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Archives for 2011

Decorating it Forward for friends

December 23, 2011 By · No Comments

Just a few minutes ago my oldest daughter, BalletGirl (age 11) and I got to do a wonderful thing for a few very dear friends that we met in the past 5 months. But before I tell you about them let me tell you about what we did. We were recently sent a tree trimming box from Kmart called The Jacyln Smith Velvet Vision collection that we were asked to give to someone.

We are calling this a “decorate it forward” but it is still more of a pay it forward if you ask me. I knew it would take a bit to figure out just who I wanted to share these with and see who would actually accept it. Lets face it even though everyone is down in the luck these days not everyone will let others help them out.

Okay about the collection:

This was a very, very gorgeous collection everything is color coordinated with red, purple, green and golds. This is more of a lady theme because it comes complete with cowgirl boots in green, purple and red with glitter on them, there are also purple and red high heels with glitter. With those two alone you can tell this would not be just a manly tree for anyone that wanted to decorate. Purple and gold ribbons that stream down the tree and a giant tree skirt that is just darling. There are also two types of musical instruments that are gold and white which are trumpets and french horns.

Off to drop off the ornaments:

Okay, the original person (Mrs. TatooGal) I was dropping this off with has a little baby boy that I was terrified might break the glass purple ornaments and hurt himself and I would never forgive myself. This is a dear family though as they have been there to share with moments in the past 5 months while we lived at the hotel. People you share secrets with and spend time talking with and getting to know. Life isn’t easy and I know everyone that we got to know in the past few months were in the same position we’ve been in and I wanted to help them out by just giving them a little something, even if it was ornaments.

See they have more kids then us so I know how it goes with Christmas time and hard times. When I realized I couldn’t help them I still wanted to but wasn’t sure how. I decided to ask another friend (Ms.S) whom I had met at the hotel, if her daughters would enjoy some decorations for their tree since they had one. She said yes and we happily drove over today to drop them off, only to find out she had left and isn’t due back until tomorrow or after Christmas. My daughter looked sad, she couldn’t wait to give this box to someone, honestly she loved everything in it.

Before leaving I thought really hard about what to do and decided to call another family  I had heard had a tree up that might need a few more decorations. Mrs. Coltsfan agreed to have us come up and help decorate her tree a bit. She has a blue Colts tree but I must admit she seemed really happy to see the high heels and took those, green sparkle ornaments, a few of the instruments and ribbons for her tree. She didn’t take all of the ornaments so I quickly decided that I could still surprise Mrs. Tattoogal and family. See what I didn’t mention was I had decided to purchase a Christmas tree for them early on and did it this morning. I wasn’t sure if they would need one but if they did I wanted it to be in the van. Sure enough they didn’t have one just yet so on our way out I left the ornaments outside and brought the tree over to them and asked them if they would take the tree. I explained that I had one already and we had already decorated Mrs. Coltsfan’s tree and that tree had no home. Finally she accepted the tree and then I was able to convince her to pick out a few ornaments.

TattooGal’s pick

Before leaving everyone hugged and wished each other a very Merry Christmas. I still have a few ornaments I will find to give to someone and a tree skirt that will probably go under my tree since no one had space for it under their trees. On the way home my daughter told me “Thank you for bringing me mom, that made me feel really good.” I know just what she means, it always feels good when you are able to do something for someone else. Just as we got home my daughter told me, “I want to do this more often and when I grow up I’m going to be rich but I’m still going to pay it forward.” Now that is holiday spirit. I love this girl!

Oh and before you think we jipped Ms. S I did leave a present for both of her daughters that are waiting in the office for her to pick up already wrapped.

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias All opinions and pictures are my own. I did not have to buy gifts, nor did I have to purchase a tree, all we needed to do was give the tree trimming kit to them.

Filed Under: Holidays Tagged With: ,

Build-a-Bear Workshop Review

December 21, 2011 By · 185 Comments

The kids and I were invited to Build-a-Bear Workshop to make a cuddly holiday bear. Okay, it didn’t have to be cuddly or a holiday bear but we are into the holiday spirit around here and voted it was a must. Now, not all the kids were able to go with as one ended up getting sick the day we were suppose to go down there. I took SoccerBoy (14), BalletGirl (11) and Little A (4) with me to the mall where our Build-a-Bear Workshop is located.

They were amazed by the window display which showed all types of the new holiday collection such as Erik the Penguin, Alvin & the Chipmunks, The Smurfs, a beautiful white polar bear, etc. Right as you walk in there is a sign that says: Any bear, any outfit $24.99 while supplies last. I don’t know how long this will be good for but I totally took advantage of it.

Want to view our time at Build-a-Bear:  Stop by and watch as the kids make Erik the penguin. Out of all honesty we did have a hard time deciding what animal to make, there were so many to choose from. You had the ones mentioned above plus some of the following: A camo bear, a wolf, Hello Kitty, pink bear, purple bear had peace symbols on it and many, many others. Little A got to do a lot of the making of the penguin. He got to fill it up with love and stuffing.

Balletgirl got to clean it up, but of course Little A thought it still needed cleaning. SoccerBoy agreed to take part and dressed it, too bad he put the pants on backwards at first, but I’ll give it to him a male’s underwear normally has the hole in the front. But the hole was meant for the penguin’s tale. hehe.



Currently those of you that visit Build-a-Bear workshops you will have the opportunity to donate $1 for Toys for Tots at the check out or you can do it online at buildabear.com. I think these would make great gifts for the young and old, not to mention a gift card to build-a-bear workshop. I know mine love them.


Disclosure: Our family was sent a $35 gift card at no charge so we could make a bear to review. 

Filed Under: Holidays, Kids Reviews Tagged With: ,

Santa Claus Video Game Review

December 21, 2011 By · 75 Comments

NinetendoDS has just released Santa Claus is Comin to Town! Video game just in time for Christmas. We got the game a few weeks ago to review and the kids have loved it. Due to our recent move we weren’t able to get it up like I wanted to but I think this would make a great stocking stuffer or a nice late gift to a young child. Enter the world of Santa and step into the movie “Santa Claus is comin’ to town” with the help of this game where you will help him fill his bag, see if you can pass the 3 interactive adventures from the movie, hop on icebergs and find words. The kids loved this game and look forward to watching the movie next.

SoccerBoy and his younger siblings review the game (Ages 14-4):

The game mostly goes by the story line of the movie which little kids will love. The only way it saves is if you beat the first adventure and so forth (only downfall). It has a lot of educational activities that follow along with the story. The games include: maze where you collect letters, word search using Christmas words, there is a ladder game where a penguin must hop on presents to get the toys, there is a coloring in the lines game and matching colors with numbers.

Little A thought it was a lot of fun.

Balletgirl said, “you have to help the penguin get the presents and you have to keep the presents off the ground for Santa. If the presents hit the ground they don’t get to him. It was fun.”

BabyGirl: “I thought it was very awesome. I liked the musical part of it.”

Review for Santa Claus is Comin to Town!
Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town is inspired by the ABC classic claymation TV show, and the interactive game will be sold for $19.99 on the Wii and DS gaming systems and sold wherever Nintendo Wii and DS games are sold.

Developed by 1st Playable Productions, LLC, and published by Red Wagon Games, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town allows families to share the magic of this classic holiday special in a whole new way. In this platforming adventure game, players join Kris Kringle and his friends as they escape the Burgermeister Meisterburger and bring toys to the children of Sombertown. Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town is an easy to play and fun game for the whole family.

Airing annually on ABC, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town tells the story of how Kris Kringle became Santa Claus and how many favorite Christmas traditions came to be. It is one of the longest running holiday specials of all time and since its debut in 1970, millions of families have tuned in, making it a top-rated TV special year after year. For more information, visit http://www.facebook.com/pages/Santa-Claus-is-Comin-to-Town/158758690825703


Disclosure: We were given the game to review. Merry Christmas!

Filed Under: Reviews Tagged With: ,

Shopping trip to Kmart to get our Tree Trimming Decorations

December 15, 2011 By · 2 Comments

Earlier this week Little A and I were finally done moving in from the hotel to the apartment but we were bored. Currently we have no cable, no furniture, a bare Christmas tree and no internet. So when he asked if we could go to our Christmas tree shopping, see Collective Bias had asked us if we’d do a tree trimming shop at Kmart, I figured it would be the perfect time. It was cold outside, it’s been off and on raining for the past few days and dips down to the 20-40s which I hear is not normal or this time of year since there is no snow on the ground. We bundled up anyways and loaded into the car to drive around the corner. Yes, Kmart is really that close to my house which works for my husband since he catches the bus there.

It wasn’t at all packed, course going at 10 am it normally isn’t because everyone is either at home, at school or at work. I’ve never been impressed with this Kmart much, but at least the oil smell is gone. During the summer it reaked of oil but not this time. Right up front are clothing displays (Christmas picture type of outfits) for the holidays at 50% off. Would be nice but not what I’m shopping for. I did want an ad for the week and right beside them we discovered tons of coupons (printable) and toy lists. What a neat thing to do. As we walked around Kmart we noticed how crammed packed with displays in the center aisles it was. This would definitely NOT be ideal if we came during a busy hour, but it was just us and a few others in the store. We found the Christmas Trim a Tree area in the back corner of the store right beside the aisles for toys.

There weren’t many signs hanging besides the one saying it was Christmas time or something above the trees. The outdoor display section that they had out were crammed together with the trees. But I still know I would have liked the abominable snowman and Little A loved the Christmas Dinosaur that they had there. Most items were 40% off that I ended up purchasing which were mostly Christmas tree ornaments since I wanted to spruce up our bare one we had at home. We did get a Stocking that was too cute to pass up, a red ribbon with jingle bells hanging down for the door, lights, arts and crafts to make for the tree and a few other things. They had a ton of empty shelves where the $2 lights would’ve been but they were all gone and the only ones I saw were $15 ($10 on sale) 39 feet long (200 lights).

In the ornament section we found a penguin skating on an ice cube, tons of Colts ornaments, plain solid colors, plain colors with glitter on them, Toy Story ornaments and my favorite of all of them was the Radko ornaments. The Radko ornaments were a new type that I had never seen until this year they were slightly bulky but light in the boxes. We found some cute animal ones dressed in Christmas outfits, but my favorite were all the gingerbread men. The total was $97 but we got an entire cart full of tree trimming decorations from #Kmart. Do not forget that there is a Kmart holiday shopping area to give you more ideas of what they currently have.

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias All opinions and pictures are my own.

Filed Under: Holidays Tagged With: ,

Stress Free Party Times: How to Throw a Holiday Party Without Pulling Your Hair Out

December 14, 2011 By · No Comments

Holiday parties are a time to celebrate you family and friends and reflect on the past year. As much as you would love to peacefully reflect on your relationships, you’re too busy tripping over Super Mario figures as you try and clean up the house for your holiday bash. All right, just calm down, take a deep breath and read these tips for throwing the perfect, stress free holiday party. Trust us, you’ll be happy that you did.

– Limit the Guest list

If you are a social butterfly, you may want to check yourself and set a limit to the amount of people you can invite to your holiday party. The more people you invite, the more people you have to entertain, the more food you have to serve, the more things you have to organize, etc., etc., etc. Keep the guest list short and sweet and you’ll have a more intimate and less stressful party to throw.

– Skip Dinner

Skip out on a holiday meal and opt for easy appetizers instead. Juggling brown sugar ham, wine, green beans, and mashed potatoes will be too overwhelming to an already-busy hostess. Try bite-sized treats like shrimp with cocktail sauce, Boursin cheese with artisan crackers, grapes, and sweet sausage meatballs. Easy prep, easy cleanup, easy peasy.

– Think of Etiquette

Yes, you’re probably a class act 99% of the time, but when you’re planning a party you may forget to be cognizant of mini etiquette rules that can escalate into an awkward evening. Welcome guests, introduce them to other people at the party if they don’t already know each other, and prepare yourself for possible mishaps. Your Aunt’s best friend may just spill sausage meatball sauce all over your new, off-white couch. Ouch. Keep it cool and know that these things sometimes happen. Another tip? Serve a great choice of wine. Wine will allow everyone to come out of their shells a bit and get the party rolling.

See? Don’t you feel better already? Just follow these easy tips and focus on the real point of every holiday party: celebrating the things you’ve got with the people you love.

Filed Under: Holidays Tagged With: ,

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