holiday gift guide: toys around the world

Can it really be time for Holiday Gift Guides already? We love this part of the holidays, and are so glad you do too! We’ve collected beautiful and meaningful items for everyone on your list! As many cool ideas and items come through the States, we can’t help but highlight the ones we’ve seen from all around the world.
holiday gift guide: toys around the world

1. We fell in love with Flat Out Frankie a couple of years ago, but now you don’t have to shop via New Zealand anymore! Amazon to the rescue, we love the Flatout Frankie Little Kitchen.

2. This tiny German piano is so vibrant and would make such a beautiful addition under the tree.

3. This is another Japanese company discovered this year, the Woody Puddy Fruit and Vegetables are definitely not a new idea, but we love that their magnetic (versus velcro like others we’ve tried) so it’s really easy for little hands to separate.

4. No one can question that Scandinavian companies have a leg up on design, this Playsam company has been around longer than we’ve been born, and the classic design shows. This Streamline Car is a great representation of that.

5. These super cool, illustrated animals are a printable that you can assemble at home! Via the United Kingdom.

6. We love these fold-out cities with coordinating landmark blocks. Such a great way to teach our kids about cities from around the world! Kiko+ Machi Paris Play Set and London (pictured) via Japan.

7. Our kids love to play memory games, but finding a beautiful game that appeals to our design aesthetic has been tricky! Slow claps for this OMM Design version from Sweden.

8. Have you all discovered Grimm’s toys? These German toys are modeled after natural elements like Fire, Waves, and Caves are not only beautiful to display, but great for learning to build, stack, balance, and more!

9. These Danish plush bowlers are a fun Christmas feeling toy that can be played year round.
To our International readers, what toy or toy companies would you add to the list? Find last year’s Gift Guides, here!

happy christmas, small fries!

The best day of the year is here! The anticipation is always better than the actual event, don’t you think? Our boys could not be more excited and they’ve been so good this year, it’s going to be so fun watching all the surprises unfold!

Small Fry | Nununu

We hope you all have a wonderful Holiday and a Happy New Year, we’ll be back January 1st with a whole new year of adventure.

Small Fry | Nununu

We wanted to leave you with a few lines from a favorite Christmas song, which wraps up how we feel about the reason for this season and makes a cry every time.

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
Over the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Love,

Emily, Jenna and Nicole.

*The boys are wearing pieces from Nununu’s SS13 collection! See the catalog here*.

2013 christmas cards

Check your virtual mailboxes, because the mail’s here! We wanted to share our family’s Christmas cards this year with you, we wish we had more stamps to send each of you a card. We hope this will do! Huge thank you to our card designer Bri at Collected! She created our cards last year as well, and we are fiercely loyal to her impeccable style.

First Jenna! We love this abstract and modern take on a wreath, with cozy family photos by Becky Kimball. What is more laid back then a photo session in your pajamas all piled in mom and dad’s bed?
Collected Christmas CardsEmily has strong feelings of attachment to her mini calendar and wanted to gift her friends and family with something she loves and uses everyday. Bri created this three inch ombre pocket calendar, and Emily sized everything down to match. Family photos by Matt Clayton. 

Collected Christmas Cards

Nicole had these simple and graphic pine tree cards designed by Bri and then Nicole added unique gold embellishments to each card. Friends and family all got different cards with either stripes, draped garlands, or ornaments on their tree. Family photos by Hayley Anderson.

Collected Christmas CardsWe love love love our cards by Collected, check her diverse portfolio out here!

Thank you to our photographers Becky, Matt and Hayley!

2012 Christmas cards here.

Keep reading to see more of our family photoshoots! Continue reading 2013 christmas cards

fa la la la la printable

Are you all ready for Christmas? We can’t believe how fast it crept up! Today we have a multiple-use free printable from the awesome shop Mod by Mel. Whether your need gift tags, a neighbor gift, decor for a party, a(nother) garland, this cute print can do all that and we’re sure lots more, too!
Mod By Mel Free Printable!

Download it below sized for both a 5×7 and 8×10 for free until Christmas! Mod By Mel is making this print temporarily free so hurry and snatch it up!

Check out Mod by Mel’s Etsy shop, it’s filled with gems like this!

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Do you guys follow us on Pinterest? We had a fun pin-party with Mini Magazine and a few other bloggers last night, and the board is so festive and fun! Follow us here.

Have a wonderful weekend!

glam blocks

We’ve got another super easy handmade gift idea for you all today. Keeping with the theme of gifts coming from the kids, but with a touch of class: Glam Blocks! Thanks to Carousel NY for teaming up with us on this post! Here’s what you’ll do:

glam christmas blocks

To start you’ll need unfinished wood blocks. There’s a few ways to accomplish this task:  you can buy them at the craft store, or have wood cut at the hardware store! Just make sure you sand the blocks before using them if you have them cut. From this point we painted them by taping off the down the diagonal, using acrylic paint. Let the blocks dry completely and then grab the Modge Podge (or mix Elmer’s glue with half the amount of glue in ounces of water, 6 ounce bottle of glue = 3 ounces of water. Cover the painted triangle with Modge Podge and then here’s where the kiddos can help!

glam christmas blocks

We used silver and then gold glitter and had the boys cover the Modge-Podged area. Shake off the excess and let it dry completely! Once its dry you can layer on another coat of Modge Podge to seal the glitter a bit better.

Like we mentioned earlier, we teamed up with the new online kids boutique, Carousel NY for today’s craft. We really can’t get enough of their site, it’s filled with fashion forward brands we’ve come to love like Shampoodle, the Brand, yporque, and Loud Apparel.

Here’s some items we’re loving for the boys!

Carousel NY

 

Leather Sleeve Jacket || Woo Sweater ||| Shampoodle Street Pants || Gorilla Sweater 

Dash is in the Bob & Blossom Breton Stripe Tee and don’t miss this The Brand jeans. Too cute.

Connect with Carousel NY for flawless fashion via Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

service advent

After we shared our favorite Christmas countdown advents here, Emily decided to do a 25 Days of Service with her boys. It has been such an awesome experience for them, and really altered the way their Holiday season has looked and felt. So for our last post for under the Ford Fiesta Movement, with the perfect theme of Social Acitvism we thought we’d have Emily share a little bit more about it!

service advent for kids

This 25 Days of Service printable has single-handedly turned my family’s Christmas upside down. For the better, for the best. I had, and still have, so many hesitations sharing details of this special experience: for one, we’re not doing it for the recognition. Secondly, the blessing of serving others everyday, even when it’s small and seemingly insignificant, has changed my heart and feels so private and personal! Lastly, the amazing things that have come out of my boys’ mouths, the way they seek out people and opportunities to help has been so touching, sharing it feels like parental bragging. Let’s be honest, it is!

But, I think it’s important still. It’s so easy to forget the true meaning of the Holidays and to let commercialized things take over and get in the way. If I didn’t have Hayes asking me “What are we going to give away today?” (which I’ve had to curb, and remind him that serving is more than just getting rid of our stuff) each morning at breakfast, I’m sure I’d have already forgotten. But, we’ve stuck to it thanks to him, and we have a couple tips to help those with toddler-age kids as well.

1. Neither of my kids can read yet, and I use that to my advantage. I know the list pretty well at this point so I pick something that suits that day’s agenda. If we’ll be out and about, I have him pick a slip and then I read “Open the door for others at the store.” or “Leave encouraging notes on people’s cars.” If we have a quiet day at home, then I’ll do the crafts and activities like “Pick a toy to donate to a family in need” or “Make a cranberry and popcorn garland for the birds.”

2. I separated the bigger suggestions into two days. So if it’s “Donate old towels to the animal shelter”, on one day we’ll collect all our old towels, then another day we’ll actually bring them to the shelter. Or, we made encouraging cards one night, and delivered them the next. Otherwise it can feel like a big undertaking for one day!

3. Keep your eyes open. You’ll start to notice more and more opportunities to help others, so many that aren’t on “the list” so often times we do something completely different than planned. When I found myself trying to make whatever was on the slip of paper happen, I’m sure I missed opportunities right in front of my face.

We still have a week or so left, so I’m sure this might change, but my favorite moment so far has to be when we donated toys. Since Hayes was small he’s been a toy hoarder. More often then not I’d catch him trying to ride a scooter, or climb a playground with two handfuls of toys in his clutches. Teaching him to share has been a struggle, and still is. So, I wasn’t sure how giving away a toy would go. So needless to say, I was emotional to see him fill two bags full without blinking an eye. A couple days later we brought the toys to a woman who runs the nursery at our church. We walked up her steps, he knocked on the door, without any prompting, handed the bags to her and said “Merry Christmas!” She was so excited and Hayes might have burst with pride. As we walked down the steps back to the car he lept into my arms, wrapped both arms and legs tight around me (just like he did when we were next in line at Radiator Racers in DisneyLand) and whispered in my ear “That was nice.”

The feeling this little advent has brought our family each day has been so rewarding, it’s not hard to see it’s helped us more than anyone!”

Catch more of Emily’s (and several other Instagrammers who have joined in) adventures with the 25 Days of Service under the #DoGoodDecember tag.

This post is inspired by the Ford Fiesta Movement. 

a gilded link-up

Remember our color themed link-up a few months ago? We joined up with several other awesome bloggers and created DIYs all based on hot pink! Today we’re back together and this time, all that glitters is gold.

Here’s what we came up with, an all-gold snow globe! A gold-out, if you will.Small Fry | Gold Challenge

There is something especially magic about a snow globe, and we’ve seen our fair share around town, but wanted to make our own special version. So we sprayed everything gold, naturally. Here’s what you’ll need:

All Gold Link-up | Small Fry

 We found everything we needed at our local craft store, and most DIYs will suggest you buy glycerin, we tried it both ways, and water works just fine!

1. Take your gold spray paint and spray your sisal miniature tree, and minature plastic animals. Let them dry completely.

2. Using super glue or a hot glue gun, glue the objects to the lid of the jar. Make sure you test it before gluing so everything fits inside and still screws in. Otherwise you might need to lose a moose leg, not pretty.

3. Most globes are filled with the snow globe snow, but we swapped it out for glitter! It’s the prettiest little thing.

Here’s what our fellow link-up buddies put together, don’t miss them! If you want to play along with our color challenges post your pics with the #colorchallenge hash so we can check it out!

Image Map

holiday gift guide: for the fam

You made it! The last gift guide of the season, are you relieved? Today it’s all about togetherness. Things you can do side by side, meaningful mementos, and ways to improve your life as a family.
holiday gift guide for the family1. We’re trying to play it cool about these Wanderlust City map play mats, but it’s not working. They’re so beautiful!! Perfect for floor playtime, or even as a wall hanging. Buy NYC or San Francisco here. [$84] via Shop Ellalou.]

2. A Year of Gratitude. This gorgeous box is filled with 52 thank you cards, one for each week of the year. We love this idea of continually focusing on who we’re grateful for and vocalizing it each week. You could decide your recipeients as a family, take turns, and discuss it all each week. Wouldn’t it make for the best family dinner conversation? And an absolute steal at [$30] Via Uncommon Goods. See their Gift Guide here.

3. Naturebox. Are we sounding like a broken record (this might be our third mention of them)? Naturebox’s monthly subscriptions are so helpful. With a new delicious and healthy set of snacks each month it opens our, and our kids, horizons and saves us in a pinch when we’re out and about. Sometimes it’s nice to not have to turn to the drive-thru! [19.95]

4. A blanket is the basis of so much family fun. A picnic, getting cozy on the couch, a blanket fort, peek-a-boo, a makeshift hammock, you really can’t have too many! This one’s from Target and comes in four different colors. [$19.99]

5. We think every family should have that “thing” they do together. A tradition that is just theirs. Whether it’s an old movie marathons, or karaoke, or milkshake Mondays, for instance. No time like the holidays to start a new tradition! This one works amazing, and has the perfect retro feel that makes it stay-on-the-counter-worthy. [$169] via Williams-Sonoma.

6. Cooking together is the perfect family activity, but if you can’t all be together, at least you can remember home while you’re in the kitchen! These AHeirloom State Cutting boards are so lovely, and would make a great gift for those far-away loved ones. [$48]

7. Last but not least, what is a better gift than a reminder of where you come from? These modern genealogy charts from I Chart You are not only stunning graphically, but represent generations of family all in one circle. Customizable from top to bottom and an absolute bargain at [$25]. This print would hang proudly in just about any room in your home.

The homes we grew up in seemed to always have one fun big gift for the family, we’re excited to carry that on. Do you do that as well? We’d love to hear your ideas! Any awesome family friendly gifts we missed?

Catch all our gift guides here.

 

$1 neighbor buddy gifts

kid neighbor gifts for a buck!This year we sort of fell hard for the idea of having gifts come from the boys whenever possible. To help keep them involved in the gift giving process, and hopefully remind them to think of others this season. We’ll have a few more posts talking about this goal, which is also this month’s Fiesta Movement theme of Social Activism! (Is it just too late, or is this agent pretty funny?) For today, we came up with three easy and inexpensive gifts (with printables!) that can they can gift their friends at school, neighbor friends, and whoever else strikes their fancy this month!

let it snow neighbor giftLet It Snow! Our local big box stores, like Wal-Mart or Target sell cold weather accessories for super cheap, but no one can beat the Dollar Store! Hats and gloves galore, for a buck each! Roll up a hat or put a bow on a pair of gloves and you’re all set!

holiday tic tac toe neighbor giftHoliday Tic Tac Toe! We used Dollar Store beaded garlands, all cut up as game pieces and put in a glassine bag. (Truth be told we had our hearts set on acorns, but turns out they’re harder to find then you think around here.)

new years eve neighbor giftNew Year’s Themed! If you’re like us and need a few more days than the Christmas delivery deadline allows, go for a New Year’s theme! Add a confetti popper, noisemaker, or party horn as seen here, the party horns all though festive, when given to a handful of boys at once, was regretted immediately. You’ve been warned!

kid neighbor gifts for a buck!This post is inspired by The Fiesta Movement! Their contribution to this month’s Social Activism Theme is coming up this Thursday December 12th. They are partnering with What’s Trending to host a star-studded party on YouTube from at 7 pm MST! The best part is every tweet written during that time using the #Tubeathon or #FiestaMovement, Ford will donate $1 to the Covenant House, which is a charity for homeless youth.

WHERE TO SHOP:

Hayes YPorque Gorilla Sweater and The Brand Denim Jeans.

Holiday Felt-aments DIY

We’ve been loving these Maypole felt balls as a base to making minimalist decor for the holidays! We last used them for Halloween, here, and came up with a couple more to decorate the tree with!

First, tiny wreath ornaments!

diy felt ornaments

Here’s what you’ll do:

Thread a needle (the larger and thicker, the easier to go through the felt.) Then pull the needle through the center of each ball, we used six per ornament, finally connecting them and tying a knot on the other side. Grab a package of ornament hooks to hang them onto your tree, and you’re done! Easy enough.

felt ball christmas ornament wreaths

For the snowman:

felt ball snowmen christmas ornament

You could use the above threading technique or hot glue to secure three white felt balls on top of one another. If you’re threading, you can pull a loop through the top to hang, or if you glue, stick a ornament hook through the top. To give him the perfect snowman scarf we simply added a baker’s twine!

felt ball snowman christmas ornament

We like the threading technique because you can easily cut it and reuse the felt balls for a different project after the holidays. (Glue is definitely easier though.)