Category Archives: Holidays

WM Favorite Things: Holiday Gift Guide & Favorite Charities

Is anyone else wondering how it’s already Christmas time?  Is anyone else feeling like this lady below? Talk-Early-Holiday_Final

Fret not kittens, we can each find our #HolidayZen and today’s third annual WM Favorite Things Guide should hopefully help someone with an idea or two! I faced a new challenge this year – to find things that boys or husband would like. This is definitely a challenge, one that I was most definitely up for.  Because I’m sure you’re in the throes of shopping and if you’re anything like moi, that shopping includes a date with your laptop and wallet, let’s get started.

For the accessory lover: SimplyOm Jewelry. Each piece of jewelry is made by a woman in a developing country and part of the proceeds go

I bought this necklace but in blue. Photo Credit: SimplyOm

I bought this necklace but in blue. Photo Credit: SimplyOm

back to training  and empowering women in these countries to help them overcome poverty. How’s that for a double whammie of goodness? You can sport some really beautiful and fashionable pieces and contribute towards supporting the work of women in developing countries. I purchased a necklace from the founder at a conference in October and wear it all the time.  This is the kind of gift you can get for a sister, cousin, aunt, mother-in-law, you name it, and everyone’s happy.


Photo Credit: LittleHouseKids on Etsy

Photo Credit: LittleHouseKids on Etsy

For the water bug: This is one of my favorite things of the year: personalized towels on Etsy by LittleHouse Kids.  I purchased these towels in the spring for my girls, with each wash they get even softer, and we had no troubles during summer camp – they always got the right towel. I can’t tell you how many compliments we’ve received on them and how many times I’ve since purchased them as a gift for others.  Earlier this fall, I ordered them in bulk for some of my daughter’s best friends, by now of course we know when their birthdays will roll around – and the gifts are already in my closet upstairs. How uniquely and unusually organized of moi. Note: this gift is great for boys too! They take a while to ship — so plan to order these well in advance but I can’t sing the praises loud enough!

For the science kid: A new gift idea: science projects from Appleseed Lane, it’s a great for girls and boys ages 4-10. In fact, my little one is asking only for science experiments and detective kits this Christmas, so I was thrilled when my friend Kate from The Big Piece of Cake emailed around this suggestion the other day. Started by two DC-area moms, building off the STEM concept, these monthly science kits arrive on your doorstep and if you have siblings in the house, they will add in extra supplies for the sibling. Even better, Certifikid is running a deal on these right now.   Themes for 2014 boxes include: Magnets, Sports, Space Exploration, Underwater Adventure/Sea Creatures, Amusement Park Physics and Green Energy (Solar, human kinetic energy, etc).

For the new mom: Motherhood is the necessity of invention, as we all know. No better example than this fabulous new swaddling blanket my neighbor introduced me too, started by her friend: The Sweet Roll Swaddle. Give the new mom in your life the gift of precious sleep with this beautiful and soft swaddling blanket, made here in the USA, invented by a mom herself. You know it’s good.  Here’s a sweet video to watch to get a sense of how the baby responds to these swaddling blankets.

For the pet lover: Now that we have a 3 month old puppy in the house, I’m focusing more on gifts for animal lovers than I have in previous years. Again, another find on Etsy, this time I learned of the shop from my good friend and former next door neighbor. You can order a customized print of the dog and change the city, the background, the year to note the year the family purchased the dog. Also, another perk, these are made right here in the USA for those true patriots out there.

Photo Credit: Native Vermont on

Photo Credit: Native Vermont on

For the husband, uncle, cousin: Just yesterday, I read what is quite possibly the most hilarious Gift Guide I have stumbled upon this season. The guide hails from the site Divine Secrets of the Domestic Diva and she pulled together a list of gift ideas for the man in your life. There’s something for everyone on here. To you Jocelyn, who charged me with finding gifts for men, I say, You Are Welcome.

For the Gal on the Go: This would be all of us. Recently, I discovered this treasure in Target: the wallet/iphone case combo with a wristlet loop.  If memory serves, it ran me $10. I went with the faux coral leather option with the pink interior and it’s perfect for running out the door to pick up the kids. It fits just my phone, my license and my debit card – basically all I need – and I love not lugging a purse.  All you need is a pair of texting gloves and you’re all set. You deserve this gift for you along with an easy stocking stuffer for others in your life.

Now we transition to the WM Fav Charities Guide.  ‘Tis absolutely the season for giving and now that my oldest is 8 years old, I find it especially important to really teach her the importance of giving to others this season and talking more about what that actually means. Every year I like to feature local DC based charities but this year, I’m going to include one beyond our borders as well. Let’s get started.

Give An Hour: A non-profit that provides mental health services to service members and their families. This is such an important organization and one that deserves our attention.  DC being a government town, I challenge one local reader to not know someone who hasn’t served in Iraq or Afghanistan or who doesn’t work for one of the branches of the military. Give An Hour is not just based in DC, however, they are a national non-profit with branches across the country. Just $17 provides one hour of free counseling for service members of these two wars and their loved ones. I don’t know about you, but I often find myself thinking about the spouses who are left behind and often with young kids, as I think about service members. If you don’t want to donate money, you can give the gift of time. 

Only Make Believe: Regular readers of my blog know that I am an avid children’s theater fan and absolutely relish taking my girls to the theater. I recently learned of a local non-profit whose mission is to bring the joy of theater to children in hospitals.  With branches in NYC and DC, this organization is truly doing remarkable work. I’d urge you to consider a donation as you think about where you might give this year.

HAS Haiti: Some people like to give to others outside our borders, which obviously I am also a big supporter of as well, particularly because I grew up in a few developing countries. This year I worked with a hospital based in Haiti but that was founded by the Mellon family, Hospital Albert Schweitzer. It is a hospital that provides critical healthcare services to the people living in the Artibonite Valley in Haiti, outside of Port-Au-Prince. If you’ve followed media coverage of Haiti, you’ll know that there is a reluctance to donate to Haiti because of rampant corruption. This is not something to worry about when giving to HAS because it is an organization founded by the Mellons, with offices based in Pittsburgh, therefore you can be confident that all the money you give is going straight to those in need in the hospital. Additionally, the majority of the hospital’s patients are women and children. Much of their work at HAS focuses on maternal healthcare, breast-feeding education and vaccines for infants and children. I can’t say enough positive things about the profoundly important work of HAS to the people of the Artibonite Valley in Haiti.

Happy Holidays to my readers, family and friends! As always, I am thankful to you for reading WM throughout the year and hope you have a wonderful holiday season!  Be sure to hit “Like” on the WM Facebook page because even if I don’t post again here in 2013, I’ll be posting fun things on FB.

Flash Give-Away: 4 Tickets to Gaylord National ICE!

It seems like a great day for a flash give-away – so later tonight my girls will select one winner to receive a family 4-pack of tickets to Gaylord ICE! Twas the NightNational’s ICE! ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas. These tickets are valid for 4 non-peak admissions. Non-peak dates include:

  • December 2-5, 9-12, 16-19, 31
  • January 1-3

The winner will need to bring the original letter I have (and will mail to you) and a photo ID to Will Call and you will receive the 4 non-peak ICE! tickets for the next available time slot on that same day.

Next available time slot, you fret? Trust moi, there is TONS to do at the Gaylord National hotel to keep the kids busy if you have to wait a bit before gaining admission to ICE! If you’re unfamiliar with all there is, check out their web site or read my really thorough review of our experience last year. We literally spent the entire day at the hotel doing tons of holiday related activities. Decorating cookies and the scavenger hunt were our favs, beyond ICE! of course.

How do you enter this amazing flash give-away.

Christmas - Nighty Tree Lighting ShowFirst step – clearly you have already hit “Like” on the Wired Momma Facebook page.

Second Step – leave a comment that you’re entering to win under my post on Facebook.

Step Three – be sure to CHECK BACK on Facebook after 8pm tonight. I will announce the winner there. If I don’t hear from the winner by tomorrow morning, I will pick another winner because this is a FLASH give-away.


It’s Thanksgiving Week – Bust out your HAZMAT Suit

There’s so much to say with this week, the week of Thanksgiving.

Sure, I could talk about the mounds of stress we all feel building on our shoulders because there is


Over the next month.

Or I could talk about all that I have to be thankful for.

Which is a lot.

But you don’t come to me for sentiment and I don’t do feelings very well.

Let’s cut to the chase, tis the season for food, tis the season for festivus, tis the season for gift-buying, list making and cooking baking.

Pass the gravy, not whatver disease your kid is inevitably harboring right now. Happy Holidays.

Pass the gravy, not whatever disease your kid is inevitably harboring right now. Happy Thanksgiving.

Tis the season for NOROVIRUS

I totally LOVE this headline from last year in England “CHAOS as winter vomiting cases hit 750,000”

Oh yes. Oh yes. We know it well. I am certain Norovirus is actually a form of biological warfare and it starts to rear its super ugly nasty viciously contagious head around Thanksgiving.

Here’s the thing about playing host to little children: They are rats.

No no. Not snitches. Well, actually that too, especially the older one.


Remember these scenes?

The Bubonic Plague

My children have each managed to deliver something quite similar at major holidays…..

Look closely at that poor sad couple slumped down in the foreground. It’s totally you – probably next week.

You know all those lists circulating around Buzzfeed, this one should top it this week: You Know you’ve lived with a three-year-old when at least one holiday has been spent vomiting the entire time. We’ve been lucky enough to have two of those. The first time, our gift to my entire family on Christmas eve was the highly contagious disease in question: the norovirus.

Merry Christmas family! We brought the rat! We offer you a quick way to drop 5 pounds before New Year’s Eve.

#You’reWelcome. No need to send a Thank You note this year.

Really, I insist.

Two Thanksgivings ago, we were quarantined to our own separate table over Thanksgiving dinner because the day started with puking again. Naturally.

Everyone air kissed us and raised their glasses awkwardly in our direction, as if even making eye contact would inevitably infect them with the nastiness my child started the day with.

Quite frankly, when my mom circulated the cute, adorable, environmentally friendly electronic invite to this year’s Thanksgiving feast, I am a little shocked it didn’t include an addendum: You’re invited, leave the rats out back. And please wear your HAZMAT suit the entire time so as to keep your inevitable disease contained. We deserve this.

C’est vrai

Mandatory Holiday Couture for Parents Who Want to Remain Healthy

Mandatory Holiday Couture for Parents Who Want to Remain Healthy


And so, moi’s wish for you this week, is to avoid hugging the toilet and spreading the highly contagious and seriously nasty vomiting disease among your family members. I am certain we aren’t the only ones who have passed this one around with the green bean casserole.

For hilarity, be sure to “Like” the Wired Momma Facebook page.

Adventure Theatre MTC’s Holiday Mystery: The 12 Days of Christmas

Here’s the thing, I will never learn. Me and Adventure Theatre MTC are in a little dance before the premiere of each new production. I see the pattern now. They just don’t know we do a little dance before I settle in to watch the show.

Here’s how it goes: I doubt them.

Deidra LaWan Starnes as Shirley the Partridge. Photo Credit: Mike Horan

Deidra LaWan Starnes as Shirley the Partridge. Photo Credit: Mike Horan

This time it was about how they could pull off a musical mystery adventure over a song…one of my least fav Christmas songs to boot. On the drive around the beltway last week to go see the premiere of The 12 Days of Christmas, naturally we sang the song. And we thanked the vast internet and the power of Google because without WiFi and internet, we wouldn’t have been able to remember all the 12 random and odd gifts sprinkled through the song.

For instance, who wants 12 drummers drumming and 11 pipers piping?

Not one parent, I can tell you that.

As we had fun Googling (is that officially a Verb yet?) the song and singing out loud, much to the kid’s total amusement, we wondered – how many people were going to be in this play? I tried to do the math of how many people would have to represent each of the gifts over the 12 days but well…that didn’t end well.


But knowing that most Adventure Theatre MTC productions have small casts, it seemed safe to assume there was no way there was going to be 12 drummers drumming onto the stage. Or how about those leaping lords? Would there be a stage full of men leaping?

And HOW could they make this song an interesting play, I quizzed aloud.



Meanwhile in the backseat, my oldest kept insisting it was a “porridge in a pear tree” and no one could convince her otherwise.

“Here honey, Merry Christmas, I give you a bowl of porridge up in that tree.” #Kids

As we settled into our seats for the play to start, I admired the modern chevron wrapped gifts stacked all around the stage, the pears dangling

Danny Pushkin as the Christmas Hoarder. Photo Credit: Mike Horan

Danny Pushkin as the Christmas Hoarder. Photo Credit: Mike Horan

from the ceiling and the metallic color scheme of the set. Immediately it seemed clear there was going to be a modern twist on this traditional song and I was intrigued.

Still doubting…..but intrigued nonetheless.

The play opens and we meet Shirley the Partridge (still not Porridge….daughter still not convinced), played by Deidra LaWan Starnes. I began obsessing over  why she seemed familiar, it gnawed at me the duration of the play until reading the press release. Anyone lucky enough to have seen Charlotte’s Web at Adventure Theatre back in 2011 will recognize Shirley as the star of that play. This time, she made for a colorful, animated and convincing young Partridge, attempting to keep Christmas tradition together through “the song.”

Speaking of tradition, this was the undercurrent theme of the entire 55-minute production. Shirley was tasked with keeping the Christmas tradition alive by her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, as she struggled to corral all the parts of the song together. Much like trying to corral children, it seems that trying to corral animals and humans from this song together is like herding kittens. While doing so, Shirley embarks on a journey that leaves her wondering why the song has to remain the same and why the tradition can’t grow and change with her?

The totally hilarious French Hens. Photo Credit: Mike Horan

The totally hilarious French Hens. Photo Credit: Mike Horan

I think Adventure Theatre consistently takes a page out of the Pixar playbook and writes productions with story lines that can appeal to adults and the kids for different reasons. Certainly my oldest understood the questioning of tradition and the quest to make something different and new by the younger generation while struggling with the fear of disappointing her elders but this was absolutely lost on my younger one. She didn’t care about that, though she cared about the colorful cast, the quick movements, the costumes and of course, the evil nemesis, the Christmas Hoarder, who steals the 5 Golden Rings.

It turns out that I have a little one who reliably loves the good versus evil tug and delights over what trouble the bad guys stir up. The Christmas Hoarder is charming and hilarious in his own creepy way and adds a nice twist to this musical-mystery. As much as I adored the Christmas Hoarder, however, the French Hens with their berets and squawking were pretty hilarious rivaled only by the Calling Birds, decked out in their professional suits, busy busy busy on their phones, with my favorite one in particular flaunting his mid 1990s enormous flip-phone cell phone.

Recall that little dance we do, me and Adventure Theatre? The doubting dance?

I’m raising the white flag again; I curtsey and bow. It didn’t take long into the show for me to appreciate the clever, creative and fun twist on this odd song and how it does make for a fun play. Also, it’s a completely different holiday themed production than anything you’ll see this season, or probably have seen anytime recently. The play’s charm rests in the fact that it’s a different, unpredictable and not overly holiday-ish production yet it still speaks to tradition, generations, expectations and change. All things many people wrestle with through the holiday season as families gather together.

Overall, as I bow and curtsey, me and the family gave Adventure Theatre’s  The 12 Days of Christmas two creative thumbs up. Catch it anytime through December 30, tickets are $19 and can be purchased online. Now I’m off to find some porridge to put in the pear tree for my oldest on Christmas morning.

Disclosure: The Adventure Theatre MTC invited me and my family as guests to see the play. My opinions here are all my own.