Friday, May 31, 2013

A Gift from The Pajama Company

I am so excited to start the weekend off with a giveaway from The Pajama Company. In my last post, I shared details of the Mother's Day gift I shared with a friend who is a single mother. I ordered her Cat's Pajamas PJs from The Pajama Company, and the site has graciously agreed to give a pair to a reader of A Little Loveliness. I discovered this site last year while searching for pink toile pajamas, and I was delighted to find some of my favorite luxury brands of sleepwear offered at a discount. Check out this adorable set below.
This Cat's Pajamas 100 percent poplin cotton capri set with matching eye mask is perfect for spring. The cheery print is fabulous, and charming details like cap sleeves and soft ruffling in the back make these company-worthy pajamas.


Isn't this Lovebird print precious? Find the set here.
To enter this giveaway for a set of Lovebird pajamas from The Cat's Pajama's, compliments of The Pajama Company, leave separate comments below for each entry you choose. I will announce the winner soon.
(1) Leave a comment if you follow A Little Loveliness.
(2) Like The Pajama Company on Facebook here.
(3) Outside of your own mother, tell me about a special lady in your life you could honor for Mother's Day next year.
Congratulations to Alison Penland, winner of a copy of Flavored Butters by Lucy Vaserfirer. Alison, please contact me via comment or e-mail.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

For a Special Mother

"Hundreds of dewdrops to greet the dawn,
Hundreds of bees in the purple clover,
Hundreds of butterflies on the lawn,
But only one mother the wide world over."
~ George Cooper

I am long overdue sharing this post, but before May gets away I wanted to share the Mother's Day gift I shared with my friend, a mother of three whose husband died two years ago.

This gift was for the birds! I wanted to pamper my friend with a gift that would encourage her to relax, and pajamas from The Pajama Company were the perfect choice.

She favors pastel colors, so these Lovebird PJs from The Cat's Pajamas were a refreshing option for spring.

The cheery PJs inspired the gift packaging, a birdcage from Michaels.

Fresh pink roses and a floral card added feminine touches.

And a soft pink bow added the final detail.

And from one mom to another, it was time to say, "Happy Mother's Day."

This gift comes with a surprise for a reader of A Little Loveliness, so don't miss my next post!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Flowers for Teacher

"One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings.  The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child." ~ Carl Jung

For the past several years, we have honored the children's teachers at the end of the year with a gift of flowers.


In years past, I have found a creative container and filled it with a fresh arrangement. This year, though, I was so taken with pink and white peonies I found at our local Fresh Market that I decided to keep the presentation simple.


What could compete with these lush, showy blooms?


Emma and I picked up crystal vases from TJ Maxx with our elementary and middle school teachers in mind.


We will present our bouquets during this week's end-of-year parties and programs.


Along with hugs and thanks for a great year of school.

"Teachers who inspire know that teaching is like cultivating a garden, and those who would have nothing to do with thorns must never attempt to gather flowers." ~ Author Unknown

Friday, May 10, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!


"No woman      can be strong,
gentle, pure, and good without
the world being better for it,
without somebody being
helped and comforted
by the very existence
of that goodness."
-- Phillips

To all the mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, teachers and friends who make the world a better place, happy Mother's Day!

Image from The Graphics Fairy. Used with permission.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Other Side of Mother's Day

In honor of Mother's Day, I am sharing a post I wrote last year. I hope you will read it again and think about those around you who could use a little mothering this weekend. (And on a side note, take a look at the magazine featured in these photos. When I put this basket together, I had no idea that within one year I would be working on Victoria. God's blessings are amazing!)

Last week I read an insightful essay that gave me pause. In "An Open Letter to Pastors: A Non-Mom Speaks About Mother's Day," author Amy Young spoke about the pain many women experience in confronting Mother's Day. As a single woman in her 30s, Amy revealed her discomfort when mothers were recognized during worship on Mother's Day and she remained in her seat while other women stood: "I don’t know how others saw me, but I felt dehumanized, gutted as a woman. Real women stood, empty shells sat."

Amy's letter struck a chord with readers all over the world whose hearts have been bruised -- some by dreams of motherhood yet unfulfilled; others by memories of mothers past. Her wise words counsel us to be sensitive to those around us who may be hurting on Mother's Day.

To some degree, I can relate to the sting others have felt. Before we had Carson, I was not sure I could conceive. During the years of waiting, I remember wondering if Joe would ever be able to wish me a happy Mother's Day. Then last year marked the first year that I would not have the privilege of hugging my own mother and telling her happy Mother's Day. She died in September 2010, and the grief was still fresh as the holiday approached. Although I never considered staying home from church on Mother's Day, as some women confessed they have done, I realize that in some ways I sat alone in my sorrow and grief.

Mother's Day conjures Norman Rockwell images of the perfect day of honor: breakfast in bed delivered by adoring children who giggle as Daddy surprises Mommy with flowers and gifts; family gatherings where grown children return to the nest to bless Mother with praise and affection. But life isn't always picture-perfect.

So what do we do when we face the other side of Mother's Day?

I believe that we will find our greatest fulfillment when we explore the other side of Mother's Day.

You see, at its core, motherly love is really "otherly" love.

Edwin Hubbell Chapin said, "No language can express the power, and beauty, and heroism, and majesty of a mother's love. It shrinks not where man cowers, and grows stronger where man faints, and over wastes of worldly fortunes sends the radiance of its quenchless fidelity like a star."

The virtuous woman described in Proverbs 31 tends to the needs of her family, but verse 20 tells us her kindness extends beyond her household: "She extends her hand to the poor; and she stretches out her hands to the needy." This godly woman offers a mother's touch to all who need it.

Whether single, married, widowed, divorced, childless, child-"full" or orphaned, isn't that our divine privilege as women?


This year I experienced a dramatic shift in my view of Mother's Day. Instead of mourning it as a day about my mother, I broadened my view and celebrated all the women who mother me with their kindness. So when tears pricked my eyes at the sight of Mother's Day cards, instead of passing the greeting card aisle with a  heavy heart, I stopped to find the perfect card to honor my mother's sister, who loves my siblings and me like we are her own.

And rather than closing my eyes and waiting expectantly for the honor that would come to me on Mother's Day, I opened them and looked for the honor I could give. I thought of my friend Melanie, who lost her husband to a massive stroke a little over a year ago. She is now the single parent to three children in middle school. Without the aid of a husband, she works, prepares meals, maintains the house, manages the money, services the car, makes parenting decisions and provides spiritual guidance. Without the camaraderie of their father, she watches her children grow up. And despite all she does for them, her adolescent children don't have the means or opportunity to buy her a Mother's Day gift.


This year I decided it will be my blessing to help Melanie's children give her a Mother's Day gift each year. Over the weekend, Carson exchanged secret texts with Melanie's elder son so we could fill a pretty basket with some of her breakfast favorites: English muffins, homemade strawberry jam and freshly-squeezed orange juice. I reasoned that this was an easy menu that the children could prepare for Melanie in the morning while she lingered under the covers with flowers on her nightstand and a pretty magazine in her hands. When we picked up Melanie's son on Mother's Day Eve to hang out (i.e., carry out the covert Mission MD), Seth said it meant a lot to him to be able to do something special for his mom.

And do you want to know something surprising?

Despite the heartache of missing my mother, this might have been the best Mother's Day I have ever had.

Mother's Day gives us a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the gifts we received from our mothers and the ones we hope to pass on to our children. But when we feel the pain of Mother's Day -- the wounds of disappointment, the agony of grief -- we can still find joy when we seek to put others ahead of ourselves. And isn't that what mothering is all about?

Maybe, like the virtuous woman, children will rise up and call us blessed on Mother's Day. But as godly women with mothers' hearts, we won't sit idly waiting. We will seize every opportunity to reach out and bless others. Because there is a lot of heartache in the world, and we have some mothering to do.

"There is an instinct in a woman to love her own child -- and an instinct to make any child who needs her love, her own." ~ Robert Brault

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Flavored Butters Cookbook Giveaway

"Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts!" ~ James Beard
This week I am really buttering you up with a deliciously creamy cookbook giveaway. I previewed Flavored Butters by Lucy Vaserfirer recently, and it is a treasury of sweet and savory butter recipes. First on my list to try is the whipped vanilla bean butter, pictured above. See the recipe below, compliments of the chef.

Other recipes on my must-try list are rosemary-roasted garlic butter, Gorgonzola-chive butter and rose-berry butter. Which spread will you try first? One sweet reader of A Little Loveliness will get a complimentary copy of this new cookbook. To enter, leave separate comments below for each entry you choose.
(1) Leave a comment if you follow A Little Loveliness.
(2) Leave an extra comment if you follow cookbook author Lucy Vaserfirer on Twitter.
Congratulations to Sheila, The Quintessential Magpie, on winning last week's tea party cookbook. Sheila, please contact me with your address.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Charming Mother-Daughter Craft

"Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever." ~ Author Unknown

The past month has flown by since I started working as assistant editor of Victoria magazine. I will fill you in on all the details soon, but for now wanted to share a mother-daughter craft idea. This was my craft for the May/June issue of Christian Woman. Sweet friends Harriet and Lynleigh Stephen were my beautiful models for this issue.


You might remember the necklaces I made for Mary Ashley and Emma to wear to Emma's birthday party earlier this year. Find the tutorial for these easy pendants here.


My good friend Missy Jones has organized a Wednesday night Bible class for "tween" girls and their mothers this summer. We will be studying the book Everybody Tells Me to Be Myself but I Don't Know Who I Am by Nancy Rue. Each week we will be discussing unique challenges faced by first- through sixth-grade girls. If you have a tween daughter and live in the Montgomery, Ala., area, we would love for you to join us! Message me for details, or leave a comment below.


As Missy filled me in on plans for the class, this mother-daughter craft came to mind. I think it would be lovely for mothers and daughters to make pendants together during an afternoon of crafting. Following directions in the tutorial, each would decorate her pendant to suit her personality. Then mother and daughter would switch pendants, and each would use a fine-tipped permanent marker to write qualities she admired about the other on the back of the pendant.


Exchanged again between mother and daughter, the front of the pendant would reflect each girl's personality and the image the world sees. But the back of the pendant -- the side worn closest to the heart -- would reveal the beauty that's inside.

I'm hoping I can sit down with my girls for this charming activity soon! If you didn't sign up for the giveaway in my last post, check out the tea party surprise here.


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