To Monogram or Not To Monogram

I grew up wearing hand-me-downs.  I loved it when my cousins and others shared their clothes with me.  I couldn’t wait to go through the bags and see what I’d be wearing for the next few months.  It was like Christmas about twice a year–so much fun.

Maybe that’s why I love shopping at the GW Boutique so much.  Great clothes can be found, and it’s the next best thing to getting my cousin’s hand-me-downs.

I’ve had my mind pondering on something for a while, but yesterday all those thoughts came to a head, insisting on being written.

The littles and I were at the GW looking for an “Indiana Jones” style jacket for Cooter.  Yes, they’ve had their costumes for over a month.  Yes, we had a great time shopping for them and all was set.  And yes, he changed his mind.  As did his sister.  *sigh*  Remind me next year not to take them costume shopping until one week out–at the earliest.

I could have told him no, but he’s been so cute reading “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” and asking me what big words mean.  I thought I’d give it one shot, and if we didn’t find a jacket, then it was back to Game Plan A.

I love the GW, have I mentioned that before?

There, in the little boys’ section, hanging in the middle of the rack was a little boy’s leather Gap jacket.  The size looked small but the jacket didn’t.  I tried it on him.  Perfect!  And for less than $5, my boy has a new winter jacket and a costume accessory to boot.  He doesn’t even mind that it has someone else’s name written inside.  It’s a cool name, and Cooter says it’s his secret agent undercover name.  Win, win, win.

I wandered around just a little bit, and I saw a monogrammed coat.  It was really cute–apple green with hot pink monogramming.  LOVE.  Our Princess looked at it for a few minutes and asked, “What are those letters, Mama?”

And you know what?

With the scrolling font, it took me a minute to figure it out myself.

And I got to wondering–how often do I actually read the letters of a monogram on someone’s jacket/purse/boots/glasses/necklace etc?  I don’t know that I consciously do sit and read the letters that often.

Which brings me to my next thought.

To monogram or not to monogram?

I mean, if my cousins had been into all that (or I suppose, if my aunt had), I would have been dressed very differently all those years growing up.  I am thankful they didn’t monogram things.

My oldest is into monogramming.  And I’m okay with that.  She’s the size she’s going to be, so she will likely keep these things until they wear out.  If and when she marries, she can even wear them then, whether she changes her last name or not.  Those three letters are hers forever.

I haven’t really had anything monogrammed for our Princess.  She’s very nearly ten, and she’s still very much growing.  All indications are that she will be tall like the Fella, so she outgrows things faster than GW can put new stuff out on the racks it seems.  It would feel very wasteful to me to put her initials on any clothing items at this point.  Then I’d be stuck with all of these things with three letters that only a very select few could appreciate.  (Can you imagine what planets would have to align for one’s taste, size, color preferences, and initials to be the same as my girl’s?)   I have, in recent years, had a couple of bags embroidered with her name or initials.  One bag we even had “Queen Elsa” embroidered on.  She uses it when we go off–she knows it’s hers, but no one around us knows her name.  It’s a safety thing.  I’m kind of obsessed.

I recently had a shirt monogrammed, as it was free with the shirt, and I thought, okay, why not?  I hope that I will either wear it to shreds or one of my girls will want it out of sentimentality.  Seriously, I struggled long and hard before I had those initials put on there.  I mean, no one else can really use it now, can they?

So that made me wonder how old is too old to be putting your initials on things?  I mean, can I really get the wear out of it before I leave it here for someone else to deal with?

We just can’t know that, I guess, can we?

So this apple green coat.  I did a crazy thing.

I bought it.

Here’s why.

First, it was cute, it was cheap, and the money goes to help folks.

Win, win, win.

But then there is the matter of those three letters.

NONE of which are mine.

So here’s what I hope to do.

I want to get up enough nerve to wear it.


In public.

And see if anyone notices, comments, or even glances sidewise at the monogram on the coat.

It’s my own little experiment to see if folks do, in fact, read monograms.  Or if they even care that the monogram is not my own.

The coat is washed and cleaned and dry and waiting for a cold enough day for me to don it and see what ensues.


This could get entertaining, and goodness knows there isn’t enough of that in this world.  At least not quality entertainment.

And, if anyone notices, I can always take a cue from Cooter and say it’s my undercover secret agent name’s…..monogram.  (The monogram is S.H.P.  Suggestions for code names welcome.)

This is just too much fun.

But seriously, please take the surveys below and let me know your thoughts on monogramming.  I’m really curious to see where y’all stand.

Wishes for quality entertainment and love to all.


Why My Pumpkin is Blue

I’ve mentioned it before, but in case you might have missed it–

We are a family with food allergies.

Because if one person has food allergies, you all are affected.

We don’t have anything in the house she cannot have.  We don’t choose things in restaurants that she could not have, and we don’t go places she can’t go.

It’s how we roll.  All for one…..

her sister in college even avoids having things in her dorm room, just in case her sister stops by for a visit.

That’s what love looks like.

Caring enough to give up something for the benefit of another.

At least that is what motivates us around here.  Goodness knows, I don’t read labels until I’m blurry-eyed (have you seen how small some of the print is) and avoid certain places for the fun of it.  I don’t pack her extra snacks for get-togethers or cringe when she’s around folks eating what she’s allergic to because I enjoy it.

I do it because her life depends on it.

Holidays and celebrations are tricky times.  Most of these days/gatherings/celebrations come together around one thing, right?


Which makes it hard, when one’s choices are extremely limited.  Nothing with the allergens, nothing processed with the allergens, and oh good gravy, please tell me you didn’t forget your epi-pen.  Yeah, we’ve had some days of mad scrambling when that was left behind.

Halloween is one such day.  There’s the fun of dressing up.  The excitement of going out at dusk, all around the neighborhood with friends and family, and knocking on doors, visiting with folks on the sidewalks, and sharing stories and comparing what you got.

Remember what Charlie Brown had to say after each “Trick or Treat”?

Rocks.  He got rocks.

Bless him.

But I tell you what, I’d rather my girl get rocks than some candy that has the potential to threaten her physical health.

So we have two choices–

1) We don’t go trick or treating.

2) We go, but she doesn’t get to eat most or any of it due to presence or possibility of allergens.

Yeah.  Good times.

She’s had her costume picked out for two months and has been doing a countdown for the past week, and we’re still nine days out.  (I know, she told me a little while ago.)  Would you want to be the one to tell her we aren’t going?

We go.

Before our sweet neighborfriends moved, my friend prepared separate treats for my littles of things she’d asked me about beforehand.  Bless her, I miss her for many reasons, and there’s one more.   Usually I buy a special sweet treat for my crew and we “let” the Fella take the rest of it into work with him.  And it’s done for another year.

The other day my girl was talking about the one house a block over that gave her a spider ring last year.  She was thrilled.  So much so that she’s still talking about it.

That sealed the deal for me about something I’d been thinking about doing.

So Aub and I painted a pumpkin teal blue.

I think the teal is a nice addition to our Halloween traditions.

I think the teal is a nice addition to our Halloween traditions.

And it’s sitting on our porch.

I think it looks lovely–she and I are into that color right now.  (It’s not the only thing we’ve painted that color…..) But it is even lovelier to me because of what it stands for.


All are welcome.

I recently found out through a Food Allergy awareness page on social media about the Teal Pumpkin Project.  For more information about how it began, click here for the story.   A teal pumpkin on one’s porch or a sign with a teal pumpkin on a door or mailbox lets folks trick or treating know that non-food items are available at that house.


It’s about more than children with food allergies.  This includes children with diabetes and other dietary restrictions.


I’ve read some of the comments.  I don’t know why it is that when something new is introduced, some folks are so threatened, they get real, real ugly.

Suggesting that I keep my child home on Halloween because she can’t eat the candy, or that I’m pampering her and others who have allergies like her by “catering” to her needs.

Oh me.  Just walk away, Tara, just walk away.

Look, if this isn’t your thing, that’s okay.  I won’t think less of you if you give out Reese’s cups and don’t have a teal pumpkin anywhere around your house.  Ten years ago, I had no idea about all of this either. (And with Reese’s you would have been my hero!)  I get it.  Just please understand why this is important to me.

This is about children.  Being children.  Dressing up and having a great, safe, and fun night.

If my offering treats like pencils or stickers or slinkies and other novelties ensures that, then I’m all for it.

My Mama told me more times than I can count when we were growing up, “You better not leave anybody out.”

Yes ma’am.

So my pumpkin is blue.

The idea of the teal pumpkin project is not that folks can’t give out candy too.  It’s just that non-food options are available.

And that is a nice thing to do.

Because spider rings can make someone smile.

Even a year later.

Teal blue pumpkin love to all.



Wit and Wisdom from the Littles

This post is brought to you by Earlier Today Tara, as This Evening Tara is busy with family stuff, having fun, and laughing, and explaining that she IS in costume–as a Domestic Engineer.  Ha.  That makes me laugh.  My Mama put that as her job on forms she had to fill out back when I was little.  At least I remember the conversations about it; she didn’t want to put housewife because no way was she married to her house.  Anyway…..Happy Today.

Really today’s thoughts are from the littles.

Yesterday our Princess had been outside on the porch playing with the cats.  She is especially close to Sugar, the grown cat we nursed from three weeks old.  When she came back in, she flopped on the couch and sat for a minute.

“Mama? Can I ask you something?”

“Sure, baby.  Go ahead.”  I tried not to point out she already had.

“Mama, how come we can’t take all of our bad feelings and flush them down the toilet?  Wouldn’t that be a good thing to be able to do?”

Oh the things that little handle could solve.....if only it could.

Oh the things that little handle could solve…..if only it could.

Wow.  Yes ma’am it sure would.

Turns out she’d been out there talking to Sugar about how we found him and she got upset for him all over again.  She is my child.  She works through a lot of stuff out there talking to that cat.  Just like I used to with Midnight sitting on my lap on the back steps at Blackberry Flats.  There’s nothing like having an animal that will listen.  And pat the tears coming down your cheeks.


Princess was asking Cooter some questions from one of those Brain Quest kits.  She came to this one and asked him:

“What heavenly body orbits the earth?”

Before my mind even registered the question that had been asked, Cooter called out, “God!”

And there you go.  Even though Princess told him he had the answer wrong, I told him I thought that was a pretty good one.  Don’t you think?


In picking out whom she’d like to dress up as, Princess FINALLY decided on Princess Leia.  We put together an all white outfit with a big belt and boots.  She was all that and a can of hairspray–to hold those buns in place on the sides of her head.  She was very excited about how it all came together.  At one point when I was explaining that she could tuck her futuristic weapon in her belt at her side, she breathed deeply and said, “Well, I was really hoping for a white purse so I could tuck it in there.”

That right there.  That’s my girl.  She can climb trees, collect frogs, hit a ball with skill, and help save herself and her friends from the master of evil himself, BUT when it all comes down to it, that girl LOVES to accessorize.  It tickles me that she used the costume idea to try and get another purse.  Tickled me, but no, we didn’t get her one.  It’s after Labor Day for goodness’ sake.


Tonight I am thankful for the wisdom of littles and ears to hear them.  And for family fun and being together.  Even when we are missing our Aub away at college, we talk to her on the phone.  I love that there is a fight about who will answer the phone when they see her name on the Caller ID.  Well okay I don’t exactly love it, but I love that they both want to talk to her.  Princess asks to call her and when there is a question about clothes, she says, “Let me call and ask the fashion expert.”  That would be the one I overheard her telling last night, “You really are the best big sister.”

And I’m grateful for the excitement and joy that cookie cutters and pumpkins and new pencils and dressup clothes and bouncy puppies can bring.  As Mama would say, Happy Everyday, y’all.

Our new pencils.  Our Princess is so excited because she is already ready to go there--Golden Heart of 2027!

Our new pencils. Our Princess is so excited because she is already ready to go there–Golden Heart of 2027!

We made these today for our Fall Family Hootenanny.  They are too fun, aren't they?

We made these today for our Fall Family Hootenanny. They are too fun, aren’t they?

I made this batch for me. These are traditional, and that matters to me.  Mama made these every fall.  I used her cookie cutters to make these today.  Also going to the Fall Family Hootenanny.

I made this batch for me. These are tradition, and that matters to me. Mama made these every fall. I used her cookie cutters to make these today. Also going to the Fall Family Hootenanny.

Our fluffy ball of happiness, the Good Witch Sophie.  Love that her tail is blurred because she was so excited the whole time!

Our fluffy ball of happiness, the Good Witch Sophie. Love that her tail is blurred because she was so excited the whole time!