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Here are some of my family’s favorites from this year.
My 4 and 6 year old girl’s favorite toys:
Melissa & Doug Rainbow Garden See Through Window Art. This is such a cute craft, which is no mess! Simply peel and stick the different parts. The final product is beautiful, and I have these hanging in my windows.
Melissa & Doug Trunki – we have Trixie (Pink) and Iris (Purple), but there are quite a few colors and designs. My kids love traveling, and so they are always excited to pack, so needless to say, they love their Trunki suitcases!Lego Friends products, like the LEGO Friends Heartlake Pet Salon. My 6 year old got LEGO Friends Olivia’s Tree House for her birthday in the spring, and since then, both girls are hooked. The sets can add up, but I love that these sets are purely imaginative, or that my daughter has the patience to sit down and read through a 40-page book to put a set together that is comprised of hundreds of pieces. There are so many sets to choose from, and you can get little $5 sets all the way up to sets that have over 1,000 pieces (over $100). My daughter has been asking for the LEGO Friends Dolphin Cruiser for Christmas, which is one of the newer sets and is really cute.
And if you have Lego Friends, I highly recommend the LEGO® Friends Portable Project Case w/Base Plate. I think this is a good part of teaching responsibility, and I have an agreement with my girls that they have to put the pieces away when they are done playing, or they run the risk of me taking the sets away (or the real threat of pieces getting vacuumed up).
Rainbow Loom. This is definitely a hot item this year. We got ours over the summer, and now I hear about stores being sold out of kits and rubberbands! We have had fun with this one, and I enjoy making bracelets and other creations with my girls. It can get a little bit tedious, so be prepared for seeing 37-minute long tutorials on YouTube! But there are plenty of easy projects that don’t take long. You can also purchase bands online.
Green Toys Tea Set and other Green Toys products. Their toys are 100% recycled (made in the USA from recycled Milk Jugs), no BPA, no phthalates – and super cute! We have had ours for almost 5 years and it is very durable, from our playroom to the bath tub! Green Toys makes a variety of toys for girls and boys, like a Ferry Boat and Tractor.
The first time we tried Perler Beads was this Perler Pet Parade Variety pack, which comes with everything you need to start making projects. My kids love the shapes that came in this pack and since then we have bought bulk amounts of Perler beads (11,000-count or 22,000-count), which is much more economical if your kids are really into doing these projects. We love having this craft for when friends come over, and my girls work on making Perler projects with their friends.
And some of my personal favorites..
Starbucks Modern Classic Mug, 20oz. I am a serious tea drinker, and this is the only mug I use. My husband bought me this from a Target that had a Starbucks store in it, so you may want to check there if your local Starbucks doesn’t carry it. One of the best gifts anyone has gotten me, and I’ve bought it for friends who love theirs too!
Check out our review of Fabio Viviani Comfort Mats (which includes a 20% off coupon code). Anti-fatigue mats for the kitchen were my go-to gift last year for family members, because I can’t imagine not having one and I wanted to share such a great product with others. These mats make it so much bearable to stand at the counter, wash dishes, stand on cold tile, etc.
Some of my favorite books:
- Water for Elephants: A Novel (Sara Gruen)
- Mao’s Last Dancer (Li Cunxin)
- The Help (Kathryn Stockett)
- Girl in Translation (Jean Kwok)
- Memoirs of a Geisha: A Novel (Arthur Golden)
- The Island (Victoria Hislop)
- Winter Garden (Kristin Hannah)
And looking for a small gift to show your appreciation? Check out these 10 Assorted Colors Strawberry Reusable Foldable Shopping Bags! They are $6.80 for 10 bags (free shipping!). They ship from Hong Kong, so allow plenty of time for shipping. (Or check out other bags, like Chico Bags). I keep these on hand year round for when I want to show my appreciation. I didn’t get these on time for Christmas last year, but for example, my daughter ended up sick and in the hospital, and this made a nice thank you for people who went above and beyond to help us out when she was sick (school nurse, physical therapist, people who watched our younger child, nurses, etc).