Our 10 Favorite Toys to Encourage Creativity

How to Encourage Creative Play with the Right Toys


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Our Favorite Toys to Encourage Creativity

Toys can accumulate so quickly in the family home. Too many toys can lead to less space, over spending, and frustration among parents as well as children.

Just recently we have decided to eliminate toys that will be only played once or twice and then forgotten about. Now we are working on limiting toys to those which encourage creativity.

When it comes to the best toys to encourage creativity there is a huge selection to choose from. This can help relieve some of the guilt from eliminating useless toys.

Toys that encourage creativity are often the simplest. These toys allow children to engage in open-ended play, use their imagination, and coordination which are all important for development.

In our own home, the following toys are our favorites. 

1. Building blocks. Our boys enjoy playing with both mega blocks and wooden blocks. They build fences for farm animals, car garages and houses.

2. Animal figurines. Most popular in our home are bugs, dinosaurs, and farm animals.

3. Balls. Any ball that encourages physical movements such as catching, throwing, and kicking are winners.

4. Crafts. This can include anything from gluing, painting, sticker fun, etc. One of our favorites is cutting pieces of colored paper and gluing them on paper to create objects such as butterflies and fish.

5. Puzzles. Start out simple and increase pieces as your child masters them. These can also be done as a family and is a great chance to connect with your children.


Blitsy

6. Cars. Stick with good quality cars that will last more than a day or two. Hot Wheels and Matchbox are more expensive to buy however they will cost less than buying plastic cars every second day.

7. Play food and kitchen utensils. We don't have any large play kitchen appliances. Our boys have a small assortment of play food, dishes, and cooking utensils that seem to keep them happy.

8. Colored pencils, markers, or crayons with paper. Allow your children total freedom to draw whatever they want even if its just scribbles. It is interesting to see the combination of colors they use.

9. Play dough. We tend to do this activity as a family. It gives us a chance to encourage creativity and imagination. It also helps us to keep the play dough from being tracked around the rest of the home.

10. Books. Our boys enjoy everything from story books to picture textbooks including human anatomy, science, and world maps.


Our Favorite Toys to Encourage Creativity

What are some of your favorite toys to encourage creativity in your children?



Shop the Rebecca Minkoff's Collection

Shop Rebecca Minkoff's Collection


**I was compensated for this Post. This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.


In collaboration with Rebecca Minkoff, Stella & Dot just launched a brand new collection! The collection is made up of new pieces, which were designed and handcrafted in New York City.

Rebecca Minkoff is an award winning designer, entrepreneur, and mother who has made her mark in the fashion industry with feminine, yet subtly edgy designs.

In this exciting new collaboration, these special pieces are both delicate and powerful, bold and approachable. Here are just a few of the pieces available.

Celestial Ear Climbers

Celestial ear climbers

These shiny gold ear climbers line the earlobes with cascading celestial accents. These special pieces are both delicate and powerful, bold and approachable.

Cameron Charm Choker

Cameron charm choker

Five hand-set pave charms perfectly spaced on a delicate shiny gold choker.

Stella & Dot

The pieces from this collection are sure to fit in with your current fall wardrobe or upcoming winter wear. Shop the Rebecca Minkoff's Collection.



Health Benefits of Ginger

10 Reasons to Include Ginger in your Diet


**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.


Health Benefits of Ginger

Ginger truly does top the list of effective natural home remedies. Being used throughout history by different cultures around the world, ginger harnesses an incredible healing power proven for a host of ailments. The spice is packed with essential nutrients and rejuvenating compounds.

1. Strengthens immunityGinger helps improve the immune system. Consuming a little bit ginger a day can help foil potential risk of a stroke by inhibiting fatty deposits from the arteries. It also decreases bacterial infections in the stomach, and helps battle a bad cough and throat irritation.

2. Maintains Normal Blood Circulation. Ginger contains chromium, magnesium and zinc which can help to improve blood flow, as well as help prevent chills, fever, and excessive sweat.

3. Improves absorption. Ginger improves the absorption and stimulation of essential nutrients in the body. It does this by stimulating gastric and pancreatic enzyme secretion.

4. Relieves stomach discomfort. Ginger is ideal in assisting digestion, thereby improving food absorption and avoiding possible stomach ache. Ginger appears to reduce inflammation in a similar way to aspirin and ibuprofen.

5. Fights pain and inflammation. Ginger’s pain-relieving health benefits are likely a result of the many potent antioxidant compounds it contains.

6. Relieves congestion. Ginger is both diffusive and stimulating which can help loosen up mucus that is stuck. You can rub some over the chest or make a strong ginger tea to relieve congestion.


VitaSprings

7. Treat nausea caused by viruses and motion sickness. Ginger ale, ginger pills, and candied gingerroot are known to ease nausea without causing drowsiness.

8. Erase menstrual pain. When taken at the beginning of the cycle, ginger was shown to reduce the cramping pain many women experience while menstruating.

9. Fight cancer. Ginger contains bioactive compounds that appear to be powerful in fighting various types of cancer. Preliminary studies have been done mostly at the laboratory level and shows how effective these bioactive compounds at fighting cancer.

10. Relieve stress. Ginger tea has calming properties that can help lower stress and tension levels. This is the result of the strong aroma and healing properties.

How to consume ginger

Ginger can be grounded to create a dry powder or paste and added to a variety of foods such as soups, sauces, marinades, and more. Ginger can also be added to beverages such as juices, smoothies and tea. Ginger tea is available to purchase commercially however it is simple to make. It can be made with either fresh or dry ginger.

Fresh Ginger Tea Recipe

1-inch piece fresh ginger 
Squirt of lemon
Honey as desired
Boiled water

Grate or mince the fresh ginger. No need to peel it first, but if you really want to peel it, try using a spoon to gently scrape away that outer layer.
Put the ginger, lemon, and honey in a cup or jar. Fill the cup with boiled water. Cover and let steep for 15 minutes. 
The amount of water you use will determine how strong the tea is. Start with about 8 ounces and then make adjustments from there.

Dried Ginger Tea Recipe

2 teaspoons cut and sifted dried ginger
10 ounces water
Honey as desired
Squirt of lemon

Place the ginger in a small saucepan along with the water. Cover and simmer for 7 minutes.

Remove from heat and strain. Add the 
honey and lemon.


Enjoy!


Health Benefits of Ginger

Do you include ginger in your diet?

NFL Green Bay Packers Baby Gear

The Benefits of Shopping For Green Bay Packers Baby Gear Online


**This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission after you have clicked on my link.

Green Bay Packers Jersey

It is always fun to shop for Green Bay Packers gear for your baby, but it is not fun to drive around town to find the gear. Shopping online makes it easier to find onesies, jerseys, pants and hats supporting your favorite team. Here are several benefits of shopping for Green Bay Packers baby gear online.

1. You can find a variety of products. Driving around to different stores just to find a Green Bay Packers jersey can be a waste of time and gas. There are many shopping websites that carry football jerseys for babies, and this makes it easier to purchase your jersey and other products from one place. One website that carries jersey onesies is Baby Fans, and the jersey features the Green Bay Packers logo and team colors.

2. Shopping online is easier when you have a baby. It is not easy to shop when your baby is tired or fussy. When you shop online, you can purchase gear for your baby right from the comfort of your own home. You do not have to worry about packing a diaper bag or rushing home for naptime. You can add the items to your cart and checkout from your couch.

3. You can find other NFL teams. You do not have to stick with Green Bay Packers baby gear, but it is going to be hard to find other teams in your local stores. There are several shopping websites that make it easy to find baby gear for other teams. Browse their inventory for teams ranging from the Washington Redskins to the Cincinnati Bengals. You can add the items to your cart with your Green Bay Packers gear.

4. The items are designed for babies. When you shop with an online store such as Baby Fans, you are browsing through sports gear designed just for babies. One example is the Green Bay Packers football jersey onesie from Baby Fans. It comes in short sleeves and a v-neck design to keep your baby comfortable, and it features a three snap closure at the leg for easy dressing. The jersey onesie is comfortable enough for play time, but it is also stylish enough for game day.

5. Returning and exchanging an item is easy. It is a shame to receive your item only to discover you ordered the wrong size for your baby. Shopping websites such as Baby Fans make it easy to return or exchange an item. You can return or exchange unused or defective items by contacting the customer service team for a return form. You do have to pay a low fee for shipping and handling when exchanging an item, but the store allows you to specify the size and color of your new item.

There are many benefits of shopping for Green Bay Packers or other football baby gear online. You can browse through a wide selection of items designed for babies, and the inventory includes a variety of teams and sports. The best part is being able to shop from home while your baby is napping. If you are looking for an easier way to get your baby ready for game day, you can shop for adorable NFL products through an online baby store.


Green Bay Packers Baby Gear


Shop for the Green Bay Packers jersey plus more!

Ways to Store Your Family's Memories and Pay for Reunions

Store Your Family's Memories and Pay for Reunions with SmugMug


**This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission after you have clicked on my link.


SmugMug

Take your photography to the limit with unlimited storage. Your life has so many awesome moments to capture, and we’ll save absolutely every one of them. That’s right, there’s no limit on photo uploads. Always and forever!

Your photos are protected

For over 14 years SmugMug has maintained the highest technical standards when it comes to keeping photos safe. They also provide you with tools like password protection and extensive privacy controls for added peace of mind. With easy-to-organize folders, simple-to-design galleries, and dozens of elegant site themes to choose from, we guarantee your photos will look stunning on any device.
Concerned about who sees your photos? You decide who can see your site, galleries, pages, or photos. Make anything public, accessible to a select few, or completely private. Want to protect your photos further? Safeguard your work with watermarks, custom right-click messages, and password protection. And the copyright on your photos? It's always yours.

Take control

You’re in control of how you show up online. Use SEO and other tools to increase your site’s visibility. Or, on the other hand, unlist from any search engines so you don’t have to deal with unwanted traffic.

Build a community

Share your photos and perspectives with a community you care about. For friends and family, embed photos and videos in emails or on Facebook—or let them come to you. If it’s exposure you seek, explore and connect with the passionate, like-minded photo lovers of the SmugMug community. And if you shoot to sell, you can make sure your clients—and even window shoppers—feel welcome in your event galleries and on your site.

Have a reunion coming up?

With a SmugMug account, you can easily let other party-goers upload their photos to one gallery on your site, just by using a special link. Perfect for pooling together your most candid moments from your big event!


SmugMug

Check out more about storing your family's memories and paying for reunions with SmugMug.




How to Create a Photo Website That Makes Money

Create a Photo Website That Makes Money


**This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission after you have clicked on my link.


SmugMug

Today, mostly everyone has turned to digital photography. Some people do however continue to have their photographs developed into prints. They may want to have photos hung on their wall, tucked away in their wallet, or framed to be given as a gift.

If you are looking to earn extra money from your photographs there are many ways to do so online. One site that can help you achieve this is SmugMug. SmugMug has built a complete suite of commerce tools to help you turn your camera rolls into bankrolls, and make sure your customers are thrilled with their orders.

Easy to set up shops

 SmugMug has thought through all the details to make the business side easy. Customize price lists your clients. Charge them for an event and let them download every photo, or allow them to hand select their favorites for bulk download. Sell prints, gifts, and digital downloads seamlessly and securely with a fully hosted shopping cart and checkout. And you always keep 85% of the profits.

Make your trademark

Building a brand requires branding what you’ve built. And not everyone lets you put your mark on your work. SmugMug makes it easy for you to add your digital branding to your site, shopping cart, watermarks, thank-you notes—whatever you want to carry your name.

End the need for search

Make them look right where you want them to with powerful SEO tools. Detailed stats and analysis let you monitor visitors to your site.

Work, meet, flow

Upload, organize, and curate your photos with fewer steps and less hassle. With the Lightroom plug-in, you can automatically sync with SmugMug, keeping your structure and metadata (keywords, titles, and captions) wholly intact. Lightroom, camera, action.

The big reveal

Make delivering the goods a happy experience with digital delivery. With absolute control over sizes and pricing, you decide what’s available and how your clients can get it. Deliver individual images or entire galleries with your eyes closed (metaphorically speaking).


SmugMug

The labs you use and trust, all available directly through SmugMug.


















Enter to Win a Nintendo Switch Gaming System

Just Free Stuff Monthly Giveaway - Nintendo Switch Gaming System


**This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission after you have clicked on my link.


Nintendo Switch

Just Free Stuff is giving away a Nintendo Switch Gaming System on October 01, 2017. To enter, all you will need to do enter your email and then confirm your email.

Nintendo Switch is designed to go wherever you do, transforming from home console to portable system in a snap. So you get more time to play the games you love, however you like.

Nintendo Switch is suitable for all ages:
Setting guidelines for your kids is easy with Nintendo Switch—so you can all relax and have fun.

Parents can use the convenient, free Nintendo Switch Parental Controls smart device app to control:

W
hich games your kids can play
How long and how late they can play

Whether they can post screenshots to social media.

You can also set restrictions for Nintendo eShop via your Nintendo Account.

Multiplayer modes: 
Connect and make memories:
Whether you’re playing together on the couch, linking your system with a friend’s on the go, or playing online with friends across the country, Nintendo Switch has you covered.

You can use up to eight controllers with one Nintendo Switch system, so everyone can play.

*Additional Joy-Con or Nintendo Switch Pro controllers required for multiplayer modes; sold separately. Multiplayer features vary by game; see individual games for details.
Enter to win a Nintendo Switch Gaming System

Prize (1): Includes Nintendo Switch Console with Gray Joy-Con and a 1-2 Switch Game.

Average Retail Value: $400

One Time Entry. Expires September 30, 2017. 
U.S. and Canada Only.

Introducing Darn Good Yarn

Introducing Darn Good Yarn


**This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission after you have clicked on my link.

Darn Good Yarn

Darn Good Yarn is an online yarn store that is dedicated to supporting women's economic empowerment, fair trade practices, and principles of environmental sustainability. They offer dozens of reclaimed and sustainable fibers, cloths, and yarn, allowing knitters, crocheters, and other crafter's access to these rare and special items. In doing so, we hope to encourage the joy of crocheting, knitting, beautiful garments, and ethical consumerism.

Darn Good Yarn takes manufactured waste, which would normally be sent to landfills, and repurposes it to create spectacular pieces of art. The process begins by gathering manufacturing remnants and seconds of sari materials. These recycled and reclaimed sari fabrics and garments are torn by hand and sewn together and dyed. This reclamation process have saved 100,000 pounds of textile waste from heading into landfills and rivers. Just check out this beauiful herbal sunrise shawl.

herbal dyed shawl

Capture the sunrise with this beautifully designed herbal dyed shawl. The dye is made with natural herbs, flowers and plants and the yarn is recycled making for the perfect sustainable product.

A purchase from Darn Good Yarn is more than a consumer expenditure. The business model is designed to literally protect our environment, employ families as they rise above poverty, send children to school, and give you fabrics and garments that tell a beautiful story of connection with women and families around the globe. It's a purchase to not only feel good about, but also a story to share. Each and every time you knit a scarf or wear a skirt, YOU are making a difference.

Darn Good Yarn


It's that time of year when students are heading Back to School and want to decorate new apartments and dorm rooms. Darn Good Yarn has trendy and budget friendly decor and apparel. Everything from wall hangings, bed covers, pillow cases, and Boho chic fashion items making it your one stop shop! 

Back to School

Subscriptions are also available. Yarn, Knitting, and Craft Subscriptions are monthly subscriptions that deliver thoughtfully sourced boxes right to your doorstep! When you subscribe, you are joining a community of crafters just like you. Every month, you will receive an expertly curated box of crafting materials to inspire and teach you new skills. Select the box of your choice and subscribe today!

Subscription

Check out the Darn Good Yarn store online and grab yourself some of their gorgeous sale yarn. Don't forget to download some of their free patterns, or pick up some pre-made garments handmade by artisans from around the world. Most of all, remember to smile - when you shop with Darn Good Yarn, you're helping to make the world a better place.

Darn Good Yarn






20 Free Date Ideas

20 Free Date Ideas


**This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission after you have clicked on my link.


 Free Date Ideas

Going on dates with your spouse does not have to be costly. In fact you don't need to spend any money. If you are looking for some fun ways to spend time with your spouse then you may want to try some of the following.

1. Have your morning coffee or tea outside. If you have children be sure to wake up earlier than them. Enjoy the early morning air and chat while sipping your favorite morning drink.

2. Go for a walk. Try holding hands or looping arms.

3. Learn a new language. Choose a language that you are both interested in.

4. Cook a meal together. Try out a new recipe or an old family favorite.

5. Have a camp out in your bedroom. Set up a tent or make a fort out of blankets.

6. Read a book. Choose a book that is educational or teaches new skills. 

7. Go on a nature hike. Try to identity types of flowers, trees, and other forms of nature.

8. Put together a jigsaw puzzle. This is a great way to help sharpen your minds and opens the door for good communication.

9. Start a blog. Share ideas and your adventures with other people so that they may also try new ideas.

10. Watch a sports game. Watching a sports game outside is so much more fun than on television. Usually there is no cost for watching local teams play within communities.


Koa coffee

11. Volunteer. There is always a need for volunteers within communities. Homeless shelters, hospitals, and animal shelters are just a few.

12. Make a scrapbook. Fill your scrapbook with precious memories and life adventures.

13. Go bird watching. Take photos and try to identity various species.

14. Go fishing. Have a fun competition on who can reel in the most fish.

15. Make a yummy dessert. Try a new recipe or alter an existing one.

16. Create an at home spa. Fill a tub with bubbles and bath salts surrounded by relaxing candle scents.

17. Head to the beach. Have fun building sand sculptures, running along the shore, or just relaxing under the sun.

18. Go berry picking. Scoop out some great areas for picking berries. Have fun feeding one another the berries.

19. Watch a movie. Whip up some popcorn and serve with cold drinks. 

20. Go star gazing. Spread out a blanket under the stars and take in the amazing view.


 Free Date Ideas

What is your favorite free date idea?

Shop Gymboree's Back to School Collection

Gymboree's 2017 Back to School Collection


**This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission after you have clicked on my link. I was compensated for this post.


Gymboree

Summer is passing by so quickly which means another school year is just around the corner. Parents will be preparing their children for a new year of learning, growing, and fun.

Gymboree's Back to School Collection has a great selection of stylish clothing and accessories to meet your budget. They also have some super fun backpacks and lunch boxes for boys and girls.

Choose from these awesome Comfy - Cool in Monster must-haves. 







Girls will be ready to rocket in shiny new styles.



Gymboree

About Gymboree:

Gymboree has been celebrating childhood for over 30 years, dressing kids from newborn to 12 years old. They offer colorful, head-to-toe clothing and accessory collections-quality clothes that let kids be kids. Gymboree is proud to dress your family for the moments that matter most - offering everything from quality playwear that stands the test of playtime to coordinated dressy looks for the perfect family photo.


Gymboree

Have you started getting your children ready for the new school year? Shop Gymboree's Back to School Collection and save!