Family Friendly Holiday Activities

I received these items free for purposes of my review. All opinions are my own.

Elyptol

I know we’re all staying home for the holidays, but I still want my surfaces clean for all the fun family activities we’re doing. So, before we get started, these hard surface wipes from Elyptol are perfect for wiping down the table or counter.

With natural ingredients and a Eucalyptus clean scent, these wipes are perfect for any solid household surfaces.

Elyptol has hand sanitizer, sprays, wipes, and liquid soap. Even if I wasn’t being extra cautious about germs this year, my 3yr old son is still struggling to accurately hit the inside of the toilet, so, I’m doing a LOT of bathroom cleaning. It’s nice to do it with a product that doesn’t dry out my skin and that leaves my bathroom smelling amazing!

Use code: germ free for a 20% discount when you order.

Adventure Challenge

Now that we have a clean work surface, the first thing my kids wanted to try out was this Adventure Challenge book.

There’s a plethora of fun family activities, you scratch off one, and have to accomplish it before you can pick another one. We just finished the one where you create a sculpture out of something from your fridge. It was so much fun!

There’s tape strips by each challenge for sticking on a photo of your adventures. When we’re all done it’s going to be an awesome book full of fun memories!

It’s hard to beat having fun AND being able to look back easily and remember it.

I’m loving the randomness of the activities, this makes them so fun and unique. And I love that I have a fun activity literally at my fingertips for those days when we just can’t think of anything to do.

So much fun!!!

You’re Pulling My Leg Jr

This game is simple, you ask a question – like tell me about a time an animal tried to bite you – the answerer flips a coin and doesn’t let anyone else see it, heads is the truth and tails is a lie.

The Answerer then answers the question by telling a story with the designated truth or lie and the listeners have to guess if the story is true or not.

We started this the other night and the kids did not want to stop! It’s so much fun coming up with random stories (or true stories) and trying to trick your siblings (and parents).

We got many laughs out of this game and have plans to play it again tonight.

The best thing is, you can easily play this game with a large variety of ages and everyone can have fun tricking everyone else. I plan to pull it out for our next extended family zoom call.

Pando

So this game arrived all wrapped up, with this cool note. I liked the game before I even played it! Obviously, the creators of this game are super creative, which is everything I could hope for in a get to know you trivia game!

This game works as a couples game, a group party game, and even as a family game. It’s funny how my questions my husband and I did’t know the answers to for each other!

The kids thought it was so fun to learn random information about everyone, and there really are so hilarious questions/answers that happened while we were playing.

This is another game that is perfect for family or friend zoom calls as well as family game night.

With all these awesome activities, my kids are well entertained this holiday season, while still learning about each other, and staying safe!

 

Tween Gift Guide

*I received free samples of these items for purposes of my review*

Tweens start getting more complicated to shop for. They want fewer toys and more personal care items. My tween loves games, beauty products, and baking! So, I’ve rounded up a few items that I know she’ll love.

Eco Lips

This fun chapstick comes in 3 very festive holiday flavors, Raspberry truffle, Candy Cane, and Gingerbread.

Eco Lips are organic and fair trade so something you can feel good about giving your child.

These are small and make terrific stocking stuffers or buy the multi pack and wrap it as a present.

The way my daughter looses lip balms, I’ll need a couple multi packs just to get her to next Christmas.

Not into holiday scents? They have lots of other flavors available. Including tinted products and bee free products. There’s something here for everyone!

America’s Test Kitchen – the Complete DIY Cookbook for Young Chefs

My daughter loves to bake! And this cookbooks is perfect for her. From making your own sprinkles, to sweet and sour dip, to ketchup, to butter, to milkshakes, to really anything you can imagine. The instructions are easy to follow. There’s lots of pictures. And everything in here is simple enough that my daughter can do it on her own – though sometimes I just can’t resist joining her.

This is the perfect gift for that kid who just loves to experiment in the kitchen!

Scenties

I feel like the 80’s are back! Well, the part I loved about the 80’s is. Scrunchies!!! And, they’re better than ever, they smell like cotton candy, cupcakes, and bubble gum. Honestly, my girls are obsessed with scrunchies. And I can’t blame them, they’re so easy and comfortable for fixing long hair, and what’s not to like about smelling like cotton candy while you’re at it.

Out of this set, the bubblegum hair bands are the favorite. We’ve been using those over and over and they smell like bubblegum every single time. It’s so much fun! Plus the little tag on them is just so cute, and honestly makes it just a little bit easier to grab onto the rubberband without grabbing my child’s hair.

And, if you really want to be all fun and 2020, they have face masks, with velcro loops that you attach the scented bands to. So you can wear a cute face mask AND sport your favorite scent at the same time. How cool is that?

My daughter has requested one of everything for Christmas!

Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle

I remember this being a thing when I was a kid. So I was super excited to check out this toy for my daughter.

It’s way more fun than I expected! This re-release of a classic toy is so well done! It’s quite sturdy and works way better than I was anticipating! All of my kids are having fun with it.

They built some ramps out of cardboard boxes and set up their own stunts in the driveway. They’re so cool! The toy is super easy to wind and use, and it balances well. We’re still working on mastering the wheelie – sometimes we can get it and sometimes we can’t. But, we’re close to figuring it out.

This toy has provided hours of fun and creative play and everyone is super excited every time we pull it out. We can’t wait to figure out what stunt Evel Knievel can do next!

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict

Truffle Shuffle invited me to review their Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict. I seriously struggle with scrambling the hollandaise sauce, so I was super excited to give this a try and see if I can get it all to turn out.

Truffle Shuffle is available to order online. You can order individual items or sign up for a cooking class. I did the Eggs Benedict Cooking Class. They send you your box of supplies a couple of days before class – it’s awesome! They send you everything. No running out for a random ingredient (like white vinegar). Then, you show up for your zoom class at the scheduled time and they walk you through making the item.

It’s so much fun! You have the option to leave your camera on and show the chefs and other participants what you’re up to, or you can turn yourself off and just cook. It’s so much fun to learn something new like this!

The instructions are well written and easy to follow, and the chefs are awesome about sharing tips and tricks to making your food the best it can be.

I love that I can do this in my house. My kids can join me if they want, and we can all sit down and eat together after we finish cooking.

The salmon and caviar added a new element to eggs Benedict that I hadn’t had before. And while it’s probably not something I’ll make every day, it sure was an awesome treat!

I even have a little bit of truffle salt left over for using on other things. Their truffle salt is amazing. The truffles give it so much flavor.

I’m quite pleased with my results, and I’m happy to report that my hollandaise sauce turned out great!

And I learned something new, a little bit of vinegar in the water when I make poached eggs, and they turn out even better than usual!

They have some really awesome looking holiday themed classes coming up! Check them out and use my link to get 10% off your first order.

Spa Night with Spin Master

Thanks to Tryazon and Spinmaster for the fun products to review!

Orbeez Soothing Spa

This is my favorite of the 3 products. It seems weird, but you soak these orbeeze beads for a couple of hours and then stick your feet in the Orbeeze Soothing Spa, turn it on, and the Orbeez cycle over your feet. It feels so good!

You can get more orbeeze already liquified or in these little “seed packets” that you just soak in water and they expand into these Orbeez.

While this was fun at a party, it’s honestly way more fun after the kids are in bed and I want to relax with a good book. And my feet feel so soft afterwards!

Hollywood Hair Extension Maker

These hair extensions are so fun! My girls and their friends all have long hair so they had lots of fun creating and then styling their hair with these colorful hair extensions.

I can also tell you that the markers that come in this kit are washable! Let’s just say that little girls don’t think about the fact that they’re coloring the table when they’re decorating ribbons for their hair!

Since these just require a hair clip to put in, you can use them over and over and style them many different ways! Every friend got to go home with their own extension!

Go Glam Nail Salon

We had lots of fun with this one. Both kids and moms got involved in painting our nails. And then Go Glam Nail Salon stamping machine made it super easy to decorate our nails. It took less than a minute to add the multicolored animal print to my nails!

This was the hot item at the party and everyone loved creating and showing off their Glam Nails!

Some moms went home with some fun new items added to their kids Christmas lists!

Holiday Baking – Sprinkle Pop

I was sent an awesome assortment of SprinklePop sprinkles to review. With such awesome and festive sprinkles we got started on our holiday spirit early!

At about $9 a bottle Sprinkle Pop creates mesmerizing sprinkle mixes that taste just as good as they look. These sweet mixes combine vibrant colors and innovative textures making every sprinkle batch feel like a work of art.

Bring Sprinkle Pop home to your own kitchen and decorate those like a pro! As you get ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas this winter, Sprinkle Pop has the mixes that take your desserts over the top! You might just be tempted to add a splash to that whipped cream on your pumpkin spice latte too. I know I couldn’t resist adding whipped cream and sprinkles to my hot chocolate!

Their sprinkles are so much fun! There’s a great mixture of larger and smaller sprinkles. And their Marshmallow World even has mini marshmallows that are perfect for adding a little sprinkle to your hot beverage.

Since we received our sprinkles, we’ve been sprinkling everything! This Christmas Magic Sprinkle Mix was the perfect topping for my iced sugar cookies!

Having sprinkles pre mixed like this makes it so easy to create something super fun and cute without having to put a lot of effort into finding the right sprinkle. Everything I put sprinkles on was perfect!

They even have some solid color mixes, and glitter stars, and confetti trees. These sprinkles are so creative and fun! I’m just loving SprinklePop sprinkles for my holiday baking!

Holiday Baking – Chanukah House

We love making holiday houses and this Chanukah House was no exception!

Made by Manischewitz, this product checks off all the holiday boxes: sweet treats, imagination, family fun, and meaningful giving.

The do-it-yourself Chanukah House cookie decorating kit (MSRP $12.99 – 15.99; 2 lbs., 14.9 oz.) comes with everything children need – from cookies and icing to a sanding sugar and a candy menorah – to build their own edible holiday cottage.

Best of all, when you give this charming gift to a young one, you’re also giving the gift of books to kids the world over. Because, the kit is at the center of a special promotion by Manischewitz to drive consumer sales and raise awareness for PJ Library, an organization that sends more than 225,000 free Jewish children’s books every month to households in the U.S. and Canada.

I’m always excited about organizations that provide books for kids! Every Chanukah House box features a callout encouraging consumers to sign up for free storybooks of their own from PJ Library.

While the Chanukah House kit is designed for Jewish families, and we’re not Jewish, I love things that add to my children’s cultural experiences. This was a fun and educational discussion starter. While building (and eating) the house, we talked about the monorah and the blue and white colors of the house and how in Jewish culture they celebrate Chanukah around the same time that we celebrate Christmas – so the holidays always overlap their items in stores.

It was fascinating to see my kids think through how not everyone celebrates the winter holidays the same way, and I loved how excited they were to discover how Jewish families celebrate this time of year.

The Chanukah House cookie decorating kit will be available at Ralph’s, ShopRite, Stop & Shop, and Walmart, and on Amazon, among other outlets.

We had some elf cookies and the kids just had to have one of them visiting the Chanukah House. I love how they got into the spirit of celebrating another culture’s holiday!

About Manischewitz

The Manischewitz Company has been making traditional Jewish foods since Rabbi Dov Behr Manischewitz first opened a small matzo bakery in Cincinnati, OH in the late 1800s. For more than 130 years, the company’s goal has been to provide quality kosher products that bring families together and celebrate the traditions of Jewish heritage. Today, Manischewitz sells hundreds of delicious products to communities across the globe.

About PJ Library

Part of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, PJ Library is a free program that sends families expertly curated, age-appropriate Jewish children’s books each month. At reading time, parents and kids can explore Jewish values and traditions together through engaging stories. The PJ Library experience changes at age 9 when kids can move up to PJ Our Way and choose their own middle grade book or graphic novel every month.  To learn more and to sign up to start receiving free monthly books, visit pjlibrary.org.

Many thanks to Manischewitz for sending over this amazing Chanukah House Kit for me (and the kids) to review!

Vote – and Giveaway

Mommy, Am I American? by Aila Malik, Illustrated by Dawood Marion

This is a cute little book about a little boy asking his mom who is an American? What does America stand for? And how he can be an American?

The author does a great job of staying out of politics and focusing on what really makes us all Americans. Caring for our neighbors, regardless of country of origin, political affiliation, religion, etc.

Parent activist and children’s book author Aila Malik has teamed up with Culk to create the Vote for Kindness clothing collection:  https://tinyurl.com/VoteforKindnessMalik

Elections are opportunities to create new societal norms, new influences, and messengers for our children. Why does our voice matter?

“Who we put into office as leaders of our community, at all altitudes of government, serve as role models to normalize behavior for our next generation,” says Malik. “Kids won’t understand or remember the intricacies of a divided house on pushing through particular legislation, but they will remember expressions of anger, hate, and name-calling interviews. If we expect kindness and justice from our kids, in how they respect others, cooperate at school, and build community, we must be active in choosing candidates not just on their ‘doing’ but mostly on their way of ‘being.”

Malik is a first-generation Pakistani-American, lawyer by schooling, nonprofit executive by trade, author, and mother of three who is on a mission to expand patriotism. Her children’s book, Mommy, Am I American?, helps parents and caregivers of children in grades 1-5 learn the impact they can have through their children, and define kindness and inclusivity as accessible activism.

Malik traveled to 41 countries over a year (8 months before the COVID-19 outbreak) with her family of five–(husband, Kapil, son, Zayan (age 13), daughter, Kenza (age 10), and youngest son, Kaysan (AKA Kaysee; age 8)  and documented their journey on her Franklin Street Globetrotters blog and shares videos on social. Here’s a preview:

Regardless of our political affiliations this election season, let’s show kindness and respect to each other as we vote, work, play, etc. And let’s show our kids how it’s done! Because that’s the American Spirit!

Check out Aila Malik on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Online.

And check out Culk’s fun line of election #VoteKindness gear!

I received these products free for purposes of my review. All opinions are my own.

Enter below to win your very own Vote For Kindness Shirt.

Beautiful Word Coloring Bible, girls gift set – Review

*I received a copy of the NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for Girls Gift Set from Zondervan (HarperCollins Christian Publishing) for this review. This post is sponsored by Zondervan. *

Created especially for girls ages 8 to 12, this beautiful Bible, sticker sheets and coloring pencil set provides the tools for young artists to express themselves.

Girls will get creative through coloring and journaling in the NIV Beautiful Word™ Coloring Bible for Girls. Included are pencils to color, blend and shade the detailed line art surrounding hundreds of inspiring verses. This Bible gift set is perfect for the special young girl in your life and will become a cherished keepsake full of personalized creative expressions of faith.

Features include:

· Complete text of the accurate, readable and clear New International Version (NIV)

· Over 600 verses illustrated in ready-to-color line art

· Four colored pencils

· Six sheets of stickers designed for girls

· Thick white paper for writing and doodling

· Lined, wide margins for notes and reflections

· Satin ribbon marker

· Beautifully debossed and screen-printed cover

· Exclusive Zondervan NIV Comfort Print® typeface in a readable 8-point print size

I was expecting 1 gift set to review and they surprised me by sending 2. Which is perfect since I have 2 daughters!

My girls are thrilled with their new bibles! According to my oldest, all good Bibles come with a ribbon, and this one does not disappoint!

The colored pencils are soft and perfect for coloring in the beautifully illustrated Bible pages.

And what I find super interesting, the box that the Bible comes in is so pretty, that my girls insist on storing their Bibles, pencils, and stickers in the box after each use.

The Bible cover is so pretty, I keep trying to talk them into getting rid of the box, but they want to keep their Bible safe, and I totally understand!

It is fun to watch them pull out their Bibles and color the page we’re on while we’re reading each day. It’s great for helping them stay focused and for just being creative with their Bible!

This is a beautiful gift set!

You can purchase it on Zondervan or ChristianBook.

Take a peek inside here. I just love how there’s always a place to color or write!

Want to start coloring before your Bible arrives? Download and print these adorable coloring sheets!

Fun with Back to School

*Sponsored Post*

I know it’s a different back to school than we’re all used to. So, this year I’ve been focusing on how I can make it fun for the kids and inspire their interests! I’ve got a few essentials on my list, but mostly, it’s important for them to engage and find something that they’re excited about or interested in doing every day.

First up, let’s talk about these cute masks from SwaddleDesigns. Typically, SwaddleDesigns makes swaddlers, blankets, and bedding for babies. These things are super cute and look so soft, but my littlest isn’t a baby any more. I was super excited to try out their masks! They sent 3 masks. 1 Adult and 2 Child masks.

The matching rose masks are both cotton masks. They are 100% cotton, 180 thread count, 3 layer cloth masks. There’s a pocket for a filter, the ear elastic is nice and soft, and even though this mask is 3 layers it’s still quite lightweight. My favorite part is the chin gusset. It’s a little tab shaped to go around your chin, this keeps the mask from riding up into my eyes and it keeps the bottom part of the mask from being super tight under my chin (like the straight rectangle masks seem to do). This is pretty much the only cotton mask that I’m comfortable in.

The child cotton mask is designed for kids 2 to preteen. It fits my 12 yr old daughter really well. So, if you’re concerned about sizing, it does actually fit a preteen. Depending on the actual cut, sometimes she needs the adult size and sometimes she needs the kid sizes, with these swaddle design masks, the kid size is perfect.

The polkadot mask is a 2 layer cotton mask of premium flannel. Because flannel is a little thicker the 2 layers work great. There’s no pocket in this one. The ear elastic is the same as the cotton masks so super soft and comfortable. Flannel is just a little bit warmer than the 180 count cotton so it’s super cute and fits great, and I can see her using it a lot more in about a month when the weather gets a little cooler. Right now, it’s just really hot on her face. They do have some super cute designs available in the flannel.

Between the 2, the 3 layer cotton is my favorite, but they’re both soft and comfortable, and cute.

Since I started with practical items, I’ll save the fun stuff for later. With all this everyone at home I’ve been teaching the girls how to do their laundry. And some new detergent doesn’t hurt! I do prefer the Biz Stain & Odor Eliminator Liquid to the powder. Mainly because with a HE washing machine, the liquid is just easier to use. My kids are a bit sensitive to detergents but they don’t have any trouble with Biz. Plus, with it’s odor eliminator it really helps reduce that odd smell that front load washers can tend to get.

I’m loving the OxiClean on the Go sticks. I keep one in my purse and they’re super handy with the reduced access to restrooms and such these days. Instead of having to wash something out of the kids clothes, I can just use my stain stick to go and take care of it.

And, I don’t know about you, but I very much dislike going to the drycleaner. So, unless it’s stained and I really have to have a professional, these Dryel at Home Dry Cleaner are awesome! It makes keeping up with my dry clean only clothing so much easier!

My last practical item here. This InnoGear Diffuser. With 4 timer settings and a color changing LED, my girls have been using it as a nightlight/room refresher at night. They also sent a set of 6 OnePure essential oils to go with the diffuser. I appreciate that these oils aren’t’ super strong. The girls are enjoying their nightlight and picking their evening scent.

I will say, Peppermint is my favorite scent for their room. It just smells so refreshing and almost clean. And my girls need all the help they can get with a clean room!

This diffuser is super easy to use, shuts off automatically if the water runs out, and with 3 diffusing settings you can pretty easily control how strong or mild your scent is just by turning it up or down. Plus, I’ve always loved the color changing night lights! I find the right scents super soothing, and this collection of scents is awesome!

My kids were so excited about this “A Family Guide to Terrariums for Kids“. I have the brownest thumb ever but my daughter wants to grow everything and I don’t know where to begin. This book has easy to follow instructions and suggestions for where to find the items to build your selected terrarium.

There are lots of awesome looking terrarium ideas to pick from, and lots of helpful hints including things like how to pick the right container, the best plants, and how to care for your terrarium. There’s a section on the different types of growing mixes and care instructions for individual plants.

This is a terrific project for homeschooling or just encouraging your kids to explore some different plants.

We’ve been using this “Kitchen Explorers” cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen for the baking segment of our homeschool this year. With all this extra time at home, and my kids already love cooking, we’ve been branching out and trying new recipes. The recipes in this book are tasty and easy enough for the kids to make.

I love how we can get some science, math, and tasty treats all at the same time! If you get this book, you definitely need to make the cake in a cup. It’s amazing!

My kids were super excited when their CrunchCup arrived! With no group snacks at events this year, we’re getting plenty of use out of these cups! You put the milk in the outside, the cereal in the inside, and then when you tip the cup they both come out at the same time, so you can have your cereal and milk (or snack and beverage) at the same time without needing a spoon!

The first thing I was worried about was leaking, but there’s a little seal between the color and the clear plastics that seals well. So far, we haven’t had any leaking. It did take everyone a few tries to get the hang of how far to tip the cup. None of us had any experience trying to drink a beverage and a snack at the same time so it does take a little practice to get milk and cereal without getting too much at once. Once they got the hang of it though, they now want cereal on the go all the time!

With the different color lids we always know who’s cup is who’s. Check out their youtub video for a demonstration!

And last but not least. Hasty Baker card game. We love baking so much, we’re even playing a card game about it! Actually, this game is pretty simple to play and it has some bonus/powerup cards that keep the game interesting and different every time we play. I can see why it won the 2020 Tillywig Best Family Fun Award. It’s simple enough for my 7yr old to play and fun enough that I even enjoy playing with the kids. A fun game that the entire family can enjoy.

Clothing Subscription Boxes

I have a love hate relationship with styling services. I try, but there’s one critical time of year that none of them can figure out. I have yet to find a styling service that can nail clothing for the summer in the south. I think they all live somewhere where it never gets up to 90 degrees and they have no idea (despite my efforts on many styling sites to explain this baffling phenomena) of the importance of sending outfits that do not require any sort of jacket ever.

So, while I am sharing my favorite styling services, I actually do not recommend any of these if you require clothing for 90 to 100 degree summers. Despite repeated attempts to explain that even at 2 am a jacket of any kind might kill me, they all insist on sending me jackets for “those chilly nights”. I’m not sure what’s chilly about a low of 89 at night.

Summer is my favorite season, and I absolutely love the heat and I love not needing a jacket. None of these services get that.

If you’re looking for the perfect holiday outfit, or something to wear to the office, these styling services are all terrific. So, that’s what I use them for.

Stitch Fix

This is the first clothing subscription box that I tried and sometimes I love it and sometimes I hate it. I used to love my fixes, and then they changed stylists on me and she just didn’t get me. I haven’t ordered anything for a couple of months and I’m focusing on updating my style profile – if you go in every day you can like or dislike different clothing pieces to help your stylist out.

I’ll also request a new stylist next time and hope things go better. I’ve had good success in the past and when I look on their site, they have cute clothing. They’re just not sending any of it.

They do carry a few things in talls, which is nice, because I’m tall and even though things like crop tops are super cute, they just don’t work for my height, so it’s nice to have a company that can send me things just a little bit longer.

I find that most of their styles are fairly practical and have gotten many of my basic pieces from them. I keep encouraging my stylists to send me something crazy, but so far, no one has.

Use my link to get $25 off your first box.

KidBox

With 4 kids, I’ve tried out quite a few kid subscription boxes. So far, KidBox is the only on I’ve found that consistently sends me high quality clothing that fit my kids and that my kids want to wear. I liked to get the seasonal boxes for my kids because it helps me keep up with having clothing for them in their correct sizes as new seasons arise (lets just say that my son was not excited about none of his pants fitting at the beginning of winter last year – and we would all like to avoid that incident again).

At $100 for a minimum of 3 outfits (or 8 pieces) with seasonal add ons (like socks, jackets, swimwear, etc.) it’s a great price for the convenience of having high quality clothing shipped to my door without having to spend hours shopping online. If I don’t need a box for any or all kids for a specific season, I just skip.

ThredUp

Currently, this is my favorite clothing subscription box. First off, they send you a LOT of clothing! Enough that you know they probably don’t ever intend for you to keep it all, but they definitely want you to find something that you like.

This clothing is used, but still in great condition, and so much cheaper than other clothing subscription options. I like to shop their site as well, so I’ll add things to my favorites, and often, when I’m just not sure I want to commit to something without trying it on, I’ll request a favorites box. This is where they send you a box filled with clothing that I’ve favorited. I’ve had some things really not fit and some things that were amazing using this method and it’s such an easy way to try on and only pay for what I want.

You can also request seasonal, themed, or just a box of whatever you’re looking for. It’s fun to try thing and I always find a few things that I love.

Use my link to get $20 off your first box!