Seasonal Stuff

Let’s Talk About the Elf.

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Disclosure: Amazon links in this post are affiliate links.  Elf-on-the-Shelf

Now that the fabulous turkey dinner has been enjoyed and the pumpkin pie has been devoured…the holiday season has “officially” arrived!  I say “officially,” because it’s been following me around everywhere for a good two weeks.

It also means that it’s time for fun holiday traditions…and today I’m going to open up the discussion about Elf on the Shelf.

This blog idea started when a group of us mamas were casually talking about Christmas and our favorite family traditions.  I mentioned our Elf, Jingles, and how much the kids adore her visiting our house every December, and a few of the moms groaned.

That’s when I realized that this adorable little elf tradition may not be everyone’s idea of a good time.

Here’s my question for you, our Tiny Oranges’ readers:  Do you love the elf…or hate the elf?

Love or Loathe?

I will admit it, I love our Elf on the Shelf.

It has become one of our favorite family holiday activities.  My kids love it, my husband and I (usually) have fun talking about how the kids find the elf, and I love seeing the sparkle in my kids’ eyes every morning when they find her.  It adds a little extra magic to our home.

On the flip side, I can totally see how the elf can spiral out of control.  It’s kind of like any tradition, right?! Every family does things differently, albeit the elf, Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Leprechaun traps (I still can’t believe that is now a thing), etc.

I feel like all of this should be in one universal parenting manual – general guidelines of magical and mythical creatures/people/elves/fairies/etc.  Wouldn’t that be great??

Because kids talk and exchange notes.  Why does our Elf like to read a book with our stuffed animals…but Jane’s elf bungee jumps off the staircase into a pool of marshmallows and chocolate chips and gumdrops?

Um.  Yeaahhhh.

Here’s the worst one when it comes to The Elf on the Shelf, “Mom, why didn’t so-and-so’s elf move last night?  Is Ryan in trouble?  Is his elf okay?”

Ouch.  One of the reasons why many parents I know dislike this elf thing – the Elf has to remember to MOVE each night. Note to self: set a cell phone alarm if this becomes a recurring problem.

Others swear that they think it’s some creepy Chucky doll-like thing watching their family.

Here’s the deal – I say…to each, their own.  Because all of us parents do things differently, we just have to find a gentle way to explain that to our kids.  That each family has their own special traditions and activities and customs, no matter the time of year.  And this includes The Elf on the Shelf

Here’s a little something for all of you…

Ideas For Team ‘I Love the Elf on the Shelf’

Check out these adorable ideas…all found on via Pinterest, of course!

75 Family-Friendly Elf on the Shelf Ideas

A Month of {Fantastic} Elf on the Shelf Ideas and Printables

A Month of Elf on the Shelf Ideas

200 Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Twelve Ways to Save Your Butt When Your Elf on the Shelf Forgets to Move

For the Elf Haters

If you want a giggle, a snort of laughter, or a shared eye-roll…these elf-hating blog posts are pretty darn funny…

Overachieving Elf on the Shelf Mommies

Elf on the Shelf: Let’s all get our stories straight

7 Reasons Why We Are Never Doing Elf on a Shelf

So now I want to know – do you love the elf…or hate the elf???  Either way, I love hearing from you in the comments, so drop me a note!  And, if you hate the elf, tell me something you do love to do with your kids around the holidays!

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Happy Halloween!

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Elsa Drinking Game

Happy Halloween friends!

I saw this Elsa Drinking Game on Facebook and had to laugh out loud because my 5-year-old, along with millions of other little girls will be donning an ice princess dress tonight. There was no talking her out of it.

Yep, Elsa is coming to your door.

Again, and again, and again…


Have a fun and safe holiday!

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5 Cute (and Easy) Halloween Crafts for Kids

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I found these absolutely darling, super cute Halloween crafts for kids on Pinterest, and had to share with you – what’s your favorite?  Here are my five top crafts I can’t wait to do with my kiddos this month…

5 Cute Halloween Crafts for Kids


The Paper Plate Pumpkin

Seriously so cute for littles to make – you can have them tear apart the orange construction paper (great for fine motor skill practice!) to create the “pumpkin” effect on the paper plate, and trace their little handprint for the “leaf” at the top.

Check out this blog for more details:

DIY Ghost Decoration

This is my type of easy craft.  White poster board (or card stock), a handful of cotton balls, and black felt or construction paper.  Boom.  Super cute, super simple.

Check out this blog for more details:

Pumpkin Stamp Art

This craft is so fun…because it involves letting the kids make stamp art with paint.  And my kids LOVE paint.  Pretty simple instructions, including simple household items, like an empty to lit paper roll.  The stamping part is good for kids of all ages…but your bigger kids can actually help you make the stamp.

Check out this blog for more details:

Paper Cup Spiders

Styrofoam cups, black and orange paint, multi-colored pipe cleaners, goggly eyes, paint sponges…and a lot of creativity!  My 1st grader can’t wait to try this one.

Check out this blog for more details: 

Easy Halloween Popsicle Stick Puppets

You can make just about any spooky shape, animal, or object with this craft.  Have you kiddos design what the want, decorate, cut it on. and glue it to a possible stick.  Easy peasey!

Check out this blog for more details:

Do you have any fun kid Halloween crafts to share?  If so, please comment below!

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Halloween Fun at Knott’s Berry Farm

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Disclosure: Expedia partnered with us to present this Halloween travel adventure. Visit their Viewfinder travel blog for more insider tips and tricks. 

During the month of October, Knott’s Berry Farm transforms the park into what is probably the most well-known Halloween events in all of Southern California ~ Knott’s Scary Farm.  But what many might NOT know, is Knott’s Berry Farm also hosts an equally NOT so scary Halloween event for kids 3 – 11 on weekends in October when the popular kids’ area, Camp Snoopy is transformed into Camp Spooky.

Last weekend we had the opportunity (compliments of Expedia) to visit Camp Spooky and report back with our experience and tips on how to get the most out of your visit.

Camp Spooky 

This daytime family event happens every weekend in October and on Halloween Day from 10am – 5:30pm and Camp Spooky attractions and activities are included with your general admission.

If you take advantage of their 3-Day Advance Ticket Purchase for a one day admission ticket, you can purchase an adult ticket for only $39 (kids 3 – 11 are $35.) So for a family of 4, our one day ticket total was roughly $155.  A great deal in my opinion!

Geared towards kids ages 3 – 11, your little ghosts and goblins (or in my case matching marathon runners) can dress up in their costumes and enjoy Halloween festivities like a Mini Monster Maze, Peanuts costume parade, “The Monsters are Coming Charlie Brown” show on the Camp Snoopy Theatre, and a Potion Parlour where little ones can make their own magic potions.

Halloween Fun at Camp Spooky 

When you first walk into Camp Spooky, immediately to the right past the Woodstock’s Airmail Ride, you can find the Monster Mini Maze, a cute little maze full of fun photo opps and a little trick-or-treat candy station at the end.

Monster Mini Maze

At the main stage, the Camp Snoopy Theatre puts on a very cute musical show at various times thoughout the day full of Halloween-themed songs like Ghostbusters (dare you to not have that stuck in your head all day) and Weird Science. It was nice to take a break and sit in the shade to watch your favorite Peanuts characters sing and dance.

camp snoopy theatre

One of my kids’ favorite Camp Spooky activity was the super darling “Potion Parlour” located inside the Grizzly Creek Lodge restaurant.  For $2 / potion, kids are given a little bottle and directed downstairs to create their magic concoction.

Camp Spooky employees are there to help assist with the potion making, which included choosing from a variety of mixtures (Kool-Aid and Sierra Mist?!) to create their color potion of choice. Kids could pick their potion name from choices like “Bug Me Not”.

My little one felt the need to display her magic potion’s power by putting it on her runner’s vision.

Potion Parlour

Knott’s Berry Farm Rides for Kids 

One of the things I love most about taking my kids to Knott’s Berry Farm is the wide variety of rides available, especially for little ones.

Camp Snoopy rides cater to wee ones, with prime ages for in that area being around 2 – 7, however even my 8 year old had fun on some of the rides. And so did we! The area is fairly small, so it is the perfect place to take toddlers and young kids without having to do a lot of walking.

BUT, there are also a lot of rides for older kids. It’s nice the park map is easily marked with ride codes based on “thrill factor” so you know what you are getting into.  We were able to take my oldest on mid-sized roller coasters and of course, our favorite, the Log Ride.


Knott’s Berry Farm Camp Spooky Tips 

1. Have your kids wear their costume. It’s a great excuse to get an extra wear out of it – plus makes the experience feel more festive.

2. Keep your eye out for the Mini Monster Maze. It’s easy to miss but can be found right in front of the Camp Snoopy Theatre to the right when walking in.

3. Go early.  The earlier in the day, the less crowded, and we were able to go from ride to ride with little to minimal wait.

4. Check the weather! We have been having CRAZY hot weather this fall in So Cal, so check the forecast and make sure you dress appropriately.  The day we went it was 95 degrees, so we even brought a little spray bottle to mist ourselves while walking around.

5. Check show times when you arrive.  Plan to attend a show somewhere in the middle of the day when you could all use a little rest, and arrive at least 10 minutes early to get a good seat in the shade.

6. Buy your tickets online at least 3+ days in advance. This saves a LOT of money!

7. Bring a stroller if you have kids 5 or under.  My girls are 5 and 8 and we even brought a jogger, even though they are far beyond stroller age.  I like bringing a stroller to a theme park. It’s a good place to store extra stuff, and when the kids get tired, it’s nice to stick them in it to get from Point A to Point B much faster!

stroller Knott’s is Great for Kids! 

Knott’s Berry Farm really is a great place to take kids of all ages. I love the ease of it. Parking is easy (no shuttles), and it was not very crowded. Even the Log Ride, which is a main attraction was only about a 15 minute wait.

Camp Snoopy rides were all 5 minutes or under. It’s so nice to not have little ones wait in long lines.

I hope this has been helpful if you plan to take your children to Knott’s Berry Farm to experience Camp Spooky. I guarantee it will be a not-so-scary fun time!

knotts closer

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Adorable DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids

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Halloween is coming!!  It may still be scorching hot in the afternoons, but soon (fingers crossed, SOON), it will start to cool off and be time for pumpkin patches, changing leaves, cool, misty mornings, pumpkin spice lattes…and picking out Halloween costumes!

Lately I’ve been on the Pinterest lookout for simple and adorable DIY Halloween costumes for kids you can easily make yourself and have picked out some of my favorites to share.

DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids 

a Halloween Costume Round-Up

DIY Halloween Costumes for Girls

1. Bag of Jelly Bellies

Love this idea! My little girl loves balloons, so this would be cool (and pretty easy!) to make. Featured here on Modern Kiddo along with a ton of other cute ideas.

2. Cotton Candy

Oh my gosh, sooooo sweet for little itty bitties!  Look at this cotton candy costume.

3. Flower Pot

I cannot handle this cuteness.  You have to see for yourself.  Click here for DIY instructions to make your cutie into a little flower pot.

4. A Snail

I don’t think I have seen a snail costume before!! Love!!

5. Raining Cats and Dogs

Absolutely precious raining dogs and cats costume via Real Simple.  And super easy – especially if you are putting a last minute costume together.   Basically grab some rain gear and adhere your dogs and cats!

raining-cats-and-dogs Costume

DIY Halloween Costumes for Boys

1. Jedi

Have any Star Wars fans in your house?  Check out this how to make a Jedi robe tutorial.

2. Clark Kent (Superman)

Here’s a slightly different (and super simple to make) take on Superman – neat idea for boys of all ages!

3. MINECRAFT Costume

This blog describes how you can make this super cool MINECRAFT costume for less than $10.  Score!

4. DIY Ninja Turtle

Heroes in a half shell – turtle POWER!  YES!  My son is obsessed with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and this DIY Ninja Turtle costume idea is doable to make from home.


This LEGO costume is pretty cool, and clever. Easy to make at home!


Unique Costume Ideas for Boys or Girls

1. A Crayon

A $5 costume? Yes please. Here’s how to make your kid a crayon costume this Halloween for only $5!

2. A Stick Figure

This could work for either a little girl or a little boy.  How cute…and easy to make…is this?!  I found this funny and unique idea on All for the Boys.

3. Scuba Diver

Simple to put together…and fun because we live near the ocean. Make your own scuba diver costume!

4. Despicable Me Minons

Always a hit, always. Click here for the DIY tutorial.

5. The Artist

Does your kiddo love art??  I mean, how cute is this artist costume?


DIY Halloween Costumes for Babies

1. A Baby Moose

I am crazy for this Baby Moose costume. And you just need a brown warm up suit, white or beige gloves, and stuffing.  Done and done.

2. Baby Aerobics Instructor

Onesie, leggings, legwarmers, and a toy boom box.  Cutie patootie.  Dying over this one.

3. A Garden Gnome

Adorable, adorable, adorable.  Here’s the tutorial for a garden gnome costume.

4. Charlie Brown

Seriously, this Charlie Brown costume is precious.  It might also have to do with the grin that baby is sporting too…

5. Mummy

Cutie, cute mummy costume for an itty bitty!  A white onesie, some gauze and googly eyes…

Mummy Costume

 Thank you to ALL of the blogs and bloggers who shared these fantastic costume ideas online!

What are your favorite DIY Halloween costumes for kids?  There are soooooo many to choose from.  Comment below!

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