Garanimals Blog

Archive for the ‘Christmas’ tag

December 10th, 2012 at 11:03 am

A Holiday Movie

This time of year is easy time for Family Night ideas. We spend a lot of our time watching Holiday shows and movies. There are so many great ones out there the hard part is all agreeing on what to watch. We have a bunch on DVD, but also fill our DVR with all kinds of holiday shows. A favorite place to find holiday shows is The 25 Days of Christmas on ABC Family.

Need some ideas?? Check out some of our Favorites……

Frosty the Snowman- A classic cartoon about a snowman that comes to life! Great for young and old kids at heart.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer- A great story for kids filled with great songs. The story of a reindeer that is an outcast that end up saving Christmas.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas - One of my personal favorites. A lesser known cartoon of a clock-maker and the mouse family that lives with them. The story of Christmas being saved.

The Santa Clause series – A humorous movie about a dad who takes over the role as Santa Clause.

The Polar Express - The story of a boy rediscovering his belief in Santa.

A Christmas Carol - This story can be found played by the Muppets, Disney characters, and even live actors is suitable for people of all ages.

Home Alone - My boys watched this for the first time this year. They loved it and found it very hilarious. The story of a young boy being left at home while his family leaves on Christmas vacation.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation -  Humorous family classic depicting the story of a family celebrating Christmas. The sad part is that sometimes we find this story a little too close for comfort.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Whether you watch the story in cartoon or movie form it is the story of a creature that wants to ruin Christmas and its heart is changed in the end.

Elf - A funny story about an elf sent to the US to find his real family.

A Charlie Brown Christmas - Charlie Brown searches for the real meaning of Christmas.

Miracle on 34th Street - Whether you watch the new or old story discover how a little girl starts to believe in Santa again.

A Christmas Story - A young boy tries to convince his family that a BB gun is the best gift for Christmas.

Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas - A lesser know movie with Muppets in which an otter family risks everything to make their dreams come true. An absolute favorite of mine!

So, whether it be as a family or for a date-night at home, the shows above can add a little holiday spirit!

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

Pin It

December 9th, 2012 at 7:31 am

A Non-Traditional Tree

We have two trees that we decorate this time of year. The first tree we put up is our family tree. It has ornaments from both my husband and my childhood, others reminding us of vacation spots and special things we like to do, and ones the boys have received each year. I like to say that it portrays our family history. The memories that this tree exudes are overwhelming and some make us laugh, while others bring tears to our eyes. Every year as our family unpacks the ornaments we relive those memories.

Then, we have our other tree – the Star Wars tree. Lets make it clear that this is entirely his tree. This tree started when my husband and I were only married a couple of years. When we were dating I would buy him Star Wars ornaments every year for Christmas. We had quite a few that graced the family tree our first year of marriage. That is where he got the idea for this tree. It started out with a few Star Wars ornaments and more blue bulbs surrounding them. Years later, there are few, if any, blue bulbs, and all different kinds of ornaments. A Yoda tree topper graces the top.

I used to not really care for this tree. I would think. ‘how tacky is that?’ Over the years I have watched the joy that my husband has as he unpacks each ornament and has his own memories of whom he received it from or what story surrounds it. Now, with two little boys, it becomes even more special. They quiz each other on what the ship or character is, can’t wait to press the buttons to hear what some might say, and talk about the history of the tree. All three of them exude such pride after they have finished decorating is amazing. I share that pride; for now we have not one, but TWO trees that grace our home each year.

Sometimes, a little bit of break in tradition can lead to wonderful things. How can you mix it up a little this year?

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

Pin It

December 5th, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Holiday Crafts – Christmas, Hannukah and Kwanzaa


‘Tis the season for crafting! There are so many DIY projects that will make your holidays merry and bright…whether it be DIY wreaths and holiday décor, or fun crafts for your kids, enjoy your down time by creating something unique and special that you’ll remember for years to come.

Take the time to think about what the holidays really mean to you, and teach your kids all about your religious heritage in fun and enjoyable ways. Here are some of our favorites for both parents and children:









Pin It

November 23rd, 2012 at 5:00 am

It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

Every year on the day after Thanksgiving the Christmas decorations go up at our house. We started this tradition when we first got married because we worked. This gave us a long weekend to concentrate on putting everything up so the rest of the month could be spent enjoying the holiday. We still continue the tradition today. The tree and household decorations go up while the christmas music and movies play.

One of my biggest TO DO’s will be checked off my list at the end of this weekend. Have you added all this things to your Holiday List?

  • Get holiday cards ready
  • Write gift list and SHOP!
  • Wrap gifts
  • Make a list of  events where you live to attend
  • Watch favorite holiday shows and movies
  • Read seasonal books to the boys
  • Make treats for neighbors, postman, etc… and do some other Random Acts of Kindness
  • Decide what snacks, cookies and candies you will make
  • Plan holiday get togethers with family and friends
  • Write menu for holiday events
  • Decide on family holiday wardrobe
  • Go caroling
  • Make a visit to see Santa and/or send him a letter
  • Go out to look at lights on houses

There may be more or less things on your list – ‘Tis the Season! Once Thanksgiving is over our life fills up with stuff and becomes crazier than normal!

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

Pin It

December 20th, 2011 at 5:00 am

A Gift For That Someone Who Has Everything

No pressure, but the clock is ticking. Only a few more days to prepare. Are you done with your shopping?

We’ve all probably got at least one person on our giving list who is frustratingly difficult to buy for. They just seem to have it all already and another tchotchke or gag gift just doesn’t ring genuine or particularly useful.

On the other end of the spectrum are people and organizations who need much: basics that we take for granted, assistance with necessities, medicine. What do the two of them have to do with each other? You.

Why not give that hard-to-buy-for someone a gift of charity? Make a donation to a worthy cause in their name. It’s a really special gift and is so rewarding.

Here are a few ideas:

  • At you can purchase nutrition kits, mosquito nets or malaria vaccines with a small donation.
  • At or you can search for a specific charity by name or location and give to an organization or to specific cause or project. Or you can buy a charity gift card and let the receiver choose who to give to.
  • If you want to support your local teachers, try and find specific classroom projects that you can help fund in your own or a loved one’s town.
  • Buy a goat or a chicken or even honeybees at
  • Sponsor a microloan at and give a potential small business a leg up.

These sites make it very easy to make a donation in your name or someone else’s. Using the search options , you can pinpoint the exact cause that is most meaningful to your giftee.

While there are many global charities that do wonderful work around the world, you might also consider local charities where there results of your giving are more visible to you. Your own town likely has plenty of worthy organizations. Senior Centers, food delivery programs such as Meals on Wheels, local education foundations that provide much needed school programs, homeless shelters, food banks, and pet rescue groups are just a few types of organizations that rely on donations to provide their services. And in this challenging economy, many of them are seeing a downturn in donations while the number of people relying on their services is increasing. Donating locally is good for your community.

As we all know, it is better to give than receive. So why not give and give back at the same time?

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Kwanzaa to you and yours. May you give and receive many blessings.

You can also find Paula on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter @techsmart319. Feel free to reach out if you have questions.

Pin It

December 19th, 2011 at 5:00 am

ENJOY the Holidays

Do you spend most of the holiday season rushing around – purchasing gifts, attending events, and doing everything to make it magical and special for your kids?  Well, we have a couple more weeks to change that and actually enjoy things ourselves.

I realized this year that my 1st grader could really find out the “truth” about Santa any time now. I hope he doesn’t for several more years, but I need to enjoy the fact that he does still believe now. I also realized this year that it is my youngest’s last year in preschool so the never-ending abundance of art projects and spontaneous singing of carols will start to fade as they have with my oldest.

So, this year I have decided to to really immerse myself in everything – the sparkle in their eyes when they see Santa, the magic of our Elf that mysteriously jumps around our house every night, the excitement of houses with Christmas lights, and all that other magic that appears at this time of year. I find that when events are going on I need to sit back and just watch my kids. Watch their reactions, the excitement in their eyes, and just interact with them. They can almost talk you into believing anything.

The other day my oldest asked me why Rudolph doesn’t come to our Christmas Park with the other reindeer. I had to come up with a reason, and quick. I told him that Rudolph was special and needed to stay back at the North Pole so his nose could be taken care of. My son took my quick little story and expanded it into a whole story. At the end I was believing it was true.

Its moments like that you need to just let yourself get caught up into.

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.


Pin It

December 5th, 2011 at 9:41 am

I have become THAT mom…..

I never thought I would become that mom.

I remember back in the 80′s when my aunts fought other moms while trying to score a Cabbage Patch Doll that my Grandma wanted to give my sister and I.

I didn’t think I would ever become that person. My youngest wants one of the Hottest Toys of 2011 and now here I sit in the same situation trying to find it. My experience is a little different, though. Times have changed.  I’m trying to be quicker than other people over the internet most the time. Unlike standing in line in the past, I am now waiting by my computer at all times of day, setting up alerts and reminders and waking up in the middle of the night when text messages hit my phone.

The worst part is, when I actually think I have one, I end up getting messages from the retailer saying that it is now on backorder for a date closer to Christmas. So, the search goes on, but I might as well share some of the things I have learned along the way…….

When looking for a special item that is sold out, become a fan of the company’s Facebook page. The information you can gain from the company and other customers is priceless. The company may share an insight as to when the product may be shipping again to stores and customers can share where they have seen product or ways to track online product.

Check out stock tracking websites. There are several great websites that I have been using to track when stores change their sites to having an item in stock – Now In Stock, WiiAlerts and Zoolert . These sites allow you to track a specific item, set up alarms, text messages, and email messages. During the day I just leave the browser minimized and when the rooster crows I know there is stock of the item I am tracking. You have to be quick though! Plus, sometimes your item may get placed on backorder or canceled after ordered. So, it isn’t for sure until you have it in hand.

Monitor retailer websites to see if the item is in stock. Most retailers share on their website if an item is in stock at a store. Very handy if you don’t want to run all over.

Drive from store to store to see if they get stock in. Since I am running a lot of errands for the holiday season you may see me dashing to the toy department when certain stores open. This is totally not in my normal character, but If there is only one on the shelf I won’t say that I wouldn’t fight another mom for it.

Yes, it has gotten that desperate.

Hopefully my original order will come through, but until that time I will be waking up in the middle of the night, checking websites, and stopping at stores.

What have I learned? I should have just bought the item in October when I saw it and thought that it might be neat for my youngest. A valuable lesson for the future. Didn’t we always hear the saying, “The early bird gets the worm” – so very, very true.

How is your Christmas shopping going for the kids? Any specific item you are desperate to get?

Photo Credit: PinkMoose

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

Pin It

November 28th, 2011 at 5:00 am

Making Memories as a Family

Thanksgiving has come and gone. We celebrated a month of Thanks, learned all about pilgrims, native americans and other long-standing traditions, and celebrated the big turkey dinner with our family. In my family the tradition isn’t to go shopping on Black Friday like Audrey, but the official start to the holiday season. We spend the weekend putting up the Christmas tree, decorating the house, turning the lights on outside and creating memories.

This weekend we attended a Polar Express Event. It was magical. We got to hear a reading of the story, drink Hot Chocolate delivered by dancers, ride the train and see Santa Claus. Truly an amazing memory of our family.

That is the most important part of the holiday season for us. It is about creating memories to highlight your families traditions. One of my favorite things is our “Tour of Lights.” My husband and I have done this since we were dating. One night during the month of December we all get in the car and drive around the city looking at the lights on houses. We have snacks and hot chocolate while we travel talking about our favorite houses along the way, while the radio blasts with Christmas songs. After years of doing this we learn the “good” neighborhoods and houses to visit and sometimes still even discover some new ones.

That’s the best part of the holidays – You don’t always have to spend a lot to create memories. Does your town have a parade?  Does Santa come to the mall and let you snap your own picture?  Do you bake cookies as a family one day or decorate a gingerbread house?  As my boys get older some of my traditions need to be “tweaked” but many of the simpler things are the ones we look forward to the most!

What memories will you be creating this holiday season?

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

Pin It

October 17th, 2011 at 5:00 am

My Biggest Stress at This Time of Year

Work? School? Kids? Chores?

I have to make a big admission- during this time of year my biggest stress is the amount of toys my kids have. What adds to this stress is the fact that in a little more than two months we will gain even more. How are you doing on your Christmas To Do List?

For the past 5 years I have just ignored our playroom until a week or so before Christmas. That, combined with the normal stress of Christmas, has ended up in near panic attacks. So, this year I decided that I was going to do things a little earlier, and a little differently. It seemed to go a little easier, plus I really weeded a lot more out than I expected.

First, I went through the room and took everything out that the kids no longer show any interest in. I piled all these items in my kitchen so I could accumulate any parts that may have been separated at first weeding. I was amazed at all the things that I was able to pile together. What surprised me even more is that my youngest son, who was home at the time, only threw a fit about two items. I asked him why he wanted these items and he was convincing so those items went back into the room. If he would have asked for much more, I would have had to make him make harder decisions about what he wanted to truly keep.

Next, I went through the remaining toys in the room and reorganized them. If I discovered broken parts then I decided wether something should truly be kept. Most of those things went. I was able to reorganize and move some things around and make the playroom much more spacious.

The last part is that I went through the times that I plead in the “garbage” pile and made sure that some of the little parts weren’t truly essential parts to toys we were keeping. My oldest son did this with me and only one item he pleaded to keep. Most of the items were truly garbage.

Now, we have a clean playroom that has some room to grow. I do find as my boys get older that we don’t accumulate as many toys since their wish list has some video game and book options. It’s amazing the difference that this experience felt like compared to the normal “cleaning of the playroom” at this time of year.

No, I truly feel like I can tackle Christmas!

Pin It

September 5th, 2011 at 5:00 am

Is Christmas on your To Do List?

Think Christmas … in September? Sure – if you want to be prepared for a stress-free holiday season.

A friend reminded me that most people only have about 7 paychecks left until Christmas. So, if you haven’t already started saving this helps to spread the hit to your wallet over several months.  But, it isn’t just about the money – getting ready for the holidays with little children under your feet adds a whole other dimension. Thinking about Christmas now helps spread our TO-DO list over several months also.

So, what can you do NOW to start putting a dent in your Christmas TO-DO list?

Budget~ Time to figure out all the “extra” money you need to have to make it through the holidays. Remember to include all the extra gifts you forget about, your groceries, and any holiday decorations that need to be added.

Holiday Card~ What kind of design are you thinking of this year? Do you need to get pictures taken? Can you work on it now and order it when a photo site has a sale?

Crafts ~ create a Pinterest Board of craft ideas, start making some of them, or just start writing your list of who needs to receive crafty gifts from your home. This is a great thing to utilize if you want to save a little money over the holidays.

Food ~ Write your list of food you traditionally make for the holiday season or start collecting new recipes. The next couple of months are known for good sales on baking goods so collect them early for the holiday season.

Cleaning ~ Spread your “deep cleaning” and organizing over several months so you just need to spruce the house up in December. This leaves time to actually “enjoy” the holidays.

Clothing ~ What outfits do you need to start accumulating for your family to make it through the whole “season” of Christmas?

Traditions~ Start writing the list of the traditions that you want to make sure and “cover” during the holidays. You don’t want to forget anything, plus if you need to purchase tickets to events, little gifts or other extras you can spread the cost out.

With a little over 100 days to Christmas a little planning will help your holidays go a little smoother!

What have you started doing to make December a little less stressful?

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

Pin It