Monthly Archives: November 2014

Why I Gave in and Finally got an Elf on the Shelf for My Kids

Why I Gave in and Finally got an Elf on the Shelf for My Kids

I really dislike the Elf on the Shelf.

I don’t know why, but I find this mischievously smiling elf to be super-annoying. For the last few years, my Facebook feed have been filled up with all sorts of pictures of this elf visiting houses. Every day, he is doing something different and I get to know about it—whether I want to know or not.

I don’t want to sound cynical here, but I don’t really care that your elf, named “Elf,” undecorated the Christmas tree and moved it across the living room, or unrolled 10 rolls of toilet paper to make a snow village, or wrote a magical message in colored soap all over the bathroom mirror, or poops out toothpaste, or anything else he does.

Seriously, maybe I am just lazy, but planning out those types of scenarios, taking the time to actually make it look like he is doing this type of mischief, then cleaning up after this little fiend—well, that’s just way too involved for me. I mean, I already have three kids that I have to clean up after. Why would I want to give myself more work?

I was doing pretty good keeping this secret from the kids too. Until one day my oldest son heard other kids at school talking about an elf visiting their homes—and all the places he had been hiding and the stuff he’d been doing.

Darn it, I was busted. Now I had to make an excuse for why we didn’t have one. So I told the kids that it sounds like the elf gets into mischief and we don’t want an elf coming to our house and making messes for us to clean up, do we? Lucky for me, one of the moms volunteering at school that day told my son that he must have been good because well-behaved kids don’t get elf visits.

Whew! I figured I was off the hook for good now.

Then, last year, this wretched little elf landed at their cousins’ house. Now, I felt obligated to get them one, so I did, at the end of the season last year….and he made his grand entrance this year the day after Thanksgiving.  I must say, the looks on their faces was worth it when they came downstairs in the morning to find that an elf had finally visited our home!  Their eyes were bright with excitement.  My six-year-old looked at me and confidently proclaimed, “Oh yeah… Santa’s real.”

However, this elf is not going to make messes for me to clean up—if he does, I will for sure send him back to the North Pole early. Maybe he’ll bring some Christmas treats. Maybe he’ll even leave some messages about the true meaning of Chrismas—the birth of Jesus, the gift of giving, and helping others in need.  He might even bring the kids Polar Express Tickets… yes, I know, I am going from despising this elf to making him a Christmas hero…

It wasn’t just out of obligation that I got one though. Each year, since my oldest son started school, I have seen the innocence fade. From proclamations about how Santa can get to everyone’s house in just one night to “the fifth graders said Santa isn’t real,” to the reasoned statement “it is impossible for Santa to visit every house and get in and out so quickly” and “Do you have separate wrapping paper that is for Santa gifts?” When he asks me if Santa is real, I avoid answering the question directly. “He leaves you presents, doesn’t he?” I usually remind him.

This year may be the last year to keep the magic alive. It may be the only year left that all three of my kids will immediately obey at the mere mention of the threat of getting on the naughty list. It may be the last year that they insist on leaving out milk and cookies for Santa, and even carrots for the reindeer. It may be the last year that they write letters to Santa actually believing they make it to the North Pole. It makes me sad that it may be the last year that they will get up at the crack of dawn (although that is no earlier than usual around here!) and run downstairs to see what Santa left and then jump up and down in excitement.

I am just not ready to give that up. I know as they find out, my older sons will play along for their little brother, but it won’t be the same. So if getting a silly elf can keep the wonder and amazement going and allows my boys to be “little” for one more year, then count me in.

I have officially crossed over to a place I never thought I’d go… Elf on the Shelf land.

 

 

An Attitude of Gratitude

Being Grateful All Year Long

Being Grateful All Year Long

Every year during the month of November, we see the 30 days of thankfulness challenge… and that’s wonderful. I know that with Thanksgiving coming up, I am typically more mindful of all the people and things in my life that I am thankful for as well. With Thanksgiving less than one week away, here is a great idea to get kids (and adults!) in a more thankful frame of mind: Make a Thankful Tree.

Work on this during Thanksgiving week with the kids or have a few leaves at each place setting and as you sit down for Thanksgiving dinner, have each person write what they are thankful for on one or two leaves and decorate the Thankful Tree together as a family.

Really easy– and inexpensive– to do:

  • Gather a few small branches or twigs from trees in your yard
  • Arrange in a large vase
  • Make leaves out of construction paper or card stock (click here for a leaf pattern)
  • Punch small hole at one end
  • Tie strings in approximately 1″ loops to hang on branches
Photo via: hallmark.com

Photo via: hallmark.com

This can be used as a centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table or just a beautiful autumn decoration. I really also like that you can use this leaf pattern, or any festive leaves that you cut out, in several decorative ways.  Use as: place cards, labels for food at an hor d’oeuvre table, tie around the stem of a wine glass as name cards.

Photo via: hallmark.com

Photo via: hallmark.com

 

While it is important to have a thankful heart around Thanksgiving, I want to make a concerted effort to display this gratitude all year long– for 365 days in a year.  Start each day with an attitude of gratitude.

So how do you keep a thankful heart every day of the year?  Life gets busy and it is so easy to get bogged down with all of the things that make us unhappy, rather than focusing on all of the good that is present in our lives every day.  Here is a list of ten ways to keep a thankful heart and attitude throughout the entire year:

  1. Read a daily devotional, like Our Daily Bread
  2. Subscribe to a daily email that is inspirational or motivational, such as The Daily Quotes or Daily Inspiring Quotes
  3.  Keep a thankful journal
  4.  Volunteer at a local hospital, retirement home, or community center
  5.  Serve food at a local soup kitchen
  6.  Donate gently used items to charity
  7.  Thank God for all the blessings in your life, each and every day
  8.  Say “Thank you” to others often
  9.  Smile more
  10. Speak positively rather than focusing on the negative

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Valentia Even Glow Serum Review: Natural Skin Care Solution

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Our skin is damaged each day due to environmental pollutants, oxidative stress, and chemical laden cosmetic products. The amount of free radicals waging war on the skin quickly depletes our natural protective resources.

PRODUCT REVIEW

With each passing year, I see more and more the importance of taking care of my skin. I was intrigued by Valentia’s Even Glow Serum because of the benefits that it offers in a natural product. I have tried several “natural” products and not been very impressed… until now. I really like this anti-aging serum– and actually saw results very quickly. This serum goes on smoothly and dries in without leaving a greasy residue. My face and neck felt softer, my skin (which tends to be normal to dry) did not have any dry areas after using this product. I would highly recommend this product.

PRODUCT BACKGROUND

Valentia Skin Care has a premier formulation that is backed by scientific research into the efficacy of each of the natural ingredients that have been carefully selected.

The proprietary blend of *skin super oils compliment the 20% Vitamin C base, leading to a powerful antioxidant treatment. Each natural ingredient was chosen to support and enhance Vitamin C’s efficacy on the skin, leading to more well-rounded serum to add to your daily skin care ritual.

Valentia’s Even Glow Serum will repair, refresh, and renew your skin; restoring evenness to your complexion, giving you an extra boost of confidence each time you look in the mirror.

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SUPERIOR INGREDIENTS:

Vitamin C: With a 20% concentration does more than boost the body’s immune system; it also provides many benefits to keep the skin tight, smooth and looking ageless. Vitamin C has been scientifically proven to reduces the effects of sun exposure on the skin, including sunburn, sun spots, redness and wrinkles.

In addition to helping reduce the signs of aging, Vitamin C is essential for everyday maintenance to strengthen and smooth out the skin, as well as neutralizing free radicals before they can damage the skin.

***Additional Key Ingredients below were all selected for their ability to enhance and support Vitamin C’s effect on the skin.

ORGANIC ROSEHIP SEED OIL & ORGANIC SEA BUCKTHORN OIL – These oils promote skin hydration and lock in moisture to protect your skin from signs of aging and improve its beauty and youthfulness. Rosehip Oil specifically has been used in medical communities around the world for those with serious skin ailments and only recently has North America learned to embrace natural solutions from our ancestors. These two organic oils are full of antioxidants and therefore act as the perfect supporting cast for our best friend – Vitamin C

RESISTEM (Plant Stem Cells) – This provides the perfect mix of protection from stress-related aging and promotes skin detoxification. Resistem will help your skin regenerate faster while protecting it from environmental stressors.

HYALURONIC ACID(Botanical) – Holding up to 1000 times its weight in water and drawing moisture out of the environment and onto the surface of your skin ,there is not a more effective moisturizing agent on the market today. Penetrates deeply, and actives collagen production for a fresher, younger, firmer, and brighter complexion

GREEN TEA EXTRACT– The catechins in green tea are a potent antioxidant which also contribute to the overall anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant benefits of this ancient health and beauty secret.

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98% Natural Ingredients (see below for a description of Key Ingredients chosen specifically to enchance Vitamin C efficacy on the skin)

EVENS SKIN TONE:
Vanquish dark spots and skin discoloration with this new generation Vitamin C Serum. Quickly refresh uneven and ill-textured skin with smooth, wrinkle-free skin that leaves you looking flawless and ageless.

INCREASES GLOW & RADIANCE:
Revitalize your skin with essential fatty acids that leave skin smooth and visibly brighter. Smooth skin capable of reflecting light will give your skin a youthful glow and a brilliant shine for that well-rested and refreshed look.

ABSORBS RAPIDLY:
Moisturizes skin due to the capacity of the hyaluronic acid to absorb water, thereby increasing fluid between cells, giving your skin a smoother and younger appearance. This intense water absorption means no more dry, peeling or cracked skin, even in extreme weather.

BOOSTS COLLAGEN PRODUCTION:
The presence of Organic Rosehip Seed oil to support Vitamin C increases collagen production so your skin retains the elasticity responsible for a youthful appearance and prevents skin sagging associated with aging. Enjoy smooth and supple skin that takes years off your appearance.

REDUCES WRINKLES & FINE LINES:
Reduce the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles with the help of our foundation 20 % Vitamin C. Special ingredients such us Hyaluronic Acid and Organic Sea Buckthorn oil work to plump up the skin, which reduces fine lines and wrinkles in the skin so it is smoother, clearer and younger.

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Click here to try this antioxidant serum today!

*This product was provided to me at no cost by the company; no monetary compensation was given. Review and recommendation are honest and my own.