25 Advent Calendar Ideas for Kids

December 6, 2017

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This post is sponsored by Portable North Pole (PNP).

Christmas with little kids is simply the best. And now that we have three little ones it’s even more special! This is our first Christmas as a family of five so I want to savor every moment! This year I put together a simple advent calendar for the kids and I love how it turned out! It’s filled with fun and easy activities we can do together as a family and the kids are SO EXCITED.


One activity was a personalized video from Santa! We created a video thanks to Portable North Pole. More details on that below!


I found these cute little bags last year after Christmas for 75% off and knew right away they would be perfect for an advent calendar. I simply hung some twine under our window and used a clothespin to clip each bag. I picked up some simple gift tags and numbered them all….I told you it was easy!


Both kids RUN to it each morning and are so excited to see what’s inside that day’s bag.


So I thought I would share with you some of our easy advent ideas in case you want to make one for your kids! We do 1-25 as a count-down to Christmas, but you can start this any time! Some days there is just a little treat for each kid inside (like a small piece of chocolate) and some days there is an activity.


- Watch a personalized video from Santa (more details on how I made this below)
- Watch Home Alone and pop popcorn
- Write a letter to Santa
- Go on a jingle bell hunt (just hide little jingle bells around your house and have the kids find them. They think this is SO cool.)


- New ornament (I get my kids a new Christmas ornament each year to put on the tree in their room. They LOVE this)
- Make paper snowflakes


- Make candy cane hot chocolate
- Take a bath with glow sticks
- Make s’mores in the fireplace (my kids get a big kick out of this one!)
- Build a snowman
- Learn a new Christmas song


- Decorate a gingerbread house
- Pick out a present for the dog
- Have a birthday party for Jesus
- Make Christmas cookies


- Get hot chocolate and drive around at look at Christmas lights
- Watch The Polar Express in our pjs
- Have a pajama day and build a fort in the living room
- Pick out an Angel Tree gift for a child in need
- Treasure hunt for chocolate (I hide chocolate kisses around the house and they hunt for them)
- Donate towels and food to the animal shelter and visit the animals
- Make a mason jar snow globe
- Make reindeer food for Santa’s reindeer
- Decorate Christmas ornaments for the tree and to give as gifts


- Read the Christmas story


Pro tip: look at your calendar while planning your advent. Make sure you don’t put “make Christmas cookies” on a day when you know you’ll be busy. And, if you are like me, you’ll forget what day is which, so just try and remember to check it the night before. If you aren’t feeling up to the next day’s activity just switch them out!


This year we had a custom video message made for each child from Santa! My kids are a little scared to visit the real Santa, so this was perfect for them! Portable North Pole helps you create Christmas magic in the comfort of your own home!


Setting up the video was so fun and easy. It asked me my kid’s names, ages, and several questions about them. I also got to upload a photo of them, a picture of something they want for Christmas, a photo of our house, and more! The video was SO detailed! Hudson couldn’t believe it when Santa said his name and had his picture in his book. His reaction was priceless!


Hudson watched his video and Sadie’s video three times each. And he talked about it for the rest of the week! Santa even told Hudson to make sure he brushes his teeth every night (there are several options like that to choose from. Sadie’s video mentioned there was a new addition to our family and Santa also reminder her to “be nice to your sister” haha!).


You can also create a custom phone call from Santa! It’s such a fun activity to do throughout the month. I was seriously blown away with how detailed and creative each video and phone call was! There are several video options to choose from and each have a little story to them. I can see us keeping up this tradition for years to come.


Check out Portable North Pole to make your child a personalized video from Santa. I promise you it will be a HUGE hit! They also offer free videos (that are so cute!) and have been making magic for 10 years! The Portable North Pole also has an amazing Children's Hospital Program that helps to put smiles on the faces of children in need of extra cheer. PNP has partnered with leading hospitals around the world so that whenever you purchase a personalized call or a personalized video message from Santa, a portion of the sale is donated to the participating children's hospital closest to you. This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Portable North Pole.

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Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Kids

December 5, 2017

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Do you know what you are stuffing your kid’s stockings with this year? I mean, do you know what Santa is stuffing your kid’s stockings with this year? I’ve partnered with Santa and American Dental Association for this post and I love working with the big man in red. Working with Santa to surprise the kids is one of my favorite parts of Christmas! It’s fun and magic and makes me feel like I’m reliving my childhood. And I absolutely love shopping around for fun things to put in my kid’s Christmas stockings!! We typically let the kids open their big Santa gift first, and then dive in to stockings…and it’s always so much fun.


I love to include a mix of fun and practical items in my kid’s stockings instead of just random junk they don’t need. Here are a few of the things that I’ve been told (by Santa of course) are going to end up in Hudson’s stocking this year:


- Movie
- Chocolate coins
- Water beads
- Squishy ball
- Socks
- Stickers
- Slippers
- Blind bags
- Big chocolate kiss
- Blocks
- Toothbrushes
- Toothpaste
- Bandages

And Sadie’s stocking:


- Markers
- Tights
- Stickers
- Christmas ornament
- Winter hat
- Bath Bombs
- Blind bag
- Small toys
- Bandages
- Big chocolate kiss
- Slippers
- Toothbrushes
- Toothpaste
- Chocolate coins
Both of my kids flip out whenever they get a blind bag…so I know they will be so excited to see these! Santa always knows the best ones to pick. And it’s funny, but my kids get just as excited over practical things like socks and slippers as they do the toys.


Hudson and Sadie especially love getting a new tooth brush and toothpaste. Isn’t that cute? I’d much rather fill their stockings with things that are useful!
I also include a little candy in their stockings, but not much. I stick to chocolate instead of harder candies because chocolate washes off of their teeth easier…and I want to make sure I take care of those sweet smiles! They really don’t even care about the candy really…they are too busy playing with all the other fun stuff!


During the holidays my kids are bombarded with sweet treats, so we like to practice moderation! Making sure my kids are healthy is a number one priority to me. And I especially want to make sure they take care of their teeth. We make sure they put those new toothbrushes to good use! We follow the American Dental Association guidelines by helping them brush their teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss regularly. Both kids visit the dentist regularly for a check-up and I’m so thankful they have healthy teeth!

Have you ever thought to include a toothbrush and toothpaste in your child’s stocking? Trust me, they will think it’s fun that Santa cares about their teeth too! You can learn more about the American Dental Association’s recommendations on their website.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of American Dental Association.

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Favorite Shop Monday: Gifts for Baby

December 4, 2017


I've forgotten how magical it is to have a baby at Christmas time. It's so fun to watch her little eyes light up with every ornament, Christmas light, and sparkling decoration. And then of course every single thing goes straight to her mouth. So that's been fun!


We are keeping the Christmas gifts for Belle super simple this year. She really doesn't need anything....and is just as interested in the wrapping paper as she is a toy. But we did get her a few things from Baby Aspen that would be the cutest baby gifts. This Bunny Hooded Spa Robe is beyond sweet. Look at that face! She loves it! 


Seeing her look so big in a that little robe gives me all the heart eyes. And those thighs! 


Look at that little tail on the back! It would make such a sweet gift for a baby!


Belle also got a sneak peak (shhh....don't tell the big kids!) of the adorable Rosie the Unicorn she's getting for Christmas. I fell in love with it the second I spotted it on the Baby Aspen website. It's so soft and sweet in person. And it's wearing a pink and gold glitter tutu your baby can also wear. How fun is that? I can tell this will be a toy that Belle can enjoy for years to come. 


She's pretty excited! And I can't blame her!


I love finding unique and quality gifts for anyone on my list, especially little ones! Be sure to check out Baby Aspen's collections of gifts for babies. As a premier designer and manufacturer of boutique-quality gifts, Baby Aspen strives to please both parents and little ones! Quality is their top priority and everything we received is really well made. Baby Aspen's gifts are perfect for newborns through 12 months and many of them come with the option to monogram and embroider! Whatever you choose, your gift is sure to be a big hit! 

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The gift for the person who has everything

December 1, 2017






My husband is hard to buy for. He has what he needs...and if there is something he wants he will usually just buy it. I guess you could say I'm the same....except I want everything. And he wants nothing. I think I'm super easy to shop for...but I'm sure he would disagree with me on that point. Thankfully I discovered the perfect gift for the person who has everything: Tile.


No one likes losing their stuff. That’s why Tile, which helps everyone find everything that matters, is the perfect gift this holiday season! I'm constantly misplacing my keys, my phone, my planner, my camera...you name it! I would absolutely be heartbroken if I lost my camera!


I use my camera pretty much every day to capture those fun little moments with the kids....and often those moments lead to cranky kids and a distracted mama....which means I leave my camera somewhere and can't find it! So I put my Tile on my camera so I can find it with just the touch of the app on my phone. Super easy!


You can put Tile on anything you don't want to loose! Your camera, a special toy, wallet, keys...you name it! If your Tile is within the 100 foot Bluetooth range, it will play a loud tune until you find it!  If you keep your tile app running in the background (which I do!) it will remember the last place and time you had your item. Isn't that a lifesaver?


I can also press the button on our Tile to find my phone! I won't admit to how many times I've had to do this....

Tile is the world's best-selling Bluetooth tracker! You can use Tile and the Tile app to connect you to the world’s largest lost-and-found community, where friends and strangers come together to find everything that matters. Tile and the community of Tile users helps locate two million items every day.


Tile is a great gift or stocking stuffer for anyone who is constantly misplacing their things, like me. And my husband! Tile is an affordable gift with great deals on multipacks throughout the holiday season that you need to check out! Every multipack comes with free gift pouches — no gift wrapping required. I'm planning on getting some more as Christmas presents for everyone! It's the perfect gift for person who has everything!


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Mom Hacks for Easier Winter Mornings

November 29, 2017

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Picture this: I’ve just spent two hours getting all three kids fed, dressed, hair brushed, teeth brushed, bags packed….and THEN have struggle for an extra 15 minutes to get them to put on their shoes. Because I have to ask at least 8 times for it to happen. Some days it’s more like 20. But to make matters a little more complicated, let's throw in some bad weather, shall we? Let’s add snow pants, a coat, boots, three sets of hats and mittens into the mix! I'm not an expert by any means, but now that I've made it through a few tough winters with little ones in tow, I thought I would share some of the mom hacks I’ve learned for making those winter mornings run more smoothly. I’ve partnered with FrostGuard® for this post….read on for more details!

1. Buy multiples of everything snow-gear related. The first winter Hudson was able to walk I made the mistake of having just one snow coat, one pair of snow pants etc.....but I quickly realized that was NEVER going to cut it. Little kids fall down and get wet, or want to go outside multiple times a day...and if you have wet snow gear it's zero fun for everyone. So now I've learned my lesson here's what I buy each child: 2 puffy "snow" coats, 2 pairs of snow pants (the overall style), 2 lighter weight fleece coats, 3 hats, 2 scarves, 2 pairs of warm mittens, and 2 pairs of snow/water-proof mittens. With boots it's a little easier, and I usually just have one pair of rain boots and one pair of snow boots per child. It seems like a lot but trust me, it's needed. And here's another tip: buy the snow pants in two different sizes....chances are they will both fit and then the bigger pair will also fit the next year, so you only have to buy one each year.


2. Buy mittens that clip together. Let me repeat, buy mittens that clip together!!!! And clip those babies together as soon as your child takes them off. It always happens that whenever you are running late for something the gloves and mittens suddenly disappear. I can’t tell you how many times I sent Hudson to school last year with mis-matched gloves because I didn’t follow my own advice. So clip them together, they are much less likely to get lost!


3. A staying organized tip: have a basket for each kid where they can keep their hats and mittens and a designated spot to hang their coat. And a separate spot where wet stuff can be put to dry out. Otherwise all the gear ends up on the floor….and with three kids and two adults that can really pile up! We have a mud room in our house and everyone has a cubby to place their things. I’m teaching Hudson to put his stuff away….it turns out he is much like his daddy and prefers to dump it all in on the ground, so it’s taking some work. Miraculously Sadie inherited the clean up gene from me and is a great helper when it comes to putting stuff away (YES!)


4. Have your kids go to the bathroom before gearing up. Trust me on this. It’ s zero fun for everyone to put on snow pants, and a snow coat, and mittens, and gloves just to have to come back inside ten minutes later to frantically strip your toddler down to use the potty. And then put back on ALL THE THINGS. So the rule is, whenever we have snow gear involved, you must sit on the potty first. EVERY TIME. Even if you “just went five minutes ago!”


5. Protect your windshield! The last thing I want to do after finally getting everyone dressed and ready is spend an extra 20 minutes standing in the cold scraping frost and snow off of my car. I’m exhausted just thinking about it! Thankfully, there’s a hack for that too! Enter FrostGuard® the 20-second solution to a 20-minute problem. With FrostGuard, you can skip the scraping! It is a unique winter windshield cover that prevents ice and snow from hindering your morning routine. And it’s so easy to use! Just put FrostGuard on your windshield at night and shake the ice and snow off in the morning.


We have only had one tiny little bit of snow this year and FrostGuard has already come in handy! I’m ordering one for everyone for Christmas too! It protects your primary viewing area so you can just pull it off and drive. No scraping snow or ice! It even comes with covers for your side mirrors. My husband doesn’t have covered parking at work and he already said this would be a lifesaver for him in the winter.


FrostGuard is made with a heavy-weight polyester material and weather-resistant PVC lining. It comes in two different sizes to fit cars, trucks, and SUVs and is available in a variety of colors and prints. FrostGuard is so easy to install and removes in just seconds….shaving precious time off of my morning routine. Just roll it up and put it in the quick-dry storage pouch and you are ready to go! Right now you can save 20% off a FrostGuard Signature Bundle with the code “winter17” from now until December 31, 2017 (some exclusions may apply).


6. Teach your kids to put on their own snow gear. This comes in handy once your child is in school and needs to be able to put on his or her own stuff. It’s a little hard for littler ones, but Hudson (who is five) is almost a pro now. He has a little trouble with the zipper on his coat, but otherwise he’s got it down to a science!

7. Stock up on supplies so you don’t have to run out with kids in tow when the weather is bad. It’s so important to sock up on supplies, just in case there is a storm and the roads are bad. I try to make sure we are always stock piled with plenty of food, snacks, wipes, and diapers! And I always aim to keep my gas tank filled at least half way. If my husband is reading this he would laugh out loud at that statement….because he’s always always on my case whenever I forget this…which is often!



Check out my video of FrostGuard in action!

What are your winter morning hacks? This post is sponsored by FrostGuard, all opinions are my own.

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