family bonding

This is a typical holiday moment for most families right?

Why does a season that is supposed to be so merry cause so many damn curse words? Also, why do people get so hostile over the perfection of decorations, trees and wrapping paper? I’m not a crazy holiday decoration type person. I’m not a traditionalist in the slightest. I am pretty sure that is obvious. I also really suck at wrapping gifts. It’s pathetic.

I embrace this fact.

When we were picking out a tree I said to my honey that I’m all for getting a small tree and not making a big deal out of it. He gave me a kiss and said since it’s our first Christmas back together he wanted it to be special. I love him for that. I love despite his tough guy exterior he is a total sap.

So, I made a face and punched him in the arm. I’m so romantic.

The kids ran around like lunatics and our youngest collected bits of rope. Finding a tree always seems like a weird process. Is it crooked? Are there holes in it? Does it have bats in it? Is it full enough? Does it time travel?

Anyway… despite me missing something that makes me fully understand the holiday hype I have a crapton of fun with it in my own way.

He was this sure about every tree he passed

I told him to look happy. The look of “stop taking freaking pictures and tell me if this is the one you want” was so much better!

I just realized my son and his Dad makes this same face. I still say he looks more like me. 

They were so happy about the tree they all went crazy. 

Sometimes there are no words needed

I’m obviously a bit of a geek. I have the strangest mix of ornaments out there. One year I decided I wanted to do a “creepy christmas” tree. It was an all white fake tree with black and red ornaments. I added a Nightmare Before Christmas flare to it.

It was epic.

I love watching kids decorate the tree. They have absolutely no clue what they are doing. They put too many ornaments on one branch. They drop them. They almost knock the tree down.

It’s comedy. I just let them roll with it. It’s for them anyway.

This picture was my son’s idea. Daddy had no idea… until he saw me upload this just now

Over the years the kids and I have come up with fun ideas. We usually put my Harley Quinn doll as a tree topper. This year my daughter came up with the brilliant idea to use the Weeping Angel instead. Basically, she rocks.

I haven’t blinked in days.

I thought that the next step was only fitting. All of us that bring the Elf on the Shelf in our homes have that moment where we wish it would get zapped out of our timeline and out of our lives. However, we know that creepy little elf doesn’t blink. It stares at us. Watches us. Taunts us. But, we can hope…

That shit is amusing/creepy if you have an elf on the shelf and are a Doctor Who fan.

If neither of these things apply then I sound like a jackass.

I also embrace this fact. 

Either way this is how family bonding, the holidays and my geekiness makes me love and appreciate my quirky family. Tis the season, my ninjas.

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Thank you to Ubisoft for sponsoring this post. Please click here to learn more about Ubisoft. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective. #UbiChamps

I’m Just Dance obsessed. Just Dance is perfect for party entertainment. It’s also great to break up the summer routine with some indoor fun. I love Just Dance for fitness and getting my butt in shape. Just Dance is also great for family bonding and hilarious footage. Want to do a fun girls night in add wine and Just Dance.

We’ve had Just Dance 4 for a few weeks now and it’s the best version yet. The new features are AMAZING! The kids have picked this game over any others lately and the song selection is SO good!

The dances have stepped it up a LOT. You will really dance it up. It is much more challenging than the other games and I found that the choreography has improved dramatically.

Just Dance 4: New Just Sweat Mode

The brand new workout sessions and calorie counter is exactly what I needed. I’ve used the previous versions of Just Dance to get my sweat on but I just focused on the really hard ones… and I danced til I felt like my legs were jello. Now you get to personalize your workouts with different types of music and length of time for your workout: 10/25/45 Minutes.

Just Dance 4: Battle Mode

Are you competitive? I am… shocking, I know. The Battle Mode is rad because you get to dance off and try not to allow your health bar to deplete. It’s like an ultimate battle fighting game with dancing… no physical contact in this fight! Well, unless you are my Dad who tends to swing his grand kids into others in order to win. Seriously.

Just Dance 4: For Thanksgiving and Family Bonding

The holidays are here, my ninjas! We have entered massive calorie consuming time and we need to get moving more. Just Dance 4 has such a wide variety of music that anyone in your family or at your party will find a song they just love. The game is so much fun that you forget you are moving so you forget it’s like working out. It’s hard to play this game and not laugh and have a great time.

I dare you to select Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” on Just Dance 4 and not laugh. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE! Ubisoft found a way to Rick Roll everyone… brilliant!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving aka Dancegiving and if you follow me on Instagram then you will be seeing many pictures of food and Just Dance 4 moments. I will probably be making faces… and I am hoping I get enough embarrassing family footage that I can put together a wonderful video to show at Christmas.

 

Disclaimer: I was selected to review Just Dance 4 by Clever Girls Collective because I am a UbiChamp. I was not compensated for this review. I was given the game to review. All opinions are my own and yes I am that much for a Just Dance freak.

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I’ve felt that one of the biggest struggles with raising children is teaching them selflessness in this instant gratification society. It can be a scary concept for children to know some of the struggles around the world but it can also be a wonderful tool for growth.

Even in the hardest economic times we should set aside what we can to give back. It’s good for us and especially our children. That cycle of selflessness starts with us and we pave the path of philanthropy for our children.

It’s especially important for our family to be involved with giving back since my daughter has regularly received the benefits of non-profits that help children who are chronically ill. We want to give back both to those organizations as well as others in different ways.

We are actively involved in community service and it is a huge part of our family dynamic. Sometimes it’s as simple as buying a $5 gift card and taking it to the women’s shelter or sometimes it’s as large as organizing a fund raiser for Japan Relief.

We are always looking for different ways to help. It’s really hard to find a connection with causes that seem distant from us. I want my kids to understand that they can make a difference with a simple act and it can amount to great things.

Then I was introduced to Members Unite and felt this was another amazing way for us to help.

Members Unite is a great way to fund projects. The decision on what to fund is in the member’s hands. As a member you vote on different projects which are all very unique and interesting. I’ve never even heard of some of these ideas!

The best part is what both my nine and four year old took from this. I explained what the project was and how our $5 donation is pooled together with hundreds of other members and we, as a team, make a difference. We are able to rate each project as a family and think on what projects we like the most.

There was also great dialog in “losing” if our favorite projects weren’t picked because no matter what someone is winning at the end of the month.

Now that my nine year old daughter regularly earns allowance she told me she wanted to become a member herself with Members Unite so we could be making a double difference.

Some of the topics can be hard like the project to help infants from Guatemala who struggle with pertinent nourishment… but it was also an opportunity to talk about how fortunate we have been to not be faced with that and more importantly, that we can help.

The easiest way to help is to give what you would spend at Starbucks or those impulse purchases at Target. But, to make that donation have a bigger impact on your family you can be involved in a community of giving.

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Gardening with kids isn’t the easiest undertaking. Most kids love to get dirty and why not!? It can be fun when you aren’t obsessing over how all that dirt may damage your carpet. I grew up gardening with my Dad and Grand Parents. It is just a part of me and something I love but I didn’t always love the work involved in it. I think it is important for kids to enjoy gardening and it gives us a chance to disconnect, get outside and grow some stuff but we all need to remember to be cool about it so they are cool about it!

So how can you really enjoy gardening with kids? Follow these simple tips for a good start!

1. Remove all electronics and anything of value from you and the kid(s). Do not put it on the grass, porch or any nearby surface! Why? Because at some point you might not be the one in control of the hose so therefore everything, including your roof, may end up being soaked. Most kids will point the hose at whatever they are looking so just imagine where the water will end up if your kiddo is looking at a bird flying above. Rather than banging your chest like an angry gorilla if it happens be a little pro active and remove everything first.

2. Grow your food and grow edibles that your kids will eat! I cannot stress this enough. What is the point to growing cucumbers if no one likes them? Sure, there are a ton of phallic jokes you can come up with but ultimately you don’t want the food to go to waste. It is really enjoyable to see your kids raid the garden to eat something fresh from the vine. They get a better appreciation for food they grow and I’ve found that kids tend to eat more vegetables if they grow them.

3. Grow something fun! Have you ever seen those huge giant mammoth sunflowers? Or what about a topsy turvy tomato? Or if you have pace grow some pumpkins! Make it fun and they will enjoy it a lot more.

4. Grow it in a container! No matter if you are restricted to a patio space or a huge garden it is always fun to grow stuff in containers. Want to see root vegetables grow? Find a clear container to grow them in. Seriously. It kicks garden booty.

5. Make a game out of every gardening chore. Be creative! I feel that making things into a race or beating some kind of previous record makes everything more enjoyable. You can even make little matching cards with free images online of whats in your garden. Print the images out, put them on one side of index cards and every time you go outside to play in the garden have your kid(s) match the image with the plant in the garden. If you used seed packets then keep the images on them for cards! If you are making a game out of it your kids are less likely to bug you or speak whinese!

6. Get dirty. Seriously. Gardening is dirty so don’t freak out over the dirt. Wear appropriate clothes and get your dirt on.

7. End the your gardening time with water play because not only is it a fun incentive but it also helps prewash any messes they made. Have a yard? Do slip n slide or play in the sprinklers! Live in a condo, apartment or condo? Create a water play table and utilize that. You can use the water (so long as you don’t add soap to it) to water your plants after playtime.

 

Ultimately the kids will have as much fun as you do. Kid’s are amazing reminders that life is pretty simple and fun is the objective. So, get out there. Get dirty. Have fun. Create a game. Enjoy gardening with kids even if you kill all the plants and remember, “Don’t Speak Whinese!!”.

 

 

 

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