Reducing Stress During The Holidays: 4 Tips

Reducing Stress During The Holidays

This is a partnered post.

It’s supposed to be “The most wonderful time of the year”, but we all know that the holiday season can also bring undue stress. With schedules becoming more overloaded and hectic than ever before, holiday pressure becomes compounded to the point where everyone seems frazzled. And yet, we can’t seem to stop the seasonal stress! Managing overload is an ongoing process for all of us – here are a few strategies that I’ve developed over the years:

  • Think carefully about your priorities. What do you most value doing this time of year? What are your traditions – and do you really enjoy them? It can be easy to do things out of obligation or just because “That’s what you do”. If you stop and identify the things you most love about the holiday season, it allows you to focus on things that are rewarding and cut out anything that isn’t necessary. There are some things that are non-negotiable parts of Christmas for me (Like having a tree) and other things that are fun, but won’t derail the holiday if they don’t happen (Like making a gingerbread house). Make sure that whatever you’re spending time on is truly important to you!
  • Say “No” when necessary – even if it breaks with tradition. This is really difficult for me to do, and not just during the holidays. I don’t like letting people down, and I don’t want to miss out on anything myself. But after years of pushing myself to the breaking point, I’m slowly embracing “No”. For example, I’m known for hosting epic Halloween parties every year – a tradition that began when I was 19 and has continued to this day. But I had to take a few years off from doing it when work and health issues made it impossible for me to throw my usual shindig. It was a big disappointment to everyone – most of all, me! – but after having a break, I was able to come back with Halloween parties that were better than ever!
  • Don’t be afraid of change. The one constant in life is change, and the holidays can be an emotional reminder of this. As the years go by, families grow, move around, and bring new ideas and ways of celebrating into the fold. This can often be a bone of contention, so if you’re struggling with this, one thing that is helpful is to try and focus on the new traditions that are being created rather than dwelling on how things used to be. And if you remember point #1, you can make sure that you’re still observing what matters to you – regardless of whether your siblings still want to open their presents at midnight or not.
  • Accept that the season will have speedbumps no matter what – and try to see the funny side! Pies will be burnt, ornaments will break, and Uncle Steve will have too much Wassail before caroling. Accept the fact now that not everything will go to plan over the holidays – and try to laugh off the ridiculousness whenever possible!


For more ideas on managing holiday pressure, you might want to check out Molina Healthcare’s article, “Tips to Handle Stress“, which outlines more coping strategies – for the holidays, and beyond!

Fossil Fashion The Erin Handbag in Red

I’m working with Fossil and I’m in love again. Fossil was a brand I adored as a child, yes a child. From then on I always felt extravagant having a watch that was a Fossil watch. As I got older I gave up watches for cell phones and now I’m tempted to put them back on, but I’ve found they also make such fashionable bags. This gorgeous red bag is The Erin. I love red, I love how it just splashes color to almost anything. I also love how big this bag is because my camera will fit perfectly in it. The leather is soft and it makes me smile. Silly I know for an item to evoke such emotion but it does. I LOVE it.

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The season’s most luscious shades—lavender, pastel green and golden yellow—make Erin an eye-catching treat. With a detachable strap, Fossil designed this chic satchel in our softest leather with a touchable, worn-in finish. I made a video so you can see it there too!

 

Details:

  • Closure: Zipper
  • Exterior Details: 2 zipper pockets
  • Handles / Straps: Detachable, adjustable strap and double handle
  • Interior Details: 2-media-pockets-and-zipper-pocket
  • Interior Material: Twill- 100% Cotton
  • Material: Leather
  • Measurements: 13.5"L x 6.5"W x 9.5"H
  • Origin: Imported
  • Warranty: 1
  • Drop: 18.5"
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This is something I’m going to keep. I usually donate almost everything we get from the blog, but during the Holidays I save toys for the kids and this is one item I’m saving for myself.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Kids: Is it on your List?

The Galaxy Tab 3 Kids comes equipped with parental controls, educational and entertainment apps, and unique content just for kids in a fun, interactive and secure family tablet. The Galaxy Tab 3 Kids will be available for pre-order beginning Nov. 1, launching in stores Nov. 10 for $229.99, and comes with a protective bumper case.

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“Today’s kids are incredibly tech-savvy and regularly use technology at home, at school and on-the-go,” said Nanda Ramachandran, vice president of emerging business, Samsung Mobile.  “Studies* show that 70 percent of tablet owners share their tablets with their children.  The Galaxy Tab 3 Kids is engaging, encourages learning and fosters creativity in a safe environment that parents can easily manage.”

The Galaxy Tab 3 Kids features a bright, colorful display and an intuitive Kids mode that children can easily navigate.  The new 7-inch Wi-Fi tablet’s content-rich features create a dynamic, interactive and fun experience for kids while keeping them safe and secure.

“Samsung is committed to offering products that fit the needs of all consumers and the addition of the Galaxy Tab 3 Kids offers a safe introduction to mobile technology,” said Travis Merrill, vice president of tablet marketing, Samsung Electronics America.  “The Galaxy Tab 3 Kids provides a tablet experience that can grow and adapt with the whole family.”

The tablet is packed with free pre-loaded content and entertainment specifically for kids, including game applications. The Galaxy Tab 3 Kids lets users browse apps in the Samsung Apps store, with an added level of protection through the Applications Manager.  The Applications Manager allows parents to review and manage the apps their kids can access, giving full control over what apps are purchased and explored. Kids can also discover and request new content by creating a wish list within the new Kids Store.  Parents can then review and purchase the apps they think are appropriate for their child.

Pre-loaded content and features include:

- Special Kid’s Interface:  Easily access kid-specific content through the easy to navigate user interface, including kid-friendly apps and games.

- Kid-Friendly Games: Toca Train, Wipeout, Fruit Ninja, Disney’s Toy Story: Smash It! and Where’s My Perry£¿ and more.


- Educational Apps:
Learn ABCs and 123s with educational apps including I Learn With Ocean, Dolphin Reader, Inventions 2 and Kids Planet Discovery


- Built-In Camera:
Capture moments or create movies with the 3-megapixel rear-facing camera and 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera.  In Kids mode, the camera features fun and interactive settings that let kids add stickers or costumes to photos.


- Parental Controls:
Manage a child’s tablet experience, including what content kids can access, as well as when and how long they use the tablet at one time.  In addition, you can control the transition between Standard mode and Kids mode with PIN-based access.


- Built-For-Kids Case:
Protect the lightweight, portable tablet from bumps and bruises with the colorful, easy-to-hold case available in orange.

The Galaxy Tab 3 Kids comes with access to additional content and services through Galaxy Perks, including a $10 credit for the purchase of applications, books, movies and music in Google Play; free 12-months of Boingo Mobile Wi-Fi access; 3-Month Hulu Plus Membership for new users; two years of up to 50GB of DropBox storage; and more.  Learn more about Galaxy Perks at http://www.samsung.com/us/galaxyperks.

The Galaxy Tab 3 Kids will be available for pre-order beginning Nov. 1 and in stores Nov. 10 for $229.99 at Samsung.com, Amazon, Best Buy, Fry’s, Office Depot, Sam’s Club, Tiger Direct and Toys “R” Us. In addition, a Galaxy Tab 3 Kids hard case bundle will be offered starting at $249.99.

Why We Like The World of Eric Carle™ My First Smart Pad Library

We received samples our opinions are our own.

We received the World of Eric Carle™ My First Smart Pad Library and it combines eight great interactive books with a two-sided, hand-held electronic activity pad that’s perfectly sized for little hands. The eight books feature much-loved Eric Carle artwork, and focus on early learning concepts including alphabet, spelling, opposites, and rhymes, as well as animal names, behaviors, habitats, and sizes. The two-sided electronic activity pad features 51 padded letter and picture buttons that play letter names, alphabet games, animal sounds, and music. The books prompt children to press buttons while they read to bring the pages to life. The Smart Pad Library is recommended for children ages 3 to 6 and retails for $29.95 at retailers including Target, Walmart, Toys R Us, Kohl’s and Barnes & Noble. 

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Looking at the Eric Carle™ My First Smart Pad Library I was thinking about my son and daughter and what they would get out of the book. Of course there is letter recognition for Miles, you can even play games where it asks you to find the first letter of a word like dolphin. For Zoe, she can easily read all of the books already so it would help her with spelling, so I like the spelling games. If you’re children are younger closer to age three, this is a fantastic buy because they have so much to learn from it. They can learn animal sounds, opposites, colors, letters, whatever you work on with them they can learn it.

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I love the size and the feel of the buttons, I also love how it isn’t just another electronic game you also get eight books for the kids to read and spell with. Zoe’s favorite activity is to read, she could read every night. Here is a quick little video I made showing you the kids of games you can play and the sounds that it makes as you spell words with it.

 

Also, be sure to check out The World of Eric Carle on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, where they offer additional free downloadable activities, family-friendly creative projects,inspiring ideas, as well as the latest and greatest from their line of products.

Disney Fourth of July Crafts and Dishes

Patriotic Popsicles

Berry Flag Pull-Apart Cake

4th of July Flag Cake

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Uncle Sam Hat Treat Holders

Red, White and Blue Paper Napkin Wreath

Firecracker Crowns

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Mickey’s Patriotic Tie-Dye

Minnie’s 4th of July Headband

Printable 4th of July Candy Box

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With the 4th of July coming up next week, I wanted to share some of Spoonful.com’s new and patriotic ideas to help you celebrate the holiday! Spoonful.com features easy to navigate categories (cook, create, play and celebrate), allowing you to find just what your’re looking for to celebrate Independence Day – including delicious July 4th inspired treats in “cook”, colorful crafts in “create” and so on.  Best of all, the site was built to allow for easy viewing across computers, tablets and mobile devices – perfect for parents on the go.

“Cirque Du Soleil: Worlds Away” Comes to Seattle

From the big top to the big screen, visionary Academy Award®-winning filmmaker James Cameron and director Andrew Adamson (“Shrek,” “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”) invite you and your family on an all new 3D adventure: “CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: WORLDS AWAY.”  A young couple who is separated must journey through the astonishing and dreamlike worlds of Cirque du Soleil to find each other as audiences experience the immersive 3D technology that will allow them to leap, soar, swim and dance with the performers.  Written and directed by Andrew Adamson and executive produced by James Cameron. The film was produced by Adamson, Aron Warner, Cirque’s Martin Bolduc and Ed Jones and Cary Granat. Vince Pace oversaw the 3D stereo production aspect of the film.

“CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: WORLDS AWAY” opens in theaters everywhere December 21st, 2012, with showtimes at 12:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.  Additional showtimes beginning December 25th.

With Advance Movie Ticket Purchase, Film Goers Are Entered to Win a Trip to Las Vegas or A Year of Free Movie Passes

clip_image001WHAT:          To celebrate the release of its upcoming 3D film spectacular, “CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: WORLDS AWAY,” Paramount Pictures is proud to announce that the film’s feature performers will be appearing exclusively at the Northgate Mall aboard their “Vessel of Dreams”, allowing shoppers to experience the magic of the movie event of the year as it hits theaters December 21st, with 12pm & 7pm showtimes.

Fans will have the chance to purchase discounted tickets to showings of “CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: WORLDS AWAY” onsite, courtesy of Fandango, and enter to win two fantastic prizes courtesy of ”CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: WORLDS AWAY” and Fandango: A trip for two to Las Vegas to see a Cirque du Soleil show or a year of free movie passes from Fandango!

WHEN:          Friday, December 21, 2012 from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

WHERE:        Northgate Mall

401 NE Northgate Way, Seattle, WA 98125

*Performances will occur near the food court.

New Hershey’s Holiday Treats #Giveaway

I went to the grocery store yesterday and stocked up on baking supplies, then when I got home I had a delivery from Hershey’s. I was so excited to see al the new holiday themed treats inside. Now comes the fun, combining the baking supplies with the Hershey’s goodies.

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New Items:

· Hershey’s Christmas Village Tins Assortment – (Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures or Hershey’s Kisses Brand Milk Chocolates )

· Twizzlers Pull-N-Peel Cherry 2-foot Bar

· Hershey’s Kisses Brand Milk Chocolates and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures 36 oz. Bags

· Hershey’s Snap-Apart Snowman, which breaks off into perfectly sized pieces, making it great for sharing with a loved one.

Classic Treats Dressed for the Holidays:

· NEW LOOK– Hershey’s Nuggets Milk Chocolate

· NEW LOOK– Hershey’s Special Dark Nuggets with Almonds

Now I’m thinking up some creative recipes like Pot of Gold cookies. I’m going to mix up a batch of sugar cookie mix and then place a piece of Hershey’s Pot of Gold chocolate in the center of each cookie ball and then bake them. I’m pretty excited to start getting creative and see how they are received on Wednesday night at church. I signed up to make 2 dozen cookies. So I’m also going to figure out a way to use the Hershey’s Kisses in a creative way. I’m really inspired by some Hershey’s recipes on their recipe website.

Hershey’s can help set-the-table for your Holiday parties. Whip up a warm drink such as Hot Cocoa for a Crowd with Hershey’s Cocoa, or bake up a batch of Kissmas Almond Cookies made with Hershey’s Kisses Brand Milk Chocolates with Almonds. I’ll be baking all week and sharing my new recipes. For now, I would love for you to win a prize like this as well.

Enter to Win:

Assortment of Hershey’s treats

To Enter:

Leave a comment telling me what kind of recipe you could come up with

Extra Entries:

Use the rafflecopter and leave a way for us to verify

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

This giveaway ends January 1st. Please see the giveaway rules. Sample received

FamilyFun Marshmallow GingerKids Recipe

Here’s another very easy recipe to make from , FamilyFun Magazine (familyfunmag.com) , no baking involved, just melt some chocolate.

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Family Fun Magazine
Dec/Jan 2013

Marshmallow GingerKids Recipe

Ingredients:

Large Marshmallows
Mini Marshmallows
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoons ginger
1 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

Combine 1/2 cup sugar with 2 teaspoons cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoons ginger in a medium bowl and set it aside.

Fill another medium bowl with water. Melt 1 cup white chocolate chips according to the package directions, then transfer the chocolate to a ziplock bag and snip off a corner.

To form each pop, slide two marshmallows onto a lollipop stick. Use the melted chocolate to adhere mini marshmallow arms and legs as shown. Let the chocolate set.

Dip the pop in the water, then roll it in the sugar mixture until coated.

Pipe on a chocolate face, then use more chocolate to attach heart and confetti sprinkle buttons, bows, and bow ties.

FamilyFun Gingerbread Biscotti Recipe

Oh my, I’ve got to get off my computer and stop looking at all the really great recipes out there. The recipes on FamilyFun Magazine (familyfunmag.com) are making me so very hungry. I found this Gingerbread biscotti recipe and I have permission to re-share with you guys. It looks so good and I haven’t made biscotti in four years. It’s actually really easy to make so I’m going to try this really soon and recommend that you do too.  gingerbread biscotti

FamilyFun Gingerbread Biscotti Recipe

Ingredients

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons light molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces white chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. In a stand mixer set on medium speed, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg, molasses, and vanilla extract and mix until well incorporated. Reduce the mixer’s speed to low and blend in the flour mixture.

2. With slightly wet hands, halve the dough and shape each piece into a 2 1/2-by-9-inch rectangle. Transfer the loaves to the prepared baking sheet and bake them until they’re golden brown and their tops are just starting to crack, about 25 minutes. Let the loaves cool on the sheet and reduce the oven’s temperature to 325 degrees.

3. Use a sharp knife to cut each loaf into 3/4 inch thick slices. Place the slices cut side down on the baking sheets and bake them until they’re toasted, about 8 minutes. The pieces should be crunchy on the outside but not hard. Transfer them to a rack to cool completely.

4. Melt the white chocolate chips in a heat-safe bowl according to the package directions, then spoon it into a ziplock bag and snip off a corner. Drizzle the biscotti with the melted chocolate. Let the coating set before serving.

 

Family Fun Magazine shared this information with me.

Water Babies and Build-A-Bear Collectibles – Great Gifts for Preschool and School Age Girls from PlaymatesToys

Water Babies and Build-A-Bear Collectibles – Great Gifts for Preschool and School Age Girls from PlaymatesToys

By: Ashley

Baby dolls and teddy bears are classic Christmas gifts for children. PlaymatesToys has taken those two classic gifts and given them a serious update. With Waterbabies and Build-A-Bear Collectibles, young children will be able to pretend, make-believe and play with creative toys.

 

 

What are Waterbabies? They’ve actually been around for a little while, but that doesn’t make them any less appealing to little girls in search of a cute baby doll that feels real. Yep, that’s right. Waterbabies don’t just feel like your typical plastic doll. Waterbabies are made with a special design that lets you pour warm water into the doll. When you touch the arms and legs of the doll, they feel real! That is something any little one will think is amazing. Add to that the wide variety of appearances and themes that Waterbabies come in (everything from fairies, to ballerinas, to soccer players, etc.), and you’ve got a great toy. (Recommended for ages 3 and up.)

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Next on my list from PlaymatesToys are the Build-A-Bear Collectibles. We all know Build-A-Bear to be the place where you go and create your own teddy bear. PlaymatesToys has a line of collectible figures that allow anyone anywhere (not just near the Build-A-Bear stores) to have fun playing with small plastic versions of the well loved bears. The sets are more like action sets that come with a few props allowing children to imagine any situation they would like for their bears. (Recommended for ages 4 and up.)

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PlaymatesToys.com has so much more than just Waterbabies and Build-A-Bears, though these are really cute! Check them out online and find their products in most major toy retailers and on Amazon.com.

About Ashley (Managing Editor at MomStart): Ashley is a mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend, and former teacher working to navigate through the mysterious world of Mommyia. Read more about her adventures at Momicles and follow her @Momicles2010

Disclosure – A product was provided to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.