Thursday, December 24, 2015

Our Christmas Traditions

It's Christmas Eve here in NJ. It's already 67 degrees and we are only getting warmer today. It is by far the weirdest holiday weather I can remember. I am NOT complaining. It may be weird but it makes for great memories and that what Christmas is all about.

Growing up my mom was always so great about incorporating Christmas traditions into our holiday. Now that we have Jack I have been trying to do the same. Over the years many of the traditions were planned but most of them just sort of happened.

Holiday Lights- When we were kids we would drive all over New York City for the houses with the best lights. It was always one of my most favorite things to do. Now that we are older and living in NJ we drive around to find the best lights. I always treat myself and my husband to hot coco. Last year Jack slept through it. I'm hoping that in the years to come he will enjoy it even more.

Christmas Crafts- Each year before having Jack my husband (begrudgingly) and I would make something crafty for Christmas. I'm sure he is thrilled that I make Jack do it now too. In years past we have made ornaments, stockings, and wreaths.

New Pajamas-  Each Christmas Eve we are allowed to open just one gift and they were always a pair of new pajamas so we could all look super fresh for Christmas morning pictures.

Feast of the Seven Fish- This is an Italian tradition that my mom had taken over from her mother in law. My mom cooks up an amazing feast each Christmas Eve. We enjoy fried calamari, mussels marinara, stuffed flounder, spaghetti with clam sauce, clams, crab cakes and smeltz. It is my most favorite meal of the entire year.

 Christmas Movies- All of December we watch tons of Christmas movies. We have our favorites and more but always seem to find new ones to love on. I have watched Home Alone about 10 times already this year!

Angel Tree- My mom always made it a point for us to donate during the holiday season. Each year our family would either sponsor a family or purchase gifts to give children a great holiday. My mom always wanted us to know how lucky we were. We have continued this tradition with our family too. This year we worked along with the Boys and Girls Club and purchased a bunch of toys for 8-10 year olds. We bought craft projects, scrap book stuff, Frozen playsets, and Barbies.

T'was the Night Before Christmas- It wouldn't be Christmas with out all of us reading it before
bedtime! It is the most perfect way to end Christmas eve but we usually don't end there. We finish it off with wine and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

Making Reindeer Food- We started this one just last year and it was so much fun. We actually did it at work too and the kids loved it.

Skyland's Light Show- This year will be a first for us and we loved it. I'm so glad we are going to make it a tradition. I can't wait to pack us in the car for the 1 mile light display. Apparently they are over 2 million lights. They also have a Christmas Village where Jack met Santa and made his own Santa hat.

What are some of your family's Christmas Traditions?

Merriest of Christmas wishes to you and your families!

Favorite Christmas Tunes

Each year I find myself posting about our favorite Christmas movies whether they be major motion picture or the silly ones you find on Lifetime, ABC Family and of course Hallmark. I realized after all these years blogging I have never shared some of my favorite Christmas tunes. 

  1. I’ll Be Home For Christmas by Bing Crosby 
  2. Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire by Nat King Cole
  3. Winter Wonderland by Johnny Mathis 
  4. Last Christmas by Wham!
  5. Where Are You Christmas  by Faith Hill 
  6. All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey
  7. Silver Bells by Anne Murray
  8. Wonderful Christmastime by Paul McCartney
  9. Jingle Bell Rock by Bobby Helms
  10. Baby, It's Cold Outside by Dean Martin
  11. Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee
  12. A New York City Christmas by Rob Thomas
  13. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmass by Frank Sinatra
  14. Winter Wonderland by James Taylor
  15. Joy to the World by Pentatonic
  16. The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by 
  17. Holly Jolly Christmas by Burl Ives
  18. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing 
  19. Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer 
  20. Deck The Halls by Bing Crosby
  21. Do They Know It’s Christmas? by Band Aid
  22. Oh Holy Night by Celine Dion
  23. Happy Holiday by Mel Torme
  24. Frosty The Snowman by Jimmy Durante
  25. We Wish You A Merry Christmas by Bing Crosby
  26. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas by Bing Crosby
  27. Little Drummer Boy by Bing Crosby and David Bowie
  28. Santa Baby by Eartha Kitt
  29. Happy Christmas by John Lennon
  30. Angels We Have Heard On High  by Josh Groban

I hope you find yourselves humming these tunes today and tomorrow as your surrounded by all of those you love!

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs? 
Do you prefer the classics or the new versions? 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Toddler's Christmas Wish List

My little toddler already has so many toys which he rarely plays with so this Christmas we are going really easy.  Last year for Christmas we went nuts and it was ridiculous. I still have toys from last year that he hasn't even touched and a bunch of toys he got that he barely even looks at. Jack loves playing ball and occasionally he plays with cars or trucks. Our big gift for Jack this year are swim lessons. They are on the pricey side so they are going to be a big part of Jack's Christmas gift and his birthday gift too. Sidebar- He finally didn't SCREAM his way through his last class. It only took 5 scream sessions. Having a birthday 2 weeks after Christmas is tough. It's tough for the kids when they get a bit older and its really tough on the wallets of parents too!I haven't even begun to think about a birthday party. While I procrastinate here are some of the things on Jack's wish list.

While you're browsing could you do me a favor and say a happy thought or prayer or whatever you do. Jack got nasty viral thing going on. He had croup last week which landed us at the hospital. I just he's all better as soon as possible especially for Christmas.

Here are just a few things on Jack's Christmas wish list.

Toddler Christmas

What are some of the things on your little one's wish list?

Friday, December 18, 2015

Oh Hey HOLIDAY Friday

The holiday season is my most favorite time of year and not because of all the holiday hoopla. I could care less about the sales and the crowded malls. I just love being surrounded by the wonder of the season. I'm so glad we got almost all of our holiday fun in the last several weeks. Jack came down with the croup the other night and we ended up at the hospital with him yesterday. We have strict orders for lots of rest the next several days!
Here are my holiday favorites.

1) Hallmark Movies- I am a big time sucker for the Hallmark Channel this time of year. I've always enjoyed them but when I was pregnant I remember getting up every morning at 4am. When I would get up I would always put on Hallmark and watch one. It's a reminder of those quiet mornings with my baby. I'd talk to my tummy while watching. Life has changed so much since those quiet mornings. 

2) Gift Giving- I am a shopaholic so Christmas time is always so fun for me. I always shop early to avoid the holiday crowds. This year we have decided a kids only Christmas for my side of the family in addition to my parents and grandma. None of the adults want for anything, especially me! It's so much more fun buying for babies anyway. This year I get to shop for my niece and our soon to arrive cousin's son. Shopping will be  was so much fun! I did the bulk of it on Amazon last weekend.

3) Sharing Christmas With Our Son- Jack will be turning 2 just a few weeks after Christmas. I am really looking forward to crafting with him, visiting Santa (Did that already. It was not good), Santa breakfasts, holiday light shows, Christmas carols and all the other holiday traditions we share and will continue to share as he grows.

4) Home for the Holidays- Before purchasing our home I lived in the most adorable town in upstate NY. Warwick New York is one of those towns you see in those Hallmark movies (actually several movies have been filmed in Warwick.) Historic Downtown is awesome during the holiday season. Each Sunday the town has free horse and carriage rides through the town. The shops all serve hot coco, hot cider and cookies. The Warwick Chorale walks through the town singing Christmas Carols. It is like something out of a movie. If you are ever in the Hudson Valley I highly suggest making a stop in Warwick NY. You won't regret it.



5) Decorating- I'm stressing out like crazy about decorating this year. We just got measured to rip up all of our floors and get new hardwood. However, I am stressed about getting them done asap and if not I'm seriously thinking of waiting until after Christmas. I religiously start decorating the morning after Thanksgiving. So if the contractor can't get to us before then we are waiting till January. Is that ridiculous?

What are your favorites?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A Holly Jolly Weekend

 We jam packed as much Christmas into 3 days as we possibly could this last weekend. We have been laying low these last several weekend. Between feeling down and out Jack and I both getting really sick and just getting a tooth pulled (me) I just haven't felt much in the Christmas spirit. I really wanted to change that so this weekend we were as holly and jolly as anyone could imagine!

We have seen the most glorious, record breaking weather in New Jersey. It has been 60 degrees for the last 3 days. It's been magical. I could live with out the cold and the snow forever! I swear I should live not more north than the Carolinas!

Friday night after work we packed into the car and went to see a local light, drive through light show. It was fantastic. I sat with Jack in the back seat and he couldn't take his eyes off the lights. I heard lots of "Trees, Lights, Snowman, Santa" It was so great. He clapped his hands and smiled as bright as he could! After the drive through show they hosted an indoor winter wonderland filled with fake falling snow, Santa, crafts and a s'mores station. Jack had a blast! He didn't like Santa as you can tell from the picture below but he loved the manger scene.

At the craft station Jack got to decorate a Santa hat.
More like mommy did it and he demanded food because he was sitting at a table. 

This was his reaction when we told him he couldn't dance with the dance school! 

On Saturday we celebrated the birthday of our close friend's son. After the party and the hours drive home from PA we decided to take advantage of the 60 degree night and take a family walk, with out coats! I think this was my favorite part of the entire weekend. It was just the 3 of us. It was calm and quiet. We talked and admired our neighbor's Christmas lights. We topped off the night with some red wine and A Gift Wrapped Christmas. Thank you Lifetime Christmas movies!

On Sunday we had another glorious weather day. We decided to try a little something different. Jack has not really enjoyed the usual Christmas Santa events. They seem to scare him. I thought visiting a live animal nativity would be something right up his alley. We went to an adorable farm called Farmstead Estate where they had the most adorable animals to feed and pet. Jack was totally in his element. He, WE, all had such a great time. We topped off our weekend with another 60+ degree family walk.
He must dance! Where ever there is music he dances away! 

Our new friends the pigmy goats

Hannah and Domino the sweetest lamas I have ever met! 

Feeding our new friends. 

Pepper the chinchilla 

I'm in love! 

All and all this was one of the most perfect family weekends we have shared in a long time.

Have you done any fun Christmas activities?

Does your toddler hate Santa as much as Jack seems to?