10 non-toy gift ideas!

I Love Christmas! I love buying gifts for people and especially my kids! Like many parents the amount of toys in our home is often out of control ( the kiddos are well loved by many people!) Especially since Alice and Cash’s birthday is at the beginning of December…by Christmas their rooms are exploding. So, If you feel the same, here are 10 non-toy gift ideas for your kiddos!

Subscription box

There are so many fun subscription boxes for kids! My daughter would LOVE the JOJO Siwa subscription box, it is so cute and comes with bows and apparel, and other accessories.

There are a lot of educational options too! The Kiwi Co subscription boxes have monthly activities and what is great about this one is you select the age you want so the activities are specific to that age group!

Membership

In St. Louis there are so many options for memberships! We are super lucky that we have so many free things to do here, but a lot of those places have membership options with free parking and activities included. My Mother-in-law purchased a zoo membership for us for years ( it had a number of free parking passes, train rides, children’s zoo, and carousel tickets), and this past year she did the science center membership! We Love memberships!

We took advantage of our Science center membership one more time before it expires!

One time activity

Groupon is an awesome place to get good deals. The one time activities are great because it gives you already planned days out and you can try new things! You could do bowling, mini golf, laser tag, etc.

Books and puzzles

This one seems pretty obvious, but both are great gifts for any age! Costco has a great selection of books and some kids puzzles(for great prices!). They have some great book sets (like the complete Harry Potter set for older kids) and for the early readers too. (Disney book sets, Flat Stanley, and Judy Moody!)

Classes

There are so many fun ones! Cooking classes, painting classes, karate, and little gym are some fun options!

Alice loves to cook so I took her to the Eckert’s kids cooking class last year and she loved it! I highly recommend it!

Vacation

This one is obviously more expensive, and takes some planning, but I’m sure it would be a very memorable one! A couple of years ago we did a Disney Trip instead of presents! (Obviously that trip was WAY more than we spend on presents, but we were already planning a vacation so might as well combine it with Christmas!)

 Craft kit

You can find so many craft kits at Michaels, costco, Walmart, and of course Amazon. Pretty much anything you can imagine…slime kits, bath bomb kits, bow making kits, bracelet making kits, and the list goes on! I love that everything you need is included and it is all in small portions so its easier for the kiddos to do by themselves. We have a slime kit and the bath bomb kit that we purchased at Costco, the kids love them.

*These are so great for unplanned snow days! Nothing is worse than the kids wanting to do some activity and gathering the supplies to realize you don’t have everything you need!*

KANO

My husband is a software Engineer so my kids are really interested in coding. There are a few different kits by KANO, we have the light kit and it super fun! They like learning how to make the lights change and make patterns with their code!

Movie gift cards

I don’t know a child that doesn’t love going to the movies! Super comfy reclining chairs (if you are lucky enough to have the remodeled theaters) and lots of popcorn and soda….does it get any better?!

The kids have gotten movie gift cards the past couple of years for their birthday and they were so excited each time!

Craft Supplies

I always get craft supplies at the beginning of the school year, and by Christmas we start running low. (we obviously do a lot of craft projects!) Make up a box of crayons, markers, construction paper, paint, slime supplies, and coloring books!

 

I hope you get some fun ideas from my list, and you have a great Christmas with your family!

 

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DIY Christmas Decorations

Thanksgiving is over, so now everyone is ready to get their house decorated for Christmas! (although, we have had our tree up for weeks!) I’m trying to add to our decorations a little bit every year. My kids like to remind me that my Christmas decorations are nothing compared to Grandma’s house! Lol.

This year I’m adding some home made decorations (and probably a few that I find the day after Christmas). So I thought I would give you guys a little DIY christas decorations tutorial!

FABRIC WREATH

I want this window hung on the wall….but it hasn’t happened yet. It will be super cute when it’s up!

This project is super easy but just takes a little bit of time. All you need is a yard of plaid fabric you like, and a wire wreath. (I picked mine up at Hobby Lobby) there are a lot of different sizes. I chose a 12” one. If you make a larger one you will need more fabric!

1. Cut your fabric into strips. I did about 2 and a half inches by 6 inches

 

2. Then just tie knots! I did a pattern… the two outside wires on each side.

Ignore my chipped nail polish! #momlife

then the two inside wires.

Then when you push them together it looks really full.

Continue that pattern until you get all the way around the wreath, then you can trim the ends so that they are all the same length.

Chritmas Trees

This one I think is super fun because you can mix different textures together.

I used 3 different sizes of foam comes (purchased at Hobby Lobby). Leftover plaid fabric, furry fabric, and glitter!

Ignore the red glittery balls, they didn’t work how i thought they would. Lol. So I used glitter instead!

I love this fur fabric….I purchased this at Joann’s a while ago….I have no idea why i bought it, but I thought it would be fun for this project.

Also at hobby lobby i found this fur on a ribbon roll that would probably work a lot easier than my huge piece of fabric.

I cut a square of the fabric and hot glued one side.

Then rolled the cone to the end, cut the excess fabric off, and got glued the edge!

The fur is super easy to work with and doesn’t need to be perfect since it’s so fluffy.

The top i just pinched together and hot glued to a point.

 

I did the same process for the flannel fabric. You need to be a little more precise, but no matter what you will still have a seam where it is glued. I just put that in the back when I put it on the fireplace.

Then for the top i just folded the fabric in and hot glued down.

Last, but not least, the messy/fun part….glitter! (Is it even a craft project with out glitter?)

for this one i just did a layer of modpodge and then sprinkled with glitter. Do small sections all the way around the cone.

After it dries completely i did another layer of modpodge on top so it seals it and the glitter won’t fall all over!

Centerpiece

I used some of the red glittery balls as filler!

I think this is my favorite! I used these foam balls to make a super simple centerpice! I used all of the same supplies… glitter, flannel, and fur fabric!

the glitter i did the same as the tree, just cover with modpodge, then glitter.

 

 

Fur is easy since they are super fluffy. Cut a section of the fabric, hot glue and fold around until it is all covered and cut off the excess fabric.

Next is the plaid. For these I cut a pretty large square. Glue the ball down in the center.

glue up all 4 sides so that you have the points sticking out.

take two opposite points and tie in the middle. Then take the other two and tie. I added some hot glue on each side to hold the fabric in place!

Then I just arranged them in my glass dish with some of the red glitter balls as filler!

All together these took me about an hour and a half to finish!  You don’t have to use the materials I did, there are tons of options to make them more your style. You could use garland and wrap it around the foam, different color glitter, other patterned fabric, Pom Pom’s, and so many other things! Just wander around hobby lobby and get creative!

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Winter bucket list

We had our first big snow of the year yesterday, which turned our backyard into a winter wonderland! I absolutely love this view from our back deck when it snows!(well, I love it all of the time)

Is there anything better than snow covered trees?

While we were enjoying our snow day I decided it was a great time to create a winter bucket list to share! I included so many fun things on the bucket list that my family loves, and also left a few blank spaces for you to add your own activities!

Now, it is time to share some of my favorites!

Christmas lights

My favorite winter activity by far is going to look at Christmas lights! I love the big displays! Our favorite is Our Lady of the Snows ! This one is in Illinois, but the drive isn’t too bad, and it is awesome… and FREE!

Last year for the first time we went to Candy Cane Lane. If you live in STL, I think it’s a must! We went on one of our random warm evenings and it was a great walk through the neighborhood.

Christmas movies

Is there anything better than being in your pajamas, snuggled under a blanket, watching Christmas movies?  Well, maybe, but it is pretty great!

There are some movies that I feel like I HAVE to watch every year before Christmas! Here are my top 3…

1. The Grinch ( I am sooooo excited to see the new one!)

2. Home alone (the first one is my favorite!)

3. The Santa Clause

hot cocoa

OK guys, I feel very strongly that hot cocoa is a necessity in winter! Coffee is not my thing, so cocoa is my go to hot drink.

We decided last minute ( I mean at 11pm the night before) to make crockpot hot cocoa for the kids birthday party last weekend… since it was FREEZING outside! I looked at a few recipes on Pinterest and we ended up using parts of a few and then adding our own stuff! It was YUMMY!

This is the easiest recipe since you just throw everything in the crockpot and let it melt. This recipe does make a lot so it is perfect for holiday parties, but you could easily cut everything in half to make a smaller batch for an evening at home watching movies!

Here is our version of crockpot hot cocoa

7 cups milk

1 and 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 tsp vanilla

1 bag of milk chocolate chips

1/2 cup caramel chips (not candy caramels…they are in the baking aisle and they look just like chocolate chips)

1 can of sweet and condensed milk (14 oz.)

Add all of the ingredients in the crockpot, mix together, and turn it on low. Stir every so often until all of the chocolate is melted. (for us it was about 2 hours) Next, we added mini marshmallows on top and let those melt for about 15 minutes…..now you are ready to enjoy the creamy chocolate-y goodness!

* the husband suggests adding some whipped cream on top!

I hope you all enjoy the hot cocoa and the bucket list! What are your favorite winter traditions?

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