5 Essentials for Your Dress-up Box and Where to Find Them

It starts when your toddler first puts on a pair of your shoes and stumbles around, giggling and excited to be dressing like mom or dad. Then it progresses to outfits and accessories, and before you know it they’ve got quite a dress-up collection. Dressing up is a great imaginative activity that you can encourage with a well-stocked dress-up box or wardrobe. We started with just a special dresser drawer and now it has overflowed into a large toy box. You can also find some really cool full dress-up wardrobe sets on Amazon.

Dress-up-essentials

What makes a great dress-up box?

1) Costumes – Of course every great costume box needs costumes! Start with a few costumes and then encourage your child to accessorize or mix and match to create their own outfit. Costumes can be anything from fantasy characters to uniforms for real jobs. Children’s consignment shops are great places to find nearly new costumes at really cheap prices. I’ve picked up several there, still in their original packaging, for under $10.

spider-man-kid

2) Clothing – You can also mix in fun items of clothing that will spark their imagination to make up their own outfits. Goodwill is a good place to find dress-up pieces. Look for items that aren’t every day wear. Stuff with a little extra sparkle or maybe something that looks like it could be a character.

3) Accessories – Once they put together and outfit, they will want to accessorize with something fun. Tiaras, gloves, hats, feather boas, wigs, even wings! You can find great deals on accessories online at a place like DressUpWholesale.com, where almost everything is under $2! You can really stock a dress-up box with tons of great stuff without spending much.

4) Props – Every character needs a prop, whether it’s a pirate sword or a magic wand. Head to your local dollar store where you can find kid-friendly props to complete everything from a doctor outfit to a ninja costume.

5) Shoes or Socks – As soon as my son put on his first Spider-Man costume, he turned to me and said “I need Spider-Man shoes.” He’s only three but he wanted to complete his look down to his toes. Goodwill is a good place to find cheap dress-up shoes, but you can also throw in some old ones from your own closet. And fun socks can complete a look as well! Of course, sometimes they just want to throw on an outfit and run.

boy-in-a-dress

 

It doesn’t matter if you have a boy or a girl, dressing up is universal for children. And when they are little, they don’t care if it is “boy stuff” or “girl stuff” they are just going to go for whatever catches their eye. One day my son will insist on being Spider-Man and the next he’s running around in a sparkly tutu. Either way, I’m just happy to see him having fun and using his imagination.

*Thanks to DressUpWholesale.com for sending us a bunch of fun items to play with from their store. Check them out if you need to stock your own Dress-up Box! They carry a great range of dress-up gear like feather boas, tutus, wings and hair accessories.

*Links to Amazon are affiliate links, and it’s possible I might make money off it, but doubtful because it’s taken me about a year to earn $6.

 

 

 

Do You Want to Play a Game?

Playing a game with a three-year-old is a unique experience. It takes a lot of patience, imagination and a complete lack of concern for following rules. We got this great set of games from Goliath Games and Pressman Toy Company and my son couldn’t wait to rip open the box and try every single toy, regardless of those pesky age recommendations.

goliath-prize-pack

We got started with Googly Eyes, where you get to wear funny glasses and draw pictures while your team guesses what you are drawing. I can tell this one is going to be a lot of fun as soon as he can draw something more than a scribble. The glasses have three sets of lenses and we had fun trying them on and just trying to draw any kind of picture!

IMG_9791

Next up we gave Sequence a try. It’s a game of both strategy and luck, played with a board game, cards and chips. My son made up his own set of rules for this one involving the color-coded chips while I quietly snuck the cards out of view before they ended up all over the house. I thought this one looked like a good one to stash away until he’s a bit older.

IMG_9873

The last one we opened, and the one my son keeps pulling off the shelf to play again, is Rummikub. Must be something about all those little tiles. He’s convinced he’s quite the Rummikub champion and keeps telling me he’s winning every time he fills up one of the trays.

Another game of luck and strategy, players take turns placing numbered tiles in runs (consecutive numbers of the same color, like 2, 3, 4 in red) and groups (three or more of the same number in different colors, like a red 9, a blue 9 and a black 9), rummy style. The Joker tiles can be any color or number. The object is to be the first to play every tile on your rack. The “board” changes all the time as players adjust the tiles on the table.

IMG_9883
The next Rummikub champion

As much as my son loves trying to play all these games, his ultimate goal is to throw all the pieces everywhere and create as big of a mess as possible. So you can see why Sequence was hidden away with all its little pieces. But he’s quite attached to Rummikub so it’s a good thing all the little tiles are an easy clean-up. We even make a sort of game out of that part.

IMG_9886

Think your family would like a prize pack of these great games? Be sure to head to GeekMamas.com for this week’s giveaway! Starting Wednesday 2/20 and running until 3/4 you can enter to win.

Making Wall Worthy Kids Art with Stencils

Stencils are a great way for kids of almost any age to make wall worthy art. As long as they can hold a painting utensil or sponge, then they should be able to transfer paint onto the prepared stencil surface and have it result in something pretty decent!

stencil-art-kids

We recently took advantage of a cold rainy afternoon to do an art project compliments of Stencil Revolution. I picked out a neat seahorse stencil to go with our beach house renovation decor and set it up so my three-year-old son could do the painting.

stencil-revolution (1)

The first thing we did was head to the hardware store to get a piece of wood to use as a base. I also had a second Halloween themed stencil, so I got a 4ft. piece of wood to fit them both for just $9. After cutting it to fit both stencils I still had enough left over to make something else. After cutting the board to fit, I stained them a navy blue. You can also paint the boards a solid color.

stencil-revolution (2)

After the stain was dry, I taped the stencil where I wanted the design to be. My board wasn’t as wide as I should have been, but I just went with it. I realized later, as my son was really going crazy slapping on the paint, that it is best to have all the sides taped down really well. I was only able to tape down the top and bottom so it slipped a tiny bit, but not enough to mess it up in the end. You do need to have it secured better than we did if you want a crisp stencil edge.

stencil-revolution (4)

With our surface prepped, next we mixed our paints. We used acrylics in a metallic teal, blue and a dash of white. Our painting tool or choice was a sponge painter. My son took to sponge painting with gusto, scooping large blobs of paint out and slopping it down as I scrambled to make sure it wasn’t splattering beyond our small art mat.

At first I kept trying to limit his paint and show him how to do it, but then I just let him go with it and his unique blob painting technique actually resulted in a really cool texture! The bubbles and lumps make it look almost like the seahorse has scales.

stencil-revolution (8)

I made sure every spot was covered and then Mr. Impatient had to see his creation immediately, so I removed the stencil and we were both very excited to see something so pretty! I’m sure you’re probably supposed to let it dry and then remove it so you don’t risk smudging it, but it was hard enough to stop the flailing little arms from smearing the whole thing while it was on so I figured I’d better show him and then display it up high where he couldn’t touch it.

After I removed the stencil, I immediately rinsed it off and the acrylic paint easily came off with a little scrubbing. The stencil is made from laser cut 12 mil Mylar and can be used over and over again. It can also be cleaned with paint thinner if you choose to let the paint dry on it and have a harder time cleaning it off. Acrylics will usually wash off or peel off easily though, even when dry.

stencil-revolution (9)

So you can see our seahorse doesn’t have super crisp edges and isn’t “perfect” but I think that adds to its beachy vibe. I just have to add a little hook to the back and I’ll be hanging this little masterpiece on the wall. And thanks to StencilRevolution.com for sending the stencil for this fun little project!

I Don’t Want to do The Thing

So, this is me today:

writers-block-image-472jpg

I keep sitting down and trying to do The Thing I’m supposed to be doing and it’s just not happening. Actually typing about not doing it is the closest I’ve gotten to doing it. And therefore, I’m almost giving myself a pat on the back for half-assly doing The Thing without trying. Good good! You wrote 61 words so far, write just a few more and we can call it good enough and press publish.

I haven’t had much time to actually sit down and think today, and in the few moments I have been able to have computer time it’s like all my thoughts just get jammed up and then come lumbering out in a weird cumbersome way. So then I just scroll through Facebook until my son realizes he hasn’t asked me for food in the last seven minutes and I have to go back into Mom/servant mode.

There are actually a TON of things I could be doing on the blog right now. Products to review, SEO to brush up, drafts to edit, photos to resize…and I just don’t feel like doing a darn thing. My fire seems to have fizzled a bit today. Life kept throwing things at me. Like if I was the fire and those things were snowballs. So one by one they piled up and now I feel sort of like a pile of unmotivated slush.

But tomorrow is a new day. Time to shake it off. Try again. See if I can catch that spark. My fire may go up and down, but everything is fine as long as I make sure that pilot light never goes out.

 

Mogix Makes Portable Cell Phone Power that Fits in Your Pocket

In this era of cell phone dependability, we never want to get caught with a drained battery. Mogix makes it easy to avoid the dreaded dead phone experience with their ultra thin 5000mAh portable cell phone chargers that easily fit in your purse, baby bag, glove compartment or even your pocket.

Mogix sent me their Portable Power Bank in both black and white to try out for the blog, and I was immediately impressed by how slim and lightweight they were. The sleek design and 3.8 oz. weight make it easy to stash these in my “mom bag” without adding to its ever-growing bulk. Smaller than an iPhone, but powerful enough to charge any cell phone or small USB-friendly device in a matter of hours, this is definitely a handy little gadget.

The first thing I did was plug it in to make sure it had a full charge. It comes with a charging cable for the power bank, but you use your own regular phone charging cable to connect your phone. They recommend charging it about four hours or just leaving it plugged in overnight. Once the four little lights on the front are all lit, you are fully charged. You can check the amount of charge by pressing the little button on the front. For this particular charger, you can get one to three phone charges out of one battery charge and about 500 charges overall.

Mogix-charger (1)
All 4 lights lit, showing full battery

Once it was fully charged, I let my phone get down to around 8% left on my battery before I tested it. I used my usual phone cord and plugged it into the USB port on the Mogix charger. I checked it after about 30 minutes and I was already up to 45%.  After that, it took about two hours to get a full charge. The good thing is you can use the phone while it’s charging, so no need to wait around for it to finish. After it charged, the battery lights on the Mogix only went down to three, so it appears I could probably get a few charges out of it before needing to recharge.

The battery will shut off on its own and not keep charging, so your device is protected by an auto shut-off and temperature control system. The Mogix also comes with a 90 Day Satisfaction Guarantee and 18 Month Warranty.

It was easy to use, fast to charge and didn’t take up much space. I’ll definitely be keeping one of these stashed in our “go bag” that we take on our bike and park adventures!

Click here to shop for the Mogix portable charger on Amazon.