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    Candy Free Easter Basket Ideas

    Candy Free Easter Basket Ideas

    I know that Easter is not about the baskets and eggs just like Christmas isn’t about the presents but the Easter basket tradition is one I truly love and enjoy for my children. 

    That being said, if you are anything like me you want to fill your kid’s Easter baskets with something other than candy. For one if I’m spending money I like it to be on something that will last longer than a jelly bean and a toy or game won't rot their teeth. Ha. 

    Also, I recognize that Easter is this week so everything I am linking has two-day shipping with Amazon or to be honest can just serve as ideas for you to then head to your local store to pick up either the exact thing or something similar. 

    My kids are boys and range from age 4-8 but I would say these are not gender specific toys and could range much higher in terms of age as well. I know lots of pre-teens who would be thrilled with nerf guns. Ha. I just wanted you to know the ages I was buying for so it helped you navigate your decisions. 

     

      1. Recently my kids have gotten totally into nerf guns. Thanks, dude perfect. Ha. They are obsessed with trick shots and challenges. Really any nerf gun will do but these are our favorites. You can use plastic cups as targets around the house for good clean entertainment. I think this digital target is a fun addition to any nerf collection as well if you don't want to use items you already have around the house. I bought a pack of ammo as well. So we are fully stocked. 
      2. Any art supplies. These Mod paint sticks are a simple mess-free way for my kids to paint, which my youngest always wants to do. These are quick dry as well so less mess for all involved. Really any art supplies make my kids happy. Think coloring books, a new box of crayons or even those color wonder pages that don't leave any mess for little ones. 
      3. Board games! We got the boys Life junior and I’m going to be honest, I can’t wait to open this! We love games as a family and have just reached the point of all being able to play together. My four-year-old loves games too. He is great at guess who, UNO, and high ho cherry. Truly there are so many board games out there for all ages. They are a great screen-free option of entertainment. 
      4. Kinetic sand has now led to kinetic rocks. My kids love this stuff and I love that it is super easy to clean up. This will be our first time getting the rocks so I don't have a full review but if they are half as entertaining and easy to clean then I am sold. This stuff has bought me several hours of entertainment while trying to make dinner. To that end playdoh, clay or anything like these items would be just as great. I just prefer the kinetic stuff for ease of cleaning, as I have already mentioned. 
      5. Books books and more books. We finally have a reader and it’s my favorite thing watching him read! I got them the first set of the Magic Treehouse series and plan to build on it throughout the next series of holidays. My mom started finding them at thrift stores and has a pretty good collection so that is my hope as well. Y'all I had never heard of these until this year! I feel like I am way late to this party, kind of like Game of Thrones (I have never seen it), but these books are fabulous for all ages. 
      6. Magnetic shapes are hugely popular in our home right now with my youngest. Watching him brainstorm and create with them has been so cool. He can build and rearrange with them for 30 minutes straight and he always walks away so proud to show us his creations. There are lots of different brands. We have the Discovery brand that I got a few years ago on black Friday and we love them. 
      7. Shrinkables! These take me back to visiting my grandma as a little girl. I remember thinking these things were the coolest. I have now done them with the boys quite a bit and they love them. From coloring them, to watching them shrink and even playing with them after. They are a great “toy” that creates an experience you can all share together while making them. They have so many different themed sets as well as sheets of paper you can just free draw on. 

    I hope this is in some way helpful. Do you do baskets for your kiddos or even your spouse? My mom still sometimes makes up little baskets for myself, my brother and our spouses with things like movie theatre gift cards, our favorite candy, or just small gift cards to our favorite places. What would you want in an Easter basket as an adult? Maybe I will need to do a post on that next year. Ha! 

    Happy Easter and may it be filled with more than fun gifts in a basket. Hoping it is packed with family and friends around the table, lots of laughter and celebration over our risen Savior! 

    He is risen just as He said! 

    Indianapolis Flower and Patio Show

    Indianapolis Flower and Patio Show

    This week I have had the opportunity to participate in the Indianapolis Flower and Patio show and it has been so much fun. There is a team of six designers and we were simply asked to design a table for an outdoor garden party. That is it...no parameters...just full-blown creative freedom! They gave us the tables and the florist and the rest was us to us! 

    The show goes through March 17th and I have lots of FREE TICKETS. Please let me know how many you need! I was able to participate in two panels on outdoor entertaining last weekend and there are two more on Sunday at noon and 3 PM if you would like to come please let me know and I will get tickets to you. 

    Ok back to the fun of creating this table! 

    The tables were built by Boone County Uniques and people could purchase them for $165 after the show! I had a customer ask me the first day to buy. I would too...such a great piece and so affordable. 

    The florist was Lori with Elsie's Flowers and holy moly y'all, she and her team were fabulous! We simply gave them our wishlists, ideas and inspirations and they made our dreams come true. 

    I blew through about forty options in the first 24 hours of planning until I finally settled on my inspiration board of a girlfriend brunch. 

     

    I am usually a very neutral gal. White everything with white and green floral arrangements so I stretched myself just a bit and added in some muted pastels. I am thrilled with the outcome. I will try my best to post as many sources as I am able to find for you. 

    The wooden lanterns Brenda was nice enough to let me use from the shop and I have to say they bring the impact I was hoping for. Originally I planned to have them down the middle of the table but since the width didn't allow me to do that I shifted my plan to group them on one end. They are $30-$40 depending on the size and are so versatile. They can hold anything (candles, greenery, florals, etc.) and are so easy to change with the seasons. 

    The chargers are from World Market years ago but they still have the same ones.

    The tumblers are from (you won't believe this) ALDI! Sadly I cannot find any similar online. They were $5 for two and I love the style of them compared to the typical moscow mule mugs. 

    The candlesticks are from Hobby Lobby and I got them for 50% off (of course, NEVER pay full price) They always have a sale or use the coupon online. 

    The dishes and the silverware are our personal items but they are Pioneer Woman from Walmart and Crate and Barrel. They don't have my same set but these and these are similar. We love the gold silverware and these are ours. 

    The star of the show had to have been the napkins! I literally found these and they were the foundation for inspiration. They are great quality and I cannot wait to get them home to use them all the time in my own home. Thank you, Amazon for these beauties

    Other details included the silhouette place cards that I made but could be done on your own after purchasing silhouettes from my shop. Obviously, this would be done for special occasions and in smaller groups. The champagne flutes and mason jar glasses are mine from home but you can get these anywhere for very inexpensive. I did add a tray for my framed information and business cards after photos were taken but you would see in person. Here is a very similar tray.

    Lastly, the cupcake stand and votives that are holding the flower arrangements I got from the target dollar spot years ago and TJ Maxx. I am sorry am not more helpful with these items but they should be pretty easy to find look-alikes. These are actually super cute and now I am tempted to buy these. Ha. 

    The show runs until Sunday, March 17th and I have FREE TICKETS! I am speaking with five other designers on two panels Sunday at noon and 3 PM and will be there all day. I would love to meet you so please let me know if you want and need tickets! Also...did I mention Chris Lambton from DIY Network (formerly on the Bachelorette) will be there too! He is at 1 PM. Yep...I will be on the same stage that Chris will be on. Ha. What is this life? Not at the same time of course but who cares. I can stand where he stood and act like I am besties with him and his gorgeous wife. 

    I digress. Have a beautiful day and truly if you want tickets, email me, call me, text, message me on Instagram or mail a letter. I would LOVE TO SEE YOU! 

    Pokemon and Dinosaur Valentine's

    Pokemon and Dinosaur Valentine's

    Do not get it twisted folks...we are far from a candy-free home but on holidays like Valentine's Day I do like to try and be a little creative and go candy free. They just get so much candy so I like to mix it up. 

    Last year we did masks and they were a HUGE hit. Different staff members at my son's school even asked if I had extras so they could take them to their kiddos. Ha. 

    Being that this holiday is all about pink, red and glitter and I am a boy mom I try to give some more gender neutral options. My boys were huge fans of these two and even gave me ideas for what to do. 

    Happy creating with your littles. These are so simple.

    Print, Cut and attach the toy. You can either use glue dots, hot glue or tie them on as well. 

    One of my kiddos picked Pokemon and I have to tell you these were too fun to make for him. He was so excited about them! Do your kids love pokemon? Mine love reading and looking at books filled with all their names, skills, and types. We have several friends with girls who love Pokemon as well so I thought this was a great choice for both boys and girls. You can find a pack of pokemon toys in various size and even toy options...erasers, pikachu pack, assorted groups.

     

    My youngest wanted Dinosaur Valentine's.  He loved picking which dinosaurs to put on the cards for his classmates. I ordered this pack off amazon. Super inexpensive and lots of options. Again there are several options of size and assortment. 

    Do you try to go with a candy-free option? While it is sometimes a little more work I have found it usually isn't and my kids love them!  Make sure to tag me on Instagram so I can see how you get your kids involved and which style they picked. 

    Again both download options are here... Pokemon and Dinosaurs.

    Happy Valentine's Day! 

    New Year, Same You, Make It Your Best (or maybe just a little better)!

    New Year, Same You, Make It Your Best (or maybe just a little better)!

    2019! How is this real life?!

    I am not kidding when I say this y’all…This has been the fastest year of my life without question. I tend to be a person who packs a lot of living into a year. This year I tried so intentionally to take things off my plate. I did only one show as opposed to the five I did the previous year. I made less new products and I even took the summer off work to be with my kiddos and yet I feel like 2018 was more overwhelming than ever. How does that happen?!

    I know it is super cliché to do the whole new year, new you, goal setting thing…blah blah blah. However, that is what I am here to do. Just call me basic. Ha. Instead of a new you though, I think the reality is we are still who we are but we can work hard to be refined and better versions of the people we are. To me, there always seems to be a great deal of shame in this season. Looking at all the things we don't like about who we are and how we want to be better, while forgetting we are amazing humans with unique giftings and talents that don't have to be being skinny, eating gluten-free and saving a million dollars.

    All that aside I do really enjoy the reflection over the past year and looking forward to the new. I will say however I nearly always rush the whole process. Like I do most other events in life (I am an enneagram 7) I get excited about the process and then I push through to get to the next thing or to start the goal instead of sitting in it. This year I am choosing to sit. I am resting in the uncomfortable in-between time, where I am looking both backward and forward, and choosing not to move.

    That awkward week between Christmas and the New Year is where I am leaning into the discomfort of the unknown. I pile on the expectations and then come up with a solution so I feel like I am taking action. Since I am sitting in the weird in between I thought I would bring you along.

    I plan to gather with a few close friends in the following weeks to share all the things. Our highs and lows of the year as well as what we have learned from them. Even if you are not able to gather with someone or a group I do hope these downloads are helpful to you in getting your thoughts out in the open.

    There is one for reviewing 2018, looking forward, and picking a word, phrase or mantra for 2019.

     

     

    If you do want to gather a group of friends...KEEP IT LOW KEY! This is not to add another expectation for you. You don't have to have a Pinterest worthy centerpiece, a full catered meal, or even printed papers for that matter.

    Mine will be small! I plan to have drinks and honestly that is it at this point. I am sure everyone will be trying to be healthy so making a bunch of food that nobody will eat is a waste of time and energy.

    For me, the goal of doing this with others is simply for accountability. I want strong, passionate friends to hear my goals and speak into them. To encourage or to tell me to bring it in and quit being so extra, which let’s be honest is a real possibility, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha!

    We will spend time praying together, sharing about out highs and lows as well as ending the night with a fun little DIY project! I am making us all leather keychains that we will hand stamp with our words for the year!

    I think it would be fun to write your word on mugs or even do a hand-lettered framed piece. So many fun options.

    Of course, I have been praying over all my thoughts and will continue to pray over them. I deeply desire to be a person who is grounded, planned and has intention. This doesn’t come naturally for me since I am a huge extrovert with total FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), I want to dive into EVERYTHING. My husband even teased me that I would just use all my friend’s goals as soon as they shared them. Ha. He isn’t wrong. I love every idea I hear, which is why I am working ahead now to have a plan when we meet so I can share and listen and not be distracted.

    Do you have your goals set? Do you pick a word each year or is that too restricting for you?

    Regardless, Happy New Year and I do hope you look more forward to this year than any other.

    Whether your goal is to lose 30 lbs., purge your home, save money, be kind to your husband, stop yelling, or to simplify your life...I hope you reach and even exceed every goal.

    Please remember there is no shame in looking back and seeing how we can be better. There is no shame in wanting to be better. There is no shame in setting a goal. It does not mean you have failed, aren't worthy or that you aren't great at something else. Be proud of your strenghts and work hard to better them as well as your weaknesses. 

    "Thanks a Latte" Free Downloadable

    "Thanks a Latte" Free Downloadable

    Hi friend! I have decided to start a new little series of posts over here. 

    This world can tend to be pretty self-focused, at least mine is. Ha. Full disclosure. In the past few months, I have been trying to get creative with ways I can care for others. For me, I ended up thinking of my kiddos' teachers. I have a deep fondness for the hard work teachers put in each day. Not only do they teach our kids but they care for their little spirits, help them build confidence and tools for life but they also deal with crazy parents and hard family situations. 

     

    Here in enters the little project I wanted to share with you.  Again it came from my desire to bless the teachers in my community. After I shared my idea with a few friends we decided to make a “Mom squad” for our school.  There are eight of us who are each assigned a grade or members of the administration. We rotate monthly and our only task is to take them some sort of treat the first week of the month.

    It has ranged from homemade cookies, scones, and granola to dollar spot goodie bags and gift cards. It does not have to be fancy, detailed or extravagant. Just sincere. 

    I have had so much fun the past few months already that I wanted to share with y’all some of what we were doing so you might be able to take it to your communities. 

    I had the kindergarten teachers last month and made up these simple Starbucks cups and included a gift card. You, of course, would not even need to do the cups. You could simply print and tie them around gift cards. Done and done. 

     

    If any of you are teachers I would love ideas for treats we could do in the future. I plan to share our future projects here so you will hopefully have several ideas leading up to the holidays that you could use. Of course, you don’t have to wait for Christmas. You can do it anytime. Random blessings are the best. Am I right?

     

    Here is your free download! Enjoy sharing the love! 

    Have a great week and bless someone around you.