13 Family Halloween Traditions

It’s my favorite time of year – HALLOWEEN! Since I can remember, I have loved everything about this holiday. From the costumes, to the pumpkins, and of course the candy, I have found this spooktacular day absolutely delightful.

Every year, my family would partake in Halloween traditions and now that I have two kids of my own, we’ve started our own traditions! Here are our 13 Halloween tradition/festivities:

  1. Decorate: There is something magical that happens when we pull the Halloween decorations down from the attic. Not only does it signify a soon-to-be Happy Halloween, but that Thanksgiving and Christmas are close behind. Now that my first born is old enough, he is so excited to place the skeletons, light-up pumpkins, candy hand towels, etc. all around the house and outside.
  2. Costumes: We are now beyond the point where I can pick out what my kids are going to be. My oldest knew well before October what he wanted to be there year – the HULK! “Hulk SMASH!” This kid loves three things: alligators, dinosaurs, and the HULK.  Obviously since were going down the Marvel pipeline, our youngest has to be Spider-Man. I just love how excited everyone is to pick out their new costume.
  3. Pumpkin picking: I mean, is it even fall/Halloween if you don’t pick a pumpkin? Enough said.
  4. Pumpkin carving/painting: I can remember my favorite pumpkin carving was the ThunderCats logo. It was awesome! These days, it’s a classic Jack O’Lantern carving, but the kids love it. They find the “pumpkin guts” wonderful and disgusting all at the same time.
  5. Pumpkin seeds: Speaking of “pumpkin guts,” the roasting of pumpkin seeds is essential. This year Ro was able to salt and pepper the seeds during prep and he had so much fun. We all LOVE pumpkin seeds and within a day or two, they are gone.
  6. Fall/Halloween fests: This year we started a new tradition, we went to our first local fall fest. We dressed up, the boys in their Hulk and Spider-Man costumes, while I wore a Captain America mask. A trunk or treat, pumpkin picking, music, dancing, and all the good things Halloween has to offer in one local community event. We can’t wait to go again next year.
  7. Creepy the spider: Ro got this fuzzy spider from my mom, that we affectionately call Creepy. Every night once Ro falls asleep, we move Creepy around the house and he has to look for him in the morning. He enjoys the hunt and we think it’s pretty cute when he says, “Creepy. Don’t run away. I love you.”
  8. Monster mash: We love a good song and dance session. Spotify has an awesome playlist that we have been listening to on loop – Monster Jams. I love that my kids like to be goofy with me. “We did the mash, we did the monster mash” and yes, “it was a graveyard smash.”
  9. Halloween books: Bedtime reading is a sacred time in this house. We read at least two books a night and we have a collection of Halloween books we read over and over again. Our new favorite is Fisher Price’s Little People “Halloween is Here” which has over 50 flaps of fun.
  10. Nightly lighting: The outside of our house is adorned with a yellow and green glowy spotlight, skeletons, orange lights, and illuminated eyeballs. Before my oldest goes to bed, we head outside and turn on our spooky display. It’s become our nightly ritual.
  11. Target tours: This has become a tradition without intention. Every time we go into the “Mothership” (i.e. Target) or any store with a Halloween section, we always stop and stroll down every aisle. It doesn’t matter how many times we’ve examined the costumes and outdoor displays, we always have to stop.
  12. Teacher gifts: I am THAT parent that gives a gift to the teachers at every holiday. It is our tradition to shower the boy’s teachers with spectacular treats. We love to see the smile on their faces and we also appreciate all they do for our boys.
  13. Trick or Treat: We’ve been practicing the trick or treat speech, and I must say we have the most polite trick or treaters on the block. “Trick or treat! Thank you so much!” You can’t have a successful Halloween without a good ole’ night of trick or treating. I will of course take my candy tax at the end of the day. Good thing for me, we don’t like the same candy.

What are your Halloween traditions? Let me know in the comments below.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

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Bye Bye Bad Dreams

My three-year-old started waking up in the middle of the night claiming pink monsters were going to attack, his dinosaur bopped him on the head, and some other creature under his bed was determined to take him down. It’s normal for the imagination to kick in and warp the blissful reality of dreamland, but when it started to impact everyone’s sleep, something needed to be done.

The other night, our son was inconsolable. He abruptly busted into our room sobbing crocodile sized tears. He was so upset and unable to formulate his thoughts and tell us what was wrong. My husband took him back to his room and eventually fell asleep on the floor holding his hand. Yes, it was a sweet moment between father and son, but we didn’t want to establish this as the norm.

As parents we have the power to embellish – transform any household object into a magical token or make bold claims like vegetables give us super powers. Just like our children, so much is possible when it comes to the imagination. When the nightmares started to plague his dreams, my imagination took over. Here is the story about a little boy – the bad dream buster.

Before he lays his head to sleep, the little boy grabs his green magic stone (i.e. flattened marble his mom found when cleaning out her jewelry box). He gives it a kiss and whispers the word “lucky” into the stone. He gently places the stone in a mystical container (also known as a pill box) and carefully places it under his pillow. The fluffy bunny that occupies his bed, watches over the magic stone as the little boy goes to sleep.

He then grabs his magic elixir (one cup of warm water mixed with a few drops of lavender essential oil in a spray bottle) known to many toddlers as “monster spray.” He lightly sprays his bed, royal subjects (i.e. stuffed animals), and royal throws (blankets) with the magic potion. If a monster catches one whiff of the elixir he is banished from the kingdom FOREVER! The little boy was very generous in his distribution of the “monster spray.” He likes to cover his bases.

Finally, the little boy seeks out the keeper of light (also known as his Miffy night light). She turns even the darkest corners of the kingdom bright with his warm glow. With the flick of a switch, she casts a beam of light around his room, ridding it of any monsters who may be lurking.

Once the little boy feels that he has successfully demolished all the baddies, he softly closes his eyes and enters dreamland. Legend states, he starts to dream of adventures on board the Octopod with Captain Barnacle and the rest of the Octonauts (*cue dramatic music).

What a story, would you believe me if I said it was true, minus some of the colorful additions? This may seem like an entire production, but it works, for right now. He has full ownership of his nighttime routine, which I believe helps eliminate some of those pre-bedtime anxieties.

What are some tricks you use to help your kids go to sleep? Let me know in the comments below.

Sweet dreams!

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Miffy Takes Her Adventure to Walmart

As my children age, their demands to have toys of their favorite household characters increases tenfold. Now my two-year-old would be happy with a cardboard box, but it’s always heartwarming to see the joy on his face when he receives a figurine set or stuffed plush of the characters he loves so much.

When my oldest was introduced to the delightful little white bunny, Miffy, he was hooked. He developed tunnel vision for Miffy and her friends. Trying to separate him from his “shows” and bedtime stories is an act of congress (he sleeps with his Miffy books at night). So, when we learned Miffy would have her own line of toys at Walmart, we were ecstatic!

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Miffy’s adventures now penetrate beyond animation and illustrations on a page, she is now a physical character my son loves. The MIFFY 6” Miffy Plush and MIFFY Little Blue Car are carried from room-to-room. They are attached to his hip and are showcased in my son’s personal show and tell productions.

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The MIFFY 6” Miffy Plush is extremely affordable and wonderfully soft. She is the perfectly sized companion to join my son from his car seat to the living room and finally to his bed at night. My son gazes with much affection at the little white bunny and gives her hugs on the regular. Before going to bed at night, he takes Miffy around the house and has every member of the family gets a goodnight kiss from Miffy herself.

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Get your MIFFY 6” Miffy Plush >> HERE <<

We recently added a scenic roadway rug to our kid’s playroom, and my two-year-old likes to drive his plastic toy cars along the streets and paths. Miffy’s adventures, both big and small, take to the streets on my son’s playroom floor with the MIFFY Little Blue Car figurine set. “Vroom, vroom” (as my son would say) Miffy goes speeding by as my son drives her from the mountains to the coast. Miffy has become a world class travelerwith my kid behind the wheel.

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Get your MIFFY Little Blue Car >> HERE <<

This new, and exciting Miffy product launch is what this mom, and her son’s, dreams are made of. I am able to reduce his screen time, and give him more playtime with Miffy and her friends. Check out this wonderfully and affordably made toy line, now available at your local Walmart and online >> HERE <<

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Make every day an adventure, be it big or small!

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What’s in My Toddler’s Easter Basket – Hoppy Easter 2017

There are two things you should know about me; 1. I love most holidays and 2. I love to shower my loved ones with gifts. So, when the Easter Bunny asked me to step in this year and put together my son’s Easter basket, I hopped right on board!

My son is at a great age where he gets excited over gifts and celebrations, which means Easter 2017 is going to be a whole lot of FUN! I had a blast carefully picking out each stuffer for my son’s Easter basket.

Here’s a look at what goodies he will be receiving this year:

As I mentioned in my blog post, Toddler Favorites: Top 5 Netflix Movies and Shows, my son LOVES Disney’s Zootopia, so I wanted to make sure I included a few pieces from his favorite movie in his basket. I found this great action figure set of Nick, the Fox, and the characters from the ice cream parlor scene. In addition to this playset, I found a Zootopia Play Pack which includes crayons, coloring sheet, and stickers. The Play Pack is perfect to throw in the diaper bag and have on hand at restaurants or on-the-go.

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Zootopia Play Pack Grab & Go via         Dollar Tree

Spring is here and the sun is shining, quite brightly I might add, so I grabbed my son an adorable pair of mirrored sunglasses from Target. He’s always trying to steal my sunglasses, so now he can have a pair of his own.

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Toddler mirrored sunglasses via Target

Along with the sunglasses, the Target dollar section has adorable Easter items, perfect for any bunny. Of those items, I grabbed a blue bunny bubble wand and light up bunny baton. We are going to have countless hours of fun blowing bubbles outside and playing Troll Hunter with his light up wand.

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Bubble Wand via Target

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Bunny Baton via Target

My son has been mastering drinking from a cup without a lid, so I found the most adorable tribal cup from Target to add to his basket. It matches the plates and bowls we already have in stock. We will be practicing with water until we are spill-free for up to 10 days straight.

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Tribal Drinking Cup via Target

Finally, no Easter basket is complete without candy. My kid could care less about chocolate, it’s the only way we truly differ personality wise, so I grabbed him some gummy treats. Along with Zootopia, he’s a fan of both Mickey Mouse and Dory from Finding Dory. The gummy treats are accompanied by stickers. My son is obsessed with stickers and sticking them on everyone else except for himself.

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Disney Junior Gummies and Stickers via Dollar Tree

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Finding Dory Fish Gummies via   Dollar Tree

Easter 2017 is going to be exciting with a new baby and new home to celebrate in, but I want my son’s Easter basket to be an added piece of bliss on April 16th.  He deserves all of the hoppy-ness in the world.

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What are you putting in your kid’s Easter basket this year?

A Toddler’s Review: Touch and Feel Books (DK Publishing) + Giveaway

If you’ve had the opportunity to sit down and read my son’s last toddler book review, you have an understanding of how serious he takes his reading and book selection. Take a moment and visualize a two-year-old sitting behind a giant oak desk, dressed in an Armani suit with horned rimmed glasses, pensively looking over his latest review assignment. In essence, that description sums up my son. Every time I look at him pacing back and forth in front of his bookshelf, carefully selecting his book, and thumbing through each page, I see the face of the next James Wood (New Yorker).

Recently my son was presented with a selection of DK Publishing Touch and Feel books focused around animals. When he caught a glimpse of the baby bunnies on the front of Baby Touch and Feel: Animals, his eyes lit up. Along with the constant desire to learn shapes, numbers, and colors, my son loves to point out and mimic animals. Aside from a good book, when there is a baby animal involved, my son is instantaneously hooked.

The following four books from DK Publishing are the perfect additions to your baby and/or toddler’s personal library as well as the last minute touch you need for your child’s Easter basket this year.

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The Easter Bunny will thank you for bringing these selections to his attention. He’s already hopping around all over the place, he doesn’t need to struggle with basket filler ideas as well.

Pop-Up Peekaboo! Farm

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We recently took a trip to the Lazy 5 Ranch in Mooresville, North Carolina, and my son was surrounded my countless farm animals. When we had to leave and head back home, he was devastated to say goodbye to the cows, goats, and pigs. I’m fairly certainly he still longingly calls out for them in his sleep.

When I presented him the Pop-Up Peekaboo! Farm, the sadness that once filled his deep chestnut brown eyes disappeared. When we sat down together and slowly turned the pages and lifted the flaps for the pop-up surprise, he giggled with joy from the anticipation of the reveal. When he learned the chicks were hidden behind the pile of eggs, you would have thought I presented him with a popsicle in every flavor, a meet-and-greet with Peppa Pig, and his long-lost pacifier – pure excitement!

Baby Touch and Feel: I Love You

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When I became a mother the first thing I told my husband is that our son will know how much we love him. We’ve successfully told our son “I love you” countless times every single day, and now he’s returning the sentiment. Not only is he saying “I love Ma” and “I love Da” he is now encouraged to express love towards baby brother who will be making his appearance any day now.

As parents, it’s important that we teach our children about how to properly show love and respect to those in their lives. Baby Touch and Feel: I Love You, is the perfect aid in promoting the feelings and understanding of the phrase “I love you.”

Baby Touch and Feel: Animals + Giveaway

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My son eagerly grabs for his copy of Baby Touch and Feel: Animals every night. We’ve read this book so many times, he could probably recite all of the animals in order from memory. He screams the name of each animal directly into my ear (I may have lost partial hearing) and feels each animals with a giant smile on his face.

We let him take two books to bed. When he clutches Baby Touch and Feel: Animals and snuggles up with his stuffed alligator, Anton, he goes to bed a little happier than the night before. I will sit and watch him through the baby monitor and hear him say “Kitten!” (giggle), “Puppy!” (giggle), “Tiger!” (giggle), etc.

My son loves Baby Touch and Feel: Animals so much, he wants to share the love and giveaway a copy.

ENTER TO WIN YOUR COPY OF
BABY TOUCH AND FEEL: ANIMALS

Really Feely Farm

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As I stated earlier, my son has a deep love for animals, in particular farm animals. The Really Feely Farm fills his constant need to be close to his farm brethren. Not only do the pictures of the animals have a tactile component, every illustration has something to feel. He truly enjoys pointing out the pig’s snout, the duckling’s beak, and the cow’s shiny nose.

With only five animals, this book leads to countless minutes of fun and education with the little one. We often read through this selection three or four times. When my son says “Book! Mine!” you know you have a hit on your hands folks.

DK Publishing’s Touch and Feel Books are not only exhilarating to a two-year-old critic (and mom!), but they are also extremely educational.

When I asked my son if he would recommend these books to all the toddler’s out there, he said “Yes! BOOK! Duck, Doggie, Monkey. MINE!”  Well, that says it all folks. You won’t regret the decision of adding these books to your child’s library.

** MAKE SURE YOU ENTER THE DK PUBLISHING
TOUCH AND FEEL – ANIMALS BOOK GIVEAWAY **

The Most Important Job: Raising Decent Human Beings

As parents we have a vision for how we hope our kids will turn out. We place all of our hopes and dreams into these little human beings and pray they will develop into decent individuals. As the mother of an outgoing two-year-old boy and soon to be newborn baby boy, I want to make sure my kids grow up to be positive catalysts for change in this crazy world.

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Photo courtesy of Access Consciousness Blog

My kids, God-willing, will be gentlemen. Now more than ever, we need men who are going to bring everyone up and not push them down. Men who see each individual as an equal, and don’t hold themselves superior to others. We need men who know how to love others the right way, instead of the wrong. As a mother, it is my job to make sure my kids work towards the greater good.

Here are just 5 of the hopes and dreams I put out into the world on a daily basis for my kids:

  1. I hope they will become caring individuals. I want both of my boys to express concern and kindness to every person and animal they meet (while also being aware of potential danger; I am a paranoid mama for heaven sake).
  2. I want my kids to be loving and accepting of everyone, no matter the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, religious affiliation, age, etc. They should not feel like they have the right to pass judgement on anyone. That’s not their privilege to have.
  3. My kids will stand up for what is right and never cower at an opportunity to make a positive difference. I truly believe they will make a difference in this world.
  4. As brothers, they will always love one another and champion for each other. These two little boys should always be the strongest advocates for one another and help guide each other in the right direction.
  5. Finally, they should be men who show love and respect to those they love. They should never, ever, put down the ones they care about or those who care about them. Their dad and I will let them know each and every day how much they are loved (more than they can probably handle) and together, he and I will be positive examples of how to love your partner.

As parents we have a very important job; we are tasked with raising our kids to be good people! I know, this can be a lot of pressure, but together, we can raise a generation of children who spread joy, love, and kindness. I don’t know about you, but I’m game for this undertaking. Put me in coach!!

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