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The Non-Toy Gift Guide – Non-Toy Gift Ideas for Children

This post is sponsored by the Florida Prepaid College Board, through my role as a Believer Blogger. All thoughts are my own.

Non-Toy Gift Ideas

When you look at most kids wish lists around the holiday, it is jam-packed with toys.  Between commercials on TV, the catalogs in the mail, and of course the unboxing videos on YouTube, the only thing on their mind is the latest and greatest toys.  However, as a mom of 3, I am so sick of the toy mayhem that happens year after year.  Each child gets an endless array of toys from friends, family, and of obviously Santa, only to find those precious toys at the bottom of a toy box 3 months later or shoved under a bed.  My family is starting to move away from the toy giving and starting to give gifts that help us learn something, make memories, or use our imagination, and I think this is going to be the best gift giving experience we’ve had.

Gift Ideas for Children

The Gift of Fun:

We live in Florida, so there is an endless supply of fun at every corner.  Between the amusement parks, beaches, and one of a kind attractions, Florida has it all.  So, instead of buying a toy that will be used a few times and then likely forgotten about, why not give gift cards to a fun attraction closet by.  There are so many possibilities for every budget, from zoo memberships to museums, aquariums, and even bike rentals.  There is something fun that any kid will love.

The Gift of Travel

Do you know any kids who dream of exploring the world, or even just a certain state?  My kids love to travel, particularly Anthony.  His favorite place to travel to so far is New York City, and he has dreams of living there one day.  When we lived in Massachusetts and New York was just a 3-hour drive away, he would ask to visit Manhattan instead of having a party, to which I would always immediately say absolutely.  He is also my child who looks up countries online and tries to talk me into going, currently, he is begging to go to England.  The twins at 8, are a little less enthused about traveling to countries with big buildings and statues and are more impressed with rides, characters, and animals.  Their top travel requests are usually Great Wolf Lodge or a trip to Orlando. 
We stopped doing birthday parties a few years ago and decided to take trips as a family instead and it has worked out amazingly, so for the holidays, this will likely be in our future.
If you have a little traveler on your list, why not get them a night at a hotel in a local city? 

The Gift of Creativity

Anthony is my Traveler, and Lilly, she’s the one with a creative spirit.  Her Christmas list this year consisted of gel pens, 2 sketchbooks, and puffy paint.  My heart melted at the simplicity of her desires that we ended up visiting the craft store early and having fun creating together.  However, for Christmas, a class at the local paint bar or a jewelry making class at the bead shop would be a perfect gift.

The Gift of Experience

Time fly’s by and when they’ve outgrown the superheroes and Barbie’s, they probably won’t remember which doll they got when they were 8.  However, an awesome experience will stay with them!  Take an indoor skydiving lesson together or a surfing lesson.  How about renting a cozy coupe car down the beach?  Think outside the box and make those memories that last a lifetime.

The Gift of Education

This has to be the best gift of all!  Imagine giving the gift of eliminating the overwhelming amount of student debt a child will likely come across down the road.  It may not be on their radar yet, but Florida Prepaid is a gift that will last a lifetime, and it is open enrollment right now!

The Florida Prepaid College Plan is the largest, most successful, longest-running prepaid tuition program in the nation!  Florida Prepaid is helping parents and students prepare for college and making planning for the future a lot easier.  300,000 students have already attended college using Florida Prepaid!

Florida Prepaid Plans

Florida Prepaid offers 5 savings plans, giving you the flexibility to choose one that fits your family’s needs. With plans starting as low as $46.61 saving for college is now possible.  Here is some more about these great plans:

2-Year Florida College Plan: Covers tuition and other specified fees for 60 lower division credit hours at a Florida College.

4-Year Florida College Plan: Covers tuition and other specified fees for 60 lower division credit hours and 60 upper division credit hours at a Florida College

2 + 2 Florida Plan: Covers tuition, tuition differential fee and other specified fees for 60 lower division credit hours at a Florida College and 60 credit hours at a State University.

1-year Florida University Plan: Covers tuition, tuition differential fee and other specified fees at a State University for 30 credit hours

4-Year Florida University Plan: Covers tuition, tuition differential fee and other specified fees at a State University for 120 credit hours
Learn more about which plan is right for your family here!

OPEN ENROLLMENT!
The Florida Prepaid College Board’s annual Open Enrollment period is Oct. 15, 2017 – Feb. 28, 2018.  Enroll now and use promo code: 
Life1718 to save $25 on your application fee!

Amazing Gift Ideas that Grade Schoolers Will Love!

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com and the Brands Featured Below.

It is that time of year again!  I love the holidays and gift giving is so much fun, but let’s face it, it can be very stressful too.  I am always on the hunt for the perfect gifts that will make my children and the other little folks on my list excited, I love seeing a huge glowing smile and knowing I picked the perfect present.  However, these days kids have so many things grabbing for their attention it can be hard to get that good old list I remember writing up as a kid.  Luckily Babblebox has come up with some amazing kid-approved items for all the grade school aged kids on your list!

For the Fashionista on Your List:  Vince Camuto Shoes
Check out these Pietra Studded Ballet Flats!  These glitter ballet flats with an adorable bow at the toe are sparkly enough to bring a smile to the face of any little girl who loves fashion, like my Lilly.  Plus, they are comfortable and have a soft elastic strap across the top to keep them from flopping at the heel.  The quality of these shoes is impeccable, and have held up to all the dancing and spinning Lilly has put them through.

For the Traveler on Your List: Viv + Lou Duffle Bag
Do you have a child who loves to travel on your list?  Then the Viv + Lou Duffle Bag is the perfect gift.  They have adorable designs, can be personalized by adding a monogram or name, and are the perfect size for a grade-schooler to pack for a weekend vacation or a trip to their grandparents.
Use Coupon Code: MOMMYHOOD to receive 25% off sitewide!

For the Pet Lover on Your List: Petlanthropy Donation Gift Cards
These Donation Gift Cards give children a unique way to help animals in need!  The Petlanthropy Foundation was founded with only one goal, to help give all homeless cats and dogs a loving forever home.  Gift card recipients are able to find animal shelters and projects that they care about and donate the value of their gift card.
When you purchase, share, and gift Petlanthropy Donation Gift Cards this holiday season, you will receive a special furry and fun surprise!

For the Avid Reader on Your List:  The Wonderling by Mira Bartock and Candlewick Press
From New York best-selling author Mira Bartock, this magical chapter book is sure to keep a middle-grade reader entertained in an adventurous story of fantasy and friendship. 

Synopsis via Candlewick Press:
Welcome to the Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures, an institution run by evil Miss Carbunkle, a cunning villainess who believes her terrified young charges exist only to serve and suffer. Part animal and part human, the groundlings toil in classroom and factory, forbidden to enjoy anything regular children have, most particularly singing and music. For the Wonderling, an innocent-hearted, one-eared, fox-like eleven-year-old with only a number rather than a proper name — a 13 etched on a medallion around his neck — it is the only home he has ever known. But unexpected courage leads him to acquire the loyalty of a young bird groundling named Trinket, who gives the Home’s loneliest inhabitant two incredible gifts: a real name — Arthur, like the good king in the old stories — and a best friend. Using Trinket’s ingenious invention, the pair escape over the wall and embark on an adventure that will take them out into the wider world and ultimately down the path of sweet Arthur’s true destiny. Richly imagined, with shimmering language, steampunk motifs, and gripping, magical plot twists, this high adventure fantasy is the debut novel of award-winning memoirist Mira Bartók and has already been put into development for a major motion picture.

Receive 25% off and Free Shipping with Coupon Code: CANDLEWICK

For the Creative Child on Your List: WowWee Magnaflex
These fun and colorful magnetic strips allow children to create whatever they dream up.  The set comes with project ideas including animals, vehicles, and wearable accessories, or children can use their imagination and create anything with this Magnetic toy set.  Aidan loves construction toys and he spent hours playing with this kid, building, and rebuilding whatever popped into his mind.

For the STEM lover on Your List: Helio Night Light Projection System

My children love science and learning new things in general.  So, I was thrilled when I learned about this award-winning children’s educational nightlight projection system.  Instead of leaving Lilly’s closet light on, we have started playing the Helio Projection System for her and she loves it.  She wakes up and tells me all about the planets and the sleep hours of different animals on the way to school.

Buy one Helio and enter Coupon Code: LEARNINGLIGHT to get the second one discounted to $34.95 (valid through April 2018)

For the Candy Lover on Your List: PEZ Christmas Ornament Collection
These adorable mini PEZ dispensers that come in a real Christmas ornament will definitely bring a smile to a child’s face.  We love PEZ in my family so we opened this ornament up really quickly, but these would make perfect stocking stuffers too!

 

What’s your favorite gift idea this holiday season?

AMERICAN GIRL’S NEW BEFOREVER DOLL NANEA Mitchell

Disclosure:  American Girl sent us a doll to help facilitate this review, all opinions are 100% my own.

American Girl BeForever Doll Nanea Mitchell

  Lilly has several “Doll of the Year” characters and one of the new contemporary dolls, and she absolutely adores them all!  However, there is something extra special to me about the BeForever line.  The stories from the past, the accessories from different time periods, they really take you back in time and teach our girls about the lifestyle of different generations.  

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American Girl Doll Z Yang

Disclosure:  American Girl sent us a doll to help facilitate this review, all opinions are 100% my own.

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American Girl Contemporary Doll Z Yang.

American Girl did it again! They came out with another amazing doll for your child to fall in love with! “Z” is short for Suzie, she is a Korean-American doll that is from Seattle! Z is very imaginative and is a filmmaker developing her own take on the world that surrounds her by creating vlogs! Z shows your child that they can be or do anything they put their mind to! 

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The public has been looking for more diversity, and she is the perfect fit!  American Girl has tried really hard to encourage every child to reach their full potential and have a diverse selection of dolls. I love how, just like Z, she has an inspirational story! It allows your child to fall in love with the doll, gain encouragement, and have fun playing with her.

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Z Has An Adventurous Spirit 

Z is absolutely adorable, and I love her beauty mark on her cheek. I love the added accessory of her filming accessories that you can purchase separately. I love how she has her own style! She is dressed so cute, and I love her shoes! Every doll you get from American Girl you can rest assured it is made with love and is high quality! 

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Z has such an adventurous spirit, and it can help your child to break free from their shell or embrace their own free spirit! Z has a nice soft body, perfect for cuddles! Her hair is so shiny and silky, and your child will love styling it! This doll can truly become a best friend to your daughter! 

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Z Yang comes with The Real Z paperback book, plus a fun camera-ready outfit:

  • A crewneck printed tee with a camera graphic
  • A gray twill skirt with a turned-up hem
  • Soft and stretchy indigo leggings
  • Casual shoes with a bit of sparkle

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Where to Buy
Z Yang is available online and at all American Girl Stores.
Retail Price: $115

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Get Back to School Ready with These 6 Must Have Products!

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com on behalf of Single Edition Media

6 Must Have Products

I still can’t believe it’s back to school season already.  I swear I blinked and the entire summer break flew by!  With the new school year comes back to school shopping for endless school supplies, new clothes, and a shopping cart full of tissues, antibacterial wipes, printer paper, and whatever else the teachers add to their wish list, to keep all these kids learning all year.  Back to school time can be busy and school shopping easily becomes stressful, so it’s easy to understand why most of us moms forget about stocking up on some great things for at home that will make our back to school routine a lot smoother.

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With the help of Babbleboxx I have compiled a list of 5 items you need to add to your back to school shopping list, like now!

1) Wemo Mini Wi-Fi Smart Plug. With back to school season, comes sports season for my family, which means I am running from schools to fields all afternoon.  The smart technology of Wemo Mini Smart Plug is perfect for busy families, simply plug it into the wall, download the free app, connect the Wemo to your Wi-Fi and you can remotely control your lights and appliances.  The Wemo is also perfect for nights when moms not home, they may try to push Grammy for one more book, but I can remotely turn off their lights and they know mom says it is bedtime.  

With promo code WEMOmommyhoodlife you can save 20% off a Wemo Mini now through Sept 30th 2017 here!
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2) Zoono GermFree24 Hand Sanitizer, I swear the kids bring home germs faster than they bring home those huge packets of forms we need to fill out. Zoono GermFree24 Hand Sanitizer is a water-based antibacterial hand sanitizer that is a must buy for us this year.  It does not rub off and remains active on the skin’s surface through hand washing and sweating which is important for active kids like mine, plus it comes in both a foam and sprays version.  I am putting one by the front door, in the car, and in my bag.
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3) Snip-its Tangy Apple 3-in-1 Conditioning Shampoo, Morning Miracle Mousse Styling Spray & Silly Slicker Ultimate Sculpting Gel. With summer coming to an end, the pool no longer counts as bath time and hosing the kids off with a sprinkler isn’t an option.  The kids are ready for stylish hairstyles and the Snip-its Haircuts for Kids’ line of professional kid’s hair products are amazing!

These products are made to be gentle on kid’s hair, skin, and eyes.  Plus, they all smell incredible!  We have been using them every day, and they are keeping our hair washing and styling stress-free.  You can shop Snip-its hair care line here.
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4) OOLY Fun School Supplies. Between homework and all the forms, you will be filling out it’s a great time to stock up on some fun pencils and pens.  I love OOLY’s products, they make everyday mundane items fun and colorful!  We are currently obsessed with both their Jumbo Brights Neon Colored Pencils and the Yummy Yummy Yummy Scented Gel Pens.  OOLY also has a great line of 2-in-1 Flip Side Notebooks to keep all your events and projects organized.  Plus, the Mighty Zipper Pouch is perfect for storing everything!  Shop these cute school supplies here and save 15% Off Orders of $35 or more plus Free Shipping in Continental U.S. and get a Free OOLY Eraser with promo code: ready.

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5) Teal Duck Tape®. We use Duck Tape for everything in my house.  It’s no longer the ugly silver tape found in your dad’s garage.  It now comes in an endless array of colors and designs and can be used to decorate practically anything, including school folders and pencils and more.  Check out all the great ideas Duck Tape® Makers™ have come up with here.
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6) Pure Growth Organics. Between lunch box snacks, after-school snacks, and sports practice snacks, my kids go through a ton of snacks!  I love all the snacks that Pure Growth Organics offers, the kids say they are delicious and the ingredients keep me happy.  Animal Crackers, White Cheddar Popcorn, and Crispy Rice Squares are a staple in our cabinets.  Take a look at all these organic snack options and save 20% with promo code 2020BABBLE.
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Have your kids started this school year yet?  If not it’s coming fast!  Which item are you excited to try first?
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