12 Days of Christmas Giveaways! DAY TWO!

Hey everyone, Happy Holidays!!

As many of you know, eight years ago I forgot to move my Elf on the Shelf. Since then I've been so lucky to live the dream I've had since I was five years old. I've been able to spend most of my days pantless, drinking tea, and dropping f-bombs like commas. When I do put on pants and leave my house (either to go out and meet you fine folks or head to my mailbox) I am always the recipient of some of the best gifts.

This year I wanted to be the one to give YOU great gifts. I've put together 12 DAYS of GIVEAWAYS and today is Day Two!

Every day for the next 10 days, you will have a chance to enter to win a fabulous prize, so check back every day.

12 Days of Christmas Giveaways! DAY ONE!

Hey everyone, Happy Holidays!!

As many of you know, eight years ago I forgot to move my Elf on the Shelf. Since then I've been so lucky to live the dream I've had since I was five years old. I've been able to spend most of my days pantless, drinking tea, and dropping f-bombs like commas. When I do put on pants and leave my house (either to go out and meet you fine folks or head to my mailbox) I am always the recipient of some of the best gifts.

This year I wanted to be the one to give YOU great gifts. I've put together 12 DAYS of GIVEAWAYS that start TODAY!

Every day for the next 11 days, you will have a chance to enter to win a fabulous prize, so check back every day.

My 2019 Christmas Letter is Here!

Dear Family, Friends, Strangers on the Internet, Weirdos Who Send Dick Pics, and Hate-Readers,

Happy Holidays! Can you believe that the decade is coming to a close? I don't know about you, but I still write 1990 on my checks. Yeah, I still write checks, that's probably why I think it's 1990.

This has been quite a year for me and my family! Where do I start?

The kids are aging faster than ever.

Gomer is a freshman in high school this year. He mostly communicates through grunts, text messages, and inappropriate-but-hilarious memes. I am worried about his hearing since he always has Airpods jammed in his ears or he's screaming at his friends, "I need back up, bro!" into a gaming headset. He thinks it's cool that he's taller than me now but that's not a huge accomplishment, actually. His sister is taller than me too. In fact, most people I know are taller than me. He's a bit of a sass-master and a complete slob these days, but I have to remind myself that in the whole scheme of things, he's still a good kid. His grades are decent, he hangs out with me when I beg him (or buy him dinner), and I don't think he's getting into too much trouble. I mean, I haven't found a vape or an empty bottle of booze under his bed yet. Also, I know his friends read this blog now and report back everything I say, so shout out to Gomer's friends! Please tell him his mommy loves him.

Adolpha is a seventh-grader. She's our entrepreneurial one. I think she only goes to school so she can sell stuff to her classmates. That girl always has a plan to make money. Her schemes must work, because she's always got cash. She's also a party-planner. God help me. I suspected the overachieving gene skipped a generation but this year it was officially confirmed. It seems like every week Adolpha is asking to plan a party, bake for a party, and/or decorate for a party. And, did I mention, she wants all these parties at MY house? Ugh. She's in the midst of planning her first-ever Christmas party and I would appreciate thoughts and prayers at this time. She mostly communicates through elaborate stories where she's sooooo mad about something (Yeah, she got my bitching gene as well as my mother's overachieving gene, and yes, it's a lot.), TikToks involving dogs behaving like humans, cookie recipes, and PowerPoint presentations. For instance, this week it was an 8-slide presentation entitled: "Why We Should Decorate More for Christmas."

The Hubs is ending Year Three of his Ten Year Start-Up Plan. It has been an enormous amount of work for him but he is dedicated to making big things happen. One of the things I really love and admire about him is his work ethic and his passion. I have to remember that when I get frustrated because I don't think I see results. I also have to take a step back and really look at the big picture to appreciate what he's done. He has customers and revenue now. This year he was invited to speak at a big-deal conference, he's heading out next year to another big-deal conference. Plus, he's reading voraciously. I think he read more books than me this year! It's good to see him reading, because for a while there I was convinced he could only read headlines. He's still selling real estate and helps me in his free time. Basically, he never sleeps.

What did I do this year? Well, let's see, I published How I F*cking Did It! where I tell you all my secrets to success and Will Work for Apples because teachers are rock stars. Every time I tell people the title of my blog, they're like, "I have a list!" so I made journals for everyone to keep their own lists in. I had a midlife crisis that inspired me to write a book called Midlife Bites. I had to find an agent who then sold it to Random House and now I'm writing my ass off and trying to be vulnerable, helpful, inspiring, and funny all at the same time. It's exhausting and I'm going grayer every day from the pressure. I'm not sure when it will be out, probably sometime in 2020. I started a podcast with Denise Grover Swank. It's called Two Midlife Mommas and I've received at least two emails from listeners telling me it's a really great podcast for commuters (that's high praise in the podcast world). I went to New York City and recorded the audiobook for People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Competitive Crafters, Drop-off Despots, and Other Suburban Scourges. I think my favorite part was the hotel room and bed all to myself.

Hmm, I think that's it. Oh wait, I'm still planning my biggest giveaway ever. Starting tomorrow, I'm sponsoring 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS right here on this blog. I have some good stuff (and some really, really okay stuff) to give away. You should enter to win. If nothing else, you can always regift it.

Speaking of regifting. I don't want to blow it by getting all cocky, but I think this might be my easiest Christmas yet. In the past, I've been that mom who lost important gifts and had to go out and buy new Santa gifts. I've been that mom who blows the budget because she keeps seeing one more toy someone would like. I've been that mom up all night on Christmas Eve building a motherclucking dollhouse or wrapping a bazillion gifts. This year my kids want big-ticket items, so I think they'll have 2 or 3 gifts under the tree and that's it. I've ordered everything to be shipped to the house and as soon as it arrives I peek inside and make sure it's what I need and then I tape the box closed again. I hand off the sealed box to Adolpha the Party-Planner and she wraps the gifts. Even her own. Sure, I miss some of the fun stuff from when they were little, but having kids who wrap their own presents and bake their own cookies, is really freaking nice. Five stars, highly recommend.

I did some traveling in 2019 and got to see a lot of you! It was so much fun! I'm adding new events to my calendar for 2020. If you want me to come and visit you, drop me a note and let me know.

This is my favorite time of year for the blog, because people tend to think of me when they put out their own Elves on the Shelves. I'm so grateful to each and every one of you. It makes my day when you tag me in Elf pictures, send me inappropriate Santa pictures, and buy sweary socks for stocking stuffers every time I recommend them. I'm also really grateful to those of you who put on pants and brave the Post Office to send me holiday cards and gifts. Thank you so much!!  I really get some of the most delightful and thoughtful things in the mail and I use them all. In fact, I noticed the other day we're completely out of Christmas toilet paper.

I hope your new year is the best one yet! I wish for you nothing but chocolate that refuses to stick to your hips, unlimited wine that never makes you drunk or hungover, soft and cuddly socks and blankets that keep you toasty warm but not too hot, and a good, ache-free sleep that lasts all night and only ends naturally on time so you don't need an alarm blaring in your ears forcing you to start your day off yelling at everything and everyone. Oh wait, that's what I asked Santa for. That's okay, I'll share with you!

Love, Jen

Overachieving Elf on the Shelf Mommies

By now we have all heard of the adorable little Elf on the Shelf. Almost everyone I know has one.  Some people even have two!  (Now I'm having guilt for not having two, because apparently I need two because when my kids are adults they'll each want one from their childhood.  Ugh.  Not looking forward to that conversation with the Hubs when I tell him why we need another Elf.)

The Elf is a handy little thing to have.  The little bastard keeps my children in check this time of year.  When there is even a HINT of rebellion all I have to do is say, "Elf" and they snap back in line.

2019 Christmas Wish List

It's the most wonderful time of the year! (If you like to shop, that is.) For the past few years I've made wish lists on the blog and this year is no different. I polled my friends and family to see what they're hoping to find wrapped and waiting for them and I've come up with a helpful list for you.

I also added a new category this year: some favorites from my Facebook group MIDLIFE BITES. The Midlife Bites group has their own Wish List this year based on what they're recommending and asking for.

I'll start with the hardest one in my house: Gomer. When you ask Gomer what he wants for Christmas, he always says, "Cash." But I hate to give cash, so I asked him, "If you received cash, what would you buy?" And here are some of the things he came up with.

Teen Boys

Champion joggers. It's a struggle to get the boy out of shorts, no matter the weather, so when he suggested sweatpants, I got excited.

Airpods. Hmm, I don't know. Looks like another way to tune me out.

What Do You Meme? game. A game? That we can play together?? Done and done.

Inflatable lounger. As long as I'm not the one blowing it up, I'll allow it.

Office stickers for his laptop. The boy and I are huge Office nerds, so I get it.

A television. He can now take a break from gaming and watching other people game so he can watch reality television?

A turntable and speakers. This one is interesting because we don't have any records in the house. I still have a huge collection of CDs, though. If the CD player comes back, I'm ready.

A charging station for iPhone, Airpods, and Apple Watch. The teenage boy version of a "juicer."

Nike socks. I made a mistake of buying another brand and it was rough around here.

Burrito blanket. Gomer can be cozy AND look delicious!

Gomer might be difficult to buy for because there isn't much on his list. Adolpha, on the other hand, wants EVERYTHING. Her list is always a mile long and I have to really push her to find out which items are the most important.

Teen Girls

Cake decorating set. Adolpha actually got this one for her birthday last week and it's already a hit. The quality isn't amazing, but for a beginner who is dabbling, it's perfect. She's already baking.

Animal Bites cable protectors. I don't understand these, but she's obsessed with them.

Giant bean bag. She received a normal size bean bag a few years ago, but now she wants an upgrade.

Llama blanket. This one checks off two boxes for her: cozy and llamas. She loves anything llama and literally can't enough blankets to wrap up in.

Crossbody bag. Now that she's older, she's going out without me and she no longer has me to carry her phone, her retainer case, a lip gloss, and her wallet.

Beats wireless headphones. I'm hoping she'll be bored with these within six months and I can inherit her cast-offs.

Nike socks. One kid will only wear black ones and one will only wear white ones. Makes laundry easy, I guess?

Hydroflask. Adolpha is all in on the VSCO girl thing and this is a vital part of their culture.

Waterproof stickers. You can't have a Hydroflask without stickers.

Reusable straws and bags. Hello, do you even care about the turtles??

Scrunchies. I think if you're a woman of a certain age, the appeal of these doesn't need to be explained. Even better, you can now buy them by the pound.

I've reached that age where I have everything I need and even most of the things I want. However, I'm always down for anything cozy, useful, and/or snarky.

Keyring bracelet. I'm always looking for a better way to keep track of my keys.

Doormat. I can never have too many sarcastic doormats. I change them with the seasons.

Velour tracksuit. I've recently re-discovered these beauties. My transformation into a Golden Girl is almost complete.

Winged eyeliner. When I actually put on pants and leave my house, makeup is a necessity. I love the look of winged eyeliner, but my hands aren't steady enough. The reviewers say these pens are magical.

Purse holder. Floors are gross. This handy little doodad keeps my purse off the disgusting floor.

Electric teapot. I drink a lot of tea. All day. Every day. Sure, I have a Keurig and even a regular old teapot, but this thing is kind of awesome. My mom has one and I'm a little envious of how fast she can get her tea ready. The Hubs will kill me if I bring another teapot into this house, but if one of the kids buys it for me, he can't say, no, right?

Tea Infuser. I hate pants, unless they're full of tea.

People I Want to Punch in the Throat. No, this isn't the book you're probably familiar with. This is a BLANK book where you can make your OWN list. A list of things to do, groceries to buy, or wrongs to right, it can all go in this compact little book.

The Hubs is all about the gadgets. He hasn't met a gadget he doesn't want.


Sony noise-canceling wireless headphones. If he gets a pair too, I'm definitely guaranteed someone's hand me downs!

Weighted blanket. The Hubs is a fitful sleeper and I've heard weighted blankets make a huge difference. Can't hurt, right?

Massage gun. The Hubs has reached that age where he wakes up in the morning with a stiff neck. Surely this can do the trick!

Insulated YETI coffee mug. We all know I'll steal this within the first few weeks.

Coffee/phone holder. OK, this thing is kind of awesome. The Hubs has been traveling a lot this year and I thought this was a cool attachment for his carry on. You put this on your carry on and it can hold your phone and a cup of coffee. Genius, right? (Full disclosure, I will also probably steal it.)

Car phone holder. This thing fits in the cupholder of your car and holds your cell phone. I won't steal this one, I ordered two and I'll wrap one up for me and pretend to be surprised.

Portable steamer. Neither of us likes to iron and years ago I gave up buying anything requiring ironing. The Hubs did not, so he needs this hot little number.

Telescoping ladder. I told you the Hubs likes gadgets. He can't have a "normal" ladder, he needs a go-go-Gadget ladder and this one fits the bill. It can adjust and lock into multiple heights and then fold up and store away easily.

A few months ago, I started a Facebook group for the ladies in the throes of midlife. When we're not suffering from hot flashes, we like to shop. These are some of their favorite things.

Midlife Bites

Insulated sassy wine glass. Can you be for 40-plus and NOT own a sassy wine glass?

Paper planner. These days we forget everything, so we need a calendar on our phone as well as a paper planner on the desk. Plus, stickers!

Finishing Touch hair remover. We're losing hair on our heads and it's popping up everywhere else: eyebrows, chins, upper lips.

Lash serum. I might have crow's feet, but my lashes will look fabulous!

Bamboo jammies. We're hot!

Cozy wrap. We're cold!

Flexible ice pack. If we're not sweating or plucking rogue hairs, we're asking, "What the hell hurts now?" These ice packs are ah-may-zing for those aching wrists, elbows, and knees.

Inflatable hot tub. What every grown-ass woman living her best life needs.

Snarky Gen X t-shirt. It pairs well with your sassy wine glass.

Period panties. Yeah, they're not sexy. If you want sexy, come back next week.

The Satisfyer. I told you next week would be sexy.

Maxi dress. Flattering and it has pockets!

Wrap bracelet. Pairs nicely with the maxi dress or the pjs, your choice.

And, last but not least, a signed book always makes a great gift for everyone on your list. Get yours here: https://forms.gle/UQnWZji5WUfuXvVv8

Leave me a comment and let me know what's on YOUR list this year!

Happy shopping!

P.S. All the links I've included are affiliate links.

A Real Christmas Miracle!

Just a few of the elves who made this magic happen!

On Halloween night, my mom took her dog out for a walk before bedtime. It was dark and she was in a hurry to get back home so she could start decorating for Christmas. (If you're a little shocked by that last bit, it must be because you've never read Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat. If you'd read that book, then you'd know that my mom begins the arduous task of decorating for Christmas the moment she says goodbye to her last trick-or-treater.) Anyway, she was already dreaming of unpacking her hundreds of bins of decorations and greeting each Santa and snowman like family. My dad was out of town and she had big plans to stay up late into the night, blasting Christmas music and covering every surface with garland, lights, tinsel, or all of the above.

Pre-Lit Christmas Trees Can Suck It

Don't look too close, there are some dead bulb in there.


Who has a pre-lit Christmas tree?  Who invented this instrument of supposedly cheerful holiday torture?  I know the idea sounds good, but in practice, I am not so sure.  Now, before anyone gets upset, I am not saying that ALL pre-lit trees are bad.  Just the ones that suck monkey balls like the one I happen to have.

We have a 9 ft pre-lit Christmas tree with about 3,000 light bulbs on it.  Ours is huge, massive, and heavy as hell, with more wires and lights than an airport runway in a major city.  It's a nice looking tree.  It was VERY nice to have a huge tree that we didn't have to string lights on.  You plug in all the strands, turn them all on and enjoy your Christmas.  Yeah, that happened only the FIRST year we owned that tree.  Ever since that honeymoon Christmas, it has never been the same around here.  Nope, now it is an annoying, tedious, and mind numbing battle in search of the dreaded dead bulb.  Our tree is seven years old now and once one bulb goes out, the entire strand goes out.  So, you need to find the dead bulb.  With over 3,000 light bulbs on a tree, that is a lot to go through.  

12 Days of Christmas Giveaways! DAY TWO!

Hey everyone, Happy Holidays!! As many of you know, eight years ago  I forgot to move my Elf on the Shelf . Since then I've been ...