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The little book with BIG resources!

The Art of Gift Giving; Teaching Kids To Help Others In Need

Gift giving can sometimes be a bit of a struggle!  With the number of toys that most households with small children usually have it’s hard to know what the perfect gift may be.  Max, from our iFamily Mom & Dad Squad shares with us a unique way that his family has found to give!  Take a look…

The Art of Gift Giving; Teaching Kids To Help Others In Need

There are so many little details that go into parenting that you’ve probably never thought of.  Some that actually wouldn’t think of until the situation you need them for comes up. One of those situations, for us, is gift giving.  Especially as our kids get older.  The dilemma is that our kids simply have enough toys. It is to the point that we are keeping some of them in the basement.  This way we can incorporate “new” toys into the selection for our children from time to time. There are several different resources available for how to cycle your toys, so we know that we’re not alone in this situation.

​​I have also witnessed the crazy number of toys that our friends’ children have to play with on visits over to their houses. Every time we go shopping for a birthday party (usually at Target) and walk the aisles looking at all of the shiny plastic toys, I just can’t help but think about all of the half-broken/half-played-with toys sitting around my own house. I actually feel kind of bad for my friends to be adding to their existing problem with my give. Plus, I have to wonder what the message and meaning behind all of these toy options at the store really is…

As you can see…

The dilemma is a pretty major one and the first solution I came up with was to get the kids books! My wife and I figured that the kinds can never have too many books and gifts like that fit our personalities since we both have a background in education. When you give a book, you’re giving a greater gift than just a toy since books have deeper meanings and messages for the readers. They’re not just an item. The one thing to be cautious about is making sure that, when you do give a book, you’re not buying duplicates of books that your children (or your friends’ children) already have. After all, nobody needs four copies of “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom”.

This ​​left ​​us ​​with ​​the​ ​new dilemma​​ of​ ​knowing ​​that ​​we ​​did ​​not ​​want ​​to ​​add​ ​to​ ​our ​​friends’ ​​collections ​​of ​​plastic​ ​toys.  Now we were also ​​feeling ​​that books​​ may ​​not ​​be ​​that ​​different​ ​from the ​​original ​​problem.

For ​​us, ​​the ​​solution ​​has ​​become ​​to ​​donate ​​to ​​a ​​charity ​​in ​​the ​​name ​​of ​​the ​​child. ​​

We ​​try​ ​and choose ​​a ​​charity ​​whose ​​mission​ ​is ​​a ​​concept ​​that ​​the ​​child ​​will ​​understand, ​​like ​​clean ​​water. ​​We also​​ realized ​​that ​​it ​​is ​​beyond ​​anti-climactic ​​for ​​a ​​child ​​to ​​receive​ ​a​​piece ​​of ​​paper ​​as ​​a ​​gift. ​​That is​ ​why ​​we ​​make ​​sure ​​that ​​we ​​also​​ include ​​a ​​book ​​about ​​the ​​topic ​​of ​​the ​​charity’s ​​mission. ​​So, ​​if we​ ​donate ​​to​ ​Charity ​​Water, ​​we ​​would ​​get ​​a ​​children’s ​​book ​​that ​​explains ​​the ​​fact​ ​that ​​there ​​is only ​​so ​​much ​​water ​​on​ ​the​ ​planet ​​and​ ​that ​​not ​​all ​​kids ​​have ​​access ​​to ​​safe, ​​clean​ ​water. ​​

We were ​​a ​​little​ ​hesitant​​ the​ ​first ​​time ​​we ​​gave ​​this ​​as ​​a ​​gift ​​because​ ​we​ ​did ​​not ​​want ​​to ​​seem pompous ​​or ​​offend​ ​anyone, ​​but ​​it ​​went ​​over​​ great. ​​The ​​child ​​was ​​excited ​​to ​​get ​​a ​​new ​​book ​​that had ​​a ​​science angle ​​and ​​the ​​parents ​​were ​​excited ​​because ​​it ​​gave ​​an ​​easy ​​opening ​​to ​​a discussion ​​about ​​the ​​broader ​​world. ​​I ​​like​ ​that ​​it ​​also ​​gives ​​us ​​an ​​opportunity ​​to ​​talk ​​to ​​our children​ ​about ​​charity ​​as ​​well ​​as, ​​the ​​concept ​​of ​​giving​ ​a ​​gift ​​with ​​meaning.

​​We​​ can​​ talk​ ​and​ ​ask our ​​kids ​​what ​​kind ​​of ​​charity​ ​they​ think​ ​their​​ friend ​​would ​​be ​​interested​ ​in​ ​helping. ​​It ​​is ​​never ​​too early​ ​to ​​start​ ​these ​​conversations ​​and​ ​start​ ​the ​​empathy ​​building.

From iFamily to Yours,

3 Great Ideas for Teacher Gifts this Holiday Season

Good Morning, Kansas City! I know December can be a hectic time of checking off to-do lists and scrambling to find gifts for all of those important people in our life. As you look for presents, don’t forget to appreciate some of the most important people — teachers. And luckily, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Sarah, has some great ideas for gifts for these amazing people. Take a look…

3 Great Ideas for Teacher Gifts this Holiday Season

3 Great Ideas for Teacher Gifts this Holiday Season


I am going to start this article off with somewhat of a controversial comment. I believe with everything in my being that the hardest working person this holiday season is not Santa Claus or the lovely itty bitty 17 year old smacking her gum and judging me at Target for buying the pint of Chubby Hubby ice cream. In fact, the hardest working person is my four year olds’ preschool teacher.

Besides everything that she does with school she also finds time to attend every one of her kids’ recitals, sports events, birthday parties, and comes in with a smile on her face every day. This only makes me think of how great our teachers are, and how dedicated they are to their jobs of making our little geniuses into the people we know they are going to be. It’s because of this reason I feel they need to be rewarded throughout the year but especially around the holidays. Hopefully the below list will give you some inspiration for your own child’s teacher. And if you have younger kids or even if you homeschool; reward yourself this year, because you all are the most important people in the world!


#1 Pinterest is Your Best Friend

I have said this before: Pinterest is your friend-your best friend that knows what type of things you like and even sends you little reminders of all the people following you and how popular your pin was on DIY gifts in jars! Let that friend help you give inspiration for what to gift our teachers, and then put your own spin on it. Personalize with a picture of your child (what else are you going to do with those wallets from the school picture packet). The internet has tons of great little printables, in which most are free or at the very least you can rebuild in PowerPoint and print out on your own. If you look up DIY teacher gifts there are great ideas for painting wood shapes and adding the teacher’s name. They could work for desk decorations or even as hall passes, which for some reason are always needed when one gets left in the bathroom!


#2 You Can’t Go Wrong With Gift Cards

I think we can all agree that gift cards are always wanted. I used to think that gift cards were impersonal. But now that I am older and can’t make a gift list to save my life they are really a lifesaver! So I think we can also agree that if we want gift cards, our fantastic teachers will as well. I think one to a nice restaurant or movie would be a great start and something they could enjoy over the break. Most teachers don’t get a whole lot of time to themselves and usually have 30+ little ones hanging all over them so manicures and pedicures are wasted money; but if you get them a gift card for maybe a gel polish that will last through a tornado let alone a fruitcake fueled kid it would help! I hate to even write this because it is just a travesty; many of our teachers have to buy their own decorations and learning tools for their classrooms. Every teacher friend that I spoke to jumped at this opportunity to get gift cards to Lakeshore Learning, Wal-Mart, Target or even Amazon so they can purchase things for the New Year.


#3 Add a Little Flair to a “Normal” Gift

As this article comes to a close, I realize that I, along with all of you, also have teachers to buy for as well! We actually have five when it comes to all the lead teachers and aides that we need to buy for so we usually resort to the old standby of a Bath and Body Works candle which was on Black Friday special and a candy bar. So this year I am going to take note from what I did for neighbor gifts from last year and gift Red Box gift cards. These were very well received and it would be great for teachers too! You can indicate how much you want the “cards” for (they are actually just codes that you provide the recipient) I then attached the sheet of paper to some hot chocolate and popcorn packets and a movie night was born!

Along this same line, there are tons of other memberships that can be gifted as well. Did you know that you can gift an Amazon Prime membership? What would be better than a year of free 2-day shipping on almost anything, free music and movies right to your device. A membership is right around a $100 so this may be something to talk to your fellow classroom moms and go in on this with several families.(Or you may have some really bad behavior that you need to remedy with a really great gift—I don’t judge!) You can also buy a gift card to Netflix; again free movies and shows what could go wrong? And if they already have a Netflix membership it can just be applied to their regular monthly bill!

Hopefully these ideas help a little bit. I know the feeling, you want to buy the perfect gift for everyone but you may not know where to start, especially with the people that you really don’t know on a personal basis outside of the classroom setting. Like I mentioned gift cards for school supplies is always appreciated and top of list of almost every teacher I spoke to. When that fails there is an absolutely darling printable that I laugh at every time I read it, it says “Our child might be the reason you drink so enjoy this bottle on us!” You never know, wine might be just the ticket that gets you that special place in his/her heart for conferences next year!


From iFamily to Yours,










3 Great Ideas for Teacher Gifts this Holiday Season