The 2017 Christmas Toy List: Santa's Timeless Treasures

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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. 

 

 

UNCLE GOOSE BLOCKS

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. 

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FROM JENNIFER

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! 

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FromJennifer Wooden Slingshot and Felt Balls 

FromJennifer Wooden Slingshot and Felt Balls 

How fun is this little slingshot? I ordered a bunch of these to use as little gifts throughout the holiday season

FromJennifer Waldorf Inspired Birthday Ring 

FromJennifer Waldorf Inspired Birthday Ring 

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. 

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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!) 

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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 

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 

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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! 

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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! 

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Osthiemer toys 

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 

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: 

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Maileg Princess and the Pea (we have this and it is OH so adorable!) 

Maileg Princess and the Pea (we have this and it is OH so adorable!) 

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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! 

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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! 

Classic tv 

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! 

You can find the rest of the seasons HERE

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 

Costume BOOtique: Halloween Edition

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Halloween is coming to an end and I’m sitting here reminiscing through Google Photos and our past 7 years of costumes. Thought I’d share them with you all! I love a well-styled costume!! 

 

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First Halloween, just 8 days old. Wearing all Bany GAP

 

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Age 1 and wearing the most adorable owl costume from Pottery Barn Kids with her baby Uggs!  

 

A week after her 2nd birthday, wearing this Minnie inspired costume from our favorite, Ross and Rosie Designs!  

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I forgot how hard it is to get a 2 year old to pose and smile for the camera! You never know what kind of Halloween weather you’ll get in Texas, this year was rather warm!  

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Holiday’s Birthday is a week before Halloween. This was actually her birthday costume/outfit for her Sheriff Callie 3rd Birthday. It was designed and made by a local seamstress.  

 

Her official Halloween costume for 3 year old Halloween was Snow White- again by Ross and Rosie Designs. One of my all time favorites, GORGEOUS!  

 

Now we’re onto age 4 and she had ALL her own ideas of what dressing up should look like! Cut the Sugarplum Fairy from her beloved Nutcracker! She’s wearing Tutu du Monde along with custom fairy wings from Arabella’s Vintage Wardrobe. Rosette Headband from the Ruffled Cupcake, glitter crown headband from H&M. 

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It was a cold night in TX- had to add tights, a fur vest and long sleeved leo underneath!  

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Birthday #5 was technically Cinderella themed, but she wanted to be Rapinzel! Another beautiful costume designed by Ross and Rosie Designs! I love these dress up aprons. They are SO fun and perfect for all our Disney trips too! Ross and Rosie also designed the headpiece and did a fantastic job of matching Holiday’s actual hair color! 

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Ross and Rosie also did this fabulous Cinderella inspired pink dress up apron for us! Jaq and Gus are from Kohl’s a few years back! 

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Age 5 and she decided she wanted to be Mary Poppins, in her Jolly Holiday costume of course!!! This one was also designed by Ross and Rosie Designs! Her little hat is fro Hat and Mouse, shoes are Mini Melissa, parasol and lace gloves from Amazon. 

 

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After a summer excursion to New York City in the summer, she was sure she needed to be Eloise for her 6 year old Christmas! We picked up this adorable outfit at none other than The Plaza Hotel. If you love Eloise as much as we do, you’ll understand the significance! 

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This year’s costume she decided a year ago- Shimmer from Shimmer & Shine!  

This costume is from Bailey and Ava on Etsy!     HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!   

This costume is from Bailey and Ava on Etsy!  

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!! 

 

Camp Holiday: A Glamping, American Girl, Spa Birthday

I can't believe Holiday will be SEVEN this week and I have yet to post pictures from her 6th birthday last year!!!  Holiday generally announces her birthday themes more than a year in advance. She had started talking about a camping theme and then at some point switched gears to a spa party that HAD to include American Girl dolls. My mind was already going down the path of camping, so together we came up with a more "Glamperrific" Camping/ Spa/ American Girl party known as Camp Holiday! 

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Party invitations! I created all of the invitations and stationary for Holiday's parties. 

Party invitations! I created all of the invitations and stationary for Holiday's parties. 

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The past few years, I've focused our party decor in some key specific areas instead of decorating the whole house! I feel like I get a bigger "wow factor" with condensing all of the decor and budget into a space or two! 

The past few years, I've focused our party decor in some key specific areas instead of decorating the whole house! I feel like I get a bigger "wow factor" with condensing all of the decor and budget into a space or two! 

Here you can see our dining room set up along with the doll table. The buffet on the right is set with cake, cookies and bottled extra bottles of water! 

Here you can see our dining room set up along with the doll table. The buffet on the right is set with cake, cookies and bottled extra bottles of water! 

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At Holiday's request, we served her favorite, Panera, to all of our guests. We took individual dinner orders in advance for each of the girls and their moms! 

At Holiday's request, we served her favorite, Panera, to all of our guests. We took individual dinner orders in advance for each of the girls and their moms! 

As state above, I created all of the stationary and artwork for Holiday's parties. I've found there are lots of blank water bottle templates online that I can easily add my own artwork too. I print on regular paper, cut down and affix to bottles with packing tape! The good, heavy packing tape will save you lots of frustration! 

As state above, I created all of the stationary and artwork for Holiday's parties. I've found there are lots of blank water bottle templates online that I can easily add my own artwork too. I print on regular paper, cut down and affix to bottles with packing tape! The good, heavy packing tape will save you lots of frustration! 

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I definitely employed the "Use what you have" principle into the decor for this party. A mix mash of chairs from our dining room, homeschool room and some metal folding chairs as well. I also pulled from my stash of woodland/ rustic/ fall decor for most of the decor. The wooden arrows seen throughout are from Target's Pillowfort Collection. You'll also see several pieces from Hobby Lobby's camping theme section. The light up lanterns in pink and white, I've picked up through the years (mostly on clearance) from Pottery Barn Kids. 

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Of course we had to have a doll sized table which I configured at the last minute! This is one of our Pottery Barn Kids Activity Tables under here! It has a recessed top with a lip that goes all the way around. So, I actually took a large chalkboard from our homeschool room and put it on top of the rolling table carts to give us a flat top and then covered it with my huge roll of butcher block paper! 

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For the doll "placemats" I cut down some 12x12 card stock. The cups and plates are from our many trips to the American Girl Bistro. The treats and cake down the center are all collected from American Girl through the years. The dolls, of course, all had to have their own goodies bags as well which are sets of custom pajamas to match the ones each girl received at the party as well! Both the girl and doll pajamas were all custom created by Bella Grace Creations

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As always, the cake is from It's a Mary Cake! My dear friend, Mary Holmen always plays such a special role in all of our celebrations with her wonderful creations! 

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Holiday was SO excited about having an outdoor, flashlight scavenger hunt at the party. I've had those little wooden twig pencils in my stash forever and finally had an opportunity to use them! 

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Oriental Trading has an adorable collection of girly camping party supplies. We like to give out a lot of swag at our parties, so these Happy Glamper Backpacks were perfect for our event! 

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This little cardboard sign is also from Oriental Trading! 

After dinner, we moved upstairs to Holiday's Playroom which we converted into The Wilderness Spa! 

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These Animalz face masks from Target were adorable and a huge hit! You'll see the girls wearing these cute bow headbands (the kind you use to keep your hair out of your face which you're washing it or doing your makeup). The quality on these specific ones is AMAZING! I ordered a few from another seller and they weren't as nice. I still use mine daily!  You can order them HERE! 

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The spa foot baths I found on clearance last year at PBTeen

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On the back wall, you can see the Our Generation Doll Spa Accessory Kits that the girls each got to take home as well... like I said... I love giving swag! 

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We used one of our Pottery Barn Kids Activity Tables to set up the doll spa. It was a HUGE hit and this was a very busy play area throughout the evening. Holiday received the AG doll spa and hair playsets and accessories as her big gift from us for her birthday! 

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My mom, sisters, and friends all jumped in to help with manicures, crafts and everything else throughout the night! With the parties I throw, it truly does take a village! (Thank you Mimi, Aunt Jenn, Aunt Rebekah, Erin, Rebecca, Brenda and Nicole!) 

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My sweet niece Emme showing off her pretty blue and gold nails! 

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After our spa time, we all headed downstairs for arts and crafts! I found a great deal last year on these Pillow Plush Craft Kits and the girls all made either a fox or hedgehog pillow to take home. I also planned for them to make washi tape journals, but alas, we ran out of time! 

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All the girls showing off their adorable pajamas, ready to head out on their scavenger hunt with their pink flashlights! 

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Sweet September Style

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It's hard to believe the "BER" months are officially here...well in a few hours! I want to try something new on the blog and show you what adorable kid clothes I'm building Holiday's seasonal wardrobe with.  

This time of year, I'm always obsessed with everything apples, so I was over the moon when I saw Matilda Jane Clothing Company's past two releases.  Since I know so many of my readers love Matilda Jane as much as I do, I wanted to show you how I'm styling some of our current pieces. 

And BEST OF ALL, tomorrow  is the 1st- so that means NEW pieces are loading to the site early tomorrow morning! I have a party open, so if you need a show to order from- I'm you girl!  

Check out all the sneaks for tomorrow's release at the end of this post!  

 

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Matilda Jane Class President Lap Dress and MJ One Night Only Socks. Shoes are Livie and Luca Navy Blue Astrids (Note: this is a new style of shoe for L&L and running a full size small); Headband Bow is from One Stop Bow Shop 

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In this photo, Holiday is wearing the Matilda Jane Put on a Show Cookie Dress and Show Me Stocks. Again, we paired this with the Livie and Luca Navy Blue Astirds. We topped this with the Mini Boden Cable Cardigan in the Soft Blossom Pink Color. These Mini Boden cardigans are a fall/winter/early spring staple for us! 

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In this photo, Holiday is wearing the Matilda Jane Patio Party Party Ellie Top from the summer release (still available), we paired this with orange polka dot leggings we already had from RicRac and Ruffles. Boots are the 3 Layer Fringe Boot from Minnetonka and the Cable Cardigan is past season Mini Boden 

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Showing the same outfit without the sweater, headband is from One Stop Bow Shop. I love the fall colors on the skirt of this Ellie top-- it so reminds me of pumpkin patch fun! 

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Here's another styling option for the Put on a Show Cookie Dress without the sweater. Holiday is wearing white knee high socks and the Livie and Luca Navy Blue Astirds. Bow is from One Stop Bow Shop 

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Here, she's wearing the Matilda Jane Around the Globe Dress. I LOVE this dress. You need to see the closeups of the apple details on the ruffle sleeves and bottom of the skirt. We paired this with the 3 Layer Minnetonka Fringe Boots. Headband bow is from Hanna Andersson 

Those Apples!!! <3 

Those Apples!!! <3 

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In this picture, Holiday is wearing last year's Matilda Jane Dress that was released from the Vault- the Good Vibes Lap Dress. This dress is no longer on their website, but frequently pops up on eBay and on the Matilda Jane Buy/Sell/Trade pages on Facebook. We paired this with the current season One Night Only Socks as well as current season Livie and Luca Tootles (new styled) in Copper. These shoes are AH-mazing! (We also have them in Mustard and they are beautiful!) 

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In this photo, Holiday is wearing the Matilda Jane Girls Cameo Flutter. This top is ADORABLE in real life!  It's been on a special BOGO promotion right now-- so you can get a sister set or share one with a friend! She is wearing this top with the Matilda Jane Bright Lights Big Ruffles. Shoes are Livie and Luca Aurora Ballet Flat in the Ruby color, Headband Bow by Hanna Andersson 

I love, love, LOVE the details on this top! 

I love, love, LOVE the details on this top! 

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This is the Matilda Jane Somethings' Cooking Apron Dress! If you're familiar with the apron style, the apron buttons to the front of the dress and ties around the back. You have the option to wear it with or without the apron. It is darling both ways! In this photo, we paired it with the Matilda Jane Library Book Big Ruffles (match almost this entire current collection) and Native Jeffersons in Galaxy Pink! Headband bow is by One Stop Bow Shop. 

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Here you can see the dress again WITHOUT the apron! This time we paired it with the Show Me Socks and the Livie and Luca Astrids in navy blue. Headband bow by One Stop Bow Shop 

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Another shot of this with the apron!  How cute is this?! Best of all-- the apron can be worn as a regular half apron too! 

 

TOMORROW IS THE DAY!!! THE FOLLOWING PICS ARE ALL SNEAK PEAKS OF WHAT IS COMING IN THE MORNING! The details are all back up at the top of this post for how to order! 

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