When It Comes To Just Dance 2016 We Have No Control

As of today, there are 22 days until Christmas. In my home, that means that the creation of the holiday wish list is in full frenzy. It starts just before Thanksgiving and grows exponentially as the season progresses (Eli’s list can grow by 5 items a day if he’s watching something with commercials), culminating in a few last minute requests as we set the table for Christmas Eve dinner.

Tween Christmas List

The kids know that more items on a wish list don’t translate into more presents under the tree, but I don’t stop them from dreaming. They always wake up full of joy and wonder, even if 90% of the wish list never materializes. I remember spending hours with the telephone book-sized JC Penney catalog, carefully writing out each and every thing I might want, complete with price and item number to make it as easy as possible for my parents and Santa. I don’t recall a single gift that came from those impossibly long lists, but I have plenty of warm and fuzzy memories of dreaming of what might be. So I don’t worry that Eli’s list is a mile long or that Elena had the audacity to ask for braces one year. Kids aren’t greedy – they’re just holiday dreamers.

Still, over the years Mike and I have struggled to find balance in fulfilling their holiday wishes. In the frenzy of holiday spirit and Black Friday/Cyber Monday “deals” that seem to last for weeks as opposed to days, it’s easy to get swept up in buying. Some years we’ve purchased a set number of gifts, other years we’ve gone with the template of “something you want, something you need, something you wear and something you read.” Santa brings each child one special gift and fills the stockings. Even with our mindfulness towards excess and overspending, Christmas in the Six home still brings with it a significant price tag and an influx of things that lose their specialness long before the winter snow has melted.

For that reason, we’re trying something drastically different this year. Instead of buying gifts for Elena and Eli, we’re presenting them with a very special family gift on Christmas morning. I can’t give details on the off chance that one of my offspring decides this would be a fine time to catch up on Mom’s blog, but we’re very excited about it. We sat them down over lunch last week to share this with them, as we didn’t want to spring such a drastic change in the way we do Christmas as they’re coming down the stairs Christmas morning. We started off the conversation quite seriously, with Mike beginning: “We’re doing something different for Christmas this year.” Before we could say anything more, Eli chimed in. “We’re going to church?”

After several minutes of laughing followed by serious questioning regarding the religious upbringing of our kids, we moved on to the details. Santa will still visit, you’ll still have something to unwrap, and we think you’re really going to love what we have planned. They were satisfied, we’re excited, and yes – we’ll go to church on Christmas Eve … like we always do, Eli. Even with this knowledge, it hasn’t stopped the excitement of creating their holiday wish lists. Their lists are drastically different both in length and in interests (Eli’s is all over the place, Elena’s is 99% music and art), but there is one item that made it on both lists as soon as they knew it was an option: Just Dance 2016.

Just Dance 2016 Xbox One Smartphone Controller App

We’ve been huge fans of the Just Dance series of video games since I won a copy in a dance-off. (Yes, you read that right.) We’ve been known to plan entire parties around an excuse to dance with our friends, young and old. Of all the video games we own, Just Dance is the only one that our entire family enjoys playing together. Last year we switched gaming platforms, moving from the Wii to the Xbox. We were beyond bummed when we realized that without the Kinect Sensor we couldn’t play the game we loved. When I learned that Just Dance 2016 comes with a sweet new feature which allows players on new-gen consoles (like our Xbox One) to use a smartphone to play in lieu of the Kinect Sensor, I knew we had to have it.

Thanks to the Clever Girls, we had the chance to move Just Dance 2016 from our holiday wish list to our basement gaming station. The kids were so excited to open up this early Christmas gift and get their groove on. And just like every previous version of Just Dance we’ve ever owned, Just Dance 2016 is an instant hit with the whole family.

Just Dance 2016 Xbox One Smartphone Controller App

Setting up the Just Dance Controller App through iTunes is super easy and fast. We have several generations of iPhones and iPod Touches, and it works equally well on all of them. All you need is iOS 6.0 or greater along with a Wii U, Playstation 4 or Xbox One console. The app is also available on the Windows Store and Google Play.

Just Dance 2016 Xbox One Smartphone Controller App

Just Dance 2016 Xbox One Smartphone Controller App

And just how good is the track selection in the newest version of Just Dance? Well, there’s “No Control” from One Direction on it. I’m sorry – did we need any other tracks? I will master Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” before the new year begins. Elena and I might’ve squealed when we saw “You’re the One That I Want” from Grease in the tracklist. Just Dance 2016 continues the tradition of offering some of today’s hottest and well-known pop tunes with tracks that will appeal to all generations of players.

If you’re looking for a fun family gift that will get everyone moving, dancing and laughing no matter their age or skill level, you can’t go wrong with Just Dance 2016. The fun will last long after the last pine needle is vacuumed up, and it might even offset a few of the Christmas cookies consumed over the holidays. Check out Just Dance 2016, with information on compatible gaming consoles and a complete tracklist, here.

Just Dance 2016 Xbox One Smartphone Controller App

I can’t wait to fill you in on our big Christmas surprise! Until then, you can check out my tips for a simpler Christmas. Looking for more holiday inspiration? Visit my Pinterest Christmas Board. Happy Holidays!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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A Vitamin a Day Keeps the Barks Away

White dog with pink nose

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Milk-Bone. Dogs give us so much love that they deserve more than ordinary treats. They deserve treats with benefits. Milk-Bone’s Good Morning Daily Vitamin Treats provide beneficial nutrients not found in most dog foods, with a taste your pup will love. Milk-Bone made Gus’ day with a box full of treats and toys, and while he may be easily swayed with food, all thoughts and opinions here are mine.

As you know from my recent post on working out, I’ve been trying diligently to swap out healthy habits for some of my bad ones. Something I’ve struggled with for years is taking my vitamins. I’m embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve engaged in the wasteful cycle of knowing I need to take vitamins, spending a chunk of change on vitamins, taking vitamins haphazardly, letting vitamins expire, and throwing vitamins away. Time will pass and then I’ll tell myself I need to make taking vitamins a priority and I do it all over again.

Once again, Gretchen Rubin and her fabulous book about habits came to the rescue. Rubin suggests using the Strategy of Pairing to form a desired habit. In this strategy, you couple two activities together: one that you need or want to do, and the one that you have difficulty doing. You don’t do one without the other, and in that way you accomplish two things that you need to do at the same time.

I decided to use my deep and abiding love for a cup of coffee first thing in the morning as the pairing companion for taking my vitamins every day. I moved my vitamins from their usual spot in the pantry (out of sight and out of mind) and instead placed them right next to the coffee maker. Now I have to stare at them while I make my coffee, and it’s working! Ever since I paired my morning cup of coffee with taking vitamins, I haven’t missed a day.

Milk-Bone Good Morning Daily Vitamin Treats

In a study of pet owners, Milk-Bone found that 1 out of 3 owners are concerned that their pets are not getting enough of the nutrients they need in their dog food alone. I hadn’t really thought about it before, but it makes sense. Like most pet owners, I already supplement Gus’ diet with treats. By switching a couple of those daily treats with Milk-Bone’s Good Morning Daily Vitamin Treats I can supply him with nutrients he’s missing, like glucosamine to support healthy joints or DHA to supplement overall wellness.

Unlike his humans, Gus doesn’t need any encouragement to take his vitamins. But I’m using the very same strategy of pairing to remember to give Gus his daily dose! There are two times a day which I have, ahem, some difficulty getting Gus to come inside: first thing in the morning and last thing at night. He’s not much of a barker during the day, and with our invisible fence, I’m often able to let him play outside for long stretches without worrying about him annoying the neighbors. But at the crack of dawn and right when everyone is settling down for the evening? Barky McBarkerson. He runs laps around the house, telling every chipmunk, dog and neighbor that HE IS HERE! BEWARE! We keep a jar of treats at the back door, and during the day, simply calling his name and shaking the treat jar brings him in. For whatever reason, those treats aren’t worth anything for his first and last outing of the day.

Milk-Bone Good Morning Daily Vitamin Treats

The day after his package from Milk-Bone arrived, I tried something different. When he was barking his head off at 6:30 a.m. I opened the back door, shook the container of Good Morning Daily Vitamin Treats, and called, “Gus! Vitamins!” And there he was, at the back door in a jiffy. Works every single time. It’s perfect – he needs two vitamins a day, and I need him to come inside quickly two times a day!

Milk-Bone Good Morning Daily Vitamin Treats

I’d love to hear from you – have you ever used the Strategy of Pairing in your own life to form a healthy habit? If not, can you think of a current situation you might improve by invoking the Strategy of Pairing?

Thanks to Milk-Bone for making Gus a happy pup, but especially for helping me solve a problem that was driving me crazy twice a day! For more fun and interesting information about pets and how they affect our own physical and emotional health, check out the infographic below.

Healthy dog healthy humans Milk-Bone Infographic

 

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Tinker Coffee Co.

This post contains some affiliate links. Tinker Coffee Co. provided me with coffee beans, but all caffeinated thoughts and opinions are mine.

Tinker Coffee Co.

My coffee habits have changed quite a bit in the last year. I haven’t owned a traditional coffee pot for a few years now, as I’m the only coffee drinker in the family. Instead, I have a large, insulated French press, and my routine used to be to make a full batch of it (around 2 1/2 cups of coffee) every morning. But I found something interesting about this habit: it made me less productive! I have this thing where I prefer to sit and enjoy my coffee. And so I’d drag those cups out and either answer email or surf the web for too long. Because heaven forbid I get up and get moving if I still had coffee in my cup! At the same time, all that coffee with cream and sugar made me feel less than great by mid-morning. So one day I decided that the French press would be a once-a-week thing, saving it for Sundays when I linger over the paper.

Two years ago I participated in a Tassimo House Party and received a free Tassimo brewer. I’m happy to report that it’s still going strong, and it’s my brewing method of choice most days. I like it because it’s easy, quiet and quick – no need to grind beans at the crack of dawn or think about anything other than popping a disc in and waiting a minute or two for the coffee to brew. I can operate this machine in my sleep, and 99% of the time I’m barely awake when I’m operating it. (Coffee before talkie, right people?) The built-in bonus for me is that because the discs are more expensive than buying beans and I feel a little guilty about the environmental impact of using too many discs, I limit myself to one cup a day. Still, it’s not the best coffee I’ve ever had.

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I treated myself last year to a ceramic coffee dripper and an electric kettle with a gooseneck spout so that I could make pour-over coffee from home. This is the ultimate coffee treat for me. Because it takes a little more time and concentration, I save this for when I want to simply sit, sip and savor really good coffee. (This is my favorite pour-over coffee tutorial, by the way.)

Tinker Coffee Co.

If I’m going to take the time to make a cup of pour-over coffee, I make sure I have excellent coffee beans in the house. This method really brings out the flavor in the beans, so if you’re starting with anything but the best, freshest beans you’ll likely be disappointed with the final product.

Tinker Coffee Co.

A few weeks ago a delightful package showed up at my door: two bags of premium coffee beans from Tinker Coffee Co. Tinker is a local coffee roaster right here in Indianapolis, specializing in finding the best coffee beans from around the world and roasting small batches of them locally.

Tinker Coffee Co.

Each bag they sell prominently features the origin and tasting notes of the coffee, as well as date it was roasted.

The website is very helpful, with suggestions on which brewing method best suits the coffee variety. If you’re local, you can take it one step further and attend a cupping class. There you’ll learn where coffee comes from, how it’s roasted, and participate in a coffee tasting. I think it would be a fun date night (if your significant other loved coffee, which sadly mine most definitely does not) or Girls’ Night Out.

Tinker Coffee Co.

I’m not sure I’ve ever had fresher coffee at my disposal, and it made a world of difference in the taste. I even drank a cup black with no sugar, which I NEVER do! It’s a lovely treat for myself, and one that I can feel good about indulging in.

Tinker Coffee Co.

If you’re local, check out the cupping class schedule. If you’d like to treat yourself or a coffee lover for the holidays, consider gifting a coffee subscription or a sampler of Tinker selections. Tinker Coffee Co. is offering Just Like The Number readers a special discount. Get 10% off your order between now and Friday, October 9, 2015 by using the code SIX at checkout.

If you’re a coffee drinker like myself, have your coffee habits changed over the years? What’s your favorite way to enjoy your coffee right now?

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