Turning our home into a Christmas tree forest #MyKindofHoliday

Orange Monkey ornament for kids #MyKindofHoliday

Note:  I’m a member of the Target Inner Circle and Target generously gave us a gift card to use to facilitate this post.

It all started last weekend when Max asked if we could set his Christmas tree up in his room so he could use it “like a night light.”  It had been a long, difficult week.  “It is a little early,” I thought, “but we could use some Christmas spirit around here, so why not?”

So, as is our tradition, we picked out this year’s special ornaments for the kids’ trees and set aside an evening last week to decorate.

Yes, you read that right, I said trees, plural.  We keep things simple at our house, but when it comes to Christmas trees we might be a little bit silly.  Okay, we might be a whole lot of silly!

When I was growing up one of my favorite aunts used to host Christmas for the family and she had a tree in every room of her house (Hi, Aunt Connie!). To me her home was like the North Pole, a really magical and happy place.  I guess putting up our trees reminds me of some of my favorite holidays growing up.

I keep things pretty simple when it comes to the rest of our holiday decor, but I don’t seem to be able to resist trees (each one bought at an after-Christmas sale) and pretty twinkling lights.

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Sometimes you just have to act on a whim and throw out the rules, or at least bend them so they work for you, so we began turning our home into a Christmas tree forest.

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10 Great Gifts for Kids under $25 {2013 edition}

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Note: there are affiliate links in this post.  Thanks!

Instead of reinventing the wheel, I’ve dusted off last year’s gift ideas list and updated it for 2013 with new recommendations according to the currents ages and stages of my own kids.

I hope to present you with a few thoughtful choices rather than an over-abundance of things that will be turn into next Summer”s “junk.” At my house we follow the Want, Need, Wear, Read philosophy and we try to stick with quality over quantity.  You know I love toys that encourage creativity and the fewer batteries required, the better.

While you are making your lists, and checking them twice, here are a few great gift ideas for kids that are under $25:

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Monday mission: let something go

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It is a common feeling this time of year:  even those who look forward to the holidays usually also have something about the season that they are dreading, a feeling of busyness and obligation that is hard to shake.

I love this time of year, I truly do, but there are some things that make me cringe.

This week I wanted to do something different and give myself a Monday Mission, a task to do to help simplify life for me and the kids, and you can join in if you’d like (I hope you will).

This week’s mission: let something go and simplify your holiday season.

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Celebrations of Light: a Wintertime Family eGuide

20 Advent Ideas

Note:  I’m a contributor to and an affiliate for this project.  Thanks!

We are entering into the darkest time of the year.  The days are shorter and colder and it is a season where we often turn inward, focusing more on our home and family.  When I was asked to contribute to an eguide about celebrating warmth and light for families, I was honored and eager to participate because I know those are things I strive to bring to my own family this time of year.

Liz, of A Natural Nester, whom I have worked with before, has written The Celebrations of Light Family eGuide as a compilation of ideas and inspiration for creating memorable & meaningful wintertime traditions with your family.

Creative and easy-to-follow, in pdf format, this guide is based on the “celebrations of light” she been honoring with her family for years.

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We tried it: Free Birds Hand Turkey (and a giveaway)

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Note: this is a sponsored post brought to you by Relativity Media.

Last night, after the dinner dishes were done but before it was time for pajamas and stories, the kids and I were feeling a little crafty.  Sometimes you just have to make something, right?  But, before bedtime isn’t the best time for big messy crafts, so we needed something simple.

Fall is is one of our favorite seasons, in part because the cooler weather gives us more time at the craft table, and in part because of the holidays.  In fact, don’t tell the Free Birds, a movie we’re looking forward to seeing this weekend (it opens in theaters this Friday, November 1st) but one of the reasons we love this time of year is for Thanksgiving and the turkey.

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The creators of Free Birds have a fun how-to video for drawing a Hand Turkey, which was the perfect project for our crafty mood.  You can watch the video, featuring Amy Poehler who voices Jenny in Free Birds, here:

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