Free Printable Gift Tags

 Ho Ho Ho! Are you in the holiday mood yet?  I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed at this point.  I keep trying to remind myself to slow down and enjoy the special Christmas moments...something that's so difficult with a "to do" list that seems to be a mile long!  

So for right now I'm just trying to slow down and tell myself that it's ok if some (or maybe a lot) of things don't get done by Christmas.  I thought that I started early this year, but I'm thinking next year I'll have to start in July!  

These holiday gift tags are my gift to you--my wonderful blog readers!  I probably don't say it enough, but I appreciate your likes, your comments, and your readership. 

I don't know about the rest of you, but I always seem to forget to purchase gift tags, and I love the ease of being able to just print them out.  So I hope these little guys make your "to do" list just one item shorter and bring smiles to your little ones' faces.  :-) 

You can download the tags either by right clicking and downloading the image at the bottom of this post (save it to your computer and then print out) or by downloading the PDF version FOR FREE! in my Pattern Shop.


St. Lucia's Day

I guess I'd better start this post by saying that I'm not Swedish (not entirely true... I'm a tiny bit Swedish somewhere in my family tree.)  In any case, I've never celebrated St. Lucia's day before.  I remember learning about Swedish St. Lucia's day celebrations in elementary school though, and I always thought that they sounded somewhat magical. In case you've never heard of St. Lucia's day before, I thought this video was helpful.  

Since my oldest daughter shares the name of this saint, I thought it would be fun to celebrate our own version of St. Lucia's day at home.  She was over the moon excited about preparing for the event, and was eager to make her own St. Lucia's day saffron buns and candle crown.  She put on an old white blouse of mine as a night gown and then brought us the buns in bed. I'm sure we did plenty of things "wrong," but I don't think that really matters...

We threw together this Christmas celebration by just a quick afternoon of crafting and baking after a quick run to the dollar store for some craft supplies.  Want to see how we did it?  Keep reading below!


Bathroom Vanity Makeover

This post is sponsored by Build.com.   I was provided some of the materials for this post, but the opinions are my own.

Those of you that have followed my blog for a bit know that we're currently taking on a pretty huge home renovation/addition project.  Beyond that though, we have a LONG wish list of things that we'd love to update in our house, but just don't have the budget for right now.  So when Build.com contacted me about collaborating on a project, I was super thrilled to be able to tackle one of the projects on my wish list!  

I've never been a huge fan of my hall bathroom vanity and I jumped at the possibility to update it with some new knobs, faucet, and paint.  I'm not exactly sure what the finish was on the cabinet originally (you can see from the before picture above), but it had a sort of pink tinge to it.  Not my favorite--to put it lightly.  Since the drawers didn't have knobs, my kids liked to hang on the drawers to open them...and break them. (Yes, this why my "Before" picture is missing a drawer.  It was in the "drawer hospital.")

Build.com is a great resource for home DIY projects.  Not only do they have a huge inventory of products, but the website is extremely easy to navigate.  As a parent, I also appreciate the ability to shop from my computer rather than drag my kids to the hardware store.  I fell in love with this faucet from Danze and these black knobs from Amerock.  After I found them, it was easy for me to plan my vanity makeover around them.  

Build.com  has some really terrific styling products as well. The recycled glass vase I received is simply stunning.  The glass is thick and heavy and I couldn't be more pleased.  All in all, these were the products that I used in my vanity makeover:

For more details about how I made over my vanity, keep reading below:


Easy DIY "Silhouettes"

I've always loved silhouettes, and I couldn't be more thrilled about the fact that they seem to be everywhere lately.  I decided to try my own take on a silhouette art as a means to "capture" my kids as they are right now. I love the way they turned out!  No, you don't need to be an artist to make one of these.  In fact, it's really all about tracing!  So yes, these silhouettes are super easy!  I put mine in a frame, but I think they'd be great to make into a necklace, key chain, or even an ornament.  So add this project to your Christmas list!

Let's get started!


Themed Gifts for Kids

Note:  This post contains affiliate links, but the opinions expressed are my own

 The other day I was putting together a birthday gift for a friend's 3 year old child: one of my candy shops and the Candy Land game when I started thinking about how much I love themed presents.  As much as I loved the present I put together (which I love even more because it went to the daughter of a mother who loves to make sweet confections), I realized that I love book/toy pairings best.

I started thinking about book / toy combo gift ideas and thought it might be fun to share here on the blog. 

 So without further ado, here's my top 15 book/toy combo gift ideas:

1. If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Numeroff book with a sock puppet kit:

You're probably familiar with Laura Numeroff's If you Give a Mouse a Cookie, but my kids actually love this moose better.  They love it when the moose makes sock puppets.  I've bought this kit for a friend's child once, so I can't say I've personally used it, but I love the fact that it's supposed to be relatively low mess and easy for kids to do on their own.

2.  Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett with knitting looms:
I've written about these knitting looms before when I put together my 4 year old gift guide last year.  Lu loves them!  It's probably more appropriate for kids on the older side of the 3-6 age group.  I absolutely love the book Extra Yarn too--it's a beautiful story with lovely illustrations. 

3. Mix it Up by Herve Tullet with Crayola fingerpaints:
Are you familiar with Herve Tullet's Press here book?  If not, it's definitely one to check out.  It's interactive, meaning that kids need to shake, tilt, and press the book according to the storyline.  Mix it up is similar, but it's all about color theory.  I suggest pairing it with some finger paint for the younger kids, or maybe watercolors for 5-6 year olds.  Crayola is my favorite brand for art products for kids this age, as I find it to be truly washable, something I can't say for all other brands.

4. Iggy Peck, Architect by Andrea Beaty with Legos:
Iggy Peck is creative, unique, and loves to build.  It's a cute (and educational story) that both my kids love.  Pair it with some age appropriate blocks..Both my 3 and 5 year old still love Duplos.

5. Grandpa Green by Lane Smith or Curious Garden with a garden root viewer:
These two gardening books are my absolute favorite gardening books of all time.  Grandpa Green is the story of a grandfather who has sculpted all of his life's memories out of plants in his garden.  The Curious Garden is the story of bringing green back to an urban city.  Both are beautifully illustrated. I've paired this one with a root viewer kit.  I've never actually tried this gardening kit...but I love the idea!

6. The Dot by Peter Reynolds with an art kit:
The dot is the perfect book for a child who lacks artistic confidence.  Again, a great story about "making a mark and seeing where it takes you." I've paired it with an art kit.  Lu received one of these last year and it probably gets more use than any of her other toys. Again, Crayola is my favorite brand for art supplies for this age range.
7. Mr Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown with plastic animals
Ok, so can I say this is my favorite book.  It's a beauty.  Mr. Tiger (who wears clothes and lives in a city) is tired of being proper and decides he needs to go a little wild.  After a *gasp* nude scene in the town fountain Mr. Tiger returns to the wilderness, only to return later to realize that his towns animals have begun to embrace each other for who they really are.  It pairs well with plastic animals.

 8. Zoe Gets Ready by Bethanie Murguia with magnetic "paper" dolls
So this book is probably better for the younger side of the age group, and is definitely a great choice for any kid that loves to dress up.  Zoe thinks through what her day would be like depending on what she might wear.  Pair it with some paper dolls for a delightful gift for any fashion conscious child.

9.  Ladybug Girl by David Soman with a real camera
Both my kids love Ladybug girl.  Ladybug girl loves to look at ants and explore, so I've paired it with a kids' camera.  We have this camera and my kids love it.  Despite the pictures looking a little funky on the display, when we load the pics on the computer they are semi-decent, especially the ones taken outside.  It's been dropped numerous time and has held up well.  Both my 3 and 5 year old love to take pictures.

10. Snowballs by Lois Ehlert with a snow man kit
The snowballs book reminds me so much of my time on the east coast.  Each of the snowmen in the book is made from a child's bag of "good stuff."  It'd be great to pair with a snowman kit, or just grab a brown bag and fill it with pasta, seeds, buttons, and other misc. findings.

11. Violet the Pilot by Steve Breen with parachute toy
Lu loves this book.  I love the fact that it's not about a princess but instead about a little girl who is constantly making things.  Last year Santa gave my girls these "tangle free" parachutes and they loved them.  In fact, I think it occupied them more than any other gift.  They wanted to climb on daddy's shoulders, the play structure at the park, and throw them up in the air and watch them come down.  Lots of fun from just a few dollars.

12. Not a box by Antoinette Portis with my very own house cottage
You know what they say about kids liking the boxes at Christmas even more than what's inside right?  This book is all about all the amazing things a box can be. My kids have a castle cardboard kit and have gotten a lot of use out of it, but of course you could just pair with a regular box!

13. The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers with alphabet stamps
Another one of my absolute favorite books.  The little boy eats books to gain all of the knowledge inside.  It's very clever and both my kids think it is super silly.  Pair it with some alphabet stamps.  My younger daughter loves stamping, and my older one loves to use the letters to try to make words.

 14.  The Bear's Song by Benjamin Chaud with binoculars
The illustrations in the bear's song are so charming, and remind me a lot of Where's Waldo.  Both my kids love looking through the complex illustrations to find the little bears.  Binoculars are a fun pairing, and are especially loved by my younger daughter as she embarks on whatever pretend play seems to capture her imagination. 

15. La Luna by Enrico Casarosa with glow in the dark stars
Have you see the La Luna short film?  My kids were in awe when they saw it.  The book is equally charming.  It's great paired with glow in the dark stars.  We don't have these exact stars, but we've attached similar ones to the ceiling of my girls' room and they LOVE looking at them when they go to bed at night.
 Do you have any fun pairings to add to the list?  I'd love to hear!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that a small proportion of any sale through Amazon is given to me.


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