Simplicity has been the theme I have been trying to work into our lives. I’m not a minimalist by any means, but I do love when things are simple and organized. But you wouldn’t think that if you walked into my house right now after a weekend with a sick toddler. With that theme in mind though, I tried to avoid anything that was battery operated, which is what I generally try to achieve with her toys anyways (with small exceptions). Her favorite toys are blocks, books, and balls. She’s pretty easy to please. But I also tried to get things that could also be educational. Starting with…
Despite how basic books are, they can be expensive! It’s crazy how fast a few books can add up. So I had an Usborne online book party. No one had to come over, no one had to feel obligated to buy anything, but it’s the perfect time of year for friends to get some Christmas presents for their little ones. I had a pretty small party and only a few people bought, but I was still able to get $100 worth of books for $25! These are the books I got her:
- “The New Baby”
- Obviously with a new baby coming in April, I want to start introducing the idea to SJ more and more. This seemed like the perfect book.
- “That’s Not My Monster”
- SJ’s current favorite movie is Monsters University. She doesn’t sit and watch TV, but she will sit and watch this entire movie. So I had to get her a book with monsters. I’m sure I will be able to recite the book as well as I can recite the movie by the New Year.
- “Baby’s Very First Touchy Feely Colors Play Book” and “Baby’s Very First Touchy Feely Animals Play Book”
- I already have the Baby’s Very First Touchy-Feely-Lift-The-Flap Play Book and she LOVES it. Sensory play is so important at this age and she will sit there and just feel all the spots. There are lots of touchy-feely books out there, we have even received some as gifts, but they just don’t compare the colors of the Usborne ones. And they hold up so well! SJ picks these over her other books all the time.
- “1001 Things to Spot in Fairyland”
- She probably won’t be able to use this one for a little while, but it will be great for her cognitive skills when she can use it. And, if she’s anything like me, she will find it extremely fun! I don’t know who will be more excited for it, her to be able to use it, or me to be able to use it with her!
- “Fingerprint Activities Animals”
- I love that Usborne has activity books as well as regular books. I’ve been trying to let go of my inner OCD a little bit and let Sutton make messes, like with a rice sensory bin. Which is why on her list from others who buy for her are things like finger paint and model dough. But this book has the stamp pad attached and she just needs her fingers! It will be a nice switch from her usual coloring books and crayons.
- “Rubber Stamp Activities”
- This one is very similar to the fingerprint activity book, but will help her with her hand eye coordination a little more. It also means that I have to be involved with her more when she uses this book, which is something else I definitely was thinking about when purchasing these books. I love being able to do activities with her.
- “Alphabet Sticker Book”
- Are you catching a theme here? I tried to incorporate a lot of learning in with these books. Especially since I’m a stay at home mom, SJ doesn’t have anywhere where she goes to socialize or take part in daycare activities that help learning. Which means I want to do as much as that with her at home as I can. This book not only helps with the alphabet, but will also help with hand eye coordination.
I got all these books for just a bit over $25! I highly recommended having an online Usborne Book Party! You can contact my consultant here to book yours! And it doesn’t matter where in the US you live! My consultant was absolutely fabulous and we did everything over Facebook, so you don’t have to worry about distance.
SJ is an awesome little helper around the house…most of the time. She loves to help feed the dogs, put her dirty clothes in the hamper, do the laundry in general (pretty sure by the time she’s 2 she will completely be doing her own laundry), and with help, she’s pretty good at putting her toys away. I figured this play set was the perfect present for her and maybe I can get the floors clean a little faster while it keeps her busy “helping.”
I got it on Zulily for $19.79 with free shipping! On Amazon (my go to), it’s $23.24, you can get that one here. So not a huge difference, but I’ll take whatever savings I can get. I did a lot of other Christmas Shopping on Zulily this year as well because you can get some awesome deals. You just have to start early, because shipping can sometimes take up to 3 weeks.
I tend to use Christmas to be a tad practical too. SJ’s pediatrician told us that toddlers usually become interested in potty training between 18-24 months. And while I definitely am not planning on starting potty training soon (especially with a new baby coming, chances are it will all backfire), she has been showing very early signs of potty training. I figure we might as well have it there to start introducing the idea.
I love this one because it looks “real.” And its design is simple. I’m not a huge fan of overly emphasized kid products covered in cartoon characters, I like when things can mesh in with our house well, but still are kid friendly. You can get this one for about $21 on Amazon.
Every year I go on a shopping trip with family out to Iowa City and we always go the Saturday after Thanksgiving. So the day after Black Friday. I have never once gone Black Friday Shopping. I don’t enjoy the idea of the chaos at all, and there’s never been anything that I just have to get that will be gone if I’m not there at 2 AM. The best part about when we go, all the Black Friday deals are still going on! There’s not as many crowds, and we still get the deals, a win-win in my book.
I love Old Navy’s kids clothes. They’re cute, simple, affordable, and hold up wonderfully. At the outlet mall this year, they had 50% off your entire purchase. I went a little crazy. I was only planning on getting her one or maybe two outfits this year, but instead I got her 3 pairs of pants, 5 shirts, and a dress. One of the shirts though I got because they had a matching onesie and how can I not get the girls their first matching outfit?! So I was able to get all that for about $70. A tad bit more than I wanted to spend, but still a good deal. And I mean seriously, look at the cuffs on those little boyfriend cut jeans, how do you pass those up?!
The one thing I got her that involves screen time…but movies are SJ and I’s bonding time. One of our favorite things to do is cuddle and watch a movie. And I caved and asked my mom to get her a DVD player for the car to use for all the trips to my doctors appointments since we are in the car for over an hour each way.
Target still had their DVD Black Friday specials, so I got Stork (in keeping with the loose theme of expecting a baby), for $10.
7. Pottery Barn Overstuffed Anywhere Chair
The one thing I completely splurged on…whoops. I went back and forth for a good month on this one. Trying to find a cheaper version I liked, justifying spending that much on a chair, talking with DJ about if we should get it, but I’m glad we did. This is what I cannot wait to see her reaction to on Christmas morning. I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas morning waiting to see her reaction!
Little miss independent loves sitting in her little, wicker, rocking chair to eat her snacks or take a break and watch a few minutes of cartoons. But, it’s getting small for her, isn’t the most comfortable, she tips it over very easily, and despite trying to keep a blanket on it she has shredded up the front of it from climbing on and off. The pottery barn chair is bigger, durable, and comfortable. If you follow my Instagram stories, you saw that even I can fit comfortably in this overstuffed chair. Which means she will be able to use it for years to come. And I got it personalized because I have a slight obsession with getting my kid’s name on stuff (probably why DJ won’t verbally agree to the name I want for Baby, so I don’t go buy everything I can with her name on it). And next year I will splurge to get one for Baby #2 because I have to be fair between them.
But even with getting this chair on sale, it still cost just under $140 plus some ridiculous shipping charges. So….if you want to stick with keeping a small budget, this chair should probably not be on your list. Though I’m sure you can find another chair for a reasonable price if your heart is set on a chair for your little one. But if you are interested in this adorable chair, this is the one I got SJ.
Without the splurged Pottery Barn Chair, I was able to keep all her presents under $200. With the chair (including the crazy shipping)…right about $350. I stayed within our planned budget, but as I said, our budget is probably a bit higher than a lot of peoples’. Next year, no matter what our financial state might be, I want to try and keep things as simple as possible. Especially if we will have 2 to buy for! We are beyond lucky to have amazing family that spoil SJ, and while we enjoy being able to spoil her too, I know she is going to be getting lots of other things for Christmas and we can step back and just enjoy Christmas rather than stressing over what we are going to get her.
What are your plans for Christmas for your little ones this year?!
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