It is December 3rd and 70 degrees in Southern Cali… That in itself makes it difficult for me to get in the holiday spirit.

That and the fact that I feel like Holidays 2012 was yesterday. How has a year passed already?

The minute I leave the comfort of my house however, I am accosted with reminders that it has… Lights… Santa’s… Menorahs…

It’s all happening… it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… and we are smack in the middle of Hanukkah.

I feel like the “Grinchess” who stole Hanukkah…  Calling Scrooges everywhere, I need a visit from ghosts of Xmas past.

Nativity scenes and tree lots and carolers… OH MY!

I find comfort with the lazy shopkeepers who have yet to get rid of thanksgiving turkeys decorating shop windows.

‘Tis the season to be Jolly… Fa la la

Sounds more like ‘Tis the season to be grumpy… in my head!

Holiday music feels like nails on a chalkboard … I turn down the music on the car radio only to be succumbed to the louder noises in my head. Holiday music means presents… I haven’t shopped… just adding to the list of TO DO’s, which at this point looks more like a list of all the things I haven’t done.

Perhaps it’s the leftovers from last week. And I don’t mean the turkey. Parents, in laws… all of it…  I am combusting in the aftermath… I am exhausted.

I seem to have a major case of the blah hum bugs.

I remember the days that the warm glow from the fire actually warmed me.  And the thrilling anticipation of getting just what I wanted thrilled me. And the wonderful sense of giving filled me.  It wasn’t that long ago… was it? I feel like Dorothy clicking her ruby red slippers… I want to go back there.

I understand now why bears hibernate… they are smart. They wake up and tis the season has passed and they are well rested. Sounds like heaven.

I am trying to remember when I lost sight that the world was my oyster.  When life was without responsibility, and I magically received gifts I wished for.  Oh yeah, it was when I became an adult! As if I needed a reminder, the holidays seem to be screaming at me, “YOU ARE NOT A CHILD ANYMORE!” Damn!

What is happening to me? I love to shop and give and surprise my kids and family and friends.  All of a sudden it seems holiday shopping is merely a form of torture.

I am hanging on to the fact that my kids think the Grinch is cute. That is until Mommy turns into one.

OK Lady… this is where the road intersects… your choice… You may withdraw or do what you do best, plunge into action as a brave warrior in a losing battle.

I know, I know, as an adult, my delight comes from the realm of my inner child. It is my job as a parent to help my children learn how to turn that delight on for themselves.

It should be enough knowing what I know and seeing so many adults who are still learning how to create their own happiness and spend too much time waiting for someone else to turn that light on for them.

I will not let this case of the Blah Hum Bugs get the best of me. Kimberly Muller get it together…

I close my eyes and visualize me turning my light back on.

I learned long ago when I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus, that the secret in approaching the holidays is not to wait for others to make us happy; it is for us to create our own happiness.

What can I say; we all have momentary lapses of consciousness.

Bring it on Santa…


I love wrapping gifts… I think the wrapping of a gift should be equally beautiful to what’s inside.

Not only is commercial wrapping paper way too expensive…it’s way more fun to make your own.

You can make wrapping out of almost anything… paint, stamps, glitter, glued-on treasures like buttons, feathers, pom poms, spray paint, fabric…


I usually wrap the gift in butcher paper or newspaper (still can’t give up my Sunday NY Times)… and let  my girls create their own unique masterpieces…

This was for a 4 year old boy and was Jackson Pollack-inspired…



When I was one I had just begun

When I was two I was nearly new

When I was three I was hardly me

When I was four I was not much more

When I was five I was just alive

But now I am six, I’m as clever as clever;

So I think I’ll be six now for ever and ever

- A.A. Milne

I am not one for party favor bags at a birthday, but I do love a handmade gift.

My girls made these #6 necklaces to commemorate their 6th Birthday.

A great party favor, gift, or party craft… it works for any age…

Girls chose Sculpty in hot pink….


Rolled it out and used cookie cutters, they cut out some hearts and moons to accompany the 6′s…

We poked holes with toothpicks before we put in oven to bake and once they were done and cooled…

Ribbons and cord and bells and feathers were tied to make the necklaces… and now they are 6!



The minute conflict erupts in my house, I quickly suggest an art project or activity to distract…

My 9 year old came up with the idea of using old shoeboxes to create a beach in a box… “we can take summer and the beach with us everyday!”

My 6 years olds agreed, as this was a great Polly Pocket backdrop.

My girls gathered shells & sand from our summer beach adventures, along with pipe cleaners, fabric, paint, glitter, pom poms…miscellaneous odds and ends and went to town…


Tiny fingers swirled together sand, glitter & glue to create a sandy multi-colored ocean floor. Dark blues and purples are painted on the inside panels of the box for the water, sea glass is glued together in groups to create hiding places for magical ocean creatures, hammocks made of fabric scraps are held up by wooden sticks on either side…umbrellas and beach chairs sit in the sand… the possibilities are endless.





This post originally appeared on Kimberly Muller Words.


A few nights ago, I found myself alone at home with 5 girls growing antsy as witching hour approached.

I had ordered pizza in for dinner.

As chaos brewed, I sat staring at the mess in the kitchen. My feeble attempts at making clean up a game were quickly destroyed by my 9 year old letting me know she was on to me.


I reached for the pizza boxes to recycle when it occurred to me…great gift box.  I quickly filed it away in the I LOVE WRAPPING department of my brain.

The girls were fidgeting with the mess on the counter…the pizza boxes ending up on the floor with a 3 year old attempting to fit inside.

Light bulb went off…POP-UP-PLAYroom.

A few months ago, we were on a real ‘shoe box-doll house making’ roll. The girls made rooms for their polly pockets out of shoe boxes (decorating with tape and stickers and paint and glitter and all of it). We stacked the boxes on top of each other after decorating, creating a house.


Shoeboxes to pizza boxes…Inspiring mind trying to change up the erupting energy, I asked if they wanted to gather supplies to make a Pop-up-playroom or better yet…a POP-UP PIED-A-TERRE for their little animals & people & furniture.

They loved the idea and started decorating away…

Painted floors, glitter windows, a plethora of possibilities…

  1. We used tape as our flooring for this particular one
  2. The girls painted white paper to use as wallpaper
  3. We cut small slits in both sides (in the back) to wedge corners in so our room held itself up
  4. We painted windows on the flaps
  5. We used dollhouse furniture, animals & polly pockets to play

The girls took it a step further…Using only furniture and dolls that fit when closed as well. They thought it made an excellent packable playroom. From the mouth of a 5 year old, “look Mom (as she placed the box under her arm and walked away) this is great… I can bring it in the car, to dinner, to play dates and to France… “

The recycled pizza box pop-up pied-a-terre will go anywhere their little imaginations will take them.


This post originally appeared on Kimberly Muller Words.


Image courtesy of Kimberly Muller

In 10 days, I will be 47 years old…


How did that happen?

I don’t feel almost 47 years old… Well actually this morning I did… as I stared at the whisker growing out of my chin in the car rear view mirror.

Oh and last night when I was cuddled next to my daughter, she said, “It feels so COOL…” (she was referring to my skin, as she kneaded the small pool of flesh that rested at my elbow in its particular position).

A few weeks ago, I woke up to one of my 5 year olds, near tears pointing to my wrinkles as I opened my eyes and lifted my head from the pillow, slowly revealing a map of Wisconsin on my face. Thing is those sleep lines hang around ‘till the afternoon these days, and some are permanently etched in my almost 47-year-old face.

“Mommy why do you look like an old lady?”

Do I look like an old lady to them?  I remember thinking my mother was ancient at 40. I am not ancient… I am young.

Hard to age gracefully when I am being fired at from all directions…especially from the mouths of my babes.

I live in LA.  I drive around town and pass drugstores selling Botox and billboards saying they can melt away years by melting away all my fat.

I hear about Limelight’s and Red Lights at a lunch and think we are revisiting our clubbing days in NYC.

I remind myself that the key is to age gracefully – not get caught up in all that.  It is not easy as fountains of youth are dangled in front of me at every turn.

My 92 year old grandmother often refers to the words of Sophia Loren who said, “There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”

This is my kind of fountain! This takes courage. Courage… I try to muster it up everyday all day, because courage is what enables me to live in the moment and not future fuck myself.

Hemingway said, “Courage is grace under fire.”

Grace… what I want to walk with, talk with, be with everyday, all day.

Deepak Chopra describes grace: “When the rhythms of our body-mind are in synch with nature’s rhythms, when we are living in harmony with life, we are living in the state of grace. To live in grace is to experience that state of consciousness where things flow effortlessly and our desires are easily fulfilled. Grace is magical, synchronistic, coincidental, joyful. It’s that good-luck factor. But to live in grace we have to allow nature’s intelligence to flow through us without interfering. To be whole is to live in Grace.”

That’s what I’m talking about!  However, living in Grace does not come easy.

And that’s just it, that’s why courage is grace under fire.

I have 3 little girls who I want to teach to walk gracefully through life. To live in grace regardless of what is happening around them.  Easier said then done.

I shall take the advice of the great George Bernard Shaw:

“You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.”

So, I laugh at my pools of flesh and whiskers in rear view mirrors and I will show courage as I take on aging gracefully while under fire.

Like Bette Davis said,

“Old age is no place for sissies…”  and I ain’t no sissy!

This post originally appeared on Kimberly Muller Words.