It's hard to believe Easter is right around the corner! For the past two years, I have been on a major purge of ALL the things. For a person who loves to shop and surround myself with beautiful and high quality items, it has taken me on a journey to find the right balance of things which "spark joy" without turning into clutter that tries to steal my happiness! For me, things must be high quality, beautiful, AND functional. One of the biggest lessons I've learned over these past few years is that with children's toys, more is not better! In fact, when I invested time, carefully paring down Holiday's belongings into high value, beautiful, and functional items, I found that she played SO MUCH MORE than when there were too many things to choose from. When we were left with the best and then I carefully organized and displayed them in a way that allows for easy play, a lot more play and imagination happen.
In view of my purging journey, I cannot, in all good conscience, offer you a list of items which will steal your joy come summer! Instead, I felt it necessary to offer you more practical and thoughtful ideas to add Easter joy to your springtime traditions. I hope you find a thing or two you and your little ones will love as much as we do!
This year's list is set up a little different. There are pictures of a lot, but not all of the items. Click links below each picture to see all the items!
Spring & Summer Wardrobe
Easter obviously coincides with the change of seasons. As the warmer days start approaching, many of us will be switching over closets and drawers for spring and summertime wear. If you'll be buying warm weather gear for your little ones, anyway, why not fill their Easter baskets with items that are both fun AND practical?! Here are some ideas!
Replenish Spring & Summer Toys
Spring is a great time to clean out broken bubble wants, random pieces of sidewalk chalk and sun-bleached pool toys. Throw out the old and start the season with fresh and fun supplies which happen to make GREAT Easter basket fillers!
Finding Dory Shell Race Diving Game
The BEST Personalized Beach Towel (these beach towels are blanket soft wash after wash)
Replenish Art Supplies
I feel like this one is only practical if you take time to get rid of the old stuff! Fresh art supplies really do inspire creativity. The rainy spring season and long summer days will be here before we know it and art is a great boredom buster!
Eeboo Watercolor Paper Pad
Backyard Nature Explorers
We all want to encourage our kids to spend more time outdoors. A great way to accomplish this is to help them fall in love with nature! Here are some of our favorite nature gear items that make amazing Easter basket surprises!
Seedles: Grow the Rainbow Sets (These are amazing! Be sure to choose your correct region)
Silbey Backyard Bird Guides (Choose your region of North American to find birds native to your backyard!)
Our Favorite Spring Reads
To quote one of my very favorite characters, Dorcas Lane from Larkrise to Candleford, books are my one weakness! As a homeschool mom, I am surrounded in children's literature 24/7. I teach as many subjects as possible using wonderful, beautiful, and lyrical children's books. I used to think that we had enough books and that Holiday was too old for picture books once she was fluently reading chapter books. I could NOT have been more wrong. Cultivating a wonderful home library has been one of the best investments we've ever made. At age 7 and a voracious reader, Holiday is still absolutely delighted by worthwhile picture books. Most are written with the intent of a parent reading to a child, so the language is sophisticated and beneficial.
Tasha Tudor's A Tale for Easter (one of my favorite children's illustrators)
Eloise Wilkin Stories: A Little Golden Book Collection (Also a favorite illustrator- this is my absolute favorite collection of Little Golden Book stories, especially for your littlest ones)
When God Made You by Jane Meyer (different book, same title as one above)
Egermeier's Bible Story Book (I like this one for kids who are reading chapter books fluently on their own)
The Jesus Storybook Bible (My favorite Bible for little ones)
A Few Extra Gift Ideas
Wellie Wishers UNO (Hopefully these come back in stock. $5 and super cute)
Better late than never-- right?! There are still 11 shopping days left until Christmas Eve and, let's face it, WE are always the last ones to buy for! I tried to keep the list confined to what you can still get in time for Christmas, lots on Amazon. They are all tried and true things that I love and use regularly. Hope you love it all as much as I do! Merry Christmas- Lindsay Bennett
This year's Christmas mantle and fireplace. To the right, you'll see my cliche, distressed barnwood ladder. It's an awesome Etsy find and- cliche or not- it makes me happy every time I look at it! Find it below in several color and size selections, available on Amazon Prime!
So I'm slightly OBSESSED with these number hooks. I have three sets of them. One here in my entry way, one in my guest bathroom (pictured below) and I also a set outside for pool towels. Best of all, they're also an Amazon Prime item. Quick tip if you purchase these- take the screws it comes with, stick them in some styrofoam, and spray paint black.
I love really good dish towels, nice and absorbent ones that seem to go a long way. An even bigger bonus for me is when they come out of the dryer and they're nice and crisp, not curling along the edges. These Pacific Home Dish Towels fit the bill perfectly. I prefer them OVER my Williams Sonoma towels! Bonus, there's a red striped set too which is adorable as a hostess or teacher gift this year (it's what I'm giving for hostess gifts and neighbors this year.)
I love a good cloth napkin just as much as a good dish towel. These black and white buffalo check are a year-round match at my house (I have a lot of black and white accents.) The BEST part about these napkins is that they're wrinkle-proof! Seriously, pull them out of the dryer, fold, and they're ready to go for the next time. NOTE- this price is for a set of TEN! If you want to make this a super special gift, have the corners monogrammed with a single initial.
I've had a serious throw blanket addiction for many years now. This is my current fave- Merino Wool Buffalo Check Blanket from Woolly Mammoth. If you do not like the smell of wool, this isn't for you, because it's all wool and wool smells like wool. This blanket is quite large and it keeps you perfectly warm, but not sweaty, as only wool can do. It's the perfect layering blanket for your bed as well- breathable, but keeps the coziness in perfectly.
Some of my regular blog followers might be familiar with my story of how I started getting sick from our old, nonstick pots and pans. That nonstick coating is full of toxic chemicals which can start leeching into your food over time. As soon as I realized the source of the constant headaches, I switched to cast iron cookware, namely Le Creuset. They are pricey, but they will last beyond your lifetime. Recently, I discovered Staub Cookware. They are extremely comparable to Le Creuset, still spendy, but less so than LC. The other thing I really like about this French Oven is that it has a lid! Most of the LC pieces don't have lids and there are just many times that I found myself wishing I had one. This French Oven is 3.75 quarts. I use it for anything you would use a skillet for. It's a little smaller and more shallow than your traditional Dutch Oven, but I love the depth for catching grease and splatters. This is my go-to pot for nearly everything. It's even big enough for family-size batches of soup and chili, but small enough to fry eggs in if you so choose. The color and rooster and just perfection for my taste, but there are lots of other colors to choose from too. See all the Staub on Amazon here:
I own these Woolrich Flannel Night Shirts in every color available. They are so comfy and fit true to size to a little roomy. Better yet, the style is a little ambiguous-- is it a night shirt or is it a cute tunic/ dress? I "may" wear as both. If your size or color selection is sold out, look around online-- lots of outdoorsy type companies carry Woolrich products.
I think almost every year's Well Styled Mama list has featured some pair of slippers. These are my newest slipper and they're from Vionic. If you're not familiar with this brand, you should be. Vionic makes footwear that have full support in them which is a dream come true for someone, like me, with plantar fasciitis. Since purchasing and wearing these slippers most days, almost all of my PF symptoms have disappeared full time! Worth every penny!
I live most of my life in leggings and there just isn't a better, more flattering pair out there than these Active Medium Compression Leggings from Spanx! They are light and give you the perfect amount of smoothing shape without causing any subsequent bulging or weird lines anywhere else. Don't be scared by the "compression" term-- they are just slimming, you won't feel sucked in at all. I found them to be true to size.
My newest, favorite find is this Curtis Air Pot. I bought three of these to keep Hot Cocoa Hot and ready to serve a party for 65+ people I hosted this week. You can use these for coffee or any other hot beverage. I made a large batch of cocoa on the stove in my large stock pot and it filled all three of my air pots perfectly. It kept the cocoa amazingly hot ALL NIGHT long! Each one served about 10 large 16 ounce cups of cocoa. Note, these have a glass interior. As other reviewers have noted, be sure to open up all the way and make sure your glass survived the holiday shipping craziness. Out of the three I ordered, one of mine did have broken glass. Amazon was awesome and overnighted me a replacement I had in hand within two days of receiving the broken one. These are SO easy to use and solve such a such a big problem of keeping a large batch of hot drinks going all night!
Earlier this year, I found these amazing PinkyUp tea items at my local Kroger grocery store and I've been obsessed every since. This 3PC tea mug allows you to steep a perfect single serving of either bag or loose leaf tea. Check it out in pictures below. I love the red for Christmas and Valentine's Day, but the "Hey There Hot Tea" is my daily, go-to, tea mug! And the spoons below... completely divine!
These spoons... they are seriously a must have! Note there are two different sets of these. Amazon only has one set available, but both are available at pinkyuptea.com Each spoon in the set of 2 has a different saying: You're my cup of tea, Hey Sugar, Stir things up, Time for tea-- all adorable!
And just in case you'd like to be a tea drinker, but don't know where to start-- START HERE! I first had this flavor during High Tea at The Plaza Hotel in NYC and it's been hard for me to switch back to anything else because it's just THAT good (well, if you like warm, spicy tea.)
I feel like I keep saying, "I'm obsessed..." in this blog post, but I guess the whole idea is to share what I'm obsessed over this year! Puffin/Penguin Classics are everything you want a hardcover book to be. They are absolutely gorgeous and when you're not devouring the pages, they are SO beautiful on all your open shelving. I have many of these classics (in kid friendly titles) for Holiday, but these are my very own until she's old enough to steal them. Note- Puffin is Penguin's children's brand, but they are all the same company:
So, telling you right off the bat that these bookmarks (and everything else in her Etsy shop) are amazing, but TODAY (December 13, 2017) is the last day to order in time for Christmas-- so hurry on over! I'm ordering these for myself and got Holiday a set for her stocking of all her favorite literary heroines.
The below item is from one of my absolute favorite podcasts, The Read Aloud Revival. Even if you don't tune into this one, you will not find a better bag for your books out there. It has been carefully reenforced to carry a HEAVY load. It even has the perfect zippered pocket inside so you don't have to keep looking for your library card. You won't be disappointed!
Most of this year's post has a relaxing vibe to it. For perfect relaxation, you need the weighted eye mask below filled with flaxseed. You can heat it up in the microwave OR freeze it for whichever you need for headache relief or just to relax. It smells really good and the back has a smooth, satin lining. I bought these for my mom and sisters as soon as I experienced it for myself. The perfect little indulgence...
So if you blow your hair out with a blow dryer, you cannot go another day without the Full Pint Dry Bar Brush. It is a game changer... and maybe even a life changer. If you ever lamented that you can't blow dry your hair perfectly like your stylist, it could very well be because you don't yet have this brush. I even had an expensive brush before this came into my life and this one changed everything! Note: this brush comes in three sizes, this particular one has been the best and easiest to maneuver for me. The Full Pint is the medium size-- there's also a Half Pint and a Double Pint.
So in the past, I've posted about my Chi Touch2 blow dryer, which has also been a game changer. HOWEVER, after using all year, there are 2 things I'd like to change about it (even though it dries your hair so smoothly and in record time.) So, #1, It gets a little heavy in the hand, the Buttercup is slightly lighter. Also, because I'm blowing mine out straight/ smooth, I always use the smoothing attachment and I inevitably knock it off the dryer at least twice which drives me nuts that it doesn't stay on better. So here are two NEW options for you that knock it out of the ballpark (seriously all the DryBar stuff [except for the 3-day Bender which was a miss] are absolutely fantastic.) I like the full size Butterbup, but I like the travel size even better-- and it's so lightweight. Since I still have the full size Chi Touch2, the travel size is perfect for on the go. Once you use a REALLY GOOD blow dryer, you won't be able to settle for what the hotel has there for you. Check around for pricing and free gifts! Some of the gifts with purchase INCLUDE the $40 Full Pint Brush above. Also, if you still have your Ulta 20% off total purchase coupon lying around-- USE IT ON THIS! I'm including the Ulta link below, the extras in it (for the same price are unbeatable)
Those who have followed my blog for awhile know that I have an affinity for classic, wooden toys-- almost as much as my love for beautiful, well-made children's clothing. I also love to fill my home with lovely, timeless things that remind me of a bygone era. A few months ago, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts and the hostesses were discussing how, in earlier decades, people took so much pride in the items they fashioned and created. You couldn't just roll up to your local Walmart... I mean Target... and load up on groceries, cleaning supplies, clothes, home goods and windshield washer fluid. You bought your bread from a local baker who took great pride in their products, crafting them from the finest local ingredients. More than likely, you made a lot of the clothing for yourself and your children. Picking out special patterns while paying attention to the special details like pleats, darts and collars. People took pride in their homes, their flowerbeds and their appearance. Quality mattered more than quantity. Things were made to last, to endure.
As I was listening, it dawned on me that this mentality has a lot to do with my love of boutique children's clothing. I gravitate towards it because it reminds me of my grandparents and that bygone era. Thoughtfully created items made with quality materials, attention to detail and designed to endure. Even more, I love clothes and toys that just allow kids to look and play like kids. As parents, we all know that the years pass by far too quickly. I know I long to preserve that sweetness and innocence as long as possible and surround my children with things which inspire truth, beauty and goodness.
"The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things." -Plato
"Choosing toys is not about 'good toys' versus 'bad toys.' Rather, it's about bringing a new consciousness to selecting children's playthings. Is it beautiful? Does it feel good? Does it leave room for the imagination? Will it inspire imitative play?" -Sarah Baldwin M.S.Ed. and owner of Bella Luna Toys
Without further ado, I endeavored to make this year's list reflect timeless, quality toys which have the ability to endure for generations. I wanted each item to be one that a child from decades past would be able to pick up and immediately know how to play with it. I hope you find a treasure or two to add under your Christmas tree this year.
There are tons of of different sets and themes to choose from at Uncle Goose Blocks. These blocks are like nothing I have ever seen before. The craftsmanship and small details (you can only see when holding in person) are absolutely extraordinary. We have the United States of America set featured below. I was absolutely blown away when we unboxed this set
One side of the block has the # in order of when that state entered the Union (signed the Declaration of Independence.) Another side has the sates abbreviation and is surrounded with embossed elements that tell the state tree, bird, animal and more. Another side shows the state's capital and a final side acts as a puzzle as seen below.
I recently discovered this Etsy shop owner who focuses on quality crafted woodworks for home, school, and play
Bow and Arrow Sets come in two sizes. Arrows have felt ball tips. Bow string is bungee to send arrows the distance!
I was SO thrilled to find this sewing board for Holiday. She has been asking for sewing lessons or a kit to do knitting or crochet and this Mama is clueless! Since plastic canvas isn't really a thing anymore, I thought this was amazing to learn basic stitches and loops! I'm fairly certain this will be one of her most exciting Christmas gifts under the tree this year!
How fun is this little slingshot? I ordered a bunch of these to use as little gifts throughout the holiday season
This might be a new concept for many of you, this is a Waldorf Birthday Ring which is a wonderful tradition for birthdays and other special occasions and holidays. You can find many "birthday ring ornaments" online to decorate for special occasions, seasons and holidays. Holiday is seven and STILL is obsessed with blowing out candles! We also plan to use our birthday ring this year to celebrate the Advent season. You can read more about the Waldorf Birthday Ring Tradition HERE.
This constellations discs are amazing! See the pic below to use sort of like a "shadow puppet" for your budding astronomers. You can see when making selections that $7 is for the basic 6 coins or you can choose the larger set and add on the drawstring bag (which in my opinion is SO awesome and worth it!)
GRIMM's WOODEN TOYS
Grimm is well known as a leader in the toy industry for the natural and sustainable, beautifully toys hand-crafted in Germany. It is worth the time to read about their products on their website. I wholeheartedly believe that you are buying a superior quality toy. Furthermore, they make toys that babies, toddlers and children are so drawn to and delighted to play with. The colors, shapes and textures are irresistible and offer a very open-ended type of creative play.
I think these rainbow nesting blocks are THE quintessential toy from Grimm's. Don't fool yourself into thinking this is simply a toy for the baby/toddler/preschooler age. Even older children are highly engaged with the simple toy and the creative building these curved pieces afford.
Sarah's Silks have been a long-time favorite in our house. Holiday has had the set of play scarves for the past 5 years and uses them for endless types of play. They are often turned into leashes for her stuffed animals or a blue one is used to create a water feature while the green scarf provides a lovely pasture for her toy horses to graze. The silky texture and vibrant colors are super inviting for play
Hearth and hand for target
I immediately fell in love with these two items when I saw the preview of Magnolia's collection for Target, Hearth and Hand. I'm sure these are mass produced and don't have the same wood qualities of other toys listed on this blog, but they are beautiful, wooden and classic.
This Radio Flyer Walker Wagon has been a favorite of our family for years. Holiday learned to walk behind it. I liked this particular toy so much better than the other walker toys because it actually has a little weight to it and doesn't easily tip over. Once little ones are toddling around, it makes a favorite wagon to load blocks and stuffed animals into!
Nova Natural Toys AND CRAFTs
Little house on the prairie
We're kind of obsessed with Little House on the Prairie at our house. When you think of classic, it doesn't get more classic than Little House. In previous years, I listed the whole paperback set of the My First Little House Books which you can find HERE
Recently, I discovered this GORGEOUS treasury of the My First Little House Picture Books. It is just as charming, if not more so, than the individual books. It contains size of the stories with all of the illustrations. It is really a beautiful, well done treasury book. I love the My First Little House series because it is VERY true to the original Little House books by Laura Ingallas Wilder. It pulls out the best of the stories contained in those novels and re-tells them in a simplified, engaging way.
Many of you know, we are American Girl Doll OBSESSED at our house. With Holiday being equally obsessed with Little House, she will be receiving an American Girl custom doll made to look like Laura. If you're into American Girl, you've likely heard of The Queen's Treasures which is a company that makes doll accessories and furniture to fit 18in dolls. A few years back, they came out with an entire Little House on the Prairie Collection. There are a lot of amazing pieces and they've been consistently adding to it. NOTE- THIS IS SOOOO IMPORTANT, if you want to order from The Queen's Treasures, order directly from their site AND REGISTER AN ACCOUNT. WHEN YOU REGISTER, ALL OF THE PRICES WILL DROP SIGNIFICANTLY. When you go to their site, click on the "Log In/ Create an Account" in the top right corner. This covered wagon below ALSO CONVERTS TO A SLEIGH and easily sits two 18 in dolls!
SOOOO... if you're ever read the Little House series, you'll know the story of their Christmas in the Little House in the Big Woods. It was a super special Christmas for Laura because she received her rag doll, Charlotte in addition to her red mittens and peppermint stick the other children received. The Ingalls girls also received Christmas pennies so I LOVED that The Queen's Treasures came out with this doll sized collection of Laura's Christmas gifts!
At age 7, the original Little House series is an easy read for Holiday. This is also a fantastic series to listen to on Audiobook! Audiobook narrators can make all the difference, so I HIGHLY recommend if you listen on audiobook that you get the ones narrated by CHERRY JONES!
There are several different boxed sets of these books, this one is BY FAR my favorite. Well done, beautiful books with wonderful illustrations.
The Little House Christmas Treasury includes stories from all of the Christmases in Wilder's novels-- it really is a wonderful compilation!
Ostheimer Wooden Toys are collectible hand carved figures made in Germany and finished with non-toxic stains and finished with natural oils. Collections include: Family Figures, Fairy Tale Characters, Farm Animals, Woodland Animals, Zoo Animals, and landscape pieces, such as Trees, Fences, Ponds, Grass and much more! There are so many options, check them all out HERE Note, these pieces are quite large!
Maileg is a personal favorite of mine. They make the most delightful tiny mice and bunnies with adorable accessories. We have quite of the few mice in boxes and adore them! Check out some of my favorites from Maileg below:
Teagan White is my FAVORITE children's book illustrator-- you will absolutely fall in love with her characters. I just don't think any child is too old for picture books! The Towering Tree puzzle is a large piece puzzle and is double sided! One side depicts a fall/winter landscape while the other side shows all the forest animals enjoying spring/summer. It is DELIGHTFUL and such an adorable collection to any collection!
This alphabet book is so well written and also takes readers through the months of the year!
Although written by Annie Silvestro, Teagan White illstrated Mice Skating and it's lovely!
Hazel village stuffed animals
Hazel Village stuffed animals are completely irresistible to me in their adorable little outfits and accessories!
I'm admittedly not crazy about a lot of what I see on Disney and Nickelodeon these days-- especially with the older kids programming, not so much the junior stations. I LOVE old school television shows and decided to introduce Holiday to them and she fell in love just as much as me! Dennis the Menace is by far her favorite. We own every single season, but this collection of "20 Timeless Episdoes" is AMAZING! My husband and I laugh right along with her and constantly lament that family comedies just aren't written like this anymore!
Leave it to Beaver is also a major favorite!
Holiday saw a preview for Father Knows Best on one of her other shows and begged for it. Not surprisingly, she loves it just as much as the other two mentioned above