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Families and Addiction: Coping During the Holidays

Holidays can be a joyous, celebratory time. However, for some, holidays are one of the most difficult times of the year. While the addiction epidemic rages on, there are many families that must cope with an addicted loved one during the holidays.

On top of the usual holiday frenzy and stress, dealing with an addicted family member can be chaotic. It can leave healthy family members feeling frustrated and disappointed. 

If you have a family member who is suffering from addiction, it could mean spending the holiday without him or her. On the other hand, it could mean spending your holiday trying to protect and help your loved one.

Often times, the challenges that come from substance abuse come to a head during the holidays. Despite how hard it may be, there are some steps you can take to bring yourself peace of mind during the season. 

Maintain Realistic Expectations

While you may be hoping for a sober holiday or Christmas miracle, it is important to maintain realistic expectations. Having realistic expectations is important to everyone’s wellness, especially during the holiday season.

After all, addiction is a chronic disease, and people who are in the grips of it will use compulsively. Usually, no amount of consequences will keep them sober. 

Having the whole family around may seem like an opportunity to confront your loved one’s addiction. However, planning an intervention during the holidays may be a bad idea.

Effective interventions require professional consulting and extensive planning. In addition, the holidays are a vulnerable time to attempt to tackle such a serious subject. 

Holding onto expectations that a family member should want to get sober or stay sober for the holidays can be harmful to your wellbeing. The inability of a family member to do so can create high levels of stress, frustration, and even resentment.

As a result, these feelings can take away from the joy of the holiday season. If your expectations are high, it can set you up for disaster.

Instead, you should try to love your addicted loved one right where they are. You can offer your support and be prepared with recovery resources in the event that they ask for help, but keep your mindset realistic. 

Develop New Holiday Traditions

Another way to deal with a loved one’s addiction during the holidays is to create new holiday traditions. If there have been sources of drama or conflict during past holiday get-together, new traditions can help you and your family avoid these triggers.

If your regular holiday traditions consist of spending time at home eating a big meal, playing games, and watching holiday movies, this year could be a time to change things up. Instead of spending idle time in the home, you can book your holiday full of new, exciting activities.

Stay busy to avoid triggers and conflict by viewing a light display, eating at a restaurant, spending time at a local park, going ice skating, or going to a religious service. Find out what local holiday events are happening near you to create a busy, fun-filled day. 

Spending time outside of the regular holiday environment can be a refreshing change. It can also provide the entire family with a chance to break away from past behaviors and avoid emotional triggers that can stir up conflict. 

Set Healthy Boundaries

Enforcing healthy boundaries with an addicted family member is critical year-round, however, it is more important than ever during the holidays. Remember that it is okay to say no and that it isn’t your responsibility to tolerate or fix your loved one’s behaviors.

If their behaviors go against your beliefs to defy what you feel comfortable tolerating, it is important to make your boundaries clear. 

Before the holidays, let your loved one know exactly what is unacceptable. For example, if you don’t want them to come to the gathering drunk, let them know that they will have to leave if they are drunk. When setting these boundaries, you are protecting yourself from potential harm.

Make the boundary and the consequences clear. Most importantly, be ready to stand by your boundaries. 

Learn to Let Go

In some cases, your loved one may not be joining you for the holidays. Whether it is the choice of the addict or of the family, spending the holiday season without your loved one can be difficult. You may be worried about their actions and miss their presence with you. When it comes to addiction, there are only so many things you can do to help your loved one.

It may be impossible not to worry, however, you shouldn’t let it destroy the holiday season. Instead, take some time to practice self-care. Some self-care strategies to keep in mind include getting enough sleep, getting regular exercise, eating a well-balanced diet, and taking time to relax by yourself.

In addition, you can also attend a local support group or al-anon meeting for family members of addicted loved ones. You, too, deserve support, especially during this time of year. 

Cassidy Webb is an avid writer who advocates spreading awareness on the disease of addiction. Her passion in life is to help others by sharing her experience, strength, and hope.

Also Read- Keeping Kids Active and Social During the School Holidays

Make it Retro Cocktail Party for the Holidays

Getting together for the holidays is important.  It helps reconnect good friends, build family relationships and allows everyone some much needed fun and smiles. These gatherings can be a stress inducer though. The planning, the shopping, the lists, the decorating, the cooking; it’s a lot happening in a very short period of time.

You have options though. There are so many ways to reduce the stress of the holidays.  Simple tricks such as one-stop shopping and taking shortcuts to save time. One of the best ideas is to create a theme for your get together so you can focus on a select few items that don’t involve a caterer, florist and valet. A Retro Cocktail Hour is a perfect idea to keep the mingling going and the hosts out of the kitchen.

With a glam-fab cocktail party you’ll be able to use those gorgeous glasses you never use, light every candle you have in the house and cover your tables with beads and indulgent fabrics you haven’t been able to use with your regular parties.  Think up great drink ideas or use this Holiday Egg Nog to keep things festive.
Holiday Egg Nog from Bjs Wholesale
One-Stop Shopping
Shop where you can get everything you need within the same walls.  Grab your wrapping paper, gifts, groceries, tableware and decorations from your favorite superstore.  Check everyone off your list plus style that mantle and fill the fridge all in one cart.
Take Shortcuts
Save time in the kitchen with easy shortcuts like pre-assembled veggie trays and premade dips, tapas and canapes.  Stock up on tasty easy to serve finger foods and appetizers and don’t forget your friend’s favorite libations. Utilize your favorite super store’s recipe ideas to grab everything you need in one trip with no fuss. Don’t forget ambiance. Music, lighting and simple decor and centerpieces don’t need to take a lot of work.Retro Cocktail Party
Retro Holiday Cookies
Just because you are making your life simple doesn’t mean your party is going to suffer. Spruce up that veggie tray with the addition of a antipasta tray.  Your cheese and crackers will be decadent with some grapes, figs, assorted cheeses and honey. Take everything up a notch while still making it easy on yourself.
Retro Holiday party stuffed dates
The ideas are endless even when you think you are running out of time.  We shopped for Christmas Dinner and finished our gift lifts this weekend at BJ’s Wholesale.  It’s usually our shop in bulk store for chocolate chips, large jars of peanut butter and great prices on books but walking through the aisles we’ve found so much more.

Whether it’s a Christmas Eve gathering or a New Years Eve celebration keep the event easy going with simple tips and ideas from BJ’s Wholesale Club that allow you to enjoy yourself and your guests. The holidays don’t have to be hard work, it’s family and friends that matter the most.

2014 disclosure

How Do You #GiveBack

How To #GiveBack for the HolidaysEach holiday season I think about our kid’s holiday wishlists and immediately get overwhelmed. This year I didn’t let that happen because I stated early on that we’re doing a simpler Christmas.  This is an punishment for them. It was a way to open their eyes to see what was really needed in their lives.

Instead of pages and pages of gift ideas the kids really thought about the things they needed and wanted. The lists are short, deliberate and well thought out.

Even though our own gift giving is smaller scale this year that doesn’t mean we aren’t giving to others. Hasbro included me in their holiday review opportunity but instead of showering my kids with more toys that they don’t need I decided to give everything away to children in need.

Rob’s employer set up an angel for children in the community that weren’t expecting a very good holiday season. We pulled 5 names and donated everything (but 1 thing) to those children.  I’m hoping our small gesture brings a smile to their faces. Every child deserves something of their own, not just on the holidays but every day. As a family we give what we can.  Some weeks we are donating to the food bank or toiletries to the women’s shelter or blankets and towels to the pet shelter. Every donation is helpful.

We also give when we can to Child Hunger Ends Here. As a young child I often didn’t know when and where my next meal was coming from. This shouldn’t happen. No child should ever know what hunger feels like. There are too many resources in this country to allow this to happen. We incorporate efforts in our everyday. Our children always have an extra snack in their lunch box just in case a classmate goes without. Our grocery shopping includes brands that stand for the same cause. We’ve helped grow a community garden.

Do what you can to #GiveBack this holiday season. But remember others need help all year long. Choose a cause or two that you are passionate about and give them your attention for 2015.

This is in no way sponsored by #VZWBuzz but as a collective we are sharing our stories, efforts and organizations on how we want to #GiveBack this holiday season. Find inspiration from other members of the team.

Decorating for the Holidays with ProPlants #HolidayDecor

Holiday Decorating can be done in many different ways. Each year we pull out 5 big totes of things we’ve collected over the years and each year we change up where things go and how they are paired up with existing decor. This usually means lots of things tucked away until after the holidays but it always means we get to enjoy hidden gems for a short period of time.

Decorating is a very personal thing. I cover our tree in ornaments collected over the years that are significant to our family. Experiences, events, vacation and even hobbies are represented each year. It gives visitors a glimpse of us. When going into someone else’s home you can learn a lot about them just by looking around. Lots of family photos means that they cherish their loved ones, bookshelves loaded with a wide array of titles could mean they enjoy reading and escaping into words.

ProFlowers and ProPlants Holiday Collection wants to help you set the scene for the holidays. With a wide variety of blooms, plants and gifts there is something for everyone for every decor need. Christmas doesn’t have to just be about poinsettias and holly. ProPlants has gorgeous roses, tulips, and mums to coordinate with your home. This is Snowflakes and Embers and an amazing Tulip (my new favorite) and Evergreen arrangement that went into my bedroom. It was refreshing to wake up each and see fresh flowers on my dresser.
Decorating for the Holidays with ProPlants #HolidayDecor

Decorating for the Holidays with ProPlants #HolidayDecor

Decorating for the Holidays with ProPlants #HolidayDecor

Decorating for the Holidays with ProPlants #HolidayDecor

Don’t forget about the hostess. Are you headed to a holiday party or gathering?  Bring an arrangement to go with their decor or bring the centerpiece or a sweet treat for everyone to enjoy.

This is the Mantle and Centerpiece I put together for my neighbor. She’s lucky enough to have a fireplace in her home so I knew as I opened the box and found a long length of evergreen roping it would be perfect for her home. The Home for the Holidays centerpiece ended up with a home on her dining table but it looked amazing on her mantle also. It’s so simple to switch out pieces to go to different spots around the home.
Decorating for the Holidays with ProPlants #HolidayDecor

Decorating for the Holidays with ProPlants #HolidayDecor
Decorating for the Holidays with ProPlants #HolidayDecor
This holiday season I was able to decorate my home, my table and the mantle of my dear friend with elegant arrangements that were sent to me from ProPlants. As each delivery arrived I was amazed by the bright colors and fragrant scent, especially the evergreens. It smelled like Christmas over Thanksgiving dinner. The kids can’t wait to start arranging the ornaments for the 12 Days of Christmas tree. It’s a mini Cypress tree that can grow in your home for years and eventually be planted outside. The wooden ornaments are stored in an Advent style wrap till the tree is ready for decorating.
Decorating for the Holidays with ProPlants #HolidayDecor

Decorating for the Holidays with ProPlants #HolidayDecor

Our kitchen art has been the same for 2 years. Now the paper wreath is gone and in it’s place is this fragrant and lush evergreen wreath.  A few sprays of water each day is all the maintenance this needs. I’ll be sad to see it go at the end of the holiday season.

Decorating for the Holidays with ProPlants #HolidayDecor

Decorating for the Holidays with ProPlants #HolidayDecor
ProFlowers says holiday home décor is the easiest way to give a gift that complements a person’s unique style. Send an arrangement today so that your friends and family and enjoy all season long. Save 20% now just by clicking  The recipient will NOT be disappointing.

34 Handmade Gift Ideas for the Holidays

Each year as the holidays roll around I rack my brain to come up with great gift ideas for my friends and family.  I like giving things that mean something. It could be an personalized ornament or sentimental piece of art or home decor.  Whatever the gift it I try to put lots of thought into it so that it’s special and they know I thought about them.  This year I really want to give completely handmade gifts for my closest friends and siblings.  I need some ideas since each of them are so different.

In the past I’ve given my sister handmade jewelry and best friend a heart embroidered map like one I made for my own home. This year I want to expand my creativity and have hit up my favorite blogs and websites for inspiration.

What speaks to you from this list?  What would you love to receive as a handmade gift?


Personalized Cutting Board Upcycle

Stenciled Party Tray

Mason Jar Soap Dispenser

Three Tiered Tray

DIY Sharpie Mugs

Handpainted Tea Towels

Handmade Gift Ideas for the Kitchen

For the Home

Heart Embroidered Map

Glitter Dipped Vase

Jewel Coasters

Gold Colorblock Mug

Key Artwork

Chunky Crocheted Throw Blanket

DIY Photo Canvas

Custom Pillowcases

Pallet Board Coat Rack

Tin Can Planter

Handmade Holiday Gift Ideas for the Home

Personal & Accessories

Fabric Flower Rings

Beaded and Floral Hair Pins

DIY Photo Pendants

DIY Animal Ring Holder

Cinnamon Vanilla Sugar Scrub

Customized Wooden Storage Box

DIY Tote Bag

Leather Wrap Bracelet

Handmade Gift Ideas for Friends and FamilyHoliday Decor & Gifts

Clay Star Garland

Winter Wreath

Fabric Pine Cones

Twine Spiral Tree

Snowflake Embroidered Ornament

Handmade Gift Ideas for the Holidays and Christmas

For Kids

Superhero Mason Jar Bank

Child Size Apron

Kid’s Tent or Reading Nook

DIY Stick Horse

Headband HolderHandmade Gift Ideas for KidsDid you see something you’d love to make for someone else?  Are you making any gifts this holiday season?



Turkey in Disguise Thanksgiving Kids Craft

You know that holiday in between Halloween and Christmas?  It doesn’t get the hype that the others get.  Thanksgiving is an important day in our history so we’re going to make a point to give it the attention it deserves.  We’re starting with  a cute kids craft, Turkey in Disguise.Turkey in Disguise Thanksgiving Kids Craft

When I told Shae exactly what we were supposed to do she laughed.  The idea was to hide or dress up the turkey so he doesn’t get eaten for Thanksgiving dinner.  This seems to be a popular idea for kids each year in the classroom. I’m on my 3rd child and I’ve never heard of it. Trish from Momdot brought it up as an idea to get a bunch of bloggers crafting together.

Shae come up with a Butler. He’s in his tux serving up a glass of lemonade (after I told her a glass of wine or a beer isn’t appropriate for a kid’s craft).

Trish even has a simple turkey template to use. I ended up making my own because I couldn’t get my printer to work but it was easy.

Download and Print the template from Trisha of Momdot.

Help your child figure out how best to disguise their Turkey. It could be a costume, a new personality or even hidden in another picture if your child is feeling extra artistic.

Shae used a combination of sticker foam, cardstock, sharpie and pencil.  She practiced drawing her tuxedo and adding details like buttons, pockets, a tray holding a glass and a wing.

When it came time to put it all together she was master of her own domain. No matter what advice or input I gave her she made her Turkey her way. Turkey in Disguise Thanksgiving Kids Craft

How would your child disguise their Turkey?  Come back and share what you’ve created.

25 Halloween Movies for Kids

With the dropping temperatures of fall come one of my favorite holidays, Halloween. We’re just one month away from the fun night of dressing up and gathering goodies from the neighbors. There’s something about that night that makes me feel like a kid again and it’s a great excuse to squeeze in some fun movie time with my own kids. These is my go-to collection of Halloween and Spooky Movies for Kids for Halloween.25 Spooky and Not So Spooky Movies for Kids for Halloween

While they aren’t all Halloween themed they all have an element of spooky, scary, haunted or creepy AND of course fun. Be a parent and do your due diligence and judge for yourself if particular movies are suited for your child’s age and personality. I starred a few that are more scary than others but these are just my opinions. These are all affliate links to Amazon also. Some the prices are super cheap for really great films.

The Haunted Mansion (Full Screen Edition)
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Monster House

The Monster Squad *
Hocus Pocus

The Goonies *
The Black Cauldron
Hotel Transylvania
The Little Vampire
Toy Story of Terror
Scooby-Doo! And the Witch’s Ghost
R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour *
Mickey’s House Of Villains
Little Monsters
Addams Family

Gremlins *

So what do you think about my compilation? Do you have any ideas to add others to the list? What is your favorite Halloween movie?

Holiday Decorating Chat #SearsHoliday Twitter Party 11/7 1pm CST

We’d love for you to join the #SearsHoliday Twitter party on Thursday November 7, 2014 1pm CST. We’re gonna talk holiday decorating, trends, traditions and more and of course they’ll be prizes to be won.

Sears Twitter Party #SearsHoliday

To RSVP and have a chance to win one of the prizes, make sure you do the following:

– Follow the host @Sears, as well as co-host @SearsDeals.
– Retweet one of the promotional tweets announcing the party. These normally contain “RT to RSVP” in them.
– Participate in the conversation when it occurs Thursday, November 7th at 1:00PM CST by answering questions and chatting to others under the #SearsHoliday hashtag. Make sure you use #SearsHoliday or we won’t be able to see your replies!

The winners will be selected as the party goes on, but if any of the above criteria are missing you will be unable to claim your prize. If you are announced a winner, simply reply that you accept the prize and a Sears Holding rep will be in contact with you via DM for the next steps.

shop your way sears

Hope to see you there!

Kohl’s Holiday Wishlist and $100 GC giveway

Shopping for the Holidays doesn’t have to be hectic or stressful and full of trips to multiple malls, shopping centers and one off stores. One stop shopping for your entire list can be done at Kohls.

This season you’ll find the latest trends for the home and in fashion as well as toy and game ideas for young ones in the family. Whether you are buying dream gifts, practical gifts for something for the whole family you know you can save money and time by doing all of your shopping under one roof using my Kohl’s Holiday Gift Guide

Shop for any of these gifts or one of the many others that can be found online at or in your local retail location. Enter to win a $100 Kohl’s GC by simply telling me what great gift idea you found.


To receive these extra opportunities for entries, you must fulfill the first REQUIRED entry above. Please note the changes to the entries and frequency, entries that don’t follow rules may be disregarded/ignored/deleted.

  • SUBSCRIBE to LookWhatMomFound…and Dad too! via email or RSS feed
  • LIKE the Kohl’s Facebook Page
  • SHARE this link on Facebook (Great giveaway for $100 Kohl’s GC, just in time for holiday shopping with LookWhatMomFound..and Dad too!
  • FOLLOW Mom & Dad & Kohls on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway (1 time per day), please leave your twitter link each time, tweet a form of this message: Holiday Shopping #giveaway with @Kohls $100 GC from @lkwhtmomfound @anddadtoo
  • ENTER another Giveaway – let us know which one in the comment (one extra entry per giveaway you enter, just leave separate comments)
  • COMMENT on any other Review/Our Life/Our Travels/Our Thoughts post, let us know where to find it

Your entries must follow the rules or they won’t be eligible for prizes. This contest ends 11:59 pm, Thursday, December 6, 2012. The winners will be emailed and will have 24 hours to claim their prize. This contest is open to Continental US residents only. For complete rules please read our blog contest rules page.

I Disclose

When You Can’t Find The Words #Hallmark

Hallmark is there. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting with Hallmark events 2 in the past few weeks.

NYC’s Holiday Product Preview at the London Hotel was like a little taste of Christmas in the Summer. Hallmark went all out not just showcasing their new products and decor for the holiday season but offering holiday cookies to match the ambience.
New york city view london hotel
We got to see firsthand the innovative and interactive products for home decor and children’s memories.

hallmark christmas collections

The Philly HallmarkTour was entirely different and I think my favorite of the 2 events. This was a chance to meet the people behind the sappy notes and creative photographs.

hallmark tour philly

We had the opportunity to write own captions for photos of children. Our team didn’t win but I think we came up some great inspirational ideas. We were also given the task to write messages of encouragement for back to school time. This was something that I found hard. I have the feelings in my heart and my head but trying to get them on paper I became a blubbering mess. I wasn’t the only one though. I peered over and saw some glassy eyes From Sherry of BabyPop and Randi from SAHM’s Crazy Life.
Hallmark is a wonderful fell good brand. A company that I’ve turned to for many years for holiday ornaments, baby’s 1st birthday momentos, e-cards and more.

hallmark back to school messages

shae’s message to sabreena and shaun for their 1st day of school

I was lucky enough to bring home Story Buddy, Nugget.  The interactive plush comments and responds along to certain messages while you read the included book to your child.  I was dreading opening this because I wasn’t in the mood to “put together” a toy but he was literally ready to go once he was out of the box.

hallmark story buddy nugget
Thanks so much for the experience in both NYC and Philly.

I Disclose