Top Christmas Gifts for 2-4 Year Old Girls Under $30

This post contains Affiliate links. If you purchase through one of my links, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. For full details see our full disclosure statement

Shopping on a Christmas budget this year? We sure are! I was asking my daughters the other day (Maggie is 2, almost 3, and Lily just turned 4) what they wanted for Christmas. We had a few flyers out with options, and other things they just told me what they wanted. I thought I’d compile a wish list of gifts for 2-4 year old girls at a reasonable price (not the $240 Barbie Dream House they wanted!!) Here’s what they came up with…

  • PJ Masks Figurine Set ~ Lily is obsessed with PJ Masks thanks to her cousins!! Maggie watches it with her, but she’s still more into Paw Patrol. These are the perfect size to play with.
  • Paw Patrol Skye Set or Paw Patrol Everest Set ~ at 4 years old, Lily is sort of starting to outgrow Paw Patrol. She still LOVES Skye though and would love anything Skye related. As I said before, Maggie still loves this show! My girls favorite pups are Skye and Everest which isn’t surprising seeing as they are the only 2 girl pups and they wear pink and purple!
  • FurReal Pets Kami, My Poopin’ Kitty ~ Lily wants a cat, she loves cats. We had 2 cats when she was born, but we had to get rid of them shortly after Maggie was born, they were jealous of her! Pete also developed really bad allergies to them. But, Lily still wants one. This is the next best thing, she still has to feed it and she has to clean up after it as well. Give her a taste for having a real pet!! (mind you, she does help me feed our dog Winnie almost every day)
  • Who’s kids like to help them in the kitchen? My girls LOVE helping me bake, do dishes, make breakfast etc. Sometimes I get a little impatient because I know I can do it 10 times faster by myself, but they just love it and it’s so good for them to be and feel involved. Check out Flirty Homes (used to be Flirty Aprons), they have the cutest aprons for everyone in the family. Lily loves her little apron and I know Maggie is getting one for her birthday in January too! (They also have some other adorable decor for the home and natural cleaning products… great site all around!) www.FlirtyAprons.com
  • Disney Princess Anything ~ here’s a few ideas Disney Princess My First Bedtime Story Book , Fisher Price Little People Disney Princess set of 6, CandyLand Disney Princess Edition (the girls are just starting to get into board games, this one would be excellent for them!). Pretty much anything Disney Princess they would be happy with. They love their Shimmering Princess dolls too. We’ve also asked for a few of the movies: Frozen, Tangled and Tinker Bell
  • Barbie ~ They’re just starting to get into Barbies… Lily a bit more so than Maggie. They LOVE the Barbie Dolphin Magic movie. We’ve watched it over and over and over (see my blog about that here). I know either of the dolls, the Mermaid or the Barbie Snorkell doll would make them 2 happy little girls!
  • Finally, if you’re looking for some awesome devotionals or inspirational stories for young girls about females in the Bible, check out Bible Belles. Their books aim to teach our daughters their worth through Biblical stories. These are great for this age to build girls a solid foundation of how God sees them.

What are you getting for your kids this year? Any other great ideas? I’m not done my shopping yet (not even close!!), so I’m always looking for great ideas!!

Easiest Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of my links, through no added cost to you, I may receive a small commission. See our full Disclosure Statement.

Have you jumped on the  Instant Pot bandwagon yet? If not, you should! I’ve had mine for about a year now and I absolutely LOVE it!!! I use it probably 2-4 times a week. It’s so great to just be able to pop the food in there, walk away and have a meal ready in as little as 20 minutes. I can make an entire meal in just the one pot, so there’s less clean up afterwards too! I’ve never considered myself to be a good cook, I always stuck to the recipes I knew how to do. It doesn’t help that I married a man who used to be a cook in restaurants. Needless to say, I have never been super confident in the kitchen!

Since getting the Instant Pot I have become a lot more experimental. Everything from soups and chili’s, to roasts and applesauce. I never would have tried some of these recipes before. I’ve had some fails, but for the most part the meals I’ve tried have turned out pretty well.

Anyway, I wanted to make Chicken Noodle Soup last week. I love soups in the fall! I came up with an idea to make it, my hubby tweaked it a little, and then I made it and it was delicious!!! It’s made using rotisserie chicken. You can make this in the Instant Pot as well (here’s a recipe from Cooking with Curls). I use store bought as my husband buys a rotisserie every week for his work lunches. You can also just use chicken breasts or thighs.

So, I started by sauteing the onion, carrot and celery in canola oil using the saute function on your Instant Pot until the onions become translucent. I added in the chicken and then I added in the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and turned off the saute mode. Finally, I added in the chicken stock (which you can also make in the Instant Pot using Aileen Cooks recipe) and noodles. Set the Instant Pot to manual for 8 minutes (Note: it can take up to 20 minutes for the pot to reach cooking pressure). Once the timer went off, I did a quick release and we were ready to eat!! So, in under half an hour, we had delicious soup for supper!!

Click here to download printable version

What are your favorite Instant Pot soup recipes for the fall and winter? I need some more to try out! Drop your fave recipe in the comments section below!!

Crochet Tinker Bell Hair

This year Lily wanted to be TinkerBell for Halloween. We watched the Disney Tinker Bell movie a few months ago, and ever since she saw it, she wanted to be Tinker Bell. I thought it was adorable, she kind of looks a little like Tinker Bell… big blue eyes, blonde hair.

Last year she was a Princess and I found a pattern on Pinterest to make a crochet crown with a long braid coming off. Her and Maggie call it their “Elsa” hair now even though it’s purple and white. I would think Rapunzel makes more sense, but whatever they want to call it is just fine with me!

So after Lily decided to be Tinker Bell, I went looking again for a pattern to make her a crochet wig to wear. I love the hats because they are adorable and keeps them warm if it’s a cold evening of trick or treating. I couldn’t really find anything that I liked other than a few pictures. But I thought to myself “hey, I can make this!!”

I found this simple double crochet toque pattern on Craftsy and figured it would be the perfect base for what I wanted to make. I just wanted a straight forward hat, nothing too fancy. Sometimes I wonder why I even get patterns though as I don’t often stick to them. For instance in this one, I decided to work in rounds rather than joining every row. It’s probably just me, but I can’t stand joining rows, I’d rather just keep going!

Once I was done that, I started adding the hair. I looped a piece of yarn from my hand around my elbow and back up and then cut about 30 more of those! Because Tinker Bell’s hair is swept over, I started to add the hair just off center. Here’s  a great tutorial on adding hair to crochet dolls. Same applies for hats. I decided to actually knot the hair in place rather than using a glue gun at the end. If it’s on a doll it’s fine, but I didn’t think it would be very comfortable on something to wear. I added hair in the first 5 rows, the next stitch over I did 4 rows, then 3, then 2, then 1. I found it filled it in a lot better than just doing a few strands in each row. When I was done that, I filled in a few more spots I thought looked a little bare. I swept the hair over until it looked about right for Tinker Bell. Then I secured all the strands to the first row on the hat by taking one strand through the loop and then tying it tight a few times. I’m not 100% sure if this is the best way to do it, but I found it the easiest to get the look I wanted. After that, I did 5 or 6 strands of hair on the other side and attached them the same way.

Finally, it was time for the bun. I took an old, holey sock (clean) from my husband and cut off the foot part. Then I rolled the ankle part into a doughnut. I just started wrapping yarn around it like crazy. Once it was all covered, I wove strands through the middle so it wouldn’t be a big open hole. Then I sewed it on to the top of the hat! And VOILA… the finished project!

Needless to say, I think she liked it!!

It’ll be interesting to see what she wants to be next year… and if she keeps wanting me to make “hair” for her! One thing I would change is to make the toque part a little longer. It didn’t cover her ears, which is fine because Tinker Bell’s ears show, but I just think it would have looked a bit better with a few more rows.

xoxo

Caroline

If you are interested in learning more about crocheting, knitting, yoga, jewellery making, fitness or cake making check out Bluprint. Bluprint offers “World-class experts, guidance for all skill levels, and learning that fits your lifestyle – whether you have two minutes or two hours.” This is a great resource for craft, fitness, art, baking etc. Sign up for your free trial today!

 

Start your FREE 7 Day Bluprint Trial! Dive into thousands of hours of expert taught videos.

Fighting a Panic Attack: 4 Practical tips

This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of my links, through no added cost to you, I may receive a small commission.

This past weekend my husband, Pete, and I went to Calgary. It was a quick trip and we did A LOT of driving around. He showed me where his childhood home and elementary school was in North Calgary, we caught a movie at the VIP Cinema in South Calgary. On Saturday afternoon we decided to take a drive out to Chestermere just East of Calgary. It’s a beautiful little community, there’s a gorgeous lake with cute little parks and beaches. I was really looking forward to looking around when I started having a panic attack. It started out slowly and I was just trying to control it with deep breathing. It wasn’t long before it turned into a full fledged panic attack, heart beating super fast, nausea, sweating. It was horrible. I told my hubby to pull over and puked in the parking lot of one of the cute little parks. I haven’t had a panic attack like that in years. I’ve known Pete for over 7 years and he’s never seen me like that.

So, what do I do when I’m having an attack? Here are some very practical things I do to get through my anxiety.

1- Ginger Ale, Gravol  and Gum ~ I’ve never gone onto any fast acting anxiety medications like Ativan, I haven’t felt the need to especially in the last few years as my panic attacks have been fairly well controlled. I take my anti-anxiety/anti-depressant every day, but nothing to take when I feel an attack coming on. So Ginger Ale and Gravol are my go to’s. They both help cut the nausea and the Gravol helps me settle down and pass out for a little while (see tip #3) I get very physical reactions to my panic attacks, so gum is always helpful after throwing up.

2- Remind myself of what I can control ~ The only thing we can truly control is ourselves. How we react, what we think, what we do. When I feel so out of control I find it helpful to picture myself in a box and remind myself over and over that I can’t control what people think of me when I’m like this, I can’t control the circumstances that led to the panic attack, I can’t even really control whether or not I throw up, but I can control myself and my thoughts. I had an instructor once explain it as the hula hoop. We can only control what happens in our hula hoop, not in anyone else’s.

3- Go to Bed ~ Getting some sleep make a world of difference for me! Thankfully the Gravol leaves me sleepy, so if I can get an hour or two of sleep, I usually wake up feeling refreshed and with a better outlook on life. I find having a weighted blanket or at least a heavy blanket or comforter helps me settle as well. I tried just throwing a small blanket over myself at first, but it really didn’t help. Once I put something heavier on, it seems to help control some of the reaction to anxiety (shivering, shaking, wakes of panic etc.)

4- Pray ~ Prayer helps to remind me of the bigger picture. God is ultimately in control of everything… the small things and the big picture things. It also reminds me that I am not alone. I am never alone, God is always there walking with me through the good times and the bad.

Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” ~ Deuteronomy 31:6

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” ~ Psalm 139:7-10

Finally friends, I want to remind you (and myself) anxiety does not define you. Let me say that again, because if nothing else helps you from this post, I want you to know that anxiety does not define you. I was really worried I would have another panic attack the next day, but I didn’t. I was fine, my anxiety attack did not define me or how the weekend went. I still had a great time. I am just a regular person who has panic attacks sometimes. There is nothing wrong with you if you have anxiety like me. It’s a sickness and it can be dealt with and overcome to live a happy, healthy and fruitful life. Don’t be afraid to seek help if you need it, it is nothing to be ashamed of.

What are some of the ways you cope with stress/anxiety or panic attacks? I’d love to hear from you! The more “tools” we can have in our belts to fight these kinds of things, the better! We’re in this together.

xoxo,

  Caroline