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kids art projects

Personalized Gifts from Minted


Personalized Gifts from Minted

It's the middle of November and the cold weather has officially hit Chicago. One thing that warms me up is thinking about decorating and giving gifts for the holiday season! We have been fans of Minted for years. Every year we create our holiday cards from Minted's amazing selection.  I didn't think it was possible but every year Minted products get better and better. They now have home decor, personalized gifts and artwork. foil pressed art

We are obsessed with their foil pressed products. They are gorgeous and unique.

minted Christmas ornaments

I love vintage ornaments. I have a collection from my husband's grandmother that I cherish. These vintage metallic ornaments need to find a place on my tree.

Kids art holiday card

If you don't have time to take family photos this year for your holiday cards, no worries! Create your own custom holiday card as a family.

personalized silhouette artwork

Silhouette artwork is classic. My mom still hangs the silhouette's of my sister and I from when we were young. A gift that any parent or grandparent would cherish for years to come.  Minted makes it simple and easy to create a silhouette. personalized holiday wrapping paper How awesome would this personalized wrapping paper look under the Christmas tree! This is wrapping paper you won't want to throw away!

You can save on Minted holiday cards and foil products until 11/16. You can find the deals here.


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are honest and my own. 


Subscription Box Roundup: Koala Crate


Subscription Box Roundup: Koala Crate

We are bringing you more Subscription Boxes to check out and keep your little ones busy inside while the snow blows outside! Check out our other Subscription Box Reviews, and stay tuned for more! Koala Crate

"We created Koala Crate to give preschoolers exposure to new materials, new tools, new techniques, and new concepts that encourage hands-on learning and fun. Our team is dedicated to inspiring these young scientists, artists, explorers."

Price: $19.95/month; save money by purchasing multiple months at a time

Gift Option: Yes

Age Range: 3-4

Includes: Creative materials designed just for this specific age range, parent guide to assist in inquiry-based learning, Imagine! Magazine that is created in partnership with Highlights for children; magazine includes extension activities and stories.

Review: My son is 3 1/2 and it is truly tough to find activities that are designed for his developmental stage and hand-eye coordination. I opened this box and with minimal explanation, set him loose to see what he could do with it. I loved the fact that the images for painting were basic, with large letters and a simple concept. At his age, many coloring books are too busy and don't allow him to focus on one concept.

The number of extensions available make this box expandable ten times over, and allows kids to think outside the box (no pun intended!). They also rate the activities based upon multiple factors, including messiness and grownup involvement, which I haven't seen in many other arenas. By scanning the QR code on the back of the Grownup Assistant guide, you can access many other theme-related activities as well that are age-appropriate. The imagine! magazine that accompanies the box has interactive songs, stories, and activities that are similar to those in the Highlights magazine. The items in the box are all incredibly well-made, able to withstand the rough and tumble exploration that goes along with this age group, and that includes the magazine which is made from sturdy card stock!


Disclosure: I received a complimentary Koala Crate for review purposes. All opinions are honest and my own.


Subscription Box Roundup: Ivy Kids!


Subscription Box Roundup: Ivy Kids!

As we continue our subscription box roundup, make sure to consider these kits as a holiday gift idea! It is truly the gift that keeps on giving- many sites have 1, 3 or 6 month options for gifting!


Ivy Kids

"Our goal is to provide monthly resources and tools to parents and caregivers looking to have more meaningful learning experiences with their children."

Price: $38.95/month; save money by purchasing multiple months at a time

Gift Option: Yes

Age Range: 3-8

Includes: A classic children's book along with over 10 activities related to the book and detailed instructions to scaffold learning. Also included with 6 month subscription- a personalized item for your child.

Ivy Kids Kit Subscription Box

Review: As a former teacher, I was blown away by the activities included which all corresponded with the book! This particular kit included "Caps for Sale,"  a cute story about a peddler whose caps are stolen by monkeys in a tree. The kit didn't just include crafts- it also had activities that encouraged counting, sorting, and other important math concepts in such a fun and creative way. In fact, while I was writing this review, my 3 year old saw the photo of himself play the "Get Back the Caps" game and asked to play again! The instructions for each activity include ways to scale depending upon age and ability level. There are also questions to scaffold learning- Ivy Kids make it incredibly easy to think of all those ways to increase participation and education in a genuinely enjoyable and interesting way.


It also details the learning goals and developing skills that each activity revolves around. Connecting reading with other areas of learning is such an incredible way to encourage kids to learn! I told my son's pre-school teacher about this kit and am lending it to his class to use as a segment in the spring. These are games and activities that can, for the most part, be reused again and again at different age levels. This is going on my son's Christmas list this year- two very enthusiastic thumbs up!


Disclosure: I was provided with an Ivy Kids box for review purposes. All opinions are honest and my own.



Subscription Box Roundup: Green Kid Crafts

We continue the Subscription Box Roundup with Green Kid Crafts! Make sure to check back each week to see the latest subscription box that we review.

Green Kid Crafts

"Green Kid designs and delivers hands-on, award winning, and eco-friendly Discovery Boxes, Creativity Kits, and STEM Science Kits."

Price: $19.95/month; save money by purchasing multiple months at a time

Gift Option: Yes

Age Range: 3-10

Includes: 3-4 award winning Creativity and STEM Science Kits (science, technology, engineering, and math) designed by experts to build confidence, flex creativity, and make kids smarter. Also includes extra online activities.

Green Kid Crafts Reviewed

Review: Green Kid Crafts reminds me of good, old fashioned creativity at its best! As a child, I used to have a box full of odds and ends- fabric swatches, pipe cleaners, buttons, etc... and it allowed me to tinker and use my imagination. This subscription box gives children guidance and a theme around the crafts, but also allows for creativity. For example, one of the crafts is a crown, but it encourages creativity and uniqueness with the design instead of giving strict instructions. The other two crafts were a catapult (includes a tape measure to record the distance of different sized balls) and a storytelling kit (complete with wooden figures and fabric to decorate). The online extension featured a variety of themed crafts such as a cardboard castle, DIY face paint, and fairy wings. It also suggests books and toys that are in the same genre as the box's theme. Need a birthday party craft? Green Kid Crafts also sells Eco-friendly birthday party favors.

Disclosure: I was provided with a Green Kid Crafts box for review purposes. All opinions are honest and my own.



Neighborhood Toy Store Day + #BestToys for 2014

The 5th annual Neighborhood Toy Store Day will be held on Saturday, November 8th to help kick off the holiday shopping season!  Participating stores will host local in-store events for families such as face painting, magic shows, craft projects, live performances and special discounts.  To find a local event near you, visit

neighborhood toy store day

There is something so exciting about walking into a toy store.  The thrill of what you might find is still as strong as an adult as it was when I was a child.  A great toy store has a mix of familiar stapes along with unique play things that you have yet to discover.  Our favorite neighborhood toy store is Oh My Darlings in South Haven, Michigan.

South Haven is our adopted beach town where we spend every weekend, and school vacation week, we can.  The downtown is picturesque and filled with ice cream shops, boutiques, wine tasting rooms and the cutest toy store.  We can't walk by without stopping in.

Once inside, you are greeted by an old fashion candy wall where spare change can score you a delicious treat!

Oh My Darlings has books, gifts and keepsakes for newborns to big kids.

Shopping at our favorite neighborhood toy store is my secret for finding one of a kind gifts for everyone on my holiday list.

neighborhood toy store day

Get ready to discover the best new toys in town!  The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) has put out its list of the best toys and they are available at your neighborhood toy store now.  Here are a few of our family's faves...

Sands Alive lets you mold, squish and shape this moldable indoor sand compound for a unique playtime experience. Similar to cookie dough, yet fluffy like a cloud, the Sands Alive is organic, anti-bacterial, and water soluble, Sands Alive will never dry out.

PipSquigz by Fat Brain Toys are colorful suction toys that provide tactile, visual and auditory stimulation for babies 6 months and up.  They are a must have in our house to keep Will entertained in his high chair!

The Architetrix Constructor Set by Hape is a toy that encourages kids to think outside the box with this unconventional construction set. Build spatial-reasoning, critical-thinking and problem solving skills while creating a variety of structures.  Kit includes 33 green bamboo building rods and 14 translucent nodes.

The Royal Princess Playhouse by International Playthings is super easy to set up and provides a play space for hours of imagination and fun.

Weaving is fast and simple with the LoopDeLoom! Children can weave almost anything, from cell phone cases to scarves, thanks to spinning pegs that speed up the weaving process. Children can weave just about anything with 120 feet of yarn.

Teeter Popper by Fat Brain Toy Company arouses curiosity, stimulate the senses and engages the imagination with the new Teeter Popper!  This unique toy improves core strength, balance, coordination and gross-motor skills all in one. Play with Teeter Popper by rocking it, rolling it, sitting in it, or standing on it for endless fun.

best toys of 2014

To see  the entire list of winners, visit  It's a great starting point for your holiday shopping!

Learn more about Neighborhood Toy Store Day at or on Twitter at @TheWoohooFactor.  Shop local and support businesses in your community!