Christmas

Organize Your Holiday (Free Guide)

Organize Your Holiday (Free Guide)

It is time to prep for the holidays! There's so much to do in the coming months between holiday get togethers, Christmas shopping, decorating, baking, card sending, etc.. It really can be a daunting time of year. To help you (and me) out, I put together a little planning guide to take us from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

Christmas 2016: A Tale Two Christmases

Christmas 2016: A Tale Two Christmases

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. On Sunday we celebrated Hailey's first Christmas. It was so fun to see the joy on her face eating wrapping paper and playing with her brother. It was the first time we had all 4 cousins together. It was also the day my grandma went to be with her husband in heaven.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Christmas Cookies 

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Christmas Cookies 

Every year at Christmastime we make time to bake cookies together. One recipe in particular, I have been making since I was in grammar school. They are the most delicious Chocolate Chocolate Chip cookies ever. Now I won't proclaim to be some fabulous baker, but these really are delicious. What's more, one recipe makes about 5 dozen so you really get good bang for your buck. They are great to package up and give as gifts or to bring to parties. So let me take you though our Sunday of baking!

Paper Plate Christmas Tree Craft

Paper Plate Christmas Tree Craft

In case you haven't noticed by now, my son loves to make crafts involving paper plates. In fact, if he sees me grab a paper plate, he is more likely to think it is craft time than food time.  Therefore, this Christmas' craft project of course involves a paper plate. This project was a lot of fun and includes two of my toddler's favorite things: painting and using stickers. Check it out!

Staying Fit During the Holidays

Staying Fit During the Holidays

It is that time of year when foods are rich and desserts seem to be available in abundance.  Even those who have a steady fitness routine throughout the year can succumb to the temptation of holiday treats.  It really is hard this time of year with less opportunities to workout outdoors and more sugary treats appearing everywhere we turn.  I've put together a list of tips to help us all stay fit during the holidays.

Holiday Fashion with Lula Roe

Holiday Fashion with Lula Roe

If you have not yet heard of Lula Roe, consider this your wake up call. Leggings and mom life go together like peanut butter and jelly, Abbott and Costello, Batman and Robin. Lula Roe has some of the most comfortable leggings I have ever worn. They are so buttery soft, it's like a second skin! Plus, the designs are so fun and unique. Don't worry,Lula is about way more than leggings! Lula can take you from casual holiday get togethers to fancy holiday parties!

Gift Guide for the Toddler Whose Parents were Born in the 80's

Gift Guide for the Toddler Whose Parents were Born in the 80's

Are you an 80's baby? Did you grow up on Sesame Street before Bert and Ernie were claymation and Elmo took over the world? Did you spend Saturday mornings in your jammies with a bowl of cereal watching Saturday morning cartoons? Remember Pee Wee and Penny?  The Pix 11 movies? TGIF? Care Bears, Fraggles, Rainbow Brite, Thunder Cats? If you can reminisce about any or all of this, you are an 80's baby.  This list is for your kids. So that they can grow up on the classics. Added bonus, you get to relive some of your youth as well!

Personalized Holiday Cards and Invitations 

Personalized Holiday Cards and Invitations 

So the time to send out holiday cards is quickly approaching. Then of course there are holiday party invitations to send out. On top of that, we have Hailey's baptism in a few weeks. So we have been all  about cards recently. I decided to head on over to Tiny Prints to create personalized cards for Hailey's baptism and for Christmas.

Tips For Reducing Your Holiday Shopping Stress

I know, I know, it's not even Halloween and I'm talking holiday shopping.  I'm the first to complain when I see Christmas decorations up before Thanksgiving.  I am all about giving each holiday it's due. Plus now that I have a child that can actually anticipate holidays, I don't need him pestering about presents so far in advance.

On the other hand, there is no logic to cramming all that shopping into the month of December.  I mean with so many other holiday things to do like holiday parties and visiting Santa, who can possibly do all that and not stress?! Not I. For me, slow and steady wins the race.  So, here are some tips on how I keep holiday shopping stress free.

  • Start Early

    If you haven’t started yet, start now. There are two big benefits to this; time and money.  Starting early means you have months to get your shopping done instead of weeks. No pushing your way through over crowded stores. No running around on Christmas Eve. No rushing from store to store because what you want is sold out.  Expense wise, you get to spread the cost of the holidays over multiple months prior to the holidays.  Unlike spreading the cost over multiple months after holidays, this method does not involve paying interest.

  • Make a list

    Make a list but only be super specific when you have to be.  For example, Tyler is at an age where he wants specific things.  He wants to complete his collection of Ghostbusters mystery minis, and he wants certain Lego sets. Items for him are very specific.  Hailey on the other hand is unable to voice her opinions. Therefore, her list might look more like: clothes, stuffed animal, educational toy. For my brother I might write model train equipment.  Then anytime I find model train equipment on sale, I can buy him something and check him off my list.  The less specific you can be for people, the better.  Then you have a broader range of options and can find better deals.  Of course, you want it to still be something they would want/need and like.

  • Put your list into a spread sheet

    Make a spreadsheet listing each person or group of people you need to buy gifts for in the first column.  For example, individuals I need to buy gifts for include, my hubs, Tyler and Hails, my nephews, my mom, my brother, etc.. Groups might be my aunt and uncle, Tyler’s teachers, etc. In the next column list what you plan on purchasing them.  If they are getting more than one item, make a new row for each item. The next 3 columns are as follows: bought, wrapped, delivered/shipped. You could of course do this by hand, but I love the clean look of spreadsheets!  Print out your completed list and bring it with you wherever you go. If you are not sure what to get someone, leave their line blank.  You can fill it in when you get inspired.  Now anytime you find something that someone on your list would like, you can check it off your list.  No more over buying because you forgot you already got something. This also keeps track of your wrapping so you won’t get behind on that either. Check out my sample spreadsheet below. Note that this is not my actual list incase these people are reading my blog…

 

  • Make 2 lists for your kids

    If you have been through any gift giving occasion with kids before, you know you will be bombarded with questions from relatives of what to get your kids.  Be prepared.  Once you make the list of things that you will be getting your kids yourself, make a second list of things that they want or need.  Keep this second list with you as well or give it to your husband, but not both.  You need to have a designated go to person for this list.  You don’t want both parents giving items out because the whole purpose here is to avoid multiples of the same gift.  Now when someone asks what to get your kids, your go to person can give them items from your list.  Be aware that these people may not necessarily get the item you suggest to them, but you can hopefully prevent multiples of the same gift.  You also avoid the texts back and forth “did you get so and so this?”, “No, OK then I’m getting it”, “OK so then what should I get them now?”….  You can always hold onto the list and if your kids didn’t get the item for Christmas, now you already have a list for their birthday!

I hope you find this list helpful! Do you have tips to reduce holiday shopping stress?? If so leave your tips in the comments!

Cheers,

Emily

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