Monday, December 5, 2011

FREE credits, gift certificates, and more that you'll want to know about!

As you know, sometimes I learn about things that are so phenomenal that I just HAVE to share it with you! So without further ado, here are somethings to know about for December 2011:

1) My gift to you! Use this link to receive a $5 credit at Plumb District: I do believe that you have to use my referral (the link I posted) to get that credit. Not positive about that, but that's what I am interpreting from their website. After you do that, "like" them on Facebook (through their site) to get another $5 off. Combine that with their 40% off deals they often will give you, and you are well on your way to getting a LOT of free money to spend locally or on the Internet.

2) The Annual Mothering Handmade Christmas Gifts Idea Contest (wow! what a name!) is currently ongoing over at You post your idea for a handmade Christmas gift include a photo, and then whichever post gets the most "likes" by other readers will win a Boba 3g carrier. The deadline to enter is 12/10/11! While you're at it, be sure to send me your idea for a handmade Christmas gift so I can feature you on Life More Simply!

3) The Learning Tower is on Facebook. So am I. "like" them at They hinted that they *might* give away something when they get 2,000 followers...and they got that number today! You can "like" me at while you're at it. ;-) PS--I would really enjoy having one of these, so feel free to order one and have it shipped to my house.

4) is letting YOU give away free gift certificates! You can send up to 40 $10 gift certificates a day. Spread some love to people you know or even people you don't know! I do recommend that ya'll "friend" me on Facebook (Rachel East) so that you can easily send some my way, too. ;-) Want one but don't know anyone to send you one? Let me know in the comments section below and I'll hook you up!

Sensory Christmas Basket Centerpiece (A Simple Christmas Project #3)

With small children in the home comes small changes in decorating for the holidays. Glass ornaments get put up higher, trees get anchored to a wall, and good linen might be removed from the table during a particularly stainable meal. Instead of removing your dining table's centerpiece altogether, though, why not make it into something that is festive, interesting, kid friendly, and encourages exploration and development, too!

This year, I created a Sensory Christmas Basket Centerpiece for our dining room table. It's a white wicker basket lined with a red and green dish towel. Laid inside are a host of objects all signifying Christmas time. Cinnamon sticks and scented pinecones create the base for this piece, followed by a variety of other things with various textures, scents, sounds, shapes, and colors. Silver bells that twinkle and ding, soft felt red drums, velvety bows, a bendable wirey silver garland, a bumpy, hard Christmastime teddy bear figurine, and a smooth victorian santa/polar bear ornament round out the basket. It's not only engaging to the eye, but delightful for people of all ages to sort through as they experience all of the different contrasting sensory input!

Easy to create, a great educational spin on decorating, and affordable as all getout because you probably already have everything you need to create your own Sensory Christmas Basket Centerpiece. Remember to include different textures, colors, variations of pressure (hard to soft), reflections of light (like a shiny bell vs. a dull cinnamon stick), scents, and even pieces that the children can manipulate (like the garland I used). Have fun keeping your decorations simple so you can focus on the reason for the season!

Have an idea to create a Simple Christmas of your own? We'd love to feature it on LifeMoreSimply with a link back to your own blog and a little info about you! DIY projects, gift ideas, celebrations, food...anything that helps keep things simple and real for Christmas! Email your write up to: with "Simple Christmas Post" in the subject line.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Advent Ideas for Toddlers

 Twenty Five Ways to Celebrate Advent
~*~ Toddler Style ~*~

What better way could you celebrate Christmas than to do it all month long?! Here are twenty-five ideas that we're using in our home this December to help focus on what the season's all about. These ideas can be done in any order (unless otherwise specified or sequential). I put an astric (*) next to anything that I still need supplies for so that I can prepare ahead of time. Have fun with it, and remember to keep things simple so that you can make the activities intentional.
  • DAY ONE: Finish decorating for Christmas, start the Advent Calendar (we use a wooden train where each day, there is a box to open which will give instructions for that day’s Advent. If you don't already have something like that, create your own with a clothesline and 25 socks, stockings, or mittens!)
  • Scavenger Hunt to find a Christmas book 
  • Craft trees out of newspapers, pompoms, and glitter glue 
  • Sing and dance to Christmas Carols! 
  • Make Applesauce Ornaments*  
  • Go shopping for an AngelTree child 
  • Watch a Christmas Movie 
  • String popcorn and cranberries* 
  • Visit the Library and read some Christmas books! 
  • Tell the story of the Wisemen visiting Jesus, and receive/give one gift 
  • Review the story of the Wisemen visiting Jesus, and receive/give one gift 
  • Have the Children tell YOU the story of the Wisemen visitng Jesus, and receive/give one gift (wooden nativity set)
  • Bake and decorate cookies* 
  • Give some cookies away 
  • Build a "stable" (tent out of blankets and chairs, or whatever strikes your fancy!) and eat lunch with your stuffed animals in it. 
  • Decorate a Gingerbread house or tree*
  • Write a letter to Santa 
  • Make a Happy Birthday card for Jesus 
  • Make Cupcakes and a special dinner to celebrate Jesus' birth (children choose menu)* 
  • After dark, drive around to see the Christmas lights (wearing jammies, of course)
  • Make and hang bird feeders made with peanut butter and birdseed on pinecones 
  • Visit Santa 
  • Make a snowman (no snow? Popcorn balls or craft supplies!) 
  • CHRISTMAS EVE! Wrap gifts for others, receive special jammies to wear, tell the Nativity story before bed
  • CHRISTMAS DAY! Traditions + finding Jesus in the manger of the nativity set