It’s the season of giving! To give back to Mila’s teachers, we decided to do an easy DIY gift I think her teachers will love. Made with a lot of love and something to remember her when they bake, we came up with this ‘smart cookie’ bundle.
Since Mila is in preschool and has three classroom teachers, I needed a gift that was simple to put together and not super costly. Instead of just doing a mug with hot chocolate, I thought of what Mila and I love to do during Christmastime: make cookies!
A quick internet search led me to the little quote on the pot holder and it all came together!
All I needed for this Easy DIY Teacher Christmas Gift was:
Chocolate chip cookie mix
Sparkly iron on vinyl
The most tasking part of this DIY gift was making the pot holder. If you have a Cricut and know how to use it, you should be golden.
My friend made me the image and I did everything else. Thank goodness for friends who can help out (thanks Dana!). If you don’t know how to use a Cricut or don’t have one, I’m sure a friend or family member would be willing to help out. There’s also a ton of different pot holders on Etsy you could quickly order… but it’s seriously easy to DIY.
One issue with ironing this design on was all the stitching. I had to really maneuver it and press really hard for it to stay on. Once it got on there, I think it looked really cute. I’m so glad I had the glitter vinyl at home!
I bought the cookie mix and whisk, but I DIY’d the ornament.
All I used was cardboard, a hot glue gun, and fluffy yarn. I’m going to do another in-depth blog post in the next few days about these DIY ornaments. You could also purchase one or make another type of DIY one.
When we actually give these gifts to Mila’s teachers, it’ll be easy to wrap up and hand to them. I love how it all looks together and I just used an extra piece of yarn to complete it. This could also be done with an oven mit. The items would just sit in it instead.
Some extra things we’re going to add that aren’t pictured here are little paintings from Mila in a Christmas card. She is adamant about making them something, so that’ll be a fun project.
This Easy DIY Teacher Gift is perfect for busy parents who want to make their teacher gift special without breaking the bank or being SUPER creative. Hopefully this will give you some inspiration and take a little stress off of you this holiday season.
Wondering what to get other people in your life? Check out these two gift guides I made this year:
Let me know in the comments what your go-to teacher gift is. OR if you’re a preschool or elementary school teacher, let us know what you’d like to receive or what would be helpful. I’d love to know more things to get in the future for Mila’s educators.
Christmas crafts don’t always have to be ‘perfect’ to be adorable. Toddlers and preschoolers love to learn by using the things around them, especially through art. This Christmas Process Art Mila created was a great reminder of that!
There’s a huge pressure to have the most perfect crafts online. It seems kids have to follow instructions step-by-step to create the best craft. When you give them the power to create on their own, they can create something even more spectacular.
I’m not going to say Mila and I haven’t been doing specific crafts together, but she needed this free project to showcase her creativity.
All we used to create this beautiful piece of art was from other Christmas items we had at home:
Red and Green Washable Paint
Gold Acrylic Paint
To set up this activity, all I did was pour the paint and tell Mila to use these objects to paint.
She did ask for a paint brush and I did let her use it to push the bells around. Then she used it to paint after trying all the objects. She really went to work when she could use the brush at the end!
As much as it was a process art activity, I did not want to put a limit to her creativity. I think she had fun feeling the different textures and she loved shaking the bells too. It puzzles her why the items don’t paint as well as the brush… but that’s what it’s all about!
When she was finished, we talked about what her artwork symbolized and what we wanted to title it. She said it was just about Christmas and it didn’t need a name. So, it’s left untitled, but I did have her sign it and I dated it. I told her it reminded me of a Christmas tree, just REALLY close up. It honestly just makes me smile, like all of her artwork does.
We love making art as Christmas gifts… and will probably do it again this year! Let me know in the comments… What’s the best Christmas or holiday present you’ve received? Handmade or store bought?
A new month means there’s new things to explore and discover. This month, we’re doing a Christmas Sensory Play. The most fun part of this sensory bin is everything is bought from the dollar store!
We love Christmas and all the joy it brings to us. I think Mila is mostly excited for snow and Santa to bring presents. To combine that happiness and interest, I thought this Christmas Sensory Play idea was the best of both worlds!
This sensory bin is filled with:
Different types of fake snow
As I said before, I got this entire bin at the dollar store! Everything was pretty cheap and easy to put together. All I did was dump the three different types of fake snow in the refrigerator organizer.
If I could give one fake snow suggestion, I’d tell everyone not to get the small foam balls. They get EVERYWHERE and stick to everything. We could have done with just the glitter snow and the medium sized foam balls. It would have worked just as well.
Anyways, then I hid chocolate kisses underneath so Mila could find surprises.
The next things I added were the jingle bells. I had a ton of different sized and colored bells. This is important for one of the activities that I’ll explain.
To make it a little more festive, I added five, felt Santa stickers. They’re so cute!
There’s seriously a ton of activities you can do with this Christmas Sensory Bin.
The first is just letting your child explore the sensory bin. There they can find the chocolate kisses, feel the different types of snow, or use their imaginations. Mila loves when I don’t give her directions and she just does whatever.
One activity that I directed her in was sorting the bells. You could have them sort by color or size. This provide a ton of different skills.
I also had her count the Santas too. There’s a ton of math that kids can do that will help!
In all, this Christmas Sensory Bin is festive and educational. Kids will love it and you’ll love that they’re learning and having fun.
Do you have any suggestions of Christmas play? I have a few, but I’m definitely up for more ideas. Also, what are you most excited for this Christmas season?
It’s officially time to start getting festive. Our Christmas tree is up and indoor decorations are done. With all these bucket list items getting crossed off, we had to do another… write a letter to Santa.
I mean.. there’s less than a month until Christmas, we HAD to make sure he knew what Mila wanted this year.
The letter to Santa is very important in the eyes of kids who believe in him. When Mila realized that Santa was going to see her letter, she had that look Ralphie did in A Christmas Story.
It was all very official business.
After brainstorming her thoughts for the letter out loud, she decided it was time to write. Since Mila only knows how to spell her name at the moment, I got to help her out a little in the writing and spelling part of this.
Her letter to Santa states:
How do you do? Thank you for giving me Christmas presents. I would like a big doctor thing.
She’s a lady that knows what she want! Hopefully she’ll actually become a doctor one day since that’s the only thing she wants at the moment. Besides becoming a mommy like me… her words.
Anyways, I wanted to share this big moment because there’s a lot of learning going on in this simple letter.
Not only did she practice her writing skills and can prove she can remember and write her name, she drafted and wrote a letter! That’s pretty big for a three year old. Just because she didn’t physically write it, doesn’t mean there wasn’t any thought or work put into it.
It also showed her emotional intelligence with the thank you’s and asking Santa how he was doing.
These are all social skills that are all important to learn… simply by just writing a fun letter to Santa! Learning really is everywhere you look.
Fingers crossed Santa gets her letter in time. She used special stamps to help it travel quickly.
I’ll keep you all updated on if he does.
You can find the ‘Letter to Santa’ template at The Letter Vee. Some of the other stamps come from Three Little Crumbsnatchers, she also has the cutest Christmas activities you can print out for free. I’ll be posting them this December, so keep your eyes peeled.
Does your child or did they write letters to Santa? I’m thinking of recording Mila too. I think it would be cute to look back on. Let me know in the comments if you think that’s a fun idea or not.
Moms do so much for their family and friends. Sometimes it can be hard to think of a gift to give them. Although this says what moms want, it’s more like a wish guide/things that I’ve been happy with in the last year that I wanted to share to give you ideas.
Every mom is as individual as any person in the world. I have a feeling the women in your life will love at least one of these items.
One of my favorite ways to switch up my looks are adding hair accessories. There are so many different options and they’re all so cute. I feel like I have a ton of scrunchies, but I’m always looking for more. I’ve been really into clips that can flip my hair all the way up. It changes the way my hair looks and they’re comfortable. My last favorite accessory lately is the other type of clip or barrette. Mila and I can share them and it gets the hair in front out of my face.
Here are some options and shops that I love. Seriously, my go to for my hair accessories.
Honestly, I LOVE all the options my Stitch Fix gives me and my stylist hits what I like every time. I like that these clothes are a mix of trendy and classic styles. Any time I wear one of my fixes, I get so many compliments. It’s been a great way of keeping my wardrobe updated, especially when I’m teaching every day.
If you have a fashionista in your life or someone who needs clothes, a Stitch Fix subscription is a great option. When you use this link, you’ll get $25 off your first fix! Believe me, you’ll love it!
I use skincare products twice a day, every day. You can imagine that I go through a decent amount of products. It’s always nice when I’m surprised with items that I have to buy a few times a year… especially because I’m going to use it and appreciate it so much.
Most people have their favorite skincare lines, but I listed the two I love to use below.
Eclectic Serenity – Local friends, I 100% recommend Kiersten’s products. They make my skin feel so good.
Little Seed Farm – I love their products too. Their goat’s milk moisturizer is one of my favorites. It keeps my skin feeling silky and refreshed.
My least favorite thing in the world to buy are bras. I feel like it’s hard to find the right size and trying them on can feel daunting. But all women deserve to feel comfortable in their skin and that starts with good undergarments.
I was gifted a few items from Adore Me and then signed up for the Adore Me VIP Membership. It’s a monthly membership that costs about $40. There’s all kinds of perks with it like a huge discount, free items, and you can skip months too. It sounds too good to be true, but I love the flexibility it gives it’s customers!
The best part about Adore Me is they have sizes and styles for everyone. Before I started shopping I looked up their fit guide that helped me figure out what size would be best for me there. After that, I easily found a ton of different sets that I needed to get! They also have the cutest lounge clothes and pajamas. There’s truly something for everyone at Adore Me. Their membership just is an added bonus.
To help the mom in your life feel their best about their body, an Adore Me VIP Membership will help them feel comfortable picking out the bras and panties that will work best for them and fit them perfectly too.
I promise, they’ll be feeling their best as well.
Raise your hand if you’ve been personally victimized by ‘clean tok’ or any organizational videos on social media… *silently raises hand.*
I’m always in awe of how people share their organizational skills. It’s so satisfying to watch and I feel like their lives have to be less chaotic for it. The last few weeks, I’ve been trying to find good deals to help me out with my home organization too. There’s a ton more, but I linked three at the end of this section.
Personally, I would love to receive any organizational help. It would be a useful gift and in the long run it would start to feel amazing too. If you know any moms who are obsessed with watching these kinds of videos, I bet they’d love these too.
If you would look at my phone, you’d easily see that I have over 10,000 pictures on there. I’m constantly snapping pictures of what’s going on around me. The one thing I wish I would do more of is printing them out.
The first year of Mila’s life, I made a book a month to capture those moments. To this day, I still go back through them AND Mila loves being able to sit down and flip through the books too. They make such amazing keepsakes and I love how they hold up. For 2022, I’m going to make it a goal to start making photo books again.
I’d also love to receive one as a gift. If you’ve went on a trip with a mom in your life, it’d be fun to share those memories with her. Or fill it up with all your favorites. Either way, mom’s love photos and this would be a great gift.
Shutterfly – I used to make all my photo books here. They always turn out amazing and they have a free photo book every month if you have their app.
Chatbooks – I have not used this service yet, but I have been seeing amazing deals from them. I think it would be awesome to try out!
Mootsh – I haven’t used this service either but it prints out pictures each month for you to do as you please with them.
A day full of self care and pampering feels really nice. I love getting facials and my hair done, so any time it’s gifted to me, I feel extra special. All moms would love to have a spa day. There are a ton of local spas that have different specials. It’s a great way to give back to the local economy and you get to pick the best things that your loved one would want.
Another option would be for reiki sessions! It’s a different type of self care and relaxation that would be a great gift for moms. Need a reminder of what reiki is? Here’s my first experience with it.
Time to Themselves
As much as I love being around Mila and the craziness of our life… sometimes it’s just nice to have a break. Obviously, this could be paired up with a spa day, but sometimes alone time at home is all you need. Or maybe a movie out, a date night, or time with their friends. Whatever they need, it’s nice that they have that option.
I think asking for time alone is one of the hardest things for a mom to ask for. At least it is for me. If someone can offer that time or a night away, it could be a nice gift and you get to be around pretty cool kids too.
I don’t think there will EVER be a time that I’m disappointed about getting a candle for a present.
Not only does it make your house smell really good, they can be so relaxing. Any time I take a bath or just need a quiet minute, lighting a candle makes everything seem a little better.
Another awesome part about candles is being able to use the jars afterwards. I repurpose almost all of my candle jars to make plant propagation glasses or storage containers too. It’s sort of like two gifts in one!
AsYouWish – funky designed pots with a long burning time.
Spend Time With Them
The best gift for moms is just spending time with their family. At the end of the day, that’s what makes everything feel special.
I love just being able to have the time to spend with Mila. No matter if that’s a day of play, cuddling, or going somewhere, my time with her is absolutely priceless.
Hopefully when she’s older and wanting to know what to gift me, she can find this and decide to just spend the day with me.
The little moments are the best presents. Promise.
If you’re holiday shopping online this year, try Rakuten. It’s a way to shop online and get cash back at different stores. Honestly, it’s a great way to get a little back. I use it whenever I can. Right now, if you use this link, you can get $40 for just signing up… and it’ll give it back to me too. Who couldn’t use $40 extra dollars during the holiday season?
What do you think of this gift guide? As a mom or woman, what items would you add to your gift list? Let me know in the comments.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! This year, I’m trying to start a new tradition with my family: a DIY Thanksgiving Gratitude Sign.
Since there’s been so many events, people, and things in general that have happened in our family, I thought it’d be special for everyone to write it all out. It’ll be a snapshot of gratitude.
Who doesn’t need a little dose of that?
Like this year’s Christmas Bucket List, our DIY Gratitude Sign only uses craft paper and markers. To make it a little more special, I used some left overs fall elements from a centerpiece.
Then, just add tape to the back and it’s ready to go.
I added the first three items to the list: family, health, and laughter.
After looking at it, I decided to add my name to the sign too. Hopefully all my family will so we can all see what everyone says.
I think this will be a beautiful tradition for my family. It’s something I want to do with Mila as she gets older. Even if she’s not in a positive space, I want her to know that I’m always thankful for her. Plus, sometimes the things you’re most thankful for are ‘small.’
This simple and easy to make gratitude sign will make a big impact on Thanksgiving Day.
I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving and holds their loved ones close this year and for as long as they can.
With that, I know so many people grieving through the holidays. They are so hard. I miss Jensen everyday and am so thankful that he was in my life. No matter if you can’t think of anything else to be thankful for, I know a name can be powerful. Write and say your loved ones names.
I know anytime I hear Jensen’s name, I’m so thankful others are thinking of him. I’ll never be able to thank him and Mila for choosing me to be their mom.
How do you talk about gratitude during the holidays? Do you have a tradition like this? Let me know in the comments.
Quirky Turkeys don’t always have feathers, sometimes they have spots. At least that’s what Mila says. This easy craft is perfect if you run out of feathers or just want to give your child a simple turkey craft.
Plus, It turns out really abstract, which makes this one of my favorite turkeys of the year!
As I’ve said over and over again, I try to find crafts and activities that are easy for Mila to do by herself. This gives me time to clean or cook a dish for Thanksgiving. It also promotes her being independent and in turn it helps her with her confidence. Little ones need all the confidence to get by in the world.
For this activity, we only used a few things. That means it was SUPER simple to set up for her… and me!
To start off, I made a turkey head and face. I used cardboard from a box, googly eyes, and random scrapbook/construction paper that I had leftover. Your child could have also made a turkey face too.
Then, I unscrewed the tops of the bingo markers and told her to make the turkey’s feathers with them.
I actually love using bingo markers in crafts and activities. They aren’t very messy, unless your child goes wld with them. They also are pretty cheap. I found these at the dollar store and we’ve had them for quite a while. Plus, there’s a lot of different colors you can find!
The only other thing I instructed Mila to do was to fill up the background. You could also have your kids sort the colors or do different numbers of dots for more learning.
When I look at her last quirky turkey of the year, I keep seeing a rainbow in the background. I don’t think she meant to do it like this, it just feels really symbolic. All her turkeys this year have been so great. As always, I’m just so proud of her.
This is another activity you can easily do before Thanksgiving or on Thanksgiving Day. I hope if you do, your child loves it as much as Mila did!
What are your favorite turkey or Thanksgiving inspired crafts? If you have any links, please feel free to post them in the comments. I’d love to share and maybe do them next year too!
If you’re looking for more crafts that Mila and I have done for Thanksgiving, here they are:
Since Mila loved her Googly Eye Headband at Halloween, I knew she needed the perfect hair accessory for Thanksgiving.
With a little imagination and a lot of feathers, I came up with a Turkey Feather Headband.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again here, feathers are to Thanksgiving as eyes are to Halloween. They make all Thanksgiving crafts and activities just a little more special. The best part of each… they can both be found at dollar stores!
Another similarity… I got almost all of the items to make this headband at the dollar store too. Everything besides the yarn!
Fluffy kitty headband
To start, I took off the ears of the kitty headband and hot glued them back on. I put them bottom on the band and close together. This way the feathers stick up.
Then I wrapped the band and the ears with yarn. This took a little bit of time, but make sure to use hot glue where the yarn starts and stops. I didn’t have to hot glue the entire time. Thankfully because that would have burnt my fingers.
After it’s covered in yarn, I stuck feathers in by the ear part through the yarn. I made sure to add a little hot glue so the feathers didn’t fall out.
I ended up using a ton of feathers, especially since I covered the front end back of the headband. At first I just had the front done, but I think having both made it more complete and full looking.
When Mila saw it, she instantly fell in love! Of course she wants to wear it to preschool one day this coming week!
I’ll try to make a clip with a few feathers too.
Maybe now she’ll want to dress up for Thanksgiving Day. We usually take a cute outfit AND something comfortable to wear. Especially after eating all the turkey!
No matter what, I think this Turkey Feather Headband will be making an appearance.
Let me know in the comments whether you dress up or down for Thanksgiving. I’ll let you know what Mila ends up deciding to do.
In this house, playing with your food is encouraged; especially when it helps with learning!
This Pumpkin Pie Counting Paper Plate Activity is perfect to help kids get excited about Thanksgiving, number recognition, and counting. All in one activity.
Last week I got Mila’s first preschool assessment. Overall, she did amazing! Sometimes I forgot that she’s only three and a half because she’s so smart and social. It makes me so proud to be her mom.
These assessments also gave me an idea of what we need to be working on at home.
One thing I’m not good at are numbers. Math definitely wasn’t my favorite subject in school, so sometimes I forget to add it into our play.
In her assessment, she counted to fifteen and only recognized a few numbers. I know she can count to 20, but I honestly didn’t know about her letter recognition skills. So, that’s what we’re going to try snd do more of.
Since the holidays are right around the corner and we’re excited for pies, I thought this activity would be perfect.
All you need for it is:
Orange, white, and tan paint
To make the pumpkin pie paper plate, you first need to paint it. I used tan paint for the crust and orange for the filling.
The orange took me two coats of paint and three for the tan.
Next, I cut the plate into eight slices and wrote the corresponding numbers on them with white paint.
After it was all dry, I added some decoration to make it more sparkly for Mila and gave her cotton balls to count with.
She had a lot of fun counting the cotton balls, but I saw her work out the different numbers in her head too.
It was amazing to see that even if she didn’t know the number at first, she would count around to figure it out. Hopefully the more she sees them, the more she’ll know!
Either way, we had fun pretending it was a pie and eating it too. I love how fun learning is with her.
What are some ways to help kids with number recognition?