calming jar
I am really starting to wonder why it is called the “terrible twos” and not the “terrible threes”.  I don’t remember the twos being so bad at all.  But the threes…the threes are a bit challenging.

I have seen the idea of a “calming jar” floating around on Pinterest forever, but never really thought it would work for us.  I had everything I needed in the house already so I figured it was worth a try.  The first few times I tried using it, let’s just say that she was not impressed.  But she warmed up to it, and now even requests her “magic jar”.

Her explanation of the jar is so perfect, far better than anything I could come up with:  “When I’m mad or sad I just shake the jar and watch the magic float to the bottom.  And when the magic floats to the bottom then I’m not mad or sad anymore.”

Supplies needed:

  • a jar
  • glitter
  • water
  • glycerin


1.  Choose a jar.  If you think your child might throw or drop the jar, a plastic container like an empty peanut butter container might be a better idea.  I love my collection of vintage blue jars, so I used one of those.  I hope I don’t regret it.  ;)

2.  Fill the jar with water, leaving about an inch at the top empty.  Add 2 tablespoons of glycerin and 2 tablespoons of super fine glitter.  Put the lid on the jar and tighten well.

3.  Shake the jar until everything is blended.

Your magic jar is ready to use.  Shake it gently and watch all the glitter float to the bottom.

I had actually bought white glitter and glycerin because we were going to make snow globes before Christmas, but never got around to it.  I am loving how this turned out looking like a beautiful snow storm.  Perfect for this cold January we are having!


  • Corsage @ A Dollop Of Me - “I don’t remember the twos being so bad at all. But the threes…the threes are a bit challenging.” Am totally with you on this one!

    Love your photos, by the way :)ReplyCancel

  • julia [life on churchill] - I love this idea! I have a similar mason jar and two preschoolers who would love it. Has the glass held up okay?ReplyCancel

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.  Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”

-Neil Gaiman

All day today I was thinking about what my New Years resolutions were going to be.  Some years I have lists and lists.  Some years I swear them off completely.  This year, I just want to make one resolution that I can actually stick with.  (You know, past January 7th.)

I read this post by Neil Gaiman a few months ago and haven’t been able to get it out of my head.  Make mistakes.  Some of you might think nothing of this.  But to me, this is big.  Huge.  I am a perfectionist.  A perfectionist of the worst kind.  I have hundreds (probably more) of blog post drafts ready to go, but I am afraid to hit publish.  I spend hours (hours!) editing just one image.  I have tons of projects started, but not finished.  Because I worry that they aren’t good enough.  That I am not good enough.  Because in my head, I will do these things when I can do them perfectly.  So they never get done.

So this year, I will try, I will make mistakes, I will Do Something.  And I will share it with you all here.  I do hope that you will join me.

Here’s to a 2013 filled with beautiful mistakes!

  • Rachel - I feel the exact same way sometimes. I hope you will publish some of those blog posts and post some of those images. :) Happy New Year!ReplyCancel

  • kati - right there with you :) happy new year! here’s to just hitting “publish” :) xoReplyCancel

  • Janssen - What a great goal – I could really stand to focus on this. And of course, Neil Gaiman is a man of great wisdom almost always.ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - I was really inspired by your post. First of all, your photography and post content are always wonderful. As a perfectionist myself, I can totally relate to not feeling good enough and feeling like others will judge my work harshly. I am happy to know that I’m not the only one. I want to make similar goals so I can enjoy life more and progress in my creativity too.ReplyCancel

Happy Christmas Eve!  Hopefully your Christmas shopping is done, and you are just relaxing today.  If not, or even if you are done but still want a super easy, super cheap, last minute stocking stuffer, you are going to love this!

puffy paint socks

It has been pretty cold in San Francisco lately, and we have all hard wood floors in our apartment.  Sock weather + wood floors = a lot of slipping and sliding.  A $2 bottle of puffy paint and 5 minutes of my time took care of that problem.  And yes, it is the same puffy paint that we rocked on our sweatshirts in the 80’s.  They still make it!  :)

It really is as easy as making a few easy designs on the bottom of your kid’s socks, and letting it dry overnight.  But if you would like the full details, it is all over on HelloBee.


We have a lot of advent calendars in our house.  I know.  But they are all so different I can’t choose just one.  Yesterday I shared our list of advent activities for this year, which is fun, but sometimes a little time consuming.  This next idea is so easy, anyone can do it.

All you do is wrap up 24 Christmas books, and number them 1 – 24.  Then the kiddos get to unwrap a book every night leading up to Christmas.  I am sure most of you already read a few stories with your kids before bed, so this is so easy to fit into your day.  You might be thinking that you can’t do it because you don’t have 24 Christmas books.  Neither do we!  Over half of our books this year came from the public library (our favorite place).  With a 21 day lending period, I just made sure that the books from the library are toward the beginning of the month.  They can be opened and enjoyed for a few weeks and still make it back before they are due.  Last year, we didn’t have access to a library, so we just wrapped up some non-holiday books along with our Christmas books and it worked just as well.

Do you need some ideas to get you started finding some books?  Below is the list of titles in our line-up this year.  There are actually 27 because the library had too many great books and I couldn’t narrow it down.

best christmas books for kids

row 1:

The Polar Express
Song of the Stars: A Christmas Story
Bear Stays Up for Christmas
Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale
The 12 Days of Christmas: A Pop-up Celebration
How Santa Got His Job

row 2:

How Santa Lost His Job
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree
Dream Snow
Christmas Cookies: Bite-Size Holiday Lessons
The Jolly Christmas Postman
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (picture book edition)

row 3:

Stick Man
A Wish to Be a Christmas Tree
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Olive, the Other Reindeer
The Little Fir Tree
The Night Before Christmas
The Nutcracker

row 4:

A Christmas Carol (picture book edition)
The Animals’ Christmas Eve 
Gingerbread Baby
The Christmas Story
Christmas Day in the Morning
Gingerbread Friends
Snowmen at Christmas


  • courtney - Awesome once again Kaley…where do you find the time? I always love good book suggestions…so thank you! Have you guys read all these books before and do you recommend any particular ones to purchase?ReplyCancel

  • Advent Calendars | Cultivate - […] 5. Wrapped books, one for each day. (I really like this idea for a 12 Days of Christmas activity). From Kaley Ann Photography. […]ReplyCancel

  • The Advent Calendars…Continued - […] here to read more about our Christmas book Advent calendar and for a list of great Christmas books for […]ReplyCancel