Sharing the Tradition of Cutting Down a Real Christmas Tree 2013 #happilyblended #family

Christmas has come and gone so quickly, even the 12 days of vacation from school that my children had just flew by too fast. I wanted to share our Christmas Tree story because, well it’s a bit late but a fun story to share.

Oh Christmas Tree

For years my children and I, up until last year, my ex husband was included too – we go and cut down our Christmas Tree. It’s a family tradition. Last Christmas (of 2012) was the first year my ex husband and I did things separately, as our youngest was starting to have issues realizing Mommy and Daddy are not together even though we do a lot together as a “family unit”. The traditions of our prior family had to stop being shared together as adults, but separately with our sons for each household. It was important for us to do that for our sons to move forward.

So this Christmas, 2013, was the first year we celebrated with my fiance and his children. The kids and I really want to make the fiance and his kids realize that they are a full part of our family here, the children of my fiance now have two homes – one with their Mom and one here with their Dad and me. It’s important to everyone here that the children feel at home while they visit every other weekend. Sharing our picking out and cutting down of the family Christmas Tree was important.

Little Human Christmas Tree

We all headed out in two vehicles to the place just near our house to get a tree. Basically this place cuts the tree down for you and the five kids and us walked around until we found a tree that we wanted.

Human Christmas Tree

You see picking out a tree was half the battle, getting it into the house and on that little human tree stand was another story. The boys and my step daughter had a fun time being all cute pretending to be the real Christmas Tree.  We did finally get that tree up on our tree stand and it was ready for the annual tradition of Brandy and Kiara to go at it while attempting to put garland and lights on the tree… now that was entertainment for the remainder of our family.

Christmas Tree 2013

It all started when Kiara felt the need to report that I totally suck with winding of the garland and/or lights. Each time I attempt to wrap anything like she does in the picture above, I end up with tangles and knots. She is great at this  …. I am not. I am simply a pawn waiting for Kiara’s next command, or idle threat of hoping the garland is around my neck as she pulls to wrap it around her arm. She’s a sweet child, I promise!

Happily Blended Tree Cutting

Then the arguing commences over who wants what where and why. This is ridiculous to me, but the five children placed various decorations on our first time Blended Family Christmas Tree with little mishaps. Us adults, had the job of cleaning the decorations because my over 10 year old candy canes melted and got all over the decor leaving us with no candy canes on tree this year.

Christmas Tree Tradition

Finally our first Christmas tree together as a family was complete and we enjoyed looking at it every night until about 2 days after Christmas when I had enough and took it all down! It’s important as we plan for a 2015 wedding that we remind our children that all 5 of them are our family, together always. They are all to be included, loved and made to feel a part of our lives whether with us or the other parent. We love our five combined children and would do anything for them! I was a merry, happy evening this particular evening and it’s a memory I will hang onto for years.

Vinyl Disorder Review and Giveaway

I recently received a wall art quote for my daughter’s bedroom and a decal for my car. You see, when I purchased a new car recently I lost my sticker I had on the van and so I had to get the saying put on this car for I loved it so much.

Another product that Vinyl Disorder makes is family stickers for car windows, but alas I am not one to like those types of stickers. If I am going to place something on my vehicles it is either going to be something to promote my websites or sayings to make people smile.  There are a huge selection of family kits for your car at Vinyl Disorder though, so surely you can include your whole family in a family kit image that suits your family’s personality.

Whatever you may be looking for to show a bit of your family’s personality Vinyl Disorder has those options. I am personally addicted to removable wall decals for I love putting fun, positive messages all over my home for myself and my children to remember that life is all about feeling happy within!

I get to offer a fun giveaway for you all today, there is one mandatory entry as the sponsor requested this, so please be sure to complete the one mandatory option before moving forward with extra entries.  Giveaway ends at 12:01am EST on May 17, 2012 and winner will be announced live on site as well as sent an email directly. Winner has 48 hours to reply to my winning announcement email sent out or another winner will be chosen. All winners chosen using and this giveaway is open to US & Canada!

Prize will be one of the following, your choice on which one:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

“I received products for free from Vinyl Disorder to facilitate this review, all opinions are my own.

Sunday Low Traffic Makes me Happy

Why is it that Sunday seems to be my low traffic day lately? I don’t know what it is because I do have content on Sunday.  I will admit that every week when I look at my stats and see that Sunday had dipped incredibly low that a smile comes across my face.

To me Sunday is a family day. Sunday is the day you spend all day in your pajamas, relax on the couch, run out in the back yard, or do whatever but at home with the family. A big dinner gets cooked and you all sit down together, happy as a big family and enjoy time together.

I love Sundays and I love them for my family more than anything and so when I see my traffic go insanely low on Sunday, I happen to smile a huge smile and think “I hope you all are spending quality time with your family too”.

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Three Great Christmas Books for Children

Our family is huge on reading books so of course one of my holiday gift ideas for you all would be a great book, or two … or three! Today I am sharing three titles our family reviewed together during bedtime story time and have read nearly every night now for about a month.

The First Christmas – A Changing Picture Book

The classic Christmas nativity story is stunningly illustrated by evocative pastel artwork depicting angels, shepherds, and wise men arriving in Bethlehem to share the magic of the birth of Jesus. Lift the gatefold flaps to change the pictures and watch the story unfold along the way.

What Happily Blended Family Thought

My youngest seemed to adore The First Christmas: A Picture Changing Book the most, but my daughter enjoys the nativity part of the book. We enjoy reading stories such as this close to Christmas time. The nativity sets all over town this time of year make my daughter question what Christmas day is all about and this book was basic, cute and good for even a family like mine who has no real religious background/education. As a parent, I enjoyed reading this book to my children before bed.

The Christmas Eve Ghost

In 1930s Liverpool, where streetcars clang on iron tracks, young Bronwen and Dylan live with their widowed Mam. Every day, in the wee hours of morning, Mam leaves the two alone as she gathers other people’s laundry to boil in a big metal copper at home. At night, if she’s not too tired, Mam tells fanciful tales of dragons and ghosties, and on Sunday, she cautions the children about the O’Rileys next door, who go to a church that is not for their kind. But on Christmas Eve, when Mam must go out, Bronwen and Dylan hear a ghostly plonk! plonk! plonk! from the washroom that sends them running straight into the arms of Mrs. O’Riley. Not only do they find that the house next door harbors nothing to fear, but it may hold a blessing for Mam, too. With evocative drawings full of compelling detail, Shirley Hughes tells a timeless, genuine tale of community and human kindness.

What Happily Blended Family Thought

The Christmas Eve Ghost was a hard read for me as it is based in Liverpool with old sayings and words being used. I will say out of the three books in this review, this was my least favorite. However, the children enjoyed listening to half of this book and I have not been able to finish it. A pretty good book but not so much something my young ones were interested in.

Suzy Goose and the Christmas Star

It’s Christmas Eve, and Suzy Goose and her friends are admiring their beautifully decorated tree. It’s perfect except for one thing: a star for the top. But Suzy sees just the right one, high in the sky, and no one can stop her from trying every possible way to get it! Bold, expressive illustrations follow the charmingly single-minded goose in a new adventure, a tale of seasonal magic found in surprising places.

What the Happily Blended Family Thought

This was our favorite out of all three Christmas books, Suzy Goose and the Christmas Star is so well loved that my son, at age four has figured out some of the words and read based on his memory of the parts he can’t read. This is a cute story and certainly has enlightened my childrens imaginations. They beg for this book nightly and I have no problems reading it.

Disclosure: Candlewick Press sent me the three books above for my family to review. All opinions based on that of my own.

Journal’s Unlimited: Summer Daily Notes


Today I am featuring a great product for the little writer in your life. My daughter is absolutely in love with writing {just like her Mama} and I was lucky to get a sample of one of Journals Unlimited journals, just like the one pictured above except it was yellow in color.

About Journals Unlimited

Started in the summer of 1997 Journals Unlimited was born from the passion of wanting to keep memories alive through writing. The owner had a passion for writing in a journal because after all no matter what your age is, most everyone wants a place to look back and capture those memories made through out their life. Every journal starts the first page off by having a cute little quote “Life is an adventure. It is not the destination we reach that’s most rewarding. It’s the journey along the way. So Write It Down! and treasure the memory forever…” Journal’s Unlimited has places for you to keep not only your events over a day time but what your thoughts were and so much more.

Pros of Journals Unlimited Journal

  • Plenty of space to jot down memories.
  • Each page has a specific area for each thought, what happened and more to open your mind to write more than you may if you only had a blank page.
  • Quotes on front and first page are inspiring.
  • Colorful yet simple for all ages.

Cons of Journals Unlimited Journal

  • One thing I think would make a great addition to this already fantastic journal would be a folder in the front and back to place little memories such as a leaf, letter or similar.

My Personal Opinion of Journals Unlimited Journal

This was the perfect addition for our family this year. Since recently divorced and having a 7 year old daughter who is quite expressive and already into writing when she has something on her mind, I felt this journal could not have come at a better time. Planning a trip to Maine this Summer and many more events, should time and money allow, makes Journals Unlimited journal a great keep sake for my daughter so that she can look back and see just how happy of a family we were, even if we are a non-traditional family {meaning mother and father living separately instead of married living together}.

Where to Purchase

You can purchase your own journal online directly through Journals Unlimited website or find some online at

Disclosure: The journal referenced in this blog post is one I received for free from Journal’s Unlimited for review. All opinions are based on my own personal experience with the product.

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