I just finished up my shopping for the kids' Easter baskets today, and I thought I'd share some of the things I'm including and a couple of others that I thought might be a cute fit for others' baskets. Check them out below, and for more ideas, check out my Amazon list!
To keep the real reason for Easter at the forefront always, I like to include something that will help the kids grow in their faith. These Mass parts cards help kids understand the order of the mass and anticipate what is coming next. With colorful drawings and color-coded for the parts of the mass, I have a feeling they will really help keep the kids engaged during mass.
A craft like this from Sew Sweet Crafts for older kids or some kind of activity like a sensory bin like these from Rooted Sensory for younger children.
Swimsuits are always included in our kids' Easter baskets because they typically are in need of new ones by the time Easter rolls around! I love these from Lotus & Sun for younger kids.
Something soft and cuddly like these personalized bunnies from GT Stitchery.
What is something you like to include in your kids' Easter baskets? Let me know below!
For more ideas, check out my Amazon List!
Can you believe Valentine's Day is this Sunday already? Eddie and I seldom go out on Valentine's Day, and this year we have even less reason to. Because this year presents different challenges than usual, and because it's a Sunday, we'll likely be celebrating with the kids at home. I'm dropping a few ideas here that you can adapt to your situation and still enjoy Valentine's Day!
1. Valentine's Day Brunch
Set your table, make a beautiful breakfast board, and let everyone dig in. Don't forget the mimosas for the parents! There are also a few restaurants doing special Valentine Brunch specials, so look them up and help support your local small businesses!
2. A Valentine Pizza Party
They've got a "pizza" your heart, so show them with this adorable pizza setup! You can also buy all the ingredients and make it an activity by making the pizzas together!
3. Family Movie Night
One of Caleb's favorite things to do is have family movie night. This is a great option! Some movies to consider: Beauty & the Beast, Gnomeo & Juliet, The Little Rascals, Disney/Pixar's UP, The Princess Diaries, Trolls, The Little Prince (Netflix), Princess & The Frog, Over the Moon (Netflix). Set up a snack board, pop some popcorn, and snuggle up on the sofa!
Pack up a picnic and head to a park or the beach or your yard! If you're somewhere where that isn't really possible, set up in your living room! Eddie and I love picking up stone crabs and a few sides from the deli counter. Pack some sparkling cider for the kids and some wine for yourself, and make an afternoon out of it. Pick up some Pudding Parlor Red Velvet Pudding, Bakey Key Lime Pies, or a smash cake from Divine Sweets & Vicky Bakery.
5. Have a fancy dinner at home
Order in and plate your food, cook yourselves, set your table, turn off the TV, and turn on some smooth music. Give yourselves the full restaurant experience without having to leave the house! Bonus points if you can send the kids to the grandparents house - if not, eat once they go to bed! Check out my table setting below - the placemats are from Chic Tables, the napkin rings are from Plume.
6. Take an online class together
Look up a tutorial on making a cocktail, or making a craft. Sign up for a virtual class to paint at home, do a workout together, or make a meal you've never made before! Virtual wine tastings can be lots of fun, too. Make it a group activity and get some friends to sign up with you.
More Ideas from Readers
I asked for ideas on Instagram and you delivered!
I hope this helps you come up with a fun idea for Valentine's Day this year! If you have more ideas, send them in and I'll add it above!
*Links with an asterisk are affiliate links. This means I may make a small commission off of your purchase, but it does not affect your price at all.
With a little less than a month to go, it's time to start thinking about Valentine's Day gifts. Eddie and I actually don't usually exchange anything big for Valentine's Day, because our anniversary is just a couple weeks later. But these are all things that would be on my list! You can treat yourself or you can not-so-subtly send the link to this in an email to your significant other! (Or maybe do both? lol) A lot of these would also make great gifts for a girlfriend.
Cozy Earth Pajamas* - Hands down, the softest, most comfortable pajamas I've ever worn. The fabric is bamboo-based and the fit, the drape, and comfort is just perfect. They help with temperature regulation and they have helped me sooo much in that department. These are a nice splurge gift, but they are worth it if you can swing it! Use the code ATODDLERANDATOPKNOT40 for 40% off your order.
Taudrey Bracelet Set - Late last year, I partnered with Taudrey again and we re-worked my Have a Little Faith Bracelet Set*. If you haven't snagged your set yet, this would be a great gift (get the bangle engraved with an important date and you're golden!). Use the code topknot10 for 10% off your order!
House of Lilac - Flowers, because who doesn't love flowers for Valentine's Day (or any other day for that matter)! For a gift that goes the extra mile, consider a subscription or a dried flower arrangement that will last! Use the code JeniseVDay2021 for 15% off their Valentine's Collection (both fresh and dried) - available until Valentine's Day or until the collection sells out.
Boho Birch Personalized Planter - This planter is very cute and you can personalize it with any message you'd like! I love that my kids' names are on this one, but you can do it with an important date, your name and your significant other's name, or a sweet message!
Barefoot Dreams Blanket* - If you have someone you love who is always cold or who loves to snuggle up on the sofa, this is the SOFTEST blanket I've ever had. Perfect for an at-home movie night!
Stel Gal No Wrinkles Desert Hat - Dreaming of summer? Make sure they have something to look forward to with this Stel Gal No Wrinkles hat. It will make them feel stylish, but the best thing about it is that it will help protect their skin from that pesky sun damage!
Since 2020 took a lot from us, we knew that we needed a change of scenery. Back in January, we booked a house in Lake Oconee, Georgia for the end of July. We wavered back and forth for a long time on whether or not we should go, and even the weeks leading up to it. In the end we decided that we were minimizing our risk by driving and we followed everything we would have followed at home. We ended up having such a great time when we went in July and found the drive to be doable, so we decided to do it again for our Christmas vacation.
Because we did follow social distancing precautions, the travel guide is not that extensive. I'll share the few things we did do that we really enjoyed, as well as some of the things that there are in the area.
First of all, why Lake Oconee? We wanted a change of scenery, something we had never done before, and we wanted it to be within driving distance of Miami without having to stop at a hotel for the night. The drive is about 10 hours - while long, it is definitely doable. We packed sandwiches, snacks and electronics, and we stopped only for potty breaks, gas, and coffee. We left early in the morning and we arrived with daylight to spare.
Another requirement was being able to rent a house. We did not want to stay in hotels as we wanted to be able to cook our own meals and be okay with just hanging out at the house. We have had great luck with vacation rentals on vrbo.com. We stayed in two different houses. They were both very nice, but they were different and located in slightly different areas. The first house was more on the outskirts of the lake and part of the town of Eatonton. It was not part of a community therefore we did not have access to amenities and it was just the house. The second house we stayed at was in the Reynolds Plantation area, which is a (HUGE) community with a gated entry. There was a playground, a marina, a pavilion, a golf course, and plenty of walking paths as well. If you are looking to have additional amenities, I highly recommend the Reynolds Plantation area. Aside from that, both houses had docks, 4 bedrooms and 4.5 baths, outdoor areas, grills, and fully stocked kitchens (tool-wise).
There is a Publix in the area which is where we bought all of our groceries. I realized this time around that you can do a pickup order there so you don't have to go inside if you don't want to, but we didn't take advantage of that. We also wanted to have a special meal on New Year's Eve, so we ordered stone crabs from a local market called Pounders Meat & Seafood Market. We also had some food from Georgia Butts BBQ and it was absolutely delicious.
There are several restaurants you can dine at or order from, we ordered from Mellow Mushroom pizza once and Marco's Pizza. Both were great. We did have dinner one night at Linger Longer Steakhouse at the Ritz Carlton Lake Oconee.
Over the summer, we visited a farmer's market (it was next to The Harbor at Harmony Crossing). They had baked goods, fresh fruit, and local artisans.
Both times we rented a boat. Over the summer, the Lake is full of boaters and people stopping in different spots and jumping in the lake. We did this and had a really great time. We rented the boat from Oconee Wild Watersports for four hours and really took advantage, stopping in multiple places and jumping in the water. This time, we rented from Young Harris Watersports for 2 hours (because it was cold and we didn't think we would be able to be on the water for 4 hours). It was chilly but it was so nice to cruise around the lake for a little bit. Both rentals were smooth and the boats were in good condition, although the one from Oconee Wild Watersports was a little bit newer.
We also visited the Ritz Carlton Lake Oconee a few times - once for coffee and to walk around a bit, another time to visit the spa for a couple of treatments (which were absolutely lovely), and finally to dinner at the Linger Longer Steakhouse. They usually have marshmallow roasting and additional activities for the kids in the evenings, but a lot of those activities were not currently available to non-hotel guests. For anything at the hotel, make sure you call ahead and make reservations, as everything is not open due to COVID precautions.
There is The Alice Walker Driving Tour you can complete. This self-guided driving trail takes the visitor to various points of interest applicable to Eatonton native, Alice Walker and her family members. Alice Walker is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the novel "The Color Purple."
Aside from that, there are several other outdoor things to do in the area, and plenty of walking/hiking trails. I'm sure there are more things to do, but again, due to the pandemic we wanted to limit how much we interacted with others. We really enjoyed both times we spent in Lake Oconee. We truly felt like we were able to get away and disconnect, and we are already looking forward to when we can go back.
Hey you... yes, you.
The one mentally running through her to-do list every hour to make sure she’s not forgetting - just one more gift.
The one bouncing from store to store to make sure she has all the ingredients for the kids’ favorite recipe.
The one vacuuming crumbs for the 4th time today because the kids couldn’t wait to dig into their gingerbread houses.
The one trying to find safe and fun ways to celebrate the holidays with the kids this year.
The one who ordered three more rolls of tape, only to come across seven unopened rolls in the gift wrapping bag.
The one who jolts out of bed at 3 am because “I forgot to move the elf!”
The one who still hasn’t started shopping.
The one who thought she was done shopping and just realized she forgot someone.
I see you.
You are what makes Christmas magic.
And I invite you to take a break from whatever is stressing you this year. Cuddle up on the sofa with those little munchkins - who you swear were experiencing the wonder of Christmas for the first time just yesterday, but here they are writing their own lists to Santa. You’re so busy creating the magic for everyone else, but make sure that you soak up some of that magic for yourself.
Stop thinking about the next thing on your list for a few hours.
Snap the photo and come back to it later.
Put your phone away. Your e-mails can wait a few hours, and so can the texts.
Because while you are the one making the Christmas magic, you should also be lucky enough to experience it.
South Florida Bloggers
2019 Best Parenting Blog