Friday, November 21, 2014

Stocking Stuffers for Boys

Earlier this week we shared our favorite gift ideas for the boys this year (along with our tips for trying to keep things simple). Today we sharing a few of our favorite stocking stuffer ideas! Since we only do four bigger presents for each boy (want, need, wear, read) we tend to stretch it with the stockings to pack in a few fun smaller gifts. Here are our top runners for this year:

1. Twistable Crayons - easy to color with and harder to break! Any small art supply is a great addition to your stockings.

2. A Watch - Big Brother has asked to wear a watch like daddy, and he's always asking what time it is. We already ordered this watch for him from zulily a few weeks ago and I'm not sure where to buy them now, but Amazon has several options for boys.

3. Wallet - this also falls into the "I want to be like daddy" category with Big Brother asking if he can have a wallet too. I'm' thinking about making something like this for his stocking.

4. Dinosaur Slipper - I found this on pinterest but haven't been able to find where to buy them, so I might trying making a pair for Baby Brother.

5. Toothbrush - we put a new toothbrush in every year. Last year we found Spiderman toothbrushes with travel caps at Dollar Tree!

6. Wooden Car Launcher - perfect size for a stocking and tons of fun! You can get the launcher here and a car here. (We ordered the launcher through zulily and just realized now that there is probably no car in the box. Oops.)

7. Small Wooden Toys - something like this bus would be perfect for Baby Brother's stocking (they also have other vehicles like this adorable pickup truck). Etsy is a great place to shop for things like this that are unique and handmade by crafters!

8. Harmonica - will it get annoying? Probably. But Big Brother got one at a party this summer and fell absolutely in love with it, even though he had to blow with all his might to get sound out of it. So a nicer one like this might make it into his stocking this year.

So that's our list! We'll probably add some kind of treat or snack along with a couple of these for each of our fellas (do we need bigger stockings? maybe.). What are you stuffing in your stockings this year? Do you have a tradition you make sure to include every year?

Blogger Tricks

Monday, November 17, 2014

Hot Chocolate Mix {and free printable labels}

We haven't bought hot chocolate mix in over year since we started making it ourselves. It's great because you can adjust the amounts and add different things to find what you like and you know exactly what is going into it. Last year we shared our favorite recipe and included a printable recipe card but with Christmas right around the corner I wanted to share a printable label that's a little more giftable.

Just print out the tags on paper or cardstock, cut them out, and attach them to jars of hot chocolate mix some twine or string. You can punch a hole in the tags and tie them on like the pic above, or tape them right onto the jar like the pic below.

Download and Print the tags here.

This hot chocolate mix is so easy to make! Just combine the ingredients in a large bowl until thoroughly mixed, then divvy it up into smaller jars.
  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups dry milk powder
  • 1 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

You'll probably want to make a jar for yourself while you're at it. There's nothing like a toasty mug of hot chocolate on a snowy day!

Individual jars like this make a great, easy gift for friends, co-workers, neighbors, even your Sunday school class!

For more homemade gift ideas check out my 31 Handmade Gifts series. Do you like to give food gifts? Share your favorite recipes in the comments!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Our Favorite Christmas Gift Ideas for Boys

November is half over and we are well into the Christmas planning for our boys (check out our stocking stuffers)! It's my favorite season of the year and I love making it as fun and special as I can. And, of course, presents are definitely a part of that. But we've made a few decisions about Christmas (like keeping it Jesus centered, focusing on giving, and trying to reduce the amount of stuff we bring in) that have led to us cutting way back on how many gifts we give each year. I've heard of some families doing three gifts (like Jesus' three gifts from the wisemen), but this year we are going with four gifts. One gift from each of these categories:

Something they want,
Something they need,
Something to wear,
Something to read.

It is so hard to pick just a few things when we want them to have it all, so we'll see which things we finally settle on. But for now here are a few of our top contenders for the little fellas (ages 1 and 3).

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Putting the Closet to Work

You may have forgotten we have a funky walk-in crawl-in closet in our master bedroom. Yeah, we kind of forgot about it too. And so it turned into the cluttered dumping grounds of everything that is in the way. Behold.

We at least kept this convenient walking crawling path that allowed us to climb into the back recesses of space below the sloped ceiling. I should have taken a picture that showed the back better, it reached back pretty far until the the ceiling meets the floor.

Oh, and all the dump-stuff didn't fit around the crawling path so we spread the dump-zone out into the landing. Oops.

So obviously some serious organizing was in order, but first we needed some storage space! My original idea was to use the same adjustable shelving we put up in the garage, but the detail & leveling needed to navigate that sharp ceiling slope was more than I was up for. So I went with my next best (basically free) option. I took a few of the wooden shelves from that adjustable system and screwed them together into a moveable bookcase thing like. I didn't have to buy any new wood and I used up more of the shelves that were stacked in my garage! This is what I ended up with:

We dragged it upstairs and after a couple hours of sorting & decluttering we were left with this... not so monstrous sight. Huzzah!