Our adventures, going green, and learning something new every day in Dallas/ Ft. Worth, Texas!
This Christmas traditions shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NorthpoleFun #CollectiveBias
I love the Christmas season as much as the next person, but I also find myself really struggling for creativity during this time of the year. I want to create fun memories and traditions for the boys, but admittedly need a lot of help. After the cold, winter-like temperatures last week, we all needed a way to release the energy and just have fun. So, we had an early Christmas family game night! The boys definitely take after thier daddy in that they love playing games and being silly, so that was my inspiration.
I picked up a few Northpole games and activities, snacks and ingredients for cranberry soda (see recipe below) at Walmart (toward the front of our store in the Christmas toys and gifts area) and surprised the boys by loading up and heading to church where Daddy works and we have more space to run and play.
Everyone's favorite activity was the Peppermint Ring Fling game. One person wore a cute pointy Christmas hat while another person tossed soft rings and tried to land them on the point of the hat. Daddy was especially good at this game, but the boys learned that it takes two to make it work.
I turned both games into a fun relay and put the Rooftop Drop game at one end and the Peppermint Ring Toss game at the other. The boys had to run (aka burn energy) back and forth to get all of the rings and beanbags where they belonged. I also incorporated a fun game with the Magic Snowball that lights up when you toss it!
When they needed a rest, we had snacks and opened up the adventure map that came with Christmas goggles. The map came alive with the 3d goggles! The Captain loved the adventure tasks on the side and putting the stickers where they belonged.
Then, I read "Once Upon a Northpole Christmas" (that came with a super awesome Find me Santa! snowflake that flashes so Santa can find you on Christmas Eve! We will be saving that for later!) The pictures are just beautiful and the story is a good one. The boys really loved listening to it!
Here is a sweet commercial about the Find Me Santa! snowflake:
What truly made our new Christmas tradition of family game night was this "Snow Now!" You add water and it turns into this fluffy white "snow" that is fun to play in and decorate with. It obviously isn't real snow, so it took a little effort to clean it up, but the boys have been wishing for snow for so long that it was so awesome to see the look on their face when they saw it!
The special Christmas items from Northpole made our family game night so much fun, plus it was so easy for me. The best news is that there was a whole aisle of products to choose from, so I may head back and buy some more products for Family Game Night Part 2!
The boys favorite snack/beverage item was this cranberry soda, so I wanted to share the recipe! It's easy to make and oh so good!
**Makes about 1 1/2 cups of syrup**
What is your are some of your favorite family Christmas traditions?
Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.
If there is one thing that never gets old, it's reading books. We love to sit down with a good book and read it together. The Captain is a good reader and he loves to read, too. I never knew how refreshing it would be to open and explore a wordless picture book, though! We were sent "Noah" by Mark Ludy to review and the pictures truly do speak for themselves. Looking at the detail that the illustrator put into these pictures is just amazing.
The boys are already familiar with the story of Noah, but even if a child isn't, they will be intrigued and engaged with these beautiful pictures. Children can use their imaginations and what they know about the story of Noah already to tell a full story with this book. It has also inspired us to open the Bible and reread the story of Noah to see the inspiration Mark Ludy used when drawing. (Read more about Mark Ludy.)
The following picture is my favorite in the book. Noah is looking up at God with a look of awe, fear, and undoubtedly has many questions running through his mind. But he trusted God. Noah knew that God was in control and he wanted to do whatever was asked of him. What a wonderful lesson for this kids. Trust in Him and you will be richly blessed!
I highly recommend this beautiful hardcover picture book for you or a someone you know. I guarantee you will find yourself getting lost in the book – all 64 pages, thinking of what it must have been like for Noah so long ago! (Bonus: Find Squeakers the mouse on every page!) Purchase NOAH on Amazon for less than $15. It would make an awesome Christmas gift!
Enter to win "Noah" in the giveaway below!
The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card. This LG OLED TV post was written by me and all opinions are mine.
If someone on your Christmas list is requesting a new TV or if it is time to update your family TV, Best Buy has the new LG OLED TV. This TV is only 0.21" thick at it's thinnest point, making the picture absolutely stunning. The picture quality is amazing! Infinite Contrast ranges from the most blazing whites to the deepest blacks. And, LG's exclusive 4 Color Pixel technology delivers bright, vibrant colors.
With deeper, richer colors, stunning contrast and ingeniously curved screens, it truly is unlike any technology you have ever seen. The LG OLED TV will deliver a picture that exceeds your wildest imagination.
LG's latest display technology must be experienced to be believed! Learn more at LG OLED at Best Buy online and visit Best Buy to experience the greatest of the LG OLED TV. Save $500 with Best Buy’s everyday price of $3499.99.
Do you love twitter parties? Best Buy is hosting an LG OLED Twitter Party on Thursday December 4th at 7PM CST. Feel free to join this party for a chance to receive Best Buy gift cards and other great prizes. Tweet #HintingSeason with your top gifts that you want this Holiday from Best Buy.
This stocking stuffer post was brought to you by Duracell batteries and She Speaks. All opinions are mine.
Stockings were always an important part of Christmas morning for me when I was growing up. I loved to get fruit, candy, a new toothbrush, jewelry, and more in my bright red Christmas stocking. Now that I am a parent, I love to give them their stockings and see their excitement as they see what goodies are in it.
I love to pick out things to fill stockings, and somehow I have gotten Hubby on board, too. It's hard, sometimes, to fill those huge stockings! I try my hardest to fill them with things we actually need, but well, what do we really need? Well, for one thing, we always ALWAYS need batteries. Smoke dectectors, remote controls, clocks, toys, holiday decor, travel DVD players and more require batteries so that is why Duracell batteries are THE perfect stocking stuffer. Everyone can use batteries and it is guaranteed they'll be used.
We always prefer to buy Duracell CopperTop All-Purpose batteries because we know they will last the longest. There is a 10 year guarantee in storage with Duralock Power Preserve Technology. Changing out cheap batteries is annoying and can actually be quite expensive in the long run. Stick with Duracell to get the most out of your batteries. Duracell is the #1 trusted battery brand of first responders, pharamacists and parents, so I know that it's a battery I can trust.
Add Duracell batteries to your holiday shopping list and pick some up the next time you're at Walmart. CopperTop batteries are available in AA, AAA, C, D, and 9V. There are different size packs. Go big with the 16 pack:
This appetizers post has been brought to you by Foodie. All opinions are mine.
Check out 21 Fun, Festive, Flavorful Appetizers
The holidays are officially here! It seems unreal that next week is Thanksgiving, but it's true! It is definitely one of my favorite holidays because well….the food is delicious! I am looking forward to the turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, and all the other delicious sides, but also the yummy appetizers to eat before the big meal.
I have collected 21 fun, festive, flavorful appetizers on Foodie and all would be perfect for snacking while the turkey cooks or those Christmas parties that will be happening soon. Take a look and pick a few favorites before you head to the grocery store. These recipes are sure to wow your crowd!
What are you serving this year?
This post was brought to you by VTech. All opinions about the VTech tablet for kids are that of my guest reviewer or my own.
If you have been to the toy section at any major store recently, you will see lots and lots of great products to choose from. If you have narrowed it down and you have decided you are buying your child (or a child you know) a tablet, you may wonder how they are different and what advantages one tablet has over another. Well, I had a guest reviewer check out the new VTech InnoTab MAX with her twin six year-olds and they were sold within the first hour of opening it.
The VTech InnoTab MAX is recommended for children ages 3-9 and sells for around $109. It is VTech's 4th generation kids' learning tablet, featuring its fastest processor yet. It has up to six times the processing power of previous generations and a 7" high-resolution, multi-touch screen display. It's the perfect size for little hands! The InnoTab MAX also has enhanced their Premium VTech Kid Connect and at no additional charge, allows kids and parents to exchange voice and text messages, photos, drawings, and fun stickers in real time between the InnoTab MAX and a smartphone. How awesome is that?
Okay, aside from the cool, techie side, the InnoTab MAX is excellent for educational purposes, too. It is NOT just a toy. Kids have access to more than 650 educator endorsed, age and stage appropriate learning titles as well as carefully cultivated educational Android apps that can be purchased and downloaded through VTech's Learning Lodge app store. Parental controls allow parents to manage their child's apps, web access, and tablet time, as well as view a progress log. This is so helpful because kids and parents alike can get carried away, so it's helpful to have all of that information in one place.
Other great features include:
Both of the kids absolutely loved the InnoTab MAX. It is very kid friendly! They were able to figure out almost everything on their own. It is something that they can use together, alone, or with their parents and that is a major plus! It's great for waiting for her brother at baseball practice, the doctor's office, or when you have a few minutes to reward the kids for positive behavior. They really love it!
Enter to win this season's hottest new electronic toy in the Rafflecopter below. You don't have much time, so I've added some extra entries to help you out. Good luck!
This post about the DVD set "God Came Near" by Max Lucado, was brought to you by Family Christian. All opinions are mine.
Christmas has taken on a new meaning for us since having kids. There is a desire to commercialize the holiday and shower our kids with gifts, but I think there is a deeper desire to teach our kids why our family celebrate Christmas, as well. And really, we all need as much help as we can get in teaching our kids about God, Jesus, and the Bible. That is precisely why I wanted to watch this "God Came Near" DVD set. Max Lucado is a smart man who knows the Bible well. He is a pastor and author and he does a remarkable job with this DVD set.
The boys and I sat down to watch the first DVD together. Since the boys are 6 and 3, I wasn't sure if any of it would sink in. It IS approved for all ages, but this set is really geared for older kids and adults. They did enjoy the setting in England's gorgeous Blockley Church. They loved the video of the reenactments, but they did sort of zone out while Lucado spoke. After all, they are little! I found it fascinating though and really enjoyed it. This series would make a fantastic study this holiday season for a small group or Bible class.
I personally really enjoyed learning new things in a setting that helped me travel back in time to what it might really be like when Jesus was born. Max Lucado does a great job telling us all about the Advent season. He tells a story through Simeon's eyes. What it must have been like to wait for the Messiah! He also explores Saint Nicholas, popular Christmas traditions, stories of Joseph and Mary, and also about the hectic holiday season we have made for ourselves.
Lucado encourages us to realize that God came near to the people of the Earth as a baby born to a carpenter and his soon-to-be wife. There was no fanfare, Jesus came without fanfare or parties, and God came near for us and continues to come near to us if we allow Him! How inspiring and wonderful is that thought??
While this is the season for celebrating Jesus' birth, Lucado encourages us to imagine ourselves as the wise men who were anxiously awaiting Jesus' birth and went out seeking him through many trials. We are to seek Jesus daily and long to be near Him.
I know that everyone will be uplifted and encouraged to make the season about Jesus this year. It is an uplifting DVD set and might be just what you or someone you know needs in the midst of the hectic holiday season!
Purchase "God Came Near" for this season at Family Christian.
Family Christian is generously giving away a $25 appreciation certificate to one lucky Life With Captain Fussybuckets reader. Enter to win in the Rafflecopter below! Good luck!
#spon: I'm required to disclose a relationship between our site and Save-A-Lot. This could include Save-A-Lot providing us w/content, product, access or other forms of payment. #SaveALotInsiders Stress-Free Mealtime with Baby
Baby Brother rarely finds a food that he doesn't love. He loves to taste, nibble, and chew on just about anything he can get his hands on. I am noticing that he IS turning into an official toddler and beginning to reject some foods that he isn't crazy about. This makes it difficult when we are eating outside of the home. I like to always have a few things in my diaper bag that I know he will eat and enjoy, so we can avoid fussy baby.
The Captain had a soccer game a couple of weeks ago and it was cold. Not bitterly cold, but it was definitely a shock to this warm weather loving Texan. Both D and Baby Brother were not happy, so I pulled out the Gerber yogurt puffs and sat them on a blanket and they stopped caring about how they hated being there. They just happily stuffed their faces! (See Baby Brother was wearing the Captain's jacket….unprepared mommy left his coat in the car!)
We recently visited a Save-A-Lot store for the first time. I didn't know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised at the new things that I found. Save-A-Lot has a produce section, meat department, lots of refrigerated and frozen food, and of course pantry staples. But did you know that Save-A-Lot now has the Gerber baby snacks and foods that babies love? I stocked up on the yogurt melts that Baby Brother adores. We go through quite a lot of those because D, at almost 4, still loves them as well!
Baby Brother doesn't mess around with being spoon fed, but he can quickly devour a Gerber Graduates Grabbers. It is a (usually) mess free meal for him. I found them at a great price at Save-A-Lot, along with a few other snacks:
Make sure to visit your local Save-A-Lot for the Gerber snacks and foods your little one loves!
For the chance to win a $25 Save-A-Lot gift card to get more Gerber goodness, check out the Smart Shopper Club Sweepstakes on the Save-A-Lot Facebook page.
Captain Fussybuckets celebrated his SIXTH birthday a few days ago. SIX! I absolutely cannot fathom how in the world he turned six so quickly. Of course, as you see in the picture, he totally knows how to ACT like he's six. Getting him to smile for the camera in a non-goofy way is about as impossible as it was when he was a baby! This kid is constant energy with a sweet, soft side and a love for learning. I am thoroughly enjoying being able to be his kindergarten teacher and watch him learn and grow. I interviewed him on his birthday, as has become a fun tradition in our family. Here's what he said:
How old are you? six
What is your favorite color? red
What is your favorite thing to drink? Dr. Pepper
What is your favorite toy? football
Who are your favorite friends? my brothers
What do you like to do? play outside
What do you want to be when you grow up? a youth minister
What color is your hair? brown
What color are your eyes? green
What is your favorite sport? football
What is your favorite song? "Everything is Awesome"
What do you like to do with Daddy? play football
What do you like to do with Mommy? make stuff
What do you like to do with D? play football
What do you like to do with Baby Brother? play tickle time
What is your favorite restaurant? Mommy's Café (he originally said a Japanese steakhouse )
What is easy for you to do? paint
What is hard for you to do? spray whipped cream in my mouth
What is your favorite think about homeschool? do easy papers
What is your favorite thing about church? VBS
What is your favorite thing to wear? Seattle Seahawks shirt and gray athletic shorts
What is your favorite show? Paw Patrol
What is your favorite book? "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day"
What has been your favorite place to visit? Tyler
What was your favorite thing to do when you were 5? have the last Halloween