Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

New Family Movies From 2022 To Watch Now

Thursday, January 12th, 2023

These family films include our top recommendations from movies we loved in 2022. While you wait the release dates of new films you can escape real life with this fun family movie streaming list!

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

My family has always loved watching movies together, but since 2020, we’ve become a little obsessed with Family Movie Nights.

I am constantly on the lookout for family friendly movies new and old that might be, at the very least, acceptable to both my kids and my husband. 

(Obviously, I’m aiming for something they’ll love. But if you live with more than one person, I’m sure you understand the necessity of compromise and settling for “fine, I will sit here with you and watch this thing someone else picked but I’m gonna roll my eyes but maybe I also kind of like it but I’ll never say so and you can’t make me.”)

With a six-year age gap between my girls—one being a teenager and one a tween, both being quite opinionated—that’s no small task. It falls somewhere on the difficulty scale between fixing a meal that nobody complains about and making them both laugh at the same “dad joke.”

But I’m determined to make Family Movie Nights happen at least once every several weeks, so I persevere.

Fortunately for me—and for you—we are in a golden age of entertainment where we do not lack for options. In fact, we almost have too many options sometimes.

And with so many movies premiering or quickly appearing on streaming services, deciding what to watch has become even more complicated.

Well, you can scratch this whole issue off your list of things to worry about or be frustrated by, friends.

I’m here to help!

I have 12 movies that came out last year, along with reviews and where you can stream them.

Just like that, you’re halfway to one Family Movie Night a month!

Now you just need to pick a date and pop the popcorn!

New Family Movies From 2022 To Watch Now

New Family Movies 2022

The Adam Project (Netflix) – Are you sarcastic? Do you like action movies, buddy comedies, or time travel? If so, this Ryan Reynolds movie is for you! A time-traveling fighter pilot has to team up with his 12-year-old self to save the world, and it’s a blast. (watch the trailer)

New Family Movies 2022

The Bad Guys (Netflix) – Based on a series of children’s graphic novels, this animated caper follows a group of notorious criminal animals (e.g. shark, snake, spider, wolf) who pretend to be “good” to avoid prison. I watched it with my girls and we loved it so much we watched it again with my husband so he could enjoy it, too! (watch the trailer)

New Family Movies 2022

Better Nate than Ever (Disney+) – A 13-year-old and his best friend travel alone to NYC so he can audition for a Broadway play. This live action musical is based on a book, and it is the most beautiful, heartwarming movie I watched last year. (watch the trailer)

New Family Movies 2022

Cheaper by the Dozen (Disney+) – This is a modern-day remake of the 2003 movie starring Zach Braff and Gabrielle Union as an interracial couple with a blended family navigating complicated home life, a family business, and a new neighborhood that isn’t exactly welcoming. (watch the trailer)

New Family Movies 2022

Chip & Dale: Rescue Rangers (Disney+) – If you like your kids movies to come chock-full of references and jokes only the adults will get, you’re gonna like this return of our favorite crime-solving chipmunks. The jokes are nonstop and lean heavily on nostalgia, but both my youngest daughter and I had fun watching it. Voices include Andy Samberg and John Mulaney! (watch the trailer)

New Family Movies 2022

DC League of Super-Pets (HBO Max) – What if the fate of the world was up to Superman’s dog and a motley crew of other pets? Enter Krypto, the Super-Dog, here to save the day! This animated movie was cute (and not dark like most DC movies). (watch the trailer)

New Family Movies 2022

Enola Holmes 2 (Netflix) – Sherlock’s little sister is back, solving mysteries and breaking the fourth wall and (oh yeah) maybe falling in love. This period piece based on a series of middle-grade novels is sweet, funny, and actually tells a solid mystery. I hope we get many more Enola Holmes movies! (watch the trailer)

New Family Movies 2022

Luck (Apple TV+) – Ever wonder if luck is real and, if so, where it comes from? In this animated adventure, an unlucky young girl who’s just aged out of the foster system stumbles into the worlds of good luck and bad luck. Determined to improve her luck, she is pulled into the battle between good and bad luck, making friends and her own luck along the way. (watch the trailer)

New Family Movies 2022

Minions: The Rise of Gru (Peacock) – If you’ve wondered how Gru became Gru, this is your movie. If that’s never crossed your mind, it’s also your movie if you were born in the 70s or just love those crazy minions. (Banana!) This prequel to the Despicable Me movies is Gru’s origin story, and it’s both hysterical and heartwarming. (watch the trailer)

New Family Movies 2022

Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank (Paramount+) – Only cats are ninjas, but Hank the dog really wants to become one anyway. He seeks out the ninja who once saved him but is now washed up and possibly high on catnip (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson). Reluctantly, the old ninja trains a new one and together (again, reluctantly) they save the cat ninja world. Full of jokes for grown-ups, this one made all of us laugh a lot. (watch the trailer)

New Family Movies 2022

Secret Headquarters (Paramount+) – A middle school boy and his friends discover his distant dad’s secret underground lair. Because his dad is the most powerful superhero in the world! Hijinks ensue when the bad guys come after the kids and they have to save the day. If your family likes The Adam Project, this will be a hit as well, as it stars the same kid (Walker Scobell) and another lovable, sarcastic adult (Owen Wilson). (watch the trailer)

New Family Movies 2022

Turning Red (Disney+) – A 13-year-old girl enters adolescence and turns into a giant red panda. Like you do, apparently, when you’re a female in her family. She has to learn how to handle her inner panda, as well as a tricky relationship with her mom, along with the help of her friends. (watch the trailer)

A Note for Parents

Some of these movies are totally appropriate for little kids; some of them are better for older kids. Refer to Common Sense Media for parent reviews and guidance that can help you make decisions for your family.

Another note: I haven’t watched Lyle, Lyle Crocodile or Disenchanted yet. Based on reviews I’ve read and what I know of my family, we’re going to love that singing crocodile and his bonkers movie, but I don’t know for sure yet.

What’s the last movie you watched with your family?

Looking for more of the best family movies? Try these posts!

17 Movies From the 90’s You Must Share With Your Kids

22 Fall Movies & TV Shows to Cozy Up With Right Now

The Best Libby App Tips And Tricks

Friday, December 16th, 2022

Whether you are a super user or brand new, this Libby tutorial will enhance your reading life. Learn how this free ebook and audiobook reading option at your local library works. Libby invites you to the join the conversation as they build this new community.

Sometimes I create content for you, and sometimes I create content for me. This tutorial and podcast episode offered the information I needed to make the switch from the Overdrive platform to Libby.

It is no secret that the topics for our podcast and website often find a way of infiltrating my daily life. For example, one of my favorite podcast episodes we’ve ever done so far was teaching people how to the Storygraph app for those interested in leaving the GoodReads platform.

Hearing from the company’s CEO motivated me to switch from the GoodReads app over to their platform. The transcription from our Storygraph became a written tutorial for new users. The truth is, since that encounter, HUNDREDS of people every month come to the site to use this as a guide for their transition to Storygraph.

My goal is to do this AGAIN, but with a free tool from your local library!

Cue the Jazz Hands!

Today the Libby team is here to help us transition from Overdrive to Libby, learn what makes this public library tool so great, and learn how to borrow and enjoy those eBooks and audiobooks with your library card.

So if you’re struggling to switch from Overdrive to Libby like me, or if you’re looking for fun new ways to use their features, today’s post and podcast are for you.

What is the Libby App?

Libby is a free app where you can borrow ebooks, digital audiobooks, and magazines from your public library. You can stream titles with Wi-Fi or mobile data, or download them for offline use and read anytime, anywhere. All you need to get started is a library card.

How to Get Started With the Libby App

If you are just getting started with the Libby App, I wanted to provide the quick instructions on how to get started.

If you are already a user, scroll down for the Super User information that Libby has so kindly provided for our show and site.

  1. Download the Libby app on your device from the app store.
  2. Open the app and find your library. You can search for it by name or zip code.
  3. Sign in to your library account using your library card number and PIN.
  4. Browse the available books, audiobooks, and other materials. You can search by title, author, or subject.
  5. Select the item you want to borrow and tap the “Borrow” button.
  6. The item will be added to your library account and will be available for a certain loan period (usually two weeks). You can view your borrowed items in the “Loans” section of the app.
  7. To start reading or listening to the borrowed item, tap on the item in the “Loans” section and then tap the “Read” or “Listen” button.
  8. When you’re finished with the item, you can return it early by tapping the “Return” button in the “Loans” section. This will make the item available for other users to borrow.

The Best Libby App Tips And Tricks

These questions were answered by the Libby Team- what an incredible honor to share space with their team! Listen to the full episode below or check out the excerpt from today’s transcription below. I encourage you to subscribe to the Book Gang podcast to listen to more episodes like this one. Today’s show notes are located here.

If you find this episode to be helpful, your written reviews are INCREDIBLY HELPFUL to help me grow my new show.

Get to Know the Libby Experts that Answered Today’s Questions:

These three voices also run the podcast Professional Book Nerds, with new episodes that come out every Monday and Thursday.

Joe Skelley is one of the co-hosts of the Professional Book Nerds podcast and has been at Overdrive for five years. He is part of the digital book mobile team which is a truck that goes across the US and Canada that does free stops at libraries and schools and helps people get started with their library.

Emma Dwyer is also one of the co-hosts of OverDrive’s Professional Book Nerds podcast and an avid user of the Libby app. She has been at Overdrive for eight years now in varying roles, and is currently as a product trainer on the Overdrive training team, training our library partners and their staff on how to use Libby and other Overdrive products and services. 

Jill Grunenwald is the creator and the third co-host of the Professional Book Nerds podcast. She works on OverDrive’s marketing team as a Marketing and Communications Specialist for the North American public library. Her role is to communicate with  library partners to let them know about all the fun new services and features that Libby has to offer. 

This is an excerpt from today’s show. Where necessary, this transcription has been modified for clarity for written context. To reduce visual clutter, we have combined their three voices into one to make this tutorial easier to navigate today.

What is Libby and why are we replacing the Overdrive app?

“I just wanted to start by mentioning that Libby is made with love from us here at Overdrive.

It’s the same wonderful collection you’re already used to and built by the same people who have been taking care of you for a decade now on the Overdrive app.

We decided to build a new app after taking all of the feedback from users so it could be a fresh space.

Libby has all of the same amazing content that you can access in Overdrive, and actually some libraries offer even more types of content in Libby that you can’t access in Overdrive. But now we are working towards the sunset of that flagship app.

Libby is growing and evolving as new readers join and as existing readers make that switch. So still the same company you love, but with a cleaner and hopefully less confusing approach for everyone. “

Regarding changes that we would like to see happen, what is the most effective way to let you know if there’s something that we’d like to implement in the Libby app?

“The first thing is, what’s really cool about Libby that doesn’t exist in Overdrive is you can contact our tech support team directly anytime, anywhere.

And in the same place, you can find help and support; we also have our Suggestion Box. So in the menu, under the help and support section, there’s a button that says Get Some Help. And then, under the Common Solutions section, there is a big button that says Suggestion Box

And you can type through and say, I want to recommend titles to my library. I like this kind of feature added. Or, I find this confusing. You can send all of that feedback through. 

If you think it needs to be done, we recommend submitting that suggestion because if you’re thinking it, someone else is thinking it. And that helps our developers see what they need to prioritize.

Are the catalogs currently identical in Libby and Overdrive with our library systems? 

“Yes, the collections your libraries offer and your digital libraries in Overdrive are the same in the Libby app. 

There are those exceptions. 

You can access more content in some cases using Libby. 

There’s that extra content available, like Kanopy, which is a platform for movies and television shows. There are things like Craftsy, which is hobbies, DIY and other things, and Universal Class, which is continuing education.”

Will my current holds and loans be moving to Libby when I switch? 

“Yes, which is awesome for those of us who keep very long wait lists.

When you log into Libby and sign in with your library card, your hold will be waiting for you on the shelf in Libby, so they’ll be right there for you to okay.”

What about those Overdrive wishlists that we have? How can we transfer them?

“So happy to say that, yes, Libby will prompt you to actually move over your wishlists from Overdrive directly using one of our smart tags.

The first time you get signed in and set up, you’ll get comfortable that first day or so.

And then Libby will send a little notification in the menu that says it looks like you were an Overdrive user. Do you want to bring over your wishlist?

I mean, how easy is that?”

Can I access my Libby app from my computer or laptop? 

“Yes. You can access Libby from a browser on your laptop.

You can go to Libbyapp.com and do all the same things in the app except downloading or reading offline on your computer.

Everything you’re doing on libbyapp.com will sync to the Libby app on your phone or tablet.” 

Can I access Libby on my Android devices? 

“Yes, absolutely.

Libby is available for Apple and Android devices through the App store and Google Play Store.

You can also side-load the app onto a Kindle Fire tablet. (editor’s note: scroll down for more information on this feature)

Additionally, you can listen to your audiobooks via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Download the Libby app on those devices.

We also have direct integration with Sono speakers. So you can listen in your kitchen while making dinner or anywhere in your house with a speaker if you have one of those.

The app experience is exactly the same if you’re on Apple, or Android, or even if you’re using libby app.com, there’s only a few differences, like downloading.

The Apple version is the same as the Android version.”

When I’m in my car and I’m using your audiobook feature, am I able to download from Libby if I don’t have the internet?

“Absolutely. A lot of people do a lot of traveling with their audiobooks, and that is one thing that is really important to people when they’re doing audiobooks.

Libby’s default is to download all titles specifically when you’re connected to wifi.

So Libby, by default, won’t use your data.

That’s a feature you can turn off.

You can have Libby download pretty much anytime you’re connected to wifi or cellular data.

Still, you can turn off the unit, like you can go into airplane mode, be up in a plane, be in the car on that long road trip, and that book is downloaded onto your device now.

This is why Libby is amazing and the superior experience.

In the Overdrive app, I’m sure many of you who love audiobooks know you could occasionally lose a chunk of your audiobook because it was broken up into multiple files.

With Libby, it’s all one clean, neatly packaged file, so you’ll never lose a part of your audiobook.”

Are you taking up more storage on your device by using Libby? 

“Libby doesn’t take up more storage than the Overdrive app, and Libby has several different settings that you can adjust depending on your download preferences.

The default for Libby is to download all titles when you’re connected to a wifi connection to conserve any cellular data you might be using; if you don’t want to do that, you can again adjust this under settings and you can specify what gets downloaded.

You can say everything, no matter what will be downloaded, you can specify for titles under 20 megabytes, or you can have it download nothing.

You can go in and select what you want, and then specify to download things on wifi only.

That is the default, but you can ensure that that’s enabled, which is a setting I use pretty often.

Easy enough to download when I’ve got a connection and then have it for listening to audiobooks.”

Am I able to rate my books on the Libby app?

“Currently, there is no way to rate titles in Libby, but as we discussed at the beginning of this, our team and I take suggestions and love user feedback.

So go under the Menu, Help, Support, Get Some Help, and then there’s a Suggestion Box, and you can let them know you want to be able to rate books in Libby.”

How do tags work and have you guys witnessed any really cool tagging systems?

“I love tags, and I recognize that they can be a little daunting at first because, coming from Overdrive, you are used to having your history and your wishlist, and that’s it. 

What I’m about to say could be amazing and, also, scary for folks, but I always like to say that the limit to tags is your imagination. 

You can create a tag for, truly, anything. 

I create lists based on interest, so I always like to suggest tags for genres you love. 

If you are a mood reader, having that mystery, that historical fiction or thriller tag is helpful. 

You can truly create whatever you’d like. 

I also like to make ones for narrators I don’t love. So if I see their name again, I’ll likely read this one instead of listening to it. 

One of our teammates actually has a tag for gift-giving. 

Her father-in-law is tough to buy gifts for, but he’ll always read a book. 

So she picks things and pops them in his tag. 

So when shopping season comes around, it takes her five minutes, and she’s like, it’s mainly selfish because then she can spend more time shopping herself. 

Personally, I have a tag for my niece and I pull anything that I think she might like to make my sister’s day a little easier. 

I have a tag specifically for Reagan, and then I text it over to my sister every once in a while and just kind of keep it updated. 

I also have one for cookbooks. 

So I always have that handy if I’m in a recipe slump.”

How do I add my tag when I am wanting to tag a book? 

“Tags are super cool. You can create them either when you’re scrolling through the experience or if you’re in a curated list and you see something and think, “I don’t have a tag for this yet.”

It says Borrow, Play Sample (if it’s an audiobook), and Tag. If you tap on Tag, you see your existing tags or the option to make a new one. Also, the tags all live on your Shelf, so you can also make them from your Shelf.”

Editor’s Note: Don’t forget to tag your “MomAdvice Book Club Books,” if you are reading with me this year.

I did notice that you guys also have some suggestions for tags when you’re first starting. Even something like tagging Young Adult if you’re just getting right into categories and you get more inventive over time as you begin to get more comfortable with utilizing tags?

“Yes, a tag tip for people that are maybe Libby super users or just people that are really into books – you can use a tag to keep better track of things that you want to make a note to come back to or add to your TBR list.

This advice is for super users that are working, their library’s wait lists and are borrowing things all the time. I do that as well, and that can get overwhelming at times, especially if all my holds come in at once or I just have tons of books to read, which is always a good problem!

But something I’ve been relying on recently instead of borrowing something just because I do happen upon it. If it’s available for placing a hold or if I know that’s going to overwhelm me later, I’ve been using a tag to keep better track of things that I want to make a note to come back to, but I’m not ready to take any big action with.

So I tend to get like “tap happy” in Libby, placing lots of holds or borrowing things because they’re all at my fingertips, but I’ve been relying on tags a lot more so that I can not overwhelm myself with things in Libby.”

If I want to see all the tags together, where am I able to view them? 

“You’ll see all of your tags on your shelf in Libby.

That will show your Loans, Holds, and Tags all on your shelf, but you also have the option to click into your tags and sort through your tags on that shelf page.”

What are some unique accessibility features with Libby? 

“We’re always trying to improve and refine accessibility in Libby, and we’ve made some big improvements over the last couple of years. We do quite a bit of user testing on that accessibility to get feedback from real users with those accessibility needs. 

Libby supports screen readers, keyboard navigation, voice control, and other assistive technologies. Libby Read From Here is an ebook reading mode tailored to screen readers. Voiceover or Talk-Back Mode reads the text of the books aloud. 

You can use the keyboard to tap around Libby’s interface; we have keyboard shortcuts for the e-reader and audio player to make accessing each feature and button easier. 

We also have configurable appearance settings for ebook pages, including tech scale, background page, color, and book design. 

The custom book design lets you choose a font line spacing and other settings to really personalize your reading experience. 

For those who want to personalize their audiobook experience, there are playback speed controls for audiobook speed ranging from half the Normal Speed of the audiobook to three times the Normal Speed. 

And then Dark Mode supports operating systems or browsers that provide that option. It can be based on your phone settings as well. 

If you have your phone set to Dark Mode, Libby will automatically update to be in Dark Mode as well.”

You have a dial at the bottom of your audiobook. Is that something special about Libby and what does this style do for us? 

“I think there is an accessibility element to it. In your audiobook player, up at the top, you have your overall progress, and then at the bottom, of course, you’ve got those Play and Pause buttons. And then that, that bar underneath that has those little ticks will allow you to skip around. So there are dark, bold marks for each chapter or at a major page break.

It will also show you, at the bottom, where your notes and highlights are if you’ve made notes and highlights in the audiobook. So it is overall a slider.”

When are we going to be able to recommend our books to Libby? 

“That’s the top question that we receive. Truly, we are developing a fresh solution for this feature in Libby, and we look forward to sharing more soon.

I can’t give you a solid answer, but it is coming in 2023.

We want to ensure we’ve got all those major features that everyone is looking for before the Overdrive app is sunset.

It will involve the tagging system, so it will act a little differently than what you’re used to in Overdrive, but it will have the same end product.

But for now, you can use Libby for your reading happiness and use the Overdrive app to recommend those titles while it still exists.

Or you can go to your library’s Overdrive website. Hopefully, we’ll have that new solution up and running for all of you soon.”

When are we going to be evicted from Overdrive?

“That’s funny!

The plan is to discontinue the Overdrive app in 2023. But don’t panic – we want to ensure that everyone has lots of time to prepare.

That’s why we’ve been talking about it a lot in 2022, giving people time to use both and get comfortable.

And then, certainly, knowing that we’re not going to discontinue that Overdrive app until some of those key features we’ve talked about are offered in Libby or there’s a solution to them in Libby.

It’s not just going to vanish without any notice, so keep an eye out on Overdrive social media.”

If we want to get some additional training or support on using the app, where would we access that? 

“I am so excited to help encourage and facilitate folks making the switch. 

I host monthly getting started sessions for new and transitioning users. It’s about an hour, and we will take you through the basics. 

We point out what’s different from Overdrive to Libby, and we’ll be doing that through 2023. 

I do them with my teammate Marissa, and she is, TRULY, the Libby extraordinaire. 

She’ll take you through everything you need to know, and we’ll answer your questions live. 

We’ve got a lot of amazing people. 

You’ll get a chance to have your questions answered, get support and see what Libby’s all about. 

I would also shout out our help site. We have a specific tab called Switching from the Overdrive app. It’s right up at the top of the page. You can’t miss it!

It will cover everything we cover, anything you’re looking for. 

All of our monthly sessions are recorded. So even if you can’t attend live, we still encourage you to register to receive that recording in your inbox. The help site can be found HERE.

Questions from the MomAdvice Book Club Members

Thank you to our readers for these wonderful questions that were asked for our podcast today. These will be helpful to so many!

What’s the best way to manage multiple library cards on Libby?

All your library cards live in your Menu right in the center under your Libraries. 

You can tap and see all the library cards you have; tapping on the name will also switch your active libraries. 

So it’s easy to switch back and forth between all the libraries and cards you have; even with multiple library cards, all of your loans and holds live on one shared shelf. 

No matter where you check a book out, they’ll all be on the same shelf. 

And when you run a Search, you can also tap the name of the library under the Search Field and after you tap the name of your library, you’ll see all of your libraries and can easily switch between them that way. 

When you search for a book and look at the titles details list, if you tap on the little library icon next to the titles, it will show you availability at all of your libraries.

How do you put Libby on a Kindle Fire and a Kid’s Fire Tablet?

We do have some step-by-step instructions to add Libby to Kindle Fire tablets. It is a side-load because we are still waiting for Libby to be added to the Kindle Fire app store.

That’s entirely on Amazon’s approval.

It’s a super simple step-by-step process that walks you through downloading the APK files and adding them, following the steps to your tablet.

And then Libby will function the same way on an Android device. You can find the tutorial HERE.”

How do I put Libby audiobooks on my Apple Watch to listen to without my phone nearby? 

“This is a really wonderful question.

Currently, there is not a way to play audiobooks through your Apple Watch. Still, we have heard this request, especially as the popularity of Apple watches has exploded over recent years.

And so this is a request that our Libby development team is aware of and has received. So certainly keep an eye out for future developments on the Apple Watch.

Is there a way to sync my Goodreads account to my Wishlist on Libby? 

You can export your tags from Libby into Goodreads, but there is no way to bring Goodreads into Libby.

So that is an excellent suggestion and opportunity to use our Suggestion Box and give feedback if that’s something you want to see.”

How do you guys feel about the loophole of putting your Kindle in airplane mode to keep library books from returning?

“Kindle fulfillment is tricky. When you borrow a book from your library and use the, “Send to Kindle,” feature which I have to say is the US only, Amazon fulfills it.

So that’s where it breaks from Libby or Overdrive and switches to Amazon’s fulfillment.

On our end in Libby, the app has internal timers to keep everyone honest and on or offline; it doesn’t matter if you put your device into airplane mode or change the date, Libby knows. And it keeps us honest, on or offline, with copyright policies.

What Amazon does is totally up to them, but we’re respecting those publisher agreements and copyrights, in general.”

Thank you to the Libby team for their generosity with our community! To see the show notes for this podcast today, head HERE!

To help fund the work at MomAdvice, consider joining our Patreon Book Club for our exclusive buzzy books podcast (FULLY BOOKED), author interviews, and music playlists to enhance your reading experiences. To learn head to the Patreon Book Gang! The funding helps us to create quality shows and tutorials like the one you have read today.

Looking for more ways to enhance your reading life? Check out these articles!

Join the 2023 MomAdvice Book Club (and read all year with me!)

How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

Learn how to use the Scribd App (when the library holds get too long)

Learn how to get a free book every dang month

Advent Calendars for Teens That They Will Love

Wednesday, October 26th, 2022
Advent Calendars for Teens They Will Love

These advent calendars for teens and tweens are just what you need to make your holiday special. Shop this guide for fun ways to countdown to Christmas fun!

One of my favorite gifts to give my teen is their advent calendar as a Christmas gift each year. This year, we wanted to offer this year’s best calendar ideas for your kiddos in this age category, as well as those college-age kiddos that deserve a fun way to celebrate the season.

We have you covered with a few of our favorite ways to countdown Christmas in 2022. 

To keep it economical, be sure to read our suggestions for ways to reuse keepsake boxes or diy advent calendars for the season with our smart ideas for saving.

DON’T FORGET TO ACTIVATE YOUR RAKUTEN WHEN SHOPPING. HERE IS $40 back on your first purchase.

If you aren’t familiar with the program, this is my beginner’s tutorial on how to use Rakuten (and some sneaky ways I get cashback on stuff we buy all the time).

Let’s celebrate the 12 days of Christmas with these fun ideas for the season.

Interactive Teen Advent Calendars

Exit Advent Calendar Game

Exit Advent Calendar Game (The Mystery of the Ice Cave)

Trying to squeeze in some family time over the advent season? We think this advent idea is the perfect option.

Here’s the setup for this one.

Your pre-Christmas ski trip hasn’t gone as planned: Just as you are taking a break and enjoying the crystal-clear mountain air, you hear a noise and see a terrifying avalanche crashing down the mountain towards you.

This advent calendar is both an EXIT game and an adventure story: in order to free yourself from this predicament, you must open a door of the calendar each day.

Behind each door, you will find a new and exciting riddle, the solution that will bring you closer and closer to escaping the cave! Will you solve the mystery of the ice cave and find the exit?

This one has rave reviews, with people sharing how fun and interactive this was for the holidays.

I also zeroed in on one comment that shared it was a great one for “their middle-school boy.”

Don’t love the setup for the location of this game? Check out these this other option (The Hunt for the Golden Book) that the company offers.

Family Movie Advent Calendar

Christmas Movie Marathon Advent

Love Christmas movies?

This personalized box would be a fun way to celebrate.

Each box contains 24 Christmas films to watch along with a bit of interesting trivia on each movie. Reviewers praise the quality on this one and this is a perfect option for a budget-friendly option.

Fishing Tackle Advent Calendar

Fishing Tackle Advent Calendar

If you have a fishing enthusiast, this company makes creative tackle boxes to countdown the season.

Inside you will find a beautiful, compact, water resistant case under door #1. The 23 compartments to follow reveal all sorts of fantastic high quality fishing gear to fill that box up. There’s a gift everyday to help count down until Christmas.

They also make fun advent boxes for fly fishing.

Christmas Countdown Candle

Christmas Countdown Candle (Pair With a Favorite Treat)

This Christmas-scented candle offers an interactive way to countdown to Christmas. Give this with bags of their favorite candies to countdown the season. Scent options include Christmas Memories, Christmas Tree, Elf Sweat, Hot Cocoa, Mrs. Claus Cookies, Reindeer Poo, Snow Angels, and Wintery Candy Apple.

This would be fun to pair with bath bombs or fun chocolate treats for each day that they can grab out of a big jar!

NASA Socks Christmas Advent Countdown

NASA Sock Countdown

Your teen and tween has everything…but do they have SPACE SOCKS?

Our team loved these NASA-inspired advent sock collections that include cute designs like Never Forget Pluto & Occupy Mars. We also love the price point on this set at just $16.

Advent Embroidery Project

Advent Embroidery Project

Reviewers ADORE this fun embroidery project that celebrates the season with a daily interactive stitch. Honestly, this is the one that I plan my crafty teen this year.

This is designed to be a Christmas Advent project for the month of December. Each day the shop outlines a stitching lesson starting on December 1st all the way through December 24th.

Watercolor Advent Countdown

Watercolor Advent Countdown (With Classes)

Looking for an affordable advent option? This one-page digital download is a perfect option. Print out this download on watercolor paper and pair it with a watercolor paint set and follow the YouTube class to learn how to watercolor each day as a countdown to Christmas.

The content creator has created a lesson for each day and a holiday playlist to go along with these lessons. This is perfect for a beginner painter who is looking for a quiet way to celebrate the season.

Adventure Challenge Countdown

The Adventure Challenge Advent

This advent challenge is a scratch-off keepsake brimming with unique adventures that help you explore outside your comfort zone, dive deeper into your relationships, and make meaningful memories.

One reviewer left this meaningful feedback on this one- “I love my family but sometimes we really struggle coming up with things to do, especially at Christmas when we’re together for days in a row. This holiday advent calendar totally alleviates that stress. The activities are fun and creative. 10/10 would recommend.”

If you are looking for a new way to connect with your teen or tween over the holidays, this looks like a winner and costs just $25 for the whole family.

Hanukkah Scratch-Off Advent Calendar

Hanukkah Scratch-Off Advent Calendar

If you have a music lover on your hands, this is such a fun one to do together. Hidden inside this festive menorah design is your new Hanukkah soundtrack.

You’ll scratch off a flame each day to reveal a QR code. Scan the code, and your phone will download a classic song played by an emerging artist.

Click here for a Christmas version of the same scratch-off calendar filled with Christmas carols!

Star Wars LEGO Advent Calendar

Star Wars LEGO Advent Calendar

Do we ever outgrow LEGOS? I hope not! Our team loves this one (and own it) because these can be reused year after year.

The kit includes C-3PO and R2-D2 in festive outfits, Darth Vader in a summer outfit, plus Luke Skywalker, a Clone Trooper Commander, Snowtrooper, Battle Droid and a Gonk Droid and 10 vehicles.

Friends Advent Calendar

Friends: The Official Advent Calendar

Could this *BE* any cuter for the teen that’s discovered how great Friends is?

The One With All the Surprises (Volume 1) ended up being such a big bestseller that decided to issue a second version.

The first volume is packed with 25 days of surprises and over 40 keepsakes, ornaments, and booklets. There’s something for everyone in this set full of fun, nostalgia, and even a Holiday Armadillo!

The sequel version contains twenty-five days of surprises and brand-new unique keepsakes and trinkets ranging from fun paper ornaments to classic Friends-inspired recipe cards and more.

If you have two teens in your house, this might be a fun pair-up for the holidays!

Food Advent Calendar Ideas

I can always get behind food gifts because it isn’t something you have store year after year.

Make this evening magical by pairing it with our favorite holiday tv sitcom recommendations. These bite-sized treats and bite-sized show are a perfect pairing for teens or tweens.

Food Advent Calendars from Williams Sonoma

Williams and Sonoma Food Advent Calendars

No one does it better than Williams and Sonoma. Here are a few of our favorite options for this year!

Christmas Popcorn Advent– Over the course of 24 days, follow the poem on the back and collect all the elements to create a popcorn party you can enjoy on Christmas Eve. Behind each door, you’ll discover top-quality popping corn and seasonings from family-owned Wabash Valley Farms.

Harry Potter Advent Calendar– Starting December 1, discover everything from Lemon Sherbets and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans to gummy candies shaped like owls, cars and lightning bolts. The confection-filled calendar makes a great gift for Harry Potter fans of all ages.

Peppermint Bark Advent Calendar– Open one of the 24 doors every day to reveal a snowman, toy soldier, Christmas tree or Santa. Each crunchy treat is made of rich semisweet chocolate and creamy white chocolate with crushed peppermint candy. 

Holly Dolly Advent Calendar– Have a Dolly Parton fan on your hands? This adorable advent calendar is made for them! Every day from the first of December until the night before Christmas, you’ll discover a different treat hidden behind one of the windows. The colorful, individually wrapped candies are some of Dolly’s favorites, including chocolates, caramels, gummies and mints.

Drink Advent Calendar Ideas

Tea Advent Calendar

Tea Advent Calendar

I have a teen who loves to unwind with a cup of tea and this advent calendar option couldn’t be more perfect for her.

The Brew Company (a small business selling on Etsy) offers this gorgeously packaged bestseller option with these flavors inside: Nordic Berries and Chai, Good Morning Quince, Green Refreshment, Black Tea Chai, Lovely Liquorish, Tasty Berry, Raspberry and Fruit Basket, Japanese Sencha, Fruity Figs and Pineapple, Sweet Chamomile, Blueberry-Mint, Cool Mint, Earl Grey, Cranberries and Grenadine, Red Berry Dream, Ginger Lemon, Sweet Sea Buckthorn, Pink Grapefruit, Detox Tea, Fruity Passion, Revitalizing Treat, Rooibos Blood Orange, Mulled Wine, and Spicy Turmeric.

If these tea flavors don’t work for you, check out this landing page for loads of varieties of tea brews to celebrate the season. Not only will your teen love it, you also get the chance to support a small business.

Beauty Advent Calendar Ideas

The best way to reuse these calendars year after year is to hang on to those keepsake boxes.

Consider making this a diy advent calendar by refilling it with travel size items from your favorite budget-friendly beauty shop spot!

Bath Bomb Advent Calendar

The Bomb Advent Calendar

Did someone say TWENTY-FOUR BATHS to count down the season? This affordable advent option has 24 days of scented bath soaps & bath bombs to countdown to Christmas.

Reviewers praised the fast shipping with this company and the great value for the experience on these. It would be fun to pair with a bath pillow or bath tray for a month of self-care. 

Barber Pro Advent Calendar

Barber Pro 12 Days of Grooming

This gathering of skincare essentials includes eye and face masks for extra pampering through this busy season.

This set includes 16 sheet masks designed to hydrate, soften, soothe and brighten all skin types.

Benefit Cosmetics Sincerely Yours 12 Day Calendar

Benefit Cosmetics: Sincerely Yours 12 Day Calendar

If your child loves a good makeup fix, this advent calendar offers 12 of Benefit Cosmetics bestsellers in a travel-size. It features fun-sized versions of their brow top-sellers, mascaras, pore primers & face powders.

DIY Teen Advent Calendar Ideas

Christmas Vacation Advent Bags

Christmas Vacation Advent Bags

You serious, Clark?

This movie never gets old, does it?

These advent bags have 24 unique images inspired from the classic holiday movie Christmas Vacation. 

Keep it budget-friendly by heading to the local wholesale club to fill it with treats to pair with your favorite Christmas movies. You could also add fun beauty items for a self-care advent spin.

Advent Pocket Calendar

Personalize an Advent Pocket Calendar

A pocket calendar like this one can allow you to personalize it with your own treat ideas. Consider filling this with fun (and useful) items like lottery cards, gas station gift cards, coffee shop gift cards, bookstore gift cards, iTunes gift cards, beauty masks, mini nail polishes, favorite treats, and MALL MONEY.

Store this calendar and use it year after year.

Don’t love this design? Head here to find one that fits your kiddo’s style perfectly.

DIY Christmas Activity Advent Calendar

Printable Christmas Advent Calendar

Looking for a free option that will give you new ways to connect over the holiday season?

Make Christmas unforgettable with this cute DIY Advent Calendar. Assemble it quickly with this free printable template and easy tutorial.

Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar

Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar

This Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar is a favorite family tradition!

Practice a small act of kindness with your family every day to bring some true meaning to your Christmas season.

Need a starter activity? Make these blessing bags for the homeless.

Christmas Trivia Advent Calendar (FREE PRINTABLE)

Do you buy a fresh wreath each holiday season? You can turn it into a fun Christmas Trivia Advent Calendar, perfect for a tween in your life.

We provide all the free printables and instructions for the world’s cutest diy advent wreath.

This free printable advent calendar includes fun Christmas themed trivia questions for the holiday season.

Christmas Advent Cookie Cookbook

Have a teen that loves to bake? This cookie cookbook is a fun way to diy the advent fun for the season. Select a few of the recipes to do together in your kitchen. Throw on your favorite holiday records or playlist.

Don’t forget the perfect apron to go with this fun culinary twist on the season.

Be sure to scroll down for our favorite teen and tween gift guides and fun teen stocking stuffer ideas. We have updated all of our gift guides this year to make shopping this season a breeze!

Pet Advent Calendars (For Teens to Open)

Advent Calendar for Your Cat

My daughter would love opening this up for our pet as much as she would enjoy receiving a calendar for herself.

These kitten playset contains a cat collar with bell, scat teaser wand, interactive feather toy, fluffy mouse, crinkle balls, and cat springs.

Perhaps with so much entertainment, the tree will lose its appeal! Haha!

Advent Calendar for Your Dog

Have a favorite furbaby that needs to be spoiled? This contains freshly baked dog treats that are hand-decorated and made with locally sourced human grade ingredients.

Each box comes with a variety of cookies that are big and small and are either frosting drizzled, enrobed, contain plain yogurt cups, etc. to satisfy all doggie sizes and taste buds.

This is the highest rated by reviewers and the highlight for many pets over the holiday season.

Priced accordingly, but I’ll close out with this easy diy option if you are on a budget!

Looking for more holiday inspiration? Check out these posts!

100 Unique Stocking Stuffers Everyone Will Love

100 unique and useful stocking stuffers (another great list to reference if you are making a diy advent calendar this year!)

Unique Gift Ideas for Tweens & Teens

unique gifts for teens and tweens (this is a popular gift guide)

HAPPY HOLIDAYS, FRIENDS!

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Advent Calendars for Teens They Will Love

Accomplish More With a Virtual Body Double

Wednesday, September 7th, 2022
How to Accomplish More With a Virtual Body Double from MomAdvice.com

Learn how body doubling can help you stay on task and improve your executive function as an adult or teen with ADHD. Get my top virtual videos to get started!

Friends, I have missed you!

It’s so good to be back at my desk after battling “the virus that must not be named.” It was just as awful as I’d expected, but we had a protocol to activate as soon as I got that positive test.

I’ve struggled with motivation since all of this, but today I wanted to share the incredible productivity hack that has changed my work-from-home life since the health chaos began.

How to Accomplish More With a Virtual Body Double from MomAdvice.com

After eighteen years of working from home, you would assume that I would have the best systems to be productive in my daily life.

You would be wrong.

The truth is, I struggle EVERY DAY and had even considered spending the money on a co-working space to hold me accountable to my work day. 

I did unlock the secret for working alone while incorporating a motivating presence in my life though and it just might surprise you.

Not only is this hack helpful for people with ADHD. It’s also helpful for anyone struggling with mental health or chronic illness. 


I want to talk about how body doubling can improve the lives of you or your teen/tween today!

What is Body Doubling?

Body doubling is a productivity strategy where someone can work alongside you to complete a challenging task. You can do these sessions virtually or in person with a friend or family member.

I want you to close your eyes and think about the thing that you have been putting off. 

Do you see a stack of bills you haven’t paid yet?

An overflowing hamper?

The refrigerator with expired food?

The basket of socks that never got matched? 

Now imagine you had a friend to do that with you.

How would this change your perception of that task? 

For many people with ADHD, the presence of someone else can be just the motivation they need to stay on track.

When I think about this, I think about ways I have unknowingly done this for people in my life. There have also been people who have come to our house that sat as I folded a load of laundry, meal prepped, or cleaned my kitchen.

In those moments, it didn’t feel so burdensome. It is, perhaps, why body doubling works so well for my work life.

Do You Need ADHD to Benefit From This? NOPE!

I have not gone through the process of ADHD diagnosis because the medications that I would use to treat it wouldn’t be an option for me with my current health issues.

In case you missed it, this is something we talked about on my Book Gang podcast with Paula Engebretson, a Certified Life Coach specializing in helping adults with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) live their best lives. 

Specifically, we discussed how many women get diagnosed at this stage in our lives and some ways to improve reading memory and focus through that.

It’s such an impactful episode that has changed my reading life and many of my listeners. 

Listen to this episode below:

Personally, I know that I display every symptom of ADHD because it runs in my family, AND I happen to live with people who have it too.

I have gotten around treatment by choosing a job that works with my brain, but hormonal shifts and brain fog have made things even more challenging. 

After that episode, I’ve been on a quest to figure out how to continue working WITH my brain, and it is through that research I discovered how body doubles work and how to use them to motivate me.

In fact, I’m using a body double RIGHT NOW to write this post. 

The best part is that this productivity hack is completely free. 

How I Use YouTube for Body Doubling

There are several excellent virtual options if you need a body double but don’t have a partner to work with at home.  

This is how I manage the work portions on my to-do list and how my daughter finds study-date partners when she needs to accomplish studying for tests.

My preferred working method is recorded sessions on YouTube (see below for some of my favorite options).  

this is an example of the breaks that are provided on screen

Many of these previously recorded sessions rely on the Pomodoro setup technique. Five-minute breaks follow these 25-minute sessions of work for recorded sessions that are, typically, two hours.

I didn’t know how motivating it would be to have a “pretend” work-from-home buddy, but I find it even more effective than anything else I’ve done for my WFH life. 

There is no pressure to make small talk, someone else is monitoring the timer for our work sessions, and it puts me in the mood to get my to-do list done. 

How Do I Set-Up My Office To Use This Strategy

I use this pop-up desk (we covered the top with this inexpensive marble paper) and set my workstation up in front of our television in our family room.

We have the Samsung Frame TV, and I can cast my favorite videos onto the television. 

If you don’t have a room with a TV, you can utilize your tablet or phone to pull up the video. 

Personally, I do find the larger screen to be more impactful while I’m working, and I love it displaying at eye level.

It helps brings the accountability aspect into focus.

How to Find a Live Virtual Body Double

Focusmate offers body doubling sessions with an accountability partner for a live, virtual co-working session that will keep you on task. They offer three free sessions a week or you can pay $5 to have unlimited sessions. 

They have shared that 95.5% of their users reported a significant increase in productivity and reduced procrastination.

You can also find users sharing live sessions on TikTok if you search for body doubles.

So I guess social media isn’t ALL bad, is it?

How We Help Each Other as Body Doubles in Our Home

If you live with a friend or family member that can act as your support group through a task, you might not need to call on a virtual double. 

As longtime readers know, my son has ADHD (you can read about that diagnosis process here when he was young), and we continue to tweak and refine what works best to help him. 

Now that he is TWENTY (how is this possible?), we still work together as accountability partners and utilize this simple to-do checklist board with our most important tasks. Our to-do list is almost identical, so we check on each other throughout the day or do these tasks together.

You can see that these are VERY modest goals because I want to honor my body and where it is now. 

I usually work much more than the time on my chart, but this allows me to check it even when I’m having a bad day.  That is the difference between a day I’m proud of and a day that makes me feel bad about myself.

Want to give this productivity hack a try? Here are some of my favorite videos to get you started!

Try These Videos For Working at Home (or Studying)

Be sure to also look up any task you need help with- folding laundry, daily hygiene tasks, or cleaning/organizing are all available with a simple search.

Want more help with that WFH life? Check out these posts!

Do you think you would try this productivity hack? I would love to hear if this has worked for you or for your teen?

How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life

Monday, June 13th, 2022
How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

Scribd offers unlimited books at an affordable price. Learn why I’ve been listening to audiobooks through the Scribd app since 2013. Here are the pros and cons of this monthly subscription service from a REAL user.

In 2013, I got the opportunity to work with a new eBook and audiobook membership service called Scribd.

What I didn’t expect was that I would convert into one of their most loyal customers who has been a paid member ever since.

A Scribd subscription is BY FAR one of the best book and audiobook subscriptions for your money and is my most used subscription. However, there is a reason I continue to stay with them, and it isn’t just because they have great books (even though that is the most significant part).

Today I want to talk about why I think this is TRULY the best audiobook service for readers and how I make the most of my membership EVERY MONTH.

I want to explore your biggest burning questions like if authors get paid, what the significant differences are between this kind of access versus Kindle Unlimited membership and some particular things that *I* use this membership for (that might be helpful to you too).  

Even if you have been a subscriber for years, today’s tutorial will also offer some hidden benefits to membership.

Let’s get every dollar out of your experience with today’s tutorial.

How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life 

Scribd (it sounds like RIBBED) is, basically, the Netflix membership for book lovers. 

For one monthly fee (currently $11.99 per month), you can have access to their entire catalog of eBooks, audiobooks, sheet music, and uploaded documents.

I want to clarify that this is a digital lending library, much like our experience with online tv streaming services. 

You do not own the materials.

You own membership to stream the books you want to read or listen to in their membership catalog. 

As long as you are a member, you can stream these materials.

At this time, Scribd offers these notable items (plus rotating perks)-

  • Over TWO MILLION audiobooks and ebooks in one app (they work with 5 of the biggest publishing houses).
  • Unlimited sheet music and documents (They have over 70,000+ pieces of sheet music available. This catalog includes the classics and contemporary artists). 
  • Unlimited access to podcasts, magazines, and news (including Time Magazine, The Atlantic, Cook’s Illustrated, & Newsweek).
  • Rotating Membership Perks (more details below on some of my past favorite bonuses).

The monthly subscription includes fiction, nonfiction books (like cookbooks), young adult books, and children’s books.

So your entire family can benefit from this service, all with the cost of just one membership.

How to Find and Add Books to Your Library

Well, the BEST place to check would be the Book Gang Podcast (stream wherever you get podcasts) since it celebrates under-the-radar books, debuts, and backlist selections.

Scribd makes it easier too by offering recommendations based on other books you are reading or have on your library list, much like your experience with other online book purchases. 

You can add books by searching the specific title or browse the incredibly curated selections from Scribd’s editors.

These editors’ picks are where I start when I need a little guidance on book selection.

Bookmark the books that you want to save in your library.

Once you decide what you might like to add to your library, you open up the book and read or listen to it. 

That’s it!

Now let’s talk about those hidden features on the app and some of those faqs.

How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

The Best Hidden Scribd Features and Frequently Asked Questions

What Device Can I Read My Scribd Books Through?

These books are available across many ebook reading devices, including iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire tablet, Android & the Barnes & Noble Nook tablet.

At this time, the Kindle Paperwhite is not a supported device. 

Is it Unlimited? Sort of! 

Regarding reading, there’s no limit on the number of books or audiobooks you can read or listen to each month. 

You may sometimes notice that a title you have saved indicates it will be “Available Soon.” 

Once your subscription renews for the next month, your library will refresh, and you’ll be able to select from the entire library.

The reason for this is because they can “adjust availability” of books based on contracts with these publishing houses.

In their defense, they claim it is to pay authors fairly based on the contract distribution terms.

It can be frustrating so if there is a book you are, particularly excited to read that month, prioritize it just in case it becomes unavailable until the next month.

I would say that this is my only issue with this platform.

How Do I Download Content When I’m Traveling?

To store content on your device for offline reading, tap on the cover of the book you wish to save, and you’ll be dropped into the book’s summary page.

To download the book, tap the “Download” button on the summary page.

Again, it is up to each publisher what they want to make available to its users. Some publishers disable downloading for specific titles, and the ‘Download’ option won’t be shown for those titles.

You’ll still be able to enjoy them on Scribd, but they won’t be directly downloadable.

Do Authors Get Paid When You Read on Scribd?

As I hinted earilier, Scribd does pay authors for their work.

I am quoting them directly when I share this statement, “Scribd has deals with our authors and publishing partners concerning payment for all membership content.

Basically, every time you read a premium title or listen to an audiobook, we pay the author the full price of their work!

Revenue that Scribd earns from monthly membership fees is paid to the original publishers or authors every time you read their work on Scribd.”

What is the Difference Between Scribd and Kindle Unlimited?

Scribd is a better value and they offer a completely different catalog.

Kindle Unlimited is a library of (primarily) self-published authors.

On the other hand, Scribd works with five big publishing houses- Simon and Schuster, Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, & Macmillan. 

The catalog is updated so well that I can often secure my new release books the week they come out. 

I find with Scribd that their audiobook selection is more robust though than their book selection. 

What is the Difference Between Scribd and Audible?

The most significant difference between these two is the pricing.

Scribd is an unlimited service, while Audible offers a single credit for $14.95 a month. 

Audible may offer a more extensive selection but comes at a higher price.

You can read about their different plan offerings for more specific pricing.

How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

What Are Some of My Favorite Hidden Features on Scribd?

Although I wouldn’t consider this first element to be “hidden,” I want to remind you that access to ebooks means you have access to cookbooks and books on health. 

If you are on a specific diet or diagnosed with a health condition, this resource is INVALUABLE for your family.

When my daughter played guitar, we used the catalog of sheet music for her lessons. 

My kids also have benefitted from my membership when assigned summer literature. (Be sure to read how to enable parental controls if you share your account as a family).

I also want to discuss two lesser-known features you might have missed with your membership. 

Let’s start with your Member Perks! 

Scribd keeps a rotating catalog of member bonuses through various partnerships that, in the past, have included NYT subscriber bundles and Pandora Premium memberships. 

Check this page for the included perks for this month

Another fun feature is that Scribd offers a sleep timer on audiobooks. So if you want to listen to a book to fall asleep, try using this feature! 

Just click the icon in the upper left-hand corner, and you can select any chapter immediately!

Select the moon icon on the lower right side of the audio page to use the Sleep Timer. The menu will appear, and select the length of time you wish for the book to play. The playback will automatically turn off once the timer counts down to zero.

Try Scribd for FREE for 60 Days with my Referral Code

This referral code doesn’t give you a 30-day trial- it provides you SIXTY days of reading to try the platform. Activate it HERE

Sound off: What has been your experience with Scribd? Do you have any other questions about this platform?

Looking for more great reading resources? Don’t miss these posts!

How to Use Storygraph For a Better Reading Life
How to Use the Storygraph App for a Better Reading Life
How to Check Out Library Books for Free On Your Kindle
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The 20 Best Family Movies to Stream Right Now

Wednesday, April 13th, 2022

Pop the popcorn, grab a board game, and watch the best family movies for your next memorable night together. We have you covered with family films to stream on Netflix, Prime, & Disney+.

The 20 Best Family Movies to Stream Right Now

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

My family is not one of those quiet, calm ones (do those even exist?).

I wouldn’t even try to convince you that I always love spending time with them or that hunkering down with my crew is my happy place.

That’s not us.

But while we cannot agree on where to get takeout, whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher, what snide comments about politics are over the line, what board game is the best, or who gets to use the bathroom first in the morning, we can agree to occasionally watch the same thing on the same screen.

Miraculously, we can agree that family movie nights are our favorite nights.

And, more often than not, the same people who were just fighting over who gets to sit in the comfy spot of the couch or use the softest blanket, settle down in front of the TV and have a great time together.

Sometimes, we even share the popcorn bowl without a fuss.

Because family movie night has such a calming and bonding effect on my people (and me), I’m always on the lookout for feel good stuff to watch together. And I’m here to share what I’ve found!

If you’re looking for some great family night movies, I’ve got you covered.

I’m assuming you’ve heard of (and have possibly watched a few too many times) Encanto, Princess Bride, Star Wars and every other super popular kids movie.

These are movies you might not have heard of or perhaps forgot about, and they’ve all been vetted and voted for by my family. 

FYI, my family includes my husband who doesn’t really like “kid movies,” my 14-year-old who would watch Harry Potter and Marvel movies all day long given the choice and also thinks she’s too cool for “kid movies,” and my 8-year-old who [bless her heart] is game for pretty much any movie that brings us all to the same room at the same time.

Some of these picks won’t work if you only have little kids. But if you have older tweens and teens, especially if you have an age gap like we do, you’re definitely going to find your next movie here!

ANIMATED FILMS FOR FAMILY NIGHT

Family Movie Night Ideas From MomAdvice.com

Abominable (rent on Prime) – A grieving young teen discovers a yeti on the roof of her apartment building. She and two friends travel across China to return him to his home, while trying to avoid capture by a corrupt collector and zoologist. Sweet and fun enough that we’ve watched it more than once.

Family Movie Night Ideas From MomAdvice.com

Leap! (IMDbTV through Prime) – An orphan girl dreams of becoming a ballerina, so she escapes her orphanage and, after a case of mistaken identity, joins a ballet school in Paris. She befriends both a former dancer who becomes a mentor and a young inventor who becomes a friend. Takes place in late 1800s but feels modern. My youngest adores this movie!

Family Movie Night Ideas From MomAdvice.com

The Mitchells vs. the Machines (Netflix) – A dysfunctional family embarks on a cross-country road trip, only to find themselves in the middle of a robot war. Enormously creative animation and a realistic portrayal of a family that struggles to get along even though they love each other deeply.

Family Movie Night Ideas From MomAdvice.com

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (rent on Prime) – A black teen boy in Brooklyn becomes the Spider-Man in his universe, then has to work with other spider-powered individuals from other dimensions to save the whole multiverse. Great adventure with character development—and incredible animation!

Family Movie Night Ideas From MomAdvice.com

Vivo (Netflix) – A Cuban kinkajou and quirky tween work together to deliver a love letter and song to a famous singer. Fun adventure and sweet story with original music by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

LIVE ACTION MOVIES FOR FAMILY NIGHT

Family Movie Night Ideas From MomAdvice.com

Flora & Ulysses (Disney+) – A girl whose parents are separated and struggling finds a squirrel she believes to be a superhero. The family bands together to protect the super squirrel from an overzealous animal control agent. Cute, big-hearted movie I actually can’t wait to watch again.

Family Movie Night Ideas From MomAdvice.com

Lemonade Mouth (Disney+) – A group of high school misfits and mild rebels forms a band that inexplicably makes it big. Adorable with actual great music, and when those kids deal with family and friend issues but persevere for the music, I legit tear up. Every single time.

Family Movie Night Ideas From MomAdvice.com

The Sleepover (Netflix) – When two siblings discover their mom is a former thief in witness protection, who’s just been kidnapped, they team up with friends to rescue her. Wacky adventure and so much fun!

Family Movie Night Ideas From MomAdvice.com

Spin (Disney+) – A teenage girl struggles to balance the expectations of her multigenerational Indian-American family with her new passion of deejaying. Solid portrayal of figuring out the balance between honoring your family and following your dreams, and bonus points for the diversity of characters.

Family Movie Night Ideas From MomAdvice.com

Yes Day (Netflix) – Kids convince their uptight parents (though mostly the mom, sigh) to devote an entire day to saying “yes” to every idea they have. Of course the family bonds through the fun and the mess that ensue. Fun and, thankfully, didn’t convince my own kids we need to have a Yes Day at our house.

MIXED ANIMATION & LIVE ACTION MOVIES FOR FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT

Family Movie Night Ideas From MomAdvice.com

Mary Poppins Returns (Disney+) – Of course, Mary Poppins is a classic and for a reason! But this sequel (that mirrors the original nearly beat for beat in a lovely homage) is a blast too. Catchy music that’s bound to become new classics and, like with the Julie Andrews musical, some fun animation mixed in with the live action.

Family Movie Night Ideas From MomAdvice.com

Paddington (1 – Netflix; 2 – rent on Prime) – Is there a sweeter, accidentally wiser bear than Paddington? I think not. Both of these movies are a delight.

Family Movie Night Ideas From MomAdvice.com

Peter Rabbit (1 – rent on Prime; 2 – Netflix) – Nobody’s accusing Peter Rabbit of being sweet and wise, but he (and his animal friends and family) are quite funny. Both of these movies are a blast.

OLDER MOVIES THAT ARE STILL GREAT FUN

Family Movie Night Ideas From MomAdvice.com

Akeelah & the Bee (rent on Prime) – A tween with a rough home life and community competes in a spelling bee to avoid detention. To her surprise she wins! Her principal encourages her to compete in the regional spelling bee and to be coached by a former professor. This one was inspired by a true story and might be eye-opening for your kids about the challenges other kids face.

Family Movie Night Ideas From MomAdvice.com

Dora & the City of Lost Gold (Prime) – This one isn’t that old, but if you thought Dora was a thing of your past (and were glad), I urge you to give this movie a try anyway! It’s a funny, occasionally self-aware live-action adventure that isn’t grating like the original cartoon.

Family Movie Night Ideas From MomAdvice.com

Night at the Museum (Disney+) – A single dad struggles to connect with his son and hold down a job, takes a position as a night guard for a museum that comes alive after closing. Rumors say a fourth movie is coming out this year or next, so now’s the time to watch the first three!

Family Movie Night Ideas From MomAdvice.com

Parent Trap (Disney+) – I grew up on the original movie with Hayley Mills, but my family really enjoyed the Lindsay Lohan remake about identical twins who meet at summer camp and realize their parents divorced and then split them up as young girls. The hijinks are just as fun and the conclusion just as sweet in this newer version.

Family Movie Night Ideas From MomAdvice.com

Race to Witch Mountain (Disney+) – My kids and husband would ask if we’re even having a conversation about family movie nights if we don’t include a movie with Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson. So last but certainly not least is this adventure that unites two sibling aliens, an ex-con, and a scientist as they try to escape evil aliens and corrupt government officials to get the alien kids home to their own planet. It’s a ride, in the best way!

What’s the last movie your family watched together?

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TV Shows to Watch if You Love Romantic Comedies

Monday, July 12th, 2021

TV Shows to Watch if You Love Romantic Comedies from MomAdvice.com

No need to pay for a theatre ticket to see these romantic comedy movies, thanks to their television status.  Try one of these tv shows that are perfect for the rom-com lover with all the meet cute feels that you have been craving.

12 TV Shows to Watch if You Love Romantic Comedies

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

Do you love reading romance novels but have trouble concentrating on books right now?

Do you lament the lack of true rom coms these days (you know, the big-budget ones with Julia Roberts or Meg Ryan)?

Did you finish watching Sweet Magnolias or Virgin River or Bridgerton—and now you’re looking for another romantic comedy to fill the void?

I’m here to help!

I have a show for every kind of romantic comedy fan. 

If you love romantic comedies and want a new TV series to watch to scratch that rom-com itch, I have a dozen shows for you. (However, if you haven’t watched Sweet Magnolias or Virgin River yet, pause. Do not pass go. Watch those shows first. They’re both streaming on Netflix, and you will thank me.)

On to the rom-com shows!

 

12 TV Shows to Watch if You Like Romantic Comedies

TV Shows to Watch if You Love Romantic Comedies

 

If you love time travel…

TV Shows to Watch if You Love Romantic Comedies

TIMELESS — Pictured: “Timeless” Key Art — (Photo by: NBCUniversal)

Timeless is an action-adventure about a team that travels through time to stop the bad guys from changing history.

But also?

It’s about a soldier and a professor on that team who seem like they might not get along, BUT THEN THEY DO.

Of course, you’ll see that coming from the first episode, but the story (like the history and the science in this show) isn’t relatively so straightforward.

It is, however, lovely—and is wrapped up with the prettiest bow at the end of its two seasons. Watch on Hulu.

 

If you love family drama…

TV Shows to Watch if You Love Romantic Comedies

Jane the Virgin is a show about a young woman who’s accidentally artificially inseminated.

That plot might hint at the show’s (and character’s) love of telenovelas and all their messy drama.

And this show is twisty and silly and way over the top with the drama!

But also?

What none of that tells you is how incredibly sweet and moving it is.

The characters in JTV grow and change and make you fall in love every single week.

Watch on Netflix.

TV Shows to Watch if You Love Romantic Comedies

Chesapeake Shores is a Hallmark Channel family drama full of old flames and new loves, and plenty of family issues.

It’s like Parenthood, or This is Us, but less stressful.

Watch on Hallmark Movies Now.

 

TV Shows to Watch if You Love Romantic Comedies

The Baker & the Beauty is an adorable show perfect for anyone looking for a quick binge or anyone who loves the famous person who falls in love with an average person trope.

An international superstar meets a baker from Miami, and sparks fly.

Her friends and his family disapprove, but they’re forced to deal with everything that comes with a star-and-civilian romance anyway.

The supporting characters are just as lovely and loveable as the main two characters, and you can’t help rooting for every single one of them (even when they’re at odds with each other).

I still can’t believe this only aired for one season, but it’s still totally worth a watch. Watch on Netflix.

 

If you love young love…

TV Shows to Watch if You Love Romantic Comedies

Never Have I Ever is about a teenage girl who wants to be popular and lose her virginity.

At least, that’s how it starts.

But this show from Mindy Kaling is so much more.

It’s about tricky family dynamics, and it’s about a first-generation Indian American girl trying to navigate her family’s culture with American culture and her interests and values.

And it’s about teenagers and falling in love and friendship.

It’s fun, funny, and moving. (And season 2 comes out this summer!)

Watch on Netflix.

 

TV Shows to Watch if You Love Romantic Comedies

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series has too much punctuation. I know.

But despite the ridiculous name and silly-seeming premise (students at the school where the HSM movies were filmed put on the HSM musical), the show is darling!

Sure, it has plenty of meta, wink-wink-nod-nod references to the High School Musical franchise.

But it also has original characters and just…TRY not to fall in love with these kids!

I watched this with my kids, and we’re excited about the second season, too.

Watch on Disney+.

 

If you love shows about friend groups…

TV Shows to Watch if You Love Romantic Comedies

Four Weddings and a Funeral is a series (also created by Mindy Kaling; I have a type) inspired by the Hugh Grant movie.

It is not a remake or a reboot, so don’t go in expecting that!

It’s about a group of college friends, some of whom have had or will have romantic relationships with each other.

It’s romantic and funny and, at times, heartbreaking.

I loved it, and I think you might too.

Watch on Hulu.

 

TV Shows to Watch if You Love Romantic Comedies

New Girl is one of my all-time favorites, which you might have picked up on (since I’ve written about this show before).

But it fits here too!

If you love seeing friendships develop and grow and fracture and heal, this is for you.

If you love outrageous hijinks and hilarious inside jokes, this is for you.

If you love shipping characters you know are meant for each other or watching two unlikely lovers connect, this is for you.

Watch on Netflix.

 

If you love small towns…

TV Shows to Watch if You Love Romantic Comedies

Hart of Dixie is a funny, emotional show about a New York surgical resident forced to work in a one-doctor practice in small-town Alabama.

It’s about a love triangle—no, wait!

It’s about several love triangles!

It’s about falling in love with characters you thought you hated.

It’s Doc Hollywood as a TV series or the Gilmore Girls in the South. (It’s also about a Black man being mayor of a small town in the South, yet nobody ever mentions race. So head’s up on that.)

Watch on Prime.

 

If you love magic…

TV Shows to Watch if You Love Romantic Comedies

The Good Witch is another show from the Hallmark Channel, and it’s about a widow who moves to a small town to raise her daughter.

Is she a witch?

Or…not?

The town doesn’t know for sure, but the (handsome) local doctor doesn’t believe it.

And yet, he’s drawn to her anyway.

Of course!

Watch on Netflix.

 

If you love musicals…

TV Shows to Watch if You Love Romantic Comedies

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is one of my very favorite shows, and for so many reasons!

It’s about a young woman who undergoes a medical test and suddenly can hear people’s emotions as if they are singing them.

It’s incredible.

The singing!

The dance numbers!

And don’t forget the friendships and family dynamics that are real and hard and lovely.

But for our purposes here today, I assure you: Zoey finds herself in a love triangle, and you will be hard-pressed to decide which guy to root for!

Rent season one on Prime; watch season two on Hulu.

 

 

TV Shows to Watch if You Love Romantic Comedies

The soundtrack is exciting.

It doesn’t feature singing performances like Zoey’s does.

Instead, it has the characters lip-sync and dance to songs that kinda-sorta move the story forward.

That story is about how the lives of seemingly unconnected people in Los Angeles intersect over the years.

I loved the story, and some of those connections are undoubtedly romantic!

Watch on Netflix.

 

 

TV Shows to Watch if You Love Romantic Comedies

 

What’s your favorite romantic comedy on TV?

 

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TV Shows to Watch if You Love Romantic Comedies MomAdvice.com

 

 

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#RelationshipGoals from the TV Shows I’m Watching Right Now

Friday, April 23rd, 2021

#RelationshipGoals from TV / MomAdvice.com

 

#RelationshipGoals from the TV Shows I’m Watching Right Now

 

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

 

When I set out to write this post for you, I made a long list of all the best marriages I’ve seen on television.

Of course, you can probably guess the top couples from tv on my list:

Coach and Tami Taylor from Friday Night Lights

Ben and Leslie from Parks & Recreation

Adam and Kristina from Parenthood

After all, these are the couples on everyone’s #MarriageGoals list!

As I expanded my memory and my list, though, I realized that I’d written this post before!

Yep, that’s right. Over on my blog, you can read all about my favorite TV marriages and why I think they’re great. https://marycarver.com/2019/02/best-marriages-tv-makes-great/

So today, I’m going to talk about something else.

Today, I’m thinking about the best relationships in the shows I’ve watched recently—including friendships and family relationships, not just marriages—the ones that give me #RelationshipGoals.

 

#RelationshipGoals from TV / MomAdvice.com

 

 

 

 

 

Ted Lasso #RelationshipGoals MomAdvice.com

Ted Lasso and Coach Beard

If you haven’t watched TED LASSO on Apple TV+, stop what you’re doing and watch it right now.

This truly is the show we need in 2020.

It’s a sitcom about an American college football coach hired to coach a professional soccer team in the U.K., and it is the most delightful, heartwarming, hilarious show I’ve watched in years.

One of the best parts of the show is the deep, authentic friendship between Ted, the main character, and his assistant coach, Coach Beard.

The two men have such a complete understanding of one another that they can frequently speak in their version of shorthand, uttering just a few words to get a complicated point across.

They also support each other, completely and unconditionally, and it’s beautiful. 

 

Psych #RelationshipGoals MomAdvice.com

Shawn and Gus

Before the new PSYCH movie came out this summer, I rewatched the whole series.

And one thing that struck me this time around was how completely on board Gus was for all of Shawn’s shenanigans.

Sure, their vastly different personalities mean they approach life differently.

But rather than one roping the other into trouble, they really are—for the most part—equal partners in crime (or, crime-solving).

I also appreciated that when Shawn went too far, Gus called him on it.

True friends speak the truth, even when it’s hard or when they normally go along with things.

 

One Day at a Time #RelationshipGoals MomAdvice.com

Penelope and Schneider

I actually adore every relationship in the new ONE DAY AT A TIME, but Penelope and Schneider are my favorite.

Over the seasons, they’ve developed such a deep friendship, partly bonding over their personal struggles and hard-earned through some serious conflicts.

Though they come from totally different backgrounds, they have found common ground, and it’s created an affection and a bond they don’t seem to have with anyone else.

 

Sweet Magnolias #RelationshipGoals MomAdvice.com

Maddie, Helen, and Dana Sue

The ladies of SWEET MAGNOLIAS have been friends since childhood, and it shows.

They know each other at a level we don’t always see in newer friendships, and that allows them to accept and encourage one another so completely in everything they face.

It also allows them to be honest, but loving, with each other—a gift to any woman living life and navigating decisions in career and relationships like they are!

 

Holly Hobbie #RelationshipGoals MomAdvice.com

Holly Hobbie’s Parents

If you haven’t watched HOLLY HOBBIE on Hulu, I do recommend it!

Sure, it’s a show made for and aimed at tweens like my daughters, but I loved it just as much as they did!

And while the show focuses on the children, I couldn’t help but be impressed and inspired by the parents in this show.

The mom is the breadwinner of the Hobbie family, while the dad takes on more of the daily parenting duties—and I am here for that.

They were supportive of one another and presented a [mostly] united front to their kids, and I love the way the show avoided stereotypes of dumb parents or needlessly contentious spouses.

 

Cobra Kai #RelationshipGoals MomAdvice.com

Daniel and Amanda LaRusso

I wasn’t sure about this one.

Every single main character of COBRA KAI, the Karate Kid reboot series, seems determined to make the worst decisions possible.

But while I do not love Daniel nearly as much as I did in the 80s, I do love his wife and her refusal to put up with his crap.

When he acts like a child, she rolls her eyes and gently points out a more reasonable approach to parenting, teaching, work, and his relationship with Johnny Lawrence.

And when his feud blows up their life, she draws a hard line to protect her family and restore some sanity.

At the same time, the series shows them working together as an excellent sales team at their car dealership, working through disagreements in a realistic way, and connecting like actual adults who love each other.

It’s the most refreshing part of this show.

 

Madam Secretary #RelationshipGoals MomAdvice.com

Elizabeth and Henry McCord

I will never miss an opportunity to shout the praises of MADAM SECRETARY, including the marriage portrayed by the main characters.

Elizabeth and Henry are two high-powered professional in an intense industry (politics!), but never do they neglect care for their relationship and for each other.

Even when they disagree at work or about decisions they must make, they treat one another with respect and genuine affection.

Almost every single episode of this show (which, though it ended last year, I finished watching this year so it counts) finds the McCords in their bedroom, getting ready for the day or unwinding before bed or even in bed together.

Like a normal adult person love story. (I’d like to stop feeling the need to classify fictional characters as “normal adult people,” but let’s be honest: So many TV characters are ridiculous and unrealistic and childish! That can be fun to watch, but I like the normal adult people, too.)

 

Girl Meets World #RelationshipGoals MomAdvice.com

Cory and Topanga Matthews

Most of us know Cory and Topanga as childhood sweethearts from BOY MEETS WORLD in the 90s.

I do, too, but I was re-introduced to them when my girls watched the reboot, GIRL MEETS WORLD.

The new show is just as cheesy and “Disney-fied” as the original, but also?

It’s sincere and heartfelt and lovely at times.

And the way grown-up Cory and Topanga appreciate each other as professionals, present a united front as parents, speak kindly to and about each other, joke and tease and play off each other—well, I loved it.

 

Babysitter Club #RelationshipGoals MomAdvice.com

The Girls of The Baby-Sitters Club

I mean…could they BE any cuter?

The girls in the new version of THE BABY-SITTERS CLUB aren’t perfect.

They are awkward, they make mistakes, they feel and act insecure and jealous, and they are just as different in personality as Ann M. Martin intended.

But, they are also sweet and kind and normal kids who make the choice to develop these friendships they then rely on and nurture and protect.

It’s adorable and lovely, and those are the kind of friends I want for my girls—and myself!

 

The Unicorn #RelationshipGoals MomAdvice.com

Every relationship in The Unicorn

Don’t sleep on this fairly new CBS sitcom.

THE UNICORN is about a friend group of three couples after one of the wives dies.

The way the two couples show their love for both their widowed friend and his late wife is beautiful.

When you think of the phrase, “it takes a village,” this is what you’re probably imagining.

The three families swap carpooling duties and share meals; the kids play together (and sometimes don’t); the married couples encourage their newly single friend to begin dating but balance out their silly advice with true understanding and love.

Again, this is a show (surprisingly) about actual adults, acting like adults.

And the best kind of adults, because they’re just such incredible friends.

To be clear, they’re not perfect and their relationships aren’t conflict-free (that would be a boring show).

But they work through things and come out stronger and more loving in the end, and I think we need more of that.

 

 

So, that’s my updated #RelationshipGoals list! Who’s on YOUR list of best TV relationships?

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#RelationshipGoals from TV / MomAdvice.com

 

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20 Holiday Traditions to Start with Your Family This Year

Thursday, November 19th, 2020

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Don’t let the crazy of 2020 mess up your holidays. Create new Christmas and holiday traditions with these easy and inexpensive ideas!

 

Holiday Family Traditions from MomAdvice.com

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

“Can you imagine a COVID Christmas?”

“Are we really not getting together for Thanksgiving?”

“The holidays just won’t be the same.”

I’ve heard all those things, more than once, over the past several weeks.

I’m sure you have too.

It’s hard.

Many of our holiday traditions won’t be practical or even possible this year, and even when we hold those beloved customs loosely and know we’re making hard choices for good reasons, we still feel sad.

So, this year, when everything is different and uncertain and just plain weird, it’s the perfect time to create new family traditions with your family!

And take note: Some of these traditions will translate to any year, so you truly can start now and continue year after year.

But others are specific for a season when you’re separated from loved ones and family members or unable to get out and about as much as normal.

While I’m hopeful we won’t have another pandemic holiday season, other things can keep us at home.

So maybe keep some of these ideas in your back pocket for the next time family is out of town, money is short, the weather doesn’t cooperate, or someone is sick during the holidays.

Even though things aren’t the same as usual doesn’t mean you can’t experience something special.

 

20 New Holiday Traditions for Your Family

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Give each other homemade gifts.

You don’t have to be super crafty or artistic for this one.

A “homemade Christmas gift” could be anything from a jar of cocoa mix to a personalized playlist to a decorated frame to hold family photos.

Remember to give everyone involved plenty of notice (and you could even start a group Pinterest board or slack channel for sharing ideas).

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Get—and play—a new board game or card game each year.

My family loves playing Yahtzee and UNO, but I think we’re about due to add a new game to the mix.

We’ll be adding this tradition in 2020.

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Let the kids have a Christmas Eve slumber party under (or near) the Christmas tree.

Or the grownups.

You do you.

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Celebrate with a “reverse Advent calendar,” filling up a box with a new item to donate each day.

Simply search “reverse Advent” on Google, and you’ll find plenty of suggested calendars and lists to follow.

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Go old-school with a red and green paper countdown chain.

Sometimes the classics are classics for a reason!

This might seem like a little kid activity, but I suspect even older kids or adults appreciate the anticipation built by breaking one ring each day before Christmas.

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Get outside! Bundle up and take a walk together after a big meal.

Depending on what’s safe and best for your family and community, this might be a way you can see local friends and family without cramming into one home for the meal.

Meet at the park after eating in your own homes.

Wear layers and bring your own thermos of hot cider or hot chocolate!

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Buy a new ornament each year. 

This would be a great way to support small businesses.

Shop for your annual Christmas ornaments on Etsy or in local boutiques.

Pick something personal or something that reflects the past year, or simply select something lovely to hang on your tree for years to come.

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Take time to journal answers to yearly reflection questions or make an annual time capsule.

I know several families who do this each New Year’s Eve, asking their kids and each other about the most significant parts of the year and what they’re hoping for in the next year.

If you created a time capsule instead, you could start a tradition of opening last year’s or perhaps only open every five years for a bigger surprise and walk down memory lane!

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Buy—and read—a new holiday book each year.

Or, collect 25 holiday books from the library and your own collection, wrap them, open and read one each day in December.

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Have a gingerbread house contest via Zoom or FaceTime with your friends or family.

Don’t forget the prizes!

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Buy a new Christmas mug each year.

Display your collection in a special spot.

 

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Host a virtual movie night with friends and family. 

With the free Teleparty extension in your Chrome browser (formerly the Netflix Party extension), the host shares a custom link with each participant.

Then, you all watch the same Christmas movie at the same time, discussing the movie (or whatever you want!) in a chat box while watching.

Teleparty works with Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, and HBO. (Amazon Prime has its own free app that does the same thing.)

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Practice Jolabokaflod.

This Icelandic holiday involves exchanging book gifts, chocolate, and an evening spent reading. Doesn’t that sound lovely? (Read more about it here.)

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Put together a puzzle together.

If separated, send same puzzle to each person/family and have a contest to see who can complete it first. The winner must provide a photo as proof!

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Watch a holiday movie or special each year.

Some families watch Elf or It’s a Wonderful Life , or Polar Express together each year. Many of us probably watch the Peanuts Christmas special.

My family is a little quirky and since my brother and I were little, we have made time to watch The California Raisins’ Claymation Christmas Special every single year.

Whatever your tastes, it’s fun to have something you watch together each year.

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Declutter and donate.

Before adding lots of stuff (aka, gifts) to your house, make room and make a difference while you’re at it.

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Drive around and look at Christmas lights.

It’s a classic for a reason!

Put on PJs if you want, take along bags of Christmas cookies, crank up your favorite holiday tunes, and cruise through those neighborhoods that are famously festive! (Or, drive around a new town or neighborhood and try to spot the best-decorated homes.)

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Buy—and listen to—a new holiday album each year.

Speaking of tunes…!

It’s always fun to hear our favorite musicians sing or play holiday music, but this could also be a way to support indie or up-and-coming artists as well. Who doesn’t love Christmas music?

 

Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

Cook (or buy)—and eat, of course!—a special food. 

This could be a family favorite (I always make my late mother-in-law’s apple cake for my husband and his family at the holidays, and my mom makes her mother’s pound cake for family gatherings.).

But it could also be a food that reminds you of your family’s heritage or simply something you love eating together. (Popular foods showing up in my informal poll were fondue, tamales, and Chinese food.)

 

How to Make Homeless Care Packages from MomAdvice.com

Give back.

No matter what kind of year you’ve had or what the holidays will look like, you can find a way to give back—and that will enrich your holiday like possibly nothing else can.

Sponsor a family in need with gifts or a meal, purchase gifts for foster children or children whose parents are imprisoned, take breakfast to a fire station on Christmas morning, mail cards to a nursing home, or purchase and hand out holiday care packages to the homeless in your community.

 

Holiday Family Traditions from MomAdvice.com

Will you be creating any new traditions this holiday season? If so, share them with us in the comments or over in the Facebook group!

 

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Holiday Traditions to Start with Family / MomAdvice.com

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11 Shows to Watch With Your Tween

Monday, August 24th, 2020

 

  Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

Looking for the perfect show to watch with your tween? Check out some of our family favorites – here are 11 shows that are age appropriate and entertaining for both adults and kids!

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

 

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

11 Shows to Watch With Your Tween

My daughters are 12 and 6 years old, and while I know that age gap won’t always seem so large, it feels insurmountable at times.

Times like my annual quest to find matching outfits for family photos.

Times like figuring out a vacation plan that will be fun for everyone.

And, for sure, times like deciding what TV series to watch next.

I get asked often about good shows for tweens because this stage encompasses such a wide range of ages.

So finding something to watch that’s not too baby-ish but also not too mature is tricky.

But because my girls are close to that age range (technically, tweens are aged 8 to 12), and we love watching TV as a family, I am constantly answering this question for my own family—and am happy to answer it for you, too!

Here are eleven TV shows that your tweens will love—and won’t drive you crazy to watch along with them.

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

The Baby-Sitters Club

Based on the beloved book series by Ann M. Martin, this show features middle school students who start a business and develop friendships.

This newest iteration is smart, modern, and sweet.

My girls and I all loved it and can’t wait for another season. (And my 12-year-old decided to give the books another chance.)

Watch on Netflix.

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

Diary of a Future President

A Cuban-American middle school girl journals about her life, growing up to eventually become the president of the U.S.

I’ve only watched the first episode of this show and have heard later episodes have some more mature themes better for older kids, but I did like what I’ve seen so far!

Watch on Disney Plus.

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street

Gortimer and his friends are suburban middle school students who go on adventures with a smidge of magic and occasional melancholy, learning life lessons that are thankfully not heavy-handed.

This is my family’s number-one favorite show.

Watch on Amazon Prime.

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series

If you and/or your kids like the original High School Musical movies, you will likely love this new scripted series as well.

It’s about a group of high school students putting on the HSM musical, and they just happen to attend school in the building where the HSM movies were filmed.

It’s sweet and funny and as melodramatic as you’d expect a group of theater kids to be.

Watch on Disney Plus.

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

Holly Hobbie

Middle-schooler Holly lives in a small town but she has big dreams (and big feelings).

This is a super sweet but relatable coming-of-age show for tweens.

And I loved it so much I wouldn’t let my girls watch a single episode without me!

Watch on Hulu.

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

Just Add Magic

Three friends find a magical cookbook and work together to break curses and solve mysteries that plague their town and families.

This show is super cute, and I especially appreciated the focus on friendship and family (instead of romance, which sneaks into so many shows for kids!).

Watch on Amazon Prime.

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

Just Roll With It

A newly blended family learns to “roll with” the changes, both in their family and in the show, where the audience gets to rewrite the script and make the actors do crazy things in the middle of the episode.

Watch on Disney Plus.

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

Phineas and Ferb

I know some kids resist animated shows as they get a bit older (as do many adults!), but this one is just so funny.

Is it also formulaic and predictable?

Of course.

But it’s nonstop gags and jokes, many of them with references you’ll find even funnier than your kids do.

Watch on Disney Plus.

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

Sydney to the Max

A widowed dad raising his middle school daughter remembers his own middle school years.

If you are approximately my age (and therefore the age of the dad on this show), you’ll love the flashbacks to childhood in the early nineties.

Watch on Disney Plus.

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

When Calls the Heart

This drama about the Canadian West in the early 1900s is an original Hallmark show, based on a book series by Janette Oke.

We don’t watch it in my house but every single conversation I have about shows for tweens involves someone else saying their tweens love this show.

So, if you like this genre, give it a try!

Watch on Hallmark Channel (and catch up on earlier seasons on Netflix).

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

The Who Was? Show

Do your kids love reading the Who Was history books?

Do you love sketch comedy shows?

Then have we got a show for you!

This sketch comedy series features goofy but educational bits about historical figures, and it’s really a lot of fun.

Watch on Netflix.

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

 

Honorable mentions and sneak peeks:

If your kids (or you) prefer reality or competition shows more than scripted series, I recommend LEGO Masters (Hulu), Brain Games (Netflix), Floor is Lava (Netflix), The Big Family Cooking Showdown (Netflix), World of Dance (Hulu), American Pickers (Hulu), and Home Town (Hulu). 

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

 

And stay tuned for my review of a couple shows I discovered while preparing to write this post. Both The Letter for the King (Netflix, for older kids) and The Healing Powers of Dude (also Netflix, probably good for any tweens) look incredible, and I can’t wait to watch them!

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

For more shows your family might enjoy, here’s The Ultimate List of TV Shows for Tweens and 24 Diverse TV Shows for Kids & Tweens.

 

What shows do your tweens like watching?

 

Shows for Tweens from MomAdvice.com

 

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