One of the best traditions I ever started with my family was choosing a puzzle to do over the long Christmas break. Every year we set up a puzzle in our favorite part of the house and slowly begin piecing it together.
There is something about “escaping” the normal to do’s and mindlessly searching through an array of colors and patterns to find that one special piece.
What I love best is that this little table of unorganized chaos begins to turn into something much more than a picture. It’s a place where we can gather to talk about our days and engage in quiet peaceful conversation, and with two active (almost teenage) boys this is something you can’t put a price on.
This is definitely a must add to your long list of family traditions!
And when you’re first starting out stick to the 500 piece puzzles! Your family will thank you!
Favorite holiday puzzles:
White Mountain Jigsaw Puzzles are the BEST! You can shop by pieces, remember start small.
Have you heard of education.com?
They have thousands of teacher-crafted learning activities that sync up with your child’s school year plus they empower parents so each child’s needs and potential can take center stage. It’s an amazing site!
A New Year is coming and it’s time to celebrate while we practice our reading skills with this fun word search. The count down is on, find more reading practices like this at Education.com!
Here’s a fun word search they sent us to share with all of you!!
2018 Gift & Idea Guide
We have teamed up with some of our favorite local boutiques and businesses to give you the ultimate gift and idea guide. Each week we will be sharing with you a gift and a family fun idea that will for sure get you in the holiday spirit. There is something special about shopping local and supporting our community.
GIFT and IDEA 6:
Marcel’s Culinary Experience
This Holiday Cookie Exchange Baking Kit makes the perfect gift for the kids. All you need are a few sticks of butter and eggs and your cookie exchange is ready to go! Each kit makes 4 dozen Chocolate Peppermint cookies.
Nothing says the holidays like yummy chocolate treats and peppermint candies from Marcel’s, including the oh-so-adorable keepsake Holiday Camper Tin filled with chocolate stars by Saxon Chocolates or the always popular, decadent hot chocolate mix from Lake Champlain. Stop in and pick up your holiday treats at Marcel’s!
Marcels Culinary Experience is located at 490 N Main Street in Glen Ellyn.
For a family fun activity we suggest that families write notes to each other and put them in a clear plastic, fillable ornament ball. OR have each person write down their favorite gift or holiday activity for that year. This can be a new tradition that is perfect for all ages and lasts a lifetime.
GIFT and IDEA 5:
Are you looking for trendy fashions and flawless styles this holiday season? You will find it at Edie Boutique! Whether it’s jewelry, clothes, outwear, accessories, or handbags you’ll find this seasons styles along with a variety of options to fit any budget. It’s fashionable giving made easy!
The ease, style, not to mention delicious fabric, makes this dolman sleeved sweater one of our favorites! Perfect for any girl on your list!
Every girl loves a little sparkle for the holidays. Stack these pretties HIGH! They make a sweet gift topper too! $8 each or 5/$35
Add a little fun and glamour to your wardrobe! This faux fur vest is perfect with pants, jeans or over a dress! Bonus…it’s softness guarantees extra hugs!!
Edie Boutique is located at 499 Pennsylvania Ave and has six locations! Plus you can shop online!
For a fun holiday experience with your daughter, niece, sister or girlfriends plan a surprise Skip Day! It doesn’t mean you have to skip school or important activities, we’ll let you make that decision! It might take some planning but it will be well worth it when you tell that special person that your ditching the normal plans to have some unexpected fun. This idea is perfect for the over scheduled teenager or busy mom. Enjoy lunch at Blackberry Market, stroll Main Street, shop the boutiques, see a movie, or just grab a coffee! This holiday season put the unexpected on your list and make time for some cheerful giggles!
More Skip Day Ideas:
Another fun idea is to make these super cute Christmas Tree Cones! https://www.fantasticfunandlearning.com/christmas-tree-cones.html
GIFT and IDEA 4:
THE BOOKSTORE OF GLEN ELLYN
The Bookstore of Glen Ellyn is more than just a bookstore. Yes, they have a huge selections of Christmas books and popular titles but they also carry hostess gifts, toys, notecards, Theo Chocolates, Peepers, and much more! We are proud to have this independent bookstore in our charming town. They love their devoted customers and give so much back to our community. We’re lucky to have them!
For the little ones on your list we suggest the Melissa and Doug toys. These toys are created to inspire open-ended thinking and encourage kids to see new possibilities. —Created by Me Craft Kit in a variety of choices from Race Car Bank to Pets Craft Kits and Pasture Pals Fuzzy Figurines with a display case! Super cute!
For the Book lover on your list this is a one-stop shop because this bookstore has an NPR Bookstand! It’s right by the front door and is fully stocked with all the popular titles.
A favorite for moms, sisters, and besties is Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis!
Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave by Joanna Gaines
AND of course there are many Christmas books for every little elf on your list!
AND we have a little secret to share! Did you know you can sign up to read in the famous rocking chair in the window? YES! Call to sign up for your one hour time slot! Grab some hot chocolate from Stam and have your own family story night! What a family fun tradition to start.
Also, The Bookstore of Glen Ellyn will do a beautiful job wrapping all of your holiday gifts!
GIFT and IDEA 3:
This holiday season, Glen Ellyn Moms Village not only wants to showcase local businesses and great gift ideas, we also want to showcase local establishments and how to incorporate them into wonderful family-friendly activities. This week, we have teamed up with Chocolaterie Stam to promote their Deer Meet and Greet this Saturday, December 8th from 2-4pm. So bring your family down and have your picture take with Randolph the Reindeer and have some delicious holiday treats.
Chocolaterie Stam is located at 530 Pennsylvania Ave next door to Storm Inspired.
We are so lucky to have this great establishment in our town. Glen Ellyn is one of only nine locations in the United States and the only one in the Chicagoland area.
Here are some wonderful way to incorporate Stam into your family activities.
Evening stroll with family looking at the Main Street Glen Ellyn Holiday Window Displays.
Go to the Glen Ellyn Bookstore, and sit in the famous rocking chair and read your kids a Christmas book and then head over to Stam.
Drive around and look at Christmas lights and then take the family for Hot Chocolate!
After you get your Christmas tree head over to grab a sweet treat
After an afternoon of ice skating on Lake Ellyn or sledding at Newton Park, warm up with some famous hot chocolate
Pick up chocolate for stocking stuffers or hostess gifts
Bring home a quart of gelato to have when you watch Christmas movies
Meet for hot chocolate at Stam before you head on The Polar Express
GIFT and IDEA 2:
M and Em’s
We love these iscream cozy pajama pants from M and Em’s. Perfect for a family movie night or hopping in the car and finding the best Christmas light show.
Christmas Movie Schedules:
Drive by Christmas Lights:
781 Willis Street in Glen Ellyn
2S231 Valley Road in Lombard tune into 89.5 FM (they even have their own FB page Hughes Digital Christmas https://www.facebook.com/HughesDigitalChristmas/?fref=ts)
880 Pinebrook Dr in Lombard
913 E. Evergeen in Wheaton (tune into 102.5 FM)
GIFT and IDEA 1:
There is a new line of jewelry at Meredith Jaye called Bella Vita! Stone pendant necklaces, diffuser bracelets and pretty earrings – beautiful little touches
We will be sharing our Gift & Idea Guide on the blog every Wednesday and Friday!
Sunshine Dance in Glen Ellyn, is a dynamic and energetic dance company that offers a wide range of classes for kids of all ages. They value fun and all share the joyous “Sunshine” spirit, but also make the commitment to dance in order to gain quality techniques to be competitive. Jared Titus is the proud Owner and Director of Sunshine Dance. Jared is also Owner and Artistic Director of Bright Lights Theatre, a local children’s theatre company in Glen Ellyn. Jared and his dedicated staff are all about inspiring creativity, joy, and passion for their students. Glen Ellyn Moms Village was excited to learn more about this award winning dance company!
- What inspired the change in ownership for Sunshine Dance?
I have been a part of Sunshine Dance’s journey for the past few years, but I am so excited to be able to put my personal stamp on it now that I am the owner. I have big dreams for Sunshine Dance and can’t wait to share them with the fabulous Glen Ellyn community.
- How do you find staff to bring into your organization that truly care about Sunshine Dance the way you do?
I am so blessed to have an INCREDIBLE staff that share my same ideals for the quality and type of dance education I want to offer. They all care about the students so much and put their heart and soul into each and every class they teach.
- Why should Glen Ellyn Moms send their kids to Sunshine Dance?
I truly believe that we have the best education and quality to offer the Glen Ellyn community and surrounding areas. Our instructors are so passionate about not only teaching dance but instilling confidence, discipline, passion, and providing an outlet for students of all ages to express themselves and their creativity!
- Tell us more about the classes you offer!
We offer classes for ages 2 – 19 in many different styles of dance including: Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Contemporary, Lyrical, Musical Theatre, Conditioning, and Turns and Leaps. We offer Pre-Core and Core classes (open to any students wanting to participate in dance) for our beginning through intermediate dancers, Level classes (by audition only) for our more advanced dancers, and the Sunshine Dance Company (by audition only) for those students wanting a professional quality intensive training program.
- What is the most rewarding thing about being a new business owner:
The most rewarding thing about being a teacher/business owner is seeing the difference dance can make in a child’s life. I see students who come in at the beginning of the year very shy and throughout their experience in class gain confidence and an ability to express their emotions more freely. We get so many parents that tell us what a difference they see in their student’s ability to speak in front of their peers and overall confidence they exude in a public setting after participating in dance. Dance and theatre changed my life as a young boy and I am so grateful that I get to share my love of the arts with students every day and see first hand the difference it makes in their lives.
Call (630) 790-1880 or Email: email@example.com
Laurie Palau of Simply B Organized will be in the Chicagoland area to help get our HOT MESS organized. Between book signings, shopping AND presenting her Clutter Clinic you will have plenty of chances to meet Laurie.
SEPTEMBER 12th 7:00-9:00 pm : Clutter Clinic and Book Signing Lake Ellyn Boathouse in Glen Ellyn! Register here!
SEPTEMBER 13th : Shopping with Laurie at The Container Store in Oakbrook (stay tuned for times)
SEPTEMBER 13th 6:30 pm: Book Signing at Prairie Path Books in Wheaton
For more information please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
My favorite quote: cleaning the house while children are around is like shoveling during a snowstorm! SO true! Really how important is having a clean house? And how much time are you going to waste thinking you can keep up?
I used to think I could do it all. I even put together a cleaning schedule. Tuesday was bathroom day, Wednesday was mopping floors day. BUT, Tuesday quickly turned into clean up after my sick son and Wednesday got spent cleaning chocolate milk that spilled into every crevice of my car. Let’s be realistic having a clean house just isn’t in the cards when you have young kids.
As much as you plan, prepare, and keep things punctual the day never goes as planned. Floors stay dirty, high chairs stay sticky, cars stay trashed. You have to move heaven and earth to find time to deep clean. And when you do…you discover that your loving husband reheated spaghetti in the microwave for 4 minutes uncovered. Guess who gets to clean that up?! So this week treat yourself to a guilt free dirty house and if the budget allows for God sakes higher a cleaning service.
Parenting is no small task. There are many times when the days seems insurmountable. Like it might be better to just fall down and let the kids run all over you. Trust me there are many times I’ve let that happen. But I take small steps and try to remember that no matter how big the challenge I want to show my boys that having faith and believing in yourself will always lead them to grandeur things in life.
NAME OF THE BOOK: The Ambrose Deception by Emily Ecton
AGE RANGE: 8-14
THIS BOOK WAS ABOUT: Three very different kids that have to compete against each other and solve various clues that take them all over they city of Chicago. The prize is a $10,000 scholarship or so they think. Melissa, Wilf, and Brondi, are not who you would expect to be competing in this contest. At first they work separately but soon realize that things might not be as they seem and they start to uncover a mystery.
I LOVED: How the book had so many twists and turns. Everything would be going good but then there would be a giant twist that changed everything. I also loved how the clues brought you to different places in Chicago.
READING THIS BOOK MADE ME WONDER: What if I competed in a scholarship contest like this!?! Who would I choose to help me solve the clues?
OVERALL THIS BOOK WAS: This book was fantastic and perfect for middle school kids.
I GIVE THIS BOOK: 4 stars
This book report was written by a very sweet eleven year old boy 🙂
NAME OF THE BOOK: Framed by James Ponti
AGE RANGE: 8-12 years
THE BOOK WAS ABOUT: Framed is about a twelve year old boy named Florian Bates who ends up helping the FBI solve an art theft. He uses a technique called TOAST, which stands for the Theory of All Small Things. This helps him solve mysteries and when he teaches his friend Maragret how to use it they discover that Art, crime and thieves are all intertwined.
I LOVED: I loved the fact that Florian is an FBI Special Asset and can solve mysteries with a theory, TOAST. I now use this in my real life.
READING THIS BOOK MADE ME WONDER: Has the FBI ever used a kid to solve a case? Has there ever been a kid who has helped with an art theft? Can I use the theory of TOAST?
OVERALL THIS BOOK WAS: One of my favorite books.
I GIVE THIS BOOK: 4 1/2 Stars!
All books have been purchased or are Advanced Readers Copies from The Bookstore of Glen Ellyn. Jack, a 12 year old Glen Ellyn resident reviews books for the Glen Ellyn Living Magazine.