Give Your Children Christmas Every Month!


There it was in my Facebook feed, a picture of my 7 year-old nephew holding up a $60 box of Star Wars Legos he wants for Christmas with a remark from his father saying he was thinking of starting a GoFundMe account for Christmas.  Yes, his dad was joking.  But the price of those little plastic bricks?  Definitely not a joke.  Legos are expensive!

My brother-in-law’s comment got me thinking about just how expensive toys can be, especially with the holidays coming up.   Did you know that recent studies show families spend an average of $1,000 dollars per child per year on toys?    With new toys coming out throughout the year, and changing interests of the child, many of those toys don’t get played with very long.  (I know we have a few toys that the kids really wanted, but that have only been played with a few times.)  Being able to rent those toys would mean a huge savings to a family.

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Pley.  All opinions are 100% my own.  

Save money on toys this Christmas with Pley! #sp


That is exactly what mom Elina Furman, co-founder of Pley, thought when she started the company.  Imagine a company that is like Netflix for toys; that is Pley.  For as low as $20 a month, your child gets to play with new toys each month.  So, if your child really wants to build the Millenium Falcon Lego set, but you know they won’t play with it afterwards?  Now they can build it, show it off, and when they are finished you simply send it back and receive a new toy.

Rent Lego toys with Pley and save money


With Pley, your children are never bored. It’s like Christmas every month.

Instead of spending your money on toys your child will be bored with in just a couple weeks, being frustrated each time you see it collecting dust on the shelf, Pley is a gift that keeps giving.  Not only will your children enjoy receiving new toys in the mail, but you’ll appreciate having less clutter when it comes to toys that aren’t being played with.

Pley has toys for everyone from preschool age and up.  Imagine 400 sets of Legos to choose from, all at your fingertips, including those hard to find sets and discontinued ones.  (My son is super excited to find they have some of the Monster Hunter Lego sets he is interested in.)   Their catalog also includes K’NEX and a variety of robotics and educational toys.

Want to learn more?  Check out Pley’s website to see how easy it is to give Pley as a gift.  You can also follow Pley on Facebook for all the latest news.


The next time my brother-in-law shares a picture of my nephew with yet another Lego set he would love to build, I’m going to suggest they check out Pley.  In fact, I may have just found the perfect Christmas present for him this year.


Simple Way to Teach Kids to Give Back


The sound of the bell ringing next to the red kettle outside the grocery store brings back childhood memories.  Each year my mom would give me a bit of change to drop into the kettle.  For me the holiday season isn’t just about family and kids circling toys in the store ads, it’s also a time to give back.  This year, along with our usual Operation Christmas Child boxes, the kids and I have decided to give back to those that keep our community safe.


simple way to teach kids to give back to the community


With two very full buckets of Halloween candy, there is no way we would ever eat it all.   This year when the kids sorted through the candy stash, we put some aside to make thank you bags for the local police and fire department.

Want to make your own thank you bags for those that keep your community safe?

  • Fill sandwich bags with 8-10 pieces of candy.  We tried to include a variety:  several different mini candy bars, Twizzlers, and a lollipop.
  • Add a short note to personalize it.

teaching kids to give back


We filled 15 bags to give back to local police and firemen.  We plan to drop off several at the fire department.  We are keeping a few in the car to hand to police officers we may see when out doing errands.

simple way to give back to police and fire dept.


This year the kids will get a chance to toss a bit of spare change into that red kettle at the grocery store.  They’ll also get a chance to thank our local heroes for keeping us safe each day with this simple way to give back.

Finding Hope in the Storm



I just wanted to be alone.  I left my phone on the table, making sure I would not be disturbed by modern conveniences.  Grabbing the umbrella by the door, I put on my boots and called for the dog.  As we walked through the pouring rain in our back field, I started to pray.

My dad had faced a series of health issues over the past year.  Most recently he had gone in for a bone biopsy.  It was taking longer for the results than we were originally told, and everyone’s anxiety was increasing.  There is only so many times you can hear a loved one talk about “when I’m gone,” before you break, and I had reached my limit.

I prayed that it wouldn’t be bone cancer.  I prayed it would be something manageable.  I prayed for a few more years with my Daddy.  I prayed for a sign.

The rain was still coming down in buckets when I reached the tree-line that borders our back field.  As the tears streamed down my face something made me look up.  That’s when I saw it.

The most beautiful rainbow I had ever seen.  

It was a complete rainbow, seeming to stretch from behind our neighbor’s house all the way across the sky to a field down the way.  The colors were bright and vivid against the gloomy sky.  Not only that, but there was a second, slightly lighter rainbow above it.  A double rainbow.

I fell to my knees, in awe of how beautiful it was.  I could not take my eyes from it.

Unlike so many rainbows that vanish as soon as you see them, this one lasted a long, long time.  And I knew in my heart that I was meant to see it.  It was my sign.  And like that, my fears were gone.  I still didn’t know the results of that biopsy, but I knew there was hope.  And I knew I wasn’t alone.

a reminder of the power of hope and that we are not alone in our darkest hours

How a Turkey Craft Can Improve Fine Motor Skills


The laundry had piled up.  All the pants with an elastic waistband were in the dirty clothes, so I grabbed the lone pair of hand-me-down blue jeans my son has and helped him put them on.  It wasn’t until he had to use the restroom that I realized my mistake.  He couldn’t undo the fastener.

Fine motor skills are something lots of kids need help with.  This week we did a simple turkey craft to help strengthen those fine motor skills.


simple preschool turkey craft with beans -- great for fine motor skills!

Make your own colorful turkey craft, and sneak in fine motor skills, too!

A variety of dried beans, split peas, pasta, and even rice (we used rainbow rice) will give your child plenty of choices and colors to craft with.    A paper plate makes a nice palette to display all the dried beans, etc.


dried bean turkey craft


Keep in mind that spills can happen.   You will want to wait to sweep the floor until after craft time.  If you really want to keep the mess down, have children sit on a plastic tablecloth on the floor to craft.  You can easily pick up the cloth afterwards and shake the mess into the trash.

Once the kids are ready to craft, trace their hand on the center of a paper plate.  Paper plates are stronger than regular paper, which tends to be too flimsy for the weight of all the dried beans once the craft dries.

Use paintbrushes to apply craft glue inside the hand print.  You will need a thick layer to keep beans in place.

hand print turkey craft with beans


Then comes the real fun!

Let your child choose from the dried beans and pasta to decorate their hand print turkey.  Picking up each bean and placing it onto the hand print is great for building those fine motor skills.    Those fine motor skills are important when it comes to hand writing, buttoning clothes, and turning pages in a book.

preschooler turkey craft


Once your child is finished decorating their turkey, they can add a googly eye and use markers to add a beak, waddle, and legs.

Be sure to let it dry completely before hanging it up to display.


Thanksgiving hand print turkey craft


I have been trying to incorporate more fine motor skills activities (like this turkey craft) into our day.  After all, I won’t always be there to help unfasten those stubborn buttons on a pair of blue jeans.



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