4 Alternatives to a Typical Wedding Registry

For almost a year, we’ve been planning our wedding. Since we’re a bit of an unconventional couple, as well as being pretty well-established, a typical wedding registry didn’t really seem to suit us. We originally tried to do the “normal” thing, scanning items at the local Target, but then it just seemed like we were asking for stuff that we had no place for in our current living situation (an apartment with not much storage space). So, of course, I started researching alternatives. I’m not one to really be sold on¬†having to do something for the sake of tradition. If there’s a tradition, I want it to be meaningful, and frankly, registries just aren’t that meaningful to me. If you’re a couple that is looking for something a little different, here’s what I’ve found:

Honeymoon Registry

 

This is a controversial one. Some think it’s a great opportunity to support experience over stuff, while others think it’s tacky. I happen to think it’s a great idea. I think if you frame it as a, “we’d rather have money spent on experiences rather than stuff,” it’s more approachable and authentic. If you come off as, “We’re broke and want somebody else to pay for our honeymoon,” it’s a little more jarring and awkward, I think. Just a personal observation though. ūüėČ

E & I are using the Honeymoon registry through Disney, since we’ll be spending 10 days at Disney World (Eek! Yes, what can I say? We really are obsessed with WDW!) Here are some links to reputable Honeymoon Registries:

Disney Honeymoon Wishes

Honeyfund

Traveler’s Joy

Gift Card Registry

 

So, I had found a a gift card registry, but for whatever reason, they are no longer accepting new registries. ūüôĀ I was super bummed because I think this is a BRILLIANT idea. Especially for couples that are already established or the indecisive couple that isn’t ready to pick the type of china they want (or doesn’t want china to begin with…) So, since the actual registry site wasn’t available anymore, I created a Target registry, but only listed gift cards on it. ¬†I am the queen of flexibility, and gift cards offer that. By registering at a place that is convenient for nearly everyone, it allows people to access the gift cards easily. You can choose gift cards to Target for housing items, or experience gift cards (ie. Disney, just about any restaurant, Apple, Amazon, Southwest, etc..)

 

Donate to Charity

 

This is one of my favorite options. There are a few ways to do this – you can just pick a charity and request that people make a donation in your name. Or The Knot has a great option to choose a charity and if your friends and family purchase items on your registry through The Knot, they will donate a percentage to the charity of your choice. E and I chose to support the CASA organization. Or there’s the I Do Foundation, which creates a registry that allows your guests to make direct donations to the charity of your choice.

 

Screw the Registry

 

This is also a great option. No one is forcing you to create a registry. Just about every wedding website will tell you a must-do, but it’s not. Your wedding is YOUR wedding. Do it the way you want. If you do forego the registry, just be prepared for whatever gifts may come your way (which could be great!)

 

Did you use an alternative to the normal wedding registry? Let me know in the comments!

4 Alternatives to a Typical Wedding Registry // Cue to Cue Mama

An Enormous List of Holiday Movies by Age Group

 

I know…I know…ANOTHER holiday post. Sorry, this is the late November/December life with me, so buckle up, it’ll be a festive ride! It should come as no surprise that I love holiday movies. Sure, some I love better than others, but for majority of December, you can see me cuddled up in front of the TV watching a holiday movie.

An Enormous List of Holiday Movies (by age group) // Cue to Cue Mama

I broke down some of my favorites below into somewhat age-appropriate categories. It should go without saying that the age groups are totally open to intrepretation. Zo has seen majority of the films on this list, so I just tried to place them in categories that would make the most sense, on average. Did I miss one of your favs? Let me know in the comments!

Christmas Movies for Ages 0-6

 

An Enormous List of Holiday Movies (by age group) - Ages 0-6 // Cue to Cue Mama

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have to say, I’m partial to Claymation Christmas since it’s so rare and not very many people remember it. My parents had it recorded on VHS (Along with Santa Claus with Dudley Moore) and I would replay it over and over. I’m not sure why I loved clay dinosaurs chatting about Christmas songs so much, but it provides me with so much nostalgia. Plus, the California Raisins show up! (Yes, I know, I’m showing my age).

 

Nick Jr Christmas
Mickey’s A Christmas Carol
Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas
Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas
Muppets A Christmas Carol
Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas
The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (animated)
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Frosty the Snowman
Claymation Christmas
Polar Express
Twas the Night Before Christmas

 

Ages 7-10

 

An Enormous List of Holiday Movies (by age group) - Ages 7-10 // Cue to Cue Mama

 

I read somewhere that Home Alone is still the highest grossing live-action comedy in history. That is insane. Being the 80s/90s kid that I am, I have a special place for anything John Hughes touches. I also distinctly remember laughing so hard during Home Alone as a kid that chocolate milk came out my nose.¬†It’s a Wonderful Life and White Christmas are also at the top of my favs list.

 

Home Alone
Arthur Christmas
The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (live action)
White Christmas
It’s a Wonderful Life
Miracle on the 34th Street
The Santa Clause 1,2,3
Santa Claus
Jingle All the Way

 

Ages Pre-teen – Teen

 

An Enormous List of Holiday Movies (by age group) - Preteen/Teens // Cue to Cue Mama

 

I know this is a short list, but I watch all 3 of these every year around the holidays. I quote Elf throughout the year, and A Christmas Story always reminds me of my dad. 8 Crazy Nights is so underrated and great. It puts me in tears every time I watch it. I think the list is short because the rest of the movies may be inappropriate for pre-teens (not necessarily, but maybe).

 

Elf
A Christmas Story
8 Crazy Nights

 

Grown-Ups

 

An Enormous List of Holiday Movies (by age group) - Grown Ups // Cue to Cue Mama

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are the movies that younger can watch, but have enough language/innuendo to deem them in the “grown up” category. I loooove Scrooged — but then again, I’m a sucker for Bill Murray. Love, Actually is a classic and is another movie I quote all the time (plus a freakin’ all-star cast). And Christmas Vacation? Come on…John Hughes, remember?

Scrooged
Love, Actually
The Holiday
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

 

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Ultimate Christmas Playlist

Beware, I’m in the full-on Christmas mode now. And yes, I’ve been listening to Christmas music for the past few weeks, but I’ve waited to subject everyone else to it until after Thanksgiving (because I still love Thanksgiving too…) For this playlist, I tried to incorporate new with old, classic with current, with a dash of playfulness. What are some of your favorite holiday songs? Did I miss any you love? Let me know in the comments!

 

The Ultimate Christmas Playlist

5 Ways to Make the Holidays Special When You’re Broke

To say that I love holidays is an absolute understatement. While I wait until after Thanksgiving to decorate for Christmas, I am in the spirit right around the time of Halloween (frankly, I’m in the spirit year-round, but have to contain my crazy).

As much as I love Christmas, it can also be one of the most stressful times for me too. When you live on a strict budget, it feels like any added expense will just make the house of cards fall down. I’m practically a miracle worker when it comes to using money-saving apps, but the holidays can still pose a huge financial stress on just about anyone. Luckily, I have five ways to make the holidays special on any budget…

5 Ways to Make the Holidays Special When You're Broke

Movie Night

I looooove Christmas movies. (And Hannukah, I mean Eight Crazy Nights is great). We have a fair collection of holiday movies, but you can easily rent on Amazon, at Redbox (just remember to return it…it’s an issue for me, haha), or from your local library. So, we pop some popcorn, make my mom’s yummy No Bake Cookie recipe, cuddle up in blankets, and watch a movie together. Low key, low to no cost, and one of the easiest ways to get in the spirit.

Christmas cookies

A lot of us have our favorite family recipes around the holidays — one of our’s is mentioned above – no bakes! Yum! If you don’t have any family cookie recipes, don’t worry — Pinterest has you covered. You can get as basic or as ornate as you want. It’s crafty, fun, and gives you an opportunity to make cheap gifts for your neighbors. ūüėČ

Christmas lights watching

Z and I could literally go out every night to look at Christmas lights. Sometimes I’ll make some hot cocoa to put in travel mugs, get in our comfy pjs, and just drive around until we find good neighborhoods. We’ve stumbled upon some pretty amazing houses, and when E is with us, we have a grading system. Easy, fun, can be spontaneous, and FREE (okay…you use some gas, but totally worth it).

Create a Holiday Playlist

It’s no secret that I love a good playlist. I can’t go a day without music, it’s true, and around Christmas time is no different. Ask your family what some of their favorites are, so everyone is “in” on the tunes.

Holiday Books for Each Day

So, there’s a thing on Pinterest that has an Advent Book calendar tradition. As much as I loooove this idea, buying 25 books is tough for anyone on a budget (heck, buying one is hard enough). How can you still embrace this great idea without breaking the bank? THE LIBRARY. Seriously, if you’re not using your local library, what are you doing with your life? Bring out a new holiday themed book each morning or evening. Not only do you get some reading time in, but it’s centered around the season and FREE.

 

Listen, I know the holidays can get you down when you’re not “equipped” financially. It’s tough, but it also gives you a chance to focus on your family in the present moment, and isn’t that what the holidays are really about anyway?

What are some of your cheap or free holiday traditions? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

#26

Dear Zoey,

 

My heart hurts so much right now, Zo. I’ve sobbed on and off for majority of the day (I started writing this yesterday, the day of the election). It is a dark day that your kids will learn about in history books.

I don’t know what country we’re living in right now. You and daddy are asleep in the other room and I’m out here sobbing because…

I have to face you. And I have to watch your face when you find out Donald Drumpf is president.

 

But now it’s morning…I’ve had…two hours of sleep. My heart is still hurting. My eyes are swollen from tears. And many people will find this dramatic or overkill.

 

They’ll say that we’ve had bad presidents before.

They’ll say give him a chance.

They’ll say, he doesn’t speak like a politician, that he tells it like it is.

 

I’ll say, tell that to my daughter who has personally heard him say some of the most vile things and has covered her ears and cried because of it. Tell that to me, a veteran, who has heard him mock a man who was tortured for this country or has told injured servicemen and women that he always wanted a Purple Heart.¬†I’ll say, tell that to a Muslim American family who lives in fear every day because they practice a different religion, a mom with a transgendered son who is simply trying to navigate a life she never thought would be hers. Tell that to the incredible amounts of LGBTQ friends in my life. Tell that to the Christian who was finding faith again, but now has no one and nowhere to turn because this doesn’t look like the Christ she read about.

You know what though? I still woke up, took Rocky out for a walk, said good morning and smiled at my neighbors. Those yappy dogs a few buildings down still barked their heads off when Rocky and I passed. I still came home and made sure daddy was awake, and in a little, I’ll wake you up and we’ll go about our day. The world is still moving. It hurts me, but it’s moving.

This is the effect of feeling everything so deeply. It’s not something I particularly like (in fact, majority of the time, it makes me nauseated…) But in the face of a future that seems really bleak and scary. One that will surely bring about more turmoil and stress, I can only teach you the values I know to be true.

Being kind changes people. You can choose to be kind or you can choose to be bitter. I choose kindness.

Hard work does eventually pay off. We don’t always see it or believe it, but it does.

Having courage means facing the fear head on, and having conversations that may be hard.

Social media won’t institute change. It may bring awareness, but it can just as easily become a vacuum. Use it wisely and with grace.

When the world is scary or dark or bleak — I will always be here for you. Every step of the way. When the odds seem stacked against you, I’ll be the whisper in your ear saying, “One more time.” I’ll always be in your corner.

 

 

Love,
Mama

I’m a Younique Presenter

I Became a Younique Presenter

 

Yep, I can hardly believe it myself. A few weeks back, I signed up to be a Younique presenter. Me. Someone who doesn’t wear makeup often. An introvert that can’t stand “sales” work. These last few weeks have been a little strange as I’ve started this business entirely out of my comfort zone.

But I like it.

There were a lot of reasons why I decided to try this, but more than anything, I needed relief. I’m an empath. I’m deeply affected by the world around me — I carry weight on my heart all the time of how things are unfolding. I spread myself too thin. This is essentially who I am. And I needed something that was just mine. I needed to support something that was bigger than myself. I needed to HAVE FUN. I know it sounds trite, but life can be heavy y’all.

I needed something that was just mine.

 

The thing that threw me over the edge though was the Younique Foundation. It has two “branches” if you will — the Younique Foundation which provides healing retreats for women who have been victims of sexual abuse. The other branch is the Defend Innocence movement which provides education and resources for parents to help prevent childhood sexual abuse. This was huge for me. There are a whole lot of direct selling businesses, but none that are so focused on something bigger than themselves.

Also, in working with my sponsor and team — it’s been incredibly empowering (which is part of Younique’s mission statement), and¬†just a positive force in my life. In a world that has been inundated with negativity, this has been a fun and validating¬†(another part of the mission statement) experience¬†for me.

A Simple & Cheap Decoration {For Any Event} in Less Than Five Minutes

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A Simple & Cheap Decoration {For Any Event} in Less Than Five Minutes

I’m in full-on Wedding DIY mode (which includes the decoration part). I’ve always been a DIYer, but I’m not one to really reinvent the wheel. What I mean is, I love Pinterest because other people do the creative work and I reap the benefits! (Okay, that sounds super sleazy, and I certainly don’t mean it that way…but those of us who are lazy creatives, understand).

A Simple & Cheap Decoration {For Any Event} in Less Than Five Minutes

 

Anyway, I’m a huge fan of luminaries, always have been. I remember my mom and I always admiring paper luminaries around Christmas. Then, once I had Z, the movie¬†Tangled¬†came out, which has floating paper lanterns. And then, E proposed to me with…can you guess it? Paper luminaries!

A Simple & Cheap Decoration {For Any Event} in Less Than Five Minutes

So, not only have I always loved the look of them, but I love the simplicity of them, not to mention how budget friendly {cough, cheap, cough} they are, AND they have sentimental value to me. So, I plan to use them in as many places as possible at our wedding, and will probably save some of them for holidays after. Here’s the breakdown:

Supplies

A Simple & Cheap Decoration {For Any Event} in Less Than Five Minutes

 

 

Instructions

These will probably be the shortest instructions you will ever read.

  1. Trim the bag. My bags were 11 inches, and I trimmed them down to 9. This is a matter of personal preference. I just liked the look of the smaller bags.

    A Simple & Cheap Decoration {For Any Event} in Less Than Five Minutes

  2. Punch the bag. What’s nice about the Martha Stewart punch is you can punch anywhere on the paper because all of the sides are open. I will say, make sure you leave yourself a few extra because you’ll need to figure out the best way to space the punches — particularly with punches like this. I would start in the left hand corner and work my way down diagonally, but it all depends on the type of pattern you’re going for.


    A Simple & Cheap Decoration {For Any Event} in Less Than Five Minutes

  3. Put a battery-operated candle in the bag.

A Simple & Cheap Decoration {For Any Event} in Less Than Five Minutes

 

See that? Easy peasy! I’m convinced absolutely anyone can do this craft. So, get to it! Post your creations in the comments. I’d love to see them!

 

5 Things I Miss About Public School As a Homeschooling Mom

Last week, I posted about how much we’ve loved homeschooling. It’s been such an experience for the both of us, and one that I won’t ever forget. Ever. That being said, it is not all daisies and rainbows. By the end of most days, I need to send her off to her room or somewhere away from me — not because she’s been awful or anything — my energy level is just shot by the end of the day. Which leads me into 5 things I miss about public school…

 

5 Things I Miss About Public School (As a Homeschooling Mom) // Cue to Cue Mama

 

Alone Time

I am an introvert. Z is an extrovert. She is an only child. And we are homeschooling in a place we just moved to. This is taxing on any mom, but for this introverted mama, it is 100% overwhelming at times. Luckily, when E is home, he takes over, allowing me to escape and take a breather. There are also some days where I have to give Zo more independent time stuff to do because I just have to be by myself for a few moments. When she was in public school, I had 7 hours to work, write, run errands, catch up on school…etc.

 

Holiday Parties, Fun Themed Days, and Special Events

 

I know this seems trivial (especially since I just talked about needing alone time, haha), but I really miss all the fun events, themed days, and parties. The staff and teachers always made things like this so fun, and it gave the parents an opportunity to get creative. While I can still be creative and do fun stuff, it’s not in the same way — and to be frank, doesn’t feel nearly as exciting.

 

The Extra Pressure of Homeschooling

 

Parenting comes with this lovely thing called guilt. We’re always wondering what we’re doing that will inevitably screw up our kid in the future. Constantly feeling like we’re not doing¬†enough. This sense of guilt has only been amplified with homeschooling. I’m constantly questioning if I’m giving her enough, if she’ll be behind when she goes back to public school (yes, we plan on sending her back to public school once we move from FL), and whether or not this will all turn out to be a horrible decision. And these thoughts go through my head every day….multiple times a day. With public schooling, while I had my definite issues with the “system” of education, I knew, at her old school, that she was getting an education, she was learning and growing, and she had really great adults surrounding her that could be a lot more objective about her learning.

 

Parent – Teacher Conferences

 

I know, I know. Nobody likes conferences — well, I do. I loved being able to hear about how Z interacted in a classroom setting, hearing about areas in which she excelled, and what areas we could focus on a little bit more. I loved hearing how invested her teachers were in her life. It’s a really powerful thing when you see another adult care so deeply about teaching and helping your child.

 

Linear Learning

 

Again…I know, I know. Part of the reason we’re homeschooling right now is to add freedom to her learning and to escape the insanity of testing and suffocating standards. But part of me still misses being able to clearly define what point A to point B was. This is the control freak in me, I know. And sometimes the thing that is most overwhelming with homeschooling is that there is no right or clear way to do things. While I 100% believe that learning should be adaptive and fluid, I do sometimes wish for a clearer path.

 

All of this being said, I still know that these next few years of homeschooling will be worth it, and I really try to be present for this time in our lives because it won’t always be this way, and I’m so grateful for this season.