The Mommyhood Life

Christmas

The Christmas Pickle Tradition!

We have started a new Christmas tradition.  The Christmas Pickle Tradition!  I am so excited about this, I am always looking for fun ways to make more memories during the holidays with kids and The Pickle Tradition does just that.
I had heard my family joke with my father about hiding a pickle at Christmas over the years , because he is German and I guess they had heard about a German version of this tradition.  However we never took part in it and I never understood how anyone would hide a pickle.  For some reason I was imagining an actual pickle and couldn’t comprehend making my house smell like dill pickles for Christmas day.  
Well the jokes on me, The Christmas Pickle Tradition set showed up on my doorstep and I am in love with this adorable tradition and so excited to be starting it with my children.  They are excited about the potential to win an extra gift.
Here is how The Christmas Pickle Tradition works:
Enclosed in the kit is;
Pickle Ornament
A Note from Santa Claus
Annual Pickle Finder Tracker
The Pickle Tradition Book
A Note From Santa,
Leave me the Pickle.  To hang on your tree. By the milk and cookies. Is where it should be. When the morning time comes. No sneaking, be smart! You must wait for your family. For the search to start. On the count of three. Little feet start to run.  The search for the pickle.  Has finally begun! The lucky child. Who spots it on the tree.  Will receive the first present. A gift just from me.
The book tells the story of one of Santa’s mischievous elves, Pickle, and how he learns about the magic of giving over the Christmas season.
The Christmas Pickle Tradition retails for $29.99 and is available at ChristmasPickleTradition.com 
This is such a fun set and the kids cant get enough of the book and hearing Pickle the elf’s story.  This will be our first year hiding the pickle and we cant wait to start this great tradition that will surely last for generations!

What’s In My JUSTICE Shopping Bag, The Perfect Place for Tween Holiday Shopping!

If you have a tween daughter, you’ve likely heard all about the ultimate girl’s store, Justice!  I remember hearing all about this bright sparkly store “that is just for girls” years ago, when all my younger cousins fell in love with it.  Then as Lilly got older, I remember being excited myself when she finally fit into Justice clothes.

Justice is filled with everything a Tween would love this Christmas. From fun hooded footie pajamas with coordinating accessories to Selfie booths, this store has all sorts of cool things.
Some of my favorite tween gift ideas at JUSTICE right now are the bathrubes with coordinating bath and beauty kits.  They have everything your tween would want on their vanity and you can get everything to match, soaps, nail supplies, makeup sets, slippers, flat irons, hair dryers and more.  Also the selfie line of products are very cool!  They have selfie sticks, booths, photo paper, stickers and more.  If your tweens are all about taking photos right now, then get to Justice before Christmas.
They also had countless stocking stuffer ideas.  Nail polishes that glow in the dark, jewelry, hair accessories, and the coolest accessory I saw had to be funky pedometer bracelets.
Plus if your tween loves the holiday season and really wants to show their holiday spirit, Justice has you covered.  Check out the festive hair chalk and the pretty press on nails!
So as you can see, I could easily buy the whole store between all the tweens in my life and the awesomeness in this store.  However I had to control myself, but I still walked out with a gigantic bag.  Here is what’s in my Justice Bag!
The first thing I saw when I walked in the store were these pj’s and matching pillows.  They are so cute and I know all the girls on my list will love them, I wish they had them in my size.  I grabbed a set immediately and had them held at the register.  The sales associates are always walking around and asked if I needed anything and would spot when my hands were full and always offered to help.  It’s easy to shop when everyone is so friendly!
I also grabbed some clothes, because Justice has the best styles for my over the top daughter who loves everything bright, sparkly, and is obsessed with fashion.
Then I picked up a notebook and colorful pen for a tween that loves to draw and write.  Justice had so many to choose from, it was a hard decision.  They had light up books, locking books, furry books, I really mean they had tons!  However I liked the spiral top on this one and the blank pages.
Lastly I picked up a few stocking stuffers and gift basket fillers.  I grabbed a shimmer powder set, color changing lip balm, 3 florescent nail polishes, a hand sanitizer and holder, and a cute monkey phone holder.
Are you heading out shopping for a tween this holiday season?  Justice is the go to destination when shopping for a stylish tween girls gift and they offer everyday low prices.  Plus this holiday season they have some awesome promotions going on that make shopping at Justice even more fun;

Enter the Justice Wishes Sweepstakes to win amazing Justice prizes for your tween like the Ultimate Justice VIP Experience with an iPad and shopping spree!
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Snap a photo of your tween’s holiday wish to enter into the Justice Wishes Sweepstakes between 12/1 and 12/24 to win weekly amazing prizes like $250 Justice gift cards or a shopping spree!
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Starting on 11/26 Justice shoppers will receive a Style Perk with every purchase. The style perk offers $15 off of a $40 or more purchase redeemable through the new year! Learn more about Style Perks here!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

This is #HowWeFamily, How Does Your Family Do The Holidays?

I have received information from the makers of TYLENOL®. The opinions stated are my own. This is a sponsored post.
The holidays are here!  If you need a little help getting in the holiday spirit, just watch this adorable #HowWeFamily video from TYLENOL®.  It melted my heart instantly.
How do you family over the holidays?  We have a lot of traditions over the holidays that brings us together as family.  We spend time with extended family every year, having annual Christmas parties at my parents or uncle’s house.  Then on Christmas Eve we visit my aunts house and my in-laws have a huge party, our Christmas is always better when surrounded by cousins, aunts, uncles, and loved ones.  We also visit Santa, try to see as many Christmas lights as possible, and bake till the kids tummies are full.  That’s #HowWeFamily, surrounded by love.

This holiday season, TYLENOL® is celebrating families and how they come together over this special time of the year. 
The video is a compilation of real moments from 11 real American families that showcases joy, laughter, surprise, and unconditional love. 

 Including one from spokesperson Gabrielle Union, Head over to http://www.HowWeFamily.com and learn more about the #HowWeFamily program which believes that family is not about who you love but how.

Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker at The Boston Opera House

Courtesy of the Boston Ballet
Living in the suburbs of Boston, The Christmas season always brings certain pictures to my head immediately.  Tree lighting’s, ice skating on Frog Pond, strolling Faneuil Hall, and of course Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker!
Courtesy of the Boston Ballet
This year we were invited by the Boston Ballet to attend the dress rehearsal of The Nutcracker and meet the dancers.  You may not be able to tell, but my inner child is still screaming as I type this.  It was such an amazing show filled with tutu’s, ballet slipper, snow flakes, and the most incredible talent.  Best of all I got to experience this event my own little dancer, Lilly.
Courtesy of the Boston Ballet
Lilly who’s three years into dance, is still at an age where the kids all sort of just bop around in dance class.  So to see her eyes grow bigger and brighter in awe of how these ballerinas are able to dance, was a priceless memory.
This was Lilly’s favorite dance.  When she saw this ballerina during intermission, she ran through everyone else to get to “the queen”
Courtesy of the Boston Ballet
While I love that I have this precious mother/daughter memory, I contemplated bringing Aidan but was worried he wouldn’t be able to sit through the show.  However after this visit, I think this will be a great experience for him in the future also.  Some of the scenes made me think of him and how he would be giggling at costumes or in awe of the male dancers.
 Courtesy of the Boston Ballet
Courtesy of the Boston Ballet
Courtesy of the Boston Ballet
Courtesy of the Boston Ballet
The Nutcracker truly is a must see, it lived up to everything I had heard about this breathtaking show!
We also got to meet some of the dancers while at the show,  this was the highlight of Lilly’s day.  She went right into dance class the next day and announced to everyone that she knew “a ton of real actual ballerina’s and they are so pretty”.
The Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker runs through December 31 at the Boston Opera House.  They also offer matinees on Saturdays and Sundays if you want to share this amazing experience with your little ones.  Tickets start at $35 each, Visit http://www.bostonballet.org to learn more and purchase tickets.
Courtesy of the Boston Ballet

Disclosure:  I was provided with tickets to this show to facilitate this post.  All opinions are my own.

10 Tips for Planning Ahead this Holiday Season! #PowerTheHolidays

This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/Duracell.
Christmas is my absolute favorite day of the year, but now that we have three kids, a dog, and my family coming for dinner, it can easily end up being the most stressful day of the year. 
I am a big time procrastinator, but with the holiday season, planning ahead can make a huge difference.
Here are some of the ways I plan ahead to help the day go smoothly so that I can truly enjoy it.

 
1. Go to bed early.  The kids will undoubtedly have you up before the sun rises so try to get to bed early so that your not completely exhausted all day.
 
2. Have coffee ready to go, the kids get so antsy when I say “wait for mom and dad to grab their coffee” I try to make sure its a quick process so I leave the mugs and the k-cups next to the coffee maker.  I also let them open their stockings while we get situated.
 
3. Have your camera charged and lots of empty space on your memory card!  There’s nothing worse than trying to delete pictures quickly to make room for more photos while the kids are rushing to open gifts.
 
4. Cook what you can ahead of time, especially if your having company for Christmas dinner.  We have my parents over and at times my brother and in-laws, so there is a lot of cooking involved.  I love to host at my house so that the kids don’t have to leave their toys, however I also want to be able to enjoy time with them instead of being in the kitchen all day.  In order to cut down on cooking time, I prepare what I can on Christmas Eve or the day before that.  All my baking is done ahead of time, dips are prepared, and appetizers are laid out next to the bowls/platters I’ll be using so I can just open things and set them out quickly and easily.
 
5. Lay out everyone’s outfits ahead of time.  I let the kids stay in their Christmas jammies for as long as possible, but I also love getting them dressed up.  So I make sure every aspect of their outfits are laid out ahead of time from shirts to shoes.  I do this for myself too,  Although I keep it a lot more laid back for myself and am usually comfy in my yoga pants or sweats all day.
 
6. Have an easy and yummy breakfast ready to go.  I don’t like slaving over dinner so I definitely don’t want to be in the kitchen for breakfast.  We usually make a French toast casserole the day before that is refrigerated over night, then I just throw it in the oven in the morning.  It smells amazing while its cooking, the kids love it, and it takes me 5 minutes on Christmas morning. 
 
7. Wrap everything ahead of time!  No one wants to be up till 2am wrapping gifts for the morning.  Wrap them slowly throughout the week before Christmas so that the Santa set up is a quick and easy process.
 
8. Build everything too!  I have spent, (well my hubby and father have spent) many Christmases building Barbie houses or play kitchens.  It’s not fun, now instead of waiting till Christmas, I have the hubby build the big stuff and hide it in the basement.  Then we just put it under the tree with a bow on it, instead of wrapping a huge box of pieces. 
 
9. Before wrapping everything, take an inventory of all the gifts that will need batteries.  There is nothing worse than an overly excited little person rushing to play with their new favorite toy, then finding out you don’t have the right size batteries.  So stock up on batteries before the Christmas morning.  You also want to get good batteries!  You don’t want to be replacing batteries all day or end up with a package of batteries that don’t work to begin with.  We buy Duracell as our trusted long-lasting batteries.
 
10.  Relax and enjoy the day.  It’s the most magical time of the year!
 
 

 
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This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/Duracell.
 


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Candy Cane Reindeer Christmas Recipe

 
Candy Cane Reindeer
 
Ingredients:
24 small Candy Canes
12 Hershey Kisses
12 Red Candy Decorations (like Red Hots)
24 Candy Eyes
1/2 cup Dark Chocolate Candy Melting Chips
1 White Candy Melting Chip

 Directions:
Line a cutting board or cookie sheet with wax paper.
Heat chocolate candy chips by microwaving for 30 seconds stirring and repeating until melted.
Take 2 candy canes and dip the bottoms (straight parts) in chocolate and shake off excess.
Place together on wax paper so hooks of each go off in opposite directions.
Place an unwrapped Herhey Kiss on the chocolate covered canes.
Repeat for remaining canes.
Using a toothpick, take a dab or melted chocolate and glue the red candy on top of the kiss as the nose.
Using a toothpick, take a dab or melted chocolate and glue on the eyes.
Take the white chocolate chip and place on wax paper and heat in microwave for 15 seconds.
Take another toothpick and paint a white mouth on each reindeer.


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