Children's Books, Culture, Current Events, Daily Life, Parenting, Tutorials

The Easter Basket

Do you remember when I asked on Facebook for some Easter gift basket ideas for C?! Well…Here’s the finished product!

Easter Basket Ideas

My husband and I are not big fans of candy ourselves and want to be careful about how much exposure our own daughter has to sugary sweets. Let me preface this by saying that I don’t judge other parents who give their children sweets, it’s just not a choice that we make for our child and, in my opinion, it’s a lot easier to prevent a problem than to try to stop it later on down the road. For that reason, we don’t keep it in the house. One of the biggest sellers on Easter, it seems, is the candy that comes in the eggs and in the baskets that children enjoy each year so for parents who don’t want to give their children sweets, it’s important to find other alternatives for their baskets. Armed with your fabulous ideas and a $25 budget, I went out on a mission for C’s 2013 basket.

Extra Small Heart Box from Target

Rather than spending my money on a basket that will either be thrown out after we use it or that will sit in the closet collecting dust until next year, I wanted to take a more logical approach for our “basket” this year. So I found this adorable Circo XS Heart box at my local Target for under four dollars. It was the perfect size for the goodies I put inside it.

Non Traditional Easter Basket

One of C’s latest obsessions is painting (any kind of craft, really) and so I picked up some blank paper that we can use for quick projects at home. Since it is the tallest/largest item, I placed it in the back of the box.

Easter Basket Ideas for Toddlers

Then I added in an adorable picture frame that I found on clearance for $3.98 and a fun pool toy that we can use in the coming months. We’re getting ready to convert C’s nursery into a big girl room and I thought the picture frame might be the ideal way to have a picture of my husband and I in our daughter’s room (so we can be with her while she sleeps).

Non Traditional Easter Basket Ideas

I had a coupon from Target for $2 off two American Greeting cards and knew I wanted to find the perfect card for C.

Unconventional Easter Basket Ideas

I finished the box with some detangling spray, sidewalk chalk, leg warmers, and an Easter book before adding in the pink crinkled paper to give it that finished look. The pink “grass” will go into a ziplock bag and into my holiday box to be reused next year. If you’re using that kind of fake grass this year (it’s only .50 at Target) I would encourage you to do the same…or to recycle it when you’re done.

Non Traditional Easter Ideas for Toddlers

I can’t wait to see her face when she opens it on Easter morning!

What are your plans for Easter?!

Daily Life, Tutorials

Gift Giving for The Hard to Shop For

I’m sure you have someone in your life that’s nearly impossible to shop for. We all do. There is always someone who either has everything they want or could possibly need or that doesn’t really want anything in particular. That person, for me, is my dad. Every year for his birthday and Christmas I put my thinking cap on and try to figure out what I can give him that he’ll enjoy. This year I wanted to do something a little extra special. Why? Because I love my dad and I wanted to find a way to tell him. So I decided to give him an envelope for every day between his birthday this year and his birthday next year (2013) with something special: a memory, a picture, a “coupon” (for a hug, a home cooked meal, a movie out, etc), a good quote, or a random fact. My goal was to give him a daily reminder of how much I care about him and how special he is to me.

Let me be the first to tell you that this idea is a labor of love. If you want to go with the 365 day route, give yourself a lot of time, because I had to change my plans after the first five or so hours into the project. I didn’t start my dad’s birthday gift until the day before I gave it to him. I was also cooking our non-traditional Thanksgiving feast so I was, regretfully, short on time. I ended my dad’s birthday gift at 100 days, which I still think will be good.¬† I purchased a box, envelopes, and index cards from my local Target and went to work.

Working on this gift for my dad was really fun for me. It was really nice remembering events, conversations, and other memories from my childhood but it was also really great to look back at the pictures that I shared with him. I incorporated some of his favorite candy into the box so that he would have something other than just a box full of cards to enjoy on his birthday.

Here’s the finished product:

He’ll be celebrating his birthday today and will (hopefully) open up his first envelope. Happy Birthday, Dad!

Now I just have to figure out what to do for Christmas…

Culture, Daily Life, Parenting

The Best Gifts You Can Give This Year

It’s that time of year again where people gather together and stand shoulder to shoulder to wait in line for those “must have” gadgets and toys that will bring a smile to the faces of their loved ones this holiday season. It’s that time of year when, no matter how bad the state of our economy seems, people are still out there spending money. It’s the season of “lay away” and “interest free financing” to make gift giving a little easier for families who live paycheck to paycheck. It’s that season. Now that my daughter is old enough to appreciate the holidays a little more than last year (she was only 10 months old at Christmas time in 2011), I understand that desire parents have to find a gift that will make their children happy. I get it, I really do.

I remember when I was younger. My parents were divorced and I lived half way across the country from my dad. That was hard. One Christmas, I can’t remember what year it was, I received a massive box of gifts from my dad for my birthday and Christmas (my birthday is a week before Christmas). I couldn’t be in the Midwest to celebrate the holiday with him and so he wanted to send me something that would make my holiday a little more special. I can’t tell you why that Christmas, in particular, comes to mind as I write this but it does. I think it’s because it was one of the first holidays where I was acutely aware of how much I was missing out on a relationship with my own dad. Through no fault of his own (we moved to the East Coast after my parents divorced and my dad was stationed at an Air Force Base in the Midwest) he wasn’t there and I remember¬†how, even though I was thankful and happy for the gifts he’d sent, I would have given all of that up for a little more time with him.

I’ll be honest, I’m not cool enough to know what the most popular gifts advertisers are pushing this year and I couldn’t tell you what the new gaming system even is or what games should be at the top of your holiday gift giving list this year. But I don’t think any of that really matters. You could spend every last dollar you have on some great gadget that will inevitably become outdated next year. So maybe this year you could give something that nobody else can give your child: you.

Give your time. Put down your cell phones, your laptops, turn off your televisions and spend some real, quality time with your children. Do a puzzle, have a dance party, laugh, tell stories, read a book. Give them your complete and undivided attention. Included with C’s holiday gifts this year I plan to have a bowl with 365 little ideas for her and I to do in 2013. Some of them will be extra hugs and kisses and some of them will be a trip to the park or to the zoo or even just some quiet time alone with mommy. Regardless, I’m more excited about this gift than any other because it’s one that’s really for both of us.

So, as you head out to do your shopping think about what kinds of gifts really matter this holidays season.