Holiday Gift Guide 2013

The best gift guides are ones that people actually purchase from right? So here’s what we’re getting and giving this Christmas:

b toys teepee blue1. Although I think a $249 play teepee from Pottery Barn Kids is beautiful, that is way more than I want to spend on a single Christmas gift for a kid under 5 years old. This version by B. toys, though, is only $39.99 and includes a star-projecting lantern inside! I’ve honestly never seen a teepee for under $100. Plus it looks like it’ll last longer than the cardboard castles and playhouse we’ve gotten in the past (although those were great to color on!).

hape-ukelele-red2. My 3 year old loves making noise… er, music. Instead of getting another electronic toy that plays automatically with the push of a button (of which she has tons), we thought this year she might enjoy something a little more individually powered. This tunable, 21″ Baltic birch & maple ukelele by Hape grows with your child if they wants to keep honing their skills. And at $29.95, it’s cheaper than most wooden guitars (in case the love is short-lived).

piggy paint orange3. This is more of a stocking stuffer, but we’re definitely getting some Piggy Paint non-toxic nail polish in Mac-n-Cheese Please – their most Vibrant, Pumpkin Orange and O’s favorite color. But, of course, there are lots more colors and sets to choose from (the Fancies and Frills set and Jingle Nail Rock sets are especially cute). I did my research and have used Piggy Paint since I was pregnant so I feel safe using their low odor, water based formula for both me and my young daughter. merida plush doll

4. I have a soft spot for all things Disney. It hasn’t completely taken hold in my children yet, but I’m pretty sure once they start watching the movies, it’s only a matter of time (of course, we may need a trip to Disneyland to cement the love, haha). In the meantime, I’m completely in love with these all-soft, 18 to 21 inch Disney character dolls. I love the large-but-not-too-large size, their creative fabric hairstyles that will never tangle, and their cuddly bodies. I’m stocking my son and daughter’s toy boxes with Woody, Rapunzel, Captain Hook, Cinderella, Flynn Rider, Merida & more. Plus frequent sales (including the Black Friday weekend prices happening now) often take these dolls from $19.95 each to under $10!!

Dyson Toy Vacuum5. Both my kids love whenever I pull out the vacuum: when they were babies, I swear the sound would put them to sleep, and when they got older, they’d crawl around the room following it, throwing a fit when I finally turned it off. My oldest has asked to help vacuum a number of times (yes, please!) but the large Dyson is hard to handle at her height. So, when I found a near identical, mini version of our red Dyson, I knew it had to be ours. This cool toy can even suck up little pieces of paper which will delight my kids. But this is just a toy, not an actual vacuum cleaner – from the reviews I’ve read, as long as you keep that in mind, it’s a pretty great gift.

6. We’ve had quite a few failures with blocks. I never bought plain wooden blocks because I’ve known too soft foam blocksmany people who’ve gotten hurt on those hard wooden corners and I was worried about them being thrown. So in my search for alternatives, first we had the set of giant Lego-like eco blocks that were impossible to separate and hard for kids under 3 to push together – oops. Then, we had the slightly smaller Lego-like blocks that refused to stick together making life frustrating for a little girl who wanted to walk around with her creations. But on a recent playdate, I found these soft foam Wonder Blocks which seemed like the answer to my prayers – no interlocking pieces and no worries about tall towers falling on someone’s head.

my pal scout7. My one year old really doesn’t need much, but he has a serious soft spot for puppies. So this year, his big gift is an oldie but a goodie: The My Pal Scout doll from Leapfrog. This toy has been around a while but it’s still on the shelves because moms and kids love it: you can customize Scout so he’ll say your child’s name and a few other fun personalized things, he sings songs, plays games and is easy to use. I hope the lullaby feature will help with naptime once Bugaboo stops nursing too. Kiwi Crate box

8. Last but not least, my daughter has an aching love of craft boxes. We already get monthly boxes from Kiwi Crate and BabbaCo but each box only lasts a few days and the months are long. So, I’ve put a few subscription sites on our Christmas wish list: M is for Monster, The Little Thinker Box and CareFree Crafts all look really promising.

Happy Black Friday shopping!

Advertisements

St. Patrick’s Day Food and Fun

I used to wear green socks for St. Patrick’s Day – and that’s it. But now that I have kids, holidays have become a lot more important: they break up the day to day monotony, give us something to look forward to, give us a reason to be creative and they’re just plain fun. My husband looked at the 3 bags of spinach on my grocery list and warily asked what exactly I was planning. Cue evil laugh.

First up, green clothes. So easy. Until… I realized that O didn’t have a single green shirt! (Not even sure how that’s possible). In all my super planning, the most obvious thing completely slipped my mind until the morning of. Luckily, Daddy saw my panicked face and swooped in with one of his shirts, tied 80’s style into a knot on her side. Classic. Later on I drew shamrocks on our cheeks with my green eyeliner and painted our nails with Piggy Polish in their sub lime color (non-toxic, odor-less, kid-friendly).

st-patricks-clothes-collage
The second part of my awesome St. Patrick’s Day plan was fancy green food and, to up the ante, I forbid myself from using any food coloring. Easy? Me? Never! So, we all started the morning with spinach cheddar chive scones from this recipe by Weelicious (I didn’t tamper with the coffee under penalty of death). Lunch was spinach salads with mandarin orange slices. And for dinner, we had green cheese-filled tortellini with pesto sauce (in green bowls, of course) and a side of peas. O was not pleased with “too much pepper” on her pasta so we had to make it “clean” before she’d touch it. After we washed the tortellini off though (and wasted all that yummy pesto, as Grandma Mimi moaned), she ate it happily. Our Little Frog had some delicious spinach baby food (how does he manage to get it everywhere?! We require an outfit change after every meal; the bib is worthless).

Finally, the Pièce de résistance, a Turkish lemon spinach cake with cream cheese frosting. I know what you’re thinking. As the blog I found the recipe on hilariously wrote: “Congratulations if you are still reading this blog. You saw the words “lemon” and “spinach” in the same title and kept going.” But although it has 8 cups (!) of spinach in it (which makes for a fantastic green color), the cake honestly doesn’t taste like spinach at all. As far as anyone in your family needs to know (so long as they don’t see you preparing it) it’s just a nice, moist lemon cake in a funky color.

stpatricksfoodkids
Oh and we were going to listen to some Irish music (Mimi has Riverdance) until Daddy mentioned we should listen to Green Day. Ha, totally!

I need to start planning now if I’m going to top this next year – we’ll definitely need some crafts.

Hope you had a great St. Patrick’s Day too!

%d bloggers like this: