Things We Loved: November

Hey Everyone,
We hope you’re enjoying the beginning of the holiday season. All of our OT-friendly gift guides are out and we have one more week of posts before taking a much-needed end-of-year blogging break. For this month’s Things We Loved, we’re recapping our busy November, prepping for a crazy December, and sharing the things that are getting us through both.

From Mary

November has been a busy month in my household. Literally surviving off caffeine and octane with all of the appointments, travel, and adventure time. Right now, my schedule is operating efficiently but at max capacity, you know that “just right spot” where you can handle everything but can’t take on anymore…. This past month, our son’s schedule kicked up a notch with the end of the soccer season and school events. His twin sisters recently had their 15-month check-up. All this happening before packing up and traveling to Florida to visit my parents for Thanksgiving.  

  1. To maintain balance, I rely heavily on my Passion Planner to keep my head on straight and maximize my time efficiently. Yes, Patti has one too and whenever we have blog meetings, we bust out our matching planners. Highly recommend for any busy body with a crazy schedule who prefers the pen over a productivity app any day.

  2. I recently completed not one, but two continuing education courses this month. CEU courses are required to maintain my OT licensure. I took “Sensory Feeding Strategies” and “Early Intervention for Brain and Motor Development”. Can’t wait to share some new knowledge with you all soon. For fun learning however, I also have a Masterclass membership that I got as a gift last year.

  3. While we were in Florida hiding from the cold, it was nice to take our son swimming, teach him how to mini-golf, and show him Christmas lights wrapped around palm trees (the one holiday thing I miss from South Florida). We also visited the local zoo and the Cox Science Center and Aquarium. Try having to explain why iguanas are all over the place…

  4. On the bookshelf for this month, I’ve added Everyone You Hate is Going to Die just for a good laugh. For the kids, we received Trying by Kobi Yamada and Love You Forever by Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw. Get the tissues ready. You have been warned.

From Patti

TBH, I’ve been looking forward to Thanksgiving for months. First, it was my first time hosting Thanksgiving dinner in our new house. Second, I ran my second Half marathon. I’d been training since September and now that it’s over, I can finally relax and get hyped for our long-awaited Christmas in London. Just have to do some extra flying and holiday stuff in between.

  1. To train for the race, I used my Nike Running App 100% of the time. I usually use the Guided Run feature to coach me through my workouts, but this round I also did their Half Marathon training plan. It housed all of my runs and tracked my progress from week to week. From someone who is NOT fast and runs mostly out of guilt, this app totally makes running much more enjoyable.

  2. Prepping for London has become my little escapist hobby. I’ve been looking at restaurants, Christmas markets, holiday teas and above all, shopping for everything winter waterproof. I’ve taken advantage of a few Cyber Monday deals, getting lots of fleece-lined leggings and sweaters for me and the girls. Moms can get away with combat boots, right?

  3. Last year for Christmas, the girls received two AeroGardens. We finally got the chance (and have the open space) to set these up in the kitchen last month. The girls check their garden pods every day and are super diligent about checking the water and plant food lights. Their tomatoes and kitchen herbs are just sprouting. Later on in the spring, we can transplant them outside and start new indoor pods.

  4. In addition to Childish Reads reviews, I am also part of a monthly book club. I just finished An Elderly Woman Must Not Be Crossed, book 2 of really hilarious Swedish noir short stories. Currently reading: Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women that a Movement Forgot and Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed. Also, all of these e-book titles I got from my local library. So, if you haven’t gotten your library card, jump on it.

Like we said, we have one more week left of posts before hiding out for the rest of December. Stay tuned next week for Honoring Culture and The Santa Conversation.

~Mary & Patti

All of our recs are linked and most are listed on our Child(ish) Advice #FoundItOnAmazon Idea Lists. We are not an Amazon affiliate and we do not receive a commission for these links.

Holiday Gift Guide: Alternative Gifts

Lately, when people ask me if the girls want or need anything for Christmas, my immediate answer is NO. From sensory toys to learning toys to active sports equipment, we already have it covered. If anything, I’m begging you not to bring in any more stuff into my house…

A couple years ago, when my mom asked this same question, I told her gift cards. She got visibly disappointed and said that the girls NEED to open something Christmas morning, like I was just going to have no actual presents whatsoever.

First, I want to get out of this frame of thinking, that the holidays aren’t special unless there are a mountain of gifts. NEGATIVE. I’m pretty sure my girls are young enough that there wouldn’t be any emotional difference or disappointment between opening 5 presents or 15 presents.

And second, in going with my 2021 resolution to become more minimalist and sustainable, there are plenty of other gift-giving options besides buying the entire toddler toy section

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Gift Guide 2021: Preschool/Elementary Kids (4+)

If you ever notice the toy description in this age range, no one cares about whether its educational or developmental. It’s all about how entertaining and fun it is to play with. We’re here to say that some of these exciting toys can still provide advantages to enhancing your kid’s growth.

Here’s our top choices for children 4 and up.

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Holiday Gift Guide 2021: Toddlers

Holiday shopping for toddlers can be a bit tricky. They’ve outgrown basic baby toys and in most cases, are way too young for all the popular and full-sized toys. Our picks are somewhere in the middle. They still promote fine and gross motor development, while also bringing in imagination, pretend play, and body movement.

Here are our recommendations for toddlers, 1-3 years:

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Child(ish) Advice Holiday Gift Guide 2021

The holidays are going to be crazy this year. Yes, there are staffing shortages, mailing delays, and supply-chain bottlenecks. People are frustrated but also excited to have bigger, in-person events. Before getting into actual gift recommendations, we want to make sure you pack your patience. Get mentally and emotionally ready for this, so you don’t lose it on holiday workers who are just doing their best.

And now for gifts…

A lot of grandparents and family members want to make sure that they purchase something that is not only entertaining, but educational. Then, there are also family members that get the craziest, loudest, most popular thing on the shelves. So, to help balance expectations and simplify the process, we’ve put together our 2021 holiday gift list.

None of these are sponsored. We ran to Target/browsed Amazon and picked out a couple things per age group that we thought were pretty awesome and also OT-friendly.

Here are our recommendations this year for newborns to 12 months

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