12 Days of Christmas Giveaway

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! If you know me you know I l-o-v-e Christmas time! You know what else I love? Sending out happy mail! I have so enjoyed your friendships and support in this little space and I’m thrilled to share I’ve partnered up with some of my most favorite small businesses to bring you 12 Days of giveaways.

Starting on Monday, for the next 12 week days I’ll share a different giveaway each day. I’m so excited to introduce you to some of my favorite tools, resources, and treasures! Best of all I’ll get to send them to 12 winners to get to enjoy them in person! Be on the look out for daily postings! There’s no limit so feel free to enter them all. All giveaways end on Wednedsay, December 12 and packages will ship out the following day! Hopefully they’ll arrive in time for Christmas! How super fun is that!?

Here are some of the great treasures you’ll find in the giveaways:

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Color + Kindness: A-Z Bible Truth Cards

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Tales of Buttercup Grove: a full set of books

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Crafty Lia: a handmade crayon roll

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Daily Grace Co: Children’s Study + a FULL set of their scripture cards & conversation cards.

….plus 8 others coming your way soon!

Be sure to follow me @little.learner on Instagram to participate and win!

JOY Filled Family Christmas

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Thanksgiving is a little over a WEEK away and Christmas is just around the corner! Who’s excited!? I know we are!

I’ve been sharing on my Instagram about our JOY-Filled Family Christmas and wanted to elaborate on it a little more here! While I am a giant fan of all things crafty and creative I recognize that the holidays are so full that there are days I barely catch my breath much less pull out our “make things” box. :) Instead of adding pressure to do, go, make, or feel stressed I wanted to encourage you this holiday season! The JOY-Filled Family Christmas set is a tool to use as you spend time just being together as a family. And what better way than by pointing your family back to the very reason for the season!

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The cards encourage families to begin by singing! Music, however “joyful” the noise :) may be is a perfect way to begin the time together. Each card has a suggested Christmas carol to sing. As we get a little closer to December I’ll be sharing my Christmas carol playlist- some of my favorite renditions of the songs both old and new! :)

In my little family this year we’ll continue to read the Jesus Storybook Bible. This is how we begin most days but in December we’ll have a special focus on the story of Jesus’ birth. I’ve had such a longing in my heart to invite my children in to the inspired scripture of the Holy Bible. I want them to hear God’s word directly from Him and so I was inspired to create a reading plan for the holidays. I included the background to the Christmas story and broke it down in to manageable sections to read with little ones.

To follow up with the reading the cards have one question. This can be a launching pad for further discussion or there’s full freedom to let the questions rest rhetorically in the minds of your family members.

As you finish the time together you’ll find a simple prayer of praise on the last section of the card.

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The thoughts and ideas of little ones are incredible! Setting aside time each day throughout the holiday hustle and bustle is a worthwhile investment in the hearts of your littles. Consider joining us for the JOY-Filled Family Christmas! There is absolutely no prep and only takes a few minutes each day, but it’s a beautiful way to slow down and point your family to the true hope and joy that Christmas brings! God promises in scripture that His word is powerful and effective (Isaiah 55:11.)  What a joy to see the power of scripture in our hearts and homes! May this Christmas be the sweetest one of all! 

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Mabel's Labels

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While we're still soaking up and soaking in the sweetness of Summer for just a few more weeks, I am starting to think ahead and get us organized for the new school year! My oldest officially starts kindergarten this year (cue the tears!) She is over the moon excited and I am so happy seeing her excitement! One of my favorite ways to get organized is with school supplies! This year we're using Mabels Labels to get each of the children's backpacks, water bottles, jackets, and more ready to take with us on Bible Study days, field trips, and more. 

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While we spend our days learning and playing at home there are a few outings we take each week where it's important that the children have backpacks, water bottles, etc. One of those being our Thursday morning Bible Study. Each of the children (even sweet baby Rutledge) have a class they attend while I'm off in my own small group before a larger lecture. It's one of the sweetest parts of our week!

The study we attend is full of families with small children! They require each family to clearly label all their belongs- which is very reasonably necessary! Over the years I've tried different labels that just didn't stick. Last year I resorted to sharpie on all the things. I worked but didn't look as lovely as you could imagine. 

This year we're set! Mabel's Labels has the perfect solution with personalized, adorable labels that are both durable and informative! They're washing machine and dishwasher safe! 

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As if I wasn't already sold on the personalized name stickers the custom shoe stickers sent me to the moon! I absolutely LOVE how cute these are but even better I LOVE that my cute crew can finally put their shoes on the right feet! Haha! Anyone else have this struggle?! 

Bonus: When Sadie goes to class and takes her shoes and sweater off (must be a 3 year old thing?) her teachers will know who they belong to!

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So while you're stocking up on supplies and gearing up for the new year be sure to check out Mabels Label's! They have everything from iron-on clothes labels to bag tags and everything in between! AND their shipping is free in the US!

I love them so much I want to give you a chance to try them out too! This week I'm giving one happy mama a personalized set of Mabels Label's sent straight to her mailbox! Check out my instagram to find out more! 

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Happy Labeling! 

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All About Apples

A month packed full of apple fun! 50+ pages of literacy to numeracy to STEM and everything in between! You’ll explore apples inside and out with your little! Perfect for preschool, kindergarten prep, and kindergarten too! One fun filled, inspiring activity everyday. Not too much to overwhelm you and just enough to make the time together something really special. Minimal to no prep required on most activities. Includes a suggested book list and bonus printables + a FREE art print! Read More about this unit on the blog!

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Birthday Partying

This weekend my baby turned 2. I could hardly believe we were sending out invitations to celebrate! We've evolved a fair amount since starting the birthday party planning gig with Macie Jane's first birthday. It was basically a wedding reception for a baby who will never remember it- but I will ;) 

The Pinterest loving soul inside of me can hardly stand it. An occasion to design, cut out, inflate, and arrange decorations sounds like a dream! If I'm being honest the party planning is 75% for me and 25% for them. Sure, I choose a theme I know they'll enjoy but do they care about the cupcake toppers I carefully cut out or the balloon arrangement I order? ...probably not. 

After the first few years my sweet (and always supportive) husband suggested approaching birthdays a little differently. Instead of going over the top (as I'm inclined to do) maybe we could alternate big party one year, low key party the next. It's actually turned out to be a really good thing. Starting out I had 3, 3 and under. One birthday falls the week before Christmas and another comes just 6 weeks after the new year. Suffice it to say my brain was on overload. Giving myself freedom to do the basics and enjoy the day for what it is has been a game changer. Birthdays are very special in our family but I'm learning that doesn't have to mean months of planning and a financial investment. We can have just as sweet a time with a sweet cake, simple decorations, and being surrounded by everyone we love.

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Rutledge had a shark themed pool party because what better place to celebrate on a hot Summer day? I ordered a large, inflatable shark  for the pool and it was a hit. My sweet, little fella loved splashing and growling at that thing and all the little girls (all his cousins are girls in addition to his two sisters) loved it too! I ordered a round cake from  our local Publix which I absolutely loved! If you don't know what I'm talking about consider chatting with the bakery for your next celebration. I went in person to talk with the cake decorator. She was so gracious and willing to create exactly what I was looking for! The cake was not only delicious and adorable but super affordable too! win-win-win! I picked up a couple table covers and party accessories from Walmart and had a dozen or so balloons inflated. I couldn't forget the iconic number balloon from Hobby Lobby and the decorations were set! It was a sweet evening celebrating our big guy around the pool with family. 

It wasn't the social event of the season but Rutledge was so loved and fully enjoyed the celebration! And because I wasn't wrapped up in everything being "perfect" I think I really enjoyed it more too. Maybe this party was more like 100% for both of us?

Great Gifts for Christmas - Two Year Olds

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Last week I started a series of post on gifts for our little loves. It's the most wonderful time of year again and to help make this holiday season just a little easier for you I've collected ideas on great gifts for babies up through preschool age. So many of the gifts I shared last week would suit well for a younger two year old as well. In this post I'm sharing just 6 ideas for toys that help develop creativity, spark imagination, and are just plain fun for the terrific two year old in your life! 

 

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First up is the Fisher Price Medical Kit. Pretend and Role play begins around 2 years old. This adorable set is perfect to take real life experience and pair it with fun. Everyone visits the doctor for their well check ups. Sometimes those visits come with a negative stigma. Why not help encourage the heart of your little with a medical bag of fun? Our Sadie had a number of doctor/specialist visits early in her life and continues to today. One way we helped alleviate her fears was to play check up at home. From checking her sister's temperature to listening to little brother's heartbeat the doctor kit was a big hit. (We even brought it with us on a check up once to help ease her nervousness!) In addition it, "helps little ones develop healthy habits and sharing skills while giving imagination a big boost." Whether your little loves the doctors office or not this 7 piece set is sure to be a whole lot of fun! Cost: a little over $12

Fisher Price Medical Kit

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This one needs little explanation. What two year old doesn't love a little messy fun!? Paint that you can do with your hands- why not? This kit comes with three tubes of washable color (red, yellow, and blue) and 10 sheets of large sized paper specifically designed to work with finger paint. Read: paint doesn't seep through! :) Washability is always a big factor when I choose paint for the children to play with here as I imagine it is for you. I'm happy to report we have never had a problem washing out any of Crayola's washable paints. It's easily removed from fingers, nail beds, clothes, workspaces, etc. Cost: $9

In addition to this set, I highly recommend IKEA's roll of white paper if you happen to live near one you can hop over to. 

Crayola My First Finger Paints

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Mega Bloks are probably one of the very best ways to support developing creativity and make for perfect open ended play. Dream up, build, or take apart any creation you can think of! Little developing fingers and hands get great practice with hand-eye coordination using Mega Bloks. This is another toy to grow with your child. He/she will enjoy it for years to come as their maturity and creativity grows. For less than $15 you get 80 large sized, easily to build with blocks. The packaging is durable for reusability too! Hello after Christmas organization! Mega bloks are all interchangeable within the brand so should you decide to get more they will all work together! Cost: $14.92

Classic Mega Bloks

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Board books are really perfect for any age but I especially love them for two year olds because they can survive the crib. :) Around 2 we start leaving a board book or two in bed with our children to look through and enjoy should they wake early or as they are preparing to nap. Board books stand up to the test of little fingers tearing, toss, or banging on them. They also play a role in developing that love for reading and learning we all desire for in our children.  [I have, however, lost a few to the washing machine R.I.P. so you definitely want to grab them out of the crib sheet before tossing it into the machine and save yourself the disappointment.] Cost: $7-$15

Little Blue Truck Board Book

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This one I have to say has been a HUGE hit in our house! Even for Rutledge (1) and Macie Jane (4) but especially  Sadie (2). There are plenty of times where she pretends the pot is for coffee and she enjoys her morning "coffee" (AKA an empty cup) with me. The cake comes in 4 pieces for practicing stacking. The teapot has three different levels of play and sings 7 different songs. But most importantly for Mom and Dad- it has an off switch and volume control. One of the kids' favorite feature is it's real pouring sounds when they tilt the teapot! A great gift for the tea party animal in your life. Cost: $20

Fisher Price Laugh and Learn

Smart Stages Tea Set

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I saved my very most favorite for last! You really can't go wrong with anything from Melissa & Doug, but this one takes the cake in our family this year! It's 6 pieces of pretend play- from sweeping to dusting or moping your little is sure to have fun while "helping" around the house. Again, role/pretend play begins at this stage of development and how many times do we hear our little loves ask, "I help?" Wouldn't it be great to say "Yes!" I also love how this toy is made of durable wood and comes with it's own storage rack for easy access and clean up. :) The price really isn't too bad either considering the type of sturdy construction this toy is made with. Cost: $25

Melissa & Doug Let's Play House

There you have it! My favorite toys for two year olds! What does your two year old love? Anything I missed? Sharing is caring- let me know your thoughts! :) 

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Great Gifts for Christmas - One Year Olds

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It's the most wonderful time of the year! It's hard to believe Christmas is right around the corner already. I honestly feel like I blink in October and, POOF! it's January. This year I'm determined not to get behind so I'm starting early and in case you are too, I'm sharing a few gift ideas over the next week or so to help shop for those little loves in your life- whether it's your child, niece, nephew, neighbor, or best friend's family these toy are sure to be a hit! I'm starting with the youngest first. These are 1 year old approved, tried, and tested true. I included (non-affiliate) links for your convenience. :) 

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Bath toys have always been a hit in our house. Our little ones take A LOT of baths. (Anyone else's children love to run sticky fingers through their hair?!) These foam letters/numbers were all three of our crew's favorite. They stick to the tub/shower walls when wet AND they stick to little tummy too- lots of laughs there! :) They wipe off and are easy to keep clean. Additionally they come a a great price! 36 pieces for less than $6. These would also make a great stocking stuffer. 

Munchkin Letters and Numbers Bath Toys

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This one my aunt and uncle actually have and my cute crew go crazy over it! This adorable and hilarious dino bounces balls from it's wiggly belly and back. All three laugh so much trying to catch the bouncing balls and put them back in the dino before they bounce right out again. This toy is so great for one year olds as they continue to develop grasping skills, hand-eye coordination, and problem solving. It's durable and battery operated. 

Double Poppin' Dino

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Baby's first Dolly! Plush baby dolls are great gifts for one year olds! They help encourage that nurturing spirit with in your little one and a great for mimicking or role playing if your family happens to be expanding in the future. Added bonus, plush dolls are machine washable! So when your little love is so attached to her baby that she can't imagine going to lunch without it and subsequently gets covered in Chick Fil A sauce, you can easily toss the dolly into the washing machine and she comes out good as gold! #momwin

Snuggle Up Doll

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This one is a gender neutral hit! Boy or girl the little love in your life will have a ball pressing and chasing this colorful bug! What a fun way to learn cause and effect too! Your little love learns when you press him he goes and goes and goes! If you have a newer one year old in your life the press and go worm encourages crawling and walking as your little tries to catch/find the worm! It works by spring action so no batteries are needed. [Macie Jane got this as a one year old and now Rutledge enjoys it 4 years later!]

Press N Go Inchworm

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What is it about cars that kids just love them so much?! Both girls liked cars but my Rutledge especially loves them! Maybe there's something in the DNA of a boy that a love of cars is ingrained? Either way, little ones are sure to love this classic toy! There are over 400 reviews of this toy on Amazon and the biggest stand out was durability. Someone even used the word "indestructible." If you have a busy boy you know what value an indestructible toy has. It's great for little hands to grasp and roll along the floor or an outdoor area. 

Kid O Go Car Early Learning Push and Pull Toy

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This one, unquestionably, is my most favorite- probably mostly because of nostalgia. How many of us had a shape sorter toy as a child. You don't need a whole lot of explanation on how educational this toy is and how much your little will enjoy it. This is another toy that makes for great practice problem solving. Additionally, this toy will grow with your child providing opportunity for conversations on color and shape recognition. Also, this toy is it's own container! Play with and store the components all in one place! Added Bonus: This toy is great on the Christmas budget at less than $8! 

Brilliant Basics Baby's First Blocks

What are your favorite toys for one year olds? Anything on your list that I missed?! We're always on the hunt for great gifts too! Check back in a few days for a new post on Great Gifts for Christmas- Two Year Olds!  Merry Merry! 

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