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The #CreativeMomLife Challenge

Summer is officially 100% here, and I’m kicking it off with a little creative flair.

A photo posted by Bev (@linkouture) on

Please note this post contains affiliate links

I started an online watercolor class and a line drawing class (and will likely add a handlettering class to the mix). I’m not about to start selling prints on Etsy, but I’m thoroughly enjoying the creative process and learning some new skills.

At the beginning of the month my friend Dean (Mrs. AOK) and I announced our #CreativesBoxSwap. Sadly, my partner did follow through, but I’m looking forward to seeing what other people received! And if you participated, you can link up here:

Dean and I are joining creative forces once again with #CreativeMomLife, a 14-day Instagram challenge starting on Friday, July 1.

#creativemomlife Instagram Challenge

With summer here and kids off from school, we want to make sure that moms get in some creative time for themselves!

Every day for 14 days there’s a different creative prompt. You choose how to interpret those prompts and they can take whatever creative form you’d like — a drawing, dance, writing. Just share it on Instagram with the hashtag #CreativeMomLife. You can participate in as many or as few as you want. The point is to get your creative juices flowing and to have fun! If you have time, search #CreativeMomLife and comment on some images you like.

You are also welcome to share this image on Instagram, just be sure to use the hashtag and tag us (@Mrs_AOK and @Linkouture).

What creative activities will you be doing this summer?

What you see beyond the surface

As a two-year-old, right now your world revolves around you.

Undeniable Power of Play Magic Frosted Paint

Your growing brain isn’t quite wired yet to see that as your Mama I have my own interests and desires beyond your small but growing world.

When you are young, it can be hard to imagine your parents as people outside of being the people who love and care for you. What you know about me is what you see on the surface: that I enjoy reading to you (granted, I may not always want to read you Curious George), I have brown hair and brown eyes, I make jewelry and spend a lot of time on my computer, and apparently I go to a lot of meetings.

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As you get bigger, you will learn that I am more than just your Mama.

I’m Bev: a wife, friend, daughter, sister, niece. A jewelry designer and blogger and creative entrepreneur. And yes, your Mama.

But the person you know is more than just what you see on the surface. I have a history, one that spans more than 30 years before you came into my life. As you grow older, I hope to share more about this history, the person that exists beyond what you see and experience.

For example…

I once thought I wanted to be a doctor. Specifically a Mommy Doctor.

I used to have epic tantrums when I was little. I’m talking 45 minutes of screaming from my bedroom until my throat started to hurt. And I once had a tantrum over a diaper when Nana and Grandpa were trying to toilet train me.

Like you I was a cautious child. I learned to ride a two-wheeler when I was about five or six, long after my best friend; and I didn’t learn to dive in the swimming pool until the summer before 3rd grade, when Nana and Grandpa told me I had to join the swim team.

Bev at birthday party

My biggest regret in life is that I lost my flexibility. Seriously. In 4th grade I was the only girl in my grade who wasn’t a gymnast who could do a full side straddle and put my stomach on the ground. Probably because I didn’t do gymnastics no one told you had to keep at it or you’d lose your flexibility, which I did that summer. It’s a somewhat silly regret, but if that’s my biggest one, than I’d say I’ve had a pretty good life.

I also imagined I would study abroad in Israel like Nana had done in college. It wasn’t until I was in college that I decided to stuy in Israel.

I have never once in my life pulled an all-nighter. Let’s hope that you inherited my study skills.

I started my life here in Boston because of Nana’s childhood stories growing up in Brookline. And by coincidence my first apartment when I moved here was around the corner from Nana’s house when she was little.

I spent most of my 20s thinking I wanted to work in the realm of education and I actually contemplated getting a PhD in psychology. It’s ok if in your 30s you still aren’t entirely sure what you want to do with your life!

Until Papa asked me to leave our jobs to go backpack around South America after we got married, the thought never had crossed my mind. I’ve always been a planner, and to not know what was coming next had typically been a source of anxiety for me. (I’m still learning to go with the flow and enjoy the moment.)

I always knew I wanted to be a mom one day, but as the time got closer to think about having kids I freaked out a little bit. As soon as I was pregnant with you, though, those fears thankfully went away.

Bev of Linkouture with daughter Eve

This is month six of the “Who I Am” project. This month the prompt is “Betcha Didn’t Know” and like my previous posts, I wrote this as if I were speaking to Eve (and any other children I have in the future). 

Who-I-Am-project

The “Who I Am” project is a year-long monthly series that my friend Dana at Kiss My List started, as a way to create a virtual scrapbook of your life to tell your kids, grandkids, spouse, friends, or whoever who you are. You can link up our posts, which goes live the third Tuesday of the month, on either of our blogs, and sign up to receive the prompts at the beginning of each month via e-mail. The themes so far have been Childhood, Love, and Quirks & Habits, How you’ve changed since you were a child, and Favorite Places.

What don’t people know about you?

Choosing to be thankful

“In times like these it’s easy to be thankful and it’s just as easy to be hateful. I choose to be thankful.”

I read these words in my friend Dean’s post of Mrs. AOK early this morning. I’ve been torn about whether or not to write about the terrible tragedy in Orlando this week and have struggled to find the words and motivation to write.

My radio silence doesn’t mean I don’t care — quite the opposite, actually. I have so many feelings about what happened, and I could go on a diatribe about what happened and allow my anger and frustrations and sadness to overtake me.

Instead, at the inspiration of Mrs. AOK, I am choosing to be positive and share what I am thankful for this week. Because in a world where tragedies like this can happen, sometimes you have to find the rays of sunshine.

Thank you, Taste of Somerville, for bringing the community together for a festive evening. There is so much deliciousness to be found in our city, and it’s a fantastic community to be a part of.
Taste of Somerville

Thank you, friends, for another fantastic bookclub, and for my dear friend, Dara, for hosting us one last time on her roofdeck in Charlestown. I will miss this incredible view!

Bunker Hill Monument

(In case you’re wondering, that tower is the Bunker Hill Monument.)

Thank you, family, for motivating me to run my 3rd 5k (and my best time yet!).

5k

Thank you, Mr. Contractor (not his actual name), for creating a window in our living room where used to only be a wall. We finally have some natural light in our living room. I truly appreciate it when I’m doing yoga in there at 5:30am and there’s light coming in from the outside!

new window

Thank you, Mother Nature, for bestowing us with such beautiful weather. I’m ready for summer!

And thank you, upcoming summer adventures. I really need you right now and to focus more on living in the moment and worrying less about work.

Thank you, fellow moms, for the wonderful moms & crafts group. I thoroughly enjoy having one day a month to get crafty with some fellow creative moms and chat about motherhood.

Today was our last day for the session, and we each shared one thing we’re doing this summer to take care of ourselves.

Once a month I attend a wonderful mom’s group. It’s a time for us to focus on ourselves. At each meeting we do a craft activity and talk about all things related to motherhood, and today was our last session for the season. In addition to receiving our plates we decorated last month and eating a delicious brunch, we each received a personalized note and a few treats to pamper ourselves. We also went around and shared one thing we are doing to take care of ourselves this summer. For a variety of reasons, I’ve really been struggling this week. Right now I’m just trying to power through everything, finish up some work, and get ready for some much-needed time away with my family. Today was a great reminder that I need to take some time for myself. For the next two weeks I’m taking a break from work and focusing on relaxing, reading, being present in the moment, and enjoying the time with my family. I’ve decided for the month of July to take a break from blogging, and to scale back my work to just three days a week. As a mom and entrepreneur, I’m often going nonstop, and this week has been a reminder to me that it’s ok to slow down. I’ll still be active on Instagram, since it’s a creative outlet for me, but I’m looking forward to taking a break from everything else for a little bit! How do you make sure you make time for you? . . #creativehappylife #creativelifehappylife #lifeofamom #creativemom #creativemoms #makersgonnamake #mybeautifulmess #handsandhustle #creativeminds #creativemoms #creativepreneur #creativelife #makingtimeforme #createeveryday #livecreatively #calledtobecreative #girlboss #creativeliving #creativemoms #stayathomemoms #linkouture #mompreneur #workingfromhomemom #lifestyleblogger #bloggerbusiness #workathomemom #workingmom #businesswoman #momcommunity #mothersunited

A photo posted by Bev (@linkouture) on

I have decided to take all of July off from blogging so that I can scale back on work and fix some things on my website. I have two more posts planned for June, and then I’ll be back in August.

I will continue to be active on Instagram this summer, so you can follow along with my adventures there if you’d like.

What are you thankful for this week?

Making time for play

Long before I had Eve, I had visions of the kind of mom I would be. My home would be impeccably decorated for each holiday and the aroma of freshly baked cookies would permeate it. I was going to spend hours playing with legos, playdough, and dolls with my children and making eye-catching crafts for them.

Reality had a very different vision of motherhood.

Besdies our annual New Year’s tree, I have managed to put up exactly one holiday decoration, and that was a very sad Halloween banner that I had purchased back in 2006. I’ve made cookies twice with Eve (and more often it’s the aroma of our cast iron pan burning that fills our home). And while we have a pretty fantastic art corner set up for her that she seems to enjoy using, I probably have actually sat down with her to do about three crafts at home with her in her lifetime.

Create a beautiful and inviting toddler-friendly creativity corner in your home, even if you're short on funds and space. This is a perfect DIY project for any home organization junkie who also wants to inspire learning and creativity in their children!

The reality is, while I spend a considerable amount of time with Eve, I don’t spend as much time playing with her as I had imagined.

That’s not to say that she doesn’t have time to play — it’s fascinating to watch her imagination unfold in front of me. She could spend hours caring for her dolls and stuffed animals, feeding them, reading to them, and putting them to sleep. She has a variety of art materials at her fingertips, and I often find her going back and for between her dolls and her art easel.

I love spending time with Eve, but for whatever reason when we’re home I have a difficult time just sitting down and playing with her. We’re so frequently on the go that I sometimes forget to just relax and be in the moment with her.

Now that the summer is coming, and I intend to spend more time slowing down, That includes making sure I spend more time just playing with her. From my days as a graduate student learning school counseling, I understand the value of play and the many opportunities it allows for learning, growth, and promoting creativity.

Undeniable Power of Play Magic Frosted Paint

Please note there are affiliate links in this post. 

I was recently reminded how important is to make time for her and I to play together.

In The Undeniable Power of Play, authors Alana of Parenting from the Heart Blog, Katie of Views from a Step Stool, and Susie from Twitchetts share a plethora of play activities for children five and under, not to mention the benefits of play. From sensory activities to science experiments, you will find an wide array of activities that will engage both you and your children.

Undeniable Power of Play ebook

One of my favorite aspects of the book is that for each activity it shows you how to adapt it to different ages and how to further expand each activity. I also like that many of these activities are ones that I would actually enjoy doing, like the Magic Frosted Paint. Eve kept asking for more paper so that she could paint more pictures with it. Many of these activities are also fantastic for keeping her engaged and entertained when I have adult and do things like cook dinner.

The Undeniable Power of Play Magic Frosted Paint

Undeniable Power of Play Magic Frosted Paint

But it’s also a great reminder for me to slow down, get my hands dirty, and allow my creativity to flow with her.  I’m looking forward to trying out more of the activities in the book this summer with Eve.

You can get your copy of The Undeniable Power of Play on Amazon for just $9.99 and try out some of these activities for yourself!

Get your copy of the Undeniable Power of Play

Do you enjoy playing with your kids?

I received a free copy of The Undeniable Power of Play for review purposes. All opinions are 100% my own. 

If you liked this post, you should also check out:

What do you crave this summer?

As a Stonyfield YoGetter, I received Stonyfield yogurt and a prAna dress to aid me in writing this post. All opinions are 100% my own. 

The symphony of birds chirping outside my window. A summer breeze and the warmth of the sun against my skin. The feel of soft sand and cool water against my feet.

There is so much that I crave in the summer.

Even as an adult without a school-aged child, there is something special and distinct about summer. It’s a sensation, a mixture of longing and excitement and happiness with a little bit of sadness mixed in, that I can’t quite grasp. To me, it always feels a little fleeting, so I try to hang on to it tight and make the most of it.

Especially now that I have a daughter who is teetering on the edge of toddlerhood into full-fledged child.

Summer, it’s full of possibilities and cravings and delicious treats, both literal and figurative.

This summer, I crave…

Adventures, big and small

We already have a visit to the zoo, aquarium, USS Constitution, Cape Code, and a ferry ride to Nantucket planned, and that’s just June! Summers are made for exploring and having fun, and I intend to do a lot of that with Eve.

Slowing down

Adventures are the big picture, but within them I crave slow, quiet mornings and relaxed afternoons. Perhaps a nap or two a week on the go. I intend to continue to work over the summer, but at a reduced load. I’ll be blogging less and I won’t be launching or relaunching anything (after two launches this year!)

prAna-2

Reading an endless stack of books

I rarely go more than a day or two without a book, but summer is for really immersing myself in them. I crave early morning with a cup of coffee and a good book on my porch, and good read on the beach with my toes dipping in the sand, a tasty snack while I devour a captivating plot line while Eve naps.

stonyfield

House projects

I made a small list of fun project to do around the home, including making a photo album from 2015, clearing out some things in our condo we no longer need, and fixing up our front porch to make my own little oasis. (It happens to be right off my studio/office, so it’s in the perfect locale.)

Eating outside

Picnic lunches at the playground, potlucks with friends at parks, dinner in our backyard, and afternoon snacks on our back porch. Give me a shady spot and something good to eat, and I feel happy. If it involves a creamy, decadent-tasting treat such as Stonyfield Organic Greek Whole Milk yogurt, then I’m in heaven.

Stonyfield Organic Whole Milk Greek Yogurts make a delicious summer treat

Fresh produce from our garden

There is nothing like a fresh, ripe tomato you plucked from it’s vine, or the aroma of a freshly torn leaf of basil you pulled from your garden. I crave the freshness that we miss during the long New England winters.

Gardening with my prAna dress

Getting my creativity on!

From the #CreativesBoxSwap to taking an online water color class, I crave unleashing my creativity in new and different ways.

Laughter

prAna-stonyfield-2

If I’m laughing, it means I’m having a good time, and I intend to have a lot of that this summer.

Water

There will be trips to the beach, romps around playground splash pads, and visits to our local pools. We’re lucky that we live within walking distance of many of these, and a short drive or ride by public transportation to the rest.

Toddler having fun in a splashpad

Summer dresses

prAna-3

Paired, of course, with a big hat to keep the sun off of my face, comfy sandals, and possibly a pair of leggings. Extra bonus points if those shoes are from a thrift store, the hat is from an artisan, and the dress is made from recycled materials.

To celebrate summer, Stonyfield and prAna have partnered together, and are allowing me to give away one of prAna’s Quinn Dresses (the one I’m wearing in this post). They are made from stretchy, quick-drying fabric made from recycled polyester and have a handy built-in bra. They are Bluesign® Certified, which means it meets the highest standards in the textile industry for environmental health and safety and chemical management.

Check out my Instagram post for more information on the giveaway and for your chance to enter to win the Quinn dress for yourself!