Giveaway: Perfect Christmas Gifts (or stocking stuffer) for Girls and Kids!

My latest obsessions, headbands & literary classics! Headbands because I adore a little something that makes it look like I actually tried to do my hair, lol! It doesn’t get any better than a messy bun and a headband. headbands

And literary classics, the kiddos and I have decided that from now on in the evenings, in addition to saying the Rosary we will be reading a chapter or two out of a classic book that has also been made into a movie. Thus, once we have finished reading said book we can have a family movie night and then discuss how the book and movie differed.

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I am happy to state that we followed through and our first book we completed was The Little Prince. Last Friday we watched the movie and then discussed the similarities and differences once everyone stopped crying, yes, it was that good! As my son stated, in-between tears, “that was the best book and movie I have ever heard and seen”. I am not going to lie, that put a huge smile on this momma’s face.

Our next book, Treasure Island….

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And check this out, in addition to the book and movie combo, Marzipantz Knit & Crochet Dolls has this adorable Pete the Pirate Doll that would be the perfect addition!!

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This is why Marzipantz Knit & Crochet Dolls shop is my pick for the perfect Christmas Gifts (or add on/stocking stuffer) for girls and kids!

Total disclosure, I have already purchased one of Marzipantz dolls, Saint Kateri for my daughter’s birthday and it is absolutely adorable!!! I am such a sucker for a book, movie, doll combination for kiddo’s birthdays and Christmas gifts.

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How lucky am I to have found a store that feeds both my obsessions, headbands & literary characters?

Luck was meant to be shared! 😉

GIVEAWAY

Marzipantz Knit & Crochet dolls is giving away one of their awesome headbands (winner picks which one)!  You can keep it all for yourself or use it as a Christmas gift, your choice…all you have to do to be entered to win is:

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1.Give Marzipantz shop some Facebook & love, www.facebook.com/marzipantzknitandcrochet    & Instagram love  www.instagram.com/marzipantzknitandcrochet

2. Share this post with a Facebook Friend.

3. Checkout the shop here, www.etsy.com/shop/marzipantz and comment below sharing what your favorite item is in the shop

Winner will be randomly selected Monday the 28th

Good Luck!

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical

Are you ready to make a memory that is sure to go down in history? As many of you know I have always been a HUGE proponent for giving the gift of an experience for Christmas. Giving the gift of a beautiful experience that a child can treasure for a lifetime is ultimately priceless, especially when they get to share that experience with a loved one. To this day I still treasure my first live performance show, the ballet, The Nutcracker, at Stranahan Theater with my mother and grandmother, it was seriously an experience like none other and one I enjoy sharing even to this day. My grandmother has since passed and that memory is one I cling to, getting all dressed up, chatting during intermission and the feeling of being part of something special, it was magical! And I can’t wait to share that same magical feeling with my children. The most famous reindeer of all is coming to Stranahan!!

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As a child the Christmas season didn’t officially begin in our house until that highest rated CBS Christmas special of all time, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer aired. The excitement and anticipation was always off the chart that night. My sibling and I would sit way too close to the television set, eager to see if the story may playout differently this year, but every year my eyes would tear up when they met Charlie-in- the-box on the Island of Misfit toys. rudolph_hermey_and_yukonAfter learning of the Island of Misfit Toys I remember vowing to always take good care of my toys, and for the most part, I did. As an adult I really appreciate ALL the valuable lessons hidden in that critically acclaimed show….true friendship, how our unique traits should be treasured, the importance of diversity, not bullying, responsibility, etc. Come to think of it, there are some lessons in the show that even we grown-ups might need to go back and review. And review we can!

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RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL (www.rudolphthemusical.com) is coming to Stranahan Theater!! November 25 for two performances ONLY!!!

Performance Schedule for RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL at the Stranahan Theater

Friday, November 25, 2016 1:00 PM

Friday, November 25, 2016 4:00 PM

Tickets for RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL start at $28 and are available online at http://www.BroadwayInToledo.com , at the Stranahan Theater box office, 4645 Heatherdowns Boulevard, or by calling 419.381.8851. (Looking to make this a scouting, playgroup, youth group, or club event? Group tickets of 10 or more can be ordered by calling 866.314.7687).

If you are looking for the perfect souvenir to help your child commemorate the experience then check this out……

Rudolph’s partnership with PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center continues this year. A new illustrated storybook, T.E.A.M. Rudolph and the Reindeer Games, will be available this year only at the stage show performances. A portion of the proceeds from all sales of the books will be donated to PACER.

***Please Note: Theaterleague.com, BroadwayInToledo.com, and the Stranahan Theater box office are the only official sources for tickets to RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL and all of the shows in the 2016-17 Broadway in Toledo. If you purchase tickets through another source, you may pay over-inflated prices and your tickets will not be guaranteed. ***

What is your favorite scene from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?

 

2016 Christmas Gift Guide & Giveaway: Perfect Gift Idea for Couples

This Christmas Gift Guide is an awesome resource to help you determine the perfect gift for each of the loves in your life-family, friends, neighbors, teachers, & we can’t forget Fido, or any other furry family members. Since this season is often an overwhelming one for most I have decided to give you something fun to look forward to, how does a giveaway sound? Giveaway DEETS will be at the bottom of each post….so, without further ado…

This week’s Christmas Gift Idea is for the Couples in your life….parents, sister & brother-in-law, in-laws, neighbors, that couple in your church group, friends, etc. This gift offers them the opportunity to eat, drink, play, and watch, all under the same roof!!  And it is something both the ladies & gents will enjoy….

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The Perfect Gift for Couples: A Gift Card to Dave & Buster’s!

Why?

  • Because though everyone has the best intentions sometimes a cooking class, a night at the shooting range, and/or camping gear don’t always go over well with the couple as a whole.
  • Because Toledo now has a Dave & Buster’s!!!
  • Because what couple doesn’t need a date night?

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  • Because of the fun local flavor Dave & Buster’s added to the décor.

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EAT….

  • Because it is so nice to get a break from having to plan a meal, make a meal, & then cleanup said meal! Oh, and the food is unbelievably delicious! The menu is off the hook….they literally have something for everyone; carnivores, herbivores, and they offer an allergy friendly menu too!

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  • Because 2 for Tuesdays: $2 Tacos, $2 Select Beers, & 2 FREE Plays with $10 Power Card (open-7pm)

 

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DRINK…..

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  • Because Happy Hour is Monday-Friday 4-7pm

 

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  • Because ½ off cocktails, $2.50 domestics pints, $1 off 22oz drafts, $1 off glasses of wine & $3 off bottles of wine.

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PLAY…..

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  • Because ½ priced games on Wednesdays, Woohoo!!!! (And the possibility to win COOL prizes…this isn’t your kid’s prize options, wink-wink)

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WATCH…..

  • Because there are no shortages of screen so you can watch whatever you please! For once there will be no arguing over the remote!

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Bonus: If you offer to babysit for free the night the couple uses your gift card your gift will officially get bumped to THE BEST gift in the world!

GIVEAWAY:

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Win a $25 Gift Card to Dave & Buster’s

How to enter:

1.Share this post with a friend

2. Comment below stating which game you dominate at Dave & Buster’s….or in general 😉

Winner randomly selected November 7th

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

101+ Places to go with Kids in Toledo

I have collated a list of fun kiddo and family friendly destinations in Toledo and the surrounding area, each has a brief description. Each destination has been linked to the website where you can retrieve more thorough information regarding hours of operation, rates, etc. Know of a fun Toledo destination that isn’t listed? Please feel free to share in the comment thread. Thank you!!

 

  1. Toledo Metroparks (Offers fun programs for kids and events for families)
  2. Olander Park (Swimming, fishing, playgrounds, etc. Sylvania, OH)
  3. Fort Imagination Playground (Enclosed playground for little kids & large playground for older kids-Woodlands Park, Perrysburg, OH)
  4. Carr Park (Fun playground for all ages-Bedford, MI)
  5. WGTE (Check events and be sure to attend family fun days) 
  6. Fossil Park (Bring small/medium paint brush to brush off fossils and baggy to take home fossils- Sylvania, OH)
  7. Toledo Lucas County Public Library (Check times and locations for Story Time and other amazing events for kids and families)
  8. Maumee Bay State Park (Swimming, biking, boardwalk, trails, nature center, cross-country skiing, sledding, etc. Oregon, OH)
  9. Toledo Museum of Art’s Family Center (Children can paint,make theme inspired craft, listen to a story in the gallery, and play at the Family Center)
  10. Gathering Volumes (Story Time –Sun. 1pm, Tues 6pm, & Thurs 10am – Always Check Calendar to confirm times)
  11. Barnes & Noble (Fun themed story times with awesome crafts! Fallen Timbers, Maumee, OH)
  12. Bass Pro Shops (Fun events for kids’ checkout their calendar- Rossford, OH)
  13. Toledo Firefighters’ Museum (Checkout the fire trucks, old equipment, kids learn about fire safety in Jed’s room where a fire is simulated, & more)
  14. Home Depot Kid Workshops (Kids get to use tools and make something to take home)
  15. Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge (Checkout the “Let’s Go Outside” Backpack at the visitors center. Each is filled with fun tools for exploring like binoculars, bug jars, magnifying lens, cloud guide, and more! Oak Harbor, OH)
  16. Fallen Timbers (Lil’ Timbers Kids Klub has fun activities throughout the year and there are great seasonal events like ice skating and carriage rides- Maumee, OH)
  17. Toledo Police Museum (Fingerprint Comparitor from the 80s designed to be accessible and appealing to kids. Downtown Toledo)
  18. Sylvania Heritage Museum & Railroad Depot (Genuine railroad depot building that served Sylvania residents for 98 years, from 1858 to 1956. It is the oldest train depot in existence in the State of Ohio. Downtown Sylvania, OH)
  19. Mazza Museum (Largest museum of original artwork by children’s book illustrators in the world. The museum’s goal is to promote literacy and enrich the lives of all people through the art of children’s literature. Findlay, OH)
  20. Levis Commons (Fun seasonal activities for the kids and families like Sandtastic fun & breakfast with Santa!!- Perrysburg, OH)
  21. Imagination Kingdom Playground (Adorable playground for kiddos, pack a picnic and let their imaginations run wild while they burn off all that extra energy- Wauseon, OH)
  22.  Butterfly House (Watch a beautiful array of butterflies flutter around while listening to classical music play, try to locate and identify the various butterflies with the brochures provided. Also offers fun Autumn events like the corn maze! Whitehouse, OH)
  23. Gust Brothers Pumpkin Farm (Admission is FREE, but you are going to want to bring some spending cash because it isn’t officially fall until you stop by the farm and see all the farm animals, cows, pigs, chickens, rabbits, and more! Enjoy a hayride and finally pick out the perfect pumpkin!! And other goodies in the store…fresh produce and squash!!-Ottawa Lake, MI)
  24. The Canal Experience at Providence (Go back in time and ride the Volunteer, a reproduction of a mule drawn canal boat, visit the Mill, enjoy characters dressed in period attire-Grand Rapids, OH)
  25. Erie Orchard (You pick…blueberries, apples, pumpkins, and more! But the real fun starts in the fall…enjoy corn maze, hayrides, bounce house, music, and more…check their calendar for events! Erie, MI) 
  26. Fort Meigs State Memorial (Fort Meigs State Memorial honors the site of the largest wooden-walled fortress in North America, built during the War of 1812. Take self-guided tours, view weapons demonstrations, and learn the history of the fort. Perrysburg, OH)
  27. The Toledo Symphony (Music under the Stars-FREE concert in the summer)
  28. Valentine Theatre (Check calendar of events…offers great classic film series!! Downtown Toledo)
  29. Ohio Skate (Roller skating!! 2 locations, Maumee, OH and Toledo, OH)
  30. Copper Moon Studios (Fun art classes for kids! Walk-ins welcomed! Holland, OH)
  31. Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center ( Memorial to the 19th President of the United States it contains a treasure trove of information for history buffs. The Center includes the Hayes Mansion, Presidential Library, Museum, and the tomb of the former president- Fremont, OH)
  32. 577 Foundation (Offers an array of classes for all ages and encourages ecologically responsible living- Perrysburg, OH)
  33. Art Supply Depot (Offers art classes, paint pottery, and more! Downtown Toledo)
  34. SS. Col. James M. Schoonmaker/National Museum of the Great Lakes (Kids will have a blast when they step foot on a real Ship-Downtown Toledo)
  35. Bowlero ( Bowling alley, awesome arcade where kiddos can win prizes, bowling, food, & fun!)
  36. MacQueens Apple Orchard (Fall destination!! Their apple butter fest is amazing!! Fall events are fun, fun, fun! Check calendar for avtivites and events-Holland, OH)
  37. Interstate Bowling (They participate in the kids bowl for FREE program-Rossford, OH)
  38. Sundance Kid Drive-in (Oregon, OH)
  39. Q-Zar (Laser tag & Arcade- Sylvania, OH)
  40. Ritter Planetarium (Located on the campus of University of Toledo)
  41. Super Suppers (family day…kids help make meals)
  42. Toledo Speedway (there are free kids nights)
  43. Toledo Mud Hens (baseball) 
  44. Toledo Rockets (football/basketball)
  45. Toledo Walleye (hockey) 
  46. Bowling Green Falcons (football, hockey, basketball, etc.))
  47. Sylvania Playland (Bounce Houses, indoor play sets, and miniature golf-Sylvania, OH)
  48. Par 2 Golf (Go-karts, bumper cars, putt putt,  arcade games, & ice cream Toledo, OH)
  49. Toledo Gymnastics Academy (call for open gym time)
  50. Sunrise Gymnastics (call for open gym time)
  51. Sky Zone Toledo (Indoor Trampoline Park- Holland, OH)
  52. Hero’s (Bounce Houses, carnival games, and snacks…open play times available -Perrysburg, OH)
  53. Imagination Station (Hands-on science Museum- Downtown Toledo) 
  54. Toledo Zoo (Be sure to checkout the new penguin exhibit and Aquarium!!)
  55. Indian Creek Petting Zoo (walk thru this unique petting zoo…see camels, Zebra, peacocks, bunnies, alligator, and more!! Lambertville, MI)
  56. Uncork the Artist (Instructor guided classes, kiddos leave with an awesome masterpiece!)
  57. BG Bounce (Giant Indoor Sand Box, Toddler Room, Art Room, Science Center, Party Rooms,Nerf Wars, Paint Ball Arena, Dodge Ball, Game Arena Rooms, Food & Fun!)
  58. Peace Love & Pottery (Paint Pottery Sylvania, OH)
  59. Funagins (Paint Ball, Bounce Houses, Arcade, & More!)
  60. Sandpiper (100 passenger cruise vessel located on the Maumee River -Downtown Toledo)
  61. Calder’s Dairy & Farm (Watch them milk the cows, visit the animals on the farm, check out the goat scape, enjoy some yummy ice cream treats, and more! Carleton, MI)
  62. The Petting Farm at Domino’s Farm (Visit all the animals down on the farm, enjoy a hayride, pony rides, and more! Ann Arbor, MI)
  63. Planet Rock (All things climbing…rock wall- Ann Arbor, MI)
  64. Funtastic Play Center (Indoor playground with 2 main areas of play for children under 8 and 2 storey padded play structure with 14 different obstacles including a zip line, rock wall, and 3 slides! Checkout their Facebook page for Open Play times Canton, MI)
  65. Jungle Java (Fun indoor climbing and play area for kids…food available too! Canton, MI)
  66. Hands on Museum (Hands on science museum for kids! Ann Arbor, MI)
  67. The Creature Conservancy (See a wide variety of domestic and exotic animals. You may buy food cones to feed to the barnyard animals. Ann Arbor, MI)
  68. Gallop Canoe Livery (Canoeing as a family is so much fun! This park offers canoe, two-person kayak, one-person kayak, paddleboat, and rowboat rentals, river-themed programs and a coffee shop, score!! Ann Arbor, MI) 
  69. Jungle Junction  (Largest Indoor Play Area in Ohio-Six levels of adventure with over 60 play features including slides, air cannons, obstacle courses, interactive game panels, toddler zone, & more! Only $6 for ALL day play!!)
  70. Michigan Science Center (With live stage shows, an IMAX® Dome Theatre, a Planetarium, 250+ hands-on exhibits, lab activities, special exhibits and more, there are approximately two dozen ways to customize your MiSci visit. There’s more than you can see and do in a week!)
  71. Monsoon Lagoon Water Park (Splash adventures and games! The park features water playgrounds, slides, Go-Karts, bumper boats and mini-golf. -Port Clinton, OH)
  72. The Scrap Box (kiddos will get a kick out of all the recycled scrapes! Great for arts & craft projects! Ann Arbor, MI)
  73. Rolling Hills Water Park (Ypsilanti, MI)
  74. Bowling Green Water Park (Bolwing Green, OH)
  75. The Old Road Dinner Train (Fun events like Grandparents day, Dad & Daughter Day, Kids Halloween Express, and more! Blissfield, MI)
  76. Snook’s Dream Cars (travel in the past lane…see old cars, parts, etc. Bowling Green, OH)
  77. Ohio Maple Syrup Events (Maple syrup tours, watch it being made, enjoy pancake breakfast, and more…click on link under central ohio for all the maple syrup listings-Central, OH)
  78. Henry Ford Museum (9 acres to explore Americas past and future- Dearborn, MI)
  79. Greenfield Village  (Step back in an 80 acre time machine, see Noah Webster’s house, ride and original model ‘T’, train ride, and more! Dearborn, MI)
  80. Liberty Aviation Museum (Determined to showcase the aircraft of Worl War II, the Liberty Aviation Museum was established in 1991. Museum houses dozens of vintage aircrafts, vehicles, and multimedia exhibits Port Clinton, OH)        
  81. I-MAX Theater (The ultimate film experience!!! Special projectors, giant screens, 2D & 3D! Dearborn, MI)
  82. Marblehead Lighthouse (Built in 1821, Marblehead Lighthouse is the oldest operating lighthouse on the Great Lakes! Marblehead, OH)
  83. Jiffy Mix Plant Tours (Educational and informative walk through of the plant and refreshments provided Chelsea, MI)
  84. Sauder Village (Offers experiences rich in history and fun…kids will enjoy the train, store, helping make butter, candles, ice cream,etc. Be sure to stop in the bakery for homemade treats! Archbold, OH)
  85. The Chelsea Tree House (Indoor playground/climbing equipment for kids…and offers snacking options)
  86. Erie Spirit Sailing Adventures (Enjoy a family friendly day out on the waters of Lake Erie. Choose from standard tour packages or work out a custom plan with the Captain and let your adventure begin. Marblehead, OH)        
  87. COSI (Columbus Ohio Science Institute…amazing exhibits, phenomenal kids area, I-MAX theater, great scientific demonstrations and more!! Get in for FREE with an Imagination Station membership- Columbus, OH)
  88. Boonshoft Museum (This is another awesome hands-on science museum with some added fun, a playground/indoor 3 story slide, fun critters, planetarium, and more!! Get in for FRE with zoo membership-Dayton, OH)
  89. National Museum of the U. S. Air Force (Educational experience to say the least…children will be amazed by the huge air crafts, NASA room, enjoy fun demonstrations, learn about history, tour a real air plane, and more!! Dayton, OH)
  90. Spangler Factory/Dum Dum tours (Enjoy a trolley ride through the factory where you will learn the history behind the Spangler Factory and see how the various candies are made…and enjoy samples!!-Bryan, OH)
  91. Splash Universe (Fun indoor water park!! Dundee, MI)
  92. Great Wolf Lodge (Zero depth outdoor pool and more…indoor lazy river, slides, etc. Sandusky, OH)
  93. African Safari Wildlife Park (Must see experience!! Better than Animal Kingdom at Disney World!! Drive through and view & feed animals!! Walk around, pet animals, and watch animal demonstrations…and ice cream, yum! Port Clinton, OH)
  94. Merry-go-Round Museum (Enjoy a fun and relaxed atmosphere while you tour the Merry-Go-Round Museum and learn about the history and art of the carousel. And enjoy a ride of course! Sandusky, OH)
  95. Kalahari (Zero depth indoor pool/young children play area, wave pool, slides, and more! Sandusky, OH)
  96. Train-o-rama (Featuring Ohio’s largest, multi-gauge model, public railroad display-Marblehead, OH)
  97. Cedar Point (Roller Coaster Capital & Amusement Park…amazing kids Planet Snoopy area, Dinosaurs Live, and more ! Sandusky, OH)
  98. Ghostly Manor Thrill Center (The Travel Channel has featured Ghostly Manor Thrill Center among the best place to visit in a lifetime. Virtual rollercoaster, bounce houses, and more! Sandusky, OH)        
  99. Kelley’s Island (Check out the Glacier grooves, neat fossils, bike as a family, see what Kid Stage is up to and more! Kelley’s Island, OH)
  100. Wild Winds Buffalo Preserve (Daily tours into the herd…children can see buffalo up close, horseback riding trails, stay the night in a Tipi or Safari Tent!!Fremont, Indiana)
  101. Pokagon State Park (Swimming, fishing, horseback riding, sledding, tobogganing, skiing, pack a picnic and enjoy the day or spend the night camp or lodge- Angola, Indiana)
  102. Country Tree Lane Farm (Milk a real, live cow, hold baby ducks, chicks and bunnies, feed all the large Farm animals, go thru a straw maze, ride a barrel train, get a pony ride & more. Fun seasonal activities including Easter Bunny Hay Rides, U-Pick pumpkins, & more!)
  103. Clayful Art  (Kids Night-Your child will explore their imagination while learning a variety of hand building techniques.  They offer complimentary snacks-1 project offered once a month Friday nights from 6-8p.m.)

  104. Paint Your Place (Kiddos have an educated art instructor to help guide them through each stroke till their masterpiece is complete)
  105. Children’s Museum of Findlay (They have so many exhibits for you to explore. To see more or to view the learning topics for each exhibit before your visit, click on the images under Exhibits on their website)
  106.  Outdoor Adventure Center  (Experience exciting outdoor adventures with hands-on activities, exhibits and simulators — walk behind and touch a waterfall, step into a fishing boat and reel in a big fish, hit the trail on a mountain bike or snowmobile, and much more.)
  107. Nickel World Low-key indoor arcade featuring video games, skeeball & other games all for just one nickel, and kids get plus tickets & prizes.
  108. Toledo Playzone Over 70 Arcade Games Laser Tag Spine Zone Bumper Cars Virtual Reality Games, & Café Menu.
  109. Get Air Trampoline Park (Coming Soon)
  110. Pat Catan’s Craft Center Craft supply chain, with the makings for scrapbooking, jewelry, needlework, floral arranging & more. Often offers FREE crafts for kids on weekend , check calendar.
  111. The Armstrong Air and Space Museum Located in Wapakoneta, Ohio, is the hometown of Neil Armstrong, first man to set foot on the Moon. The museum chronicles Ohio’s contributions to the history of space flight.

 

It was the best Christmas EVER!!!

We started off Christmas Eve at my parent’s house. We exchanged gifts then headed to Rosary Cathedral for 4pm Christmas Mass.  After Mass the children wanted to take photographs of the nativity with their new cameras, we have future photographers in our family.

My little photographer

And in support of their new-found interest I will be adding a new installment to the blog titled, Kids Click and Pic, coming soon. After Mass we took a slight detour back to Nana and Papa’s so we could listen to Christmas music and look at Christmas lights.  I so enjoyed the Chorus of “Wows” from the backseat, especially our little 16 month-old who just learned the word a few days ago.

Once at Nana and Papa’s the kiddos joined the rest of the family and grabbed a plate and started munching on some yummy hors d’oeuves.

After hors d’oeuves we had dinner, lasagna from Spaghetti Warehouse, garlic bread, and Salad. We all sat and toasted to an exciting announcement, my grandfather is officially cancer free (he was diagnosed with colorectal cancer five years ago and has under gone surgeries, radiation, and has a permanent colostomy bag), the best news ever!   After dinner we all made our way into the Family Room where the smell of pine from the Christmas tree and a warm fire in the fireplace greeted us.  Once everyone found a cozy spot Papa Joe began to recite Twas the Night before Christmas, a family tradition.

The girls wanted a closer look at the pictures.

After Papa Joe has finished reading we begin to sing Christmas Carols. We always starting with Santa Claus is coming to Town, and low and behold, guess who shows up? Santa Claus!! He has been showing up for Christmas Eve at my parents’ house since I was two, I think they have his direct line. 

The kiddos were so excited to see Santa, well, almost all the kiddos.  The youngest was not a fan.

Not everyone was a huge fan of Santa.

Once Santa left we began singing again and at the end of Twelve days of Christmas we received a great surprise. My cousin called, he is a Marine stationed in Afghanistan and this is the first Christmas he has not been with family.  My Aunt passed the phone around and we all had an opportunity to say Merry Christmas.  It was an incredible way to end the best Christmas Eve ever.

Christmas morning…..

It seems like Christmas morning comes earlier and earlier each year. The kiddos became overwhelmed with excitement at 6am when they saw that Santa arrived and he ate their Christmas cookies.

I popped some Cinnamon rolls into the over, made some coffee, and then it was GAME ON!

Each child took turns opening their gift and our eldest was so eager to give us, my hubby and I, our gifts that she purchased from her school’s Santa Shop. She gave my hubby a beautiful Santa ornament which he instantly jumped up and placed on the tree.  While she gave me, a woman who is, and comes from a long line of individuals who have graduated from and/or are huge fans of Ohio State, a Michigan state ornament. Seriously!?! I wasn’t sure if I should disown her or hug her?  So hug her I did, and graciously thanked her for the lovely gift.

Future American Idol

The kiddos all seemed to really enjoy their gifts. We keep it small, each child receives four gifts, and it is perfect.  We figure their birthdays are their big celebrations and Christmas is more about spending time together and giving. 

This does not taste like chocolate chip.

Oh, and our four-legged friends also received treats from Santa which our toddler had mistaken for human food, yuck!

All three kiddos now have a table for Family Movie Night.

After we opened our gifts we packed up the car and headed over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house (and grandpa’s, my hubby and I are very fortunate that our parents are both still married, that means we only have two houses to visit).

Looks like someone else wants a Vtech
I love my new Vtech game!

Once there we opened gifts, ate dinner, and enjoyed spending time together. Then it was home for a long winters nap (until the 26th when we headed to Sauders Village for a Christmas gathering with extended family).

Then it was time to settle in for a long winters nap in matching PJs

How was your Christmas?  Any funny moments? ….Sad moments? …..Crazy gifts? Please share.

Momup! Monday: Ever woke up feeling like Scrooge?

Momup! Monday:  Ever woke up feeling like Scrooge?

I am finding it difficult to maintain the “normal” day-to-day routine while preparing for Christmas festivities.  I woke up this morning wanting to throw a full-fledged mommy tantrum. I am talking kicking and screaming until my face turns blue tantrum.  I have this overwhelming anxiety that just hit me like a freight train this morning. I kinda knew it might hit me eventually because I have been breezing though the past few weeks cool as a cucumber, eager to celebrate Jesus’ birthday and spend time with friends and family (you know, the true meaning of Christmas). Then this morning I awoke with a Scrooge attitude, I realized that I have exactly one week, not even, make that five days, to complete everything for Christmas (mostly the materialistic things).

Then I started going through my “To Do” list in my head:

  • Need to get my 16 month old in for her 15 month doctor’s appointment (feeling sooo guilty for this one).
  • Need to fill out permission slips and get money for field trips, due today (it’s gonna be late).
  • Son needs a dress shirt for Christmas (sounds so simple but those crazy stores strategically place all toys or “cool” expensive character PJs next to the dress clothes, I am sure he will be asking for everything under the son.  I need one of those “that was easy” buttons that say “no, it is not in our budget right now”).
  • Need to finish purchasing some Christmas Gifts, I would rather go into labor again than fight the traffic and crowds of crazy people, seriously, is there such a thing as a surrogate laborer? Sign me up!!
  • Contact family and see if anyone can make it to son’s Christmas program tomorrow (so last-minute, I meant to say something weeks ago, honestly!)
  • Need to wrap gifts, I am a greenie so, I try to wrap with whatever I have on hand at home. Last year it was brown packaging paper with pine cones, twine, and clips of evergreen. The year before I included cloth/linen, you can wrap small gifts in linen napkins and the person receiving the gift gets a bonus gift, linen napkins! This year I am using magazine pages to wrap gifts.
Reusing Magazine pages as gift wrap this year, going green and saving green!
  • Need to finish a few gifts for our playgroup kiddos.
Gift for kiddos’ friends - Noodles, the Dog, I love Christmas book and Scooby Snacks
  • Remember to move the elf! Poor guy has spent a few days just hanging around in the same location, I think he had one to many eggnogs and couldn’t fly back to the North Pole; he took the mature route and avoided a DWF (Drunk while flying).
Fisbee, our Elf on the Shelf
  • Finish teacher’s gifts.  This year they are getting Eco-friendly soap and air fresheners.
Teachers’ gifts
  • Get Christmas morning PJs for my daughter (it has been tricky trying to find little girl PJs in a size 8, she is really tall for her age)
  • Address and send Christmas Cards (or save them for next year?)
  • Change sheets and much more but I don’t want to eat up any more of your time, you have your own list that I am sure is escalating as we speak/type.

I would like to just go back up to bed and call in overwhelmed. I need an assistant but I think they are expensive, anyone know anyone willing to work for Cheerios? Or, maybe I could multiply myself like in that Michael Keaton movie multiplicity? Although, if I remember correctly that just ended up being more work keeping track of all of his multiple selves. So, instead I am going to put some Christmas potpourri on the stove to get back into that Christmas spirit and take Julia Andrews /Froilan Maria’s advice and start at the very beginning; it is a very go place to start.

Christmas Potpourri from my friend Tammy, the aroma of Christmas will be lingering through my house. It’s a great way to get you back into the sprit of Christmas.

Please share your “to do” list, what’s the weirdest thing on your list? What are you dreading the most? Or, maybe you are on target, and have little left on your “to do” list, if so I am jealous and I would love to hear your secret.

Wrap It! Wednesday’s Gift ideas to keep Mommy Merry and Bright

Let me set the scene….

These make the entire house smell amazing. The nutmeg and cinnamon mixed with the sweet aroma of the potatoes is so comforting.

Here I stand in the kitchen preparing sweet potato stix and Crunch Krispies on a stick, yet again, this time for my daughter’s Girl Scout meeting (it is their thanksgiving feast and her birthday celebration treat) this afternoon (I think I am the one who should be earning a badge!).    Our toddler is running around the kitchen carrying a large Tigger around with her saying “moo, moo” (Not sure where she has seen an orange and black stripped cow, maybe Dr. Oz is right, there is some weird stuff in the children’s juice?) Meanwhile our preschooler is coloring in a Winnie the Pooh coloring book and repeating, “It is not Moo, It is no Moo, It is not Moo”, you get the idea), as Winnie the Pooh plays in the background (if you can’t tell we are getting very excited about our PJ party & Movie Night sponsored by Oral-B, we can’t wait!!).

I have gotten smarter; I am now spraying an ice cream scoop with PAM to form the balls more efficiently.
Had a little fun displaying them this time and I am thinking about making them again (shocking right?) and displaying them as a center piece for a future party.

Anyway, I have somehow managed to block out all the mooing, and, “it’s not mooing”,  and have put my body in auto pilot dipping the Krispies in chocolate, sprinkling with silver sprinkles, cooling, wrapping, etc. (who is kidding who, I have made these darn Crunch Krispies on a stix so many times I could do this in my sleep!).  So I freed up some space in my mommy brain to focus on my mental Christmas gift list and I thought I would share. I personally always appreciate another mother’s perspective.  So here are some gifts this mother would highly recommend and a few that are sure to make some great memories for your friends and family.

If you are looking for a gift for a child between the ages of 4-12 (says 6 but my 4 year-old had no problem with the Disney version) years look no further!  This makes for a fun family game night….

Loving this game!
My sister even joined in the fun!

Disney Hedbanz is so much fun; we went through the entire stack of cards the first time we played.  Unlike other games were I try to shorten the length deliberately I actually found myself sneaking cards back in the pile so we could play longer.

There is also the original version.

Spice up your family game night with the Hedbanz Board Game, a fun, fast-paced, and simple question game that everyone aged 6 and up can enjoy. In a group of two to six players, you’ll draw an identity card for an animal, food, or common object but with one catch–everyone but you will see the card, displayed by the headband on your forehead. The goal is to deduce who or what you are by asking the players questions before the clock runs out. Educational Gameplay for Kids
Hedbanz is not only fun, but inherently educational. Kids will flex their deductive reasoning skills with the game’s simple question-and-answer premise. By making connections and coming up with questions that will lead to answers, kids will also practice creative critical thinking skills.
(Amazon write-up)

If you are shopping for a young lady (ages 6-12) who is on the girly side I highly recommend the Pretty Pedicure Salon. My hubby and I got this for our daughter for her birthday and we had a memorable mommy & me morning the day after Thanksgiving. It was so much fun being able to pamper her.  I gave her a scoop of yogurt to enjoy while she soaked her feet and I gave her a pedicure.  I also let her select a CD to listen to, she chose Muppets: The Green Album.

Pretty heart shaped petals sprinkled in.

The pedicure set is safety tested and skin safe, these cosmetic and body products will make you feel good about yourself inside and out. Deluxe heart-themed pedicure salon kit includes an inflatable pedicure pool, towel, spa slippers, toe separator, nail buffer and file, confetti soap, three bottles of nail polish (including French white), nail art and sparkling rhinestones. After you are finished, store all your supplies in the handy spa tote. (Amazon)

A Special Mommy & Me morning

I won’t quit my day job but they turned out okay.

If you are shopping for any child this CD a perfect fit. The Muppets: The Green Album is fun for the entire family, seriously.  It is not one of those children’s CD’s that require two Advil before listening.  It is tolerable by all family members, even my hubby, and each member of our family now has a favorite song that we take turns listening to.  It is also a great incentive to get the kiddos in the car on time (“whoever gets their coat, boots, mittens, and hat on first and is seated and buckled in the car will get to select what song we will listen to” are the precise words that I uttered this morning, and it worked!).

I have a copy in the car and in the house, yes, that is how much we like this CD.

I am off to run my daughter to all her after school activities (Ever since her social life started mine has been sitting on the back-burner, I use to have a social life too!)

Stay tuned more great gift idea to come!