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Free Printable Postcard


Free Postcard Template

NJ and I love working on snail mail projects together.  It's a wonderful opportunity for us to have mommy-daughter time, plus we get to be creative.  We enjoyed our recent preschool Pen Pal exchange so much that I've been wanting to try other ideas to encourage letter-writing and discovering the joys of snail mail.

FREE Printable Postcards

With this month's Petit Mail postcard theme being recycling, I created a printable postcard template that can be glued to recycled cardboard - the front can then be decorated ANY way you want.  Try collage, painting, drawing - the sky is the limit.

Don't you love how they turned out? These free printable postcard templates, feature Petit Mail characters Oliver and Olivia.  Just sign up below to receive two free DIY postcard templates.



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Tips for Making Your Own DIY Postcard

You can divide this project into several parts, depending on how much time you have.  We made ours over 2 days.

The first day, we put together our postcard and NJ decorated the front of the cardboard with her own original design.

The second day, she decided who she wanted to send her postcard to, and wrote her note on the back. She is so much more motivated to practice her writing when we are working on projects like this!

Hope you have as much fun making your postcards as we did!




Happy Snail Mail,

Alison


Fairy Garden Gifts for Kids


Kids Fairy Garden

Fairy Garden Gifts for Kids

I'm a big believer in non-toy gifts for kids.  Gifts that spark imagination, play, creativity and maybe even some learning!  Recently I've been inspired by Fairy Gardens, what a magical gift idea for a child.  Uncover inspiration here for your own fairy garden gift - including both DIY and pre-made options.  

Build-Your-Own Fairy Garden Kits

Kits allow a child to build his or her own fairy garden using a variety of creative supplies. Here are a few gorgeous ideas to make your own fairy garden gift kit, or purchase a ready-made kit filled with fairy garden supplies. 


Left: DIY Fairy Garden Gift Basket from How Does She
Top Right: DIY Fairy Garden in a Box from the Asylum
Bottom Right: Fairy House Kit in a Box from The Magic Onion

Gift a Fairy Garden

Another option is to gift a pre-made fairy garden.  Here are a couple of my favourite ideas - I love both of these ideas because they can be used both inside and outside. 


Left: DIY Teacup Garden - a full tutorial for creating this pint-sized fairy garden from Life is a Party. Right: This gorgeous little fairy garden from FairyElements is the definition of sweet.

Fairy Door Tours

I love the idea of gifting experiences - local business Fairy Door Tours in St. John's, NL takes children and adults on an enchanted woodland walk looking for fairy doors. We loved our tour, filled with opportunity to leave small treasures for the fairies, including sending notes in a fairy-sized mailbox (which of course is our FAVOURITE!).  If you do not live in our area, check your local region for similar ideas!


How can you make an experience gift memorable?  

Pair your outing with a fairy or gnome dress-up costume, a book about fairies, or a fairy garden kit.  Take photos during your experience and present an image in a special frame after the fact as a reminder of all the fun.


You can find more non-toy gift ideas and inspiration here
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Top image by my amazing friend september

Kids Dinosaur Fossil Dig


Fossils for Kids

Need some inspiration for your own kids dinosaur fossil dig at home?  

Kids Dinosaur Fossil Dig

Here are some images from our sandbox fossil dig last year.  NJ enjoyed it so much she's still talking about digging for fossils.   The full instructions for making your own fossils and dinosaur bones are included with the subscriber link for Oliver Learns About Fossils

Want to jump-start some fun learning about dinosaurs and fossils?  

Order the Oliver Learns About Fossils Petit Mail story postcard (or a 3, 6 or 12 month subscription) and the perfect invitation to learn will arrive addressed to your child in the mail in a bright, fun envelope.

Your story postcard will introduce the concept of fossils in a simple and fun way.  Reading together, your child can learn how fossils are created, then, the possibilities are endless.  Use your story postcard as the inspiration to learn and explore at home.  

Learning about Fossils

Kids Fossil Dig


Kids Dinosaur Dig


Digging for Fossils




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7 Creative Non-Toy Gift Ideas For Kids


It seems like many of the conversations I have with other moms lately revolve around the STUFF we are trying to get rid of.  

For the past year, I've been on a decluttering spree and a move toward simpler, more minimalist living and for the past few years, my mind always comes back to KIDS GIFTS AND TOYS.  I try to maintain some level of control over what comes into our home (within reason), and we donate old toys on a regular basis.  





I don't know about you, but my kids don't need much.  They play happily for hours with the simplest of things - what they really want is for someone to engage and interact with them.  I always cringe a little on the inside when I hear other parents talking about their playrooms full of toys that never get used....it feels so wasteful. 

A few months ago, I started to look for creative non-toy gift ideas for kids and put together a Pinterest board with ideas that inspired me.

There are other posts out there with non-toy gift ideas for kids, but they all seem really generic, like "a zoo membership" or "a subscription".  I wanted to come up with some really practical, creative ideas that are a little more specific. My hope is that you find these inspiring, and that you can use some of these ideas for your own gifting this year. 


1. Make a DIY KIT set inspired by the child's interests.


My niece loves to make her own cards, so this year, I decided to give her a DIY card kit. I've been gathering many more DIY gift kit ideas from other blogs over on the Non-Toy Gifts for Kids Pinterest board, including puppet kits, art kits, cookie kits, dramatic play kits, science kits, sewing kits, fort kits and so much more!




2. Plan an outing to pick out a special new outfit. 


We gratefully receive 95% of our kids clothing passed along from other families that we know.  For me, this is fantastic because the clothes is all in excellent condition and we save a fortune in clothing costs.  However, it means that our kids don't go clothes shopping very often, making it a special treat.  This year, for NJ's birthday - part of her gift was to go to the store and pick out a special "birthday outfit".  She absolutely loved this.  I chose a store where I knew the clothing was affordable and she picked a new dress, shoes, hairband and sunglasses.  

3. Choose an affordable, engaging subscription



Our favorite is Petit Mail of course.  Many subscription boxes and services are a lot of fun, but can be QUITE expensive once you add shipping costs.  Petit Mail story card subscriptions cost $6 per month for Canada and US mailing addresses (a little more for International subscribers) and inspire imagination and creative play.  Each month, read along with the adventures of Oliver + Olivia and connect as a family with science projects, nature exploration, art ideas, dramatic play and more. Ideal for ages 3 - early reader. 

4. Dress Up Costumes


Dress up costumes could be store-bought or handmade.  Think hats, shirts, masks, animal tails, capes and more.  This gift could be one elaborate costume, or a whole dress-up box full of accessories.  Your gift will provide hours of imaginative, creative play.  You can find some DIY costume ideas on the Non Toy Gifts for Kids Pinterest Board

5. A custom-made piece of clothing, especially for them

Find a local dressmaker, or a maker that inspires you to make a custom piece of clothing for a child in your life.  OR, make it yourself!  This could be a dress, a hat, a costume of some sort (see number 4!), Make it into an experience that INVOLVES them in the process, not just something that you do behind the scenes.  Take them to a studio to get measured, have them pick out the colors or designs they like the best.  

6. Photo or Memory Albums

Our daughter  NJ (age 5) loves looking at photos of herself when she was younger. If you have a child in your life that you spend time with and regularly take photos of, don't underestimate the value of something like this, even for fairly young children.  


7. A sleeping bag, pillow, flashlight and book or movie

Need I say more.  You could also include a coupon for a sleepover at your house, or a night of camping out in the backyard.

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Free Online Yoga Resources for Busy Moms



I tell anyone who will listen about how important my weekly yoga practice is.  
It has been life changing.  
For the past 8 months or so, I have been practising yoga for one 75 minute class per week.  

This is my "me" time.
This is my stress release.
This is what makes me feel strong and fit. 

Sometimes though, I want to do yoga at home.
Maybe I'm having a really stressful day (like today).  I don't necessarily WANT to do yoga (in fact, I often resist it in my head), but if I can just get myself on my mat for 20 minutes, I feel so much better.

So here they are...

My 3 Favourite Free Online Yoga Sites 

1. Yoga With Adriene - Words cannot describe how happy I was to discover this resource.  Following along with Adriene is like doing yoga with your best friend. I seriously love her.  Plus she has EVERY kind of yoga you could possibly imagine, from beginner to weight loss.  Go check it out, I swear, you'll love it too. 

2. If you have a little more yoga experience, I regularly use local yogi Melanie Caine's YouTube Channel for my home practice and am an occasional visitor to the Nova Yoga studio (which I love!)

3. I used the Web site DoYogaWithMe for prenatal yoga at home.  There are a wide variety of online classes and instructors, so you have a lot to choose from.  



You are important.
Make time for yourself.
If you feel like you don't have enough time, schedule 20 minutes into your calendar and stick with it, even if you don't feel like it.
Find an accountability partner to remind you how much better you will feel after you practice.

Self-Care makes you a better Mom.
How are you making time for yourself this week?


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