Christmas Countdown!

It’s Christmas week! Can you believe it? Anyone else love the build up to Christmas more than Christmas itself? I am always sad Christmas afternoon when the excitement is passing and I know it will just be regular winter again soon. I truly love all the chaos and fun that comes with Christmas planning.

Both girls got pretty sick last week, which delayed a lot of our Christmas festivities. So now we are taking it ALL in and loving every minute of it! We took V for her first ice skate at the local outdoor rink; mailed our lovely Christmas cards; did some festive baking and made a gingerbread house (which is slowly, mysteriously losing all of it’s decor, as per the photo); took a few sleigh rides down the nature trail by our house; and are binge watching Christmas movies in our Christmas PJs all night, every night. On our list this week is cookie decorating, a Christmas light tour, eating too much and drinking all the Christmas coffees. 😉

Oh, and shopping. Because we still haven’t done that.

Although it’s really late (we’ve got 4 shopping days left?) I’m  hoping to wrap things up tomorrow and avoid all of my last minute errands– I literally run out every Christmas Eve to pick up something I forgot. This year Vienna asked Santa for a “Dress Up Room”. Yup, you read correctly, girlfriend wants an en-suite. Just wait ’til you see how we are trying to pull that off last minute.

If you’re local and last minute like me (ahem…. shipping deadlines have surely passed by now… sh$t), then check out this Local Last Minute Gift Guide I’ve put together with the help of some great small businesses offering promos to get those last items crossed off your list! I love supporting local, and these shops are a few of my fave!

For Her
None other than my go-to self-care place, Illuminate Skin Care and Aesthetics. If you have not treated yourself to a facial by Meredith than it’s a must-do! Treat yourself or anyone you want to spoil! The Eminence Organic Hungarian Facial is Ahhhhhmazing. And, because the owner, Meredith, is also amazing, she’s offering my readers 25% off an Eminence Organic Hungarian Facial gift certificate purchased through her online site from now until December 24th!!! These only go on sale ONE other time per year (and that time isn’t coming around again for a while). START THE CAR! 😉 Use the code GIFTOFGREATSKIN to score your deal today! You won’t regret it!

For Him
Anyone else never know what to buy their husband? I barely know anything about electronics, but recently impressed my husband with a decent pair of headphones as a gift! If you are local head over to Andres Electronic Experts and you can pick up a set of Bose SoundTrue headphones for $89 (That’s 10% better than any price online price). Or, tell them about your husband and I’m sure they will find something that fits! If he really doesn’t need anything what about a Parasail adventure with Eldorado Parasail for HALF price. Say what? Maybe buy this for anyone on your list!

For the Babes
We are in toy overload over here, and  the girls really need nothing. Of course they will still get some gifts, but Aria’s stocking will be filled with a few of my go-to baby products this year. If there is one thing we still always need, it’s baby products: diaper cream or baby lotion. And bunny crackers. Can I put those in a stocking? For amazing baby products shop online at Nu.Babee and save 15% off your purchase with code MAMAWRITES until December 24, 2016!

As for toys, my shopping go-to’s this year are local kids stores or Chapters, which has a great selection of toys too!

For Them
Ok- this is the only self-serving item on my list (in that I would indirectly profit from it) BUT I am honestly only including it because it’s a great idea for locals! If you have hard to buy for in-laws, or relatives that need nothing,  a gift certificate to Kelowna Cruises is a great local option (full disclosure, this is my husband’s company). Buy a gift card for a dinner cruise for two for the 2017 summer season before December 24, 2016 and we’ll give you $20 off (Mention code MAMAWRITESBLOG) ! We get lot’s of last minute requests for these GC’s every year and always have great feedback! (Or, if this isn’t their “thing”, I suggest local wine. Lot’s of local wine).

Merry Christmas, the countdown is officially on! Here’s some shots of our Christmas week so far! xo

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Share the Love

I am so excited to share details from my Girls’ Night In last night! Most years I try and have a fun gathering with a few girlfriends to catch up and drink wine around the holidays. I always add a fun activity, and this year I wanted to share something that I love and something that makes life easier…Chatbooks!

Does anyone else never print pictures anymore? I literally have a massive storage bin full of great scrap booking supplies that were passed on from my Mom, and I have not made a single scrap book in years and NONE since having kids, which turns out to be the time when I want photo books the MOST!

You guys, I can’t even make it to the store to pick up printed photos from the lab for our Christmas cards. It’s that bad. Add to that the fact that I have roughly 14,000 photos on my phone. I take a LOT of photos of those kiddos of mine!

Enter Chatbooks. Life saver! When V was a babe I did a 100 Happy Days Instagram challenge where I posted a photo every day for 100 days, and then had them printed in my very first Chatbook. I’ve since signed up for a series, and every time I post 60 photos on Instagram, it prints them into a little book and sends them to me. Genius, right? I’m starting to feel like I have to tell you about the second set of free books, free t-shirt, and unicorn I’m going to throw in when you buy them hahaha (totally kidding). Really, this is just MY opinion and I simply LOVE them that much!

5 Reasons why I love Chatbooks:

EASY. It’s done for me with zero participation on my part if I choose. There is a three day reminder where I can go in and make changes to the book, and even then I try to keep this to just updating the cover to my favorite picture from the book. Sometimes I don’t even do that. #momlife. This way the book is a true snap shot of our daily life, and I love it.

COST. SUPER affordable. $8 for a book and $2 for shipping! I don’t even care if the Canadian-Us exchange rate is total crap. My Starbucks (and/or kids’ matching pajama addiction) will tell you this is peanuts.

DESIGN. I love the simplicity of these books. Yes I could print a bigger, more elaborate photo book and there is a time and place for that, BUT I love that these are small and simple. And, if one of the kids tears a page I’m not going to lose my shit, I’ll just re-order it. P.S. Vienna LOVES flipping through these books. I’m starting her own series, too!

PROCESS. You can either have it sync with your Instagram or Facebook feed,  a specific #hashtag, or, if you aren’t a social media user, you can have it paired with your favorite roll on your phone. I actually love having it tied to my Instagram, because the pictures I post just so happen to be my favorite pics that I want to share, so it’s almost like a filter from my overflowing camera roll. Plus, it includes the caption. (I’ll regret the second half of this statement in 10 years when my kids can read and hashtags are sooo #2016).

PERSONAL. Chatbooks is an amazing company to work with. If I’ve ever had a question or needed support, they are there in an instant and super friendly. They stand behind their products and if anything goes wrong, they will work to make it right! They still have a small shop feel, even though they are definitely killing it as a big company now. I like supporting this company!

Want to join in on the fun? Download the app and use the code MAMAWRITES to get your first series book FREE or 10% off prints or custom books! How awesome is that? Thank you Chatbooks! Plus I have the pleasure of giving away some Chatbooks bucks to help some lucky peeps get started! I’ll do a draw for anyone who starts a new series before January 1st, 2017 🙂 (Please follow the link above if you want to be entered, that is how I will track entries). If you’ve got any questions about how Chatbooks works for our family, contact me @ mamawritesblog@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you!

If you are a local friend and follower, you should probably just come over already for a festive coffee. I’d LOVE to catch up over a seasonally-flavoured, Baileys-induced coffee. ‘Tis the season to find aannnnyyy reason to get together. Fa la la la la. xo

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Oh Christmas Tree

One of the first things to check off our Holiday Bucket List was decorating the tree, of course! And I am really loving reading Christmas books with Vienna by the tree! We (Mike) decided last year’s tree was a little small for our space, so we went to look at bigger trees and ended up with what in comparison seems like a ginormous one (it’s really only 1.5 feet taller). Mike and I were laughing thinking of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation when they undo the ties and the branches go shooting through the living room window. Anyone else thinking “It’s not going in our yard, Russ?”

One of my favourite things is how personal our tree is becoming to our family. I love a beautifully coordinated window-front tree, but even I will let my OCD slide for special memories 😉 A tradition we have started is every time we travel, we pick up a new ornament from our destination! It’s the perfect souvenir and saves us from buying tourist junk. When we put them out on the tree it’s fun to reminisce about the trip we took. I started collecting ornaments on a family trip to Ireland, Scotland and Spain. And then Mike and I continued the tradition on our honeymoon– we went on a Caribbean cruise and picked one up from each of the islands we visited, which helped to quickly build our collection. Vienna is now helping pick out the ornaments, hence the zebra carousel from our recent trip to San Diego— the perfect addition to our tree! It was really sweet when we pulled that one out: with the trip still fresh in her mind she got very excited remembering the carousel ride.

My Aunt gives the girls an ornament with their name or initial each year, and one day these will be theirs for their own tree. Finally, we have a special angel we hang on the tree in memory of my Mom. The last few years before she passed she started decorating beautiful, amazing trees. My Dad said she waited years until my sister and I lost interest in the (tacky) tree decorating and then started making beautiful themed trees. I’m sure in a few years I too will be overrun with homemade Christmas ornaments from school, but right now one of my favourites is V’s little Santa hand from daycare when she was one!

It’s so funny to see how different Aria and Vienna are at this age– Vienna had zero interest in touching the ornaments on the tree when she was a baby and really just loved looking at the lights. Aria on the other hand has made ripping the silver beads off the bottom of the tree a daily occurrence. I have a feeling it might be a long month.

Christmas is such a special time of year and I love creating traditions and memories for my girls. Share below if you have any special tree traditions that you are passing on to your kids!  xo

P.S. Anyone else seriously struggling with the multi-colour light option? Miss V is obsessed with changing them from white to multi-colour, and I can barely handle it, LOL!

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