Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Still time for Toys!!

With a week until Christmas, if you are still hunting for gifts for your kids or family members, don't worry there's still time!  You have to order by Sunday the 22nd to get it by Christmas.  Amazon has their 2 day shipping and LOVE their prime option.   Of course, I have my favorite list of classic toys every year to recommend- those that foster creativity and imagination like we do in Play Therapy. So I will post my faves again, but in the meantime, if you haven't checked out the great daily deals on, click below.  It's made my life sooo much easier to do my shopping online this year.


1. Blocks  
Blocks are huge.  EVERY single play therapy session I have, a child will build something with blocks and it almost brings me to tears at times to see how a quiet sheltered child, will all of a sudden create a huge masterpiece of a 'building' out of blocks.  I love seeing what can become of a plain old brown piece of wood!

Here is a good set at a great price (49.99$) Melissa & Doug 60-Piece Standard Unit Blocks
2. Doll Houses
Now, for those moms of boys out there, I know you are a little apprehensive about buying a doll house for your son.  But the super gender neutral ones are great, and there are a lot out there now that are 'green' looking.  And your boys can use different 'characters' to play with in their house, and not dolls.  The less is more philosophy is best for the doll house, that way children can use even more of their imagination!

These are great wooden doll houses:
Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Furnished Dollhouse (76.99$)
Ryan's Room Home Is Where the Heart Is (99$)
 Or this green one, super cute and comes with everything! Hape All Season House - Furnished (139.99)

3.  Dress-Up Gear   My 1st Career Gear Assortment Suit (37.99$)
4.  Kitchen Play

What home doesn't have a kitchen?  Children love to act out what they already have at home and kitchens are a huge hit.  Boys are chefs too and love to pretend they are washing dishes, cooking and grilling like their dad.  This one is a good gender neutral color as well and fits in small spaces.
KidKraft Vintage Kitchen - White (157.99$)

5.  Doctor Kit 
I know I have blogged about these before, but they are still one of the all time faves of my clients.  Kids LOVE using these doctor kits and my daughter still plays with hers a whole year later. 

What are your favorite choices this year??
Saturday, December 7, 2013

Snow Day Fun Activities

Living in Texas, our weather is all over the place.  One day this week it was 80 degrees, the next, freezing cold with an ice storm that blew in called the Icepocolypse.  (We are still iced in by the way). With winter approaching us, I figured it was a good time to re-post my indoor playtime activities!

Besides the old standby activities for winter weather: building snowmen, sledding, snowball fights, roasting s'mores, baking goodies, what else is there to do?   If you and your kids are climbing the walls, here are a few different activities you can do at home when it's too dangerous to get out there and drive.

For babies, toddlers and preschoolers:

1. Set up your own sensory table: Get a rubbermaid container and fill with water or sand and have them move their toys around in it. Just make sure they don't eat the sand if they are babies.

2. A good idea for babies too is to set them in their highchair so they are contained and put a variety of food supplies on it to play with: Pudding, cool whip, any mushy food like bananas, avocado, etc. and let them be little artists
3. Make your own bubbles or homemade play dough!  Half the fun is making it.  As long as you have cream of tartar on hand for the play dough, it's so easy to make.

4. Boardgames such as Candyland, Chutes and Ladders are fun ways to have the whole family engage in an activity.

5. Block activity building for families to build something together like a Castle, a town or racetrack

6.  Make snowflakes out of paper. Remember doing this in school?
7. Decorate valentines and make heart shapes out of construction paper and decorate with glitter and glue

8. Moon Sand! Need I say more?

9.  Have them put on a puppet show and if you don't have any puppets make some! Just get some white old tube socks and paint them or decorate with markers and glue.

10.  Take your child outside with a box of water colors, or larger bottles of tempra paint and some brushes. Show them how to pack snow into a smooth surface, and let them paint. It is a different experience from painting on paper and mistakes are easily "erased" – just pile fresh snow on top.

11. Have a dance party! Just dim the lights, get out some fun dance CD's and let your little ones dance. For babies, my child loves to dance in my arms or just loves to giggle hysterically when I dance in front of her (maybe she is laughing at my bad dance moves:).

School aged kids, teens: 

1. Boardgames for the whole family such as LIFE, Jenga, checkers, chess, Clue, and Apples to Apples.
2. Building a card house

3. Watch a family movie, but then better yet, make some Origami out of your Netflix wrapper! I found this idea online:

4. Make a scavenger hunt for them with odds and ends around the house. Or have the kids make one for each other

5. Besides having fun baking cookies, you can have them make pretzel creations by lining up stick pretzels and using peanut butter as glue

6. Make snow cream. I have never done this myself but have heard a lot of kids love this stuff!

7. Create your own fort indoors with cardboard boxes

8.  Design your own crossword puzzles and mazes. This will keep them occupied for hours!


1. I know it's pretty obvious but what better time to start spring cleaning, organize your kitchen, closet and garage, finances, etc. Wow, never thought you'd have the free time huh?

2. Crank out all the On Demand TV you've been wanting to get caught up on, Dexter, Mad Men and old Lost episodes and then see the link above to make origami out of netflix wrappers. Yes you heard me correctly, there is a website dedicated to this!
3. Start cooking! All of those cookbooks that you've collected, or recipes you've cut out and never made. Now is the time you can pull them out and finally make that coq au vin, a souffle or some other ridiculously long and complicated recipe.

4. Have your own spa day with homemade masks, mani and pedis. You can do this with your little girls too.

I know there are endless possibilities, so hopefully this is a start.  What are your favorite snow day activities?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Sweet Smell of Christmas

I just finished reading one of my favorite children's Christmas books, The Sweet Smell of Christmas (Scented Storybook) and love it so much, I just had to share with you.  Maybe it's the kid in me who LOVED scratch-n-sniff books as a child, but I get just as excited as my 3 year old does to read this book.  I saw on Amazon that it's going for 7.38$ hardback right now.   Hot chocolate, pine trees, peppermint smells...mmmm.. Do you remember those scratch-n-sniff stickers as a child? Loved those things!  Ok, I digress....

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas is Coming...

Are you as stressed as I am about the upcoming holidays? I think it's because I always overcommit to stuff.  Toys, parties, school functions.  For instance in the next 7 days, I have my husband's work Christmas parties, a few moms group parties, and a few kid Christmas parties!  And then for the rest of the season there is all of the other kid fun stuff like looking at lights, seeing Santa, going to Church activities and then of course, the best day ever, Christmas Day which there is nothing like seeing my kids expressions when they run into the room and see what presents Santa brought. And then the joy of all the family getting together to celebrate....  Whew!

Yes, it can bring on stress but I really try to relish everyone being in the holiday spirit, everyone in a good mood, spreading the love. And I love decorating my house this time of year. My kids sipping hot chocolate as we put up the tree, sing songs and watch Christmas movies.

Speaking of decorating, I ran across this ad for Christmas decorating and thought to myself, gee, that would go over real well in my toddler filled home. Can you imagine my 18 month old in this room? She'd have a field day.  Her hand would be burned, the vases knocked over, ornaments thrown on the floor and glass would be in tiny pieces all over the nice animal rug on the floor.  And those white walls? Ha, they'd have dirty handprints all over them.  But one day maybe I can decorate normal again....yeah, in maybe 10 years.

How do you de-stress from the holidays?  

Something I've learned is that I think it takes making a balance between going and doing all of the fun things and taking a break.  It's easy to get caught up in all of the fun and wanting to go to the parties and events.  AND wanting to participate in your children's school activities and parties.  So whenever a party invitation or event comes across my way, I have to stop and decide "Is this something I NEED to do, or will my life be a little easier if I skip this?"  

And as far as the buying, thank goodness for Amazon.  Makes my life soo much easier.  I am all for local businesses, and when I have time I try to shop at them, but with littles at home, online is the way to go for now.  

We also try to explain to our kids the true meaning of Christmas so they don't get all wrapped up in gifts and toys.  There are always non-profit agencies in towns and I try to pick one to donate things to and explain to my children about the season of giving.

Also, to make things a little less stressful, we draw names in my extended family and now we have all agreed to only buy things for the kids. Don't get me wrong, I love giving gifts, but only if I have an unlimited bank account :)  So making our buying list shorter takes the stress down a notch ;)

And lastly having some red wine. Yep, takes it down a huge notch at the end of the evening.

How do you de-stress?