Things to Do This Holiday Season

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(Above: Amelia and her ticket aboard the Polar Express, 2014)

As the holiday season approaches, I am once again finding myself filling out a planning notebook. To be honest, it’s one of my favorite things to do- plan my holiday season. I write down all sorts of things from what our kids’ Elf on the Shelf will do each night of December to what activities we will be involved in to what we will be eating for dinner on Christmas Eve. It’s no secret that I love to plan. This year, however, I am keeping things very low-key in the activities department.

A few years back, I saw a beautiful advent calendar in my Pottery Barn catalog. Of course it was incredibly expensive and I didn’t buy it for that reason. My husband saw the picture of the advent calendar and decided he could probably make one. You can see it in my past blog post “Do You Advent?”  Since we started doing an advent calendar for our children, I have included a passage from scripture and an activity for each day from December 1st to December 24th. Years past have left me overwhelmed, exhausted, and feeling less than joyful about actually doing the activities I had planned for each day. I work full time. I have been going to college for most of my adult life. It’s easy to get over-booked.

This year, I am keeping it simple. This year many of my planned activities are things we already do, just with a seasonal spin. Some nights the activity planned is a bedtime snack like vanilla milk and cookies or hot apple cider with toast. Friday nights (year round) we do movie night, so for December advent activities on Fridays we will have a Christmas themed movie night. BUT I do have some special things planned that are out of our norm. Here are my few, but favorite plans for this holiday season:

  • Collect 3 things to donate
  • Have a fancy tea party (at home with just us 3 girls)
  • Christmas themed Minute to Win it game night
  • Christmas Karaoke party- again at home with the fam
  • Go look at lights. Somewhere. Anywhere. In the car.

That’s really just 5 special activities, but 24 days worth of Advent fun!

What are your must-do activities for the Christmas season? I love hearing about family traditions.

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QuickTip Tuesday: Be Careful in the Attic

My tip today comes from an at-home experience. If your air conditioner unit is in your attic, there is a chance that someday you will have a leak that causes wet spots on the ceiling. And if this happens, there is a chance that you or your spouse will go up into the attic to check it out. If you or your spouse has to do this, be careful to stay on the 2xwhatevers. If you fall off the stronger boards, you will go through the roof a la Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation.

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Halloween Costume Drama

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Halloween 2015                                            Halloween 2016 

If you have kids, you’ve probably been through this before. “What do you want to be for Halloween?” “A troll!….. No, Belle!…. I want to be Ariel…… Wonder Woman….. Spider girl!…” This year, my kids have watched the Trolls movie just about nonstop so I thought they would make the cutest little troll sisters. I found a DIY pattern online for a dress inspired by Princess Poppy and directions to make a big troll hair wig. It will be great! I got home and showed it to them only to hear that my older daughter didn’t want to be Poppy, but some other, more obscure character from the movie. No big deal. Same hair, different color. The little one has changed her mind just about every single day so far in October.

Here’s the deal. I am not willing to break the bank on Halloween. I have three nieces with October birthdays and a daughter with a November birthday, all of which are uncomfortably close to Christmas, if you know what I mean….

I finally got one daughter talked into wearing the Troll costume. We’re good there. The other daughter is still changing her mind daily. Today is Ariel. We have an Ariel dress already, so that should be fine… I’m just worried about what she’s going to say on October 31 and we don’t have her costume choice du jour.

If you’re interested in the DIY Princess Poppy costume, it can be found here.

What Halloween dramatics have been going on at your house? Let us know!

QuickTip Tuesday: Eat More Fruit…. Yes, I say it again.

Last week, my quick tip was to eat more fruit by focusing on whole fruits instead of fruit juice. Today I want to share this encouragement- Canned and Frozen fruit are also great options! In a society where anything processed is thought of as bad, canned and frozen produce should not be. Preserved produce reduces food waste and allows fruits and veggies to be picked at their peak ripeness instead of picked early. This results in a great flavor profile. It also lets us eat a bigger variety of fruits and vegetables year round.

Foodie Friday: October Menu

It’s Fall. It’s football season. It’s my birthday month. It’s the last month I have to work on my Master’s Thesis. I love October! Unfortunately, we often still get ridiculously warm weather in Oklahoma during the month (or we could get ice and sleet, ya never know) and so my “Soup Mondays” might get interesting! I love my Salad Mondays when the weather starts to get sunny and the days are long, but I am always so happy to transition back into my Fall/Winter menus. There’s just something so comforting about having a hot, hearty bowl of soup waiting for me at the end of the day.

Here’s my planned menu for October 2017. I hope you will take it and alter it to fit your family’s preferences and schedules. You can find all the recipes (and a few extra ideas) on the October 2017 Menu Pinterest Board.

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October 2017 Menu

Happy October! Happy Birthday! Happy Halloween!

QuickTip Tuesday: Boot Hack

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Come fall every year, I am loving my boots. I wear them all the time- so long as it’s under 65 degrees. What I don’t like about them is that my shoes are stored in the hanging shoe organizer or my built in closet shelves, which are not tall enough for my boots. Needless to say, my boots always end up flopping over on the closet floor. I just saw this in Pinterest- cut a pool noodle to fit the shaft of the boot and place the pool noodle inside. It will help the boots stand up straight in the closet!