Category Archives: Holidays

House Cleaning Game Plan

I can not be the only one.

I can not be the only person who planning on entertaining over the holiday season. And now that it is November I can’t delay any longer, I need to start preparing the house!

When it comes to parties (any time of year) or any holiday events I get a little extra neurotic. Which means a quick tidy is not going to cut it. Even a deep cleaning tends to not be enough, right?

Or am I the only person who rearranges stuff, decorates or may even dust light fixtures for this kind of thing? This year I want to move a couch, organize an office, and clean out the cabinets under the kitchen island. Come on, I can’t be alone… right?

The best way to win any battle (and yes, I view this as a battle;) is a great plan. It will take a little time and thought but I promise that it is worth it!

  1. I want you to walk through every room of your house. You are going to write down every single little job that needs to be done. And I mean everything!!! Baseboards, dust light fixture, blinds, dusting the chair legs, everything!
  2. Then you are going to write down the date (or dates) that it needs to be done by. For example, I will only need to relocate a couch once but I will need to wipe down the counters for every event.
  3. Then think about who in your household is going to be the person to do each job! A great rule of thumb is that the youngest person in the house who is able to do the job gets it. Now this is not between the parents but a rule for the kids. The idea is that if you give the kids all the jobs they can do it will free you up to do what only you can do!

I recommend making a separate list for each room. You can even post it in each room so you don’t have wonder where the lists are. If you are married to a fabulous person (like I am) he can then easily see what he needs to do in that room if he is there and has a minute!

I have created a generic list that you can print off and fill out. I also have started a kitchen list and a bathroom list for you but add all your specific needs too!

And most importantly… Make sure you put a check mark in the done column when you are done! There are very few things that make me happier than checking off lists!!!

A little time now + a little planning = a stress free, easy going holiday season!!!

Nutcracker and The Four Realms

I was so excited to get to go to a preview with my mom and see this movie because I have been a fan of the Nutcracker ever since I was little. We would watch it every year before Christmas. And this movie exceeds my expectations very well. It was neither cheesy nor overdone and it was amazing. My only problem was that there was not enough dancing or Misty Copeland but other than that it was incredible.

The great thing about this movie is home it took its inspiration from the different originals. The realms are inspired by the tour of the fairyland that Clara takes with her prince. They did a good job of the picking and choosing what should go into it and what should be left out.

I think that the music was my favorite part. They stuck to the music score we all know and love and set it to a whirlwind of different scenes. They had a Ballet with the starring role played by Misty Copeland that was exquisite and of course, it was set to the original music but the truly incredible part is the way that they added the music to almost every scene without making it seem forced, it was truly a work of art.

I have already been asked by others “Was it scary?” and “Would you say that children can see it?” and I would say that it was just a touch scary but no more so than the original. I know that I used to be scared of the scene where Clara faces the Mouse King and it would frighten me but then I would always laugh when Clara would hit the Mouse King with her shoe.

This is definitely going to be added to our watch list for Christmases to come. I am very excited to show the rest of my family this movie. I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone whether they are huge fans of the Nutcracker or have never seen it. This movie has that something special for everyone. Once you have seen it let me know down in the comments how you liked it and what your favorite part was.



(Disclosure: I watched the movie courtesy of Disney but all opinions and thoughts are mine.)

A Visit to Santa HQ (and a Giveaway)

Visiting Santa was a huge tradition in my childhood. So when HGTV’s Santa HQ and Fashion Fair reached out to me to come check out their high tech Santa experience, I couldn’t resist taking my 2 younger children. HGTV’s Santa HQ isn’t only in Fresno so you can check the site to find a location near you (but I am sure that Fresno’s is the best). You can also set an appointment online. But before I get into telling you all about it, HGTV’s Santa HQ is sponsoring this post and giveaway but these are all my thoughts and opinions!

This is not the boring Santa experience of my youth. This is technology and fun! You can start by picking up a selfie stick so you can grab some great family snapshots along the way. There is so much to see and do before you get to the official picture taking areas, you are going to want to document it!

First, we had to see if they were going to land on the naughty or nice lists! It was touch and go there for a minute;).  Then we go into the Observatory and that is when things got very interactive! We got Elf’ed! They take pictures and then place it into a cute video. They will even email you that video (check NerdFamily’s social media to see ours).

The next area, the proper observatory, is my favorite part. There are interactive spots with AR in a variety of places in the walls and ceilings! Don’t worry about having apps downloaded because there are tablets waiting for you! There are elves, gears, and even snow! 

There is also an opportunity to push buttons!! There is a great dashboard that lets the kids look at the “plans” of the different areas of Santa HQ. 

Next up are the pictures and Santa!!! There are 2 opportunities to have your picture taken. There is a gorgeous backdrop with accessories up first. Then you meet the man of the hour! Santa time! They have the sweetest Santa this year. He really listens to the kids and makes them laugh! And something that the moms will love, he has a large bench that can accommodate more than one child. So you can easily have all your kids in one photo and I love that. 

There are a variety of photo packages you can get right there at Santa HQ that will be printed on the spot. You can also order more online (or let grandma order what she wants). I also love that the digital photos are included in all packages. So while you may print 1 or 2, you will have them all forever. 

One of the best things about this whole experience is the staff. Audrey escorted us through the whole process and even took our pictures. If you see her when you go to Fashion Fair’s Santa HQ please tell her I loved her! We aren’t actually Santa people and this experienced offered so much more than just Santa and you should check it out!
If you aren’t in Fresno don’t worry, HGTV’s Santa HQ is in a variety of locations. Just check the site to find a location and set an appointment! No lines for my readers;).
Fashion Fair wants to help one of my readers to have a Merry Christmas so they are letting me give away a basic photo package. Just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter to enter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

(HGTV’s Santa HQ did sponsor this post but all thoughts are mine and mine alone.)

H is for Hanukkah


Today I guest post over on Life of a Homeschool Mom! I shared a ton of resources on Hanukkah. From history to food to dreidel! I want to thank Heather for having me!

One of our favorite things in the holiday season is Hanukkah! It is the Jewish festival of lights! In 2016 it starts on December 24th. Hanukkah is the perfect mix of history, culture, fun, food, and celebrating for any homeschooler to do a little learning and celebrate! Here are a few resources to help you have a great Hanukkah!

(Continue reading)

Bargains for Eating Out on Halloween


I don’t know about you but Halloween can be crazy over here! This year we are taking the kids to church for a couple of hours then we are going Trick or Treating. Somewhere in the middle of that we will also be eating dinner;). Luckily, many restaurants want your Halloween eating out dollars! Here are a few of the deals I know of this year!

Jamba Juice– My local Jamba Juice is running kids’ smoothies half off and are giving $1 coupons off for adult smoothies too. They did tell me that different areas may have different deals.

Chili’s– They are running a promotion where kids in costume eat free! That is 1 kid’s meal to 1 adult meal purchased. I received a coupon in my email but I don’t think it is needed.

Outback– The Outback has a coupon on their site that is good for kid’s meals that are $2.99 or 15% off your whole bill. The really nice thing about this deal is that it is good for dine in or curbside take away!

Chipotle– They are running a $3 burrito deal when you add something unnecessary to your costume.

Sonic Drive In– They are running 50 cent corn dogs to celebrate Halloween!

Sizzler– Sizzler is also running a kids eat free in costume deal. It is also 1 kids meal to every 1 adult meal purchased. 

Baja Fresh– They are also running a kids eat free in costume promotion! It is also a 1 kids meal to 1 adult meal deal.

So the real question is: Where are you eating this Haloween?

Tips to Enjoying Fireworks with Kids

The 4th of July is a really big deal over here, lets be honest, because of the fireworks. It is great fun for kids and adults alike. But when you are dealing with any activity that has fire, explosions, and is after bedtime things can get a little stressful. But doing fireworks at home with the kids can be fun and enjoyable with a little planning and strategy!  

1) Be clear about when you will start doing fireworks! Nothing drives everyone crazy more than adults say later & the kids have no idea what that means so they keep asking when! Save everyone the grief and give a time a little later than when you think you will actually start!

2) Give the children something specific to do while you are waiting for it to be dark enough. There is so much anticipation that it will be hard for the kids to find something to do so help them out! Have a movie or a craft for them to do or be specific on what you want them to build with Legos. It will help keep everyone sane and out of your hair!

3)Lay out a blanket for them to sit during the fireworks. This gives them a safe, clear area to be in and it is easy to monitor. You also don’t have to make sure that they are sitting nicely or not ricking back in a flimsy outdoor chair.

4) Have something for them to do during the fireworks. There are those lulls while you are setting up, lighting and resetting fireworks. This is a perfect time for a little dessert. We also always do the glow dark bracelets from the Dollar stores. It keeps their hands busy so they don’t get restless. Make sure you have enough glow in the dark bracelets so if 1 doesn’t work or if someone wants another color there is no fighting.

5) Be clear ahead of time about the children’s involvement. Will they get to light 1 firework during the night? Will they get to play with the Morning Glories? What ever will or won’t be happening should be talked about before the fireworks begin so expectations are set.

6) Have a plan for when the fireworks are over. In our house everyone picks up their dessert stuff and bracelets and goes inside. We say goodbye to any friends that are over. Then they throw the garbage away and then go 1 by 1 from oldest to youngest to brush teeth and put on their pj’s. By the time they are done, Dad is done cleaning up and they are ready for bed. A little structure makes them focused and calmer!

With just a little planning you and your kids can have a fun and safe 4th of July!!!

Free Printables for Geeky Valentine’s Day Cards

Geeky Printable Valentines
Kids go out every year looking for Valentine’s Day cards that represent their personality. But when you pop into the shops rarely do you find great geeky Valentine’s cards for the geeky kids! And when you look online they can be quite pricey. So why not print them off for free? Here are 4 geeky Valentine’s Day cards with a varying level of crafting to get them into give able shape!

First up are the straight printables!

Brain Power Boys has a collection of great “boy friendly” Valentine’s that my girls love too! They range from robots to superheros and are super cute! Just print and hand them out!

Heidi Schulz has the most adorable Doctor Who Valentine printables! They cover everything from Oods to Daleks to Angels. These are another print and go!

If you want to do just a bit more work we can pop over to a Star Wars theme! Design Wash Repeat has the coolest Yoda Best Valentine’s Day printable! They get kicked up to the next level with just the addition of a glow stick!

And if you want to go even geekier and nerdier… the coolest for last! Left Brain Craft Brain has awesome Light Up Circuit Valentine’s. While they sound complicated, they are so easy! If you can use white glue, you can make these!

Remember, even geeks can represent with their Valentines! So how are you and your kids letting your geek flag wave?

6 Cheap & Last Minute Adult Halloween Costume Accessories

I am not a costume person. I am not the mom who builds out her costume for Halloween or even themed parties. And frankly, neither is my husband. But it doesn’t translate to me wanting to completely snub Halloween and Halloween costumes because my kids will get a kick out of what ever I do;). But the reality is that I just started thinking about it today. Which means I don’t have time to go shopping and I don’t want to spend a lot. But wig, hat or accessory can really make a huge impact.

6 Cheap & Last Minute Adult Halloween Costume Accessories

So I have put together a list of great pieces that are all available with free Amazon Prime 2 day shipping!

1. Roman Laurel Wreath: This is great for anyone and easy to store for later use. I think I would also use this for a history unit;).

2. Court Jester/Elf Hat: This fun piece does double, no triple, duty with Halloween, Christmas, and Mardi Gras!

3. Pharaoh’s Hat: I mean, who doesn’t love a Pharaoh’s hat? It make a costume.

4. Caveman Wig and Beard: Do you really need anything more? Including a jacket to keep warm, I think that get up has you covered.

5. Hot Pink Bob Wig: Who doesn’t want to have a cute and funky wig. It will also store great without a lot of length to get tangled.

6. Doctor Who Fez & Bowtie: It is Doctor Who. This will get a ton of use in any geek household. Need I really say more?


Looking for more Halloween talk? Don’t have the costumes all set for the kids? Make sure to check out my 9 tips for Do it Yourself Halloween Costumes!

And remember that candy is not your only option for Halloween handouts. Check out my 5 Affordable Non-Candy Handouts!