Monday, 27 April 2015

First Birthday Gift Ideas for Baby #2 When You Already Have a Million Toys and Books

The title of this post is pretty much the exact wording of a reader question I had recently. What do you get for your baby's first birthday when you already have a preschooler, a million books and toys, and really don't want more clutter in your house? (I added that last part, but I'm sure we all feel the same way on this one. #thestruggleisreal).

I polled some other mommy bloggers for ideas, and their ideas basically fell into three categories: non-toy/book physical gifts, experiential gifts, and financial gifts. 

 

Physical Gifts (but not toys or books)

Board Games (via What Doing Mommy). For a toddler, I'd recommend either Seek A Boo or Who Knows Whose Nose? Those are both favourites with Seb.

Who Knows Whose Nose by ELC
Subscription Box (via Queen of the Land of Twigs and Berries) I love this idea!! Both Together Time Company and Bluum would work for a 1 year old. 

Printed Baby Book (via McMama Says) - There lots of personalized book ideas out there. Shutterfly has a few and I See Me looks like a great option as well.



Baby regifting (via Beyond Mommying) - Basically the idea behind this one is that you take a toy or book from your older child and wrap it up and gift it to your younger one. This would be a gift that has pretty much been "retired" by your oldest, not something that's out in everyday play.

Something with his/her name on it - This idea is my own mom's contribution to this list! It's such great idea. I love this personalized first birthday poster. We had one made up for Seb when he turned one. Or a chunky personalized name puzzle like the one below would be really perfect gift as well. Search around on Etsy. There are a million things you can put your kid's name on. I tell my husband that part of the reason I had a kid is so I can put their name on cute stuff.



Experience gifts

The Good Mama, among many others, suggested doing some kind of experience gift.  You could take your littles on a trip to the zoo or to a theme park. Or you can buy a membership to a local children's museum. I always loved Gymboree classes when Seb was younger, so a membership there would be a great gift as well!

Just Another Day With Kids suggested instead of buying more stuff for your house, that you could take some of your preloved books and toys and donate them to a non-profit organization. Awesome idea!

Financial gifts


And last but not least, there are 2 great financial-type gift options:
1. A contribution to their RESP or other educational savings plan.
2. A gift certificate to their favourite store. I recommend Chapters, Mastermind Toys or even Etsy.
(via Eat Drink and Save Money)

Any other ideas you'd add to this list? And I hope this helps, Sara!

xo
J

PS - Don't forget to check out the Stella and Dot giveaway we're having on the blog this week!

Monday, 20 April 2015

Shopping for a cause and a Stella and Dot Giveaway!


Have I got a treat for you this week! In October, my cousin Marlene is heading off to Cambodia for three weeks to do some volunteer work. It's one of those amazing, one in a lifetime experiences she's been talking about for years. I'm both so  excited for her and so proud of her and. She's here to tell you a bit about her upcoming trip. 

Then comes the fun part...Marlene and A Splendid Messy Life are hosting an online Stella and Dot trunk show which is awesome for 2 reasons:
1. Marlene is putting all of the money she makes from Stella and Dot this year towards her upcoming Cambodia volunteer project, so it's an amazing reason to treat yourself to something pretty this week.
2. Everyone who places an order using Marlene's special trunk show link will be entered into a draw to be come the "mystery hostess" and win all of the hostess credits earned for this trunk show!

Now, here's Marlene....

It's always been a goal of mine to travel somewhere and help a 3rd world community. Whether it was to build a home or teach English to children, this goal has been a constant on my bucket list. After years of researching different organizations and learning about the struggles in different countries I finally decided to volunteer in Cambodia. Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in South-East Asia.  I've sign up with http://www.goeco.org/ who recently opened a school in a village near Samraong. The school offers underprivileged children access to an education. Whether assisting children in workshops or organizing with their art and craft activities, I know this journey will change me, and I'm so honoured to have the opportunity to finally take this trip. Being a volunteer will help the school since they don't have the resources or money to fund themselves but in order not to incur additional expenses to the community, a participation fee on my end is required. In order to save up and raise the funds for my participation fee, I have decided that I will use the profits made from my Stella & Dot business. What better way to treat yourself with a bit of bling than to know that the profits will go towards a good cause.

Yeah, Marlene! So ladies, now it's time to shop. The online trunk show will be open from today (April 20th) until May 11th. You must use Marlene's special link to be entered into the Mystery Hostess Draw.  On May 12th, Marlene and I will compile a list of all the orders, put the names into random.org, and the website will select a Mystery Hostess for us.

Here's a bit of inspiration to get us started:




Happy Shopping ladies! One more time - here's our special trunk show link that you need to use to be entered into the draw for the Mystery Hostess. Thank you so much for supporting Marlene and her Cambodia project. It's always fun to shop for a cause, and this is a good one. Hopefully after her trip, Marlene will be back to tell us about her amazing experiences working at the schools in Cambodia. Now I'm off to browse through the Stella and Dot site to pick out a few goodies and place my own order!

xo
J

(Sorry international friends, this trunk show will only accept Canadian orders. Stay tuned for an upcoming international giveaway in a few months though!). xoxox

Monday, 13 April 2015

The MVP of Wedding Gifts

When Rob and I got married, we were gifted 8 bottles of wine each tagged with an anniversary on which they are to be opened. The first bottle was a bottle of white wine tagged as après honeymoon. For our first anniversary, it was a delicious bottle of Moët. Then there are a variety of reds for our 2nd, 5th, 8th, 20th, and 25th anniversary. Finally, there is a bottle of port tagged for our 50th anniversary!

This was by far and away one of the coolest, thoughtful, and most unique gifts we have ever received.  It really is the MVP of wedding gifts.



Last year we cracked open our 5th anniversary bottle....

Our 50th wedding anniversary is August 9th, 2059. I'll be 78 years old, and Rob will be 89. Seb will be 47. That is a long time to hold onto a bottle of port, but I'm determined to make it happen.

This would be a super easy DIY gift for an upcoming bridal shower or wedding. Otherwise, there are a few really great options on Etsy. Here's a set of anniversary wine labels you can purchase in advance and then stick right on the bottles.


Another really cool idea I found when I was browsing on Etsy was this set of wines for all of your marriage "firsts".  I especially love that there is a bottle for the couple's "First Fight". I imagine nothing will diffuse a fight quicker than knowing you get to open one of your "first" bottles of wine afterwards. lol


An alternative to the labels above are tags. That's what Rob and I were gifted. Our friends are quite crafty, so they made the tags themselves, but here is a beautiful set your can download from Etsy (in almost any colour!).


So, if you have a bridal shower or wedding on your calendar this summer, try this type of gift. I promise, the bride and groom will love it! 

xo
Jenn

PS - If you're headed to a baby shower instead, they also have this set of wine labels for a number "first" parenting milestones. A bottle of wine specifically tagged for Baby's First Diaper Explosion? Yes please.

Monday, 6 April 2015

Quotations that Motivate Me to Get to the Gym

Since I've started working out again this year, I've realized I don't really need help figuring out what to do at the gym once I get there.  I know Pinterest is filled with plenty of different workout plans, but you won't really find too many on my Fitness Pinterest board. I've been pretty good at following the Mudderella Training Program, I really love the classes at Flirty Girl Fitness, and even GoodLife Fitness has a preset total body workout circuit that's user/beginner friendly.

What I need more than anything is motivation to actually get my ass actually to the gym. After the toddler goes to sleep at night, the physical pull towards my newest book or my current Netflix binge is strong. The pull towards my sneakers...not so strong.

I'm proud at how much I've been doing (fear of failure is quite motivating in itself), but my Fitness Pinterest board is full of motivational workout quotations that really help me get my butt in gear. Here are my favourites.














What are some of your favourite workout quoations? "Sweatin' like a pig, feelin' like a fox" is another one that makes me smile.

xo
J

All images via Pinterest.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

My Almost Three Year Old's Current Obsessions

Does anyone else's toddler do this? When Seb loves something, he really loves it. Rob makes not-really-joking comments about how S gets infatuated with a certain book, song, toy in a clinical obsession kind of way. We'll read the same book, hear the same song, or play with the same toy over and over and over and over and over and over. I'm telling myself this is normal.....right? Toddlers and babies like repetition? Right? It's not something to really stress about...I hope.

But after 2 and half hours of Donkey Riding on repeat while we drive to Collingwood, what adorable, sweet, little Seb doesn't understand is just how close mommy and daddy are to entirely losing their shit!

My mom tells the story of how when I was about four, my favourite book was Big Bird Follows the Signs. And I even had the cassette to go with it. And that we were once stuck in traffic on a long road trip and she and my dad suffered through hours of Big Bird Follows the Signs book on tape. In the dead of summer. Without air conditioning. Oh how I'm beginning to understand that pain special type of love for your child.

At one month shy of three, if he's not playing on the iPad, and Lord knows he's not napping anymore, here is what you can find Seb doing at our house.


Hide and Seek Books
These books are sooooooo popular in our house right now. The best ones for a toddler are ones that have the pictures on one side of the page, so he can match the pictures independently as opposed to the books where you have to match the word to the picture.



Here's a sampling of the different kinds of Hide and Seek Books we have. I'm kind of pumped about the Frozen one because Seb hasn't really gotten into the movie yet, but I know he will love this book.



Puzzles
Last August when Rob and I were in NYC for a few days, you know what we brought Seb back as our coming home gift? 2 puzzles. At Christmas, Seb received no fewer than 7 puzzles as gifts. 3 months ago I instagrammed this photo:


And Seb's puzzle fetish shows no sign of slowing down. (And check out the two Hide and Seek books in the photo). Thankfully, I found the holy grail of puzzles for his Easter gift. This puzzle is actually a seek and find game once the puzzle is put together. #nailedit

Toy animals



I noticed that Seb loved these a few months ago when every day without fail, when I picked him up from daycare, he was playing with their bucket full of toy animals. I have a couple for his Easter basket this weekend, and his Gran and Grandpa bought him a few when we were visiting last weekend. I see him do so much pretend play with these little animals. He really likes putting them in his coat pocket with their heads peeking out when we go on a subway ride. I'm not gonna lie, it's pretty adorable. Plus there was the time he fell asleep holding onto his little toy cat....



Bath colours

We love these bath tablets for bath time. They don't stain or leave a mess, and Seb really loves picking one or two out each night to toss in the bathtub. I've also seen them for sale at Target.
Words that Go App
The nostalgia of Richard Scarry is what led me to this app, but Seb loves it. We call it "doing his letters". For some reason I feel mildly better about him "doing his letters" on the iPad over watching kids Youtube videos.

There are quite a few different levels, but we're just working at matching the letters to spell a word. Just another note, Seb swears there are "more letters" (more words) on the iPhone version of this app than the iPad version, so now he only ever wants to play it using my phone.


Donkey Riding
I love Great Big Sea. They are by far and away my favourite band, and I'm glad Seb seems to like them too. But I wasn't joking about the 2.5 hours solid of this song Rob and I endured on a recent family trip.... #reasonsmommydrinks




So, that's how we've spent the winter! What toys, books, songs are your little ones loving now? I'd love to infuse some new ideas into our rotation!

xo
J

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