10 Things to Hate About the Holidays

10 things to hate about the holidaysOh yes, my friends.  Mike couldn’t let the holidays go by without a little something for you.  And why yes, it IS a middle finger.  Seasons greetings!

10 Holiday Ass Whips

What he said, by Mike

Planned Celebrations – At work I am a planner, at home I like to just go with the flow.  So, it stresses me out to have to follow a strict event schedule for the holidays.  For example 5:00 – we will eat dinner, 6:30– we will attack dessert,  7:00 – light the tree,  7:15 – everyone places one ornament on the tree and says what they are most thankful for, 7:30 – we all put on Santa hats, 8:00 – we walk the neighborhood singing Christmas carols, 10:00 – someone please give me the gift of putting a .357 to my head and pulling the trigger !!

Presents – I get it.  We are thankful for everyone in the village that has a hand in the “raising” of our kids, but do we have to buy EVERYONE whom my kids have interfaced with a gift ?!?!  I promise you, the 2nd teacher’s aide is not going to start doing a crappy job educating my child because I did not give her a Starbucks mug and gift card set.

Lights – I love Christmas lights – they really put me in the Christmas spirit. But there is nothing that drives me into a David Banter Hulk like anger frenzy and sucks the Christmas spirit out of my dark festering soul faster than an installed burnt out string of lights that I can’t fix – especially a string of lights that is tied into other strings of lights.  The OCD in me just can’t let it go, so I turn into MacGyver trying to find the one burnt out bulb in the string dropping Holiday F bombs for all to hear.

Snow and Cold – I love snow.  I like to see it falls, makes everything all white, pristine and angelic.  But, by the next day I am ready for the white crap to melt and go away.  There is a reason I live in the south – I have the cold, everything about the cold.  Wearing a coat, gloves, drinking hot cocoa … all of it.

Two families – Which one do we go to ??  If this isn’t an issue for you and your spouse then count yourself very, very lucky.  Spouse’s parents want to see and enjoy the kids.  Your parents want to see and enjoy the kids.  Someone is going to be pissed about your decision so ready up the Russian Roulette game because there is no avoiding the outcome or feeling like you are pooping on a set of parents.  And don’t get me started on switching up each year as a solution because something always comes up to dick it up.  Makes me want to say “if you want to see my rug rats so bad, you get in the car and start driving.  We will be here with the lights on …”

Shopping – if someone would plan a day (maybe call it White Friday) where you would pay double the price for items but you wouldn’t have to wait in line or fight a crowd of holiday spirit sucking dipshits for a refurbished X-Box or crappy Barbie doll, I would gladly participate.  I hate shopping and nothing sucks out my holiday spirit than seeing people act like asses to get their little price or princess the latest and greatest fad like the world owes this to them.  Guess what ??  Johnny will not climb up in a tower and start capping people because he didn’t get the latest Elmo piece of crap.  Guess what #2 ??  He will still love you no matter what.  So chill out

Santa – I have never understood why there is a line for this event.  All we want is a damn picture of our damn kid with this damn mall Santa – what the hell takes so long ?!?!  Here’s a solution – have one Santa for photos and one Santa for yakking.  Then we would be able to whip through these kids like the Hunger Games reaping …

Opening presents – Now I like presents as much as the next dude, but when it takes over 4 hours to open everyone’s gifts during a family get together, you gave and got too much crap.  Hell, my kids can’t even tell me sometimes what they want for Christmas they have so much crap.  And I hate, having everyone stop what they are doing to watch me with cameras poised opening that one gift.  I think to myself “I guess this is the big one so all the others afterwards are going to suck in comparison.”.  Takes all the suspense and fun out of opening your gifts.

Elf on the Shelf – stories about your kids and their reactions to the Elf on the Shelf – love them, keep them coming, can’t get enough of them.  They crack me up.  Pictures of the Elf on the Shelf sneaking into the liquor cabinet, hanging out in your panty drawer, holding a knife on a reindeer, just down right stupid.  Just use the damn thing as it was intended for – as a mild torture scare tactic to alter your child’s bad behavior for a few weeks.

Bruce Springsteen – “Santa Claus is coming to town !!”  This song is a kick in the balls to me.  Some people love it – I don’t.  Guaranteed when it comes on the radio, the dial is getting turned.  I will give credit to musical genius though.  One way to make sure your crappy music gets played at least once a year is to draft a “Christmas type” song.  Guaranteed play time – even lyrics as stupid as “Let them know it’s Christmas time again !!”.

Now 5 things of greatness so you don’t think I am a total heartless dick …

Top 5 Greatest Things about Christmas

Kids half asleep seeing their present pile – is there anything on this Earth cuter than the look on the face of a child who is in their PJs, half asleep, crazy bed head, carrying their blankie walking into a living room filled with presents and toys ??  Just a look of sheer amazement – lie a miracle has just occurred.  They flash that “I told y’all he was real” smirk to everyone sitting around.

Playing with your child and their toys – not much better than laying on the floor with your kids having them show you all their presents and see their excitement in explaining to your dumb ass what all these things are.  It is the one time of the year they feel smarter than you and I love every minute of it.

Eating – how can anyone diet or eat healthy from Halloween to New Years ?!?!  It is impossible !!  there is no way a human can withstand the temptation to not just stuff his face like a buzzard on a dead rotting carcass on route 66 ??  If people would stop making all this delicious food, I would not have to utter the impending repeating phrase, “After New Year’s, I am going to start watching what I eat …”  with a mouthful of baby quiches and a handful of peanut butter cookies with a Hershey’s kiss plopped in the middle.

Kids – I am not talking little kids.  I am talking high school and college kids.  My house becomes the meeting place for my adult kids and their friends.  Just listening to their college stories as they try to catch up with each other is gold and brings back a flood of memories when I younger, and thinner, and crazier with no responsibility.  Those were the days even though I struggle to recall them sometimes …

Christmas Cards and Pictures - although Facebook has kind of ruined this, I always found it kind of cool to see the annual Christmas pictures of family and friends and see what everyone looks like that you hadn’t seen over the past year.  Another favorite of mine are the yearly recap letters.  Nothing better than shining up that turd of a year and trying to make people envious of your life.  Someday, someone I know is going to pen a truthful version of their year.  Something like “2013 was an interesting time for the family.  My college son added to his life experiences by getting arrested for a public intoxication.  Caught my daughter sneaking out of the house this summer to be with her 32-year-old boyfriend.  My wife set a new record for number of texts with Verizon, and I set a personal record of 4 sexual encounters with my wife in 2013.  Can’t wait for 2014”

Finally, I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year – especially to my good friend Toulouse.  Thanks for letting me “vent” my abnormal thoughts on your blog.  I truly appreciate it. 

Right back at ya, Mike.  It’s super sweet of you to do my work for me and attract more people to my blog than I do with your hilarious venting.  Merry Chrismukkah to one and all!

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The More Bang For Your Buck Gift Guide for Toddlers

great value gifts for toddlersIt’s that time of the year, and if your budget is limited like mine, you’ve gotta make the most of that dough but still make the area under your Christmas tree look full.  Amirite?

I’ve been through this once with the kindergartner, so I have a wealth of knowledge to apply this year when I’m shopping for the little one.  I know which toys were worth the money because they held up, were engaging and he wanted to play with them far past Christmas morning, and which ones weren’t.

So I’m sharing them with you.

Just click on the photo and it’ll take you right to where you can purchase the product.

Imaginex Walking REX
If you have a little boy, this is a must-have. Rex, from Toy Story, is great even if the child hasn’t seen the movie because all little boys love dinosaurs. He roars and he walks on his own. My toddler carries his up to me and says, “RAWR,” then puts him down on the floor and makes him walk. As he grows into the movie, he’ll love him even more.

Magna Tiles
These are so awesome. Probably one of the best toys out there. The tiles are magnetized so you can create designs on a flat surface or in 3D. They help develop patterning, shape recognition, building and motor skills and, while your kids will play with them alone — you’ll wanna play too. They are a little pricing than other building toys but really, they’re worth it. The possibilities are endless so your kids won’t play with them for an hour or two and then be done with them.

Little Tykes Xylophone
You gotta love it. It was good enough for me when I was a baby and it’s more than good enough for my kids now. I love Little Tykes products and have always found them to hold up so well. The older one can tap out actual tunes and while the baby may not sound so good when he does it, his face just lights up and I see a rock star in the making.

Melissa and Doug Classic Peg Puzzle Bundle
Nice and sturdy, made of wood with great chunky pegs for those chubby little hands to hold onto. When they’re younger, you can do these hand-over-hand with them and as they get older, they’ll begin to find success on their own. Melissa and Doug make great products. Everlasting. Educational. And so much fun.

Quercetti Georello Kaleido Gears, 55 pieces
These things are awesome! Good quality and so many ways to put them together, the kids never get tired of them. I have boys but when girls come over, they seem to like them too. What I like to do is, let the boys play with them for a few weeks, then put them up in the closet for a few weeks and bring them back out again. Repeat, repeat. It’s like getting a new toy every time. This one will last you for years and the kids will stay interested.

Fisher-Price Disney Baby Amazing Animals Sing-Along Choo-Choo
This was my older one’s favorite toy FOREVER. He pushed it all around the house, taking the two pieces of the train apart and the animals in and out. And he adored pushing that smoke stack and listening to all the songs. It made me a little crazy sometimes but boy, did he love it. And how can you go wrong with Dumbo, Simba and Lucky?

Fisher-Price The Farmer Says See ‘n Say
A classic that never goes out of style. My little one is so into singing and learning the names of everything — especially animals — right now. I never get tired of sitting on the floor with him in my lap spinning this thing around and around.

Fisher-Price Little People Animal Sounds Farm
My older one got this when he was about 15 months and sshhh! don’t tell any of his kindergarten friends, but he STILL occasionally plays with it. The size is right for your toddler to play while sitting or standing, and it really encourages the imagination. All the pieces store in the silo when you’re ready to tuck it away.

Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg
This is just the loveliest little book. Your little one will adore reading it with you and interacting with all the artistic “mistakes” that turn out not to be mistakes after all. A wonderful book to stimulate creativity and teach your toddler that everything can turn into something beautiful. A mistake is nothing but a portal of discovery.  Can’t recommend it enough.

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems
The kids will LOVE reading this for years. Years! Get it in hardcover so it will last. We love all of Mo Willems books but this one was always my older one’s favorite and the younger one now loves it too.

Elmo’s World DVD Collection
This will save you when you need a few minutes to get something done and your toddler will love it for years. No one (other than you) can bring more happiness to a toddler. Hell, Elmo even brightens my day.

15″ Plush Elmo doll
A perfect lovey to go along with the DVD collection above. This guy is why my eldest’s 2nd word was “Elmo.” It’s made by Gund and it’ll get loved to death by that little one. Promise.

Alex Toys – ABC and 123 for the tub
We still have this set of bright foam letters and numbers — we bought it 5 years ago! The letters stick to the sides of the tub and the wall when wet. Such a fun way to learn the ABCs and 123s and then even start spelling in the bath as they get older. You won’t believe the ways your kids will come up with to play with these.

Alex Toys – My Busy Town
Sturdy, well-made, colorful and has lots of things for the kiddo to do. The older one, who’s now 6 now, loved it for years and now his little brother loves it. The baby moves from one activity to the next like he’s on crack, he gets so excited. The beads are great for fine motor development. The little spinning alphabet letters with matching animals are adorbs and engaging. This toy is always a favorite with every little kid who comes over. It holds up so well, you can’t even tell mine is 5 years old. I’ll keep it forever. Maybe my grandkids will play with it someday. It’s that good.

Small World Young Chef’s Cookware Set
Great for girls, great for boys, endless fun. It’s hard to think of anything more fun to do with my kids than sit at their little kitchen table and have them “cook” for me. The baby brings me “foffee” at least 20 times every morning. Guess he’s pretty observant.

Ecodrink
And a little recommendation for Mommy too. Since I had kids, I run, run, run and I’m always so tired trying to keep up with them and do all the other things I have to do. I’ve tried coffee, Red bull, EmergenC…pretty much everything there is to try and nothing works like this. It’s got a little caffeine but mostly it’s just packed with vitamins. This is a great value — it comes with a water bottle to mix and 30 packets — 2 different flavors. May not be a traditional gift but she’ll thank you for it. I promise.

Happy holidays and happy shopping. Hope this helps those little eyes light up this season.

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The Gift of #Luvocracy

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Luvocracy.Tracking Pixel

I have a gifting faux pas story I’ve never shared with anyone.  It’s been about 6 years since it happened and today, I’m getting it off my chest by sharing it not with one friend, but with every single one of you.

My husband and I had been married for a couple of years.  We’d drifted into that division of labor thing where he takes out the trash and I do all the laundry.  One of the things I ended up taking on without us ever talking about it was buying all the gifts for every occasion.  Including his family, even though I was new to it.

I happened upon something in an adorable gift shop that I thought was perfect for his mother.  luvocracy, #giftguideitI knew that she often teased about being the Queen Bee of her home and I also knew that the colors of the plaque would fit in with her color scheme.  What a great way to show that I was starting to really know her and could give her a gift that was both a wink to something really personal and an addition to her home decor, which is important to her.

I bought it.  I wrapped it.  And when the time came, we handed it across the table to her.  She smiled and ripped open the paper.  When she saw what it was, I thought I saw a shadow of something pass across her face.  But it was so brief that I thought I’d imagined it.  She beamed and thanked us for the gift.

Some time within the next few months, we made a trip to see Gabe’s parents for a few days.  At some point, I saw the plaque proudly displayed on top of a table in the living room.  But later that same day, I went into her bedroom and saw a second plaque JUST LIKE THE FIRST ONE leaning against the wall in a corner.

*It hits me*  Dramatic intake of breath.  Red face.  Douche chills.

O. M. G.

No wonder I’d thought it was something she’d like.  She already had one and it was displayed in her house!  Who knows how many times I’d seen it without really processing it?  I was so embarrassed — and then really grateful to have a gracious Mother-in-law who never in a million years would’ve told me it was a duplicate of something she already owned.

Sigh.  And I used to really pride myself on gift-giving.  Before I had kids, of course.  Now I just do the best I can.

So in the spirit of helping you avoid gift-giving faux pas — and douche chills — let me share a new tool I’m using for the holidays with you.

Because sometimes the best gift is a gift of organization.

#giftguideit, LuvocracyThere’s this site called Luvocracy.  It sounds kinda naughty but it’s actually very, very nice.  It brings together great products and savvy shoppers from all over the web.  I like the website a lot, but I probably use the (free) app even more because I’m always running around and when I get a moment, I can open it and get a little of my shopping done.

Both the website and the app let you discover shoppers you trust, shop for things you need and buy right from Luvocracy at the best prices.  You can also share your great finds with friends.

I spent a few hours this weekend shopping and while I was there, I created some gift guides because, ya know, why not?  It’s a great way for me to keep my gifting ideas in one place in case I’m not ready to buy at the moment I find the products and a way for me to share things I really like with you.

I put together a gift guide for kids and saved some things I know my 6-year-old wants for Christmas and some other things I know my nieces will like, and I made another one with gifts for toddlers like Meyer.

And then for no other reason except that we’re in a new house and I’m obsessed with home furnishings and decor, I made a gift list for the home too.

#giftguideit, LuvocracyTis the season, so there’s a Guide for Hostess Gifts and a Go-to guide for my girlfriends who I’ve known so long, it seems like I’ve already given them almost everything there is.  When I started looking around Luvocracy for other people’s savvy ideas, I realized I had indeed not given them every cool thing there is to give.

And goodness knows, I love the fact that I can have their little Santa’s helpers scour the web for the best price so I don’t have to do it.  Cuz time is what I don’t got.

#giftguideit, Luvocracy, Luv itI say go now for all the reasons above and this little tidbit:  All new members who sign up now receive a $10.00 credit, automatically credited to their Luvocracy account.

When you see brilliant gifts for gracious mothers-in-law, please let me know.  I know her (and her decor) so much better than I did all those years ago, but hey!  A girl can always use fresh ideas to avoid douche chills, no?

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Luvocracy.

 For more information, visit http://www.luvocracy.com.

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Win $500 and manhandle the holidays LIKE A BOSS.

Checked Twice graphicCheckedTwice is a free online gift registry for families and friends to create and collaborate on holiday and special occasion wishlists – making gift-giving simple, organized, and fun.

CheckedTwice makes it easy to add gift ideas from anywhere, create and manage lists for younger children, share gift giving across family, friends, and other groups, and more. And no spoilers here – CheckedTwice won’t reveal what’s been purchased from your registry, so the joy and surprise of gift-giving stays intact!

When less time is spent shopping and the gifts are guaranteed to please, there’s more time to celebrate the season with friends and family. Happy Gifting!

I’m planning to make this holiday central for my kids.  They want 20 million things, including every single thing they see on TV, and there’s no way my mom-brain can remember which day it is much less the names of all those toys that are only new versions of things they already have.  Once I get it all down, all I have to do is point Santa and the grandparents to the list.  Done and done.

Better yet, YOU have a chance to win something I don’t qualify for.  (sniff, sniff)  $500!  You must’ve been nice this year.  Real, real nice.

One lucky winner will receive $500 to help you get started on your holiday shopping!

CheckedTwice is giving away $500 to help you get started on your holiday shopping!

Giveaway ends November 18th at 8 pm ET, open to residents of US and Canada, ages 18+.

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