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Gift Guide Part 3

Today's guide has an outdoor/active theme for a variety of ages!

  1. A snow/sand brick maker. So simple, yet so genius. A mold to make snow or sand bricks! - from Amazon
  2. Strider PREbike - a balance bike for toddlers/early riders. My youngest LOVED his balance bike and it's so good for their balance, coordination, and confidence. There are several types of balance bikes to fit a range of budgets but this one is my favorite (there are different colors) for it's design and ability to adjust - from Amazon
  3. Kryptonics Torpedo Skateboard - this is on one of my boys' wish list this year. He plays with it in the store every time we go. I like that it's a bit more stable than a standard skateboard and he seems pretty at ease on it without ever having one before. (Plus it seems a little more sturdy so maybe my husband won't break it as quickly as he has others ;) - from Target
  4. OgoDisk RAQ - it's a little trampoline that you hold and bounce balls/water balloons off of. Another one of those toys the adults can't help but pick up! - from OgoSport
  5. Yo Baby Kick Flipper - It's basically a flat piece of plastic with the edges turned up (it does have grooves on the bottom) lol! My kids played with theirs for a few years! You can practice cool skateboard moves and make up your own. Teaches balance and coordination and you can use it on carpet, grass, sand, snow etc. - from Amazon


See the entire Gift Guide 

Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.”  I only recommend products or services I use personally and/or  believe in. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.



We shared Stick-lets on a Fort Friday post almost one year ago and I am SO excited that they are now readily available! Stick-lets are stretchy little connectors that allow kids to create amazing forts and play spaces using sticks and other found objects.

I loved this idea when I first saw the prototype so jumped on the chance to play when Christina asked if she could send us some.

Apparently we have a shortage of good sticks here in this part of the desert but my boys found some store bought ones we had for another project and got to work. Sometimes I'll show them how something works but these I let them have the bag without saying anything. 

They played outside for hours and I popped out here and there when they asked me to take a picture

The great thing about these is that there is no real wrong or right way to use them. You manipulate and maneuver them until it works for you.

They made multiple configurations and I heard them talking about making sure we had them with us next time we go camping. 

Such a fun, inexpensive way to get the kids outside and using their imagination! 

Metropolismag.com has a fantastic article about Christina and Stick-lets that explains it so much better than I ever could (I'm good at showing but not explaining) 

You can buy your own Stick-lets on their site.

Disclosure: I was given a set of Stick-lets for free but all opinions are strictly my own and was not compensated in any other way. I never post a review of a product I wouldn't buy myself. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.


DIY LEGO Parachute!

Love this DIY from Natalie at Schaeresteipapier. If you read German you're in luck, if you don't thank goodness Natalie took great step by step images (and their is Google translate too).

A DIY LEGO Parachute!

Love how she uses the bag handle as a reinforcment and shows you how to use it with different minifigs.

You can go check it out on her blog for the step by step instructions and make it work for you!


Gift Guide Part 2

Here are some gifts for a little older group. Keep in mind that I'm trying to keep it fairly neutral as far as interests go! The next several groups will be for bigger kids and will be much more varied I think since the interests change a lot as they get older.

This age is a lot of imitation play - wanting to do things that they see Mom and Dad doing.

  1. Bubble blower! Bubbles are one of those magical universal smile makers. Save yourself a light head and get a bubble machine! from Amazon
  2. Play Food - both of my boys LOVED play food for quite a while. They loved playing store (they must get that love from their Dad because they did NOT get it from me) I like the wooden food because it can't get stepped on or squished easily. This set from Melissa and Doug can be "cut" with a wooden knife - from Amazon
  3. I'm sure you've all heard of duplo, LEGO for younger kids, but have you seen the new Read & Build? They can build with the easy instructions while you read the story to them. The building holds their little attention much longer than the story alone - from Amazon, from LEGO
  4. Mailbox - another one of those imitation toys that was a hit in our home at this age. I've said it before but who doesn't love getting mail?! from Amazon
  5. Dog Popper - this guy is belly laugh inducing. You put foam balls in his mouth and POP them out by squeezing his tummy. This is a toy that is great for all ages (you know the kind the older kids or adults keep picking up to play with) it also comes in a pig, dinosaur and other animals from Amazon (P.S. The balls are foam but not super soft foam - that's how they can shoot so far. Just wanted you to know so you weren't surprised at the density of the balls if you got these)

See the entire Gift Guide

Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.”  I only recommend products or services I use personally and/or  believe in. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Gratitude Turkey Craft

Today I have a fun multipurpose craft up at Modern Parents Messy Kids. A Thankful Turkey that you can write little messages on for each person at the Thanksgiving table!

The full how to can be read HERE


Holiday Gift Guide Part 1

I was going to do this gift guide completely differently and had been working on it and then lost it due to my own poor backing up/planning so this is how I'm doing it this year! I'll have a new one up each day along with a "regular" post so they'll be 2 posts per day for a bit! I'll also be making a gift ideas Pin board with even more ideas if you want to follow along there - I'll share the link later this week.

Links will be to where I normally shop but you can also find some locally or on other sites.

I will also be doing a fun DIY gift ideas post of gifts you can pull together or make yourself.

I hope it helps you all out this holiday season whether for your own kids, your family members, or giving for charity!

MOST of these are recommended by us - if not than by close friends. I was going to do ages but found that they varied greatly depending on the kiddos so you'll have to decide that on your own ;) Here's part 1 and the only one that will have things for infants. Lets face it, they don't really need much!


  1. I have several friends who love this Spa Baby baby bathtub - keeps babies from slipping around everywhere and keeps them all warm for the whole bath. from Amazon
  2. Sophie the Giraffe - don't ask me why babies love this, but they do - every one I know that has one. It's the magic giraffe! from Amazon
  3. BRIO Daschund pull toy - simple, classic, and my youngest loved this toy for a long time! from Amazon
  4. Ride On Gown - I wondered what in the world I'd do with these super long dresses I got at a baby shower for my boys. Then I realized during a 2am diaper change that it is impossible to zip/snap those pajamas back together. They are made for rocket scientists or something! (what? it was 2am and I was sleep deprived) These are super long and there are no buttons or snaps to deal with during 2am diaper changes. They win. from Target
  5. Baby Converse - because they are just too darn cute not to. from Amazon

More fun tomorrow for a little bit older kiddos. If I can get them done I'll post more than one tomorrow and try to get them all in this week!

Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.”  I only recommend products or services I use personally and/or  believe in. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Failure (and a free printable)


There have been many, many times when we've thought of an activity or experiment to share here on the blog that just don't go as planned. We never want to share something with you that doesn't work for us so you never get to see those. I thought I'd share one with you today.

We'd seen this solar bag experiment done before and were talking about it this weekend. My son thought that we should be able to do it with a regular black trash bag so we thought we'd give it a try. The theory behind it is that heat rises (density of air mass based on temperature) and the black bag + sun = heat. The air inside the bag DID get hot, but unfortunately that's about all that happened. No matter how much they tried they couldn't get it to "float" too much. They think it was just too heavy ;)

I plan on getting them a Solar Bag of their own at some point so we can see it really work! I see the importance of failure. Tweaking and trying different ways of doing the same thing to see what works and what doesn't or what works best and what my kids to experience it as well. If they bring me an idea (even if I know it won't work) I encourage them to think it through and try it out. Most of the time they are ready to try their ideas out without fully thinking them through but that's ok with me because even Edison said - I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that don't work. (this isn't his direct quote but was taken from a quote he said)

If you want your kiddos to remember this quote you can print your own! (free for personal use only)


Do you have lots of project fails under your belt like me?


Fort Friday!

Fort Friday of a 3 day weekend here (Monday is Veterans Day!) I know my kids are excited because we are actually cooling down a bit.

The Holiday gift guide is coming out next week!! I didn't realize how much work it was going to be so I really hope you all enjoy it!

Speaking of gifts Zulily.com has some events coming up with Star Wars, LEGO, Hurley, and Quicksilver so you may want to sign up and watch for that! They take a little longer to ship if you're used to Amazon but there are some great deals to be had if you're planning ahead!

Speaking of Star Wars who has already downloaded Star Wars Angry Birds? So fun!

Now on to the forts!

Kevin Langan has an awesome site where he's challenging himself to create 100 wild huts on different types of land!

We still have Mickey on the brain - here's a cute Mickey themed playhouse on HGTV

It's a little Hobbit Hole! From Wooden Wonders

Or maybe you're a little more Knightly and need a proper castle - from The Playhouse Company

Have a great weekend everyone!