Tip #1- Shop the whole year through. If you see something at a good deal in June, buy it! You can save gifts in a bin and then when the occasion arises, you already have a present!
Tip #2- Think of the person's interests (a given!), then try to think of something that person doesn't have in that category. I find that DVD's or coffee table books on that subject are always good ideas.
Tip #3- Shop the Walmart $5 DVD bin! I have found great movies in that bin, both as gifts and for my family.
Tip #4- Create a gift budget then stick to it! That cannot be stressed enough.
Tip #5- Buy your packaging supplies at All-A-Dollar or a Dollar Tree Store. I always get my boughs, ribbon, containers, etc. at All-A-Dollar for my neighbor/friend/coworker gifts.
Toddler Santa Pajama Set- here
Mossimo Kylene Tall Boots- here
Crayola Washable Finger Paint- here (not sold online, only in Target stores)
Joy and Noel Appetizer Plates- here (sold as a set of 4 online, but can buy individually in store)
Sweet Potato Casserole 2 cups mashed sweet potatoes or yams 3 tablespoons butter, melted 3/4 cup sugar 5-ounce can evaporated milk 2 eggs 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon vanilla Combine all ingredients and pour into greased casserole dish. Sprinkle with topping. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until set. Let it sit about 10 minutes before serving. For a 9-by-13-inch pan, double the recipe and increase the baking time to 40 minutes or until set. Topping: 1 cup corn flakes, coarsely crushed 1/2 cup pecans, chopped 1/3 cup brown sugar 3 tablespoons butter, melted Toss all ingredients together. Sprinkle on potatoes. Note: when doubling the recipe, use 1 1/2 cups corn flakes and increase the butter to 4 tablespoons. Use the same amounts for the nuts and sugar.
"Turkey Trouble" by Wendy Silvano- Here "My First Thanksgiving" by Tomie dePaola- Here "The First Thanksgiving" by Kathyrn Lynn Davis- Here "Pumpkin Soup" by Helen Cooper- Here And one I forgot to mention in the video that is one of my absolute favorites........ "What is Thanksgiving?" by Michelle Medlock Adams- Here
October and November is the best time to stock up on dress-up box accessories or costumes! I couldn't resist picking up some fun things at our local grocery store. Everything was $1-$2 and we can use it for years to come! Not only can you use Halloween accessories for Halloween, but all year long for your childrens' dress-up box and pretend time. Kids love dressing up, even if the items are small things like sun glasses or wigs or hats. Target and Walmart and the Dollar Store are also great places to find these sorts of accessories. I'm not willing to spend more than $5 on these types of items, so I usually go to stores the day AFTER Halloween, on November 1st, when EVERYTHING Halloween-related is discounted deeply. This is a great time to get Halloween costumes for the next year when they are deeply discounted. It's also a great time to buy Halloween costumes for your dress-up box for your children to play with. What kinds of things have you found this time of year?
We love pulling out our Halloween books. I keep them stored away with our Halloween and Fall decorations so that we don't look at them through out the year. This makes it more fun every Fall when we get to read these books again, they seem like new every year! I don't like to spend a lot of money on books, especially children's board books. We usually get ours through Amazon.com in "good used condition" for under $5 or we find them at second-hand stores. Or I've actually bought a few at the Target Dollar section as well! Here are links to the books mentioned in this video: -"Who's There on Halloween?" here -"Who Said Boo?" here -DK "Touch and Feel Halloween" here -"What is Halloween?" hereand Michelle Adams other "What is...." holiday books: here -DK "My First Halloween Board Book" here -Peanuts "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" here -DK Halloween shaped board book here -"So Many Monsters" from Target Dollar section this year -"One, Two...Boo!" here -"Little Pumpkin Girl" from Target Dollar section last year -"Five Little Pumpkins" here -"Ghoulish Gang" from Target Dollar section this year Here is a GREAT list of other fun Halloween Board Books for little ones: HERE Please comment below and tell me what your favorite Halloween or Fall activities to do with your children are!
My daughter just turned 2 and we had a very successful and fun birthday party for her. In planning her birthday party, I didn't want to spend a lot of time or money doing it. Have you been on pinterest lately? Oh my word I cannot believe the types of parties people throw for their 2, 3, and 4 year olds. There are elaborate themes, every food item has to match the theme, and the table displays are insane! I have neither the time, money, or craftiness to do it like the pros. But I feel like I have some party planning tips and tricks that I'd like to share with you all to make your lives easier.
First of all, I used this tee pee that my mom made 20+ years ago for the kids to play in. I want to make one of my own!
I spray painted this old piece of furniture that was collecting dust on our patio. It turned out great. I displayed pictures of my daughter and had the silverware/servingware here for guests.
I used this idea again from last year where I display pictures of my daughter from the previous year so guests can see how much she's grown and changed over the last year. It's a really fun way to decorate, and inexpensive, and EASY! All you do is order prints from somewhere (Target, Costco, Walmart, Walgreens), then attach the pictures to colorful ribbon and hang it up!
The food was fantastic. My suggestion is to ask guests to bring something to the party. In our case, our family members offered to bring a side dish, so we took them up on it. It made our party planning so much easier knowing most of the food was already taken care of! We made BBQ chicken, it was the easiest recipe and turned out oh so good! Simply marinade the chicken in Coke and BBQ sauce overnight and cook!
So our photo booth idea was the biggest hit of the party. The kids absolutely loved it and it could have entertained them all evening. We simply hung up some wallpaper as the background, then used tons of different silly props! I found some free online printables for the mustaches, bow ties, bows, and lips. All I did was print them out in color on cardstock, cut them out, and tape them to straws. It took me about 15 minutes, that's all. I found a ton of cool glasses at Walmart and the Dollar Tree stores for super cheap ($1-$2 for a pack of 4). I also found a couple of old wooden frames at a second hand store for $2 each and simply spray painted them so the kids could hold them up! The hats also came from the Dollar Tree store and Target's dollar section.
This is my favorite one of my daughter! So silly!
I love these "Happy Birthday" glasses I found at the Dollar Tree.
Little Mr. Professor
See what I mean? The kids just kept wanting me to take picture after picture! It's a great keepsake for the kids too. I simply emailed the photos of the kids to their respective parents and it is a great way to remember your birthday party!
I had to throw this one in of me and my husband. We are so silly. I love it!
Our big present to our daughter was this Little Tykes slide. It usually costs $80-$90 retail but I found it online through our newspaper classifieds for under $40! Score!
I don't make a lot of cakes, so we decided to have cupcakes instead. The frosting was amazing.
Last year Eliza didn't even want to eat any of her cake, but this year she took a big bite and enjoyed it!
We love our daughter so much. We can't believe she's already 2!
She got this baby doll and stroller for her birthday and loves them! The first thing she did the morning after was push her baby around the house.
She loves to stand at the window, and even held her baby up so she could see the view too!
Make sure to check out my other blog posts here and here on how to spray paint furniture!
We've spent a lot of our summer in our swimming pool from Target. It was such a great find. Only $20 and you can fit an entire family in there, including adults! Here's a link to the video where I mention this pool: Swimming Video
The other day we got home from running errands and Eliza ran over the pool trying to jump in. So I just took her clothes off and put her in the pool sans swimming suit.
So I've used this blog mostly as a way to share some of my crafting ideas and projects, as well as for my Youtube channel. But I've been feeling prompted lately to take a slightly different direction with my blog. I'm not going to stop blogging about my craft projects or my Youtube videos, but I feel like I want to share a different side of myself.
If you've read the "About Me" section of my blog, then you know that for years we have struggled with infertility. It never goes away, and I mean NEVER. It's with you every day. The day my daughter was born it was with me as I thought about trying to get pregnant the next time. This topic is close to my heart right now because we are a week away from doing our embryo transfer. In layman's terms......we are in the middle of an IVF cycle right now and will be transferring out embryos to my uterus next week in the hopes that they will implant and we will be pregnant. This IVF cycle has been incredibly difficult considering it's our first try after our miscarriage 2 months ago. I never wrote about our miscarriage on this blog, but I will someday.
Do any of you out there struggle with infertility? If so, I'd love to get to know you or hear your stories.
I have fallen in love with Forever 21 jewelry because they have such a variety of inexpensive pieces. Every piece of jewelry in this video was under $5. Most were in the $1-$3 dollar range.
Graduated Faceted Bead necklace (in three colors): here Rhinestone bracelet (in mint and peach): here Owl Necklace (slightly different from the one I showed): here
Rose Wood necklace (in red and blue): here H&M Mint and Gold Bracelet: here
I can no longer find links to the floral pendant necklace or the necklace I am wearing in the video. I've found that Forever 21 changes their jewelry a lot so even week to week it may be different.
Lunch- fruit cups, fruit snacks, dried fruit, mini-anything snacks (goldfish, chips ahoy, pretzels, teddy grahams, etc.), sliced hot dog, PB and honey sandwiches, PB & J sandwiches, bread with nutella spread on it, cheese, olives, fruit/vegetables, jello, pasta, rice.
Dinner- usually what we eat, fish, meat, pizza, pasta, spaghetti, etc.
My philosophy is that I don't want my child to expect me to make them anything they want. And I also don't want to just feed my child snack foods. I try to teach her to eat what's in front of her. It has been very hard since she usually spits out food or throws it on the ground, but I know that if she is hungry, she will eat.
Do you have any suggestions for feeding your toddler?
I love signing with my toddler using the Baby Signing Times DVD's, CD's, and other products. It has been so beneficial to sign with my daughter. I recommend everyone start signing with their infant and continue into toddler hood and even beyond.
Also, I was renting the DVD's from the library for several months but finally decided to purchase them along with the CD's. I found an amazing deal (more than 50% off) at Baby Steals.com. Here is their website: http://babysteals.stealnetwork.com/
Just wait because the deal on their website will come up within a few months. I've seen it posted at least three times now, most recently a couple of days ago!
Developmental Activities/Toys for 1-2 Year Olds:
Unbreakable mirrors, stacking objects, blocks, soft plush toys, pretend toys like trucks, cars, dolls, phones, etc. board books, containers, old magazines/egg cartons, toys that make noises, balls, containers of any shape or size, lacing cards, coloring with markers and crayons, musical instruments (keyboards, drums, etc.), and sorting shapes/colors. Of course always play with your child, sing to them, and talk with them.
- talking, saying a few words to two-word sentences
- walking and running, standing on tip-toes
-follows simple commands, instructions
-can find hidden objects under 2-3 covers
- can stack 4-6 blocks on top of each other
- plays pretend or make believe (kitchen play, vacuuming, talking on phone, mowing)
It's no secret that I love the Target Dollar section. The first several items in this video I got from Target's dollar section. It's a great place to find cheap books, activities, party ideas, games, and gift wrapping. I also found some really cute Maxi skirts/dresses.
I got the last item, the jewelry organizer, from Bed Bath and Beyond.
Tips for traveling with a toddler and packing for a toddler: - Create a packing list several weeks ahead of time. Google "packing list for toddlers" and you'll get a lot of ideas.
- Create 'sections' on your packing list such as "diapering", "eating", "bathing", "clothing", etc. so that you don't forget a lot of items.
- Start the actual packing process a few days to a week before you leave on your trip. It will be a lot less stressful I promise!
- Make a tally sheet for the amount of diapers and wipes you use for the same amount of time you will be gone on vacation. For example, we are going to be gone for 8 days so I marked on my tally sheet every time I used a diaper and wipe for 8 days straight. Then add in 50% to make sure you have enough. So if you used 40 diapers then you would pack 40 + 50% which is 20 for a total of = 60 diapers.
Memorable Gifts.com has a gift for anyone in your life! They have gifts for moms, dads, babies, grandparents, kids, friends, teachers, doctors, and other professionals. You can also shop by occasions like wedding, graduation, birthday, anniversary, christening, valentines day, thank you gifts, etc.
Developmental Activities/Toys for 8-12 Month Olds:
Unbreakable mirrors, stacking objects, blocks, soft plush toys, pretend toys like trucks, cars, dolls, phones, etc. board books, containers, old magazines/egg cartons, toys that make noises, balls. Of course always play with your child, sing to them, and talk with them.
-"talking" or babbling
- standing up alone or by holding onto furniture
-walking along furniture
-crawling on hands and knees
-pincer grasp (can pick up small objects)
-can find hidden objects
I love shopping at second-hand stores. I seriously save a ton of money and you can too! I'm not bragging in this video, but simply sharing my tips for how to get name-brand clothing for your kids at an affordable price. I got 10 items for $15, most items were 99 cents or $1.50. Everything I got is high quality with no stains or holes. The brands I got included Old Navy, Cherokee, Children's Place, Gymboree, and Carter's.
We don't find great clothes every time we go shopping at second-hand stores, so you just have to keep at it and sometimes you will find some great items. Please share with me where you shop for affordable kid's clothing!
Here is a link to the book I recommend at the beginning of this video: http://www.yourpregnancyandchildbirth.com/
It's called "Your Pregnancy and Childbirth Month to Month" 5th Edition. I found it cheapest on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Your-Pregnancy-Childbirth-Month-Edition/dp/1934946893
I am doing a series of videos on developmental activities/toys for infants and newborns. This video features activities for 4-7 month olds. I will do videos on 8-12 months, 12+ months, etc. so stay tuned for those videos as well.
Activities/Toys for Ages 4-7 Months:
- images or books with high-contract patterns (black/red/white)
- bright, varied mobile
- unbreakable mirror
- sing and talk to your baby
- play music for your baby
Milestones by the end of this age period:
- "raking" hand motion
-may transfer items from one hand to the other
- sits up either with assistance or on their own
-rolls from front to back and back to front
- may support their weight while standing on legs
- social player
- recognizes familiar objects and people at a distance
I am doing a series of videos on developmental activities/toys for infants and newborns. This video features activities for 0-3 month olds. I will do videos on 3-6 months, 6-9 months, 9-12 months, etc. so stay tuned for those videos as well.
Activities/Toys for Ages 0-3 Months: - images or books with high-contract patterns (black/red/white) - bright, varied mobile - unbreakable mirror - rattles - sing and talk to your baby - play music for your baby
Milestones by the end of this age period: - opens and shuts hands -brings hand to mouth - takes swipes at dangling objects with hands - grasps and shakes hand toys -watches face intently - follows moving objects - starts using hands and eyes in coordination - recognizes familiar objects and people at a distance - smiles at the sound of your voice - begins to babble and imitate some sounds - turns head toward direction of sound - begins to develop a social smile
I would recommend having at least one baby carrier. If you're not sure which one you want, you can try them all out for a minimal price before investing $$$ in one that may not work for you! Visit Pax Baby for more info. I did this and found the carrier of my dreams!
Here is a product review for the Sony Baby Call Nursery Monitor. We have been using this monitor for 18 months and have loved it!
Here are the specifics: -900MHz monitor has five sound-sensor activity lights, out-of-range indicator and low-battery warning keep you informed of your baby's actions and the status of your equipment -A belt-clip is included for both receivers, keeping your hands free for other activities -Receivers are water-resistant for use in the bathroom or kitchen -27 channels to greatly minimize interference -Built-in rechargeable battery receiver -Voice activation mode: eliminates most extraneous background noise for clearer transmission
I found this monitor available at Target, Walmart, and Amazon all for under $32. That's a great price for this quality monitor.
Please let me know if this review helped you and what other products you would like me to review for you!
The Puj tub fits in the sink and can be used for infants 0-6 months, or up to 17 pounds, whichever comes first. The Puj tub is PVC-free and BPA-free. It stores flat and folds easily for use. It's very flexible and is less than 1 inch thick.
The Puj tub can be purchased directly from pujbaby.com, or from Target, Walmart, or Amazon. I found it priced at $39.99 at all these locations. It comes in white and several other colors as well.
My daughter loves to read books now. She will go into her room many times a day and pull books off the shelf and look at them. We have a bed time routine which includes reading stories together. We have come to love many children's books. There are a few books and authors that we gravitate towards more however. I'd like to share them with you!
These are my favorite authors/books currently to read with my toddler:
1. Sandra Boynton- Pajama Time, Moo Baa La La La, Going to Bed Book, Hippos Go Berserk.