Big Sister Gift Bag

When we were expecting our son, I knew I wanted to do something special for our daughter since I knew we were going to be separated for a little bit while my husband and I were both in the hospital following my c-section.

I put together a little gift bag and gave it to my parents to give to her the morning her brother was born as a reminder that we loved her and to get her a bit more excited about meeting our new little guy!

This bag consisted of a few different things that I thought would be fun for her and would go along with the new baby theme….

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Our gift bag included:

  1. Big Sister T-Shirt; These are very readily available nowadays! I was able to find a really cute one at Old Navy but a quick online search would surely send you in the right direction.

  2. Baby Themed Stickers; I found these at our local Michael’s

  3. Fruit Snacks; Our daughter is OBSESSED with fruit snacks! Always good for little kiddos to have extra snacks around, especially while waiting at the hospital!

  4. “I Am a Big Sister” by Caroline Jayne Church; I found this book on Amazon.com and it is absolutely ADORABLE! I especially loved that it was a little girl with red hair who was getting a new little brother – seemed fitting!

  5. Disposable Camera; Admittedly, she was a bit young but pretty much anyone can handle taking pictures with a point and shoot camera…. right??

    • Just as a heads up, not many places will develop disposable camera film these days but our local Walgreen’s was able to send it out to be developed. BUT the photos came in REALLY grainy – so be prepared for it to be more of a novelty item rather than heirloom quality photos. Our daughter did love being our personal “photographer” so as far as entertainment value goes it was awesome!

  6. Big and Little Stuffed Animals; I found these two puppies that are the same just the larger and smaller version of each other, I labeled them as “One puppy for you” and “One puppy for your little brother” so she had something special to give her little brother. I hope that these will be cherished for many years to come!

Puppies

  1. Lip Smackers Chapstick; I was looking for another filler item and what little girl doesn’t love chapstick??? Am I right????

  2. Small Pink Backpack; I wasn’t sure what I wanted to pack everything in but I found this sweet little pink backpack at Michael’s on sale for like $2, it was a win win! But any type of gift bag, etc. would work too!

Backpack

I hope that you’re able to have as much fun putting this together and customizing it for your kiddo as well, it was a BIG HIT!

 

Cheap Entertainment for a Toddler; BEANS!!!

In my constant search for entertainment for the toddler I’ve tried EVERYTHING! And I am in complete and utter shock of the things that stick and are the most fun to the kiddo.

For instance junk mail, I hate it but she thinks it’s soooo much fun. Shoes; not only the cutest thing to hear her say but endless entertainment! Tupperware, such a blast!!! In particular the two blue pieces that look like they should go together but don’t, that would annoy the beegeezus out of me but she loves it – who knew?!?

Anywho, this one was a doozy!

I picked up a couple of bags of pinto beans a cheap set of measuring spoons and cups and tossed them in a big tupperware tub. Done and done! Well, almost. I had tried this previously with rice and let’s just say that was less than ideal…. I’m still finding loose pieces floating around!

So I looked around and found one last integral part, a box. One big enough to put the tupperware AND the tot in! Which means… contained chaos!!!! Yay!!!!! Baby in a Box with Beans!!! HA

This was such great entertainment!!! Better than I had ever expected which was an absolute godsend when I worked from home! But you just have to keep an eye out for spoonfuls in the mouth, no bueno. The kiddo has just mastered using a spoon with her meals so she was super excited to “eat” with her spoons. Caught her a couple times which wasn’t as terrible as I imagined it could have been.

What I didn’t anticipate though was the dog! To her it was an over-sized dog dish with lots of fun things to chomp on – also no bueno….

But overall I’d still consider this a success! Less than $10 spent and probably at least an hour to focus on something else = win, win win!!!!

Beans, beans the magical….toddler entertainment! Have fun friends! 😊

10 Tips for a Toddler Easter Basket

First off, I must admit, I am no expert as this is the first Easter I’ve put together a basket for my daughter….last year I decided my daughter was too little to get into it – we’d just go to my parent’s house and enjoy dinner and the day together!

Yay!!! Sounded great!

…..Until I got to my parents and sure enough -my mom had assembled a basket for her darling granddaughter…. Honestly, it was so sweet but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sad about it. I had convinced myself the Easter basket was unnecessary and decided to wait until she was older, probably a totally rational thought but one I ended up regretting.

A little background on me…. I LOVE EASTER!!!!

It has always been my favorite holiday!

I’m not necessarily a religious person. The big draw has always been the beautiful spring setting, the more low-key family vibe without the hustle and bustle of Christmas and Thanksgiving, and duh, Easter Baskets! As I got older the family joke became the underwear my mom always put in our plastic Easter eggs, you knew you could count on stocking up for the year!

Anywho, did I mention I love Easter?

And I was bound and determined to design the best Easter basket I could come up with for my daughter!

However, I’m also an extremely frugal (let me clarify, I like coupons… but not so frugal I can’t go overboard – HAHA!) and functional so of course I had to pragmatically develop my game plan and here’s what I came up with….

1. NO CANDY;

Not because I’m that insanely concerned about the tot having candy, but I am concerned about her scarfing down a few m&ms too fast and choking or getting too hyped up and skipping naps. First rule of motherhood, avoid anything possible that could interfere with nap time/bed time! 

2. NO EASTER GRASS;

We’ve all seen that stuff – the plastic, stringy, colorful filler. Well all I see is a mess. Enough said haha!

3. INCLUDE SOMETHING SENTIMENTAL;

When I was little there wasn’t another Charlie Brown Movie that I loved more than the Easter Beagle. I cannot wait to watch this with my daughter, to hear her giggle and (hopefully) love it as much as I did, priceless!

4. KEEP THE ITEMS NEUTRAL;

Having a bunch of specifically Easter items puts a shelf life on items – ie: Pick out items that have a rabbit or eggs, etc. instead of Happy Easter plastered all over them. This ensures you’ll get better use of the items in the long run, yay! Gotta suck as much life as you can out of every item for your kiddos, goodness knows they outgrow things fast enough on their own! Which brings me to my next topic….

5. CLOTHES;

Kiddos need clothes. Kiddos wear clothes for like two weeks before jumping sizes. So adding clothes is like killing two birds with one stone! Win, win!!!

6. LEARNING TOYS;

Again something that you could feel good about giving your precious little toddler. In my case an egg puzzle that teaches colors in both English and Spanish!

7. LOCALLY SOURCED ITEMS;

This would help your basket be a bit more unique. I ended up finding that adorable little puzzle and realizing it was made locally, so not only did I find an awesome toy, I can feel good knowing I supported a neighbor by picking it up.

8. LARGER PLASTIC EGGS;

My daughter puts everything, and when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING in her mouth! Rocks are a favorite delicacy much to my chagrin. GRRRR! So…

The bigger the eggs the better haha!

SIDE NOTE: I will watch my daughter with the necklaces! Although she hasn’t shown as much interest in putting those in her mouth as her beloved rocks thankfully!

9. FUN PACKAGING;

I specifically used clear cellophane not only because I had it already but it is noisy and fun to play with, almost another gift in itself! I also tied the clothes up to give her more things to open and play with.

10. A REUSABLE BASKET;

A coworker and I were talking about this…the baskets you pick up, use once and toss. So wasteful and honestly I’m not a huge fan of baskets that look like the rainbow threw up on them. Instead I picked up a chicken wire basket (with a 40% off coupon of course) that I could use as a decorative item in my home after the holiday is over. And then as an Easter basket next year, and the next year, and the next year, etc.

Hope the tot likes it as much as I do 😁

…..I also threw in the Hedgehog with Bunny Ears because honestly, who wouldn’t want a Hedgehog with Bunny Ears?!?! No one, that’s who. Haha!!!

SIDE NOTE: I was also a bit worried about the bunny on a stick but figure as soon as she gets to the cellophane she’ll forget all about the skewer…Plus it was so cute I couldn’t resist and (OCD side speaking here) tied all of my colors together of course!

While I spent WAY too much time planning and shopping and assembling with just this cute little basket to show for it, I hope all of that effort will help you design an awesome basket in just a fraction of the time!

Wishing you and yours the very best this weekend and HAPPY EASTER!!!

20 Free Minutes? Yes Please!

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Lately I’ve been completely dumbfounded by the pile of toys going untouched in our home. Like many other parents – I stocked up on everything I could think of…educational toys, musical toys, toys that spin, stacking toys, blocks, stuffed animals, etc. etc. – you get the idea. Tons and tons of different things to stimulate a growing child’s mind. Only the best for your baby right?!?

And yet, all our kiddo wants to play with are things like the dog food/water, my glasses, everything in my purse (emptied and dumped on the floor), anything and everything in the dishwasher (always dirty of course), Tupperware, pots and pans, toilet paper, the toilet, trash cans, etc. etc – Really, I could go on for days about the multitude of items she goes after that I’d rather she didn’t!

I saw an idea the other day on Pinterest  where a mom had put cut pieces of fabric into an old wipes container, tied them together for the toddler to pull out just like a real tissue box. As I was scouring my home looking for an extra plastic wipes container, brainstorming running out to buy wipes simply for the container – thanks to the millionth cold I’ve had this winter – I used my last Kleenex. DUH! Free and convenient container. WIN WIN!

Then I started to think about the fabric and remembered a bunch of fat quarters I’d cut pieces off of back in the day to make pacifier clips, SCORE! No money down, that’s not something I can always say for my little DIY projects (HA – understatement of the century!!!)

Considering how anal I am this next part is a pretty big step towards recovering from my OCD; I actually used scissors and raw cut squares, rectangles, strips – whatever (no measuring, marking or cutting mat)! It probably helped that my daughter was crying at the time but we’ll chalk this up to a breakthrough regardless…..

And also, the tying them all together – ain’t nobody got time for that! Just shove those fabric scraps in the tissue box and….VOILÀ!!! Done, done and done!

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The cheapest, easiest, and fastest DIY toy yet!

I can honestly say that my daughter enjoyed this more than all of the fancy toys in her toy box, at least at this particular moment…. who knows what the next 20 minutes hold. For now, I’ll just relish in the fact that I got her to chill out and I got to sit. It’s the little things right?

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Baby Busy Board – BOOM!

Our daughter has the attention span of a flea, I think that’s mostly just due to her age but she’s definitely not gaining any favors by being born into my gene pool…

I’ve seen lots and lots of the ever popular busy boards but was trying to figure out how to make it look nice and still be a blast for the kiddo, I think we “nailed” – pun intended 😉

Almost everything I found at Walmart but a few things came from Home Depot…that I should have bought from Walmart! Definitely could have saved some money there but it turned out great so I keep trying to forget about the investment, funny how that always happens with DIY projects!

Busy Board Website

Here’s what I used:

1. Tap Light

2. Different sized castors that turn and spin

3. A variety of locks; sliding, chain and gate locks were what I used

4. Buttons on a string that can slide and turn

5. Zipper to practice on – I wasn’t quite sure how to attach that on but we ended up just screwing it directly to the board, easy peezy!

6. Pulls and Knobs, I hung some keys on a ring off a knob so they’d stay put and also some different clips on the pulls to play with

7. A hinge to open and close

8. A springy door stopper that makes an awesome boingy noise – whole minutes of entertainment haha!

9. Some number and letter stickers to put numbers 1 thru 10 and spell my daughter’s name

10. A few odds and ends….an old ducky keychain that lights up and quacks, a padlock, and these awesome mirrored stickers that I used as filler on the board after I put everything else on, may have gotten a bit squirrley with the mirrors….

Anywho, I wish I could tell you that she plays for at least an hour and loves, loves, loves it but from what I can tell she likes it a lot? HA!

In all seriousness it definitely keeps her attention and helps with those fine motor skills and she absolutely loves banging everything around and causing a ruckus – her favorite pastime!!!

Other things I thought could be fun; door knockers, door knobs that turn, raised address numbers, different fabrics to touch and feel. Really all you need to do is look around your house, you’ll probably find a bunch of random things lying around.

Hope you have as much fun with yours as we have at our house!