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Making a List…
Packing and children. Two words that were never meant to go together. Inevitably something is forgotten (goodbye, sanity!) in the midst of the tantrums, toy negotiations and loading up the car/leaving the house. That's why we were beyond THRILLED to discover Maggie Mason's Master Packing list post on her blog, Mighty Girl (http://mightygirl.com) (with a link to the downloadable, printable version of her list here: http://www.slideshare.net/MightyGirl/packing-master-2360794). From your suitcase, to the diaper bag, to the kid's stuff (plus cold/hot weather items, road/air/international trip) stick to Maggie's list and you will never forget anything again, including your sanity.

Picture This…
If you're anything like us, you probably forget to take pictures during the holidays. Every year we mourn the empty albums where images of extended family and friends should be. This year we're trying something a little different … we're turning over the cameras to the kids. Armed with a six-pack of disposable cameras (both digital disposable and regular) we've taken colorful sharpies and labeled each camera with a kid's name and the names of two relatives (each kid is assigned different relatives) they must take at least three pictures of. Though we're not expecting the results to look like Annie Leibovitz's portraits, we'll be happy to have any half-decent images to add to the empty albums — and a kid's eye view of the holidays!

"Bored" Games…
With relatives and children of all ages coming in and out of your house the holiday season, keep the parent stress to a minimum by having a big box/container full of games. Classic games with little/no pieces (so no choking or losing essential parts to the game) that can be played in doors or outside are great. Games like Twister, Uno, Jenga (these pieces are big, and it's ok if you lose a few), and toys like Sit n Spin, Lincoln logs, blocks, hot potato, and a boom box/radio for an impromptu dance party! If your current games don't appeal to your kids, have a game swap with other families in the neighborhood. Swap games for a few weeks and then return them. It will allow kids to feel like they have something new and keep them occupied. However, if a game has a lot of pieces or is fragile, don't necessarily expect it back in the same condition! Remember to swap wisely and often!

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