Momma to an angel and a rainbow.
Journeying through grief, parenting after loss, and living life one day at a time.
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It’s officially time to start getting festive. Our Christmas tree is up and indoor decorations are done. With all these bucket list items getting crossed off, we had to do another… write a letter to Santa.
I mean.. there’s less than a month until Christmas, we HAD to make sure he knew what Mila wanted this year.
The letter to Santa is very important in the eyes of kids who believe in him. When Mila realized that Santa was going to see her letter, she had that look Ralphie did in A Christmas Story.
It was all very official business.
After brainstorming her thoughts for the letter out loud, she decided it was time to write. Since Mila only knows how to spell her name at the moment, I got to help her out a little in the writing and spelling part of this.
Her letter to Santa states:
How do you do? Thank you for giving me Christmas presents. I would like a big doctor thing.
She’s a lady that knows what she want! Hopefully she’ll actually become a doctor one day since that’s the only thing she wants at the moment. Besides becoming a mommy like me… her words.
Anyways, I wanted to share this big moment because there’s a lot of learning going on in this simple letter.
Not only did she practice her writing skills and can prove she can remember and write her name, she drafted and wrote a letter! That’s pretty big for a three year old. Just because she didn’t physically write it, doesn’t mean there wasn’t any thought or work put into it.
It also showed her emotional intelligence with the thank you’s and asking Santa how he was doing.
These are all social skills that are all important to learn… simply by just writing a fun letter to Santa! Learning really is everywhere you look.
Fingers crossed Santa gets her letter in time. She used special stamps to help it travel quickly.
I’ll keep you all updated on if he does.
You can find the ‘Letter to Santa’ template at The Letter Vee. Some of the other stamps come from Three Little Crumbsnatchers, she also has the cutest Christmas activities you can print out for free. I’ll be posting them this December, so keep your eyes peeled.
Does your child or did they write letters to Santa? I’m thinking of recording Mila too. I think it would be cute to look back on. Let me know in the comments if you think that’s a fun idea or not.
Moms do so much for their family and friends. Sometimes it can be hard to think of a gift to give them. Although this says what moms want, it’s more like a wish guide/things that I’ve been happy with in the last year that I wanted to share to give you ideas.
Every mom is as individual as any person in the world. I have a feeling the women in your life will love at least one of these items.
One of my favorite ways to switch up my looks are adding hair accessories. There are so many different options and they’re all so cute. I feel like I have a ton of scrunchies, but I’m always looking for more. I’ve been really into clips that can flip my hair all the way up. It changes the way my hair looks and they’re comfortable. My last favorite accessory lately is the other type of clip or barrette. Mila and I can share them and it gets the hair in front out of my face.
Here are some options and shops that I love. Seriously, my go to for my hair accessories.
Honestly, I LOVE all the options my Stitch Fix gives me and my stylist hits what I like every time. I like that these clothes are a mix of trendy and classic styles. Any time I wear one of my fixes, I get so many compliments. It’s been a great way of keeping my wardrobe updated, especially when I’m teaching every day.
If you have a fashionista in your life or someone who needs clothes, a Stitch Fix subscription is a great option. When you use this link, you’ll get $25 off your first fix! Believe me, you’ll love it!
I use skincare products twice a day, every day. You can imagine that I go through a decent amount of products. It’s always nice when I’m surprised with items that I have to buy a few times a year… especially because I’m going to use it and appreciate it so much.
Most people have their favorite skincare lines, but I listed the two I love to use below.
Eclectic Serenity – Local friends, I 100% recommend Kiersten’s products. They make my skin feel so good.
Little Seed Farm – I love their products too. Their goat’s milk moisturizer is one of my favorites. It keeps my skin feeling silky and refreshed.
My least favorite thing in the world to buy are bras. I feel like it’s hard to find the right size and trying them on can feel daunting. But all women deserve to feel comfortable in their skin and that starts with good undergarments.
I was gifted a few items from Adore Me and then signed up for the Adore Me VIP Membership. It’s a monthly membership that costs about $40. There’s all kinds of perks with it like a huge discount, free items, and you can skip months too. It sounds too good to be true, but I love the flexibility it gives it’s customers!
The best part about Adore Me is they have sizes and styles for everyone. Before I started shopping I looked up their fit guide that helped me figure out what size would be best for me there. After that, I easily found a ton of different sets that I needed to get! They also have the cutest lounge clothes and pajamas. There’s truly something for everyone at Adore Me. Their membership just is an added bonus.
To help the mom in your life feel their best about their body, an Adore Me VIP Membership will help them feel comfortable picking out the bras and panties that will work best for them and fit them perfectly too.
I promise, they’ll be feeling their best as well.
Raise your hand if you’ve been personally victimized by ‘clean tok’ or any organizational videos on social media… *silently raises hand.*
I’m always in awe of how people share their organizational skills. It’s so satisfying to watch and I feel like their lives have to be less chaotic for it. The last few weeks, I’ve been trying to find good deals to help me out with my home organization too. There’s a ton more, but I linked three at the end of this section.
Personally, I would love to receive any organizational help. It would be a useful gift and in the long run it would start to feel amazing too. If you know any moms who are obsessed with watching these kinds of videos, I bet they’d love these too.
If you would look at my phone, you’d easily see that I have over 10,000 pictures on there. I’m constantly snapping pictures of what’s going on around me. The one thing I wish I would do more of is printing them out.
The first year of Mila’s life, I made a book a month to capture those moments. To this day, I still go back through them AND Mila loves being able to sit down and flip through the books too. They make such amazing keepsakes and I love how they hold up. For 2022, I’m going to make it a goal to start making photo books again.
I’d also love to receive one as a gift. If you’ve went on a trip with a mom in your life, it’d be fun to share those memories with her. Or fill it up with all your favorites. Either way, mom’s love photos and this would be a great gift.
Shutterfly – I used to make all my photo books here. They always turn out amazing and they have a free photo book every month if you have their app.
Chatbooks – I have not used this service yet, but I have been seeing amazing deals from them. I think it would be awesome to try out!
Mootsh – I haven’t used this service either but it prints out pictures each month for you to do as you please with them.
A day full of self care and pampering feels really nice. I love getting facials and my hair done, so any time it’s gifted to me, I feel extra special. All moms would love to have a spa day. There are a ton of local spas that have different specials. It’s a great way to give back to the local economy and you get to pick the best things that your loved one would want.
Another option would be for reiki sessions! It’s a different type of self care and relaxation that would be a great gift for moms. Need a reminder of what reiki is? Here’s my first experience with it.
Time to Themselves
As much as I love being around Mila and the craziness of our life… sometimes it’s just nice to have a break. Obviously, this could be paired up with a spa day, but sometimes alone time at home is all you need. Or maybe a movie out, a date night, or time with their friends. Whatever they need, it’s nice that they have that option.
I think asking for time alone is one of the hardest things for a mom to ask for. At least it is for me. If someone can offer that time or a night away, it could be a nice gift and you get to be around pretty cool kids too.
I don’t think there will EVER be a time that I’m disappointed about getting a candle for a present.
Not only does it make your house smell really good, they can be so relaxing. Any time I take a bath or just need a quiet minute, lighting a candle makes everything seem a little better.
Another awesome part about candles is being able to use the jars afterwards. I repurpose almost all of my candle jars to make plant propagation glasses or storage containers too. It’s sort of like two gifts in one!
AsYouWish – funky designed pots with a long burning time.
Spend Time With Them
The best gift for moms is just spending time with their family. At the end of the day, that’s what makes everything feel special.
I love just being able to have the time to spend with Mila. No matter if that’s a day of play, cuddling, or going somewhere, my time with her is absolutely priceless.
Hopefully when she’s older and wanting to know what to gift me, she can find this and decide to just spend the day with me.
The little moments are the best presents. Promise.
If you’re holiday shopping online this year, try Rakuten. It’s a way to shop online and get cash back at different stores. Honestly, it’s a great way to get a little back. I use it whenever I can. Right now, if you use this link, you can get $40 for just signing up… and it’ll give it back to me too. Who couldn’t use $40 extra dollars during the holiday season?
What do you think of this gift guide? As a mom or woman, what items would you add to your gift list? Let me know in the comments.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! This year, I’m trying to start a new tradition with my family: a DIY Thanksgiving Gratitude Sign.
Since there’s been so many events, people, and things in general that have happened in our family, I thought it’d be special for everyone to write it all out. It’ll be a snapshot of gratitude.
Who doesn’t need a little dose of that?
Like this year’s Christmas Bucket List, our DIY Gratitude Sign only uses craft paper and markers. To make it a little more special, I used some left overs fall elements from a centerpiece.
Then, just add tape to the back and it’s ready to go.
I added the first three items to the list: family, health, and laughter.
After looking at it, I decided to add my name to the sign too. Hopefully all my family will so we can all see what everyone says.
I think this will be a beautiful tradition for my family. It’s something I want to do with Mila as she gets older. Even if she’s not in a positive space, I want her to know that I’m always thankful for her. Plus, sometimes the things you’re most thankful for are ‘small.’
This simple and easy to make gratitude sign will make a big impact on Thanksgiving Day.
I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving and holds their loved ones close this year and for as long as they can.
With that, I know so many people grieving through the holidays. They are so hard. I miss Jensen everyday and am so thankful that he was in my life. No matter if you can’t think of anything else to be thankful for, I know a name can be powerful. Write and say your loved ones names.
I know anytime I hear Jensen’s name, I’m so thankful others are thinking of him. I’ll never be able to thank him and Mila for choosing me to be their mom.
How do you talk about gratitude during the holidays? Do you have a tradition like this? Let me know in the comments.
Quirky Turkeys don’t always have feathers, sometimes they have spots. At least that’s what Mila says. This easy craft is perfect if you run out of feathers or just want to give your child a simple turkey craft.
Plus, It turns out really abstract, which makes this one of my favorite turkeys of the year!
As I’ve said over and over again, I try to find crafts and activities that are easy for Mila to do by herself. This gives me time to clean or cook a dish for Thanksgiving. It also promotes her being independent and in turn it helps her with her confidence. Little ones need all the confidence to get by in the world.
For this activity, we only used a few things. That means it was SUPER simple to set up for her… and me!
To start off, I made a turkey head and face. I used cardboard from a box, googly eyes, and random scrapbook/construction paper that I had leftover. Your child could have also made a turkey face too.
Then, I unscrewed the tops of the bingo markers and told her to make the turkey’s feathers with them.
I actually love using bingo markers in crafts and activities. They aren’t very messy, unless your child goes wld with them. They also are pretty cheap. I found these at the dollar store and we’ve had them for quite a while. Plus, there’s a lot of different colors you can find!
The only other thing I instructed Mila to do was to fill up the background. You could also have your kids sort the colors or do different numbers of dots for more learning.
When I look at her last quirky turkey of the year, I keep seeing a rainbow in the background. I don’t think she meant to do it like this, it just feels really symbolic. All her turkeys this year have been so great. As always, I’m just so proud of her.
This is another activity you can easily do before Thanksgiving or on Thanksgiving Day. I hope if you do, your child loves it as much as Mila did!
What are your favorite turkey or Thanksgiving inspired crafts? If you have any links, please feel free to post them in the comments. I’d love to share and maybe do them next year too!
If you’re looking for more crafts that Mila and I have done for Thanksgiving, here they are:
Since Mila loved her Googly Eye Headband at Halloween, I knew she needed the perfect hair accessory for Thanksgiving.
With a little imagination and a lot of feathers, I came up with a Turkey Feather Headband.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again here, feathers are to Thanksgiving as eyes are to Halloween. They make all Thanksgiving crafts and activities just a little more special. The best part of each… they can both be found at dollar stores!
Another similarity… I got almost all of the items to make this headband at the dollar store too. Everything besides the yarn!
Fluffy kitty headband
To start, I took off the ears of the kitty headband and hot glued them back on. I put them bottom on the band and close together. This way the feathers stick up.
Then I wrapped the band and the ears with yarn. This took a little bit of time, but make sure to use hot glue where the yarn starts and stops. I didn’t have to hot glue the entire time. Thankfully because that would have burnt my fingers.
After it’s covered in yarn, I stuck feathers in by the ear part through the yarn. I made sure to add a little hot glue so the feathers didn’t fall out.
I ended up using a ton of feathers, especially since I covered the front end back of the headband. At first I just had the front done, but I think having both made it more complete and full looking.
When Mila saw it, she instantly fell in love! Of course she wants to wear it to preschool one day this coming week!
I’ll try to make a clip with a few feathers too.
Maybe now she’ll want to dress up for Thanksgiving Day. We usually take a cute outfit AND something comfortable to wear. Especially after eating all the turkey!
No matter what, I think this Turkey Feather Headband will be making an appearance.
Let me know in the comments whether you dress up or down for Thanksgiving. I’ll let you know what Mila ends up deciding to do.
In this house, playing with your food is encouraged; especially when it helps with learning!
This Pumpkin Pie Counting Paper Plate Activity is perfect to help kids get excited about Thanksgiving, number recognition, and counting. All in one activity.
Last week I got Mila’s first preschool assessment. Overall, she did amazing! Sometimes I forgot that she’s only three and a half because she’s so smart and social. It makes me so proud to be her mom.
These assessments also gave me an idea of what we need to be working on at home.
One thing I’m not good at are numbers. Math definitely wasn’t my favorite subject in school, so sometimes I forget to add it into our play.
In her assessment, she counted to fifteen and only recognized a few numbers. I know she can count to 20, but I honestly didn’t know about her letter recognition skills. So, that’s what we’re going to try snd do more of.
Since the holidays are right around the corner and we’re excited for pies, I thought this activity would be perfect.
All you need for it is:
Orange, white, and tan paint
To make the pumpkin pie paper plate, you first need to paint it. I used tan paint for the crust and orange for the filling.
The orange took me two coats of paint and three for the tan.
Next, I cut the plate into eight slices and wrote the corresponding numbers on them with white paint.
After it was all dry, I added some decoration to make it more sparkly for Mila and gave her cotton balls to count with.
She had a lot of fun counting the cotton balls, but I saw her work out the different numbers in her head too.
It was amazing to see that even if she didn’t know the number at first, she would count around to figure it out. Hopefully the more she sees them, the more she’ll know!
Either way, we had fun pretending it was a pie and eating it too. I love how fun learning is with her.
What are some ways to help kids with number recognition?
This year Mila has been much more vocal about what she’d like to receive under the tree this year. It’s been so nice to have that feedback and assurance of what she’d actually like from me and Santa!
Instead of keeping these big secrets to myself, I figured I’d share with you my Preschool Girl Gift Guide.
Mila has been obsessed with necklaces and bracelets. No matter if she’s accessorizing for preschool or just wanting to pretend to be a princess, she has to have them on! We have a huge range of ‘nice’ accessories and play ones that we keep separate. I plan on getting her a few more for Christmas too!
Right now, our favorite Etsy store to get accessories from are Sloane and Daisy.
She has the most adorable bracelets and necklaces for any time of the year, seasonal ones, and PRINCESS ones. We are obsessed with the princess ones right now!
Besides her preschool bracelets, we have a ton of different play bracelets too! It’s so much fun to watch her pretend to be a princess with them.
You can get these play bracelets from a ton of different places.
Amazon has a ton of different sets. My favorite one just for her to wear around the house are these. They’re cute, but if she loses them, it’s okay! We also love this princess set, to dress up with. Mila is obsessed with crowns and they’re cute too.
Clothes and Shoes
Mila is at the age where she thinks clothes are cool and always gets excited when she gets clothes in the mail! There are so many cute small shops and businesses that we love to shop from.
I usually try to link where we get Mila’s outfits in social media posts, but here are a few you should definitely check out if getting.
Adelynn Mae has the best holiday shirts, hair accessories, and buttons. You can use MILA10 for 10% off too!
Reverie Threads is another amazing shop that Mila and I shop from frequently. They have a wide range of outfits that are dressy and comfy for her.
Ten Little has the best fitting shoes for kids. They send you ways to measure your child’s feet and have the cutest styles too.
Stitch Fix is another option to get your little (or you) that you can continue getting throughout the year! There’s a ton of different styles that you can either keep or send back. We love getting out Stitch Fix box and if you follow this link, you can get $25 off your first fix and we’ll get $25 our next one too!
Pretend Play Items
The items Mila has asked for the most this year is pretend play items. Whether it’s baby dolls with accessories or something big like a doctor’s area, pretend play items are a hit!
First, I’d like to state that pretend play does not need to be expensive. There’s a ton of ways we use pretend play to get her engaged. I just splurged a little bit for Christmas this year to surprise her! Another big way I’ve saved in the past is by looking on Facebook Marketplace!
Anyways, here are some of the items Mila has asked for this year…
Hopefully with her wishlist, she’ll want to become a doctor one day!
Currently, Mila has been challenging herself with puzzles, matching games, and building blocks. I think she likes the brain work out!
Previously, I’ve shared different puzzles through Mila’s activity boxes. Some great puzzles you can get are name, alphabet, and number puzzles. They’re great for letter and number recognition. Mila also learns better when she can pick things up. I feel like when she actually can feel the letter, it helps her mentally grasp that information.
Another amazing business that Mila and I are working with is PicassoTiles.
We were able to get this Magnetic Face-Board Dress Up Puzzle Book, pictured above. Mila absolutely LOVED it! She played with this set for hours and loved following the cards to dress the characters up. She also went off script and made new outfits too. I loved how it gave us opportunities to talk about different cultures too.
PicassoTiles toys make great gifts for kids of all ages. Make sure to check them out!
Mila and I are getting so excited for this holiday season. Although we’re trying to hold off most of our activities until after Thanksgiving, we’re feeling the pressure!
A good middle ground was to make our Christmas Bucket List 2021.
This isn’t the first time Mila and I have made a Christmas Bucket List. During her second Christmas in 2019, we made a similar one! We had a ton of fun getting to every item, but she didn’t grasp it like she will this year.
Bucket lists are fun because you can prepare for an upcoming season and list what you want to do. Then, any extras are just added fun.
All of our Christmas Bucket List items are easy to do and most will just be at home.
Here’s what we came up with:
Decorate the Christmas Tree
Put up decorations
Drink hot coco
Write a letter to a santa
Have treats for Santa and his reindeer
Sing Christmas songs and dance to them
Christmas movie night
Eat a candy cane
Go look at Christmas lights
Make wrapping paper
Make gingerbread houses/people
Make an ornament
Wear Christmas pajamas
Take family photos
Christmas on the Square
Have a Merry Christmas
I can’t wait to celebrate Mila’s FOURTH Christmas season with her. She’s already so excited for Santa and the magic behind it all. And… she already wants to cross the items off.
Even though we paused our list due to the pandemic last year, I figured we needed to bring it back and make it our tradition.
As always, we’ll be sure to share our holiday experiences, crafts, and activities. Stay tuned.
All I did to make the physical list was unrolled craft paper and drew on it with markers. It was easy to do and it feels like we have another huge and interactive Christmas decoration for the year.
What would you add to your Christmas Bucket List that I missed? Let me know in the comments.
Thanksgiving wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without tasty sides. Even though I love all the classics like stuffing and green bean casserole, this Jiffy Corn Casserole is a staple for our family’s Turkey Day!
Like the title of this post says, it’s so easy to make and will be the BEST Jiffy Corn Casserole you’ll ever have.
Intrigued to try? Here’s all you need to make it:
1 can of corn
1 can of creamed corn
2 large eggs
1 box of Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 stick of butter
8 ounces of sour cream
1/4 cup of sugar
First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Then, in a large bowl or your greased/nonstick sprayed casserole dish, mix in all the ingredients. Just mix until it’s all together, minus the corn!
Afterwards, stick the uncovered casserole dish in the oven for 45-50 minutes and you’re done.
The first time I ever made this recipe, I was shocked! It tasted so good. It’s almost like corn bread, but softer and better? I’m unsure how to explain it. My best comparison is to Chi-Chi’s corn side.
Hello to that Chi-Chi’s throwback!
If you don’t like corn casserole sweet, just take out the sugar and you can still make it. My family usually likes cheese on top of it too. If I decide to make the casserole with cheese, I’ll sprinkle shredded cheese on, then put it in the over to melt it.
It just makes it even tastier!
Mila usually helps me mix everything together, but it doesn’t take any time at all. It’s so easy and tasty that your family and/or friends will ask you to make it for all your get-togethers!
What’s your go to side to make for Thanksgiving or any other type of gathering?