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Holiday Gift Ideas: 2-3 Year Olds

27 Nov

Now that the holiday shopping season is in full swing I thought I’d share some gift ideas I’ve been gathering for our two (almost three) year old daughter, Kate. If you have any little girls (or boys) in your lives, maybe this will provide some inspiration!

Here are a few things that we are hoping to get our daughter this year:

1. Trolls Boombox. Kate loves to sing and dance and is always asking for a “dance party” so I think she will love this boombox that she can control herself. She is a big fan of Trolls (it was her first movie in the theater) and the music is SO good. Currently $25 from Walmart.

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2. Balance Bike. Her big gift from Santa this year will be a balance bike to help get her ready for a regular bike. These are supposed to replace the need for training wheels and tricycles. This one from Schwinn is reasonably priced and got great reviews on Amazon. It comes in four colors.

balance-bike

3. Mermaid Blanket. Kate is obsessed with mermaids right now and I know she will get a kick out of this mermaid tail blanket. It comes in a variety of sizes from baby to adult and 30+ color combinations, so I plan to order one that matches the teal and pink colors in her big girl room. Starting at $26 off Etsy.

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4. Play-Doh. Kate and her friends love to play with Play-Doh and as a result all of ours is all dried out and mixed together. So I’m planning to toss the old stuff and start fresh with this 24-pack from Amazon for less than $20. Hours of fun.

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5. Christmas PJs. Every kid needs a special pair of Christmas “jammies” to wear to bed on Christmas Eve and open presents in Christmas morning. Each year I let Kate open up her Christmas jammies on Christmas Eve, along with a Christmas book. These organic pajamas by Burt’s Bees are adorable and less than $12 right now at Target. They come in sizes for the whole family too (if that’s your jam). There is another more masculine gray version that is super cute too.

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6.  Dress-up shoes. Kate is really getting into dress-up play and when a vacation house we stayed in over the summer had some of these, she wore them non-stop.  This set of 4 pairs from Melissa & Doug is $15 right now on Amazon.

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7. Toy Dyson Vacuum. Kate is all about helping with tasks around the house so I think she would love this Dyson replica toy vacuum. It even has real suction so her play time can be productive, too! $30 right now on Amazon.

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8. Jewelry Box. What little girl wouldn’t love a jewelry box with a turning ballerina in it? This one from Pottery Barn is sure to be treasured for many years to come. They come in various sizes and colors starting at $39.img17o

If you are like me and do almost all of your shopping online, here are a couple quick tips I use to save some extra cash.

  1. Ebates– This site gives you a percentage back on almost every online purchase you make. I installed the plug in, so you don’t have to remember to shop through Ebates, it pops up every time you visit a retailer that offers an Ebates reward. They send you a check each quarter and I’ve earned more than $200 since I signed up about a year ago. They also provide you with the best and latest promo codes for the retailers.
  2. Raise– This site/app allows you to purchase gift cards at a discount. So for example if you are about to spend $100 at Sephora, see what $100 gift cards are selling for on Raise (they are $95 right now) and save a few bucks. You can choose for it to be delivered by mail or electronically— in which case it sends the code directly to your phone.  I started using Raise in January and have saved more than $100. You can sell your unwanted gift cards too. Use this link to get a free $5 toward your first gift card purchase.

You can also find my gift ideas from last year here for 1-2 year olds.

Happy Holidays and happy shopping everyone!

This post contains affiliate links

Kate’s Sprinkle-Themed 2nd Birthday Party

24 Feb

Over the weekend we threw Kate a sprinkle-themed birthday party to celebrate her turning 2! I had so much fun planning her “Cute as a Button” 1st Birthday, so when her 2nd birthday was approaching I scoured Pinterest to find another fun theme and fell in love with the sprinkles idea. I figured this would be the last year I would get to pick the theme myself.

To welcome our guests, I set out this chalkboard at the front door. I used this genius method to transfer the letters, and then taped on some paper sprinkles, and tied on some clear balloons filled with confetti.

chalkboard

The main focal area was a sweets table covered with tons of sprinkle-covered desserts.

dessert wall

The Happy Birthday banner (which matched her invites and thank-you cards) was from Etsy. The wall sprinkles I just cut out from cardstock and taped on the wall. The circle garlands on the table are from Target.

The balloons I filled with homemade confetti I made from punching holes in tissue paper. I buy my own helium tanks from Target so I can do them myself at home the day of the party.

balloons

Here’s a closer look at the sweets table.

sweets table

I made this spinkle-covered number 2 for the sweets table by gluing sprinkles onto a paper mache number using mod podge. Here’s the tutorial I used. Warning: It’s messy. I bought these bulk sprinkles off of Amazon- 7 pounds! I ended up using about half of the jar.

sprinkle 2

I filled a couple of candle holders with sprinkles for an easy, little touch.

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The cake I made myself using 2 boxes of Funfetti cake mix, and then I decorated it with store-bought frosting dyed light pink, and sprinkles. I used a “2” cookie cutter as an outline to make the 2 in the center of the cake. I also learned this genius tip to make sure your cakes stay flat during baking using these.

cake

I made cupcake puppy chow, birthday cake batter popcorn (this was so good!), funfetti rice crispy treats, and then I dipped pretzel rods, oreos and strawberry wafers in white chocolate and sprinkles. I used this method of melting the chocolate in the crock pot and it worked like a charm. I also put some animal cookies in a jar.
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puppy chow

oreos

A few other little decorations I had were a tissue paper garland over the fireplace from Target (I combined two colors), and a jumbo gold #2 balloon from Party City. The polka dot paper plates and napkins also came from Party City.

fireplace

jumbo gold

Lastly, I got Kate a cute “two” outfit from Lola and Darla, and a sprinkle hair bow from Etsy. She looked so cute, and good thing she won’t be wearing this dress again, because toddlers and white don’t exactly mix.

kate 2

We made some good progress on the mudroom, so I’ll be sharing an update on that soon!

Playroom Reveal

13 Jan

This may be my favorite room ever! I’m so excited to share the finished photos of our new playroom.

As a reminder, here is what the room started as, it was a weird den/office that we hardly used.

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After we built a wall dividing the space into a seperate playroom and mudroom, removed the fireplace, patched and re-stained the hardwood floors, added/moved some electrical, removed the wall paneling and finished the drywall, the room was looking like this.

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Today, it looks like this.

playroom wide good

We painted the walls a dark teal from Benjamin Moore called Shenandoah. It is such a fun color, I love it! We built the chalkboard using reclaimed barn wood that we had leftover from our living room beams.

chalkboard vertical

We just framed a sheet of plywood painted with magnetic and chalkboard paint with the barnwood. The buckets at the bottom hold chalk, an eraser, and magnetic letters. It is the Fintorp system from Ikea.

Above the chalkboard are these marquee letters from Pier 1.

marquee letters

The gold and white striped teepee was Kate’s big present from Santa. “He” got it from Land of Nod. And then we hung these ledges from Target next to it for easy access to books.

teepee vertical

The rug was my inspiration for the room. It is this one from Rugs USA, which I got 80% during a Black Friday sale. I love that is fun and playful, but not too kiddy. It is a great quality rug for the price.

rug

The table was a hand-me-down Winnie the Pooh table that I painted Peak Point by Behr. The chairs are the Sundvik chairs from Ikea.

table vertical

I love these little buckets to hold art supplies that I found in the Target Dollar Spot.

crayon buckets

On the other side of the room is Kate’s play kitchen (a hand-me down), a comfy couch, and Kate’s art projects.

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I got these green and blue throw pillows and blanket from World Market. The couch is the Ektorp from Ikea. It used to live upstairs in a spare bedroom, so we were happy it fit well in this space.

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The art holders are made from more of the leftover reclaimed barn wood. I stuck pushpins through clothespins and pushed them into the wood to hold the art. This way I’ll be able to move them around as needed. I’m still contemplating spray painting the clothespins.

art holder

The wall art is a free printable I found here (it’s available in four colors). Then I just printed it at Office Max and framed it with an Ikea frame.

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On the last wall is a big wall of cubbies to hold all of Kate’s toys. How do they accumulate so much?

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These are Ikea’s Kallax shelving unit. We put two 8 cubby units and one 4 cubby unit along the bottom, and then two 8 cubby units framing either side of the window.

shelves wide good

To conceal and organize a lot of the toys, I purchased these gray/white striped bins from Land of Nod. I have things like legos, playdoh, stickers and coloring books in them. Honestly, a few up top are empty so we have room to grow into them.

shelf close new

Here’s a look at the room from our foyer. We installed the french doors a couple of years ago after we removed a hall closet that used to be here.

playroom entry way

Finally, here a couple before and after shots. This space is unrecognizable!

I can’t tell you how nice it is to get all of Kate’s toys out of the living room and rest of the house. We’re really enjoying have a dedicated playroom and spend so.much.time in here. Heck, Ben and I find ourselves hanging out in here even when Kate isn’t home or sleeping. Plus, we figure the room can easily turn into a cozy hang out/movie space or office down the line.

I hope to have an update on the mudroom in the next couple of weeks. It never ends….

Creating a Playroom & Mudroom

21 Dec

We are smack dab in the middle of an exciting project at 12 Oaks— creating a playroom and mudroom from what was a weird den/office.

This is what the room was looking like before we started. We hardly ever used it and it is basically the last room in the house we haven’t renovated.

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We had a desk in one corner (that we never use), and Kate had some toys in there, and that is about it.

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The fireplace takes up half of the room, it’s dangerous for little ones and would need to be re-done anyway, so we decided to cover it up (GASP!) Some may think that is a crime but it just didn’t work for our family and our needs. We still have a much nicer fireplace in our living room, and could always open it back up down the line if we wanted to.

Here’s the other side of the room, the door to the garage is on the right, the laundry room and powder room are in the center, and the doorway on the left leads to the kitchen. So this room was basically a pass through as we came in the house and took off our shoes, coats, brought in groceries, etc.

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We decided to put up a wall here to make a nice mudroom off of the garage, and then it closes off the playroom to make a cozy little room for Kate to play in.

So first things first we cleaned out the room, ripped out the fireplace and removed the paneling from the walls.

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We were happy to find drywall (unfinished) behind the paneling, so we only had to hire drywallers to finish it rather than hang new stuff too.

Next Ben built the wall….

Then we had an electrician come in to add some can lights in the new mudroom, center the light in the playroom, and add some outlets. Then Ben hung drywall on the new wall and over the old fireplace.

Next we had the drywallers come in to tape and finish the drywall. And then Ben primed all the walls.

Unfortunately we also had to re-do the hardwood floors because of the old fireplace hearth that left a big hole in the floor. So the flooring guys patched the hole, sanded all of them back, and re-stained them to match the rest of the house. You can’t even tell the fireplace was there.

Here’s how the mudroom is shaping up so far.

We are building floor to ceiling cabinets in here, but it is already so much better! Ben threw together a hook rail so we can hang all our stuff as soon as we come in the door.

Here is some of my inspiration for the mudroom cabinets. I cannot wait!

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We’ve already painted the playroom and have started putting it all back together, so I hope to share a finished reveal before the end of the year.

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