November 2017

Holiday Decoration Traditions (with a little help from Wayfair)

Do you have any Holiday Decoration Traditions?  

Do you have any special traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation, or maybe some new ones you’ve started with your own family?

One of the holiday decorating traditions I remember as a kid was going as a family to pick out a real tree and then decorating it all together.  I’ve continued this tradition with my own family.  My husband, kids and I always go together to pick out a tree, then we go home, put on Christmas music and decorate it as a family.  It is a little different here in Florida then where I grew up in Massachusetts though.  We usually go in our shorts and t-shirts instead of all bundled up and freezing.  I much prefer the shorts and t-shirts route.

We had an artificial tree for a few years, which was passed down to us from my mother-in-law, but it was really dusty and old so after a few years of using it, we had to get rid of it.  Was it easier to put up and take down and less messy? Absolutely!  But for now, we really like having a real tree and the whole tradition of picking one out.  Yes the needles make a mess but we think it is worth it.  But, there are some amazing artificial trees out there and maybe we’ll invest in one some day.  If you’re looking to invest in one check these out from Wayfair!

New Christmas Decorating Traditions...

And now that we live in the House house in our current neighborhood, we decorate our house sort of Griswold style, and have started a few new traditions.  You see, our neighborhood is the most decorated in Naples.  People come from all over town to drive through here to see all the lights.  Each street has a theme (with the exception of our street which is the main street in the neighborhood).  By theme I mean that each mailbox has the same decoration.  Most of them are made of pvc pipes and they light up.  So when you drive down the street every mailbox is lit up the same and it looks amazing.  Each street is different.  For example, one street is Christmas Trees, one is Snowflakes, Angels, Candy Canes, etc., and one has blue arches that go across the entire street (see picture below).  I am not sure how or when this tradition started but it has been going on for many, many years.  When you buy a house here, it comes with the mailbox decor.  Although each street has a theme it is up to you to decorate your house however you choose, and many choose to light up their homes Griswold Style.  Most neighbors rent golf carts (for those that don't already own them) decorate them, and use them for the month to drive around to see all the lights.  Christmas Eve is especially crazy as it is other people's traditions to drive through here as a family to see the lights.  People decorate their cars, blast Christmas music, and everyone yells out "Merry Christmas" to anyone that can hear them.  Traffic gets really crazy so residents know that it is best to try to be home early, if possible.  Lots of people set up fire pits in their front yards and have parties.  It is SO MUCH FUN.

Christmas Village...

Another one of our traditions that we follow every year is setting up our Christmas village that has also been passed down from my mother-in-law.  She has hundreds of these villages and used to spend hours and hours setting them all up.  Now that both of her son's have families of their own, she has passed most of them down to us.  My kids love setting them up each year and they look so pretty all light up. (I searched thru years of my pictures to find a good photo of our village and don't have ONE.  Not one.  So this picture is not of our village, I got it from the internet, but you get the idea. I vow this year to get some good photos!)

Stringing up the Lights...

Last year was our first Christmas in this house so we had to spend lots of money buying lights and decor.  Most neighbors set up all their lights the weekend of Thanksgiving, but we were in Massachusetts this year for Thanksgiving so are busy putting them up this week.  We feel a little behind and a little bit of pressure to get them up ASAP but what we have up so far looks awesome.

Anyway, here are some great and unique lighting idea's from Wayfair at great prices.

DIY Christmas Decorations...

And here are a few Easy DIY Decor Christmas projects. Last year I made these Christmas Balls which are going up again in our front tree this week, and these fun DIY Christmas Wine Bottles (which are my most pinned item) and a few years ago I made these popsicle stick Christmas Trees.  I have a few things I'm planning to make this year too so stay tuned for that.

Check of these Great Deals for more of your Holiday Decorating Needs...

Here are some of my top picks from Wayfair for Holiday Decor.  I am ordering these pillows ASAP.

What are you Christmas Decor Traditions?  I'd love to hear.  Leave me a comment. I hope you all have a very Merry Holiday season.  I'll be sharing more pictures on Facebook and Instagram so make sure to follow me there.

American Ninja Warrior Themed Party (and last few days to enter my giveaway)

See the end of this post for details on the last few days of my giveaway.

Hey Party People…

I thought I’d post this in case any readers want to try out a party like this.  It was so much fun!

Does anyone else’s kid love the show American Ninja Warrior like mine does?  My youngest son and I watch this show together every week and we both love it.  So what could be better than an American Ninja Warrior themed birthday party for him?

If you’ve never seen the show, I have to say it is pretty awesome.  Men and women have to complete these pretty insane obstacles for time.  Every week they are in a different city with different obstacles.  Some of the obstacles look downright impossible.  Whoever goes the farthest and finishes the fastest then goes on to compete for a trip to the season finale (or Mount Midoriyama as they call it on the show) for a $1 million prize. There has only been one or two winners in the history of the show.  That is how hard it is to win!  We didn’t go that crazy but tried to recreate as many obstacles as we could, as kid friendly as we could.  The kids loved it.

Here is what we did…

We have a huge backyard which is perfect for an obstacle course.  There were 8 obstacles.  We borrowed a balance beam, and a gymnastic bars and mat from a friend.  These were obstacles 1 and 7.

We used the tree stumps we saved from Hurricane Irma (and plan to use as stools around the tiki bar we are going to build), and my husband borrowed some football equipment from the school he works at.  These were obstacles 2, 3 and 5.  They had to run across all the logs aka The Quintuple Steps, to get to the other side.  Then there was the Blue Wall, that the kids had to jump over.  The last picture was the Blue Logs that they had to run across (similar to a balance beam).

I bought a bunch of pool noodles for $1 each to make a tunnel for obstacle 5.

For the biggest and hardest event (obstacle 4) my husband and his friend built this contraption using 2 of these swing set bases, a steeple climber and a rope swing all from Home Depot.  They attached a ladder from our garage across the top for the monkey bars.  The kids had to climb the steeple climber, then go across the ‘monkey bars’, then slide down the rope swing.  It was hard!

Obstacle 8 was in the pool.  The Hamster Wheel.  The kids had to get from one side to the other in this pool floaty, which is harder then it looks. At first we had them using it just like a hamster wheel but it was very hard, so then they started using their hands and feet in the water to get across.

The kids ran around the backyard testing out all the obstacles.  After we had pizza and Ninja Juice (water and juice boxes) and the adults had Adult Ninja Juice (beer) we had them line up and we timed them.  Everyone got a medal after they finished the course.  Some kids ran the course MANY times.  You could decide to give out prizes or trophies for the winners if you wanted too.

I printed out these templates from this web site and made the invitations and signs with them.  I found stickers and ninja favors at both Amazon and the dollar store and used the stickers for the goodie bags. Since there were so many extra stickers I put them on some cups too.  The straws are from Target.  I used the templates to label all of the obstacles with numbers too.

Overall this was pretty easy and you can make the obstacles as easy or as hard as you’d like using stuff in your own garage (or friends garages!).  We did spend some money but you could certainly do this for very little money and all the kids had a good time.

Last Days of my Photo Canvas Giveaway…

Don’t forget to like me on Facebook or Instagram or sign up for my email list to be entered!  You could win a 16×20 Photo Canvas courtesy of the Canvas Factory. Contest ends November 8, 2017