Dec 22, 2018

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I did a post earlier listing 5 reasons why we don't do Santa Claus, but here is another reason why we don't do Santa and I felt it deserved a post of its own.


Santa's Message of Giving is Misguided

Santa Claus only gives toys to children who are "good" or "nice." This is manipulation, using a toy to get kids to be good. His toys aren't presents, but rewards or prizes in exchange for good behavior, which is also vague as "good" and "naughty" is in the eye of the beholder. This is not what true gifting is about.

Scary Mommy shared a post on their Facebook about why threatening your child with Santa isn't okay, and I was appalled at some of the comments. So many parents were actually for threatening their children and some even claimed they went as far as taking away Santa Claus or having him bring a lump of coal.

I've been called a Grinch because we don't do Santa, but these people take the cake! It's like the whole reason these parents even do Santa is just so they have an excuse to bully their children. If I had a dime for every time I heard "Don't make me call Santa," I would be rich!

Many were also arguing "well that's how Santa works." Admitting that he only gives gifts to "nice" children, so why should they give their kids gifts from Santa if they have been "naughty?"

This message of giving is toxic. These parents are showing their children that presents are only given if the person does what they want. This isn't in the spirit of giving at all. This is manipulation or a reward-based system, not a true gift.

It's also setting your child up with unrealistic expectations. Sometimes people do good things and aren't rewarded. In fact, you should want to do good deeds without getting something in return. We need more Phoebe Buffay's in the world.


So what to do instead?

If you still want to do Santa, then don't threaten your child. Don't tell or scream at them that you are going to call Santa. Don't even talk about them being naughty or nice (which have very vague definitions depending on who is judging the child).

Simply tell them Santa will bring them a gift because he is a nice person. He wants every boy and girl to have a toy because giving gifts makes others happy which makes him happy. That is the true meaning of giving. That is the spirit of Christmas!

Remember, Santa isn't real. He's fictional. You can play him however you like. That means you can make him a nice guy. He doesn't have to be the judgemental jerk that society has created. You can change his toxic message of giving to a better one and teach your child that gifts are given out of kindness and love with no strings attached, with no expectations. They are not rewards.


Dec 12, 2018

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Disclosure: I received a copy of the "The Emotionally Healthy Child" by Maureen Healy for free, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links are also used in this post. You can read my full disclosure here.



I personally feel our society would really benefit from having required child psychology classes in high school and maybe a refresher course before having kids, like how they have birth classes, they should have parenting classes. However, as adults, most of us know how to read, and so we can and should educate ourselves, ideally before having children, and continue to learn along the way. One book I highly recommend reading is "The Emotionally Healthy Child" by Maureen Healy.

My Own Struggle With Emotions

I grew up in a house with a parent who did not know healthy ways to express their anger. I was screamed at, yelled at, and even physically assaulted (spanking).

Because of this, I grew up without knowing how to express my anger in a healthy way and actually feared to feel the emotion because of how I have seen it play out. When I felt mad, I often chose the silent treatment, or would keep things bottled up until I was shaken so much, it all came out and not very pretty. I never yelled as I did not want to be like my parent, but I often resorted to slamming doors, cabinets, etc. Basically, I let other things do the yelling for me.

My husband threw me for a loop when he said back when we were dating: "I wish you would have just told me." You see, my upbringing made me afraid to say when I was upset because I wasn't allowed to be upset, or if I was upset and expressed it, I was treated wrongly so. Plus when my parent was mad, it was very scary and so I feared the emotion altogether and did my best to hide my anger.

With my partner's help, I got better at communicating when I felt upset before things would spiral out of control. It helped that he was always so calm. He had a gentler upbringing than I did, so I definitely think that's why he handles his anger so much better.

Flash forward a few years. 

I started seeing a therapist shortly after our daughter was born because I was experiencing anger inside of me, probably a combination of being tired and first a time mom with no idea what to do, and I was afraid of unleashing it on her, which lead to me keeping things bottled up again. I was diagnosed with anxiety, which I likely had since I was a kid due to my upbringing.

My therapist helped me learn ways to calm my anxiety, which in turn, calmed my anger. I slipped up every now and then and raised my voice, and I would apologize to my daughter, often in tears.

It was a hard first few months as I had to learn how to safely express my feelings and also had to realize that as humans, we all make mistakes, and there is no way I will ever be 100% on top of my emotions, but I can at least aim for 99%.

The cool thing I realized while writing this is that I haven't yelled at my daughter in months! Of course, I shout her name, to try to get her to come to me, but I haven't yelled at her out of anger.

I actually hardly ever feel angry with her because I have also educated myself in child psychology (which is why I wish classes where required before becoming parents because I feel so many adults go into parenting without the proper knowledge on how a child's mind works). Sure there are moments she frustrates me, like when she throws her food on the floor, but I instantly remind myself "she's just a child, she doesn't know better, she's only acting on impulses" and boom! Suddenly I'm calm again and hey we have a dog, so I don't really have to clean anything!

Being mindful is so important when it comes to emotions as if you can feel them happening, you can prevent them from escalating. Healy dedicates a whole chapter to mindfulness (Chapter 5: Insight) in her book, "The Emotionally Healthy Child." She provides excellent tips and activities to help develop and practice mindfulness.


"The Emotionally Healthy Child" Book Review


Reading "The Emotionally Healthy Child," by Maureen Healy brought me back to my childhood, to a time where feelings weren't encouraged as much as they are today. She even mentions in her introductory chapter that the tools in her book were ones she wished she had access to as a child, and I feel very much the same way. 

So many of us were raised in settings where we weren't allowed to have emotions, which is why I believe we have so many aggressive and angry adults in the world today, especially men. We grew up without the tools to manage those emotions, and that's how you end up with adult tantrums (I've seen my share working retail. The elderly women are the worst!).

We aren't born knowing how to regulate our emotions. It's something we have to learn. Healy provides many great activities/tools in her book to help you and your child recognize their emotions and find safer and more productive ways to release those feelings.

Her final chapter is actually a "toolbox" with tips on how to handle almost every emotion from anger to sadness.

Though this book is geared towards parents and kids, I feel all adults could benefit from it. Many of these techniques were ones that my therapist recommended to me for helping with my anxiety, such as deep breathing (called bubble breathing in the book) or making a checklist of smarter choices.

You can find her book on Amazon

Dec 6, 2018

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Disclosure: Affiliate links are used in this post. All opinions and thoughts are my own. You can read my full disclosure here.


These were all toys that my daughter loved when she was 1, so I believe they would make great gift ideas for other 1-year-olds as well!


1. SoapSox

These lovable plush buddies can be taken into the bathtub and work as washcloths! Our daughter has the turtle and hippo that she received from her grandma as a gift. She loves playing with them in the tub and outside in her pool too!

You can find other SoapSox characters on the SoapSox website: www.SoapSoxKids.com


2. Mega Blocks

Mega Blocks are a great STEM toy! We actually got a bag for our daughter's first birthday. She didn't really get into them till closer to 18 months when she figured out how to put them together herself. Before then she mostly just smacked them together or handed them to us to show her how to make something.


3. Toy Cars

One of our daughter's first words was "car" and she loves playing with them! She learned how to "vroom vroom" quickly, so it's a great way to teach them how to make sounds too! Her favorite one is the Oball car (pictured below), but she also has a Mega Blocks train set she likes and a few other random cars.

4. Bead Maze

We got one of these from a family member and our daughter loved it. It's another great STEM toy. There are quite a few on Amazon in various price ranges, but here is one that is similar to ours for under $20:


5. Balls

We got these before our daughter was one, but she mostly chewed on them as a baby. It wasn't until a little after turning one she actually began to roll them and practice throwing them. The Infantino balls are great as they also have fun textures.


6. Shape Sorter

I can't find the one we got anywhere so I'm thinking it's no longer available. It's a cute barn with animals that have shapes. I believe it was Infantino brand. Our daughter loved chewing on the animals a baby. She still does now as well at 23 months, but she has shown more interest in trying to push them through the shape holes in the top of the barn. There are many different ones available now, but here is what a simple one looks like:


7. Phone

My mom actually got our daughter both of her phones as presents. She has the classic rotary telephone and a cell phone one that makes noises when you press buttons. Luckily it's not very loud and it does have an off switch! She was more into the noisy cell phone at first, but around 20 months or so, she really started loving the telephone. We think it's because she figured out how to pull it using the string and now she loves to drag it around everywhere!



8. Wooden Blocks

I originally got a bunch of these from Target's dollar spot for our daughter's newborn photos as I wanted to spell out her name. We let her have them to play with when she turned one as it was a great way to get her to practice stacking! Her favorite game now is to build a tower as tall as she can before it falls over. Such a great STEM toy.


9. Puzzles

My mother in law got our daughter this farm animal puzzle. It's suggested age is 2 and up, but our daughter still liked playing with the little wooden animals. She even started trying to put them back in their place around 18 months. She's gotten even better now at 23 months. However, they do make puzzles geared for 1-year-olds like this one:


10. Rain Maker

We got this for our Disney trip as a way to distract our daughter on the plane. She was 14 months at the time, so she mostly stared at it as we rotated it. Once she a got a little older, she loved shaking it around. It's a great first instrument!


11. Ring Stacker 

We have the Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Rock-a-Stack (pictured below), and our daughter loves it! It's a great STEM toy, teaching your baby how things fit together.

We had it before she was 1, but it wasn't until she had turned 1, that she began to show more interest in taking the rings off and stacking them herself. 


12. Indestructible Books

These books truly are indestructible, so perfect for little ones! Our daughter still has hers and she's almost 2! They are still holding up, but have become quite wrinkly. I love that they can be washed, so you don't have to worry about your baby drooling all over them. They're so easy to just cram into a diaper bag and travel with. The best part is they are under $6 a piece on Amazon!




You can find most of these items in my Amazon Shop!



Nov 19, 2018

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Background Info: My Negative Experience With Santa

When I was little, my parents would deny that Santa Claus wasn't real, even when I began to question it. This hurt and obviously had a lasting impression on me.

Also, Santa never brought what I asked for, which as a kid, your kind of told he would, but then he doesn't because well your parents don't want you to have a cat, and so they pretend Santa has "run out" or "knows your mom has allergies," or whatever excuse "he" can come up to write you each year. It kind of makes you hate "Santa," especially when another kid in your class gets a puppy.

Reading that, I probably sound like a spoiled brat, but those were my true feelings as a kid, and a result of all the lies I was told.

I, however, have no problem with fictional Santa Claus. I intend to share the movies and the stories with my own daughter, but my main problem is with how personified he is.

You can write letters to "Santa." You can sit on "Santa's" lap (which I will never understand why parents force their poor babies to do this when they are obviously terrified of the strange man!). You can see and talk to "Santa", and so on. It's like our whole society revolves around this lie that Santa Claus is a real person and somehow this is okay? To me this lie can be harmful as David Kyle Johnson Ph.D. wrote on Psychology Today:

"I'm simply saying that we should treat the Santa Claus story just like we treat all other stories—as a story. To do otherwise would be to cruelly take advantage of the child's naïveté and possibly hinder his/her intellectual development." (source)

I'm sure we will get a lot of backlash from others, claiming we are robbing our children of their childhood or that our children will ruin it for everyone else, but those are really lame excuses to make our daughter believe Santa is real.

As for the fear of my daughter telling everyone Santa isn't real, well that could be any kid! I remember being told Santa wasn't real in elementary school by other children. Some kids agreed, but others were not ready to accept the truth. It's like telling your kid there is no such thing as monsters, but yet they still think there is one under the bed, even though you have told them they don't exist for the 100th time. They will believe what they want to believe until they are ready to let it go or their parents finally tell them the truth.

Or what about religion? What about a kid telling your child God isn't real? It's never okay to force your beliefs on others, whether it be God or Santa Claus, just to spare you from the difficult conversation.

It is not like we are the only family that won't be visited by "Santa Claus." America is a melting pot, with many religions and cultures, and many of them don't celebrate Christmas or have Santa. It is not the end of the world if we choose to take Santa out of Christmas.

Here are some reasons why Santa Claus isn't a part of our Christmas:


1. Santa Claus Takes Away The True Meaning of Christmas

Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ. It is about God giving us his only child, and yes I know it's not accurate. Jesus was probably born in the summer; Christmas has pagan roots, but let's just let that go for now. Christians have decided to celebrate his birth on Christmas and so that's when we celebrate.

I want the holiday to be more centered around our religion and not around some holly jolly guy in a red suit.


2. Santa's Gifts Don't Add Up

Why did Susie get a Barbie Dream House, while Tommy only got a pair of socks? Sound familiar? Kids are going to compare their presents from Santa and they obviously aren't going to be fair as it would be far too difficult for all the parents in the world to be on the same page when it comes to gifts from "Santa."

Instead of our child thinking, Santa isn't fair, we want her to realize that the gifts come from mommy and daddy and that's what makes them special. I also don't want her thinking that Christmas is only about gifts, so taking Santa out of the picture will help with that as she won't be expecting a sleigh full of presents from a strange man with a cookie addiction.


3. Santa Himself Doesn't Add Up

I remember the first time I realized Santa wasn't real was when we were at my grandparents with family. Our parents told us Santa would still come, and sure enough, he did. However, my present and my sister's present was wrapped, but our cousin's presents weren't wrapped (obviously the parents didn't do a very good job of communicating beforehand). Apparently, in my cousins' family, Santa didn't wrap the presents he brought, but in our family, he always did.

Like presents, there are just too many different versions of Santa and when kids start talking there are going to be some questions.


4. Santa Doesn't Make A Happy Childhood

Santa was a negative part of my childhood, but I have heard people claim that by not doing Santa Claus, you are taking away from your child's childhood. Here's the thing, if your kid needs Santa to have a happy childhood, then you are doing something wrong.

Our daughter will know of Santa. He will be a fun story, so it's not like we are removing him entirely from the picture. We just aren't going to lie and tell her he is a real man that can travel the world in one night to deliver toys to thousands of girls and boys. No, he will be a fun fictional character and if she wants to pretend, that's great! I will not mislead her though.


5. It's a Lie

Santa Claus is a lie and I am not comfortable with lying to my child. Kids are supposed to be able to trust us and each time you lie, a little bit of that trust is broken. Some may argue that some lies are okay and aren't harmful to children, but as someone who was lied to repeatedly, I find it hard to draw the line between okay lies and not okay ones. Personally, I don't think it is ever okay to lie, Santa included.

*****

There are many other good reasons to not have Santa Claus, but the ones I mentioned are more important to us.

I want to emphasize that these are reasons we choose not to do Santa. I am not saying you or that anyone else shouldn't. Santa may work for your family, but I believe it is wrong for others to force us and others to participate because they are afraid our child would ruin the fun. I don't force your children to believe in God, so don't force mine to believe in Santa.

We will do our best to teach our daughter to respect others traditions, cultures, religions, beliefs, etc, and to not ruin the "magic" for others.

If you need more convincing, need arguments to defend your choice, or are undecided about Santa Claus, you can read these articles for more reasons to skip Santa this holiday season:

Nov 18, 2018

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Disclosure: Affiliate links are also used in this post. You can read my full disclosure here. 

Today is Mickey Mouse's 90th Birthday and what better way to celebrate than with a Mickey Mouse themed giveaway!


1 Winner will win a Mickey-themed Disney SoapSox!



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Good luck everyone!

Enter the giveaway by using the form below.

Nov 14, 2018

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Disclosure: Affiliate links are also used in this post. You can read my full disclosure here.  Giveaway disclosure located at bottom of this post.



Sponsored By: Shoe Finale

Hosted By: Love, Mrs. Mommy

About Shoe Finale:
Shoefinale.com is mainly aimed at people who are searching for a special type of shoe in mind, whether it be athletic footwear, Zumba shoes, bunions, or for flat feet, that’s the gist of things I write about. Within these pages you can browse through and see the specialist advice, reviews and buying guides for all the things you don’t find on the mainstream retailers. I hope my website provides you with all the information you require; your search for the right shoes will hopefully “finale” here. Read more About Us here!

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Giveaway Dates ~ 11/14 9:00 AM EST through 12/12 11:59PM EST


Remember, you can subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to know about a new post and/or giveaway!



Good luck everyone!

Disclosure: Love, Mrs. Mommy, and all participating bloggers are not held responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill their prize obligations. This giveaway is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Facebook or any other social media site. The winner will be randomly drawn by Giveaway Tools and will be notified by email. The winner has 48 hours to reply before a replacement winner will be drawn. If you would like to participate in an event like this please contact LoveMrsMommy (at) gmail (dot) com.

Nov 11, 2018

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Disclosure: Affiliate links are also used in this post. You can read my full disclosure here. Giveaway disclosure at bottom of the post.

Sponsored By: Live Beauty Health

Hosted By: Love, Mrs. Mommy

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Our team personally reviews all of the products that are included in the posts, they provide an objective perspective on their experiences with the products and services being provided, and then they curate that feedback and include it in detailed posts across the seven main categories of posts, which are: skin care, oral care, hair care, hair treatment, hair styling, hair removal, and makeup. Our hope is that across these categories, we will be able to provide you detailed recommendations on what to use vs. not waste your time on. We sincerely hope you enjoy our work! Read more on our About Us page!

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Remember, you can subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to know about a new post and/or giveaway! 
Sign up here!

Disclosure: Love, Mrs. Mommy, and all participating bloggers are not held responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill their prize obligations. This giveaway is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Facebook or any other social media site. The winner will be randomly drawn by Giveaway Tools and will be notified by email. The winner has 48 hours to reply before a replacement winner will be drawn. If you would like to participate in an event like this please contact LoveMrsMommy (at) gmail (dot) com.

Nov 5, 2018

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Disclosure: Affiliate links are also used in this post. You can read my full disclosure here.


A lot of news articles have been floating around about how happier people put up Christmas decorations early. However,  a lot falsely use the word "study," when there hasn't been a study done, or at least not one that I could find, or say "scientists," as if there were multiple people backing this up, when there are actually only two who have shared their opinions, which you can read below:

Psychoanalyst Steve McKeown said to UNILAD:

"Although there could be a number of symptomatic reasons why someone would want to obsessively put up decorations early, most commonly for nostalgic reasons either to relive the magic or to compensate for past neglect.

In a world full of stress and anxiety people like to associate to things that make them happy and Christmas decorations evoke those strong feelings of the childhood.


Psychotherapist Amy Morin, best-selling author of 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don't Do, told UNILAD:

"The holiday season stirs up a sense of nostalgia. Nostalgia helps link people to their personal past and it helps people understand their identity. For many putting up Christmas decorations early is a way for them to reconnect with their childhoods.

It may be a bittersweet feeling. Perhaps the holidays serve as a reminder of when a loved one was still alive. Or maybe looking at a Christmas tree reminds someone of what life was like when they still believed in Santa.

For people who have lost a loved one, the holidays may serve as a reminder of happy times they had with that person in the past. Decorating early may help them feel more connected with that individual."

Basically, it sounds like just putting up decorations, in general, makes one FEEL happy because of the memories and nostalgia that come with it. It doesn't really matter when you decorate, but doing it sooner may extend the excitement, and seeing the decorations probably will make you feel more cheerful.



However, just because I don't put my decorations up earlier, doesn't mean I am not a happy person and those who do put them up early aren't necessarily happier people. UNILAD even included at the bottom of their article (which no one probably read) that there are also dark reasons as to why people put decorations up early, such as using it as a form of escapism. So if that's the case I could make claims that depressed people put up decorations early (not true, just showing how these articles make false statements to get views).

Both scientists clearly explained why putting up Christmas decorations up earlier can make people FEEL happy or why seeing them up early makes them feel joy. It has nothing to with them being "happier people." Those are two different things, but the articles like to twist their words and make false claims in order to get views.

They also never clarify what "early" is. Are we talking about November? October? July? Technically the week before Christmas could still be early as it's not Christmas yet. It feels like someone is just trying to stir up unnecessary drama when it comes to decorating for the holidays.

The truth is it doesn't matter when you put your Christmas decorations up, you will probably feel happy when doing it. Whether it be July or the week before Christmas. Unless you really hate Christmas, you are probably going to feel happy when putting up and seeing your decorations.

Free free to share when you decorate for the holidays and leave your thoughts in the comments!

Sources


Extra

I did find one study that was done relating to Christmas decorations, but it's from 1989, and all it showed was that people who decorated their houses were seen as "friendlier" or "more inviting" by strangers. You can read that study here if you are interested.

Nov 1, 2018

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Disclosure: Affiliate links are also used in this post. You can read my full disclosure here.  Giveaway disclosure located at bottom of this post.


Sponsored By: ProTechLists

Hosted By: Love, Mrs. Mommy

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ProTechLists has been reviewing electronics for well over a decade. All our reviews are honest and impartial; we’re not paid by companies to look at products. The team consists of a small group of tech gurus who have a combined 70 years worth of gadget studying, technology reviewing and listicle making experience.

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Open To Worldwide entries and must be 18+ to enter
Giveaway Dates ~ 11/1 9:00 AM EST through 12/1 11:59PM EST
Good luck everyone!

Remember, you can subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to know about a new post and/or giveaway! Sign up here!


Disclosure: Love, Mrs. Mommy, and all participating bloggers are not held responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill their prize obligations. This giveaway is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Facebook or any other social media site. The winner will be randomly drawn by Giveaway Tools and will be notified by email. The winner has 48 hours to reply before a replacement winner will be drawn. If you would like to participate in an event like this please contact LoveMrsMommy (at) gmail (dot) com.

Oct 29, 2018

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Disclosure: Affiliate links are also used in this post. You can read my full disclosure here. 


Our daughter loves True and the Rainbow Kingdom on Netflix so we decided to go as characters from the show! Our daughter went as True, I went as Grizelda, and my husband went as Zee. I will share how we made each of the costumes below so your family can too!

True


True and the Rainbow Kingdom Costume

Here is the break down of where I got the pieces for my daughter's outfit:

You can get 20% off your first order at Primary.com with code: AFF20PCT!

I made her headband, backpack, and badge.


For the headband, I found a white band at Target and just hot glued on the red, yellow, and blue pom poms that I purchased on eBay. 

For the backpack, I used a piece of cardboard (a cereal box works great!) and used fabric glue to attach the felt onto the cardboard. I discovered in this process that fabric glue and Elmer's glue does not work for gluing felt on felt, you'll have to use a hot glue gun for that. 

The badge was made purely out of felt and I used a safety pin to attach it to the backpack strap.

I purchased all my felt at Michael's.



Grizelda


Grizelda and FrookieGrizelda from True and the Rainbow Kingdom Costume

For my Grizelda costume, the only thing I had to make the was the crown. Luckily, the True and the Rainbow Kingdom creators shared a printable crown on their Facebook page!


All I had to do was print it out, glue it to a  piece of cardboard. The cut the crown out of the cardboard. I traced the crown onto some blue felt, cut out the felt, and then glued the felt down on top of the cardboard. I cut out a little diamond out of red felt and hot glued that to the front of the crown, and then hot glued the crown together where the tabs met. I purchased a black headband at Target and just hot glued the crown to it.

The rest of my outfit was much like my daughter's where I just had to purchase the pieces and put it together:

Zee



My husband was lucky enough to have kept is Tae Kwon Do uniform from college, so he was able to just use that for Zee's costume! His mom sewed on some gray felt to make it match Zee's outfit. She also made the belt out of felt which he just wrapped around his waist and used a safety pin to pin it together.

I made his badge the same way I did our daughter's, using felt and a hot glue gun. He then pinned it onto his uniform. 

Zee's Zingy Zapper (staff) was the real project that my husband chose to take on. He made it out of wood using his tools. He then painted it to match Zee's in the show. It turned out pretty awesome!

First, he laid out a paper guide to shape the staff.


Second, he soaked 1-inch polar dowel rods he purchased from Menards in water for several days. Then he bent them (shown below) and held them in their bent forms for several days. 


Next, he cut the pieces to their appropriate lengths and laid out the shape before cutting the angles. 


Then he reinforced the joints using screws.


Once put together, he painted it using white primer paint we had on hand and attached wood ball knobs, which he spray painted gold, to the ends. 

Final Result

Here is all of us in our costumes! 


My husband and daughter are holding Wishes, which are just 2-inch yellow pom poms I found on eBay!

The only things we did not do were Zee's gray boots and Grizelda's glass heels as shoes are expensive and we didn't want to spend a whole lot on our costumes. Each costume was $20 and under! The best part is a lot of it can be worn again! Like my red dress and almost every piece of our daughter's costume!

Do your kids love True and the Rainbow Kingdom?
What/Who are you and/or your kids going as for Halloween?