12 New Year Traditions – for the whole Family

Second to Christmas, New Year’s is the most busiest time of year. With all the after Christmas rush, vacation traveling, and shopping, on top of getting ready for the New Year and the party to come!

There are many ways people around the world celebrate NYE. -many of which include many non-kid-friendly activities. But, who says the kid’s shouldn’t be included in the festivities? Here are the 12 BEST Kid-Friendly NYE Traditions to ring in the New Year with the whole family!

  • Ball Drop – The NYE Classic Ball Drop has been happening since 1907. The NYE Ball – also known as the Time’s Square Ball may be located in New York, but the Ball Drop and celebration is broadcast live on FOX. The show begins at 6PM with live performances. If you’re looking for something that accommodates an early bedtime and a little more kid-friendly, YouTube has many countdown shows to go along with. Best part is.. you (or they) don’t have to wait until midnight!
  • Board Games – Board games are back in and kids love them! – Don’t pull out the Monopoly just yet. There’s plenty of kid approved games that YOU will love too. Try new games like “Throw Throw Burrito” or “Don’t Make Me Laugh”. Matching games and puzzles are a sure win for the younger ones.
  • Dance Party – Who doesn’t love to dance? Create a playlist, stream YouTube or Spotify, or just throw in a your favorite CD. However you jam, make it fun. Have a dance competition to see who can last the longest. Be sure to throw in the Electric Slide and Macarena!
  • Make Goals for the Year – What better way to get a head start on the New Year than to create goals? What are some things you wish you would have done this year but didn’t? (Doesn’t necessarily have to be work or school related) Go to the state fair? Go visit Uncle James out of state? Whatever it is, get the whole family involved and let each person come up with something.
  • Photo Album – Gather up all your photos from the past year and turn them into an album or scrapbook. Make it fun and add stickers, and phrases! Don’t worry, if most of your photos are on your computer or phone, Walgreen’s makes it easy to turn them into prints! Simply download the app, select photos and print! Most locations even offer prints within 1 hour!
  • Bake Something New – Cake Pops, Oreo Balls, Candy Bar Pie. There are so many one-of-a-kind desserts and dishes you can create by just “throwing” things together. Make memories in the kitchen and teach your kids some cooking skills while you’re at it. Try a new concoction – it may or may not taste great, but hey, at least you had fun making it!
  • Brighten Someone’s Day – Some where out there, someone got stuck working New Year’s Eve. Put together a small gift (candle, card, lotion), or re-gift something you may not use. Visit a local restaurant or grocery store that you know is open and give a small gift to an employee. It’s a small gesture that is sure to put a smile on someone’s face!
  • Take the Christmas Tree Down – There’s no law that states the tree has to come down immediately after Christmas. Taking down the Christmas Tree can become a family event just as putting it up was. Have each person take their ornaments off and wrap them neatly. Enjoy some hot cocoa and Christmas music while you’re at it. After all, you’ve got a whole night ahead of you!
  • NYE Movies – Some of my greatest memories on NYE as a child were watching Zenon and the all Zequals until what felt like mid morning. (It was probably only 10PM, but still) Disney movies bring such a good vibe to the setting and if you haven’t gotten Disney+ already.. Now’s the time! Plans start at just $6.99/mo. There are SO many (nostalgic) movies and shows available! Trust me, you’ll ALL love it!
  • Sleepover – What better way to celebrate the new year than with the ones you love? Invite close friends or family to spend the night. Let them join in on all the festivities with you.
  • Plan out the Year – Well..not the ENTIRE year! Pick up a calendar for the next year and sit down and write each birthday, anniversary or important date you’d like to remember. Even add events like the county fair or concerts that you’d like to attend. This will not only save you time planning for things, but it will also prepare you if you need to save up money for gifts or tickets!
  • Say Goodbye to Old Items – New year celebration is about closing a chapter in our book and opening another. Some of us make resolutions to say goodbye to old habits, so why not do the same with items? Make it a resolution to de-clutter this NYE by gathering up items that don’t bring you joy. This will bring in more room for happiness in the year to come.

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Top 10 Gifts that Keep Giving in 2020

Top Gifts

It’s that time of year again. The time where we spend almost 2 months (sometimes more) shopping for that perfect gift for the ones we love, just to find out months later, it wasn’t really that perfect. I myself am guilty of receiving gifts that I have no intention of ever using. It’s common, some things just don’t fit in our lives or lifestyle. This year, I’ve opted into not gifting common “junk” items, but gifting actually useful items that will continue to give by getting daily use or creating a life-long memory.

Remember, there’s no law stating that you have to gift material items. Yes, the (younger) kids might usually not see the actual meaning in this. But, you have to remember that “It’s the thought that counts, AND the memory that lasts”.

On the other hand, I have been gifted some amazing gifts in the past few years that I actually still continue to use that I’ll be adding to the list! They are for sure a win!

Whether you’re shopping for a relative, friend, or even coworker, these gifts are sure to continue to impress! Let’s Begin.

#1 – Local Amusement Season Pass –

Whether you live in a big city or a small town, there’s usually always some kind of amusement facility – and they more than likely offer season passes! Season passes are perfect because they’ll get unlimited visits (and fun) for an entire year! Between amusement parks, zoos skating rinks, recreation centers, trampoline parks, or even museums, there’s lots to choose from! Many places even offer discounts on season passes this time of year because of the “slower” season. Depending on which you choose, the prices will definitely vary. Amusement Parks like Six Flags or Silver Dollar City may range from $75 – $250 for the entire year, while museums or zoos can range from $20-$150.

Water Park season passes make great gifts, too!

 

#2 – Activity/Lessons at the Rec Center –

Check out your local Gym, Recreation or Sports center. Many offer different variations of Yoga, Dance, Art class, or even Horseback Riding lessons. Whatever you may choose, your gift receiver will definitely appreciate the though and the time out to socialize!

#3 – Small Getaway or a Staycation –

Who says vacations have to be expensive? Plan a small weekend getaway in a nearby city or a simple weekend at home with all the extras – dinner, movie, drinks, games, self care kit, etc. – so they won’t even have to leave the house.. staycation at it’s best! Check out Groupon for some great deals on attractions, restaurants, and even hotels in cities near you!

#4 – Landmark at a Museum or Local Treasure –

Do you ever walk down a sidewalk downtown and notice an entire pathway of bricks with names on them? It’s not just for famous people! Visit a local library, zoo, or museum to see if they have any spots open for a name. Usually, depending on the area, 1 brick could cost around $40-$50, some even just take donations! This is a gift that lasts a lifetime. Just think, every time they visit the zoo, they will stop at that spot, find their name, and feel so special!

#5 – Concert or Event Tickets –

Who doesn’t love going to live events? With all the new events like Monster Trucks, Sesame Street Live, WWE, Renaissance Fairs, even concerts involving your favorite band or artist! You’ll be able to find tickets for all ages and they’ll be sure to love the experience and fun! Again.. make sure you check out Groupon first! Sometimes they have awesome deals on tickets!

#6 – Amazon Alexa Show –

I received a my first Alexa as a gift 2 years ago (which is still in GREAT standing btw) and I soon found out it was a gift I never knew I needed. Not only does Alexa answer your simple everyday questions like “what time is it?” or “what’s the weather today?”, BUT you can also play your favorite music, games, go shopping, call your friends and family, hear amazing news and facts, listen to her corny jokes, and so much more! She even reads bedtime stories! Another great reason to gift an Alexa is for home security. If you’re looking at the Alexa shows, they have a built in camera which only you (or others only IF you choose) can drop in on when necessary. You can even sync your Alexa with some of your favorite home security devices, or Alexa plug in outlets – which can turn lights on and off when you ask Alexa. There are endless possibilities with an Alexa device and it’s sure to continue to give throughout the years!

#7 – Robot Vacuum –

The average family spends over 50 hours a year vacuuming. That’s more than an entire 2 DAYS! Imagine, not having to plan when to vacuum or who’s chore it is this week. Robot vacuums are perfect for this. Simply set the timer and settings, and it does all the work for you. Some even have mopping capability! These are perfect gifts for anybody, imagine how much time you’ll save them in the future! Many of them last for years – we’ve had ours for going on 6 years. My favorite is this EcoVacs DeepBot which has max power suction and up to 110 minute run time!

#8 – Ancestry DNA Test –

If you haven’t yet heard of the Ancestry DNA test, you’re missing out! It’s so easy, they send you a DNA kit with all the info and instructions – which can be easily wrapped and gifted – the recipient mails the saliva samples with the prepaid shipping label, and within weeks they’ll receive the results. These make great gifts for anyone wanting to learn more about their background. Not only would they learn their origins and ethnicity, but Ancestry DNA matches DNA with others – possibly finding long lost relatives. They’ll also receive historical and geographical insights on past relatives! Sign up and save 15% on your DNA kit here!

#9 – Photo Album –

Taken a family trip or friends-cation in the past year? Gather all your photos up and display them in a well-put together photo album! Whether it’s a simple flip book with replaceable photos or a pre-made album that you made digitally, Walgreen’s has you covered. You can print photos for a great price, or you can usually find a great price on photo albums this time of year. You can add text, choose your pictures and sizes, and pick your colors and designs while making these memorable gifts!

#10 Cast Iron Skillet Set –

Seem a bit cliche to get your aunt another kitchen accessory? Trust me, this is not the case. People have been using cast iron for decades, and when I say decades I mean they LAST for decades! There are so many benefits to using cast iron skillets aside from the fact that they are so durable and easy to clean! It is best to get something pre-seasoned and around 8″ to 10″ because they can be used to cook practically anything! This 2-Piece Skillet Set is perfect because it comes with heat resistant holders for each skillet! And yes, they are induction safe also!

What are your favorite non-traditional gifts to give? Comment below and let us know!

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8 *Must-Do* Thanksgiving Traditions

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Ahhh, the Holidays! Many of us have a love hate relationship with the majority of the holidays as they tend to be frantic with all the shopping, traveling, cooking, and not to mention cleaning up afterwards. Sometimes we get so stuck in the rush and forget what the holidays are all about – bringing family together. What better way to celebrate togetherness than to create a tradition?

Thanksgiving at my house mostly starts off as a calm day . I begin preparing food and cooking in the morning, and then later we travel to a relative’s house for an early dinner with the family. Throughout the day, we try to incorporate as much family time as we can. Whether you’re the one hosting or attending the Thanksgiving meal, these traditions are sure to bring out the interaction and get the thankful vibes going!

Simple Breakfast – Sure, you have the day off and it’s the one time you’ll actually have a chance to cook for breakfast. But remember, you’ll already have a ton of dishes from the cooking today and you don’t want to eat too heavy so you can save room for the feast later! Instead, opt in for something quick that requires minimal dishes. Even a simple box of Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls can go a long way. Have the family join in and help add the icing!

Macy’s Day Parade – Now it’s time to grab your bites and head to the family room for some good old TV! The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been broadcast live since 1948! It is known as one of the world’s largest parades and takes place in New York City. This parade showcases some of the most creative and gigantic floats, plus offers some dance and musical performances. It’s sure to entertain even the little ones! Parade starts at 9AM EST on NBC!

Cooking/Baking Together – Whether you’re bringing one dish or providing the entire feast, let the kids join in on the culinary fun! This is not only great for your children to build skills in the kitchen, but also gives them an opportunity to take part in something big. Just think, when you bring that Green Bean Casserole to Uncle George’s house, your child can say “I helped make that!”. BONUS – Let everyone take part in the clean up after the cooking also! This is a great way to remind them that everyone in the house eats, so everyone should take a part in every aspect of the help.

Make it Outdoors – By the time Thanksgiving hits, it’s pretty cool outside, but not yet freezing. If it’s a sunny day, grab a jacket and step outside! Drag a relative with you and go for a walk around the block, watch the turkeys fly, and enjoy the soundless sky. You’ll get some fresh air and a little peace away from all the craziness going on indoors.

Do a Good Deed – Usually most public businesses are closed on this Holiday, but there are a few places crunching to stay open – which means employees have to sacrifice their time too. Bring the whole family along to take the time to visit one of these places and compliment the worker(s) on how awesome they are for working this day! Maybe even throw a small gift basket together to brighten their day. Whatever your good deed may be, it’s the sense of really giving back.

Game Night – Let’s face it, most of the night will be crowded around a table anyways, so why not throw in a few games? Card games like Uno, War, and Goldfish are a sure win for almost every age!

The Thankful Game – This is such a wonderful reminder of what Thanksgiving is really about. Have everyone sit in a circle and give each person a piece of paper and pen. Put a bowl in the middle of the circle. Each person gets to write about 3 things they are most thankful for this year and put the paper in the jar. When everyone is done adding things to the jar, go around the room and each person picks a paper out of the bowl and reads one of the lists. It’s a great way to learn about what is really important to each one of us and to take a step back and enjoy the moment.

Hot Cocoa & Thanksgiving Movie – What better way to wind down from all the fun than to sit back and enjoy a nice warm cup of hot chocolate? Yes, kids can be messy, especially around carpet, which is why I like these reusable Spill Proof Coffee Cups for nights like these! There are so many options on the playlist for the perfect Thanksgiving movies, but you could start with the classics like A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, Freebirds, or even go with a National Lampoon’s to really get in the holiday spirit!

These are just a handful of traditions that I’ve tried that are great to get the Thanksgiving spirit started. What other traditions are you faithful to on this Holiday?

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