Magical Christmas – 12 Days of Christmas – Day 10

Find out how to have a Magical Christmas for your kids. You are going to love all of the Christmas goodness that is headed your way over the next several days. Don’t miss a single day — they are all different and promise tons of holiday cheer and inspiration! Enjoy…

Join us for the 12 Days of Christmas Ideas Series along with eleven other talented bloggers. We’ve rounded up the best of the best Christmas ideas to make your holiday season more festive and fun.

Every day December 1-12th we will be sharing a new collection of Christmas Ideas rounded up from our best blogging friends around the web. That’s a total of 144 awesome Christmas Ideas to make your holiday season easier and more fun! Some of our topics include Decor, DIY, Organization, Food, Games and so much more. We don’t want to spoil the fun by telling you too much. We want you to be surprised! Now is the perfect time to subscribe so you’ll be the first to know!

Meet The Hostesses

Shirley of Intelligent Domestications ~ Erlene of My Pinterventures ~ Lindsay of Crazy Organized

Michelle of Our Crafty Mom ~ Stephanie of The Tip Toe Fairy ~ Lorelai of Life With Lorelai

Katie of The Organized Dream ~ Amanda of The Kolb Corner ~ Marie of DIY Adulation

Megan of C’mon Get Crafty ~ Sara of Twelve On Main ~ Kim of Made in a Day

 

 

 

12 Ways to Make Christmas Magical

Welcome, Megan from C’mon Get Crafty.

I absolutely love Christmas. Growing up, it was always my favorite time of year, the shinging light in the midst of brutal Chicago winters. Our family tradition was to get everyone together on Christmas Eve at my family’s ancestral home (over 100 years old and counting!) for a big extended family Christmas.

There was food and laughter and it was tradition to watch the 1966 How the Grinch Stole Christmas right after dinner. We never got to finish it, since as soon as little Max started up that hill, there would come a booming knock on the door and the jingle of sleigh bells, as Santa came in with a sack full of presents!

I love creating these kinds of long lasting memories for my children, and today’s post is designed to help you do the same.

So let’s make some magic!

#1 A Shameless Plug But Oh So Fun

Yes, this one is mine, but I also spent years creating fun (and basic) Elf on the Shelf Ideas for you….plus I made a whole batch of free printables for you! You can’t beat that. 😉

#2 Secret Good Deeds

This Santa Secret Service tradition from The Dating Divas is such a wonderful idea! Very creative way to teach kids about being responsible and charitable.

#3 Santa’s Mailbox

 

Sunny Day Family has an easy and fun craft for kids to work on – a Santa Mailbox for all those changing Christmas lists!

 

#4 Random Acts of Kindness Cootie Catcher

 

This Random Acts of Kindness Cootie Catcher from Bren Did reminds me of all those fun paper games we played as kids!

#5 Grow Your Own Candy Canes

 

Part of making Christmas magical for kids is to invite them to be whimsical and to believe anything is possible. So why wouldn’t you be able to grow candy canes like Growing a Jeweled Rose?

 

#6 Christmas Eve Surprise Box

 

Start a fun new tradition with your kids by gifting them these Christmas Eve Boxes from Money Saving Sisters!

#7 Christmas Countdown Box

 

 

Speaking of boxes, this Christmas Countdown Box from Teach Me Mommy would help keep the magic of Christmas alive every day leading up to it!

 

#8 Make Your Own Play Snow

 

Whether you live in a warm climate without snow, or just don’t want to freeze in the real stuff, this play snow from Huckleberry Love definitely promotes some Christmas magic – can you say indoor snowman??

 

#9 Baking Soda Gingerbread Ornaments

 

Christmas cookies are sort of a holiday staple of traditions, but what if you made cookies you could keep? These Baking Soda Gingerbread Ornaments from My Pinterventures look good enough to eat, but last much longer!

#10 Puzzle Piece Holiday Wreath

 

Dazzle While Frazzled has a fun activity for you and the kids both with this festive puzzle piece wreath!

 

#11 DIY Elf Coat

 

 

 

Is your Elf feeling chilled? Get the kids together and make him a coat with this easy tutorial from Exquisitely Unremarkable!

#12 Elf on the Shelf Printable Calendar

 

Speaking of that whimsical Elf, you can keep yours hopping with a Printable Calendar from Time Saving Mom so you never run out of ideas or forget to move him!

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for Day Eleven!

 

Wishing your kids a Magical Christmas!

Thanks so much for joining us for the 12 Days of Christmas Ideas Blog Hop! If you missed any of our fun collections just see the links below!

 

 

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Parenting The Strong-Willed Child

Keep Calm And Parent On!

Parenting the Strong-Willed Child

 

Regular Contributor, Calvalyn Day, shares tips on raising a strong-willed child.

This morning on the way to school, Leila, that’s my five year old, told me that the trees were naked.

She meant that the leaves had fallen off. After a particularly windy fall evening, which I love, she noticed that on the same route we always take that the trees were different.

I love this little girl. This is her telling me which shoes she wanted for back to school a couple years ago.

 

She’s amazingly creative and intuitive and observant.

She also happens to be quite strong willed.

When this Washington Post article came across my feed earlier this week, about the benefits of having a strong-willed child, I clicked it, partially because I generally agree with it. And, partially because I am always looking for more ways of supporting Leila’s healthy development and acquiring ammunition for those who haven’t quite taken to the whole “children should have rights” thing. I love how the article highlights the fact that many of our most successful entrepreneurs are, in fact, free thinking, never take no for an answer type people, and that these traits are actually skills.

Now, I know what many of us are saying. These kids need discipline, structure and routine. If we let them run wild, they’ll get hurt or take advantage of us. And this is partially true, there are absolutely times when we, as parents, have to bite the bullet and lay down the law. I wrote about that a few weeks ago in an article I shared with the Huffington Post about life with my teenagers. But, what I loved most about this article was that it really challenged us to look at how simple obedience, without question, can have disastrous consequences, and that pushing our children to always comply may not be the best course of action.

As a mom of a strong-willed child and an advocate for peaceful parenting, here are a couple of tips that I have found to be helpful to enjoying life with kids who don’t mind giving you a no for an answer.

Pick your battles. Would you rather he wear the blue pants, but he wants the green? Of course. But, will that actually make or break the family dinner? Nope. So, save your energy for when he wants to wear swim shorts in the snow. Yes, he won’t match perfectly, and no you don’t have to make everyone change to suit his tastes, this will just be a day you don’t match. No harm, no foul.

Give them a chance to explain. The awesome thing about strong-willed kids is that they often see the world differently than the rest of us. It’s amazing and exactly the kind of thing that could make them a millionaire one day. Sometimes they want to explain things so you understand what it’s like in their head. What an awesome opportunity to help them feel closer to you, while also giving you a chance to share what it’s like in your head too. This helps build empathy, and it’s a trait that strong-willed kids might need help mastering. When Leila was about 4-years-old, she wrote our address this way.

 

At the time, we lived on Shallow Water Place. Get it? Shallow WATER. This made perfect sense in her head, and without asking her, I might not have known that. I love getting to see the inner workings of her brain.

QTIP. Quit taking it personal. Other people may not understand your child. They will give you that mommy guilt like nobody’s business, but at the end of the day, your value as a parent has nothing to do with whether or not your son wants his hair cut, or your daughter is wearing a matching outfit. Don’t take your child’s strong-willed nature personally, nor the judgement you may get when others don’t understand.

Protect her heart. Some people still believe that kids with strong personalities need to be “broken” like a wild horse. They don’t appreciate the unique characteristics of these kids, and they may overstep their bounds to help you by giving their personal opinions. The truth is, strong-willed doesn’t mean that the child doesn’t have feelings, or that they can’t get their feelings hurt. In fact, sometimes, theses children feel things very deeply and are pained when people try to silence them. Don’t let your head-strong child, get her heart broken for the sake of compliance.

If you’ve got a strong-willed child, hit me on Facebook, and let me know what you love, or don’t love about the experience. Parenting is hard, and we all need a safe space to share.

 

Visit Calvalyn at her blog, Indy Parent Coach!

 

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Pumpkin Prayer – Halloween Activity

The Pumpkin Prayer

A Halloween Activity with God

Are you wanting to do a fun Halloween activity with your kids? How about one that puts your heart and mind in the right place? The Pumpkin Prayer is something you can do that puts God into your Halloween.

Even little children can carve pumpkins with the easy to use Pumpkin Master Carving tools that you find all over town in grocery stores, Target, Walmart, drug stores, or wherever. Everyone will have a wonderful time with this project, and it offers great hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills exercise.

The children will be proud of their creation and want to tell everyone about God’s love and the Pumpkin Prayer. The Pumpkin Prayer would be awesome for a Trunk or Treat event. Set-up a Pumpkin Prayer booth, or attach the free Pumpkin Prayer PRINTABLE to a treat bag!

Click to Download

On to the Activity of the day:

Help your child say the prayer with each step of the carving. Pull them into a conversation about the meaning of each stanza of the prayer. Enjoy!

 

The Pumpkin Prayer

Dear God,

Open my mind so I can learn about you;

Take away all my sin, and forgive me for the wrong things I do;

Open my eyes so Your love I will see;

I’m sorry for turning up my nose to all You have given me;

Open my mouth to tell others You’re near;

Let Your Light shine in all I say and do!

Amen

 

Let your happy little pumpkins show how much God loves you!

My hope is that you will make prayer a special and fun-filled time with your children, while you share this Pumpkin Prayer Halloween activity. Have a blessed day.

Have you seen the Pumpkin Prayer before?

What Halloween activities do you enjoy with your kids?


 

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Court Is In Session

I’m in Divorce Court Today…

Fighting For What’s Right and Fair!

Christopher and I were supposed to go to court this past Monday, September 9th, but late last week the court clerk called and said it needed to be continued until October 1st. I broke down in tears…right on the phone, poor lady. I explained why I was crying and that Rory and I had been left cut-off of funds since June 7th. She told me to hold on a second. When she came back, I had a new court date of Thursday, September 12th, just 3-days past our original date. I was so thankful and appreciative. Jenny you are wonderful!

Today, Christopher texted Rory telling her he was at his friends house and that the water felt great in his pool. She was hurt by this that he did not even ask if she wanted to go swimming (this is Rory’s first summer in 7 or 8 years that she is allowed to go swimming due to medical reasons). After his disgusting tease, he asked if I was home (which I was), and then asked about taking her to get some frozen yogurt.When he picked her up, I had some old family photos of his that i had packaged up for him along with a blanket that his grandmother had knitted for him when he was a baby. He had something for me too. He handed me his response to our divorce.

First off, legally he should not have handed it to me, a third party should have served me. Second, his response is not even filed with the court. Third, it was 3:15 in the afternoon, and we are due in court at 8:30 tomorrow morning. Fourth, it is riddled with inaccuracies and blatant lies.

So, instead of the nice, civilized, “Christian”, divorce as he liked to call it, it looks like we’re going to be battling like a couple of Kung Fu Fighting Rabbits! This is not the way I wanted this to go, but he has left me with no choice. I have to fight to protect my daughter. And after nearly 24-years of marriage, he owes me a little something too. Child Support and Spousal Support, we’re not asking for much, just enough to get by.

I would love to ask you to please send your best thoughts and good luck wishes my way today. And if you believe in the power of prayer (like I do), I ask you to please send a prayer up for me and Rory. I hate it that this is so hard on her. I never would have believed he would treat her this way. My heart is broken.

I Hope!

Photo Credits: huffingtonpost.com, mileanhour.com, squidoo.com

On Another Note~

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Monday Mournings – Child Support Hula Hoops

Why Can’t Things Be Simpler?

Saturday, I went to the mailbox and found a letter from Child Support Services. I was excited. I thought maybe they had gotten things settled and payments would roll in anytime now. WRONG! It was a letter stating that I would not be receiving child support since my youngest child had now turned 18-years-old and was, as such, emancipated.

Well, yes, that may be true in most cases, but in Rory’s case it is not. Rory has missed so much school with her illness, that she receives Special Education Medical Home Teaching through the school district and has not yet attained her high school diploma. Because of this, I am eligible to receive child support for Rory until she gets the diploma or turns 19-years-old, whichever comes first.

There was an entire section of the child support application dedicated to this specific issue, which required special information that I provided. Of course, the letter arrived on Saturday, so I could do nothing until this morning, but sit around trying not to let it worry me too much…cough, cough, cough.

Do you ever wonder if there is some kind of stupid test for government employees, or if they have different people who read different parts of applications, but who can reject solely on their portion of it? And if you call trying to ask a question or get some help with something, they treat you like you are some kind of idiot.

With all of the paperwork I have had to fill out, documentation I have had to provide, money I have had to spend to get certified copies of things over the past two months, I feel like I have been jumping through hoops!

I should look like this

[youtube=https://youtu.be/mB0LTUDR-Wk]


But instead, I look like this

[youtube=https://youtu.be/NiT93bmz7qQ]

When I called Child Support Services this morning, the lady took Rory’s school information and input it into our case. She said it should not be a problem, and that there was nothing further for me to do at this time. Yeah! Finally an easy fix…now if we could just start getting those checks!

I have an appointment on Thursday at the DMV to get my Driver’s License renewed…I hope that goes smoothly.

Have you had any annoying dealings with government agencies? Share your story in the comments.

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Monday Mournings – A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

“Severe stress makes women age prematurely because stress causes the DNA in our cells to shrink until they can no longer replicate. So when we’re stressed we look haggard. This is just women not men.”

~Amanda (played by Cameron Diaz), The Holiday (2006)

Struggling with finances to make ends meet for Rory and me is difficult to say the least, but dealing with government agencies makes everything ten times worse. My court date with Christopher for temporary support isn’t until September 9th… can you believe that? What exactly are we supposed to do until then. Apparently, money does not constitute an emergency for a speedier court appearance.

Wednesday morning is my next step in the process of getting SSI for Rory. Hopefully that meeting will help Rory with her needs, and qualify her for further medical assistance–medications need to be paid for some how. Okay, enough griping…

On to things that make me happier!

Luke and I watched an old movie one night last week. We had a blast and were laughing so hard. Have any of you ever seen…

It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)

It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World…what a cast! This ensemble cast, featuring Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Buddy Hackett, Ethel Merman, Mickey Rooney, and more,  is a riot. The madcap adventure race to find hidden treasure was taglined as, “It’s The Biggest Entertainment Ever To Rock The Screen With Laughter!”

As Luke and I watched this movie, we got to wondering– With all of the remakes coming out of Hollywood these days, what stars would they cast in this film today? I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on this idea. Who knows, maybe some big-time Hollywood producer will see my little blog post and think it’s a great idea… Tee Hee!

Thanks to all of you who checked out the Link Parties / Blog Hops over the weekend. We had a great time be-bopping around the blogosphere.

I would love to hear from you…leave me a COMMENT.

 

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Monday Mournings

Last week, Christopher moved out of the house leaving Rory and I with no food and suddenly cut-off without warning of money (including the automatic deposit that went straight to my account every two weeks). This threw me into a whirlwind of trying to figure out what I needed to do in order to feed my child, NOW.

I found myself filing a case at Child Support Services for Child Support, and also doing court paperwork and filing for Spousal Support, (we had a long-term marriage of 23-1/2-years). These were not only time consuming, stressful, and not fun, but they also ate up my gas that I had so precious little of in my truck.

Child Support Services and the Court told me that I needed to file for a food program, as immediate need was required. After driving to the location to fill out more paperwork, I spoke with a man at the service window who told me it would be a 4-hour wait to see someone and get the paperwork started, OR I could go home and do it online. Why don’t they tell you that little tidbit over the phone?! Needless to say, I climbed back in the truck and high-tailed it home to spend about 5 more grueling hours gathering even more documentation and filling out yet another application. Of course, by the time I was finished, it was past 5 pm, so my application would not be looked at until the following business day. Thank God, it was Thursday night.

Friday morning I received a phone call at 10:15 AM telling me that I had an appointment at 1 PM to go over my application, and oh, by the way, you need to bring along additional documentation. I sped around the house going through files, raced to two banks, made phone calls, borrowed some money from a friend for gas, and flew out of the house for my 30-mile drive to my appointment. Phew…

I had to have a face-to-face interview so the lady on the other side of the desk could ask me questions that I had already answered on the online application. She took copies of my additional information, fingerprinted me, handed me a card with $200 on it, and sent me on my way home–four hours later in the height of rush-hour traffic in Southern California…oh yeah…

The good news was that I received some much-needed aid for Rory and me. The bad news for Christopher, at any rate, is that he will be responsible for paying it back (they will even garnish his wages if he does not).

Hopefully, this week will be less stressful. I have another appointment on Thursday with my new divorce attorney where she will help me file an amendment to my Response.

I would love to hear any tips on getting through this stuff with your sanity intact. I think the key for me right now is to remember to smile and laugh. Being down and depressed isn’t going to help anything.

Luke took me out Saturday night for Karaoke. We had a great dinner, I sang 5 songs, had lots of laughs, and the Cadillac Margarita really hit the spot after the week I’d had. Thanks, honey!

I would love to hear from you…leave me a COMMENT.

 

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