Our Holly Days

November 26, 2014

12 Christmas Apps You Need This Year

I'm a total app junkie. I can't help but love a well designed or useful app when I see one appear in the App Store. And as the holiday loving screw ball that I am, when an app is useful or fun for the holidays, I'm all over that business. I thought I'd share a few of my most used, played with, & beloved Christmas apps with you in hopes I can spread some holiday cheer to those screens of yours out there!

7 Christmas Apps You Need This Year

1. Reindeer Cam: This is by far my most favorite Christmas app to have on my phone. When I first discovered Reindeer Cam a few years back, my inner child was overwhelmed with joy. Ever since, I share the magic of Christmas with my kids via one of Santa's feedings. We love having it ready for the kids to check on the reindeer whenever they want.

2. The Christmas List: This app is a great gift giving tracker & list keeper. It is meticulously detailed down to categorizing groups of people, gifts wrapped, money spent, & more. 

3. Dr. Suess' Grinch Cam: This app is another annual favorite of mine. I discovered it the year Collin was born & enjoy using it every year when the holiday season arrives. It has several frames you can use, my favorite being the Grinch, of course!

4. Clear: This app is amazing year round, but especially during Christmas. Clear is a simple, well designed, easy to use app for list making. You can prioritize, set alarms, create several lists & more with this minimalist app.

5. Doodle Jump Christmas: I don't have much patience for games on my phone. They have to be quick, simple, easy to use games that I don't need to invest any time in. Doodle Jump is super fun, easy, & doesn't involve you in any additional things like connecting to Facebook or clicking on ads. It's a fast, fun, mindless game that entertains for a long or as little as you want it to.

6. Santa's Bag: If I had to choose a favorite from all the available Christmas organization apps, this would be it. It assists me with keeping track of every detail down to stocking stuffers. There is even a Christmas countdown & budget monitor!

7. Where's Santa: Come Christmas Eve, this app is handy for keeping track of Ol' Saint Nick. You can locate where he's been & even get an estimate of his arrival time in your home.

What Christmas apps are among your favorites? I'm always on the hunt for a great app or two! Share with me in the comments below!

November 25, 2014

Dream, Create, Inspire | W5

Dream Create Inspire Party

Welcome to our sixth week of the Dream Create Inspire Party! Hosting with Sarah, Alyson, and Tabitha has started to become one of the highlights of my week. In case you haven't heard, each week we want you to come and share your favorite creative blog posts from your own blog over the past week. Posts that you dreamt, created, and now inspire fellow creative minds with! To make this even more fun, and to help us all gain a bit of extra traffic, we would love for you to leave comments on one or two (or several!) posts from other blogs linking up. We will be featuring some of our favorites from all of your posts next week. Below, you will find our favorites from last week's linked up posts. This is a great way to gain some exposure from four fabulous blogs that will feature your content! I am looking forward to checking out all of your sure-to-inspire posts! In case you forgot, here are your lovely party hosts:

Dream Create Inspire Party Hosts

Come see what your lovely hostesses were up to last week: 2014-11-24_0009

And here are our top four picks from last week's link up posts:

Dream Create Inspire Party

Dream Create Inspire Party Guidelines

  • Link up posts that are diy, crafts, printables, tutorials, recipes, etc.
  • Leave a link to the specific post, and not just your blog.
  • You may link up to four posts each week.
  • Do not link up shops and other link ups, your entry will be deleted.
  • Add the button to your blog, or a text link directing back to the party.
  • Make sure to visit and comment on some of the other links.

Our favorites from Dream.Create.Inspire.
Follow Sarah Halstead's board Dream Create Inspire on Pinterest.

November 24, 2014

DIY Designer Pillows + a Chance to Win a Kit to Make Your Own!

This post is sponsored by Paint-A-Pillow. All thoughts, opinions, & ideas are my own. Thank you to Paint-A-Pillow for partnering with me. And thank you readers for supporting the brands that support this blog & my family.

Friends, you know I love a good DIY. They save you money, they're fun, & best of all, you know you're getting exactly what you want. That's why when Paint a Pillow contacted me to share their fabulous product with you all, I not-so-calmly screamed YES!!!

First, I have to tell you that any DIY project I can do with my kids in the house is instantly a fave. I loved that I could easily do this project with minimal mess & all while my kids were playing in the living room.

Before I started, I set aside ten minutes & a chocolate bar to watch the tutorial video made by Janna-with-the-dreamy-accent & bounce technique. Just watch, you'll see.

My Paint-A-Pillow kit (I ordered a Hedgehogs kit & a Herringbone kit) came with literally everything I needed to just pull it out of the box & start painting. That's my kind of DIY!

To start, just make sure your pillow is lined up with the zipper label at the bottom.

 These handy little tabs all along the outside secure your stencil to ensure it stays in place. Genius & effective!

Next, you simply pour your included paint into the provided tray & start painting. Brushes, roller, paint, & tray were all included. They could not make this any more simple!

 Once you're done painting over your stencil, simply open the tabs, & remove your stencil.

Look at how perfect my little hedgehogs turned out!

 At this point, the paint is still wet, so remove it carefully from the template & set aside to dry

 Once your pillow is dry, you can set it using an iron. Then stuff your (provided!) pillow into your lovely new case.

Taking the time to paint, create, & do something that interests me was calming. Even with my kids home while I did it. Who knew painting a stencil could be so relaxing!

I created these simple & modern designs with our bedroom remodels in mind. I'm currently mapping out a bedroom swap & remodel for the kids' rooms in 2015 & already new what direction I wanted to head for Aiden's room. That's where these pillows will end up eventually, but for now they look wonderful on our living room, don't they!?

If you're intrigued by Paint-A-Pillow or if you're just itching to get your hands on a kit of your own, you don't want to miss out on this opportunity. Paint-A-Pillow has offered to give one of my readers their own kit complete with pillow, case, stencil, paint, & all! To enter, use the form below. Complete tasks to gain additional entries. Entries will close at 11:59PM PST on December 1st, 2014.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow Our Holly Days's board DIYs on Pinterest.

Tastes Like Homemade, Pumpkin Spice Cookies Sealed with a Kiss!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

Let me just preface this post by stating that I had to fight tooth & nail for this pumpkin spice cookie dough from Nestle. What little was left was buried underneath mountains of holiday cookie dough flavors & I had to dig my way through the refrigerated display in the middle of Walmart with two children in tow to retrieve this precious dough of all that is good. Okay, so it may not have been quite that dramatic, but it definitely played out that way in my head. #Feast4All #CollectiveBias

On a particularly busy pre-Thanksgiving weekday, I was much too consumed with holiday prep & plans to worry about dinner; so I decided triumphantly that it would be pizza night. With the added stress of what to make for dinner I couldn't focus on what I needed to, which made my choice of DIGIORNO® RISING CRUST® Pizza all the more convenient. I prefer DIGIORNO because it tastes like homemade to me & because DIGORNIO makes sure everything comes from the best places; each pizza has cheese from Wisconsin and tomatoes from California. And they're all baked up fresh in the best place of all: my own oven! Plus, my kids love when I exasperatedly declare that it's pizza night & for a moment, all is well.

The following afternoon, I had a little extra down time & wanted to focus on the kids; so we did what my love language does best: we baked. Only, I cheated because I wanted a relatively mess-free activity that we could enjoy & we used NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Pumpkin Spice Refrigerated Cookie Dough. After the fight I had to put up for these babies, I wanted to thoroughly enjoy their decadence; so we added a chocolate kiss to each cookie right after we pulled them out of the oven.

With the busy holiday season upon us, it was great to carve out some time for just the kids & me to do something simple while spending quality time together. NESTLÉ® products help to make it easier & more convenient so that we can all enjoy that extra time with what matters most: family.

How do you carve out extra time for your kids during the holiday season? I'd love to hear how you make your children feel special even when you're busy with all the holiday hustle & bustle in the comments below.

Follow SoFabConnect's board Fall Flavors on Pinterest.

Carving Out "Me Time" During the Holidays

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Weave Made Media®, PEOPLE®, and The Hershey Company®, but all my opinions are my own. #WeaveMade #HolidayMeTimeMags http://my-disclosur.es/RgFrEH

It's official! Holiday season is in full swing here at Casa de Sosa. On any given afternoon, you will discover the scent of spruce candles, a Hallmark Christmas movie playing softly in the background, & no shortage of holiday cheer around here. Although, along with the holidays comes a never ending to do list & I am furiously trying to keep up with everything.

One way to help keep your sanity in tact is by ensuring you carve out a few minutes of me time each day. Indulge in a snack, do a word puzzle, read a book, play a few rounds of Candy Crush, even. For me, one of my favorite ways to unwind is by catching up on the latest celebrity gossip with the latest People magazine & indulging in a Hershey's almond chocolate bar (king sized so I can spread out the joy over the week!), both readily available at my local Vons store.

During a school day, once Evelyn is down for her nap, I take a few moments to relax on my couch with an icy cold pop, my latest issue, & a few pieces of creamy chocolate. Once I'm finished flipping through the magazine, I feel refreshed, energized, & ready to attack my holiday to do list with a renewed sense of motivation.

Another way I escape is at the end of the day is after everyone is tucked into bed, I pour a glass of wine, break off some chocolate from my king sized Hershey's bar, & settle in with my People magazine & a warm blanket as the fire crackles away. Note the toys on the floor that I'm giving zero cares about.

Right now, you can save $1.00 with purchase of ONE (1) PEOPLE® or Sunset® magazine and ONE (1) REESE’S®, HERSHEY’S® or other selected King Size bar (2.1 to 5.0 oz.) The digital coupon is available through the Safeway Just4U online portal 11/21/14 - 12/19/14 (while supplies last) You have to register for Just4U to get access to the digital coupon.

Share with me how you carve out some me time during the holiday rush in the comments below.