One of the best family presents we’ve gotten recently has been a trampoline. Truth be told, when we decided to move forward and get a trampoline – I really looked at it as a gift for the children. Something they would love combined with a great physical activity. Win. Win.
What I didn’t anticipate was how much fun it would be for the whole family! Our family consists of a 4, 6 & 14 year old and all 3 loved the new addition to our back yard! And while the lil’s all enjoy trampoline time… I’ve found that mama loves it too. Sometimes I’ll just sneak out without the lil’s catching me and I’ll jump until I’m breathless.
I also didn’t anticipate how much the lil’s would want to jump together as a family, and how much fun it would be to jump with them – talk about heart prints.
Great Family Present for All Ages
I asked friends to Share their Favorite Family Present EVER !
Fitness & Fun
I discovered – I’m not alone in LOVING the trampoline!
Kadi Cobb Prescott mom of 7 (yes 7!!!) said they bought a giant trampoline. “Our kids got it from Santa five years ago and still use it all the time!”
Gena Martinez Morris from the Morris Bunch said “My dad got our family a trampoline a couple years ago. It was the best gift ever and the reason my 3 year old daughter hops everywhere she goes!”
Amy Benton Bradley from Freaky Perfect even bought a mini tramp for my son’s Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). It helps calm him down when he gets worked up. But we ALL love it!
Kate Canterbury from The Guavalicious Life got her family a membership to the zoo for her daughters’ first Christmas. “We used it almost every week. Not only did it help create some wonderful family memories, it also motivated me to get out of the house since we could just duck in for an hour or so whenever we wanted. Plus it wasn’t another toy that cluttered up the house when the girls got tired of it”.
Katja Presnal of Skimbaco Lifestyle took her immediate and extended family on Ski trip to Park City Mountain Resort for Christmas with extended family was the best family gift we ever got!
Three years ago Maricris Guadagna from Zensible Mama bought her family a Plane ticket to visit family in the Philippines. “It was the first time for my daughter and hubby to meet the rest of my family. It was one of the most expensive purchase but totally worth it.”
Resourceful Mommy, Amy Lupold Bair surprised her family with a getaway to Disney World! “I didn’t even tell my husband when I booked it!” Lisa Douglas from Crazy Adventures in Parenting also took a surprise Disney trip last Christmas. Andrea Peskind Katz of Great Thoughts also planned a surprise family trip to Disneyworld. They gave kids wrapped Minnie Mouse shirts with a poem telling them we were going. “Screaming ensued! Awesome!” It sounds like Disney and surprises go hand in hand!
Quality time together and memories that will last a lifetime.
Handcrafts & Creativity
Kelly Kinkaid from Kellyology said “My Grandmother-in-law makes hand crafted quilts for every baby born and for every new family member added by marriage. It’s a fantastic tradition, and each quilt some how represents perfectly each person it is made for.
Lolli Franklin from Better In Bulk has embraced her craftiness, “One year I made fleece blankets for each of my kids. I purchased the fabric (personalized for each… child) and cut and tied the blankets all in secret. I would wait til the kids were in bed before pulling everything out each night. I was an awesome surprise and I loved that I not only made them something personal, but that their big gift from me was not a toy. That was 5 years ago, and all 5 of my kids still use their blankets.
Rajean Campbell Blomquist was creative in announcing baby news and making a treasured gift, “Right after I was married we found christmas ornament frames and I put the ultrasound to our baby girl inside for my parents, his mother, our two oldest daughters. We hadn’t announced yet that they’d be grandparents again and big sisters. It was really sweet & surprising.”
All in all it seems the best family present is one that encourages family time together and naturally the lasting memories follow.
Love Letter to the FTC – I was sent a trampoline to review by Jumpsport – writing this post was not a part of the agreed upon review – although having the trampoline was the inspiration behind it.
So… Travel, Something homemade or will your family bounce into the new year on a Trampoline? As you get ready for this season of giving are you considering a family present…?
Almost every week – things arrive on my doorstep. Some are sent via PR and some I order online… not always the greenest way to buy, but it is a tool in this busy mom’s toolbox.
This week our Halloween Costumes came in the mail! Oh my, the lil’s have been SO excited it’s hard to keep them out of them. And… Lil Diva has declared that Halloween on Monday is WRONG… and it only be on weekends (she’s right isn’t she!).
How fun is Easter. Girls in their Easter Dresses, Egg Hunts, celebrations, and excitement about the frost finally thawing across the country.
Our church hosts an Service on Easter Sunday at the Hollywood Bowl every year, so attending that service has become a wonderful part of our Easter Tradition. If you are ever in Los Angeles it is a not to be missed way to celebrate Easter!
Easter Sunday at the Hollywood Bowl
I Set Out to Discover More Easter Traditions
The Easter Egg
My Eco Savvy Friends Dye Easter Eggs too… only they don’t grab a dye kit for this fun activity… they turn instead to the spice rack, and the produce isle! What a simple fun way to get children involved in having fun with their food!
Naturally Colorful - from Debra at Bungalow
Beets, cabbage, coffee and grass are a few of the ingredients that will lend just the hue you are after for your eggs this holiday season. You can learn how Debra did her eggs over at Blissfully Domestic.
Lisa Douglas from Adventures In Parenting has a great post on naturally dying Easter eggs. Plus, she adds some information that hopefully make us think twice before grabbing those handy kits from the market.
And… let’s face it… Egg Dying can get messy… so for a few tips on the chaos that can ensue when color and children intersect… read Lolli’s tips from Better In Bulk she’ll share wisdom like don’t leave 4 kids alone in a kitchen with 8 cups of dye!
Beyond The Basket
I love hearing inspiration that takes a step back from the commercialism. Last year instead of Baskets, Gena Morris from the Morris bunch gave her lil’s Bibles, this year everyone is getting covers. An approach like seems like it would reinforce family beliefs and values.
Borrow A Tradition
Cascarones (Confetti Eggs) are a Mexican Tradition that looks like a lot of fun… maybe too much fun. I’m not sure this is one for me. I can imagine trying to de-glitter my home & yard for months after Easter – I bet Lil Diva & Dude would love it!!! This post was shared with my by Carrie Ferguson Weir of Tiki Tiki Blog and they have all the instructions you need to craft Cascarones of your own this Easter!
Cascarones Image Courtesy of Roger Imp
OK – coloring may not be an Easter Tradition, but Winnie the Pooh is certainly a family tradition in our home and when I saw these I knew they would be a great to have on hand when you need a quiet moment at Brunch or Dinner.
Winnie The Pooh coming this summer! Download 7 Easter Coloring Pages
Every year we spend hours, wrapping countless gifts in preparation for the holidays. In a few minutes the excitement is over and we’re left with a big bag of trash. Do this project early in the holiday season to avoid the late nights right before the big day.
Eco Savvy Gift Wrapping
Last year I made eco-friendly reusable gift bags. You don’t need to be a great seamstress, just the ability to sew a straight-ish line. They are fast and easy.
Quick and easy doesn’t mean, wait until Dec 19th to start sewing, or you’ll wonder what ever made you think this was a good idea.
The good news is, you only have to make them once. Then they are done. This year I only have to pull them out and wrapping will be a breeze!
All Decked Up
7-10 yards of lightweight muslin.
Large Spool of matching thread
Iron & Ironing Board
This isn’t an exact science, I approximated my measurements and worked it out. You’re essentially making a pillow case for each gift.
Grab a few of the gifts you need to wrap. Haven’t done your shopping, collect an assortment of toys and books. Look in the birthday gift stash for sample sizes too.
Each bag is made with one piece of muslin, fold over, pin down. Sew a seam along each side.
NOTE – If you are worried about fraying you’ll want to sew all the rough edges with a zig-zag stich before sewing your seems and hem.
Lay out your fabric to determine the “envelope size” you’ll need. Place the gifts on the fabric, allow an inch or two for wiggle room. Add 2″ extra inches for seams on the side and 1 1/2 for the top. Remember you will be using these again, so precision isn’t the goal.
TIP – Cut multiple bags of each size all at one time.
Next, determine how much room you need to allow for the length of your “envelope”. Guesstimate how much fabric it will take to cover your desired gift, then add a few inches. It’s nice to have extra on top for a prettier presentation.
Iron the bag. Fold the top edge over one time, then fold again (for a cleaner finish) and pin.
Sew the top seam.
Iron and your bag is done.
All that’s left to do is insert the gift, label and embellish (if desired).
For the greenest option (you’ll need to select a slightly heavier muslin so it’s not too sheer), insert the gift and tie with raffia.
I wrap the gift with a couple of sheets of tissue paper, and tie with raffia or satin ribbon (which I reuse). The picture shows some ribbon from the past that I’m trying to use up.
What’s nice is the sheerness of the muslin allows the color of the tissue paper to show through. You still have a nice festive look and if you love to pay attention to detail (aka anal like me) you can color coordinate.
I love it when I find a way to make conventional recipes healthier, even if it’s just a little bit better as in the case with this recipe. Spritz cookies are perfect for the holidays, but they are so much fun and so easy to make that once you get the hang of making them you won’t want to relegate them to the holidays! This recipe is 100% whole grain and the addition of oat bran adds to their flakiness.
Guilt Free Delectible Treats
• 2/3 cup Organic Butter
• 1/3 cup of Grapeseed Oil
• 2/3 cup sifted Organic Confectioners’ Sugar
• 1 Organic Free Range Egg – separated
• 1 teaspoon Vanilla
• 1 teaspoon of Baking Powder
• 1 Cup Organic Whole Grain White Flour
• 1 Cup of Organic Whole Wheat
• 3/4 Cup of Organic Oat Flour
Organic Decorating Sugar or Confectioners’ Sugar for decoration
1. Bring Butter to room temp and blend with oil, cream together with the confectioner’s sugar in bowl until light and fluffy, using electric mixer at medium speed. Beat in egg white, then add egg yolk and vanilla; blend well.
2. Gradually stir flour into creamed mixture, mixing well.
3. Choose your design and place into cookie press. Place about 1/3 of the dough in cookie press at a time. I found it worked best when you made a nice tube out of the dough first then plop it in and press. Line up the press “grips” to engage the pressing action. Place the press on the cookie sheet, press and quickly but gently remove the press. Space cookies about 1 inch apart, on parchment or an ungreased baking sheets. The press takes time to get used to and get going… so don’t worry when you have a couple that don’t work, just toss them back in with your unpressed dough and have a redo.
4. If decorating with colored sugar, cherries, or jelly – add that before baking.
Ready For the Oven
5. Bake in 400 degrees F oven 7-10 minutes or until set, not browned.
6 . Remove from baking sheets; cool on racks.
7. If decorating with confectioners sugar. Lightly dust once cool. Enjoy.
Green Toys Made in the USA from recycled Milk Jugs! These toys are non toxic and instead of plastic being wasted, they are turning it into great toys. Look for Trucks, sand toys, garden kits & this cute tea set that is food safe! Win a Dish Set from PND – CLICK HERE.
Hessnatur offers a great selection of well priced classic menswear and children’s clothing. Organic whenever possible, Natural, Non Toxic and Fair trade from concept through execution. I’ve never met a woman who wasn’t happy to receive the gift of Cashmere! Save 25% for the holidays.
Sub Urban Riot makes super hip, yet still relaxed t-shirt that have been seen on Entourage and It’s always Sunny In Philadelphia. Note – there line is slimmer cut, so if you are looking for an ‘American Cut’ T-Shirt Choose from these styles; horse tee, RIOT, tee, hell yeah, and majestic panther.
I love Etsy – it’s an online site for artisans to showcase their handmade and crafted wares. You can spend hours getting lost in the sites of all the vendors.
Allison designs are stunning and have broad appeal – I would love to receive any one of her designs as a gift! Her etsy store is full of necklaces, bracelets and my favorite – earrings. CLICK HERE for the PND Review & Giveaway.
This mother of two designs simple, unique treasures from her studio in the Garden State. With an Etsy shop full of earrings, necklaces, rings and bracelets you are sure to cross someone off your list with a visit to her shop.
If lingerie is on the list, go organic where pure really counts! Couture Cottons makes organic underwear and cozy organic pajamas. Yet another example of design breaking down the barrier of what “organic” looks like. Check out our Review and Giveaway CLICK HERE.
Who Doesn’t love a fabulous new heels for all the great parties! NeuAura makes fabulously stylish vegan and eco friendly designs to step out for the holidays in style. They make styles to walk you through your entire year. Don’t forget to check out their fantastic Thames boots!
Based in Los Angeles – This Etsier makes a nice selection of gorgeous handbags that have a slightly retro feel to their design. In a day and age when most handbags are made in China Yellow Wallpaper is handmade. What a stylish way to buy Made In the USA.
Juice Beauty has some lovely sets that are perfect the holidays. CLICK HERE to read our review of their Green Apple Moisturizer and Juice Beauty.
Looking for a unique gift for the hostess that has it all, the glass straw is a great solution! Prices start at $6 and gift sets of 4 start at $23.
PND has been encouraging readers to bring their own bags while shopping, you can encourage your friends to do the same, with style use an EnviroVoque Reusable Bags as a fun stocking stuffer or in place of wrapping paper. They offer some great designs that will make you want to remember to use them! Retail for $7.95-9.95.
Green Toys makes a line of toys made in the USA from recycled milk jugs! Very few toys are Made in the USA and even fewer are made from primarily reclaimed ingredients!
Most PND readers know that I’m not a big fan of plastic. Green Toys are part of the solution. They use recycled plastic milk jugs, turning waste into fun, high quality, safe toys. The milk jugs are high-density polyethylene (or HDPE), the safest plastic option in the marketplace today.
Green Toys has some great basics in their line-up. Everything from jump ropes & eco saucer (think frisbee) to a 15 piece tool set, 4 piece Sand Set and a 27 piece Cookware & Dining Set.
Green Toys recently sent me a couple of their toys to check out:
The Tea Set – 17 pieces of food safe tea fun!
Their Tea Set is great, and I’m not the only one who think so. At the time of writing this post this set had 78 reviews on Amazon and a 5 star rating!
The set is sturdy, the colors are pale pastel and the size of the cups and plates are just right. Not too big, not too small.
One of the best things about this set is that it IS food safe. Now this might seem like a basic criteria for a children’s tea set, but surprisingly it’s not. Most of the tea sets in the marketplace for children are not food safe. Yet I bet everyone of them is used to hold many a thimbleful of water that that will be refilled and consumed throughout every tea party.
Recycle Truck – Boys (and girls) loves trucks and choosing a recycling truck gives another tool for eco teaching the child in your life
The Truck is a good size, similar to those you’ll see in a sandbox or playground. It has a door that opens on the back so it can be filled with treasures – important in the Diva home. We also liked that the side of the truck had small openings that the children use to stash coins or rocks.
It’s worth noting that the doors to the cabin of the truck don’t open and close and which is fine with me, one less thing to break off and fall apart.
A Special Not About Packaging! Have you ever had to spend more time wresting to get your toys out of their excessive packaging? You won’t have that experience with green toys. They don’t use any cellophane, plastic, or twist ties! They also use all 100% recyclable corrugated cardboard to package their toys. Open the box and play! Just like it should be!
We loved the Green Toys so much that I added a few of their items to the children’s wishlist for their grandparents! I added the cookware set and the tool box.
WINNER: Samantha C Check your inbox!
Are Green Toys on your wishlist?
You’re in luck. One lucky PND reader will win The Green Toys Dish Set!
HOW TO ENTER:
There are a few ways you can enter, leave separate comments for each entry.
Become an Email Subscriber to PND using the form in the sidebar.
– Subscription must be confirmed. You will receive and email that you must reply to for your entry to be valid.
– Already a confirmed Subscriber. Complete any one of the additional entries options – Leave a comment letting Diva know you’re subscriber name and the entry option you selected.
1. Share your favorite Toy from Green Toys!
2. Stumble, Digg, Kirsty, or Technorati favorite this post. Leave a comment with your name and the link.
3. Follow @purenaturaldiva (use link on the sidebar) & @greentoyspr on twitter. Leave your twittername in a separate comment.
4. Become a Fan of Pure Natural Diva & Green Toys on Facebook. Post this giveaway as an update, leave your FB Name or Name with a copy of your update in a separate comment. One entry for each.
5. Tweet this giveaway. Copy and paste “GREEN TOYS Diva Giveaway – Win a Children’s Play Dish Set http://bit.ly/4KRHql@purenaturaldiva”. Then come back and leave the direct link to your tweet (go to your twitter account, click on the words when your tweet was sent (ie. 5 seconds ago) and copy and paste that link in comments.
6. Write a post on your blog linking to my blog and to the – Good for two entries. Leave this comment twice so you get both entries!
7. Add the PND Button to your site. Leave a comment with the link.
This giveaway will run through midnight on Dec 19, 2009 PDT, with winner being announced December 21, 2009. Winner will be chosen using Random.org from all valid entries and notified via email. Winner will have 24 hours to contact me before another winner is chosen.
With winter moving through most of the country there is nothing like a great sweater.
Living in Los Angeles it doesn’t get too cold, I probably wear sweaters daily. We are cold in the morning (if you call 48 degrees cold and I do) and often in a t-shirt by midday – cardigans offer warmth with flexibility. Dodging to avoid the snowballs being flung my way by mid-west and east coast readers.
Recently I’ve been on a hunt to find great eco sweaters. I thought if I was looking, maybe my readers were too. It didn’t hurt that as an added bonus I’d be able to feature some fabulous woolens from my sponsor, hessnatur. I searched through pages on Google, hunting and found nothing I loved. The sweaters from my sponsor, were better than anything I was finding.
My plan had been to feature one or two styles from hessnatur. After my search, I couldn’t find anything I wanted to add. I did make an honest attempt. From the style of their offerings, the ethical manufacturing, the number of organic selections, to their pricing. They have some of the best eco friendly sweaters I could find. Did I mention the variety of styles they offer? They hands down had more styles, color and variety than any site I visited preparing this piece.
Sweaters make a great gift because they tend to be more forgiving fit wise, but if it’s not right, it’s nice to know that you don’t have to pay more money to return an item. hessnatur is currently offers free shipping and returns, for worry free online shopping.