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streamlining packing

Holy Holidays Batman!! Congrats and high fives to those who made it this far without having a nervous breakdown or gaining a holiday twitch. In 2009, I made the goal to not hate the Holidays. Sounds awful I know, who hates the holidays? I feel the holidays are meant to be celebrations, yet to often they end up stressing people out. Travel is a big part of our holiday schedule. With two young unpredictable boys this might seem like a bad way to keep your holidays fun and frustration free. However here are four ways to streamline Holiday Travel Packing to keep your holiday spirits high and your stress level low.

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streamlining the holiday season: meaningful online gift-giving

In my lifetime online shopping has evolved from being an anomaly into a viable shopping option—especially during the holidays. It’s true, when I was a wee child you went to the mall and grocery store for everything (this last sentence must be read in an elderly accent to get the full effect). Nowadays you can buy almost anything online that you could in a store with even more options online in many cases. “But doesn’t online shopping diminish some of the sentiment when gift giving?” you may ask. Not at all! In fact here are a few tips when shopping online that will help you streamline this holiday task and still purchase thoughtful gifts!

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holiday coloring contest

To me and my family, the holidays are all about home. Whether we’re actually home for the holidays, or vacationing elsewhere, being with loved ones is like being home. And what would the holidays be without tradition?  In fact, one of my favorite parts about the holidays are the fun activities that I can enjoy with my family as we celebrate together. And Vivint wants to help your holiday be filled with memories, traditions, and being together with your family, too. That’s why Vivint is hosting a Holiday Coloring Contest.

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streamlining the holidays: getting ready for people to stay with you

Tis the season for holiday visitors, out-of-town guests, and family get-togethers. If you think your house is starting to feel more like a hotel rather than a home this month, you’re not alone. Many of us host friends and family in our homes during the holidays.

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hanukkah party shortcuts

Thanks to Adam Sandler, we all know that Hanukkah is the festival of lights. And what’s a festival without a party?

Hosting a Hanukkah party can be a lot of fun – and a lot of work. Thankfully, there are some totally acceptable shortcuts that will make preparing for your Hanukkah party much easier, leaving you with more time to wrap eight nights’ worth of presents!

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streamlining hanukkah decorations

In preparation for Hanukkah this week, my mom stood precariously on a wobbly chair, retrieving assorted boxes from shelves and drawers. Inside the boxes (mostly plastic bins and shoeboxes, only some of which were labeled) were all of the Hanukkah decorations she’s been collecting since my sister and I were kids, as well as some new ones for her grandchildren to enjoy.

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candle safety

December is the peak time for gift giving, holiday festivities, and house fires. Didn’t see that last one coming? It’s true that house fires increase during the holidays. This increase is a result of more flammable decorations decking the halls and more folks burning candles (I’m looking at you, apple spice flavored candle). So I suggest you set down that peppermint cookie and read a few tips on how to not burn your house to the ground. 

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i’m dreaming of a green christmas

With the holidays right around the corner the hustle and bustle of the season is in full effect! It can be challenging to get it all done with a smile on your face, make that next to impossible. But there is something about the holiday spirit that makes us go the extra mile.

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gingerbread houses – tips, tricks and template

Making gingerbread houses is a cherish tradition at our house. It’s a great way to celebrate the holiday season. Over the years, after much trial and error, I’ve collected a couple of tips and tricks to help things go smoother and more enjoyable for everyone.

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home safe home

Can you believe it’s already December?! I don’t know about you but time is flying at a rapid rate. Even though it’s wintertime, here in Utah we have yet to experience our real first snow… not that I’m complaining. But before the storm season really starts for us, it’s time to prepare for whatever Mother Nature brings. And even if you’re already knee deep in the winter weather, it’s never too late to start.

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real vs. fake — the christmas tree debate

The debate over real vs. fake Christmas trees has come up each year, for as long as I can remember.  As with many debates, just when I think I’ve got a handle on which is the correct side, sure enough, I get surprised at the actual facts.  Here are a few facts for you to mull over until the debate comes up again next year when even more studies have been completed.

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green monday

If you are serious about your Christmas prep like me, then you already know that the second Monday in December is known as Green Monday.  Sitting two perfect weeks before Christmas, Green Monday is the day when shoppers get serious about gifting, and getting the house hung with boughs of holly goes full tilt. While Green Monday is the busiest shopping day of the year for retail, (I know, you were thinking Black Friday, right?), this year let’s pledge to make it a different shade of green.  

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tech solutions for sending greeting cards

I love sending cards to my family on holidays and on birthdays, but greeting cards are getting outlandishly expensive. Nobody needs to spend $7 on a single Christmas card. I’ve started exclusively sending all my greeting cards via an app on my phone.

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fighting the lights

To say that I have a love hate relationship with Christmas lights doesn’t quite cover the depth of emotion that the twinkly little devils inspire in my heart. Beautifully lit houses and radiant trees really do stoke my Christmas spirit but the thought of getting my own lights out and putting them up makes me want to crawl into a dark hole and hide until New Years.

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giving back this holiday season

The holiday season is about presents. Just kidding. It’s about giving back. And there are tons of ways for you to give back to your community this winter. Here are several sure-fire ways for you to have a meaningful December!

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safety at home during the holidays

The holidays are a constant flurry of activity and merriment. Unfortunately household fires are more prevalent in winter months and all of the holiday decorations certainly don’t help during the month of December. To keep the holidays at home as joyful as possible, a few safety precautions can save time, money, and stress so that you can enjoy the season to the fullest.

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streamlining ways to decorate the tree

Holiday decorating can be a bit overwhelming to say the least. Sometimes even the thought of locating all of the Christmas decorations in storage is daunting. Thankfully after last year’s holiday I became better organized so that this year could be as painless as possible. Because decorating is supposed to be fun, right?

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holiday decorating from a guy’s perspective

This will be my first year decorating a house for the holidays. That means my first adventure on a ladder hanging Christmas lights, my first time with a real live Christmas tree in my house instead of a fake tree in my apartment and my first time opening presents and stockings in front of my very own fireplace on Christmas morning.

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christmas service countdown

I am so excited that Christmas is right around the corner. There are so many things I love about his magical time of the year. I love spending time with family, the food, the cookies, the music, the presents, the movies, the sparking lights but more then anything I love the feelings of love and joy.

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small business saturday

Small Business Saturday, on November 29, 2014 encourages people everywhere to shop with small businesses for just one day, and learn to change the world little by little!  We have the power to change the fact that it is all too easy for small businesses to struggle and fall, even if they have superior services and products.

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black friday activities that are not shopping

I’ll just come right out with it and admit that Black Friday (Black Friday deserves to be a proper noun??) is not really my cup of tea. Don’t mind me while I admire you vigilant deal-seeking, sleep-deprived shoppers at a distance…at 10:00 am…right after I roll out of bed.

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thanksgiving family traditions (new and old)

What is your very favorite part of the holidays? I’m guessing if falls somewhere between fall-colored-leaves, pumpkin/peppermint lattes, and evading awkward family questions like: “When are you going to get married?”, “When are you going to have another kid?”, or “When are you going to move out; you’re 32 for heaven’s sake”.

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circa 1647

Papa Whooley is a revolutionary man, who loved his family. his horse and his luscious hair. He saw the writing on the wall when King James I took over the English crown and decided it would be smart to move his beautiful family to America.

After five short months of eating stale bread, fighting seasickness and scurvy, they finally arrived in their new home of Plymouth Massachusetts.

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family activities that don’t involve technology

I’m totally guilty of it. You know, that time that’s supposed to be quality family time but it inevitably turns into everyone is on their phone and tablet, not talking to each other, time? This happens way to often in my house and I bet it’s a familiar scene in yours too.

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green for all ages

Everyone is talking about going green these days but how can we really apply this idea to our life? Here are a few age specific ways to teach green principles to every member of your family.

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wisdom and youth

Spending time with those who have years of wisdom and open arms is a wonderful experience for families. While visiting the elderly we sang, played the piano, learned a new song on our ukulele, read stories, made new friends, ate delicious treats and learned fantastic new dance moves. It really was great.

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neighborhood calendar – north pole

Can you feel it? Something magical is in the air. The holiday season has finally come!

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family and community

There are many ways our family can be involved in the community. Here are four ways to keep your community clean, sustain its strength, support its people and keep it safe.

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meal planning for thanksgiving

If you’ve ever hosted a dinner, you know the fear of not having enough food to satisfy your guests’ appetites. That fear is amplified on Thanksgiving, a holiday centered on stuffing oneself with turkey, cranberry sauce, and – of course – stuffing.

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consolidate the chaos

With holidays creeping up on us faster than the speed of light, if you’re like me you’d like to organize your life so that you have time for things that really matter. 

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