Enjoy a Happy Halloween {Teal Pumpkin Project}

The day has come where many kids all across the country will visit their neighbors to say “trick-or-treat” and get a sweet treat in return. Kids will be jumping, skipping, running, and walking with no worries in the world to see how many treats will fill their bucket.


There will be also be kids that want to skip or run to their neighbor’s houses but are scared of not being able to get a treat. These kids have food allergies. They are not being picky or selfish, they are just wanting to feel “normal” and enjoy an activity like other kids. L falls into this category. Ever since she was diagnosed earlier this year with eosinophilic esophagitis, she has had a hard time going around other kids because she feels like she is not “normal.” We are working through this issue. A couple of months ago, we were in Michaels Craft Store and saw a teal pumpkin. As soon as we got home, we had to google about the teal pumpkin project. L explains this project in her short video.

Isn’t this a great idea? All because a fellow allergy mom wanted her kids to enjoy Halloween. The Teal Pumpkin Project was inspired by a local awareness activity run by the Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee (FACET) and launched as a national campaign by FARE in 2014.

We are hoping to find lots of teal pumpkins during our trick-or-treating outing. We wish you all a wonderful, happy, and safe Halloween!

Countdown to 2016 Hallmark Christmas Movies

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Are you singing the song with me? Oh how I love this time of year. I keep telling my husband that I need to live in Alaska so I could just think it is Christmas all year around. There is something about snow, cold temperatures, wood stove, and fleece blankets that get me all warm and fuzzy.

The Hallmark Channel is bringing us Christmas early by starting their Christmas movies on October 29th. Check out the full list of movies below. It’s time to buy the family matching pajamas and pull out the fleece blankets for family move nights!



  1. A Wish For Christmas
    Saturday, October 29, 8/7c
    Starring Lacey Chabert & Paul Greene
  2. The Mistletoe Promise
    Saturday, November 5, 8/7c
    Starring Jaime King and Luke Macfarlane
  3. A Perfect Christmas
    Sunday, November 6, 8/7c
    Starring Susie Abromeit, Dillon Casey, & Erin Gray
  4. Every Christmas Has a Story
    Saturday, November 12, 8/7c
    Starring Lori Loughlin, Colin Ferguson, & Willie Aames
  5. Christmas Cookies
    Sunday, November 13, 8/7c
    Stars Jill Wagner and Wes Brown
  6. Home & Family Holiday Special
    Thursday, November 17, 8/7c
    Hosted by Mark Steines and Debbie Matenopoulos
  7. My Christmas Dream
    Saturday, November 19, 8/7c
    Starring Danica McKellar, Deidre Hall, & David Haydn-Jones
  8. A December Bride
    Sunday, November 20, 8/7c
    Stars Daniel Lissing and Jessica Lowndes
  9. Christmas in Homestead
    Wednesday, November 23, 8/7c
    Stars Taylor Cole and Michael Rady
  10. Christmas List
    Thursday, November 24, 8/7c
    Stars Alicia Witt and Gabriel Hogan
  11. Journey Back to Christmas
    Friday, November 25, 8/7c
    Starring Candace Cameron Bure, Oliver Hudson, & Tom Skerritt
  12. A Heavenly Christmas
    From the Hallmark Hall of Fame
    Saturday, November 26, 8/7c
    Starring Kristin Davis, Eric McCormack, & Shirley Maclaine
  13. Broadcasting Christmas
    Sunday, November 27, 8/7c
    Starring Melissa Joan Hart, Dean Cain, Cynthia Gibb, Jackée Harry, & Richard Kline
  14. National Christmas Tree Lighting
    Friday, December 2, 8/7c
  15. A Dream of Christmas
    Saturday, December 3, 8/7c
    Starring Nikki DeLoach and Andrew Walker
  16. Looks Like Christmas
    Sunday, December 4, 8/7c
    Starring Anne Heche and Dylan Neal
  17. A Nutcracker Christmas
    Saturday, December 10, 8/7c
    Starring Amy Acker, Sascha Radetsky, & Sophia Lucia
  18. Meant to Be
    Sunday, December 11, 8/7c
    Starring Brennan Elliott
  19. My Christmas Love
    Saturday, December 17, 8/7c
    Starring Meredith Hagner, Bobby Campo & Gregory Harrison
  20. Sleigh Bells Ring
    Sunday, December 18, 8/7c
  21. When Calls the Heart Christmas
    Sunday, December 25, 8/7c
    Starring Erin Krakow, Daniel Lissing, Lori Loughlin & Jack Wagner

New Additions to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

My favorite time of the year has arrived. From now until December, we are one giddy family because we love the holidays so much. If we could live at Disney during this time, our happiness would be over the top for us all. Starting off with Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. The park is decorated with all our favorite fall colors and decorations.


Photo Credit: Disney Parks Blog

This year’s event will feature many spectacular returning guest favorites, including “Mickey’s Boo-to-You Halloween Parade,” “Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular,” and “Happy HalloWishes” fireworks. But there are a few new additions to keep an eye out for.

Zootopia” Clawhauser Stars In This Year’s Exclusive Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Card – This year’s exclusive card is “Clawhauser’s Tricky Treat,” and when an “apprentice” uses this card to cast a spell in the game, dozens of magical donuts appear. (Learn how you can pick up your game card in this previous blog post).

“Zootopia” Nick and Judy Join The Creepa Crew – The Creepa Crew, which entertains guests waiting on Main Street, U.S.A. will be led by two of the Zootopia PD’s finest, BFFs Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps.

The “Boo to You” Parade Will Give You A Sugar Rush – Vanellope von Schweetz from “Wreck It Ralph” will bring in the candy this year during the “Boo To You” parade. Spy her and her squad of dancers toward the end of the parade.

As a reminder, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party requires a separate ticket (a party specific ticket) that can be purchased here and is available for the following dates.

September – 2, 8, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 29, 30

October – 2, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31

Don’t forget about Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas starting November 7th.

PBS Announces Family Holiday Television Specials

I love this time of year. My husband, our daughters, and I enjoy watching all the holiday specials in December. PBS KIDS’ holiday programming kicks off this week with themed holiday episodes from favorites such as WILD KRATTS, SUPER WHY!, and PEG + CAT. Ring in the holiday season with your family by watching new and classic holiday specials from PBS KIDS.

PBS Kids Holiday Shows

New episodes this year include:

SUPER WHY! – “Judith’s Happy Chanukah” Premieres 12/7; encore on 12/9
Whyatt is excited to have been invited to Red’s Gramma’s house to celebrate Chanukah, but doesn’t know much about the holiday. To learn more, the Super Readers jump into the book Judith’s Happy Chanukah, where they meet Judith, who loves Chanukah so much that she can’t wait to share it with her new friends.

DINOSAUR TRAIN – “Trains, Submarines and Zeppelins” Premieres 12/7; encores on 12/17, 12/25, 12/27
When Mr. Pteranodon and Larry go out to the Big Pond to find some red platanoids for the Winter Solstice Celebration, they accidentally miss the last train home. Will Larry and Mr. Pteranodon stop bickering long enough to figure out a way home, or will they be stranded in the middle of nowhere and miss the family Winter Solstice Celebration?

PBS KIDS Holiday Program Descriptions & Airdates (check local listings)

December 7, 18, 20, 24 and 25
In this one-hour special, it’s Christmas time and the Wild Kratts are taking a break from creature adventuring to celebrate. But when the Wild Kratts receive an alert that their favorite creatures are suddenly disappearing around the globe, their holiday party quickly turns into a rescue mission. The Wild Kratts must race against time to thwart their greedy archrivals’ most miserly scheme yet! Will they be able to travel to the ends of the earth and return their baby animal friends to their homes in time for the holidays?

DINOSAUR TRAIN – “Trains, Submarines and Zeppelins”
Premieres December 7; encore presentations on 12/17, 12/25, 12/27
When Mr. Pteranodon and Larry go out to the Big Pond to find some red platanoids for the Winter Solstice Celebration, they accidentally miss the last train home. Will Larry and Mr. Pteranodon stop bickering long enough to figure out a way home, or will they be stranded in the middle of nowhere and miss the family Winter Solstice Celebration?

SUPER WHY! – “Judith’s Happy Chanukah”
Premieres December 7; encore presentation on December 9
Whyatt is excited to have been invited to Red’s Gramma’s house to celebrate Chanukah, but doesn’t know much about the holiday. To learn more, the Super Readers jump into the book Judith’s Happy Chanukah, where they meet Judith, who loves Chanukah so much that she can’t wait to share it with her new friends.

Airs December 7, 12 and 25
Everyone’s favorite aardvark gives kids a new spin on seasonal traditions in this one-hour special, showing children the many ways to celebrate. Plans are underway in Elwood City for the best holiday season ever as Arthur, D.W., their family and friends make preparations for perfect gifts, perfect parties and perfect family traditions for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and even “Baxter Day” (Buster and his mom’s special celebration). However, just as in real life, perfection is hard to attain and Arthur learns that the real joy of the holidays is spending it with his family.

Airs December 7 and 24
“The Hanukkah Problem” – When Albert Einstein invites Peg and Cat over for Hanukkah, he shows them how to make a 2D piece of paper into a 3D dreidel. Later, they need to use this process to bring peace to Al’s home and save his Hanukkah.
“The Christmas Problem” – When Santa Claus is in trouble, Peg and Cat have to solve their biggest problem ever: how to make and wrap presents for all the children of the world and then deliver them using 100 sleighs.
“The Penguin Problem” – Peg and Cat coach a team of skiing penguins, who would have a shot at the Olympic gold medal if only they knew “over,” “under,” and “in between.”

Airs December 7, 12, 20, 24 and 25
Join George and The Man with the Yellow Hat as they count down the days until Christmas. There’s only one puzzle: neither of them can figure out what to give the other for a present. The Man is having trouble reading George’s wish list and George doesn’t have a clue about what to get for the Man who has everything. Will they be able to find the answers before Christmas morning?

Airs December 8, 16 and 24
This adventure finds the Cat in the Hat, Nick and Sally on a journey around the world to help a lost reindeer find his way home to Freezeyourknees Snowland in time for Christmas. On the way, the Thinga-ma-jigger breaks down and they depend on a variety of animals – from African bush elephants to bottlenose dolphins to red crabs – and their remarkable abilities to help them make an amazing journey home.

Top Ten Family Christmas Events in North Carolina

It’s my favorite time of the year. Christmas in the Carolinas can bring forth great joy for your family. North Carolina is an amazing state as we have the beautiful blue ridge mountains on the western side and the great Atlantic Ocean beaches on the eastern side. In no particular order, here are our top ten Christmas events you will enjoy with your family this holiday season!

1. Christmas at the Billy Graham LibraryFrom December 1, 2015 until December 23, 2015,  you and your family can enjoy this event by taking a short drive down Highway 321! Beginning at 5:00 pm each day (except Sunday), you will see the beautiful Billy Graham Library all decorated for Christmas. Your family can enjoy the live nativity scene that offers a glimpse into the first Christmas. Enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides ($7 for adults, $3 for children 12 and under) through beautiful light displays. (Begins at 5 p.m.) Listen to heartwarming sounds of joyful carolers and festive Christmas music and a delightful story time with the kids.


2. The 23rd National Gingerbread House Competition, the largest of its kind in the U.S. and hosted by The Omni Grove Park Inn, is taking place Monday, November 16! To celebrate the annual event, the edible gingerbread masterpieces will be on display at the property from Nov. 18, 2015, through Jan. 3, 2016. This holiday season, The Omni Grove Park Inn will also be dressing up, displaying 80-themed Christmas trees, thousands of twinkling lights and multiple roaring fireplaces throughout the property — with the sweet scent of gingerbread in the air. Since launching the contest in 1992, the competition remains a beloved celebration at the historic Inn, with resort guests and visitors eagerly anticipating the hundreds of intricate and stunning holiday designs on display.

Grove Park Inn Gingerbread Competition

2014 Grand Prize Winner in Teen Category

3. Speedway Christmas – (November 21 – December 30) Speedway Christmas is returning to Charlotte Motor Speedway and is even bigger and better in its sixth year. Speedway Christmas will have over 3,000,000 lights with a new and greatly improved lights-to-music drive-thru section!

Christmas Village will be open Thursday-Sunday and will include a petting zoo, Bethlehem village, horse-drawn wagon rides, photos with Santa, and more.

Movie nights have been expanded to every village night – Thursday through Sunday! Come see your favorite Christmas movies like Frozen, Elf, and more on a giant 16,000-square-foot high-definition TV!


4. Chetola Resort Festival of Lights – Chetola has a beautiful array of Christmas lights that your family can take a stroll or drive thru for free. They also have Blue Ridge Mountain Holiday Packages that your family can take part in and create wonderful Christmas memories.

Chetola Festival of Lights

5. McAdenville Christmas Town – I have been visiting McAdenville since I was a little girl. This will be the 60th year that this little town has turned into a Christmas Town. There is no charge to go see these lights and your will create new Christmas memories each time you go. The lights are turned on December 1st through December 26th. Monday through Friday the lights are on from 5:30 to 9:30pm and on Saturday and Sunday nights, the lights are lit from 5:30 – 11:00pm.



6. Beary Merry Christmas officially begins with “Light Up the Season,” an annual family event that welcomes Santa and illuminates Bear Plaza with hundreds of lights Nov. 27. During the following days during this festive holiday celebration, you can enjoy a Mistletoe March, sledding, shopping and other activities.


Photo Credit: bearymerrychristmas.com

7. Meadow Lights – Located in Benson, NC. Their website says: “The largest and oldest Christmas attraction in Eastern North Carolina!” Meadow Lights began more than 40 years ago and they keep growing larger with lights every year. Some of the displays include an authentic manger scene, carousel scenes, and much more. The Meadow Lights also offers three trains that travel through a colorful area of lights that children and adults can enjoy.

Meadow Lights

8. Tanglewood Festival of Lights – Tanglewood is another fun festival of lights that has been a long tradition of my family’s Christmas! My girls enjoy this so much. We ride through with our windows rolled down and just ohhh and ahhh over all the lights. Each year Tanglewood will add more additions so it is fun to see the new traditions. Also, halfway through the lights, you can park and go through a Christmas shop from local crafters. When you finish shopping, you can go go the the fire pit and stand around and roast marshmallows. The Festival of Lights is open nightly from November 21 through January 3, 2016 from 6:00 – 11:00 pm, including holidays. Suggestion: Attend Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday to avoid long lines.Tanglewood festival_of_lights

Rates are the same throughout the week.
– Family: cars, vans and trucks: $15
– Commercial: vans, limos and mini-buses: $35
– Motorcoaches and buses: $100

Save money by coming on a Discount Night:
On the following nights ONLY, receive reduced pricing!
– Monday, November 23rd
– Tuesday, November 24th
– Monday, November 30th
– Tuesday, December 1st

– Family: cars, vans and trucks: $5
– Commercial: vans, limos and mini-buses: $15
– Motorcoaches and buses: $65

9. Lights on the Neuse – Clayton, NC is the place for a fun family Christmas hayride. Their site says: “The hayride whisks you and your loved ones away to a transformed world of Christmas spirit. Pause to reflect on the true reason for the season, celebrate the joy of the birth of Jesus and feel the merriness of Christmas cheer and magic invade you and your family members with an outstanding Christmas Lights Extravaganza at Lights on the Neuse.” Ticket prices are Adults (12 and over) – $10 and Children (3-11) – $7.


10. Christmas at the Barnyard – (Newport, NC) Celebrate the Christmas season Barnyard-style! Enjoy an evening farm tour petting the animals under hundreds of Christmas lights and decorations. Let the kids visit with Santa in his big red sleigh while sipping on hot chocolate. Hang out with your family by our bonfire as you listened to Christmas music and watch the lights on the farm twinkle. All activities are included in the gate fee except hot chocolate. Decorated live Christmas wreaths for sale.

Admission: Gate fee is $6 per person, 2-years-old and older; under 2 is free

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