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Making Santa as Real as Can Be - Magical Holidays for Kids

My son is almost five. What?! How did that happen so quickly? When this blog started he was tiny. We've grown together. Now that he's finally aware of Christmas and Santa and reindeer and so many things in this life, he's also asking questions. I feel like it's too early for the onslaught of "is this real?" "Is that real?" coming from his little mouth. I want to say --

"Enjoy it! No matter what, just sit back, enjoy it and be a kid!"

Precocious though he is, this year I'm trying a few antics and pulling out the stops to make the holiday season magical. Maybe it's not really pulling out all of the stops...maybe it's just trying. Either way, we're doing it up this year! To make matters a little more stressful and to make me a little more harried, we also have a one year old to celebrate during the holiday season. So without going out and buying an Elf for my already cluttered shelf, how will I pull this off?

Christmas is in my heart. Yes, I make sure to put the true meaning of Christmas into our lives during this time of year. But I love it all. The carols and the hymns. I love the lights. I even love the snow more than any Norse girl should be allowed. We cut a real tree. We watch Christmas movies and we have an advent calendar. We have 25 days of Christmas books. So what can top all of the already festive fun for our family?

I found out about Portable North Pole and I'm so stoked! Santa only needs a few "inputs" of information from you to make a video message that is tailor made for your child. I have the GoPro ready and I'm so excited to get our first video for my older son. I know this will keep him curious, ignite his little heart with glee and magic and all the sparkly, twinkling fun that comes with being an innocent during the holiday season.

I will of course update you all about how this venture goes for us as well. We'll be penning our letter to Santa tomorrow and mailing it in, so that when we get our video, the stage will have been set perfectly! Are you looking to bring some magic back to the holiday season? Do you have slightly older kids that need to be shocked back into that age of wonder and excitement? Portable North Pole could be just what you're looking for!

Save 20% USE PROMO CODE: BLG20PNP

Disclosure: I wrote this post in a partnership with US Family Guides and Portable North Pole.

Bluum -- This One is for the Mamas and the Babies!

You know from numerous posts that we LOVE subscription boxes in this house. We've tried roughly two dozen or so. It's always a crapshoot -- some rock, so do not. I'm REALLY excited to try Bluum though! I feel like with baby #2 we've spent much more time in the car than with our first kiddo. I am hoping this subscription will allow us to connect a bit more. Special mom and baby time!



Sign up for Bluum.com today and receive a monthly shipment of the best-reviewed mom & baby care products. Decide between a surprise box or choose your own products each month on bluum.com. Tracking your child's progress in the bluum app is fun and helps get the most relevant products.
Save 30% OFF your first month - Get started with bluum today!
http://usfamilycoupons.com/coupon.php?regionid=75&bid=12259&dealid=2104 


Disclosure: This post was made possible by a partnership with US Family Guides and Bluum. 

Lovely Candy Co. - Decadent Gifting

When it comes to the holidays nothing makes me cringe more than the "themed" candies -- you know nothing from your quality name brand companies, instead chocolate coins, Santa shapes, and other oddities. Sure, Hershey and Nestle make holiday candy, but the stuff that ends up under the tree and in stockings is always the "gimmicky" cute stuff. No more. I have started selecting only GOOD tasting candy instead of deciding based upon what the tin wrapper looks like. What did I find? The Lovely Candy Company!




The Lovely Candy Company makes premium, consciously crafted candies for consumers looking for indulgent treats which offer the best ingredients available. Lovely candies are all natural, certified gluten free, tested non-GMO, certified kosher and contain no high fructose corn syrup or artificial ingredients. After getting the opportunity to try MANY flavors and varieties, I've come to decide that though I love them all, my favorites are the Sea Salt Caramel and the Chocolate Fudgees! I literally ate both bags myself, selfishly. I gifted some of the licorice and the assorted fruit chews and both by father and my son's preschool teacher had nothing but drooly, appreciative grins and thank yous to report!

Perfect for teacher Christmas gifts, stockings, kids and adults, this is our new go-to! You can get your own bag and find all of the delicious flavors by going to the Lovely Candy Co. website.

I enjoyed the super-soft, incredibly fresh quality of the candies but also enjoyed the packaging. Normally, as a "greenie" I don't care for extra packaging, but the resealable bags are fantastic and the little wax paper wraps are not as bad as the crinkly plastic things like dinner mints come in. Since they are consciously crafted, many folks can enjoy a treat: they are gluten-free, kosher, non-GMO, and there aren't even any artificial ingredients! Yummo, right?! The bags are very LOVELY as well -- a pretty design that is elegant for gifting. Perfection in a confection!

Disclosure: I participated in a partnership between US Family Guides and Lovely Candy Co. to make this post possible.

Redan Publishing - Perfect Magazines for Little Kids!

While in the grocery store I glanced down and saw Scooby Doo magazine. I'd never seen it before and because my son adores Scooby, I noted it for later purchase when he wasn't along. Soon after, I found out it comes from Redan Publishing and they over MANY great kids subscriptions!


A Magazine For Every Child! Great Interactive Children's Magazines Each issue contains stories, a craft project, a collectible poster and a workbook full of fun educational activities that are designed to give your child a head start in developing their early learning skills with the help of their favorite characters. Your child will spend endless hours stimulating their imaginations and having fun not realizing they are learning! These interactive magazines make the perfect gift!

I also remember the days of my youth (far away though they are...) and the delight I felt when my magazines came! I still love getting mail -- no matter how far technology takes us -- and my son is now an excited mail recipient too! He enjoys letters from relatives and will now enjoy magazines that are perfect for his age, interests, and abilities! Redan Publishing is the perfect source for magazines the littles will love!

The cost involved is minimal -- if you order online you get a FREE bonus issue! One year of Scooby Doo delivered to our address, for example, costs less than $30. I spend more than that in beverages for myself in a week I'm sure! I am happy to skip the ALO or latte once in a while and pay the savings forward to my son in the form of a gift that gets his literacy skills going and that he truly enjoys. With many titles to choose from, there's sure to be one for each boy or girl in your life!




Disclosure: I wrote this post in a partnership with Redan Publishing and US Family Guides. 

Subscription Boxes We Love With Choices We Crave! [+ discount code] #ad

ClubsGalore Gift of the Month Clubs are the perfect way to celebrate any occasion -- from the holidays coming up to a special birthday to that gift for your hard-to-please friend or boss. The best part? They last for more than just one day--except for the Biscotti and maybe the Bacon! That's known to disappear fast no matter how much there is...



Whether it's a birthday, anniversary, thank you, retirement, or other special event, there are SO many choices there WILL be something that fits perfectly for your needs. In my case, I LOVE getting mail and I find these subscription boxes to be quite addicting (in a fantastic way!) I know I'm not the only one... Don't worry. Your secret is safe with me! And, hey! There are WAY worse vices to have!

Want to try it and SAVE?!

$10 OFF - Ten Dollars off any gift with code: Gift10 at ClubsGalore.com thanks to US Family Guide for the opportunity to give you all this special discount code to shop and save!




Disclosure: This post was made possible by a partnership with US Family Guide and Clubs Galore.


NOVICA - A Unique, Fair-trade Artisan Experience

Want a $25 gift card to use at NOVICA.com? Enter by COMMENTING on THIS post with what you'd get and who it would be for to win! [Ends 11/24 at 11:59 p.m. CDT]


This contest has ended. 





You can also save $7 off your first purchase with NOVICA by using the code: 
Save7Novica 

NOVICA [a partner with National Geographic] offers a unique shopping experience from regions all around the world. I love that you get to "meet" the artisans and learn a bit more about their life, trade, and culture. Putting a face to the craft makes a more meaningful experience -- I have a shoulder bag from Peru and I often think of the woman that crafted it when I use it. NOVICA is a fantastic source for holiday gifting! There are SO many options you will likely spend HOURS perusing the amazing handicrafts available!

Good luck in the giveaway!

*Disclosure: this post was made possible by a partnership with NOVICA and US Family Guide. I received compensation for this post but all opinions remain my own.* 

Stellar Stuff - Week #3

In the spirit of Daylight Savings Time and losing an hour of the precious, elusive thing that mamas rarely get enough of....*sigh*....I want to highlight this weeks "Stellar Stuff" -- COFFEE!

Truth be known: I started drinking coffee when I was 22. That's right. 2.5 years into my college career. I made it through many cram sessions without the black brew. I probably would still avoid the stuff had I only been exposed to Folgers and the like.


#JustBeYou prAna and Stonyfield + [prAna Discount Code!]

On these fall mornings, as I get my four minutes before the children wake to dreamily watch the steam rise from my coffee and decide what we'll do for the day, the part about what to eat and wear takes care of itself. I pair Oh My Yog Wild Quebec Blueberry Yogurt by Stonyfield with prAna's Lined Boyfriend Jeans. Like every day.


At this point I'm rather glad I do not have teenage daughters to say something like: "Mom you've worn those pants three times this week and it's Wednesday!"