The Easter List

Hello Everyone! After my long online sabbatical, I’m back with a new list of treasures to hopefully bring some truth, beauty and goodness to your spring and summer seasons. As many of you know, we are a homeschooling family. More specifically, I follow the philosophy of a turn of the century educator, Charlotte Mason, who happens to place a strong emphasis on nature study. This is why you will see that reflected in so many of my posts as those are the things I am regularly surrounded with and have experience with. I always try to bring you items I have first-hand experience with; items I have grown to love. If you shop through my links, I do get a small stipend from items purchased on Amazon only. I always try to bring you my favorites regardless if I can get credit for them or not. Fortunately, I don’t have to blog to support or supplement my family’s income— I do it solely for the joy of sharing wonderful things with you all. Enjoy!

WE ARE THE GARDENERS

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Kinderific Gardening Tools Set (This is probably best for children under age 6)

We Are the Gardeners Book by Joanna Gaines and Kids

Just For Kids Garden Tool Set

Eeboo Gathering a Garden Board Game

Adult Sized Family Gardening Kit (I recommend for kids 8+ may remove shears)

Up in the Garden, Down in the Dirt Book

Kids Garden Journal

Seed Packets

Butterflies & Birds Nature Study

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Peter Rabbit Jack-in-the-Box

Not Pictured: Peter Rabbit Stacking Blocks

The World of Peter Rabbit BBC DVD collection

Tickle, Tickle Peter: Touch and Feel Book

Peter Rabbit Classic Book Gift Set (original small size books, perfect for children)

Peter Rabbit Plush by Gund

New York Puzzle Company 48pc Beatrix Potter Puzzle

Peter Rabbit Organics Baby Food Pouches (Holiday’s favorite as a baby/toddler)

Peter Rabbit Deluxe Porcelain Tea Set (The Large size is child-sized, the smaller ones are more doll-sized)

Peter Rabbit Books, the entire collection

Perfect Summer Shoes

A couple of notes on the shoes below. I’ve shared both Native and Tsukihoshi shoes before. These Tsukihoshi are the Marina verions which are a summer sandal/ shoe/ water shoe. They have all the functionality of a tennis shoe, but are lightweight and do well in water and dry very quickly. PLEASE NOTE— they run HUGE. Holiday have very narrow feet, she wears about 1.5 right now. She has a 13 in the Marina and she’s got a lot of room to grow, but they’re not flopping off the back of her foot. We also LOVE the Charley sandals from Native, THEY RUN SMALL— at least a full size. I would size up a full size from whatever size your child wears in the Native Jefferson. Zappos carries a lot of the Tsukihoshi brand— be sure to look in both Toddler/Little Kids and Big Kids categories. If your size/ color combo is sold out, Nordstrom carries these as well. You can also sometimes find past season colors on Amazon.

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Tsukihoshi Marina in Coral/ Aqua

Native Charley Glitter Sandal in Pink

Native Charley Glitter Sandal in Pool Blue/Peacock Green

Native Jefferson

Tsukihoshi Marina in Ice/Mint

Native Jefferson

Tsukihoshi Marina in Blue/ Orange

Native Charley Sandal in Grasshopper Green

Tsukihoshi Marina in Green/Nave

April Showers Bring May Flowers

I think I’ve shared rain gear in every Easter post I’ve ever done. Holiday is now 8 and some of our favorite brands for rain gear don’t continue into her size. I’ve bought several pieces from Joules over the past few years. Another great brand with beautiful, high-quality goods for you and your little ones! Here are some of my faves from their current collection.

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Younger Girls Aqua/ Pink Floral Raincoat

Hatley Galloping Horse Umbrella

Girls Coral/ Navy Stripe Rain Coat

Boys Shark Umbrella

Boys Shark/ Blue Stripe Rain Boot

Navy Stripe Rain Boot

Two-Toned Blue Striped Rain Coat for Boys

Girls Navy/ Pink/ Floral Bow Rain Boot

Boys Camo Rain Coat

For a long time, these were my favorite rain boots for kids. There seemed to be a lag where these weren’t being made or the color selections weren’t all that great. These are pretty much indestructible unless they become your dog’s favorite chew toy! I love how easy they are to get on and off— especially for your littlest ones. I also love how lightweight they are. Rain boots can be so HEAVY and these are anything but! Plus, some of the newer colors are just SOOOO beautiful!!!

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Crocs Handle-It Rain Boots on Amazon HERE

Crocs Hand-It Rain Boots on Crocs Site HERE

Precious Plush

I know we all would probably like to minimize the amount of stuffed animals in our house, but I am such a sucker for lovely plush friends. When Holiday was a toddler, our local grocery store carried a large assortment of Jellycat. It seemed that with each week’s grocery haul, a new friend would join our growing herd. I’ve also included a new favorite below (center) which is a custom, handmade doll from Spun Candy Dolls. She make each of her dolls one-of-a-kind. You need to follow her on social media to see when she releases new dolls. Beware, they go fast! However, as of time of typing this, she has several Easter dolls that are still available and ready to ship. There are also several pieces here from Hazel Village, another family favorite. I just love the look and vintage/ classic feel of these beautiful stuffed animals. I recently re-decorated Holiday’s room and bought a beautiful shelf from The Land of Nod (now, Crate & Kids) which is the perfect display for all her beautiful stuffed collection. They make me seriously happy walking into her room and seeing them all displayed!

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Prime Stocking Stuffers

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Soooo… I’ve had a draft of this blog ALMOST ready to go since December 1st… but then the chaos that is the Christmas season ensued leaving me susceptible to the Christmas season bugs and germs that have left me feeling under the weather. So in a last ditch effort with only SIX DAYS LEFT UNTIL CHRISTMAS, I went shopping upstairs, in my house, through all of Holiday’s favorite things to find you an awesome selection of stocking stuffers that will actually fit IN the stocking (at least the Pottery Barn Kids variety) and get to you in time for the big day! Anything highlighted in blue is a shopping link. For each item, I found you a retailer that can still get you the goods in time for Christmas Eve. Most all of the items are Amazon Prime with a few exceptions. This isn’t just junk we have, it’s all stuff that is well loved and regularly played with. In fact, as I was setting out all of the things to photograph, Holiday was hovering around confirming over and over that I wasn’t selling or giving away anything on this table (I know my BST mamas can relate!) So, if you’re still in need of tiny treasures to fill your stockings, I hope you get some good ideas and good links to order here! Some of these things might look too gender specific, but many of the links below will take you to a variety of each item to choose from. Happy Shopping!!!

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The Christmas Star Wand: This little piece of magic connects to your Christmas tree and is a wand to turn it on and off with a magical twinkling sound!!! Find it here

Maileg Tiny Mice and Other Lovable Creatures: We have an adorable collection of Maileg. They remind me of all things Brambly Hedge and are so inspiring to little imaginations. You’ll want to upgrade to Priority Shipping, but they have very reasonable rates. Find it here

Ostheimer Wooden Animals: We are obsessed with all things Ostheimer here. The quality and beauty begs to be played with. We have been collecting sets of animals for each season. The seals, penguins and polar bears will help us celebrate all winter long. Find it here

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Learning Resources Magnifying Glasses: These are an ideal stocking stuffer, especially if you have more than one child. You can get a whole set and each child can have their own color! Find it here

There’s a FANDEX For That! Fandex sets have come up on the blog several times, here you can kind of see US Presidents, the 50 States and Butterflies peeking out. Fandex are super fun, interactive fact cards for nearly every topic imaginable— even superheroes and Star Wars! Find it here

Eeboo Pretend Play Sets: I just happened to pick up this Eeboo Pretend Play school set for Holiday last year and she plays with it ALLLL the time. I was really excited to find several other themed sets like this one! Choose from Restaurant, School, Grown Up, Veterinarian, Showtime, and World Traveler. Find it here

Animalz Spa Face Masks: So there’s this adorable penguin face mask and they also have a Rudolph version that might not make it in time for Christmas BUTTTT, these Creme Shop Face Masks are ready to ship, available on Prime and highly rated! Find it here

Mudpuppy 12 Piece Pouch Puzzles: These are the PEFECT puzzles for your little ones with only 12 super fun, jumbo pieces. I love that they come in a resealable zipper pouch to store. I have more puzzle options that will fit in your stockings below for your older ones. There are quite a few different designs for these 12 piece ones— find them all on the link! Find it here

Letters To Me When I Grow Up: This little set got cut out of the picture— you can see the end of it on the far right, but these are an ADORABLE addition for your Christmas stockings. It’s a series of letters with writing prompts for your little ones to write and answer now with the intent to read at some point down the road— maybe high school graduation or beyond. These make wonderful, thoughtful gifts. Find it here

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Felt Animal Play Masks: If you’ve followed my blog for a long time, you’ll know that I am a huge fan of adorable felt animal play masks. I’ve had a huge collection since Holiday’s first birthday. “Way back then” they were a specialty item you could only buy from hand-crafters on Etsy. I thought it was so cool to find a huge collection of them on AMAZON now! Find it here

Learning Resources Dinosaur Collection: I don’t know what it is about this specific set of dinos, but they are well loved at this house— not only by Holiday, but by the many children who come to play. This is a set of 5, so you could fill one entire stocking with them, or split them up among several little ones. Find it here

Smart Games Logic Games: These games are all the rage here— from ages 1 to 92—there’s a Smart Games for you. Their travel editions (pictured here with the foxes, bunnies and mushrooms) are the perfect size for stockings. Larger, full-sized versions are great gifts for under the tree! The one I have pictured here is called Jump’IN. All of the Smart Games have varying and increasing levels of difficulty. This specific game is for 6+— Holiday was able to jump in (no pun intended) and play, but even my husband (Google engineer) was challenged by some of the harder challenges towards the back of the book. Find it here

Bananagrams Game: In my “young adult” days, my friends and I loved playing what we called Speed Scrabble. These days, someone has capitalized on Speed Scrabble by taking the same idea (mostly) and creating Bananagrams. As a homeschooling mama, I feel like there are so many wonderful ways to utilize these letter tiles for building early literacy and far beyond! Find it here

Mobi The Numerical Tile Number Game in a Whale Pouch: In the same spirit of Banangrams, we have Mobi which is a tiled number game. Think Scrabble with numbers with all the operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division)— you can use as many (or as few) operations as you’d like and make it as challenging or as simple as you’d like. Find it here

Instax Film: I’ve recommended the Instax instant camera several times on the blog. As I know many of you already have these cameras at home, Christmas stockings are a GREAT time to stock up on film! Holiday has gone through phases with her Instax camera. It sat for almost two years, but now at 8 she’s taken a renewed interest in it and uses it ALL THE TIME. There are all kinds of cute options for film if you want more than just the plain white, but plain white is usually your best value. (Side note- it’s all called “mini” film, I know that throws some people off sometimes). Find it here

Instax Instant Camera: Think Polaroid, but smaller. Holiday first got her camera four years ago when she was four. She used it regularly for a few months (I bought film in bulk at Costco), but then she kind of fizzled on it for awhile. However, over the past year, she has taken a renewed interest in it and uses is constantly. Right now, she has a bulletin board by her desk and takes selfies with every friend and family member who visits and is creating a friend wall— it’s so adorable! They come in a variety of colors, some of the deluxe packs with film are going to be your best route. Find it here

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Crocodile Creek Cylinder Puzzles: Great quality puzzles that will fit into a stocking? Yes please! Crocodile Creek has lots of beautiful, high quality puzzles with every theme imaginable. Most of the poster versions in the cylinder containers are 100-200 pieces. The “poster puzzles” also include a poster of the entire image. Find it here

Hazel Village Stuffed Animals: The amazing fox and mouse stuffed animals in adorable scarves are from Hazel Village. Another favorite, wonderful company I’ve featured before. They are heirloom quality stuffed friends with adorable clothing options that add to the timeless appeal. They just make me so happy every time I see them in Holiday’s room! Find it here

Maileg Matchbox Mice: See links above

Hydro Flask (aka The Best Ever Kids Water Bottle): Well, actually, pretty much the best drinking bottles for everyone, for all time— seriously, they’re that good! They are of the “ice stays solid for 24-48 hours,” and far surpasses Yeti variety. This specific one is the perfect size for kids. Find it here or Find everything Hydro Flask here

The Best Comfy Slipper Socks with No-Slip Soles: These comfy house socks with grippers are just begging to be added to your kids’ Christmas stockings. The ones I have pictured are from Hanna Andersson, BUT I recently discovered equal amazingness on AMAZON and in perfect Christmasy hues! Find it here

Kids Bluetooth Headphones: Gotta love gifts that are both adorable and practical. I have previously recommended the Lil’ Gadgets brand of bluetooth headphones in the past. Holiday’s finally broke after nearly 4 years of heavy use and I replaced with these ones from Riwbox and have found them to be even better. They are way more versatile, connect more efficiently and don’t need to use a cord (The Lil’ Gadgets ones require a cord for some devices). Don’t be thrown off by the pink— they come in several ADORABLE color schemes! Find it here

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Fandex: Info and links listed above

Peaceable Kingdom Card Games: Small card games are a great stocking stuffer if you don’t already have these in your game stash. Peaceable Kingdom makes nice, heavy quality, coated cards with vibrant illustrations. Find Go Fish Here or Find Old Maid Here (note: some of the reviewers weren’t crazy about this specific set of Old Maid cards, so I linked a variety of brands)

Eeboo Create a Story: Your budding storytellers will LOVE the Create a Story card games from Eeboo. I only have the Mixed Up Fairy Tales version pictured, but there are quite a lot of these sets, with all different amazing themes to choose from! Find it here

Rory’s Story Cubes: Another great stocking stuffer for ALL ages! I love how these rolling cube story games develop a child’s narrating and story telling abilities. These are truly great for the whole family! Find it here

Uno Cards: Uno was one of my favorite games as a child, and it’s an enduring favorite for Holiday too. We play a LOT of board games around here, but Uno regularly makes it into the mix. I don’t think this Wellie Wishers themed set is available any longer, BUT there are all kinds of themed sets or just the regular version. Find it here

Jacks: Aunts and Grandmas alike seem to love playing Jacks with the kids. This is a great little game to have around for the Christmas season (and Holiday approved!) Find it here

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Melissa and Doug Stacking Snowman: This little guy has been around since Holiday’s first Christmas and it is still well loved. It now mostly sits on the book shelves with our Christmas books. This one is available on Prime for AFTER Christmas delivery, BUT you can get it in time from Walmart! Find it here If you really need everything from Amazon Prime, find this adorable (not pictured) Stacking Penguin, also from Melissa and Doug HERE

Mudpuppy Alphabet Magnets: These come in two color schemes if this set is too girly for you. The patterns and color are so vibrant and engaging. We have used these magnets in countless ways throughout the years for both learning time and play time! Find it here Find lots of other adorable Mudpuppy magnet sets HERE

Schylling Taxi Cab and School Bus: These are super adorable, stand-the-test-of-time, must haves. We brought the taxi cab home from New York City and Holiday has had (and loved) the school bus forever. Pull them back and watch them take off! Find the taxi cab HERE find school bus HERE

Mini Flashlights: Something about a kid and flashlights! Get this 4 pack of minis in great colors with glow-in-the-dark handles! Find it here

The Christmas Eve Tree Mini Pop-Up Book: Totally delightful little book (and I love how the taxi cab toy fits in with the city theme!) This is a great Christmas read to add to your collection. Children, young and old alike, will love these pop-ups! Find it here (this link is for Barnes and Noble to ensure Christmas delivery). See it HERE to see the Amazon review and information

Mudpuppy (NOT JUST FOR GIRLS) Diaries: ALL kids like to have their thoughts and ideas under lock and key! While we have this horse diary from Mudpuppy, there’s a theme out there for every kid— including dinosaurs, robots, pirates and more! Find it here

Chunkies Paint Sticks: I have blogged and raved about these more times than I can count. Still a favorite around here. One of our favorite ways to create with them is to draw outlines and then go back in with water colors as the paint sticks will resist the paint! We’ve made so many adorable creations with these! Find it here

Mungyo Soft Chalk Pastel Set: This is the perfect chalk pastel starter set for kids. I enjoy using this set myself. There’s a great selection of colors and the chalk lays beautifully. Find it here

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Bluetooth Headphones, Chalk Pastels, and Schylling School Bus: Links and info above

NOYO Color Gel Crayons, Nontoxic, With Water Colors Effects: NOYO Crayons are really fun to use, add a water paintbrush like the ones listed directly below for an amazing effect that’s all washable! Find it here

Small Meaning Watercolor Brush Set: These watercolor brushes are a MUST HAVE for kids! The brushes, with a variety of brush tips, have a water reservoir in each brush! It always seems like the water cups are inevitably tipped over onto everyone’s art work, so I LOVE that the water is contained in the brush! Find it here

The Erasable Markers I’m Always Talking About: This is my, hands-down, favorite for every stocking, Easter basket, and birthday gift. These amazing erasable markers are a must-have. The colors lays down vibrantly and they erase easily! No more fear of using markers on permanent or school projects! Find it here

Crayola Model Magic: Model Magic is so addictively fun to play with! Lots less mess than Play-Doh- not to mention the potential for Play-Doh disasters. Model Magic is way easier to use than clay- plus, it sets up and dries out for lasting creations! The perfect stocking stuffer! Find it here

Ooly Double Dip, Double Tip Scented Markers: We just got these last week and they were an instant favorite! Thick tip on one end and a fine tip on the opposite end, all with super fun scents! These are an after Christmas item on Amazon BUT, will arrive by 12/24 when purchase directly from Ooly’s site! Find it here

The Miracle Melting Everything: We discovered the Miracle Melting sets a few years ago and now have them for pretty much every holiday. They’re much like silly putty, but have fun, plastic accessories included to build a snowman or decorate a Christmas tree, etc! Find it here

Pelikan Watercolor Paint Box: This is an awesome set of watercolor paints for kids. It comes in a great plastic box with stacking trays as well as palette wells to mix your own colors. We have used this regularly for several years now and it is still going strong. Find it here

Kids Headlamp: My husband loves his headlamp and Holiday has followed suit! The one we have pictured is from LL Bean, but there are lots of great ones, ready to ship now, in a variety of colors on Amazon! Find it here

Kids Book Lights: While the above headlamp could double as a book light, there are also lots of great options for kid-friendly book lights for your littlest bookworms! Find it here

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Links and info are listed for all of these items above… except…

Sarah’s Silks: There are actually two items here— mostly what you’re seeing is the Giant Rainbow Playsilk. This one measures 9ft x 3ft and has endless possibilities for play. Around here, it is most often used for fort building. Find the HUGE rainbow silk HERE Sitting on top of the rainbow silk is the rainbow silk wand from Sarah’s Silks Rainbow Streamer Wand. This is available in several color varieties. Find it here

Christmas Faves for HER

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WHY I LOVE IT: This apron is actually on my own Christmas list this year. I love hot tea and I love all my British dramas, so this apron has a spot waiting for it in my kitchen. Check out the adorable closeup of the print below!

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Closeup of London-themed Apron

WHY I LOVE IT: Because I love tea and Palais Des Thes is my most favorite brand! I took Holiday to High Tea at the Plaza Hotel, NYC. This is the brand of tea they serve there and we’ve both been hooked ever since!

WHY I LOVE IT: See above

WHY I LOVE IT: So on last year’s list, I shared with you my favorite tea kettle for heating water on the stove (See It Here). However, tea drinkers know that once you heat the tea, you then need to steep the tea in a pot. For the past few years, I’ve been steeping individual mugs in our PinkyUpTea mugs, but I’ve realized that the taste is even better steeped in a larger pot like this. The strainer fits neatly inside allowing you to steep loose leaf or bagged tea. The top comes off easily to make cleaning simple. This is just a really great, solid teapot. I shared it below in my favorite colors— all the same product.

WHY I LOVE IT: Hydro Flask is the best insulated cup on the market right now. I bought our first one three years ago when Holiday needed an extra large water bottle for horseback riding camp. Even in triple degree temperatures, I found ice that lasted nearly two full days. These days, I use the 40 ounce full time as my daily water bottle.

WHY I LOVE IT: I’ve realized through the years that I just feel SO much better without being loaded down with sugar (and all the junk that converts to sugar in your body). Someone had given me a very dark version of Lily’s and I wasn’t a fan. Then a friend encouraged me to try one of the milk varieties and I WAS HOOKED. Even though it is “milk chocolate” I think it has a slightly darker taste. It is sweetened with Stevia as well as some erythritol. This particular Milk Chocolate Almond is the only flavor of Lily’s that I like, but it is glorious!!! My little insider trick is to eat each rectangle with 2-3 almonds. It’s just the perfect ration of salt and sweety. So, So good. You will probably get sticker shock. They are pretty pricey everywhere. For my local friends, I’ve been able to find them consistently at Whole Foods, Tom Thumb, as well as Central Market.

WHY I LOVE IT: Must read the description above on the Lily’s Chocolate. These are just really good almonds. Don’t get sticker shock it’s for a hefty 3 POUND bag!

WHY I LOVE IT: It’s just a fairly clean, great tasting, grass fed beef stick. When eating low carb, it’s nice to have a convenient protein snack to grab throughout the day. These are my favorite!

WHY I LOVE IT: I mean, they’re the most fantastic leggings of all time!!! Anyone who knows me, knows I live in leggings. That coupled with the fact that I’m always on the lookout for the absolute best version of everything put me on, what I thought, was an endless search for the absolute BEST pair of leggings. I think the search is over with the Zella Live-In High Waist Leggings. They are just the perfect blend of materials. They are thick, but not hot— they BREATHE (which is a commodity when it comes to leggings). They also stay put— no rolling. If I had to rank my all time favorite leggings, these are VERY MUCH at the #1 spot (#2 is Spanx Medium Compression Leggings, #3 Soma Slimming Legging)

WHY I LOVE IT: Besides the fact that it’s on a MAJOR SALE RIGHT NOW, it’s just a beautiful, soft, cozy duster sweater. It’s on the lighter side which is awesome for everyday wear. It can be dressed up, or thrown over your favorite leggings to snuggle at home.

WHY I LOVE IT: This is just a beautiful shirt. It’s tailored, but long— really more like a tunic length. It is SOOOO flattering. Just note that it runs on the roomy side, so if you’re between sizes, you might want to order down on this one. AND IT’S ON SALE!!!!

WHY I LOVE IT: This is the tunic you buy one of and then go back and order in every other color. It is SOOOO ridiculously soft, you’ll want to live in it. It’s a nice long length to cover your booty and wear with leggings. It’s sized generously— I seriously realized I could wear it in three different sizes— I just ended up buying based on length for how I wanted it to fit. A lot of colors are on backorder online, but if you live near a store- they seem well stocked. Local readers, there’s a large store at Park and Preston and also Southlake Town Square!

WHY I LOVE IT: I’ve seen Bombas advertised in my social media feed, but didn’t really look much into the hype… until finally I did. And wow, that’s all my husband or I want to wear now. These ankle ones are a super breathable blend of materials. They keep your feet warm but never sweaty.

WHY I LOVE IT: So these are the first Bombas I tried that absolutely hooked me. They are the perfect blend of materials and THEY STAY IN PLACE- no sliding down your heel. I even wear these with all my favorite winter boots and they are perfection. I need more (Hint, Hint Family!)

WHY I LOVE IT: These bras have changed the bra game for me. I’m just a weird size and, no matter how many times I was measured, just could never find what really worked well for me until I took a chance on the True and Co Scoop Neck Bra. Wow, They are the best, most flattering and most comfortable bras I have ever worn. I know this really comes down to your sizing and what works best for you. I’ve also tried the “lift” version of this bra and really like it as well— it’s just a tiny big stronger material for life. THIS COLOR POSTED IS ON SALE FOR LESS THAN HALF OFF- HURRY BEFORE THEY’RE GONE!!!

WHY I LOVE IT: Late this summer as the fall catalogs started rolling in, I went on search for the perfect leather hobo bag. I wanted something soft and somewhat slouchy, but I still wanted structure. When I stumbled across this bag, I knew I had found exactly what I was looking for! Only, I have quite a few bags in the brown tones, so I opted for the midnight below. I HAVE NOT BEEN DISAPPOINTED. It is beautifully made, sits on your shoulder perfectly and just really feels like a luxury bag.

WHY I LOVE IT: Benefit has become my go-to brand through the years. In reality, I have quite the eclectic mix of makeup when it comes to brands, but Benefit is by far the most popular. This is just an AMAZING palette for bronzing, blush and rosy highlighters. I’m not all that much of a makeup person, but I use the palette pretty much every day.

WHY I LOVE IT: Tweezerman just makes the best tweezers ever. I specifically love the little pointed end on these because they make it easy to get even the most microscopic hairs— especially when coupled with my favorite magnification mirror listed below.

WHY I LOVE IT: Winter brings with it dry skin and lips. When your lips really need a strong moisture boost— this stuff is AMAZING. I got a sample of this many moons ago when I had a subscription to BirchBox and have bought it regularly every since. Even when Holiday has a cold and gets a chapped nose— I put this stuff on it and it’s better within hours. This is my winter lip rescue go to.

WHY I LOVE IT: When I just need everyday, all the time lip moisture, I’ve fallen in love with this one by OM4Men. I know, I know— it’s for men???! On one of our recent spa visits, these were sitting on the checkout counter and I had forgotten my regular chapstick, so I picked this one up. I love the scent and that it’s very moisturizing without being overly thick or sticky. I know it’s pricey for lip balm— but I keep a stash now because I love them that much.

WHY I LOVE IT: Winter weather means a more intense moisturizer and Clinique’s Moisture Surge never disappoints. It is not heavy AT ALL. It absorbs right into your skin and just leaves you with a light, silky finish. It also dries very quickly which I really appreciate. If my face is especially dry, I’ll apply, let dry, and then add a second layer of this.

WHY I LOVE IT: So I admittedly bought this tin of hand creams because they are just gorgeous. Follow the link- it’s a gorgeous floral tin with all 12 of these luxurious French hand creams. It is such a great, healing hand cream. My hands just get so dry between the winter weather and all the holiday cooking, baking, and subsequent dishes. I keep these stashed near all my sinks and in my bags and purses.

WHY I LOVE IT: For years I’ve searched for just the right planner. Especially with homeschooling, I needed a monthly overview, plus space to write lots of daily details. I’ve tried all the big name planners and I’ll use them for awhile and then they’ll fall by the wayside for months at a time. That was, until I discovered Emily Ley Daily Planners. Now I seriously cannot live without it! I’ve just never been able to successfully acclimate to digital planners and this was the answer for me. I did notice this fall that both Target and Office Depot had her products. Follow her IG page to see when her new collections launch as they do normally sell out quickly.

WHY I LOVE THESE: Paper Mate Flare are technically a felt tip marker, but don’t bleed through for me. I just love the variety of colors and how effortlessly they write. You can get these anywhere— give them a try— you won’t be disappointed!

WHY I LOVE THIS: Our local bakery has a little gift section and early last spring, a beautiful lemony notebook caught my attention while I was waiting to check out. I brought it home and the rest is history. Goodness knows, I’m a sucker for beautiful AND practical office supplies. These notebooks are BIG, they’re sturdy and they have pockets— oh, did I mention they’re REALLY PRETTY?!!!

WHY I LOVE IT: I do a lot of reading, studying and, consequently, highlighting. It bothers me so much when my highlighters bleed through the pages of my books and notebooks. One day, I stumbled upon these on Amazon and gave them a whirl. THEY ARE SO GOOD!!! They’re just the right size. I love the variety of pretty pastel colors which aren’t easy to find in highlighters. THEY NEVE BLEED and they’re really inexpensive.

WHY I LOVE IT: If you’ve ever visited my home, you’ll know that black and white accents are just kind of my thing. I just love the beauty and simplicity of these little personalized notebooks. They make such GREAT GIFTS— I seriously buy them for everyone! You will too once you try one of your own!

WHY I LOVE IT: I love reading at night and my husband loves sleeping, so cue the LuminolLite. One the most highly rated book lights, is RECHARGEABLE, and gets about 40 hours of light per charge! Best of all… I mean, it’s Tiffany Blue!!!!

WHY I LOVE IT: As stated above, black and white is just kind of my thing— I have pops of black and white stripes all throughout my house. The last few years, Target has had a specialty line of premium Christmas wrapping paper called Sugar Paper. I always look for it to come in stores each year because it’s seriously just the most gorgeous and high quality wrapping paper ever. They always have unique color schemes that you can use all year long too. This year, I was excited to see that the line had been expanded to carry a few other things including this super adorable table runner. I folded it in half and am currently using on my breakfast table. I’ve already had three people ask me where they could get one too!

WHY I LOVE IT: Super practical and fun picnic tote. Plaid or patterned on one side and waterproof fabric on the opposite side— all folds up EASILY into a convenient tote. Great to throw in my bike basket (see my favorite bike and basket at the end of this post!)

WHY I LOVE IT: If you bake often with apples, this is pretty much a must-have. It peels, cores, and slices your apples in seconds. I’ve seen other versions that have very similar functionality, but this one from WS is nice and heavy duty, inexpensive and worth every penny.

WHY I LOVE IT: David and I pretty much don’t know HOW WE SURVIVED WITHOUT THIS VACUUM. Seriously! This is the Shark Ion Duo Flex. I have never had a cordless vacuum actually be a great vacuum on heavier area rugs and thick carpeting, BUT THIS ONE IS. It seamlessly switches from hardwood floors, to area rug, to carpeting with ease. It comes with two batteries— we always keep one in the charger so if one runs out, the other one is ready to go. I’ve also had issues with stick vacuums not staying upright when not in use, this one bends over, latches into place with a convenient carrying handle. The “flex” also allows it to bed the other direction and effortlessly vacuum under your couches, beds and large furniture pieces. Need to vacuum your stairs— it’s SOOO easy with this cordless stick vacuum. I paid $400 for this one 6 months ago and it is now ON SALE FOR RIGHT AROUND $275. I’m not even bitter about this because it was worth every penny of that $400!

WHY I LOVE IT: It’s cordless. It’s rechargeable, but goes weeks at a time on the same charge. It has an auto sensor and automatically turns on the lighting when you look at it! Even better, it has a touch pad on the right side that allows you to easily adjust your brightness settings. The lighting is as close to natural light as you can get on a makeup mirror. You will see wrinkles and hairs you never knew you had— but better you find them than someone else!!! Just beware that this along with the Tweezerman tweezers posted above can equate to unaccounted amounts of time spent at your vanity.

WHY I LOVE IT: So my sister had this caddy on her birthday list, so naturally I ordered it for myself— ha! (Of course I ordered her one too). And then I went back and ordered several more because I like to organize and this caddy is awesome for a lot of things. However, it has been a game changer for my makeup. I’m not a person who loves to keep a ton of makeup lying around. I like to keep a fresh supply of the stuff I really love and it all fits, along with my brushes, perfectly in this caddy!

WHY I LOVE IT: If you have not yet experienced Barefoot Dreams, you just don’t know what you’re missing. It’s just THE softest, most cozy, but not hot fabric of all time. I’ve heard bloggers rave about Barefoot Dreams, but just never gave it a second thought until a few months back. I got myself the cardi (below), lived in it for a week, bought several for Christmas gifts and hoping for a second one under my own tree this year. You have to feel it to believe it!

WHY I LOVE IT: Read all about my obsession with Barefoot Dreams above!

WHY I LOVE IT: I received this bike for Mother’s Day and it is easily one of my all-time, most favorite gifts EVER! We ride nearly every day, weather permitting. It’s comfortable, adorable, has 7 speeds and an AMAZING detachable basket. We’ve taken it on vacation with us, bike all through our neighborhood, to the park, on harder trails and it has fit the bill every time!

WHY I LOVE IT: The basket is a separate accessory you need to buy— but it’s seriously a must-have. When we’re out and about riding, we put all the jackets in here, water bottles and even a full picnic lunch!

Christmas Picks 2018: Our Favorite Gifts of the Year

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Welcome to this year’s favorite Christmas gift picks for 2018! As always, all the pictures below are direct links for ordering- just tap and it will open in a separate window. Over the course of the year I’ve found myself thinking a lot about the “why’s” of toys. When I think back to my own childhood, I still see the toys that were most dear to me and I realize what a powerful way toys have of shaping childhood and our childhood memories. It’s no secret that I love beautiful toys. Of course toys for aesthetic sake aren’t as meaningful if they aren’t also beloved and played with by the children for whom they are purchased. Many of you know that we are a homeschooling family. Taking on the task of home education constantly makes you think and re-think through the question of “why we do what we do?” This nagging question can be both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is doing things with intentionality. The “curse” is laying awake at night wondering if you’re doing the right thing or enough of the right things.  One thing is for sure, with having children at home full-time, you become quickly aware that you are in charge of their every waking moment and the gate keeper for how they will spend those moments. During childhood, I want to be the main voice influencing how my child’s affections are ordered. I want to be able to show them what I think is worthy, what carries truth, beauty and goodness and why. Toys are synonymous with childhood and I think that they can be an extension of your family’s values. It’s important to me that my children have a rich interior life and I want to provide books and toys that feed curiosity, wonder and imagination, rather than distract from the important work of childhood.  You’ll see more items below still focused around Little House on the Prairie since it is still a big deal around here. Laura Ingalls Wilder has a lovely quote, “Home is the nicest word there is.” I think there’s much for us all to learn about the essence of home and how to carefully curate the things within it (toys included) which speak of the things we hold most dear. Regardless of your schooling path,  I hope you find an inspiring toy, or two, to put under your tree this year. A toy to spark new worlds of imagination to explore. Look around at what you already have in your home and don’t be afraid to ask yourself “why?” Spend some time contemplating what you’d like to see more of in your home and if there are toys that add value to what matters most to you. I feel like we once had it all- the valuable and worthy toys… as well as all the rest. Over the last two years, we have whittled down our toys to what reflects our family’s values. This year I want to share with you what’s been most enjoyed in our home.


Everything Little House on the Prairie 

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Laura is still a big deal around here. Holiday received several Little House themed gifts for Christmas last year. Her Easter basket for 2018 was Little House themed and her 8th birthday party, just a few weeks ago was (you guessed it) Little House themed! How did she start loving all things Little House? Why books of course! I’ve featured them before, but they bear repeating. The My First Little House Books are simplified stories taken right from the original Laura Ingalls Wilder series. While we love the individual picture books, “A Little House Picture Book Treasury” is a collection of 6 of the 13 My First Litttle House Books stories. This is one of my favorite books to gift little ones!

This is the entire collection of all thirteen My First Little House books:

Holiday still loves these first picture books. I think that being familiar with those main stories made moving into the chapter books even more enjoyable. I will say that some of the chapter books have very long descriptions of everyday chores. If your child isn’t into listening or reading these, you may want to try the audiobook version. We LOVE the Little House series narrated by Cherry Jones! Follow Link HERE.

Research shows that when children’s hands are busy while they’re being read aloud to (or listening to audio books) they are actually able to engage with the book more easily. From all of this Little House reading, Holiday has loved to play with her Little House toys.

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Holiday with her cousins, Emme and Eliza, doing laundry the pioneer way! There’s a local farm we love to visit that has a clothes washing staton and clothesline set up for children to play. ALL of the kids love to wash clothes, so we made our own old-fashioned washing station at home. We have a retractable clothes line that’s attached to Holiday’s outdoor play house which can be attached to our fence. Add to that some clothespins, an old fashioned washing board, a big galvanized tub and a bar of Ivory soap and they’re all set! This is a super fun hit at our house with all the kids! All the adorable pioneer girls costumes are from Kelly’s Costumes on Etsy. She makes matching doll versions too! I have purchased quite a few costumes from her shop and her craftsmanship is impeccable! Link to Kelly’s Costumes HERE.

Find the Retractable Clothesline Here

Find the Galvanized Washing Tub Here

Find the Washing Board Here

 

I’ve featured this barn playset on my blog many times and it is STILL one of the most played with toys at our house! Holiday used it constantly to play Little House on the Prairie with so I was ecstatic to add the adorable Ingalls peg doll family (below). The barn is from Jacob’s Wooden Toys (via Etsy). The doll set is also from a very favorite Etsy shop, My Pretty Peggy.

For Holiday’s 8th Little House birthday, her big gift was a dollhouse-sized version of the Ingall’s family prairie house. This set comes with a gorgeous set of furniture that’s very well made. Since we already had the peg dolls, you can request to purchased without their included crochet version which translates to a significant savings. The dollhouse is from ImagineNationShop on Etsy.

For animals for her barn, the Schleich and Terra brands are the perfect scale. Target generally carries Terra on an end cap in their toy department. Schleich are readily available on Amazon.

Another gift Holiday received for her birthday was this covered wagon from Ostheimer. I AM SO IMPRESSED BY THESE OSTHEIMER VEHICLES!!!! So much so that I HAD to say that in ALL CAPS! Seriously! They are so well designed and sturdy for children. If you want to hook up horses to the covered wagon, you will also need the harness piece listed below. Some retailers include the harness piece automatically with the wagon and other sell it as an individual item. The harness works with the tractor, horse box and other Ostheimer vehicles with which you’d want to attach animals. The harness is easy enough for little ones to attach and is ingeniously designed to be sturdy and work well. I like that you can still easily pull and push the wagon around with the horses attached. I was so impressed with the covered wagon, I decided to go ahead and order the horse box and tractor as Christmas presents for this year for her.

Note: The link for this item is Canadian pricing, so a little less expensive when converted to USD. Also, the harness IS included with this one- the harness alone is around $23US

Note: The link for this item is Canadian pricing, so a little less expensive when converted to USD. Also, the harness IS included with this one- the harness alone is around $23US

If you need to purchase the harness separately

If you need to purchase the harness separately

Link is without harness

Link is without harness

Link is without harness

Link is without harness

A few other Little House favorites

All the Christmas stories from all your favorite Little House books in one place!

All the Christmas stories from all your favorite Little House books in one place!

All Things Sewing and Crafting

Hearing about all of Laura and Mary’s sewing, crafting, and cooking responsibilities has been very inspiring for Holiday. We started last year with this sewing board from another favorite Etsy shop, FromJennifer. NOTE: I will feature several things in this blog for FromJennifer. ORDER FAST! Her shipping cut off is THIS WEEK on Saturday, November 17th for guaranteed Christmas delivery!

Once your child has mastered basic hand stitching, they can make all kinds of cool things! Here’s a favorite book for kid’s hand sewing projects:

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Melissa and Doug has these super cute, no-sewing-required, blanket kits in two color ways that are another favorite gift for the year!

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My resourceful friend and neighbor, Erin gave me a heads up about this awesome children’s sewing machine which Holiday received as a gift from my parents for her birthday. It is a very nice quality, full functioning sewing machine- an excellent choice for beginners! It comes in three adorable colors to choose from!

Some great books to get your started on your sewing journey!

LOG CABIN BUILDING

Little House in the Big Woods goes into detail about Pa and Mr. Edwards building their log house. Lincoln Logs are the perfect way to extend imagination. They really are the original STEM toy! The more we’ve played with them at our house, I realize what a great toy they really are. It takes some engineering gray natter to thing through how to balance and build sturdy structures with Lincoln Logs. One of our favorite family vacation spots in Big Cedar in the Ozarks. In the registration building there, they have a giant Lincoln Log table. Holiday always loves that as our first Big Cedar stop and has commented many times how much more fun it is to build when there is a plethora of the bigger building pieces which can be scarce in the individual sets. Upon our return from our latest Big Cedar trip, I purchased THREE of the anniversary Lincoln Log sets and then combined them into this adorable caddy from Magnolia Hand and Hearth for Target. This Magnolia Hearth and Hand Caddy is no longer available on Target.com, but is still in stock in many stores and ON CLEARANCE for less than $20! Check here to see if it’s at your store!

I specifically like this particular set of Anniversary Lincoln Logs because they have all wood and only wood pieces. Many of the more modern sets have plastic pieces included— so instead of building the roof with individual wooden pieces, it’s all just one, big plastic piece (insert two thumbs down here).

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BOOKS, BOOKS, AND BOOKISH INSPIRED GOODNESS

We are all about books here and we love the classics. Penguin Books has been producing the most beautiful versions of the classics. Their children’s classics often go by the name Puffin Classics. These are books that are meant to stay on your shelves forever. They are scattered all through my house and bring me so much joy every time I see them! These titles can be purchase individually or in the boxed set.


Again, one of my go-to Etsy shops, MyPrettyPeggy has this irresistible Anne and Diana set (with the option to buy Gilbert too).

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I’ve had my eye on this Anne of Green Gables costume for quite some time for Holiday. I ended up reaching out to Kelly’s Costumes and she made me a custom Anne outfit which will be under our tree this year! Link to Kelly’s Costumes HERE . NOTE: I purchased these cute boots to match Holiday’s Laura Ingalls and Anne Shirley costumes from Khols!

The first book in a new early reader Anne chapter book series by Kallie George just released a few months back! Follow her work to see when more books will be added to the collection! I will say that Holiday has read the unabridged, full Anne of Green Gables, but was still SUPER delighted with this easy picture/chapter book version.

Another wonderful Anne picture book by Kallie George, illustrated by one of my favorites- Genevieve Godbout

We have become a hot tea family through and through. As part of our homeschool week, Holiday and I have regular Poetry Teatime. We read and recite seasonal poetry and picture books. We love all things Beatrix Potter and so when I went on the hunt for a “real”, fancy, porcelain tea set, I couldn’t pass this one up! This is considered a child’s tea set and comes in three sizes. I ordered more than one and can attest, you want the large size. Even the large size is still child sized, much smaller than this and it’s virtually unusable for real tea.

If you think your little ones might not be into real tea, this one is the favorite of our entire family! (At the time of creating this blog, my favorite flavor is showing as unavailable on Amazon, though I order in there every few weeks. I’m confident it will be back in stock very soon!).

Our Family’s Favorite Tea

REAL Sugar Cubes (which are absolutely necessary!)

CLUB ADVENTURE

This bow and arrow set is a repeat on the blog, but it is one of THE most popular toys at our house and one of my go-to birthday gifts for cousins. This is also from Etsy shop FromJennifer I mentioned above. REMEMBER- you must order by Saturday, November 17th for guaranteed Christmas delivery. Her bow and arrow sets come in two sizes, we’ve only purchased the large and it has been perfect for ages 6-11. We usually order the large bow, quiver and some extra arrows as well. The quiver is well made and super functional— plus it comes in lots of great colors!

The Orboot Adventure Globe is a gift Holiday will receive for Christmas this year, so I don’t have my usual long list of wonderful things to say about it YET! It is, however, well reviewed and I can see it being something she will really enjoy! I probably would not buy it if it were the only globe in our house as it does not have countries and other details without the app. This is the regular globe we have and use often.

I am SO excited to tell you all about Letters From Afar! I’m convinced this is THE best kids subscription out there right now! Each month your child will receive a gorgeous hand-lettered, old-fashioned, snail-mail letter from Isabelle as she travels the globe. It is such a vibrant and living way for geography to come alive to your kids. She writes in a way that truly captures the imagination, you will feel as if you’re walking the city streets, seeing the sights, hearing the sounds and smelling the scents on each of Isabelle’s adventures. We have a special binder that’s just for all of our Letters From Afar. I use page protectors so all our letters can be enjoyed time and time again. Each letter also contains two international stamps to add to your travel collection! You can get all of the details and sign up for Letters Afar by clinking this picture below!

This beautiful flat lay is from IG account @Kindred.Story

This beautiful flat lay is from IG account @Kindred.Story

A MAGICAL CHRISTMAS

Last year at Christmas we had a little cousin gift exchange game and this little Magic Tricks set was one of the gifts I had picked up from Costco. My niece ended up winning this one and it turned out to be THE fan favorite. My niece along with all my nieces and nephews have played with this set ALL year long. I was so excited to see Costco still had some out this year amongst their Christmas toys! It’s not available through Costco’s website, so I don’t have a specific link for you, but definitely check for it in stores!

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This magic set IS available on Amazon and is highly reviewed, so might be a good alternative to the Costco one!

What’s a magician without her hat?! Check out this super cute magic set from Melissa and Doug!

EXTRA, EXTRA!

Two more items we’re excited about over here, but didn’t really fit into any of the above categories! Holiday received this eukelele for her birthday and has been loving it (as has my husband!) We downloaded an app that teaches you to play along to many popular songs. It comes in a variety of super fun colors and it a relatively easy instrument to pick up!

We are big fans of American Girl. I don’t usually post a ton of AG items on my gift blogs because it’s just something you’re into or you’re not! However, I feel like this new remote control car from AG is an AWESOME gift idea no matter what kind of dolls or stuffed animals your kids like to play with! I was surprised when I first saw this car in person that it’s not as big as I was expecting which is a GOOD thing for us! We are maxing out on doll space, but I thought this one was just too awesome to pass up! It fits two 18 inch dolls (or stuffed animals of your choice)!

FOR THE LITTLES

Just wanted to share a couple of my favorite gifts this year for the littlest ones on your list! Dimpl toys are the favorites of babies far and wide. There are two versions to choose from- the original Dimpl (second picture) and this great new one that has colors on one side and shapes on the reverse.

How can you NOT love these puzzles from Fat Brain Toys to order through Amazon?! I’ve ordered MANY of these for gifts already and everyone has gone crazy over them! You can order any name up to 9 letters for one flat rate price.

THE MOST AMAZING BABY BIBS OF ALL TIME!!! When Holiday was itty bitty, I stumbled across these bibs and they became a fast favorite. These days, I buy them for every single baby shower I go to! Without fail, six months down the road, the mom calls me and asks where she can get more of these bibs because they are SO handy and so super adorable! Kamani Designs on Etsy makes a really fantastic product. She doesn’t have them currently listed in her shop, but you may still be able to get one of her art smocks— Holiday is still using hers five years later. I also love and regularly gift her splat mats— perfect for all your messy memory making at home!

Last, but not least, my go-to gift for all the little boys! I’ve gotten rave reviews from all the moms and they’ve said their older boys (and girls) have been just engaged with this set as the younger ones! Maybe this set will be a hit under your tree too!