On the List… Foam Blocks

From now until Christmas, I am featuring our all time favorite toys!  I always love getting recommendations to get the Christmas gift idea lists to the grandparents in plenty of time!  That’s why I am starting early this year with some individual toy features.  I will update our gift recommendation posts {tot, preschool, boys, moms, Jesus} for 2013 and publish those in November, but wanted to get started with these features of our favorites now.  I will feature 10 different gift ideas between now and Dec 21, every Saturday. Recently I featured Straws & Connectors, and Indoor Energy Burners!

{disclaimer ~ affiliate links are used, thanks for your support!}

On the List... Foam Blocks

We have had our set of colorful foam blocks since Pac was little.  All of my kids still play with them and have said they are one of the very favorite toys we have.  Personally, I love that they are quiet and less destructive!

Here’s a collection of photos I found over the years of my kids enjoying our set of foam blocks! A little trip down memory lane for me!

Homeschool Tot School

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Which Set?

  • We got our set from Toys R Us years ago and I believe it is the Imaginarium brand. I found it on Amazon here too, but they are usually cheaper at Toys R Us.
  • We also have an  ABC/123 block set that is mixed in and played with just as much.
  • Our sets fit in a large Ikea Trofast bin and the blocks are available to my kids all of the time.

Our kids have played with these since they were old enough to not take bites out of them {or with me around watching when they might} until now.  My oldest is 11 and still really enjoys them!  Awhile back I wrote a post about our Favorite Tot School Learning Toys and asked my kids which was their absolute favorite toy on the list. 

Favorite Learning Toys

Pac and Ladybug both said foam blocks!  This is an inexpensive, long lasting, open ended toy I definitely recommend!

Do you already have a set of foam blocks? Are foam block on your list?


See more gift ideas On the List…

Favorite Gift Idea Straws and Connectors  Favorite-Gift-Idea-Indoor-Energy-Bur

On the List ~ Indoor Energy Burners

From now until Christmas, I am featuring our all time favorite toys!  I always love getting recommendations to get the Christmas gift idea lists to the grandparents in plenty of time!  That’s why I am starting early this year with some individual toy features.  I will update our gift recommendation posts {tot, preschool, boys, moms, Jesus} for 2013 and publish those in November, but wanted to get started with these features of our favorites now.  I will feature 10 different gift ideas between now and Dec 21, every Saturday. Last week I featured Straws & Connectors!

{disclaimer ~ affiliate links are used, thanks for your support!}

Indoor Energy Burners

Indoor energy burning toys are a MUST in my home.  We live in the inner city and our Help for the Energetic Childbackyard is small.  All 3 of our children need an outlet to blow off physical energy, especially my Krash.  I wrote an extensive post, Blessed with Boundless Energy, sharing all about him and how we help him manage his high energy level.

We own many indoor energy burners and have a few on our own list for the kids this year to add to our collection.  This category is kind of like books for me, we can’t have enough!  We often use our items to set up a simple indoor obstacle course.  We have a corner in our schoolroom where we keep it all so it is easy to get to and USE!

 

What We Already Own and Love

    What’s on OUR List This Year?

    We already purchased a few gifts for our kids for Christmas, thanks to Zulily!  I was able to use some credit to get both of these items for free!  {I am linking to them on Amazon, since the sale on Zulily is over}

    Waliki the Jumping Bull ~ Ladybug saw this in a catalog and BEGGED for the bouncy horsey!  About a week later it was on Zulily and I ordered her a purple one!  The weight limit is up to 150 pounds for this one, so I am pretty certain the boys will have fun with it too!Waliki the Jumping Bull

     

    Gonge Rubber See Saw ~ saw this and thought the kids would love it.  We shall see!

    Gonge See Saw

    Do you already have a collection of indoor energy burners?  What are your favorites?


    See more gift ideas On the List…

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    On The List… Straws & Connectors

    From now until Christmas, I will be featuring our all time favorite toys!  I always love getting recommendations so I can get the Christmas gift idea lists to the grandparents in plenty of time!  That’s why I am starting early this year with some individual toy features.  I will update our gift recommendation posts {tot, preschool, boys, moms, Jesus} for 2013 and publish those in early November, but wanted to get started with these features of our favorites now.  I will feature 10 different gift ideas between now and Dec 21, every Saturday.

    {disclaimer ~ affiliate links are used, thanks for your support!}

    Up first, if we didn’t already own them Straws and Connectors would definitely be on the list!On the List ~ Straws & Connectors

    We bought our first set of Straws and Connectors back in April, and bought our second set in May.  This is probably the most loved toy we have right now, by all three kids.  They all build some amazing creations, both individually and together as you can see…

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    In My Opinion…

    • Ideal Age Range 4-11 {the box says 5+}
    • Widened Age Range 3-13 The tiny connectors are small and I definitely would not recommend this toy for any child that still puts anything in their mouth. The connectors can be frustrating sometimes for my daughter but she really enjoys this set and has since she turned 4.  An easily frustrated 3 year old might be too young. Pac is 11 1/2 and still loves building with these.

    Which Set?

    • We bought the smaller set first {a gift for P on his 11th birthday}, and within a month {for K’s birthday} we got the big set.  They use ALL of them.  If you only have one child and aren’t sure this will be a hit, just go for the smaller set and add on later.  If you have more than one child using the set, just get the bigger one!
    • We store all of ours in a clear plastic container from Costco, you can see it in a photo above sitting near Ladybug.

    We got ours on Amazon, I haven’t seen them anywhere else {I am sure they are, I just have yet to see them in a store}

    Straws and Connectors 230 piece    Straws and Connectors 705 piece

    Do you already have Straws and Connectors?  Are they on your list?


    See more gift ideas On the List…

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    Christmas Gifts for Jesus

    Christmas Gifts for Jesus

    I wrote a Christmas Gifts for Jesus post last year, but this year I have something new to share about how we are now doing this as a family.  I can’t say it will be a yearly tradition, as this is the first year for us, but it is certainly something I hope works out as a family tradition in the future!

    I was introduced to the book, The Sparkle Box through a reader who sent me an email about it {thanks!}.  I loved the concept and had never seen the book so I ordered it that night.  When it arrived I read it to myself and began to pray about what the Sparkle Box could look like for us. You can read more on The Sparkle Box website.

    The Sparkle Box

    After feeling God’s idea for our family in my heart, I read the book to the kids, which they loved, and then brought out the Sparkle Box and shared our family plan for it.

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    I handed each of them a World Vision Gift Catalog and told them that we are using our Sparkle Box to collect money to give a gift to Jesus on Christmas Day!

    A few “rules” came along with this, to help them grasp the heart-meaning of giving. My thoughts behind this comes from the verses in the Bible about giving in secret.

    Matthew 6

    1. Nobody can open the box to count the money until we all open it together on Christmas Day.
    2. Nobody can tell anybody else how much money they put into the box.
    3. When putting your own money in the box, do it in private, when no one is watching. It is between you and God.
    4. You can give money in honor of someone to replace a gift you would have given.  My oldest asked about this and I told him I would rather him take the money he would use to buy me a small gift and put it in the box, along with a simple note saying he gave my gift to Jesus instead. I made sure he knew I did not want him to tell the amount, that’s between him and God.
    5. No picking up the Sparkle Box, the box is fragile and as money is put in {coins} it will get heavy and could break!  No opening the box, even to put your money in.  The big red bow keeps the top shut, but there is a small opening in the box where it folds where we can easily slip our money in!
    6. The kids are browsing through our gift catalogs to see where their heart is pulled.  As Christmas approaches I will have them each share the 3 things they would love to spend the Sparkle Box money on.  As a family we will vote, or possibly draw randomly if there are too many suggestions.  I plan to have the item{s} we plan to purchase decided upon ahead of time.  If we have extra money we will go down the list we create together and buy more for Jesus! As a family we usually use the The World Vision Gift Catalog, but will also be looking through the Compassion Gift Catalog online, and our Samaritan’s Purse Gift Catalog to choose our gifts.

    World Vision Gift Catalog 2012 gI_114455_Gifts-of-Compassion-Print-Catalog_150x195 

    On Christmas Day we plan to sit together and open the box and count the money all together. We will then find time to get online and order our gift for Jesus. I am hoping this will be a special time for our kids, as they see the power of us joining together to make a difference.

    I look forward to seeing how God uses this experience in our family. How does your family honor Jesus on His birthday? I’d love you to share some of your traditions in the comments!

    Christmas Gift Ideas for Moms

    Christmas Gift Ideas

    This is my list of ideas for MOMS! Moms always come last, huh?  I meant to have this list updated over a week ago but life got in the way.  In case you missed my other posts, here are links: Gift Ideas for Tots, Preschoolers, & Boys. I link to everything where I find the best online price {most of the time it is Amazon}. Most links are affiliate links, some are not {if I am not affiliated with the particular company}. If you purchase anything through an affiliate link, you give back a percentage to our family…thanks!  

     Christmas Gift Ideas for Moms

    Books

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    Little Stuff

    • Made On Hard Lotion ~ we use the hard lotion bars, goat milk soap, and chapstick. They have awesome gift sets available too! My son and my husband save their dry skin with these bars!
    • Easy Lunchboxes ~ I LOVE these things. Ask for 2 sets just to be safe! We use them in and out of the house. See my original review here.
    • The Vintage Pearl ~ I still wear my necklace every day and it is my absolute favorite.

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      Gadgets

    • Laminator {everyone knows how much I love this, right?} I use these pouches.
    • iPod Dock {we use ours for school, we have this exact one but got ours at Target, it’s a bit pricey (it was a gift) but I bet a less pricey model would be equally as wonderful!}
    • Label Maker {don’t know how I lived so long without one-got ours and get our refills at Costco}

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    The BIG Gift {just in case Santa still visits any of you}

    iPad  The best price I have seen for iPads is straight from Apple’s site, we have a refurbished iPad 2 and got it for $349.  The refurbished stock varies, so you have to check back to get what you want!

    • iPad Case ~ if you have kids, I definitely recommend a sturdy protective case.  We have the Trident Kraken II and my husband recently got the Otterbox Defender {he needed one with a stand for his school}, and he loves it! I get asked about our warranty a lot, we use SquareTrade.
    • iTunes Giftcard ~ Looking for ideas for your kids to put on your new ipad?

    Canon Digital Rebel {I personally own the 40D, but the rebel is the best starter dSLR} I get asked a lot about which model of Rebel is best. Honestly-if this is $your first dSLR, the lower priced model is great. If you can afford the higher priced model-go for it. BUT-it is not necessary. That is my personal opinion and I know others may disagree. I say the price difference isn’t worth it unless you have future professional plans-and then you’d more than likely move beyond a Rebel anyway. I don’t own either but have seen both and used older models of both.

    Photography Stuff…

    • 50mm lens {if you like the blurred background and the ability to shoot in lower light without a flash, you want this lens!}
    • See all of my photography info here in my Behind the Scenes ~ Photography post
    • A great photography book is: Better Photo Basics, I have a few and this one is my favorite for beginners.
    • A Light Scoop is an inexpensive way to soften fill flash light indoors, I have one and use it in my schoolroom for most of my blog photos that are taken indoors.
    • Vitamix ~ I got mine from Costco about a year ago and I can’t believe I waited so long!  We use it almost daily, mostly to make healthy smoothies.  It is about the only way I can ensure green veggies get into Ladybug! Here’s a post sharing what I usually put in our green smoothies.
    • Keurig Since my husband and I like different coffee, a Keurig has been a lifesaver!  This is our 2nd one, the first one lasted about 2 years.  We upgraded to the deluxe model and got it along with a bunch of K Cups at Costco a few months ago for 149.99.
    • Dyson Vacuum {we own this exact one, the DC25 and we ordered ours from Amazon about two years ago. We LOVE it and yes it is all that. I hesitated for years to spend the $$ but I am so glad we saved up and finally got it!}
    • Projector ~ we got this for our schoolroom and watch all of our school PowerPoint shows on it, it also shows our Wii and DVD player. It is wonderful!

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    Vitamix Keurig


     

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