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….

20180415_221842

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!

 

DIY Garden Labels

I’ve talked about our garden before – well no truly successful garden would be complete without labels right?!?

Of course I had to make that it’s own special project because I get these ideas in my head….

I had a TON of left over wood slices from our wedding that I used as a creative guest book, each guest signed a piece and I eventually made wall hangings for our new home with them…. Getting them actually up on the wall is the hard part but that’s a task for another day!

Anywho, I decided this would be the perfect way to use a few of the slices I had left floating around! I started by penciling in the names and adding a small drawing on each one.

I was probably a bit overly ambitious when I decided I was going to use my wood burner for all of these. I’ve had that thing for-ev-er and the only person who has ever used it was my husband so I figured it couldn’t be too hard. Boy was I wrong!

I tried the first one, took me probably a half hour and I didn’t even get halfway through! As I looked at our list of plants I knew that I had been way overly ambitious….

So I switched to plan B.

SHARPIES!!!!

Woohoo!!!! The answer to everything of course, and it allowed me to add some color to each of the labels ☺

This method was so much faster, I even decided I would go a step further and put the names on the back in Spanish, I thought this would be a fun way to brush up on my skills and teach our daughter some new words. Living out here in Colorado, Spanish is definitely a fantastic asset!


After I finished up I erased the remaining pencil marks and called it a night!

I cannot wait to put these cute labels outside!!!

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!

20 Free Minutes Website.jpg

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!

20170312_174514

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?

20170312_174409