Posts tagged gifts
5 Gifts to Give Yourself this Mother's Day

Of this I am convinced: there are an infinite number of ways to be a wonderful mother. There's no secret recipe or way that you need to adapt your personality. Your children need all the you-ness you've got.

We mommas can be hard on ourselves. We can focus on what needs to be done more than the goodness that is. And Mother's Day is a fabulous time for us to breathe, to step back, and to bask in the joy that is each of us (remember that?).

With that in mind, with you in mind, here are five gifts to give yourself for the special day.

1. The space for calm or silence

Mothering is loud, messy, and constant. And those three aspects are amazing - when taken in good doses. Give yourself time away (even if it's 10 minutes with music) to inhale deeply all that awaits you and to exhale all that has been. Some of us love the stillness of silence and other would be calmer with our favorite tunes blasting. Whatever gives you a break, take it.

2. The space for physical relaxation

Children can physically wear you out. Mother's Day is the right time to go for a long walk, a good run, an extended massage, a magical bath. Reward your body for all the effort it goes through in the everyday experience of motherhood.

3. The opportunity for a fresh look

You give of yourself and sometimes (only sometimes) you make time to be good, really good to yourself. Look at yourself with fresh eyes! Try out some new colors, a different hairstyle, a red lipstick. Granted, these changes are only surface level, but sometimes actually seeing yourself look different allows you to free up some of those preconceived ideas of who you are.

4. The time to relish

I usually want to spend happy time with my kids on Mother's Day, but tantrums, activity schedules, lack of sleep, and a handful of other things can make the day feel like it's out to get me, rather than celebrate me.

For your Mother's Day, you may or may not choose to be with your children. Regardless of this, give yourself the time to remember wonderful moments in the lives of each of your children. Imagine the scenes again that brought easy laughter to you and your children. And reflect on your positive role in their lives.

5. The time for creativity

Time to fill up your bucket. Are you a reader? Love to journal? A big movie buff? Being a great mother means you make time to develop you. Children need strong role models, right? Show them that learning and using your God-given talents is important to you, too.

And get out the oil paints. Or scrapbook supplies. Or leotards.

Give yourself some extra presents this year. You deserve it, momma.

xoxo, MJ


Printable Gift Tags for Teacher Presents

I am a big fan of silly jokes. I am not ashamed giggle at the ridiculous, and it's fair to say that my sense of humor resembles the age group I used to teach, ten-year olds. Since I've been out of the classroom for nearly a decade, my children get the brunt of my humor via lunch box notes.

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week, but any week (or day) is a wonderful opportunity to express our gratitude to teachers for their creative work to open up the world to our children. Having spent a few years studying and working as an educator, I can safely say that (besides parenting), there is no more difficult task than guiding students.

And as a teacher, I loved getting the super thoughtful creations from my students and the super practical gifts from their parents. So why not combine the two?

These jokes make great additions to thoughtful giftcards to local coffee shops or craft and teacher stores. They can personalize a wonderful batch of cookies or a gift basket filled with gardening tools and succulents.

Maybe a big bag of stickers and stamps would be a nice gesture for a new elementary teacher? Or perhaps a box of delectable chocolates topped off with a funny?

Among our favorite gifts to make for teachers are these chalkboard frames. And these printable jokes would make a great card on the top and allow even the most timid of children to express the joy of gratitude to a great teacher.

Print out both pages of fun jokes that you can send along with a simple daisy from your yard or a generous donation of Scholastic books!

You can download page one of basic jokes here and page two with librarian and math teacher humor here.

If you share in the joy of silly childhood jokes, follow Pars Caeli on Instagram or Facebook and get a daily joke sent right to your feed (doodle is complimentary).

How are you showing the love to the teachers in your life?

xoxo, MJ




A Holiday Baby Shower

In my first pregnancy, with our oldest daughter, I was showered with showers. Generous friends, coworkers and relatives hosted a handful of celebrations and provided everything that we could need for Sweet Baby K (as she was known to them since we had not found out the sex of the baby during ultrasounds).

Due at the end of December, I decided that late fall was the best time to cut off extensive travel. One of the last trips I took was to Pittsburgh to celebrate a shower hosted by my mom and sister. These ladies invited family, young and old, men and women, immediate and distant to come for an afternoon of laughs and congratulatory gestures.

Unbeknownst to me, my mother and sister had contacted all of the guests prior to the celebration to ask them to send wishes for Sweet Baby K. My mom then turned those wishes into ornaments and presented my husband and me with a truly heartfelt Christmas tree.

I'm sharing more about our very special holiday gift of at Unexpectant, a great blog published by my friend, Meagan, for pregnant, new, and long-time moms. I'm delighted to be over there - come check it out!

Have a lovely weekend, friends! Off to some Christmas parties and one very special date!!

xoxo, MJ

Gifts of Great Design

This month is turning out to be a month of giving and celebrations that will spill over into a November and a December that also include shopping for lots of somethings special. I've been hoarding some fabulous finds to feed your imagination for the baby showers, birthday parties, and special announcements that come your way!

1. Can't help but push those shoulders back and add a little kick to my step with this happy doormat. Furbish Studios knows how to start the day off right. Why not give it to someone with a swank new job? Or fabulous college acceptance?

2. Oh, my goodness, that is amazing!! Is it your 15th anniversary? Did you just sign your first mortgage? Get a promotion? Do this next. Head over to Emily's studio site and commission yourself a beautiful landscape painting. You can frame the color palette and the feeling you want, and everyone will be asking where that beautiful art came from?!

3. These pebble tape measures are gorgeous and practical. I thought one of these would make a super cool housewarming present. But why not a grad present? An anniversary? Because it's Thursday?

4. Friends have a new baby on the way. With the shower upcoming, I have this unique font puzzle in mind. Every prodigy needs to know her fonts, right? Why not start young? Great construction, too.

5. I love a good garland to declare, "THIS IS A PARTY!" Have you seen the array of garland choices over at Land of Nod? Every celebration is covered. With this whimsical peppermint trail, any space will be fresh and cheerful. Why not pop it in an envelope and surprise someone across the country or across the pond?

Is there anyone in particular that you're celebrating who is tough to shop for? Need any ideas?

xoxo, MJ

A tri- to try for holiday prep

Our holiday season is officially off and running. With the Nutcracker performance last Saturday (my daughter M is one of the purple butterflies) and hours of decorating our home, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here. We'll be celebrating the close of November and December beginnings this weekend as well as the first Sunday in Advent (light that purple candle).

I have been starring and pinning and dog-earing some great ideas for holiday preparation, and I'm excited to share three wih you today...



Joanna always has the cutest hair tutorials for those of us with long locks. Now she's put them all in one spot for us to plan and primp for the next holiday party. I've been seriously contemplating returning to the chin-length bob but these have me convinced that I should wait and have a little more fun with my length. Which ones are your faves? I'm crazy about the chestnut bun and the ponytail twist.


Advent calendars are the perfect way to make every day special as we build the anticipation to the big day. Babble writers found some creative countdowns that would be great for the crescendo of Christmas prep. They could also be easily converted to wonderful ways to get excited about upcoming nuptials or a lovely future trip. Check out some of these clever ideas.


I've taken a couple of classes from Victoria over at A Subtle Revelry, and I have left each one surprised by the number of super helpful strategies that land in my lap. Victoria is giving all of us one heaping big DIY package of assistance in the form of her well-designed and styled holiday issue. In it you'll find recipes, craft ideas, nice uses of typography, and charming photographs. Page 11 is ultra fun and useful and the spread on cranberries is fabulous and informative.

Wishing you a bright and merry weekend. Hoping this web home will get some holiday fa la la la adjustments over these days, too. We'll see.


A tri- to try

Oh, friends, today is the official Chaos Never Dies day of the year, and I'm feeling it. How about you? Perhaps the other two celebrations this weekend will bring about a sense of purpose and grounding with Forget Me Not day on Saturday and Veterans Day on Sunday. Grateful to those who have suffered and fought on our behalf.



Erika from Foxtrot Press and Studio put some great 2013 letterpress calendars all in one place for us to drool over. Thanks, Erika!! The depth on that Satsuma Press calendar... gorgeous. Looks like it's time to plan ahead for a wonderful year.


Jessica from How About Orange featured this project on pie chart necklaces. Wait! Don't skim over this. Go check out her final product and tell me that they would not be a super cool addition to your accessories.

Putting it on the to do... and maybe the gift list this year.


Oh, I just love this DIY. So simple and yet so unique. I can imagine a whole line of messages that you leave and light for the one you love. Or the suggestion of putting quotes from a favorite read for a bookclub gathering sounds fantastic. Thanks to Gabrielle at DesignMom for bringing it our way.

The Pars Caeli family is will be savoring life in a special way next week. I've got all sorts of goodness headed your way. I hope you'll stop back often and leave some comment love for a few fab friends who are heading our way.

Until then, friends, let's have a bright weekend!



I'm over here!

Happy Monday, friends! Was it a good one for you? We enjoyed a laid back Spring weekend with some friends and our backyard.

I couldn't help but celebrate just a little in my first guest blogger spot over at Approaching Joy. The post went up on Saturday, and Paige sent along a sweet gift donation to Heifer International in thanks for filling in for her (seriously? I get a gift for this, too?), and she sent along these lovely words:

You are someone who I've never met in person yet you were willing to help me out this week at a moments notice. This has proven to me that there are still amazingly cool people all around this world and, hopefully, through this "gift" others can have a bit more hope as well.

Collaboration is wonderful. Stay tuned for more! And thanks again to Paige.

I've been thinking about gifts, particularly for friends moving or transitioning to new places. I'll repost my gifting ideas here today and take you through my DIY tote tomorrow. 

What do you think? Do any of these seem just right for a friend you know on the move? Or maybe you'll be gifting one right back to yourself.

1. BE GLAD FOR THIS MOMENT TINY TEXT BOWL -  I love being surrounded (and reminded) with powerful words, and I find this thought particularly poignant for our besties transitioning and handling so many tasks and emotions. It's a super cute 3" size, perfect for jewelry or love notes, and it's $22.
2. WRAP IT AND MAP IT - This one's from Martha herself. She's so good. When you've found just the right present, why not wrap it in a map from your home city? Or the new city with a little tag noting the distance from you to her/him? No distance too far for friendship.
3. CAN'T WAIT TO PLANT MY FEET AT YOUR DOOR - Great design is everywhere, even in rubber doormats. How about a super stylish new welcome mat for your friend to put right outside? Crate and Barrel offers this one for $16.95.

4. MOBILE LOVE - If you have a little more money to invest, this metallic IPad leather sleeve is really beautiful. Dewdrop Designs sells this one for $55, and I adore the translucent leaf image!
5. THIS IS WHEN I'LL SEE YOU NEXT - Circle the date of your next girl getaway on this awesome calendar set from Monkeymindesign. In true quirky Etsy Shop style, the artists say that it is "inspired by modern fabric prints and design, this calendar is full of patterns, geometric shapes and color. Displayed all together, it will really jazz up a space." It's also automatic, stunning wall art for your pal's new pad. A total steal at $12.
6. YOU'VE LEFT YOUR MARK ON ME - I know, I know snail mail is so rare these days, but don't you love fine stationery? I'm a sucker for embossed stamps like this one. Tiny Prints offers this one with a great modern edge. This one tops the list at $69.99.

Thanks for stopping by! See you for a some pattern play in a bit...



I need a really thoughtful gift that doesn't take much thought...

Uhm, how many times has this run through my mind? Yours, too?

I love to give meaningful presents (who doesn't) for birthdays, anniversaries, and all of life's other significant moments. And I'm the person in many of my friend's lives that they email or call and ask, "What do you think I should get for...?"

I adore gifting. In my early days of a routine paycheck, I found myself easily spending away large chunks of cash to send happy packages to faraway and nearby friends. In the years before 3 kiddos under 7 (I think I can remember back that far), I would browse through my favorite shops, always looking for that some thing that might bring a smile to the face or a great inside joke back to the minds of those I love.

And now I'm here, in a place of busy schedules, tight timelines, and conservative budgets. My intentions are still the same, but far too many special days get acknowledged only by a Facebook comment or an email exchange.

I have a great little surprise for you coming up on Saturday. As I mentioned in the last post, Paige over at Approaching Joy is spreading the blog love and letting me take hold of the reigns over at her great web home. I'm cooking up some great giftie ideas...check back here and check out Approaching Joy on Saturday for some inspires.

Do you have someone special you're trying to recognize right now? What's the special occasion that you're hoping to find just THE right present for?