November 21, 2014

5 'Un-Stuff' Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids

You know I love sharing all kinds of things with you: my favorite children's books, a new product that I love, a great couponing deal that I've discovered, a bargain I scored while thrifting, a resource that has been helpful to our family; but you also know my heart about stuff:
Tension at the Holidays

The other day, I gave you some ideas for unstuff gifts for hubby, and today, I want to share with you five unstuff gift ideas for kids! You may have seen some great non-toy gift idea posts floating around out there, but I want to share with you some ideas that have worked great for us! If you're like me, you've started to think a little bit about the holidays - My hope is that these ideas will help you as consider the holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions you might choose to celebrate with your children!

Un-stuff Christmas Gifts for Your Kids

Time: Our family lives out of town, and the best gift in the world is getting to spend time with them. Gift little ones with a basket full of everything they need to bake cookies, and then bake the cookies with them. Gift the kiddos in your life with a bucket full of art supplies and then sit down and create something together. If you feel as if your life has become so busy that you rarely spend time with the ones that mean the most to you, find a way this Christmas to give your family the gift of your time. It's one of the most meaningful things you have to give....and not just at the holidays, but all year long.

Experiences: Have you ever received plane tickets in your stocking? Okay, I haven't either; but listen: Plan a family trip...maybe it will be extravagant...maybe not. Simply wrap up an item that gives your youngins a clue about where you might be planning to go the beach...on a Disney Cruise...on a winter trip to a cabin in the mountains....wherever you choose to go. It will be exciting for them to open such a clue, and it will be fun to anticipate a family get-away.

Classes/Memberships: Swim lessons, art classes, play groups, music sessions, children's museums, etc. are all fun things we enjoy doing! Gift the kiddos in your life with a year of art classes, a summer of swim lessons, a year-long membership to their local children's museum. There are so many options here! As a parent of little ones, I would much rather see them receive the gift of an experience rather than another toy.

Events: - Do the kids in your life have access to a children's theater or a venue where fun kid-friendly events are offered? Gift them with tickets to a play or a show! They will love it - Even better: Attend the event with them! They will never forget it~

Gift Cards:
Around here, we love restaurant Gift Cards! My parents have gifted my oldest with Chick-fila gift cards. He loves going to "chicken-lay" (as he calls it) and "paying" for his meal with something special that Granna and Papa gave him.

We do not purchase DVDs, CDs, etc. I am not interested in storing them, dusting them, keeping them organized, etc. We would much rather have iTunes gift cards that allow us to purchase our media - media that does not take up any room in my house. Your loved ones will enjoy being gifted with money they can use for music, games, various apps, ebooks, online magazine subscriptions, etc.

Just for Fun: Dear Grandparents

If you enjoyed these ideas, you may also enjoy browsing: Faith-Building Christmas Gifts

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Linking Up With: Friday FavoritesHigh Five for Friday, Five on Friday, and Oh Hey, Friday!

November 19, 2014

A Second Honeymoon of Sorts

We cruised for our honeymoon~ We weren't too sure how we were going to feel about it, but we both absolutely loved it! We loved being pampered...We loved the never-ending food...We loved that all the planning was done for us...We loved the never-ending food...We loved the variety in places and activities...We loved the never-ending food. 

Did I mention that we like to eat? 
Princess Cruiselines get a 5-Star rating from us on their food - Incredible!

So for our anniversary this year, we decided to cruise again....In our opinion, it had been far too long since we sailed away on a great big boat, but two little ones will keep you kind of busy. 

This time around, we cruised on a smaller ship (the Noravirus ship from January 2014 to be exact)...for a shorter trip out to sea...and it was wonderful.

When I was pregnant with Isaac, we spent a night away...I was holed up in a hotel room....pregnant....with a sinus infection/double-ear infection...It was so romantic. This past October, I ventured to the mountains for a shopping trip with my friend. Those two occasions have been the only time I've ever left my kids over night. That hasn't necessarily been on purpose - We just haven't really made it happen. We take our kids everywhere we go! Typically, that's fun (not relaxing, but fun), but we decided it was high time we get away by ourselves. My parents generously offered to watch our kiddos for the better part of a week! I was so sad about leaving my babies. I had envisioned an ugly cry, but I did great! I settled in at the airport with a venti blonde with cream and a good book and then once I got on the boat [with all that food], I was a-okay! I knew that my little guys were in good hands, and I enjoyed being with hubby. When traveling with our kids, we can fill an SD card (or two) in just a few days; but when traveling as just the two of us, we snap selfies here and there and hope to end up with a few great pictures by which to remember the trip! 


Our highlights were venturing to the Bahamas...snorkeling in Key West....and exploring Miami. We had a fantastic time! We found a super cute restaurant in Miami - I snapped a few pictures of their decor...can't wait to show you! There I go thinking about food again....

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Sending a Sunshine Box

Do you know someone who could use a little burst of sunshine? 
Brighten their day by dropping off (or shipping) a "Sunshine Box": 
a box full of variety of yellow items that are sure to cheer them!

My mom and I have a dear friend who recently had surgery. We wanted to do something to brighten her days of recovery. I had recently seen this idea on Pinterest, so we decided to give it a try. 

We worked together to gather and prepare these items for shipping. 
We wanted the package to arrive soon after our friend returned home from the hospital.
We browsed the stores in search for all things yellow, and this is a glimpse in to what we sent her way. 

A Yellow Box of Sunshine to Brighten Someone's Day

Interested in preparing a Sunshine Box for someone? 
Here's a quick cheat sheet shopping list to get you started!

"Sunshine Box" Shopping List
Golden Oreos
Little Trees Air Fresheners (for car)
Arm & Hammer Playtex Gloves
Duck Dustpan/Broom
3 Small Legal Pads
Suduko Puzzle Book
Kleenex Travel Pack
Bath Sponge
Bath & Body Lemon Soap/Hand Sanitizer
Juicy Fruit Gum
Jello Banana Cream Pudding
Wet Ones
Yellow Post-It Notes
Sharpie Highlighters
Subway Gift Card
Bags of Yellow Candy
Sour Apple Sucker
Daisy-print Scarf
Citrus Spritzer
M&M’s (peanut)

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Linking Up With What I Wish Wednesday and A Wise Woman Builds Her Home~

November 18, 2014

Holiday Blog Advertising Specials

If you are a small business owner, an independent consultant, a blogger, a creator that uses Etsy as a marketplace, a collector that sells on Instagram, etc. I would love to hear from you!
The holidays are the perfect time to reach out to a new audience, and I would love to help you grow!

At this time, I am happy to offer you a couple of great options for the holiday season:
Image: Tina from Rooted in Paper
$15 Special
Includes a Customized Blog Post that I will create using information and photos that you provide as well as exposure on InstagramFacebookPinterestBloglovin', Google Plus, and tsu.

$5 Flash Ad
I will create a collage (see a few examples below) of photos featuring your shop/business/blog and post it on InstagramFacebookPinterestBloglovin', Google Plus, and tsu.
This one-time social media post will include your contact information, website details, etc.

If you think your shop/business/blog would be a good fit for my readers, contact me at allkindsofthingsblog (at) gmail (dot) com! I would love to chat with you~

Payments are accepted through paypal~
Looking forward to working with you to expand your business!

**If you so choose, you would be welcome to include a giveaway item with your ad.
Giveaways are a great way to gain exposure, but definitely not required.*

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Life Lately

Around here, we are trying to savor what seems like the final moments of the fall season. It feels like everyone is already diving in to Christmas....putting up their trees...wrapping presents....etc. and while I love Christmas, we are still

collecting leaves...
 ...making fall treats...
 ...and crafting scarecrows.
We are looking forward to Thanksgiving Day - It will be a quiet day at home...we will eat, play with our littles, and eat some more. All that's left to do in preparation for the big day is buy the turkey (a little behind there, I know) and pick out which pair of stretchy pants will be best for the occasion. 

In thinking about the holidays, I want this to be my theme this year...
 In other [recent] news, it was an absolute honor to meet Melanie Shankle at this year's Sweet Sister's Conference. My dear friend and I really enjoyed chatting with Big Mama~ We discussed deep topics such as Ree Drummond's wardrobe, the five pounds of leftover baby weight that is still hanging over the front of my jeans, and the never-ending Blogger vs. Wordpress debate among bloggers. She's a gem....and she obviously knows the location of my phone's camera...even if I don't....
After the conference wrapped up for the weekend, our little family put together our Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes. This is quickly becoming one of our favorite traditions! If you have not yet participated this year, there is still time! Collections are going on now~
 My parents arrived the following weekend as they had offered to keep our little ones while we headed out of town to celebrate our wedding anniversary! We had a great time! It was really nice to be alone with just my guy...remembering all the reasons why I am so grateful [every day] that he chose me. 
Love Defines Us Photography
All of these snapshots were pulled over from my Instagram account
If you don't follow along there, I would love to connect with you

I also wanted to thank you for your kindness and respect in regards to a couple of tough topics I have addressed this year on my blog~ 

I have shared my thoughts on being a full-time mom
These are very sensitive topics to discuss, and I want you to know how much I appreciate the kindness and respect that all of you [even those with differing thoughts] have shown. Thank you~

Linking Up With What I Wish Wednesday and A Wise Woman Builds Her Home~