Are you ready for Valentine’s Day? I’m at least remembering it’s coming up in a couple weeks, but I haven’t done a whole lot.
Here’s where I’m at:
Plan romantic date with hubby
Partially done. We’ve decided that we are going to a movie the Saturday after Valentine’s Day and we have childcare lined up. However, we still need to decide which movies. Does anyone have recommendations for us?
Commit to strengthening my marriage throughout the month (I mean it is the month of romance)
Done! Actually sticking to this one was made easy because we are doing this 28-Day Challenge from Thrive Momma. I’m super enthusiastic, so we are going with a challenge that lasts the entire month. However, if you want to start with something a little shorter, here is a 2 week one that is awesome to bring your focus back on the little things that keep a marriage strong.
Make cute Valentine’s Day Cricut crafts
Nowhere near done. I’m a working mom, I barely manage to find time to make crafts/gifts for Christmas, let alone make ones for a holiday that is somewhat low on my holiday priority list. I’m all about (somewhat) realistic expectations here.
Plan Valentine’s Day themed food
We have arrived back at another one I’m slacking on. I keep reminding myself about the realistic expectations part. However, one recipe that I might be able to pull off because it’s so simple is this peppermint bark. I really don’t cook. I leave all the cooking to hubby, but since he doesn’t like peppermint, I may brave the kitchen to give it a try.
Do holiday-themed activities with Paxton throughout the month
Again this is something this working mom just hasn’t got around to doing. This working mom is struggling a bit over here with another holiday when I’m still recovering from Christmas, New Years and Paxton’s first birthday. I’m also not quite sure what activities would work well for a 13-month old. If you know of anything, let me know in the comments.
I may not be on top of it this year, but I’ve found what I’m going to do for next year! I’ve discovered this website Education.com. They have a bunch of awesome printable worksheets that are holiday-themed. These are perfect for a toddler learning activity that is holiday themed. I love this Valentine’s Day Word Tracer. Check out Education.com for more printables and learning activities just like this! If you click the image, you can get the downloadable PDF to use for your little one.
Are you ready for Valentine’s Day? Are there things on your to-do list that I forgot about? Let me know in the comments.
Fall is here and with it comes Halloween, Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving. When you have older kids, it can be relatively easy to find activities for the family to do on evenings and weekends. However, what can you do with a baby that is less than a year old that will feel like you are celebrating fall, but that the whole family (including baby) will enjoy? Here are my top 5 fall activities with baby!
Introduce Pumpkin Puree to Baby
As moms get excited for pumpkin spice (even though I don’t excited – see this post for more details), it’s the perfect time to introduce pumpkin puree to your older baby that is eating solids.
Fall Photo Shoot
The leaves are changing colors, and it’s not too hot or too cold. There’s often a nice breeze, and the sun isn’t too bright. Fall is the perfect time to do a family photo shoot. You could hire a professional photographer, but why not take your own photos. Find some nice scenery at the park or set up some pumpkins and corn stalks or a pile of leaves to make a great fall photo area at home. Check out this post with tips for taking photos of baby.
Trip to the Park
Fall means breezy and not too hot. That’s the perfect weather for a trip to the park. Dress baby appropriately for the weather and head out with a snack, some toys and a blanket. Set up under a tree near the playground and let baby play and watch the older kids play. You can both enjoy the weather and admire the changing leaves.
Go To A Pumpkin Patch
Don’t Buy Your Pumpkin at the Store. Pumpkin patches can be great fun for older kids, but they can also be fun for older babies too. This is another one that is best for babies older than 6 months. Go as a family and pick out a couple of pumpkins (you can use these in your photo shoot). Everyone gets to enjoy some fresh air and fall festivities. As a bonus you can get super cute photos with baby surrounded by pumpkins.
Attend a Parade
Many towns have parades for Halloween and Veteran’s Day. Take baby to watch one of these. Baby will enjoy all the bright colors and looking at the firetrucks. This may not be the best option for really young babies though because they can easily get overstimulated. Stick to this one for babies older than 6 months. If it’s a Halloween parade, dress baby up in a cute costume to wear while watching the parade.
Do a Thanksgiving Day Run/Walk
Most towns have a 5K run/walk on Thanksgiving morning. Bundle baby up in a jogging stroller and head out for some fresh air and family exercise before Thanksgiving dinner and football. Baby will like seeing the sites and people watching. Also, many people dress up for this race, so there will likely be some fun costumes for baby to look at. If you think fitness sounds great, check out my post on fitting it in as a new mom.
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Every family is uniquely different in their own way. Do you need some new ways to celebrate the holidays this year? Check out my favorite Christmas tradition (#1) and this Christmas traditions roundup from multiple mommas. These traditions are sure to give you the inspiration that you need for some great family Christmas traditions.
Christmas Tradition #1 – In a Pickle
My favorite Christmas tradition is one that my family did when my
sister and I were little, and I plan to introduce my son to the
tradition as soon as he’s old enough. The tradition is finding a hidden
pickle ornament on the tree. The ornament is hidden after the children
go to bed on Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning, the first child to
find the Pickle ornament gets an extra gift. In our family this was
candy when we were little and a Starbucks gift card when we got older. For a single child, the pickle ornament has to be found before presents can be opened.
We started doing this tradition because our family is German and
supposedly it’s a German tradition known as Weihnachtsgurke. However,
few people in Germany have actually heard of this. No one is exactly
sure where this tradition came from. The most likely story is that
Woolworth’s stores started selling glass ornaments imported from Germany
in the 1880s. These ornaments were shaped like various fruit and
vegetables, and pickles were likely among the selection. A salesman
found himself with a lot of pickle ornaments to sell and thus invented
the tradition. There are two other stories associated with this
tradition, but they are probably a little too far-fetched to be
accurate. 1.) A soldier fighting in the American Civil War was born
in Bavaria. He became a prisoner of war and begged the guard for one
last pickle before he died. The guard gave him one and the pickle gave
him the strength to live on. 2.) Two Spanish boys were traveling home for the holidays and stopped at
an inn. The innkeeper killed the boys and put them in a pickle barrel.
When St. Nicholas stopped at the inn, he found the boys and brought them
back to life.
Regardless of its origin, the pickle ornament has become a major part of Christmas tradition in America.
Pickle ornaments are widely available in a variety of sizes. This can
be helpful so that for little kids you can use a larger ornament and you
can use smaller ornaments as the kids get older. Pickle ornaments can
still be purchased in the original
glass material; however, they are also available in metal and plastic
varieties for households with young kids and pets. Some cities have even
become part of the tradition! Berrien Springs, Michigan is known as the
Christmas Pickle Capital of the World. The city even has a pickle
festival during the first part of December.
As for My Family
My son won’t quite be a year old yet as of Christmas, so he may still
be a little young to take part this year. However, by next year, he
will learn to be a pickle-finding expert. However, there will still be a
pickle to find, as my mother hides a pickle for my sister, me and our
significant others to search for. The winner still gets a gift card and it’s just as competitive as it was when we were kids.
Not every family tradition is, well, traditional. Such is the case in my family.
First, let me tell you a little about my Grandmother who started this
tradition. She was born in the 1920’s, so she was raised during the
Great Depression. She has always been a practical person. Not to say
that she won’t get you something for the fun of it because she does have
an amazing sense of humor. This tradition is steeped in basic
necessity. It is the most basic of necessities that she wants to make
sure that both the men and the women in family have met at least once
per year. The men get socks. However, for the ladies, we have the Panty
Tree. Yes, a Panty Tree! I mean everyone needs underwear right?!?!
Once a girl in the family hits the age of 8-10, she is allowed to participate in everyone’s favorite holiday tradition. Well, at least it’s the favorite in my family. We have run the gamut from literal granny panties to thongs and everything in between. We try to keep things more in the brief, bikini, and hipster family of Women’s underwear since those will actually get worn. Although, Grandma loves buying them, we have delegated the task to one of our female cousins. By doing this, we ensure that we will have sizes and styles that everyone wears. All panties are numbered and hung from a stick in a pot (aka a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree) or, more commonly, a hanger built for air drying undies. We take turns drawing numbers. Then, in dramatic fashion, the lady in charge (usually a cousin) calls out numbers. This is done in no particular order. She just grabs the first pair of panties and calls the number on them out. Usually, we reserve the most comical pair for almost last to keep the suspense going. In the end, we all get a good laugh, a new pair of panties, and another blessed year with our Grandmother.
I remember growing up that our biggest Christmas tradition was going to midnight mass. We’d either stay up until it was time to go, just watching TV, and/or listening to music, or we’d go ahead and go to bed then get up, get ready then go to mass. We’d go straight to bed after we’re got home from church. In the morning we’d see what was in our stockings first. Then someone, this became me as we got older and is still, would pass out all the presents. We’d spend the rest of the morning opening presents and playing with them. Mid-afternoon we’d have our big Christmas dinner: turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, green bean casserole, rolls of some sort and for dessert pumpkin pie. We would then take a much deserved and wonderful nap. The rest of the day was spent playing with our presents, watching TV and just spending time as a family. As we got older we started adding in going to see a movie at some point too!
When I was a child, I would make some kind of craft to give away to
my loved ones for Christmas. Some years I created ornaments, baked goods, or made a Christmas decoration for each family member. It meant a lot to be able to give something that I made.
As a result, I have started my own kiddos young with the tradition.
My first attempts at doing salt dough ornaments with them were quite
messy and comical. If you are interested in reading how to make these
cute ornaments, check out my blog post. It’s a very honest and real post
about the process it takes to make these with young kids here in the
U.S. up north in cold Minnesota.
I know being a SAHM, you do a lot. Yes, you do earn your rights to
hubby’s money, but I can’t be the only one that feels bad about
that….right? I grew up in a household that didn’t have much money to
blow. I am a proud survivor of dollar tree (gasp!) and “you’re only
getting 5 things” (double gasp!) Christmas’s.
Luckily, it’s a little easier to dip into hubby’s pocket when it’s
gifts for your kids. This is actually Evelyn’s first Christmas! She will
be 10 months old AND I AM SO EXCITED. I know everybody’s present
situation will be slightly different. Some families have the extra money
to spend, while some families will not be able to provide much – but
that’s okay! I’ve briefly talked to my husband about what we’ll be
getting her. I say briefly because it’s basically me just rambling to
him while he gives me a few “uh-hums” and “sures.” I am hoping we are
able to set a foundation for later holiday seasons in life. Basic kiddo present guideline:
Something they need
Something to wear
Something to read
Something they want
The Holidays don’t need to be full blown in order to make cherished
memories. We are intending on focusing on the time spent with family,
not the overabundance of gifts. Netflix, hot cocoa, and pictures
sounds fairly surreal to me! I am so incredibly excited to start this
Christmas tradition. I hope one day my sweet little Evelyn can do the
same for her children!
When I found I was pregnant, I was excited for the obvious reasons but also because I couldn’t wait to implement some of the traditions we did as a kid. I couldn’t wait for Christmas specifically. Our little guy is 7 months old and will be 9 months when Christmas rolls around, but that’s okay! We want to start our traditions early so that he remembers them from a young age.
Picking a Tree & Decorating
We will have a specified day where we will go pick a tree, then come home and decorate the tree and the house. I always did this as a kid and it was one of my favorite days! While decorating, we’d play Christmas music and have hot chocolate on the stove. This can also be a great tradition even if you already have a fake tree. Just pick a day to decorate it and your house!
On Christmas Eve, my mom would always pick out a present for us to open – it was usually pajamas. Then we’d watch the original Grinch cartoon movie. I plan on doing this same thing – except I want to start making a Grinch hot chocolate – green hot chocolate with heart sprinkles! Then my kids can open a gift of my choosing (probably pj’s) and then we can watch the Grinch together before going to bed.
Looking at Christmas Lights
I definitely want to drive around looking at Christmas lights. It’s always so peaceful to me to just drive slowly and take in the pretty lights and snow (if you live in a snowy area). I’d love to bring a thermos of hot cocoa and play Christmas music while we drive around. Plus, I live in the Chicagoland area and that means we’re near the Home Alone house! My plan is to drive around that neighborhood and look at the lights over there since it’s a very nice area.
It’s these little things that not only make me nostalgic for when I was a kid, but really put me in the Christmas spirit. The best part is: these things don’t cost much money! Not only that, but they are so easy to implement. Your kids will love having small things like these to look forward to every year. I can’t wait to introduce these traditions to our little one – they are something I always did as a kid and are very important to me so I hope he will cherish them as much as I do.
Do you want to take great pictures of your kids enjoying these traditions? Make sure to check out this article for photo-taking tips.
What Christmas traditions do you plan to do with your kids? Let me know in the comments!