Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas 2014

   

    We had a lot of fun this Christmas. I'm not really sure Xavier got the true meaning of Christmas in anyone's belief, but he did understand presents! He loved unwrapping all the presents. He was excited no matter what was underneath the paper. Every time he unwrapped something he would say "it's a...it's a...it's a...BOX!" yes, that was one of his replies. One thing I thought was great, was how he was just as excited when grandma and grandpa, and Nick and I opened a present. He would get so excited to bring you a gift and watch you open it.



      He thoroughly enjoyed both Christmas Eve and Christmas Dinner. He got to make Christmas cookies with grandma and dad which he ended up pretty much devouring the entire week of Christmas. I am not sure if he understood the Santa thing yet. However, I loved that during our grace for dinner he thanked for Christmas. "Thank you for Christmas" I thought that was a great way to sum up our Christmas. Thank you for Christmas, it is a time for giving, caring and sharing.



          I am offline this week due to New Year's but will be back in swing all next year with lots of more great posts! I hope you all have a fun, safe and happy new year filled with love!


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Holiday Fun From Our Family To Yours

 


   This busy mom is done blogging for the week. I decided that I cannot take a day off of being a mom, but I can limit my load as much as possible. So I finished all my projects and turned in all my deadlines. This is the last post I will post until probably Monday, December 29th unless I just cannot help but post cute pictures up of Xavier. Be sure to "like" our social pages of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to continuously follow us and not always have to check the blog page.
     We wish your family a wonderful holiday. No matter what you celebrate we hope it is with lots of laughter and love. Remember that giving is the reason for the season no matter your religion. We are to remind ourselves during this season that miracles do exist when we need them the most. So Merry Yule, Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanza and Happy New Years to you all! We hope your holidays are full of love! Enjoy!

If part of enjoying your holiday is reading. (Don't worry it's one of my favorites too) here is a list of past holiday themed posts from the last three years! I hope you enjoy them and happy reading!

Xavier's First Yule

The Infamous Christmas Card

The Christmas Tree

Christmas Photo Mess Ups

Spiked Eggnog Cream Puffs

The New Year Resolution

The Holidays

Happy Holidays From The Arbia Family

Toys For Tots

Recycled Airline Blanket Christmas Stockings

Angel Tree

The Christmas Hat

Christmas Decorating With A Toddler

Xavier's First Christmas

10 Healthy Winter Habits For Your Family

Just Say No, to Elf On A Shelf

Everybody Say Christmas

2014 Holiday Gift Guide

Peppermint Bark

Toddler Christmas Fun


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Friday Faves Oldies But Goodies XV

Xavier's first Christmas! I cannot believe this is his third!


      I notice that many of you have children at different ages, or are even grandparents caring for children of all different ages. Plus, you may not have read some of my previous posts. Please note most of my posts are in the above tabs of About This Blog (basically our story as a family), The Parenting Area (inspirational and informative tips and tricks),Party ThemesRecipes (from appetizers to baby food, check out all my yummies), Reviews (we review everything from places, technology, beauty, fashion, and of course baby and toddler items), Sponsor Information (if you are considering being a sponsor of Next Generation Stay At Home Mom) and Contact (if you want to shoot me an email for whatever reason, all are welcome, so are comments on the blog and social media). You can find other posts by searching or looking through the months and years. However, I thought it would be much easier for you to highlight stories and items every Friday so here you go! I hope you enjoy and all have a great weekend!

Friday Faves Oldies But Goodies XV

Still need some great gift ideas? Check out our 
2014 Holiday Gift Guide

Remember to keep your family healthy throughout the holidays
10 Healthy Winter Habits For Your Family

Return to the magic of the season
Just Say No, to Elf On A Shelf

Stay Strong Through the Holidays with tough interactions 
12 Ways To Bring Out Your Inner Strength

Remember the Reason for The Season 
Saying Grace


Wishing you all a wonderful weekend filled with love and laughter!

 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Toddler Christmas Fun

 

    Once a month we get together with our friends and have toddler play dates. We try to have some sort of theme or activity planned. Last weekend we had a toddler Christmas party. We thought it would be fun for them to make hand print ornaments, play around a Christmas tree and learn to give gifts to each other.



      There is only one predictable thing about toddlers; it is that they are unpredictable. They are adorable, and great at greeting each other now. They were enjoying the Christmas cookies, decorations and having fun.




       Our craft was a Pinterest fail. The idea was to put your child's hand in white paint, have them grasp a ball ornament, let go and wash their hand. Once the paint was dry, the parents could tie a ribbon on the ornament and make cute snowman out of their child's finger prints with Sharpie markers. Xavier went first. Right away before I even had the ornament in my hand he put his hand in the paint. I then tried to grab it, and told him to hold the ornament. He thought it was great. In fact, he thought it was so great, he smeared his hand almost all around the ornament and it ended in a big white mess on a blue ornament. As I was taking the ornament out of his hand and putting it in the egg carton to dry, he proceeded to dry off his hand on his shirt before I could grab it and put it into the water. Not to mention we got not very washable paint by accident, as it did not come out of his shirt, and I am still trying to get the last of it out of his hair and my nails.





      We had one toddler ornament with some remnants of a hand print on it as the moms decided to double team him and hold his hand. However, we called it a bust and ate some more Christmas cookies and let them play. It was a beautiful December day here in the south. We decided to let them go crazy outside. It was the best we have seen them play in a long time. They played together with balls, frisbees, and cars. They even took turns on the swings and slides.
         We have been doing these play dates since they were only a few months old. It is amazing to watch each one grow. They each develop their own unique personality, charm and sweetness. If parenting has taught me nothing over the couple years I have been blessed to be a mom, it is that life is unpredictable and it is always best, to just go with the flow.

Enjoy the fun photos of our day, courtesy of my talented friend Diana. Thank you Diana! Also, don't forget to enter our giveaway for the Ballroom Dancing Mastery System (7 DVD Set)!









Monday, December 15, 2014

Peppermint Bark

  


     If you are looking for an easy, delicious, holiday treat to make with your kids or bring to a holiday party; try this delicious Peppermint Bark! I got this recipe from Kiwi Magazine.
         You may have noticed a new badge on the side of the blog that says "I Am A Moms Meet Mom Ambassador Blogger"; I am happy to be an ambassador blogger for GreenMomsMeet.com which is also, Kiwi Magazine which always has wonderful stories, crafts, ideas and delicious and nutritious recipes.
       The Peppermint Bark does not even require a stove, just a microwave and refridgerator! I hope you and your family enjoy it, as much as we do!

Peppermint Bark
- makes about 40 pieces

Ingredients:
- 1 1/2 cups peppermint candies
- 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 cups white chocolate chips

Directions:
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray generously with nonstick spray.



Unwrap the peppermint candies and put them in a plastic sealed bag (preferably a freezer bag, I tried a good grocery bag and it ripped a little). Let your kids stomp on the bag a few times to break up the candies. You could use a food processor as well. You want mostly broken pieces not as much powder. Although I found a little powder really made the bark glisten and shimmer which looked really nice when they were done.




Melt the semisweet chocolate chips in a glass bowl in the microwave for about 1-2 minutes. I found it best to heat for one minute, stir, and heat for another minute. You want the chocolate very soft, easy to stir and spread.


  Spread the chocolate out on the cookie sheet and let it sit to harden, as you melt the white chocolate in the same way.




Pour the heated white chocolate over the semisweet chocolate layer and allow your kids to swirl it in with a skewer and make swirls for designs.




While the chocolate is still warm and soft, sprinkle the peppermint candies all over the top.



Slide the cookie sheet into the fridge to harden.



 I found it best when you did it over night. When the bark is firm, break it up into random pieces. Also, beware when putting it out for a party that it melts quickly under lights or hot environments so you can put it on ice or keep it in the fridge as much as you can. Enjoy!






source: Kiwi Magazine Winter 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Faves Oldies But Goodies XIV

   




    I notice that many of you have children at different ages, or are even grandparents caring for children of all different ages. Plus, you may not have read some of my previous posts. Please note most of my posts are in the above tabs of About This Blog (basically our story as a family), The Parenting Area (inspirational and informative tips and tricks),Party ThemesRecipes (from appetizers to baby food, check out all my yummies), Reviews (we review everything from places, technology, beauty, fashion, and of course baby and toddler items), Sponsor Information (if you are considering being a sponsor of Next Generation Stay At Home Mom) and Contact (if you want to shoot me an email for whatever reason, all are welcome, so are comments on the blog and social media). You can find other posts by searching or looking through the months and years. However, I thought it would be much easier for you to highlight stories and items every Friday so here you go! I hope you enjoy and all have a great weekend!

Friday Faves Oldies But Goodies XIV

Check out some cute Christmas photo mess ups from Xavier's first Christmas 
Christmas Photo Mess Ups

Remembering the past with 
Xavier's First Yule

Be inspired to give back this season 
Angel Tree

See the fun of last year
The Holidays

Cook up some delicious and easy to make
Asiago Cheese Pasta With Spinach and Tomatoes

Don't forget to enter to win Ballroom Dancing Mastery System (7 DVD Set)!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend filled with fun, laughter and love!

  

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

2014 Holiday Gift Guide

   
      

     This is the season for giving, and if you have not finished your shopping, or are blocked on ideas, here is a great guide of gifts that are Next Generation Stay At Home Mom approved, and used regularly in our house. Click on the name of each one to read a review and find out where to get it!


2014 NEXT GENERATION STAY AT HOME MOM'S HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE




For children under 3 years old 
Every child needs some Play- Doh
Make your photos into your own book with Twig Tale Books
Get the baby in your life My First Book Series
Give back while you get the wonderful book, Two Bobbies
Every little one loves LeapFrog My Pal Scout/Violet
One of the best shape sorters Infantino Jumbo Shape Sorter
Awesome for learning and keeping your little one amused in the car V Tech Little Apps Tablet
Your child's first game to play as a family with you Think Fun Move & Groove



For him 
Give him some fun for barbecuing with Tonguespank Spices
Get your tech guy a great JVC WiFi HD Flash Camcorder
All guys need protection for their cell phones get them the Subtech Sports Dryskin, it makes a great stocking stuffer!
For your outdoor man get him a Grandtrunk Hammock made from parachute material all of Grandtrunk gear is made to fit in a pouch!




For her
For the young mom in your life try the book Their Name Is Today
For every woman try a Dead Sea Mud Mask
A great stocking stuffer is EnvyDerm's Conditioning Mascara and Lip Plumper






Gifts suitable for everyone
Old Factory Candles Gift Set an impressive set of three soy candles in a variety of mixed scents for everyone!
Pajamas and Slippers for kids to grandparents they have something for everyone and you can even get some matching sets!
Ballroom Dancing Mastery System for your workout buddy that you think needs to try to loosen up a little from the intensity of workouts.




Gifts throughout the year 
Some of the best gifts are not a big box, but something they could use throughout the year and create memories.
For children under 8 try a membership to ABCmouse.com, they will love it and so will the parents.
Never underestimate how valuable a museum membership or theme park pass for a year is to parents with children.
If you know someone who wants to take up music, dance or art lessons, why not get them started by paying for a few.
One of the best things you can give is a family vacation. Florida is a great, affordable, family friendly vacation spot. Check out Disney World or go on a cruise there is something for everyone!

I hope you all find all the gifts you need and remember to give them with love! May you have a happy holiday season!

Don't forget to enter our giveaway for the Ballroom Dancing Mastery System 7 DVD Set!
Click here to enter!



Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sponsored Giveaway & Review: Ballroom Dancing Mastery System (7 DVD Set)

I wrote this post while participating in a campaign by Tomoson and received a gift and or payment to thank me for my time. All views and opinions with regard to the products or company itself are my own and were not influenced nor reviewed by the company prior to posting. I am disclosing this according to the FTC guidelines.
    



          This is the season for giving gifts, and for making new resolutions in your life. I found that this product is a great gift, a great activity, and a great way to work out. So on my holiday list this year is Ballroom Dancing Mastery System from DanceCrazy.
      Ballroom Dancing Mastery System is a step by step progressive dance lesson program. It comes as a seven disc set and each dvd disc is two hours in length. It offers picture in picture so you can see up close the dancers' feet. It helps beginners understand the fundamental concepts of timing and footwork. The Ballroom Dancing Mastery System is over twelve hours of private dance lessons. In this set is two discs of four dances. The four dances in the Ballroom Dancing Mastery System are the Waltz, Swing, Rumba and Foxtrot. DanceCrazy does offer many other dance sets, some just as a single DVD and others as sets.



        We tried out all of these dvds, and by tried out I mean at least watched them, and attempted to do the dance moves. My husband and I come from two completely different dance backgrounds. I have been dancing since the age of three, majored in theater in college, and was a professional ballerina for a dance company. My husband knows music, has rhythm and enthusiasm, but no formal dance training at all, nor not much interest in learning  ballroom dancing. He ended up intrigued to try it out at least.



       Overall we liked the Ballroom Dancing Mastery System (7 DVD Set). I think it is a great value, for only $24.95 you learn four different ballroom dances. Before starting a new dance they give you some brief information about it and I found that interesting, and it helped me to keep in mind what I would look like if I were dancing the dance in the way it was intended.
         The video is very instructional and not flashy at all. It does really make you feel like you are in a private dance class. They even take the time and show you different angles of each step, which both my husband and I found very helpful. They also do each step individually for the man and for the woman. Each DVD has a scene selection which is basically one new step, so you can go at your own pace and learn one step a week if you wanted. As mainly a ballet dancer, I am not the best at ballroom dancing, so learning some of the steps was a little difficult, but they made it very easy to understand which both my husband and I really enjoyed.



       We only found a couple down sides to the videos, mainly the outfits. The Ballroom Mastery System is taught as if it is a serious, private dance class. In a serious, private dance class you would be in a leotard type outfit. Our problem is, in a couple of the dances, they wore very covering and distracting clothing. You could not see their legs or their body form. The man and woman were both guilty of faulty costumes, a simple outfit would have worked fine.
        As a dancer I thought it was fun and a great workout. You have to love dance or want to learn ballroom dancing or you will not like this DVD set. However, both my husband and I did find it fun, informative and a great workout. Our favorite was the Rumba. They had perfectly fit outfits and really explained everything from how to hold your ribcage and hips down to your finger tips.



      Ballroom Dancing Mastery System (7 DVD set) is a great gift for anyone who loves dance or wants to learn to dance. Also, it is great if you are getting married and want to learn to dance at your wedding or a special occasion. It is a fun way to lose weight with your partner in the privacy of your home and at your convenience. It is a great price of $24.95 for all 7 DVDS of Waltz, Swing, Rumba and Foxtrot. Next Generation Stay At Home Mom gives Ballroom Dancing Mastery System (7 DVD set) 5 stars!




You can order your own Ballroom Dancing Mastery System (7 DVD set) from Amazon here.
Enter for your chance to win your own copy by entering the giveaway below. You can enter once a day everyday. USA residents only, giveaway ends Monday, December 22, 2014 9:00AM EST.
#ballroomdancing


a Rafflecopter giveaway





 I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Everybody Say Christmas

    


       We finally got around to getting Christmas in full swing. My dad was able to visit with us for a couple weeks and we have thoroughly been enjoying his company. Squeezing in everything and decorating while in the midst of potty training a toddler has it's challenges, but it has definitely been worth it.
      We took Xavier to the town tree lighting. He was very enthusiastic. He would cheer and say "YAY!" after all the Christmas carols. He loved when Mrs. Claus read the story of the night before Christmas and he likes to be near Santa. We have not tried taking his picture with Santa yet, as he usually does not like any human being in a costume of any sort. However, perhaps as Christmas gets closer he will warm up to the idea. He was excited to see Santa.



      He was able to help decorate a little bit this year. He enjoyed the Christmas music and would dance around and sing "Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas". We wanted him to help hang ornaments on the tree, but that did not go very well. He just did not grasp the hook concept or spreading them out. He managed to stuff four ornaments on the same branch and we decided it looked great and we should make Christmas cookies instead.



       I completely and utterly cheated with my cookies so much so that I bought the Pillsbury just put on a cookie sheet kind. However, they were delicious and he had fun putting them on the cookie sheet and just waiting ten minutes was the perfect timing for an inpatient toddler. He was very proud of his cookies. We are just now starting to have him help more with cooking and he really enjoys it.
    


      By the next day, Nick and I had finished decorating the tree and put up the village. Xavier has been overjoyed ever since all the decorations have been up. He talks about them all the time, he wears his Christmas hat and he is always singing. It is adorable to watch.
         I think the best part was when I wanted to take a picture of us in our Santa hats, so I aimed my iPhone at us, and said lets take a picture, and as we got into position, Xavier said "Everybody say Christmas!" and we all laughed.
          This is what the holiday season is about, spending extra time with family and bringing joy and love into each others lives.




I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and have a wonderful start to your week. Be sure to check Wednesday's sponsored post for a new giveaway!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Holiday Friday Faves

Here are some fun Holiday Friday Faves I hope you all enjoy! Have a wonderfully fun and safe weekend filled with love!

HOLIDAY FRIDAY FAVES




Get In the spirit with
The Christmas Hat

Be prepared around relatives by
Debunking Old Wives Tales

Learn and Laugh
Christmas Decorating With A Toddler




Make Your Own
Recycled Airline Blanket Christmas Stockings



Wow Your Guests With
Spiked Eggnog Cream Puffs
 



Happy Holidays!

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