Three reasons why Lansing’s Brunch with Santa rocks

For the last several years, one of my favorite traditions to kick off the holiday season is Downtown Lansing’s Silver Bells in the City. And last year, for the first time, we enjoyed the annual Breakfast with Santa event at Troppo.

Stella was three years old, and the opportunity to start a special holiday tradition with her when she’d “get it” was one we didn’t want to pass up. Also with Margot’s due date just days after Christmas, it felt as though our entire Christmas holiday was going to be up in the air. We didn’t want to commit to anything, not knowing when little Margot might show up. Turns out, she waited until New Year’s Day. What a gal!

I was very excited to see that despite some changes to Troppo, the event will continue on during Silver Bells weekend this year, November 18-19.

I have our family all signed up for Brunch with Santa, and here are three reasons why I think it rocks.

  1. You get a quality photo with Santa Claus (and Mrs. Claus!) with no rush, no mall crowds, and no crazy-expensive prints. For Stella’s first couple visits to see Santa Claus, we went to Meridian Mall. That Santa Claus was awesome, but to purchase the photos was very expensive. Who needs a dozen wallet-size photos of your kid with Santa? Instead at the Brunch with Santa at Troppo, I was able to take photos with my own camera. There was also a photographer who shot a photo that we could purchase and receive digitally. The cost was minimal in comparison to mall prices, and I was glad we bought it. It turned out much better than my photos did. I also loved getting our photo with Santa knocked out in November so that I could order Christmas cards and not worry about expediting the printing and shipping.
  2. Crafting stations and activities like cookie decorating are included. When you’re done eating your pancake breakfast (which, by the way, is served very promptly. Awesome when all your kid wants to do it see Santa), you can head upstairs to a large room filled with holiday crafts. We spent a good 30 minutes making fun etching and painting crafts, and also decorated sugar cookies. This area is great to help break up the wait for Santa and also extend the fun.
  3. It’s a special way to celebrate the beginning of the holidays with your children right in downtown Lansing. Admittedly, we haven’t taken Stella to the Silver Bells in the City parade yet. Often it’s either very cold, very crowded, or both. And for the last many years, we’ve gone out to dinner with Zack’s cousin Brian and his partner Rion in downtown Lansing during the Silver Bells festivities. I hope to bring our girls to the parade in a few years, but I love that we can enjoy the spirit of the weekend together as a family without fighting crowds, traffic, cold, and bedtimes. Along with a photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus, a daytime visit downtown means getting some great photos of the state Christmas tree outside the Capitol building. If the parade isn’t your thing, Brunch with Santa is an excellent way to get little kids excited about the holidays… as if they needed the help!

Reservations are strongly encouraged and time slots usually sell out, so it’s good to book ahead of time. This year they have an online system, which is much easier than calling the restaurant during business hours. It helps make selecting a time and paying a snap.

Click here to make reservations. Maybe we’ll see you there!


Thankful for the art of the thank you note

It’s the day before my birthday, and already I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy some early birthday celebrations with friends and family. That means I’ve also been writing a lot of thank you notes lately.

Thank you notes are a form of correspondence that I hope continues on in some form or fashion, no matter what ends up happening to mail in the future.

Because mail is the BEST. Okay, fun mail is the best, junk mail is a pain and waste of paper, bills are a reminder of adulting, and Restoration Hardware catalogs are encyclopedias. But really, checking the mail is one of my most favorite daily rituals, which means Sundays and holidays are wah-wah for me in that department. Ever since I was little, I have loved running to the mailbox to see what’s inside.

In the same way giving presents has become even more fun than receiving presents as I’ve gotten older, I absolutely love sending mail. And while the art of letter writing has mostly gone by the wayside, there’s still something very special, and necessary, about the art of the thank you note.

Gratitude comes in many forms. While thank you notes can seem old-fashioned in a world where we can tag, tweet, and text, taking the extra step to write out a little note goes that extra mile.

My favorite stationery for thank you notes are the Green Inspired cards from Target, because of course. Their cards are whimsical and feel great, and I particularly love the corresponding envelopes.

Aren’t these pretty?! Why shouldn’t an envelope be as special as what’s inside?

Another thing that makes thank you notes even more special to me is a fun stamp. Even though it means braving the post office with at least one child in tow, I love picking out the decorative Forever stamps. These Disney Villains ones are my new favorites:

Someone else who also loves and appreciates the art of mail and cards is Jen, who created the fantastic amaze balls card seen at the top of this page. Her Etsy shop has a ton of hilarious and fun designs for cards. Jen gave me a set of her cards a few years ago, and I’m still holding onto some of them because I can’t bear to send them away yet.

I’m thankful that the art of the thank you note isn’t dead. I’m thankful for the things that make the art of thank you note writing fun.

And I’m so beyond thankful for the people on the receiving end of my thank you notes.


etsy love: CreativeSpiritGlass

After a relatively quiet summer, wedding season has been on full blast this last month. Jen’s wedding was on August 5th, we had a family wedding the following weekend, and next weekend will be my college friend Sayee’s wedding in metro Detroit.

While I’m all about sticking to the registry when it comes to wedding and shower gifts, I’ve also enjoyed finding opportunities to give couples a timeless gift that will always remind them of their wedding day.

A favorite Etsy shop I’ve discovered is Anne Malone’s CreativeSpiritGlass. Anne is from Greenwich, Connecticut, and her shop is filled with beautiful stained glass art pieces, jewelry boxes, and sun catchers. Anne also creates custom-designed frames and keepsake boxes using invitations.

Continue reading “etsy love: CreativeSpiritGlass”