When we moved into our house, I decided rather than make a dedicated play room for the kids to contain their toys in their rooms. I love this because it allows us to have our living space more open and not overwhelmed with toys. It’s especially nice to have some toy-free space after the kids go to bed. This also gave me the opportunity to purge and simplify the kids’ toys. I went through every single toy and sorted into piles to:
- donate: anything that doesn’t get played with, what we have multiples of and the toys that annoy me – I need my sanity, you know
- trash: anything broken or unusable
It was a major effort because we had a LOT of toys but I am so happy I did it. We have just what we need and we’re not drowning in toys. Owen’s big boy room is a functional, fun, happy space for him to play in…I’ll be sharing a tour of his room soon.
Della’s room is still a work in progress but I’m working on sorting out her toys to pass down to the new baby and making room for a few new big girl toys and new decor. Right now her room is a mash-up of her nursery and new big girl room, but it will get there in the next few months. What this just really means is that I’m not ready to put her in a big girl bed just yet.
With both of their birthdays all right around Christmas (Owen’s is this weekend and Della’s is in January) we especially have to be careful about not going overboard on gifts. My motto with gifts for the kids is “less is more” and this year, I’m really trying to keep it narrowed down so we aren’t swimming in toys now that I’ve got everything down to a manageable quantity. I want to give them the stars and the moon, along with every little thing that catches my eye that they might like. Doesn’t every parent? But as they get older and more into things, those “things” really start to pile up, and add up financially, quickly.
This year I did some serious planning and I am trying very hard to suppress my shopaholic tendencies (I’ll be the first to admit I have a problem but Alex is definitely a close second). I decided to do a project with them to teach them about the gift of giving. I want them to know the real reason for this beautiful season and focus less on what they want for gifts. Still, as a parent, it is such a wonderful feeling to see their eyes light up on Christmas morning and I’m grateful that I’m able to give them those magical memories. So to keep things under control, I narrowed down their gifts to four things:
- something they want
- something they need
- something to wear
- something to read
This means less of the over-sized obnoxious toys that light up and sing and God only knows what else that they only play with for a couple of days before getting buried in the black hole of “toys never played with.” I’m sticking to quality – items that will be loved, will last and that I know we have space for. Less stuff.
So, here’s the list (plus quite a few things we already have and love) that will be their birthday and Christmas gifts this year.
1. We have this baby doll and they fight over it. Owen has been asking for one of his own for a while now.
2. This adorable coffee maker is just too cute, I love the pop of color.
3. These Camp Castle play mats are completely sold out right now, but you can sign up to get restock notifications in your email. Seriously, the COOLEST play mat I’ve ever seen and I can’t wait to see his reaction to it. Owen plays with cars and trucks 90% of the time so it’s perfect for him. I really like the concept of these and you know how I love supporting a small shop!
4. He played with Magformers at a kids cafe in Korea and I loved the creativity and imagination it sparked in him.
6. We have had the Sleeper Hero for a little over a year now and it works SO well for Owen the early bird. It comes with a book and this awesome hero doll. The doll has a clock (hidden inside) that parents can set to turn the light on his chest red for bedtime and green for okay to get out of bed. Owen named his hero Fisher and has responded really well to the light as well as the book.
7. You can’t go wrong with pajamas for Christmas and these are THE softest jammies ever.
8. He has wanted a train table for quite a while and Santa knows it. 😉
9. This book is beautiful and tells the story of Christmas wonderfully.
10. J Crew is my go-to for Owen’s wardrobe. He’s tall and skinny and their clothes fit him so well. I snagged this colorblocked sweater, this airplane shirt, this flannel shirt, this crewneck, some pjs, (these for Della) and a couple jeans for him during their big sale last weekend.
11. The coziest slippers for a little dude! Owen and Della are always stealing and wearing mine so I think they’d like having their own.
1. I am so excited about this simple doll house and it’s really such a steal compared to some of the other ones out there right now.
3. Since she was born I have ordered a custom bonnet from this adorable shop. You can customize everything about your bonnet (the style, fabric, lining, trim, pom…and they have great selection) or you can purchase one of their ready to ship bonnets that are already made. They’re handmade and incredible quality.
4. These loveys are handmade by two mamas in IOWA! and Della loves hers. She calls them her “bee bee” and won’t sleep without one. We have several, but you can never have too many backups.
6. June & January’s swing dresses and tights are the best, I absolutely love all the colors to mix and match.
8. Slippers so she can be just like her big brother.
10. This doll pram is one of the most well-loved toys in our house. We also have the matching cradle. Della reads books and rocks her babies to sleep then either takes them for a stroll or puts them to bed. It’s the sweetest.
11. I just got this little table and chairs for snack time, arts and crafts. It’s a great size for them now and as they grow. I am incredibly impressed with the quality and how well it cleans up.
12. Della absolutely loves puppies and I couldn’t resist this adorable one. The Cuddle & Kind dolls are truly one of a kind. For every ethically produced, hand-knit doll sold, they provide TEN meals to children in need. LOVE.
13. My mom got Della a high chair for her baby doll along with a bottle and feeding set. She loves babies and will be the best big sister.
14. The prettiest book and it is a lot of fun, too.
15. This book is just absolutely fantastic. Babies are born every day, every where. They are all fed differently, carried differently, each baby is unique, special and loved. I LOVE this book and its message.
16. She has started trying out Owen’s balance bike and I guess Santa figured it’s time she gets one of her own.
6. The most fun polaroid camera for toddlers – trust me you’ll love the photos your kids take.
7. A great alternative toy camera for your little ones who aren’t quite ready for the real deal. Both Owen and Della love theirs!
9. Santa has great style, Freshly Picked moccs are our favorite.
The fat man also usually leaves an apple, some chocolate, maybe a candy cane or two and I think there might be an annual zoo pass in there this year, as well…
Happy shopping and happy holidays!