Thanksgiving and Christmas: Expressing Gratitude and Love

20141111_090326 We discuss ways to teach children gratitude and love this holiday season through small acts.  Starting in November and going in to December, these tips help teach kids how to focus on gratitude and family instead of on what your kids are “getting this Christmas.”

Starting in November:

  1. Start a Wall of Thanks or a Thankfulness Chain.  You can leave the Wall of Thanks up during after Thanksgiving and add to it as you go into the holidays.  Or, you can create a chain of thoughts of things you are thankful for.  This chain could be added to your Christmas Tree.  Let kids write as many things they are thankful for.
  2. Plan some acts of service for others.  Make it something your kids can participate in.  Maybe your elderly neighbors need some help with their leaves or there is a place for the homeless where you can bring some gently used clothes. Starting in November gives you a chance to start the holiday season off right.
  3. Contact a local shelter or crisis center and ask what they might need for kids and if they accept gently used items.  Help you kids decide which toys or stuffed animals they can part with.  Help them clean the toys and prepare them for drop off.


Overwhelmed by the Holiday Expectations

Do you know what a leprechaun looker is or that there is a Pi holiday?  We did not either.  We discuss the new hysteria over holidays and birthdays powered by Pintrest and how to let your kids know you love them while not going crazy.

Check out the article in the Huffington Post that sparked our conversation:

Making Summer Work

Summer is a transition out of regular routine.  Are you a planner or not?  How do you make summer a success for you and your kids?  We discuss how we face summer.  Some of us are planners and others are “free range.”  Learn the benefits of both styles and how to find your own style for success.

Skiing as a Family

Nancy and Lindsay discuss how to get the entire family into winter sports like skiing–both downhill and cross country.  Don’t stay locked inside the house this winter–get out together and enjoy an amazing, healthy time together.

Learn more about skiing lessons at Sundance Resort on our Sundance Ladies Day page. Learn about the 5th and 6th Grade Ski and Snowboard Passport.

Check out Lindsay and Nancy conquering the mountain!LadiesDayGroup

The Hardest Thing about Learning to Ski

The hardest thing about learning to ski is the GROUND! I learned January 2012–the worst snow season in many years so it was very painful. I came home week after week with bruises on my bruises. The pain almost kept me from completing my lessons but I saw all those people having fun and decided to continue.

I don’t subscribe to the “No Pain, No Gain” philosophy and have been looking for ways to lessen the power of the ground.  Of course I have a helmet—that is why I can still string sentences together. But, I recently found a company that creates protective gear for hips, tailbones, and ribs as well as wrists, elbows and knees and it happens to be 4.7 miles away from my house. COOL!

Before my first trip down the mountain, I took a detour to DEMON Sports. They specialize in  “Keeping You from an Early Grave.” Sounds like my kind of place. After chatting with Brent about my painful months on the slopes, here is what I tested today:

  • Demon Flexforce X D3O Women’s Long Pants: long johns on steroids with pads at the hips, thighs, tailbone and knees. They are lightweight and did not feel any heavier than my regular base layer but provided great warmth and protection. They were comfortable on the drive up to the resort and on the lift. Nothing was binding or tight on the way down–I actually forgot I was wearing them. If you are hoping to look svelte on the slopes, they do add a bit to your profile, but that is a small price to pay for protection. Just channel your inner Lindsay Vonn–she doesn’t seem to mind the look of padded thighs.

UPDATE:  I took my first spill today and thanks to the Flexforce Pants, no pain and no bruises!

  • Demon Vest X D3O: protects your back and your inners from attacks by those who can’t stop with stealth back protection technology and padding on the ribs. The belt even helped keep my back warm so my back didn’t tighten up. It was comfortable all day.  I am NOT looking forward to the situation where I will be glad I am wearing this, but I know it will be much less painful than without it.
  • Flexmeter Single Sided Gloves. These gloves have a great range of motion while still having a wrist guard built right in them–no need for a separate piece of equipment and are made to distribute the impact of a fall. Having taken a trip over the front of my mountain bike (broke my elbow) a few years ago, I have been protective of my wrists and arms but worried that wrist guards would impede my range of motion. These don’t. If you already have gloves you love or just want to get wrist guards, Demon also has wrist guards made specifically for ladies. But these are great gloves all around and the wrist guards make them superb!

DEMON Sports has tons of other protective gear for skiing at all price points: protection shorts that could work for other sports, knee pads, shin guards, wrist guards and padded compression shirts.  I’ll be making a trip back to the store. Their protection gear for bikers may even get me back on my mountain bike again. I don’t think their gear for boarders will get me on a long board but that is OK.

Check them out at Our listeners and readers get a 25% discount (take25).  They are happy help protect your tuckus.

Making the Holidays Merry and Bright

LaNae Callihan of It’s Written On the Wall shares simple tips to make this holiday season merry and bright. Her ideas are simple to do and her downloads are free and give you the best gifts for neighbors and teachers as well as our favorite Lunchbox Notes.  She is an accomplished artist and has a fabulous eye for simple design.  Check out her blog and see what you can be doing to make your holidays merry and bright!  All you need is a printer, some scissors and a great imagination!

Introducing Kids to Other Cultures

We discuss ways to introduce your child to other cultures.  It doesn’t have to be expensive and it doesn’t need to involve lengthy travel.  It might surprise you the resources you have in your own community or on the internet to introduce your child to the greater world around her.  Festivals, ceremonies, religious centers as well as neighbors and friends can be a great way to learn more about other cultures and traditions and help raise a wel-rounded individual who thinks about more than baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet (even though there is nothing wrong with those things too)!

Learn to Ski or Take On Any New Challenge

Nancy chose this as the winter to challenge herself and learn to ski.  She and Shelly discuss taking on a new challenge in life and learning how to do something new and exciting.  They discuss the specifics of being successful at skiing but also the general principles of learning anything new or succeeding in life.

Nancy learned to ski at the Sundance Resort Ladies Day.

Here is a video of Nancy skiing–not bad for a true beginner who has only had four lessons.

Shelly suggested the following book: We Can Do, by Moshe Kai Cavalin

Other Post on Skiing

Blast in the Past

Want your kids to get interested in history?  Let them step back into it and try it on for size. We visit America’s Historic Triangle and enjoy more than just American history. How about history mixed with roller coasters and cannon fire.  Hear how Jamestown, Yorktown, and Williamsburg make for a great family vacation that teaches US history in a unique interactive manner focused on children and families.  We even get our roller coaster fix in at Busch Gardens Williamsburg!

Teaching the Cost of Freedom

During a trip to Washington DC, children learn that freedom has a cost and that cost can be very high.  Learn how to instill a lesson that helps your child to understand the cost of freedom and the history of the United States.  On our quick one-day trip, we were able to see as much as we did thanks to the Old Town Trolley company.  Their trolleys took us directly to the places we wanted to visit on our one day blitz of the nation’s capital.

Seeing Stars

When was the last time you got to see the stars–the celestial ones that really are beautiful?  We discuss ways to introduce kids to star gazing and taking advantage of your local planetarium or local star gazing groups to see planets as well as stars.  Introducing your kids to the night sky can have incredible educational benefits.  Lear more today!

Importance of Family Vacations and Holidays

They take too long, cost too much and are too much work.  Are vacations and holiday times worth it for the family?  Why not just stay home?  We discuss why they are important even when the family gets stuck in a blizzard driving across Oklahoma or running to catch a connecting flight in 10 minutes.

Disney YES is a Dream Come True

We’ve done a show on Disney YES and here is a video of our experience of the program! It was a hit once Alex woke up and realized that school at Disney would be fun! Our teacher Tabia was incredibly energetic and happy while still teaching the kids great info. Tabia taught the kids about the first 18 presidents of the US and the challenges they faced creating the nation, keeping it together, and then expanding it West. We were allowed behind the scenes at the Hall of Presidents where we got to meet the presidents up close and personal–you could see every hair on the heads of their animatronic doubles. We also rode Splash Mountain and Thunder Mountain before the park opened to other visitors–I really appreciated that later in the day when the wait was 60 minutes (I thought WDW was supposed to NOT be crowded in October)!

NOTE: The YES Program only recently opened to individual students and their families and is only available on select days but you should check and see if your dates coincide with YES programs because your school-aged kids 6 and older get an exciting experience in the park behind the scenes (along with a chaperon) and your entire family gets discounted park tickets (our discount was 50% off the regular ticket price—an incredible savings). Fore more information, check out their website at and check out my podcast where I interview the YES Marketing Director about the program and learn more details at

Green Halloween

Halloween is one of the most Eco-Unfriendly times of the year.  Mom-daughter eco warriors Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson have taken the holiday on with Green Halloween and the National Costume Swap Day.   They are also co-authors of Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family and founders of the non-profit Green Halloween initiative.  Learn how to make your Halloween fun less harmful for the planet.  Check out the locations in your area that might be holding a costume swap or learn how to hold one in your area!

Travel to Orlando Part 1

Thinking about a trip to Sunny Florida?  We’re talking with Jill Martin, Family Travel blogger for  You’ll learn where to nurse your baby and fun places in addition to Disney World.  We’ll even talk about educational opportunities in Orlando and Cape Canaveral (only an hour away)!  Get your bags packed!

Don’t miss Jill’s Blog on and remember that she is looking for questions from our listeners!

Dinosaur World

Wonderworks–the Upside Down Amusement Park

Princess Makeover at Disney

A New Way to Look at the World

Shelly discusses how to look at things in a different way and spell your family name with things around your house or in a building.  Nancy interviews an expert on taking beach photos.  Make sure you check out the photos on the website to see the great results and read comments from Steffani on her reactions!

These are Shelly’s Results:


These are our friend Steffani’s results and her comments about how this has helped her kids:

“I let them each child take the camera and find things around the house that could look like the letters in their first name. After they took the pictures, we edited them on our computer, cropping them so that the most important part was revealing the letter.  It was a ton of fun.  I have our last name one printed up in a small oblong frame and underneath “Packer” it says, “Home is where the most important things happen” because all of the things we used for our letters were found in our own home. I want to have their first names printed out in 4×6 and deco-page them to wooden blocks to put in their room.  That part hasn’t happened yet.  But . . .  I have noticed that the kids (after doing this–even CY) are always pointing things out as we drive or go places.  ”Hey, that looks like an M! or  K!”  I think it is helpful in their brain development and creativity to think outside the box.