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Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier

Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier is happening now and we had the chance to check it out on press night!

navy pier winter wonderfest

This was my first time at Winter WonderFest and the only way to describe it is like an amazing indoor carnival. There are rides for people of all ages and levels of braveness.

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There is indoor tubing, tons of inflatable slides and bounce houses.

navy pier Winter WonderFest

Ice skating, train rides, rock climbing, a tilt-a-whirl, indoor hang gliding and a zero gravity ride!

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All of that plus cookie decorating, fun holiday foods and drinks and tons of photo opportunities!

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This 170,000 square feet of holiday-themed fun is going on now through Sunday, January 6, 2019. Tickets to Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest can be purchased online or at the on-site box office. Ticket options vary based on date, height/age, time of sale (advance or day of) and location of sale (online or on site). Winter WonderFest will open at 10 a.m. everyday and closing hours vary based on the day. Visit navypier.org/winter-wonderfest for all of the details!

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Eco Friendly Gifts

It’s holiday shopping crunch time! We love cool holiday gifts but when they are eco friendly it’s even better! We absolutely love Paper Culture for our holiday cards. Their customer service is outstanding. They just recently helped me with edits for my holiday cards. I was impressed about the quick turn around time.

Fun Fact: For every purchase paper culture will plant a tree in your name! (gotta love that!)

paper culture holiday cards

When I was on their website I realized they have some cool gifts that are both personalized and unique.

paper culture gifts
paper culture kids stationary
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Personalized stationary makes a great gift for everyone! One thing that I love the most is a hand written thank you note! I try teaching my kids that hand written notes are very special because lets face it, we don’t receive many these days. I love the idea of personalized stationary for stocking stuffers, teachers gifts and even hostess gifts!

Personalized Baby Blocks

If you are looking for a very sweet baby gift these personalized baby blocks are awesome! They will sure to be a hit with anyone that is expecting or has a baby.

paper culture wall decals

These personalized wall decals are perfect for someone that is hard to shop for! I am thinking my tween/teen would love to put these on her wall

eco friendly gifts
eco friendly gifts
eco friendly gifts
eco friendly gifts


Paper Culture also has some very special Eco Friendly gifts! If you are still in need of Holiday Cards currently all their cards are 40% off until the 12th!




We partnered with paper culture for holiday cards this year. This post is honest with my own opinions.



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Getting in the holiday "Spirit" with Spirit Riding Free

 This post is in partnership with DreamWorks.

This post is in partnership with DreamWorks.

Spirit Riding Free Season 7 is now streaming on Netflix and we were just too excited so to get into the holiday “Spirit” we had to host a party for our friends!

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Season 7 of Spirit Riding Free shares the big adventures that canter into Lucky’s life in all new episodes. Together with Pru and Abigail, Lucky and Spirit journey to the rescue in wild new expeditions. The BFFs learn to overcome life’s challenges through the strength of friendship and teamwork.

My girls just love Spirit and we had the best time putting together a Spirit inspired holiday party. To decorate the party we started with a Spirit sign we made ourselves using a piece of wood and rope. It was easy to attach the rope to the wood with hot glue and this would make an adorable backdrop to any rustic event.

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Since it’s the holidays we did lots of sweet treats! A Make Your Own Trail Mix Bar with popcorn, pretzels, cheese crackers, raisins, M&Ms, chocolate chips and granola was perfect for snacking while watching a few episodes of Spirit!

A rustic white cake decorated with Rosemary to look like evergreens and topped with a horse figurine was a fun and tasty addition to the party.

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To celebrate Spirit Riding Free and the holidays, we planned a couple of crafts for our guests.

Lucky Horseshoe Yarn Necklaces

The girls love making jewelry, especially when it looks real and not like a little kids’ craft project. These Lucky Horseshoe Yarn Necklaces are trendy, fun to make and look really cute when completed. Here are the supplies you need - necklace chain, clasps, rings, jewelry wire, pliers/cutters and yarn.

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First you take the wire and bend it into a horseshoe shape. Tie the yarn on to one end and then wrap the metal until it’s fully covered.

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Then measure your chain, attach the rings to your horseshoe and run the chain through. Attach rings to the end of the chain and add your clasp. Younger kids will need help with the pliers but when it’s finished they have a fun piece of real jewelry to add to their collection!

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The necklaces turned out so adorable and each one was a little different. The kids put them on right away and wore them the rest of the party and back home!

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Horse Snow Globes

Snow globes are such a fun holiday craft and it really is an easy project. Using little horse figurines and ball jars the kids created an adorable memento of our day together. Before the guests arrived I hot glued styrofoam into the lid of the ball jar to give the figurines a little boost. There is a special type of low temp glue gun that works great for styrofoam.

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There was a selection of horses from the kids to select from. Once they had their horse picked out, I helped them glue it down. Then they filled the jars to the top with distilled water, added 3 drops of glycerin and a generous pinch of glitter.

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The end result was magical snow globes!

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Easy Holiday Cookie Decorating

Cookie baking and decorating can be overwhelming with kids. After many years we’ve realized they really just want to decorate and sprinkle. An easy way to accomplish this is by purchasing sugar cookies in bulk in the bakery section of your local grocery store and then supplying them with all of the icing and sprinkles.

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Each kid decorated three cookies to bring home and eat later (because they were on their way to a sugar coma!).

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They really took their time and made sure every cookie was just right.

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The finished masterpieces!

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When it was time to get comfy and watch Spirit Riding Free, the kids made their own snacks to have for the show.

Make Your Own Trail Mix

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Snacks like popcorn, pretzels, cheese crackers, raisins, M&Ms, chocolate chips, granola and more were laid out so that each kid could add in what they like for a custom snack.

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The adventures of Spirit and friends kept the kids entertained for the rest of the party.

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For party favors, each child received a Spirit Riding Free blind bag (stable?) and a gold glitter horse ornament that we made for them.

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It’s safe to say that after our Spirit Riding Free party, we are all fully in the holiday spirit!

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You can catch season 7 of Spirit Riding Free streaming on Netflix now!

spirit riding free season 7

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, all opinions are honest and our own.

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Take a Ride On Santa’s Sleigh at Water Tower Place

This holiday season we were invited to Water Tower Place to visit with Santa and take a virtual sleigh ride to the North Pole!

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Water Tower Place is magical during the holidays. On the 7th floor you’ll find Santa and the virtual sleigh ride. You can make a reservation before you go! Santa has a great, traditional set up and it’s very nice and open. The photographer took 24 pictures of our group spending time getting shots of each child individually as well as a big group.

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All of the pictures taken get emailed to you to download.

But we selected this family pic to be printed and take home with us. I think this is our first pic together as a family of five with Santa!

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After our photo session we hopped in Santa’s Sleigh for a virtual ride to the North Pole via the Portable North Pole. Lesson learned, this is a green screen event so don’t wear a green dress or you’ll have to borrow a scarf to use as a wrap!

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Our video is so fun and funny. Here are a couple of stills.

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The kids (and us parents) love watching the video over and over. It’s such a cool memento of our day!

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Our family just had the best day spending time at Water Tower Place. After Santa we went to American Girl and the Lego Store and couldn’t resist Candyality and Garrett’s Popcorn either!

For more information on the holidays at Water Tower Place and special events like Pet Day with Santa, visit shopwatertower.com. Happy Holidays!

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How to Turn A Small Toy Into A Beautiful Ornament

Every year my kids are obsessed with different things. Trucks, dinosaurs, unicorns - the list goes on and on. Some of their obsessions are easy to commemorate with ornaments while others can be more of a challenge. Thankfully we have a fun and easy project that will help you remember every childhood passion as they grow up!

 This post contains affiliate links.

This post contains affiliate links.


Here’s what you’ll need…

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Supplies

Directions

Take the plastic animal and gently hammer an eye hook into the top. For animals, I put it into their back. Once the screw has gone in a little, you can twist it the rest of the way in.

Once the screws are in the toys, place them in a box and do a thin coat of spray paint on them outside or in a well ventilated area. You don’t have to use a box but since it’s the holiday season and we have a million boxes around, it was an easy way to contain the paint.

DIY Glitter ornaments

The spray paint will dry in 2—30 minutes and you can do your next coat. After you have the desired look, turn the toy to all sides to make sure it is covered.

While we did gold glitter, you can use any color that goes with your decor.

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Once the toys are completely dry, tie a piece of twine in a loop to create your ornament hanger.

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You can either take a Sharpie and write the child’s name and year on the bottom or you can create a little tag for each ornament. This year my four year old is obsessed with the show Dangerous Animals on Netflix. Because this is so fast and easy to do, you could even make enough ornaments to do a themed tree in your child’s bedroom!

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I plan on making these year after year to hang on our tree!

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