MommyMandy l California Mom Blog

Nutcracker Tea Party Birthday

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We had an absolute blast planning Sarah’s 11th Birthday! A Nutcracker Tea Party

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Holiday Pine Cones with Mod Podge & Glitter

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I have shared before a cute fun way the kids can help with Holiday Crafts with the adorable Holiday Painted Pine Cones. They are a lot of fun and super easy to make!

The ones below I let the kids use various colors of paint and then sprinkled the same color glitter on the wet paint. Easy and fun!

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Buf for the Gold Pine Cones (and yes the kids can help with them too) I spray painted the pine cones with gold spray paint and then used Mod Podge on some of the bigger pine cone areas and sprinkled Gold Glitter on them.

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The finished pine cones came out beautiful!

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You can find the gold glitter, mod podge, and  color paint at Oriental Trading for an awesome price!

FREE SHIPPING on ANY order PLUS $10 eGIFT CARD on orders $49 or more* Enter promo code PS16527 during checkout.

*A product was provided.

Winter Fest 2016 for Southern California Dec 16th – Jan 1st #WinterFestOC

*A product was provided. We are invited to attend the opening night of Winter fest. All opinions are my own.

If It Ain’t Broke – It Still Might Need Replacing! Essentials All Parents Need To Know

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

We all know that old saying, and it’s a decent one to live by most of the time. If your car is running fine, gets good mileage and keeps you safe, why change it? Especially when new models come to market and then develop faults costing thousands of dollars in repair. If your dryer is working fine, why buy a new one that could end up with a safety recall notice within weeks or months?

The one thing that needs to be remembered about that saying is that it doesn’t apply to everything. Although use-by dates on food are often just a guideline – and an overcautious one at that – sometimes things do have a lifespan. Safety is a hugely important consideration in life in general. When you’re a mom, this is even more true. Risks you’d be happy to take with yourself are less acceptable for your little ones.

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Every once in awhile, you will need to replace things that you bought for your baby. Not just when they outgrow them, either. Sometimes, items which were made for a purpose become obsolete, or just not safe, and it is something that you can’t be cavalier about. The following are examples of things that you should replace on a time limit. Don’t give them a chance to break; sometimes that can’t be fixed.

Your Baby Mattress: Avoid The Hidden Dangers

Hand-me-downs are part of our culture. Most of us when we were younger got used to wearing clothes our elder siblings had grown out of. The clothes were fine – they’d been made to last, they were just too small for the original owner. And we can be persuaded to use other items we bought for a first child, when another comes along. Sometimes this is fine, but reality needs to play into your thinking.

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A bed you bought for your first child a few years ago may be structurally fine. The mattress may seem to be still as firm and intact as the day it was bought. But beware – most older mattresses were treated with chemicals to make them fire retardant. Although this worked, it isn’t great news for your baby. Those chemicals can be dangerous, when breathed.

Although that might be a minor risk – opinions differ – it becomes more of a risk the more that mattress is used. Statistics on crib death show that it is more likely to affect each child sequentially. A second child is more likely to suffer it than a first, a third more likely than a second and so on. Medical consensus is not there yet, but it is thought this is to do with how the mattress degrades and the transfer of body fluids. So replace the mattress, at least, for each new baby.

Your Baby Car Seat: Once Every Five Years (At Least)

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Some parents say that the five year limit on car seats is unnecessarily cautious. It’s up to those parents what they want to do, but this is an issue in which you should err on the side of caution. Moving parts and the materials used to make car seats don’t improve with age. Though yours may be working fine right now, it’s advisable to make sure that it is replaced before it shows any flaws.

Let’s put it this way, while trying to avoid being emotive. A baby car seat is something you don’t want to fail while a car is moving. New models hit the market regularly, and are put through their paces by testers and consumers. Just a glance at BabySeats Reviews Twitter will help you separate the good from the bad – and there are plenty of other sources out there too.

Think about it for a moment – with every new model that is made, testing gets more rigorous and more safety features are added. While some things can be handed down from child to child, you can never have too much safety.

Your Baby’s Drinking Cup: Replace It Regularly

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Kids form an attachment to items early on – you know all about the popularity of safety blankets, I presume? This is also why a lot of babies are so upset if you take away their pacifier. And the same can be true of their drinking cup. However, as much as they may grizzle if you take away a much-loved sippy cup, you need to be ready for it. In fact, once a month is considered to be the optimum time.

Part of the reason for this is that babies and toddlers can be quite rough with their possessions. They haven’t quite mastered motor skills and will pick things up and put them down roughly.

But What If I Can’t Afford This?

You might have read the above and acknowledged the points. However, it’s worth acknowledging that these things aren’t going to come for free. Parenting is an inherently expensive experience.

So how can you walk the line: ensure your child is safe, but not end up going deep into debt? The same techniques to any money saving apply. Look for coupons, wait for sales, compare prices wherever possible. You can even complete surveys online in exchange for gift cards, which you can use towards the purchase price. If you find a product at a good price, buy as many of them as possible. They only degrade with use, so storing sippy cups – for example – in a cool, dry area will keep them safe until needed.

The only option that you don’t have is to buy things secondhand. That, of course, is exchanging one problem for another. If necessary, tell friends and family you need supplies of these items. They might be able to club together or buy vouchers towards your next purchase. All you can do is do what you can and change these things as often as necessary, depending on your budget. Not being able to do so right on the dot of the perfect point doesn’t make you a bad parent, so don’t stress it too much.

Holiday Entertainment from American Girl

American Girl has some family-friendly programming available this holiday season.

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An American Girl Story—Maryellen 1955: Extraordinary Christmas

Available exclusively on Amazon Prime Video starting November 25

An American Girl Story—Maryellen 1955: Extraordinary Christmas  is based on American Girl’s previously launched BeForever character Maryellen Larkin. The special is set during Christmas in 1955 in Daytona Beach, Florida, where middle child Maryellen longs to stand out amidst the hustle and bustle of her big, busy family. A boisterous and artistic girl, Maryellen’s adventurous spirit is sometimes at odds with the era she’s living in: when conformity was valued above individuality. When Benji, a family friend afflicted with polio comes to stay with them and visit Daytona Beach’s hospital for care, Maryellen is inspired to help the polio patients have the best Christmas ever. With guidance and advice from Maryellen’s wise and sympathetic mother, Maryellen learns the key to helping others is through listening.

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An American Girl: Lea to the Rescue

Airing November 23 on Disney Channel

For a fun holiday night at home, girls can watch An American Girl: Lea to the Rescue , American Girl’s first-ever action-adventure film set to air November 23 on Disney Channel.  In the thrilling sequel to the original book series, Lea must face her fears as she travels deep into the Brazilian rainforest to solve the mystery of her missing brother.  In her quest to find him, she helps save endangered animals and must outwit ruthless animal poachers. 

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An American Girl Story—Melody 1963: Love Has to Win

Now available exclusively on Amazon Prime Video 

Love has to Win centers around 1 0-year-old Melody, who is coming of age in Detroit in 1963. In the film, Melody’s eyes are opened to the racial inequality surrounding her, including the 1963 Birmingham Church Bombing. As a result, her belief in the “indivisible” promise of our country’s Pledge of Allegiance comes into question as she challenges her teacher on the validity of this given the horrific tragedy. After an emotional journey of self-reflection, her mother gives her the courage she needs by instilling in her that love brings out the best in everyone; reminding Melody that it’s important to “stand up for what’s right, even when it’s hard or scary.”

Holidays at the Disneyland Resort

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It’s the season for celebrations as Holidays at the Disneyland Resort has started.  This year, guests will have even more to celebrate as they discover the new Festival of Holidays, with heartwarming holiday festivities inspired by cultural traditions from around the world. Also new for the season is the holiday-themed “World of Color—Season of Light,” a nighttime water spectacular that will inspire guests with cherished holiday music and treasured Disney animation.

At Disney California Adventure Park, guests will discover something fun around every corner at  Festival of Holidays. The Festive Foods Marketplace features 14 kiosks with a diverse array of food and beverages, and the daily lineup of entertainment includes nearly 50 performances of nine unique shows. Look for special Disney characters, street parties, cavalcades, musical ensembles and dance performances. The celebrations include Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas/Navidad and Three Kings Day. Guests will enjoy performances of traditional Indian dance that builds to a Bollywood party, a Klezmer band with a new global sound, the Mariachi Divas, an a cappella vocal group that puts an R&B spin on holiday songs – and more!

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For many guests, Holidays at the Disneyland Resort has become an annual tradition and they  visit the parks for festive favorites, including Disney-themed treats, snowfall on Main Street U.S.A., glistening décor and holiday entertainment.

The First Beauty And The Beast Trailer Is Out And It’s Wonderful!

Watch the brand new trailer for Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson & Dan Stevens 🌹 #BeOurGuest 3.17.17

pediped® Reveals Limited Edition Web-Exclusive Styles

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Award-winning children’s footwear brand pediped® is launching their Limited Edition styles today at 11am (PST).

You can purchase these limited styles on their website at www.pediped.com/limitededition.aspx

The Charlie Herringbone and Faith Snake limited edition Originals® baby shoes have a small run of 72 pairs each. Each pair in this exclusive series will come with an individually signed and hand numbered card.

Dressed in a brown and tan herringbone pattern with chocolate leather accents, Charlie is sure to bring a sophisticated and classic style to any baby’s wardrobe. Wrapped in sparkly and colorful faux snakeskin with a large black velvet bow accent, Faith exudes major chic attitude and is here to grab all the attention.

Don’t miss the opportunity to own one of these Limited Edition styles! The 144 pairs are expected to sell-out quickly so keep an eye on the pediped® Limited Edition webpage to make sure you grab your pair.

Save at Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament

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Travel through the mists of time to a forgotten age and a tale of devotion, courage and love—at Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament. Imagine the pageantry and excitement that would have been yours as a guest of the king ten centuries ago. That’s exactly what you will experience at North America’s most popular dinner attraction.

See the  electrifying show featuring heroic knights on spirited horses displaying the astounding athletic feats and thrilling swordplay that have become hallmarks of this unique entertainment experience. Enjoy a “hands-on” feast as the dynamic performance unfolds before you. A sweeping musical score and brilliant lights provide a fabulous backdrop for this spellbinding experience that blurs the boundary between fairy tale and spectacle!

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My family and I have never been to Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament and we are super excited to be going! We drive by it in Buena Park all the time and the kids are so excited!

My Readers save at Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament.  CLICK HERE and use this exclusive promo code MT3629 through 2/17/17 and receive Adults for just $36.95 and children (12 and under) only $29.95.

*A product was provided through USFamilyGuide.com.

How to choose the best tuition service?

In today’s scenario of increasingly difficult exams, students find themselves inundated without a tuition center. Tuition has become a necessity nowadays, as self-study sometimes can be difficult for students. In order to aid our students into the right direction of learning, we must know how to select a good tuition service.

SOMETIMES, IT CAN BE A BUMMER

Finding a tuition centre can be really a painful task, in order of consideration of cost, teacher qualifications, experienced for how long. When you finally get your hands on a list of a few teachers, you can’t seem to decide whom to select or who would be the most beneficial to the student. This difficulty is what most parents face. It seems like there should be some sort of a checklist which we can tick away and which would help shortlist one or two tutors or a tuition center with good qualified and reputed professors who would be absolutely be the best option to go for.

WHAT MAKES A TUITION CENTRE EFFECTIVE?

  • Size of the class. The class size should be small, close and personal. The small size of the class will allow the tutor to understand his student’s strengths, weaknesses and method of approach. Small groups tend to give a one on one learning experience, where the tutor can impart creativity to the students and improvise concepts and cognition. Personal attention is advantageous for a Student’s intellectual development.
  • Testimonials. Nothing is more assuring than referrals from parents or students who already are benefitted from the center. Some centers do not have qualified teachers with proper data. It is wiser to do a first-hand research on the center you are going to enroll your child in, than wasting time and money by enrolling him to some center with no proper background or history.
  • Method of teaching. More than audio cognition, visual cognition is a better approach. Most of the centers employ visual and audio both to suit all kind of students, some who prefers to listen to a lecture and take his notes, and others who prefer to see it in action, using a photographic memory to understand and comprehend what follows what.
  • Parent-to-teacher discussion. A good tuition center will evaluate a student monthly and assess him on the basis of that. He would be able to understand where he’s lacking or where he may need extra practice. The assessment discussion is very necessary for a tutor to make it with the parents.
  • Child’s feedback. A tuition center may be great, but if it fails to meet your child’s requirement, then it’s pointless. Have a talk with the student after the tuition. A good tuition center will be well-versed to his students’ need.
  • Classroom management and disciplineis also an added point here.

This guide will help you choose a good tuition Singapore that would cater to your child’s academic requirements. Every student is different, and a well experience teacher knows if the student needs a strict method or a playful and friendly environment to learn in.

Starting Jan. 1, California Requires Rear-Facing Car Seats up to 2 Years Old

Here is a short podcast to help parents understand the changes that are coming and how they can best be in compliance. It’s hosted by Erin Royer-Asrilant, an LA-based parenting expert and founder of Your Village, a one-stop parenting resource:
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In this episode, Erin discusses:
  • Current car seat safety laws and changes that go into effect on Jan. 1, 2017
  • Where you can find information about your state’s laws
  • How to choose the proper seat for your child’s age, height, and weight
  • Car seat setup and places you can go to get help in proper installation
  • Common errors when strapping in kids and infants that can be dangerous/fatal
  • Tips on getting toddlers into their seats!

Thanksgiving Crafts for Preschoolers

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Shelby is absolutely having so much fun in preschool. She is learning to write her name, her ABCs and even simple math problems but I think her favorite thing to do is all the fun crafts!

With it being November and Thanksgiving around the corner I thought it would be fun to make Turkeys with Shelby’s class! They loved it!

We used  Jumbo Turkey Shapes and Bulk Feather Assortment, and added googly eyes! I received the items from Oriental Trading .

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The Jumbo Turkeys come in four different colors and a pack of 12. You can do all kinds of fun crafts with them. They will make adorable decorations on Thanksgiving.

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Oriental Trading  is our go -to online store to get all the crafting supplies we need at an inexpensive price.  So many awesome Thanksgiving craft ideas you can find too! Here are just a few more to choose from.

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Foam Smile Face Leaves Wreath Craft Kit

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Color Your Own Jointed Turkeys

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Peanuts® Color Your Own I Am Thankful For…Wheels

*A product was provided.

doTERRA’s 2016 Holiday Gifts

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The new Holiday Gift Giving items are available now from DoTERRA!

 

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In a season of giving, knowing that your generosity goes to those who need it the most heightens the experience. Every dollar used to purchase the Bulgarian Rose essential oil–infused hand lotion goes directly to the Doterra Healing Hands Foundation. Whether this lotion is a gift for others or a blessing for yourself, many will benefit as we beautify the world one lotion at a time. (100 ml)

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Created with versatility in mind, this case holds your most needed oils in a beautiful and fun printed storage case. Six 10 ml roll-ons tuck securely in the top bands of the lid with 16 oils in the base fitting 5, 15, and 10 ml bottles standing up. This makes for the perfect travel, storage, or gifting case of the oils you can’t be without.

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Escape the winter cold with the warm spice of Doterra Cinnamon Drops. Each drop is infused with our  Cinnamon essential oil and comes in a custom Doterra tin, each with 30 cinnamon drops.

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Spread happiness and joy this season with the gift of Doterra SPA Passion Lotion. This light, silky lotion leaves skin feeling soft and smooth while delivering the warm aromatic benefits of the exclusive Doterra Passion Oil Blend.

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Enjoy a rejuvenating bath with the Doterra SPA Blooming Bath Oil and Doterra Bath Pillow. Simply swirl a cap of bath oil into the tub and watch the oil disperse. Enjoy the aroma of Douglas Fir and Grapefruit while resting your head on the soft, beautiful bath pillow. Bath pillow case can be removed and laundered for many uses.

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Hearken back to a simpler time with the traditional holiday scents of Wild Orange, nutmeg, pine, Cassia, Cinnamon Bark, and vanilla. Fill your home with memories as you tantalize your senses with the inviting fragrances of the season, embracing all who gather with the warmth of the holidays.

Classic dolomite diffuser with oil drop cutout. Add a few drops of oil and hang in your home, car, or Holiday decor to diffuse your favorite scent. Wood grain imprint and gold elastic ribbon allow for a timeless diffusing ornament.

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The story of the Rwandan peace basket is one of triumph over tragedy. One hundred days in 1994 became known as the Rwandan genocide. Officially known as the genocide against the Tutsi, an estimated 70 percent of the Tutsi population in Rwanda was killed during a few short months. While the stories of loss and tragedy are innumerable, the real story is told through the people, the landscape, the children, and mostly, the future. Communities of people joining together in traditional basket weaving cultivated healing and harmony. Gifting the baskets to others continued the united pledge to establish peace.

Love and nurturing pulsed through the streets of Rwanda. As women gathered together building pieces of art, they left behind healing, hope, strength, and honor. In the same beautiful countryside that once rang the sound of destruction, the sound of laughter and love echoes off the beautiful, joy-filled faces of the Rwandan people choosing each day to build peace.

Interested in ordering any of these items you can contact me here.

5 Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget

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The older we get the more we seem to realize how important eating clean really is. Eating the right foods carries tons of benefits; nutrient rich foods can prevent illnesses, boost energy, keep you looking slim, reduce stress, help you sleep better at night, and even contribute to a clear complexion and healthy hair and nails. But eating healthy can also be extremely costly. If you’ve ever wandered into a grocery store and taken a look at organic foods, you’ve probably also taken note of their costly price tag. Fortunately, there are many tips to eating healthy on a tight budget. Here is our list of 5 ways to eat healthy on a budget!

  1. Skip Fast Food, Eat At Home

This seems like a simple enough tip, but the amount of money and pounds you’ll save skipping fast food meals, make it worth mentioning. While it may seem like the cheapest route to buy your lunch or dinner on the Value Menu, all those trips to your favorite fast food place add up quickly, often without you even realizing it. You’ll actually save more if you prepare your own meals at home. This is especially a saver if you’re able to make a large serving and ration it out for a few days.

  1. Plan Meals and Stick to Grocery Lists

Again a simple, yet really effective tip. Planning your meals in advance saves you from that last minute confusion of not knowing what to make for dinner and resorting to ordering that dreaded pizza. This tip also saves you at the grocery store. When you’ve got a list of things you need, you’re more likely to stick to that list rather than buying whatever catches your eye on the shelves. This way you’re only purchasing items you know you need and will use in the meals you’ve planned!

  1. Try Online Supermarkets

Websites like www.Ocado.com make shopping for groceries easier than ever. Ocado is an online supermarket that allows you to shop for whatever you may need, including frozen items, baked goods, fresh meat and poultry, and even organic foods. After filling up your cart, you can then choose a delivery time, select a payment method, and then just sit back and wait for your order to be delivered! What makes this a great money saving tip is being able to use coupons and promo codes on your order to save even more, all within the comfort of your own home.

  1. Keep an Eye Out for Sales

This is an important one. Make sure to check out your local grocery store’s ad’s every week and take note of upcoming sales. A lot of supermarkets have sales on their meats, which allows you to buy in bulk and then freeze the meats you don’t need to use immediately. In the end, you end up saving a ton of money on these sales.

  1. Couponing

We already talked about the genius of using online promo codes and discounts for online supermarkets, but what about in-store coupons? You don’t have to be an extreme couponer to save, but one of the easiest and smartest ways to save is simply to collect coupons for items you use and cash in those coupons at the checkout.

Whether you’re looking to buy groceries or find coupons on your favorite restaurant. A good resource is Mamma.com, a coupon related search engine that features all of your favorite grocery stores and restaurants!

There they are, the 5 ways to eat healthy on a budget. Remember, eating healthy doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. All it takes is some planning and wise spending and you can eat healthy, organic foods on a tight budget. Instead of eating out, try preparing your meals at home and save up the money you’d be spending on junk food instead.

 

Free Printable Holiday Planning Pages

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Stay Organized this Holiday Season with these great and FREE Printable. Keep track of who you have bought presents for, sent and wrapped. Keep track of who you have received Christmas cards from as well as who you have sent them to. Also there is a list of Christmas to-dos.

 

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My Christmas Wish List

This Christmas wish list is perfect for everyone! Print out how ever many you need from your kids, spouse, mom, dad, nieces nephews and anyone else you like to shop for. This list has a little bit of everything for the gift giver to get an idea on what to shop for. Clothing size, favorite movies and even items that the receiver may really need.

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Christmas Gift List

Keep track of who you are giving gifts to and what you are getting them. This list is also perfect for keeping track of the presents you have:
– Bought/ordered
– Received (by mail), and
– Wrapped and/or posted

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Christmas Card List

Keep all of your names and addresses in one place. The list helps keep track of who you have sent to and received from. Next year you will have an updated list of addresses. (mostly up to date)

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Christmas To Do List

A great way to keep track of everything you need to do over the Holidays. From putting up lights, grocery shopping to gift buying.

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Christmas Shopping List

Print one out for each shopping lists you need. Christmas parties, Christmas Eve, Christmas day etc

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Countdown to Christmas   25 Family Traditions

We have complied a list of fun things to do with your family to get ready for Christmas.

You will see a few games on the countdown! We found these games to be fun! Here is where you can find the printable for Christmas BINGO and Christmas Memory Game.

Christmas Minute to Win It Games from The Link Home, Happy Home Fairy, LifeWay, Your Homebase Mom.

We are also including a blank countdown in case you already have some family traditions this way you can create your very own Calendar!