• Easter for Girls,  Gifts for Girls,  Holidays for Girls

    12 Non-Toy Easter Basket Ideas for Girls

    I’m in never-ending clean out mode. My girls seem to accumulate so much crap, for lack of a better term.

    I’ve taken on the mission of getting rid of all the extraneous stuff to give them gifts that are NOT toys. This can get especially tricky for Easter baskets because along with the no-toy goal, I also try to cut back on the sweets + candy junk.

    Here are some non-toy + non-candy Easter basket gift ideas for girls:

    1. Personalized Towels

    Each girl is getting her own personalized bath towel. I’ll have the Etsy seller embroider her name on the towel. These are full size bath towels since all three girls are getting too long for the cute little hooded kid towels.

    2. Mermaid Blankets with Doll Mermaid Blanket

    My girls each have a blanket (affectionately known as their Bs) that they sleep with. When it’s time for lounging on the couch or floor in the living room, I’m adding a mermaid tail blanket with a matching one for their dolls.

    3. Tickets

    I’ve been giving all three girls more experience gifts, too. I haven’t decided which experience is going to land in their Easter baskets but past experience gifts were tickets to Bubble Guppies Live + Toddler Tea Time at our local tea place, Tea with Mrs. B.

    4. Water Bottle

    My girls are also at the ages where they need nicer water bottles than the average sippy cup. The two older ones take them to school for snack + lunch. Something along the lines of Camelbak for kids but I haven’t decided if that is going to be the one that actually goes into the basket yet.

    5. Lessons

    Give the gift of lessons or a class that your little girl would enjoy. Ice skating, painting, dance or a sport are all options.

    6. Gardening Supplies

    Spring is just around the corner so it’s a great time to give a gardening kit to your girls. A little bag with gardening tools, packets of seeds + bulbs for planting are all great gardening supplies for girls.

    7. Alarm Clock

    My oldest gets up for Kindergarten + the middle daughter goes to preschool. Both are obsessed with alarm clocks so they know when it’s morning + time to get up.

    8. Audiobooks

    We’re a family that loves to read. We have shelves + shelves of adult + children’s books. We don’t necessarily need any more at this point so we’ve started using audiobooks for the kids.

    They can listen to them on their iPads. There’s a sleeping one that they love + does help to calm them before going to sleep.

    9. A Swoop Bag

    I usually use a garbage bag (I know, bad Mommy) but a swoop bag makes cleanup fun for the kids. They can easily scoop up the toys that are scattered ALL. OVER. THE. FLOOR. + store them until it’s time to scatter them again.

    Most swoop bags double as play mats so they can technically play on the mat when it’s open, draw string the toys inside when they’re done + store it away. In theory, anyway 🙂

    10. Bird Feeder + Seed

    Spring means birds are returning from the South (as a Florida girl, I wish I was returning from the South, too). Give the kids a bird feeder that they can hang from a tree or one that sticks to the outside of a window.

    Supply them with seed to add to the feeder. You can even buy craft kids so the kids can make their own bird feeders.

    11. Subscription Boxes

    Give the gift of a subscription. Of course, choose subscription boxes that don’t send toys but instead send knowledge or experiences (such as Little Passports or Green Kid Crafts).

    12. Mommy + Me Nail Polish

    My girls (+ I) love to get our nails done. We mostly paint them at home so a Mommy + Me nail polish set is a great Easter basket idea for girls.

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  • Activities for Girls,  Gifts for Girls,  Valentine's Day for Girls

    14 Ways to Tell Your Kids You Love Them on Valentine’s Day

    It’s 3 simple little words — I love you — yet actions speak louder than words, right? This Valentine’s Day, instead of actually speaking the words, you can show your kids how much you love them.

    It’s the little things that count.

    Here are some creative ideas to get you started.

    1. Start out their day with heart-shaped red velvet pancakes for breakfast. Add whip cream to top it off with a special treat.
    2. Pack their lunch (if it falls on a school day). Add a special love note that simply says, “I love you” or “I hope you have a great day!”
    3. Put a surprise in their lunch, such as a sweet treat, that they can share with a few of their friends at school.
    4. Decorate their lunch bags with paper heart doilies, Valentine’s Day stickers, or both. Go on a dinner date with your child. You can treat them to dinner at their favorite restaurant or try out a new spot.
    5. Write a sweet, silly or heartfelt poem to your child about love, Valentine’s Day, how your child is special to you + how much you love them + why you love them.
    6. Pull out a picture of your child with you when they were a baby to show to them.
    7. Take your daughter(s) with you to the nail salon or spa for a mani-pedi. Ooooolala!
    8. Plan a Valentine’s Day theme scavenger hunt. Britni over at Play. Party. Plan. offers a free printable + instructions on how to set up this Valentine’s Day themed scavenger hunt.
    9. Let your child create the dinner menu with you + help you prepare the meal. You can stick to age-appropriate help such as stirring, mixing + adding ingredients.
    10. Go on a dinner date with your child. You can treat them to dinner at their favorite restaurant or try out a new spot.
    11. Make a heart shaped pizza + decorate with toppings that are shaped like hearts, Xs + Os.
    12. Host an ice cream sundae bar, where your child can make their own ice cream sundae, complete with Valentine’s candy like red hot, M&Ms, Hershey kisses + more!the toppings.
    13. Read your child her favorite bedtime story.
    14. Serve your child heart shaped cookies + a glass of milk in bed. (Then have them brush their teeth!)

    Saying I love you doesn’t have to be a fancy or expensive gesture. Use one, two or all of these ways to show your kids how much you love them on Valentine’s Day (+ every day, really). 

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  • Gifts for Girls,  Girl Birthday Parties

    The Kid Birthday Tradition I Do Every Year (For All 3 Girls)

    I am not HUGE on traditions but I am a bit nostalgic so as my oldest daughter was approaching her 1st birthday, I wanted to come up with a kid birthday tradition I could carry out for her from year to year.

    Kid Birthday Tradition Letter

    I picked something that is near + dear to my own heart, which is writing. I decided I would write her a letter each year on her birthday. I would share with her what she accomplished that particular year, what she was like, what she did, what was going on in her world.

    After writing the letter (usually with tears streaming down my face), I put it in an envelope + write the birthday she is celebrating that year. So a big number 1 for her 1st birthday.

    Kid Birthday Tradition Continues

    She just turned five this last September, so she has five letters in five envelopes tucked away in my drawer. As my second + then third daughters arrived, I carried on the tradition with them.

    (Well, not yet with my third because her first birthday is in a couple of weeks.)

    As my second daughter joined the tradition, I started adding their names and the birthday they are celebrating to the envelopes so they each have their own set.

    What to do with the Letters

    I haven’t quite decided if it’ll be at 18 or 21 or 25 yet, but at some point, I will stop writing the letters, place the envelopes in a pretty box + gift them to each of my daughters.

    I think they will enjoy reading their letters to see what they were like as they were growing up. Especially since it is through my eyes.

    By the way, I handwrite each of the letters + envelopes.

    I do this for a couple of reasons.

    1. The art of a handwritten notes/letters is lost
    2. I want my girls to see my handwriting
    3. A handwritten note/letter is so much more personal than a typed one

    Do you have a birthday tradition for your littles? What is it?

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  • Gifts for Girls,  Girl Birthday Parties,  Holidays for Girls

    #1 Reason I’m Giving My Kids Experience, Not Toy, Gifts

    Have you seen that YouTube video Girl Moms vs. Boy Moms, where they paint this picture of what it is like to be a mom to a girl in a light that it’s all cupcakes and kitten licks, while being a boy mom is all chaos and mayhem?

    To this I say poppycock!

    I have three girls, a 5-year-old, 3-year-old, and 10-month-old. Every single one of them, including the baby, is like a hurricane (and I know hurricanes because I am from Florida).

    In fact, this is what the older two girls’ room looked like this morning (I’m embarrassed to even reveal these pictures):

    This isn’t even the worst I have seen it look, either. The “stuff” doesn’t stay in their room either. It seems to overflow throughout the rest of the house, which means I get to spend every night walking through the house picking up the items nobody else bothered to pick up and return to their rightful home. 

    I have tried all sorts of toy clutter solutions. I bought those pretty bins to put on shelves. I bought a toy bin holder. The best of the toy clutter solutions that I could find is to stop buying toys.

    The Top Toy Clutter Solutions

    This, my fellow mamas, is the #1 reason I vow to not buy any more toys as gifts. This does not even include the 9lbs. (I wish I was exaggerating) of trash, toys, toy parts, books, cups, pieces to various games, arts and crafts pieces, and papers I cleaned out from behind and underneath their bunk bed.


    I was so angry while I was cleaning out this mess. This is exactly the moment that I proclaimed no more.

    On the way home from church last week, I had this exact conversation with my husband. I told him that our house is too small, they have too much crap, they don’t take care of the crap they have, and they don’t put away the stuff they have so NO MORE STUFF.

    I told him that I think we should give them experiences instead. 

    I would rather spend our money on taking them to the theater (our oldest has been asking about seeing The Nutcracker) or catching the Fancy Nancy live show that is in the area, or having them dine with their dolls at the American Doll Bistro.

    I’d rather pay for an extra vacation each year.

    I’d rather fill their calendar with even more free library programs than we already attend or pay for additional dance classes, soccer, or whatever the heck it is they want to do than to fill our house with even more stuff that nobody cleans up but me. 

    I would rather deposit extra money into their college funds than spend one more dollar on stuff.

    Educational Toys & Books

    We have overflowing bookshelves of kids books. We have bins bursting at the seams with puzzles and educational toys and games.

    At this point, we don’t need anymore. Plus, the two older ones, especially, have educational items in their kindergarten and preschool classes.

    PLUS, we can borrow and return most of these items from the library!

    This, this, and this are all the reasons why I am choosing to just say no. In the eyes of my kids, this probably makes me “the worst mom ever” but I can live with that. In the long run, they’re not going to remember or benefit from all of the stuff they have.

    The experiences they have, however, they will remember for a LONG time. 

    What about you, Mamas? How do you feel about toys and all of the stuff your kids own?

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