Toyland, Toyland, Little girl and boy-land!

What other month delivers so many joys with the mere mention of the word “toy” but December?!  And with the holiday month quickly approaching, we are finishing up our shopping lists for all those toy-joys but leave it to Parents magazine to add a couple of new ideas!

I’m always looking for new little gadgets that our two-year old will enjoy as well as the twelve-year-old, this magic wand might do the trick…

Another idea for our two-year old is this art easel since both the tween and mommy of the house both have art areas, this would give the toddler an area all his own to create in!

We already have many items checked off our toy list with a couple of non-toy ones still to purchase in the next two weeks.  We spent this Small-Business Saturday frequenting a local favorite toy store White Horse Toys buying some of our toys like this awesome scooter from Kiddi-O for our toddler.

I would encourage taking a look at your local toy businesses before taking part in Cyber-Monday (this year the online and store deals have NOT been as good as in the past!) and splitting at least half your toy list by supporting a local-owned shop like President Obama did this weekend!

Every little bit really makes a difference in your local community!  These are some of our local parent-owned businesses that we like to support…

Hopscotch Consignment in Bellevue

White Horse Toys in Issaquah

Twirl Cafe in Queen Anne

Serendipity Cafe in Magnolia

School Style

Ah… the first week of school with all the new kids, new classes, new teachers and new styles ready for fall and beyond.  I always LOVED getting my wardrobe ready for back to school as a teenager and even now rotate my wardrobe according to the upcoming seasons.  It seems so fresh and new to go through your clothes, donate or consign pieces you just didn’t like or wear and buy some new tidbits to revive your old favorites!

The same holds true when helping get my son’s get their wardrobes ready, especially for back to school.  My oldest son is pretty opinionated as a tween on his style… but he does well for himself so I usually say yes to his creations.

He doesn’t look very happy in this photo, but I think that’s the teen angst (and nervousness about a new school) showing there.  He has been extremely happy at school this week and mommy’s happy with his wardrobe choices of relaxed but stylish fashions!

Now the younger son is a bit easier since I mostly get to dress him myself still but even by 2 1/2 years old he is starting to show his preferences.  Such as this great T-shirt we picked up at a friends consignment store in Bellevue called Hopscotch.  We LOVE the variety of awesome choices at her store, always find something new and this T-shirt was a perfect choice for the first day of school at a great cost (and being environmental)!

As you can see the September Parents magazine back to school fashion article shows that skulls/crossbones and stripes still top little boys clothing choices this fall…

We all have been going with more stripes this year and as you can tell with the oldest son’s photo above the youngest is swayed by his school-style example…

Here are a couple of more examples of wardrobe choices from Parents magazine that we are trying out during our back to school week for 2012.  I’m not sure if the bow tie is going to fly with either boy, but the skateboard is already an accessory for us!  This article and it’s fall back-to-school styles definitely worked for this mommy!


*School Style UPDATE*

With a couple of weeks of school under our belts we wanted to share some more images of our school styles with everybody…


Big brother is happy with his back to school fashions and younger brother is showing off his fall-weather style for the camera!

Out of the BOX

This month is the April (Earth month) issue of Parents magazine and they had many environmental advertisers in it to support, but since we live organic already I decided to focus on another eco idea that Parents suggested… a cardboard party!

As you can see it was actually a birthday party inspired by Sabrina Moyle from Design Sponge.  I often give away boxes at work so I decided to partner up with Kimberly Kasin, the owner of Hopscotch Consignment, to recycle our boxes in celebration of Earth month and encourage some environmental PLAY!

So I started saving boxes… all sorts of boxes!  Little ones, triangle ones, long ones… LOTS of BOXES!  I had a couple of ideas in mind such as this cardboard airplane idea I found on Pinterest (my newest social media addiction!  Watch my PinPOD casts online HERE).

So how did our Earth Day Cardboard Recycle party turn out?  FABULOUSLY!

We had snacks/beverages to enjoy, then we played around with the castle windows…

Everybody had fun making crowns with the cardboard (I just cut the shape of crowns out and hand “turned” them… the kids did the rest with stickers, tape & crayons).

Then the kids just PLAYED!  Look at these three kings settling into their castle!

I even got into decorating a crown and the castle myself…

Some TIPS I found make for the BEST cardboard party…

#1  PREP! the cardboard the week before and try and save as many different type of boxes as you can.  Bigger cardboard creations (like castles) take lots of shapes to create!

#2  STURDY!  If you have older children attending your cardboard party (say over 1 year) you HAVE to make the design sturdy so it will last!  We had boys at this party and the castle didn’t last over an hour once it was played with.  I would recommend building your castle (or airplane, race car, puppet theatre, etc.) with brown packing tape because it’s thick, has supportive “strings” inside it’s tack and made to keep cardboard together better than the masking tape I used. (Plus it matches the brown box, so it’s more visually appealing)

#3  POSTERITY!  I would also recommend taking a “before” picture just in case.

#4  Build WINDOWS and DOORS because no matter how wrecked your perfect towers get, or how much the castle starts to shred…

Windows and doors are always interesting for children to play with, especially if they are “hinged”!

This Earth month “Recycling Cardboard Party” (or a birthday party) was a great way to celebrate reducing, reusing and recycling in a FUN way!  For more cardboard party images and ideas check out my Pinterest board “Beautiful DIY To-Do’s” or watch my PinPOD cast on YouTube!

Thanks again to Kimberly Kasin over at Hopscotch Consignment for helping make our Cardboard Party a hit!  Check out her store for amazing quality consignment pieces like these Lacoste shoes we picked up while there!

OH, and Happy Earth Month everybody!