A few weeks I was surfing social media and saw an article that I immediately related to: No Leprechauns, No Valentine’s Boxes, No Elves, and why that is Okay.

At the moment, I was having all sorts of guilt because I had yet to plan anything for Cooper’s impending 5th birthday. I did nothing special for St. Patrick’s Day, except for the green polka-dot ribbon I added to Shelby’s ponytail as we walked out the door. We don’t hand make our Valentine’s Day cards, instead we buy them. We don’t do Elf on the Shelf. We rarely decorate for minor holidays, though Cooper did talk me into hanging a few hearts for Valentine’s Day this year.

The free time that I have is limited. I work full time and am often traveling and away from home. I don’t want to spend what little time I have making elaborate holiday crafts or decadent treats. I want to spend that time doing something with my family. I want to read with them. I want to go on adventures with them. I want to make memories with them. I do not want to have to worry about moving the Elf on the Shelf every, single night in the weeks leading up until Christmas. That sort of stuff just eats into our quality time and if I have to choose, then quality family time always wins.

But here’s the thing: I don’t begrudge the mamas out there who do Elf on the Shelf or hand craft every birthday decoration for their kids’ parties. Good for them. If that’s what they like to do and it makes them happy … then I say “Way to go!” It’s just not for me and I’m okay with that. I’m not that mom.

The longer I’m a mama, the more push and pull I feel from outside influences. I assumed one day I’d wake up and be comfortable in my mama skin. It doesn’t work that way. Of course some things are easier. But I see what everyone else is doing and “want” to do more or do things differently. And then I realize the things I see all over Pinterest and blogs don’t really interest me, and I really don’t have time for them anyway. If I think about it long enough, the guilt of not being that mom fades away and I realize that I’m okay with being me. Plus, I think I’m the best mom for my kids. They have needs and interest that are different than other kids. We have created an environment where they can thrive. If I try to be someone else, then they won’t be in their happy place. And I’d be sending them a message that it’s not okay to be yourself. And I’m not okay with that.

Today (and every day) I resolve to change the way I think. I’m going to be the best mama I can be. I won’t be that mom. I’ll just be me. I think everyone – me and my children – will benefit from this.  Here are a few tip I try to live by in my constant quest to accept myself as a mother.

 1. Don’t compare. Compare and despair my friend always tells me. Stop looking at what everyone else is doing and wondering why you’re not doing it the exact same way. Do what makes you feel good. Do what works for your family.

2. Mother with blinders on. A couple of months ago I created a board on Pinterest called “Children’s Birthday Ideas.” I scoured the web for clever party ideas for both Cooper and Shelby. The more ideas I pinned, the worse I felt. There was no way I was going to be able to make their parities as cool as what I saw online. Then, Cooper begged to have his party at Peter Piper Pizza. He wanted to play games and ride the roller coaster with his friends. He didn’t want my fancy, Pinterest-inspired party. He wanted what he wanted. And that was good enough. So I’m limiting the amount of time I look at Pinterest (and blogs) in regards to parenting. I don’t need to add to my guilt as a mother.

3. Celebrate your strengths. Around my house, art is king. We create all the time. Not every mom I know is creating splatter painting with her kids. But that’s what we do and it’s important to celebrate my (our) strengths.


What about you? How about you cut yourself some slack today and just be yourself. I promise you your kids will love you not matter what. And they’ll be totally okay with a store-bought birthday cake.

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Last month I decided to print and hang another one of my Instant Downloads available in my Etsy shop. The “Home Is Where Your Heart Is” print is one of my favorite. It’s now hanging in a hallway near our guest bedroom and I pass it daily. It makes me smile each time I see it.

Art Print | Home is Where You Heart Is | Kimberly Kalil Designs

INSTANT DOWNLOAD 8×10 Printable: Home Is Where Your Heart Is (Tucson) – Typography Print

I love Arizona, the state I call home. Even in the blistering heat of the summer, I love Arizona. Whenever I think of moving away, the idea is quickly dismissed. Arizona is my home and my heart is in Arizona.

With this in mind, I created this print to celebrate my love of Arizona. The heart is placed over the city of Tucson, my home.


The print is available for immediate download and costs just $5. You can print it at home or send it out to your favorite printer (I had mine printed at Persnickety Prints … love them).  No from Arizona? I’ll make you your own state for the same price. Just send me a note with the state and city you want.

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Get Healthy Journey | Kimberly Kalil Designs

I’ve been know to get on health kicks, ride them for a few months and them toss them aside. This time around I’m committed to making changes that really stick. I think it might have something to do with my age (I’ll be 40 in November) and my health issues (benign ovarian tumors + arthritis + migraines), whatever it is I feel like this time around I’m changing my lifestyle rather than toying with a diet or exercise plan.

Since I’ve started making changes in February, I’ve walked/ran/hiked almost 110 miles; I’ve lost more than 13 pounds; and best of all, my arthritis is relatively under control. Most of all, I feel more grounded and relaxed. As I’ve instituted new changes, I’ve been keeping track of things that work and don’t work for me, in hopes of really figuring out how I make this a permanent change. Here are five tips I’ve learned on my “get healthy journey.”

1. Stop taking the easy route. What do I mean? We are a society where everyone multitasks, fights for the closest parking spot and eats crappy fast food … all because its fast and easy. I’ve changed my daily routine and I’ve stopped being SO efficient. When I’m doing laundry, I make multiple trips up and down the stairs to gather our dirty clothes. In the past, I’d load up a single hamper and make just one trip. Now, as I try to get more steps into my day, I make multiple trips and extend the process. We also committed to not eating out. It’s a lot more work to cook at home, but it’s healthier, so we forgo easy for better.

2. Find a buddy. Any buddy will do …  just find a health buddy. Studies have shown that couples who start an exercise program are more likely to stick with it than those who embark on the program alone. Mike and I made a decision together that we would live a healthier life. We exercise together most days. We eat the same food. We cheer each other on. There are many days I’d rather not get out there and move, but I do because Mike motivates me to get off my butt.

3. Find a few things that work and stick with them. Mike and I eat the same things all the time. Breakfast is almost always one of three things: protein shake, oatmeal or greek yogurt. We don’t reinvent the wheel every, single day. We found out what works for us and we’re sticking with it. I have a small repertoire of healthy and tasty dinner menus and I just rotate through them. When we get bored with our choices we toss in something new, but we pretty much stick with our favorites, which are both health and promote weight loss.

4. Publicly share your goals. If I hadn’t been blabbing so much on Facebook and Intagram, I’m certain I would have quit my #MileADay challenge a month ago. But I publicly committed to it and regularly shared my progress. I didn’t want to be seen as a quitter and this was such a huge motivator. Plus, I can’t complain about all the awesome support I’ve been given thanks to all my public sharing. I feel like I have this huge cheering section pushing me along.

5. Be realistic. I’m almost 40 years old. I’ll never again have the body I had when I was 18. But that’s okay. I’m setting realistic goals and reminding myself daily that my journey is about being healthy, but a size 0. At one point Mike and I talked about eliminating all sugar from our diet (I’d still love to do this), but at this point in our journey it’s not realistic. We need to make small, regular changes .. building up to something bigger like Operation No Sugar.

Being realistic is the very reason I decided I would try to walk/run/hike a mile a day. It’s not realistic for me to commit hours and hours a day to exercise. I can set aside 15 to 3o minutes a day. So rather than setting myself up for failure, I set realistic goals to use the time I did have wisely. I’ve also realized that there are days I have to sacrifice in order to fit my exercise time in. Maybe I have to give up TV time or reading blogs. Realistically, I can’t do everything in a single day. I have to look at what’s required of me and then figure out what I’m willing to live without. I’m not willing to live without exercise. I’m not willing to live without healthy meals. So, I’ve had to make changes each and every day to fit in the stuff that matters to me.

Are you making healthy changes in your life? Any tips on making those changes stick? I’d love to hear any tips you might have.

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Etsy |Hapiness is up to Me Art Print | Kimberly Kalil Designs

I feel like it’s been forever since I added something new to my Etsy shop. Time to remedy that. As you might notice, I’m really into black backgrounds right now. The last print I added to my shop had a black background and I have a few more in the works. I love how I can change up my art work based on my current whims.

Many years ago a friend told me, “What you think about, you bring about.” During different points of my life I’ve been reminded of this quote and forced myself to change my thoughts and self talk to push myself in a new direction. It was some of the best advice I’ve ever been given. This print is twist on the same idea: Happiness is up to Me.

This 8×10 print was created digitally and printed on archival quality, matte cardstock. You can purchase it here.


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Good morning. Happy Monday to you. We had a crazy busy, but fun weekend. Cooper’s birthday party, another birthday party to attend, family dinner, taxes (for Mike) …. we ran around like crazy people. It’s kind of nice that Monday is here and we can settle back into our normal routines.

I have a new layout to share. This one was created for the Daily Digi using Pink Reptile Designs’ Superstitious kit, which is included in the April 2014 Digi Files. I had this funny selfie of me and Shelby that I wanted to scrap along with the sentiment that Shelby manages to help me loosen up a bit, which s no easy task!

The Daily Digi | April Layout | Kimberly Kalil Designs

Journaling reads:

I’m as uptight as they come. But thanks to my sweet Shelby, I’m loosening up a little more these days She’s teaching me it’s okay to be silly.

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2 Comments + Posted in: Digital Scrapbooking, The Daily Digi

Cooper is Five | Kimberly Kalil Designs

Dearest Cooper,

My little man, you’re five today. My head is spinning thinking about this. The last five years have flown by. I’m beyond grateful for you and the joy you bring to our family. You are a hoot … so full of energy and wonder.

At five … you’re well above the 100th percentile for your height. You wear a size 7 and a good head taller than all your friends.

At five … you’re the world’s pickiest eater. You survive on cereal, toast, milk, fruit snacks, and bananas (with an occasional apple thrown in there).

At five … you’re way into music. When we’re in the car you beg me to turn on the tunes and crank them up as loud as I’ll permit. As soon as the music is going you yell, “Everyone and everything DANCE!!!” And then you start dancing in your seat.

At five … you still love your green blanket. It’s now just a tangled mess of green threads, but you sleep with it every night and would be heartbroken if it was lost. You like to sneak into bed with me and Daddy … and I don’t have the heart to send you back to your room.

At five … you still love to ‘nuggle with me. Our bedtime ‘nuggle is my favorite part of the day.

At five … you insist I sing five songs to you every, single night before bed (Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star + I Love Y0u + You Are My Sunshine + Give Said the Little Stream + a silly made-up goodnight song).

At five … you are SO ready for kindergarten. You love school. You know all your letters, numbers, colors, etc. You can do simple addition and subtraction. We’re working on sight words right now and you’re so close to reading on your own.

At five … you have a mind of steel. You forget nothing. You say the funniest things. And you are always entertaining us.

At five … I love you more than I ever thought possible. You are a piece of my heart and I couldn’t imagine life without you. I can’t wait to see you grow up into the wonderful, strong man I know you will be. You are so awesome. Being your mama makes me a better person … heck, it’s one of the things that makes me great.

I love you to the moon and back.

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