Our Weekend: it was shiny.

I woke up Saturday morning with this couldn’t-be-settled itch to start cranking out the Halloween costume projects. I craved festive crafty project even before my coffee that morning, so there I was with my wet hair and my mad dash make-up mess (mascara only on one eye and bad blush streaks up the side of my cheeks), standing outside Joann’s right as they opened. I zig-zagged my cart through ribbon and glitter aisles, beaming at the site of eucalyptus wreaths and cornucopias like a crazed craft woman high on fall. Who am I kidding? I am a crazed craft woman high on fall.

A half hour later I was back home, rigging up a soup pot for a onesie dye job and folding poster board into a princess crown cone while I pushed dishes aside and ignored, for the third time, the dryer buzzer indicating the current load was done. Nella’s costume didn’t take long–a green dye bath for a onesie, a pair of tights and some magic glove “feet” that will hopefully, with a few more details, transform her into an adorable little frog. I hung the wet green onesie and tights from the clothing line out back and returned inside to tackle the rest of the day which turned out to be one of those glorious days when everything feels good. Meaningful time with my girls, a little bit of cleaning and that adrenaline rush that comes from knowing you’ve been as productive as you had hoped.

A Saturday lunch date with my girl where I attend to my out-of-control pregnancy craving for Thai Tom Kha soup

An afternoon cupcake excursion. Grace & Shelly’s vanilla with vanilla buttercream? Ridiculous.


I take these days for what they’re worth–friggin’ gold. And although a disclaimer is not necessary, I assure you that moms who post Instagram photos of completed Halloween costumes drying on the clothing line mid-September have a behind-the-scenes story that would make you understand we’re all very much the same. Trying to keep afloat, pickin’ and choosin’ each day which balls we’re going to attempt to keep up in the juggling act while a few fall at our feet, waiting for their turn.

Today is a work day for me. After a half day of school, Nella is sleeping and Lainey is quietly playing in her bedroom, arranging puzzles, reading books and probably tying her American Girl doll’s hair into twenty-two snarly ponytails. Today looks different than our weekend did as I’ve chosen different balls to juggle today. This is how life works though, and when you add it all together–perfect snuggly crafty days, mama dates and family dinners plus busy work days, babysitter nights and “Candyland is going to have to wait” afternoons, it can still equal Really Good Mom.

This fact is powerful when you catch yourself comparing your methods and outcomes with other mamas (it’s a wash–don’t do it). When you see the seems-like-she-does-everything pizzaz of another mom, know that she’s enjoying a shining moment among many other kinds of moments, and be happy for her. And when you see a mom who might be losing her cool or maybe arranging her priorities differently than you would, assume that there are other days when things shift and she too enjoys that shining moment of everything-feels-just-right. Amen? Amen. Isn’t it nice when we don’t have the pressure of figuring out everyone else’s life for them?

That spending-really-good-time-with-my-kids unicorn pulled in this weekend, already saddled up. All I had to do was hop on and ride. Saturday was definitely one of those shining moment kind of days, and I enjoyed it, knowing it was special. Like family road trips, good steak for dinner or spending a little extra on a fancy bottle of wine.

We did some fun window shopping–just me and the girls.



Set up camp and made ourselves comfortable at the book store.




Meandered through our outdoor shopping center with absolutely no agenda.




And answered the siren’s call for cupcakes.



One of my favorite moments? Our Pet Store Scavenger Hunt. Pregnancy Insomnia granted me an idea the other night. I hit the pet store early Saturday morning without the kids and walked through for a few moments using my phone to take photos of fun things to find. I dropped the photos in a document with a place to check off finds, printed it off and returned later in the day with Lainey for our scavenger hunt. She could not stop smiling–thought it was the coolest thing ever.


I offered her no help other than reading off the descriptions of things to find. The rest was up to her. So we slowly walked through aisles, searching for dog brushes, colorful frisbees, turtles, iguanas and harder to find items like a Dora fish tank figurine or a particular picture on a sign.

I’m not gonna lie. The iguanas were gettin’ their freak on that day. Like five of them. Aquariums need privacy curtains and maybe iguanas should be exempt from scavenger hunts.



She’s already asked for more store scavenger hunts, so it will be fun to adapt this for other stores–craft stores, grocery, what-have-you. And I’m sure you could make it fun for bigger kids too. Set them loose in the mall in search of One Direction posters and sparkly Toms.


If you have a Petco nearby, feel free to print off our scavenger hunt for your own.


And then if your kid finds everything, you have to buy them a puppy or something. Okay, a fish. Okay, okay, it’s just a fun game and you don’t have to buy them anything.

I’m gettin’ punchy and dangerously unfiltered, so I better wrap this thing up.


Last Week’s Friday Photo Dump:

Friday Phone Dump photos are taken on the Instagram iPhone app (free) and dropped into a 12×12 collage using a photo editing software (Photoshop Elements works). I am @etst (enjoying the small things) on Instagram if you care to follow the feed.

And your #enjoyingthesmallthings photos. (If you use Instagram and have a photo that makes you happy, share it by using the hashtag #enjoyingthesmallthings. Yours may be chosen to be shared in a Friday post.)Photobucket


Imagine for my introduction of this next sponsor that I am holding a megaphone (the megaphone is yellow and has stripes on it, in case you wondered), and that I am singing into it and that the voice that comes out sounds like angels (angels that sing like Eartha Kitt). And glitter shoots out of the megaphone when I sing.

A big welcome to Shop Ruche, the secret happy place where I find my most awesome wardrobe additions that don’t cost a week’s worth of groceries. Shop Ruche is a vintage inspired boutique with modern flare. The site itself is aestetically beautiful–illustrations, photography, inspiration. And the products? Hello, heaven.


Shop Ruche adds new pieces to their site every day, and their current fall inventory is full of rich colors and dreamy textures.

Then they upped the ante and introduced a children’s line this year (perfectly timed for Baby Boy’s arrival, of course), characterized by unique pieces you wouldn’t find in any ‘ol baby shop–soft vintage patterns, retro onesies and a great collection of Wherever did you find that? gifts.


I just entered their Dress Contest (only 2 more days) to win a new dress every month for a year. I have that 1-out-of-700-mamas luck going for me so, fingers crossed.

If you didn’t know about Shop Ruche until now, I’ll just say it…You’re Welcome.


It’s Monday. Clean Slate. Do something fun this week. Pull that unicorn out of the stable and take it for a ride, even if you have to put him right back when you’re done.



Leave a Comment
  1. LOVE the pet store scavenger hunt. We visit our local one a lot — the kids think of it as the “zoo.” We need to get out more. :)

  2. Love the scavenger hunt. Thanks for sharing! I am having one of those good days where I am able to focus on my boys and enjoy them. I appreciate your thoughts today.

  3. Love nella’s onesie!!! Love your happy weekend!!

  4. I’m feeling like a crazed craft woman high on fall too! It’s my favorite time of year!

  5. What a brilliant idea, a pet store scavenger hunt! Definitely putting that one in my pocket for a someday-I’ll-be-a-mommy idea.

    ps. I thought I was the only one who used the word “snarly” in regard to hair. Good to know I’m not alone :)

    Have a great week!

  6. A lesson I learned early on is NEVER COMPARE. I was never happy when I did….We are all unique mother’s a women, who make the most of what we have. I love your unstructured, no agenda day. I think those are the memory building days.

  7. Loved the Pet Store Scavenger hunt. I may have to do the Mall one since my “baby” is going to be 15 in a week. Wah! I’m feeling the crazed craft woman pull too but am finding it a bit rough this year since my kiddos are pretty much grown and don’t have grandbabies yet *crossing fingers that we don’t have any anytime soon either since I said that outloud*. Err….Glad you had a great Mama weekend.

  8. Thanks for the perspective. Awesome.

  9. The iguanas made me giggle!

  10. what a FANTASTIC weekend!
    I LOVE the Shop Ruche clothing!
    Thanks for the link.

  11. The iguanas getting their freak on…priceless!

  12. Comparison is the thief of joy – Theodore Roosevelt

    Love your blog!

  13. It’s a BOY!? You snuck that in there! Congratulations!!! Being a mama to a baby boy is a precious gift! <3

  14. Ding! Ding! Ding! You win the prize for coolest kid game. This blows my “I Spy” game outta the water, leaving it flipping and flopping all over and gasping for air! Printing this up now, thank you for sharing!

  15. Ok. Shop ruche. Killing me. I’m dead.

    And beautifully put about mama on mama love more judge lessness.

  16. I was laughing through my nose when you posted that picture of the iguanas getting their thang on on IG. I showed it to my mom and got an eyebrow raise and a “hmmph”. :-)
    I love your outing with your girls. I can’t wait to have daughters someday and do the same thing. And those cupcakes? Delicious! We have a delightful little shop in the historic district here that has cupcakes, but they sell out before noon so you have to get there early. But it’s worth it because they are divine.
    And shut the front door. Ruche does not have kids clothes now. Dear Lord. It’s a good thing I don’t have kids. It’s a good thing that the kids I know don’t need any more clothes from me.
    …or do they?

  17. LOL!! “I’m not gonna lie. The iguanas were gettin’ their freak on that day. Like five of them.” — Reminds me of a trip w/ our 10 & 8 yr. old daughters to the Indianapolis zoo last fall when the RHINOS were gettin’ their freak on! Wow, never seen THAT until you’ve seen RHINOS … and how to explain THAT to an 8 & 10 yr. old … um, wrestling?! Now, the older daughter knows what they were doing, cuz we’ve had “the talk”, so it’s like our own private joke. But wouldn’t you know, after letting rhino curiosity win out for a few minutes, as we moved on, the monkeys were up to the same “monkey business” on the opposite side of the walkway … what a funny memory!!

  18. headed to petco right now…to replace a deceased parakeet :/ maybe I’ll swing a scavenger hunt to cheer up my sad little boy. :(
    I always love your black and whites, they have a creamy tint to them that is so unique.

  19. It is too easy to get caught up in that “she must be the perfect wife/mama and have a completely clean house, only home cooked organic meals and home-sewn clothes.” Thanks for the reminder!

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  21. My husband would create a “museum bingo” card for our kids when they were elementary and middle school aged. He’d look online in advance for some of the featured items, and then fill out the rest of the card with things that one can ALWAYS find in a museum: a picture with a cat/dog/horse, etc. This game meant that the parents actually got to enjoy a few quiet minutes at a time and the kids were engaged in looking at art. WIN! :)

  22. OMG!!! That Thai soup is a craving of mine as well!!! I am 20 weeks with our little miracle that we have been prayinghopingwaiting for for 5 years and that that soup definitely hits the spot!!!

    Love the scavenger hunt idea…so cute!

  23. It’s a BOY?!!!!! Did I miss a prior announcement or was that just randomly thrown in there? Congrats! So excited for you!

  24. Your high-on-life buzz is so addictive Kelle. Thank you.

    P.S. Love the pet store scavenger hunt. I also have a nature one for free download on my blog too, which anyone is welcome too. Made it for my 4 yr old & friends last school holidays, whilst we enjoyed a picnic in the woods. Might be a bit ‘Aussie’ though :)


  25. Love this post! None of us have it all together all of the time but, we do each deserve our moment where we seem to be juggling quite well. I’m over due for a crafty day but, the sewing machine is going to come out tonight after the kids are in bed! Woo hoo!

  26. Love your blog! What lens do you use? I always feel that my camera is so cumbersome that I end up not taking it with me ….and missing some great shots I’m sure.

  27. Kelle!
    I just read your book and I loved your story. I just thought I’d pop in to see how big those precious girls are getting and they are BEAUTIFUL! I’m so happy to see all is well! Thank you for sharing your story…

    I already got my fall decorations out 2 weeks ago…crazy fall lady here too!

  28. Hi Kelle~
    Loved your reveal video but I so would love to know your thoughts the exact moment you found out that your new little would be a baby boy.
    I have two nephews who are everything to me. Can’t get enough of them. They are so delicious. So, so exciting & I’m so excited for you!!

  29. I love this refreshing perspective: “Isn’t it nice when we don’t have the pressure of figuring out everyone else’s life for them?” I’ve never heard the anti-mommy war cry put so simply and effectively!

  30. “it can all equal really good Mom”…..thank you for that. I can exhale now.

    Nella is the 2nd black & white with the hat on…..I’m dying!!!

    And the navy blue dress on your sample of Shop Ruche…..soooo me! I want it.

  31. I so often compare myself to other Mama’s out there and I know that I need to stop. We are all doing the best job that we can.. It just always seems as if all of my balls are always on the floor!! x

  32. I’d love to know about the lens you use, too!

    Love the scavenger hunt idea. I may adapt it to the local “Dollarama”, that way I can buy them a trinket at the end :)

  33. You had me at ‘shiny’ :)
    Those pics of the girls in the rain? ADORABLE!!

  34. What a cute fun idea the scavenger hunt is. Love Lainey’s checked top and skirt… and Nella’s lil onsie. Love the pics with the girls trying on hats too!!

  35. loved this post. so so true!

  36. Love the scavenger hunt idea. I may have to “borrow” that.

  37. That scavenger hunt is such an awesome idea. Every time I read one of your posts I’m inspired in one way or another. And that makes me very happy. Not that you need me to say it but…keep doing what you’re doing. Writing, posting, photographing and loving life. It really does help those of us that are little less life embracing to get a little bit more life embracing. :)

  38. My gracious!! Look how thick the icing is on that cupcake!!!! That’s my kinda cupcake shop!

  39. Saw this in a coffee shop the other day. Made me think of you!

  40. Yes. Amen!

  41. I like that – we all juggle different balls on different days. And just because we can’t have those awesome moments every day, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t special when we do manage to pull them off.

    I just wrote, too, about that urge to put only our best, most polished, moments forward and how it can lead to feeling like we can’t measure up as a mom.

  42. Thank you for putting in your post about juggling and how some balls fall sometimes. I am often way to hard on myself trying to be the “perfect” mom. Thanks for making me feel like just because I dropped a ball, I am not a failure. I needed that today.

  43. Amazing, as usual. Your life is inspiring. Thanks for the pet store game, Little A loves the pet store so this will be fun!

  44. I teach a Special Ed./MD class at a high school. I LOVE the scavenger hunt idea– I am going to use a more teenage appropriate version on our field trips into the community (shop rite, 5 below, BJ’s ,etc.) Great idea which promotes independence too!

  45. You make me miss having a little kid so, so much.
    Your weekend sounds PERFECT! Love your scavenger hunt. Love your happy weekend. I hope you have many more wonderful weekends.

  46. Dear Kelle,

    I love how you see the beauty in everyday life. Through the lens of your camera and the keys on your computer, you transform it into art.

    So happy for you and your growing baby boy — what a fun new adventure!


  47. Great ideas! And I have to ask… did you watch the TV show Firefly? They use shiney as an adjective all the time on that show and I love it!

  48. Hi, Kelly. Love the Scavenger Hunt form. You said you took the photos and dropped them into a document…Can I ask what type of doc you did this in? I would love to make some of my own. Thanks! -Aimee

  49. You’re awesome, Kelle! You sure know how to pick a sister up on a bad day. I think I’ll be taking the unicorn out of the stable as soon as I get home! Get your fall freak on sister, I’m right there with you. :-)

  50. LOVE the scavenger hunt! Seriously, can you be my mom?

  51. Coming off of a week of feeling like Mom of the Year, into two days of feeling like “I wasn’t cut out for this and kinda really suck at it,” I needed this. Badly.

    Let’s keep spreading the word. Support each other; we have it hard enough in this competetive, judgemental society. Sometimes I feel like I’ll be judged for highlighting my “perfect” day, yet I’ll be judged for not having those perfect days…does that makes sense?

    Anyway, THANK YOU. We all need to hear this frequently.

    Off to break this two day “I can’t do it” streak with a pet store scavenger hunt. 😉


  52. The scavenger hunt is such a good idea! (:

  53. Baby BOYS arrival? Sneaky way to slip that in there. Congrats!

  54. Nella in the little yellow onsie and adorable little leather boots….. so ridiculously cute!

  55. Yaaaay a boy!! Awesome news, just watched the video. Congrats!
    On another note……. please take your baby boy home, WHOLE. Say no to circumcision!

  56. Such a happy happy post!! Love the scavenger hunt!! You ROCK Mama Kelle!! And the iguanas…crack me up!
    Nella and the Dr. Suess mini books…reminds me of my little who loved those ones…just the perfect size for their little book loving hands to hold.

    I saw that stache onesie on pinterest and thought to myself…if Kelle Hampton is expecting a boy…I bet she’ll get this super cool onesie for him :)

    Although girl shopping can be an addiction of sorts and they have the cutest outfits…boys are alot of fun to shop for too. Super adorable “little man” outfits out there…happy baby boy shopping.


  57. Thank you!!!! Thanks for cutting me some slack, and for reminding me to cut other moms slack as well! I loved your book and I love your blog. You are a bright shining spot in my day after I put my 3 sweet girls to bed at night.

  58. Loved this post and your unfiltered humor. Thanks for the share on the scavenger picture. I know several kids in my home that would LOVE that! Gonna look for my unicorn this week. Thanks for the reminder.

  59. Amazing, as usual. Your life is inspiring. Men sexual health Thanks for the pet store game, Little A loves the pet store so this will be fun!

  60. Just had to say, the photos of your gorgeous girls looking in the mirror are just so beautiful! (PS – loved your book!)

  61. nella’s little onesie/mocs combo couldn’t be cuter!

  62. Okay, scavenger hunt is beyond a brilliant idea!!!! How fun!!!! These are the memories your kids will always remember!!! :)

  63. You are always six months ahead of me….. I am currently at home with my new baby boy (I have three, and my middle was born six months ahead of Nella). I love the new baby time,, minus the lack of sleep and energy… You are once again getting me geared up for winter action with my older kids… Once I wake up! Thanks for the inspiration. Love your girls so much!

  64. Thanks for this post – it was great. It got me thinking on how I am doing at mothering too. Had to jot down my thoughts on my blog – http://www.themamayears.com/

    Love when your posts get me thinking that way. Thanks for the inspiration.

  65. I love, love, love the pet store scavenger hunt!! any chance you would share the template- so that I can adjust it for other places…..?

  66. So well put Kelle, I do have my shining days and I do have my more matte boring finish days … they can’t all be shiny right? And right again – embrace the shiny ones for all they are then the matte ones don’t matter so much. Maybe I’m not doing such a bad job after all. Much love and shiny things x x x

  67. Just wondering if you’ve seen your Swedish lookalike? She is called Loreen and won the Eurovision song contest this year.



  68. Love…
    -the hunt…such a fun idea
    -the idea of grace for other mothers and grace for yourself and putting yourself in their shoes
    -the clothing shop – beautiful!

  69. congrats on the pregnancy. i too crave Thai Tom Kha soup – but only because it’s tasty, not because i’m pregnant 😉

  70. Love the scavenger hunt…so cute! I’m a sucker for the pet store so this will be an awesome activity when The Peanut is older.

  71. I loved this post!

  72. Loving the Nella “oh” over the book, cupcake frosted faces, and Nella looking at Lainey as she tried on those hats!

    I am so looking forward to the craving stage. I can’t quite look at your tom kha soup yet.

    The incredibly immature 15 year old inside of me is still giggling at the iguanas!

  73. That Petco is the BEST! Audrey loves it and we have to visit minimally once per week. There is a lady who will take ANYthing out of a cage for the kids to look at. Yeah, no thanks, I don’t do rats too well, but it’s a kind gesture if you do that stuff. The fish varieties are great. Daddy/daughter trips are dangerous – that’s when the fish nearly made it in our house. She’s 2. Please, daddy, please.
    Good times!

  74. ,,,pic of Nella reading her book “adorable”,,,

  75. I loved this post. I found your blog right before I gave birth to my first baby back in January. I have enjoyed it so much – you inspire me to go above and beyond as a mother. I finally bought your book over the weekend and just got finished reading it last night. It was beautiful. I had tears streaming down my face. And even though my baby girl doesn’t have Down syndrome, it still made me really sit back and think about how I want to raise her and parent her and what kind of a mom I want to be. I absolutely believe that God led me to your blog right before she was born for a reason! Thank you for always inspiring me.

  76. You are amazing. I wonder how many women you help become better Mamas on a daily basis? I can only imagine there will be generations of children who’s childhoods will be just a tad bit more magical because of your beautiful words and priceless example. What a gift you are to all of us…

  77. Cudowne są Wasze Dziewczyny, magiczne zdjęcia, widać ogromną miłość i ciepło! Pozdrowienia z Polski:)

  78. We do the scavenger hunt at the farmer’s market! If they don’t know what an item is, I make them ask the farmer :)

  79. LOVE the scavenger hunt idea! You are such a fun mamma! thanks for sharing

  80. Nella’s onesie and the sight of her little muscular legs kinda bowl me over…in a very non-creepy way. It’s too cute for words.

  81. Oh Kelle. I so envy your photographs! How beautiful! What a joy to think of being Nella and Lainey when they are grown up and looking back on their childhoods. Incredible. You do your children a wonderful service day in and day out and thank you for your opening that world to me xxx I look forward to your posts everyday xxx

  82. Is it me, or does Nella look SO much like your sister in that bottom hat photo?!

    Love the scavenger hunt idea!

  83. I don’t know how long ago this post was, but it was AMAZING! The scavenger hunt is an AWESOME idea and I LOVE all the photos of the girls especially the ones with the book! I can’t wait until my little asian baby can do all those fun things and it makes me want to have another child……maybe.

  84. Hi Kelle, I love your blog. It lifts me up so often. Your photos are beautiful, and I sometimes accidentally call you “my friend” when I refer to something you wrote=)
    I look forward to your friday phone dumps, and I especially love your instagram stuff. I want to share a web app that helps me share my instagram feed on my blog. It’s gramscape.com and I thought of you immediately. Thanks for your sweet words and for reminding us all to truly enjoy the small things every day. Love, Kim

  85. Hi Kellie, this has nothing to do with your last post, I just googled.. When is Lainey’s Birthday as I have a 2 year old, and it really upset me, this person calling themself,’Mrs Odie’ has such a strong opinion about you, I’m sure you know, and I do think she/he are trying to get numbers off your back. But I really wanted you to know I love your blog & your photo’s of your gorgeous girls. Down hearted people can think this way. Keep inspiring :))

  86. Where did you get Nella’s onesie? I LOVE it!! I was going to pin it, but thought that might be creepy as I didn’t want to pin her picture in case you didn’t want that, LOL! Love your blog as ALWAYS!

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