Education

by Kristen DeLap


I just paid off my college debt and I’m celebrating. While I certainly use my degree generally, I don’t use it specifically. And I’m glad to not be reminded of that paying a student loan every month.

quote by JW Goethe

quote by JW Goethe


DIY Holiday

by Kristen DeLap


Creating and sending thoughtful packages is my love language. Those who know me can expect to receive random letters and packages throughout the year, but especially around the holidays. It's also a way to exercise a bit of creativity in my off hours.

Throughout the year I collect ideas and keep thoughts in a notebook or a Pinterest board. I try to skew toward homemade or locally purchased items, or finding a book that I think the recipient will love. This year we also received our Kickstarter Glow Forge, so we were able to make some really unique “mass produced” gifts to hand out to my family. More on that later.

But for some extra special kiddos, I crafted some kits that were a blast to put together. The first was a letter writing kit for a kindergartner. I was happy to pass along my love for snail mail in the form of an easy step by step kit.

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The directions page listed the steps to complete, with the corresponding numbered envelope in the binder. A zippered pouch kept some fancy pens and pencils handy.

The directions page listed the steps to complete, with the corresponding numbered envelope in the binder. A zippered pouch kept some fancy pens and pencils handy.

It was fun to raid my stationary stash to find an array of notecards that a 6 year old might like to send!

It was fun to raid my stationary stash to find an array of notecards that a 6 year old might like to send!

The dollar aisle at Target always has great thank you note options.

The dollar aisle at Target always has great thank you note options.

Every kid loves stickers! And allows for some freedom with blank notecards that they can decorate themselves.

Every kid loves stickers! And allows for some freedom with blank notecards that they can decorate themselves.

Preprinted address labels for family and friends make it easy for youngsters who might not be able to write a legible address on an envelope.

Preprinted address labels for family and friends make it easy for youngsters who might not be able to write a legible address on an envelope.

One of the best part of sending a letter is picking the perfect stamp!

One of the best part of sending a letter is picking the perfect stamp!

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I also made some activity kits for some kiddos (including my own!) that travel easily. It was a combination of some activities I put into repurposed Altoids tins, and some store-bought activity books and writing utensils. And the personalized canvas pouches can of course hold any number of additional items.

Spraypainted Altoids tins (I used a metal primer) can be further decorated with washi tape.

Spraypainted Altoids tins (I used a metal primer) can be further decorated with washi tape.

One tin contained tangrams. I used  sticky back magnet paper  to create the shapes from a simple template found  online . And on the inside of the lid printed some more common puzzles.

One tin contained tangrams. I used sticky back magnet paper to create the shapes from a simple template found online. And on the inside of the lid printed some more common puzzles.

Another tin contained a variety of colors of  Plus Plus blocks . These are a great open play activity for toddlers and up - sorting, building, etc. And an off-brand variety can occassionally be found in the Target dollar aisle.

Another tin contained a variety of colors of Plus Plus blocks. These are a great open play activity for toddlers and up - sorting, building, etc. And an off-brand variety can occassionally be found in the Target dollar aisle.

The whole kit came together in a  zipper pouch , which I customized for each kid with fabric markers.

The whole kit came together in a zipper pouch, which I customized for each kid with fabric markers.

And of course, wrapping gifts is as equally important to me. I like to reuse paper, or wrap in fabric, or decorate butcher paper or paper bags. And never bows! This year, for one family of lovely women, I wrote out their family motto on butcher paper. They were thrilled opening that package!

(See previous years gift wrapping posts here and here.)

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2018 Books

by Kristen DeLap


Following on the heels of some more famous folks releasing their reading lists from 2018, I thought I'd put together mine. I read more books than I expected to this year. Almost 25 in total, where my goal was around 15. I owe a lot of that to a very engaging monthly book club, but also to some really great books that have just landed in hard copy on my desk.  

These are the ones I'd recommend to folks looking for something good to read. I'm proud to say only one of these is not written by a woman, and most of this list is women of color. We must promote diversity on every playing field and battleground. 

Note: I've got two going right now, that I won't finish in time but are sure to be on next year's list - Becoming by Michelle Obama and Wearing God by Lauren Winner. 

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Happy reading!  


The hopes and fears

by Kristen DeLap


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We got to the farm today in what was one of the most difficult drives with kids on personal record. We will be here for the holidays, and I’m sure the tenure of our stay will not be reflective of our journey. But there are many varying expectations for the coming days. 

Returning to my childhood home always carries emotions - it has changed so much since I was a fulltime resident here, but still carries the echoes of those days, and the generations before me. At some point I will have to decide this homestead’s fate. It is not a time I look forward to. 

Tonight, the night after solstice, a full moon peeked out from the passing clouds, illuminating the best parts of the farm. The naturalist/romantic/human in me couldn’t not stop to observe and appreciate.  

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I couldn’t decide if I liked the full verse better or not, so here are both. 

Best of luck to all of us as we navigate all that the holidays bring.