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Category: Kids + Family

The Best First Birthday Gift Ideas to Delight One-Year-Olds

The Best First Birthday Gift Ideas to Delight One-Year-Olds

My favorite picture of me as a baby is from my first birthday party. I’m sitting in my high chair sporting a Winnie the Pooh party hat with a big cake in front of me displaying a solo pink candle. The picture always brings a smile to my face because my expression is priceless—I’m gazing inquisitively at the camera as if to say, “What is all this fuss about?” While I obviously had no clue why I was wearing a…

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Personalized Welcome Back to School Teacher Gift Ideas

Personalized Welcome Back to School Teacher Gift Ideas

Spaghetti was dripping from the ceiling. I looked up, watching the mass of beige noodles and bright red sauce slowly unsticking from the plaster, dropping to the table with a soft, wet splashing sound. I looked over at my mom, expecting her to be apoplectic with rage over the fact that I had just tossed a lovingly made dinner into the sky, but, instead, she was shaking with laughter. “You still have to go to school tomorrow,” she said, chuckling….

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Inspirational First Day of Kindergarten Gifts for Your New Student

Inspirational First Day of Kindergarten Gifts for Your New Student

The warm and woodsy smell of pencil shavings, the feel of a waxy crayon between my fingers, the spirited squeal of a guinea pig in the corner of the classroom—this is what I remember from my first day of kindergarten. I loved kindergarten. It was a whole day of playing: singing songs to teach us the letters of the alphabet, counting and sorting dried beans (math was so fun back then), or feeding the class pet, a guinea pig named…

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The Best Summer Birthday Party Ideas for Toddlers

The Best Summer Birthday Party Ideas for Toddlers

As someone who was born in July, I can say with confidence that summer birthdays are the best—especially when you’re a kid. When I was little, my parents threw the best parties for me; looking back they were quite simple, but I loved them. Every year my friends would come over in the mid-morning and we’d frolick in the grass as the skirts of our party dresses whooshed in the warm breeze. At lunchtime, we’d all gather around the picnic…

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A Supportive Dad Blogger Network Gift Exchange to Celebrate Modern Fatherhood

A Supportive Dad Blogger Network Gift Exchange to Celebrate Modern Fatherhood

When I was a little girl, a homemade note hung by our back door for as long as I can remember. It was a note written by my dad and directed at my siblings and me meant to be read each time we left the house for school or to go play with the neighborhood kids. It said simply: Be the best person you know how to be. That’s it. It was nothing fancy—and far from a Pinterest-worthy inspirational canvas….

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The Best Gift Exchange Ideas for Big Families Hosting Summer Reunions

The Best Gift Exchange Ideas for Big Families Hosting Summer Reunions

I’ll never forget the very first family reunion I went to when I was a kid. My brother, my parents, and I all piled into our red station wagon and road tripped to Wisconsin where we gathered at my Uncle’s country home—along with forty of our relatives. It was the first time that all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins were together in the same place at the same time. I remember feeling very overwhelmed and shy when I first…

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Personalized Graduation Gift Registry Ideas for Your College-Bound Grad

Personalized Graduation Gift Registry Ideas for Your College-Bound Grad

In the basement, there was a towering stack of boxes perpetually threatening to topple over whenever I would squeeze past them on the way to get Christmas decorations or pool supplies out a couple times a year. Inside? All of the things I left at my parents’ house when I graduated from high school as a sort of “temporary” storage situation… that stretched itself out for more than ten years. Recently, I went through the (mostly unmarked) boxes, and one…

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16 Creative Sweet Sixteen Birthday Gift Ideas

16 Creative Sweet Sixteen Birthday Gift Ideas

While most of my teenage years are now nothing but a blur, I distinctly remember my sixteenth birthday. I didn’t receive any material gifts from my parents that year. Instead, my mom took me on a trip to New York City. It was just the two of us, strolling arm in arm in Central Park, scurrying to Broadway box offices in hopes of scoring discount tickets, and snacking on salty street pretzels several times a day. I still appreciate how…

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DIY Summer Boredom Busters for Tweens

DIY Summer Boredom Busters for Tweens

My sister Kelsey and I are 8 years apart; when she was heading into her pre-teen tween years, I was still a toddler. My parents did an amazing job of keeping us (and our brother in the middle) entertained during the long, hot summer days by coming up with things that we could all do together. Often, these activities could be separated into four categories and were scattered throughout the days of the week to keep boredom from ensuing. We…

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How to Plan a Neighborhood Block Party This Summer

How to Plan a Neighborhood Block Party This Summer

When I was growing up, we’d pack into my mom’s car and venture from our home in the countryside exactly one hour north to my auntie’s house in the suburbs. We’d arrive at her cul-de-sac in the warmth of a late summer afternoon, kids outdoors playing basketball or hockey and the sounds of laughter floating out from backyard swimming pools. More often than not, the sweet smell of barbecued burgers and hot dogs was also permeating the air. A few…

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Celebrating National Sugar Cookie Day With Recipes That Kids Can Make

Celebrating National Sugar Cookie Day With Recipes That Kids Can Make

Comedian Gary Gulman said it best when he said, “Every cookie is a sugar cookie. A cookie without sugar is a cracker.” Sugar cookies have a reputation for being a bit basic in the baking world but, for me, they conjure up all sorts of delicious food memories from my childhood. There were the long days spent at my grandma’s house, when my mom would send me over with a box of sprinkles and all the makings for a basic…

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Fun Things for an Only Child to Do Outside This Summer

Fun Things for an Only Child to Do Outside This Summer

I’ll be the first to admit that when I was a kid, my favorite part of summer vacation was holing up in the den, shades drawn, so I could watch cartoons all day while eating popsicles. But I don’t really remember anything about my time spent indoors—other than how awesome the popsicles always were. No, my favorite summer memories are the ones from my time outdoors in the sun. I can still smell the sweetness of the dried grass I…

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DIY Father’s Day Gifts from Daughter: Easy Last Minute Homemade Gift Basket Ideas

DIY Father’s Day Gifts from Daughter: Easy Last Minute Homemade Gift Basket Ideas

  “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person — he believed in me.” – Jim Valvano When I think of my father, there are poignant and particular things that come to mind: There’s the beep of the coffee maker when it’s finished brewing, and his hands pouring the hot coffee into his favorite sunshine yellow mugs from Hawaii; the countless warm San Diego evenings spent on the front patio where he barbecues chicken drumsticks or…

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End of Year Teacher Survival Kit: An Online Teacher Appreciation Gift Exchange

End of Year Teacher Survival Kit: An Online Teacher Appreciation Gift Exchange

(Originally posted 5/22/17) Believe it or not, another busy, hectic school year will soon be coming to a close. Students are already buzzing with plans for bidding farewell to the classroom in exchange for the carefree days of summer. And for teachers, the official countdown to their yearly vacation from the whiteboard has begun. I may be going out on a limb here, but I think they’re just as excited as the kids! Knowing firsthand how demanding the end of…

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Pet Lovers Gift Basket Ideas for Dog and Owner to Dig Into Bonding and Adventure

Pet Lovers Gift Basket Ideas for Dog and Owner to Dig Into Bonding and Adventure

Growing up, we had a good-natured yellow labrador named Woody who happily traipsed through the trees and rolling hills of the neighborhood with us as if it was all his backyard. Being the youngest in my family, I had a habit of often pretending that Woody was my little brother or sister when my siblings weren’t around. I’d dress him up in tiaras when I wanted to play princess fairytales, capes when I was more in the mood for superheroes,…

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Tech Gifts for Teenage Guys: The Benefits of Social Media on Interpersonal Relationships

Tech Gifts for Teenage Guys: The Benefits of Social Media on Interpersonal Relationships

When I was about 10, technology began to infiltrate my childhood when we got our first computer. We’d already been venturing to my grandma’s, who had a slow giant of a desktop stationed in her dining room, whenever my sister needed to write her high school papers or when my brother and I wanted to create books on story software. But having our own home computer at our fingertips, along with all of the forms of technology that would follow…

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Teaching Generosity to Kids: The Giving Tree Party Ideas for a Fun Lesson on Kindness

Teaching Generosity to Kids: The Giving Tree Party Ideas for a Fun Lesson on Kindness

“Once there was a tree, and she loved a little boy.” ― Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree Over 50 years ago, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein took root in the world. It’s a small, green library classic that has since been gifted at birthday parties, baby showers, and graduation celebrations countless times. Though the exact meaning has been debated, most of us can agree that the overarching lesson is an important: Teaching generosity and kindness to kids. When I…

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Mother’s Day Party Game Ideas and Family Activities That Are as Unique as Mom

Mother’s Day Party Game Ideas and Family Activities That Are as Unique as Mom

“Mama was my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love.” —Stevie Wonder On Sunday May 14th, we celebrate mothers, motherhood, and all motherly bonds. This year, as a way to pay tribute to Mom and all the holidays she’s planned, prepared, and beautifully hosted, we’ve rounded up some ideas on how to throw a Mother’s Day party complete with game ideas and…

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Last Minute DIY Mother’s Day Gifts: Elegant Breakfast in Bed Ideas for Mom

Last Minute DIY Mother’s Day Gifts: Elegant Breakfast in Bed Ideas for Mom

The smell of coffee, morning sun streaming in through the window, the tang of freshly squeezed orange juice—there’s nothing quite as special as a thoughtfully prepared breakfast in bed to fill a soul up with happy content. The older I get, the more I can comprehend why moms enjoy—and very much deserve—a luxurious sleep-in every so often. They get to stretch out, ignore the alarm clock, and not have to think twice about cracking an egg, flipping a pancake, or…

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Artful Just-In-Case Gifts to Keep around the House for Creative Birthday Gift Ideas

Artful Just-In-Case Gifts to Keep around the House for Creative Birthday Gift Ideas

I’m in elementary school and opening the hallway closet in my childhood home, which can mean only one thing—it’s time for a birthday party! The hallway closet is a magical place, stuffed to the brim with colorful wrapping paper, bows of all colors, gift bags, and the most glorious bounty of them all: a neatly stacked pile of white boxes, each holding a miniature porcelain doll. The dolls are presents waiting to be selected, wrapped, and given as a gift…

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Wondrously Woodsy Birthday Party Favor Gift Bag Ideas for Nature Obsessed Kids

Wondrously Woodsy Birthday Party Favor Gift Bag Ideas for Nature Obsessed Kids

My sister and I never loved the hot weather that comes with summer, so making tree forts in the cool shade of the forest was always our first project over long school vacations. But once we had each claimed our trees and made them feel like home (you can accomplish a surprising amount of interior design with leaves, sticks, twine, and a little imagination), we’d start exploring. We discovered that when you peeled back the bark from a fallen log…

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A Hopping Good Time: Easter Party Ideas for Toddlers, Kids, and the Young at Heart

A Hopping Good Time: Easter Party Ideas for Toddlers, Kids, and the Young at Heart

When we grow up, Easter tends to get unfairly short shrift. For one thing, it isn’t fixed in place like Christmas or always on the same weekend like Thanksgiving. Landing anywhere from late March to end of April, as adults in a life filled with responsibilities and hecticness, Easter can catch us by surprise. But you know who loves Easter? Who looks forward to it every year? Kids. And what’s not to love? There’s candy, there’s the thrill of the…

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Egg-cellent Easter Basket Ideas for Tweens (Because the Easter Bunny Loves Hip Hop)

Egg-cellent Easter Basket Ideas for Tweens (Because the Easter Bunny Loves Hip Hop)

I still don’t know how the Easter Bunny managed to disappear without a trace every year before my sister and I could spot him. As girls, we would eagerly wait for him to ring our doorbell and leave our baskets on the porch. The problem was, he always surprised us by dropping our goodies at a different entrance than the one we were waiting at. Whatever sort of bunny magic he used to trick us, I’ll never forget the excitement…

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Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms: National Nutrition Month Activities for Adults

Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms: National Nutrition Month Activities for Adults

I know that goldfish crackers aren’t an appropriate breakfast food, but try telling that to my preschooler. They’re also not meant to replace all three meals in a given day, but battling a 3-year-old’s logic at 7 a.m., noon, and again at dinnertime sometimes feels like a battle not worth fighting. That’s why make ahead meals for busy moms— dishes that can be prepped on the weekend, then reheated throughout the week—have been such a lifesaver for my family. It’s…

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