Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas Cards by Minted

I like to think of myself as someone who is pretty on top of things and generally ahead of the game. Lately? Oh, lord. I've been playing catch up, and I'm still not there yet. The past few months have been a bit overwhelming.

I love holiday cards! I love sending them! I love the excuse to have family photos taken! And yet somehow we were well into November and I had nothing in order. My usual goal is to send our Christmas cards out the Friday after Thanksgiving. Ha. Ha ha ha ha ha.

I hoped that sometime between September and November a beautiful and perfect family photo would be captured. Maybe that day we all went apple picking? That time we were all dressed for a friend's birthday party? Yeah, never happened. So, I finally did what any organized and prepared person does: hunt down a local photographer on facebook, browse her work a bit, and beg her to squeeze us in for a family shoot just before Thanksgiving. Then, run around to find coordinated but not-too-matchy outfits and pray we get JUST ONE PHOTO of everyone looking decent-ish. I'm realistic. A 3 year old and 9 month old twins is pretty much a recipe for family photo disaster. But guess what?

A mom's photography dream! Phew. So that left one thing -- cards.

Minted has always been one of my absolute favorite paper product sites. Their card designs never disappoint, and their quality is just fantastic. There are two AWESOME features that are wonderfully time saving and just plain smart.

1. Photo Preview. Upload your photo and see it on a variety of different cards in one glance. I love this because you can quickly see what works with your photo.

2. Address Printing. I don't even know where to start with my love for this feature. Addressing holiday cards has always been a highlight and the unraveling of my Christmas spirit. We had most of our addresses on an excel file from our wedding invites. But for whatever reason they were all out of order and perpetually outdated. Back when I had extra time on my hands I LOVED hand addressing cards and having fun with them: embossing, stamps, washi tape. The whole shebang. As much as I still love hand addressing, I just don't have the patience or energy for it anymore. Smudged stamps, stuck together cards, human patience. SO - free addressing on Minted cards? OMG AMAZING. I spent a few evening curled up with our spreadsheet making sure it was perfectly up to date and organized. It was completely worth the effort as we can use it year after year.

The final product? Here you go!

And, since a few address updates didn't make it in time for my order, I got to hand address a few. Just the right balance. Minted did 97% of the work, and I did the remaining 3%. A perfect balance for the mom of a toddler and twins.

How did your holiday cards come out this year?

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Christmas Wish List for a 3 Year Old Boy

1. Plasma Car: My very coordinated and intuitive kid doesn't seem to grasp pedaling. Bikes are a major frustration around here. Have you seen plasma cars? Super cool and they are controlled with the handle up top. I think this may temporarily solve our anti-pedal problem. Something tells me I'll be buying more of these once the twins can figure it out too.

2. Rainbow Wheel Magnetic Toy: There a few things my kid loves. 1. "All the colors". 2. Magnets. 3. Puzzles. 4. Tiny pieces that require a lot of attention/easily get lost.

3. Bruder Toys Garbage Truck: I am SO EXCITED I snagged this at Home Goods for $34 months ago. Bruder Trucks are fantastic, albeit a little pricey, and a favorite around here.

4. CP Toys Space Mission Rocket Ship: Little Fix-It is a huge fan of things with levels and compartments. He'll spend gobs of time arranging and rearranging all the characters on a space mission.

5. Hanna Andersson PJs: These are a before-Christmas gift that most definitely get worn on Christmas Eve! HA PJs are simply the best quality and make for perfect hand-me-downs. With 3 boys, I have no qualms investing in warm, quality, sleepwear!

6. 2015 Hess Truck: Hess Trucks are one of those things I had no idea existed until I had boys. But guess what? They are really cool! They are super well-made and innovative. Each year Hess releases a new truck. We only have one, circa 1998 that I found on eBay, but I have a feeling my boys will want to collect these over the years.

7. MagnaTiles: We actually already own these. I'm toying with buying an additional set so Little Fix-It can take his creations to the next level. These are absolutely one of the best toys on the market. Open-ended, creative, and timeless fun!

8. Green Toys Ferry Boat: Somehow Little Fix-It stumbled across this toy on my Amazon app. He went nuts and insisted it be "AT THE TOP" of his wish list. So random, but I'll go for it. I think he loves that it has cars that go on a boat. I mean, what's more amazing than that? Cars! On a boat!

Christmas Wish List for 6-12 Month Old Twins

At Christmas the twins will be 11 months old. I'm so excited for their first Christmas! Little Fix-It was just 2 months on his first Christmas and was working his title as the King of Colic that day. It was a doozy. I think this year will be a lot of fun for our whole family.

When I'm Christmas shopping I always get stuck in a rut of looking for things that are similar to what my kids already love. But then that seems really redundant. I'm branching out a little with this list hoping to add some new toys to our rotation!

1. Tree Top Adventure: This activity table is PERFECT for the twins. They are right at the age where they're pulling up and prefer to play standing up if possible. I know this will absolutely be the highlight of Christmas for them.

2. VTech Light-Up Baby Touch Tablet: Does it light up? Does it make noise? Yes, my children will love it.

3. Fisher-Price Smart Stages Toolbox: See #2. 

4. Melissa and Doug Pounding Bench Activity Center: The boys saw this at a friend's house and thought it was just about the best thing ever. I'm sure they will be thrilled to have their own.

5. Zutano Booties: We have had these in every size for the twins since they were born. They are THE BEST! So cozy and never fall off. Somehow they fit in the 12mos size for a hot second, so for Christmas we'll size them up!

6. Melissa and Doug Magnetic Farm Hide and Seek: My kids love opening and closing things. Seriously. Doors, cabinets, toys, all of it. This puzzle will keep them really busy.