Two Great Toys

Toys. We love them, and we hate them.  (Stepping on a race car or lego is not a fun time!)

There are so many choices, and advertisers make lots of money trying to convince us (and our children) that their toys are the best.  Well, I have a couple of tried-and-true recommendations for you that are suitable for babies through preschoolers.  They are open-ended, easily cleaned, and you may want to buy more than one of each.

Drum roll, please . . .

1-  Soft blocks

B. One Two Squeeze Blocks







2- Nesting plastic cups (These aren’t the exact ones we own, since I found ours at Dollar General for about $5.00)





Yes, I’m serious.  It’s that easy.  The blocks can be stacked, rolled, put in bowls, dumped out, squished a bit, and they don’t hurt nearly as much as wooden blocks.  The plastic cups can be stacked or nested, used in the bath, outside, and for other imaginative play.

We have had both toys for a while now, and our 2.5 year old plays with them often.  They may be my go-to baby gift and recommendation from now on. 🙂



Fluttering wings, delicate landings, pretty colors – those are three things that came to mind about butterflies until a year and a half ago. I’ve always liked them, but they’re even more special now.

I started noticing many butterflies around me. It was April, so spring was here, and butterflies were expected. The number of butterflies, how often they arrived, and that they stayed with me (and us) represented something much more: Mom was sending butterflies. She had passed on earlier that month, but she made (and makes) her presence known through butterflies.

There are many stories I could tell, but this one is the most recent.

Two dear friends surprised me this Christmas with unexpected, touching gifts. At different times they presented me with a thoughtful keepsake I never considered looking for and purchasing: a butterfly ornament for our Christmas tree. They are lovely and touching. One is a deep purple, which is my favorite color. The other has many colors, but mainly turquoise, which was Mom’s favorite color. The fact that Christmas was Mom’s favorite holiday adds to the sentiment.

I cannot look at the ornaments without tearing up, but I’m thankful for the ladies who chose to unexpectedly gift me with them.

The Best Birthday Present

If you were turning two, what would you want for a present? Well, if you were our son, this is what you would get:

swingsetYep, your daddy would buy all the pieces,  build it, and help you play on your new swing set in just a couple of days! Talk about excitement, we hear “whee” (for slide) and “wing” (swing) any time he sees it or thinks about it.  It’s much easier than driving 10 minutes to the nearest park just to swing. Now, being out in the Georgia summer with direct sun until mid-afternoon isn’t a top priority for this mommy, but the change of pace and enjoyment are worth it.  😉

Non-candy Gifts for Valentine’s Day

You may disagree, but personally I think Valentine’s Day has become too commercialized.  I like to recognize it, but going all-out is not on my list of priorities for this single day.

Inevitably, the question “What do I buy so-and-so?” arises.  Candy tends to be the automatic answer.  Really, though, how much candy or chocolate does someone need?  How much do you actually want to pay for your dentist’s next vacation?

What are some different gifts for Valentine’s Day? If you’re struggling, here are a few ideas.  They’re basically in order from least to most personal and a variety of prices:


Pens, pencils, and erasers

Cute puzzle

Popcorn or favorite snack with a sweet note put around it




Stationery or personalized notecards

Stuffed animal

Mug & favorite coffee, tea, or hot cocoa mix

Make your own card


Gift Certificate for a massage

Something related to the recipient’s favorite hobby

Coupon book (you create and choose the topics)

Nice dinner out

Tickets to a movie, play, or concert

Pajamas or other clothing


Happy (early) Hearts Day!  What gift would you add to this list?