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Ten Tips for a Joy Filled and Stress Free Holiday with Your Family

The holiday season can be a hectic and stressful time, so much so that joy and excitement and love can get shoved aside while anxiety and busyness and even depression take their place. We build up our favorite holidays and dream they’ll be Pinterest perfect, and when our to do list doesn’t get done or our perfect tree is lopsided or our family member makes a scene it can be a crushing blow. Today I’m sharing ten simple tips for a joy filled and stress free holiday with your family. At the bottom of this post you’ll also find holiday themed posts from some of my favorite bloggers, as well the amazing Festive Family Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway featuring a prize package worth over $1500 that contains gifts for everyone on your shopping list.

Ten Tips for a Joy Filled and Stress Free Holiday with Your Family


Festive Family Holiday Hop and Gift Guide Giveaway 2015

Festive Family Gift Guide Prize CollageWelcome to the 2015 Festive Family Holiday Hop and Gift Guide Giveaway! I’ve joined forces with 30+ awesome bloggers and 15+ sponsors for a holiday blog hop and giveaway like no other. We’ll be sharing holiday inspiration, craft and DIY projects, kid activities, family traditions, and gift ideas. Our generous sponsors are giving away over $1500 in prizes in one massive prize package that contains gifts for everyone on your list. The giveaway will run from November 2-19, so be sure to enter to win.

Festive Family Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway – $1500+ in Gifts for Everyone on Your List

Toddler Kore Wobble Stools


We are so excited about our headline sponsor this year – Kore Design. They have generously donated a family set of Kore Wobble Chairs valued at over $500 for all of your active learners from toddler to adult. Kore Chairs are perfect for kids and adults that need to move while sitting. They help with posture, concentration, and productivity for active people. Read a full review of Kore Wobble Stools here at P is for Preschooler.

minted collage holidayMinted, a marketplace made up of independent artists, is the perfect place to knock out all of your holiday shopping at once. Photo gifts, stationary, personalized prints, and limited edition art make fabulous gifts. You can also find gorgeous holiday cards and get FREE recipient address printing. Read our full review of Minted’s holiday cards and photo gifts here. Minted is giving away a $100 gift card. Be sure to sign up for the Minted email list so you don’t miss out on their awesome sales and fabulous discounts.


Mama May I CollageThe gorgeous handmade toys from the Mama May i Shop blend the best of developmental psychology and design for a unique learning through play experience for kids.  Inspired by her own little explorers and her understanding of Montessori and Waldorf philosophies, founder Jessica Perkins created a shop for like minded caregivers around the world. Mama May i is giving a $100 gift card away to our lucky winner to shop for all the kids on their list.

night-before-christmas-personalized-book-12Personalized books and gifts from I See Me can make a kid feel really special. Seeing, hearing, and reading their own name in a new story book is pretty magical. What better holiday tradition than reading about your own Night Before Christmas? Read a full review of I See Me products from Castle View Academy here. I See Me is giving away a personalized gift package containing a Christmas colouring book, Night Before Christmas book, Christmas sticker sheet, personalized ornament, and a Christmas Bear For Me Gift Set, with a total value of $100.

trendbrewTrendBrew is the new way to shop and make money online – for free. It is truly a ‘One-stop-shop’ destination for making ALL your shopping decisions. They curate the top trending products from 4000+ retailers such as Macy’s, Nordstrom, Amazon, and give you multiple offers. TrendBrew gives you the power to put down your ‘Wish Price’ & your ‘Timeline’ and we’ll notify you when a matching offer comes by. Bonus: You earn reward points with EVERY purchase. Join now to start earning reward points. Trendbrew is giving a $100 gift card to our winner.

Tad Hills Collage Author and illustrator Tad Hills takes inspiration from his nature filled childhood and from his own children to create beautiful books that encourage learning and creativity. His Rocket books and Duck & Goose series are popular with kids of all ages. The winner of our giveaway will receive a Tad Hills bundle of books and plush toys valued at $150+.

Playopolis Collage The folks at Playopolis Toys are excited about play. They take toys seriously and offer toys with universal design to maximize sensory awareness and aid development for children of diverse abilities. Playopolis Toys is donating an awesome set of Tegu Magnetic Blocks valued at $106 to our winner.


sleepytime headrestThe Sleepy Time Headrest gently and securely supports your child’s head when traveling, preventing it from constantly falling forward, or jerking from side to side while sleeping in the car. It also provides safe, comfortable support for special needs children that need additional support. The soft cotton headrest is portable and easy to install and has been extensively safety and crash tested. It works with all brands of car seats, wheelchairs, strollers, feeder seats, swings, carriers, and booster seats with backs. Read a full review of Sleepy Time Headrests here at Local Busy Bees. Our lucky winner will receive three Sleepy Time Headrests – one each in infant, child, and adult sizes.

Olive Mae CollageThe beautiful handmade designs from Olive Mae Clothing are made to last and perfect for play and special occasions. Owner and designer Lacy Gutierrez has developed a cult following for her whimsical designs online and at her storefront in Plano, Texas. Every design is hand made in the shop and one of a kind. Best of all, Olive Mae Clothing is affordable and sized for girls from birth to size 8. Dress your little darling in a gorgeous Olive Mae Clothing creation this holiday season. Read our full review of Olive Mae Clothing here. Our winner will receive a $50 gift card to shop online or in store at Olive Mae Clothing.

haba puppetsKnown around the world for high quality baby and children’s toys, HABA started as a wood manufacturing company and now also offers plush toys, games and textiles. Their play “inventors” and designers put great care and thought into the creation of every product. Read a full review of HABA products here from P is for Preschooler. Our giveaway winner will receive a Puppet Theater and Hand Puppet from HABA valued at $50+.



Good Buddy Notes CollageGood Buddy Notes is your source for sweet personalized gifts and stationary illustrated by artist Shelley Dieterichs, and featuring her unique designs. Her award winning books and designs make great gifts for kids and adults and pets. With a vision for encouraging old fashioned correspondence, Shelley creates beautiful art pieces that serve practical purposes as thank you notes, address labels, and more. Our giveaway winner will receive a $50 gift card to shop at Good Buddy Notes.

22067 15pc Ball Run in Gift Box - StackLikeBlocksThe mission of Just Think Toys is to develop products that encourage creative play and thinking. Their Bath Blocks and Hot Wings line do just that with simplicity and innovation. Bath Blocks use the viscosity of water to hold blocks together allowing kids to build freely with floating blocks in the bath. The winner of our giveaway will receive a Bath Blocks Ball Run and Waterfall Set valued at $45 from Just Think Toys. Read more about the award winning Bath Blocks here at P is for Preschooler.

bilibo_racecarBilibo is a toy for every kid that encourages creative play and exploration. Bilibo is giving one toy to the winner, valued at $30. Children can play with Bilibo indoors and out, in water, sand, and snow, and with endless possibilities.  With different sizes and bright colors available, Bilibo is perfect for every kid on your list.

brackitz collageBrackitz Toys give builders the freedom to create structures that are only limited by their own imagination. The planks and connectors are simple enough for young children to use, but the possibilities for building complex structures are endless. Open ended building challenges kids and teaches them math, science, engineering, and problem solving skills through play.  The giveaway winner will receive the 50 piece Brackitz Creator Set valued at $29.99.

Essential Oils Fall Special BonusYoung Living Essential Oils’ Seed to Seal Guarantee means that the quality of the oil is controlled throughout the entire process, from planting through production. With natural living products for health, wellness, beauty, and the home, Young Living has the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Members receive a 24% discount on every purchase and can earn free product through the Essential Rewards Program. The giveaway winner will receive a bottle of the fabulous Thieves Spray and Thieves Foaming Hand Soap from independent distributor Becca Eby. All readers who are new to Young Living can receive the same two products as a free bonus with the purchase of any Premium Starter Kit using member #2538556 – get the details here.

Our second annual Festive Family Holiday Hop and Gift Guide Giveaway brings the best holiday themed posts from my favorite bloggers together with an AWESOME giveaway prize package worth over $1500 filled with gifts for everyone on your list.  Visit the posts below for great holiday tips, and enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below. If you are on a mobile device or have trouble seeing the entry form, click here to enter.
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Ten Tips for a Joy Filled and Stress Free Holiday with Your Family from Bare Feet on the Dashboard

The Ultimate Guide to Having Kind Kids This Christmas from Bits of Positivity

Christmas Sensory Play Ideas from Adventures of Adam

Gingerbread Play Dough from The Gingerbread House

Glitter Pinecones from Peace But Not Quiet

10 Exciting Toys To Encourage Learning for 3-4 Year Old Kids from Play Dough and Popsicles

Christmas Crafts for Toddlers from Kidz Activities

DIY Hot Chocolate Kit from Taking Care of Monkey Business

Gifts Kids Can Make from Simply Vicki

Christmas Yoga from Kids Yoga Stories

Gifts That Last All Year from Local Busy Bees

10 Idea for Festive Table Decoration from La Cité des Vents

Christmas Tree Decoration and Card from Castle View Academy

Book-Toy Gift Sets for Preschoolers from P is for Preschooler

DIY Gift: Science Kit for Kids! from Preschool Powol Packets

Christmas Poems to Color from Are We There Yet?

5 Things to Make For a Christmas Stocking from Peakle Pie

The Frugal Family Gift that Keeps On Giving from Kimie Pruessner Photography

Christmas Hand and Foot Print Crafts from Play & Learn Everyday

20 Non-Candy Stocking Stuffers for Boys and Girls from Non Toy Gifts

10 Silly Gifts For Your Kids this Christmas from Witty Hoots

Mom’s Holiday Wish List (Give This List to Your Husband) from The Realistic Mama

5 Awesome Ways to Completely Revamp Your Home This Holiday Season from Tidbits of Experience

Family Fun in DFW: Amazing Jake’s Plano

Family Fun with GoKarts at Amazing Jakes

Summer days are long and hot in Texas, and we are always looking for a way to beat the heat and have fun as a family. Recently we had the opportunity to visit Amazing Jake’s in Plano, and it was a blast for the whole family. Located close to 75/North Central Expressway in Collin Creek Mall, Amazing Jake’s is worth the drive from all over the metroplex. Read on to find what we thought about the entertainment at Amazing Jake’s for toddlers, preschoolers, and adults.


Clean Mud Bubble Dough – The Easiest Sensory Dough Ever

Making Clean Mud Bubble Dough with Kids - The Easiest Sensory Dough  Ever

We love to play outside, but sometimes need fresh ideas to get the kids engaged. They’ve been really in to bubbles lately, so after making a DIY bubble solution with dish soap and water I was inspired to try a new twist on clean mud dough. Play dough of all kinds is so much fun and give kids a great sensory experience, but making it yourself can be a challenge. This recipe for clean mud bubble dough is pretty much the easiest sensory dough ever and creates clean bubbly fun for your kids. It takes only 3 ingredients and about 5 minutes, plus the clean up is super simple as well. Ready to have some bubble dough fun?


Kid Art: Painted Mason Jar Scented Oil Reed Diffuser DIY

Kid Art DIY Painted Mason Jar Scented Oil Reed Diffuser

If you’ve been following along on our journey through The Jesus Storybook Bible during Lent, welcome back. Today I’m sharing how the Bear painted a mason jar to create a reed diffuser diy to help us better understand the story of the sinful woman anointing Jesus, “Washed with Tears” (Mark 14/Luke 7/John 12). Read on to find out how to create your own scented oil reed diffuser with your kids. It was a fun interactive art project for the Bear, and now he gets to enjoy the essential oils diffusing in his room. Mason jar reed diffusers make a fabulous child made gift for mother’s day or grandparents.


Pottery Barn Inspired Tulle Tutu Easter Basket DIY Tutorial {Fabulously Frugal}

DIY Pottery Barn Inspired Tulle Tutu Easter Basket

Last spring I fell in love with a gorgeous white Easter basket from Pottery Barn Kids that came with a pink tulle skirt around it. I was *this close* to paying way too much money for it, justifying the purchase with thoughts of the Pearl Girl’s first Easter holiday. Thankfully I came to my senses and decided to make one myself. It was so easy to put together and cost less than $10 to make. Read on to find out how to make your own tutu Easter basket DIY and be sure to link up your latest frugal post to our Fabulously Frugal Link Party.


Four Sweet and Simple Easter Traditions to Start with Your Family

Starting Sweet and Simple Easter Traditions with Your Family

Easter is one of my favorite holidays. I love the joy and the promise of new life that comes each spring, and I love dressing my kids in cute outfits and hunting for Easter eggs. As a young family with little kids, starting new traditions for our little family can be a challenge as we unite those of our families of origin with what we want for the future. My goals for our family Easter traditions are that they would be three things: memorable, special, and simple. I don’t want to add stress to an already hectic time of year, and I don’t want to get caught up in trying to make things too perfect while forgetting about what is really important. Today I’m sharing four simple Easter traditions we’ve started with our family to make the holiday special while keeping it stress free.


Teaching Kids to Give

Giving our money, time, and love to others is an outpouring of God’s love for us. Teaching our kids to have giving hearts is important to us, because it will enrich their lives and help them to be people of gratitude rather than entitlement. Teaching kids to give can be a challenge, but it is worth it. We talk about giving, model service in front of them, give them opportunities to serve with us and each other, and try to lead by example. This week I got the kids involved in a giving project for my very favorite non-profit outreach ministry (YoungLives – a Christian outreach to teen moms & their babies), and tied it in to a story from The Jesus Storybook Bible.

A Lesson on Giving with Easter Eggs


Taste Safe Strawberry Lemonade Sparkle Sensory Play Dough

Jonah and the Whale Hide and Seek Game

Playing a Special Game of Hide and Seek to Bring the Story of Jonah and the Whale to Life for Kids

We’ve loved reading the Jesus Storybook Bible with our kids and creating interactive play ideas to bring the stories to life for them. Today we played a game of hide and seek to give them a new perspective on the story of Jonah and the Whale. You can read the activities we’ve done to go with the stories of Samuel and David, the Tower of Babel, and Moses and the Red Sea. Read the entire series with activities for all 40 stories in the Jesus Storybook Bible Interactive Play Series here.

Reading the Jesus Storybook BibleWe read the story “God’s Messenger: Jonah and the Big Fish” from the Jesus Storybook Bible together, and then played a game of hide and seek. The Bear would hide while Pearl Girl and I looked for him, then we swapped. After several rounds, I brought the game back to the story.

Here’s what I asked him: Did I find you every time? Yes. Did I ever stop looking for you? No. Why did I keep looking for you? Because I love you and never want to lose you. God feels the same way about you and He felt the same way about Jonah. When Jonah ran away, God even used a storm and a big whale to bring him back because God never wants anything to get between His children and Him.

It seemed to really make sense to him, and it was a super fun way to spend a morning.

A Jonah and the Whale Hide and Seek Game to Bring the Bible Story to Life


How do you bring the Bible to life for your kids?
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