Kindergarten is Hard

January 28, 2016

CKT: Kindergarten is Hard

I’m here to tell you that kindergarten is hard.

For us, (and I am mostly talking about me,) the start of kindergarten was rough. We had breezed through preschool and felt such confidence with school. Kindergarten started and there was homework (every night??), organized sports, and a little person who is a lot more independent than when they were in their sweet little preschool program.

All of a sudden, I found myself at the new parent meeting, the PTA meeting, the school social–and that was just the first week. Nora had all new classmates, was experiencing her first round of standardized tests and was just overall a little unsettled. I definitely was. We were trying to keep up and I couldn’t help but think, this is just kindergarten, right?!

Getting dressed for school was an hour affair. This little one abides by the Punky Brewster school of fashion. And forget about it, if I suggest the cute preppy stripped shirt. Timing is let’s just say…tricky.

Everything about the way kids learn has changed. During a new school meeting the teacher causally mentioned ten-frames and Fry words. And I am sitting there, like, what the heck is a Fry word?? Pretty sure I’m not phonemically aware.

Let’s talk about homework. How do you motivate someone who is tired from school to do more? Could we hire a tutor to do this?? I really wasn’t liking it either.

I volunteered at the Halloween party and (perhaps) didn’t read the emails as closely as I should have since I was just in charge of the snack. Which for the record was donut holes via the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-through and juice boxes. I ended up having a station (i.e. kids for 10 minutes at a time)…and was sitting there bartender-style with a bunch of kids staring at me. We decided to play “would you rather” and called it a day.

All I kept thinking is once school started was, can’t we just play, snuggle, and read books together (and repeat)?


We now have over half of the year under our belt and we are finding our way. Turns out ten frames are awesome; maybe math might have made sense had I grown up in this day in age (maaaybe). Nora is learning to read (pretty magical!). And Brian has now coached soccer and basketball and the two of them get to spend lots of time together while Nora tries new things. The confidence is slowly creeping back.

Growing pains are rough, but we are finding the balance. Patience is my mantra.

**Image via LIFE magazine

Family Photos

January 13, 2016

I have been holding on to these pics for way too long. But alas, I wanted to share them with you! Thanks to our very talented photographer, my friend, Mychela Burke Marshall (EBK Photography), you cannot even tell that it was melt. down. central. the day of the shoot. Can you even handle the colors she captured?! We shot these at St. James Farm in Warrenville.

If you live in the Chicagoland area, check out her site, she does great work! (and another fab logo by Deanna Design Studio!)

EBK logo

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Spruce & Shelf Collab

December 26, 2015

Today CKT is partnering with Spruce & Shelf, a lifestyle organization company! This small business was started by my cousin, Monica Choquette. She has an amazing eye and a great sense of style–she created this company to marry her passion of home design with organization; creating fresh, livable spaces for clients. I’m personally in love with the company.

Today she talks about how to make your home feel cozy year-round! After this post, I think you’ll agree that we all hope she becomes CKT’s resident, home and organization expert! (Also, her amazing logo was designed by CKT favorite, Deanna Design Studio)

SS_LOGO_WEB.jpgA crackling fire, Nat King Cole crooning about roasting chestnuts, good conversation with family and friends in the warm light from your Christmas tree…

Sounds pretty good at this time of year, right?

CKT: Spruce & Shelf Collab

This cozy scenario is probably the closest American appreciation of a fascinating approach to home and life: the Danish sense of “hygge,” (pronounced “hYOOguh) or “well-being.” The Danes are considered to be one of the happiest cultures in the world. Are they  happy because they have hygge all year around, not just for the month of December like in our culture? I am compelled and intrigued to to bring hygge into my home all year. Could I pull that fuzzy feeling off in March, without Nat King Cole?

Here are my top 3 tips to continue your hygge past January 1

CKT: Spruce & Shelf Collab

1. Curate holiday decor when it’s time to put it away. This one hits close to home for my own personal hygge. I once had seven tubs of “Christmas” saved in my attic that was growing each year with white-elephant gifts and mounds of artwork from my children. It took a lot of physical and mental space to store and sort all of the decor, and most of it I didn’t even use anymore, as I only wanted to display my most meaningful pieces. Once these holidays are over, please do not stuff anything in a tub that doesn’t truly resonate with your happiness and style! Your “holiday hygge” depends on this next year- keep it clean, bright, and tidy.

CKT: Spruce & Shelf Collab

2. Continue to decorate with natural elements. During the holidays we use garlands, trees, and berries throughout our house. It looks and smells lovely. Stretch your hygge and continue to bring seasonal natural decor into your home after you put the Christmas tree on the curb. Rocks, driftwood, sand, seasonal fruits and vegetables- anything works!  Visit a local garden shop for a floral selection that is indigenous to your area, or simply go on a walk around your neighborhood! A good friend of mine was once walking her dogs along a public golf course, and found large sections of overgrown holly berry. She came back with scissors, cut two branches out, popped them in a vase, and had a gorgeous display! The added bonus of natural elements is that they don’t end up in a landfill (or your attic) after you tire of the look!

CKT: Spruce & Shelf Collab

3. Let there be light! This might be one of the most important aspects to hygge that I have found. The Danes live in an environment where it is cold and dark most of the year. Light is fundamental to creating warmth and coziness. Keep the candles and fireplaces burning through the rest of your winter (which in our case is June in Chicago) and consider what lamps and ceiling fixtures you have. Good, warm lighting is one of the most ignored aspects to a space.  Even in June it’s important,  and you can keep your hygge strong when you pay attention to it!

photo cred: 1. kitchen from, Babble 2. garland from, Norseka Interiors 3. citrus from Something Green 4. Light from, Lonny.