A Super Simple Toddler Holiday Craft and Activity

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CreateWithCommand #CollectiveBias

I am always on the hunt for new activities to try with Brody in the afternoons. I feel like we read the same books, do the same activities, and play with the same toys over and over again most days. So today we decided to venture out of our norm. To try something new. To create a little festive spirit and decorate our front door. 

Toddler Snowflake Craft Ornament
A Super Simple Toddler Holiday Craft Activity For Preschool | Pipe cleaner pony bead snowflakes | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms

We pulled out a package of white pony beads and a handful of shiny silver pipe cleaners and got to work making snowflakes. Making the snowflake shape is a mom (or older kid) job, however decorating the snowflake with beads is the perfect toddler activity. 

Brody is not one to sit still, but I was so impressed by how he calm and concentrated he was through this whole project. At first he loved running his hands through the bowl of beads, then we moved on to feeding the pony beads through a straight pipe cleaner to help Brody get used to the process, and finally we ventured on to sliding pony beads onto a snowflake-shaped pipe cleaner. It was an afternoon of fun! Follow the directions below to do this activity with your toddler. 

A Super Simple Toddler Holiday Craft Activity For Preschool | Pipe cleaner pony bead snowflakes | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms

How To Create Your Own Pipe Cleaner Snowflakes

Supplies:

  • One package of plastic pony beads
  • One package of silver pipe cleaners
  • 1 wreath
  • 1 Command™ Brand Outdoor Hook

Instructions:

  • Cut 2 pipe cleaners in half to create the base of the snowflake.
  • Using 3 of the 4 pieces you have cut, set them on a table to create a snowflake shape.
  • With the remaining half piece, cut it in half again and set to the side for later.
  • Twist the pieces together to secure.
  • Let your little one add a few bead onto each of the arms of the snowflake.
  • Take another pipe cleaner and cut it into 4 equal pieces. With the addition of the piece you cut in step 2, you should now have 6 pieces to use on the snowflake arms.
  • Twist one of these 6 pieces around each of the snowflake arms, creating a V-shape.
  • Let you little one adorn the ends with more pony beads.
  • To hold the beads in place and prevent sharp edges, fold the tips under on each of the ends.
A Super Simple Toddler Holiday Craft Activity For Preschool | Pipe cleaner pony bead snowflakes | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms

We made 4 snowflakes. They would make a fun ornament for a tree, but since we haven't gotten a tree yet, we decided to decorate a wreath for our front door with them! With a little piece of extra pipe cleaner, we secured the snowflakes to the wreath. We also added a big metal letter to the middle of the wreath with ribbon. 

A Super Simple Toddler Holiday Craft Activity For Preschool | Pipe cleaner pony bead snowflakes | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms
A Super Simple Toddler Holiday Craft Activity For Preschool | Pipe cleaner pony bead snowflakes | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms
A Super Simple Toddler Holiday Craft Activity For Preschool | Pipe cleaner pony bead snowflakes | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms
To hang the wreath, we used a Command™ Brand Outdoor Hook on our glass door. These hooks can hold up to 5lbs! I keep a stash of Command Brand hooks around our house this time of year so we do not have to mess with nail holes when we are hanging decorations. You can find them in the hardware aisle at Target. From Nov 26-Dec 2nd they will be on sale at Target if you want to stock up for the new year. For more great content ideas check out Create with Command.

Gift Guide For Mom: 14 Gifts Any Modern Momma Would Love

Since mommas are my favorite demographic, I decided to kick off the holiday shopping with a guide just for us! I've been rounding up things I've come across for months and saving them for this post. From a game to play with your momma friends, to a pillowcase with anti-aging properties, to the sweatshirt and mug that perfectly summarize my feelings towards motherhood--I hope you'll find some inspiration for your holiday shopping. Best of all, quite a few of these items are on mega sale until midnight tonight!

Christmas Gift Ideas for Mom | 14 Gifts Any Modern Mom Would Love | Momma Society-The Community For Modern Moms

One: Slip Silk Pillow Case | Nordstrom | The one thing at the top of every momma's wish list is usually sleep. These silk pillow cases have magical anti-aging and anti-bedhead properties--seriously, read the reviews! 

Two: Marble Coasters | Etsy | I love simple, modern designs, and these coasters are just beautiful. The perfect spot to hold your post-bed time glass of wine. 

Three: Romantic Walks Down Every Aisle at Target Mug | Etsy | I don't think I have ever read more truer words than those printed on this mug. A must for every modern momma as she sips her lukewarm coffee in the morning. 

Four: Mom Life Is The Best Life Sweatshirt | Ily Couture | I love the reminder on this sweatshirt. Not only is it stylish and comfy, but the message is so true. Mom life is the best life. Black Friday Deal: 25% off + Free Shipping Code: GIFT25

Five: Faux Fur Pom-Pom Keychain | Target | This cute little keychain is the perfect accessory to spice up your diaper bag. Also makes a great stocking stuffer! Black Friday Deal: 15% off

Six: Cozy Socks | Gap | This time of year, I live in cozy socks. I love the subtle feminine print on these. Black Friday Deal: 50% off with Code: TGIF50

Seven: Pineapple Candle | H&M | Bargain Alert! This pineapple candle is a steal! I already ordered one for myself and a bunch for gifts. I can't wait to put it on my kitchen counter. Black Friday Deal: Extra 30% off and free shipping with code: 2873

Eight: Kinder Perfect Card Game For Parents | Amazon | Think Cards Against Humanity--but for moms! This card game is perfect for a moms night out with your girlfriends. I can only image the laughter as questions like "I think about ______ while breastfeeding" pop up. Expect lots of laughs.

Nine: Polkadot Apron | Macy's | For some reason, I never thought an apron was a necessity until I started cooking with a toddler around. I love the classic pattern on this Apron. I sent a link to Santa Clause asking for it last night :) Black Friday Deal: On sale for 30% off!

Ten: Agenda | Rifle Paper Co. | I get so much joy out of calendars, planners, and organizing--it's ridiculous! I love the look of this agenda and the layout. If you're looking for a wall calendar, I also love this Household Family Planner. Black Friday Deal: 30% off with code: LETSGO

Eleven: Herringbone Be Rich Wallet | Ju-Ju-Be | I recently switched over to this wallet and I am obsessed. I had a leather wallet previously and it had gotten so grungy since I became a momma. This wallet is wipeable, washable and extra durable! Plus, I love the print.

Twelve: Lip Polish | French Girl Organics | These lip polishes are there perfect gift for yourself or your momma friends. I don't know about you, but my lips are mega chapped this time of year. Black Friday Deal: 15% off with code: GRATEFUL

Thirteen: Plaid Scarf | Loft | I have a thing for scarves and this one is calling my name. I love the plaid print. I love the colors. I love the price. Perfect size to use as a baby blanket in a pinch or a nursing cover. Black Friday Special: 50% off with code: FRIYAY

Fourteen: Mongolian Fur Ottoman | West Elm | It's not a gift guide without one splurge worthy piece of goodness--this ottoman is it! Metallic legs, pink Mongolian fur, a feminine shape--what more could I ask for! If you're lucky enough to have a little office or corner of the home just for you, this is the perfect accessory!

Shop My Favorite Mom Gifts: 

The Best Black Friday Deals + Steals For Kids & Mommas 2016

It is well past my bedtime, but the adrenaline is on high as I scoured the web for the best Black Friday deals for 2016. From entire stores marked down to mega discounted products, I've been taking advantage all evening. Below I've rounded up some great deals I've come across for mommas & kids.  I'll be updating as I continue to come across steals you won't want to miss. Happy Shopping!

The Best Black Friday Deals + Steals for Kids & Mommas 2016 | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms

Land of Nod

The Deal: 20% off + Free shipping!

What I'm eying: Their teepee collection & their play kitchen accessories (Brody's getting this playhouse for Christmas, so I'm on the hunt for play kitchen gear).

JCrew

The deal: 40% off your purchase with code: HOLIDAY (hint, I've never seen JCrew offer a discount of this size)

What I'm eyeing: Their gift guides for boys, girls, and ladies (can't forget about momma!)

H&M

The deal: 30% off your ENTIRE order + Free shipping

What I'm eyeing: This little sweater, these suspender jeans, and this striped lounge set.

Macy's

The Deal: Lots of markdowns. Some categories qualify for extra 20% off with code: THANKS

What I am eyeing: I just stocked up on fleece footed pajamas for Brody. At $8 a pop, plus free shipping over $50, it's a deal that can't be beat. 

Nordstrom

The Deal: Extra 20% off Selected Sale Items

What I am eyeing: Their baby/toddler section has a lot of great deals including this Baby Boden Raccoon Sweater (over 50% off!). I am also seriously considering the Hunter Toddler Rain Boots! I realize we live in Arizona, but these are so cute and never go on sale! I also spotted our Maxi-Cosi Pria carseat that we love and our Stokke Stroller on sale--these two items are very rarely discounted!

Target

The Deal: Top toys are BOGO 50% off. Some of the Fisher Price Baby Gyms and Little Einstein Activity Centers are 1/2 off! Clothes, shoes & accessories for the entire family are 30% off.

What I am eyeing: The entire Cat & Jack collection.

ASOS

The Deal: 30% off the ENTIRE store with code: THANKFUL30

What I am eyeing: This is one of my favorite shops for affordable maternity and motherhood clothing. I just stocked up on this skirt for holiday parties, this bodycon dress for new profile pictures I am having taken next week, this lace dress I've been eying for weeks and this gorgeous winter whites dress. If you're expecting, check out the great deals on their maternity collection.

Other Great Deals:

Bannor Toys:  Almost the entire shop of wooden toys is marked down! 

Pottery Barn Kids: 20% off your entire order & FREE Shipping!  

GAP: 50% off EVERYTHING with code: TGIF50

Loft: 50% off EVERYTHING with code: FRIYAY 

Ann Gray Boutique: 25% off with code: BLACKFRIDAY

Gymboree: Entire site is 50-80% off Plus FREE shipping, no minimum.

Have you started shopping? Have you come across any awesome deals? Share in the comments!

A Healthy Holiday: 8 Tips For Taking Care of Yourself This Time of Year

I’m proud to partner with MinuteClinic as part of their Healthy Holiday campaign. As part of my involvement, I have received sponsorship from MinuteClinic for my posts and activities, but all opinions expressed are purely my own.

As moms, it is so easy to feel the weight of the world on your shoulders this time of year. From the tradition planning, to the cooking, to the shopping and the entertaining—many of the holiday’s most important tasks fall onto our to-do lists. As a teenager, then young adult, the holidays meant bouncing from place to place, eating my weight in home baked sweets from relatives, and following along in the traditions of my family. Now the tables have turned. We are creating our own traditions. We are planning our own holidays. And by golly I am going to make sure I can enjoy them!

Yesterday I shared a few secrets to a stress-free holiday, but today I thought it would be helpful to share a few tips on making sure momma’s energy tank is 100% filled for the upcoming festivities. Here are 8 things I am planning on doing to make sure I am healthy this holiday season.

A Healthy Holiday: 8 Tips for Taking Care of Yourself This Time of year | Momma Society-The community for modern moms

Indulge in Moderation

From pies to chocolates, Peppermint Frappuccino’s to thanksgiving meals—calorie-filled goodness is everywhere this time of year. It’s nearly impossible to say no. Give yourself some grace. Enjoy a few bites. I am allowing myself two Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino this year. Although I would love one every afternoon, they are far more enjoyable and special in moderation.

Make Time for Exercise

Between the actual holidays and all of the events that go along with the celebrations, exercise seems to fall to the bottom of my list of priorities. In reality, this is probably the most important time for me to keep active. Since I am taking a brief hiatus from my regular evening bootcamps, we’ve been trying to do some sort of activity to keep us moving and our stress levels at bay. Walks around the neighborhood to look at lights, playing together on the jungle gym at the park, or just chasing each other in the backyard—find a way to keep moving this holiday season.

Schedule in Relaxation Time

It is so easy for self-care to be the last thing on your mind with holidays at every corner. Make it a priority. Schedule a pedicure or a haircut. Leave a pajama day on your calendar and just hang out at home in your pajamas all day with your family. The balance between a busy schedule and enough time to relax is a tough one. The deeper I’ve gotten into motherhood, the more I’ve realized how vital it is to actually schedule empty days on the calendar.

A healthy Holiday: 8 Tips for Taking Care of Yourself This Time of Year | Momma Society-The community for modern moms

Prep Your Body for Travel

Whether you are taking a road trip or an international trip to celebrate the season, prep your body for traveling.  Did you know you are more likely to become ill when you are traveling than when you are at home? If you’re traveling internationally, make sure you schedule a pre-travel assessment to make sure you have all of the vaccinations and prescriptions you may need. If you’re taking a road trip, pack plenty of water and healthy snacks. Take stretch breaks. If you’re prone to motion sickness (like my hubby), plan ahead so you aren’t miserable. MinuteClinic's are trained to help with a treatment plan for this. Don’t let the travel add to your stress this season.

Throw Expectations Out the Door

The one secret to exceeding your expectations is lowering them. Whether you’re trying to wrangle a toddler for a holiday family photo (I’ve been there), cook your first full blown Thanksgiving dinner, or finish your holiday shopping before Christmas eve, make sure the goals you are setting for yourself are reasonable and you will not be disappointed. I’d love a smiling picture of Brody on our holiday card this year, but come photo day he was anything but smiling. I decided that having a picture of the three of us together on a holiday card this year is enough to make me happy.

Nap as Needed

I’ll be honest, I am usually not a napper. I like catching up on things around the house when Brody is snoozing. But this time of year, I’m letting myself nap if I am exhausted. I know myself and I know that the limited sleep that sometimes comes with this season can make me moody. So if we’re going to have a late night or an extra early morning, you may catch me napping right alongside of Brody.

A Healthy Holiday: * Tips For Taking Care of Yourself This Time of Year | Momma Society-The community for modern moms.

Keep the Germs at Bay

The quickest way to put a damper in your holiday plans is getting sick. Tis the season of germs. With people traveling, flu season lingering, and friends mingling—it is hard to make it through the month without catching something. I have already been to the doctor once this season, and that is enough for me! If you have not gotten a flu shot, make sure that is on your to-do list. And if you feel like you are coming down with something, get checked-out quickly. We live right across the street from a MinuteClinic and the practitioners there have helped us battle the flu, rashes, you name it. Thankfully they're open 7 days a week and you don't have to have an appointment. The simplest tip of all? Wash your hands as much as possible this time of year.

Count Your Blessings

Above all, count your blessings. Do not compare your holidays to those of others. Do not be hard on yourself if you don’t cross off that entire winter bucket list. Be grateful for the little moments this season. Enjoy the time with your little ones for next Christmas they will be an entire year older. Make some memories, share some laughs, take care of yourself, and give thanks for the blessings you have been given.

6 Secrets to a Stress-Free Holiday with Kids

‘Tis the season for fun, festivities, and at times—unwelcome stress. This year, I am vowing to keep things simple. To limit those “brilliant” ideas, crafts, and recipes I come across on Pinterest. I’m vowing to have a stress-free holiday season. Here is my game plan to make this happen.

6 Secrets to a Stress Free Holiday with Kids | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms

Lists, Lists, and More Lists

I am a chronic list maker and this time of year is no different. The simple act of writing things on paper helps me feel like I have control of what is going on. I have a list for gifts to buy, a list for blog posts to write, a holiday bucket list, and a list for decorating. I use lists for everything and check them daily.

Forget the Cooking

If I am being completely honest, cooking is not my strong suite. It is not something I enjoy and quite frankly, it stresses me out. After all, I’m the one that showed up at my mother-in-law’s house with a half burnt/half uncooked cheesecake a few years ago. So this season, I have decided not to attempt any new recipes. I’ll be sticking with the no-fuss recipes I’ve made over and over again. Simple and nothing fancy. And if you’re at a potluck with me sometime over the next month, there is a good chance I’ll be bringing something that I bought at the grocery store.

6 Secrets to a Stress Free Holiday with Kids | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms

Prioritize what is Important

In our family, the holiday traditions are what makes it feel like the holiday season. My husband and I’s annual outing to the luminary display at the Desert Botanical Gardens, our Christmas eve mass and dinner traditions--these are the parts of the holidays that I always relish in. These are the things I am prioritizing this season.

6 Secrets to a Stress Free Holiday with Kids | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms

Caffeine

The holiday season inevitably has me running around town more often than any other time of the year. From extra trips to the grocery store, to last minute searches for party wear at the mall--a little extra caffeine goes a long way. I have a stash of Shamrock Farms Cold Brew Coffee and Milk in the fridge. Since these are mixed with milk, they are super smooth with a slightly sweet taste. Plus, it has double the caffeine of regular coffee--perfect extra little jolt of energy to get me going in the mornings. PS: you can find these at Bashas, Safeway, Sprouts, or Quiktrip if you’re in Arizona. They come in Vanilla, Mocha, and original—the mocha is my fav!

Keep your routine

One thing I’ve learned the hard way is that messing with a toddler’s routine one day, messes with the toddler’s routine for far more than just a day. Take our fun night at our local Zoo lights event for example. There we were at 9pm still having fun wandering around the zoo looking at lights. Brody was in a great mood. He was loving life. He giggled with glee at the holiday music. It was well past his usual bedtime, but he seemed to be adjusting well---or so I thought. But come the following 3 days, we got payback. Payback in the form of tantrums, missed naps, and an overall cranky dude. So we learned our lesson. Don’t expect Brody to be pulling many late nights this holiday season. For our sanity, Brody will be promptly in bed by bedtime.

6 Secrets to a Stress Free Holiday with Kids | Momma Society-The Community of Modern Moms

Just say no

Party invitations, family celebrations, and holiday events---the calendar is packed full this time of year. Rather than being exhausted and overstretched, I am giving myself permission to say “no” this year. I’m trying to limit our events to one per weekend. I am hoping to leave plenty of room for us to enjoy the real reason of the season. Plenty of time to enjoy each other. It is hard to decline an invitation or say no to an event, but if it adds to your stress or makes it harder for you to check off things on your list, then perhaps there is too much on your plate.

PS: Want more tips for a stress-free holiday? Melissa from Baby Castan on Board is sharing her tips for avoiding holiday stress.

Thank-you Shamrock Farms for sponsoring this post. For more news and updates about Shamrock Farms, visit www.shamrockfarms.net, www.facebook.com/shamrockfarms and follow at @shamrockfarms.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Shamrock Farms. The opinions and text are all mine.