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.
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.
I wanted to post this yesterday, but, like this story, my Christmas was filled with Mila. This was my final story for my creative writing class this year. I’m proud of it and I wanted to share it with all of you.
I hope all of you had a very, merry Christmas. Enjoy.
My eyes blink open and everything seems so bright. The morning air feels chilly as I search for her in bed.
I realize she’s not here. Being alone can be so scary.
In the mornings, I typically love to cuddle up beside her. She is my safe place. Anytime I’m cold, she warms me up. When afraid, she shows me there’s nothing to fear. The mornings she’s not here, I try to tell myself she hasn’t gone too far.
The longer I wait in her big bed, the more I worry she’s forgotten about me. I let out a little whimper, then I call her name wondering if she’ll hear me.
I hear the sweetest voice coming from the bedroom. Her footsteps start silently and get louder the closer she gets. All morning I’ve been up preparing for this moment.
It’s still snowing outside, as it has all night. My coffee has long been cold, but the hot chocolate on the stove is at the perfect temperature. There are only crumbs on the Santa plate and the milks all gone in the reindeer cup. All her presents are wrapped in shiny, red paper with big bows on top. The fairy lights around the living room and the Christmas tree are shining bright.
There will never be a perfect moment, but this is as close as it’ll get.
She’s running through the doorway at this point and there’s only one thing I can say.
I can’t believe my eyes. Santa came and left presents at my house, just for me. The cookies Mama and I made are all gone and it looks like he loved the milk we left him too.
Mama is smiling at me as she holds her arms open for a hug. This is the safety I was looking for this morning. I look up at her and smile. She looks beautiful with the lights twinkling in her eyes. I tell her Merry Christmas back. I’m still in shock. Santa brought presents and I can’t wait to rip this paper off of them. Mama and I are going to play all day.
When she puts me down, she pours us hot chocolate and I guess I should take a drink first. It tastes extra chocolatey with peppermint! Maybe Santa left some for us.
“Santa brought me presents and hot chocolate!”
The only thing I can do is smile at her. Her innocence and awe of everything in the world has impacted me more than she could ever imagine. She sees the magic around us and I wouldn’t want it differently.
I wonder if she notices the dark circles under my eyes or that my hair hasn’t been brushed. Wrapping presents all night while trying to be quiet was no easy task.
She asks if she can open them up and I nod at her.
With every quick rip of the wrapping paper, she smiles even bigger. The presents she wanted and circled in the Amazon toy book are now in her hands. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her smile bigger.
I pull out my phone to capture this moment.
Mama pulls out her phone again. I don’t know why she’s been on it so much lately. We have plenty to do here, but I say cheese as loud as I can. Can’t she understand that Santa has brought me these presents.
I go back to unwrapping. In the background, I hear her tell me if a present is from her or someone else I know. Between each gift, I look want to figure out how I can get them out, but Mama just tells me to give them to her.
We’re back to being a team.
She gets the first present open and it’s something I’ve never seen before. There’s still presents under the tree, but when Mama explains what this thing does, I want to play with it.
I run to get my snow coat, pants, and shoes. Mama gets my gloves and hat. She puts them all on me and I run out the back door.
The cold air stops me in my tracks. No wonder why I was so cold this morning.
There’s more snow than there was yesterday and it keeps falling. Where is my mama? She will love all this snow.
“Come on, Mama!”
This surprise gift caught her off guard. It’s one I don’t think she’s even ever seen one before. Her face when she saw it out was priceless.
She hurried outside and I have to get warm quick.
I’m moving more slowly than normal; the tiredness form the night is wearing me down. She’s yelling for me as I slip some boots on and wrap my big, winter coat around me. I rush out the door as she’s saying my name more.
It’s so bright out. The fresh snow is crisp under each step. There’s beauty all around me, but I can only look at her.
I lay her gift down and almost naturally she jumped on top of it. The rope feels rough in my hands, but I hold on tight. Its blades cut through the snow and her laugh somehow fills our whole backyard.
Who knew an old school sled could bring a toddler so much fun?
Time went by so fast. All I could hear was her yelling to go faster. I went as fast as I could for as long as I could. When I looked back, her cheeks were red and I knew it was time to go in.
“Let’s go get warmed up.”
My cheeks hurt from smiling and maybe cause it’s cold outside.
Mama scoops me up from my new toy, a sled. Instantly I’m warm again. We go into home and I remember something important.
I try to squirm out of my mama’s arms, but she’s holding me tight. Somehow, I kick enough for her to let me down. She’s saying something to me, but I don’t listen. This is way more important and my mama needs it right now.
Santa didn’t forget about me this morning, but I didn’t see him bring anything for her. She needs to know she’s been a good girl too.
In my room, under the rainbow Christmas tree, I uncover a pretty box. Then I run out to her.
She’s so impatient. As soon as I get her in the house, she has to run off. Now she’s running back in here. There’s something in her hands.
Quickly, she pulls my hand to the couch and as I sit, she puts a box in my hands.
There’s a tag addressed to me in her writing. The present is wrapped with a lot of tape. She looks so proud of her little surprise to me.
I don’t even need to open it. Whatever is inside will be my favorite gift of all time.
This Christmas morning has been full of perfect moments. The dark circles under my eyes feel like they have vanished and the cold has left both of our bodies. I never want to forget this.
She is my safe place and always makes me feel warm. Anytime I’m afraid of what’s going to come next, she helps me realize there’s nothing to fear. She’ll never know how thankful I am for her.
I open the present from her and without even seeing it, I wrap my arms around her and she squeezes back.
It’s finally Christmas break! That means packing Mila and I’s Christmas activities in a few short days.
Here’s a fun one that includes a movie and cuddles afterwards.
Mila absolutely loves the Grinch. We’ve watched the three different movies and I figured I needed to get her the book too. Thank goodness for Amazon Prime!
I came up with this activity after seeing a similar one on Pinterest. Obviously, I’m sure others have done this before, but I wanted to share what we did.
What I used:
‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ by Dr. Seuss book
Craft Pom Poms (preferably green, but we used rainbow colors and it turned out adorable)
Clear plastic bulb
Grinch movies – Netflix and YouTube
I started off the activity by talking to Mila about the Grinch. She told me he was mean. We then talked about how Christmas made us feel. Then I asked why Christmas would make the Grinch want to be mean.
Then, I read her the first page about the Grinch’s heart being too small. At this time, I took the bulb and drew a small heart in the middle.
With the empty bulb and small heart on it, I told her the Grinch is mean because his heart is this small and empty. BUT, we could help him out by filling it up with love and Christmas cheer.
After this, I asked her to fill the ‘heart’ with the pom poms every time she thought the Grinch needed some love.
I continued reading her the book and she filled the heart. The moment I flipped to the last page, she put the last pom pom in the bulb.
Then, I reread the part of the Grinch’s heart growing three times it’s size. With that, I painted a bigger heart over the smaller one to visualize this.
Mila and I talked about how Christmas isn’t about presents, but I still think she’s looking forward to that most of all. She hung the ornament up on the tree and we watched two of the Grinch movies to end our night.
It was a fun night and the activity could be modified by the questions and painting for older kids too!
I thought it was a fun and easy one to share, especially with Christmas right around the corner.
If you happen to do this activity, let me know on the comments!
Not only do I appreciate everything my mom did for my brother and I growing up around this time and everyday, trying to make that magic happen for Mila has been exhausting but so worth it.
To keep the Christmas magic rolling, Mila, my mom, and I all made cookies. Every time we make cookies I have it in my head that they’ll be beautiful, Pinterest-worthy creations. We’re not the best at cookies, but I was feeling confident. Mostly because we bought pre-made cookie dough!
Mila was so into looking at the different shaped cookie cutters and even snuck a bite of cookie dough. She seemed pretty proud of that. We only cut a dozen or so cookies, which was plenty because she was ready to watch movies instead.
While they baked, I made hot chocolate and Mila ran my mom and dad around my house. Laughter and smiles filled the house. It started to smell like fresh baked cookies too. My confidence was skyrocketing.
When mom pulled the cookies out of the oven though, all I could do was laugh.
Our nicely cut out shapes, turned into blobs you could hardly make out what they were intended to be. One pan of cookies wasn’t even baked all the way. More laughter. I definitely wasn’t going to have the Pinterest worthy plate of cookies for Santa.
The thickest candy cane I’ve ever seen.
We totally failed at making beautiful cookies, but we didn’t on the memory front. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?
Anyways, I don’t think Santa will mind our Thiccmas cookies one bit.
Let’s just take a moment to celebrate the fact I’m finally done with this semester of school! The last few weeks to two months, I’ve been writing nonstop trying to get everything done. It’s been one of the hardest semesters, but I made it! If I’ve learned anything throughout my life, it’s been that I can get through anything.
Usually, I have all my Christmas stuff up Thanksgiving weekend. Even with all my pain the year Jensen was born, I still decorated my house before December started.
This year, well… it eventually got done.
Since I’ve loved doing bucket lists for Mila and I the last two seasons, I thought it’d be a lot of fun to make a Christmas-specific one. There’s a ton I want to share on here of what’s been happening, but I thought it’d be nice to share our Christmas season goals with you all. In case you’d like to do some of them too.
We have a busy few weeks ahead of us, but I can’t wait to make this Christmas special for our family.
And yes, we’re going to Aruba! If you’ve been there, I’m all for tips and tricks for taking Mila on a plane, out of the country, and to a resort!
This week, I’d love to make a post about how I include Jensen in our holiday traditions. Almost all of these items on the bucket list, he’s present and since it’s the fourth without him here, I’ve found ways to help have him close.
As always, please feel free to share any traditions you do with your family that might be fun for others.
One of our family Christmas pictures by Stein Creative Co.