New Night-time Pamper Routine | Professional Whitening At Home

Friday, November 17, 2017
**This post is in collaboration with Smile Brilliant Professional At Home Teeth Whitening.  All opinions and results are my own.

You may remember, this summer I cultivated a new habit of getting up before my kids.  I loved that new routine, so it propelled me into thinking about other habits I want to cultivate.

Fast forward, to this fall.  Our kids were back to a normal bedtime with school and I found after they went to bed, I flopped on to the couch to stare at my phone for the next 2 hours. I wanted to be more intentional with my downtime so I started a couple new habits, I thought I would share with you today and I have a fun giveaway for you to enter at the end so keep reading!

This time of year, we can get so busy with our to do list, it's nice to develop some routines that are good for us too!  Are you starting any new habits lately?

1.  Teeth Whitening

You all know I am an avid coffee drinker.  With that comes staining, unfortunately.  I had noticed the tooth discoloration and the more I do live video for the blog, the more I notice it.  So, when Smile Brilliant shared their awesome professional teeth whitening system with me, I was more than ready to try it. 

Their system is super easy to use, they give you step by step instructions for each part of the process.  They even provide you with molding gel to make an imprint of your teeth.  You mail the imprints in so your teeth whitening trays fit your teeth perfectly, optimizing the whitening experience.  It took less than a week to get my trays back and I was ready to get whitening.

The great thing about the process was it helped me to cultivate those evening habits I had been wanting to try because I would brush my teeth (with just water), fill my trays with the whitening gel and then head down stairs and let the gel do the work.  You can watch a video of how it works here.

2.  Watch TV with my husband

We don't always love the same things on TV so we were excited when we found a couple of shows we both love.  Right now, we are watching Poldark (PBS Masterpiece), This Is US (NBC) and Last Chance U (Netflix).  If we are feeling like we need a good chuckle, we turn on a rerun of Friends.  We normally get in one show a night and it's a great way to be together and relax!

3.  Get Ready for Bed

I wash my face, change into my pajamas, remove my whitening trays and brush my teeth.  Then I rinse out the trays, dry them and place the desensitizing gel in them and put them back in my mouth for 15 minutes.

4.  Read for 15 minutes before bed

15 minutes is just the right amount of time to do a little reading before bed. I have always wanted to read before bed and since starting the habit, I have been reading so many more books.  When the 15 minutes is up, I simply slip the trays out, rinse them off, and head to bed.

5.  Go to bed on time

After a little reading, it's time for bed.  No more getting lost on the internet and realizing it's way past my bedtime.  I have been using the clock bedtime function.  It plays a little sweet bedtime jingle when I have it programmed for bedtime (10pm), a great reminder to turn out the light and go to bed. Then, on weekday mornings, at 6:15am it plays a tune that gradually gets louder until I wake up. It's a fun hidden feature!

So there you have it, my teeth are whiter and brighter and I have made some new habits that will help me in the craziness of the holiday season.  It's a win in my book.  Have you ever heard of Smile Brilliant before?  Are you an avid coffee drink like me?

If you are like me, you probably want to try this at home teeth whitening too.  You can! One lucky tribe member will win their own set by entering here.

Don't worry, even if you don't win, Smile Brilliant is offering $15 off any tray set using the code perfectlyportfamily15.  This giveaway is open to USA, UK, Australia & Canada residents.

Until next time, keep on keeping on with a joyful, faith-filled life.  #tribekoko

Linking up with ByBMG for High Five for Friday and Andrea for Friday Favorites

How Much Is Teeth Whitening

Cooking With Kids | 4 Ingredient Chicken Pot Pie

Wednesday, November 15, 2017
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I thought I would share this super simple chicken pot pie recipe Vera and I made the other day.  We used canned chicken but you can substitute leftover turkey from your thanksgiving feast instead.

My sous chef loves to help me in the kitchen.  She helped me gather the necessary supplies including a shallow baking dish (you can use a pie plate), a spatula for mixing, a can opener and a bowl to mix up the ingredients.

Next, we gathered the ingredients --

1.  Refrigerated pie crust
2.  Cream of Chicken Soup
3.  1 bag of mixed vegetables
4.  I can of all white meat chicken in water 
**Alternately you can use 1 1/2 cups shredded leftover turkey

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Then, drain the chicken and place in the mixing bowl along with the mixed vegetables and can of chicken soup.  Place the first, of the 2, refrigerated pie crusts in the greased, shallow baking dish.

Pour the mixture into the pie crust.

Smooth the mixture evenly with in the pie crust.

Unroll and place the other refrigerated pie crust on top.

Make sure to go around the edge, pinching the sides closed.

Carefully make a few slits on top in a pattern of your choice.

Once you have filled your pie crust and pinched the edges shut, you can place your pot pie in a pre-heated oven (350 degrees) for 30 minutes.  The crust should come out golden brown. You may choose to allow it to rest for a few minutes to set-up before serving.

We like to serve our pot pies with a side salad, fruit and, if I am feeling generous, bread & butter.  It makes a delicious meal to use up leftover turkey or a great meal to take to a friend.  It's great for a busy night because it takes no time to prep or you can prep ahead and freeze.

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Do you like pot pie?  How do you use up your turkey leftovers?  Do you have any little sous chefs at your house?  Leave a comment below and let me know.  I love hearing from you!

If you are looking for some other ideas for cooking with your kids, here are our other favorites --

Until next time, keep on keeping on with a joyful, faith-filled life.  #tribekoko

Linking up with my friend Jenna for her monthly recipe exchange - check out the linkup for more cooking inspiration

Linking up with Johannah for her monthly recipe link-up, and Fresh Market Friday for Christian Motherhood Inspiration.  Make sure to check out their blogs out!


Monday, November 13, 2017

Yesterday, we hosted our first family friendly Friendsgiving (say that five times fast) and we had so much fun.  I am pretty sure a tradition was born. Do you host a Friendsgiving?

We invited our church small group over for lunch, all 20 of them, that's 5 families worth!  We provided a ham, that cooked while we were at church, as well as the paper platters (because #food), drinks and a side.  Everyone else brought 2 sides too, so there was no shortage of food.  Who doesn't love a good old-fashioned potluck? I do!

In true holiday tradition, we had a kid table and an adult table.  The adult table was in the family room and consisted of two folding tables and a fine linen tablecloth because it's about balance.  Paper platters and a white table cloth!

After lunch, the kids played in the backyard and in the basement while us adults sat around our table and laughed, chatted and got a few extra helpings of the hash brown casserole, snicker salad and parmesan corn casserole.  A few frosted pumpkin cake cookies were consumed too.

Before everyone left, we took some time to play a few Thanksgiving inspired games.  First up, I found these holiday favorite Jelly Bellies (like these).  We did a blind taste test and everyone wrote down what they thought each jelly belly tasted like.  

Closing their eyes to focus on the flavor of those jelly bellies...

Next we played turkey feather race.  All we needed was some straws and feathers.  You had to blow through your straw to get your feather from your end of the table to the other end.  If your feather was blown off, you had to start over.  The picture below was the final championship round for the adults, I won't tell you who won but I was orange ;).

We also played round robin table tennis with a travel table tennis set (we have this one, there is this one too).  It was a little harder for the kids but it was super fun for us adults.  You have 4 paddles (so you will need 2 more than the set comes with). The first person vollies it to the other side and then moves clockwise, and the next person in line hits.  After you hit, you keep rotating clockwise around the table.  If you miss, you are out. 

All you need for a fun old-fashioned, family-friendly Friendsgiving are some fun games, some disposable platters, some great food and elastic pants!  I promise you, it will be a favorite part of your holiday festivities. 

Have you ever hosted a Friendsgiving? Are you part of a small group?  Do you like to play games at your thanksgiving?  We plan to play these same games with my family on Thanksgiving.  The kids can't wait.  

I plan on sharing some more fun Thanksgiving inspired games to play with your family this Thanksgiving, Tuesday on Facebook live at 2pm!  

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Until next time, keep on keeping on with an intentional, joyful, faith-filled life.  #tribekoko

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Linking up with My Glittery Heart for Oh Hey Monday and ByBMG for Tuesday Talk

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10 Gifts for Her | Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide

Friday, November 10, 2017
Psst....I have no brain but thanks to Foxy's Domestic Side for reminding me that today is a link-up :) Oh heavens send a brain stat!  Make sure to link up below with your favorite gifts to give!!!

The weather has chilled significantly, we have had a hard frost and we are knee deep in Christmas planning around here.  I don't know about you, but sometimes adults can be the hardest to buy for.  Often, when shopping for my sister and friends, I think about what I love and what I use and then shop accordingly!  It never fails, I have an internal battle to buy one for someone else and one for myself ;).  Anyone else?

I love a good gift card but there is something so meaningful about an item hand-picked for you, but that can be harder than it sounds.  Especially, when you have several hard to buy for people on your list.  So, today I am sharing 10 gifts I either have or would love to receive.  Some are simply luxuries and some are practical.  What's on your Christmas list this year?

1.  Bracelet Stacks

You all know I love some bracelets.  They instantly up the ante even when paired with gift idea #2.  My friend Ellie In Her Element makes the most beautiful bracelets including stamped and personalized ones.  If you type in tribekoko at checkout, you will get 15% off until December 1st.  

She will be accepting orders until December 15th with guarenteed by Christmas delivery. (This is not sponsored, I just love supporting fellow women!). Make sure to follow her on Instagram.

2.  Comfy clothes

It's winter and we all just want to be cozy.  I love a good sweatshirt and Amazon has some darling ones right now including the one pictured above for $18 (cough cough sweet hubby).  I also love this one for under $8!

3.  Candle

My dear friend bought me one from Bath and Body Works that I loved.  Nothing says cozy and winter like a good smelling candle burning in your home!   My insta-friend Tavia also shared that the new Bath and Body Works coffee candle is delightful, if you love coffee, which I do! 

All Bath and Body Works 3 wick candles are on sale for $12.50 right now!  Attach a gift card and give to your favorite friend, teacher or co-worker :).  If you can't burn candles, I love these so you can enjoy the scent without a flame.

4.  Cordless Vacuum

Y'all are going to laugh, but I asked for a Dyson cordless vacuum (I got the $249.99 version) for my birthday and I adore it.  We have hardwood floors and my other vacuum never had enough suction to do the job so inevitably I spent every evening sweeping.  

I can vacuum the entire kitchen in under 10 minutes and if I am feeling extra energetic, I can turn the suction down with a simple press of the button, and vacuum the living room while I am at it.  I put our other vacuum in the basement and have not touched it once since we got this one.  I know not everyone is into getting appliances as gifts but practically speaking, this is life changing #notoversellingit.

5.  Wallet

I received this wallet as a gift.  I have had it for about 2 years and it is still going strong.  I can carry it as a clutch and fit my phone inside one of the compartments.  It comes in a lot of colors and has plenty of room for loyalty cards, a spot in the middle for frequently used cards and such.  

6.  Stainless Steel Tumbler

Once I started drinking my coffee and hot tea in a stainless steel tumbler, I can't drink it any other way. I take it with me on trips, that is how much I love it.  My friend Heather from Oh My Glitter has the cutest vinyl decals to put on a tumbler which makes it such a darling Christmas gift for all your favorite women in your lives!

7.  Soap

It is such a simple, sweet indulgence to throw in a stocking or wrap up with some cute towels like the new Hearth & Hand towels.  I especially love Mrs. Meyer's and J.R. Watkins Soaps.  Both can be found at Target and often go on sale or have a Cartwheel coupon! You don't have to look too far on Pinterest to find a cute printable to affix to your soap for a cute Christmas gift!

8.  Gel Nail Polish

I have been loving a gel nail polish top coat.  Even with all the dishes and chores, my nail polish stays on so much better.  You could even include a pedicure, manicure or massage gift card with some nail polishes!  I am especially loving navy and white nail polishes right now!  I love Essie, OPI and Julep brands.  I also love this gel top coat for under $5.

9.  Slippers

I spend a lot of time at home and I hate having cold feet.  A nice pair of warm slippers would make a great gift this Christmas.  You can find darling slippers at any price point!

10.  Personalized Signs

Do you have a favorite scripture verse, quote or motto that you live by, maybe even a love letter written by your spouse or your child.  My friend Tara at Adamo Design DSM is amazing at making beautiful signs.  All holiday orders need to be made by November 18th.  

You could have all your family's important dates on a sign or all the places you have lived. The options are endless but a beautiful sign would be such a sweet, thoughtful, personal gift this Christmas.

Don't forget about these ideas too --

Graphic Tees

I love Charm and Grace Designs, if you are looking for a small business to support.  If you own a silhouette, you can make your own.  I love this vinyl and these tees

Personalized Photo Gifts

Each year I make a photo phone case for my mom and myself.  I have always used Shutterfly.  I normally use a coupon and so they make a great and affordable gift!  My dad loves the photo collage coffee mugs too!  There is always cute photo stationary you can make for grandparents and relatives!

What is on your Christmas wish list this year?  What do you love to gift?  Experiences like a date night gift card complete with babysitting is always nice too.  You can read why moms need a date night out.  I also shared 15 family friendly board game favorites here and my 10 things you need to do in November post here.  

Here's a look at my favorite gifts to give in 2016 to for more inspiration.

Until next time, keep on keeping on with an intentional, joyful, faith-filled life.  #tribekoko

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Linking up with Three Boys and a Girl Blog for their ladies gift guide linkup

This post contains affiliate links meaning if you click and buy, I receive a small commission.  Thanks for supporting this blog.  The small businesses that I shared are not compensating me, I just love supporting fellow ladies as they provide for their families!

Don't forget to link up and visit other bloggers for today's 10 on the 10th link-up!

6 Reasons Why Moms Need a Dinner Date Night

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

As if you needed a reason to go out on a date, right?  We all want to go but, darn it, the excuses not to go always seem to win.  You aren't alone.  The cost of babysitting alone can deter you #amIright.  I mean, I wish I was 16 again making $10-15 an hour tax free.  However, going out on a date is so important. A strong marriage strengthens your family.

Here is a list of 5 reasons that should make you take a hard look at your calendar and schedule a date night as soon as possible.  Friday's coming!  You will never regret investing in a date night with your spouse.

Bonefish Grill's Dynamite Shrimp

1. You can Eat Hot Food Made to Order

As much as I love French fries and you know I do, the french fry emoji is on the top of my most used emojis along with the laughing emoji #goals.  If a frown face emoji tops your list, you really need to evaluate life but I digress.

As I was saying, french fries are amazing, but sometimes there is nothing better than sitting down to a meal where they don't ask you to pay up front and actually care how you want your meat cooked.   Not to mention the fact, that while eating, you are only responsible for cutting your own food and most likely no one will accidentally spill something all over you.  Remember, you don't need to gobble your food and you can take your time to enjoy your food while its still hot.

Did I mention the cloth napkins?  And the candlelit table?  The candle light alone will make you think twice about putting on your beloved night-night sweatpants when you get home ;).  #enoughsaid

2.  You Can Wear Real Clothes

Going out on a date gives us moms a reason to pin all those cute outfits on Pinterest and use the hashtag #ootd (for those of you that don't know, that means outfit of the day #Ihadtoasktoo).  When getting dressed for date night, we can peruse that half of our closet that otherwise only gets accessed on Sundays for church.

We also might put on a pair of pants with a zipper and a pair of shoes that don't have shearling inside (although I do love my house shoes).  Not to mention putting on make-up and throwing caution to the wind with some jewelry and lipstick.  It's ok to linger at the mirror and admire, you birthed babies and dang you look good momma!  You are beautiful, take your husband's word for it, he knows!

3.  You Can Have A Complete Conversation

As moms, we are masters of the half-finished conversation.  We start and then get interrupted by some "emergency".  After which we spend the next several minutes trying to remember what it is we were talking about but #mombrain.  When on a date, you can start and complete a whole conversation with a little silence and a breath for good measure.

4.  You Use Your "Real" Name

When they ask for a name for your reservation, you don't reply I am _____'s mom but simply ask for a table for 2 for Erin please.  Hopefully, you remember your name because #mombrain.  For a moment, you can remember that you are an adult with hobbies and interests (outside of changing diapers and knowing the complete soundtrack to Trolls by heart).

5.  You Remember Why You Fell in Love with your Spouse

You see your spouse for more than an amazing bath ninja who can bathe 3 kids at once and you remember why you fell in love with them in the first place.  You can laugh, breathe and talk about your kids life, the weather, what you are learning and the future.  Touch each other, hold hands, laugh and reminisce.

6.  You Can Miss Your Role as a Mom

At the end of date night, hopefully it lasts past bedtime, you can walk into your kids room and look into their sleeping faces and remember all the reasons why you love wearing pants without buttons, restaurants that you can pay first, half-finished conversations and that your name is mom because you got a night away to recharge, relax and rejuvenate.

So go on a date, invest in your marriage and enjoy time away.  Your kids, your marriage and your soul will be better for it.  

Bonefish Grill's Bang Bang Shrimp

If you are looking for a yummy place to eat that lets you pay last and sit for hours talking, try Bonefish Grill.  They have delicious appetizers like the wagyu beef & ginger potstickers and bang bang shrimp.  If you haven't heard of Bang Bang Shrimp or tried it, you need to ASAP.  It has it's own hashtag, it's that good.

Bonefish Grill has a way with their sauces.  I had the dynamite style shrimp, and at the risk of being cheesy, it was dynamite.  The sauces make the meal!  They will treat you right on date night (there are candles and cloth napkins).  Trust me, I just went there and came home with a full belly and full heart.

Why do you love date night?  Have you been to Bonefish Grill?  Have you used the #bangbangshrimp hashtag?  I hope you go on a date night soon!  It's good for the marriage, heart and soul.

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Until next time, keep on keeping on with an intentional, joyful, faith-filled life.  #tribekoko

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Our date night meal was compensated by Bonefish Grill, all opinions on date night and the restaurant are completely my own. 

Psst -- Don't forget Friday is the 10 on the 10th link-up.  We will be sharing 10 favorite gifts to share. See you Friday!

15 Favorite Kids Games

Monday, November 6, 2017

Tis the season for time inside and our family loves to play games together.  I thought it would be fun to share our favorites so that it might inspire you as you make your wish lists and shopping lists this holiday season.

Speaking of which, on Friday, I shared 10 things you can do in November to prepare for Christmas Shopping for presents was on the list and games make great gifts.   If you have a favorite game, please share in the comments.  You always have the best recommendations!

If you are looking for a great game for preschool+, this is the game.  It comes with little pads that you step on when the prompted tells you to go to a specific item like an animal, color or shape.  Lucy loves to play with us too!  It doesn't take too long either and its a great wiggle release!

2.  Snipe

The object of this game is to hide your opponent's snipe creature and then be the first to find your snipe and return it to the nest. The creatures begin to chirp and then light up as time passes.  It can be played one on one or as teams and inside and outside.  This is a great party game and great for ages 2+.

We love Ticket to Ride, now there is a kid version.  Collect colored train cards and build to claim your route.  The first person to claim 6 routes win.  Solon loves to play this game.  Ages 6+. 

Once again we love the adult version, Settlers of Catan.  In this version you are earning commodities with the roll of a dice and then trading them in to build ships and lairs.  The first person to build all their lairs wins.  

Are you sensing a theme?  We love Sequence but now there is Sequence for kids.  Collect cards and work to place your chips on the board.  When you get 4 in a row, you win!

6.  Memory

A great classic family game that never goes out of style.  If you have younger kids, you can modify by just pulling out 1/4 to 1/2 the matching cards.  You will be surprised how good your kids are at remembering!

Push the hot potato and then pass them either shouting the person's name or in a circle.  The person holding the potato when it buzzes and they are out!

Spot It is a fast paced matching game. Place a circle card in the middle and then distribute the rest of the cards to the players.  Then each player flips a card and races to yell the matching animal their card has to the one in the middle. Play continues until a player runs out of all their cards.

10.  Old Maid

11.  Qwixx

A fun dice game where you are crossing off numbers and working to fill your card.  Kids young and old will like this fast paced fun game.

A pirate version of the classic crazy 8's.  You can''t help but say "ARRRRGH!" when you play!

13. Go Fish

Each player gets a set of cards and they try to place them on their opponent's area and then fill their opponent's area with a moose.  The person with the most moose loses!

15.  Bellz

Take turns trying to grab your bells (of various sizes) with a magnet wand.  The first person to get them all wins.  You can't grab any bell but your own so you have to be careful!  It's harder than it looks.

Here are a few more honorable mentions --

These are on our Christmas Wishlist -- 

Games are a great family gift and some of these would sneak right inside a stocking.  If you are traveling, some of these will fit right into your suitcase.  All these games are sure to create laughter, fun and some special family time with those you love.  What are your favorite kids games?  On Wednesday, I will be sharing our favorite kids books to read! Come on back and check it out!

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Until next time, keep on keeping on with an intentional, joyful, faith-filled life.  #tribekoko

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Linking up with Three Girls and a Boy Blog for their Ultimate Gift Guide Linkup

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10 Things To Do in November for Christmas

Friday, November 3, 2017

It seems there are camps this time of year. You are either Camp Thanksgiving or Camp Christmas is coming. Like all things in life, people like to say you are either in one camp or the other. Well I am here to say I love Thanksgiving and everything it celebrates. I am always trying to cultivate a grateful, thankful heart in myself and in our family BUT I am also all about Christmas.

Most of the heavy lifting for Christmas falls on my shoulders. While I am not complaining at all, because I love it, If I wait until after Thanksgiving to start, I am all sorts frazzled and bah humbug by Christmas. I even wrote about it last year.

So, today I am sharing 10 things to do in November to prepare for Christmas and spoiler not one of them is decorating or putting up a tree. Do I have your attention now? Listening to Christmas music while preparing is completely optional but I don't judge! #MariahCareyChristmas #yesplease

1. Create a Christmas List

We will all be shopping this Christmas unless you are Scrooge. I like to use a printable table (seen above) that lists the recipient, gift(s) I would like to get them, the budget I would like to spend and then how much I spent. When I purchase the gift, I then highlight their name so I know I am done. I have downloadable printables available, like the ones pictured for my email subscribers. Just subscribe here.

Once you have your list, you can determine what you need to buy and where and create a list in your phone notes or I have another printable (get it by subscribing here) to keep a running list of items you need to shop for. When you have a plan and a list, you are more likely to stick to your budget and shop purposefully. Except at Target, things always jump into my cart at Target, but I digress.

2. Create a Christmas Budget

This could be interchanged with creating a Christmas list. For me, I like to determine who I am buying for and then set a budget from there. For my husband's family we draw names and have a set price limit for each gift which really helps. I tend to stick to the same price point for other family members too. Then I also determine what my kids want and establish a reasonable budget for their gifts. I use a separate printable for them (and you guessed it, sign up for my email list and I will send it to you). There is no need to go into debt to celebrate the most wonderful time of year.

3.  Begin Shopping

Now that you have a list you can begin shopping.  Often times on Amazon things go up in price as the season goes on.  Last year, my son wanted a particular lego set and the price jumped 30% after Thanksgiving.  Supply and demand people, shop early!

I also was that parent buying a $20 American girl dog from a 3rd party vendor because it was sold out on the website and that was THE ONLY THING my daughter really wanted for Christmas.  Don't risk items selling out, if you see it and you think you want it, buy it and tape the receipt to the item.  You can always return it.

Beginning on Monday, I will be sharing all my favorite kids toys, games, books and adult gifts!  Make sure to stop back by!

4.  Create a Christmas Bucket List

There are only 24 days until Christmas in December.  You might say that's obvious but inevitably if you don't plan for the things you really want to do, your days will be filled with other engagements.  Every year, we plan to go to a lighted holiday display and have a pizza picnic in the car, I put that on the calendar now so that we don't miss it.

Make a bucket list of items you want to do with your family and then put them on the calendar.  I have included a bucket list printable (get it by subscribing here).  It's similar to how our family does bucket lists, which I have detailed in this post.  Here is our Christmas bucket list from last year to get you started.

Annual Christmas Lights and Cocoa Party #myfamilymightkillmeforpostingthis
Find similar Christmas Pajamas here.

5. Plan Your Family Christmas & Christmas Parties

If you have family and you are coordinating when to have Christmas, start planning now.  Have you ever tried to coordinate 2-5 families schedules and find a date that works?  If you have, then you know it's good to plan early!  Be flexible with one another,  although Christmas is on December 25th, the spirit and purpose of Christmas can be celebrated on any day!

It might be an office party or inviting your small group over for a Christmas meal, but whatever it is, it's good to let people know early so they can mark their calendar and gives you time to plan a fun party.  Here are some fun snowball party games!

6.  Christmas Attire

It's never too early to think about what your family will wear for Christmas.  For some of you, this is not important but it's one of two times a year I try to have all 3 of my children coordinate, the other is Easter.  The days are fleeting they will comply.

I like buying them early so they can wear them for all the holiday festivities.  Christmas pageants, Christmas programs, Christmas parties, Christmas church..they will be wearing it!  Don't you wish you were my kid?

Maybe you also like coordinating Christmas pajamas.  Clearly, we like to match at Christmas around here.  Here are some fun options ( one | two | three | four)

7.  Christmas Cards

With social media and staying more connected, this is a fading tradition but one of my favorites.  It's the one thing I save year after year.  I punch a hole in the corner and string them together and the kids look at them all year long.

Go ahead and take a family photo or compile some photos from the year and order your cards.  Places like Vista Print (where I order mine and no this is not sponsored) or Shutterfly have some great options.  Right now Vista Print is running 50% special with code HOLIDAY and Shutterfly is running some seasonal deals too.

You have time to gather all the addresses of your card recipients, get stamps and get a fun, festive return address stamp.  Create an assembly line with your family and get them all ready to send and then mail them right after Thanksgiving.

8.  Get Gift Wrap

It's a great time to stock up on Christmas gift wrap.  My favorite place to buy it is Hobby Lobby.  Their paper is thick and high quality and you get huge rolls.  Costco also has large packs of tissue paper for a great price.  Don't forget bags, gift tags, bows, tape and scissors.

Once you have purchased all your supplies, create a space in your home, maybe a spare bedroom or a drawer in a buffet or dresser so you can be ready with all the essentials in one spot.

Can you figure out which tote is holding the presents????
9.  Create a space for your presents

Around here little minds will want to know what I have bought so I create a space in our store room to hide all the presents.  I hide them in totes out of eyesight and reach.  I will periodically pull all of it out to make sure I have everything I need and crossed off the list and wrap it all up.

10.  Put up your exterior  Christmas decorations and lights

Especially if you live in the midwest,  it's safe to say the cold is going to set in soon.  Take advantage of a warm day in November to put up all your decor then the day after Thanksgiving all you have to do is plug them in.

There you go, 10 things you can do in November to prepare you for Christmas.  I promise, if you do these things now, then you will be off to a head start this Christmas season.  You don't even have to put up the tree.  Are you planning for Christmas now?

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Until next time, keep on keeping on with an intentional, joyful, faith-filled life.  #tribekoko

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