Nolan’s Birthday | 10 Gift Ideas Under $100

Hello!

I am so excited to do this post, I actually wanted to do this last year but I wanted to make this more for other families who have a little boy around Nolan’s age range so what was suppose to help our families, can help everyone! You can purely look at this as a wish list for him but you could look at this as ideas for Christmas too, although most of the items are under $20–I didn’t plan on that, it just happened!–I went for stuff he would love for the summertime. Every item I talk about in this post is subject to change, but even if some of them do, it would still be under $100 on Walmart’s website!

Nolan has a lot of interests, and according to his babysitter and OT, he is very smart and has a good imagination! He is very busy but he loves to get cozy with his blankets, books, stuffed animals and watch movies. And like every other little boy in the world, he loves anything wheels… so he has over 300+ cars, tractors, trucks, and a single toy wheelchair that is affectionally dubbed “Meghan’s” everytime he finds it through the basket at our house! I tried to remember the main things I knew he would enjoy the most for when I was creating the post but I think it could work for any kid in his age range too.

Blippi: Let’s Look and Find Book – $8.08

This year, I think, the theme will be about Blippi because he is utterly obsessed with this dude! He doesn’t watch him at our house so I’m not exactly familiar with him but I knew if I didn’t add anything Blippi related I’d probably get in trouble with him, so I was very happy to find this book. To me, it looks like this generation’s “Where’s Waldo” and/or “I Spy” and I think he might like it for that because he’s always had an eye for finding things – when he was a baby, he could find holes in things like clothes you didn’t even know about at the time!

It actually looks pretty hefty which considering the rest of his boxes, he might be ready for these thicker ones now.

Pinkfong Baby Shark Ultimate Sticker and Activity Book – $5.88

Last Christmas, when he went to visit Brandon’s family, he came back with a sticker book that he thoroughly enjoyed and when I saw that they had one of Baby Shark, I thought it was too cute to ignore. Nolan enjoys singing along with the songs and even has Aunt Meg doing the hand motions with her feet (thankfully they’re very easy for me to do!) but nothing is more funnier than dad trying to dance and Nolan getting mad at him for not doing it the right way!

Marvel’s Superheroes Board Box – $10.47

Nolan is starting to fall in love with superheroes, and so far he likes Marvel characters. Although at first he was saying “Batman” but now he is obsessed with the Hulk and Spider-Man.

There is a show all about the Hulk and his mates on Disney+ and I think he started watching it with the bigger kids at the babysitters during the week because we didn’t introduce it to him. I want to show him like X-Men but I also don’t want to scare the little dude either so I’m trying to hold off on as much as possible.

So while looking through Walmart’s website I saw this box full of books about Marvel’s characters, even I became a little jealous! The site says there are 12 books included and considering how cheap the entire block is, that’s really nice! They also have Pixar, Paw Patrol and Frozen blocks as well.

Large Plush Sloth Toy – $10.00

Besides his Hot Wheels cars, he also has a large amount of stuffed animals. He has two of my Husky pups in his toy hamper at our house but he also has Mimi’s cow she use to have on the kitchen table too! So, it was only right to include another one of his favorite animals to the mix, which is a sloth. There were a lot of different sloths but this was my favorite because it looks so cuddly and cute. He really would love it to pieces!

Bubble Play 64oz – $14.99

Another one of his favorite things in the world is bubbles! He has always loved bubbles since he was itty bitty, and it is so nice to see that he loves them so much because it is something that I still love too, so I thought it would be smart to include it in the list too.

M&M Character Candy Case – $3.00

This one might be a little weird, but for the past six months, Papaw has been giving him a handful of M&Ms from his secret stash and for a while, it was the only chocolate thing he would eat, but we think because they were covered in various colors that he wouldn’t see it as chocolate because everytime we tried to give him ice cream with chocolate syrup or chocolate chip cookies, he’d stay away from them.

I was hoping to find M&M plush toys but I think I will have to go on Amazon for that but then I saw these and I was like, I think he’d enjoy having the figurines up in his room.

Melissa & Doug’s Wooden Train & Race Car Paint Kits – $13.40

One of things that Nolan has been really interested to do is paint! I have to thank his occupational therapist for this because he use to hate having his hands dirty, and considering his mommy and I use to spend most of our childhood digging along the sidewalk of our nana and papaw’s house was very odd. Thankfully, he doesn’t mind getting a little messy now!

What I really liked about these kits is that they are wooden, so they are sturdy (hopefully) enough to last through Nolan’s playing and can be packed up and stored somewhere after he has grown out of them too. I just thought they would be cute to do with him or he could do them with his parents!

Garbage Truck Toys – $30.88

I have not included a lot of cars and trucks into this post because he has his fair share of these items already but if you are looking for something that could keep your child happy with multiple toys in one present, this might be your ticket for a lot of excitement!

It has over 10 trucks included and they range of various careers like construction to farming, and I thought it was pretty impressive honestly. It definitely could be worth the $30 in the end, you never know!

Play Food – $9.97

My nephew still loves his play kitchen, unfortunately, it didn’t come with food and for some odd reason, he still doesn’t have any after two years! I feel bad for him because he still “makes” us things and will use his actual snacks in the dishes so I feel like the poor kid needs something and thankfully, they are incredibly cheap on the website so that’s why I decided to include it on this post.

Melissa & Doug’s Vehicles 4-in-1 Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles – $9.79

Another thing that he really likes are puzzles. My mom bought him this little tin of puzzles for Christmas but nothing is in English nor did it come with an actual picture of how it was suppose to look like after you finish! We’ve had to hide it from him because we still don’t know what to do with it.

Once I started searching for puzzles, I was very careful as to what I was looking for, easy for all ages and most importantly for the adults, the main language is English! And I found Melissa and Doug brand of puzzles and I thought these would be perfect as you get more than one puzzle and again, they are wooden so they will definitely last longer than any of puzzle piece I think. And of course, they are of various vehicles, so I think we have a winner here.

I really hope you find this post helpful for you, as at this moment, I will not be doing a post for toddler girls but in the future, if you would like me to do it for Christmas, please let me know and I will consider the option. For anyone who have used these products in the past or present, I would also like to hear your thoughts (both good and bad!) and will relay the information back to my family.

If you could, what is one item on this list that you would purchase for their little man?

DIY | M&M’s Pumpkins

Hello!

The last time I did a post about pumpkins was in 2017! So, that was two years before my sister had my nephew–technically, she might’ve been pregnant with him if I remember correctly! Anyways, we were hoping to have all three of them over to have a big painting party but between the COVID scare and work schedules, it didn’t end up happening.

For once, we finally decided on a theme for the pumpkins. We have always wanted to do that, but then after some time we would forget about it and end up on doing our own thing. However, my mom was looking through her Facebook memories and found a photo of around six pumpkins painted with various M&M faces from the commercials, I shared this with her back in 2015, and I’m so glad I did because this was a perfect idea to do with our front stairs display, but of course we had to do ours differently.

Things you will need:

  • Pumpkins – various size is optional
  • Old newspapers
  • Brushes – sponge & regular
  • Paper plates
  • Acrylic paint

The last time we did this, our cats were fairly distracted and didn’t even come around to the front porch to rub up on us, so it was a pleasant surprise that I think all three of us enjoyed. For this project, we started off on feeding the cats before going outside to start and I think that was our issue because they eat quickly and if they know someone is on the porch they think we brought out even more food for them! They act like we don’t feed them at all and we do, trust me!

I want to say within five minutes of coming outside to get into a comfortable position, and actually begin to paint the pumpkins, all of the cats came up to the porch to find giant orange things stealing their attention. Honestly, they behaved like good kitties throughout the entire thing.

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This was a two day project, as the first my mom and I just painted on the base coats on the five pumpkins we had, and unfortunately my mom didn’t take my advice to purchase the primorary colors in medium size bottles, because it is really easy to mix the colors with acrilyic paint. As I mentioned above on the things you’ll need, your pumpkins can be in various sizes but you also need to keep in mind about the size of paints you have too. We had somewhat larger ones with small tubes of paint, so we ran out of some colors quicker than we expected to; which is why I heed this caution to you as I do not want you to be stuck with one color and find it run out before finishing the entire surface. We had to do this with our blue pumpkin. It started out with a bright blue but the next time my mom went back with a darker color for the bottom and she wasn’t very happy about the contrast in the end.

In order to cover the entire pumpkin with paint, we used the large sponge brushes. I really enjoy using these types of brushes because since they are sponges, they can absorb quite a bit of paint so you don’t necessarily have to go back and get more on the tray, but I also like them for the fact they are easy for me to grip and move around the object. I ended up painting three out of the five pumpkins while my mom did the other two and the bottoms of mine because I can’t keep my balance and paint at the same time.

The really cute part happened the next day, after we left them outside to dry fully, my dad really fall in love with the red one so he decided to come into my room later that day to create a face for the pumpkin. He made his very animated and everything had to be perfected but unfortunately he was only able to do that one, while the next time my mom and I went back to them, we just freehand the faces with a sharpie. I thought this would be easier so to give us some kind of guide to what the faces should look like, and I’m glad we did it this way and because it was helpful to us.

After my mom finished her pumpkin: the only girl and green pumpkin. (which turned out really cute, but I think we overestimated the size of the pumpkin because the whole face is so small compared to the rest, but like I told her, everything is a trial and error; we learn from previous “mistakes” and move on. If we had decided to keep the letter “m” underneath the faces, I think we might’ve liked it a lot more, but really it was not only her first time doing freestyle, she also exercised that she does have some patience stored within her. Honestly, both of my parents have expressed that they don’t have any patience at all, but yet they really took their time to get their ideas in order. It was a lot easier to convince my mom that she didn’t need to be perfect with it than dad, because for us we got through our pumpkins faster than he did and he also became very messy too!

In his defense though, he not only went off a totally different picture we did and on top of that, everything was bigger and since he likes everything to go right, it was very critical of his handiwork. Since we only gave faces to three of the pumpkins, I was next on the latter and I think I mirrored what each of my parents did with their pumpkins. I kept myself contained in my mind and thoughts but I really attempted to find a medium to both of them and I think I did a pretty good job after not painting a face for a long time.

As my dad was working on this lone tomato looking pumpkin, my mom was busy with creating the “M” on our final two pumpkins. Since she went back with the blue one, it hadn’t dried enough before she started on the white so on the picture you can kind of see how the letter blending into the background a bit, but thankfully she was able to add two coats on it so it is readable and personally, I think it looks cool like that. It is unique with the marbleizations of all three colors. The brown one also has a cool factor too, two of pumpkins had these great greenish veins going from the bottom to the top and unfortunately they were painted over with the red pumpkin but I guess mom thought it was neat too, so it almost turned out to look like a bowling ball in a way!

It was pretty fun and interesting to do a craft with my folks, especially since one has confessed that they are not a big fan of these types of things, but has painted quite a few pumpkins this month! After we finished our creations, my dad has made me a desk out of a Styrofoam so I can have an accessible table for my future projects. I am really happy that he didn’t make it before the pumpkins because I don’t it could take all of the weight of the some of them!

I think I am officially done with this post. I’m not sure when I will be doing another project, but when I do, you know I’ll try to put it on here for you. So, I hope you have enjoyed this crazy adventure that happened in the middle of October and here are the rest of the photos that were taken in the course of two days!

Have you been able to do any type of DIY or crafty projects for Halloween or fall in general? It doesn’t have to be with paint like ours, but I would still like to see your end result. Send me your pictures through Facebook or Instagram please!

snowflake

Photo Diary | Spring/Summer

Hello!

The last time I did a photo diary was in 2017, so three years of no cat pictures, which is really sad considering these cats are very well loved by almost everyone.

In that time, my nana had just moved up north so my ability to upload any photos at all from my camera(s) was pretty much over. A part of me was okay with it, I thought I could just live with creating and reusing old pictures for my banners. If I did want to take a picture of something, I would have my mom and/or sister do it for me, but as time went on, I really began to get the itch to do it myself again. For most people they can whip out their phones and take as many photos as they want, but for me, it can be a bit of a production in itself. I have a system and it’s just easier for me to do it then to depend on others.

Lots of things have happened since the last post. I became an aunt for the first time and we got a new house, this spring, we finally got our side porch and ramp put together. I love being outside again. I’m pretty sure the cats are very happy to see my smiling face too! Unfortunately, the ramp isn’t quite finished yet so I still haven’t use my “rocket” chair to sit outside, which is fine with me because while I sit in the blue chair, I am able to read my books out there and be at a comfortable level with our cats at the same time.

Another good thing about the porch itself is that, we get to do pumpkins again! I tried my best to bring them back last year, but my mom wasn’t having it! For some odd reason, she thinks we will mess up the floors… The last time we did them, my sister was in the early stages of her pregnancy so this will be the first year with Nolan! Hopefully it will become an annual tradition, especially since next month the three of them (plus their animals!) will be moving into the neighborhood. Whoohoo! I have collected a lot of fun DIY/craft stuff on Pinterest for Nolan and I to do together and I think we will be able to form a closer bond and we will be able to unleash our creativity too!

I think it is now time to share some pictures with you, now that I have given you a “mini” life lately update so let’s bring on the cats!

Wow!

I may have to bring this series back, especially if I continue to take as many pictures as I did, but the funny part about this is that, this is just a fraction of what I took at the end of April to early June!

So, I wanted to come up and explain who everyone is, because I might have a few more people that visit my blog and they may not know anybody’s names. We have a total of nine cats, but the ones that are camera friendly are: Oscar, Bootsie, Tavis, Bear-Bear, Grumpy, and Felix aka Fifi. For the most part, when I go outside, Oscar and Botsie are the most excited, because they generally love the attention. Bear-Bear and Tavis are just starting to open up to me and hang out so that’s been a fun accomplishment! Grumpy is still very much a lovebug but it took him a lot longer to accept being touched by anyone that isn’t mom.

I wanted to tell you something absolutely hilarious before I go! My mom got the idea of me bringing out my books so if the cats were to leave me and beg at our back door, I could stay outside longer and not have to depend on anyone’s company. This was the greatest idea ever! I think it is the reason why I was able to finish my reading challenge sooner than we expected to! Now onto the funny part of this story. In the beginning, my mom would bring out this bench so I could see the book better, but everytime I didn’t go into my position fast enough, our cat Felix would literally make himself comfortable and get on top of the bench and book itself, and take a little nap!

Do you need proof? Well, this is him sitting on and without the bench itself and just hanging out on my book. Thank god he’s adorable or else, this would be really annoying! I guess this is the joy of having cats… Oh, one good thing, he’s the only one who does it!

Okay, I think I am officially done with this post. If you think I should do a post like this every month, please let me know because I can definitely get back into a routine with it. And once I am able to get around with the “rocket” chair, I will be able to take pictures of other things than the cats so that could be something to look forward to in the future.

Do you have any cats? If you do, how many and what are their names? I would love to know more about them!

snowflake

DIY: Last Minute Pumpkin Ideas!

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Hello!

We are two weeks out before Halloween (a week for those of you who will be celebrating 27th and on!) and after Monday’s post, I was really inspired to compile all of my favorite pumpkin crafts for you! I think crafting with pumpkins is a fun thing to do both as an adult and if you’re parent with young children! It’s like the seasonal coloring book you never thought you needed until later on.

For the most part, every post has a list of what you’d need and I have even done step-by-step photographs in case you get lost in my words which has happened before! I try to be very helpful in guiding you through all of the projects, some might be a little confusing and I do apologize for that. Sometimes we just made up the rules as we went along and that can be pretty fun too! You are welcome to interpret what you see into anything your heart desires as long as you enjoy what you’re doing and don’t stress about your mistakes!

  • The Pumpkins – I have many versions of how to melt crayons on pumpkins but this one is visually pleasing I think. The pictures turned out beautifully, so that is the main reason why I am sharing this one instead. 
  • The “America” Pumpkin – This is a clear example of a last minute pumpkin idea, my nana and I actually worked on this early November and I published the post later that month while we discussed what we were going to do for Christmas! This is probably the simplest one out of the bunch!
  • Awareness Glitter Pumpkin – I decided to include this one because October is the month for two very big things: Breast Cancer and Domestic Abuse. My Great Aunt Shirley is a survivor of breast cancer and my sister is a survivor of domestic abuse. So it has a double meaning for me!
  • Ophelia Pumpkin – I actually got the idea to do this after seeing it in the magazine Country Living and I guess I loved the idea so much that I ended up just doing it!
  • The Punk-y Pumpkin – This one is an older post, when we didn’t have anything for our crafts yet. However we made do with a least used nail polish and a tub of silver glitter! 

I am sorry that these are the only ideas I have on my blog, I actually have more but they don’t have any good photos and I’m pretty sure my writing in general is down right awful so if you want to check the rest out, go to my search box on the top right and put in “pumpkins” and it should give you all of the posts, plus a few other Halloween inspired crafts too!

Hope you have enjoyed this post!

snowflake

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DIY: Painting Pumpkins!

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Howdy!

I actually have a new Halloween/pumpkin craft for you! I am so excited! So I guess I should explain why I didn’t think I’d ever do a craft again and how exactly we got these pumpkins.

My poor nana and I, we really loved doing our crafts, and we got in such a system to do them every September so the posts I’d write of them would go up sometime later that month or early October. They were basically everybody’s favorite thing to read during those two months and I always had a lot of writing them up, while trying to remember what all we did, spills and all! So when she went to the hospital and eventually went to stay at the nursing home, I kind of didn’t want to admit it but I knew my days of doing our Halloween or any crafts weren’t going to happen as much.

I have a creative soul and I’ve been hating the fact that I’ve had to basically shut down those desires and saying that makes me laugh because I hated painting in school. I’ve had these urges to purchase some paints since the end of August because it would be that time of the year where we’d be getting ready and so I’ve been really sad. My mom doesn’t carry the craft bug and you all should know about my dad by now! I also didn’t want to ask Blondie and Brandon because I didn’t know if they really wanted to do anything like that or had the time to do it. So I’m just kind of left to do nothing and it really sucks!

And then one evening my mom came into my bedroom, I had thought she had went to bed about a half hour before so it freaked me out at first. She came in to tell me that we’ll have to get me some paints because dad found some pumpkins out in the field and I was instantly happy! He literally brought home like seven of these large pumpkins and they sat on our porch for like a week or so, and then one morning my mom came in again and she said that Blondie and Brandon were coming over to paint the pumpkins. According to mom, it wasn’t even Blondie’s idea, it was Brandon’s! Poor guy had to work that day but he still wanted to paint pumpkins afterwards!

What you will need for this:

  • Pumpkins
  • Old newspapers
  • Paper plates
  • Toilet Paper Roll
  • Water Bowl
  • Paints
  • Brushes
  • aaand some ideas ahead of time!

We started out doing this outside because that would have been a smart choice or so we thought! I have to say, it wasn’t too bad sitting outside on the porch but the bugs were driving us nuts throughout the time we were out there. Poor Blondie was covered in mosquito bites, mostly on her right side – she had a total of 12 bites!

Now when I do this with my nana I am usually sitting in my wheelchair and use a chair or box to prop the pumpkin up to a certain level so I can reach it on all sides. Well, I didn’t have any of those for this so mom just had Brandon put me on the ground and I will admit it had been a while since I did that because it is so difficult to get me back up since I am so low. However, it did make things a lot easier for me but I definitely forgot about my legs and feet falling asleep every ten minutes! So I had some issues with gripping my brushes and figuring out how to sit again.

If anybody noticed the last bullet, the three of us were having a tough time figuring out ideas to paint our pumpkins. The only idea that I knew I really wanted to do was a minion. I am obsessed with these characters and yet, I have not seen them on a movie! I like to think of them of little Twinkies! So I had a rough idea on how to make one, I also had references considering I was still in my pajama bottoms with them on it. This time, I knew I had them on and didn’t do what I did with Brandon’s Christmas gift bag last year! Over the years of doing these crafts, I’ve learned to relax and not be such a perfectionist while working on these different characters. Poor Blondie hasn’t mastered that and was really giving herself a tough time with her sugar skull. I think it looked awesome but of course she was growing to hate it as she was finishing it. I’m glad I’m no longer like that anymore!

It had actually become a sort of game for both Blondie and Brandon because they definitely didn’t have any ideas to do for their pumpkins so they went on Pinterest and that’s where Blondie found hers. I still don’t know if Brandon used Pinterest but we were having the most difficult time guessing what his could be. He was not telling anyone and it even started to bother dad after he got up and looked at all three of us and our big mess! He finally had to tell us or maybe Blondie actually guessed it? I don’t remember how it came about, but I did catch a glimpse of it on his phone when he went inside for something but I will admit I had no idea what the hell he was making, all he said was it was a DC character and it wasn’t The Flash. Dad kept saying it was either Ant-Man or Iron Man, but we were all stumped. It is Red Hood, all he gave us as a hint was that he was once a Robin.

After we had finished our first pumpkins, we were thinking of stopping altogether but Brandon wanted to continue. He cracks me up sometimes! So dad made the suggestion of moving our stuff into the kitchen. So we packed up everything and moved into the center of our kitchen, the cats were confused because we were at the door but not paying attention to them. They actually never came up to the front porch to investigate, which was probably good or else some would have ended up with different colored paws and we would have little paw prints up and down the porch! As cute that would have been, they wouldn’t let us clean their little toes!

Anyways, we got started on our second batch of pumpkins. What was different for me in this round was that I had two ideas but only memories of what they looked like on Pinterest. I didn’t make any real reference like I had for my minions, so I just had to wing it and this was where I like not being a perfectionist. I decided to do a Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas and I have to say, I did a fairly good job on it. I was very proud! I also put the word “Boo” on the back of it in a baby blue because I kept seeing it in the corner of my eye and I thought, what the hell? This one will hopefully go to my Aunt Cindy soon, if we don’t get any more rain beforehand!

Blondie made a very cute Nemo from Finding Nemo and it is genuinely the cutest thing, I kind of like it more than her sugar skull and you guys know how much I like my skulls! Poor Brandon though, he tried doing the Greek lettering of his fraternity but couldn’t get it to turn out right so he ended up covering it up with an old school American flag. You have to give the boy some props for trying it out though!

After a good two or three hours in two different spots, we were finally done! Well, technically there’s still one naked pumpkin left but it’s sort of big so nobody may paint him. Blondie and Brandon took pictures with their pumpkins and when she came back inside with my minion to take mine, I realized I forgot to paint a mouth on my minion so Brandon being a good boy, he took two brushes of black and white and made him a cute little mouth for me!

What are some of your favorite ways to decorate a pumpkin? Do you carve it, paint, or use sharpies? 

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snowflake

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