Balancing Time During The Holidays For Working Moms

One of my favorite things about being a mom blogger is connecting with other moms from all over. Whether a stay at home mom like myself, or a working mom, girl mom, or boy mom, we all have one thing in common, motherhood. With that being said I am extremely thankful for my mom friends and super excited to introduce you guys to fellow dope mom Allison Thompson.

I’m a working training. I’m Jamaican born and mostly breed wife and boy mom of 1 who recently transitioned from being a SAHM to now a working one. My family and I have entered the Vlog world, you can subscribe to our YouTube channel: A Tribe Called Thompson for a weekly peek into our shenanigans and follow us on Instagram @atribecalledthompson.

Raise your hand if your Christmas to-do list is longer than Santa’s list…. Ok, well maybe not Santa’s but you get the point. It’s that time of the year where moms go bat crazy trying to create that perfect Christmas for their kids; from the perfectly decorated tree to that overly orchestrated family photo session; that winter wonderland Christmas display and not to mention all the Christmas activities that need to all happen before December 25th. Whew, I’m already exhausted just from thinking about it.

But wait, for some of us we have to fit in that 9 to 5 J-O-B (because hey it takes a paycheck or 2 to get all these things done, and life does continue after December 25th). So how can we give our kids that perfect Christmas and keep focused on our professional life?

Well, the first and most important thing I’ll share and this one is the $100 million advice I can give you……. THROW OUT THAT IDEA OF A PERFECT CHRISTMAS. I know, I know I’m crazy for even suggesting that but let’s be honest, do our kids care if the tree is perfectly decorated (NO!) and most times don’t we have to bribe our kids and husbands to even take those family photos (YUP!). I’ve learned from transitioning from being a SAHM to now a working mom that some things are just going to fall through the cracks and it won’t make for a bad Christmas (it really is all in our heads yeah for our kids it was the best Christmas ever).

So leaning on this my next advice is to make a PRIORITY LIST and share it with your family so that everyone is on the same page. That way you won’t have to sacrifice on those important family times and focus on creating memories (and isn’t that what Christmas is about).

Finally, my next tip is to start planning for the Christmas season as early as January. Yes, it’s a bit extreme but trust me this will not only help to limit the stress but you can save so much money if you already decided on what your theme/color will be so that you can purchase those Christmas items after the season comes to a close.

In closing, remember it will still be a perfect Christmas even if you didn’t do the professional family photos or your house doesn’t look like a Pinterest post because all that matters is that you made the time to be with family (and if your kid is like mine that’s all that matters).

Happy Holidays from the Lioness of A Tribe Called Thompson.

 - Allison Thompson

Have A Merry Plush Christmas With Beverly Hills Teddy Bear

My littles have always been team teddy! They love all things plush and cuddly. Not to mention some of the hottest toys on everyone's holiday wish list happen to be plush collectables. With that being said it's only right I'd put together a plush kids gift guide for you all. Here is a list of our top three plush toys to add to your Christmas shopping list...

1. SQUEEZAMALS: these soft slow rising squishy foam plush is also lightly scented  

2. SURPRIZAMALS: these surprise plushies are not only super cute but you can collect over 200 of them! 

3. SHIMMEEZ: create works of art with the swipe of a hand with this two-toned multi-colored plush. From sizes 14" to clip-on they can be a gifted as a present or stocking stuffer.

You can find these goodies at all major retailers including Walmart, Target, Walgreens, and even specialty toy shops. They are also available at:

7 Simples Ways To Make Your Home Festive For The Holidays

As I've gotten older I've been hearing more and more that is just doesn't feel like Christmas anymore. I know our move further south and the lack of snow has played a factor in this feeling. I also remember when I was growing up you couldn't turn the radio on without Christmas music being played on every station all season long. Now we have to make a play list just to hear some of favorite tunes. I personally haven't felt this feeling yet. From the music I listen to to the clothes I wear I stay in the holiday spirit. If you are trying to make your home feel more festive during the holidays check out my list below... 

1. Countdown to the Holidays- buy or even d.i.y a calendar to count down the days to Christmas. It's a fun way to get everyone excited about the approaching holiday.

2. Fill Your Home With Holiday Scents- holiday candles are always a great way to fill your home with those oh so familiar scents that just smell like Christmas. You can also use fresh spices like cinnamon sticks, or make bags of nutmeg and cloves and such.

3. Play Holiday Music- Everyone loves music and it's one of the simplest ways to make your home feel like the holidays

4. Holiday Table scape- create a holiday table setting for your dinning room table. No matter your budget you can find ways to set the table in a way that screams Christmas!

5. Display gifts- wrap some of the gifts you make have for family and friends and place them under the Christmas tree. The anticipation the open gifts makes everything a little more exciting

6. Change Your Bedding- You can go all out by changing your entire bedding to a Christmas theme or you can simply add a few Chirtmas throw pillows in the mix to make the bedding you already have more festive.

7. Bake- everyone loves to eat and cooking as a family is always fun so you can't go wrong with baking some of your favorite holiday treats! 

5 Ways To Give Back This Holiday Season

As Christmas approaches and we fill our carts with the perfect gifts, decorate our home in various holiday themes, and write out our menus for a fabulous Christmas dinner, don't forget to take a moment to remember what the holidays are really about. Don't get me wrong, we all love showering our love ones with presents, and filling our homes with laughter as we share a meal, that too is what the holidays are about. This is just a reminder to step back and remember to give back. Below I will be sharing five ways you can give back this holiday season.

1. Volunteer- Whether you are helping to build a home wiih Habitat For Humanity or serving meals at your local soup kitchen it's important for not you but your little ones as well to get out in your community and help those less fortunate. 

2. Donate- With a visit from Santa soon approaching this is the perfect time to gather up all those gently used toys, clothes, and books your little ones no longer use to donate to children in need. 

3. Smile- So lets be honest some times we are having a hard year our self. We have no extra time to volunteer and no extra money to buy toys to donate, or no extra hand me downs to giveaway. No worries you can still give back by simply smiling, they really are contagious. You will be surprised at how much you can brighten someones day by simply smiling at them

4. Give A Portion Of Your Proceeds To Charity- Are you a small shop? Do you own some sort of business? The holiday season is the perfect time to give a portion of your proceeds to a charity you hold dear to your heart. 

5. BE KIND- While this is known to be the most magical time of the year it is also the most stressful time of the year. We have to remember that we are all human. You never know what the cashier with the attitude just went through, or what distracted that person who forgot to use the proper signal while driving. Energy is transferable. Give off positive vibes through out the holiday season, you just may change someones life.  

Oh What Fun! That Dope Mom Guide To Holiday Adventures

It's the most magical time of the year and I am ecstatic! The holidays have always been a special time for me. Probably because it's my mother's favorite holiday so she's always made it extremely special for us. I have so many wonderful memories of those eventful days growing up and while gifts are always wonderful my memories mostly consist of the things we did together. This is while when I became a mother I knew our focus would be on the time we spend together throughout this joyful time. For my family and I, local adventures equal ever last memories and tons of fun! Below I'll be sharing our list of events we will be attending, in these Duval streets. If you do not live in Jacksonville Florida, no worries just use these places as inspiration to find something similar in your city. 

1. The Black Santa Experience-  You can simply stop by to take a picture with Santa or you can step it up to create a long lasting memory by staying for story time and even play games. Click here to get all the details.

2. WinterFest- The Winter Fest at Adventure Landing has always been a hit with my kids. Shipwreck Island Water Park is transformed into a Winter Wonderland with tons of activities. There is something for everyone! Ice skating, cookie decorating, you can even visit Santa. Learn more here.

3. Sweet Pete's- Whenever there is a new holiday Sweet Pete's is always on my list, not only do they have amazing themed events but the decor' is always magical. You can eat, have yummy deserts, even shop for a few holiday gifts? here is where you can learn more.

4. Deck The Chairs- OK, so we live in Florida, my children are Floridians and there is no way, in my option, you can celebrate the holiday's without the beach, right? Jacksonville Beach Deck The Chairs is an annual lighted sculptural exhibit. Get details here.

5. ZooLights-  My children already love the Jacksonville Zoo and Garden's so what better way to celebrate the holidays than a visit to one of their favorite places when it's covered in Christmas Lights? Want more details? Click here.

6. Jax Illuminations 6th Annual Drive Thru Holiday Light Show- This is hands down one of my favorite adventures we go on during the holidays. We get to all climb in the car, grab a free hot chocolate, turn to a special radio station that will fill our vehicle with holiday music, and cruise around looking at some amazing Christmas lights! Do your kids love Christmas Lights? Details? Click here.

7. Live Nativity-  First Baptist Church of Jacksonville will be putting on a live showing of the miracle of Christ's birth on LAURA STREET! There will be actors, animals, and everything. Click here for more details

That Dope Mom's 25 Days Til' Christmas Bucket List

I've been in the holiday spirit since before it was technically the holidays, what can I say I'm my mother's daughter. (She loves Christmas) While I've been all fa la la la my husband has more of a bah humbug mood. One thing I've noticed is people are either all in or all out during this time of year, there is no middle ground. No worries to all my grinch-ish people out there. I'm going to share with you all my 25 Days Til' Christmas Bucket List to help get you in the holiday spirit!

1. Get a Christmas Tree
2. Decorate The Christmas Tree
3. Decorate The House For The Holidays
4. Make Christmas Cookies
5. Decorate Stockings
6. Have A Christmas Theme Movie Night
7. Visit Santa
8. D.I.Y Christmas Ornaments 
9. Have A Christmas Music Dance Party
10. Donate Toys
11. Take Fun Christmas Photos
12. Read Christmas Books
13. Visit Family
14. Attend A Christmas Party
15. Build A Gingerbread House
16. Throw An Ugly Christmas Sweater Party
17. Buy Christmas Pajamas 
18. Drink Hot Cocoa
19. Mail A Letter To Santa
20. Go sledding 
21. Go Ice skating
22. Make D.I.Y holiday gifts for teachers
23. Make Smores 
24. Shop For Thoughtful Gifts For Love Ones & Friends
25. Go To The Movies

Christmas Stocking Stuffer Ideas For Kids/Teens

OK, guys while I will be sharing more gift guides as we make our way through blogmas today I'll be sharing stocking stuffer ideas for kids! Fun right? My children always check out their stockings first, probably because they always include something edible, mostly Christmas theme candy. Below I'll share a list of 20 items your kid would love to find in their stocking on Christmas morning.

1. MAM Friends developmental teething toys
2. Gerber Puffs because everyone loves food, even babies
3. Holiday Theme Bib like this one from Target
4. Bannor Toys Wooden Rattle
5. Wubba Nub (if your baby is into pacifiers)

1. Crayola-Bathtub-Crayons
2. Playdoh 
3. Christmas hair bows
4. Little Nut World Snacks
5. Manhattan Toy mio-2-magical-people

1. Kinder Joy treat 
2. Palssocks
3. Squeezamals
4. Oral-B Toothbrush
5. Smashers

1. Nail Polish
2. Earbuds
3. Gift cards
4. Candy
5. Money

25 Blog post ideas for BLOGMAS

Hey guys! It's the third day of BLOGMAS and I'm going strong! Don't know what blogmas is? Check out my very first blogmas post here to read all about it. If you want to join in the fun it's not too late! Below I'll be sharing 25 post ideas to help jump start your BLOGMAS journey. 

1. Christmas Gift Ideas For Her
2. Christmas Gift Ideas For Him
3. Christmas Wish List
4. Favorite Christmas Memory
5. Holiday Outfit Ideas
6. Holiday Bucket List
7. Christmas Recipes 
8. Christmas On A Budget
9. Christmas Games For Kids
10. Christmas Crafts For Kids
11. Favorite Christmas Songs
12. Favorite Christmas Movies
13. Christmas Gift Ideas For Kids
14. D.I.Y Christmas Gift Ideas
15. Christmas Gift Ideas For Grandparents
16. Christmas Decoration Inspiration
17. Christmas Activities For Kids
18. Christmas Activities For Couples 
19. Christmas Giveaway
20. Christmas Traditions
21. D.I.Y Christmas Cards
22. Elf On The Shelf Ideas
23. Last Minute Gift Ideas
24. Stocking Stuffer Ideas
25. The True Meaning Of Christmas  

Non-Toy Holiday Gift Guide

A few years ago I tried to enforce a no toy gift rule, key word there tried. While I thought it was an amazing idea my love ones however would not or could not jump on the bandwagon. I like to believe their lack of following the rule was due to the fact that they wanted to provide my children with joy when gifting them and what kids don't like toys right? I also like to believe that toys were the first things that came to mind when thinking of buying a gift for a child. With that being said today I will be sharing 10 non-toy gift ideas to help not only my family with gift giving but anyone out there that's looking for inspiration.

1. Memberships- The gift that keeps giving all year long a membership to a local zoo or museum will not only provide a child with loads of fun all year long but they can also be super helpful for parents as well. We love our membership to Cummer Museum, being able to visit whenever we want has seriously come in handy 

2. Headphone- If your house is anything like mine there are electronics everywhere and the ever so catchy tunes of baby shark is slowly driving you insane. This Glowing LED Cat Ear Headset is not only adorable but useful as well. They can even be used for school!

3. Clothes- Yet another gift that parents can benefit from as well. Clothes don't have to be a boring gift. If you want to see that same joy on a child's face that you see when they receive a toy they've asked for find out the children's favorite brand or character. My son isn't as big on fashion as my daughter but get him a Fortnite tee or Mario sweater and he is all smiles. Gift my girls something bright and fun like the pieces from LittleMissMatched  and it's a fashion show.

4. Nightlight- when you gift a nightlight as cool as the Tulio Dream Light from you will definitely brighten up a little ones day or should I say night? With features like a dimmer function, the ability to change colors and a sleep button that turns it off when your little one falls asleep you can't go wrong

5. Shades- who says kids don't like to accessories? I know mine does and living in the sunshine state not only are shades fashionable but necessary as well.  provide trendy shades for both girls and boys. 

6. Books- Give the gift of literacy! Want to make things a little more special for the holidays how about a custom Christmas book like this one from Your child would be super excited to read their name in their book all about them!

7. Backpack- Backpacks aren't only for school. This super dope shiny black star backpack from Gabby Box is a great stylish yet functional gift

8. A Class- my cousin told me that her in-laws had gifted her sons swim lessons for Christmas one year and I thought that was such a great idea! 

9. Shoes- I mean you really can't go wrong with a pair of shoes and the award-winning has everyone from the baby to the big kid covered. 

10. Jewelry- Growing up we always got nice jewelry for Christmas and while I understand if people don't really want to buy their little one's jewelry I personally think it's nice to pull out special pieces for holidays or special outings. I'm currently obsessing over the dainty children's jewelry from Gifting a nice custom piece can be something special.

I hope this guide helps to inspire you when shopping for the holidays this year. If you have any more ideas you would like to share...feel free to share them in the comments. Thank you and HAPPY HOLIDAYS! 🎁

On The First Day Of BLOGMAS...

Wow, it is officially the first day of December, cue the Christmas music! As the year comes to an end I'll be celebrating my very first year of blogging by participating in BLOGMAS! 🎄 What's blogmas you ask? Well, blogmas is sort of a countdown to Christmas. It is where you would post holiday or Christmas themed post until Christmas day. While most of my post will be geared towards the holidays my goal is to simply post every day until Christmas even if I veer a little off the holiday topic every now and then. 

Ok, so now it's confession time. I am the absolute worst at staying consistent when it comes to blogging I won't lie. Sometimes I just do not have anything I want to blog about while other times life gets busy. I am a stay at home mom of three. I'm hoping that by committing to blogmas it will help kick me into gear. I have a goal and I will reach it! I had to add that in there I'm trying to convince myself I can do this. 😂  

Luckily for me, I have a few good friends that I know will keep me on track. If you have a blog and plan on participating in blogmas let me know down below and I'll check it out. If you've participated in blogmas before and have a few good tips leave those below in the comments as well. I can use all the help I can get. I'm actually pretty excited about this! I look forward to sharing with you all and I look forward to seeing all of you guys post as well! GOOD LUCK & HAPPY HOLIDAYS 🎁  

Oh yeah, be on the look out for my list of 25 blogmas post ideas coming soon.....