Toddler and School Aged Gift Ideas

With only 14 shopping days left (and even less if you are online shopping like me!) it's crunch time for Santa's Elves.  Today I am sharing an Amazon Haul of things I have purchased for Lilly and JD.   I really like trying to come up with categories of gifts I want to buy each child and sticking to that.  Trying so badly not to go overboard.

This year the kids big gift was.... a house, oh yea, we have moved, that may or may not explain the long absence from the blog.  I am however very present on my YouTube Channel, and have even taken on the challenge of Vlogmas.  Posting a new video each day for the Month of December, did I mention we just moved.  Anyway, trying to convince the kids that their new home was also their Christmas present wasn't going to happen!  

This year we decided to purchase one BIG item for each child, and then some smaller gifts to go with that.  I love giving books, board games, clothing, and limit the toys that won't get played with.  

Matthew's gifts are pretty much all TBD, as my husband does the shopping for him.  I may or may not be starting to nag that the shopping needs to be done, but alas not much progress has been made on his list.

Lilly's Big gift is a Melissa & Doug Deluxe Standing Easel.  She loves doing crafts and is sure to get good use out of it.  We also purchased the Melissa & Doug Easel Accessory Set and the Melissa & Doug Easel Paper Roll (Set of 2)

Joshua's Big gift is the Step2 Handy Helpers Workbench Building Set .   He is going to LOVE working next to his Daddy on this!  I can't wait!  To go along with it we got the 
Learning Resources Pretend & Play Tape Measure and Bruder Construction Toy Hard Hat.

For Lilly I also purchased the following items:

Disney Frozen Matching Game
Disney Doc McStuffins Operation Game
My Little Pony Crystal Princess Palace Playset

For Joshua I also purchased the following items:

Supermarket Cash Register

 Transportation Books:

Cars: Rushing! Honking! Zooming!
Trains: Steaming! Pulling! Huffing!
Trucks: Whizz! Zoom! Rumble!
Airplanes: Soaring! Diving! Turning!

Another item I purchased for Joshua (which I didn't show in the Haul) is a gift for his birthday, but is a great idea for Christmas as well.  My kids L-O-V-E Paw Patrol and JD is going to be so excited for this.

Lastly, the 2 games I purchased for Matthew, I am sure he will enjoy.

Mexican Train Domino Game
NFL Game Day Board Game

I hope this gave you some help and ideas if you are still looking for the perfect gift!  To see my entire Amazon Haul, be sure to watch the video below.  To follow along on my Vlogmas adventure, be sure to subscribe to my channel to see more!

{Recipe} Breakfast Burritos

Sometimes a hot breakfast on a rushed and busy morning just isn't an option.  I love having some breakfast options in the freezer as a grab and go.  These breakfast burritos are a hit in our family, so I keep them fully stocked.

To see the process of making the burritos and how I wrap the to freeze well, be sure to watch the video below!

Pantry Organization That's Kid Friendly

Keeping my pantry organized, functional and kid friends is something I have struggled with in the past.  I have tried different methods of organization in the space before (see my previous organization here) and it was not working.

When re-organizing the space, I really kept the kids in mind.  Placing items they commonly reach for toward the bottom shelves, things I wanted to keep away from them toward the top.  I also kept in mind that I needed to save space on the floor of the pantry for any bulk items I may purchase.

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To see a full look into my pantry, this video will walk you through the entire space and show how I store my Pantry items.

Lunch Packing Essentials

I don't know about you, but for me the most stressful part of back to school, is getting back into the routine of making packed lunches each day.  Keeping my supplies as organized and as handy as possible is a big help.  

The video below shows how I use a kitchen cabinet to organize all of my lunch making supplies.  

I also thought I would take the time to share the exact materials I use when packing lunches.  Throughout the year I hope to share some of our packed lunches through either FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, or PINTEREST, so be sure to follow along there.

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Above you can see the items I use to pack lunches 90% of the time.  I use ziplock sandwich bags occasionally as well.  Below is a full video showing the products.

What are your favorite things to use for packing lunches?  I think mine would be the Lands End lunch bags which I did a full Review of HERE.

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10 Ways To Get Organized For The Start Of The School Year!

Getting the kids ready to head back to school after a long, fun, and hopefully relaxing summer can be tough.  Being organized and planning ahead can really help get you back into the routine of early mornings, lunch packing, and homework.

Here are 10 Ways Moms Can Get Organized For The Start Of The School Year!

10.  Establish Routine Early: Take a week or two before the new school year to set a new routine.  Whether that be earlier bedtimes, alarms being set in the mornings, getting up and dressed instead lounging around the house.  Whatever your schedule will be on the first day of school, practice NOW!

9.  Set Up Stations: I will be going more into these stations in the coming week, but having locations in your home to accomplish certain tasks will keep things in order.  We have a lunch packing cabinet, a shelf for homework supplies (located where we do homework), and an area dedicated for the kids school coats and backpacks.  

8.  Layout Your Fall Schedule:  Making an outline of how each week will look with school drop offs/ pick ups, weekly meetings, activities, and obligations that will happen each week will help you see how your routine will flow.  This will also help you see if you are overbooking your schedule and need to pare it down a bit.

7.  Create A Paperwork Command Center:  By simply using a three ringed binder and some dividers I made a book where all the forms from school and activities can be saved.  Instead of being piled up on a desk never to be looked at again, it is neatly organized by child so it can be saved and referred to as needed.  

6.  Stock Up On Food:  Having a full pantry makes my heart happy... odd maybe, but it works.  Not having to run to the store each day at 5 o'clock to get a missing ingredient for dinner is a life saver.  Being stocked up also means you have plenty of options for the kids lunch boxes as well.

5.  Meal Plan Easy Meals:  For me, quick and easy is the way to go the first few weeks of school.  It really is a hectic time, so stick to the basics.  Meal planning is a great way to save time, money, and the headache that comes around 5PM each day.  

4.  Keep It Simple The First Month:  Along with keeping meals simple, also keep your schedule simple.  Stick to what is necessary.  We never plan on traveling the first month of school.  We also try to keep our weekends clear so we can have some down time to regroup each week and spend some time together.  

3.  De-Clutter High Traffic Areas:  Going into the first week of school I like to feel like I am as organized as I can be.  I work on decluttering areas of our home that we use most frequently.  Our entryway closet, the kids clothing, our pantry.  Our house runs more smoothly if everything is in it's place. 

2.  Address Any Issues With The School BEFORE The First Day:  Have y'all been in a school on the morning of the first day.... it is more insane than Toys R Us on Black Friday.  My advice is, if you need to discuss things with the nurse, secretary, teacher, anyone, schedule a time to do it before hand.  

1.  Make It Fun:  Once you are prepared and feeling like super mom, enjoy the time, grab the camera and remember that summer will come again....

Below is my video version of my 10 tips to prepare for back to school!

Lilly Pulitzer Agenda Review and Giveaway

When traveling in SC, one of my favorite shops to visit is a small boutique that sells Lilly Pulitzer clothing and accessories.   As soon as I spotted the new 2014-2015 Agenda books I knew I wanted to review it.  Unfortunately, about a second later, I realized that the book layout wasn't something that would work for me.  Then I thought about you.... all of you who watch and read because you love planners as much as I do.  I figured one of you would be ecstatic to have one of these pretties.

Be sure to check out the video for the complete review:

Now Giveaway Time!  I am excited to be able to give a planner to one of you.  This giveaway will end on August 1st 2014.  It is USA only.  Those entering must be 18 years of age. GOOD LUCK!

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Plum Paper Planner Review and Coupon Code!

I know, I know, there hasn't been much going on over here on the blog lately.  Let's just say that summertime with 3 kids, travel, and yea.... there just isn't much time.  But, Happily A Housewife on Youtube has been going really, really really well.  So, be sure to subscribe there as I have been consistently uploading 5 days a week there.

Now onto the good stuff.  Planner reviews!

Today I am sharing my thoughts, and doing a walk through of the Plum Paper Planner which can be ordered on Etsy.

If you are more in the market for a list style planner, with muted colors, tabs, and being able to customize the insides, yes each and every page of your planner, than this is the one for you!

I love so many features of this planner, and feel it is very comparable to the much loved Erin Condren Life Planner.

The shop owner of Plum Paper Planner has generously offered 10% off to all Happily A Housewife viewers and readers.  Simply use HAPPILY10 during order checkout! (this is not a referral link or affiliate)

Be sure to check out the video below to see the planner up close!

Summer Learning At Home

The end of our school year is FINALLY here!  For us that means, pool days, play dates with friends, family time, lots of travel, and learning at home over the summer.

I like to continue teaching the kids even when they aren't in school.

We use our busy boxes a lot over the summer for learning.  If you want to see more of that, I showed them {HERE}

We also use workbooks for the kids.  Below are some of my favorites I am using this summer.

Lilly is going into Kindergarten, so I am using K workbooks for her.

LeapFrog Kindergarten Skills Workbook

Big Kindergarten Workbook

Hooked on Math Kindergarten Math Activities Workbook

100 Write-and-Learn Sight Word Practice Pages

Matthew is going into 2nd grade, so for the most part I am using 2nd grade books.

Second Grade Big Workbook

Spectrum Math, Grade 2 Scholastic 

Success with Reading Comprehension, Grade 2

Daily Learning Drills Grade 2

If you want to know more about how I set up our summer learning, including making it easy to travel with us, I have outlined all that in the video below!

How do you continue learning over the summer with your kids??

***This post contains affiliate links***