Thursday, December 14, 2017

Quick & Dirty Guide to Planning a Big Dinner

Quick & Dirty Guide to Planning a Big Dinner | Life as MomThe very thought of planning a big dinner can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow these simple tricks and you’ll be the host with the most. Instant Holiday Brunch Kit Many of today’s adults don’t know the ins and outs of homemaking. Most schools no longer teach home economics. And if your […]

© 2015 Jessica Fisher, Life As Mom. All Rights Reserved.

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Monday, December 11, 2017

How to Build Your Own Lego Table.

Got a Lego-maniac at your house? Instead of buying another set of bricks, build a Lego table to make building even more fun. This tutorial designed by Anne from Modern Mrs. Darcy shows you how. This post was originally published on December 20, 2012. Recently, FishPapa crafted one for our youngest Lego fan, and so […]

© 2015 Jessica Fisher, Life As Mom. All Rights Reserved.

from Life As Mom

Sunday, December 10, 2017

10 Great Book Series for Kids – Perfect for Read Alouds

Want to get reading with your kids? Here are ten books series for kids that have been FishFam-tested. They make great Christmas gifts!  Since I am a bookworm, it has always been really important to me that our kids love to read. FishPapa loves to read, so it sounded like an easy thing to swing. […]

© 2015 Jessica Fisher, Life As Mom. All Rights Reserved.

from Life As Mom

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Preparing for Your New York Trip

New York is a complex place with a variety of awesome destinations – so many, in fact, that you’d have a hard time seeing even a fraction of them in a one-week vacation. The Metropolitan Museum itself, for example, can account for at least two days of your time. Sheep Meadow at the fabulous Central Park can steal another blissful afternoon; not to mention the Central Park Zoo.

One way to ensure that you get the best part of your trip and see the most famous sights and sounds is to take a bus tour. You can book one online for any variety of passengers here:, and be assured of avoiding the incredibly crowded streets in this major tourist destination. There’s one thing that a bus tour can’t help you with – and that’s preparing for your trip. Here goes!

Try to Purchase Tickets Early

Whenever possible, do not wait to buy tickets to places you want to go the day of. Most such places in New York are booked to the brim weeks and months in advance; but you can often grab a ticket a few days in advance. On the day of? Forget it. This goes for Broadway shows, the Statue of Liberty (definitely) and even some of the many museums. The web is such a convenient shopping place for almost everything; there’s no reason not to use it to buy tickets in advance of your New York trip, too.

Clothing Matters

New York can be a lot colder than you’re used to – especially if you’re from the West Coast or you’re visiting from somewhere on the Equator. This means you should wear layered clothing when visiting the state – as well as good shoes that keep in the heat. You’ll be on your feet for part of the day if you visit any of the museums, or get off the tour bus to mingle at Times Square, after all.

Pick the Right Times to Visit Popular Spots


As an example, let’s take the High Line urban park. This modern marvel is a park right in the middle of a converted railroad track, and can be extraordinarily crowded and busy on weekends when New Yorkers are off from work. Schedule to see it on a weekday to be able to actually enjoy the place. You’ll understand why it’s such a popular retreat as you lounge in the stadium seats and blissfully take in the city below.

The Staten Island Ferry is Worth a Ride

Along the route, you’ll catch the towering and majestic Statue of Liberty. The 25 minute ferry ride from New York Harbor is an experience unlike any other, and the fact that it’s free is a bonus. It’s nice to see the great city from the waterway for a change – you can get some of the best pictures of the path between Manhattan and Staten Island this way.

Check Out the Food Truck Schedules

The food trucks in NYC are easily the best in the world – as you would expect, with such a varied and eclectic assortment of people and cultures. Some of the food in these trucks are easily restaurant-quality – and beyond, in fact. There are actually highly-regarded chefs working in quite a few of them, and you’ll want to know where the better ones are located. After touring for some time, you’re bound to get hungry while still on the New York streets. Get a mobile app and peruse the listings before you visit the City of Dreams.

from Parenting Tips and Advice at Uplifting Families

Festive Fun for Families

No matter how you observe the holidays, establishing a yearly tradition is both fun and meaningful for families. It creates an air of anticipation, giving both parents and kids something to count on and look forward to. If you haven’t established a family tradition that takes place around the holidays, consider trying out some of these fun, festive activities. See which ones take hold, and repeat them year after year to relive the excitement.

  • Find the Perfect Tree
    A timeless tradition, the hunt for the perfect Christmas tree is a classic activity enjoyed by families. Hold off on converting to electric, and savor the adventure of sizing up and comparing the different conifers. Finding the perfect tree is a fun family activity whether you’re traveling to a U-pick farm or stopping by your local lot. Bring it home, prop it up, and have everyone decorate it together.

  • Decorate Cookies
    Sure to satisfy sweet-tooths, cookie decorating is a fun activity that can be done at any time of year. Recruit their help for baking, and have your child crack the egg and stir the dough to watch them marvel as their creation comes to life in the form of their favorite treat. Around the holiday season, cut the dough into festive shapes such as candy canes, silver bells, and gingerbread men. Once the dough cools, have the family gathered around the table prepared with frosting and sprinkles. Stash the treats in a cookie jar, or – better yet – take a walk and pass them out to neighbors to spread the holiday cheer.
  • Holiday Reading
    To remind the children that Santa is watching, read through the holiday classics each night leading up to his annual arrival. Take a family trip to the library and pick out all of your favorites, or store your keepsake treasures in a special place for the holiday season. Cozy up to the fire as you read through timeless classics such as How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Night Before Christmas.
  • Offer Thanks
    Too frequently children – and parents! – become fixated on gifts during the holiday season. To prevent Christmas from becoming all about presents, establish a family tradition that focuses on gratitude. Consider drawing a gratitude tree on a chalkboard —and then ask each family member to contribute. Make sticky leaves or ornaments onto which everyone can jot down something they’re grateful for. It can be practical (toilet paper, a car), universal (running water, a roof overhead), or personal (a family vacation, new pet). Encourage everyone to think of something they’re grateful for every day before running out the door this holiday season, and watch the gratitude tree grow into beautiful – and meaningful – d├ęcor.
  • Watch Christmas Lights
    Every family enjoys coming home to a well-lit house, but the real fun is found when you search for neighborhoods that partake in a little friendly competition. These blocks tend to be known for their dazzling Christmas lights as each neighbor tries to one-up the other, and with new Christmas lighting technologies, their displays are more impressive than ever. Drive your car over to Candy Cane Lane, park at one end, and have a delightful family walk to the end of the street. Don’t forget a thermos of hot cocoa!
  • Give Back, as a Family
    There’s no tradition more rewarding than spending time volunteering as a family. Deck your clan in ugly Christmas sweaters that are sure to draw smiles, and head down to your local church or soup kitchen to give back to the community. It’s a great way to encourage the spirit of the holidays, while at the same time teaching your kids a valuable lesson about helping those less fortunate.
  • Family traditions can be as simple or as complex as you make them. They provide ways for family members to spend valuable time with each other, and they create meaningful memories to be cherished for a life time. It’s never too late to start a new tradition! Give one of these fun and festive activities a try, and find out how rewarding it can be to put a little effort into some family quality time.

from Parenting Tips and Advice at Uplifting Families

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Mini Meatloaves for the Comfort Food Win

Talk about quick and cheap eats! Mini meatloaves full of flavor pair with made-from-scratch mac and cheese for filling comfort food that won’t disappoint. Creating a dinner for four under $10 is not rocket science. Anyone who shops the sales and coupons can probably pull it off easily. However, creating a fully-homemade-from-scratch dinner for less than […]

© 2015 Jessica Fisher, Life As Mom. All Rights Reserved.

from Life As Mom

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Our Annual Santa Visit, this Year to “Place Her Order”

This post about our annual Santa visit is sponsored by Gymboree.

“Do you want to go see Santa tonight,” I asked her. Greeted with eyes of wonder, “Yes!” she cheered. “Let’s go see him so I can place my order.” Not exactly the thought-process I was thinking, but makes sense in the eyes of a 5-year-old who has seen Santa for the past few years with the sole purpose to ask him for what she wants for Christmas. “Honey, it’s not Burger King,” my husband chimed in.

Since she was a mere 4 months old, we’ve been taking Bear to see Santa at the same mall (yes somehow, every year, Santa looks different…). It’s become one of our holiday traditions, nestled between cutting down the Christmas tree and singing along to Joy to the World at the annual Christmas concert at grandma’s church.

This year, we bundled up and headed to the mall after work on Thursday. Bear grabbed her penguin purse and slipped on her new silver shoes and penguin ring. Little Man wanted to match his sister, so he threw on his penguin sweater.

When they got to the front of the line, Santa greeted them by commenting on the penguins. “Wow – look at the dinosaur on your shirt,” exclaimed Santa. “Nooooo!” responded Little Man. “It’s a peg-win!” Santa joked the entire visit, saying he thought it was all different animals and the kids giggled with joy.

“What do you want for Christmas?” Santa asked. “WellieWisher boots to match my Willa,” Bear smiled. “I want a green racetrack and a grey racetrack and a black racetrack and lots of cars,” shouted Little Man at warp speed, channeling Ralphie in A Christmas Story when he asked for his Red Rider BB Gun.

“Be good and Merry Christmas,” cheered Santa as we said goodbye.

We walked by a beautful tree display on our way out. I pulled out my camera to snap our a Christmas card picture (last minute mom moment for the win!).

A quick upload that night when we got home and my cards were ordered. I didn’t even stress about them this year. One night and I crossed two to-dos off my list – Santa visit ✔️ and cards ✔️ – boom.

All the holiday looks in this post are from Gymboree (aren’t they adorable?!). Looking for outfits for those special holiday moments? Check out Gymboree’s collection for Holiday 2017. Gymboree provides quality, coordinated looks for every occasion that my family has loved for the past 5 years since becoming a mom!

What are your family’s holiday traditions? Let me know in the comments!

The post Our Annual Santa Visit, this Year to “Place Her Order” appeared first on Spit Up is the New Black.

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