DIY, Parenting

Creative Gift Giving For Kids: Idea #1 (For Less Than $30!)







gift ideas for seven year olds

It seems like everyone in our lives celebrates a birthday (haha), am I right or am I right?!  I absolutely love coming up with creative ideas for gift giving and I thought I’d share some of my ideas with all of you.  Today, I want to talk about gift giving for the six, seven, or eight year old in your life (this might also work for children who are slightly younger or slightly older, depending on the child).  I should mention that this idea is one that I think would be absolutely perfect for children who will be staying home during summer break since it provides daily activities that inspire creativity and encourage imagination. That said, I bring to you the Super Sleuth Spy Kit. The best part?! This gift can be assembled for a little less than $30!

We were recently invited to a birthday party for one of our sweet friends who was turning into a seven year old. Although the theme was “Monster High”, I knew I wanted to do something a little out of the box (I love unique gifts) for our gift to her.

gift ideas for a seven year old


The inspiration for this gift idea came to me when I was perusing my local Target for gift ideas.  While walking around the book aisle, I came across Judy Moody’s Mini-Mysteries and it was there that the lightbulb went off in my head. Why not create a Super Sleuth Spy Kit for her?!


Creative Gift Ideas for Kids

The book (which retails at around $6.00), provides some great suggestions for items to put in your very own spy kit. With only a couple of exceptions, I purchased everything the book suggested and separated them into gallon size zip lock bags based on which type of sleuthing the items would be most appropriate for (because you all know how important staying organized is to me).

Super Sleuth Spy Kit for Kids

The first bag included all of the materials a seven year old would need to collect evidence during an investigation: Composition books, a magnifying glass, pencils (and a pencil sharpener), and tweezers.

Disguise Kit

The second bag included some materials that could be used as disguises. As you know, a super sleuth can never be too careful. The book recommended also including a hat but I figured she probably already has a few around the house she can use.

Lock Pickers

No detective is complete without their lock pickers (bobby pins), of course!

Spy Material Kit for Kids

Some of the other items included in the kit were a mirror, lipstick (chapstick) for writing secret messages (sorry Mom and Dad ;)), a ruler, tape for picking up fingerprints, and a cup for listening through walls.

Spy Snacks

And because spies often get hungry on the job, I also included some fun super sleuth spy snacks.

Super Spy Kit Gift Idea for kids

I put all of the items together in a large case and wrapped them together in her gift bag. I will admit that I was nervous when we gave her the gift at her party. I wasn’t sure how it would go over with someone her age (especially after she got a series of new dolls from other guests) but her mom tells me she’s had a lot of fun collecting evidence all around their house.


2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Holiday Specs

Hello, hello! People have been asking me what I think are some great stocking stuffer ideas for the little ones in your life. Well, folks, I’m excited to present to you…Holiday Specs.

2013 Holiday Gift Guide

I love Christmas lights.

I’m the kind of person that will drive around neighborhoods I have absolutely no business being in just to see the Christmas lights that people have decorated their homes with.  Yup, that’s me.  Nice to meet you.  I was okay with the normalcy of seeing regular holiday lights with my own bare eyes until I came across these really nifty little glasses from Holiday Specs that turn ordinary lights into magical Christmas moments.  Holiday Specs transforms regular Christmas lights into an assortment of miniature glowing winter favorites like Santa Claus, Angels, Rudolph, Snowflakes, and so much more.

Christmas Tree

Putting our tree up this year was a blast.  This was the first year that my daughter, who will be three in February, has been able to truly participate in helping to decorate it. Even though that took a tremendous amount of patience (on my part) and letting go of the OCD tendencies that I usually have when it comes to tree decorating, I knew it would be fun.  Even more than that, I knew that we would be trying out our new Holiday Specs shortly after the tree went up and I was almost bursting with excitement to try them out myself to see my child’s reaction as the lights transformed into something only the magic of Christmas can bring.


Now before I show you the mind blowing things that took over our normal lights on the tree, I want to mention that the lights don’t translate nearly as well on film as they appear in real life.  You’ll have to take my word for it that these things are pretty good. Pretty, pretty good…


Take a look at some of the cool Holiday Specs we had the privilege to try out:

Holiday Specs review It's An Ordinary Blog

Holiday Specs review

Holiday Specs

Ready to try them out for yourself? These affordable little stocking stuffers can be purchased online anytime. Be sure to check them out on Facebook and tell them It’s An Ordinary Blog sent you!

Disclaimer: Holiday Specs sent me an assortment of products for free in exchange for my review. I was under no obligation to write a positive review of their products and all expressed opinions are uniquely my own. Please feel free to reach out to me anytime with questions at 


49 Days Until Christmas (Check Out This Review of eBeanstalk)!

Happy November to my favorite readers! Did you know that there are only 49 days left until Christmas 2013? Shocking, right?!

I am over the moon excited to announce that I will be launching my first annual It’s An Ordinary Blog Holiday Gift Guide next week. I have searched high and low to find some of the best unique gift ideas for little ones this year. Before I get started, I wanted to share a really great website that I discovered with all of you. offers an extensive selection of toys, books, and activities for children of all ages. I love how easy the ebeanstalk website is to navigate. Their selection is separated by ages and stages so gift givers who are searching for toys for 2 year olds can easily find developmentally appropriate gift ideas and top selling 2 year old toys in one, easy to look through, place. To make gift giving even easier (which is especially beneficial when gifting to the hard to shop for), ebeanstalk has a ‘wish list’ service available free of charge for customers. Beyond that, and perhaps the thing I love the most about this company, are the expert advice and developmental milestones sections of their website. Each offers an array of information for parents and caregivers, which is absolutely incredible. Knowing what to expect in the coming year is especially useful when picking out toys, books, and games for children who are about to celebrate a birthday. Having it all in one, easy to navigate, website is just plain smart.

ebeanstalk review

For parents looking to take a quick, online trip down memory lane, has a classic & retro toys section of their website that has a vast array of classic toys and books for all ages. In the description for each product, the company has outlined the age ranges that would enjoy it best. No matter how you elect to navigate the ebeanstalk website, I’m confident that you’ll find selecting the right gift easier than you could have ever imagined.

Modern Doll Family ebeanstalk

I know you’re all wondering what my favorite toy that ebeanstalk offers is…My two year old is really into two things: dolls and using her imagination. She also happens to be pretty smart for her age (or at least I’d like to think that she is) so, naturally, I absolutely love their Modern Doll Family (pictured above), which is recommended for three year olds who love to express their imaginations.

I am so excited to continue sharing great gift ideas and spots with you in the coming weeks. In the meantime, head on over to, take a look around, and then come back to let me know what you thought!

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…