Girls making Christmas cookies


We’re not that family that has the Christmas presents bought for our kids months in advance. Although I do see the reasoning in beating the Christmas madness in the stores, we just aren’t that organized. We also have Arias’ birthday on Nov. 27, so we usually focus on getting that celebrated before we switch gears into Christmas mood. We don’t “allow” Christmas movies or carols until AT LEAST Dec 01. And the decorations usually aren’t brought out until a week into the month (and that’s if we’re “on it”).

But the flip side to this laid-back travelling lifestyle is that it often comes with us being in all sorts of different countries during this time of year. (Since having the girls, we’ve done Christmases in the Bahamas, D.R., Tanzania, USVI, Mexico). And, unfortunately, most of the time those locations don’t come with the best shopping or shipping options.

Instead we have learned to rely heavily on our Pack Mules. If we are smart and organized we manage to get some quality Christmas shopping done online and ship things to friends and family that are coming to our location any time before Christmas. This year we have three people, that we know of so far, coming this way, so the shopping has begun.


presents for the girls

A HUGE thank you to our friends that are bringing all the goodies down to us in Baja.

The Christmas Presents Our Girls Will Be Getting

In keeping with the Christmas Challenge that I posted about, we try to keep things to quality over quantity. It’s not about having a crazy amount of gifts under the tree (although we do love to individually wrap as much as possible so that it looks full under the tree). It’s about taking the time to be a good gift giver. Thinking about what the person wants/needs, without going overboard.

I also like to give the girls things that they will enjoy but that are educational at the same time. Yes, I’m that mom!


A quick reminder of the Christmas Challenge

The Challenge is pretty easy. Try keeping the gifts to these four categories. (ie. just 4 gifts per person):

  1. Something they want
  2. Something they need
  3. Something they can wear
  4. Something to read

The Presents We Have So Far

Ellia using the osmo

1. Something they want:

What kid doesn’t want toys/games…and to be allowed screen time. So the Osmo is a perfect fit. And they’re packed with learning! The girls already have the Osmo Genius Kit (they got it as a Christmas gift a couple of years ago). This year they will be receiving the Coding Jam and Coding Awbie games.

We also have a couple more games that will serve as good stocking stuffers. We got the Bananagrams to work on reading and spelling. And Story Cubes, to encourage creativity and imagination…and maybe spice up my bedtime stories!



Ellia with her headphones

2. Something they need:

Ellia’s headphones broke, so she is getting a new pair of those. And Arias wanted a keyboard so that she could practice her typing with this new (free) typing program we use.



Ellia in her Snapperrock rashguard

3. Something they can wear:

This present could fall into the “need” category as well. Both girls are in need of some new swimsuits. Our high frequency at the beach and in the salt water, means their bathing suits die fast. They get to that saggy-bum, no elasticity phase real quick. So for Christmas both will be getting some new swimsuits and rashguards.

On top of swimwear they will also be getting some clothing. Arias has been growing out of a lot of her clothes. Meaning Ellia is full of hand-me-downs, and Arias is down to not many options. We got a few Jill Yoga items for each of them (and me! Finally a mommy-and-me option that is stylish!). Tunics, leggings, and sweaters are on their way.


Arias reading to Ellia

4. Something to read:

This wasn’t a tough one. Arias devours books. She’s onto thick novels. We have the library here, but have to make due with the books they have. Sometimes Arias will start a series only to find out that the last book is missing. We got her a couple of those missing books for her birthday, and she will get a couple from different series for Christmas.

Ellia on the other hand is a bit of a reluctant reader. Meaning she claims “it’s boring”. We’ve had to get a little more creative to hook her into reading. We found one of the Usborne beginner reading books at the library and she loved it, so we went ahead and bought her the My First Reading LibraryIt’s 50 books and weighs about 12lbs. Eben was a little less enthused than me when he had this arrive in the mail in the USVI for him to fly back with!

We also got the girls these Hot Dots programs. They read and then have to find the answers on the cards using these electronic pens that will tell them if they are right or wrong. We’ve never used them, but they sounded fun and reminded us of a toy we had when we were kids. We got Ellia a Grade 1 reading one, Arias a Grade 4-6 math one, and a science one for them to share.


Eben’s Presents

I don’t have anything for him yet! And even if I did I wouldn’t put it on here, because he would see them. But I’ve got ideas.


Arias decorating the tree last year