Becoming a Gift Detective {and a Target gift card giveaway}

Figuring out what your kids *really* want by becoming a Gift Detective ::: SimpleKids.net #MyKindofHoliday

Note: I’m a member of the Target Inner Circle and Target provided the gift card for this post.

At our house we keep gift giving simple by using Want, Need, Wear, Read as our gift guide.  The need, wear, and read are usually pretty straight forward, but the want can be difficult to figure out.

My kids, and I suspect some of your children, have no problem at all rattling off a gift list when asked.  Sometimes my kids will want something and we know about it for months ahead of time and that makes it easy to shop for them.

The tricky part is when the items on a child’s wish list change constantly.  Depending on the day, their mood, or most recent commercial influences, or what cool things they saw at a friend’s house, sometimes  their most wanted item changes.  It is hard to know exactly what to give them in the face of such indecisiveness.

Or maybe one of your kids is like my daughter Jillian was when she was a preschooler and knew exactly what she wanted but wouldn’t spill the beans to anyone but Santa himself.

Because we keep it simple, I want to make sure that their wanted item is something that they really want and I need to keep the secret from being discovered until Christmas morning.  This is where the fine art of being a gift detective comes in.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is do to some intelligence gathering and 1) find our what your kids really want and 2) keep it a secret until Christmas.

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Target Inner Circle Holiday Party 101: DIY decor for a happy kids’ table

at the kids' table
Note:  I’m a member of the Target Inner Circle and Target gave me a gift card to use for materials for this post. All opinions are my own.

It is the time of year for holiday gatherings and friends and family.  This year, the Target Inner Circle would like to invite you to our Holiday Party 101, where we’ve got you covered with ideas and tips for everything from the perfect party play list to eco friendly hostess gifts to kid-friendly party fun.

Today, I’m sharing with you some fun DIY decorating ideas for a happy kids’ table. 

Sure, the youngest members of the party might be relegated to a card table in the living room, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be merry and bright!

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Magical holiday fun starring my hometown: Fortville Winter Festival Giveaway!

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My family and I have lived in Fortville, Indiana for almost ten years now.  This beautiful, friendly small town is a pretty special place, and I rarely miss a chance to brag about all of the wonderful things for families Fortville has to offer.

A very special holiday event and family tradition is just around the corner:  the Fortville Winter Festival!  Local friends, consider this your formal invitation from me to attend and kick your holidays off to a joyful, small town, family fun start!

Hosted by Fortville Action, Inc. this festival will be held in downtown Fortville on Saturday December 7, 2013 from 2pm to 8pm.

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Turning our home into a Christmas tree forest #MyKindofHoliday

Orange Monkey ornament for kids #MyKindofHoliday

Note:  I’m a member of the Target Inner Circle and Target generously gave us a gift card to use to facilitate this post.

It all started last weekend when Max asked if we could set his Christmas tree up in his room so he could use it “like a night light.”  It had been a long, difficult week.  “It is a little early,” I thought, “but we could use some Christmas spirit around here, so why not?”

So, as is our tradition, we picked out this year’s special ornaments for the kids’ trees and set aside an evening last week to decorate.

Yes, you read that right, I said trees, plural.  We keep things simple at our house, but when it comes to Christmas trees we might be a little bit silly.  Okay, we might be a whole lot of silly!

When I was growing up one of my favorite aunts used to host Christmas for the family and she had a tree in every room of her house (Hi, Aunt Connie!). To me her home was like the North Pole, a really magical and happy place.  I guess putting up our trees reminds me of some of my favorite holidays growing up.

I keep things pretty simple when it comes to the rest of our holiday decor, but I don’t seem to be able to resist trees (each one bought at an after-Christmas sale) and pretty twinkling lights.

whitetree

Sometimes you just have to act on a whim and throw out the rules, or at least bend them so they work for you, so we began turning our home into a Christmas tree forest.

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10 Great Gifts for Kids under $25 {2013 edition}

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Note: there are affiliate links in this post.  Thanks!

Instead of reinventing the wheel, I’ve dusted off last year’s gift ideas list and updated it for 2013 with new recommendations according to the currents ages and stages of my own kids.

I hope to present you with a few thoughtful choices rather than an over-abundance of things that will be turn into next Summer”s “junk.” At my house we follow the Want, Need, Wear, Read philosophy and we try to stick with quality over quantity.  You know I love toys that encourage creativity and the fewer batteries required, the better.

While you are making your lists, and checking them twice, here are a few great gift ideas for kids that are under $25:

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