Christmas Gift Guide >> for Boys

Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails, That’s what little boys are made of.

Is there a little boy on your Christmas list who’s got it all? Well, we put together a Christmas Wish List sure to make every little guy swoon, even the one who has it all. We’ve picked items from Star Wars to Batman and everything in between.
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1. Lego City Space Port Utility Shuttle 6007
Target
$23.99

2. Discovery Kids T-Rex Moving Figure
Kohl’s
$31.49

3. BATMAN™ Ride On Vehicle
Pottery Barn Kids
$119

4. BABIATORS Sunglasses
BABIATORS
$20

5. Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars
Zappos
$35

6. Star Wars Yoda Character Hugger And Throw Set
Kohl’s
$20

7. Book: The Little Boy Who Lost his Name
LostMy.Name
$30

8. Tucker + Tate
Fitted Two-Piece Pajamas

(Little Boys & Big Boys)
Nordstrom
$32

9. Hammond’s Candy Cane
Hammond’s Candies
$2.95

From my carseat dancers to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas
Happy shopping!
❤️ Jen

Christmas Wishlist for Girls >> Gift Guide

Every little girl has sugar plum dreams about the goods on her list for Santa. Is the little girl in your life a girly-girl, crafter, sporty, bookworm or misfit… maybe? The “Christmas Wishlist for Girls” that my CarseatDancers and I have put together has something that every type of little girl would adore. Here’s our list of Christmas Must-Haves for girls from 5 to 12.
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1. Book: The Little Girl Who Lost Her Name
A personalized gift is something that will be cherished forever. The creativity in this collection of books is phenomenal. Each story is different, as the main character searches for the letters to spell the name of the child who receives it.

2. Globe – Elenco 5″ Political Globe:
Kids who dream about adventure and love to explore will be filled with excitement with the World at their fingertips.

3. American Girl Doll:
“American Girl’s mission is to celebrate girls. We embrace who they are today and look forward to who they will become tomorrow.”
Since 1986, American Girl has inspired girls of ALL walks of life. Online & in store you will find an amazing selection of dolls, books, clothes, toys, and accessories. My CarseatDancers LOVE American Girl. ❤️
Here’s my sweet AKA7 with Grace. Grace is 2015’s Doll of the Year.
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4. Penny Board
These cute little skateboards are the newest trend. We are absolutely loving that they have made these a little bit more girly but still PERFECT for the sporty girl in your life. Remember to pick up elbow & knee pads and a helmet if you decide to grab or customize one of these boards.

5. Seedling‘s – My Mini Masterpiece
“Our Kits + Your Imagination = Endless Play”
Painting is one of our favorite indoor craft activities. With this sweet little ARTIST kit your sweetie will create a masterpiece perfect for any wall.
KIT INCLUDES:
Wooden Easel
Canvas
Artist Quality Acrylic Paints
Paint Brush
Instructions

6. Hammond’s Candy Cane
Since 1920, Hammond’s has been creating the best Christmas treats. This JUMBO candy cane is a must-have stocking stuffer!

7. LEGO – Disney Princess – Rapunzel’s Tower
Your little one will build this cool Lego tower as Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, & Pascal the chameleon watch.

8. Justice- Fashions
The perfect Christmas outfit for my little firecracker came from Justice. They have a lovely selection of fashions for the girl in your life.
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Happy Shopping & Merry Christmas!
❤️🎄🎅🏻
Jen & my Carseat Dancers

Oh Baby! Christmas Picks >> Gift Guide

Oh Baby! – Christmas Picks
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My CarseatDancers and I put together this sweet collection of goods… Perfectly perfect for the baby in your life this Christmas.

Happy Shopping!
❤️ Jen

1. BARTS KAMIKAZE {Kid’s} Trapper Hat
@ surfdome
$34.93

2. Book: A Wish to be a Christmas Tree
@ Target
$8.09

3. Toy: Jellycat Cordy Roy Fox
@ dispersdotcom
$25

4. Freshly Picked >> Denim on Denim suede moccasins
@ FreshlyPicked
$60

5. Spanish A B C Blocks
@ kissui
$43

6. Organic Baby Blanket in Geometric Bear Print
@ lolaandstella
$50

7. Silicone Teething Necklace – Jade
@ glitter&spice
$19.50

8. Joovy BoobGlass Baby Bottle
@ Joovy
$14.99

9. Holiday WinnieOnesie
@ finfirst
$20

Tips & Tricks to Show Your DisneySide @ Home

Our family adores everything Disney and as a Disneyland Passport holder we are regularly displaying our Disney Side there. But why should you have to leave your Disney Side at the parks? Our celebration, as shown here, can easily be duplicated with just a few tips , tricks & Disney Magic.

When I heard that I could host a Disney Side @Home Celebration for family and friends my girls and I squealed with glee! Disney is more than just a place, it’s a magical feeling… one that you can share, at home. 20150222-100202-36122433.jpg
I received an exclusive Disney Side Princess Party Kit filled with all of the necessary party planning tools needed to spread our Disney magic, at home. And with just a pinch of Pixie Dust and imagination our Valentine’s Day Disney Side Princess Party was a ROYAL success.

Photo Tip: Squat down at your child’s level for a better shot.

My girls were eager to open the box, get started with the guest list and create handmade invitations for their fellow princess friends.

Tip: Allow your kids to help decorate the invitation. I made a prototype that my five-year-old could easily copy.
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Let’s Party!
Valentine’s Day 2015
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10 little Princess were invited to join in the festivities. We had sweet plans for our Princess Brunch. 20150309-192128-69688425.jpg Our dining table was covered with an array of princess decorations. We had Sophia the First snack bowls, napkins, placemats, cups and plates on the cutest Sophia the First tablecloth. The centerpieces were delightful… surrounding them, we placed our collection of princess toys.

Decorating Trick: It’s fun to incorporate the toys that you already have.

In the mix we displayed the prizes and party favors. Each girl went home with a little something special. Our Disney Side @Home Celebration Kit came chalk full of goods for the At-Home-Princess.
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The Palace Pets were a huge hit!
20150309-182912-66552952.jpg & Lucky us, the owner of Pegatopia sent over some of her adorable, hand painted, peg Princess dolls as prizes too. Check out her adorable Etsy shop! 20150309-183304-66784254.jpg
Our takeaway favors included a plastic princess cup (I bought the cups for $1 at Target.) overflowing with goodies! Complete with a lipgloss, nail polish & nail file, stickers, tiny Disney Princess themed heart-shaped-candy box, tiara, pencil and wand.

Party Favor Tip: Place take away items in something that guests can look at and remember over and over when used. i.e. Cup
20150309-183437-66877163.jpg We served breakfast treats for even the most picky of princesses.
On the Menu:
❤️ Pastries
❤️ Olaf Noses (Mini Carrots)
❤️ Fresh Fruit
❤️ Princess Punch
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💛 Twinings Tea for the moms. My fave was “Nightly Clam.” Shhh… I had a second helping when the party was over. One lucky mom went home with a box of teas.

Guest Tip: Moms of partygoers love a little attention too!
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Let the games begin!
With a slight amount of preparation, all of our guest princesses had a ball playing these games:
💛 PinThe Smile on Mickey
💛 Disney Parks BINGO
💛 Fortune Tellers
💛 FROZEN Bowling
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Our day came to a close after a stroll through the wildflowers.

Trick: Add an element of the outdoors to your party and create a carefree full-circle ending to their magical day. 20150309-191947-69587373.jpg 20150309-191946-69586979.jpg Lastly, an Ode to the fabulous Sleeping Beauty. Clearly, my preschooler had a dreamy day. 20150309-192407-69847678.jpg
Cheers to celebrating your Disney Side @Home!
❤️ Jen
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Disclosure: I received complimentary products to facilitate a Disney Side @Home Celebration, with the expectation that I would share this experience with my readers. All expressed opinions are strictly mine.

Earning Kudos // Children

Receiving kudos can be extremely powerful especially when you are a child. 20150118-104928.jpg
Our daughters are five and six, one is in kindergarten and the other in preschool, TK. I was thinking about the value of earning kudos and which quick ways to earn them, are important to teach children. This thought popped into my mind after my five-year-old ran into my bedroom, handed me her bowl of cereal and proceeded to skip to the bathroom. For a second I totally thought that I was getting breakfast in bed. Wishful thinking. 20150118-105116.jpg
Then, I started to think even more about this concept, the concept of giving kudos. Even at preschool age, this list will come in handy. {Not only for the child but for you, the parent, as well.}

Teach your children these five {easy} tasks:
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1. Allow mommy and daddy to sleep in on a weekend day.
We keep very few toys in our daughters’ bedrooms. {We have a playroom downstairs for toys.} At an early age we taught our girls to wake-up-&-play-quietly with the few specialty toys that are kept in their room. The adorable peg dolls shown here can be ordered from: Pegatopia … Be sure to browse the vast array of adorable peg dolls, hand made, for girls & boys — Of every age. {I ordered a Star Wars – Princess Leia one for my friend Liz. Swoon.} 20150119-094741.jpg
2. Bring mommy and daddy breakfast in bed.
This is the perfect opportunity to teach your child how to read a digital clock. After the clock reads 9:00, your little darling can bring up a bowl of dry cereal, banana or an apple. It’s the little things. {See cereal pic above. 😉}

3. Making your bed and tidying up your room without being asked to do so by mommy & daddy.
This task is simple and my girls find it fun. Teach your sweetie to straighten up the comforter and display their decorative pillows to their liking. 20150119-094621.jpg
4. Giving someone a compliment.
I have taught my daughters to use kind words and to complement others. When I hear them demonstrate what I’ve taught them I go out of my way to praise them and give kudos. Something as simple as, “You’re funny.” Or “That’s a beautiful necklace.” A complement can go along way.

5. Getting along with your sister {Or brother in some cases.}
It warms my heart to hear our girls getting along and playing nicely together. Being sisters can be tough sometimes. Being a year apart can be even tougher. When I hear them using kind words and playing gently with one another I am sure to give them kudos.
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Do you have any parenting tips regarding giving kudos?

Please share them in the comments below.
Cheers!
❤ Jen
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2015 // New Year // New Resolutions

Just before the new year I read something about “investing in yourself.” I took this mantra to heart when coming up with my New Year’s resolutions. 20150106-002700-1620912.jpg
Laugh More
Not that I don’t. Laugh, that is. LOL! I just felt like I could spend less time being frustrated with the normal “mom life” things & “busy teacher” things and laugh, more. 20150106-004129-2489974.jpg
Hike
I am literally surrounded by breathtaking valley and mountain views {in every direction} with room to roam. I rarely take advantage of going outside to exercise, for FREE! This year, I vow to take regular hikes with my family. I’m a tad sore from yesterday’s hike… but I feel fantastic! 20150106-005022-3022044.jpg
Organize
I started with my closet, then my daughters’. We’ve already given away the bags of goods. 😊 Next, the girls’ toys. We will donate what’s purged. This works perfectly just after Christmas. I even think they’ve forgotten about some of their “old toys.” Out with the old & in with the new. They are totally fighting over, I mean loving Addison’s Merida Archery Set. 20150106-005656-3416833.jpg
I was laughing {more} when Delaney, 5, asked, “Mommy, who’s A-N-D-Y & why did they write on Jessie‘s boot?!”
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Conquer A Fear
Not sure what this is yet. All I know is that it will have NOTHING to do with snakes or skydiving! Really.

Take An Important Risk
So, I purchased all of the necessary materials to get my real estate license. Why not? I’ll certainly let you know how that risk goes come summer. {I’m excited but need time to focus on this venture.} Heck! People have always told me that I can sell anything. Did you know that I once sold the shirt off my back?

Cheers to 2015 & your Resolutions!
Remember: “Invest in yourself.”
❤️ Jen
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Christmas Countdown Chain // Magazine Craft {for Kids}

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and the countdown is on. Our Elf on the Shelf will be flying into our home tonight. We’re busting out the Advent Calendar {There are some super cool ones out there… chocolate, tiny little drawers, scripture printables; the possibilities are endless.} & all of our holiday decor.

I’ve found that the easiest way to get everything out and prepped, for set-up, is to give the kids a simple Christmas craft to do.

All you’ll need for your Christmas Countdown Chain is:
1 Magazine – I am an EveryDay with Rachael Ray subscriber and just happen to have magazines at hand. But you could buy one at the store.
Scissors {for adult use}
Glue Stick – For my girls I prefer the Tombow MONO Aqua Liquid Glue Dispenser because it is easy to grip and control. Over gluing doesn’t tend to happen.
Stapler – You can use any stapler but I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share my favorite stapler on the market. PaperPro can staple up to 20 sheets by merely pressing one finger to staple! The perfect stocking stuffer. A must have! {Not necessary for this project. LOL!}
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Adult: Cut the magazine lengthwise into 3″ wide strips.
Child: Count out 24 strips. I just love to encourage counting while doing projects.
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Adult: Make the first ring and staple closed, using three staples, for strength. Then, show your child how to loop & glue the second paper-ring. They can then continue to make rings that inter-loop. {This may take little or no assistance from you.} It is important that you encourage them to be creative. This is the moment that you sneak away. IMG_0051.JPG
I heard a few cries for help, once when DEA5 glued her paper chain to the table & once when her sister was putting her paper loops together faster. IMG_0055.JPG
They are so proud of their creation! Hang their completed paper chain out in the open. We are just loving the mix of colors in our’s. IMG_0054.JPG Each night, we will trim a ring from their Christmas Countdown Chain, as we count down the days until Christmas. They are thrilled to get started.
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All-in-all, this project took approximately one and a half hours to complete. I got some Christmas sorting done and feel like I am ready to finish decorating tomorrow. The best part was they were contained in the dining room and out of my hair!

Happy Holiday Crafting!
xoox, Jen

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