My Life In Pictures: December 1 – 15, 2016

Over the last year or so, twice a month I share my Instagram pictures since I can’t seem to find time to write! I call it My Life In Pictures. You can see all of my previous posts here.

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The girls joined a cheer squad, and have been practicing for months! They got to perform in the town’s parade, as well as at a professional soccer game. Their hard work paid off, and they did great!

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This is the first year that we went to a Christmas tree farm and cut down our own tree. The kids had a blast finding the perfect one (which is actually far from perfect.) We’ve started a new family tradition!

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We are fully decorated for Christmas! I have a thing for Christmas trees – this is only half of my collection. These are the only things I look forward to putting out each Christmas. If not for these trees, I may not even decorate for Christmas!

And in between lots of shopping, the kids getting sick, and general holiday craziness, I’ve been enjoying the season but will be glad when it’s over and I can put all the glittery things away (because there is glitter everywhere!)

What have you been up to this month?

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Shopkins Chef Club Makes the Perfect Gift For Your Budding Chef!

104012m_brandpg-scroller_spkLila LOVES to help me in the kitchen. She’s learning knife skills, learning to read recipes and how to measure out the necessary ingredients, and even cleans up after herself! She also loves Shopkins, so this year I got lucky because the Season 6 Shopkins is called Chef Club. So if you’re shopping for a future chef like I am, Shopkins Chef Club makes the perfect gift. But it’s not the only reason why Shopkins makes a great gift – Shopkins also helps the girls think and play creatively.

If you have a child who loves to cook or wants to be a chef, Shopkins Chef Club characters and playsets make a perfect gift!

Why We Love Shopkins Chef Club

If you have a child who loves to cook or wants to be a chef, Shopkins Chef Club characters and playsets make a perfect gift!

Shopkins Chef Club categories include Family Food, Breakfast, Sweets and Bakery. The characters are ingredients that can be combined with other characters to make all new recipes.

If you have a child who loves to cook or wants to be a chef, Shopkins Chef Club characters and playsets make a perfect gift!

The new playsets, like the Hot Spot Kitchen and Sparkle Clean Washer, all connect together to build a Chef Club world.

If you have a child who loves to cook or wants to be a chef, Shopkins Chef Club characters and playsets make a perfect gift!

If you have a child who loves to cook or wants to be a chef, Shopkins Chef Club characters and playsets make a perfect gift!

There are also some cool features with the Chef Club characters. This season, the characters come with all new finishes, including color-changing! And each character also comes with a QR code on the bottom that can be scanned with the Shopkins Chef Club app, bringing the characters to life. The girls are both enjoying the app, and it’s also an easy way for them to keep track of which characters they have. They said that the app makes them want to collect even more Shopkins!

If you have a child who loves to cook or wants to be a chef, Shopkins Chef Club characters and playsets make a perfect gift!

The girls are not the only one who loves Shopkins. I think Shopkins are perfect for creative and imaginative play.  The girls like to give each other ingredients and then they make up their own recipes. They challenge each other to come up with the most creative recipe, and it’s fun to watch them think about what they could make with a bunch of ingredients that don’t necessarily go together. Lila told me it’s “Just like on Top Chef.”

If you have a child who loves to cook or wants to be a chef, Shopkins Chef Club characters and playsets make a perfect gift! Lila looking for the ingredients to make an apple pie. She wanted to make sure that I told you that the Apple Pie Alice character is very rare.

Another way Lila plays with the Shopkins in a creative way is that she uses them to spell out her spelling words. She struggles with spelling, so even though it takes a lot longer than if she just wrote them out, she enjoys using her Shopkins to spell out the words and this has actually improved her spelling!

Shopkins is only one of Moose Toys‘ brands that promote creative and imaginary play. Check out all of their brands and let me know which are your children’s favorites!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Wine Gift Ideas For Wine Lovers

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of wine. I share wine recipes, have a Wine 101 section on my blog for wine newbies, review wines and wine related products, and still occasionally post to Have Wine Will Drink’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. So I thought it’d be fun to share some wine gift ideas for the wine lovers in your life!

Wine Gift Ideas For Wine Lovers

Looking for wine gift ideas for a wine lover? You'll find several here; many less than $20! Also includes links to wine related recipes, beginner's info, and more.

Wine Cork Shadow Box

Looking for wine gift ideas for a wine lover? You'll find several here; many less than $20! Also includes links to wine related recipes, beginner's info, and more.

Not only do I love the idea of saving corks in a shadow box, but I also love what this one says!

Vinebox Subscription

Looking for wine gift ideas for a wine lover? You'll find several here; many less than $20! Also includes links to wine related recipes, beginner's info, and more.

Vinebox is a cool subscription service that will send you 3 to 6 “glasses” of wine each month. It’s an expensive and fun way to try out new wines without being disappointed by buying an entire bottle of wine you might not even like. Each flight (the fancy way of saying a selection of wines…usually 3 to 8 glasses) also comes with pairing suggestions and technical information so you can learn more about each wine.

Looking for wine gift ideas for a wine lover? You'll find several here; many less than $20! Also includes links to wine related recipes, beginner's info, and more.

Wine Awesomeness has a subscription service, or you can send a one-time gift.

Electric Wine Bottle Opener

Looking for wine gift ideas for a wine lover? You'll find several here; many less than $20! Also includes links to wine related recipes, beginner's info, and more.

Under 20 bucks, and a must have! An electric wine bottle opener makes opening a bottle of wine a quick and easy task.

Wine Carafe

Looking for wine gift ideas for a wine lover? You'll find several here; many less than $20! Also includes links to wine related recipes, beginner's info, and more.

Now you can get some gorgeous wine carafes (sometimes called decanters), but I like this one because it’s a wine carafe that can preserve your wine for up to a week!

A Wine Chiller

Looking for wine gift ideas for a wine lover? You'll find several here; many less than $20! Also includes links to wine related recipes, beginner's info, and more.

Is there anything worse than drinking wine at the wrong temperature? Nope, there’s not. That’s why I love this Corkcicle Chiller. It has a unique freezing gel that maintains chilled whites and cools down room temp reds. But it does so much more than chill! It has a built-in aerator (you can find out why it’s important to aerate wine here), an easy pour spout, and a flip cap that allows for complete seal. If you don’t have one, get one now!

Wine for Dummies

Looking for wine gift ideas for a wine lover? You'll find several here; many less than $20! Also includes links to wine related recipes, beginner's info, and more.

Yep, I’ve read Wine for Dummies. And if you’re a wine lover interested in understanding wine and wanting to be able to carry on a conversation about it, you should too.

Looking for wine gift ideas for a wine lover? You'll find several here; many less than $20! Also includes links to wine related recipes, beginner's info, and more.

And if your wine lover likes to color, don’t miss out on the Wine Lover’s Coloring Book. Might as well color something you love, right?!

Looking for wine gift ideas for a wine lover? You'll find several here; many less than $20! Also includes links to wine related recipes, beginner's info, and more.

Wine Glasses

Wine glasses galore! If you know a wine lover, they probably also love wine glasses and have lots of them. Here are some favorites…

Looking for wine gift ideas for a wine lover? You'll find several here; many less than $20! Also includes links to wine related recipes, beginner's info, and more.

Spill resistant wine glasses? Yes please! Between kids running around and me just being plain clumsy, it’s inevitable that a glass would get spilled. These wine glasses are not only virtually impossible to spill, but they look super cool too.

Looking for wine gift ideas for a wine lover? You'll find several here; many less than $20! Also includes links to wine related recipes, beginner's info, and more.

Everybody should own these unbreakable wine glasses! TheseTaZa shatterproof wine glasses can get knocked off the counter and just bounce without shattering. So you may still have a mess, but it’ll be a lot easier to clean up than glass!

Looking for wine gift ideas for a wine lover? You'll find several here; many less than $20! Also includes links to wine related recipes, beginner's info, and more.

I would also add these Because Kids wine glasses to my list. Because kids are the reason most moms drink wine in the first place. The only thing that would make me love these glasses more is if they were also un-spillable or non-breakable.

Looking for wine gift ideas for a wine lover? You'll find several here; many less than $20! Also includes links to wine related recipes, beginner's info, and more.

If your wine lover really loves wine, why not get a wine glass that can hold the entire bottle! It’s a fun gift for anybody that likes wine.

Looking for wine gift ideas for a wine lover? You'll find several here; many less than $20! Also includes links to wine related recipes, beginner's info, and more.

How about a wine glass that counts calories? I have given this glass to several friends, and it’s always a hit.

Looking for wine gift ideas for a wine lover? You'll find several here; many less than $20! Also includes links to wine related recipes, beginner's info, and more.

Another fun wine glass? How about a white trash wine glass that you can make yourself!

So there you have it! Wine Gift ideas for wine lovers. There are so many more fun wine gifts out there. What are some of your favorites?

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Mommy of a Monster and Twins is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com and/or other affiliate sites.

My Life In Pictures: November 16 – 30, 2016

Over the last year or so, twice a month I share my Instagram pictures since I can’t seem to find time to write! I call it My Life In Pictures. You can see all of my previous posts here.

I shared what we were up to at the beginning of November, and here’s what we were up to at the end of November.

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The kids were off for Thanksgiving break, and spent lots of time in their PJs. They also all got the stomach flu, which was not fun, though much easier now that they can all make it to the toilet when they get sick! We saw the movie Trolls and loved it.

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I devoured the book Victoria, by Daisy Goodwin. I loved it and wanted more! You can check out my book review or pick up a copy to read here.

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We celebrated my sister-in-laws’s baby shower! She’s having a little girl in April, and that baby will be the 16th grandchild and my 17th niece/nephew! Funny thing is, she already has a nickname…Number 16. Nicknames are huge in our family – between my siblings and all of our kids, we have over 80 of them.

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I started decorating for Christmas! How cute are these wine cork Christmas trees that my SIL makes? They are perfect sitting on our bar.

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Since they were little (no seriously, click that link because the pictures are SO cute!), the girls always sit together or are very close to each other. And like in this picture, I often find them sleeping together and touching. I hope they always stay close.

What were you up to in November?

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Mommy of a Monster and Twins is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com and/or other affiliate sites.

Winter Fest 2016: Check Out So Cal’s Ultimate Winter Experience!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post about Winter Fest 2016 on behalf of Gigasavvy. All opinions are my own.

Here in So Cal, we don’t really get a whole lot of winter. It gets cold (those of you reading anywhere east of us are probably laughing about our idea of “cold”) and occasionally we’ll even have to put on boots or tennis shoes instead of just wearing flip flops. So to say my kids haven’t really ever experienced winter is an understatement. That’s why I’m looking forward to taking them to Winter Fest 2016 at the the OC Fair & Event Center!

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My kids have never even been in real snow. A few years back, it did snow here in our town but it barely even covered the ground and was gone by the end of the day.

At Winter Fest 2016, they blow snow in daily and there will be enough of it for the kids to make their first snow angels, build a snowman, and even try snow tubing! Best of all, it’s included in the price of admission so you don’t have to pay extra for it!

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There’s even an ice skating ring so they can try out ice skating for the first time!

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There is a ton of attractions at Winter Fest 2016, and while the kids are excited about snow, I’ve got lots of other things I want to check out!

One thing we love to do as a family is look at Christmas lights. We bundle up in the car and drive around looking at all the decorations and lights. At the Festival of Lights, we’ll can stroll through a 2 million light illuminated pathway to explore 10 holiday themed lands. I think I’m most excited about this!

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And don’t judge me, but my kids have never been to a Tree Lighting Ceremony before (I actually haven’t either), so I’m really looking forward to seeing one. Every night at 5:30, you can watch the 30 foot tall Christmas tree light up!

And so much more to do: from the Candy Cane Carnival (Carnival tickets are $1. A pack of 16 tickets is $14 and a pack of 36 is $28. All carnival tickets sold onsite. An unlimited ride wristband is available online for $20,) to festive entertainment, seasonal eateries, to visits with Santa and so much more. Check out this video showing all the fun!

Additional Winter Fest 2016 Information

Kids 3 and under are free. parking is on site and $8 Season passes are also available. Get all the ticket info, dates of operation and hours here. Psst! Purchase your tickets online and use the promo code HOLIDAY to save $5!

Winter Fest 2016 Dates: December 16th thru January 1st

Winter Fest Located at: 88 Fair Dr, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Follow Winter Fest on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to keep up with all of the holiday fun So Cal style!

Sounds like a blast, right? I have a Family 4 pack of tickets for one lucky So Cal reader! Enter below and good luck! 

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