FamilyFun December 2015 - January 2016

Every digital issue ( 8 a year) is a wealth of do-able ideas to help you with everything from making a creative sack lunch to planning a birthday party with ease. Look at everything you get ... • Family-favorite recipes that are quick, easy and inexpensive (and win kisses for the cook!) • Fresh ways to turn ordinary activities into extraordinary adventures that kids and grown-ups will enjoy. • Fun, hands-on crafts for Valentine’s Day and homemade goodies for Christmas ... and every special day in between! • Favorite kid-tested, parent-approved vacation ideas ... plus easy ways to preserve your memories for a lifetime. Get all the help and encouragement you need to make every day with your family better than the day before ... say yes to Family Fun now!

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Meredith Corporation
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dynamic duo

A SNEAK PEEK AT WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THIS ISSUE About six years ago, we were lucky enough to have Elvi (the guy on the left) join our family. A couple of years later, he recruited Fred. Monitoring the antics of our then 5- and 6-year-old boys was clearly a two-man job. (Clearly.) Since then, their work in behavior modification has truly been unmatched. That’s why when they arrive this year—always very punctually on the Saturday morning after Thanksgiving—they’ll find their very own elf door just like the one on page 23. No more sooty chimneys for these two! From now on, they can walk right in like they own the place. (Well, when everyone is sleeping, of course.) There is almost nothing better than creating magic for our kids, especially at this…

pleased as punch!

EXTRA-BIG IDEAS FOR YOUR EXTRA-FUN FAMILY 1. CRANBERRY SPARKLER In a punch bowl, mix together 1 bottle (64 oz.) cranberry juice cocktail, 1 bottle (24 oz.) sparkling cider, and 1 liter ginger ale. Add juice from half an orange. For garnish, place 2½ cups raspberries in a gelatin ring mold; cover berries with juice or water; freeze. Add to bowl with orange slices. 2. CITRUS PUNCH Simmer ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water until dissolved. Let cool. Add to punch bowl with 1 qt. orange juice, 2 cups pink grapefruit juice, ½ cup fresh lemon juice, ¼ cup fresh lime juice, and 1 liter seltzer. Refrigerate. For garnish, layer citrus slices in a round cake pan; cover fruit with juice or water and freeze. 3. STARLIGHT PUNCH Simmer 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 1…

our holiday tradition won’t be complete without...

WHAT’S UP IN OUR WORLD AND YOURS behind the scenes POWER NAP Dude, that couch looks so comfy! Seven-year-old Matteo takes advantage of a break in the action on the set of our “Holiday: Handmade” shoot. See the story on page 40. follow us! For more festive crafts and recipes, visit our Happy Holidays! board on Pinterest. Drinking eggnog and making gingerbread houses with my four girls! SASHA ALBRIGHT Our hand-cut tree. We go to the same place every year. SAMANTHA HOSBURGH The smell of Momma’s cooking! SHANNON FITZGERALD-FAHS The Harry Potter movies, which we watch every year as a family. They are magical in just the right way. CORAL ROUSSEAU Tamales! Making them together is a great way to pass old recipes on to the next generation. ADRIANA FLORES CORDERO Our annual after-Christmas trip to downtown Chicago. DONNA MARIE Someone getting sick! Sad but true. TRACY STUFFT An alligator…


Q& WE ASKED: HOW DO YOU INVOLVE YOUR KIDS IN CARING FOR FAMILY PETS? YOU ANSWERED: PACK 'EM UP When we travel with our dogs, my daughter gets to be in charge of packing their “doggy diaper bag.” She brings collapsible bowls, food, a water bottle, an extra harness and leash, and some toys. Keli Brings White River, SD CREATE AMBIENCE My 8-year-old daughter draws her own decorative backdrops for our 5-gallon fish tank. I laminate these with clear Con-Tact paper, and we tape them to the back of the tank. She draws a new one for her fish every few months. Linda McCowan Oakton, VA ENCOURAGE PEP TALKS let my boys help me take the cat to the vet. They explain to her what’s going to happen, and they feel better because she “knows” what to expect. They’ve…

stop and swap

The Town Northampton, Massachusetts The School Director Susan Swift The Idea For a week in early December, the front hallway of the Montessori School of Northampton turns into a cold-weather gear shop. Gently used snowsuits, snow pants, and jackets hang from racks, while neat rows of gloves, mittens, scarves, and boots line tables. But the items aren’t for sale—they’re free for the taking at the school’s winter-clothing swap. The swap focuses only on outerwear, which can be expensive, before it goes on sale later in the season, says head of school Susan Swift, who helped parents start the event ten years ago. “The swap has become a way for families to look after one another.” Indeed, families don’t have to donate any clothes to shop. “A family might not have anything to give one year, but…

santa claus is coming to town

parent - tested YOUR BEST TRICKS FOR KEEPING YOUR KIDS UP ON NEW YEAR’S EVE? Late naps and lots of sugar— timed just right so they crash soon after midnight! Amber Dedert Liberty, IL We make countdown bags with activities for every hour. As midnight approaches, we begin our annual tradition of writing resolutions and reading what we wrote the previous year. Then we toast at midnight with milk and cookies while dancing to a countdown special on TV. Shawn Davis Seattle, WA Dance-party video games keep them awake and grooving. Courtney Wood Valatie, NY We have a New Year’s tree that is decorated with balloons, party hats, and clackers. I label boxes 9, 10, 11, and 12, fill each with little gifts, and put them on the tree. The kids get to open one every hour. At…