12 Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Kids

My family didn’t grow up with many holiday traditions, so I was determined to create my own now that I have my own family.  One simple tradition I’ve always yearned for was the simple act of stuffing stockings and opening them on Christmas Eve, then saving the big gifts for Christmas Day.

I look forward to hanging up our personalized stockings on the mantle each year because that’s when it really starts to feel like Christmas around here.  It’s amazing how much four little stockings can bring me such joy. Mr. Heels and I aren’t really gift people, so our stockings are usually pretty sparse, but we always make sure we fill up the kids’ stockings.

Here are some things I’ve done in previous years, and am considering for this year:

1.  Stickers – Our kids love stickers, and they provide them hours of endless fun. I’ll likely scour Target’s dollar section to see what I can come up with, or possibly get these Frozen stickers for Noelle (since that’s her obsession right now, like every other kid in the world…), and these Bubble Guppies stickers for Jaren.

2.  Finger puppets - How cute are these little puppets for tiny little hands? They’re great for imaginative play too, which only gets more and more elaborate as the kids get older!

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Fakin’ it ’til we make it

{Always checking what’s on the horizon…}

{Just another long-lost blogger here, popping back up.}

So, what happened?! Life happened. Apparently when the going gets tough, the tough go hide in a deep, dark hole. At least that’s what this tough girl did.

Really though. I’ve alluded to the rough transition here. It’s still very rough. And it’s slowly becoming obvious that there is a long, long road ahead. (Ok, ok… I’m slowly accepting that there’s a long road ahead. Many would argue that’s been obvious for months now!) We’re making forward progress but it’s in itty bitty baby steps. Steps that sometimes move back a whole lot before they move forward. Steps that I really, really wish were leaps and bounds over vast distances.

I knew we wouldn’t become insta-family the moment we landed. I knew it would take some time, and some a lot of work. But it never occurred to me that over 8 months later, we’d still very much be in a transition/adjustment phase. I’m ready to be done with all the transitions here and just be. (Someone please tell me if life is just a series of transitions… I’m going to need to start accepting that if it’s true. But make sure I’m sitting first, ok?!) I’m not really exaggerating when I say that many—most—of my days are spent working on Pint-Sized’s issues. As most adoptive parents will tell you, attachment is never-ending work in progress. I knew that going in. What I didn’t know is that the child I was bringing home was also going to be very angry, and very stubborn. So, all this attachment work takes a lot more time, energy, and effort. And a whole lot of tough skin. Cause let me tell you… it’s HARD. It’s hard to hold a child who is raging because he’s just angry at the *whole entire* world. It’s hard to be the person who has to ask help of other parents often so that big brother doesn’t miss out on opportunities. It’s hard to be the person who hears a child laugh and doesn’t realize it’s her own because it’s such a foreign sound.

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Potty Training: The Practice Stage

In my previous potty training post, I outlined the first three steps of the potty training process – modeling, explaining and play – as outlined by Janeen Hayward, Clinical Psychologist and sleep/behavioral consultant with Swellbeing. The next step – PRACTICE – requires a post all its own, since there was so much great information. For someone like me who went into this information session knowing very little about the potty training process, hearing about some of these “best practices,” including some great tips about dealing with potty training challenges, was so so helpful to learn before starting the practice stage in earnest. I attended the session because I didn’t want to have to undo any damage before I even began. We are gearing up to start “practice” at the end of the month, and I am hoping to get started on the right foot.


There is no magical age when a child will be “ready.” There are a few non-negotiables when it comes to potty training, though. First, a child must be able to stand up and walk to the potty. (At least that’s one step we have covered!) Second, for optimal success, the child needs to show interest in the potty training process. Without interest, potty training becomes a battleground and a power struggle, which toddlers and preschoolers love (but doesn’t exactly make the process easy). Other positive signs of readiness include keeping a diaper dry for longer stretches, informing parent/caregiver that they are wet or dirty, and being able to pull his/her pants up and down. One major obstacle to tackle before training is constipation, either through dietary solutions or by consulting your pediatrician about the need of medication.

The speaker mentioned that there are “ideal windows” when potty training might be easier, including the early “1′s” (12-18 months), when toddlers are generally less focused on “no” and are more eager to please their parents than to assert their will. The late “1′s”/early “2′s” are a more difficult stage, when everything is a battle (see here).  ypically, the most common age for potty training begins around 2.5 and continues through age 3.  However, the challenge of waiting too long is that a child can become “diaper trained,” having trouble parting ways with his diapers, especially for pooping.

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Pregnancy: My Second Time Around

I am now 28 weeks pregnant with our baby girl, entering the third trimester home stretch and getting increasingly anxious to meet her! We had a follow up ultrasound this week and she’s looking good. We never had a scan this late in my first pregnancy, and it was awesome to see her with so much more meat on her bones. Her little face looked so sweet I’m now considering splurging on one of those 3d ultrasounds just to get a better look!

Things have certainly been a little different with this pregnancy, so here’s a little update on what this one has been like so far, compared to the first:

The bump: I remember eagerly awaiting the appearance of a baby bump in those first 16 weeks or so of my pregnancy with Roman… taking pictures of the ever so slight, slow protrusion of my belly, anxious to look and feel “pregnant.” This time, I took the test and then said, “oh, so that’s why I’ve looked perpetually bloated the last couple of weeks!” I instantly looked pregnant, which is just fine with me; I do still love a nice baby bump… and boy is this a big one! (Though I haven’t taken nearly as many pictures of it yet.)

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Fall Nature Crafts For Kids

I love doing crafts with Drake, and fall is a great time for them because there are so many crafts we can create with things we find outside. With the leaves changing colors and falling everywhere, as well as sticks, acorns, and rocks to collect, it’s the perfect way to spend the day with my little boy. Here are some fall nature crafts you can try out with your own little one.


Mice Pinecones - These look really adorable and perfect for table or window decorations. I bet you could use acorns for faces and string and twine to do the tails.

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Engaging a Highly Curious, Active Child

Parenting is indeed the ultimate adventure, and it is especially so when you end up having a kid who is the polar opposite of both you and your co-parent. Mr. Carrot and I are the definition of low key people. We’re not very physically active (to our own detriment, but that’s another discussion), and before we had Baby Carrot, we spent a good chunk of our free time curled up with Netflix, reading, going out to movies and dinners with friends. We love to travel and explore, but we prefer to do so at a leisurely pace. Our growing toddler, however, is in non-stop, rapid motion, literally and figuratively. Before she was mobile, she always needed her sources of entertainment varied – a playmat would only keep her occupied for so long. Once she figured out crawling and then walking, toys became secondary to things on shelves, things in containers, things in cabinets, etc. These days, her biggest source of pleasure is to be climbing into, over or through something, so Mr. Carrot and I have been burning some extra calories and working on ideas to keep up with our bundle of curiosity.

Sitting in shopping carts is way overrated

During the week, Baby C is in daycare, and since she’s in a home daycare with limited resources, her activity level there is limited accordingly. Thus on weekends, we aim to get her as much active time as possible, and we try our best to mix up the activities so that she both has an outlet for all her energy but also a variety of learning experiences to go with it. Here are some of our favorite ways to keep Baby C engaged:

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30 Holiday Potluck Ideas

Every year, a sign-up sheet is passed around our office for our annual holiday potluck. Every year, I’m stumped on what to bring besides the same ol’ boring veggie tray or chips and dip, so I’ve compiled a bunch of holiday potluck recipes that would go well over a large crowd.  I believe the best potluck dishes share these characteristics: easy to reheat, easy to transport, and doesn’t get soggy or goopy or dried out!


1| Pinecone cheese spread 2| Bacon-wrapped potato bites 3| Prosciutto-wrapped arugula 4| Fresh corn casserole 5|| Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic and Cranberries 6| Scalloped potatoes 7| Sweet potato casserole 8| Green bean casserole with crispy shallots 9| Pizza wheels

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