Category Archives: Christmas

Christmas Book Countdown


Christmas Book Countdown Advent

Here’s a quick and easy activity we do to countdown to Christmas day. Unwrap and read a Christmas book each day until Christmas!

Christmas Book Countdown Advent

It’s already December 2 and I haven’t wrapped the books yet this year. Oops. I always tell myself that I’m going to get these things done before Thanksgiving and then I always forget, or someone gets sick, or I’m distracted by something shiny. Maybe I should wrap them this year before I pack them away. That sounds smar…Squirrel! Wait, what was I saying?

Christmas Book Countdown Advent

How does your family countdown to Christmas?
What are your favorite Christmas books?
Let me know in the comments!

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Christmas Morning Tradition: Gift Wrap Doorway10wayschristmaspjs1


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Santa Proof: Magical Santa Bootprints


Santa Proof: Magical Santa boot prints in your home!

I’m not sure what it is about our house but legendary figures are always leaving messy footprints in our house after a visit. First Leprechauns, then the Easter Bunny, and now…Santa Claus!

For the past two years Santa has magically descended our non-functioning chimney and left his sooty boot prints on our carpet on his way to the Christmas tree.

Santa leaves his dirty boot prints!

In 2011 Santa left a trail directly to the tree.
He must’ve ran out of soot on the way back.

Santa leaves his sooty bootprints on Christmas morning!

But in 2012 Santa wasn’t quite so neat.
He left footprints everywhere…what a mess!
Luckily Santa’s boot prints vacuum up quickly and easily.

Santa Proof: Santa leaves his sooty bootprints on Christmas day!

…and we noticed something interesting. Santa’s boot prints are truly magical indeed, in fact they change while he’s walking! Every so many steps he would leave a “Ho Ho Ho” or “SC” foot print behind.

Santas Magical Bootprints

In some homes Santa leaves white snowy boot prints with magical North Pole snow that doesn’t melt. For us, it’s soot. I’ve also heard reports from some families that get reindeer hoof prints inside their house! I guess it’s a good thing that we set our oats and carrots for the reindeer out on the back porch.

Santa Soles, make Santas sooty boot prints!
The product used to create Santa’s plain soot boot prints was Santa Soles. While I’ve seen many other products for creating Santa’s snowy boot prints, this is the only one that I’ve found that imitates soot. Visit SantaSoles.net and like the Santa Soles Facebook Page
Santa Soles allow you to create Santa’s footprints in your very own home, adding to the magic of Christmas morning. Santa Soles are the footprints that dreams are made of!  Santa Soles are templates that allow you, along with our non-toxic, non-staining “soot” to create Santa’s footprints right in your home! Our “soot” is safe for use on all types of flooring and vacuums up easily, making clean up a breeze!

Other stencils/templates used: “Ho Ho Ho” and “SC
Hohoho Santa BootprintSC with Snowflake Santa Bootprint

Disclosure: I found, purchased, and reviewed the product “Santa Soles” and the additional boot print templates on my own. I was not given the products for free, I was not compensated in any way, and I was not asked to post a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Santa Proof: Santa leave sooty boot prints

Does Santa leave boot prints in your house?
Let me know in the comments!

This post is linked to:

Creative K Kids

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Santa Proof: Phone Calls from SantaPhotos of Santa in your home!Watching Santa feed his reindeer


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How to Celebrate LEON Day! (6/25)


How to Celebrate LEON Day

Happy LEON Day! Leon is “Noel” spelled backwards and Leon Day, June 25, marks the halfway point to Christmas…just 6 more months!

Here are some ideas of how to make Leon Day special!

1. Celebrate a mini-Christmas: Get out some of the Christmas decorations, Santa hats, and Christmas books, movies, and music, put on those Christmas jammies and ugly holiday sweaters and get into the Christmas Spirit a little early this year!
(The easiest way to do this is to get some cheap, tacky Christmas decorations on clearance after the holidays and stash them in their own little box just for this occasion!)

2. Christmas Luau: To really celebrate a summer Christmas, have a Christmas Luau! Use silk poinsettia flowers in your hair, tinsel garland for leis and grass skirts, and hula away to Mele Kalikimaka.

Mele Kalikimaka Hawaiian Christmas Party @ Lynlee’s Petite Cakes
Also featured here

Mele Kalikimaka Christmas Freebie Tag @ Loralee Lewis

Tips on Hosting a Hawaii Theme Christmas Party!
Planning a Hawaiian Christmas Luau

3. Have a backwards day:
Since Leon is “Noel” spelled backwards you can have a backwards day.
(You can incorporate this with the Christmas stuff or do it alone.)
A few backwards ideas:
*Write backwards, read backwards
*Wear your shirt/clothes backwards
*Walk backwards, talk backwards, sing backwards
*Turn the furniture backwards or sit backwards in your chairs
*Backwards meals:
-Serve breakfast for dinner or serve dessert first.
-Set the dinner table with all of the plates, cups and utensils upside down or backwards (cups where plates would go, etc.)
-Serve food in a glass and drinks in a bowl or on a plate?! (Messy!)
-Sit on the floor and eat off of your chair.

How do you celebrate LEON day with your family? Let me know in the comments!
Enjoy LEON day and I can’t wait to see you back here
in about 5 months for some great Christmas posts!

How to Celebrate LEON Day

*Originally posted on June 25, 2011


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Uncle Ugly’s Christmas Sweater Jamboree 2011


In 2010 our family started a new Christmas Eve tradition: Uncle Ugly’s Christmas Sweater Jamboree, which is just a fancy way of saying “Ugly Christmas Sweater Competition”. It was a hit and my very own Cool Daddy came away as the victorious champion!

Ugly Christmas Sweater Tradition (Coolest Family on the Block

For 2011 some contestants upped their game, others dropped out altogether (party poopers).

2011 Ugly Christmas Sweaters Tradition

Let’s start things off with a group photo of the cool family.

Ugly Christmas Sweaters Tradition

Here is Cool Daddy, last year’s Ugly Christmas Sweater Champion. We were all relieved that he chose to ditch the creepy mustache from last year.

It’s difficult to describe what’s happening with his sweater, because I honestly don’t know. He’s sporting a lovely lady’s sweater vest with flashing snowflake lights on one side and candy cane garland on the other. Look closely and you will see a gold and a red tinsel tree on either of his shoulders (blends into the background, boo!). He added some Christmas underwear from the Dollar Tree because…well, I don’t know. I have no idea why anyone would pin underwear to their sweater, but it happened. I apologize.

He paired his sweater with some Christmas tree pajama bottoms and a snazzy plastic candy cane cane. Yes, a cane cane.

Ugly Christmas Sweaters Tradition

Here I am rocking an ugly Christmas sweater, maternity style! I was almost 8 months pregnant with Jonathan.

Maternity Ugly Christmas Sweater

I trimmed a red sweater vest with tacky multi-colored disco ball garland. My baby bump is adorned with a Christmas wreath with flashing snowman lights. The wreath is topped with double bow goodness, a giant felt red bow and a giant shiny silver gift bow. A Santa Claus stocking on the side is the perfect place to tuck the battery pack from the lights.

Maternity Ugly Christmas Sweater

In 2010 my sister totally flaked out on the sweaters and barely participated. This year she wore a red sweater, which was an improvement. She altered the sweater by writing “Merry Christmas” in magic marker and attaching a baby onesie, or is it a dog shirt? She’s wearing a baby bib around her neck. Why? I don’t know. I’m confused by the whole thing. Perhaps the “bah humbug” on her shirt is the key to it all. I do enjoy her headgear which is actually a tissue box cover.

Ugly Christmas Sweaters Tradition

Last year after my sister dropped the ball my brother-in-law was stuck with a completely un-Christmasy sweatshirt. He did bring home the title of “Most Naturally Ugly Sweater” in 2010 because his was the only one completely unaltered. In 2011 he was in it to win it. This completely unaltered black sweater vest has charming plaid accents that add country appeal. The sweater is perfectly complimented by a turtleneck covered in poinsettias on a field of green.

Ugly Christmas Sweaters Traditions

My mom is stuck on Christmas in this red sweatshirt accented with puffy Christmas stickers in the shape of a Christmas tree. The children had taken quite a few of her stickers off of her shirt before I could get a picture. A sticky situation to say the least! (bah-dum-ching)

Ugly Christmas Sweaters Tradition

My cousin, Ben, took the loss hard last year. He had come with his game fast on, an entire Christmas tree on his chest, and presents on his feet and he still failed to bring home the title of “Ugly Christmas Sweater Champion”.

In attempt to keep history from repeating itself, Ben kicked things up a notch with this celestial beauty. A swatch of blue framed in fluffy fiber fill is the perfect heavenly background for this dollar store plastic doll posing as an angel. Perched on a tuft of cloud she is just out of reach of her harp made of Styrofoam. She is accompanied by a few other heavenly hosts and doves. Accessories include a marabou halo, angel wings, and puffy cloud shoes.

Ugly Christmas Sweaters Tradition

My cousin Aunia is a brick house, or at least her sweater is. Strategically placed strips of white foam on a red shirt creates the illusion of bricks. In the center sits a door decorated with a lovely lit wreath. That’s not all…open the door to find a festive living room complete with Christmas tree and presents! Ugly or adorable?

Ugly Christmas Sweaters Tradition

Now is your last chance to guess who was the winner of the 2011 Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest.
Click below if you need a refresher on the rules.

Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest Rules

Announcing the 2011 Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest Winners…

Ugly Christmas Sweater Champions

Ben was more than pleased to earn the title of Ugly Christmas Sweater Champion. My baby bump and I waddled away with the title of “Most Overall Festive Attire”, and Matt claimed the title of “Most Naturally Ugly Sweater” for the second year in a row.

Ugly Christmas Sweater Champion

Just a boy kissing his trophy. Nothing to see here, people, move along.

Ugly Christmas Sweater Tradition

Ugly Christmas Sweaters Tradition

Which sweater gets your vote for ugliest? (Mine!)
Does your family have an Ugly Christmas Sweater Tradition?

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Ugly Christmas Sweater Competition Tradition (Coolest Family on the Block)Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest Rules10wayschristmaspjs1


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30+ April Fools Pranks to Play on Your Kids!


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April Fools Pranks to play on your kids

April 1st, is April Fools Day! Here are some fun, safe, quick, easy, harmless pranks to play on your kids.
*Please remember to use your own discretion regarding pranking your child. Each child is different. Please do not prank a child that is overly sensitive, easily embarrassed, or one that simply can’t take a joke. Keep in mind the age of the child. Some pranks are more appropriate for tweens and teenagers as younger kids may get upset or simply not “get it”.*

PRANKS WHILE THEY’RE SLEEPING
*Draw on them with washable markers: Sneak into your kids’ rooms at night and draw on their faces with washable markers. Draw pink hearts on the boys or the classic mustache on the girls, or sign a message like “Gotcha!” or “April Fools” (bonus points for writing it backwards on their forehead so that it’s readable when they look in the mirror!)
*Move them into a different bed: While your kids are sleeping gently move them to a different room/bed in the house.
*Change and hide the alarm clock: Change the time on the alarm clock and hide it in the room (under the bed?) so that when it goes off your child will have to search for it to turn it off.

PRANKS FOR GETTING READY IN THE MORNING
*Model Parent: Make a fake parent and set them up at the breakfast table. Even funnier if the real parent comes into the room later before the kids discover the fake one!

*Put salt on their toothbrush: Wet the toothbrush and then dab it into salt. Be sure to shake off the extra salt before putting it back.
*Latherless soap: Paint a bar of soap with clear nail polish and put in the shower/bathtub. This makes the soap appear normal, but it won’t lather at all!
Put one at the kitchen sink too!

*Stuff their shoes with tissue paper: Put tissue paper in the toe so they can’t get their shoes on all the way. This is the perfect complement to the small-clothes trick below.
*Replace your child’s clothes with smaller ones: This would work best if you were able to duplicate the same outfit in a smaller size, otherwise the kids might notice that their old clothes are back in the drawer.
*Sew all of their underwear together: This requires only a few stitches at the side seams, then fold neatly and place back in the drawer.

*Early Wake Up!: Change all of the clocks and wake the kids up for school (at 3 a.m.) and serve them breakfast. Mom and dad should be already dressed for the day however they normally would be. Feed them breakfast and start out the door…once they’re outside they’ll notice it’s dark…April Fools! It would be great to have an April Fools sign outside…maybe even something made with glow sticks that shine in the dark ;)!
*Don’t be late!: Set all of the clocks in your house an hour early and hurry everyone as if you will all be late.
*School on a Weekend: If April Fool’s day is on a Saturday wake up the kids like a normal school day. Go through your regular school day routine and even drive them to school! When they’re about to get out of the car (or they notice the parking lot is empty!) say “April Fools!”.
*Scroll down to the “Around the House” pranks section for tips on coloring your bath water.
*If you do have somewhere to go, you may want to keep an outfit the correct size, pair of underwear, good bar of soap, and unsalted toothbrush set aside to keep you on schedule ;).

PRANKS FOR BREAKFAST
*Cereal Box Mix Up: Take all of the cereal out of their original boxes and put it back into a different box.
*String the Cheerios: String an entire box of Cheerios or other “o” shaped cereal on one long string and put it back in the box.
*That’s not cereal!: Remove the cereal from the box and replace it with packing peanuts or some other type of non-food that pours.
*Freeze the cereal: Freeze a bowl of cereal and milk with the spoon inside.
*Magic Milk Bowl: This trick makes milk change color when it’s poured on top of cereal. Put a drop of food coloring on the bottom of a bowl or glass and the milk will change color when poured on top.

PRANKS WITH DRINKS
*Gelled Juice: A thirsty family member is the perfect target for this glassful of trickery that’s impossible to drink. And since the undrinkable beverage is made by the batch, you’ll be able to fool more than one person.

*Vinegar Juice: Replace apple juice with vinegar. Yuck!
*Colorful Milk: Put food coloring into the milk container, it will pour a different color and surprise the kids. This obviously won’t work with the see-through jugs as you’ll be able to see it before pouring.

*Frozen Milk/Juice: Freeze your drinks while still in the container so they won’t pour

*PRANKS FOR A GAG LUNCH

Can’t Un-Ziplock: To set up the prank, zip the bag closed and place a length of double-sided scrapbook tape on one of the flaps just above the closure. Firmly press the flaps together to make them stick. Your kids won’t be able to unzip their sandwich!
Wormy Apple: Use a plastic ballpoint pen, washed and with the ink cartridge removed, to bore a hole in the fruit, then insert a gummy worm. (Don’t make it the night before, or the worm may get mushy.)
Snack Switcheroo: Make the switch by carefully opening a snack bag along the top seam. Empty out the original contents and fill the bag with another edible item such as baby carrots. Add a playful message such as “April Fools!,” then use a strip of double-sided tape to reseal the bag along the seam.
This sneaky mom opened the snack bags from the bottom.

Slice a banana without peeling it: When your kids peel the banana, they’ll find the fruit inside is already cut into bite-size pieces.

PRANKS FOR DINNER AND DESSERT
*Backwards dinner!: Serve breakfast for dinner or serve dessert first. That would work well with the next prank below!
*Dinner/Dessert Disguise: Here are some great recipes for making your dinner look like dessert or making cupcakes that look like other food. Announce “dessert first!” and then serve the kids this ice cream sundae that’s actually mashed potatoes and gravy!

*Fly in the Ice: Freeze a plastic fly inside an ice cube.
*Salt/Sugar Switch: Replace sugar with salt. Only do this if one of these is used every day (like in coffee or tea) otherwise you may forget and end up cooking with it!

FUN WITH UTENSILS AND DINNERWARE
*Mixed up place settings: Set the dinner table with all of the plates, cups and utensils upside down or put all of the silverware at one place all of the plates at another, etc.
*Use giant utensils, tiny plate: Set the table with giant serving spoons and tiny plates (like saucers or dessert plates) to eat with.
*Serve food in a glass and drinks in a bowl or on a plate?! Messy!
*Declare all utensils forbidden…eat with your hands!

PRANKS to set up WHILE THEY’RE AT SCHOOL
*Switch the drawers: Either move around the contents of the drawers (underwear where the pants go, etc.) or switch siblings drawers
*Rearrange the Room: This one takes some time and effort. You could just move around the furniture or turn everything backwards and upside down. You can go as far as turning pictures, posters, and shelves on the walls upside down or backwards.
*Short sheet the bed: And oldie, but a goodie. Instructions found here.

PRANKS AROUND THE HOUSE
*Take the batteries out of the remotes: This is sure to frustrate older children and husbands alike!
*Make your water change color: Add Crayola Color Dotz Bath Tub Tints inside the faucet by unscrewing the cap on the faucet, and setting a couple of tablets inside.
Not just for the kitchen sink…use these in the bathtub or shower, or simply run a bath for the kids and add food coloring!


*Tape the hose open: Wrap a rubber band around the kitchen sink sprayer so whoever turns on the faucet gets a big, wet surprise.

*Toilet paper messages: Unroll a roll of toilet paper and write messages or jokes on some of the sheets inside, roll it back up and place it on the holder (I personally like “Help, I’ve been kidnapped and forced to work in a toilet paper factory!”).
You can also write a note (or a joke) to your kid on toilet paper with a Sharpie and then place it in the toilet bowl right before they go to the bathroom.
(The classic “I C U P” is always a winner 😉 )


After giving a clue of what’s to come using the Joke on the Water prank above, send your target laughing all the way to her piggy bank. Conceal a dollar bill inside your toilet paper roll by unwinding it several turns, then wrapping it back up with the bill inside. Rehang the roll flap-side down as shown. When your target tugs at the tissue, the money will spill out.

NOTE: If your house is visited by tricky Leprechauns , Christmas Elves (Elf on the Shelf), or Dr. Seuss’ Thing 1 and Thing 2 throughout the year, you may want to skip certain “magical” tricks and leave them for the legendary figures ;). Recycle some of their pranks and tricks to use on April Fools Day when the kids are older and stop believing 😦

*Please click on photos for source credits*

Do you play pranks on your kids on April Fools Day? Let me know in the comments!

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April Fools Day Family Traditions
April Fools Day Family Traditions
FREE April Fools Day Printable Pranks:
Great printable pranks for kids and adults alike and April Fools Day coloring sheets!
Free April Fools Day Printables


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Age 14 9th Grade: (N)O Christmas Tree


This is the 11th post in a 12 week series joining Mommy’s Piggy Tales to record my youth!

1993-1994
9th Grade
(N)O Christmas Tree



It was 1993 and I was entering my freshman year of high school and turning 14 years old. I was just as scared to go to high school as I was to go to middle school. I wanted my mom to walk me to my home room again, but she refused. School ended up being alright, just as it always is. I don’t remember getting too nervous about the first day again after 9th grade. Maybe I finally learned my lesson. There are many stories that I could tell you about this year, most of them involving my best friends Kelly, Kendra, and Thadina. But I’m still feeling a little Christmas-y so I thought I’d go with a Christmas story. It’s short, but sweet.

My grandparents moved to FL sometime after I started school and we had been down to visit them every summer since then. Most Thanksgivings we’d meet them in North Carolina where we’d celebrate the holiday with other relatives. But we hadn’t spent a Christmas together since they moved away. In 1993 we were going to Orlando to spend Christmas with my grandparents.

The truth is, that I can’t tell you much about this trip. I don’t remember if we drove or flew (my guess is drove, since we rarely ever flew), I don’t remember what we did while we were down there or what gifts I got (except for one). I remember that I didn’t like the warm weather and palm trees. It was fine for summer but weird for Christmas (I’m from Pennsylvania). I remember that the FL residents were wearing sweaters while we were wearing shorts (um, it’s hot here people). I remember that my grandparents gave me a Bible that I used all throughout high school. I’d still have it now but I lent it to a teenage girl that I was mentoring a few years ago and never got it back.

This is a photo of the same Bible that belongs to my sister.

We didn’t get a Christmas tree that year since we were going to be out of town. I suppose it would’ve been a waste of money and would’ve died while we were gone. Still, it made my sister and I a little glum that there were no decorations in the house. The morning that we were going to leave on our trip our mom called us downstairs. We stumbled downstairs in the dark to find that mom had taken a string of colored Christmas lights and formed them into the shape of a Christmas tree and taped it to the fireplace. We had a Christmas tree :)! My sister and I thought that it was the coolest thing ever. I sure wish we had a picture of it. I don’t remember anything else about that Christmas, but I’ll never forget that little Christmas tree made of lights.

This photo is actually from a Christmas a few years later.
Just imagine that all of the decorations are gone and
there’s a Christmas tree made of lights above the fireplace 😉

The only photos I could find of our Christmas trip to FL
(Mom, sissy, me, and Dad)



My sissy, Grandma, and cousin

*My 14th Birthday

My Piggy Tales:
*My Birth Story: I’m always late!
*Ages 3-5: Dancing in a box
*Age 6 First Grade: There’s a bra in my lunchbox!
*Age 7 Second Grade: Bossy Wheels and Shady Deals
*Age 8 Third Grade: I will not talk in class
*Age 9 Fourth Grade: I didn’t really need those fingers anyway!
*Age 10 5th Grade: Nothing’s Scary in the Fifth Grade
*Age 11 6th Grade: Jenny Got Ran Over by her Grandma
*Age 12 7th Grade: Youth Camp Stinks
*Age 13 8th Grade: “Talent” Show
*Age 14 9th Grade: (N)O Christmas Tree
*Age 15 10th Grade: The Newsboys Wouldn’t Ditch Their Friends
*Age 16 11th Grade: Acrophobia Gets You the Good Seats
*Age 17 12th Grade: In School Suspension

My Young Adult Years
*Dreams and Aspirations: The Long Road There
*Friends and Fellowship: Friends Don’t Get Friends Grounded
*My First Job
*How I Met Cool Daddy Part 1
*How I Met Cool Daddy Part 2
*Colonel Mustard on a Rollercoaster with a Plastic Fork

Coolest Family on the Block is committed to helping you find creative ways to have fun and make memories with your family all year-long. Don’t miss an idea, tip, or trick…subscribe and have updates sent directly to your email!

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