The love of sisters and the rage of sisters: Hugs and punches

A friend recently told me they’re thinking of having Baby #2. My immediate reaction: awwwwww! In spite of having some really difficult nights—which involve hours and hours of trying to get the girls to sleep—and breaking up fights over the most ridiculous things—like wanting to sit on these six square inches of couch despite having a whole sectional with plenty of room—I’m happy for my friend because of the love of sisters.

Just the other night, I was reading the girls a book. I noticed their arms reach out for each other. They hugged the whole time I read, and I pretended not to notice for fear of disrupting their special sister moment.

My heart nearly burst, though, when I heard Kiwi: “Aw, big sister,” she crooned. Maybe, just maybe, these two are on their way to becoming best friends.

For the love of sisters: Will these 2 become best friends? I sure hope so. Ten Thousand Hour mama Read more

How to decorate a perfect Christmas tree with kids

Christmas is the best time of year no matter what, but it gets even better when you have kids. You get to relive the excitement of waking up Christmas morning, the joy of tearing through wrapping paper, the wonder of listening for jingle bells and hooves on the rooftop. And now that you have kids, you can decorate the perfect Christmas tree. (‘Cause kids never break Christmas decorations, right?)

To make this super-straightforward task even simpler, I’ve broken down how to decorate the perfect Christmas tree into just 18 easy steps. So what are you waiting for? Round up the kids and get ready to have the most Pinterest-perfect Christmas tree of all time!

How to decorate the perfect Christmas tree with kids. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Tea ring: The best Christmas breakfast pastry you’ll ever eat

Tea ring: The best Christmas breakfast pastry you’ll ever eat

When my brother and sisters and I were growing up, we eagerly watched the front porch at Christmas. We got excited about every delivery, but we waited for one package in particular: One from my grandma containing tea ring, the best Christmas breakfast pastry I have ever had the good luck to eat.

She made two tea rings for us every year, without fail, my entire childhood and mailed them to us in Oregon all the way from Illinois. They arrived slightly squished, but that just made the deliciousness more dense. We never complained.

Tea ring is a Christmas breakfast pastry that combines a fluffy dough, cinnamon, brown sugar and butter—lots of butter, of course. It’s a little like a cinnamon roll but won’t give you a sugar headache afterward. Even better, the recipe makes two, so you don’t feel bad going back for seconds—or fourths.

This Christmas breakfast pastry is like a cinnamon roll—but better. This tea ring recipe is a holiday family tradition! Ten Thousand Hour MamaThis Christmas breakfast pastry is like a cinnamon roll—but better. This tea ring recipe is a holiday family tradition! Ten Thousand Hour Mama

In the Christmas spirit of giving, I’m sharing my family’s most-treasured recipe for tea ring here. It’s legendary around these parts: Family friends continue to talk about tea ring, and friends of mine have dropped by Christmas day to “say hi”—aka angle for a slice of tea ring.

I’m always willing to share. If you have Christmas breakfast pastry this good, it’d be cruel not to.

The best Christmas breakfast pastry you'll ever make: A tea ring recipe handed down 4 generations, perfect for a new holiday family tradition! Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Toddler, aka Christmas destroyer

Kiwi, at two years old, is single-handedly wrecking Christmas.

Ok not really, but this toddler is destroying Christmas decorations at an alarming pace.

“Be very careful,” she says as she pulls an ornament off the tree, despite our “one finger” rule, which I designed to let her sort-of touch the fragile baubles without actually inflicting any harm.

In spite of her promises/self-warnings, though, ornaments end up in pieces within seconds.

So far, several penguins, two angels, a snowman, a chairlift full of animals Eric had previously declared “unbreakable” and another handful of decorations are awaiting repair—or, more likely, the trash—in a makeshift ornament graveyard atop the microwave. And we still have a week until Christmas—plenty of time for more casualties.

Our toddler is single-handedly wrecking Christmas, but I don't mind. Here's why. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Make a Christmas tree for animals

When we traveled to the Midwest for Christmas last year, I figured we’d be cold. But then we arrived at the tail end of a winter storm and our first day in Chicago had a forecasted high of 10 degrees. People. 10 degrees. So yes, we were cold. And when we arrived at my in-laws’ house in Michigan and saw so many animal footprints in the snow, I thought of all those critters struggling to survive the long winter months with scarce food and low temps.

So in the days leading up to Christmas, I wanted to give the critters a little present. The girls, their grandparents and I thought we’d provide a little holiday treat: We made a Christmas tree for animals.

How to make a Christmas tree for animals: A new holiday family activity to do good! Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Family Christmas game: Laughing All the Way

Family Christmas game: Laughing All the Way

Christmas is about the only time of year when my whole family gets together. And when we get together, we play games. (Ask me sometime about our tradition of Star Wars Drinking Monopoly. Epic.) Now that we’ve grown up and some of us have kids, though, we needed a more family-friendly game to play at the holidays. So this year, I made one up: a family Christmas game that can be as naughty or nice as you want!

This fun family Christmas game (via a free download printable) is a great way to spend time together over the holidays! Ten Thousand Hour Mama

This post contains affiliate links, which means clicking and buying gets me a few pennies to support this blog—at no extra cost to you.

Imagine this family Christmas game as a mix between Cards Against Humanity and The Game of Things (which if you’ve never played before, you definitely should—it’s one of our favorites!). Basically, your family answers silly holiday questions or fill-in-the-blanks, and everyone has to guess who said what.

Pie is optional—but strongly recommended.

This fun family Christmas game (via a free download printable) is a great way to spend time together over the holidays! Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Want to add a fun family Christmas game to your holiday? Read on for the rules—and a printable so you can get your very own! Read more

Portland’s The Grotto with kids: Outdoor Christmas fun

This week we checked off a Portland bucket list activity: Visiting Portland’s The Grotto with kids. The families from Kiwi’s homeschool preschool planned a p.m. field trip to see the Christmas lights there, and since I didn’t exactly know what was in store, this Portland Christmas activity gave me so much more than I expected!

Visiting The Grotto with kids is a painless, fun outdoor activity to get in the Christmas spirit in Portland.

If you’re looking for a family activity in Portland that’s

  • inexpensive
  • easy for little kids and entertaining for older kids, too
  • not stressful

then I recommend visiting The Grotto with the whole family. (I didn’t receive compensation or free entry for this post; I just really enjoyed our visit and am glad we finally went to see the Christmas lights there!)

Family Christmas activities in Portland: The Grotto with kids Read more