Tis the season. Christmas gifts. Things we love.

All for the little ones’ Christmas joy…

This post is about some neat Christmas gifts that we have bought ourselves and recommend. Tis the season!

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Christmas stocking. For a special touch to your fireplace mantle, who can resist these hand-sewn stockings? From Bebe Sniklefritz on Etsy ($26 + 10.50 USD for name/monogram). We bought one for our daughter two years ago, and can’t wait to bring it out this year. The fabric is so soft and fluffy, and the embroidery work is excellent. From the popularity of the shop, we think others agree as well.

Pink Christmas Trees Embroidered Baby Christmas Stocking

Finger puppets. Keep your little one entertained with these adorable finger puppets from MiChiMaLLC. Although the puppets are recommended for children 4 years and over, our daughter has been entertained by them from age 0.

Ten Little Ones - Felt Animal Finger Puppets

I spy bags are the perfect toys to keep your toddler and preschooler busy when traveling. In the car or on the plane, these are lightweight, will fit in your carry-on or stuff it behind the front seat. Each time our little one picks this up, there are always some new things to find and new surprises. We have bought several as gifts over and over.  Below: (top photo) Cupcakes, I Spy Bag Travel Toy by Aebaby, $20 USD, (bottom photo) Train hide and seek I Spy bag by Giggle Junction, $15 USD.

I Spy Bag TRAIN Hide and Seek I Spy Bag Sensory Toy over 70 designs in our shop

Baby blocks. These are so much better than baby blocks sold at retails shops these days, where you have no idea how the wood was processed or about the paints and sealants used. These blocks have lasted us three years and have survived many a tower and even a tantrum or two. They are non-toxic and chemical-free. By Tiny Giraffe Shop, $26 USD.

Educational Toy ABC Wooden Blocks Original Artwork Modern Nursery Decor Baby Name Letter Blocks

Jewelry for little and older girls. We love the necklaces with resin charms by Baby Loves Pink. We bought this Koala necklace for $15 USD. They have charms and pendants in everything cute that you can think of. Perfect gift for little girls!

Koala Necklace

Slippers. Handmade slippers with no-slip soles. Perfect for any season. Durable and adorable. $18 USD from Swag Booties.

Infant baby booties slippers girl  Soft Soled Shoes Amy Butler Grey and Pink dots SWAG gray hot pink circles

Something for mom, too. Cute salt and pepper shakers from The Scatty Artist. This shop has so many other cute items – every one of them perfect as a Christmas gift!

Group Graze Hand Painted Sheep Salt & Pepper Pot Set Lush Green Fields with Cloud like sheep scattered

Dreamy pillows. From Fong Studio. These came in a set of two for $21.50 USD. They decorate my daughter’s bed and armchair, and have also served well as headrests in her car seat. I liked these so much I started sewing my own!

NEW/TWO/Polyfil Stuffed little owl pillows decoration/collection - Ready to ship

Hair clip/ hair bow holder. This is just perfect for your little girl’s hair accessories collection. Hang it in the closet, on a hook, on the wall. These come in so many varieties, and you can personalize yours by selecting hair color and style, eye color, skin tone, and name. $25 USD by Dennis Hockerman.

Hair Bow Holder/Personalized, Hand Painted, Unique Gift

And, of course, Zose Designs hair clips would add the final special touch!

etsy mini

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Inspiration #3. Somewhere over the rainbow.

A selection of our Zose Designs hair clips in rainbow colors.

Inspiration - over the rainbow

These rainbow clips remind me of the rainbow stickers and sticker books that we used to collect as children.

Hand-stitched puffy clouds in felt on rainbow clips. Colorful hand-painted wooden button on layers of felt flowers.

Available now in our shop. Visit our shop.

Have a colorful day!

Traveling with little kids. A few tips. #1

We are getting ready to go to Bali again this year. This will be our fourth trip in three years – two of these have already been with our daughter, who was 7 and 10 months old during our previous trips. This time she is three, so I am a lot calmer about the whole thing. I am a bad traveler myself, but luckily my husband is not, so it is not so hard.

Bali preview

My daughter had already been on 27 long haul flights in her first two years of life, so she is a more seasoned traveler than many adults. Since we are in Australia, any overseas trip is a long-haul flight, and by now I think we have the hang of things.  When we first went to Bali with a 7-month old, I was really nervous. What about diseases? What if she gets malaria? What if she gets a stomach bug or worse? What if she ingests the water or licks her fingers? What if she touches anything?

Aside from a few mosquito bites and a bit of jet lag, though, nothing else happened. This time around I hope to be Zen enough about the whole thing and not worry so much, and importantly, not over-pack. Here are some travel tips that have kept us sane during our many cross-continental trips (most involving flights of 12 hours or more!).

  1. Don’t over pack. We try to always travel light, even when running day-to-day errands. But when traveling, I think it is actually more difficult when you have packed two whole suitcases of “just in case” items for the baby. Bring essentials.  One or two bottles, not four or five (bring plastic microwavable sterilizing bags). Diapers for a few days, not a few weeks. A few toys, not everything. You can always get things you have overlooked at your destination. And chances are, if you overlooked it in the first place, it is probably not all that essential.  We have two suitcases for the three of us – my daughter and husband share one, and I have another smaller one, because I usually go for work and need to bring nice clothes and equipment. Now that my daughter is potty trained, they will probably not even take up the suitcase between the two of them.
  2. Don’t bring several carry-on bags. Bring one for yourself and the child combined. Keep everything in one place and handy. That way, if you need to grab something quickly, you know where it is, and won’t need to fumble through several bags trying to remember where you put it. Plus, carrying all those bags and your child is difficult!
  3. Do bring your own baby food for the flight, if needed. We have never been happy with the food provided for babies and toddlers on flights.
  4. Don’t put squeaky shoes on your toddler (or shoes that flash lights)! Many people sneer at the sight of small children on airplanes. However, putting squeaky shoes on a child during a flight is just downright rude. We have been on a few flights where someone else’s child kept all the other children awake for 10 hours by squeaking incessantly, and nobody was happy. This is just common sense.
  5. If you are traveling to developing countries, you probably don’t need a stroller, since you can’t really use them anywhere. If you must, bring a cheap umbrella stroller (with a sunshade) that you don’t mind damaging. We found that carrying our daughter in an Ergo sling was the easiest option for getting around. Most airports have courtesy strollers that you can use to get from one terminal to another, and if you have a wait between flights, they are pretty handy.  We always bring our stroller to Europe, though.   268969_10150210709687998_5371894_n
  6. Do try to book a bassinet seat. If you don’t, you will end up holding your baby for the entire flight. Keep in mind, though, that even if the baby is sleeping, you will have to take her out during turbulence, and also take off and landing. But it is better than sore arms for 12 hours. When our daughter was too big for the bassinet but still under 2, we always asked for an extra seat, and often our request was granted, allowing her to stretch out and sleep across the seats. Just ask!
  7. Now that our daughter is older and we need to purchase a seat for her, be bought one of those harness seat belts for the plane. I think we spent $130 on it. Not worth it! On all of the flights so far, the harness did not fit well over the seat and would end up over the tray of the person behind us. We have used it for take-off and landing, but because the seats are narrow and the child is small, the harness really doesn’t work well and ends up sliding down.
  8. Do time your flight around your child’s schedule if you can. Although we are lucky that our daughter is a great traveler, we still try to book night flights so that she will be tired enough to sleep for most of the flight.
  9. We bought a great travel high chair that we could take everywhere. It fits over the back of the chair, rolls up into a small pouch, and hardly takes up any room.   297426_10150339316132998_396867567_n 263154_10150206595392998_4485267_n
  10. Don’t bring a car seat to developing countries. In Indonesia, for example, most cars don’t have seat belts, so you probably won’t be able to use it. If you really need it, you can always rent a seat at your destination anyway.

Most importantly, keep calm and have a good attitude. Things will happen no matter how prepared you think you are! Go with the flow, and have a good time on your travels!

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These are just a few of the tips I could think of before we embark on our journey. Check back for more travel tips and stories.

An excellent website for traveling to Bali with children: www.littlebalilove.com

Do you have any tips for traveling with small children?