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Holidays

elf on the shelf, elf on the shelf ideas, elf on the shelf funny ideas, keurig, elf on the shelf expert level, baby shark, kinderegg, febreeze

It’s that time of the year again. You know the one. The time of the year when the elf on the shelf arrives. Also, coincidentally, when parents have about 5 whimsical, hilarious and creative elf on the shelf ideas and then, we’re out. Even if we’re not out, we forget. Oh, the horror. Why must those little guys need so much assistance?

Let me tell you a little story about the dumbest parents in the world, that would be the Big Guy and myself, in case there was any confusion. The elf on the shelf started coming when Bella was 2-years-old. We thought, “OMG, it’s so cute every kid should have one of Santa’s adorable elves come to visit them at Christmas.”

READ ALSO: The Elf is Back in Town

Our first elf on the shelf arrived that year, in a box (with little breathing holes in it) from the North Pole (sent from Santa Claus himself, no less) and a letter from the Jolly Big Guy.

His name was Ed and he was freaking adorable. No, he didn’t look like the other elves. He’s pleasantly plump and has kind eyes and I’m assuming that he is probably Santa’s favorite because he kind of looks like Santa himself (maybe he’s Santa’s illegitimate son? I’m not saying he is but I’m not saying he isn’t either.)

After all, Elf on the shelf can come in all sizes, shapes and colors just like people.

Ed was fantastic. Bella loved him and so did we. An elves life is pretty sweet when kids are toddlers. Toddlers have the attention span of gnats. Ed could literally move his lazy derriere an inch a night and Bella was perfectly tickled.

By 2008, we had two little girls and, for some reason, Santa thought it would be cool to send 2 elves. One for each girl. Ed and Ana Lee (who’s a little old guy who came with a name tag). So, then there were 2 elves, 2 daughters and the 3-year-old was pretty perceptive. Life gets more complicated when 2 lazy elves have to put on a dog and pony show every night. 2 kids, this mommy was exhausted.

READ ALSO: Elf on the Shelf Run Amuck

Well, if you think things were getting crazy, well, you have no idea. Ended up moving a couple times and well, let’s just say for the arguments sake, that our elves got confused for a couple years and we ended up with 3 more different elves, Herbie Hancock, Rick Astley and Darling Nikki. Moving is not good for elf consistency. So, for those of you keeping track, now that we have lived in this house for 6 years, all 5 elves have been showing up. It gets chaotic up in here.

Here are some Elf on the shelf ideas for Parents and Elves who are Out of Ideas

1.The Elf on the Shelf with Proof

Have the elf show up in a box with holes from the North Pole and a letter from Santa. Remember to remove all name tags they bring with themselves, as to allow for a more suitable name to be given to said elf.

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Photo Credit: @Frugalmom

2. The Hostess with the Mostest Elf

Has your elf shown up with a welcome breakfast for the whole family? Wouldn’t that be awesome? Maybe you help the little guy out and host your own north pole breakfast.

3. Paratrooper Elf

Has your Elf on the Shelf parachuted in? It’s different, unexpected and really brings the adventure. I mean, if he’s arriving by parachute, what might this little guy (or gal) do next?

4. Kissing Elf on the Shelf

A bag full of kisses for all the bubs and sisses. Maybe your elf is just not that into boxes maybe he arrives with a note from Santa and a bag full of chocolate kisses.

5. Full of Hot Air Elf on the Shelf

Forget the box altogether, and forget Santa’s predictable sleigh, why not arrive by hot air balloon, zip line or under the Christmas tree locomotive? After all, Danger could be his middle name (check the “name” tag someone forgot to remove).

6. Do you want to build a snowman Elf on the Shelf

If your kids are like mine they are Frozen fanatics and they also love building snowmen, so kids find it pretty cool when their Elf shows up and writes Frozen lyrics all over the bathroom mirror and builds a toilet paper snowman. And hey, if it’s snowing out, parents, you’ll get bonus points for taking those kiddies out and building an actual snowman!

READ ALSO: The Elf on the Shelf Problem

But be careful, our 5 elves have been known to toilet paper our house, the tree and anything else when hopped up on too much peppermint. I’m pretty sure that our elves turn into chain-smoking, drunken frat boy hooligans at night.

7. Loco for Coco Elf on the Shelf

Maybe while you’re outside building the snowman, maybe Rick Astley (that little go-getter that he is) the elf decides to put together a surprise coco bar for the whole family. How thoughtful. Best.elf. ever.

8. Like a Wrecking Ball Elf on the Shelf

Maybe your elf is MacGyver and he likes to live on the edge. So he takes some string, a toilet paper roll and he swings in overnight to make an entrance.

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Photo Credit: @CameronsCoffee

9. S’mores Elf on the Shelf

I’m not one for advocating that elves play with fire but it sure would be nice to return from a cold day at school to find Smoky the elf carefully making S’mores. That would be a nice treat, right?

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Photo Credit: @Craftywayout

10. Pump You Up Elf on the Shelf

Schwarzenegger elf really doesn’t like to miss his workouts, especially around the holidays with all the yummy desserts around the joint. Maybe he concocts marshmallow dumbbells to keep in shape and keep those love handles at bay.

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Photo credit: @Juliee_1985

11. An Angel Gets its Wings Elf on the Shelf

Frosty the snow elf really loves playing in the “snow” so beware, he may go to extreme lengths to feel at home and make sugar, rice, powdered sugar or sprinkle angels.

Mischievous Elf on the Shelf Ideas for the elves who want to live on the edge.

elf on the shelf, elf on the shelf ideas, elf on the shelf funny ideas, keurig, elf on the shelf expert level, baby shark, kinderegg, febreeze

Photo Credit: @Dopedreams_3X

12. Pooping elf on the shelf.

I am not sure what exactly these elves eat on a regular basis, but I can say that we’ve caught them pooping a toilet full of chocolate chips in the Barbie toilet. We’ve also caught them making not so nice toilet humor and playing pranks in the bathroom.

13. Tawanda! Elf on the Shelf

Ever caught your elves mid mischief? Well, one of our elves favorite things to do besides swing from chandeliers and cozy up to the Barbies and American Girl Dolls is sledding down the stairs. We’ve caught them doing it in the Barbie car, in toilet paper tubes and even by wrapping themselves in the toilet paper, yelling “Tawanda!” and just rolling. Silly elves, toilet paper is for wiping butts not sliding down the stairs.

14. The Godfather Elf on the Shelf

Our girls know that touching the elves is strictly forbidden and strips them of their North Pole magical abilities, so they don’t touch them but those elves are sneaky. When the girls have had talkback, push the boundary days, our elves have not been above crawling in the bed with them and sleeping on the pillow next to them. It’s pretty Tony Soprano sleeping with the fishes/ waking up with a horse head in your bed thug like.

elf on the shelf, elf on the shelf ideas, elf on the shelf funny ideas, keurig, elf on the shelf expert level, baby shark, kinderegg, febreeze15. Shoe Conga Elf on the Shelf

Elves like to be silly. I once saw our elves do a shoe conga from the living room, through the foyer and into the movie room. They’ve also been known to do this aboard the Polar Express beneath the Christmas tree.

16. Horsing Around Elves

They’re just like us and they get bored. I’ve seen them rally all those stuffies, Polly Pockets and Barbie dolls lying on the floor and let the sack races begin.

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Photo Credit: @Pittmankid

17. K-Cup Criminal Elf on the Shelf

Did you know that elves love coffee and hot chocolate almost as much as they love peppermint sticks? They do. I’ve caught them on more than one occasion reusing my old K-Cups. I’m cool with it. I’m all about recycling and reusing.

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Photo credit: @elfontheshelf

18. Sick Day Elf on the Shelf

Well, even elves get cooties sometimes. In these situations, it is best if they leave a doctor’s note to let the kids know why they’re not moving. Enjoy your sleep and take advantage of those days that you don’t have to chase him down every night. P.S. It’s the worse when the elf catches a cold from your kid but the guilt does buy you a couple extra days of relief.

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Photo Credit: @lips_last_with_Selena

19. Elfy sharks doo doo doo doo doo doo 

We have an entire family of elves, therefore, why wouldn’t they want to get in on the latest craze? You just know they’re going to show up as the family of sharks one day, perhaps with the JAWS music playing softly in the background. Baby shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo.

20. Picasso Elf on the Shelf

Our elves seem to get increasingly mischievous the closer we get to Christmas. One of their favorite things to do is climb up our shelves and draw silly mustaches and unibrows on family photos.

There are ( as my teen would say) “literally” 1000 other things your elf can do and mischief they can get into. I can go on for infinity.

If you are looking for some other great ideas check out this awesome elf on the shelf checklist.

I can say that our elves are a bit rambunctious. On their last night at our house, we almost always find them hungover after a night of drunken debauchery; gorged on peppermint and passed out in the middle of their Go Fish game.

They’ve even been known to toilet paper our Christmas tree and fill our house with paper snowflakes while we were at a holiday party. Elves are awesome but they sure love their shenanigans. They also have a penchant for stealing phones while you sleep and leaving random #elfies on our phones.

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What’s your best elf on the shelf ideas? What’s the craziest thing your elf has ever done?

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ATMOSTFX, Halloween, How to win the creepiest house on the block, digital decorating, #ATMOSFX

Disclosure: I was provided some of the products I mentioned by AtmosFX but all opinions and love of Halloween and tips for how to have the creepiest house on the block this Halloween is all mine.I scream! You scream! We all scream for Halloween! Well, you do if you’re doing it right anyway. Is Halloween your favorite holiday? Do you live for all things spooky and spectacular?

I scream! You scream! We all scream for Halloween! Well, you do if you’re doing it right anyway. Is Halloween your favorite holiday? Do you live for all things spooky and spectacular?

It’s Friday the 13th and you can bet that I am binge watching Jason Vorhees slash some teenagers trying to have sex. What a c-block, right? Having Jason Vorhees around is like having little kids in the house but with a machete.The point is I love Halloween, always have.

We are crazy for Halloween. It’s not just me. The Big Guy, our girls, my brothers and sisters and myself. We love to scare and be scared. The bigger the fright, the better the night.

Starting in August (sometimes before) we’re planning our costumes, by September we’re setting up our decorations and by mid-September, you can bet we are binge-watching all the horror movies on all the days. We live for Fright Fest and the Zombie walk. I know, it’s a bit much but it is what it is and it is full on our favorite holiday.

Every year we try to kick it up a notch. The family costumes get a little more intricate and we’re aiming for straight up scary. As the girls get a bit older we are able to decorate a little creepier with a little more of a macabre factor. When they were young, it was all about the blow-up decoration. In fact, we have a witch that we bought the year we found out that we were pregnant with Bella. I can still see her as a toddler sitting on her dad’s lap as they figured out the fan and blew the friendly witch up.

Ever wonder, how to have the creepiest house on the block?

As the girls grew, so did our collection of blow-ups to the point where all the neighborhood children came to the yard, every day to see what was new; parents were pushing strollers down in front of my lawn showing their toddlers that there is nothing to be afraid of at our house. It was “fun”. But this year, we’re upping the wow- EEE as in screaming factor.

ATMOSTFX, Halloween, How to win the creepiest house on the block, digital decorating, #ATMOSFX

This year, thanks to the graciousness of AtmosFX, we have discovered the piece de resistance in outdoor ( and indoor) decorating…Digital decorating! Y’all know we are tech nerds up in this house but this year, with the help of some exciting new products like the ATMOS FX Digital decorating kit and ATMOSFX Media Player with Motion Sensor, Premium window projection material, Hollusion Projection Material ( to hang in the yard and create holograms of the most macabre Halloween site on our block ever), the AtmosFX Digital ProDecorating Kit 2017 and the 3DFX Inflatable Form and accompanying digital download decorations.

This is how to have the creepiest house on the block this Halloween using AMOSFX!

What does all of this mean? This means that in my yard this year, in addition to the blow up witch, black cat, pumpkins, and bat there will be zombies trying to escape from the house, dancing skeletons in the graveyard assembled in our front yard and greetings from a particularly nefarious child ghoul at our front door, all accompanied by a spooky soundtrack, a smoke machine and strobe lights. I seriously can’t wait.

The best part is, not only do we get to earn the title of scariest house in the neighborhood this year, at Christmas time we simply change the projections and become the most elaborately decorated house in the neighborhood. I’ve always wanted to put a Nutcracker scene in the yard since our girls are ballerinas and it has been such a big part of our lives for the past 8 years. This year, I can do that because I can project a winter wonderland, complete with Santa and the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Nutcracker himself. It’s going to be awesome but first, we scare the neighborhood this Halloween.

If you love Halloween scares as much as we do, and you probably do, I would highly recommend checking out ATMOSFX. There is still time to get your scare on this Halloween Night!

I’m sharing some pics in this post but will be sure to share some live video on Halloween night of all the decorations in action.

ATMOSTFX, Halloween, How to win the creepiest house on the block, digital decorating, #ATMOSFX

What are you dressing as for Halloween this year? What’s your favorite decoration/fright that you’ve ever seen while trick or treating or out on Halloween night? What do you do to be the creepiest house on the block? Have you ever used ATMOSFX to kick your Halloween decorations up a digital notch?

 

 

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Holidays, Disney, family traditions, Pete's Dragon

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Disney. All opinions are my own.

Can you believe the holidays are right around the corner? My family is super busy and it seems like the older they get, the busier we get and the faster it all goes by. I remember that first year of motherhood and it felt like we were living in molasses. Everything took forever. I never thought my daughter would roll over and when she did, it felt like years before she crawled and jeez, it was only 10 months, but it felt like ions before she walked. Don’t even get me started on potty training. But now, I just want all the moments and milestones to slow down.

I battle the urge to freeze time between loving their new-found independence and wanting to drop down to the floor and crawl into the fetal position and tantrum until they just stop growing up. I know, when I say it out loud, I sounds quite crazy but I assure you, this is motherhood.

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I can’t stop time. Try as I may and, believe me, I do. I’ve realized that I just have to make the most of every single moment we have together. I have to suck the marrow out of motherhood, not unlike the soul sucking task of potty training, I will not go quietly into that good night of parenting. This is why I make a point of finding the special moments in the everyday and I try, though often forget, to remember to breathe in and inhale all of these tiny amazing and devastating moments that make up a life.

One of our favorite holiday traditions is spending time together watching family movies, usually something Disney because we’re all hopeless Disney fanatics. Honestly, it’s something we enjoy all year round but at the holidays it’s just a little more special because there are days off school, snow, hot cider, long days in matching pajamas (yep, we’re that family) and blanket forts involved. It’s magical.

One thing we really love to do together is putting on those crazy matching onesie pajamas (oh yes, did I forget to mention that they are onesies?) and decorate the house for the holidays. The fireplace is usually going, snack mix is in the oven and we are generally behaving goofy but then, we put a movie on and we’re transported, as a family, someplace else. It really is the cheapest vacation ever.

The matching holiday pajamas have been ordered and are on the way (I’ll share those later) so now the only thing left to do is count down the days and settle on a movie that we’ll all love. And just like that, one of my childhood favorites, Pete’s Dragon, got a reboot this year and is available to buy now! Just in time for our holiday break, family fun time.

Nothing like a family friendly adventure story about a boy and his pet dragon to not only ignite the imagination but warm the heart. But it’s more than that. It’s about finding your family, the people who love you, and about friendship, in all of its forms. It’s a beautiful story and I can’t wait to watch it this holiday season as we celebrate our family and make more memories together.

Actually, it’s the best feeling in the world because we are always on the move. These little quiet moments, with just the four of us, are far and few between but mostly they are priceless because we know it won’t be like this for long. One day, our little girls, the two tiny creatures who took forever to grow in that first year, will be living someplace else with their very own families and we will miss them desperately. That’s what I remind myself of every time I want to hurry their childhood up.

Every time I forget to move the elves or put a coin under their pillow from the tooth fairy, every time I grow weary from, what seems like endless ballet classes, violin and choir concerts, Nutcracker performances, junior high football games to support my cheerleaders, or kissing boo-boos and blisters from gymnastics I tell myself that these are the moments; the best moments of life.

Pete's Dragon, family traditions, holiday, Disney

Planning to watch Pete’s Dragon with your family this year? Disney Movie Rewards has a special promotion – when you purchase the film through DMR you can also purchase the ‘Elliot Gets Lost’ children’s book from the film at an exclusive price of $9.99 when you buy Pete’s Dragon on Blu-ray, Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere on Disney Movie Rewards!

You can find out more information about Pete’s Dragon on the following social media channels.

Facebook Pete’s Dragon: https://www.facebook.com/DisneyPetesDragon

Twitter @DisneyPetes: https://twitter.com/disneypetes

Instagram @DisneyPetes: https://instagram.com/disneypetes

What’s your favorite family tradition that you look forward to this holiday season?

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your truth is a lie, moms and daughters, comparing yourself to your mother

Have you been wracking your brain and every gift guide on the Internet trying to find  a gift to wow? The holidays are here and everyone is trying to find that perfect gift for the woman they love. It’s no small feat because women are as different as snowflakes and no two are alike. For example, I am a tech lover but I also like beautiful girly things; CES is my Disney World and beautiful things are my weakness.

These are the top things on my list this year.

If the woman in your life is into tech or fashion, she will love almost everything on this gift guide.

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Marc Jacobs Daisy Dreams

Everyone who knows me, knows that daisies are one of my favorite flowers because my Grandma was named Daisy. Inspired by the boundless spirit of daisies and blue skies, Daisy Dream reflects Marc Jacobs’ irresistible mix of intricate details, elegance, and femininity for a fresh interpretation of the iconic Daisy motif. The fruity-floral fragrance has a light and airy touch, bursting with top notes of blackberry, grapefruit, and pear. The heart notes are introduced with a bouquet of jasmine, lychee, and blue wisteria, and a medley of white woods, musks, and coconut water reveal the base notes.

The glass bottle is enveloped in a shawl of laced daisies, topped with a silver cap, and adorned with gold hues and daisy accents. The bottle is as beautiful as the scent inside. I didn’t think that I could love anything more than my Grandma Daisy but this scent comes close.

 

UGG, gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas

UGG® Australia Simmens Short Leather and Wool Boot

Maximize the fashion potential of your wardrobe with this trans-seasonal boot, crafted from waterproof leather with a wool blend shaft and decorative double buckle detail. The Simmens is lined with luxurious, natural wool for moisture-wicking comfort and features a new outsole design, utilizing cork-infused White Spider rubber for optimum traction in slippery situations. $170.

gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas, Baublebar, misfit flash

Helena Locket by BaubleBar and Misfit Flash

Make a statement with the Helena locket. It features vintage accents with classic BaubleBar sparkle. The fashion –forward accessories are as smart as they are stunning. The BaubleBar Locket opens to reveal Misfit’s sportiest tech- the Flash fitness tracker. Misfit Flash tracks your sleep and activity levels, including calories burned, distance traveled, steps taken and sleep quality and allows you to set your personal goals and check your progress. The Helena is exclusively available at Target. $69.99

STACKED

The first wireless charging ecosystem for iPhone eliminates the need for cords from the lives of iPhone users. The all-too-familiar feeling of sifting through a bag, crawling under a desk or standing tethered to the wall to charge a phone is now obsolete. STACKED advances the busy lives of mobile users by enabling both a full charge and connectivity at all times, without a life full of wires.

The shortest distance between two points is no distance at all. STACKED charges faster than any other technology because it comes in direct contact with the phone. The beauty of the bundle system is that the Power Pack is what needs to be recharged, not the phone itself. The Power Pack is recharged via the included AC wall adapter, which allows up to five Power Packs to be charged at once. Users can now maintain an arsenal of wireless charging solutions at their disposal at all times. $129.

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Aventura Clothing

Aventura clothing is a lifestyle apparel brand that makes and sells comfortable clothing with an active focus while being thoughtful to both people and the environment. Aventura is family owned since 1965, creating a supportive family-oriented culture where the little details of life (and clothing) are cherished. Aventura makes the perfect every day clothing. It’s well made, quality clothing made to fit a woman’s body.

Aventura is passionate about creating fashionable clothing with low environmental impact. Their eco-friendly styles not only prevent synthetic fertilizers and farm chemicals from polluting the soil, they look and feel amazing. Now through December 31st, free standard shipping is available.

A-Audio: Rose Gold Lyric On-Ear Headphones

These chic Rose Gold headphones with A-Audio’s distinctive silhouette and sound quality can’t be beat for the music lover on your list. The ear cups with memory foam padding for comfort and isolated sound collapse for easy storage and travel. Built with 40mm custom drivers, powerful circuitry and anti-vibration aluminum for premium sound. Bonus, the Lyric has dual jacks for sharing music with friends. $199

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38mm Rose Gold Aluminum Case with Lavender Sport Band

I’ve wanted one of these since day one. I finally got one and I am in love and you will be too. It’s all the quality and ease of usability that we have come to know and love in Apple products, right there at your wrist. Apple Watch Sport features a rose gold anodized aluminum case, retina display with Force Touch. It also has a heart rate sensor, accelerometer, and gyroscope with up to 18 hours of battery life. My favorite feature, aside from voice texting, is that its water resistant so no worries if I accidentally run it under the faucet. It’s beautiful, functional and the perfect gift for any woman on your list this year. $350.

Lily Bed,  gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas

Lily Bed for Women

Women need the most sleep because generally we are the caretakers of the family. Yet, we are the ones who get the least amount of sleep. LilyBed has taken this into consideration and designed the first bed made for a woman’s body but strong enough for a man. A few of the amazing features of the LilyBed mattress in a box include premium cover that’s soft, cool and hypoallergenic, super soft layer surface, responsive core for perfect balance and complimentary full body support. Bottom line, it’s the best night’s sleep I’ve had in years.

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PANDORA Light As A Feather Earrings in Sterling Silver

Inspired by the elegance and lightness of feathers, these airy dangle earrings represent stunning, natural beauty. Shimmering stones accentuate the splendor of their stylized form, making them a great choice for eveningwear. Sparkling clear cubic zirconias and swirls of sterling silver depict feathers in these beautiful dangle earrings. $100.00

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Lomo’Instant Wide Central Park Edition camera + lens system

Lomo’Instant’s new wide instant camera lives up the Lomo rep. This fun vintage-inspired camera kit features three creative shooting modes and comes with three cool lens attachments (wide-angle, close-up, and splitzer), a lens cap that double as a shutter remote control and easy-change color gels that add a wash of color to your photo subjects. It’s like Hipstamatic but in real camera form. I’m as excited about this as I am the USB TypeWriter and Qwerkywriter. $259

nuyu sleep system, gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas,

Health o meter™ nuyu™ Sleep System

Sleep solution made of a Bluetooth® enabled sleep mat and app that cycles through temperatures through the night to mimic your body’s circadian rhythm so that you wake up well-rested. It warms slightly when you are going to sleep; cools you down during the middle of the night, and then warms you back up to mimic your natural circadian rhythm.  Starting temperature range: 69° – 105°

Controlled using free nuyu™ app which can be used with the Activity Monitor to track sleep. It is also machine washable mattress pad and hose, washer bag included. $499.99

Olloclip Active Lens

I have a great Nikon DSLR that I depend on for most of my travel and family photos but, honestly, I am a big iPhonographer. My phone is never far away and always convenient to shoot with so I’m super excited about the Olloclip Active Lens. Olloclip Active Lens is a compact, lightweight, 2-in-1 with a telephoto lens and ultra-wide angle lens that snaps onto your iPhone 6/S or iPhone 6 Plus/6S Plus.  It works with both the front and rear facing cameras on the phone too.  Easy to use, just snap it on and snap it off. $99.99

gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas,  α77 II A-mount camera with APS-C sensor

α77 II A-mount camera with APS-C sensor

Never miss the moment. When extraordinary happens, capture it with the accelerated α77 II with an astounding 79 high-density AF points, 12fps continuous shooting, and a 24.3MP Exmor CMOS sensor. Every moment is made eternal. Translucent Mirror Technology enables precise phase-detection AF in live view and movie modes. $849.

Brooklyn Bedding: #BestMattressEver

Built with individuality and simplicity in mind, Brooklyn Bedding delivers personalized comfort with a bed-in-a-box designed for every type of sleeper. Breaking the “one-comfort-fits-all” mold, three sleep comfort levels cater to every type of sleeper with Soft, Medium and Firm options. Luxurious, soft quilted pillow top cover knitted with moisture-wicking cotton for cloud-like feel and breathability. It’s like sleeping on a cloud. $450 – $1,050

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X-Doria: KidGPS 

Every mom I know will want this palm-sized tracking device that notifies parents of their children’s exact location via companion iOS or Android application, providing peace of mind. This user-friendly device that can be tucked in a child’s pocket or clipped on their backpack

Panic alert button sends the current location of a child to multiple devices.

Battery lasts up to seven days and can be recharged via integrated micro-USB port. Tracking services range from $5.99/month for 12 months, or $7.99/month for 6 months

Polaroid Zip

The Zip is a super-simple, instant photo printer. Turn it on, connect it to your iPhone or Android via Bluetooth and hit the print button on the free app. The result: 2X3” full-color instant prints. The Zip uses special photo paper (a 30-pack only costs $14.99) that’s ink free and comes out dry-to-the-touch. $129.99

zara, gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas

Zara

Zara is my favorite place to buy affordable clothing that is cute and feminine. The inventory is constantly updating for the seasons and I love the feminine fabrics and cuts. It’s a great selection of outfits for work and evening wear.

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DxO One

The DxO One will turn your iPhone or iPad into a DSLR quality camera for less than the price of a DSLR. It pairs perfectly with your iPhone so that you can take amazing photos anywhere. It shoots 2.1-MP photos and 1080p video and you can toggle between the two modes with a tiny 1-inch touch screen on the side of the device. The DxO One gives photographers DSLR-like modes like aperture priority, shutter priority, program and manual. $599.

tipsy elves,gift guide, Christmas guide, women, tech, fashion, holidays, Christmas

Tipsy Elves 

If you are looking for something like nothing else, might I suggest an ugly sweater or Christmas jumper from Tipsy Elves. I recently received the Women’s Blue Reindeer Jumpsuit and they are the super cozy and toasty. The design has a bold blue background a white Fair isle design with grazing reindeer. The front pockets include zippers and a red accent color on the cuffs to complete the outfit. This jumper is great for Christmas morning, lounging during holiday break or wearing to your favorite ugly sweater party. Bonus, it also comes in Mens and children’s sizes.

Margaritaville®: New Key West™ Frozen Concoction Maker®
This is the  perfect gift to celebrate at all the holiday parties and will definitley help you ring in the New Year! Refreshed version of this classic now features an extra-large ice reservoir that holds ice for 3 full pitchers so you can enjoy the party longer before it’s time to refill

· Shaves ice, instead of crushing like other machines, for perfectly smooth beverages

· Margaritaville® maritime detailing that features a new silver base to match modern home décor

· Produces 36-ounces of restaurant-quality frozen drinks

· Includes manual shave & blend controls

· Includes a 36 oz., sturdy glass blending-jar and with Easy Pour lid

Price: $399.99

What’s your favorite present on this gift guide?

Disclosure: Some of the products on this gift guide were provided for review purposes but entirely opinions are my own.

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Inside Out, Halloween, trick-or-treating

Our entire lives have been upside down and inside out since I broke my leg but we are learning to deal with it. Honestly, this broken leg has not just changed my life it’s upset the entire ecosystem of my family. It’s been a crazy couple of months so this Halloween, we fittingly went as characters from Inside Out.

joy

I haven’t been out a lot lately so I was really excited to take the girls Trick or Treating. The Big Guy was Anger, which made us all laugh since Anger is small and my husband is 6’5”. My oldest was Joy and my youngest was Disgust. The obvious choice for me was Sadness, to round out the crew, but I figured there’s been enough sadness so I chose to go another route. I decided to be Bing Bong.

Inside Out, Halloween, trick-or-treating

Why Bing Bong from Inside Out, you ask?

Well, I felt like I needed a little whimsy in my life. Though I must say, it’s a challenge trying to bring a child’s imaginary friend to life on Halloween or any other day of the week. I spent the night being confused for Katy Perry and Niki Minaj as the Big Guy wheeled me around the neighborhood.

Inside Out, Halloween, trick-or-treating

It was exhausting to be out and around in the chilly, autumn night air but at the same time it was invigorating. I felt like a human again. Hearing my girls giggle as they ran door-to-door trick or treating made my heart happy.

It’s funny how sometimes the simple things like being outside of your own four walls, participating in life can make all the difference. For one night, I felt like I got to escape my injury and do the things I’ve always done with my family. I felt normal and it was amazing, even if it was while I was dressed as an imaginary friend.

Inside Out, Halloween, trick-or-treating

In the end, maybe I looked like Katy Perry in a wheelchair with a broken leg and a crazy pair of Olivia Newton John sparkly hot pants and not Bing Bong. Maybe no one quite got what I was supposed to be but I needed it.

 

We all needed a little Inside Out to get right side up.

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stolen moments, raising girls, Nutcracker

I was awoken this morning by the sweet, soft baby-like voice of my 6-year-old as she leaned in close and whispered into my ear, “Mommy, can I sleep with you?” Half asleep and not quite sure whether I was dreaming or awake, I scooted over and made room in for her in my warm bed, we snuggled close because I know these moments are fleeting with every day that passes; soon she will stop coming to me for comfort in the middle of the night.

It’s not always like this. Sometimes, she presses her face close to mine, loudly announces her presence and startles me into consciousness and my first reaction is to take her immediately back to her own bed but not today. This is what all the parenting books teach us to do, right? But why? What’s more important; following some guideline or embracing all the moments of childhood? Life is short and I plan on stealing all the moments with my children that I can.

We’ve been completely enveloped in the Nutcracker for the past two weeks, in case you were wondering where I’ve been. It’s been an emotional and exhausting time for all of us. No time for distractions, I want to be present. I don’t want to miss a moment of any of it.

parrot1

Gabs approached her first season with trepidation. I gently nudged her to continue on, as mothers do. Reassuring her that I will always be there, when she turns around to support and love her. Bella only needs my presence now as a touchstone of normalcy in all the chaos; to calm the opening night jitters and do her make-up. Gabi looks to Bella to calm her. My role in all of this is like a beloved and worn pair of ballet slippers. I am comfortable and familiar.

I’ve been backstage the entire time, just like every year, providing moral support, reassurance and love…when requested otherwise keeping my distance to let my girls grow and shine. It’s a delicate balancing act to let go and still keep hold of our children. But, once they take the stage, I exhale. I watch from stage left with pride and love as I choke back the tears as Tchaikovsky swells throughout the theater. This has become a sort of a love song to my daughters.

I can’t hear the Waltz of the Snowflakes without tearing up as I remember my Bella taking the stage for the first time at 5-years-old as my tiny ethereal snowflake.  When I hear the battle scene, I remember my little soldier and tiny mouse that bravely took the stage and danced even when she began to feel fluish.  My heart nearly bursts out of my chest when the orchestra begins to play the Enchanted Palace and the Kingdom of sweets because I can see my Bella, my angel, floating under the house lights as the smoke machine transforms the stage into a magical place.

angel1

The same thing happens now, when I hear the music for the dance of Arabian Coffee. You might hear beautiful music, I see my Gabs dressed as a parrot taking the stage for the first time ever, trying her damnest to remember the intricate dance. I see the nervous smile that only I know is nerves and not stage presence. I feel the relief and pride in her hug as she safely exits stage right and lands safely back into my familiar arms. I see the side-glances and smiles meant just for me off stage. I know the comfort they take that I am there and it makes me happy these stolen moments that we have together, that no one else knows about.

Parenthood is big and all consuming sometimes it feels like a job instead of an honor but it is, you know? The greatest privilege I’ve ever had is stealing moments with these two amazing creatures that I get to call my daughters and now, I must rouse everyone from their slumber because we’re not done yet. We have three more performances; three more chances to soak in these once in a lifetime moments that we so often take for granted.

It’s so easy to get lost in the holiday season and obsess over making it the perfect holiday that it becomes a chore. This has happened to us every year but this year, we made the conscious decision to make the moments together count. It’s not about what it looks like to other people; it’s not about things. It’s about what it feels like. It’s cuddling during down time watching Christmas movies, it’s about making fudge with daddy and cookies with grandma. It’s about letting the girls decorate one tree any way they want to without moving or straightening a single ornament. It’s about stealing kisses with my husband and moments with our daughters.

What’s your favorite stolen moment?

 

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holiday comforts, tempur-pedic, holidays, comforts

holiday comfortsHoliday Comforts~ This post is sponsored by Tempur-Pedic, the brand millions of owners trust to deliver their best night’s sleep every night. Enjoy our Buy 2, get 1 free pillow offer now and give the gift of custom comfort to someone you love.

holiday comforts, tempur-pedic, holidays, comforts

Holiday Comforts Come from the Little things

It’s that time of year again, the time when the temperature cools down, the chaos level gets cranked up a notch and families come together. I have lots of holiday comforts that I look forward to every single year like cuddling up by the fire with my Big Guy, hot chocolate with my girls after a long, hard day of snow angels and snowman building and snuggling up in the family bed with our little girls drifting to sleep between us as we watch Christmas vacation for the 100th time that year. Thanksgiving was yesterday and we all enjoyed starting off our holiday season with a home cooked meal of comfort food, shared with family and followed up by driving around town with the girls looking at all the Christmas decorations downtown. All of my holiday comforts revolve around family. Sure, it’s great to get a nice gift but all that I really need in life is free; holiday comforts in  smiles, giggles and snuggles. Those holiday comforts are priceless. My list of holiday comforts is simple but it is more than ample.

Holiday Comforts in the little things

  • The sparkle in my daughters’ eyes when I tell them that I love them.
  • The smiles on my daughters’ faces when they are happy.
  • The laughter that fills our house as our girls do one silly thing after another.
  • The Big Guy’s hearty, robust laugh when he finds one of our daughters asleep in a closet or wearing their underwear on their head.
  • My heart swoons sharing the Nutcracker with my girls and now, watching my little girl on stage performing in the Nutcracker.
  • Seeing my sweet nieces and nephews on a regular basis.
  • Hugs and Kisses, lots and lots of hugs and kisses.
  • Snow days spent watching black and white Christmas movies with our girls cuddled under a fuzzy blanket.
  • Making the first batch of snow cream.
  • Going to my parents house and having Christmas with my sisters.
  • Decorating the tree and house for Christmas.
  • Christmas Mass and the smell of the incense that fill the church as the choir sings; this gives me peace.
  • Thanksgiving smells filling the house as our entire family talks and catches up.
  • Watching my children play with my brothers and sisters kids.
  • Long talks after dinner with my sisters.
  • New babies, expected babies.
  • Barton’s Pizza, loud Christmas music and midnight mass remind of my childhood Christmas eves.
  • Seeing my daughters’ faces the first time they notice that their elves have arrived from the North Pole each year.
  • The palpable excitement the girls exude on Christmas eve when putting out reindeer food with Daddy and cookies for Santa.
  • New years eve with our girls, sipping sparkling cider and celebrating the New Year at 8 pm ( after turning the clocks to midnight) so the girls can ring in the New Year with us.
  • Midnight New Year’s eve kiss with the Big Guy, at home, together for the last 15 years…and for the rest of our lives.
  • Calling all of my family at midnight to wish them a happy New Year and let them know how much I love them.

Holiday Comforts come from the privilege of loving

Comfort is the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday gift list, so be sure to take advantage of Tempur-Pedic’s Buy 2, get 1 free pillow offer! I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. What are your holiday comforts?

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elf, elf on a shelf, christmas, holidays

Elf on a Shelf Run Amuck~ Last year, we  I decided that I wanted to start the whole Elf on the Shelf tradition with my girls.Of course, once I saw what the Elf on the Shelf actually looked like, there was no way I was bringing that thing into my house.It would have scared the Christmas spirit right out of my girls. Thoughts of them sleeping with me nightly until they were 15 danced in my head and I nixed the Elf ( jokes on me because they are currently co-sleepers!) I wasn’t ready to abandon the entire idea, just that particular elf. You know me, I went on a quest until a could locate 2 more aesthetically pleasing elves. I acknowledge that I am so conforming to society’s idea of beauty. Shame on me.The girls were 2 and 4 and, let’s be honest, I needed a new bargaining chip.The fat guy threats just weren’t cutting it anymore. I needed something more tangible, not a threat of 1 day of the entire year. My girls are fairly certain that Santa is like God in the respect that he forgives..everything. But elves, well, those little bastards can be as vicious as Mommy wants them to be. Those little dudes are Santa’s henchmen; they bust kneecaps and bite ankles. And so began the tradition..in our home.

Anyone who knows the Big Guy and I know that, in most respects, we don’t half-ass anything when it comes to our girls, with the exception of when we are dropping the ball completely. Sky’s the limit, to infinity and beyond and all that bullshit. So, our elves ( yes, there are 2, one for each girl…its hard work wrangling babies) are sent via Air mail from the North Pole. You doubt me? Hey, there is postage paid and everything..even teeny tiny holes in the box so those minuscule Northern mafioso enforcers can breathe. Our elf on a shelf #1 and elf on a shelf #2 arrive with a letter from Santa explaining all ( yes, by now you should all be fully aware that we take everything just one step too far).

elf, elf on a shelf, christmas, holidays

Elf on A Shelf #1 has arrived

This year, Analee ( that’s the name since “someone’ forgot to remove the tag from the elf) arrived magically,a s if out of thin air.One day he was not here and the next, there he sat high in the Christmas tree, watching,waiting to be discovered.Keeping watch over my girls as they shouted and fought.And then it happened, Gabs made her way to touch her Clara ornament(you know the special one that she is forbidden to touch) and as her eyes rose from the ornament there perched 3/4s of the way up the tree, Analee.Gab’s let out a yelp. Then said nothing. She slyly made her way to her sister, who screamed and immediately ran to greet our old friend.She was all flushed and hyperventilating trying to get the words out of her mouth, the proclamation that “Analee” was back. Santa had sent him to watch over them. I feigned surprise and said hello. Then it was bedtime. A few days later, after many hours of Bella standing in front of the Christmas tree explaining away every transgression that she had levied against her sister (literally, I found her no less than 15 times talking to the elf on a shelf…explaining that Gabs made her do it and to tell Santa..it was Gabs, I tell you.All Gabs!) a package arrived in the mail.

Elf on a Shelf #2 reporting for Recon duty

The girls saw the brightly decorated box and knew instantly what the package contained. They gently placed it on the floor, in front of the fireplace ( there is a great amount of reverence given to the elves) and peeled the packaging back. Inside, they found a letter from Santa and the jolly smile of “Ed”, sent back by Santa to report for another year of duty in our household. The girls gasped. They love the elves but they are afraid to touch them, not even with a ten foot pole. Well, Bella is anyways.Gabs actually midget tossed poor Ed out of her room on his ear today when she was having a particularly hard time fighting a nap.Poor Ed!But that’s an entirely different post. I was asked to place Ed somewhere, because, silly you, elves don’t run around in front of humans during day light hours.Bella has a theory that she shared with me the other day.It goes a little something like this: Bella” Mommy, how do the elves tell Santa what we’re doing?” Me:”Well, Bella, the elves are magical so they just pop back over to Santa and give him a daily report.” She looks slightly perturbed and confused.Bella:’Mommy, why don’t they just call him?” Me:”Well, Bella they can magically just pop back to Santa, why waste the minutes?”(I’m slightly exasperated.This lie has gotten too big,You know I can’t lie!)Bella: “Mommy?” Me;”Yes?”Bella: “Mommy,  I think Santa has secret cameras in the house and can see everything we do!”I’m speechless.After all, she is only 5 years old.First, she has rationalized the Tooth Fairy and now elves with spy cams? Me:”No,Bella.they.pop.back. to .Santa.every.night!”

elf, elf on a shelf, christmas, holidays
This  letter from Santa makes me cry, a little bit.It choked me up reading it to the girls.

Every night, I move the elves to different positions and to different random spots in throughout the house; the bathroom ( taking a poop, surprise Ed’swatching), eating breakfast (Surprise Analee is in the chair next to you),putting your clothes in the hamper (Be careful you’ll squish Ed), reaching for the milk ( oooh, poor Ed is chilly in the fridge..no sneaking candy!)turn on the fireplace (oh no,be careful Analee is getting hot under the collar).You get the point?

 

elf, elf on a shelf, christmas, holidays

And so starts another year of the mischievousness that is the elf visitors.Elf on a shelf my ass, those little suckers are running all over my house. It scares my girls that our little visitors wield so much power in their tiny hands.They are roaming free, recording every single scream, yell, hair pull, piss my sister off moment/ talk back to my Mommy, fighting my bedtime, not going to eat my asparagus moment that goes down in our house..and apparently, so are Santa’s spy cams!So, remember you better watch out, you better not pout,you better not cry, I’m telling you why..Santa’s sending his henchmen to rat on you!Happy Christmas and beware the elf on a shelf!

elf, elf on a shelf, christmas, holidays

Elf on a shelf saves the Day

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The holiday season has arrived

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! On the other hand, is it? Sure, it’s merry and great, filled with bright lights and shiny ornaments, Santa Claus, memories that warm the very cockles of your heart, and a plethora of gifts…for the little ones. However, how is it for us parents, really? It’s stress, commitments, over extending personally and financially, wrapping gifts, last minute shopping sprees, cooking, cleaning, traveling, and laundry. Oh, my! All compounded by the fact that we still have to perform all the menial tasks of our day-to-day life; housework, job, working out and what have you.

Pictures with Santa 2005

Don’t get me wrong; I do love the holidays, as much as anybody else does. In fact, I absolutely adore and embrace all the chaos that comes with the holiday season. Every year at this time, you know sometime between Halloween and New Years Day, my world seems to work itself into this great big foaming mass of chaos. It’s like a sugar high for the soul. I don’t remember it being like this before I had my girls. I, fondly, remember the holidays consisting of leisurely shopping trips in which I employed the one for you two for me technique. By the end of the season, I had accumulated a fabulous new wardrobe at a very reasonable price and all family and friends were sufficiently presented with a gift that they would thoroughly enjoy. The husband got anything his heart desired. Parents received a very thought filled, non-cookie cutter gift. Win; win, right? That was then.

Fast-forward six Christmases, the holiday season consists of Halloween costumes that have been changed in triplicate. School Halloween parties. Nutcracker auditions. Thanksgiving feasts for upwards of 30 people hosted by me because I am trying to create traditions and memories for my girls. In the past, we would have enjoyed attending dinner at one of our Mother’s houses but since we’ve had our children and want to include everyone in the holidays, we are now hosting both sides of the family at our home. Nutcracker rehearsals, Thanksgiving parties at school, the Nutcracker tea, and the Light festival. Black Friday, three Christmases, two Christmas parties, a school Christmas party, a pageant, Church, more last minute shopping for someone I’ve inevitably forgotten, a New Years eve gathering amongst family and a partridge in a pear tree. There is barely time to breathe little lone sit back and truly enjoy the smiles and giggles of little people in my life. Get the picture?

Bella’s 1st Christmas as a Big Sister
The girls first Christmas together
Gabi’s fir
st present EVER!
When we look back at the pictures a year from now or twenty, they will reflect the happiness of the end results; Girls in their (final choice) costumes trick or treating amongst their friends or walking hand in hand into the sunset on a journey to get more candy. The Thanksgiving photos will be an agglomeration of warm-hearted smiles and hugs on full bellies. Photos of cousins hugging, grown ups enjoying one another’s conversation, Grandparent’s holding children closely, Rock band marathons, and love…loads and loads of love, right there in the heart of our home; the kitchen. Christmas photos will be bright lights, family parties, Christmas trees, and smiles on children’s faces as wide as the Montana sky. The pictures will reflect the true sentiments of the holiday season and none of the bitter chaos of its preparation. That’s Mommy and Daddy’s little secret, sort of like Santa Claus.
Our second Christmas with both our little girls

Last year, Bella’s first ever Christmas pageant for school
The girls @ the Nutcracker tea 2009 in Richmond

Therefore, you see, it really is the most wonderful time of the year. Nevertheless, the memory is different depending on your perspective. Stress is the killjoy of happiness. Let go; embrace your chaos and enjoy your littles. When you look back in 20 years, don’t you want the memory to match the photo? Happy Holidays and Happy Mothering!

Santa at Macys in Chicago this year during Light Festival
My girls and I having lunch @ the Walnut Room in Chicago

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