Top Gifts for Boys 2015 (Ages 5-8)

Top Gifts for Boys 2015
Top Gifts for Boys 2015

I received a few of these products at no cost for inclusion in my gift guide, but not most.  This post contains affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure for more information.

Are you ready for the holidays?  The boys have asked for so many different things for Christmas, but I have made a collection of gifts that I think will be the biggest, top gifts for boys ages 5-8 this year.  Some of them are NOT brand new toys, but are still loved favorites.  And, it should be noted that these toys are NOT just for boys.  Since I am a boy mom, I cannot speak for the girls, but my guess, though, is that boys and girls alike, and even grown up boys and girls will love these gifts!

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Cooking With Kids Recipes Cookbook Is A Great Gift for Grandparents or Grandchildren!

Cooking With Kids Recipes Cookbook

Finding gifts that parents, grandparents, and kids alike can be tricky.  We want to encourage quality time with the kids, both for us and the grandparents, so I know this sweet book would be loved by all.  The Berenstain Bears' Country Cookbook: Cub-Friendly Cooking With An Adult is wonderful and the perfect gift to encourage togetherness.

Even at 7 years-old, the Captain was so excited to get this book.  He thumbed through the pages and picked out a few favorites that we could make together.  He loved the idea of enchiladas and we made them that very night.  There are some truly delicious ideas in this fun book!

There are many cooking with kids recipes in this cookbook!  From "Bear-y Delicious Scones" for breakfast, to mini pizzas, chicken quesadillas, and even some delicious desserts and snacks like a mug brownie or blue-beary pie, there is so much to choose from.  The Captain wants to make these crustless tuna sandwiches together soon:

Cooking With Kids Recipes Cookbook

At the end of the book, there is a precious prayer to pray before meals.  Also, a "Sweet Facts About Honey" page and a Kitchen Measurements help sheet make the cookbook extra special.

If you have a child that loves the Berestain Bears, loves cooking with parents or grandparents, or just need a gift for a child that you love, definitely head over to Family Christian and a copy of this book.  It's utterly sweet and will provide for many delicious meals, all made with a little one.  And, enter to win one of two copies in the Rafflecopter below!

Visit the Sci Tech Discovery Center in Frisco, Texas {Giveaway, Too!}

The boys have always been go, go, go.  They want to do everything, see everything, and explore everything that there is to explore.  A few weeks ago, we took the boys to the Sci Tech Discovery Center in Frisco, Texas.  The wind was cool that day, but they needed to get some energy out, so this was the perfect family outing.  The discovery center is the perfect size for exploring different exhibits without having to walk everywhere.  It is open and spacious, and we all really had a fun afternoon there.

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Throw a #StickAPic Photo Party for Teens!

Throwing a StickAPic Photo Party for Teens

As an HP Smart Mom Panel member, I received products at no cost in order to host the HP #StickAPic party. The opinions expressed here are my own.  contains affiliate links, check my disclosure for more information

Throwing a Photo Party for Teens

Hubby is a youth minister and has events for the youth group often.  Yesterday, he threw a big area wide event for our youth group and five other churches.  Over 80 teens and pre-teens joined together to eat, worship, and have fun together!  Events like this are always a huge undertaking, but so much fun and well worth it.  I received a great StickAPic party supply box around the time he was planning the event, so we planned a fun photo party for the teens!  In the party box was HP ink, HP social media snapshots sticky photo paper, glue, decorations, plates, napkins, snacks, craft supplies and embellishments, and a Michael's gift card for purchasing extra craft supplies.

At first, I was not sure that the teens would be up for this idea, but it turned out great and they LOVED it!  I mean really, what teen doesn't love taking pictures?  The theme of the night was "Not Alone," about how even when we aren't with anyone, God is with us.  So the instructions were simple…find a friend or more and I'll take your picture for you.  (No selfies!)  We got a few props, which some used and some didn't:

Throwing a StickAPic  Photo Party for Teens

A friend made a vibrant backdrop out of PVC pipe, colored tablecloths, and decorations:

Throwing a StickAPic  Photo Party for Teens

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Top Gifts for Preschoolers

Gifts for Preschoolers

This post contains some affiliate links. Some products were given at no cost. Please read my disclosure for more information.

Top Gifts for Preschoolers

Preschoolers are so much fun to shop for!  They are becoming more independent, are generally more excited about Christmas than the previous years, and with my kids, this is the age where they are happy with just about whatever they get!  The possibilities are truly endless when shopping for preschool-aged kids, but I've collected some of our very favorites for this holiday season.  Check back often because I'll be adding more of the best gifts for preschoolers throughout the season!

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Happy 7th Birthday, Captain Fussybuckets! {Plus a Free Birthday Interview Printable}

Happy Birthday Isn't it crazy??  The Captain is already 7 years old.  SEVEN.  He's in first grade and reading chapter books, but prefers playing sports….any sport will do, especially if it is outside!  He is a great big brother and makes us proud each and every day.  He wanted to celebrate his birthday by cheering on his team, the Seattle Seahawks, as they played the local favorites, the Dallas Cowboys.  Wouldn't you know, they won!  We had a blast eating hot wings that Daddy grilled, crazy bark, cake, chips, and more.  It was a great day after Halloween party…ha! 

Every year, I like to give the boys a "birthday interview" and chronicle it on the blog.  Here are his answers from this year, and if you scroll to the bottom, you'll find a free printable of a modified birthday interview that I have created for you.  Enjoy!


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How to Make Your Sick Toddler Feel Better…Naturally

How to Make Your Sick Toddler Feel Better...NaturallyWith the first cool, fall wind blowing through Texas, I know that it's time to start preparing for cold and flu season.  We all have bouts with allergies, viruses, coughs, and more during fall and winter, despite all that we do to prevent us from getting sick.  Sometimes all of the prevention is not good enough, and we need to have things on hand just to make the littles feel better when they're sick!

A few years ago, we were able to try Maty's Healthy Products.  We really enjoyed their natural products for kids, so I was happy to stock our medicine cabinet with Maty's products once again.   Wouldn't you know, Baby Brother, who is almost 2, came down with a cold last week and developed a pretty nasty cough that kept waking him up at night.  I rubbed some Maty's Baby Chest Rub on his feet and put a pair of socks on him and sent him back to bed.  The all natural baby chest rub did the trick and he was able to sleep the rest of the night without his cough waking him up.  And you know, if it helps the baby to sleep better and NOT wake me up all night, then it's a huge blessing!

How to Make Your Sick Toddler Feel Better...NaturallyI love that Maty's baby chest rub is all natural, petroleum and menthol free, and well…it works!  I'll admit, I had my doubts, but the way it helped Baby Brother night after night, really has me sold.

How to Make Your Sick Toddler Feel Better...NaturallyI've become frustrated with coughs since having children.  It's just so sad to hear your little ones coughing and not being able to sleep soundly.  We have tried numerous things to treat coughs, but there really aren't very many choices for cough syrup for any kids under about 6, because they are not safe.  Maty's provides drug-free relief with their cough syrup for children.  Just look at the ingredients list:How to Make Your Sick Toddler Feel Better...Naturally

My last "must have" for the cold and flu season is Maty's petroleum free baby ointment.  This stuff is great for diaper rashes, eczema, and the sore and red nose that comes from wiping it a million times a day.  (My secret tip that I learned from hubby is to sneak in after they go to sleep and slather them with this stuff so they don't fuss and rub it off!)  It works to protect the skin and create a barrier from moisture.  And the fact that it's natural and petroleum free is awesome!

How to Make Your Sick Toddler Feel Better...Naturally

Maty's is available in many places, including my favorite grocery store, HEB, along with Amazon, Target, and the Maty's website.  Also, look on the site for the store locator, product info, and all about these wonderful products!

How do you prepare for cold and flu season?

Glow-In-The-Dark Star Wars Pyramid Bean Bags

My little guys are really getting into "Star Wars."  It all started with "Angry Birds Star Wars," oddly enough, but now they're crazy about it.  So much so, that the Captain is going to be Darth Vader and D will be Luke Skywalker for Halloween.  Hubby loves the movies and while the boys haven't seen them yet, they love reading about Star Wars, hearing Daddy talk about it, and of course role-playing.  Hubby can't wait to see the new Star Wars movie!

A few months ago, I found some adorable Star Wars glow-in-the-dark fabric on eBay and knew I needed to get a project started for the boys.  I remember learning how to make pyramid bean bags in college in an Elementary Physical Education class, and I knew the boys would flip for Star Wars bean bags!  (I found this awesome glow-in-the-dark Darth Vader material on Amazon if you can't locate this particular print on eBay.)  Star Wars is HUGELY popular right now, in case you missed it, so you can probably easily find fabric that you love.  (Also, in the pictures, if you are wondering, is the awesomely cool Millennium Falcon from Playskool.  It has been a HUGE hit with all three boys.  It comes with R2-D2, Han Solo, and Chewbacca, and Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker are sold seperately.)

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What Are The BEST and WORST Halloween Candies For Your Child’s Teeth?

This Halloween post has been brought to you by Jefferson Dental.  All opinions are mine.

This Halloween post has been brought to you by Jefferson Dental.  All opinions are mine.

For quite some time, I tried to keep candy away from my oldest.  Ha!  With candy at every holiday, church gathering, school event, and even the bank and other stores, it was impossible.  I did think to teach him about moderation and teeth brushing, but it is a constant struggle, for sure.

The effects that Halloween candy can have on your little monster’s teeth will make you scream. Although one night of candy probably won’t hurt, prolonged snacking can cause wear on tooth enamel.  I've gleaned some great tips from Jefferson Dental for the best and worst candies for your (children's) teeth!  While you sort candy together, keep in mind these tips for picking treats that are best and worst for your bewitching smile!

Candy to Avoid

  • Hard candy that slowly dissolves in your mouth like Jolly Ranchers or suckers can be especially harmful because of the amount of time the sugars sit on the tooth’s surface.
  • Jaw breakers and other hard candies can chip teeth and dental crowns.
  • Chewy candy like taffies, toffies, gummies and caramels can get stuck in the crevices of your teeth, and continue promoting decay for hours or even days!

Candy that is "Okay"

  • Sugar-free candies and gums are best for adult and developing teeth. In fact, some of them actually encourage saliva production, which is the #1 defendant against cavities.
  • Chocolate-based sweets, especially dark chocolate, rinse from teeth easily and in some cases have even been shown to provide beneficial antioxidants when ingested.
  • Powdery candy, while sugar-based, dissolves quickly and doesn’t stick to teeth.

Alternative Halloween Treats

  • Apples with yogurt are a good “sweet” snack that doesn’t coat the teeth in sugar. Apples are thought to be good for the teeth because the natural crunch disturbs plaque.
  • Carrots, cucumbers and celery with dressing. Veggies aren’t the top choice for kids on Halloween but try out these  fun ways to serve up healthy alternatives.
  • Crackers, popcorn and savory snacks come in festive fun-size packaging like Halloween candies do, but rinse from teeth more easily than sugary snacks. Be wary of sticky, marshmallow or caramel coated treats that stick to teeth.
  • Drink water while eating candy to help rinse sugar off of teeth. Beware of chasing Halloween candy with soda or fruit juice that add another layer of sugar on the surface of the teeth.

Halloween tricks and treats will make you smile but to avoid the ghostly effects on your teeth of continuous sugar snacking, always brush, floss and rinse your mouth after eating candies. Help kids understand the healthy limitations of eating Halloween candy and the importance of good oral hygiene to ensure a Halloween full of smiles.

Take care of your child's teeth every day to avoid dental issues.  Check the infographic below for great tips!

Dental Health for Kids

Make Fire Safety Fun! Throw a Party to Help Kids Learn and Make a DIY Paw Patrol Badge, too!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. Teach your kids about fire safety. #ChangeYourClock #CollectiveBias#ChangeYourClockOur boys have always loved to play dress-up.  If there is one real profession that they love pretending to be the most, it is a firefighter.  I think it has to do with getting to spray a really huge hose and that they drive huge red trucks, but the boys just love it.  Their love for being firemen has allowed us to teach them key facts when it comes to fire safety.  Since they were all old enough to walk, and probably even before, we have been teaching them that we do not touch hot things, don't touch the oven or stove, don't play with lighters or matches, etc, like all parents teach their kids.  But, there is really so much more to be taught when it comes to fire safety.

I realized it was time to have a big family discussion about fire safety, what to do in case there is a fire, and what a smoke detector is.  (I figured they should know that it's not just something that goes off when Mommy burns something.)  With the time change coming up, I had already picked up some Energizer® MAX® 9V batteries at Target to change out our existing batteries in our smoke alarms.


I told the boys that we would be having a "Fire Safety Party" and they were excited!  They dressed up in their fire fighter gear and we took the party outside.  I made it very kid friendly with a coloring sheet, crayons, cupcakes, and also a DIY Paw Patrol badge craft.
fire cupcakesMommy's attempt at fire cupcakes. The "fire" is melted cherry Jolly Ranchers that had been broken up.Fire Safety

Download the coloring page and Household Safety Checklist and printables that we used!

We then made a pretty simple DIY Paw Patrol badge.  I am confessing that I used a badge printable template online, and they were easy for the Captain to make.  The boys were so excited to have a badge like Marshall's from the Paw Patrol, which is one show that they all love!  Dogs helping out, who can resist?

DIY Paw Patrol BadgeMaterials needed for Paw Patrol badge:

  • one sheet of white foam
  • one sheet of red paper
  • one sheet of yellow paper
  • liquid school glue (glue stick doesn't work…we tried)
  • one large safety pin per badge
  • hot glue gun, for parents' use only
  • scissors
  • optional – badge template if you are like me and cannot freehand one!

paw patrol badgeDirections:

  1. Trace badge template or freehand a badge shape onto white foam paper.
  2. Trace smaller badge template or freehand a smaller one on red paper.
  3. Cut out white badge and red badge
  4. Use liquid glue to attach red badge on top of the white foam badge.  You don't want to use too much glue, so smooth it out with your finger or a paint brush prior to attaching it to the foam.  
  5. The foam is difficult to stick to, so I turned the badge over after I had glued the red badge on top and put a book on top for about 3-5 minutes to make it flat and smooth.
  6. Meanwhile, cut a flame shape out of the yellow paper.  This was a little trickier for the Captain, so I helped.
  7. Glue the yellow flame on top of the red paper on the badge.
  8. When your badge is complete, hot glue a large safety pin on the back of the badge, leaving the pin side outwards so it's easy to attach to your child's clothing.
  9. After the hot glue has dried, attach to clothing and let the Paw Patrol fun begin!

Paw Patrol Marshall Badge

After that, Daddy gave the boys a great lesson on changing the batteries in our smoke detectors.  He showed them how to do it, talked about what smoke detectors were for, and more about fire safety.

#ChangeYourClockHe then showed the boys how to check to see if the smoke detector was working properly with the test button.

#ChangeYourClocksD wasn't a fan of the loud noise, but it was helpful for him to see how and what the loud smoke dector is for!

Did you know that Energizer® and the International Association of Fire Chiefs started the "Change Your Clocks Change Your Batteries" program 28 years ago after realizing that many houses had smoke detectors with missing, disconnected, or dead batteries?   Throughout this important program, they have donated more than 5 million batteries in coordination with local fire departments to help make sure more families have working smoke alarms.  Smoke alarms provide an early warning to families and cuts the risk of dying in a house fire in half!  It's amazing that a simple working battery can save your life.  So remember that whenever it's time to change your clocks, it's time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors, too!  Teach your kids so they can help you remember and keep you accountable.

How do you teach your children about fire safety in the home?