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Fangirl Friday — JK Farms

Hey, y’all! Hope you guys had a great Thanksgiving. Hard to believe we are heading into December — and I haven’t even started decorating yet (not counting the wreath on the front door). This year has flown and, just being honest, I’m not entirely sad to see it go. However, Mason’s first birthday is next Friday and I am so pumped about that! I’m equally bummed, though — this is my last baby and I cannot get over how quickly his first year has gone by. He has really completed our family dynamic and I can’t begin to imagine life without his thousand watt smile.

But getting to the topic of the day! We’re kicking off today’s Fangirl Friday with my sister-in-law’s “baby”, JK Farms. She and my brother are forces to be reckoned with when it comes to farm life and I have loved watching their farm, and their love for it, grow. So now I’m turning the mic over to Kristyn.

1) Hey, Kristyn! Thanks so much for joining us today!
*Thanks for having me and spotlighting our farm…JK Farms!

2) So today you’re going to tell us about your “baby”, JK Farms. How did you decide this was what you wanted to do?
*Well, it’s definitely my “baby”! I’m an animal freak basically — haha! Some think it’s a little overboard, but I enjoy them all. I’ve ALWAYS been an animal lover. Once I moved back out to my childhood home and set some roots down we decided to get chickens. I kept hearing about chickens being the “gateway” animal to farming….well it’s true! We started out with 12 chickens in June 2016….now November 2018 we’re up to around 100 animals! We have chickens, guineas, turkeys, ducks, Muscovy, geese, rabbits, mini pigs, goats, 2 cats and 6 dogs.

3) What is the best thing to you, personally, about JK Farms?
*The best thing about JK Farms is it’s mine! I put my whole heart into these animals. They’re not only there to help feed my family and make us a little money, but they’re my pets. Most of them have names, of course. They bring me joy and happiness.

4) Has this changed you and, if so, how?
*I think it’s changed me for sure! I’m learning what it’s like to own my own business so that’s making me more responsible, for sure. I can also now understand all the hard work it takes in building your own business. Even though this really started out as a hobby, I now want to do this full time!

5) So, I know that you’ve got a full-time job in addition to JK Farms, but if you weren’t doing this today, what would you be doing?
*If I didn’t have JK Farms…hmmm, I don’t want to think about life without JK Farms! lol.

6) What are some reasons that you like to share this passion with others?
*I love sharing about JK Farms and my animals because it makes me happy and I want to make others happy. Seeing my goats running and jumping around and raring back to ram each other all in play is so peaceful. Seeing the mini pigs lounging around with their guardian dog in the sunlight; a chicken chase after a cricket or a muscovy going after a moth; one of the cats jumping up to catch a dragonfly; and watching a chick hatch, seeing the start of a precious living thing is an experience everyone should have at some point in their lives. Not owning a farm — but being able to witness the pure innocence and joy of animals.

7) This is definitely a lifestyle commitment. What are some ways that you enjoy sharing your experiences with others? Do you feel like your love for JK Farms has inspired others to broaden their horizons as far as recognizing their own passions?
*I hope I have inspired at least one person to follow their dream, no matter how big or small. I would’ve never thought this would be my life, but I’m so thankful for it. I can’t wait to raise a child on our farm and instill my passion for animals in them. I pray they enjoy it all as much as I do.

8) These days, everyone has so much going on and dreams/goals become lost in the busyness. How would you encourage other women to stay goal oriented?
*You gotta start somewhere! Make a vision board! Gather pictures, newspaper or magazine clippings, words, whatever it may be that makes up what your dream is or your goals and post it somewhere… somewhere you’ll see it every single day as a constant reminder to chase your dreams! Make lists! I need to do better at this, but it’s the best way to stay on top of your goals.

9) Thanks so much for sharing with us today! Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you so much for helping us small business owners get out there and share our passions!

Hope you enjoyed reading about farm life with Kristyn! It’s so cool to me how different interests cultivate different goals, making them realities. If you want to stay linked in to what’s new on the farm, hop over to JK Farms on Facebook at the link below and share this post! Thanks for reading, y’all!

JK Farms

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Fangirl Friday – Lexie Too Designs

Happy Black Friday, y’all (is that even a thing?)!  I’m super excited to share with you guys a new series that I’m calling FanGirl Fridays.  No, this isn’t about Jason Momoa or Captain America (although I know some of you would be all. over. that).  In this series, I am going to be showcasing female entrepreneurs, near and far, and the businesses and products that they have helped pave new roads for their dreams and goals.

First up, I have Jessica with Lexie Too Designs.  Jessica is a Louisiana native and single, working mom.  The idea behind Lexie Too is so cool and inspiring and I am so excited to introduce her to you guys.  So without further ado, I turn the mic erm, blog, over to Jess.

**At the end of this post is a link to her Facebook page.  Please check her out!  If you like what you see, follow and share!**

1) Hey, Jessica! Thanks so much for joining us today!
Thank you for having me.

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2) So today you’re going to tell us about your business, Lexie Two Designs. How did this get its start?
I started this as a fundraiser for my daughter’s cheer. She was accepted to University Academy. Sports can be expensive lol. So in June we came up with making a few colors of faux druzy studs. They sold out really fast! I added a few more colors and it just grew from there. A few weeks into June a wonderful friend of mine gave me a nudge to turn it into an LLC.

3) What is the best thing to you, personally, about Lexie Two? Has this changed anything for you and, if so, how?
I love creating new pieces. I spend alot of time finding new materials to work with and in different ways. Helping people find what they are looking for and at an affordable rate. I’ve been a single mom for 13 years. I wanted to make something beautiful that all women could afford. I am incredibly grateful for Lexie Two Designs. It has truly been a blessing for our family.

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4) If you weren’t doing this today, what would you be doing?
I would still be looking for my passion & trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Now I’ve found it.

5) I’ve looked at your designs, and they’re stunning! What is your favorite thing about putting art into everyday items?
I like to find the beauty in everything. Have you ever seen a woman’s face light up with a compliment on something as small as her earrings?

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6) How has sharing your creativity with others changed you?
I am more open to others & their likes & dislikes. Some friends and I have bonded over discussing LTD and its operations.

7) These days, everyone has so much going on and dreams/goals become lost in the busyness. How would you encourage other women to stay goal oriented?
Find out why you are doing this. What’s your motivation and what do you want out of it? Find your brand. The look, logo & feel of your company should match your mission. Write it all down! And then the most important….do it scared. If your dreams don’t scare you they aren’t big enough, right?

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8 ) Thanks so much for sharing with us today! Anything else you’d like to add?
Just to all women, know your worth & add tax. Never settle for a life less than what you want & deserve. Make it happen you’ll never regret it.

Lexie Too Designs

Anything else you guys want to know?  Hit me with your questions and I’ll pass them along!  Hit her link directly above to check out all of her new designs — and don’t forget to follow!

Interested in being featured on FanGirl Fridays?  Shoot me an email or message me at Memoirs of a SAHM.

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5 Things I Wish I’d Known About Plumbing

Hey, y’all!  Sorry for the long absence; we’ve been battling bathroom plumbing issues the past week and tried to get a handle on them over the weekend.  Honestly, it’s been a long-time coming.  Our house is about 40-45 years old, and the previous owners did a rough job of “doctoring” the problems rather than properly fix them.  Nothing serious, but definitely a pain in the gluteus maximus.  One big problem we’ve been dealing with, especially recently, has been the bathroom plumbing.  None of it was installed correctly and totally half-assed.  The existing piping, according to our plumber, is likely as old as the house.  We decided to go ahead and get an estimate on what it would cost to re-pipe the entire house and, surprisingly, it isn’t awful.  Granted, we live in a small 1,350 sqft home.  Hopefully soon that will all be changed out, however, and we’re anticipating that the new works will at least slightly increase our home value.

Anyway, prior to calling a plumber my husband, dad, and I attempted to flush out the situation to attempt to save some cash.  I’m not currently working, so we’re on a pretty tight budget.  But, as luck almost always has it, we wound up spending twice as much on plumbing “band-aids” than we did on an actual plumber coming to fix our toilet disaster.  Lesson learned, ladies.  Occasionally, you may get lucky and be able to plunge or Drano the problem away.  But always, always, always stop after $30.  If thirty bucks ain’t solving shit, then an additional $20, $40, or $60 won’t, either.  HEED MY WARNING.  You are speaking to the queen of frugality, y’all.  When it comes to plumbing, tread lightly.  Which brings me to what I’m driving at today:

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1) Never, under any circumstances, pour grease down a drain.  This includes any type of grease and all drain types.  The damage won’t be instantaneous, but over time the fat and grease deposits collect and clog your system.  This can leave you with an overflow of sewage in your house.  Believe me, you don’t want that.  It may take 5, 10, or 15 years, but it’ll happen and it can be an expensive fix depending on whether you’re on septic tank or city sewage.  Don’t chance it.

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  • What to do instead: use a container (I use old detergent bottles) to catch the grease and a funnel (if necessary) to help direct it.  Wipe out any residue with a paper towel.  If any grease does get down the drain, pour some detergent that breaks down grease and hot water down the pipes to help further knock out the deposits.  Which brings me to….

2) Use a tough detergent.  Realistically, you can’t keep all the grease from escaping a pan or plate and going down the sink.  It’s gonna happen.  But, you can use a high-quality, non-store brand to help the eliminate any problems.  Again, I’m the Frugality Queen and I use a ton of store brand items, but dish detergent ain’t one of them.  I’ve even stopped using store brand and/or cheap laundry detergent due to the weird build-up they leave on my washer.  If it’s going down your plumbin’, make sure it’s properly suddin’.  You want your pipes as close to grime-free as possible.
3) On the opposite end of the toughness spectrum, you want to use something that easily degrades in the TP department.  Now listen, y’all.  I don’t mean use TP that don’t hold to blowing your nose, but it is SO important that you flush stuff that won’t clog or slowly disintegrate.  Our plumber recommends Scott or Angel Soft.  I’m not affiliated with either of those brands in a marketing sense, but I can tell you from experience that Angel Soft is where it’s at as far as being durable enough for a wipe but easily breaks down for pipes.  If you don’t use either of those brands, then be sure to follow-up monthly with toilet or plumbing enzymes such as Roto-Rooter.  In fact, Roto-Rooter has a toilet safe formula that is okay for those particular pipes.

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4) Invest in a good plumbing upkeep schedule.  Honest to God, this has really helped us keep BIG problems at bay.  There are all kinds of products that you can use to help things flowing well.  INVEST, INVEST, INVEST.  That bottle of Roto Rooter or Drano may cost $15, but fifteen bucks is a far cry from $1,500.  Again, been there — done that.  Looking for more of a green clean?  Check out Grove Collaborative for those options!
5) When in doubt, don’t flush it.  I’m not always 100% sold on “flushable” wet wipes and, as it turns out, neither are most plumbers.  Obviously you don’t want to stick other hygiene products, toys, etc., in the toilet, but sometimes crap happens.  You want to be prepared for the inevitable — especially if you have children or if you keep little incidentals around the facilities.  Lemme fill you in on a secret, guys: while it’s always good to have a normal vacuum, it’s also awesome to have a wet/dry ShopVac.  “What does this have to do with plumbing, Sarah?”  Well, I’ll tell you.  Having a ShopVac is freaking great for spills and floods.  Guess what it’s also good for?  Getting close-proximity clogs out of toilets.  Toys, stuck wet wipes, you name it — if it’s stuck within reach of an attached nozzle, you’re golden.  It’ll suck the lost item right out of there, no plumber needed.  BE CAREFUL not to push down on the object — you want the nozzle just close enough to pull whatever is stuck, out.  Bonus points: most ShopVacs have a reverse option.  Go outside or to a bathtub and let the vacuum do the rest (if using a tub make sure to have a drain catch installed so the object doesn’t relodge into another pipe).

Plumbing work is no fun and cleaning up water back-up is a nightmare.  Hopefully these five tips help you to have a better experience, whether you rent or own!

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Do you have any helpful plumbing tips?  Jot ’em down in the comments below!  I’m always game to add to my home-owner hack arsenal!

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10 Things I’ve Said to My Children in Walmart

As we grow older, we develop life stories.  Some parts of these stories are light-hearted and fun.  Other chapters are dark and gloomy.  Some are just “meh”; you know what I mean — we all wander out of the “wonder years” and straight into the “not-even-using-dry-shampoo-give-a-damn’s-busted”- ‘meh’ phase.  It happens to the best of us — don’t knock ya’self.  If you’re a parent, at least one and a half of those chapters take place at the grocery store.  If you’re an unlucky parent, that grocery store just so happens to be WalMart.

Now, look — if any of you are employees of WalMart, I’m not hating on your workplace (much).  WalMart is a necessary evil.  A necessary evil that I should be a stockholder of, but I digress.

Point being, we all hold our own dialogue, with our own children, from our own personal experiences in the aisles and check-out lanes of various markets.  My kids are generally well behaved in public.  Sure, they get rowdy on occasion and sometimes I threaten to leave them in the frozen food aisle (“WHERE ARE YOUR PARENTS, RANDOM HEATHEN?!”), but usually, the most damage that is ever done is me having to say really. weird. SHIT.  No, Classy Cathy; I don’t mean stuff.  I mean SHIT.  I have said some seriously off-the-wall, where-in-the-world-did-that-come-from crap.  And if you have ever had to run into the grocery with your children for, “Just eggs!” and you come out with everything but eggs, then you know my grief.

With that said, I’ve compiled a Top Ten list of my personal favorite “WTF?!” WalMart moments with my kids.

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10. You don’t have to have a new toy every time we come to the store.  Yes, that includes the poo emoji beanbag chair.
09. STOP POKING THE CHICKEN.
08. I don’t care if this is only WalMart and not Target, quit farting on your brother.
07. Quit staring at the bras.  You’re right — I don’t have a tiger striped bra.  Oh, I’m sure dad would laugh, alright.

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06. You know, they throw kids in WalMart jail for eating grapes that haven’t been purchased.  Don’t think I won’t let them keep you, either.
05. Yes, I see that she is wearing her pajamas.  No, you may not wear your pajamas next time.
04. Are you lic– WHY ARE YOU LICKING THE BUGGY?!

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03. No, you may not scan the baby’s butt.  Why?!  Because we’ve already paid for him, that’s why.
02. GET OUT OF THE FREEZER.
01. Go get in the car. Go GET in the CARGET IN THE CARRRRRRR.

All of the above was said in one shopping trip.  Last week.  The final week of summer.  Y’all, Connor started kindergarten today.  Do you know what that means?!  That means I get to go grocery shopping, nay, to WALMART, alone.  Unincumbered.  In (relative) silence.  There will be wine and dancing in the aisles and I don’t care who stares!

I hope I’m not alone in most of these (and seriously doubt that I am) and also hope you’ll comment below with your own grocery shopping proclamations and weirdness.  Like what you’ve read?  Hit the links below to follow me and subscribe for email notifications!

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Snack Thirty

Lemme just preface by saying this post isn’t about my snacking habits.

This time.

Before this summer, my kids weren’t super snack-y.  I mean, sure — from time to time they’d request gummies or an apple.  Nothing out of the ordinary and not super often.  Little did I know that dark days were upon our household.  Enter Summer 2018: the two and a half month period where my kids asked for snacks literally every ten minutes (no kidding — my oldest just came in and asked for a donut.  UH, NO).  I didn’t mind for about the first week.  I’d simply throw them a banana or give them a bowl of grapes and some water and send them on their way.  Then week two reared its ugly head; it was then that I realized my kitchen, nay, our LIVES would never be the same.

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Now, in case the obvious has escaped you, my parenting style is “sasshole”.   I haven’t always been this way, though.  No, there was a time when you could see me frolicking through the tulips, singing songs from The Sound of Music.  I’m done making apologies for that.  My kids are great, but they’re challenging.  It’s either be a sasshole or rock back and forth in a padded cell, and my insurance doesn’t cover that.  My kids, on the flip side, are newbie SNACKholes.  I mean, they could own Snickers commercials guys.  “Hungry?  Grab a case of Snickers.”  Except don’t, because: diabeetus.

My boys could have feasibly rivaled any hongry, hormonal woman during her monthly visit from Aunt Flo this summer.  Things got ugly, FAST.  You’d think that after almost 5 and 9 years of me being their mom that they’d know better.  Well, my children are smart, but no one has ever accused them of being Mensa smart.  And so the Battle of the (Mom’s Trying to Keep You From Developing a Stomach) Bulge began.  There were survivors — but only because I don’t do orange jumpsuits.  Also, I’m not mentally prepared to be anyone’s cell wife.

Listen, I’m no skinny-Minnie.  I’ve struggled with weight since I was a kid, partially because of a (legit) thyroid issue.  And I say “legit” thyroid issue because it’s just that — legit.  Not a, “I ate ten pies and a cake, and I don’t understand why my pants don’t fit” issue.  But because thyroid issues run through my family (as well as diabetes), I try really hard to make sure my kids understand that it’s okay to enjoy themselves but to believe in portion control and self-restraint.  My goal isn’t to be a party pooper, but for them to live their best lives — and part of that means self-control where eating is concerned.  My boys are healthy and active, but that doesn’t mean they can’t change those qualities one day down the road.

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It occurred to me that they could actually be hungry — they will be five and nine in the next week, after all.  Of course, they could also be bored (unlikely) or dehydrated (more likely).  So we agreed that they could have snacks if they A) had been largely active prior to eating a snack and B) had consumed x-amount of water prior to snacks.  This wasn’t a huge deal for either of them because they are pretty much constantly active and they both drink water without complaint.  I also told them that large amounts of junk food were out of the question and that our snack choices would be healthy.  At first, they were worried that snacks would be gross.  I distinctly remember Gabe saying, “Are we just going to eat lettuce all day?  Because we don’t like lettuce.”  And I get it — snacks are a part of childhood memories.  I assured him he wouldn’t eat lettuce 24/7 and that I would find fun, healthy alternatives.  He didn’t believe me.

Enter KidFresh Triple Cheese Pizza Bites.  They’re packed with hidden veggies which include pureed carrots and spinach (joke’s on you, bud!) and made with whole wheat flour.  There’s no high fructose corn syrup and nothing chemically engineered, so I feel totally cool with letting my kids nom on these!  Bonus: my kids love them and never believe me when I tell them about the “hidden” veggies.  And while KidFresh Pizza bites are considered a snack, I’ve even given them to my kids as lunch with a not-so-hidden vegetable and cup of applesauce.  Winning!

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My oldest starts school tomorrow and Connor begins a week after.  I’ve already promised them that these will be in our freezer ready for a school-afternoon-snack the minute they walk in the door — give or take fifteen minutes.

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photo courtesy: me. illustrations courtesy: kidfresh website.

Disclosure: The above opinions are those of my own; I am receiving no compensation from KidFresh brand, nor have I been approached by them to advertise.  This is simply a product that we, as a family, have tried and have enjoyed.  Any opinions given are given purely as personal recommendations to other parents and/or anyone interested in healthier snack options for little ones.  The above image is linked to the KidFresh website; illustrations are not my own.

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Poop & Circumstance

“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.” – Mary Poppins

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There’s a reason her name wasn’t Mary Poopins, y’all, and clearly, she never had to deal with one of Jane or Michael’s poop diapers. Sometimes there simply isn’t a big enough spoonful of sugar to make those BM explosions go away.

You’ll find a common theme in my posts among the rest of my Disney references that involve Miss Poppins. Girl had it going on, y’all, and I’d kill for that bag (in an updated fabric, of course). But, as is characteristic of opinions, I have to disagree with one of my favorite fictional characters on her “element of fun” mantra. I just can’t see myself gettin’ jiggy with a poop disaster. Sorry, lady — “A” for effort!

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I’m not necessarily complaining about diaper changes, guys. It comes with the territory, after all, and truth be told I’d rather deal with having to hose my kid down than having a little one with constipation issues. On that note, however, a spoonful of sugar ain’t gonna help that issue, either.

Being a mom of three, I feel like I can confidently say I’ve seen my fair share of different tummy and booty-cover nightmares. All three of my guys have had varied tummy issues, all of which have been a chore to sort out. Gabe was lactose intolerant until pre-k and, thankfully, we figured that out relatively quickly. He took to almond milk products really well and still likes them even now. Connor was my easiest to figure out as far as gastrointestinal fun goes, but even now his tummy can’t hold much of anything which leaves him as a “grazer”; no lie, it takes him an hour to eat dinner — or anything, for that matter — and even then he becomes full quickly. Mason has occasional bouts of constipation, which can be normal for his age, but Lord when he is experiencing constipation it’s a doozy. He has been harder to figure out as far as formula goes because he also deals with moderate acid reflux from time-to-time.

When he hit six months he was able to begin eating small amounts of whole milk yogurt. I bought a brand that I’d been eyeing since he was a newborn and was so excited to give it a go. I was a little nervous giving it to him as sometimes yogurt can be a little sour, but I was determined to try it anyway and hopeful that it would grow on him eventually. As luck would have it, he loved it and, bonus!, his tummy loves it, as well. The probiotics in HappyFamilyOrganics have done wonders with helping regulate his digestive system and the taste is absolutely on point. They aren’t limited to just yogurt for babies though, guys! Their products begin with mommas (breastfeeding bars!), and move on to babies, toddlers, and kiddos!

Listen, I’m in no way getting paid or otherwise reimbursed for my opinions. This may be a no-no in the blogosphere, but I just really felt like other moms and dads out there might need a recharge for baby tummies. I sure did! You all should also note that this product is being used in addition to small amounts of gripe water (when needed!). I try really hard not to give in to gas drops and gripe water unless absolutely necessary, although neither hurt him (gripe water is 100% natural! — here is the brand we use for drops and GW).

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I’ll be so glad once we are all finally past the baby tummy ache stage — I hate it when they hurt! But I am relieved to know that there are products out there that help keep everything moving as they should. What are some remedies or products you use or have used? Hit me up! Like this post? Sharing is caring!

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My Favorite Gifts for Kiddos

I’m a mom of three boys — invites to kids’ birthday parties come with the territory. Ditto on my own boys’ parties. There’s not a month that we don’t have at least one shindig to attend, and I’m totally fine with that. I need the socializing as much as my kids do, and what better place to connect with other mom friends than at a place where there’s guiltless cake and probably wine of some sort? (I’m in the south — don’t judge.)

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Because I’ve got three kids with ages ranging from 6 months to 8 years, I’ve definitely got my favorite “go-to” gifts for other kids. I try to stray from trendy items because:

A) Often times, they already have those toys, or

B) I’m not 100% sure what he or she is into.

Look, we all want our kids to enjoy themselves. And it is totally fine for our littles to be drawn to the latest, greatest, & loudest. But coming from a mom whose children are surrounded by loud toy guns, trucks, video games, and Legos (if you think Legos can’t be loud, then clearly you’ve never been around a boy with Legos), sometimes I prefer to give other kids fun activities (with minimal mess) and their moms a much-deserved break from all things battery operated.

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The things I’ve got in store for you today still allow kids to be kids, but it also provides an opportunity for fun family experiences. I hope you find something cool for your little guy or gal’s next birthday party adventure!

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  2. Fun subscription boxes

    *The above boxes are from Kiwi & Co. I am not affiliated with nor am I receiving any sort of compensation from Kiwi & Co.

  3. Movie passes with enough for drink/snack
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    Image found here: https://www.etsy.com/market/movie_ticket
  4. Age appropriate arts & crafts sets.

    *Brit+Co Metal Stamp Necklace Kit

    *Discovery Kids Crane Tower Set

  5. Board games

    *The Oregon Trail

    *Where in the World is Carmen San Diego

    Speak Out: Kids vs. Parents

I also love incorporating books of some sort into my gift, especially for little ones. What are some of your go-to gifts for kids? I’m always game to add to my list of ideas.