holidays

Tag: holidays

My St. Patrick’s Day Tradition

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Growing up I knew what our St. Patrick’s Day tradition was. There would be green everywhere I turned. Green decor, green milk, green biscuits at dinner and of course green clothes. But something that never happened on St. Patrick’s Day was my mother wearing green. Ever.

My mother is half Irish and just so happens to have green eyes. (Being adopted that never was an excuse I could use). She took great pride in trying to keep up Irish traditions even though her mother died when she was 16 and her father just after she enlisted in Vietnam as a nurse. Her source for family traditions was gone so early in her life that she kind of had to improvise and come up with something new to make the holiday fun for the kids.

Every year she would prepare breakfast with as many items she could put green food coloring in. When I would come home from school I could always smell the Corned Beef and Cabbage cooking. Do I like Corned Beef and Cabbage? Not even close, but the taste and smell will always bring me back to my mom. She served it with vinegar, green biscuits many years and sweet iced tea, being that not only was she half Irish, but she was also from the South. There is just something special about the nostalgia that comes from sitting down to a meal you’ve had so many times over.

But there is also something exciting that comes from changing those traditions just a little and making it into something new with your own family. I love to cook to celebrate holidays, like my mom, and always look for something new and fun to try. The best kinds of recipes are the ones the littles can help with because you can talk while you cook, teach them a skill and get a wonderful treat out of it!

One of my favorite places to get recipe ideas is the blog Oh So Delicioso. They have several recipes for St. Patrick’s Day but by my favorite is the Neon Green Punch since I have small children that love the color! Electric green is a head turner and since it’s not too sweet I don’t have to worry about giving a second glass to my kids. Another one of my favorite sites for recipes is Weelicious as well (you can see the natural green recipes here).

I have found that with modern traditions, it’s not necessarily about having the exact same thing each year but that you do something each year so your kids know about the holiday and what fun you can have with it. My kids are all preschool age and younger so the big school parties won’t happen until this coming fall. Until then we have the opportunity to make each holiday unique to us and what we love.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Mom Talk Monday: Christmas Traditions

Today we are rounding up some of our featured moms for Mom Talk Monday: Christmas Traditions. Every family has traditions they look forward to for the whole month of December. But sometimes adding something new can be fun and inspiring.

Katie Lindsay, and her husband set up a fort in their living room with cameo coverings and Christmas lights. Her four boys sleep in it on Christmas Eve while the wait for Santa.

Our own Bethany has a tradition that many families do. Her children receive pajamas on Christmas Eve each year, but they come from a few special someones. Santa’s elves leave the pajamas on the front door step and ding dong ditch so they are not seen.

Jen Haderlie, the new mom of twin girls, loves to go to Starbucks for a cocoa and driving to see the Christmas lights where she lives. After they get home they read the story of Christ’s birth before going to bed.

We hope you take time to make new traditions, while still enjoying the old ones, with your family this holiday.

Holiday Movie Night

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Having a Holiday Movie Night in only takes a small amount of preparation to have an enjoyable evening that you can turn into a yearly tradition. Movie theaters are open on Christmas Day every year with some kind of a holiday show for families. But that also requires getting dressed, getting in the car and spending astronomical prices for popcorn. Besides, who wants to get out of their Christmas pajamas anyway? Why not stay in, stay warm and enjoy your vacation at home? I thought you might agree.

Needs:

-Favorite Christmas show (Polar Express is always a good one because of the hot chocolate dance)

-Sleeping bags, blankets and pillows. Enough to fill the floor.

-Hot chocolate bar on the counter with ingredients like: marshmallows, chocolate chips in several flavors, cinnamon sticks, peppermint sticks, flavored coffee creamer, whipped cream and sprinkles.

Bring out some cute containers to put everything in and put on the pajamas! Send invitations out to family and friends you make with the kids. When everyone is over, let all of them sit on the pillows and blankets and cuddle up together. Turn out the lights and have just the Christmas tree on and it will feel magical. If the kids fall asleep there on the floor, leave them! What could be more fun than that? (Just not on Christmas Eve, you don’t want to trip on them while delivering gifts under the tree)

Traditions are part of what we look forward to during the holidays. Being able to share those things we cherish with those we love is a great way to give a gift that has no monetary value. It also shows your children what is so important this time of year, being together and growing as a family, extending the hand of friendship and making bonds. Happy movie night!

4 ways to De-Stress this Holiday Season

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I hear from a lot of other moms that their husbands have to constantly remind them that they need to “relax”, “do less” and “don’t stress so much”. Do any of us actually do anything to check these items off our never ending to do lists? No. With all of the activities, festivities, driving and cooking to do in the month of December I sometimes wonder if I will make it to January.

De-stressing your holidays might bring thoughts like, “I can’t do that”, “We do that every year” and “so and so will be so disappointed”. But who, besides yourself, said so many things had to be done? Be better to yourself, simplify the to do list. Say “no” to the countless festivities offers. Schedule time with the ones that really matter, and remind yourself that sitting on the couch with a cup of cocoa, a blanket, a movie and watching the snow fall out your window with your honey is a perfect way to spend an evening. Need a few other ideas?

We offer 4 ways to de-stress this Holiday season:

1. Simplify your gift giving with this simple poem: Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read. Add a couple of things to their stockings and there you have a simple and meaningful list to fill for your loved ones.

2. It’s okay to buy store made treats to give your neighbors. Just add a simple note wishing them happy holidays. Put a cute ribbon on it and deliver. The only thing they will remember is how nice it was to be thought of.

3. Instead of cooking everything at the family dinner, do a pot luck style. Have everyone sign up to bring what they would like, make sure it makes a meal, and enjoy a little more time catching up with those you love at the counter instead of over the stove.

4. Most importantly, if what you have planned to do and give this year takes away from the time you have with your children, let it go. The time we have with our kids is limited and fading away. Let’s all try to remember to not let it waste away.

There will be some busy days over the holidays, lists to make and you will feel like it is never ending. But there is also great joy this time of year. Remember to cultivate an attitude of joy and your busy days will seem to flow better, your lists will not be so daunting and you will sit and enjoy this wonderful season and feel renewed for the coming year.

How to Entertain Guests during the Holidays

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Holiday get-togethers are memory makers. You catch up with family you haven’t seen in some time, eat as if calories don’t count and enjoy the spirit of the season. But some of us have the absolute pleasure of hosting some of that family for multiple days in our homes and the cooking, cleaning and pure joy that comes with it. Today we offer how to entertain guests during the holidays in small ways to make your life a little easier while you host those you love most.

While your grocery bill is going to go up, make sure that part of that is easy finger foods and drinks for all the kids that will be constantly asking for a snack, and adults. If your kids are anything like mine, if one asks for something to eat, they all do. Purchasing a large vegetable tray is a great way to go because you can set it out and everyone can take from it as they want. Even if it is in the fridge, everyone can take it out, take a few pieces and put it back. No preparation necessary. Add to it crackers, the mini cheese squares and flavored sparkling water and juice boxes and your all set.

Make a meal plan for every meal. Ask guests to contribute to the meals with a side or dessert and then they feel like they have helped in some way and you avoid them potentially offering you money to cover the costs of all the food. Also, clean out your fridge before everyone comes and leave room for your guests to put their own food, especially if they have a special diet.

Have activities in mind to go to or do at your home. Bringing out the board games are great, but knowing about special events happening in your area before your guests arrive is nice to choose from to break up the several game nights in a row.

Finally, offer those you love a room with a lock on the door. Having some kind of privacy will really help them feel better about staying over instead of a hotel. Knowing you can fully relax while vacationing is a gift in itself.

Enjoy your time with family and friends. Here’s to many nights of staying up late, too much cocoa and filling your heart with memories.

Simple Thanksgiving Centerpieces

We all want our home and dinner to look as warm and welcoming as possible this time of year, but it can be hard on top of all the preparations to prepare to get all of the decor up too. So today we are doing a Pinterest Roundup of simple Thanksgiving centerpieces that you can do in a hurry. The end result will be beautiful and everyone will enjoy the warmth you added to the dinner. If you are not hosting the dinner, offer to take flowers and centerpieces to the hostess to help out. It’s a nice gesture and one that will be appreciated.

Fall-Thanksgiving-Tablescape

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Thanksgiving Kid Crafts and Activities

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Everyone did a painting of a turkey in the shape of their hand in school; and kids still do. But doing something new never hurt either. We highlight a few Thanksgiving kid crafts and activities that you can do to get into the spirit of Fall and will add some festive flair to your home.

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This adorable painting is easy for even the youngest littles. They can use their fingers or paint brushes. All you need is paper, paint, leaves and tape. When it’s all dry, put it in a frame and every year pull it out to display in your home. You’ll be able to talk about the day it was painted with your kids for years to come. Find a tutorial here.

Turkey Ring 3

Kids love to make things, but things with eyes on them are always better. This simple craft could be done with a group of kids with each one being a little different. Another idea would be to let your kids make enough to use as napkin rings. Find a tutorial here.

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On the big day sometimes it can be hard to keep the kids distracted long enough to cook. Have them paint some feathers (or just buy colorful ones) and hid them around the house. Tell your kids they have to find all of the “Turkey” feathers before they come into the kitchen. Depending on how well you hide them you may even be able to sit down for a few.

To see more fun ideas, check out Parenting.com’s great article!

Thankful Wall

Family Time: Month Long Thankful Wall

During the craziness that is this time of year, it’s easy to rush through our Thanksgiving plans and into preparing for Christmas–it can be hard to really stop and breathe for a moment to reflect. Last year one of my favorite blogs, Our Happiness Tour, was featured on her local news channel for a “craft” she did with her family of four. I loved it! I immediately put it to work in my home. I couldn’t believe the difference it made for me. {Lindsey’s Blog Post , Lindsey’s Video Interview about the Banner}

We had to think hard about what we were thankful for each day. Closer to the end of the month it was getting a little difficult, but that is the point. You have to truly decide and speak out loud what you can’t see yourself being without. Below you can see the start to ours in our entry way. Because we are proud of the things we write down, we want everyone that comes into our home to see them.

My kids enjoy it because they can participate and help hang them up. But it’s a daily activity that will build a memory over time. Although mine isn’t as fancy as Lindsey’s, I hope to add some fun touches over the month.

{Tip: you can find cute paper cut outs at your local craft/scrapbooking store}

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