Category Archives: Elf on the Shelf

An Elf Conundrum and Teacher Gifts

I’ve got a dilemma. An Elf dilemma. I’ve said before that I totally agree with Jenn about the uber-Elf-mommies. And you all know how I feel about our underachieving Elf on the Shelf. I love him. He does the best he can with what he’s been given. After all, we can’t all be the sharpest knife in the drawer. To his credit, though, he’s given us some real gems this month.
Case 1: The Elf appeared on the shelf in the hallway just outside R and V’s rooms. Boys were taking care of showers, brushing teeth, etc. Normal bedtime stuff. All of a sudden we hear a scream, then a smack, and then all hell breaks loose in the hallway. The spouse and I went running and got the boys separated (one in pajamas, the other buck naked, having a tug of war with a wet bath towel). V – the one crying – wails, “R tried to pull off my towel so the Elf would see me naked!” Guess R wasn’t thinking that the Elf would also report his behavior back to Santa.
Case 2: Spouse had gotten fed up with R and V trying to get out of brushing their teeth, so the Elf appeared in the boys’ bathroom the other morning. The result: both kids refused to go in there ALL DAY. I finally caved and got their toothbrushes out so they could brush their teeth – in the kitchen. And the toilet? Forgattabout it. The four of us shared the one in our bathroom ALL DAY LONG. Spouse has backed off using the Elf to try and prove a point. Lesson learned.
So here’s my conundrum. R and V have been seriously challenged in the behavior department this week. I’m tired. I want a quick fix to the random dirty socks and juice boxes I’ve been finding in weird places every time I turn around. Last night the boys left a note for Austin (they named the Elf). I’m really tempted to take a leaf from my friend’s book and have our elf write a letter like this one back:

Should I do it? Part of me really wants to just to send a message. We’ll see. We’ll just see how much Elf energy I have left tonight after running my errands, long commute home to the ‘burbs and R/V energy.
What errands do I have to run tonight, you may ask? Well, I’ve been pretty smug about having finished all of my shopping last week. Then last night it hit me. Two days left of school. Crap. Teacher Gifts. And for me, a former teacher, to NOT send teacher gifts is right up there with the seven deadly sins.
I have to take a minute and talk about teacher gifts here. Really. With all honesty, the most precious gifts I ever received from children were the handmade cards, notes, pictures and random crafts. I have an entire scrapbook of these treasures that I’ve saved over the years. I’d be willing to bet that any teacher worth their salt feels the same.
So why do some mommies feel the need to go all Pinstrosity on this? It’s like a competition. Seriously – one year I got a hand-painted ceramic popcorn bowl with each kid’s name on it. When I looked closer, I realized that the mom had gotten each kid’s thumbprint and painted them to look like kernels of popcorn next to their names. I’m not kidding on this. I’ve known teachers who have gotten Coach purses for gifts. Me? This year I’m resorting to gift cards, and that’s OK. But I have to stop here and give a list of the most interestinggifts I’ve ever gotten from kids and their parents:

Top Ten Teacher Gifts
A Sacred Heart candle (We’re not Catholic, so I had no idea what this was or what to do with it. I think I offended the kid when I said it would look nice on my fireplace mantel.)
A copy of the Book of Mormon
Pajamas – not the flannel kind, these were more of a sexy babydoll set.
A bottle of wine – yes, a real one. The AP freaked out and made me take it immediately to my car so that I wouldn’t get busted for having alcohol on school property.
Some sweet-tasting Jolly Rancher flavored lip gloss
Lip plumper – sensing a theme here.
Jewelry – the kid said it was his mom’s, and I thought that was sweet. Until the mom showed up at school. Turned out the kid had ‘borrowed’ the necklace without asking.
A Spec’s gift card – Spec’s is a local liquor store.
-and of course-

A really lovely Christmas sweater, embroidered with silver thread, seed pearls and sequins.

One thing about teaching – it’s never a dull moment!

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Filed under Elf on the Shelf, Moms, Pinstrosity, suburbs, Teacher Gifts, working moms

Snarkity Snark Snark Snark

I have to be fair here. I’m not always a snarky person. Really. My family would probably tell you that I’m actually pretty nice – most of the time. But lately it just seems like pet peeves are racking up like dominoes around here. I mean it. Maybe it’s just that the holidays are coming and I’ve got so much to do, so little time, and the small stuff is making me sweat. Whatever. Some of this small stuff is enough to make my skin crawl. For example:

1.       The Humble Brags coming out on blogs and in Christmas letters. I read a post just the other day about this and was happy to see that I’m not the only one noticing it. You know the ones I mean. The SAHM who bemoans the fact that she ‘only’ ended up with three hours’ worth of crafting time to work on her hand-silk-screened shirts for family photos because she had to go to the grocery store. The family who claims that they ‘need a vacation to recover from all of their travels over the last year.’ Boo. So sad for them. I can’t remember the last ‘crafting time’ I had. Oh yeah, it was a couple of years ago when I actually had a Saturday morning to myself and wasn’t doing work stuff at home. And my vacations have been to the exotic locale of Dallas, TX.

2.       Overachieving Elves on the Shelf. Mine moves. During a good week, he actually moves every night. But he never, ever does anything like some of the crazy stuff discussed here.

3.       My Hair. I staged an intervention with it the other day, as discussed here.Today is humid. And warm. We’ll see how Hair’s recovery is going at 6:00 this evening…

4.       People who take the elevator up one floor. Honestly, people, use the stairs. It’s faster for all involved. My office is on the top floor of the building. To be fair, most of it is the building’s fault for only having access on the fourth floor. Really? Where’s the incentive for a healthy work environment? Of course, the Girls Down the Hall put on their sneakers and walk the stairs twice a day before heading to the gym in full workout wear. Guess I’m just a slacker.

5.       Penny Pincher Fashion. I used to like this blog. But I guess I’m behind the times, because my idea of fashion is definitely not knee-length pleated skirts and clutch handbags for the office. It’s cold in my office and I’ve got too much junk to lug around.  And my budget doesn’t allow for penny-pinching items that cost $75 after using three coupons.

6.       Little girls (I’m talking preschool age and under) whose mommies have bought them their first fur coats. Yes, real ones. And of course the pics are posted on Facebook. WTH? At that age I would have cried about wearing Thumper on my shoulder.

7.       Here we go. The one that REALLY makes me squirm. Well, not squirm. Usually I just get steamed. Are you ready? People who try really hard to use pseudo-intellectual and/or quirky ways of speaking (or typing) to show how elevated and enlightened they are. And usually end up misusing the expression. And unless you’re British, you don’t need to agree with me by saying ‘spot on.’ A simple OK is fine. Honestly.

8.       And finally – and this one is purely my own fault for reading blogs – the word ‘Hubs.’ Something about it is just demeaning and creepy. I’m all for cutesy spousal nicknames in blogs – don’t get me wrong. Hubster, Husby, even DH are all cute and fun. But something about Hubs. Just say No.

Dang, that’s a long list. Wow. Didn’t realize I’d been carrying all that around. But hopefully the four people who read this have found at least a smidgeon that they agree with. And feel free to comment and tell me if you do, so I can feel better. Cause right now I’m feeling like a total weirdo to let this stuff bother me.

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Filed under Elf on the Shelf, Pet peeves, Venting


Yes, I made up a word. What? Don’t tell me you never did that. At least I didn’t do it to try and sound smart or pretentious. I just did it to get your attention. And if you’re still reading, it worked.

I had to post some pics to prove that the decorating process is in the works at mi casa. Now, I’m not one of those people, mind you. My Elf on the Shelf does not engage in marshmallow fights, leave cookies for the kids to decorate, or hang underwear on the ceiling fan. No way. He’s a bit of an underachiever and forgets to move some nights. Oh well. We have an elf, he serves his purpose, and we’re happy about it. Not all elves can be Type-A-Overachievers. He blooms where he’s been planted. And in case you don’t remember, I’m Anti-Pin, so he just does normal things (like move around the house).

So here are my seasonal contributions. The tree will come later – it’s still in progress.

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Filed under Christmas, decorating, Elf on the Shelf, Pinterest