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The little book with BIG resources!

10 Cool Christmas Gifts that Won’t Clutter the House 

Merry Christmas Kansas City!  If you’re searching for gift ideas that are unique, affordable and won’t clutter the house you’ve come to the right place!  Ruth has put together a list of 10 cool Christmas gifts that won’t clutter the house.  Take a look…

10giftsthatwontclutterthehouse

10 Cool Christmas Gifts that Won’t Clutter the House 

(Read with a little bit of sarcasm. :))

Every year, it seems like there is an endless toy parade in the living room. Kids unwrap Christmas gift after gift and the mountain grows adding to what they already own. The kids are excited to be rolling in presents. They are more excited about the opening process than the actual toys themselves. After they have shredded the wrapping paper like the wild animals that they are, they (of course) want to open all the boxes at once. They beg to have us cut every twist tie and release every miniscule piece from its plastic prison. As good parents, we ask them to wait and open only one at a time. This leads groans and complaints. The world must be ending. Their fragile emotions are shattered because we are obviously the meanest parents in the world.

Following Christmas day, we are left with a sea of tiny parts ready to be lost and toys they are already bored with, because they weren’t as exciting as they believed they would be. The trash overflowed into a series of black trash bags that will puzzle the sanitation worker and our neighbors who don’t realize that hosting a holiday means 14 plus people will be exchanging gifts. So what can we do to mitigate this mess?

This year my husband and I are requesting a change of pace. We are asking for less tangible gifts. While we appreciate the thought put into the gifts and the joy put on tiny faces, we know our kids are spoiled at Christmas. We are requesting gifts that won’t clutter the house and add to the waste.

Here are a few Cool Christmas gifts to give the kids that won’t clutter the house:

  1. A gift card to a restaurant or store that they enjoy.

Ideas: Sporting Goods Store, Outlet mall,

  1. A gift certificate to a fun and educational place to visit.

Ideas: History Museum, Bowling Alley, Human Foosball, Coding workshops, Language or music lessons, dance classes, Create 2 Day,

  1. Tickets to see a play at an area theater.

Ideas: The Storybook Forest

  1. Memberships to local attractions.

Ideas: Union Station, College Basketball Experience, Legoland, SeaLife,

  1. Tuition for a camp or activity they want to participate in.

Ideas: Gymnastics Classes, Ceramic Café,  Piano Lessons, Sports Programs, Horseback Riding, Ceramic Studio,

  1. Gift certificate to a local play center or indoor park.

Ideas: Urban Air, Sky Zone, Paradise Park, Aerial Yoga, Gymboree, Jump City

  1. A donation to a charity organization in their name.

Ideas: The Farmer’s House, Charlie’s House

  1. A weekend getaway to a fun place they would enjoy or a waterpark themed hotel.

  2. Gift card for movie rentals.

  3. Practical items that they may need but with fun characters on them, bath wash, soap, tooth paste and a brush, a new loofa, etc.

Whatever you choose to do this holiday, these ideas can be family fun that everyone can enjoy together.

From iFamily to Yours,

 


DIY Christmas Gifts for Your Friends and Family!

Finding the perfect gift can be daunting!  Creating something with your own two hands can be much more meaningful.  Take a look at these DIY Christmas Gifts that Liz has compiled for you!

DIY Christmas gifts

DIY Christmas Gifts for Your Friends and Family!

Are you looking for the perfect Christmas gift idea to knock off that Christmas wish for a loved one?  I have some fun ideas for DIY Christmas gifts and present ideas to make your holiday season easier!  DIY or Do It Yourself gifts are fun to do alone, with your kids or as an entire family. These gifts are inexpensive and because they are homemade are filled with heart and thoughtfulness.

diy christmas gifts

DIY Kids Ideas: Scrap Ribbon Tree Ornaments 

Are you overwhelmed with the thought of homemade Christmas gifts from your kids to grandparents and family? If your parents are like mine they are excited about any Christmas gift that is homemade. Each year I feel a little pressure to find new and creative ideas in DIY gift-giving.  Scrap Ribbon Tree Ornaments are beautifully rustic and simple. They look especially cute dangling from the Christmas tree or from a peppermint cookie in a jar, which you will learn in a bit when you keep scrolling.

Supplies:

  • Straight sticks (6” in length) found outside or use cinnamon sticks
  • Ribbons (cut into 5-6 inch strips) in a variety of Christmas tree greens
  • Hot glue gun
  • Twine
  • Scissors

Directions:

  1. After gathering supplies, show your child how to tie the scraps of ribbon down the twig or cinnamon stick. Wide ribbons, tied into single loose knots, give the best coverage down the stick
  2. For best results, bunch the ribbons close together. The ribbons will bend and slightly overlap. Gently tug them into place until you are satisfied with their placement. You will probably use between 13-16 strips of ribbon for each ornament.
  3. Use sharp scissors to trim the ribbon scraps into the shape of a Christmas tree. The little fray of the ribbon gives the ornament a rustic look. Get creative and go beyond ribbon and try using cotton and wool fabric scraps, cinnamon sticks and flannel to create your Christmas tree.
  4. Hot glue or tie a loop of twine to the top of the tree. If desired, top the tree with a wooden star, yellow button, or any embellishment your child chooses.

DIY Christmas Gifts

DIY Gifts for Family: 

Tied up with red and green plaid ribbon, this DIY Christmas breakfast gift basket is very festive. This is a super simple little hostess, neighbor or family gift. You simply take a few breakfast items and place them all in an inexpensive cute box or breakfast. Ideas are pancake mix, a sweet syrup, jelly, tea bags, coffee, red frying pan, whisk, spatula and festive holiday napkins.

I would use a little brown paper bag tied with some pretty red yarn and a simple tag to put in some pre-made pancake mix. You can add a little instruction or recipe card if you wish.

diy stock photos

DIY Small Gift Idea:  Christmas Cookie in a Jar 

These Christmas cookies in a jar gifts are so cute! Such an easy gift to put together and will be so appreciated and loved by friends and neighbor!

Grab a quart size mason jar and begin layering the following ingredients. Kind of tap the bottom of the jar on the counter as you go to get everything to lay down into the jar nice and flat.

Layer the following in this order:

  • 1/2 C Sugar
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/4 C cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 and 1/4 C flour
  • 2/3 C chocolate chips
  • 2/3 C peppermint or mint chocolate chips

This gift is so cute you don’t even need to wrap it! Just tie a big red ribbon around the lid. Finish off by sticking on a cookie label and also baking instructions. You can write out the directions yourself or use the computer and print off on to stickable paper.  Make a front label that says “CHOCOLATE PEPPERMINT COOKIES”. 

On your back label: List off the ingredients that are already in the jar.

And then write:

  • Now Add: ½ C (one stick) butter (softened)
  • 1 egg
  • Mix & Roll into 1 Inch Balls & Bake
  • Cook at 375 for 8-10 minutes

Share with those loved ones who love to bake especially during the Christmas season!

Fun Gift Ideas for Friends and Teachers: Fleece Blanket 

I am so excited to give this cool Christmas gift to my close mom friends this season!  You can find festive and inexpensive fleece throws in every store around the holiday season. Simply find your fleece blanket, wrap in large ribbon and finish it off with a tag that says “ Fleece Navidad.  We want to wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of our hearts.” How fun is this gift-idea?!  I know this would also be a great gift for your children’s teachers, neighbors or girlfriends!

Consider jazzing up your gift a bit!  Pair this fleece idea with popcorn, a box of hot chocolate, marshmallows and perhaps a DVD or movie gift card! No matter what DIY gift you choose to give this year, it is sure to be loved by all!  Happy giving and happy holiday season!

From iFamily to Yours,


Christmas Gift Ideas: Stocking Stuffers for the Family

Finding fun stocking stuffers can be tricky!  Gabrielle, from our iFamily Mom & Dad Squad, has put together a list of some great stocking stuffers that are sure to be a hit!

stocking stuffers

Christmas Gift Ideas: Stocking Stuffers for the Family

Stocking stuffers often get a bad rap. They are usually the last things to be opened after we’ve unwrapped all the big colorful boxes, and tossed aside all the carefully tied bows… But good things can come in small packages.  Here are few Christmas gifts that can fit inside the “stockings hung by the chimney with care.”

Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Kids 

School supplies– pencils, pens, erasers and crayons make great stocking stuffers.  Kids have often lost or destroyed many of the items you purchased for back to school.

Virtual pets–If your kids are begging for a pet for Christmas, but you’re not ready to commit, this is a great way to buy yourself some time.  Have your kid take care of the virtual pet for a few months to show that he is responsible enough to handle pet ownership.  I know my children would either lose the pet, or at least lose interest after just a couple of months.  If your kids are more responsible, use that time period to save up cash to buy an actual puppy.

Cold Weather Gear– Socks, gloves and mittens work as stocking stuffers for kids (and adults) of all ages.  This is the perfect time to stock up, as many of them will be going on clearance soon to make room for Spring clothing.

Stocking Stuffers for Toddlers 

Christmas shopping for toddlers can be tricky.  Many toys are too dangerous or delicate for their tiny hands.  Stuffed toys are often good for little bitty hands. Also, DVD/BluRay Disc featuring their favorite characters would be a hit.  Board books also make great stocking stuffers for kids.  Cute little hair accessories might work for girls, and toddler safe toy cars might be a good idea for little boys.

Stocking Stuffers for Teenagers 

If you have teenagers to shop for, you can make their Christmas wishes come true by stuffing their stockings with gift cards to their favorite stores, or even better, cash.  Teenagers also would appreciate more technologically advanced stocking stuffers, like earbuds/headphones, USB Drives, or wireless chargers

Affordable Stuffer Ideas 

Some of the best Christmas gifts can be bought at your local discount store.  Spend a dollar or two on favorite boxes of candy, toys, and kitchen gadgets.  Cruise the aisles of your local dollar store and stock up.

D.I.Y Christmas Gifts for Your Christmas Stocking 

Finally, there is nothing as sweet as a homemade gift.  Your homemade triple chocolate brownies taste better than anything you could buy at the store.  Scarves and slipper socks are warmer when they are knitted or crocheted with love.  Be creative.  Give from your heart, and the work of your own hands.

From iFamily to Yours,

Gabrielle


5 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Purchase in Your PJs

Happy Friday, Kansas City! We know many of you may be scrambling to gather the last minute presents for friends, family, and neighbors, so our Mom Squad Ambassador, Becky, came up with a quick (and easy) list of gifts you can purchase from the comfort of your own home. No need to battle the crowds and traffic, just a couple of clicks and you’re taken care of. Take a look…

5 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Purchase in Your PJs

5 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Purchase in Your PJs

 

For your favorite family

 

5 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Purchase in Your PJs

 

 

Friends of the KC Zoo Family Membership — By far the best deal for families in the city. For just $109 ($169 if you live outside of Jackson County), your family can get 15 months of zoo access PLUS unlimited rides of the train, tram, carousel, boat and sky rides.

 

For your favorite kids

 

5 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Purchase in Your PJs

 

Surprise Ride Subscription — This box has a different theme each month and comes packed with fun and educational activities to keep your kids busy. My three kids shared a box and we were still able to milk the content over two evenings. $28/month.

 

For your favorite gal

5 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Purchase in Your PJs

Fair Trade Friday — This is my favorite go-to gift when I want to give something unique. The Fair Trade Friday box includes 3-4 items that are fairly traded and provide employment and empowerment to impoverished women all over the world. Items include things like jewelry, soaps and coffee. Prices vary.

For your favorite guy

 

5 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Purchase in Your PJs

 

SprezzaBox Subscription — Don’t worry about fit, this box is full of one-size-fits all stylish fun for dudes like sunglasses, socks, grooming products and ties. It’s just $28/month and is guaranteed to have over $100 in products.

 

For a stranger

 

5 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Purchase in Your PJs

 

Kindness Cards — KindCraft KC started this trend and I love it. Make (or buy) Kindness Cards and pair each one with $5 to give to friends and family so they can enjoy bringing joy to a stranger’s day: Pay for a drive-thru order, tape some money to a vending machine, etc. It’s a gift you’ll both feel great about.

 

 

Becky Ervin is a creative director, mother of three and blogs at PartyBoxKC.com/blog.

 

From iFamily to Yours,

iFamMomSqdBeckyV2

 

 

 

 

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Making Room for All Those New Toys

Christmas is just around the corner and I am getting a little worried about what is going to happen to all these new toys. My kids have about 100+ stuffed animals and so many toys that their room is already busting at the seams. The new collection that is on its way from the North Pole just doesn’t have anywhere to go. Now, I have tried to invade my children’s rooms while they were at school and weed out the things they didn’t need and what I was sure they would never miss. Unfortunately, I still have not lived down that idea since, evidently; I got rid of an irreplaceable “Super Hero” Frog.

The way that I have found this to work best is to let the kids go through their own toys. I told them that we need to start making room for new ones and that the thrift stores need some good toys that we could donate for other people to shop for their children. See my girls are convinced that a stuffed bear has a heart. So they are afraid the bear will be sad if it’s put into a trash can or sits on a shelf too long. Therefore, the only time of the year I can convince them to get rid of some is Christmas for the kids who can’t afford new toys.

I told them they could keep 15 stuffed animals each. We also took the opportunity to go through old clothes and shoes. We included the kids as we picked out which store to donate the toys to and then we took the clothes to a Planet Aide bin. Going through stuff was difficult, but in the end, the girls really felt like they had done a great thing and helped another child. They were very proud of themselves. I was super happy about their temporarily uncluttered, nice and neat room. And we are now ready to find homes for all the new stuff Santa has coming this month.