Holiday Gift Ideas: Toddlers and Kids

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is this week! Back in my single days, I’d be done with my Christmas shopping by now….sadly I’ve barely made a dent in my list this year. I’ve been online perusing ideas for gifts for the family. Of course the gifts that are the most fun to shop for are for the littles in my life. Now that my daughter is one and REALLY into toys, I’m finding myself looking at things that can grow with her a little bit so that she’s not bored with all of her gifts in a couple of months. She is also getting some diy/homemade gifts this year too, but I’ll share more on that later. Here is a list of my faves so far!

Children's gifts


1. I really want to get Hollis a dollhouse eventually and I’m leaning towards one like this Melissa and Doug Dollhouse . It’s so classic and would suit a boy or girl. Some dollhouses are covered in so much pink and purple, it’s nice to get a break sometimes.

2. Our absolute favorite toy at our house is a play kitchen our cousins so nicely handed-down to us. When Hollis is a little bit older I’d like to upgrade her to one like this. I like the simple design and, again, it would be good for a boy or girl to play with.

3. Has anyone else seen these placemat/bowls?! They are a plate and placemat all-in-one made out of silicone. My favorite part is that they suction to the table so there is no slipping and/or plate dropping. I don’t know about anyone else, but a lot of plate throwing dropping happens in our house.

4. and 5. I recently discovered Petit Collage and I love their toys and crafts. I love any toys that encourage imagination and creativity and their products definitely do that. The prices are very reasonable which make them great for gifts for all the kiddos in my life. These cute little woodland punch-out toys and memory game are adorable!

6. This little easel would entertain us for hours. One side is a chalkboard and the other side is a whiteboard. I love a good two-for-one deal!

7. If you ever get on Pinterest, then I’m sure you’ve seen an adorable teepee or two….or a hundred. Some of them are super expensive and some are amazingly diy’d. This one I found on is a good mid-range option. (Although I still really want to make one!)

8. and 9. I love to get pj’s for Christmas. I think they make great gifts. Every kiddo needs a good set of jammies and they’re constantly growing out of them. (why won’t they stay tiny?…why?!) I keep trying to talk Hollis into stop growing, but she just refuses to listen to me. I will probably have a pair of pj’s or two under the tree for her every year! I especially love sets that she can wear all winter and not just around Christmas like this one and these.



Update: Brick Wall

Painted Brick // I’ve decided to take a little break from any big projects until after the holidays. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of big projects that need to be done, but nothing that feels like it has to be done right now. I’ve got a few small projects up my sleeve that I’m working on. I love painting, but mama needs a break! I’m excited for the holidays this year, because even though Hollis is still really little, she is big enough that we can do some fun crafts and things together. I love this time of year and I want her to love it too. I’d like to start some traditions with her and make it really fun. I’m also trying to finish little (and not so little) things around the house that I’ve sort of forgotten about or haven’t had time to finish. One major eyesore was the half-painted brick wall in the living room. I knew I wanted to paint it, but I wasn’t sure just how. Oh heck, I’m still not 100% sure. But I decided to at least paint it all one color for now and I’m so glad with the outcome, that am leaving it this way indefinitely. Here is what it looked like before when we first moved in. Painted Brick // thegoldbrickroad.comI started to prime it and get it ready for paint. I just used Sherwin Williams Oil-based Primer. I had to use a brush to get into all the little nooks and crannies. Painted Brick // thegoldbrickroad.comPainted Brick // thegoldbrickroad.comPainted Brick // thegoldbrickroad.comThen it looked like this for an embarrassing amount of months when I painted the living room. Painted Brick // thegoldbrickroad.comCut to several months later, and it looks a whole lot more finished…even though it’s not. But the room was clean, and let’s face it, that doesn’t happen around here very often so I snapped some pics. I think the wall needs a couple of more shelves. It still looks a little naked. It’s lacking pizzazz, but it’s a heckova lot better than the half-painted version. We also finally got the t.v. hung on the wall.  (Please pretend like you can’t see those pesky wires under the t.v. I need to do something with them soon because they’re driving me crazy!) Painted Brick // thegoldbrickroad.comPainted Brick // thegoldbrickroad.comPainted Brick // thegoldbrickroad.comOne reason it took so long to finish, besides sheer laziness, is that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to white-wash it or do an opaque paint finish. I slapped on my primer and this is what it looked like after one coat. It really gave that white-wash effect without all the work and I really liked it so I just stopped there. I love when things work out in half the time and with half the effort!

Closety Goodness



If someone asked me how excited I was about closets when I was a kid, they would’ve ranked right up there with lima beans and shopping for tube socks. Zero interest. But as an adult with a toddler and ALL of the things toddlers need, closets excite me more than a shirtless Ryan Gosling. I could talk about closets all day long….and I did. My poor husband had to listen to me go on and on about what I might do in my daughter’s closet to make it more functional. Poor guy….Although, I’m pretty sure he only listens to about 25% of the things that come out of my mouth.

I started demoing Hollis’ closet last week. I had to remove all of the shelves and the metal rod. I also went ahead and ripped out the old carpet. Here is what it looked like before I got started.





Everything came out pretty easy, although I did have to recruit Brian to help me with one particularly stubborn board. I took everything out except 2 boards that run along the back of the closet. They were in there so good and were so sturdy, I decided to keep them and use them for supports. Most of the walls in our house are plaster and it can be a little iffy when attaching things to the wall. I had to attach a third board to match the other two so that I could attach my metal Closetmaid system to it.

Did you notice all of those cracks and holes?! Good’ol plaster. Luckily they were easy to fill and patch once everything was removed. Then I put a fresh coat of white paint over everything including the ceiling and trim. The trim had quite a bit of paint drippings on it from over the years, so I decided to just paint it so it all looked nice and clean. You can also see in the pic below where I ripped out the carpet and exposed the hardwood underneath. The floor isn’t in great shape, so I will probably put carpet over it if we have extra from Hollis’ room.


Once my paint dried, I was able to attach the metal supports. I drilled them straight through the boards.


Then I had to cut my metal shelves down to size and attach them to the supports. I wasn’t sure how high I wanted them so I had to put some things on the shelf to see what worked best. My favorite thing about this shelving system is that you can move the shelves around however you like. So when Hollis gets older and her clothes get larger, we can just move the shelf around to allow her more room. Which is awesome for me, because I moved that top shelf around a good seven times before I got it where I wanted it.


Here it is with a few things in it! I haven’t moved everything over yet because she hasn’t officially moved in yet. I made the top shelf go all the way across the closet and the bottom shelf only about 2/3’s of the way across to allow for longer items to be hung when she gets older.






I love it so much! It’s so bright and clean….I’m sure it won’t ever be this clean again. This whole project has me really excited to get started on my own closet!…and Brian’s too, I guess.


First of all, this post should be titled, “Toddlers are Impossible to Photograph”. My hat goes off to professionals who get paid to get them still and smiling. I miss the days when I could set her down, make goofy faces at her and snap away. Second of all…..look at that adorable little aerobic instructor.


Halloween 2014 //


Halloween 2014 //
This was a super easy costume. It required no shopping or sewing! And she was super comfy all day/evening. The only things I had to “make” were her leg warmers, which are just an old pair of my socks that I cut the foot off of. And I made her boombox/candy holder out of an empty ziplock bag box, duct tape and a sharpie.

Halloween 2014 //

This is her “you better get your pic, mom, because this is the last time I hold still” look.


Halloween 2014 //

“peace out, I’m done”.

Overall, I think she enjoyed Halloween. I don’t know how much of she really understood, but I know she enjoyed being told how cute she is and receiving treats. Hope everyone had a good Halloween!