous daughter make promises to one another, the kind only a mother and daughter … >> find out more...
We officially crossed something off our proverbial bucket lists this summer: a family trip to the Oregon coast. If you’ve been there, you already know the joy of it. Never been? Go. You’ll be forever delighted with the memories, sights and sounds of a rugged, breathtaking, magical slice of the Pacific coast.
We enjoyed hikes through the towering forests, running across crescent beaches, kite flying (a favorite pastime here), a first attempt at skim boarding, early misty-morning beach combing, sand dollar discoveries, beach sunsets, and ice cream cones. All reasons to find a spot on your personal bucket list for the Oregon coast, for a perfectly amazing weekend.
Our Oregon coast weekend was spent mainly on Cannon Beach, home to iconic Haystack Rock. It’s a behemoth rock right on the shore that serves as a nesting spot for Puffins and other sea birds. The rock is also surrounded by tidepools. At low tide we could walk right out to it and view hundreds of sea anemones, barnacles, mussels, even sea stars and hermit crab. Any fans of the movie Goonies. (“Hey you guys!”) will recognize lots of Cannon Beach scenery. I could not have anticipated the boundless joy my boys,… >> find out more...
Need some cute back to school girls hairstyles to try on your favorite little females? Whoa. That’s right, back to school. I cannot even believe it myself, but it’s almost time! How can that be true? I’m starting to things like “Back in my day, we started the day after labor day!” But I guess this old lady has to get with it! Even if there is no Labor Day in France where we live.
To help ease some of the pain, and eliminate some potential school-morning-drama, I thought I’d share some fun back-to-school girls hairstyles. Easy and cute. If you ever read my blog, you might wonder where I got the little girls to model for me. Turns out my beautiful nieces are willing little models with lots of hair to style. So, we snapped a bunch of poses and pictures, and I got to have some serious girl time.
3 back to school hairstyles for little girls
Now, if you’re like me, and mostly are fixing breakfast and rushing out the door, trying to remember lunches and backpacks and jackets and tying shoes, the last thing you need is a head of hair that needs doing, let … >> find out more...
Understanding a different “culture” is more than just knowing about traditions and foods of a place you are visiting. It’s understanding what different countries & people value, or find humorous or consider offensive. For example, this conversation that really happened to me:
“Jen, did you sit behind a computer the whole time you were in the states?”
“Because you look a little bit fat.”
Gasp! This is a real life conversation I had with one of my African friends upon returning to S. Africa after 2+ months of traveling around the U.S. and England. I mean, yes, there were a few more fat cells stuck to my thighs, midsection, and derrière (thank you Austin food trucks), but no one is supposed to actually point that out, right? Isn’t is supposed to be rude to say things like that?
Well, that’s what my American culture tells me. Fat equals a four letter word that should never be used to describe someone, and is definitely not a compliment to an American’s ears.
Did you know that calling someone fat in African culture is a compliment?
Take a moment to wrap your head around that one. I’ve lived in Africa on … >> find out more...
My new favorite show for late Summer (and Fall) is officially Outlander. Have you heard the buzz about the widely adored book Outlander being turned into a series? If you haven’t, I’m here for you. I’ve scouted this one out, and by the end, you will be salivating to see the new series.
I was introduced to the Outlander books (there are several, beginning with Outlander) a handful of years ago, by multiple friends. I was down and out with a black eye and separated shoulder after a bad fall while skiing over Christmas, in bed for the rest of the holiday break, and in desperate need of something to read. So I asked for recommendations on the Petit Elefant Facebook page, (thank you to everyone who answers my questions over there!) and was inundated with great book ideas. The one book series that was recommended over and over again was a series called Outlander, written by Diana Gabaldon. I’d never heard of the series, but I had time on my hands, so I went to the library and checked out the first book.
The books are approximately a billion and a half pages each, but the writing is so … >> find out more...
My kids are the focus of most of my day-to-day photos, whether I’m just using the camera on my phone, or pulling out my big girl camera. And would you like to learn something interesting about kids?
They can be very hard to photograph.
Take my daughter for example, she’s old enough to know what I want when I’m taking a photo of her, but I usually end up with 10-15 of these before I get 1 “normal” shot.
It’s hard for me to capture the spontaneous moments of my kids on camera, and I was under the impression that having children pose for the photo you were just trying to grab spontaneously, but didn’t get your cell phone out of your purse/pocket/car fast enough.
Me Ra says it’s cool to re-position your kids to have them re-create the magical moment you were striving for in the first place. Probably neither you nor your children will remember that you took several pictures until you got the right one.
Me Ra shares all sorts of pro tips like that in this book. Stuff for those of us who need help with settings so we can capture the spontaneous, and tips about … >> find out more...
This post is sponsored by Target. More Turtles, More Bold and Daring Fun: Blur the lines of fantasy and reality with your favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at Target.
Art is a part of my daily life. It just is. Remember how I told you my son’s life passions all lead back to art? Art, art projects, new ideas, and collections of a random assortment of feathers and rocks and random paraphernalia for new collaborations make their way into my house every single day. So I thought it would be fun to throw an art party for some kids, friends of my son, to celebrate some of his favorite artists. We held our party mid-summer, but this turned out so fun it would also be great for a birthday or end-of-summer bash.
We looked to the four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the artists they represent, for inspiration for our art party. Also, they lend some serious street cred to the event. Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo, and Raphael, all artists of the Renaissance period in Europe.
I set up four different art stations so the kids could rotate through each one and try different techniques while learning a bit … >> find out more...