Director Jewels

Monday, December 22, 2014

#CrushTheCups with Cameron's Coffee & Say Goodbye to Plastic

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Cameron's Coffee, but all opinions expressed are my own. 

It's three days until Christmas. This year, I am so not prepared. I have been up incredibly late every night and have had to peel my eyelids open several mornings this week. I honestly try not to drink coffee too often (even when it's delicious) because I fear I will become dependent on it - but this week...it may just become a necessity.

When I do indulge, I have to admit I am not much for basic. I need something beyond the coffee flavor on its own, so you had better believe I was excited to find this Chocolate Caramel Brownie variety from Cameron's Coffee. Chocolate + caramel = true love, so this choice was super simple.

http://ooh.li/3008658

 The best thing about Cameron's Coffee is that their single-serve coffee packets feature a soft-bottom filter instead of a plastic cup! I don't think coffee tastes very good when it includes a plastic aftertaste - do you? Cameron's is brewed through a filter and is BPA free and polystyrene free.

Cameron's Coffee is giving away FREE boxes of coffee to anyone who's willing to #CrushTheCups and destroy a plastic single serve coffee cup on video! My kids thought this was perhaps the most fun we had all day.


Just upload your video and follow the instructions to receive a free box, shipped right from Cameron's Coffee to your home. This promo ends TONIGHT - December 22 - so hurry!

http://ooh.li/3008658

All right...now, talk to me about holiday survival tips. What else can I do in the next two days to stay awake while I am finishing my Christmas cards, wrapping all of our gifts, and finishing up the decorating (yeah...even that's still not done)? I'm all ears!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Cameron's Coffee, but all opinions expressed are my own. For more info, you can read my Disclosure Policy

DIY Wall Christmas Tree & Put Out the Fire Game with Free Printables - #PlanesToTheRescue

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PlanesToTheRescue #CollectiveBias


My kids love Christmas and they love any sort of vehicle - whether cars, trains, or planes, they'll play with them for hours! I've been meaning to make them a Christmas tree that they can play with (so that we avoid things like the time Lincoln knocked down our tree), and it was a no-brainer to add in an element of play based on the success of our Firefighter Birthday Party Game.

So, it was decided: we would make a Christmas tree for our wall that featured FIRE! The kids would have to use their awesome Disney Planes rescue toys to put out the flames and save Christmas! With everyone sufficiently excited, we headed off to Walmart to grab all the supplies we would need.


Lincoln was all too happy to select a set of Disney Planes Fire & Rescue Die-Cast Vehicles, 3-Pack and I was excited that they were on Rollback to $14.97. At less than $5 each, this set of three die-cast vehicles made a welcome addition to our toy collection. 


There's nothing better than a surprise Rollback just in time for Christmas! We had a tough time deciding which toy to buy. Although Lincoln ultimately chose the die-cast three-piece set, we also considered the Disney Planes Flight to the Finish Speedway (Rollback to $24.97), Disney Planes Fire & Rescue Deluxe Talking Vehicle Assortment (Rollback to $19.97), Planes Character Assortment die-cast set and the Disney Planes: Fire and Rescue Character Assortment die-cast set (both on rollback at $4.97).


With so many toys to choose from, I'm surprised that Lincoln made a confident decision! I was pretty proud of him!


After our toy choice was decided, we picked up the other supplies we would need to make a large Christmas tree and headed home. Once we were there, Lincoln waited approximately 0.442291 seconds before declaring "Mommy! Get them out of the box! And let's make our Christmas tree!"

I was worried that the Christmas tree project would be really complicated with two toddlers involved, but with the help of daddy, it ended up being not too bad. And I only got one spot of green paint on my nicest yoga pants.


If you want to make a tree for your kids this week, here's how!

DIY Wall Christmas Tree for Toddlers

Supplies Needed:
-Poster Board (I used two sheets)
-Packing Tape
-Acrylic Paint and Paintbrushes (you could also use markers or crayons - or just buy colored poster board to save the trouble!)
-Cardstock and a Printer
-Sticky Tack or some sort of wall adhesive


Directions:

1. Tape your Poster Board sheets together and cut out a Christmas Tree shape. We went with a very simple design - just a triangle, but if you're more motivated than me, you could do individual branches, too!


2. Let Toddler Decorate Tree. We threw on a paint smock (aka one of my old t-shirts), gave Lincoln a couple of paintbrushes, and let him go to town. We did end up helping him finish the green paint - it's a big tree!


3. Print off some Decorations, Ornaments, and Flames. You can print the ones we designed here! The flames are pre-colored, but we let Lincoln and Addie use acrylic paint to decorate each of the ornaments, candy canes, and strands of tinsel.


4. Let Paint dry, then laminate to increase sturdiness. We don't have a laminating machine, but were able to take the pieces to a local shop and have them covered for a nominal charge.

5. Use Sticky Tack to Adhere Tree to Wall. This was the easiest part!


6. Apply Sticky Tack to each decoration and let toddlers decorate and re-decorate to their heart's content! This has been so fun for the kids - they love having something Christmas related that is on their level that they are actually allowed to play with!

7. Don't forget to add Flames to your tree - then gather up all of your willing Disney Planes Fire & Rescue toys! We used regular straws as "water hoses" and this created hours of play as Lincoln pretended to put out fires with the planes.


He was even creative enough to connect the straw to his Dusty!


Both the tree and the fire rescue game have been a huge success and I think we'll probably add more decorations to our wall tree each year.


I'm all about projects that entertain my kids for more than five minutes - and this one definitely did!


What fun things are you doing with your toddlers to get ready for Christmas this week?

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. For more information, you can read my Disclosure Policy. #PlanesToTheRescue #CollectiveBias

Holiday Baking Fun with Hallmark & Northpole1820 - plus a Giveaway!

Disclosure: I received sample products for review. No other compensation was received and all opinions expressed are my own. 

Baking is not my strong suit, but my kids think it's fantastic. Our Christmas cookie baking project last year was kind of a fail, so I wasn't sure how things would go when we set up a cookie workshop this weekend. But Lincoln was all about it. 


He happily donned his apron, requested to help with each step, and generally followed directions as we measured ingredients and put together something scrumptious.


He made a perfect little elf assistant, and we definitely were able to create some holiday magic just in time for Christmas.


Baking with toddler assistants tends to be far, far messier - and much more rewarding. I've never seen little kids SO excited about a cookie treat before!


I thought his favorite part of the cookie-making process might be rolling out the dough with the Cookie Wonder Wheel from Hallmark...but I was wrong.


The best part (for both kids) was definitely sneaking lots of bites of cookie dough! 


If you're needing some magic inspired by Santa's magical city (you know...Northpole!), make sure you stop by Northpole1820.com or find these adorable Hallmark baking supplies in stores. The Bake Like an Elf kit comes with special elf-shoe sizes measuring cups that Lincoln loved. I wasn't brave enough to hand over the Sprinkle Bell for long, but it was a big hit. And seriously...that apron could not have a better description.

Hallmark pulls out all the stops for holiday magic, and we were so glad to be a part of it this year!


Have you made Christmas cookies yet this year? Visit Northpole online for more info and inspiration. You can also follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram.

Giveaway

One Director Jewels reader will win a baking prize pack from Hallmark! This giveaway will end on December 31 at 11:59pm CST. This giveaway is open to US readers only. Winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or prize will be forfeited.

To enter the giveaway, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter form below (you may need Javascript enabled to see the form and it may take a moment to load)! Once you complete the first entry, the other options will open up so that you can complete them as well. All of the "extra entries" are optional - you can do just one, or as many as you want! Winners will be contacted by email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Disclosure: Thank you to Hallmark for providing my samples and the giveaway prize! I received no other compensation and all views expressed are my own. For more information, you can read my Giveaway Policy and my Disclosure Policy.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

51/52



  "A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

Lincoln - Crown Center Magic. Kansas City is awesome at Christmas time.

Addie - sharing a snack with a friend.
 
Linking up at Practising Simplicity

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Happyville Smart Mat + Wonky Wheels from PlaSmart - #HolidayGiftGuide2014

Disclosure: I received sample products for review. No other compensation was received and all views expressed are my own.

Our collection of toy vehicles is vast. And when I say vast...I mean kind of overwhelming. Lincoln doesn't play with cars quite as much as he used to, but there are still little cars everywhere in my house a good portion of the time. I've always wanted to have a nice road map that Lincoln could use to drive his cars on, but every time I've come across one, they have been pretty small. When you have 200+ cars....you need some space to drive!

So, you can imagine my delight when I was given the chance to review the Happyville Smart Mat from PlaSmart. Measuring in at 78"x46", this floor mat is perfect for our huge collection of little vehicles to call home.


Made to last through many a toddler driving toys and crawling rambunctiously across it, the Happyville Smart Mat features quality, coated EVA foam that is immensely brighter than any other "road rugs" I have seen on the market. The colors are vibrant and inviting, and both of my kids had eyes as wide as saucers the first time I pulled out this mat for them to play.


Driving cars along the windy roads of the play mat has quickly become a favorite pastime for Lincoln and Addie - and even Daddy gets in on the action sometimes!


The mat takes up a fairly large space in our living room, but it rolls up for storage so easily that it has never been even a minor issue. My only concern is that my kids may use the cars to poke holes through the foam - we have a couple of spots on our mat where it is obvious someone felt the need to have an attack car strike. In spite of my destructive little ones, however, the mat has held up extremely well.


Kids (and grown ups) of all ages can enjoy this mat, and with a $29.99 price tag, it's not a steep investment!


There is also a Castletown Smart Mat available. Either mat would make an excellent playroom addition, or fit nicely into a classroom play corner! We think it's great fun to drive cars around our Smart Mat all day...wouldn't you?


PlaSmart was also kind enough to send along a Wonky Wheels Finger Car for Lincoln. They must have read his mind - when he saw it, he said "it's blue because my favorite color is blue!" and proceeded to examine every inch of it. He automatically knew that the indentation on top was meant for his finger, and he has spent hours since that day driving this car around - on not only the Smart Mat, but every surface of our house!


Wonky Wheels (which he calls his "wonky car") has become one of his favorite toys and he brings it along with us on adventures outside the house all the time - it was even the sole toy he picked to bring on vacation this December! If that's not love, I don't know what is. I love that the car seems to move in a new way each time you play with it, and it helps develop motor skills. Toys that help kids learn without realizing they're learning are the best...don't you think? Wonky Wheels would make a great, unique stocking stuffer!


We love our Happyville Smart Mat and the Wonky Wheels car! Visit PlaSmart to find out more about these and other great titles. You can also follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, G+, and LinkedIn for all the latest updates.

Giveaway

One Director Jewels reader will win a Happyville Smart Mat and a Wonky Wheels Car! This giveaway will end on December 31 at 11:59pm CST. This giveaway is open to US readers only. Winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or prize will be forfeited.

To enter the giveaway, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter form below (you may need Javascript enabled to see the form and it may take a moment to load)! Once you complete the first entry, the other options will open up so that you can complete them as well. All of the "extra entries" are optional - you can do just one, or as many as you want! Winners will be contacted by email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Thank you to PlaSmart for providing my review sample and the giveaway prize! I received no other compensation and all views expressed are my own. For more information, you can read my Giveaway Policy and my Disclosure Policy.
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