Festive Ways for Warm-Weather Families to Have a Cold-Weather Christmas

Okay, okay, calm down, calm down. I’m not “starting in on Christmas” already. Well, not really. But y’all know that here in Florida, it does NOT feel like Fall quite yet. Even though yesterday WAS the first day of Fall, the temperature on my back deck read 91 degrees, with a “feels-like” temperature of 95. I kid you not. Does that give you festive warm Fall fuzzies? Yeah, me neither.

FESTIVE WAYS

But there ARE things I do this time of the year to try and help it FEEL more like Fall in Florida. Fall foods. Fall scents. Fall decor. You’ll actually get to see lots of that here on the blog over the next few weeks.

And all this “trying to make it feel like Fall” got me thinking. When it’s 70 degrees in Florida in December and we’re “trying to get it to feel like Christmas”, what on earth will we do then?!

If you live in a warm-weather state like California, Arizona, Hawaii or Florida, you may gaze wistfully at your friends’ winter time photos on social media of their snow-covered lawns and their rosy-faced kids making snowmen.

While you are eager to get into the holiday spirit, you find yourself wishing that the weather would magically cool off in Tucson or Tampa and that you could experience a true White Christmas.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways that you can create a festive and chilly Christmas season — at least one that looks that way. 

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Making Memories: 6 Beautiful and Family-Friendly Backyard Ideas!

The twins are now 7 months old, and I FINALLY feel like I’m getting control of my house again! I mean, MERCY! I knew I’d be off my game for a while, but I didn’t realize it would be for THIS LONG! Don’t get me wrong – they are SO worth being off my game for! Nonetheless, I’m thrilled to be back on track.

Inside, that is. I’m back on track on the INSIDE of the house.

Every time I drive up to our house I see a million things I need to handle. Does anyone else do that, or is it just me? And that’s just in the front!

When I look at the back yard, I’m completely overwhelmed. 

We have a very large back yard, for which I am so grateful. It’s nicely fenced with a pretty white privacy fence, and we even have a few things like a pineapple bed, a garden, and several different spots in which to sit – a picnic table by the garden, a screened-in porch and a brick patio. 

But my mind has been turning with ways we can make it kid-friendly, since, before I know it, the girls will be running around out there! (Already one of their most favorite activities is to be outside rolling around on a blanket!)

So when blogger Chloe Taylor contacted me with just that, a post of family-friendly backyard ideas, I knew it was fate! And when it comes to ideas, Chloe has some awesome ones!

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Kids absolutely love spending time outdoors; running around and exploring the world. But what if you simply can’t find the time to organize family walks or visits to the playground? Well, what better way to satisfy your kids’ curiosity and adventurous spirit than your own backyard? Of course, the key is in creating a fun and an enticing place for your family, so that kids can play to their heart’s content and stay safe. Play at a young age is a child’s process of learning, which is why you should seriously consider the following ideas for your own family-friendly backyard.

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Tips for Healthy Eating as a Family

The more I read labels on foods I’ve eaten all my life, the more my eyebrows raise. There is SO MUCH JUNK in our food! Sure, the “junky” food seems easier to grab and prepare, but in the long run, healthy eating is way more worth it!

When it comes to healthy eating as a family, time management and budgeting can make it a bit difficult to get the hang of. Especially if you are a parent (which is really where my brain is at these days), it’s important to foster healthy habits in your children when they’re young so they can carry those habits into the rest of their lives. Here are some ways to stick to a healthy diet on a budget, and to encourage positive habits for your kids.

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Find a Farmers’ Market
 
The price for fresh produce at farmers’ markets is nearly unbeatable. You can stock up on locally grown food that’s in season to use for the week or freeze for a later date. At some farmers’ markets, you can find free-range eggs, delicious homemade jellies and jams, and raw honey. Since you’re buying food that’s in season and cutting out the transport costs, you’ll save quite a bit of money on produce.

 
Cook With Your Kids
 
Nothing is more frustrating than preparing a healthy meal just to have your child turn it down. To avoid this, try collaborating as a family to find meals that you’ll all enjoy. Once you’ve made a plan for the week, involve your children in the cooking process. Even young children can take an important role, like snapping green beans or topping a casserole with cheese. When they’ve helped to create a delicious meal, your kids will be more motivated to eat it and their confidence will grow in the kitchen.

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The 4 Best Chat Apps For Families

Over the Easter weekend, we had out-of-the-country guests with us in our home for six days. They weren’t family, and they were each far away from their own families, too – which means we all spent some time chatting off and on about how they keep up with their families while they’re traveling! (Especially since we’ve entered an age where it makes sense for even our kids have smartphones.) Luckily, this technology has the capability to bring families closer together and keep you informed about your family’s safety and well-being. And I discovered that there are a number of apps that will help you keep track of all your family members through group communication platforms. Here are four of the best chat services for families that will enhance your group communication:

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Slack

Slack is a messaging app that keeps all your group communication in one place. The app is frequently used in workplaces, though is also an ideal program for family communication. The app can streamline communication between you and your loved ones, which reduces the likelihood of crossed wires or misunderstanding. The app will facilitate real-time messaging and file sharing for one-on-one and group conversations.

For example, if your child is part of a soccer team that has varying practice times and locations, you can make sure everyone is updated on the activity specifics. You can share the weekly soccer schedule with your child and partner, so you can set up a carpool or decided who will drive. The app can help store important documents — like school and medical forms — and can easily integrate with Dropbox, Asana, Google Drive, Twitter and Zendesk. It keeps everything in one place, so you and your family can stay organized and reduce the stress that comes with hectic, family life. Although some say Slack is due for some backlash, that’s in the business world — families will love it.

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7 Family Summer Holiday Destinations in Europe – A Guest Post!

I’ve been in the middle of a photo project at my house, and I came across a scrapbook I made after a missions trip I took to London. Yep! Quite the missions trip, huh? I was re-living it with my hubby, who has never been out of the country, and we were chatting about where we would like to visit together. We chalked up a few things for that year when we decide to take “the big trip”, and didn’t say much more about it.

So imagine my intrigue when Joey Ferrer contacted me regarding a post on European travel destinations! So take a moment and dream with me about the perfect summer trip for YOUR family!

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Europe is one of the world epicenters for culture, history and politics – it’s also filled with relaxing and scenic landscapes. Travelling to Europe with your family can be a tremendously rewarding and memorable experience. But what places offer the best opportunities to bring the whole family closer together? From the beach to the city, here are seven of Europe’s best family destinations.

London

London is amazing in the summer. Stroll the Thames and take in sites like Big Ben, the London Eye, Shakespeare’s Globe, and the Tower of London. Then head to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens for a horseback ride and some fun for the kids in the water-feature playground. In the evening grab dinner in Soho, then stop in the West End for a critically acclaimed showing of Matilda.

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