Guest Starring: Hollow Tree Ventures

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Hey Guys!

I have something exciting for you today! Actually, not a something but a someone introduce to you.

My friend, Robyn from Hollow Tree Ventures is here today to share a favorite Thanksgiving story.

I actually “met” Robyn just this year, and I don’t know how I didn’t find her blog sooner. More soon? Quicker? Moving on.

She is so. funny. Each week her blog is packed with hilarious content, but I think if I had to choose a favorite it would be her weekly installment of As The Dollhouse Turns. You HAVE to read this series–and start from the beginning. What she does with her daughter’s dollhouse is simply brilliant.

Give this funny gal your full attention and then head over and subscribe to her blog and social media!

With Halloween behind us, I hope you’re prepared for Thanksgiving.

Because ready or not, here it comes.

I enjoy Thanksgiving primarily for the excuse to gorge, but also because it marks the beginning of the Stop Asking For Stuff season, which I celebrate annually with my children. It involves them repeatedly insisting that they’ve always, always, ALWAYS wanted an [insert name of something they just saw for the first time two seconds ago], eventually followed by me threatening to cancel Christmas if they ask for one more single blessed thing.

Good times.

This year I’ve already had to give them at least two lectures about not asking my mom (Gran) for new stuff, since they routinely trick her into taking them to Target for something “practical” (“I know I have four winter hats, but not one that looks like Kermit!”). Then they invariably come home with a pile of garbage that, aside from being brand new, looks remarkably like all the old garbage they already have but never play with.

However, Thanksgiving also reminds me that my motherly threats during Stop Asking For Stuff season are meaningless in the face of my children’s insatiable desire to own ALL THE THINGS, especially when up against the Spoiling Power of a grandparent. For me, it’s best illustrated by this Turkey Day tale that’s become family lore at my house.

::blurry screen dissolve to flashback::

I was standing at the kitchen counter, about eight years ago, most likely mixing up my special secret-recipe stuffing (Stove Top). Behind me, the kitchen island was bedecked (hey, it’s the holidays – I can use words like “bedecked”) with a buffet of pre-food food, because it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving if we stopped eating for five entire consecutive seconds.

In my family, no gathering is complete without a bowl of black olives. I was in my late twenties before I discovered that not everyone does this, but whatever – it’s a tradition. And kind of an annoying one, because the kids love olives, which means I spend all day swatting their filthy hands out of the bowl so they don’t spoil their dinner (a rule that clearly doesn’t apply to the adults).

This Thanksgiving was no different, and I sternly told my then-2-year-old son, Jake to stop scarfing them down. I went back to making my famous fresh cranberry sauce (cue metallic hum of electric can opener), but immediately turned back around to ask my mom a question.

And what do you think I saw?

Jake was on his tip-toes, reaching for the olive bowl, eyes on Gran. My mom was looking back at him, nodding her permission, finger to her lips to let him know this olive would be their little secret.

Slowly, ever so slowly, she raised her eyes and saw me with my arms crossed, head cocked to one side, lips pressed together in a thin, disapproving line. The look on her face when she realized she was busted was priceless.

Jake was left standing in the middle. He watched us both with amusement, and helped himself to another olive.

So, these days it’s a trade-off. I get to bring that story up whenever I want and remind her that she got caught breaking the rules. However, it also serves as a reminder that the rules I make in my house might be the law of the land – but Grans have supreme veto power.

That’s important to remember at Thanksgiving, with Stop Asking For Stuff season upon us. All the threats and the lectures can be exhausting; maybe I should take this lesson to heart and use it to my advantage. Maybe, this year, I’ll just change it to Go Ask Gran season.

A million thanks to Hillary for inviting me over to play, and to you, for reading! Please feel free to visit me at my house, Hollow Tree Ventures, join me on Facebook, see why I’m in the Top 35 Most Pinteresting Moms on Pinterest, and excuse my occasional obscene outbursts on the Twitter.





24 thoughts on “Guest Starring: Hollow Tree Ventures

  1. Blond Duck

    Popped in from SITS! This is too true. Your blog title cracks me up, by the way.

  2. Christian at Point Counter-Point Point Point

    A bowl of black olives? That’s an odd tradition. In our family the tradition is a bowl of green olives, which I can’t stand. When my son was about 18 months he wanted one so I said sure, go right ahead. The disgusted look on his face and immediate scream of “Ewwww” made me realize he is truly my son.

    1. hollow tree ventures

      Isn’t it weird? I just never thought about it until I started spending holidays with other families and was like, “Um, where are the olives?” My husband’s family does black olives, too; that’s how I know we’re meant for each other. ????

  3. Motherhood on the Rocks

    This is totally something my mom would do. Aren’t grandparents…grand! ????

    1. hollow tree ventures

      I’m just waiting until it’s my turn. And if my kids ever complain about me spoiling their kids, I’ll just remind them of all the times they tricked Gran into taking them to Target.

  4. christine folta

    Would you please tell me where I can find your “ideas” for Mommy-Daughter Dates,older addition.

    I have a lovely 22 yr old daughter who suddenly finds me annoying, psycho,loud,too friendly and completely without an ounce of taste in clothes, movies, food,etc.

    Actually, Why would I want to hang around with her anyway?????

    And please hurry, spring break is coming. AGHHHHHH


    1. Ninja Mom

      Are you kidding me!? “You’re”? My brain is melting . . .melting.

      1. hollow tree ventures

        Yeah, she’s totally sneaky. But you’re, too! (That’s almost right – messed up.)

  5. Rorybore

    I have figured out it is all about harnessing the incredible power of The Can’t Say No Gran – especially when it also exists with the I Love Shopping gift.

    Since mine has been busted for many Breaking of The Rules at my house; I have not done any birthday, back to school, Christmas…even Easter shopping in years! You must transform Rule Breaking Buy Anything Gran into My Personal Shopper immediately. It’s the only way.

    Bribe her with black olives if you have to. ????

    1. hollow tree ventures

      This is all excellent advice! I should disclose that I do use it to my advantage – caaaasually mentioning what the kids want for their birthdays and then sighing heavily about how hard it is to load everyone up for a shopping trip usually does the trick. I guess the kids aren’t the only ones who are spoiled. ????

  6. Kirsten Hayes

    I like how you call it “Stop Asking For Stuff” season. Haha so appropriate!

    1. hollow tree ventures

      Might as well call it what I say most often during the season, right?!?

  7. Heather

    So my kids aren’t the only ones that pull the Target trick on their grandmas? Seriously, do you have a camera on my life with this one?

    1. hollow tree ventures

      I’m just so glad to hear I’m not alone! I’m frequently astonished at the smooth lines they use to talk her into buying stuff…

  8. best mommy daughter dates

    […] you have older daughters or are on the lookout for more ideas check out my 20 Mommy-Daughter Dates: Older Daughter Addition. These scenarios are geared for girls from young teen to adulthood.   141 […]

  9. Emily Rimestad

    My son is almost two so I am just learning about the grandparent/child relationship and it can be quite amusing at times! Those grandparents are so sneaky! Your story was so cute! I love when we get chances to catch the grandparents red handed in spoiling! Every time i tell my son his grandma or grandpa is coming to visit he says, “pu-prise?!” (Surprise) talk about being spoiled! Happy holidays!

    1. hollow tree ventures

      It sure doesn’t take kids long to figure out the benefits of grandparents, does it??? ????

  10. hollow tree ventures

    Thanks so much for letting me babble all over your lovely blog today! I’ll try not to make too much of a mess… well, I promise to tidy up before I leave, anyway. ????

    1. hillary

      Absolutely! So fun to not have any work to do haha ????

    2. fishducky

      We also have an olive bowl at all holiday dinners, but there ARE rules to be followed. A prospective olive eater is required to insert each of their 10 fingers into a pitted olive & walk around wearing them for at least 5 minutes before eating!

  11. tori nelson

    Hilarious and SO true! My son turned 3 last week. I asked my dad why he constantly chooses gifts that come with a million tiny, plastic pieces (an intricate train track set that took up our whole living room… for the boy’s FIRST birthday). It may have sounded like a way more whiny “WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO MEEEEE?”. As I explained it to him, shouldn’t he know, after raising five kids, that the tiny plastic pieces end up everywhere, shattered and stepped on, making parents’ eyes twitch? He laughed. Of course he knows that, he says, it WAS a total pain in the butt as he remembered it. That’s why it’s good being the grandpa ????

    1. hollow tree ventures

      That’s EXACTLY it! Either tiny parts, or loud noises, or both. My mom just smirks at me as the kids unwrap…


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