Bag of Tricks

Behind the girls’ bedroom door, there is a purple bag hanging on a hook. Its canvas is worn and its woven straps are near threadbare, but inside there are treasures that keep my girls happy. It’s my Bag of Tricks–the first thing I grab when we’re out the door to a restaurant or guaranteed to be in the car for any extended period of time, and its contents–favorite books, paper dolls, pop beads and My Little Ponies–magically entertain an otherwise inconsolable child.

Photobucket pewter wand, Lisa Leonard Designs.

I’ve realized the past few days though, that mamas need a bag of tricks as well–a reserve of go-to comforts that vitalize our spirits when things aren’t quite right. And, amid the craziness of sleepless nights, neglected laundry piles and failed attempts at pretty much anything this week, I’ve become reacquainted with my bag of tricks and the simple self-preserving actions I do to renew and inspire.

If Motherhood was a Monopoly game, I’d have to say I dwell primarily on a hotel-stacked Boardwalk. I pass Go every morning when I pull my jammied babies out of bed, and I am making bank with my overall satisfaction of raising littles.

But this week, I’m stuck on Baltic Ave. And I guess, that’s just part of the game.

The hilarity of snafus this past week is honestly amusing. Sleepless nights, broken dishes, diapers ripped to shreds by dogs. You know, the usual.

I am cute. But I was up from 1 to 5 for no reason.

I ran over a bottle of Crayola colored bubbles the other day in our driveway. The highly pigmented bubbles that leave a permanent trail of green syrup etched in the cement.


I got lost on the way to Nella’s eye appointment in Miami and then forgot where I parked my car in a 6-story parking garage later. For half an hour, I held a sleeping baby while I spiraled ramps, clicking my keys and chasing down honks.

I cried on Alligator Alley because Nella was hysterical in the backseat and there were no exits for me to pull over and help her.

We’re trying the amber teething necklace. We’ll see what happens.

I broke a bottle in my kitchen and a candle in World Market.

But–oh yes, there’s a but–I have a bag of tricks. And in Monopoly, that’s like Free Parking. Amid the tears, the broken glass, the honking car on the 6-story parking ramp, I forced myself to enjoy as many pleasures as I could. Simple things. A cold frosty from Wendy’s drive-through on the way home from Miami, a new home magazine at the grocery store, an NPR poetry reading I turned up in the car–the one that finally lulled Nella to sleep. I took the long way home yesterday, stopping at visitor centers to take pictures of the swamp.


Look what I saw in the swamp. (I was safe, promise…and Nella was in the car)

Photobucket Photobucket

I even enjoyed a rare moment of folding clothes still warm from the dryer yesterday and strangely found comfort in pruning my fingers in a warm bucket of lemon suds–a far cry from my usual just-get-it-over-with attitude toward the half-hour cleaning shake-down.

When things are messy, good always rises to the surface if you wait for it.

Good=Miami skyline.


Good=healthy eyes, a great appointment and still…no need for glasses.


Good=my blooming gardenia bush.


Good=Early evening driveway art.


Lainey enjoyed a sleepover at Grandma’s last night, and after an impromptu girlfriend gathering over hot wings and cold beer last night, I am savoring a quiet morning with my coffee and my littlest girl.


There is more in my bag of tricks, but I’ll save it for when I need it again.
We’re back on Boardwalk, baby.


Add this to your bag of tricks…something pretty dangling from your ears.


The Meg Shop is back as a sponsor, and these white pearl curve earrings are pretty enough to bump your Baltic Ave. days up to, say at least St. James Place. Use code ENJOY10 for 10% off your order!

The Meg Shop is giving away a $40 gift certificate to a randomly selected commenter on this post.

To make it fun, tell me what’s in your bag of tricks? What self-preserving comforts do you allow yourself to bump your Baltic days to Boardwalk?



Leave a Comment
  1. I try to always see the positive in most situations…like today. We got 4″ of snow last night…here in MN I guess it isn’t abnormal for April but I was very disappointed to wake up to *that* but…that means I’ll get to have little boy snuggles and movies today instead of my boys wanting to play outside.
    I love me some coffee, when I need a “Park Place” moment I go get a coffee.
    Lip gloss is not far behind that coffee :)

  2. Kelle~I love the way you write. I think the thing I love most about blogs is that they’re like great books that never end. I so look forward to hearing what’s on your mind, how you interpret through words & photos & how you inspire.
    Those swamp pics are amazing as are the pics of those gorgeous babes of yours. Love it all.

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  4. Nonfat green tea frappucchino double blended. Sitting on the porch, reading. Or, if it’s REALLY bad – watching a Lifetime movie at night while eating popcorn and sour patch kids and a Coke.

    You are so pretty!

  5. I hear you..this week has been challenging for us as well.
    Sleepless nights due to a cold.

    My bag of tricks…
    YOGA, long shower, walks and time with girlfriends…….

    Enjoy your weekend!
    Hope Nella sleeps tonight!!!
    and yes she is so CUTE!!!!

    Love the wand with Lainey’s name and hate when they cry in the car and you can help them :(. The worst feeling!!!

    April 16, 2011 7:37 AM

  6. I re-read “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp and my attitude immediately shifts as I begin to count gifts in everything. One of my favorite quotes of hers is “wherever you are, be all there.” The good, the not-so-good, and everywhere in between.

  7. What kind of a question is this? Facebook, of course! 😀

  8. A friend emailed me your blog thinking I might enjoy your images and inspired writing……….how could she know that I would find myself loving every word and falling into every image! You blog is amazing as well as your images, I’m so inspired that I have actually teared up, tears falling, in a good way :) I could be emotional though, lots to do this weekend, no help, no time, that tends to heighten my senses, LOL. I am so inspired, thank you for sharing with us!!

  9. I am having my trick right now: A chai latte. I rarely have these and I don’t really know why. But after a recent IKEA run, my days are COMPLETELY OVER-RUN with allen wrenches and babies who want to “help” and the Swedes and all their cleverness, plus the usual assortment of laundry, poopy diapers, lunch and cleaning up after lunch and oh, did I mention my two-year-old thinks he’s too big for naps now?
    Thanks for your words. (And that kicking music.) It has really helped.

  10. I’ve needed my bag of tricks more this week as well. Given a choice I really do prefer to look at the postive, fun things in my life. Plus, I really do like to laugh! Good thing I have my daughter who as I type is walking around in a big white hat with a princess tiara and her older brothers costume that he had to wear for Greek God day in middle school. These are the days I wished for. Thanks for the great blog and wonderful pictures!

  11. Oh girl, I’m right there with you… Well, not RIGHT there, but I get it. A baby that doesn’t sleep, yes. A sleepy momma, yes. Craziness, yes. Haha, but what’s amazing is how it all comes out good. How all the shinnanigans end up funny. In my bag of tricks? A hot bath with a Lush bomb dropped in. Love this!!

    (from Michigan and soon to be moving to Palm Harbor, FL!! Maybe you can teach me a thing or two about that.)

  12. Self preserving…I paint, sketch, draw, craft, sculpt, snap photos…something along those lines. Getting the opportunity to reach in and grab some creativity always gets me back to a good spot. Heck, glitter has a magic quality.

    I love Miss Nella in her crib with those eyes! Adorable

  13. Omigoodness love the pic of Nella in the crib~but boo to being up for no reason for hours at a time…I know that!! Music. As long as I can have music I seem to be okay. Orange tictac’s they make any screaming situation better. Coffee. I would die without it, I’m sure. Bubbles. I have been known to frantically start blowing bubbles anytime the kids get nutty…sure, I might look crazy but IT WORKS!!! Have a beautiful weekend, friend:)xo

  14. In our bag of tricks:
    – cold Coca Cola
    – a whispering creek at our favorite park
    – late night snuggles
    – chocolate… of any sort.
    – Coldplay.

  15. I hide Dove chocolate bars in my secret place for naptime on the days that just can not possibly any worse~ but they do.

  16. Nothing is more delicious and problem melting then a starbucks hot chocolate. I can be sitting in the middle of a busy starbucks and be oblivious to anyone and anything around me. It is that good!!

  17. I have 4 young children. So what’s in my bag of tricks? Vodka. Hahaha! ;o)

    The 1st black & white of Nella – I see Lainey! She is starting to resemble (to me) her big sister more every month. Happy boardwalking! Ü

  18. no matter what my crazy day was like, I always look forward to the new beginnings of an early morning with a bif, fresh, steaming mug of coffee! I make jewelry – so beading is in my bag of tricks, and a trip up to my favorite strip mall – Barnes and Noble, Michaels, and Pier One – oh those stores make me so happy!! And the ride there when I’m by myself…I can listen to whatever music I want – no censoring for the little ones ears!!

  19. The picture of Nella in her crib is so adorable! I love that little face. Thanks so much for sharing. I always look forward to a new post from you.

  20. ~ A long run with BEP in the background
    ~ Chilis with girlfriends chips and salsa
    ~ a hug from my husband with just simple “i love you”
    ~ An Us magazine
    ~Honestly sometimes just reading your blog

  21. I just found your blog the other day and I am really enjoying it. Really echoes some things in my life.

    God Bless,

  22. Good news on Nella’s eyes!!!

    A Tim Hortons Ice Cappuccino always does the trick for me.

  23. oh, i needed this blog today!
    my bag of tricks: spending some time praying or reading the bible, beautiful words from bloggers like you, buying myself a dress, going to the beach just for a sunset. morning trips and jam sessions to starbucks with my roomies. i love this post.

  24. Depending on time of day and whereabouts of my son, it might include a tall iced coffee with cream + 2 pink sweeteners, or a fountain diet coke, or a work-out, or a skinnygirl margarita. But, an unsolicited, “I love you, mama” usually does it :)

  25. my bag of tricks include:

    *suckers for a little one who gets carsick almost every time we into the car.

    *movies for the dvd player.

    *water to get the sucker off of little teeth.

    *bubbles… and batteries!

    *and always having country music playing, in the car and outside by the pool!

  26. coffee, pedicures with bright flashy colors, yummy scented perfume worn everyday instead of just on special occaisions, hitting the sonic drive thru for cherry vanilla diet coke to make the day a little sweeter :)

    loved this post!

  27. Oh I love my bag of tricks, unfortunately I don’t pull things out of it often enough. But a few of my tricks are taking a nice LONG bubble bath, and going on a beautiful spring walk…ah!

  28. Usually my bag of tricks comes in handy on the commute to/from work. NPR Radio or even better, Pride and Prejudice on audio. I LOVE IT! And can recite many parts by heart! :)

  29. A run with Freddie Mercury singing to me through my ipod………….or not a run with Freddie blaring.

  30. My bag of tricks??? a moment to sit and actually read a magazine article, an iced chai latte, sitting in a sliver of sunshine (especially in MI these days!), and a quiet snuggle with my sleeping babe. May you find peace from us that know the sleepless nights, and get a smile from our little tricks. I wish you a blessed week.

  31. I feel ya girl! There are days that being a mom is overwhelming and exhausting. To make it through, mama loves an iced coffee or a DVRd grown up show that doesn’t include Spongebob. I remind myself that these days are fleeting and while they are hard, they will be gone soon enough when my kiddos are teens. Darrius Rucker’s song ‘It won’t be like this for long’ is a must-listen for every mom. It goes by so quick. Thanks for sharing!!!

  32. a spontaneous dance-a-thon to song of the week, a sunny walk through cherry blossom trees, a treat… Starbucks, mini eggs, skor blizzard, and my most favorite is those unpredictable deep gut laugh attacks with someone you love…

  33. Tea saves my life – something about taking the time to drink a hot beverage always calms me down.

  34. Ahhh thanks for the Monopoly analogy…that wasnt my week THIS week…but last week..oy vey! Anyway in my bag of tricks is cranking up the music and having a dance party with my little girl. It turns those frowns upside down…and on the days it dosent work on her, it works on me :)

  35. what’s in my bag –
    • a cup of hot tea
    • baby snuggles
    • my iphoto “Gwen” library
    • phone call to my oldest and dearest friend
    • my mom
    • a little online shopping
    • text to/from my husband

  36. Part of my “Bag-o-Tricks” is sitting down after the kids bedtime and reading through blogs…it is very indulgent and I love it! Another trick is a hot bath and a good book. I had a horrible, no good, very bad day (or couple of days) the other day and had to vent…I am glad I am not the only one who cries from time to time!

    The necklace should help. I hope it does.

  37. Hmmmm sitting down with a caramel frappuccino (Starbucks) to read a new entry of your blog (extra long with lots of pictures). Then watching a movie with my husband & our pup while doing picture “work”. Love it :)

  38. I love your outlook on things….and reading your blog is like reading poetry. No joke. I wish I had your talent with putting simple thoughts into poetic words. I adore your blog!

  39. Oh I just love this. A bag of tricks. How perfect. In mine these days:
    – A Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks (even though it’s not Christmastime!)
    – A new, fun, over-sized cocktail ring
    – While baby is sleeping, prancing around the house in a favourite pair of heels, neglected as of late
    – Getting outside and taking photos of pretty things
    – Reading my old blog posts
    – Mini peanut butter cups from the bulk food section
    – Painting my nails something bright and shiny
    – Gilmore Girls on DVD

  40. We all have those moments! Coffee creamer is my little “pick me up” lately. I buy new flavors every week at the grocery store (currently have 5 bottles in my fridge) and each morning or when I need it, they are there. It’s the small things for sure!

    Also, the colored bubble thing was the talk of my mom’s club last week. Seems we’ve all heard a story about those suckers! HA HA!

  41. Oh and my bag of “tricks” – a good work out with Chalene Johnson (something about her high energy always brightens my day!), a iced peppermint tea and a chat with my little sister!

  42. Life as Monopoly Game. Wonderful. I’m always striving to dwell on the positive. Yesterday I did it and it was GREAT. My bag of tricks include:
    pranayama – yoga breathing

  43. I am pregnant with two toddlers 10 months apart. Last night we had bad storms and no sleep. Today, I pulled out a Krispy Kreme doughnut, big old coke, and reorganized my office…while my husband entertained the little ones downstairs. I know it will be messed up again in no time, but for now…I feel like I just got a get out of jail card :).

  44. Inside my bag of tricks??
    On a not so high on life day…I go to the shoe store. Even if just to look while sipping a caramel macchiato. It definitely does my body good. Also, a simple trip to my computer–iTunes. A few new songs always make for a good
    pick-me-up :)

  45. my bag of tricks has saved my hide recently! my hubs and i are finishing grad school (both of us), applying for and waiting to interview for jobs, planning a move out of kansas city and trying to maintain our usually high spirits! oy! my bag includes afternoon coffee, baking muffins, slow walk through whole foods for the nibbles and rereading favorite books. and when those things don’t help a cold afternoon beer usually does the trick!

  46. I totally had that kind of week too! Wish I could say exercising is in my bag of tricks, but actually it’s quite the opposite: a sugar cookie with extra icing and a caramel latte (in a ceramic mug, no to-go cup thank you)sipped slowly over girl chat and then sleeeeeep.

  47. My personal bag of tricks:
    A hot bath
    A package of “coconut dreams” {they taste just like samoa’s}
    McDonald’s french fries {horrible I know}
    Sitting outback enjoying the warm warm sunshine that CA has to offer

    Kid bag of tricks:
    Yummy Earth organic suckers {they are sweetened with fruit & veggies}
    Portable DVD players in the car
    Park trip when Daddy gets home from work
    A late night dip in the pool

    The girls are getting more beautiful everyday…thanks for sharing :)


  48. My bag of tricks always includes a nice hot bath and comfort food. Comfort food of choice usually includes ice cream or something salty. Great post and pics as usual.

  49. Your blog is one of my self-indulgent tricks. But on days like to today – where it’s rainy and cold and even though it’s supposed to be spring soccer has been canceled – my biggest trick is going into the toy closet and pulling out something new/something long forgotten. The boys are loving the “shaky” cars again and the disappointment of no soccer has almost been forgotten. Almost.

  50. Lovely. I appreciate your honesty about the Baltic days; otherwise you’d be Superwoman.

    My bag of tricks contains Zumba, laughing at my dorky cat, and best of all- talking with my husband, who has a way of making everything better.

  51. So sorry you had to pull from your bag of tricks this week. Just think about the laughs you will have looking back!

    Beautiful earrings! I have already ordered some, but I would love to order more! So simplistic and elegant!

  52. My bag of tricks? Turning music up loud and dancing like mad in the kitchen, a good book and anything from Starbucks!

  53. In my bag of tricks is splurging on a new project, crocheting, cross stitch, quilting, and a full crystal goblet full of coke all to myself!!!

  54. Well something that brightens up a otherwise cruddy day would have to be a trip to the one and only Dollar Tree. The stuff is all cheap junk but everybody gets to pick a treasure…even me. We always leave smiling.

  55. My bag of tricks:
    A hot bath
    A good book
    Lots, and Lots of blankets and pillows!

    Hope the amber necklace works for you. I also recommend hazel wood necklaces. My son has been wearing both since 4 months…and he handles teething fairly well!

  56. This week has been something like that for me too, with less breaking of things. I (sometimes) fully believe in faking it until you’re feeling it, and that’s helped a little. My bag of tricks includes an afternoon in the sun, a good book, and a child playing contently in his Little Tikes kingdom. And just like that, it’s the weekend and we’re headed toward Boardwalk too!

    Your writing is enchanting and I so appreciate everything that you share. That last gator picture is just awesome too!

  57. I find reading posts like this very one enlightening and rejuvenating!! Since having a little one time is limited . . . when I’m feeling like I’ve reached my limit, my guilty pleasure is sitting for at least an hour for a ‘pick-me-up’ of sorts, to nudge me back to reality, but with a better attitude. Thank you so much for your posts! You have such a great outlook on life & so inspiring – thank you!!

  58. A good book always does the trick.

  59. i make my morning latte and instead of drinking it as i get ready in the morning…. i sit down and sip. simply holding the cup with both hands and feeling its warmth has such restoring power!

  60. Self-preserving comforts ~ what a delicious phrase! When everything goes wrong, I toss our homeschooling math (the only formal part) and we gear up to meander in our woods. We gather “pretties”, which can still be found in snow (still lots here in AK), and spread them out on the table when we’re home again and make stuff. I make tea and cinnamon toast for us all while we watch a movie (sometimes I take a catnap during it). Delightful!

  61. Any type of fatty food and flavored foamy coffee. For sure.

    And as much as I HATE doing it…runinng. I had a ‘the kids are going to be the end of me/make him stop screaming and her stop asking questions before I lock myself in the bedroom’ in tears kind of morning. I managed to get the oldest off to school and the baby and I to the park to meet some friends for a run.

    It was our reset button. The rest of the day and since then has been pretty darn good!

    AND…Nella looks SO much like Lainey. I’ve said it before but the bigger she gets the more I see it. They have the same smile :)

  62. A hot bath and a beer. Or napping on the couch in the warm sun with my furry babies sleeping quietly on the floor.

  63. My bag of tricks includes a drink from my favorite coffee shop! Ginger peach iced tea, orange juice, and raspberry syrup! Yum!

  64. Well, this week I found out I won’t have a teaching job next year. So, my bag of tricks has really come in handy this week! Last night, I had a nice glass of wine while I watched my puppy and little girl run around the back yard together. Definitely a needed moment!

  65. if time allows I get in some time alone with the Lord, reading and praying or just being quiet in his presence. always helps my soul when I’m at the end of ME. also some great quick fixes are coffee, ice cream, shopping or a spontaneous date with my love! snuggles from my tiny boy never hurt either :)

  66. A cold beer and wings on our patio
    A hot bubble bath
    Getting dirt under my nails in the garden
    A drive through the country
    My husbands strong embrace
    A strawberry mojito!!

  67. A Good work out. We’ve had a rough week with sleep. Last night as we were explaining to Anna Cate, 5, why we are tried and maybe a little grouchy, we said, we aren’t sleeping well. Some nights, you come in our bed, on other nights Molly is up teething. If it is not you, it is Molly and Mommy and Daddy are tired, and she said, “so it’s a PATTERN! Me, Molly, me, Molly, Molly, me, me” Ha! :) I love this post, Kelle. That picture of the alligator is CRAZY!! My husband loves that show swamp people.. Happy Saturday

  68. My bag of tricks: a long talk with my mom, Double Stuff Oreos, 15 minutes with a randomly selected section of the Bible, any song by Queen.

    Love, love, love your blog and this post made my Saturday at work a lot better. Happy Weekend!

  69. We need to try a teething necklace too, let us know how it goes!

    My bag of tricks, holds a good bottle of wine and a new color of OPI nail polish-does the trick every time!

  70. Gator = Terror. Seriously shaking.

    Bag of tricks = Brooks Adrenaline running shoes, best friend phone calls, angry face pics of Ellie, a good book, and, when Ellie won’t stop crying, one of several stuffed elephants. For real.

  71. You will love the amber teething necklace! My daughter has worn it everyday since 14 months old. We love it! ( :

  72. bag o tricks= mangos, time with family, and nothing on the agenda

  73. My bag of tricks:
    a glass of really good wine.
    a blanket fort in the living room with my girls.
    a good movie.
    girlfriends and beers
    browsing Etsy
    reading a good book on my iPad
    reading your blog
    a caramel-filled chocolate candy slowing melting in my mouth.

  74. So happy that Nella’s eyes are good and strong. And that gardenia that’s blooming…I bet your yard smells wonderful. Love seeing the blooms that come from FLA that would never survive a winter in zone 7!

    Here’s wishing you a relaxing weekend!

    Jennifer from Annapolis

  75. I find a fabric or yarn store, preferably one that has hot or iced tea, and just sit and look at the colors and textures and the amazing sample works displayed. If that isn’t an option I love to go back through my pictures of my kids. That always makes me smile. New nail polish is good too!

  76. Current bag of tricks:

    I hang out with my girlfriends and Skype with those who are too far away. And I play with my 5 week old little girl. Just looking at me makes me feel renewed and ready to take on the next challenge, no matter how sleep deprived I may be.

  77. My bag of tricks includes: long distance running, tickling my son and making him laugh oh so hard, and eating a delicious dinner with my husband.

  78. Taking time for a good, slow cup of coffee is in my bag of tricks.
    Taking a longer then usual walk with the dog for fresh air.
    Wearing my wedding earrings.

  79. I had a Baltic Avenue day yesterday. We had a day adventure that was somewhat like your trip to the orange orchard, except ours was freezing with brutal winds. Resulted in two out of two kids crying, a mama fighting back tears of frustration and a dog that probably would have been crying if dogs could cry. We tried to make memories and it just didn’t work out. But we will be back. We found a new-to-us gem in our city, so the day was not a total loss.

    My mama bag of tricks contains a green tea (or glass or red), a bubble bath, and a good book. I also fall guilty to a Cinnamon Dolce Latte from Starbucks when my day needs a little push from the start.

  80. Just the other night I made a list of all the things that make me happy on a day-to-day basis, once I got going I was amazed at how the list grew!
    Some of the most powerful tricks in my bag:
    – a chai latte from Starbucks or Bridgehead
    – my latest knitting project
    – writing letters to friends (and knowing how happy something other than a bill in the mailbox will make them)
    – a good hot yoga class
    Oh how the list goes on, but these four are the icing on the cake :)
    Florida was steadily been climbing my list of must-go-to-places, and your swamp/alligator pictures just bumped it up at least a couple spots Kelle!

  81. My bag of tricks contains my kindle, that thing can just take away. Not a care in the world. Loved the gator picture by the way.

  82. A good ending to a book, the first sip of hot coffee, the smile of a stranger, a picture of loved ones, sunny days.

  83. Thanks for the inspiration today. I love how you express what you are feeling in terms of vivid pictures. And since Monopoly was my favorite game as a child, I relate to Baltic Ave. and Go and all that. My favorite was Water Works, actually.

    My bag of tricks..

    Turning up the music and dancing like crazy, dipping pretzel sticks into vanilla frosting, calling up my sister to vent or share stories, typing on my blog, taking a sentence from a favorite book and reflecting on it all day, hugging and kissing my kids, snuggling with the hubby, pulling weeds, doing something nice for a friend, online window shopping/drooling, buying fresh flowers at the store and putting them in vases all around our house. I have more but I’m flitty and sometimes it depends on the season or what I feel like.

    Thanks for your blog..It’s also part of my bag of tricks…Happy weekend to you!

  84. Thanks for sharing! Reading this came at a great time for a me. A time when I have been crying on and off for the past 24 hours due to a supervisor scolding me for her own insecurities, not necessarily because I did something wrong. I want to stop being upset over it and I want to find a way to gracefully step out of my relationship with her as my supervisor, so my bag of tricks has consisted of a lot of prayer, phone calls with best friends for advice, some “Say Yes to the Dress” episode son Netflix, and some good laughs with old co-workers. With this bag of tricks I will get better, I will set myself free, and I will find a new supervisor that “gets” me and is secure in herself.

  85. My bag or tricks include a skinny cinnamon dolce latte, trashy magazine (US, In Touch or People) and a whole can (yes I said whole can) of Sour Cream and Onion Pringles. Maybe I’ll throw in a Twix or two who knows.

  86. My membership to the YMCA – somedays I go and drop my boys off in the childcare just to go downstairs and take a shower and have the luxury of blow drying my hair. I love coming back to pick the boys up a solid 30 minutes later and when they ask me how my work out was I tell them – fabulous.

  87. Ohhhh GREAT post. In my bag of tricks: high-tailing it to my mom’s, a good book, Dove dark chocolate, dinner with girlfriends, playgroup

  88. In my purse (my little bag of tricks!) I always carry crayons & a few cars for my little boy.

    My personal getaway? Coffee….and a book. Or getting coffee & having a “coffee date” on the phone with my best friend. Who lives in Fl while I am in Nv.

    Love the comment someone posted:
    ohsoblessed said…
    I re-read “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp and my attitude immediately shifts as I begin to count gifts in everything. One of my favorite quotes of hers is “wherever you are, be all there.” The good, the not-so-good, and everywhere in between.

    I am going to go get this book today! Thanks for the recomendation!!

  89. My bag of tricks is simply a trip to Target. I’m convinced it is a cure all for any day that’s less than perfect.

  90. A Netflix movie and some frozen yogurt on the couch, dying my hair a new color, or lying in a sunbeam with a good book.

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  92. “I am cute. But I was up from 1 to 5 for no reason. ” – I’m sorry, I know you were probably frustrated beyond belief, but that line has me cracking up. I swear there are many a day where the only thing keeping me from banging my head off the counter is the fact that my daughter is so darn cute.

  93. My bag of tricks consists mostly of food. It’s so liberating to swing through McDonalds for an Iced Tea, or grab the kids and drive to Rita’s Italian Ices for dinner. When all else fails, I rely on the instant happiness of mixing kids + treats

  94. I’ve had a few days like that recently too… my bag includes Starbucks frappucino (I don’t ordinarily drink caffeine), Cadbury mini eggs (only out at Easter!) and a hot bath at 2am with bubbles… just because I couldn’t sleep. Yesterday was a day I pulled out all 3… and bought myself a shiny new mixer!

  95. My little bag of tricks consists of my bible, a call to my best friend all the way in Missoula, caribou coffee, vanilla scented candles and my “blue skies again” playlist :) Ever since stumbling on this blog over a year ago, I have journaled, a list of the things I am enjoying, when I am sad, when I am happy and when I need to appreciate the blessings in my life. Your words are an inspiration Kelle!

  96. Bag of tricks includes “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom,” Goldfish crackers, and our own hands (for peekaboo!).

    To take care of Mommy at the end of (or during) a hard day with toddlers, I try to take pictures of the difficulties and find the humor. After all, the post-tantrum child walking around in a t-shirt and a diaper, carpeting the living room with baby wipes while sucking her thumb and glancing occasionally up at Elmo is pretty hilarious when you take a step back! But hot coffee or hot chocolate and popcorn also helps a LOT.

  97. My bag of tricks:
    Breakfast date with my hubby,
    Snuggling with my children,
    My favorite mug with coffee,
    Long hot shower,
    Nap for no reason in the middle of the day:)

  98. OMG, I love those earrings. My bag of tricks includes:

    getting to play outside with my kiddo (can spring get here and STAY PLEASE?!?)
    riding my bike
    a nice glass of wine in the evenings
    connecting with my blog readers and friends

  99. our baby’s ultrasound pictures, taking off work early to make a batch of cookies, playing outside with the dogs, or grabbing a quick nap in middle of the afternoon

  100. My bag of tricks include baking something. With my daughter, if she isn’t the reason I need an escape! Usually it’s just rolls or homemade soft pretzels, but if it’s really been “one of those days” then it’s chocolate chip cookies!

  101. my mommy bag of tricks contains cherry pepsi {instant mood brightner} and some “hey soul sista” feel good music!!!

  102. Hmmm…my bag of tricks?!?! Snuggles from my two babies (4 & 7 mos.) and my hubby, a few quiet moments to read my favorite blogs, reading a GREAT book, watching a good movie, and watching mindless tv at night when my kiddos finally go to bed. Aside from the first one, I rarely get to do any of the above! =) Ahhh, the life of a SAHM. Btw, your girls are beauties!

  103. I love reading your blog!

    Reminded me of the amazing amount of housework I got done the other day and didn’t even feel like grumbling. It was a joy and treat!

    I’m a firm believer in the bag of tricks for mommas and wifeys. Unfortunately they mainly consist of sweet treats, and a recent diabetes diagnosis means those will have to decrease in number. But here’s to hoping I can find the same “treat” feeling in magazines, books or clothes! lol

  104. Those curvey pearl earrings are so lovely they’re almost enough to convince me to get my ears pierced!

    Kelle – it’s good for me to hear that you sometimes have the bad days too. Sometimes I feel stuck in the trough of the waves and that the chasm between where I am – and where I’d like to be (delighted by stay-at-home motherhood) is too far to overcome. Not that I want to revel in your bad days, but rather that it gives me hope when I’m strugging a bit. Thank you!

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  106. My bag of tricks….the starbucks drive through when the kids won ‘t nap but I know a 10 minute drive will put them both to sleep, ice cream with some extras mixed in on the couch after the kids are asleep, cracking up in with my 3 year old in his bed, playing words with friends on my new iphone, the Saturday wine tasting at the wine store down the street
    that I try to make it to every single Saturday (I could go on but I feel like I’m starting to sound too self indulgent lol)

  107. My bag of tricks:

    A movie in the afternoon with a big coke and popcorn, a library book and Mario SmashBrothers with the roommates.

  108. Shoot, I needed a bag of tricks this week, it was a snarky week that kept nipping at me. In my bag of tricks: working out, being with good friends, being quiet reading a book, making a really good smoothie, watching Downton Abbey for the millionth time, cleaning out the closet, laughing and laughing and laughing.

  109. In my bag of tricks that bring me back to the Boardwalk? Nutella, blogging, crafting, praying, slumber parties with my besties, and taking pictures and actually giving myself the time to edit and post them!

  110. Such wise words.
    In my bag of tricks are… the way I instinctively know where the light falls perfectly whilst tramping through fields, a purring cat twisting around my ankles and the recipe for oatmeal & raisin biscuits.

  111. I love the idea of your bag of tricks. Trying to figure out what I could put in one for my older kids.
    Heres to Hotels on Park Place.

  112. Funny that you should post about “mommy needs” today! I am using up one of my “tricks” this morning. For every birthday, christmas, mothers’ day…I only ask for one thing…a gift card to my favorite spa! I collect them like fine porcelin figurines and love to admire the stack of them everytime I sit down at my desk. I recently went back to work after having my 2nd baby (she is now 5 months and a joy, our son is 3). The past 2 weeks have been exhausting, my husband had to travel for work and, of course, the baby got sick from daycare. Today…husband is taking the kids to visit his mom and sister and I am grabbing one of my covetted gift cards and heading off to the spa alone….quiet serenity…I will go early, sit in the atrium and sip fruit infused water, nibble on mini muffins and speak to no one. It will be bliss! I will enjoy my 90 minute massage and pray I don’t fall asleep on the table and miss being present for the relaxation. And then I will come home renewed, hug my babies, kiss my husband and start it all over again…but with a spring in my step and smelling just slightly of lavendar oils and peace!

  113. I don’t know if I have a bag of tricks yet…I feel like it’s all about family and freinds, and we live far from family and after moving 8 times in 2 years, all our friends are pretty much left behind, too.

    But. I do have the most wonderful husband in the world, and the two most beautiful little girls. And of course, shopping, creating, loving, chocolate, and root beer. (The last two aren’t combined.)

    :) It is a wonderful life!

  114. LOVE this post!

    My bag of tricks – coffee in my whimsical Mickey mug, an episode of friends, the smell of sunscreen, good night kisses from my kiddos, and these random sweater pants that are the most comfy thing I own!

  115. I can’t believe how big your “littlest” one is getting! I totally get your week, sounds like my life. I am a working Mom of 3 and I would pretty much crack if it wasn’t for my own bag of tricks. It includes dvd’s for quiet car rides, a good book, Magic Hat No. 9 (not while driving) :) and fresh air. If that doesn’t work I head out for a pedicure!

  116. Four weeks from Tuesday, my just turned one year old is having major lung surgery to remove a congenital lesion – and possibly her entire upper right lobe – that we found out about during our 18 week ultrasound. I’ve been carrying my bags of tricks around ever since.

    -A warm shower and the time to blow dry my hair and straighten it – and put on make-up (hey I have 2 very active girls just 22 months apart – this is a luxury)

    -A big glass of sweet tea on crushed ice (not a coffee drinker. at. all.)

    -Going on an afternoon/evening walk with both girls and my husband

    -Catching one of my favorite shows on Hulu while the girls take their afternoon nap – preferably while I’m laying all cozied up in my bed with a big glass of sweet tea

  117. I just want to say thank you for bringing me comfort this morning. I am 13 weeks pregnant with my 3rd baby, and this week we were given a 20% chance of the baby having down syndrome. I have been a reader of your blog for about a year, and can tell you that your words and photos give me a sense of reality that if our CVS test comes back positive that I too, can do this. Thank you for putting a “face” on what it’s like to be a mom walking through this glorious journey with sweet Nella.

  118. My bag of tricks contains my favorite coffee, a bubble bath, and a book.

  119. My bag of tricks:
    chocolate, shopping online,
    living in the moment and enjoying the present, not dwelling on the past or things that are going wrong

  120. It must be in the air because I had a bad day (the WORST) yesterday! Everything that could go wrong did: I even dropped half of a coffee:( Anyway, dinner and champagne with good friends helped! She always listens and we laughed…I realize how lucky I really am! Have a great weekend.

  121. What’s in my bag of tricks??

    A hot cup of tea
    14,000 reasons to be happy
    Cuddles from my little boy
    My 5 month old & 7 week old puppies
    Your blog!!

    I need my bag of tricks ALL the time! x

  122. The thing that can bring a bad day around for me, is chocolate frozen yogurt piled with raspberries. I eat it EVERY night. It is seriously one of the best parts of my day :o). And if I’ve had an especially bad day, I throw in some white chocolate chips.

  123. I love your blog! My bag of treats includes various snacks, her princess radio, any music together cd, a car charger for an old cell phone (I know, random!). My comforts include a long walk on the beach, sushi with my husband, a new Parenthood, a late dinner and Greg Laswell show with my husband and ice cream!

  124. I have had many of those “can’t get anything right” days. Things that help:
    shopping with no kids/no timeline
    taking a walk with the whole family
    word twist

  125. Taking the long way home and stopping to watch the sun set.

    Treating myself to frozen yogurt with berries on top.

    A nice hot shower at the end (or middle, or beginning… whatever) of a long day. :)

  126. Love Nellas smile (when she was uspposed to be sleeping) like “hey ma, I am cute, so stay up with me”. I was always a mama that said my kid will never watch TV (I mean, have you READ the studies on what it does?) but now that my 22 month old is sprouting 4 boulders in the back on his sweet gums I put on Toy Story 3 quite a bit but I LOVE watching his eyes light up when Buzz comes on! I can’t stop!

  127. Books, books – always books.

  128. I love my family with everything I have but after the little ladies are in bed and my husband is asleep, the moment of complete silence is magical.

  129. In my bag of tricks I have a “stop” button…so to speak…when things start to swirl out of control and I realize that nothing is going as it should…I STOP and realize there is tomorrow…and perhaps laundry will get done then…but today I will just roll with it and enjoy my blessings. My 4 little ones at home.

  130. Last night I had to pull out my bag of tricks as well…consisted of putting all three kids in jammies, heading out for ice cream. then taking the LOOOOONG way home while, coincidently listening to NPR. I arrived home at 7:30 with three sleeping children and a happy mama. =)

  131. My bag of tricks always includes a hot cup of coffee, stationary for a long snail mail letter to a friend, and lastly my laptop where I can blog and decompress on my time…maybe late into the night where my creative juices can flow free. Nothing better. -Jenny

  132. I just began reading your blog. A good friend was shocked that I did not already know about it.

    I am a special education teacher. I teach students on the autism spectrum. I must gush for one minute before getting to my teacher bag of tricks.

    Reading your blog gives me hope for the future of my students. I know not all parents are as proactive as you are with your child. However, the love that you show for your girls is so grand. I hope that as a teacher I can give my students the love that they so desperately need in the short 7 hours I spend with them 5 days a week. You inspire me to be a better teacher, as well as a better person. Thank you for the inspiration. Sometimes I get stuck on Baltic as well.

    Bag ‘o tricks:
    -computer time
    -never opened package of markers
    -Kids Songs video
    -any “new” toy (never seen by students)
    -a positive attitude
    -lots of water

  133. We have just made it through one of those “sick” weeks where something terrible works its way throughout the entire house, leaving everyone miserable and sad and inconsolable (sometimes).

    DVDs have saved us this week. And pop for the kids (a big treat).

  134. my bag of tricks are peaceful audiobooks in the car after a stressful day at work.

  135. While she looks pretty darn cute in glasses, I am so glad that your girl got the all clear at the doctor!

    It’s been a long week of traveling husbands and toddlers with high fevers, but that means no need to cook dinner, PJs days and jumping on the bed. When I need a pick me up a solid workout, an etsy purchase and a much needed call with a long distance friend refuels the mommy tank.

    Thank you, as always, for your candid thoughts.

    And, I made my husband read the post just so he would realize I wasn’t the only one who lost cars in parking garages. :)

    Kathleen in Chicago

  136. My bag of tricks:
    – A cup of steaming mocha
    – My latest magazine
    – A good swipe of mascara
    – Sitting with a good book
    – New nail polish
    – Show tunes
    – Impromptu trips to Barnes and Noble
    – A drive with the windows down
    – Cuddling with my son
    – Giggling with my son

  137. My bag of tricks?

    Long trips to the library ALONE

    Walking the trails at the nature park with my 2 boys

    Coffemate Italian Sweet Cream creamer in my morning coffee

    Buying myself flowers for my kitchen windowsill.

    Impromptu photo shoots with my boys

    Falling asleep while reading a gossip mag while my toddler naps

    Fresh berries and whipped cream

  138. Just like our bag of tricks for our children, mine is ever-changing. Lately it is “Pinterest” Have you discovered this yet? OH MY! I can’t get enough! I would love to know if you have an account? I know I would love your style board! Hope she sleeps for you. I remember that fog.

  139. Lately my pick me up has been telling jokes with my almost 6-year old.

    The kid is a riot!

    Don’t let anyone tell you that Aspies don’t have a sense of humor.

  140. I’ve never thought about this– but a few items in my bag of tricks are drive-thru on the way home from a disastrous shopping trip to Target complete with fries, burgers and iced coffee for mama; that extra Twix bar I bought and saved for ‘that’ moment; and the power of texting to wonderful girlfriends that are going through the same thing.

  141. my bag of tricks include a never ending flow of coffee and the occasional nap under the spring breeze.

  142. Music of any kind lifts the spirits and transforms a cranky little person into the best dancer in the world. He has serious in your car seat moves too.

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  144. Oh, those weeks! Glad you survived and were able to still find a few things to enjoy.
    *baby hugs
    *dancing in the family room
    *a big glass of wine doesn’t hurt!

  145. Bump me up to Boarwalk too, because we are getting a puppy on Sunday and that is the best a girl can ask for right? Little one is on her way to her new mama!

  146. Thanks for a nive start to my Sat morning! My bad of tricks include my ipod (usually Iron & Wine or Blue October, depending on the reason for the funk), perusing my go-to blogs, or a bath with a magazine. All good things!

  147. My bag of tricks includes the “good coffee” that is made during nap time on bad days…. makes it so much better.
    We too are trying the amber necklace! Not sure if it is really working though… Long nights are terrible. Hope they get better for you!

  148. My bag of tricks usually includes something with my sisters…built-in best friends that make everything better. And I read a comment earlier that mentioned Target. That got me thinking. Isn’t it weird how one multi-purpose store can have such a great impact on you? Makes me happy, too!

  149. I always try and stop at Starbucks for a chocolate chip Frap. with extra chocolate before a big grocery trip! Lunch with my husband after a grueling doctors appointment. A good book after a long day!

    Cute earrings!

  150. Forgot the most important trick in my bag – a good long phone call with my best friend (or failing that, a long venting email).

  151. How great would it be to win a gift certificate to that shop? (-: One of my recharge go-to activities is packing everyone up and heading to one of our many beautiful nearby mountain areas. No matter what’s going on, somehow that always makes things better- without fail. Now, sometimes heading out to the mountains isn’t practical, but when it is, it’s golden!

  152. I’m passing “GO” and collecting $200. In my bag of tricks this week?
    – My son will be here in 9 days. Really, who needs more than that? End of pregnancy…meeting my baby.
    – Ice cold can of Coca Cola always does the trick.
    – There is a Bad Boy Bill CD in my car that I like to turn way up when it’s just me…with my big sunglasses on and the windows all rolled down.
    – Fresh flowers in the house…all the time.

  153. Believe it or not, when I need to feel alive and refreshed, I go to work! I am an Oncology nurse, and there is no shortage of reasons to praise God that my family and I are healthy and happy. I’ll never be sad for having birthdays and getting older. Every day is a blessing…thanks for being so open and sharing your blog. I LOVE it!!

  154. I am sorry you had a rough week. We’re all here with you. Our weeks may not have been the ones you experienced, but as mother’s I think we often feel so isolated and alone. We’re doing this crazy job which has gotten harder with each passing year. And we’re doing it. A bag of tricks for us sounds great! Maybe that can be a self help post for us in the future! Here’s to a weekend of happiness for you all.

  155. On rough days I treat myself to a cherry limeade from Sonic (I love that there are cherries inside), cuddle with my puppy, sit on the porch and enjoy the peace and quiet (and my container garden… I love the fact that “I grew that”).

  156. nothing like hanging with your toddler from 1-5!
    Would love a pair of those earings you’re wearing for my birthday–hint..hint…to my darling mom, who visits here as well.

  157. Love the bag of tricks! Gets us through for sure!!

  158. The picture of Nella in the crib looks so much like her daddy. :)

    One of the things I keep stocked up on is color wonder books and markers. LOVE ’em.

    Thanks for sharing!

  159. Usually I just need a moment alone and a deep breath. Driving with the windows down and radio up always helps.
    I find it amazing though. Every time I start to get frustrated/down…it never fails that my son (9 months) will, at that moment, do something that is so incredibly cute it’s impossible not to smile. Then I’m full of hugs, kisses, and ‘love you’s.

  160. My bag of tricks?
    A good book in my favorite chair
    a new magazine
    a glass of red wine with dinner
    my creative scrapbooking desk
    phone calls with my sisters

    Scary alligator pictures!!
    love the sidewalk chalk photos!

  161. My bag of tricks includes a mocha from Caribou, freshly painted toenails and reading inspirational blogs like yours!

  162. A good book. (right now One thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp)

    Chai tea


    Husbands arms

    As always thanks for the gentle reminder of all the small things :)

  163. I sneak around the corner into the mud room to eat Reese’s peanut butter eggs. 😉

  164. my bag of tricks:
    -long warm bath w/ a good book
    -fountain coke from McD’s
    -running either at dawn or dusk (on hold since i’m 7.5 months pg:)
    -cuddling w/ sleepy 3 yr old twins
    -cranking up a great song, singing at the top of my lungs in the car w/ the window down on a rare warm & sunny spring MI day
    -some quiet time on the couch w/ my hubby
    -impromptu lunch dates w/ girlfriends
    -facials, lunch & cocktails w/ my mom & s.i.l.

  165. The thing in my bag of tricks is a cup of tea sitting on my back patio just listening to the sounds in the air or a few minutes (hours) on etsy getting lost.

  166. In my bag of tricks is:
    * Dove dark chocolates
    * my yoga mat
    * a peppermint mocha Frappucino
    * a new episode of America’s Next Top Model(at least I can admit it)

    I’ve never noticed how much Nella looks like Lainey but in that first photo,there’s no denying it!

  167. Beautiful as always! Your photos, your words, your babies, your truth!


  168. The biggest mocha I can get at Starbucks, sipped slowly to savor it longer. A good book on my back porch (and not on my Kindle), a REAL book. A power nap in my recliner, one dog by my side, the other on my lap.

  169. last night my husband put the baby in the tub with her socks on. it was just the laugh we both needed.

    on our second night home with her, there was a midnight poop-splosion that warranted the duvet to be washed.

    we laugh, when before, we would have cried. i can’t make this stuff up if i tried.

  170. I love going to some favorite blogs (this being one) to take in the recent photos. I snuggle up in a blanket & pj’s to watch a favorite movie or show. I stay near to my husband. (By near I mean attached to him so that he needs a crowbar to pry me off of him to get breathing room. Its ok, because he loves me.)

  171. A great reminder! For me, a good book, a glass (or two, or three!) of wine, a walk with my golden retriever, a talk with a good friend, and chocolate make up my bag of tricks!

  172. My bag of tricks? A trip all by myself to wander about the store. Or a bath… that we have to run by running the shower… because it’s broken. But it’s still lovely :).

  173. My bag of tricks… Starbucks, chocolate covered potato chips, and solo trips to Target. :)

    Love Lainey’s wand! How adorable is that?! And those earrings are lovely!

  174. I would have to say probably having a random dance party in my room :)

  175. Chocolate covered pretzels, Bravo TV, a hot shower and a hug from my husband. :-)

  176. My bag of tricks includes a peppermint mocha frappuchino, a book, and silence.

    Also, your girls are just too cute. Love the earrings too :)

  177. My bag of tricks is stocked full of bubble bath and wine… Me time.

  178. Love the perspective shift your posts always give me! You are in my bag of tricks Kelle. Love that sweater in the earring pic and the fact that I have it in my closet in hot pink and that I therefore know it came from Costco and looks like it cost a lot more than it actaully did (another trick in my bag)!

  179. My bag of tricks has mango tea, a good book and classical music to help me fade into another world for a short time.

  180. in my bag of tricks:

    a cup of tea, english style
    turning on Peter Gabriel In Your Eyes,
    a text to my girlfriend who is more than likely in the same boat as me
    remembering the funny little sayings of my youngest

  181. We have many sleepless nights! My 23 month old is a horrible sleeper.

    My bag of tricks for myself is a mani and pedi. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does I enjoy every moment then go back home to my two beautiful babies.

  182. I think that first picture of Nella is going in my bag of tricks. Oh, that impish little face, looking more and more like Lainey’s and mommy’s every day!

    Also, fountain pens and coffee.

  183. in my bag of tricks: early morning cups of coffee, late night glasses of wine, lit candles, open sunroofs, the Civil Wars, and Maroon 5.

  184. My bag of tricks is a margarita night in with my girlfriends, a mani and pedi, or if things get desperate–a big slice of cheesecake from my favorite bakery. YUMM.

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend loving your little loves!!

  185. I always carry a bag of tricks to my son’s quarterly clinic visits (he has cystic fibrosis). In that bag of tricks: Cars and Micky Mouse seek and find books, monster trucks, and most importantly – his own little toy doctor kit. He loves to “listen” to everyone’s lungs when they come in to visit him. Bag of tricks are a mommy must!

  186. My bag of tricks includes a few miles of a long, slow run on the greenway- resulting in a happy doggy, rockin endorphins and more comfy pants. :)

  187. a nap. real simple magazine. tickling my daughter. petting a grateful doggie. a bear hug from my husband. a margarita and some carne asada at our favorite mexican spot. mmmmm…carne asada…..

  188. The sleeping situation with my two-month old little man has me hanging out on Baltic Ave like it’s going out of style. He will sleep in my arms but as soon as he is laid down in his crib, he wakes up screaming. I don’t do the cry-it-out bs either so it’s been a lot of sleepless nights around here.

    As much as it sucks, when it comes down to it feeling needed and loved by baby puts me back to boardwalk. I’ll go ahead and admit it, the nighttime cuddling is not too shabby either.

  189. a bath. when they’re fighting and I’m losing it… my 3 girls figure out how to be friends in the bath. And it’s fun! and they come out clean. it’s a win-win trick!

  190. Love that crib picture. And the last one. They are too cute. Things have been rough over here too. Mice, roaches, leak in the roof, and a certain toddler who has found his whiney voice (swear we’re not filthy people, just a thing going around the neighborhood).

    Bag of tricks:
    Paula Deen, Southern Living, or some gossip magazine.
    Hanging out in the garden with my ipod blaring.
    Ice cream.
    Hazelnut Latte.
    Curling up with the hubs and watching Pretty Woman after the kiddo is in bed.
    Taking pictures and blogging.

    Here’s hoping next week is WAY better than this one. :)

  191. It’s funny how becoming a mother is a completely enriching journey but also ups the importance of throwing in a few ‘me moments’. My recent favorite me moment is taking a quick tour around our garden and seeing the tiny starts of a whole new blooming season. Little delicate buds on the trees, determined shoots pushing through the soil, the emerald green of brand new blades of grass – so refreshing.

  192. Kelle – You have no idea how much I needed this post! This week has just been crazy. I am such a positive person but this week had so many negative things in it. I broke down and cried on a couple of ocassions myself. I’m in need of a bag of tricks! :)


  193. I love reading your blog!!! I always look forward to a new posting. You have inspired me to find the positive in every situation.

    My bag of tricks:

    -wine, watching Little Women, long bubble baths (with kid toys floating in it of course), crafting :)

  194. Chocolate milk. The more chocolate the better. Instant mood lifter, spirit renewer, life saver.

    A breath of fresh air. Sometimes gulps.

    Gummy bears/worms.

    A spritz of my favorite perfume that I rarely wear.

    And when all else fails, there is always tequila. Add a lime, salt and a girlfriend or two and you’ve got an instant crisis management team.

    LOVE the earrings. And the pictures. as always.

  195. I’m half fascinated, half terrified by the gator…

    Now, my bag of tricks:

    I don’t have babies of my own yet, but as I like to point out, my graduate school coursework and master’s thesis are pretty close. When those things push me to a breaking point, my first recourse is a mug of hot tea in a dark room with a scented candle burning. I just pretend my computer/stack of theory books don’t exist anymore, and I can center myself.

  196. Beautiful. You always inspire me to force myself out of bad days and just BE HAPPY.

    My bag of tricks? A cuddle with a sleeping cat. A new book on my Kindle. Poring over the thumbnails of my bridal portraits. Texting my fiance just to get an “I love you!” back. This blog.

  197. my bag of tricks has tons of otherwise usless items, keychains, kleenex, beads, handheld games,gold fish crackers and so on, but in a pinch, it works great.

    I love your blog


  198. My bag of tricks is full of cupcakes for breakfast, reading blogs, coming home to grandma’s and laying with my pup on the floor for hours, walking through the woods when college is just too much, and picking flowers off bushes, its turning off the TV, closing the computer and laying on my bed with the one window open and just staring at the ceiling.

  199. I love reading your blog and looking at your amazing pictures! Pearls are my favorite, and those earrings are SO CUTE!

  200. xanax and a bottle of wine.
    i kid, i kid.
    sleep usually does the trick for me! (non-sedative induced, i swear!)

  201. oh my gosh, I loved this post. I needed this post this week. Thank you! My bag of tricks is different, every time. But it always consists of dumping everything, getting in the car and heading somewhere random and fun. The cupcake shop we all love, Target, just to browse (for fun) IKEA – pretending we live in each decorated room or the park where we can sit and look at the beach. Sometimes I think my kids enjoy total chaos because they know Mommy’s fun bag comes out and we get to go be wild and crazy and free 😉

  202. your girls are so beautiful :)

  203. Good news for Nella’s eyes! We go for Gabe’s first eyeglass fitting on Monday. I am hoping that he’ll keep them on!

    I sometimes forget about the landscape and wildlife from your neck of the woods. The Miami skyline is beautiful and the croc was scary! But beautiful still!

    I love the chalk photos very much. Our driveway, front walk, house, backyard brick and fence are full of scribbles. When we had our walk-through in this house (just prior to moving in), Gabe drew the letter “t” on almost every fence board. The previous owner (who had two boys of her own just a little older than Gabe) smiled and said, “I think he may be calling the Mother Ship.” LOL! That particular memory always makes me smile when we sit in the sun and draw with sidewalk chalk!

    My bag of tricks isn’t that big, really. Lately, I’ve discovered furniture building and that’s been my escape from a bad day. Truly, anything creative and that includes drawing with Gabe.♥

  204. My bag of tricks:
    I like to change up my hair style or color, self tan, listen to music and dance around the house, and sometimes, purge my closets.

  205. My bag of tricks-

    Long bike rides on windy days
    Opening the windows and drinking lemonade
    Crocheting something cute and quick for a friend
    Laying in bed in comfy pajamas and catching up on NBC comedies

    Those earrings are PERFECT for mother’s day too!

  206. Bag of Tricks: 1) a scalding hot cup of tea 2) a phone call to my best girlfriend 3) blow out my hair with ipod blasting Rolling Stones “Happy” 4) red wine sangria

  207. My bag of tricks contains a hot bath and a nap. I rarely get a chance for either, which makes them both so much sweeter.

  208. in my little bag o’ tricks is and always will be a HOT bath. Simple, cheap, not very time consuming…ahhhh

  209. oh no….baltic? I dislike Baltic….mostly because I tend to give it a chance when I feel sorry for it…just sitting there all unpurchased…but it never pays to be on Baltic ahaha.
    My secret to get straight to Boardwalk (after I pass go a few times first), is to prunify(ya I just made that up) myself in a good hot bath with my favourite book and a glass of wine. I use this trick so much that I actually bought a bath stand that has a book rack and a wine glass holder…
    glad to see you’re back on Boardwalk….and with all of thoe hotels too 😉

  210. I carry Mini M&M packets in my purse. They are “happy pills” for toddlers. Quiets the mouth and is good for the soul.

  211. Coffee. Reading this blog (seriously). Vacuumed floors. Music. Planning fun.

  212. coffee. lots of coffee.

  213. Strawberry milkshakes
    Beer (non-alcoholic these days)
    The sun

  214. I think the crib picture might be the sweetest nella picture you’ve ever posted! what a cutie pie. love your alligator pictures.. spooky spooky!

  215. Bag of tricks: A good run, a chai latte, and just some good sleep!

    Love your blog! Thanks for sharing, it is good to know we all have weeks on Baltic Ave.

  216. I had a day like that this week….. a good shower usually does the trick:)

  217. I always enjoy your posts. Keep it up.

  218. A tube of mint lip gloss from Bath & Body works! This gift from my sister makes me look pretty, smell fantastic, and never fails to make me smile!

  219. Reading… 3 way messaging with lifelong girlfriends who both live forever away… chocolate… good music… did I say chocolate?!?
    Hafta say tho that the real reason for posting my 1st ever comment on ur blog is to tell u how STUNNING u are in that color of blue (cobalt blue I’d say?!)… gurlfrenn u should wear that color all the freakin time!! It’s definitely YOUR color. Thinkin u need to add the wearing of cobalt blue to ur bag o tricks :))

  220. At least one night, every other week or so, I have a girls night out with some friends. It helps us rejuvenate, even though we talk about our kids most of the time. Another trick in my bag? Reading this blog, while the background music is playing. I look forward to a new one as soon as I finish the most recent one you’ve posted :-)

  221. Your week sounds like my last 2 weeks. Oh I’m hoping next week is at least a St. James Place kind of week. Good luck with the amber necklace. I’ve heard it’s helped a lot of people, not so much with my little guy. I didn’t notice a difference.

    My bag of tricks includes going anywhere by myself, having some computer or tv time when my littlest naps, or just turning on some really good music to get my groove on.

  222. Sorry your week was a bummer. Must be a phase of the moon or something as it sounds like a few people hit a rough patch or two.

    My bag of tricks contains two Mizuno running shoes and little time. Knowing that those minutes are so precious I just run the hell out of them. It’s like a “reset” button.

  223. Going to get my granddaughter to spend time with me and her uncle just sitting outside which is her favorite. Relaxes me to no end.

  224. My bag of tricks includes red wine and guilt-free weekend naps… not at the same time, I save the wine for after the nap :)

  225. A deep soak in a bubble bath with a good book, candles, and a locked bathroom door bumps me from Baltic to Boardwalk every time! Especially if I can time it right so I have enough hot water left over to pump a shot or two into the tub and prolong the gloriousness.

  226. My little bag of tricks sits under my sink, tucked back behind the makeup, the box of hair tools and the extra soap. It holds everything I need to brighten up my day! Nail polish (in nearly every color), cuticle cutters, emery boards, cotton balls, and remover. After just an hour, I’m happy as a clam, with freshly colored fingers and toes. Thanks for sharing, Kelle! It’s always so encouraging to read your blog!

  227. Bag of tricks. Sewing a project that I want to sew. Chocolate is a common go to but at this time in pregnancy it is a cause for restless legs syndrom so it has been put aside for another few weeks. Letting my daughter “find” the heart beat of the little one inside. She holds a flashlight to my belly for that. A long hot bath to relax after a long day.

  228. My bag of tricks includes yoga, sitting outside, sipping a cup of hot water, & writing in my gratitude journal :) what a gator!! I kept my eyes out for them yesterday on the dock–eeks!

  229. My list

    HD Peach Frozen Yogurt
    Reading comics
    Reading Andy Borowitz’s twitter feed
    DYAC — so hilarious, but so NSFW
    Checking to see if you have a new post
    Looking at kitten pictures at
    New lipstick or gloss

  230. Gosh I LOVE your blog! My bag of tricks hmm……well coffee for sure, photography, and blog reading!

  231. I indulge in reading books about art and painting. They have some hidden energy, to call it the Magic of the Trick is exactly what it gives me.

  232. My recent self-preserving comfort: Chocolate Cadbury Eggs, baby! And what’s in my bag of tricks? Snacks and maracas.

  233. naps-when my 2 year old goes to sleep for her nap and I push aside the millions of things I need to do and sneak a nap in myself. Bubble baths, pedicures, spending time after work snuggling with my girl in bed instead of cooking dinner-I can always throw a frozen pizza in the oven later!
    And I love the earrings!

  234. You always inspire me. I hope to be half the mom you are, when my time comes.

    That alligator picture is AMAZING!

  235. I LOVE your giveaways, not only because of their obvious awesomeness, but because you force me to think. Even if I don’t comment, I’m still left thinking about what I’d say. What my bag of tricks contains. So, I’d have to say a McDonald’s fast food meal and a head rub :)

  236. chai tea

  237. My bag of tricks include:
    cudding with my little boy, running, reading blogs.

  238. Love your pictures, as always!! Your little girls are adorable!

  239. I so loved this post! You put so well into words how we all feel! And who knew a swamp could be so beautiful and magical – what a great shot.

    For a quick attitude adjustment I turn to:
    -a skinny caramel macchiato with light whip
    -surfing Etsy
    -the nearest home decorating store
    -playing outside w/ my boys – the sandbox is highly carthartic :)

    Have a super weekend!

  240. Laughter. Because I know that this too, shall pass, and one day I’ll look back and long for the days when a bad day meant no naps, or non-stop whining instead of….well who knows what they’ll be up to in 10 years? The other trick- knowing that no matter how bad a bad day gets, at the end of it, there’s always love. And that too, will change at some point. Not on my part, but on theirs.

  241. Always look forward to reading your blog and LOVE the earrings. Just ordered a pair and would love to buy more from Meg’s Etsy Store!

  242. Bag of tricks:
    a bath w/ lavender bath salts
    nutella & a spoon
    my old Violent Femmes CD
    snuggling in bed and watching Waitress for the 5000th time

    LOVE that picture of Nella standing in her crib. :)

  243. My bag of tricks, it holds only one thing. My Mom. When I need anything, a break, an ear, a shoulder, she is there. Sometimes, she knows before I do that I need a break.

  244. My indulgence, my reward, my reminder: Time; to give myself permission to stop. Not that relaxing isn’t always the goal, but in the hustle-bustle of life sometimes it can be rare to stop and breathe and truly enjoy and soothe myself with the permission to stop and think about NOW. To not worry about cutting the grass – to stop and to sit and enjoy the scent of the neighbor’s freshly cut grass and breathe. The grass can be cut tomorrow…

  245. – rocking my baby to sleep after a long day with 22 4th graders
    – chai tea latte
    – early morning doggie walk before anyone is out – peaceful
    – catching up on bad reality tv

  246. reading blogs, cooking, and a basket of magazines that have yet to be opened that sits in our room

  247. Stealing a few moments outside throwing the ball for our dog, while daddy watches our baby girl.

  248. A yoga class, a nice long run or a soy tazo chai from Starbucks :)

  249. A nice, hot, sweet cup of coffee. Back rubs from my hubby. Any junk food I can find!


    PS When I have children, I want to dress them as cute as you dress yours. Maybe I’ll hire you as my child’s fashion director? Oh ya!

  250. My bag of tricks contains…

    a gin and tonic in the early evening while holding my newborn and watching the two bigger kids play, a cup of hot tea during naptime, and a cup of hot coffee sweetened with my fav chai latte creamer while reading books to my toddler in the morning. see a trend? it’s all about what’s in the cup for me!

  251. Coffee with cream, a good book I can’t put down, working my way through The West Wing on DVD with my husband, going on dates with my daughter (yesterday we went to Panera for a muffin!).

  252. I Love that blue sweater you are wearing! What a great color on you!

  253. i seriously must tell you how much i enjoy your words…reading your blog is such a joy and your sweet girls are a delight :) inside my bag of tricks…which ive been reaching for quite often lately as we have totally uprooted and moved from virginia to arizona and ive been a little lonely…
    starbucks white chocolate mochas
    new makeup
    ice cold blue moon
    painting my nails
    frozen yogurt
    reese’s easter eggs (ive eaten 6 in the last week oops)

    thank you for your posts…they make me breathe a little easier and always put things in perspective

  254. So sorry to hear your week was rough – but I love your perspective!! And I loved that crib picture of Nella: my first thought was “Oh, so CUTE!” Then I saw your caption: “I am cute, but…” Oh how I laughed – been there, done that, bought the T-shirt!!!

    My bag of tricks:

    * A stop to Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks for coffee
    * A phone call to mom
    * A hug or kiss from my girl
    * A random silly video on YouTube
    * A favorite song on my iPod (usually a retro 80s song like “Hold Me Now” by Thompson Twins)
    * And my #1 favorite: Book and a bath – with the Johnson & Johnson Bedtime Baby bubbles, because it says “for fussy babies” on it and that’s usually what I am by the end of a bad day!

    Here’s to a better week – raising my coffee mug to ya!

  255. We are just passed where you are right now with sleep. My bean is a day younger than Nella, and we’re just emerging from three months of molar and eye-teeth hell (all in ‘cept for one more eye-tooth). Precisely 1 am through 5 or 6am – wide awake and not remotely going to go back to sleep anytime soon. Night in and night out – for months. And the next day is just shot for everybody! We figured out that she was getting cold around 1am-ish and it was waking her up (so now the furnace cranks a bit higher from midnight to 6am – made a huge difference). That and suddenly this girl likes to go, go, go. So we pack up and ship out every day (sometimes twice a day) for walks, museum trips, etc – if she’s completely tired out and warm, we get to sleep through the night. Okay, having actually typed the words “sleep through the night”, I’ve condemned us to at least a week of night wake-ups.

    My bag of tricks – when things get really hairy, I jump ship (and everybody in it) and go to an afternoon movie – popcorn, peanut M&Ms, coke and the cool darkness.

  256. I saw the need to take some “respite” time away from the family when, in our special needs moms group, one of our members had to go to a 30-day rehab for an addiction problem. The rest of us looked at each other and wondered what we’d have to do to get something like that! When rehab looks good to you, something’s amiss! So I just got back from my little solo vacation and feel mighty refreshed and ready to jump back into it. Ahhhhh…..

  257. To avoid going Directly To Jail, I love to munch my favorite red-chili-pistachio dark chocolate bark while sipping roasted coffee and re-reading Water for Elephants on my Kindle. Then I’m able to Pass Go and Collect My Two super special munchkins back into my arms and give them the true love they richly deserve.

  258. I need a good pair of shoes.

    I also need the water to stop. Every time we fix one thing in our house another thing breaks. We put a bid on my dream house this week and lost it when another realtor flew in with a higher bid… GAH!! I need to get back to boardwalk. Today is shaping up well… two sleeping babies and a quiet day at home.

  259. bag o’ tricks: my fave mixed cd of the month, my camera, mountains (i live in east tn), captivating by stasi eldredge, Do It Yourself magazine, and red nail polish :)

  260. Let’s see..
    I have this “happy 30th birthday Amy!” margarita glass that I fill with anything–soda, wine, mixed drinks, whatever. It makes me smile.
    Nail Polish! A little pedi brightens everything up.
    Make up…just a little makes me feel more alive.
    My Wednesday morning mommy prayer group–2 hours of talking and laughing about husbands & kids & fears & screw ups over donuts, cake, and the occasional bowl for fruit does it for me.

  261. When I wake up feeling like I’m on Baltic Ave I’ll stay in my plushest, coziest robe past noon (which is the hour I deem any sane person should be dressed and out of their cozy pjs).

  262. cheap jewelry, my ipod touch a good book, and photos of my babies… so many more I <3 my bag of tricks!

  263. Oh my goodness Nella is getting ridiculously cuter by the day. I love your comment “i am cute. but I was up from 1 to 5 for no reason”. Sorry momma. Hmm….bag of tricks. Well my littlest takes a nap sometimes I watch soap operas just for some ridiculous adult drama to take me away from toddler filled tantrum days. A stash of chocolate, a call to my mom, a look through old pictures.

  264. Nella had glasses before right? The little professor ones? She doesn’t need glasses anymore? What were the others for? Just curious.

  265. Beautiful photos as usual!

  266. I swear by a 20 minute walk every single day. It is essential for my mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.

    Also, your trips to the Isle of Capri and this stop at the visitor center are making me want to take a trip to Florida (I’ve never been).

  267. My bag of tricks includes homemade cupcakes, and reading a book in a quiet room.

  268. my bag of tricks? well…it changes. but here are the current top two:

    reach out, to pull out. while i feel the pull to the inside of me, i reach out to connect with someone, find out what they need, just to be there for them. it isn’t selfless. it’s completely selfish. i find my sails snap and fill with a breeze. it pulls my mind out of the “me” into the “we” and that is good, no?

    and when or if that isn’t quite the trick in the bag that works fully, i find a child of mine (or two) and make them conform to cuddle time and a good movie. o, they fight it. but eventually, they melt in surrender. and the world stands still. even if for a moment.

    big love, groovy girl.

  269. mini chocolate chips, my DVR, and a crochet hook and some yarn. Love the blog!

  270. Secret stashes of special treats, like Gummy Bears, for the kids when we’re in the car. It sends them over the moon with happiness, makes me feel like a super hero because they seem unplanned and highly celebratory. I forget about all the other junk that was just clouding up my view!

  271. My bag of tricks is my window seat, even on a rainy day like today, where I can see my garden slowly coming to life.

    And, a cup of my new favorite relaxing tea- Celestial Seasonings Honey vanilla chamomile tea.

    ps. I usually read you though google reader, but when I came over to your site to comment, I was able to hear your beautiful music selections. I think I’m just going to let it stream while I go tidy up the bedroom!

  272. Must have been a “bag of tricks” week for all of us….me included. Had a HUGE test on Tuesday and felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders when I realized that I got an A (despite the full time job and being a wife and parent). I’m nearing the end of my preregs for the nursing program…and my A’s are in sight. I’m counting down the days until I’m through with classes (at least for the summer) and I find out my fate (whether I’m accepted or not into the program).

    In my bag of tricks – a new magazine, a nice big cup of coffee (with sugar-free hazelnut creamer), and unsolicted hugs and “I love you’s” from my boys. Those sweet, tender moments wash away any bad mood or period of frustration. Oh, and I also got one of those banana pudding milkshakes at Chick-fil-A this week when I was feeling incredibly frustrated and overwhelmed…and it was HEAVEN. :)

  273. just got back from my bag of tricks … sifting through antique and thrift stores. looking for that … thing. that one thing that i NEED. for some reason or another … and maybe it’s more the peaceful … not carting kiddos around that helps … or maybe it’s the fact that it only cost 99 cents. but oh. i’m replenished.

  274. A Hershey’s chocolate bar is my personal bag of tricks. It may be cliche, but every girl needs a little chocolate sometimes.

  275. Food food and more food… these days I have cinnemon raison rold gold pretzles in my bag of treats – I mean, tricks – they are the magical treat, let me tell you! Pens and paper are a must, books, a nuk to chew on and the favorite sippy cup that only comes out in a crisis.

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  277. My husband is in Iraq right now and I haven’t heard from him. Having a really hard time. If your blog could fit, it’d be in my Mommy’s Bag of Tricks.

  278. Sigh. This week has definitely been a mixed bag for me, too. Sleepless nights coupled with the daddy away again – here alone with four kids, not even a smidge of time to make a pot of coffee. sniff sniff. tear.

    My best day, blowing past Boardwalk: Getting up and kicking my legs over the side of my bed just before my two littlest ones awaken, creeping down the steps in the chill of the morning, making coffee coming back to life with the smell of the perfect cup awaiting me – slapping on my headphones and pounding out a workout to fine, fine music blasting away in my ears, and then savoring my coffee while I catch up on email and blogging. I then welcoming each of my four, one by one, into the conscious world and into another beautiful day. It is days like this where I put on real pants and do my hair and makeup and we soak in the blessing of one another. Soak in it.

    That’s how I get my mojo back. It’s been awhile. I threw on some coffee and turned up the music to type this, and I can feel the sparkle and life and energy creeping back in.

    Thank you.

  279. and you can clearly tell by all of the hideous typos in my comment that I am beyond tired. Sigh. Far beyond.
    Daddy comes home tonight. hooray!

  280. I’m sure it will sound weird, but I had a dream recently that I was hanging out with you and your beautiful family. My subconsious must be taking note of how through your vivid posts, I feel like I actually know you.

    Yay for Nella still not needing glasses! Happy Happy Happy :)

  281. In my bag of tricks is good long tight hug from my husband (he gives the BEST hugs), a glass of wine and girl talk, a good butt kicking at the gym, and some alone time baking my kitchen. Any one of these things alone has the potential to put me right back on track.

  282. Reading your blog always gives me a little boost! :)

  283. Mmmmm – here’s what puts me back on boardwalk after a particularly hectic week… skipping out on work for a few hours, grabbing our old picnic blanket that lives in the back of our SUV and my Kindle – heading to a shady spot in the park and after an hour or so, I’m whole again!

  284. My Baltic Days recently are caused by sleepless nights, uncomfortable days, and a baby inside me who is currently refusing to come out! I’ve loved being pregnant- but at 39 weeks and 5 days… I’m ready to move on to Boardwalk. :) I keep myself happy with lovely pedicures, long hot showers, and savoring the quiet, calming beauty that is her nursery. I’ve worked so hard on it and I’m so proud of it- but I’m ready for it get noisy in here. 😉

  285. Jackson Five blasting in the car with the sunroof open and a mouthful of chocolate has done wonders when I’m in need of a recharge.

  286. Man oh man, I had a day like your parking lot experience the other week…although it was waiting three hours in a hospital with two littles. I almost cried, but a shared ice cream, cuddles and spinning around in the waiting area saved the day!

  287. I loved this post. I had a rough week and wish I would have had a bag of tricks to pull from.

    I am going to make one that has nail polish, my favorite music track on my ipod, and a good drive in my car!

  288. It depends on the day… But either my camera and 50mm lens, or even just rummaging through old vacation photos to find new gems I didn’t see the first time around… or a twisted movie like Black Swan while my toddler naps… or a good Mexican Martini after he goes to bed at night… or, my latest fave and go-to pick-me-up, a Caramel Frappucino and a gigantic Rice Crispy Treat from the Starbucks drive thru. :)

  289. In my bag of tricks is a chai tea bag and a notebook and pen. Nothing soothes my soul more than a warm cup of spicy tea and writing all my worries away!

  290. I like the idea that the little pleasures and asides in my day come from a big bag of calming, rejuvenating, inspiring tricks! For me, a delicious, steaming cup of coffee goodness; a long, hot shower complete with leave-in conditioner and fancy body scrub; the occasional episode of General Hospital-my secret shame; and, of course, your wonderful blog help pull me up and pull me through.

    Your pictures are beautiful as always.

    And I think the green on the driveway adds some character!

  291. my days have been stuck on baltic ave too recently. my bag of tricks…rereading anne of green gables for the umpteeth time.

  292. When I need to recharge I snuggle with my 8 month old baby boy and join him for his afternoon nap! It feels so good to rest and let things go while hugging and loving my baby.

  293. A spoonful of Nutella always brightens MY day : )

  294. my kids’ bag of tricks? iPad, noise-canceling headphones, goldfish crackers.

    mine? amazing grace bubble bath, books, possibly a gossip rag, two reese peanut butter eggs, and a pedicure. some are always available…and some are fantasies.

  295. I must say that I adore your writing style! I am usually one to look at the bright side of life, but there are those days… My bag of tricks includes some fun wipe off cards from Usborne, a pretty bird’s nest necklace, some wooden dolls to paint, and a CD full of my favorite music- from Jewel to Pitbull!
    Love your photos and love your blog!

  296. the picture of nella standing in her crib is adorable.

    bag of tricks-coffee bought from a store, not made in my kitchen, cure all.

  297. For my kiddos=Gold fish Crackers, Crayons, Blank computer paper and travel Etch-a-sketches.

    For Me= My Kindle and Pepsi Max.

  298. A hot bath and the shower still running for that peaceful drip drop sound…a hot cup of tea or cold glass of ice water depending on the season…and a brisk walk!

  299. Our bag of tricks includes sunglasses for my 21 month old son who only wants to wear them if his 3 month old sister wears hers (which are also in the bag). Any anytime we wear sunglasses we smile and say “hollywood”

  300. I think everyone and anyone could use a bag of tricks!

  301. A good crochet project is always at the top of my bag of tricks – it always helps me destress and makes me feel productive on a day when I didn’t feel very productive. And eventually a nice glass of wine and chocolate will be back in my bag of tricks, once these little ladies make an exit from my uterus in a few weeks :-).

  302. I think I still need to figure mine out, but sometimes these work:
    1. Getting out of the house and into the sun.
    2. Reading.
    3. Spending time with the hubby. He’s so calming.
    4. Some kind of “yummy drinky.” Ahh.
    5. Finding out someone else is cooking dinner – ha!

  303. 1) LOVE Lainey’s dress in that last picture.

    2) Nella’s eyes? Swoon.

    3) My bag of tricks includes pulling old emails up on my laptop from friends and full of love. One of those 10 minute massages at the nail salon. My favorite tunes (thank you, iPod, for making those tunes ever-accessible).

  304. Definitely a night out with my bestest girlfriends! They make me laugh and forget the small things that seem to add up and take over your life!!


    mi3ragamuffins at aol dot com

  305. My recently discovered trick is watching Grey’s Anatomy on my iPad while taking a bubble bath using very expensive bubbles that were mispriced on Amazon for 97 cents. (The fact that I got a deal makes it even more pleasant!) Ordering dinner in never hurts either.

  306. The current winner in my bag o’ tricks – clearing a space on my kitchen floor and dancing out my sorta-pre-choreographed routine to Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel”. The groove of that song never fails to put me in a better mood!

  307. A sweet pea infused bubble bath with candles on the side, a good book in one hand and a bowl of Ben and Jerry’s chunky monkey ice cream in the other. Works for me:)

  308. My boardwalk is my two, devilishly handsome twin nephews. When I want to drop out of college and disappear under a pile of blankets, I just take long, greedy hugs from my nephews. And play with legos, for good measure.

  309. Usually some sort of baked good, has to be homemade or it doesn’t tempt me, is my primary go to after a long day! I cherish the few moments of snuggle time my 1 year old will give me right before I lay her down. She seems to know when I need it the most!

  310. A cuddle with my puppies always makes a bad day better. And a nice glass of Cupcake pinot grigio with a red velvet cupcake. I know that Cupcake wine doesn’t necessarily need to go with cupcakes, but it certainly makes quite the pair!

  311. I have two boys 4 and 2 when I am having a rough day or week in my bag of tricks is a trip to starbucks, and a trip to our local beach (the one only locals know about 😉 )

  312. A long, hot shower usually does the trick for me! If not, some chocolate chip mint ice cream! :)

  313. Right now I”m preggo, but when I’m not my go to is a good book and a cold beer or glass of wine while sitting on our porch! For now, a bubble bath, a dunkin’ donoughts iced coffee, a trip to Barnes and Nobles, or a new magazine always lift me back up!

    Love this post, made me smile!


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  315. lady gray tea and the soundtrack from “In the Heights”

  316. my recharge is a movie alone…i get a tall hot tea and wander into the movies….ah…pure relaxation!

  317. My bag of tricks? My oldest yet wise above her years daugter. I have had a challenging 3 weeks and so far a simple trip to Target(together) and our rides home from school are favorites of mine. Oh and a Pedicure that will happen this week(if fate allows)will be tossed into my bag of tricks.

  318. Up from 1 to 5! No reason!! But she definitely is ADORABLE!! Thank you for sharing! Beautiful!

  319. Nella in the 2nd pic looks just like you!The same expression!
    Oh,those difficult nights always come and go..How cute and ready-to-play they look while mom feels so desperately sleepy..
    You really put me in thoughts with the bag of tricks thing..
    Taking photos always absorbes all my bad energy..
    Making jewellery,too.
    Right now,taking a look to your blog while waiting my little girl to fall asleep in her bed after a hard day..Really,thanks for being in my bag of tricks!

  320. Some quiet time to myself reading or knitting. It recharges me everytime!

  321. Frappe’s or Sonic drinks… both make my days better… or Jamba Juice Smoothies… yum! Those earrings are adorable!

  322. To make it fun, tell me what’s in your bag of tricks? What self-preserving comforts do you allow yourself to bump your Baltic days to Boardwalk?

    -A mocha. Iced or hot. Bought or made at home.
    -Chick lit. Never purchased. Always one or two on hand from the library.
    -A fresh glossy magazine. Always purchased and savored.

  323. Usually I like to create something…a maybe a collage? Even a really good blog post. When I am able to create something beautiful it definitely makes the day brighter.

  324. Keepin’ it real, Kelle! That’s what makes your blog amazing.

    My trick in a bag: ZUMBA!!!!!!! Instant mood lifter.

  325. I typically need a cup of hot green tea with lots of honey stirred in and a big hug from my husband, the kind where he picks me up and twirls me around. Those always help. :)

  326. In my mommy bag of tricks – Kick butt boot camp class followed by a soak in the hot tub, sneaking chocolate when the boys aren’t looking (is that terrible?), and a cold beer with my hubby after the kids are in bed.

  327. Your girls are positively adorable! And you littlest lovie, she takes my breath away. :)
    I l.o.v.e. a warm bath…my Bible study material…and quiet…;)
    Snaps me right back to where I want to be. :)

  328. Running is my complete bag of tricks. It does wonders for me :-)

  329. I am so happy to hear that other moms have those days as well. I like a good magazine and a glass of wine or shopping,but could get very pricey.

  330. It’s raining here like crazy…and I had a long drive…but now my car is clean. :)

    My bag: white wine and bubble baths.

  331. my bag of tricks: peanut butter pie, wendy’s drive-thru, bad reality tv, listening to my ipod during a bubble bath, blasting 80’s music in the car. :)

  332. This comment has been removed by the author.

  333. I read, spend some “just because” time at the piano, or pull out an old operatic aria I studied in college to sing at the top of my lungs. Doing something fun and not-so-everyday with my two-year old son also gets my energy going. I love that boy.

    I can totally relate to your week. I hope next week brings more sleep and less aimless walking around looking for your car in a giant parking garage.

    And I am hoping I can score a pair of those earrings . . .

  334. This week has been a little bumpy for me too! Zayn has his first cold and I hate that he’s so stuffy and it hasn’t interfered with nursing too much. He’s 6 months and is still a really bad sleeper, but I know once he will sleep through the night, I’ll miss getting up with him!

    My bag of tricks:
    * reading “home” magazines
    * getting a latte from Whole Foods
    * a long shower
    * going for walks with Z
    * having a nice cuddle with my hubby
    * imported chocolate from Switzerland or England
    * drinking a Cosmopolitan
    * listening to classical music or whatever I’m in the mood for


  335. My trick is putting both of my boys in the double stroller and burning off negative energy while walking laps through our neighborhood. It makes ALL of us happy.

  336. thanks for the pick-me-up today. needed it BIG.

  337. My bag-o-tricks? Gonna have to go with red wine and dark chocolate – together they are an awesome couple!! Just sayin’…..
    But for my children’s bag-o-tricks I always pick up little things when I am out shopping alone to hide away & pull out when needed. My daughter – now 7 – used to always ask me where I got this or that and I told her “at the mommy store” even though it was only Target or the Dollar store. To this day she still believes there is a store somewhere that only mommies can go to to shop for surprises for their kids. Luv it. And I luv seeing Nella’s new top teeth. Cute! Enjoy your weekend.

  338. my little bag of tricks consist of coffee, bubble baths and lighting candles…this always helps!

  339. Even to someone who is not (yet) a mother, your blog is so beautiful and inspiring. Keep it up!
    Tea + my bible, ideally together, works every time :)

  340. LOVE your photos!

  341. My bag of tricks? Your blog. The beach. Really, really good novels. Writing. Road trips. Yummy tea. Fuzzy socks. Phone calls to loved ones who are far away. Consciously embracing the beauty of the present moment.

  342. A yoga class and a big glass (or two) of wine are in my bag of tricks. Works every single time.

    Those earrings are absolutely lovely!

  343. My bag-o-tricks includes snuggling in with my electric blanket with a good book and some chocolate, snuggling with my little one, reading your blog and just doing nothing.

    Love the picture of Nella in her bed!

  344. Singing with my kids before they go to bed

    Reading a good book

    Going for a run

  345. My bag of tricks involves ANYTHING from Starbucks!!! :-)

  346. My bag of tricks.. Sunshine on my skin, driving with the windows down blasting my davorite music, cooking, dove dark chocolate, snuggling with my man and furbaby!

  347. My ace in the hole is allowing myself to enjoy my quiet house on preschool mornings – leave the laundry, leave the work, leave the cleaning… and just enjoy my quiet house however I wish. It makes the moments when the house is loud that much more bearable!

  348. My ace in the hole is allowing myself to enjoy my quiet house on preschool mornings – leave the laundry, leave the work, leave the cleaning… and just enjoy my quiet house however I wish. It makes the moments when the house is loud that much more bearable!

  349. My bag of tricks is reading Enjoying the Small Things! Always guaranteed to bring a smile to my face!

    Is it just me or is Nella looking more and more like Lainey each day?

  350. Bubble bath, candles & a magazine. The worries escape down the drain.

    Happy Saturday.

    Angie from Ohio

  351. I am heading over to her etsy shop right now to order some!

  352. Things that recharge my batteries…runs, new lipgloss (even if it’s a cheapy from Target, sometimes especially when it’s a cheapy from Target!), lush fashion magazines filled with things I can’t really buy, curling up on the couch with a blanket and a new book or old book or a journal! Pretty simple things, but they always help :)

  353. I am heading over to her etsy shop as we speak to give those beautiful earrings a good home!

  354. I feel like I need to bookmark every one of your posts to look back on and re-read in the future. So much wisdom. Never stop sharing the beautiful and the simple. It makes life SO MUCH BETTER!!!

    In my bag of tricks: your blog.

  355. Bag of tricks~ yoga, coffee with friends,Facebook, wine, chcolate. Reading a good book, but it is sometimes hard to find time for that. Indulging in a DQ blizzard is an awesome trick but since I am trying to loose weight, it isn’t one i turn too often.

    LOVE the pic of Nella in the crib!

  356. Catching up on blogs I read, especially from strong Christ followers, always helps me refocus and regain my ability to deal with the “stuff” of life. Yours is in my refocus category, Kelle … thanks for what you do!

  357. My bag of tricks . . . a good book, an afternoon nap, a long shower, baking a brownie!

    Your pictures are amazing!

  358. a Pepsi, blogging or journaling, buying a little something bright that I don’t need, making something with my hands (crafty or baking), pandora on my ipod or listening to a good song over and over…all help me on those days.

  359. Love you and your adorable kiddos!!

    I have a few things in my bag of tricks but my favorite is a nice big glass of wine. Almost any kind will do, when I’m in need, I’m not too picky :) This week has been a bear for me as well. I’m pretty sure there is/was a full moon and that just threw us all off. We woke up to a few inches of snow on the ground in the Twin Cities and I’m beginning to think we’re never going to have a lovely MN spring this year. All my kiddos want to do is go outside but today, it’s windier than heck and cold. Again. Well, hopefully summer isn’t too far off…while we’re waiting, I’m going to pour myself a big ‘ol glass of vino and breathe.

  360. My bag of tricks–caving into my pregnancy cravings. Lately, I’ve been escaping from stress by diving into a bowl of Pink Lemonade sorbet mixed with chocolate chips. It’s pretty much a sure fire way to make this pregnant lady happy again!

  361. My bag of tricks…running. It keeps me sane, keeps the jeans fitting and gives me one thing I can start that I know I’ll finish.

    My husband knows the good it does for my soul. If I’m grumpy or just plain spent he (literally, sometimes) pushes me out the door for a run. And I can’t think of a single time I haven’t come back in a better mood(besides the time I saw the neighbor’s dog get run over).

  362. My husband surprised me with a weekend stay at a high-end hotel. All. By. Myself. And I’m here, at the hotel, right now. Rejuvenation in action.

    Love that magic wand. My little Natalie’s magic wand broke recently. It didn’t help, of course, that I was sitting on one end of it when it broke. Little Girl needs a replacement wand to wave about.

  363. I actually don’t have one . . . I’ve never thought about it before. However, it’s a BRILLIANT idea and my new project is to “create” one. One for me and one for my little boy!

  364. Chapstick, pain meds, and water!! XOXO

  365. In my bag of tricks, I try just breathing (for me) and for my girlie it’s usually snuggling with a show or baking something together.

  366. Congratulations on finding Boardwalk again! I had a rough week myself – my sure-fire cure? Movie night at home with the family complete with nachos, candy, ice cream and soda!

  367. My bag of tricks always includes coffee!

    I loved this post so much it inspired me to write my own blog post about the “bag of tricks” every writer needs. I gave you credit for the inspiration, of course.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Miss GOP

  368. My Kindle and my ipod are tops in my bag of tricks! Being a single mom, its hard to get a few moments to decompress. When Hannah is down for a nap, or in bed for the evening, it feels good to curl up in the recliner and zone out to some good music, or even read a chapter or two in my current book!

  369. my bag of tricks:

    1. Hot shower
    2. Evening at the climbing gym
    3. Lime popsicles and Glee in my bed, alone.
    4. Writing just one letter, and feeling the satisfaction of the square envelope all ready to go, sealed stamped with a little sticker for flair.
    5. Laundry and folding clothes, believe it or not!
    6. Cold smoothie, homemade
    7. Cleaning my room.

    If I win the giveway, I wonder if you’ll post all these!

    lina from the wilder coast

  370. Okay, this is kinda random, but your girls have the cutest bare feet! Nella’s are miniature versions of Lainey’s! And the alligator pictures scare me…geesh! I definitely like to pull out some Starbucks in my bag of tricks, or a glass of wine 😉 Or a pedicure, whether it be done by me at home or by the pros at the salon. Have a wonderful weekend!

  371. Chai tea latte
    new toenail polish
    checkout line magazines

    Those are some of the things in my mom bag of tricks!

  372. I am still exhausted from my 5 mths pregnant, 19mth toddler wrangling cleaning jag yesterday, so today I upped the happiness by getting a mani pedi. My toes are now sparkly blue and happy!

  373. Standing directly in front of the speakers at a club, feeling the music go though me, and letting it move me to dance – with absolute abandon.

  374. coffee! (and I definitely just bought those pearl earrings on etsy for my upcoming wedding–thanks!)

  375. Honestly, your blog is a recent addition to my bag of tricks, ’cause it always makes me smile.

    Other tricks in the bag:
    good happy music, dark chocolate, tulips in my garden or on the table, amazing friends and quiet time with God.

  376. a decaf non-fat mocha from starbucks if i’m able to go out, but if I’m at home a hot bubble bath and a good book is my trip to move along to a better street!

  377. I just love the picture of little Nella in her crib. I know it probably exhausting from 1 to 5 am, but my oh my she is so stinkin cute!

  378. bag of tricks… sitting out on my patio in the sun, looking at my most recent ultrasound pics, pedicures

  379. Playing my piano always-always-always helps me feel better, but I don’t always feel like I can play it while I’m at home with the family around. Walks in the woods or other stolen moments with nature refresh me, though. Definitely in my bag of tricks. And funky earrings. :)

  380. Shared coffee over the phone with my bestie is always a good way to perk up my day….

  381. A cold Dr Pepper, deep breaths, and a good look around me at all the blessings among the chaos of my life. Oh, and sometimes I hide from my girls in the bathroom for just a minute!

  382. Love his post!


    Prayer (specifically, The Divine Mercy Chaplet, said as I nurse my daughter to sleep).

    My morning swims, pounded out before my babies are awake for the day.

    A good cry.

    My mom.

    constant Comment Tea with a bit of creamer and Splenda

  383. my little bag of tricks – your blog:) because it’s like a relaxing, never ending, really good book… MTV’s 16 and pregnant (is that a problem?!?)… watching home videos of my precious little boy on the 2″x3″ video camera screen, from the time he was in the belly till now, 15 months later… and thinly sliced yellow american cheese..mmmmm goood.

    btw – the first pic of sweet little Nella accompanied by your comment actually made me laugh out loud:)

  384. AN ICE COLD ARNOLD PALMER!!ICE TEA –to make it really special use TAZO Passion fruit tea, sold at Starbucks and Target and mix in about 1/4 of the glass with LEMONADE, the kind you buy at the grocery store already made for you in the Glass doored section, like the OJ, only Lemonade, I think —the brand is………
    OH who cares, this MIMI has forgotten the name, that means I need to go buy more, cause I need a BOARDWALK MOMENT right about now. Stayed up til 3 a.m. sewing Birthday banners out of cute cupcake fabric for a special 3 year olds Sweets Birthday Party in 4 weeks!!!!

  385. My #1 pull from my bag of tricks is coffee. Even if I brew it myself and enjoy it while I flip the channel to something other than cartoons for just 15 minutes. A 15 minute time-out for Mommy is usually enough to make it through the day :)

  386. sunsets, sand on my toes, making people happy with great pictures…

  387. Ooooh….a chai tea latte, a good book, a spritz of my favorite Givenchy perfume, sitting in the sunshine, people watching, listening to Mumford and sons:))

  388. Pandora on my phone for an impromptu dance party is in my momma bag of tricks.

  389. ~My bag of tricks…includes Chinese take-out, egg rolls and jasmine tea! YUM! There’s others..but thats it for today!

  390. I wrote a comment and hit submit but I think my internet died and didn’t send it, so if you get two from me just ingore one of them.

    First of all, I have to say that the first picture on this post of Nella standing in her crib smiling is my ALL TIME ULTIMATE FAVORITE picture of her ever. If she was mine, I would blow that up to fit on the side of a building! :)

    Also, my bag of tricks includes watching Steel Magnolias b/c how can anyone not love Truvy & Ouiser? Also, mint Oreo cookies and cherry coke, but not together b/c those 2 flavors just don’t mix.

  391. I’m currently trying to find some new things for my bag of tricks. Life has had a lot of changes lately, newly married, working on bringing a babe into the world, so new tricks are needed. Gone are the days of retail therapy as I try to become fiscally responsible, so my ‘tricks’ of the week include lunch with a new friend I met on the commuter train, extra snuggles from my fresh out of the bath kitten (yes we actually gave her a bath, it was hilarious) and enjoying every big, from the heart smile I can get out of my husband. Even if I don’t think the same thing amusing, I find joy by seeing his joy. A smile that can light the darkest of my nights. Thank you for making me dwell on this topic, I need to search out more of the little moments of my life.

  392. My bag of tricks involves anything with water — a hot steamy bath even if only for 15 minutes, laying on a floatie in the pool in absolute silence listening to birds and bugs going about their daily routine, a cold glass of ice water while reading People Magazine on the deck. Moments of respite that fill me up for the next hours/days of being on Baltic. Thanks for the post, I needed to be reminded today!

  393. After day after dreary day of New England “spring” weather, I bumped it up to Boardwalk with a girls movie night to see Jane Eyre and drinks afterwards. (OK…so we drank decaf tea, haha.)

  394. A trip to Target by myself is all I really need. I love looking at all the cute clothes, shoes, baby stuff, etc. It instantly puts me in a good mood.

  395. My bag of tricks: reading your blog, lunch with a friend, the jar of salted caramel macadamia nut clusters I keep hidden in the back of my closet, and most recently – six tiny bottles of scented lotions from Avo/OPI.

  396. A trip to the craft store always puts me and my baby girl in a good mood! There are so many things we can find to turn our {rainy} days into fun filled non-cranky days for the both of us!

  397. Sweet tea from chick-fil-a or an iced latte from starbucks. Grocery shopping on my own early sunday morning. Taking a walk and talking to my boys about what we see. Giving my husband a hug. Sometimes just closing my eyes and taking a deep breath.

    Have a great weekend.

  398. Seven words: Glass of wine and hot bubble bath!

  399. i love stopping for an iced coffee on a work day….

    or listening to my nephew’s laugh…

    or treating myself to a small cup of soft serve from our local dairy bar-yum!

    that photo of Nella in her crib is ADORABLE!

  400. My bag of tricks has an iPod with Ke$ha on it for me to sing along to!

  401. **A Clean House -always clears my head and gives me a sense of calm.

    **A Bottle of Coke (Import from Mexico) – soooooo much better than American HFCS coke :) I like the way it bubbles against your lips as your swig. Plus, the act of swigging forces you to slow down and enjoy the process.

    **Early Bedtime with my birth books – reading birth stories about happy mama/baby always gives me sweet dreams and the extra time makes me feel like I’m not as rushed as I am.

  402. Brewing some coffee and curling up on the couch with some DVR’d shows :)

  403. My mom is my bag of tricks! When I am overwhelmed by my children or the state of my house, my girls and I traipse down to my parents house. They are next door, Thank God! She is always open and willing to help me restore my sanity with snacks and snuggles for my girls.

  404. My bag of tricks … wandering the aisles of target, long hikes into the woods with the pup, reruns of the office, super long showers.

    That usually works!

  405. What a great way to look at it! I think my bag of tricks includes music, iced tea, and eating out.

  406. I grab hot chocolate from Starbucks or a grilled cheese at the dining hall. Other times, I climb on the rocks next to Lake Michigan. It keeps me sane.

  407. I am learning to take care of me. I am 50 years old and just learning this-an empty nester with a 24 and 23 year old. I quit my job because it was not working for me-I now work out every day and take care of me every day.

    I am learning to be selfish-first time ever-working for me now.


  408. We had a “stuck on Baltic” kind of week around here too. I totally dug into my bag of ticks to turn things around today…
    Saturday morning “big breakfast” at home, childless trips to Target, popsicles in the driveway, and a good Pandora station…
    Happy Weekend!

  409. Our Ipad2 IS my bag of tricks… For myself & my 2 year old!!!! How did we get by without this amazing gadget…Aly

  410. Bag of tricks, hot bath and a People Magazine, and if I really need a treat, a Dove Bar with the nice messages inside.

  411. A good workout gets me back on track…and maybe the fact that everything is falling apart around me and I HAVE to get back on track…

  412. I sit near a window and feel rays of sun. And yes, the sit lasts approximately 1.2 minutes, but it works. That and a Sonic Concoction with pebble ice. Delish.

  413. self preserving tricks. i don’t have babies, but life still gets to the point where i need to stop and do a little self preservation. my most favourite is curling up on my couch and taking a nap in the sun… after that, the world always seems slower and nicer to me.

  414. My bag of tricks includes excellent music played at a decibel just one tick louder than it should be. Dark chocolate and something good to read!

  415. If I can get two minutes alone, I bring a can of diet coke with me into the shower!

  416. My comfort:
    There’s a gas station chain around here that offers 25 cent drinks the day after the St. Louis Cardinals score 6 runs in any game (they don’t even have to win!) Mama loves her a nice cup of coffee or some fresh brewed iced tea for the drive home and the boys have been delivering this week.

    LOVE your sweater.

  417. i just love those earrings!
    Your blog is definitely in my bag, If I am just not feeling it, your posts always inspire, make me laugh, and rethink life. My bag also includes bible study, a good Karen Kingsbury book, Chipolte, and sitting and rocking a baby.

  418. My bag of tricks changes often, but right now it would contain:

    * My darling 2 month old baby boy’s eyes staring back at me while he nurses. They already see right through me!

    * A warm coffee drink (that one never leaves the bag actually, always does wonders with my spirit when needed)

    * Your blog, and I am serious. This one has been in the bag for over a year. I have enjoyed watching your journey with sweet little Nella, and you have inspired so much love in my family. Many thanks for that <3

    And those earrings are just gorgeous!!

  419. Having a nice picnic basket full of your grandbabies favorite lunch and snacks and fun outside games and head for a nice quiet big oak tree and ENJOY every moment. I love those earrings.

  420. taking a long nap. a walk with the pooch. a glass of vino. a good talk with the best friend. those things usually do the trick for me!!!

  421. “Studio Apartment Night” when I lock myself in the bedroom for a few hours and light the candles, paint my nails (or not), read a book and bathe in silence.

  422. Music! Music, and if hubby is home to stay with the girls, a run outside. It’s my “reboot.” :)

  423. I keep a caramel twix stashed at the back of my refrigerator (ALWAYS) and I try to laugh, even when it hurts – you can’t laugh without smiling. :)

  424. My bag of tricks includes reading your blog actually. It’s one of my pick-me-ups on a long day. Cheap date nights to Barnes & Noble with the Hubs. Iced coffee on hot days. Photography. And last but not least is spending time with loved ones.

  425. My trick of choice is a Starbuck’s Tazo Chai latte for me and two kids’ hot chocolates for the girls. Still snowing here, hence the hot drinks!

  426. YAY for Nella!! hehe..I love that pic:) My bag o’tricks? hmm…Putting on a nice coat of my benefit lip gloss..really! taking out my little picture purse and staring at my little ones:) a diet coke fountain pop,reading enjoying the small things;)new body scrub and finding new music and a good bookand a long,looonngg walk through michaels with my 40% off coupon waiting to be used!!

  427. My bag of tricks contains a few nice goodies! The best is the instant joy of going to my blog, watching pics of my boys (using the iPhone of course) and of our wonderful good times. Buying magazine “Living ETC” is another sweet trick, aswell as reading it in à foam bath!
    Jogging: unbeatable for work strains.
    Your blog, that’s mental candy.

    Thanks for today’s post! Nella is such a cute night owl, even though I wish you good nights’ sleep!

  428. I’m glad to know I wasn’t the only one who had that kind of week. I discovered our first molar peeking through last night so that explains a lot. I would love to hear how that teething necklace works for you! Glad you are back on boardwalk!

  429. My bag of tricks is just a change: New park, driving to the next Target, new find at a thrift shop, or changing the signature on my work email. New reminds me that everything is a phase. We’ll be onto something else in not time.

  430. A long walk is my magic. Ohh but I also love a girl movie, painting my nails, and baking banana bread.

  431. You have just inspired me! I often look at great little spots around our local area, but never stop to truly look and enjoy – that is my goal this week! Why can’t I be a tourist in my own community?

    My bag of tricks? One is Shutting down the house. As in shutting all the blinds, dragging out all our quilts and blankets and making giant beds on the floor, cranking a great kids movie and popping some popcorn. It’s a chance for me to just sit quietly with my babies – and they think the ‘sleepover on the floor’ is the best thing ever! It renews me and allows me to ‘start again’.

    Great post today, just in time for the school holidays :)

  432. My bag of tricks = a pot of my favourite tea in my special tea cup, giving myself a pedicure when my tot is asleep, and reading my favourite blogs (yours included, of course).

    <3 Racheous

  433. One of my tricks – a route 44 diet cherry limeade during Sonic happy hour. Yummy!! Love the picture of Nella in her crib. She’s a beautiful one!

  434. Hmmm…ice cream and hugs from my babies…and freshly colored sheets of paper that say “Mommy I Love You” from a budding 5 year old artist. Oh, and naps while snuggling with my babes. That is what gets me through the day.

  435. Good ice cream (no cheap stuff), singing along loudly with 80s music, painting my toenails.

  436. Coffee with a bit of Kahlua, Netflix on demand, reading, taking time to do my makeup nicely and throwing on a pair of heels…even if it is just to clean my apartment!

  437. my favorite eyeliner from benefit or one from mac. most days i don’t get to putting make-up on, but on bad days just getting eyeliner on makes it so i don’t cringe when i look in the mirror and i feel sexier when my husband walks through the door. it helps me remember that there is more than just mommy mode.

  438. My baby is 26, youngest of four, but I still so love reading your words and so enjoy your photography. When I speak to someone about photography, I send them to your site with the words…”I love what she does and how she does it”. So looking forward to tutorials from you!

  439. Dairy Queen blizzards usually do the trick for me. Or screaming in my pillow or having a cry session. Then I feel all better.

  440. My bag of tricks for me – coffee, pretty jewelry, a hot bath, chocolate, music and looking at pictures of my little girls while they are fast asleep in their beds :)

  441. Beautiful post Kelle, I needed this today. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

  442. amazing, because this has been my week, too! Just joke after unfunny joke wearing me thin. But I had 3 things in my bag of tricks this week–scripture, your blog and the strawberry patch with my littles! We picked 13 lbs and came home to make a mess, errr…jam! 😀

  443. Chocolate is definitely in my bag of tricks!

  444. Love how you can take everything in stride – and yay for healthy eyes!

    I like to sink my fingers in some soil… pull weeds, plant some strawberries, etc.

  445. My bag of tricks includes:
    -getting lost in Barnes and Noble

  446. a hot bubble bath, sucking on piece of Dove chocolate until it melts, perusing through old photos and foot rub from my love…

  447. My bag of tricks usually consists of my favorite lip gloss, room spray, a piece of my favorite chocolate, and my favorite pictures of my daughter.

  448. Wow. You’ve had a busy week. I know those weeks too. The ones where everything falls apart but somehow you survive and manage to look back later and laugh.
    Here’s the items in my bag of tricks for my son:
    World’s loudest ball popper, his green leap frog talking dog, cheerios!, swinging at the park
    My personal bag of tricks:
    Starbucks runs, the strawberry smoothie from Taco Bueno (random I know), taking the back roads, early evening walks to the park with my son, nap time!

    Hope you’re enjoying your weekend!

  449. My bag of tricks includes phone dates with friends too far away, wine with good conversation, laughter with my favorite people, and a good nap!

  450. A Starbucks Latte and maybe 2 min to myself to enjoy some of it. . .

  451. My bag of tricks is treating myself to a new OPI nail polish!! Or a trip to Sephora for a new lip gloss!

    If I am really in need of a big pick me up a trip to the salon for a mani/pedi while reading the latest People Magazine is always good for this mama!!

  452. My bag of tricks are eating dessert before dinner and my girlfriend group on Facebook – those ladies keep me sane!

    PS – Nella looks a little guilty in that picture in her crib…she’s SO cute!

  453. I try to keep ice cream in the freezer at all times and I sneak some when the kids aren’t around or I wait until they’re in bed. :)

  454. I don’t have kids yet so, no real bag of tricks yet!! :)

  455. i read fiction.
    i bake.
    i give a hug to my kids or hubby.
    i go for a looong walk with my friend.

    in case you didn’t see this (from this past fall):

  456. Wonderful post! The thing that can make any day better is a deep cleaning of something in the house followed by a nice cold shower. I feel refreshed and accomplished!

  457. Massage from the husband and a nice. long. shower as hot as I can stand it. {so much that it leaves my entire backside red as a tomato for an hour or so afterwards}


  458. I have to admit that my bag of tricks has laid dusty and forgotten for far too long recently…but, there was this one totally hectic day a few weeks ago, where I was just not fit to be around mankind (my mood was that bad) that I literally grabbed my ipod and ran away to my front steps, turned up the music loud and shut the door on everything for like two hours. I sat there listening to music while the twilight breezes cooled the tears that flowed down my cheeks. It kinda freaked everyone out, but afterwards, I felt ready to rejoin the human race. Now, I carry my ipod around everyday…just in case. :)

  459. Red wine and Pearl Jam singing “Better Man”.

  460. I also try to enjoy the little things, but when it gets really bad a little bit of dark chocolate usually does the trick.

  461. In my bag of tricks is some brand spankin’ new funky blue nailpolish for my newly long nails (I am a recovering nail biter), covered with purple/silver sparkles that my 6 y/o daughter insisted would look awesome. She was right. After today, I definitely needed some pretty nails.

  462. My bag of tricks after a hectic day/week would have to include
    -a drive down A1A ending at the South Inlet in Boca with the top down and tunes up, Dave Matthews is a top pic

  463. My bag of tricks:

    * Online shopping for things I could never afford, but dream of owning one day!
    * Extra long workout, sweating out all the frustration within!
    * A night walk with my bestfriend/neighbor both letting it out and laughing about it!
    * Lastly, peeking in after the “bad day” at my three babies fast asleep in their bed! Knowing that today will only be a distant memory!

  464. Nutella, also cheese and crackers :)

  465. Oh girl! I was right there with you this week. Everything just seemed to go wrong. My need for chocolate was overbearing. So after my hour workout on Wednesday, I consumed an entire King Sized 3 Musketeers Bar before I even left the gym. Sometimes chocolate outweighs a thin waistline! hahaha!

  466. venti unsweetened iced passion teas from starbucks. one sip and i’m instantly relaxed.

  467. This comment has been removed by the author.

  468. I love the way you write..Ah, yes the bag of tricks, we all have one. Mine includes, a long bath and jammies way before the sun goes down…and sometimes a new lipstick makes me feel brand new!

  469. Let’s see – retail therapy of any sort, but especially involving bargains – like HUGE deals, not just 20% off. That always picks me up. And any wee “treat” – be it a hair bauble, some mini eggs, or a really long chat on the phone. It keeps me (somewhat) sane.
    Oh, and I’m about to crack open a bottle of wine too.

  470. First of all – bag of tricks for my two year old daughter: a mini-purse full of plastic bracelets and mardi gras beads; a few little books… you know, the essentials.
    My bag of tricks — fancy bath salts, homemade lotion, my tunes (everything from Sinatra to Eva Cassidy) = good times.

  471. I just wanted to comment and say how much Nella looks like Lainey in the crib picture (sorry for your lack of sleep – but she’s adorable!) I also wanted to say that I had bought the color bubbles last week for a suprise for spring but quickly bought them back after seeing your post… Thanks for the heads up! :)

  472. I am always leaving messages on the giveaways and not the posts without them. Why? Because I have NO clue how you could read all of them! So here I am on another give away. If you read this I hope you smile knowing that reading your blog is in my bag of tricks :0)

  473. I had a week like that…potty training 3 yr old triplets was not easy! In fact, on Tuesday, I told my girlfriend I wanted to jump off my back porch and run away. BUT, come Wednesday, all I wanted to do was jump up and down w/ my kids, ride scooters w/ them at the park, have a special visit to Chick-fil-a for breakfast b/c they have all got the potty thing down…I guess THEY are my bag of tricks…wow, just realized that!!!

  474. Hands down, a glass of wine. This always does the trick!

    Those earring are beautiful!

  475. My bag of tricks…..story telling. Nothing calms down my little one by saying “let me tell you a story”.

  476. My bag of tricks contains my Starbucks Gift Card. I load it every month (only way I can control my coffee budget) and save the “free drink” cards I get when I hit my 15 drinks…then when the day just isn’t going right, I pull out one of those cards and order up a venti fancy drink that I am too cheap to buy full-price. Grab my knitting, slip into a comfy chair and awwwww…I am fixed!

  477. my bag of tricks, now, includes lottery tickets, vineyard vines tee shirts & double baked brownies—my littles are 26, 23 & 19 years old…..


  478. Love the blue sweater you are wearing in the last photo, so pretty.

    Let’s see my bag of tricks for the kids are any art related thing, new cars my son hasn’t seen, lip glosses for my daughter, bubbles but not those colored ones, I’m still trying to remove the green from our backyard from the last time they played.

    My bag of tricks for myself, a pretty lip gloss, a hair clip and coffee.

  479. I love the caption “I am cute but I was up from 1 to 5 for no reason”….adorable.

    My bag of tricks? My first book that I published (which arrived in the mail today!), a steaming cup of coffee, my car keys for a relaxing drive, KLOVE radio, and my $14 Target pillow…amazing.

  480. the contents of the bag changes, but it is just as much needed. Oh, & now the most important item is a listening ear & not a comment unless it is asked for—-it was easier when g.i. joes, wwf wrestling figures & markers & pads were required!


  481. My bag of tricks has an Ariel and a Jasmine barbie doll and a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato for me!

  482. My bag of tricks: Sitting on my freshly made bed (which happens about once every other week) with my favorite little boy while watching Yo Gabba Gabba. He holds onto my hand.

  483. With a toddler, a baby, and another on the way, my bag-o-tricks is never far from reach. A bubble bath with a new magazine, fresh flowers on my kitchen table, an afternoon nap with my kids, spring strawberries, music, the book Parent’s Tao Te Ching for the best reminders of being present, patient and loving to my kids.

  484. Considering that I am never clever enough to have the bag of tricks with me we usually rely on grocery store stickers, restaurant napkins, sunglasses, old crayons from whatever place we last ate at, etc…

  485. Oh Kelle, your posts always come at the right time. As if I just poured out my frustrations and doubts to you, your words are the encouragement and reminder that I need that everything will be ok, and i’m not the only one! So, what’s in my bag of tricks? Taking and looking at photos of my littles, hot tea, snuggling under a warm blanket and reading, scrapbooking (although there’s hardly time for that these days!) and reading your blog! Thanks for putting yourself out there, you have impacted my life in many ways!

  486. Oh the alligator pics are so creepy and beautiful all in one. I lived in KW for a few years and never got used to living in the same state as gators. When I’m having an out of wack day I usually pack my two kiddos up and we go somewhere. Anywhere… the library or Target. Just to change scenery. A stiff drink with girlfriends does the trick too.

  487. A nice cold diet coke usually does it for me! Also, I love that first picture of Nella… she looks like your husband in that pic.

  488. My bag of tricks includes:

    a Pilates video, 5 mad dollars to spend on myself at Starbucks, my newest mixed CD of girly-girl music, gum for my son and my daughters favorite princess pacifier, and an empty space which will hopefully one day hold the Kindle that I have asked for as a graduation gift (I am graduating from grad school in less than a month) WOOT! WOOT!

  489. My bag of tricks has recently expanded to trolling Etsy. I love treasure hunting.

    Saving Books for Special Nights
    New Bar Soap
    Tea (made by my sister, she’s the only who gets it right)
    Getting a gift for someone else
    Lighting a new candle

  490. Honestly, a good nap, some fresh air on a long walk, and often perusing your blog because you oh so eloquently are able to capture so many of my feelings and help me realize how lucky I am to have this wonderful life I lead. Thanks for being a trick in my bad!

  491. Enjoyed the post today, and in my bag of tricks is: hearing my babies laugh, when we play and a quick kitty cuddle. I also enjoy taking a minute to stand out on my deck and breathe the air and soak in nature outside all by myself. I also enjoy any moment we (my husband and I) steal together, to give me a fresh feeling and perspective. :-)

  492. In my bag of tricks- jammin’ to some rockin’ beats….dancing and singing out loud like there is no tomorrow, regardless of who is watching! Oh, and perhaps a nice grand mango mojito in one hand! 😉

  493. After a two day youth retreat I led, my baltic to boardwalk bag of tricks involved a handful of oreo cookies, my latest favorite band (Delain) and some theraputic window shopping.

  494. my bag of tricks consist of a few things… friends, good food, my ipod, a funny or sappy movie, your blog, cuddeling with my little ones… that one being number one.
    great blog by the way. much needed on my end. thanks :)
    good luck with the necklace, teething is awful! and one more thing… you’ve inspired me to go get a big bucket of sidewalk chalk. :)

  495. A cup of coffee from the local coffee shop. Yes, it is $4.85 for a cup, but worth it for sanity for mom

  496. A long bath and a DIY pedicure with my favorite pandora station in the background and a few candles burning (if I can find the lighter!)

    Your girls are so precious, thanks for sharing with us

  497. Funny you would ask.. I come to your blog, read, look at pictures, follow links and sponsors, breathe and realize we are all the same. Thank you for asking x0

  498. Bag of tricks for those rare self-indulgent moments: a great massage, a hot cup of green tea, a pink birthday cake lollipop from Starbucks, a yoga class, a connecting talk with an old girl friend who gets it all! Thanks so much for your blog….look forward to it every day.

  499. I am so jealous of your gardenia! One day I will have one.

    Bag of tricks… coffee, specially plunger coffee, specially being able to get a minimum of 10mins with my coffee and current book sitting on my freshly made bed in my – currently – decluttered bedroom in the sun! Most especially if there is nobody yelling outside the door or rattling the doorknob! Lol!

  500. A walk on the university campus in town, I have a special spot that no one else frequents. Great views and clears the head nicely.

    There’s a great juice/smoothie place in town, their Slap Shot is a special treat (plus one of their buttery pretzels, please). Bubbles on the back deck with my baby. Also cocktails and good conversation on the back deck, too. God bless the little things in life :)

    Love your blog, only recently re-discovered it. Put it in the reader this time so I don’t lose it again…

  501. What is in my bag of tricks…hhmm…depends on how bad it is BUT sometimes just a just a simple trip to Target by myself as I go up and down all the aisles that have nothing to do with groceries and diapers and Mr. Clean.

  502. My bag of tricks… chocolate, a hot bath, a chai latte while I read People, chocolate, blog reading, oh, and chocolate!

  503. Some days motherhood is rough…glad to hear your back on boardwalk :)
    (PS I’m freaked out just thinking you were that close to that alligator!)

  504. LOL….To bump from Baltic to Boardwalk, I log on to !! You are always sure to offer me a fresh perspective on what may’ve otherwise been a bizarrely bad day. Thank you for the refreshing attitude & the fabulous stories.

  505. Fridays I work from home…I have 2 things that help the day…one is a guilty pleasure at lunch I sneak away and go to estates sales in the area, just for fun and the second is I open your blog and turn the speakers on whenever I need a pick up between reading your blog, seeing the pictures and listening to the music…i always feel better…oh and I usually leave your blog open the rest of the day so I can listen.

    Thank you!

  506. sneaking away for an eyebrow arch and grabbing the new People Magazine to read when i get home always gives me a boost :)

  507. a trip to sephora…. i get pretty giddy at the rainbow of eyeshadow. plus, you get samples…. and i can ride the high of a new lip gloss for at least a week.

  508. sweet post, love the weaving of Monopoly :) my bag of tricks is remembering when we had trouble getting pregnant and now have lots of little ones to rub backs, sooth coughs, and snuggle. your heart for your children is so wonderful :)

  509. my bag of tricks is much the same as yours. You’ve got me craving a cold frosty now…

    Nella looks so like Lainey in the first photo where she is in her crib.

  510. i need my bag of tricks today…

    -a phone call to my best friend

  511. A nice hot latte from Starbucks is in my bag of tricks. If it’s night time, then a nice glass of wine on the couch after my girls are asleep in bed. Everyone needs a bag of tricks of some sorts :)

  512. no tricks…just the word of God that gets me through a rough day.

  513. A good book, a bath, and a new nail polish.

    For the kids, my bag of tricks is gum. They go crazy for that stuff, and it keeps them quiet and calm for a while.

  514. Ice cream, milkshakes, anything sweet. May sound cliche but it’s always what I turn to and unfortunately between my lupus, my husband’s cancer, my dog’s kidney disease, losing my other dog last year to kidney failure, well let’s just say ice cream makes almost a daily appearance. I sure wish I could “see the lovely” in each day like you do. I am pretty negative these days.


  515. A cup of coffee and a good book! Great way to make my bad day turn around.

  516. I need my bag of tricks more often than usual these days:
    – a pedicure
    -savoring the fleeting moments of baby left in my growing toddles and stopping everything when he asks to cuddle
    – turning on my ipod loaded with my guilty pleasure playlist of bad boy band music
    – locking the bathroom door and sinking into the tub with a favorite home design magazine

  517. A good (stemless) glass of merlot does the trick every time! 😉

  518. Bubble bath and a book! Or spending time sewing up something fun.

  519. My bag of tricks include….
    A phone call to my mom, she always makes me feel better.
    A LONG bubble bath, candles and scented oil included.
    A wonderfully hot cup of coffee.
    A mid-day nap, alone in my big comfy bed, with the window open next to me. (weather appropriate :))
    Photo albums- I love to reminisce.

    Last, but not least, SHOE SHOPPING! While this doesn’t happen often, there are sometimes when I tell hubby to watch the baby, and give me an hour to try shoes on. Yes, just trying them on helps!

  520. While in a dressing room attempting to find a dress for a wedding I whipped out the crayola wonder coloring book and markers. And yes I was that person (before becoming a prents) that says I wasn’t going to use those… didn’t want to teach her to color anywhere- now… bring them on!!

  521. I’m so with you! I totally keep a ‘bag of tricks handy’.
    McDonald’s Sweet Tea is one of them, so is renting a redbox chick flick, and of course new panties from VS. :) They brighten my day anytime.

  522. definitely a vanilla latte and a nice drive are in my bag of tricks =)

  523. Got to love the earrings :) I have actually been checking those out for some time for myself. Beautiful post. Happy Weekend :)

  524. Wow I totally see Lainey in the picture of Nella awake in her crib. Sooo cute :)

    My Mama bag has the Kenny Chesney “Lucky Old Sun” CD (I know you’re not much into country but it’s a really good CD when you’re stressed out. Very calming) and the Adele 21 CD, tinted lip gloss, Grapefruit scented hand lotion and a Bud Light Lime, lol

  525. My bag of tricks consists of: a chocolate shake, a trip to the park where I swing all by myself, natural light coming in through the windows as I lay on the floor and breathe, and spontaneous dance parties when I just can’t take the stress any more :)

  526. Lainey’s hair is getting so long! And that first picture of Nella in her crib…she looks absolutely angelic!
    I need to work on my bag of tricks!

  527. Yeah for Nella’s eyes! Bag O Tricks? Sounds like a good idea. I’ll have to make one for myself.

  528. oh my bag of tricks includes a long soothing trip to Barnes and Nobel. . . and a helplessly romantic movie with a good class of wine.

    If only I could some way combine the two. . .

  529. A good book and a glass of wine {or chai tea these days!} throw a bubble bath into the mix and life is golden.

  530. Love this post and love the pictures…Writing in a journal that I’m keeping for our daughter, reading a book that I need to catch up, pulling out the crayons and paper to draw with Zoe…all of those things make me happy.

  531. My bag of tricks: Zumba (you can’t help but smile even when you think your arms might fall off), and my Kindle – I keep it in my purse or diaper bag at all times – if we’re having a rough week and the only way little one will sleep is in the car – so be it – I’ll drive until she’s out and then park and read for an hour or so – ta daahh! Instant nap and recharge for mom – if I’m feeling really stuck on Baltic, I might drive through Starbucks and order an annoying drink (non-fat, decaf, light whip, java frappe, anyone??) :)

  532. Most recent addition to my bag of tricks: THE BEST ICED TEA EVER! Good Earth’s “Sweet & Spicy” herbal tea. Doesn’t need sugar and it’s caffeine free.

  533. In my bag of tricks are Almond Rocca, Chick-Fil-A sweet tea, and The Office. I’m easy to please. :) Love the earrings, and your post, as usual :)

  534. Pedicures and beer, although not necessarily in that order.

  535. Me, myself, my bed, the remote, a new mag and my satellite TV, flipping thru watching a myriad of everything 😉

  536. My bag of tricks always contains something from Starbucks :) Be blessed.

  537. Your littlest is the same age as mine, and I think they look alike! So I love reading your blog. I have 4 kids. 6,5,3, 16months… my bag of tricks is sitting out at night, looking at the moon, looking in on my kiddos as they are sleeping, and listening to them when they play.
    Thanks for the reminders to enjoy this time to the fullest. I have days when I forget to, and you always remind me!

  538. Um, can we say Sweet Tart Jelly Beans? :) It’s been super crazy lately, but those little drops of Heaven make everything all right. :)

  539. My Kindle and good chocolate. Anything can be made better with those. Oh- and good wine. Can’t forget that!

  540. Homemade sock puppets and gummy bears

    And for me…. A large soda and buttery popcorn!

  541. I have a super cold beer in a super hot bubble bath while reading a book at the end of a long hard day of blunders, diaper changes, teething babies and nothing going right. Or I take an hour on the weekend (like today) and go get my hair cut, have a moms night out with other mommies from our play group who need a night out just as bad as I do. And if it is a SUPER long week I might do all three :)

  542. My bag of tricks includes Terrific Tuesdays! I go to a bible study on Romans with some wonderful ladies and then we fellowship over lunch afterwards. Always renews my soul.

  543. Sorry you had a rough week but hooray for the many good things that happened along the way. My #1 go to in my ‘bag of tricks’ is sitting outside with the warm sun beating down on you and a cool breeze and turning on some country music. Makes it feel like summer every time! The sun totally gives me motivation to go on with my day!! And if the sun isn’t out, a bath and a glass of wine are excellent runners up!

  544. for me, it’s music all the way :)
    if i have my Ipod, and my favourite playlist- my bag of tricks is complete :)
    love the earrings :)

  545. Good day or bad… the one thing that always makes me feel better is saying goodnight prayers with my 2 year old. After we say “Amen,” he always says “Dig In!” It makes my husband and I giggle, but it’s the sweetest thing in the world.

  546. I LOVE IT!
    My bag of tricks include:
    -super hot bubble bath
    -chocolate (of ANY variety)
    -snuggling in my bed with my littles and watching a movie
    -reading in my fav comfy chair
    -taking a deep breath and knowing that all will be well…soon =)

  547. Easy…chocolate, Facebook, and Blogger Dashboard! :)

  548. prayer always works for me!!! and organizing or finishing old projects gets me motivated again. or looking through old pictures/journals/letters–keeps life in perspective and reminds me of how blessed i am!

  549. Oh goodness, Miss Nella looks so much older in her crib picture. Maybe it’s the mischievous grin?!

    When I feel like I’ve reached the end of my bag of tricks, I usually need to rest and recharge. Sleep is something that I know I never get enough of.

  550. That photo of Nella in her cot is the sweetest, most adorable photo. Actually, you’ve really captured some very, very sweet photos of her in this post.

    We mums sure do need our own bag of tricks. I find that cuppa’s, diet coke, my favourite tunes, the odd trashy mag, quick naps while the kids are watching their favourite show and the promise of my sweetheart coming home from work are what get me through.

    I really love this post. As a fellow mum, you really spoke to me and I knew how you felt and what you are saying.

  551. A soy raspberry latte always does the trick for me :) Or snuggles with my littles sure do help, too!

  552. I’d have to say that my bag of tricks is full of food… which isn’t great for the waist 😛
    But I guess most of the time, when I need a little pick me up, I’ll just go for a spontaneous idea that I would normally ignore, like stopping for ice cream on the way home, get that new pink handbag that really isn’t so practical, but the pink, oh the pink (got that one today!!!), walk to school on a sunny day, even though it might make me a little late, etc.
    Your bag of tricks looks pretty awesome to me anyways! Keep enjoying life like you do :)))

  553. Wow, how can you possibly read all these comments? I can’t help but to add my own. :)

    -hitting the “confirm purchase” button on etsy, amazon, etc. I know, I know…

    -Reading Reminisce magazine. You usually see them in elderly peoples homes, or nursing homes. I love reading about when times were different. Not better, just with different challenges.

    -Watching British sitcoms from the 90’s with my husband. As Time Goes By is a favorite — Judy Dench puts me in stiches every time. It’s a weird romantic thing for us.

    -And the best one. No matter how tough my son DS/autism was that day, it is a special comfort of mine to take him to our bed (which he just adores) — all 9 years and 75 pounds of him, and just snuggle up. He is such a still and peaceful sleeper, that his spirit just exudes this comfort to me, and the day’s worries just dissipate.

  554. my bag of tricks is browsing in a quilt shop, deciding on my next project!!

    love the alligator photos.

  555. a Jones soda and some homemade popcorn with my husband…it always cheers me up.


  556. Iced cappuccino. Any time (but then we need a new bag of tricks if I drink it at night and can’t fall asleep), anywhere.

    Esther D

  557. bag of tricks: diet coke or starbucks mocha. Wodehouse book or Harry Potter. the Gwyneth Paltrow version of Emma. but best of all, stopping everything to cuddle with the kiddos.

  558. Kelle-I’ve been following your blog for over a year now…& a lot of times it’s just what I need. there are days when I come here hoping that you’ve been here and left me some little words that I need to hear that day. It’s funny how you can feel like you “know” someone after reading their words for so long, but from a friend to a friend (who hasn’t met IRL), thanks for providing this place where I feel like I can come if I need the comfort of a good friend’s words. <3 Thanks for uplifting and encouraging this momma when she needs it the most.

  559. When I am most discouraged and sad I try to make the house the happiest place around. I invite all of Kaishon’s little friends in and we laugh and dance and chase each other. I let them be as loud as they want. I am happiest when they are happiest. I love my life and try to stay on boardwalk most of the time also. Life is too short to get stuck on Baltic! Great metaphor.

  560. Warm bath, new magazine, sitter/grandparents, talking with my girls, date with the hubby, pedicure, walk outside by myself, sitting in the warm sun with a cold drink, iced tea, peanut butter straight from the jar, a new pair of earrings, a little time away, by myself, with my Bible, journal, and my heavenly Father. Quite a bag of tricks, but us mamas need all the tricks we can get! Love this blog. It always inspires me.

  561. The 11 or so songs in the playlist on my iPod called “Restoration”, Cherry Coke from the tap, blogging, little people therapy (aka – calling a friend with children and just hanging out so I can be refreshed by the innocence and wonder of childhood), pictures of Nella (don’t get creeped out – she reminds me of Caroline whom I used to nanny. Her smile and “low muscle tone” posture makes my world better – I miss my little Pookie!), going for a walk with my camera.

  562. Oh yeah, the bag of tricks…mine would have:
    1. Aimlessly shopping at Target
    2. Buying something fabulous for ME and not the kids 😉
    3. Blogging
    4. Long baths
    5. Church
    6. Taking the kids to get ice cream even though it’s bedtime and we’re all already wearing jammies. :)

  563. This may sound cheesy, but your blog is in my bag of tricks. If I’m having a really bad blah day and I just can’t work up a smile, I read your blog and I’m laughing again. I’m smiling at the photos and how much your girls are growing, living and loving.

  564. Sonic happy hour!

  565. My bag of tricks includes a long talk on the phone with my sister or just relaxing and reading this blog while my wonderful husband takes care of the laundry 😉

    We’ve also had a blah week… just found out (the hard way!) on Wednesday that my fifteen month old is allergic to peanuts, so I’m on high-alert right now & thinking it’s going to be impossible to find a delicate balance between crazy protective and letting my boy live a normal life!

    I just have to say that your girls are beautiful & your photography is amazing. Nella’s crib picture in this post is one of my favorites ever. She is absolutely adorable!

  566. In my bag of tricks you’ll find
    me dancing w/ my boys
    playing in the sunshine
    diet coke
    iced coffee!

  567. Am I crazy or didn’t Nella need glasses a few months ago? Were those just for fun? She is a very cute girl!

  568. A bottle of bubbles. They magically bring me back to hanging out in the front yard of my childhood home with an over weight basset hound on one side and a melted push-up on the other. The kind with Fred and Dino of course.

  569. my bag of tricks is filled with steamy candle lit lavender baths, a good book, a crisp morning run, and Norstrom Rack. that place is amazing! Love your post, like always…can’t believe I’ve been reading for over a year now! :)

  570. A cup of coffee (in my favorite REALLY BIG mug) with peppermint creamer (from my “you better not even THINK about touching this” stash). It always makes me smile ’cause it reminds me of Christmas!

  571. I can’t even tell you how bad this week has been and how much I needed to read this post.

    My bag of tricks is my parenting magazines during nap time, my morning cup of coffee, my ipod in the car, sudoku, a pretty shade of light pink and silver nail polish, a midday park playdate with my son, and a glass of wine with a good friend.

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  573. My 2 year old is making this SAHM want to go back to the office. Being that said, bag o’ tricks includes (but not limited to) are as follows:

    afternoon coffee with lots of creme.

    Jack Johnson in the car. Baby girl loves her some Jack.

    Something cute from Target.

    Freshly cleaned floor.

    Light classical in the afternoon while the sun is low and an Aloha Orchid candle lit.

    ahhh…the serenity.

  574. I love having Starbucks in my bag of tricks! And a great new pair of shoes!! Your blog is great!

  575. My bag of tricks….

    I am doing it right now… reading your blog. Like clockwork on saturday nights, bathtime, babes down for bed. + tonight is leftover cookie cake :) I get caught up with your blog. Love reading your stories of your sweet family and your amazing pics. Insprires me to do more and capture more sweet spot memories.

  576. -my fiance and I just drove all the way across Canada (in the middle of winter). Half of our furniture was broken when the movers came to unpack and my dog died in my arms three days later.

    He invented the bag-of-tricks for fear I’d run away and never come back!

    Its’ contents? Vogue, cookie dough icecream, Bath and body works Wonderland bubbles and red wine.

    I’m grateful.

  577. I have 2 kids myself and your blog is like reading a more photogenic version of my life :) I love the “bag of tricks” analogy. And it gave me a really cool idea for a gift product! (That I’m sure already exists.) Beautiful blog and little girls!

  578. My bag of tricks includes solo runs (usually I have one of the kids in the jogging stroller!), foamy lattes, and hot showers without kidlets (as much as I love seeing little fingers and faces pressed to the glass, sometimes it’s nice to enjoy some suds alone) :)

    Love your blog – in fact, I might put reading it in my bag of tricks too!

  579. hmmm, some of my tricks? A hot shower, a little mascara and an open window for some fresh air, or even better, a nice walk in the fresh air :)

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  581. In my bag is not much…I need to figure out what works so instead I call my best friend ;).

  582. Thanks for today’s post Kelle. Whenever I read about another mamma’s crazy week it makes mine feel so normal! Before I logged onto your blog I started the dishwasher and threw in a load of laundry. I feel so proud of myself despite the other endless things on my cleaning the house to-do list.

    My bag of tricks? Mexican food, a long shower and reading your blog!

  583. So glad to hear Nella’s eyes are healthy!

    My bag of tricks includes: sour patch blue raspberries, Kings of Leon, green tea, and cute shoes.


  584. You’re blog is always an inspiration to me. Thank you for sharing not only your ups in life but your downs in life too. If I’m really stressed and feel like life is going to run me over, I’ll drive to this old country road where deer roam and I’ll watch them for a while. I’ll watch how slow and sweet they are and remind myself to slow down and enjoy life. I remind myself that God has a plan for me and that I need to keep my eyes on Him.

  585. Carbs! Lots of em

  586. i shop.

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  588. Homemade smoothies…in a Jamba cup. On a Marvin Gardens day full of spinach and berries. On a Baltic day full of cashew butter, banana and chocolate;)

  589. I just love your blog…Everytime a new post pops up on my reader..I just get so’ve really had to dip into my bag of tricks the last two weeks myself. My little girl is battling reflux while I battle bronchitis that turned into pneumonia and my husband starts his new job…In that bag..

    -A warm, lavender & chamomile bath for momma..with baby..Then, at least 20 minutes of cuddling with me taking huge intakes of the fresh baby smell
    -A Klondike Crunch ice cream bar
    -Snuggling the baby back to sleep
    -Sparkly spring colored nail polish
    -A “trashy” mag to read while (IF) she naps
    -A semi-frozen Diet Coke

    Thanks for sharing so much with us Kelle!! Your girls are lovely!!

  590. Alligator Alley? Looks scary! I need some more tricks for my bag…all I’ve got is ice cream. ;o)

  591. Ooh my bag of tricks: blended chai lattes, pedicures with my girlfriends, reading novels in bed, nights out with the ladies or my man, and a glass of red wine. Wish they were as easy to grab as your bag behind the door!

  592. Springsteen songs and pop punk from the 90s will always bring me back!

  593. A cup of tea
    Writing in my journal
    Reading anything by Wayne Dyer
    A hot bubble bath

  594. My bag of tricks involves a long bath and some mindless reading of a gossip magazine.
    Oh, and, reading your blog is always in my bag of tricks — it is a great way to get some ‘me’ time. On days when the beauty in my life seems hard to find (rare but they do happen), I visit with you (on your blog) and voila, I am back to appreciatig the beauty in my own life!

  595. If I had that beautiful blue sweater you are wearing in the earring pics, I’d put THAT in my bag of tricks! Love the rich color! Details??

  596. my bag of tricks changes from time to time but usually it involves some sunshine and a cold diet coke. i’m easy. what can i say?

  597. oh that last picture is so cute

    My bag of tricks includes coffee and a magazine…even if I have to hide in my closet to get time alone to drink the coffee and read the magazine :)

  598. a dr. pepper and a pedicure!
    beautiful gardenia’s!
    so happy no glasses for nella.not because she wouldn’t be adorable in them just for the convenience not to have them on a toddler! i teach special ed preschool and have a feisty little girl with down syndrome who hates her cute little pink glasses, we haven’t gotten them to stay on yet:)!
    love your pictures~ even the alligator! terrifying!

  599. I loved this post, as I had a similar week up until Saturday when I decided to pull some things out of my bag of tricks! Firstly, I wrote in my journal, then I went to the shops by myself solely to buy a cake! Other things in my bag include- a hot shower, reading a children’s story to myself, going for a walk… just placing value on myself is where its at! You’re awesome Kelle xxx

  600. My bag of tricks? Time in prayer with Jesus, Bible reading, walk in the woods, flowers and a chai latte.

  601. Bag of tricks, hmm, well a cup of chamomile tea in the garden with a good book or magazine.
    Face packs and bodys scrubs.
    Walks by the river – with or without children depending on logistics.
    Running recharges me and so does gardening.

    Noticing nature … little birds hopping through bushes or listening for their song in the trees.


  602. I’ve used a teething necklace with both of my babes….hope it helps Nella as it does my 2 :o)

    What’s in my bag of tricks…..sewing, every time!!! Sewing little sock monkeys out of little tiny grown out of socks, quilts with butterflies embroidered on, little floppy rag dolls. Sewing things, generally for my little ones really does make my heart feel happier!

    Glad you’re back on Boardwalk!

    Andie x

  603. My bag of tricks must have?
    Le Couvent des Minimes Verbena & Lemon body mist. It’s a little too lemony to wear all the time or to douse yourself in, but it is an AMAZING pick me up. The citrus reminds me of walking through my Nanas backyard in the summertime in California. It’s an instant stress buster and perks me up on the days when it seems like it’s been raining for months (which it usually has since I live in Oregon)!

  604. i love your blog!!!!!!!! i always check in with you to get inspiration.

    my bag of tricks includes long runs in the mountains, happy hour with my husband, phone calls with my sister, and peanut butter m&ms. but my biggest trick is planning future vacations to far away places for the whole family.


  605. A good diversion is always the answer for situations gone bad or plans gone not right. So, strawberry picking! Going to Hobby Lobby to just take fun pictures witht their seasonal and not seasonal stuff. I make an album of those trips on FB so family and friends can enjoy our HL adventures! They really are fun and my husband just loves it too. Our baby is 13 so we really have to keep it cool! LOL

    I think I need a magic wand! It would go great in my kitchen and I could use it to say viola dinner and dinner would appear! Never know it could work!



  606. Love your post. ah, the baby with sleepless nights.. We had same thing last month, from 1am to 4am or so. as you know, this phase will pass soon… hang in there!

    My bag of tricks – the bubble bath, skype with my friends overseas, DQ Blizzard, latte, turn the music volume up and dance with my kids, reading your blogs and shopping/window shopping at my fav stores.

  607. When I’m feeling in a rut, I pack my baby boy in his stroller, get the dog on his leash, and we blast the Disney Pandora station as we walk around the apartment complex. I sing along to the music and enjoy watching my pup and my babe experience the spring weather. We all come home a little more relaxed and refreshed.

  608. that first picture is adorable. little nella looks so much like lainey in that picture! beautiful girls! sometimes when we are having a hectic time, i just pull my lil girl and my lil boy up on the lazy boy…and we sing lullabys. it grabs the attention right away to my son, and my girl loves being the mommy helper. sometimes, no matter if we are in a hurry to get somewhere, we just have to stop and sing. 😉

  609. I’m sure you’re trying it cause you’ve heard it a million times but the Amber necklace ROCKS – we’ve had one on our little munchkin since she was about 6mths and she now has 12 teeth and we’ve hardly had to treat here for them at ll – the little champ broke all 4 molars at once and there was nothing – so I think they work and I never take it off.

  610. You are the most inspirational person I’ve never met.

    You inspire me (and clearly thousands of others) to enjoy the flashes of good in what feels like endless monotony.

    Because of you, I am actively spending time neglecting chores and instead enjoying time with my girls. We are creating memories which don’t include me shouting at them for being kids. We are being silly and childish, and as an OCD sufferer, it is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. But the smiles, the laughs, the recalled memories make it so worth it.

    I have been inspired to get back in to photography and capture the moments instead of relying on my very patchy memory.

    Thank you for telling us that despite the amazing words and pictures, there are days when you feel the same way as the rest of us.

    Every new blog entry of yours is like Christmas. We count the minutes until the next entry appears, checking extraordinary times a day “just in case.” Once it is posted, there is that moment where we have to remind ourselves to savour it and not read too fast, because it could be a few days until the next one. Every post inspires me to be more present in my parenting moments.

    If thank you could adequately convey how grateful I am to you, I’d be thrilled. It doesn’t, but I’m yet to find the words for my gratitude.

    As for the bag of tricks – always little notebooks and pens/crayons. My girls will ask me to draw for them while we’re waiting at a cafe (eg) and they become so absorbed, they don’t notice how long it takes for their food to arrive. Other tricks – toy motorbike (my influence), small teddy bear, dress up jewellery…anything small and quiet, really.

    Have a wonderful week. <3

  611. There are a few things in my bag of tricks… depending on what’s wrong. Sometimes it’s sleep, other times it’s reading my Bible, other times still I just need to see adults or make something crafty (quilting, crocheting, scrapbooking). Usually it’s something just for me that brings me back again.

  612. reading blogs that give me a positive outlook on life… and some online shopping never hurts!

  613. Love the picture of Nella in the crib!
    Here’s my personal favorites – relaxing just to think about it: strong coffee, red wine, foot massage during a pedicure with a good mindless magazine, and pulling out the long neglected needlepoint that keeps my hands busy :)

  614. Your bag is better than mine and I think that may have something to do with being closer to the equator:). Anywhoooo, I have lots of things up my sleeves for tricks- you have to when you teach loads of teenagers, jokes, stories, fancy foods you know how to whip up in no time, little sewing kits in your purse to save the day, taking old clothes and changing them into impromptu go green accessories for the college fashion show- you know, no big deal- several coffees to make it through a night of grading, LED designs, and worry about finances… love this post… and looking forward to getting a little closer to summer to get my post on your page! XO

  615. I’m not a mom, but I definitely have a need for a bag of tricks. My go to? Calling my dear friend and indulging in snuggles from her littlest little. Or calling the new guy in my life just to talk. I end up feeling refreshed in each instance.

  616. That picture of Nella in the crib… She has Lainey’s shy smile! Sweet!

  617. Funny I just had one of THOSE days and I find good music a pretty new necklace in the mail an peppermint mocha creamer (now offered all year long) for my coffee help to pick me backup!

  618. My bag of tricks is a box and in it are markers, a blank sketch pad, books, a dry-erase board (with marker) and magnets.

    Not sure what I would’ve done in Alligator Alley except cry if it had been me. Not being able to pull over when they are like that is one of the worst feelings I’ve experienced in motherhood.

    Blessings on your beautiful family today!

  619. Oh when I’m stuck on Baltic, I’ll put three moaning toddlers in the minivan and drive thru for my favorite toasted almond coffee. The car ride calms them, and the caffeine takes me to St. James Place!

  620. Your girls are amazing and so is your blog :) and your photography is so inspirational! Keep up the amazing work!

  621. My Levi (who is 2 months younger than Nella) pulled a similar trick while we were in Florida this past weekend. He woke up at 12:50 and didn’t go back to sleep till 3:45. He was wide eyed and bushy tailed. No reason whatsoever for his awake-ness. Made for one grumpy bear Momma later that day :)

    Thank you for always encouraging and inspiring us Moms to rejoice in all seasons of life :)

  622. I grab a pattern out of my “things I want to make” folder, one that is mastered without too much effort, and then when I finish it and enjoy my girl(s) enjoying it, its a right back to boardwalk.

  623. bag o’tricks: my rose garden. After so much hard work to get just the right flower bed and just the right no work heirloom roses, now I can just trot out at any point and enjoy. Sniffing, touching velvet petals, and taking in vivid colors. My favorite right now is a full ruffly apricot one.

  624. Prayer helps me. I can vent, plead, and whine to God, but then I always remember to be thankful for my son, my family, our home, my job…it makes the whines disappear.

  625. My bag of tricks include hot baths, long walks with the kids, and any good book.

  626. A good run, a hot bath, tea, Cadbury whole nut bars, Friends (the TV show-although real friends also do the trick)

  627. I have several bags of tricks that I choose from depending on the day. 1. Pandora, Starbucks and Target all at the same time. 2. Watching my little and her grandparents sit on the floor and play for hours. Their love for her is just one more way they love me. 3. Nothing. Doing nothing in complete silence for a couple of hours. This one is a rare trick but when it happens, I’m happy!

  628. Hot Cocoa, long walks with my 7 month old snuggled in the sling on my hip, reading in the rocking chair while the baby sleeps, wearing stilletos while i cook dinner, desigining a new dress for my angel while she plays on the floor. When I’m really run down, and sweet Mimi is being difficult, we lay down on the bed together and she nurses ME to sleep. :) There’s nothing like a snuggly baby to bring me back to my awesome reality and out of a rut.

  629. I love your blog!!!
    My bag of tricks includes:
    Good workout, a clean house, relaxing on the couch watching a good movie with popcorn and a drink!

  630. I’m in the middle of a week of fevers, coughs, and boogies. What has pulled me through is getting lost in a book. The kids are clingy and need to be on top of me, so I let them climb on and I read, losing myself in the story.

  631. Snafus seems to be the norm for me lately and I’m trying to change my perspective and accept them as just a part of my journey. :) Easier said than done!

  632. First of all the gardenia bush LOVE IT. As a child my grandma had one bush in the backyard. I made every effort to go and smell them and pick some. Oh how I wish that bush was still there. My bag of magic contains high shining lip gloss, loud music, comfy pants, and lots of sunny shine.

  633. Oh you are not alone in the nutty sleeping baby game. I am right there with you. Really all three of my babies have been stink butt sleepers. They eventually figure it out and when all is said and done I will never regret hold, rock nursing and any of the other middle of the nigth dates I have with my babies.

    My bag of tricks includes:
    toe nail painting
    good coffee
    a couple coconut M&M’s
    dropping the should do’s, grab the kids and go anywhere, then sit with the camera adn snap away.
    girlfriends who let me get it all out and then laugh with me as I get it all in order.

  634. for me the book beside still waters by c.h. spurgeon is always in reach on my baltic ave days. a passage of scripture with expansion on the test – food for the soul. music. music for momma & the girlies. a must have. folk to rap to rock… all about the mood.

  635. Oh I love this so much!

    In my bag of tricks is a tank top that always makes me feel like I’ve got the most fabulous arms on the block, some perfume that takes me to a sweet summer night in one smell and of course, my camera. It’s amazing what you can see through a lens in different moods.

  636. Bag of tricks…kids baby albums. They LOVE to talk about the day they were born. And as a mother, I can recount every minute of each of their special days!

  637. a hidden bag of candy in the house.
    herbal tea.

  638. Knitting and dark chocolate in bed after putting the little down to sleep… recharge time for mommy…

    Oh, and for the little? endless singing of itsy bitsy spider.

  639. hot baths, coffee, a glass of wine after a really long day, leg rubs with my husband, hugs with a squeeze from my child…too many in my bag of tricks to list.

  640. My life saver in my bag-o-tricks is my blog reader app on my phone. The little piece of sanity is my escape from the sometimes crazy world for a few minutes.

  641. my bag of tricks…oh how I love my bag of tricks!

    Hot or iced Chai
    a good book
    a hot bath
    a gossip magazine
    and among many other things I will end with…
    some good quality time with my little!

  642. Like many parents and people say youre writing is such an inspiration. You have a way of writing that makes everything go away, that makes the world much clearer and allows me to focus on bigger things.
    Like ive told you before Sky has the opposite of Nella with Williams Syndrome. She is missing a chromosome,Its stil very rare and no one knows anyhting about it. But I ocme to you for pick me ups, is that something I could keep in my bag. My bag of keeping me warm and comfort are the blessings of your words and allowing me to live each day preciously for I have a beauiful daughter I was blessed with that was sent down especially for me from heaven

  643. Like many parents and people say youre writing is such an inspiration. You have a way of writing that makes everything go away, that makes the world much clearer and allows me to focus on bigger things.
    Like ive told you before Sky has the opposite of Nella with Williams Syndrome. She is missing a chromosome,Its stil very rare and no one knows anyhting about it. But I ocme to you for pick me ups, is that something I could keep in my bag. My bag of keeping me warm and comfort are the blessings of your words and allowing me to live each day preciously for I have a beauiful daughter I was blessed with that was sent down especially for me from

  644. Like many parents and people say youre writing is such an inspiration. You have a way of writing that makes everything go away, that makes the world much clearer and allows me to focus on bigger things.
    Like ive told you before Sky has the opposite of Nella with Williams Syndrome. She is missing a chromosome,Its stil very rare and no one knows anyhting about it. But I ocme to you for pick me ups, is that something I could keep in my bag. My bag of keeping me warm and comfort are the blessings of your words and allowing me to live each day preciously for I have a beauiful daughter I was blessed with that was sent down especially for me from

  645. a pedicure and a glass of wine always seem to lift my spirits!

  646. Like many parents and people say youre writing is such an inspiration. You have a way of writing that makes everything go away, that makes the world much clearer and allows me to focus on bigger things.
    Like ive told you before Sky has the opposite of Nella with Williams Syndrome. She is missing a chromosome,Its stil very rare and no one knows anyhting about it. But I ocme to you for pick me ups, is that something I could keep in my bag. My bag of keeping me warm and comfort are the blessings of your words and allowing me to live each day preciously for I have a beauiful daughter I was blessed with that was sent down especially for me from

  647. Nella looks much like her sister in the crib picture. And I love, love, love the alligator picture. The big creature looks so serene.
    I don’t have a bag of tricks; I mostly fly by the seat of my pants. However, you inspire me to do something, make a bag of tricks, smile more.

  648. This is such a great post topic! In my current bag of tricks…
    * Sidewalk chalk (instantly calms all tantrums)
    * Audio books playing on my ipod so I can feel literary while cleaning during nap time
    * Homemade salsa
    * String cheese – who knew that a toddler would find it fascinating to spend 15 minutes pulling each little piece away
    * Long walks around our neighborhood

  649. First things first…I think I am going to have to get on board with this bag of tricks idea for the kiddos. I usually do take those items, but I love the idea of them always being ready to grab at a moments notice! :) Second, Oh my goodness!!! In the first picture of Nella she seriously looks like a toddler and not a baby. What is up with that?!? My personal bag of tricks includes, baths with fun bath products, sewing, walking, reading my favorite blogs (you and dig this chick), grabbing a friend and doing something fun with the littles, and just changing the dynamics of what me and my little are doing. :)

  650. I read your blog avidly, and your Nella has helped to change my life. Partly due to you, partly due to one other Down Syndrome mama, and mostly due to God, my husband and I have decided to adopt a little blond doll with Down Syndrome from Reece’s Rainbow. I was going to comment today to thank you for your inspiring words, and to ask you to visit us when you can at We are also at I was going to comment anyway, but it is a wonderful thing that there is a chance to win a prize because I am currently trying to round up some items to use in giveaways to raise donations to bring our girl home. Thank you sharing not just your journey but your feelings and emotions as well. I look forward to watching Nella grow, and I pray that one day I will be doing it with my own special girl in my lap!

  651. loved this post! thanks for sharing the baltic avenue week. sometimes it just happens. i like to drop everything and head to our favorite nature preserve beach when i am having a day/week like that. we always come home to boardwalk after a couple hours there.

  652. A bath (even a quick one), a cup of hot tea, a massage, a pedicure, Clinique’s “extreme lipstick

  653. My grab bag includes:
    my running shoes, going for a run always leaves me feeling better.
    Music, blasting a good song and singing to it always makes me happier
    Children’s books, I LOVE them.
    Oh, and I love me some hot chocolate with the works…whipped cream, chocolate shavings, chocolate and caramel syrup.

  654. In my keep yourself sane bag of tricks I always have a great book (usually crime dramas or sappy memoirs) going, which I like to sit down to read with a bowl of “mix up” as my son calls the bag of mixed chips we buy. I also find that tuning into Grey’s Anatomy with a glass of wine is just enough to bring me back to what I have that’s good in my life.

  655. A pedicure! An hour in a massage chair and nothing but a gossip magazine can do wonders.

  656. Precious girl! My bag of tricks is one for a newlywed trying to balance a home, husband and writing/work- 1. spending time with friend’s littles, something about saying the alphabet over and over and watching in wonder as colors finally have names that make any situation better 2. a manicure and pedicure, even when it isn’t in the budget 3. a run with our border collie mix, meeting new friends in the park 4. driving past our street just to admire the spanish moss covered trees lining our streets and last but not least, reading blogs like yours that bring laughter and sometimes much needed tears. Thanks for sharing your heart.

  657. my bag of tricks includes quiet evenings alone when Devin is asleep and Neal is at work!

    as always, love the photos. hope the teething necklace works!

  658. oooh! I have a bag of tricks that I take for Mayson as well!! All kinds of little animals, people, buzz and woody! oh and the almighty ipod!!!

  659. My bag of tricks involves a rainy or overcast day, a good cup of coffee, driving with the windows down and real music playing in the car (by real music, I mean, not Dora the Explorer. Again…), a walk in the woods, my favorite book of poetry and the feeling that I should have been the one to write what I just read because I feel such a a connection with it, cuddling with my little babies and date night with my husband. <3

  660. Mine doesn’t come in a bag it comes packaged in a bottle….beer. Cracking open a cold beer relieves all. Wow! I really sound like an alcoholic. I’m not, I swear.

  661. A large Diet Coke from the McDonald’s drivethrough, a run in the country, sitting down for a second to read your blog :)

    And I loved that poetry reading on NPR. Did you catch the poem about motherhood? It was awesome. And ending the interview with “ithacas” sealed the deal for me. Favorite poem ever.

  662. My favorite thing in my bag of tricks is chocolate….mmmmm

  663. I feel your pain! It is always nice to know that we all go through the same things as a mom!

  664. When planning my wedding gets too crazy and everything seems to go wrong, I love taking a walk to the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. :)

  665. In the Kate bag of tricks: Chocolate. I tell myself I can do anything for 4 days…then renew that vow 4 days later, with chocolate.

  666. A hot shower, a good book and some quiet time!

  667. So glad I got in my girl’s poker night already this week (buy-in = 1 bottle of nail polish) because this morning there was lots of water in the basement! But I have plenty stored in the bank from that night, so no Baltic Ave day for me today.

  668. Bag of tricks=Guilty pleasure of a People magazine read cover to cover+Starbucks Skinny Hazelnut latte+Sitting on the patio, watching the sun come up on a Saturday morning.

  669. You can make even a bad day sound amazing. I love the pictures of Miami (I have never been). The crocodile scares me, or was it an alligator. I can never get them straight, yay to no glasses, trust me I know…
    As far as my bag of tricks, 3 things come to mind, a hot bath, a good book and being able to create something.

  670. Kelle, I haven’t commented on your blog before, but have been reading for probably about a year. I just had to tell you that this blog post made me cry. I am a mom of four little ones and this past week has left me so weary, and questioning whether anything I do as a mom is right. Today, I will choose to see the good that rises to the top. Honestly, your blog is one of the tricks in my bag.
    From a fellow Michigander,


  671. It always makes me feel better just to get out of the house with my boys! Hazelnut latte’s help too. :)

  672. I always encourage my boys to take a book when we leave the house – but inevitably we end up with handfuls of legos, handheld video games, and a Super Mario figure or three.

    Personally, I treat myself to a new magazine, some quiet time with a good book, a bunch of flowers, or a cup of coffee or tea, depending on my mood. Oh, and new makeup – especially lip gloss. Just picking out a new tube, hoping this is THE MAGIC SHADE that will go with everything, makes me feel girlie and fun.

  673. Good friends and a glass of wine are the only tricks in my bag =)

    So jealous of your gator sighting! Every time I head to FL I’m on gator patrol and have yet to see one that close. I’ve only seen them on the side of the Ally, driving 75 and a good ways away from the road =(

  674. I hadn’t really thought about it! I think I need to! Love the new sponsor’s shop!

  675. Pictures, especially when I am away from my family for work travels. I look at pics of our journeys together – both everyday events (parks or the library) and out of the ordinary trips together.
    And a skinny vanilla latte from Starbucks doesn’t hurt either ’cause there have got to be Starbucks every corner on Broadway baby…

  676. I had a total Baltic day Friday but after I put the little dude to bed I kissed my husband goodbye and went to sit at Starbucks for an hour. Decaf latte, free wifi And relative silence. Perfectly Park Place

  677. It seems like everyone has had one of “those” weeks.

    In my bag of tricks – a margarita. A big raspberry blended margarita. Mmmm… I don’t have one often, but when I do it’s heaven.

  678. Been there with the baby crying in the car and there isn NOTHING you can do to comfort or make the crying stop. In my bag of tricks are sitting in my backyard for a “breather” by the creek with the dog. Or a long hot shower so I can let the tears flow without no one knowing. Or a trip to Mcdonalds for a #1 with a coke!

  679. Ahh, my bag of tricks, a quick swing through our local drive-up coffee spot for a iced mocha, a hot shower with the bathroom door locked, a kiss from my hubby…oh, and mint flavored lip gloss-what a joy!

  680. my bag of trics.. interior-magazines on the pourch, long-way drive to the store alone, with music too loud. I definety need to get a bag of trics for my little girl as well…terrible tows;)

  681. A call to my own Momma. Even at my worst, she can make me laugh and the world seems right again….

  682. Self preserving? Always… a good book, even if I only make time to read a few pages, Imogen Heap, treating myself to a new spring blouse with NO GUILT ATTACHED, hot tea, Project Runway, indulging in a Marie Claire cover-to-cover reading, shutting the door on the laundry room, taking the time to blow dry my hair, spending the day in our PJs and NO REGRETS allowed.

  683. My bag of tricks…shopping, chocolate and a little time spent on a good blog.

    I have been sick the last couple of days…so today is my catch up day on your blog. There were a couple of pictures on your April 13th blog that “got” me. Your girls are so beautiful.

    Denise WI

  684. cheeseburgers :)
    And I love those earings

  685. My bag of tricks? On a rainy day? A game of “Don’t Wake Mommie” the girls have to stand on the other side of the room while I lay on the couch. I pretend to sleep and they have to sneeeeak across the room and touch me without “waking” me up. But they always giggle and make a ton of noise so I reach out my arms pull them in and cover them with kisses while “scolding” them (in an over the top appalled voice) for waking me up. They find it hilarious…It entertains them, it burns quite a bit of time, and allows me to lay on the couch for a while. Best part, it’s a bonding fun activity…Win, win, win, wiiin.

    That and dragging every one back to bed with a pile of books.

    Also cleaning, just straightening one room (even if it means every thing is piled on the couch until I can go through it :0. )makes a huge difference in how I feel, and the level of crankiness in my littles.

  686. The picture of Nella in the Crib is so cute. She is looking so much like Laney as she grows up!

  687. My bag of tricks: drinking a yummy chai that only my hubby can make right, sitting down and snuggling with my hubby after my girls goes to bed for a movie date night “in”, getting outside in the warmth and sunshine (the 4 months it’s warm here), going on an outside adventure (hiking, biking, walking, exploring, etc.).

  688. -dancing like a fool by myself
    -a run when I can motivate myself
    -a good laugh with my best friends

  689. well….reading blogs like yours are comforting to me, and lift my spirit. Back on boardwalk baby, that is poetry and imagery at it’s best. Also, lowering the bar for a bit…letting a messy laundry room be messy, looking past kid room disasters, even indulging in chips and salsa though I’m low carb. The bar can go back up another day.

  690. My bag of tricks contains a phone call to my closest friend, homemade hot chocolate, and positive, upbeat music.

  691. my bag of tricks: fiesta mexicana iced tea and dvr’ed shows while my little one is napping; long hot showers; and cooking (when I’m not rushed).

  692. This comment has been removed by the author.

  693. My busiest day of the week is Tuesday. We drive an hour so my 2yr old daughter can have 3 hours of therapy. OT, PT, and Speech. I bring my one year old son along. My ‘bag of tricks’ has caffeine and lots of it! Preferably a vanilla iced coffee from McDonalds! Mmmmmmm!

  694. The picture of Nella in the crib, and the last one where she is smiling are so cute! She looks so much like Lainey in them to me. Adorable!

  695. I had to think about this because while I know I have a bag of tricks, I think I pull from it far too infrequently. Mine would include drive-thru coffee. Someone else making me a latte always perks me up. Another trick would be impromptu tickling of my little ones. It surprises them when ‘fun mommy’ comes out and bolsters me when I need it so. And finally, something pretty hanging from my ears always perks me. I’ll be heading to Meg’s shop now…:)

  696. Oh for me my bag of tricks includes coming home to my husband and our puppies. They’re the greatest! Add being outside doing anything and I’m happier than I thought imaginable! Can’t wait for the day we add our very own littles to that mix!

    Also being in the kitchen stirring up something delicious ranks among the top as well. =)

  697. i know that think-she’s-sleeping-cuz-she’s-quiet thing TOO well! but how adorable!:) some tricks: a hot panera bread sandwich, a homemade fajita or quesidilla(love food, can ya tell?), time on the computer, and grocery shopping. yes, grocery shopping. –Kayla

  698. hmm, my bag of tricks … reading a great book, hanging out with my girlfriends, a frothy cappucino or iced latte in the middle of the afternoon, watching some of my fave tv shows … Happy weekend! Here’s to more sleep and lots of boardwalk time!!

  699. When I’m having a rough day, exercise makes me feel so much better. With 3 young kids, I need a bit of alone time each day and I also feel like I need to keep fit so I can catch up with them :)
    A good cocktail in the evening never hurts, either!

  700. Sonic strawberry limeade, relaxing dinner at Olive Garden with my husband, having all 7 kids in the living room at once, just talking. Nothin better !

  701. I love the pics of your girls playing with side walk chalk!

    Bag of tricks:
    -cherry coke (fountain soda only-my pregnant self doesn’t like it in a can)
    -a good book (currently The Hunger Games)
    -bag of “Crunch” eggs
    -Michael Buble singing in the background

  702. My bag of tricks is the starbucks drive through, and a long drive with Robert Munch old school tapes to keep my boys happy :)

  703. My bag of tricks hold double stuffed Oreo’s…Mmmmmm Yep, that’s what I need…

  704. sleeping in, a trip to the local orchard, a good workout, take out, a glass of wine while catching up on my favorite blogs :-) Hope you have a wonderful week.

  705. On a really tough day, I utilize “om” breathing, listen to Ingrid Michaelson’s “Be Okay” and maybe, just maybe, treat myself to a cupcake. I think it’s a pretty sweet bag of tricks!

  706. Last august when my 2nd little girl was 3 weeks, she got whooping cough. We spent a month at Seattle Children’s hospital and Lu kilt, she fully recovered. When I returned home and had both my girls and husband under one roof, I told myself I would never be the same mama. I saw children that “lived” at the hospital. On bad days, I remind myself that it truly could be worse. Tantrum, shantrum. Dirty house? Whatever. It may be a circus, but my girls are healthy. Cheers to you and your little loves. Sisters are the best!

  707. My bag of tricks includes simple things like reading my Bible by candle light, a nice hot bubble bath, singing along to musical soundtracks, and long drives with the windows down. Or sometimes, if things get really bad, a nice cry followed by any of the previous always does the trick. :)

  708. Patio lounge chair. Music in my ears. By sunlight or candlelight. Breathing Deep. Gets me back in the game.

  709. Mint Milano cookies. Simple luxury!

  710. Oh, yeah, she is damn cute, but no amount of cute can excuse 4 hours of lost sleep. Hope you recharge soon!

  711. Love those earings…Also love how even when you are having a bad day/week you still look for the good :) My bag of tricks… a night out with a girlfriend or a night in no kids :) Always helps me to relax, enjoy myself, and then refocus :)

  712. Painting my nails

    A long bath with my baby watching him kick, kick, kick in the water.

  713. My grab bag includes a husband who takes the kids and lets me meditate in peace once in a while. It includes a favorite book and a tea cup from Scotland showing what Sottish men wear under their kilts. And it includes fuzzy socks and hugs from freshly washed babies before they fall asleep.

  714. In my bag of tricks is my camera, good music, chewy sprees and an ice cold coke. I know, I know…those are all for me. I know that when I am happy, my girls are happy. and when mama is rockin’ out to Sara B, munchin on sprees and sippin’ on a coke…the world is as it should be.

    p.s. you should hear my 5 year old sing any song off Sara Bareielles’s “Kaliedoscope Heart.” That album is fuel for my soul :)

  715. My mom IS my bag of tricks at the moment. She’ll come over to hold my 6 week old while i go for a much needed walk in the sunshine or a much needed nap in my comfy bed.

  716. love the wand!
    my bag of tricks-magazine, a splurge at the coffee shop, hidden cakester oreos and going to bed extra early to feel renewed the next day

  717. Going outside. It never fails to make me feel better, even when it’s raining. And in Oregon, it’s raining a lot. :-)

  718. Wine & bubble baths. Or, if we’re out & about & I need comfort…Chick-fil-A waffle fries. Yummmmm.

  719. My bag of tricks: a long shower, a nap, a date night, looking for new growth in my garden, and reading books with my boys.

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  721. I can relate,I’ve been distracted by uni (college) this week and things have been a bit ‘gah!’ as a result.
    My tricks are:
    – reading this blog;
    -coffee (we brought a coffee maker and it makes a world of difference because you can still get a coffee if you can’t get out of the house)
    – my most recent is playing words with friends with friends and family, it’s a little break in the day and it’s fun to engage with people in a different way. Even though I never win!
    -chatting to my sister on IM
    -sitting on the front step with a cup of tea while my girls play with acorns.
    -a walk

    I’m in love with that wand! That’s going on my daughters Christmas list (and her friends… and my nieces…)

  722. Hmmm. Bag o’ Tricks:
    Writing anything – blogging, journalling, poetry.
    Taking pictures with my brand new “fancy camera”.
    Coffee or tea, no matter how hot it is outside.
    Wearing dresses and skirts.
    Walking my doggie in the park . . . Swinging in the park.
    Listening to the playlist on your blog. Not flattery, definitely truth.

  723. Wine, candle light, and snuggle on the couch are in my bag of tricks to get me from Baltic to the Boardwalk after a long day!

  724. Caramel macchiatos from the drive through of a local place while the girls take naps in the car

  725. Recently I added the new northern lite mocha from caribou to my “bag of tricks”. ooooh SO good, without the guilt :)

  726. Carrie Serna says: