Christmas 2017 Gift Ideas For 2 Year Olds

Before my kids came for Thanksgiving I fixed up the spare bedroom as a playroom. I hit Goodwill and bought a few toys, pulled out my kid’s old stuffed animals and made a little reading nook in the closet complete with twinkle lights, pillows, and hanging monkeys.

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But you know where they enjoyed playing more? My pantry!

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Their moms had been telling me how much they love to play with pots and pans and “help” them around the house with sweeping, folding (or rather unfolding) laundry and all the other little everyday chores around the house.

And of course, it brought back a flood of memories (remember my Time Traveling post?) of my own kids trying to “help” me! And getting mad at ME because I wanted to take the broom to sweep the floor, haha!

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Both of them said they just had to get the boys their own broom because the boys were always trying to take it away from them. They wanted to get mini brooms and vacuum cleaners so they could actually get work done around the house!

So, I’m listening to my girls and here is a quick wish list that I thought I’d share with you in case you’re wondering what to buy for your 2-year-old grandchild this year.

Melissa and Doug Sweep & Mop Playset

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Melissa and Doug Vacuum Cleaner

vacuum for kids

Melissa and Doug Play Kitchen

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Yes, there are cheaper ones that look more like toys, but both of my girls said they thought the boys would like a more realistic one.

Little Helper Fun Pod Step Stool

My daughter and I talked about this and while this looks a little like putting your child in a box or kennel, which it is like that I suppose, this particular design looked to be the best for her son. G is pretty active and other designs are open all around and so he could possibly fall or crawl out which could be dangerous depending on what they were doing. Especially if they were in the kitchen. So, this closed design seemed best. Also, the floor of the step stool is adjustable and could be lowered as he grows. We haven’t used this, it’s a bit expensive so I’m waiting for my after Christmas funds to increase and then we’ll give it go.

helper stool

Sorry for the fuzzy photo, but you get the idea.

I hope these ideas help you get the right gift for your grandchild.

Peace,

Jill

 

 

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Time Traveling

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I’m still new to this grandparenting gig. I’ve only been at it for a little over a year now.

So, these feelings and experiences, which are probably old hat to you veteran grandparents out there are still fresh to me.

My 2nd grandboy, Manny, sometimes looks just like his dad, my son, so much so that it’s freaky. It’s like I have my little boy back for a few seconds or minutes.

And not only that sort of thing but I find that old feelings I had as a young mother wash over me in a wave.

For example, my son arrived on Thanksgiving Day from a trip to Peru where he hiked the Inca Trail. My son is 30 years old. Not my little boy anymore. But when he got to my house, had eaten a good meal and fell asleep on the sofa, the old feeling of peace and contentment that I had as a young mother after my kids were fed, bathed and asleep washed over me. For a moment, he was that little boy safe, warm and comfortable in my care. Tears in my eyes from a warm heart.

Having these grandkids is making me feel like a time traveler jumping back and forth from being a mom to being a grandmom. So weird sometimes.

Peace,

Jill

#2 Grandboy’s First Birthday

So, I realized that I never told you about my #2 Grandboy’s First Birthday! I told you about #1’s Sea Pal Party, so let me tell you about #2’s Elmo Sesame Street Party.

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Little Man turned 1 back in August and his Mom & Dad did it up right! Little Man loves Sesame Street, especially Elmo and The Count. So, Mom found a giant vinyl sticker of most of the Sesame Street characters and they had a few friends come over to help put it on the wall.

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Then Mom came up with snacks in keeping with the theme…

She was SO clever! And I made the Smash Cake…

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The red dye didn’t stain his face too bad, haha!

They had indoor and outdoor games for everyone…

 

And Husband made Little Man a motorcycle, too!

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A great time was had by all! What a great day celebrating our Little Man!

Peace,

Jill

The Boys Love These Cards!

My daughter has these First Words Touch and Feel Cards by DK and the boys LOVE them!

You can buy them from Amazon by clicking on the picture. 

The boys both just turned one year old and they just love looking through them and touching the tires on the tractor wheels, the fur on the dog, the plastic on the ball and the kernels on the corn.

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I’ve looked at a lot of touch and feel books and cards and sometimes the “touch” part is a little weird and doesn’t really match what it is supposed to be. But these cards are really great!

The cards are thick and can hold up to the kids chewing on them and bending them. I mean, they are not indestructible but they are pretty sturdy.

Educational picture cards may not be the first thing you think of as a gift for a one year old, but let me suggest that you consider these cards. They are really cool!

Peace,

Jill

#1 Grandboy’s First Birthday

I warned you about this blatant broadcasting of photos of the birthday party, so if you want to skip this you can. No hard feelings.

The first birthday,  you know it had to be a blowout. It was a 2 day affair. First day, his actual birthday, with family. Then, the second day with his church family.

It was a Sea Pals Adventure Party that started with really cute e-vites that my daughter designed with Paperless Post.

 

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This was a really cool e-vite because it had so many bells and whistles. It allowed me to rsvp and add the event to my calendar to name a few. If you are in a community of people like a church or a large family – you really need to check out this site.

My daughter had some really cute ocean-themed decorating. I made a paper whale for the front door…

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She made some paper “scales” to decorate one wall, green, plastic tablecloth “seaweed” to hang in the doorways and styrofoam bowl and ribbon “jellyfish”…

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The food table had plastic sand buckets of snacks of popcorn, cheerios and pretzels, a watermelon shark, fruit kabobs, blue punch and the ocean cake and his scaly smash cake. She also had clear balloon “bubbles” and the plasticware was wrapped in a napkin tied with twine and a lifesaver. (I think all my cake decorating practice was worth it!)

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Outside she had a tent set up with a sunscreen station and a kiddie pool of water and one with sand. They also had a water table and a sprinkler going. For the adults there were hoola hoop targets with sling shots to shoot water balls.

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It was a great day had by all, especially the birthday boy being surrounded by his friends and family and being lavished with fun and thoughtful gifts. And tasting cake for the first time….

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Next up, Grandboy #2’s First Birthday!

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Settling In

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So, I arrived 800 miles later safe and sound. And since I’ve been here we’ve been on full-out playing, eating, laughing and birthday planning mode!

Me and my boys have been getting to know each other better and learning what each other likes and finds funny. I bought the above double stroller at a 2nd hand shop so we could go Rollin’ together. They are so cute when they hold hands when they’re in the stroller together! Both of my kids are planting a church together with their spouses and some really great people. They meet in a movie theater on Sunday mornings. So, they have to go early to set up. I went early this past Sunday to watch the boys while they were setting up and this stroller was a big help. We rolled around outside then inside. Great fun!

Gideon, the cute guy on the right will be a big ONE year old this week and we’ve been in party planning mode. I offered to make his birthday cake and we’re going big! I made a practice cake to see if I could actually make what my daughter was thinking about. I am NOT a professional. I’m just crazy enough to try.

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Don’t judge! I don’t like anything you see here, except maybe the “sand” layer. We’re working toward an ocean theme. Sand, waves, fish scales, you get the idea. I was trying out some canned icing and found it’s not good for piping unless I add powdered sugar to stiffen it up. Then there’s the HEAT to contend with. We also played around with colors. I don’t like any of the colors you see in this pic. So, I will adjust. The Golden Oreo “sand” turned out good, I think. It was fun working with my girls. I really miss spending time with them. They are so creative and daring (especially letting me make the 1st birthday cake!)

7 weeks after Gideon’s birthday, Manny, the handsome guy on the left will turn ONE year old!

So, I’m settling in for my long visit. We’re so used to having just a few days together that we rush around trying to get in all our fun and talking and hugging before I have to leave. But now, we can relax and just BE. It’s SO nice.

Hope you’re all doing well. In my next post, I’ll talk about feeding the grandkids. Is that a source of tension between you and your kids? Let’s talk.

Peace,

Jill

 

This Was The Goal!

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Of course there are many factors, many purposes and many reasons because life is not that simple. But one of the goals of freeing up, lightening up and streamlining my life was to do just what I’m doing right now…being able to spend A LOT of time with my kids and grandkids who live half way across the country.

I packed up pretty much all of my clothes in a plastic bin- because I’ve cut down the size of my wardrobe, remember – and threw them in the car and drove 15 hours to my kids to stay for a month.

It’s okay. The husband is okay with me leaving. Not jumping up and down but okay especially when I reminded him he’ll have control of the remote and he can cook all the crazy, spicy, weird foods that stink up the house he wants to.

But let me tell you, it was a breeze leaving the house. Back in the day it would have taken me a week or so to get ready to leave. I would have had to wash a ton of clothes and dig out a suitcase. I would have probably gone shopping because I never really had stuff to wear because I hated most of my clothes in my closet. So, thank you KonMari!

I would have cleaned the house (because I hate coming home to a dirty house) which would have led to the sorting and cramming and the frustration of realizing I need to throw stuff out but I’m too stressed because I have to go on this trip to stop and do that right now which leads to the guilt of having just crammed all my crap into weird places just to make the house look neat and clean and putting discarding and organizing on my to-do list for when I get home. Whew!

Then I would have to pay the bills which would lead to the same ordeal only in the office and file cabinet followed by the guilt of feeling unorganized and worring if we have enough insurance in case there’s a flood or the apocalypse and knowing none of my important files are in a fire/water safe safe and then feeling guilty for not really knowing where those files are, in fact not knowing which files are important. Whew!

But since I’ve done all the decluttering and organizing, leaving for the trip was easy. I paid the bills, filed the necessary papers which took me 20 minutes max. I had one small, and I mean small load of laundry to do. I didn’t have to pick and choose what clothes to take because I only have like 4 pair of pants, 2 shorts, and several shirts. I threw in my sneakers for walking and sandals. I wear my hoop earrings almost every day and my fitbit so I didn’t have to figure out what jewelry to wear with which outfit. I slimmed down my every day grooming routine, so I just threw everything I use everyday in my toiletry bag. I didn’t really have to clean the house because the house stays pretty clean everyday now that I don’t have a lot of clutter.

So, I put all my clothes in a plastic see-through bin so I wouldn’t have to dig through a suitcase for a month. I packed a tote bag to take into the hotel with me for my one night stay halfway there. One basket of snacks and water and I was on my way!

I didn’t leave with that uneasy, guilty feeling of having left things undone or unfinished or out of order. I left free.

Now, I’m here and we’re already having loads of fun. I think all those FaceTime sessions has helped make me a familiar face with the grandboys. They are sweet and social anyway, but they’re not looking at me like I’m something from another planet.

So, now to settle into a routine and try not to be an annoyance. You know, “the mother-in-law.”

Let me say sorry/not sorry if I write and post pics about my grandboys for the next little while.

Peace,

Jill