Category Archives: Christmas

NAME-STAMP BLOCK Tutorial #FamilyFunMag

Another fun Winter- time craft, make your own NAME-STAMP BLOCK!  Idea courtesy of FamilyFun Magazine!

Great for new spellers—or anyone who likes to make her mark!

stamp-block

What you’ll need
Paper
Craft foam
Craft glue
2-inch wooden block(s)
Stamp pad & notebooks (optional)

Instructions

  1. Write your recipient’s name in 1¼-inch-high block letters on a piece of paper (you can also use a stencil or print out the letters in a font you like at 100 points). Cut out each letter. You can get six characters onto a block, so if she has a short name, fill in any blank spaces with a fun design like a heart or a star; if she has a long name, use two blocks.
  2. Trace two of each letter onto craft foam; cut out.
  3. Stack the letters and glue them together. Then glue each letter to a side of the block backwards. Repeat for all letters.
  4. If desired, package your blocks with a stamp pad and notebooks.

Great Ideas for a Holiday Centerpiece

It is December and Christmas is here! I know a lot of people have their holiday decorations up already. I’m so excited for the holidays and have a few craft ideas to try out. I’ve got a few ideas for you, though, if you are looking for the perfect holiday centrepiece for your table.

Use Christmas Candy

A cute but simple idea for a centrepiece is to use candy. A clear vase filled with candy canes would look so cute. Or how about little red and white mints? Using candy is the ultimate no-fuss arrangement and there are so many options. How about using marshmallows too? You could tie a ribbon around the vase and voila!

Christmas Tree Baubles

If you have some spare baubles from the Christmas tree decorating, they can look cute turned into a centrepiece. In a large vase or a hurricane candle holder, place baubles of different shapes and sizes for a varied look. I think the best effect is using baubles of a similar colour but slightly different. If there are some that are plain, and some that are striped perhaps, it can add a lovely textured look. Some great candle holders can be bought online at Koch.

Opt for Using a Tray

Using a tray as the main part of your centrepiece can look so striking. It makes the centrepiece easily portable, but also adds different layers and textures. I think the best look using trays, is choosing a tray that is a different shape to your table. For example, if your dining room table is square or rectangular, a square or rectangular tray will look boxy. A circular tray would be a much better option. Likewise, if you have a circular table, a square tray would look the best. If you have a mirrored tray in at home, this one would look perfect to use as the base. No need to splash out to buy one of those, though!

Christmas Center Piece
image credit

Go for Classic Colours

For a beautiful setting go for traditional holiday colours. Red and green can look beautiful. I think going for a few different sized vases can look cute. If they were filled with something red like cranberries, you could get some holly or other green foliage from outside, to wrap around the vases. When going for more than one vase, I think it is always best to go for an odd number, rather than even. It just looks so much nicer!

Use a Table Runner

I think most people will have a table cloth as part of their table setting on Christmas day. Not everyone will have a table runner, though. Table runners can look stunning though. Choose a contrasting colour to the table cloth, but one that compliments the centrepiece, and your table will be set.

I hope these tips are useful to you and you’ll find one of the ideas for a centrepiece that will work for you and your home. I hope you and  your family have a very happy holiday season!

Fun Family Craft Acitivies For Rainy Days

It can be an extra struggle to keep your children from getting bored and restless when it’s pouring down outside. So, I hope that this post will bring a little sunshine into your lives when it’s miserable outside. Here are my favorite arts and crafts activities that are perfect for keeping the whole family entertained on rainy days.

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Occasion crafts
Occasion crafts are extra fun because they give the whole family a project to work on. I look through my diary to see if there are any birthdays coming up and if there are we all work together on making a handmade card for the birthday girl or boy. Even if there isn’t a family celebration in the immediate future, there is always some event going on around the globe that you can use to structure your craft day. Last time we had an arts and crafts day at home we made outer space-themed paintings to celebrate National Science Fiction Day. This is also a great activity for keeping the kids busy when you have your own things to get on with.

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Baking
Baking is an old favorite among many families and is effective way to keep everyone entertained on a rainy day. It gives the kids an opportunity to be creative, learn about different ingredients and the science of baking. There are many family-friendly recipes out there so have a good look online for inspiration. We love to make mini pizzas that we decorate like faces and cookies. If you’ve never experienced baking with kids before – do be prepared for the mess!

Toilet roll crafts
Okay, I know it sounds like a weird one, but my kids absolutely adore this activity! It’s incredible how many creative things you can make out of cardboard toilet roll tubes. If you don’t believe me; google it. We have made minions, pencil and pen holders, Christmas decorations and plant holders, to name just a few. All you need is a stash of toilet roll tubes and a good box of art supplies. We usually use paints, east of India ribbon, tissue paper, scissors, etc. They make excellent ornaments for the mantelpiece or gifts for family and friends.

Puppet

Image author

Handmade puppet show

One of my children suggested creating handmade puppets and putting on a puppet show one rainy day. It ended up being such a laugh for the whole family that it has now become a recurring activity (even on sunny days). It doesn’t take a lot of effort or materials to make the puppets. We used a couple of gloves that were passed it and painted them with funny faces. You could also use cut up old material and secure it around your wrist using an elastic band or scrunchie. The real creativity comes in creating and acting out the personality of your puppet. A lot of improvisation is involved, but that’s what makes it so entertaining.

Thanks for reading. Please feel free to share some of your family’s favorite rainy day activities.

Best Buy is the Place to get Awesome Gifts this #HintingSeason

Best Buy Camera

Do you ever feel like you are just not ever done Christmas shopping?  I know that is me for sure.  Well do not worry because Best Buy is the place to go if you want to get your loved ones awesome gifts this Holiday.  When you go into a Best Buy store, you will always get expert service and unbelievable prices, so be sure to stop in or check out BestBuy.com for some of these popular gifts!

XBOXXbox One is a great gift for the gamer on your Nice List.  Built by gamers for gamers, the Xbox One is THE PLACE for games. In addition to being a great gaming console, Xbox one connects consumers unlike any other device.  Xbox One enables access to the latest TV shows and movies through your favorite apps.  With Xbox One all of your media is at your fingertips when you want it.

How about giving the gift of spectacular sound from JBL?  They have several speakers to choose from, but here are a few that caught my eye:

JBL_Holiday

JBL Charge 2 Between the twin passive radiators for deep bass, the massive 6000mAh battery and the hands-free conference speakerphone the key benefit is the Bluetooth Social Mode which allows up to three different users to take their turns to play their own playlists on a single speaker.

JBL Flip 2– Aside from the dual performance-tuned JBL drivers and a built-in bass port, the key benefit of the JBL Flip 2 is the SoundClear echo and noise cancellation combined with the state-of the art microphone system to pick up calls on the speaker.

JBL Reflect Earbud headphones–  Sweat proof ergonomic design.  With a 5 hour rechargeable battery and a reach of about 40 feet, the JBL Reflect BT’s key benefit is the design of the ergonomic eartips along with the built-in magnets which keep your buds on standby without loose cables.

GO 50 S - lifestyle

How about a new GPS for the traveler on your list?  Both Garmin and Tom Tom have great new products featuring bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calling, traffic and weather updates that are sure to impress someone that has been wanting a new GPS.

Garmin 52LM
   5.0” display
Maps of 49 U.S. states, plus lifetime map updates
Lane assist with junction view
Displays speed limit and accurate arrival time
Easily find addresses and millions of points of interest
Spoken turn-by-turn directions

Garmin 2597LMT
   5.0” display
Maps of 49 U.S. states, plus lifetime map updates
Lane assist with junction view
Displays speed limit and accurate arrival time
Easily find addresses and millions of points of interest
Spoken turn-by-turn directions

TomTom Go 50s
   Lifetime TomTom Traffic: Drive with TomTom Traffic for the lifetime of your device
Lifetime Maps (US, Canada, Mexico): Always drive with the latest map
3D Maps. See buildings and landmarks in stunning 3D
5″ touchscreen with advanced lane guidance

No matter what gifts you choose for your loves ones this Christmas, I am sure they will be happy with a gift from Best Buy :-)
Family_Gifts_5_041115

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free

Surprise your Loved One with a Canon Camera from @BestBuy this #HintingSeason

Best Buy CameraIf you really want to impress your gift recipient with a gift she or he will be blown away by, stop into Best Buy to find the latest cameras.  The Canon EOS Rebel T5i is one of the best-selling DSLRs and is sure make anyone with a camera on their wish list happy Christmas morning.  This camera makes advanced photography easy and fun, and gives you exceptional image quality, along with a host of features to enhance your creative expression.

Canon Camera
•      Capture Hollywood caliber full HD video
•      Continuous autofocus while taking HD video
•      Features an 18.0-megapixel CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 5 image processor to ensure vivid, crystal-clear images.
•      The 3″ vari-angle touch screen simplifies navigation.

Now through December 20th you can save $150 on the Canon EOS Rebel T5i at Best Buy*. Visit Best Buy to learn more.

HOLIDAY_LOCK_PRIME_1LINE_CMYK_WORKING

Crafty Activities for Every Season

Whether you are indulging your inner artist or trying to keep the kids occupied on a rainy day, crafting projects are the answer. They are also a fantastic way to add a personal touch to gifts, parties and decorations. Here’s my rundown of some of the best projects to keep you (and your little ones) occupied all year long.

cRAFTS

Image Source: chrissy.farnan

Spring
With the weather promising sunshine but not quite enough warmth to play in the garden, a few spring-themed crafts can help to keep the kids entertained. If it’s time to give their rooms a spruce up, you can set them to personalizing the furniture while you give the walls a lick of paint. Old wooden furniture looks fantastic painted with hand prints, wobbly butterflies and colored flowers.

If it’s just an afternoon you’re looking to fill, you can always rely on some classics. Remember how to make paper chain dolls? Teach the kids how to make them and let them decorate each, putting them in funny outfits and painting vibrant hairstyles on them. For a bit of a change, you could try making paper chain butterflies or flowers instead. It is very much in keeping with the spring theme and they look great strung up in the kitchen or playroom.

Summer
Summer crafty ideas are all about making your garden (and garden parties) colorful and memorable. Handmade drinks umbrellas, flower arrangements as centerpieces and name labels are all lovely ways to add a crafty touch to a garden gathering.

If you are looking to enhance your tranquil outdoor retreat, you may need to invest a bit more time. Create an eye-catching focal point by removing the backing and glass from a chunky, wooden frame. Secure a colourful souffle dish or ramekin inside and fill it with bird food. Hung from a tree, any guest spotting it from the patio will think you have framed the wildlife – and be suitably impressed!

Autumn
There’s loads to do in the house in autumn. The nights are starting to draw in and everyone’s ready to snuggle by the fire. Make sure the kids don’t forget about the birds outside in the cold and take the opportunity to make some homemade bird feeders. Spreading peanut butter on an old toilet roll or pencil is guaranteed to result in sticky fingers and smiles all round. Roll them in seeds and hang them from a tree in the garden, the kids can then watch the birds feasting on their efforts from the warmth of the house.

Autumn is also a great time for grown-up projects. Quilted blankets look great, add a snuggly feeling to any room and will help keep your family warm over the winter. They are also a fantastic way to make use of any clothes the kids have outgrown or ruined over the course of the year. If you don’t have much time, make your patches large and trim your quilt with a patterned fabric to finish the look.

If you are thinking of hand making your Christmas gifts, now is the time to start planning. Knitted scarves, hats and gloves add a personal touch to everyone’s stockings and mini fruit cakes are a fantastic treat for neighbours and work colleagues.

Painted Pumpkins

Image Source: Denise Krebs

Halloween
Halloween is a holiday for crafting! From the kids’ costumes to seasonal treats, you could spend weeks indulging your creative side if you wanted to. Let the kid’s loose with their new-found paper doll making skills and ask them to create a spooky garland for the fireplace. Cats heads, witch’s hats and pumpkins are all excellent options. Of course, there is the traditional pumpkin lantern to carve. If you want to impress the neighbors, or try something a little bit different, print a template off and craft a masterpiece.

Winter
This season is made for easy craft ideas. With the kids eager to stay indoors, convincing them to help out is no issue at all. If you fancy spending the day crafting, a few different colored felts and some glue are a fantastic way to make seasonal pictures of robins and penguins. If the kids have got a bit more energy to wear off, it might be time to think about indoor games. Blow skiing is really easy to make and fun to play. Best of all? Everyone gets to pick their own colors.

Christmas CraftsImage Source: Jane Levicki

Christmas
Most winter activities are Christmas orientated. This one little holiday sure does dominate the entire season. Luckily, there’s loads of projects you can do for this one. Making gingerbread cookies to decorate the tree is always great fun for the little ones. If you have a young teenager in the house, why not set them the challenge of making a gingerbread house? You can buy ready-made kits now, so they get to do all the fun decorating without any of the awkward planning and baking. If your family aren’t gingerbread lovers, sugar cookies are just as good for decorating the tree. They’re also a little bit paler so you can decorate them with pastel icings for a more delicate look.

Candy cane mice are another easy option for making Christmas decorations, though they look really impressive on the tree (these are my favorites!). Cut out all the mice pieces and let the kids assemble them. Glitter, googly eyes and some funny colored ears mean they can make each one unique and keeps them occupied. A candy cane tail completes the look – and means you can hang them from the tree or a garland easily.

Of course, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without paper chains. Cut up strips of wrapping paper for the kids so they can make festive garlands, perfect for decorating their bedrooms. This is a great option for Christmas eve when they need to take their minds off the excitement. Another option is to let them decorate the name labels for the Christmas table. Glitter pens, sticky stars and colored paper guarantee at least an hours break from the exhausting wait for St. Nick.

Join Us for Rugby and Reme’s Holiday Twitter Party! #ShareRugbyReme

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Join Us for Rugby and Reme’s Holiday Twitter Party! #ShareRugbyReme

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Rugby and Reme are excited about the holidays! These adorable Bernese Mountain dogs are getting in the spirit, so they’re throwing a party—and you’re invited.  We’ll introduce new friends to the RugbyAndReme.com website that features the animated versions of the cutest Berners we know and all their canine friends. You’re invited as we talk about giving and sharing, because giving of ourselves is the greatest thing we can do for others, especially in the “Season of Love.”

Rugby and Reme are fun, adventurous, inquisitive pups with their own apps, fun coloring pages, great merchandise, learning programs, and free online games and story books. They even have two films just out of pre-production! Fans of animation will enjoy the imaginative and adventurous stories created out of love for two real Bernese Mountain dogs.

 

Here are the details:

Date:  Wednesday, December 10

Time: 9 p.m. (EST); 8 p.m. (CST); 7 p.m. (PST)

Follow Along and Tweet with the Hashtag: #ShareRugbyReme

Panelists:
@MommyHasALife —Hostess
@SeaWorldMommy — Hostess
@RugbyAndReme — Sponsor

Bring on the Prizes!
Five lucky winners will get Rugby and Reme merchandise prize packs, and the grand prize winner will get a prize pack, plus a $100 Visa gift card! (See prize descriptions below.)

1)      Book Prize Pack — “The Ancient Adventure Begins” aka The Adventures of Rugby and Reme Book 1; 1 set Meet The Characters Playing Cards; 1 10” fabric Frisbee.

2)      Movie Book Prize Pack — Rugby and Reme Movie Book DVD Books 1 & 2; 1 set Meet The Characters Playing Cards; 1 10” fabric Frisbee; Children’s Logo Baseball Cap.

3)       Fun Prize Pack —“The Ancient Adventure Begins” aka The Adventures of Rugby and Reme Book 1; 1 set Meet The Characters Playing Cards; 1 10” fabric Frisbee; Children’s Logo Baseball Cap.

4)      New Friends Prize Pack — Small Rugby Plush Toy; Small Reme Plush Toy; Children’s Logo Baseball Cap; 1 set Meet The Characters Playing Cards;  1 10” fabric Frisbee.

5)      Facebook Prize Pack —Small Rugby Plush Toy; Small Reme Plush Toy; “The Ancient Adventure Begins” aka The Adventures of Rugby and Reme Book 1; 1 set Meet The Characters Playing Cards; 1 10” fabric Frisbee.

6)      Grand Prize Pack — $100 Visa Gift Card; Small Rugby Plush Toy; Small Reme Plush Toy;  “The Ancient Adventure Begins” aka The Adventures of Rugby and Reme Book 1; Rugby and Reme Movie Book DVD Books 1 & 2; 1 set Meet The Characters Playing Cards; 1 10” fabric Frisbee; Children’s Logo Baseball Cap.

How to Enter
1. Share about this party on a social media platform of your choice (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).

Sample Tweet: Mark your calendar as we #ShareRugbyReme  at a Twitter Party w/ @RugbyandReme on 12/10 at 6 pm PST/9pm EST.

Sample Facebook Update: Join the conversation on holidays, sharing and giving at a Twitter Party on 9/25 at 6 pm PST/9pm EST with Rugby and Reme.

  1. Follow @MommyHasALife, @SeaWorldMommy and, of course, @RugbyAndReme
  2. Tweet during the party (Wednesday, December 10, 2014 at 7 pm PST; 8 pm CST; 9 pm EST). Every tweet is an entry to win! Don’t forget to use the hashtag in each post so it’s counted, and remember to add the Q# so we know which question you’re answering.
  3. To RSVP, leave a comment below that includes the Twitter handle you’re using at the party.

Rules:
The Rugby And Reme Twitter Party Contest  on 12/10/2014 (contest) is open to US residents age 18 years or older. To be eligible for a prize, entrants must follow each item in the above section “How to Enter.” Tweets eligible for prizes must be posted during the 1-hour Twitter Party time-frame. Winners will be chosen at random (using Random.org) from all participants’ Tweets, once eligibility is verified (Hosts and sponsor followed, hashtag and Q info used). Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received.

This contest is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by any Third Party Service including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or any other third-party service. Entrants who choose to make posts on Facebook to share about the contest,acknowledge that the Contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook and that any questions, comments or complaints regarding the Contest should be directed to the Contest Sponsors and not to Facebook.

Celebrity Kids and GenerationOn Team up to give back to the Community this Holiday Season

Last week generationOn and Disney Friends for Change along with hundreds LA families made some Christmas magic for children in the community on Family Volunteer Day (November 22nd).  Volunteers spent the day at Downtown Disney in Anaheim, CA doing various volunteer activities like wrapping gifts and writing out cards for less fortunate children.

Family Volunteer 1

Some of the volunteers even included some celebrities like “Parenthood’s,” Xolo Mariduena, TV actor Max Page (The Bridge, CBS’s Extant and The Young and The Restless) and Josh Rush (Clarence and Mr. Peabody & Sherman).

Family Volunteer

 

This volunteer effort was a part of generationON’s Family Volunteer Day.  generationON encourages families to come together to do good for their community.  “Coming together and volunteering as a family shows kids first-hand how even one act of caring can make a real difference in someone else’s life,” said Mike Strautmanis, vice president of Strategic Programs, Corporate Citizenship at Disney. “Disney is proud to continue our sponsorship of Family Volunteer Day to inspire kids and families to develop a lifelong love of service and share in our commitment to creating a brighter tomorrow.”

Families are encouraged to share their story at www.generationon.org/fvd for a chance to win one of twenty “family night out” prize packages, and ten families with amazing service impact stories will be selected for inclusion in a fall issue of FamilyFun Magazine.  Volunteer activities can range from any number of things like a park clean up, donating gifts, making cards for kids that are in the hospital, or any activity that is helping their community.

Family Volunteer 2

Now is the time to Upgrade your Camera or Camcorder for the Holidays at @BestBuy

Best Buy Camera

The Holidays are RIGHT around the corner and now is the perfect time to upgrade your camera or camcorder so you can preserve your high-steaks memories forever.  If you have a camera or camcorder with Wi-Fi you can upload and share your memories with ease.  Check out these three cameras available at Best Buy, all have the new built in Wi-Fi technology.

Nikon D5300 DSLR w/18-55mm VR Lens

Nikon

  • A DSLR with built-in Wi-Fi so you can capture high quality photos and share them instantly.
  • This Nikon D5300 DSLR camera comes with an AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II lens that enables you to capture sharp photos and video footage. Optical image stabilization helps prevent blurring to ensure image clarity
    Also available in red or grey

Sony Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera

Samsung Camera

  • A compact system camera with the World’s Fastest Autofocus
  • This Sony Alpha A6000 features a 24.3-megapixel, Exmor APS-C CMOS sensor that makes it easy to shoot scenes in stunning clarity. Built-in Wi-Fi lets you share stored content across devices.
    Also available in White or silver

Samsung Galaxy Camera 2

Sony Camera

  •  A digital camera that allows you to shoot, share, and use Android Apps
  • This Samsung Galaxy 2 digital camera’s 16.3-megapixel, 1/2.3″ BSI CMOS sensor allows you to capture sharp images and high-definition video footage. The 4.8″ touch screen simplifies operation, and built-in Wi-Fi makes sharing stored files easy.

Visit the Best Buy Holiday Gift Center to see more great cameras, whether you’re giving as a gift or upgrading for yourself.

FTC Disclosure: The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free

How To Give The Best Kids’ Party Ever

Your darling little one has been pestering you for weeks to have a big Christmas party with all his friends invited. Where has it come from? Nobody knows, but you know if you don’t at least try to hold a good one, you will never hear the end of it! Having a festive party for kids needn’t be as hard as you think it is. Our childminders are all at it this year, having the kids make little hats and help with the nibbles. Getting the kids involved in the party planning can be a huge part of the process.

When your children are excited about the party, make sure they are helping you with all the work too. Simple tasks like clearing away all their toys to make room, can be enormously helpful to you on the day. Your little one could help cut out the shapes for the rest of the kids to stick on to their party hats later on. He could even dress the table ready for the food to be laid out too.

 

Kids Birthday Party
Image source Flickr.com

If you have jelly, stirring the mix is a task even the tiniest tots love to do. Home baked cookies can be mixed up, baked and decorated by your children to be added to the party spread. Balloons are a huge part of any kids’ party. If you are blowing them all up yourselves, make sure they are kept out of reach of under threes, who may put them in their mouths and choke. You could use a balloon company like www.balloonsgalore.co.uk to supply you with as many as you require.

Party games are central to any kids’ party too. Remember your party only needs to be an hour or so long, so pick three or four games that most kids will know. Favorite games include dancing to Christmas music for musical statues and pass the Christmas sack, where everyone gets a chance to take one small present. This is much like pass the parcel.

Food can be quick and simple party food, much like a birthday party, but instead of birthday cake, have some Christmas cake or Yule Log cake on hand. Your home baked festive biscuits will go down a treat too. Pizza fingers can be decorated with toppings to look like Christmas crackers. Drinks can be served in festive cups that can be found in places like your local supermarket at this time of year.

Of course, once the party is over, your little one may be too tired to help with the clean-up! Try to encourage him to get involved, as it is a great life lesson for your child to learn that great things require great work. Hopefully, things will run smoothly, and your kids will be happy with the outcome of their party. Having your children getting involved with all aspects of the party will also help them feel they have contributed greatly to the household. It will give them a sense of responsibility and make them feel quite grown up.