35 Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Toddlers

This Christmas I have two toddlers running around the house and so the majority of my gift buying/making has been aimed at them. I LOVE stockings - there is just something about opening all the little gifts and I have very fond memories of stockings growing up. So stockings are a must have in our house, and I make sure they are full, ok overflowing! :)

Here are some great ideas of "clutter-free" stocking stuffer ideas. My kids have so many toys, and so I didn't want to fill their stockings with little trinkets this year.

1. Socks
2. Underwear
3. New pyjamas
4. DVDs
5. Chocolate
6. Candy
7. New toddler cup (my daughter picked one out at Dollarama that was Minnie Mouse - perfect!)
8. Hair ties
9. Hair clips
10. Winter hat
11. Winter mittens
12. Winter scarf
13. Bubble bath
14. Crayons
15. Markers (washable of course!)
16. Colouring book
17. Notepad for doodling
18. Toothbrush
19. Toothpaste
20. Apron (check out my cute ones on my Etsy site here)
21. Movie tickets
22. Wallet or small purse
23. Life Savers Christmas Book (I actually found some "gummie" ones this year) - Check them out here.
24. Fun Band-Aids with their favourite characters on them.
25. Microwave popcorn pack
26. Bubbles
27. Stickers
28. Small book
29. Play-Doh
30. Temporary tattoos
31. Small cars (ok this is kind of clutter, but my little man LOVES to play with cars)
32. Juice boxes
33. Small craft supplies (glue, feathers, pom poms, etc).
34. Bib
35. Gift certificates (maybe a day at the zoo, aquarium, museum, amusement park, etc).

I hope this list helps you fill your little one's stockings. Merry Christmas!

35 Christmas Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Men

It's December and Christmas is coming .... quickly! I thought it would be nice to put some gift idea lists together and the first on the list is stocking stuffers for men.

1. Chocolate
2. A new tie
3. Gift cards for iTunes or Google Play
4. DVD or Blu-ray
5. Tie clip
6. Socks
7. Underwear
8. Movie tickets - I personally love the Cineplex "night-out" coupon which includes 2 movie passes, 2 large drinks and a bag of popcorn.
9. Video game
10. Homemade date coupons
11. Lottery tickets
12. Small speaker for their phone or music player
13. Magazine
14. Candy (other than chocolate)
15. Cologne
16. Body wash
17. Lip chap
18. Book
19. Lighter
20. Gadgets or small tools
21. Gum
22. Coffee mug
23. Gloves
24. Winter hat
25. Pocket knife
26. Mini bottles of booze
27. Box of ammunition (for the hunters)
28. Pen
29. Deck of cards
30. Board game (like bananagrams or other small card game)
31. Flashlight
32. Framed photo (of yourself, your kids, grandkids)
33. Everyday essentials like toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo
34. Razors and shaving cream
35. Gift cards - restaurants, coffee shop, their favourite store

There are so many more ideas, but I think the most important thing is to know the men you are shopping for and appeal to them. Appeal to their likes, hobbies and dislikes. And have fun with it!


It's Black Friday today, and so I thought I would do a sale on my Etsy site: felicia colenbrander designs.

For all orders placed between Friday - Monday you can receive practically free personalization (only $0.20 for an embroidered first name) on any blanket! What a perfect Christmas gift! Hope you have a great weekend!

Food for Thought - Max Lucado "In the Grip of Grace"

I just finished an amazing book - "In the Grip of Grace" by Max Lucado. It is based on the book of Romans and is a really great read for all Christians.

Below is the publisher's description of the book, but it talks about so much more than what is listed here. Lucado talks about our need to stop judging each other and to let go of legalism - items that are way too common in our churches today. He talks about how important it is to fellowship with fellow believers, even if our beliefs don't match up exactly. He talks about letting go of our hate and forgiving and loving one another. And so much more! And I love that Lucado writes in such a way that is very easy to follow and isn't boring in any way.

Bottom Line: Go and read this book! You will not be disappointed.

Publisher's Description:
Get caught!
Life is full of fumbles and stumbles. Fraught with opportunities to make mistakes, occasions to feel guilty, and the drive to “do it yourself.” The pressure to be self-sufficient is high, but it isn’t the life God offers.
The way of the world will direct you to try harder and work smarter so that you can take care of yourself and even make yourself successful. But the way of the cross will point toward the place where you stop striving . . . stop pushing . . . stop every self-initiated effort—so that you can fall into the boundless, liberating, refreshing grace of God!
Just imagine being love-driven instead of self-propelled. Imagine abandoning your life to Jesus instead of trying to save yourself. Can you imagine exchanging your fears for that peace that passes understanding? Being relaxed and free instead of stressed-out and anxious? If you can imagine enjoying God instead of trying to repay him, then you can imagine grace.
So go ahead! Jump off the cliff of self-sufficiency. Leap out of legalism. Walk off the pier of guilt and condemnation. That’s the only way you’ll land in the strong arms of the Father who loves you . . . the Father who catches you—every time—in the grip of his grace.
**taken from Christianbook.com

Christmas Advent Calendar Ideas

For Christmas this year I really want to have an advent calendar for the kids - and not just your $1 chocolate calendar. I have been perusing Pinterest for different ideas and thought I would share some of my favourites. I'm leaning towards something magnetic and not too big, but I'm not sold on anything yet. But the advent season is almost here, so I will need to decide soon!

**please remember to pin to the original website**
via Lil' Luna

via Musings, Memories and Mayhem
via Redesign Revolution

via Kate's Creative Space

via Springerle Joy

via A Ruffled Life

via Pink Suede Shoe

via Homemade by Jill

via Ruby Redesign

via if only they would nap

via Apartment Therapy



7 Days of Fall Decor: Day 7 - Fall Yarn Wreath

I love decorating my front door with a wreath. I found some amazing wreaths on Etsy and used these as my inspiration for the one I created.

This wreath was easy to create (but it did take a couple of hours to wrap all the yarn) and fairly inexpensive. The most expensive part was the foam wreath ring from Michaels.

Supply List:
foam wreath ring (Michaels)
yarn - orange, yellow, white (Michaels)
fake fall flowers (dollar store)
hot glue gun & hot glue sticks (Michaels)
ribbon (Wal-mart)

To create the multi-coloured yarn look I first wrapped the entire ring in orange yarn - hot gluing at the start and about halfway to keep the yarn in place. After that I wrapped the yellow and white yarn around, and then some more orange. You can really use more or less depending on the look you are going for - the possibilities are endless. 

Once the yarn was finished I hot glued some fake fall leaves, flowers, pine cone and pumpkin on that I got at the dollar store. There was no real pattern - I just arranged them and when I liked it I hot glued them on. 

Finally, I tied a ribbon on the top and hung it from the wreath hanger I have on hand (originally purchased from the dollar store). 

Not feeling too crafty but want a yarn wreath for your front door? I found this shop on Etsy that sells some really pretty, simple yarn wreaths - Anita Rex Designs. And I love that she's a fellow Canadian designer - located in Winnipeg, Manitoba. 

This was our final post in our 7 Days of Fall Decor series. I hope they gave you some inspiration on decorating your home for the gorgeous fall season! Be sure to check out all the other posts in this series here

7 Days of Fall Decor: Day 6 - Front Entrance Table

I have a little table in our front foyer that I like to try and "dress up" during the different seasons, otherwise it just becomes a catch all for our junk.

For the fall I did a very simple arrangement of pumpkins and gourds in a basket, and a mason jar with a ribbon tied around it. I also had a vase with fresh fall flowers in it, but by the time I took this picture the flowers had died. :)

This was day 6 in our 7 Days of Fall Decor series. Be sure to check out all the other posts in this series here.

7 Days of Fall Decor: Day 5 - Making Your Home Smell Like Fall

I love it when my home smells "nice". Like when you are baking an apple pie - hmm...yum yum! With all the renovations in our home I haven't really worried about it smelling nice. So I decided for the changing of the seasons I wanted to put a little more emphasis on the "nicer" things, and that included some sweet smelling accents.

Scented candles was number one. For the different candle arrangements I talked about here and here I used scented candles - vanilla and spiced apple. Quick and easy.

The second way to "spice" up the house was through potpourri. And not your average grandma's potpourri - they have some really pretty ones out there now. I went to Michael's and bought a bag, and put it into one of my hurricane vases from Homesense. Not only does it look pretty, but it makes my house smell like spiced apple! Love love love.

This was day 5 of my 7 days of fall decor series. Be sure to check out all the other posts here.

7 Days of Fall Decor: Day 4 - Fall "Floral" Arrangements

There is something about a nice floral arrangement that makes your home feel "cozy" and nice. The components can be real or fake, as long as they look nice. This year I went to the dollar store and got a bunch of fake leaves and other fall items, and used vases I had in the house and created some really pretty arrangements. And the best part is, because they are fake, I can pack them away and recreate them again next year!


To make the bottom of this vase I used the same trick of red kidney beans, yellow lentils, and green peas as the candle arrangements I showed here.

This was day 4 in my 7 days of fall decor series. Be sure to check out the other posts in my series here.

7 Days of Fall Decor: Day 3 - Fall Candle Arrangements Part 2

I love hurricane vases - they are so versatile and classic, and perfect for every season. And you can find them at very affordable prices at Homesense (or Homegoods in the US).

I have these gorgeous vases flanking my stove. During the summer I filled them with lemons and limes, but since it is fall it was time for a change. But I wanted to stay with the food theme, since they are in my kitchen.

Hurricane vase
Pillar candle
1 bag of red kidney beans
1 bag of yellow lentils
1 bag of green peas

Pour dried peas, then beans, then lentils into the vase and place your candle on top. I love how they colourful they are, and super simple and easy!

This was day 3 in my 7 days of fall decor series. Be sure to check out my other posts in the series here.

7 Days of Fall Decor: Day 2 - Fall Candle Arrangements - Part 1

Today is day 2 in my 7 Days of Fall Decor series, and my topic today is about fall candle arrangements. I have a number of different arrangements decorating my kitchen/great room, and so I'm going to break this into two posts.

These candle arrangements look really nice and were super easy to make. 

3 pillar candles (I bought battery operated ones from Wal-mart)
corn kernels
leaves (real or fake)
3 tall cylinder vases (I bought mine at the dollar store)

Pour the corn kernels into the bottom of each vase. Place the candle on top of the corn. Put 3-4 leaves around the candle. Light and enjoy!

This was day 2 of our 7 Days of Fall Decor Series. Check out our other posts here.

7 Days of Fall Decor: Day 1 - Give Thanks Banner

I have been busy decorating our home for fall. I hosted a bridal shower last week, and thought it would be nice to have fall decorations throughout the living room/kitchen. Decor for the shower, but also decor I could enjoy all month long. Since I have lots of decor items I thought I would do a little series - 7 Days of Fall Decor.

Today's post is the Give Thanks banner my 3-year-old helped me create. It was a very inexpensive craft project we were able to do together.

Supply List:
Foam pumpkin sheets (I got mine at Walmart for $3 for the whole package)
3-4 small rectangular foam sheets (for the letters) (dollar store)
Silver or gold crafting paint (you can get this from the dollar store)
Paint brush
Rope/twine for hanging the banner

The foam pumpkin package had a number of glitter pumpkins included, so I wanted to do something special with these before my little monkey destroyed them all. I decided on a nice banner to hang over our archway in the living room stating "Give Thanks" because we are celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend.

 To make the letters I just free-hand drew letters on random coloured foam sheets, and then cut them out with scissors. Kaylen helped me to paint all the letters a nice silver colour we already had in the house (gold would have looked nice too). Once the letters were dry we glued them onto the pumpkins.

To create the pumpkin between the two words Kaylen painted an orange pumpkin completely silver. Then I cut around the edges of a brown pumpkin so that it was slightly smaller, and glued it onto the silver pumpkin.

We then taped the pumpkins onto a piece of yarn (I would suggest hot glue if you have it, or masking tape - the scotch tape keeps coming loose), and hung them on the wall. A simple reminder to continue to give thanks this season, and a fun little craft your little ones can help you with.

Be sure to come back tomorrow for another post in my 7 Days of Fall Decor series. Be sure to check out all the posts in this series here.

Life Update: Where Did Summer Go?

Wow, I can't believe it's been over two months since I have had a chance to blog! I'm still trying to figure out what happened to August - and now it's October. Needless to say it's been crazy busy around our house.

In August our puppy got sick - she's a chocolate lab and she developed a large hot spot on her back (it's a bacterial infection that can come from anything - mosquito bite, wet collar, etc). She is still recovering, and so a lot of my time in August was taken up with taking care of her - lots of vet visits, wound cleaning, etc. Fun fun - getting me ready for having 3 kids I guess!

And then at the end of August I ran the preschool VBS (Vacation Bible School) program at our church. I haven't been involved in VBS since I was in high school, so I didn't know what to expect anymore. We had over 20 kids registered in our preschool program, and the week went really well. The kids were amazing - I couldn't believe how well behaved they all were (with the exception of my own of course!). It was busy, but very rewarding!

My dad ended his 9 week Sea to Sea tour in August - we weren't able to go to New York to the finish line, but we were able to actually ride with him 2 weeks earlier. That was awesome! Such an amazing day and amazing memories.

Our amazing biking crew! We rode 70 kilometres (a relaxing day for dad) - the boys did the whole thing, and the girls did most of it! I managed to do 46 kilometres - and of course it was the hilly section of the day!

Staten Island - finished! So proud of this guy!

Wow was I ever happy when Dad's ride was over and I got my parents back. It was a ROUGH summer not having either of them around, and I didn't want to burden them with all the stuff going on either. It's nice to have them home! (that's an understatement!)

We only managed to escape up the cottage three times this summer - I wish we could have gone more but we are just so busy all the time. I can't wait until we have this house finished and sold and we can actually spend some quality time together as a family again - it's been a long and trying three years, but the end is somewhat in sight.

September was just plain busy - seems like we had something every Saturday, and work was busy, my sewing was busy, hubby is working far away and not home most nights. I still can't believe it's October - time needs to slow down just a little!

But as much as I don't want to admit it, it's October. Summer is gone, and so now I need to embrace fall. I have plans to do some fun activities with the kids, and I decorated the inside of my house to reflect the fall season. I found it really lifted my mood - seeing nice vases decorating my living space. It's something so small, but it helped. I will be sharing my fall decor sometime this week. 

Thanks for stopping by! I plan hope to write a little more often again. I'm trying to get some order back to life, and I have lots of neat posts lined up so be sure to check back!

Austin's Green and Blue First Birthday Party + FREE PRINTABLES

My little monkey turned 1 at the end of June and I finally have time to blog about it! Life has been busy - surprise, surprise! 

For Austin's 1st birthday, I choose to do a simple green and blue and bunting theme. I looked through different ideas on Pinterest, and decided to keep it simple. First I created an invitation in Microsoft Word and just Facebook messaged it to family and friends - if I was actually "on the ball" I could mail out the invitations, but I never have enough time.

The bunting graphic was a free clip-art, and everything else I just created in Word. You can download the free ONE graphic I created here: Black Background or White Background.

I kept the decorations fairly simple as well. I created a PARTY banner to put on our front door (download the free printable here), and a HAPPY BIRTHDAY bunting banner to put on the wall above the couch in the living room (download the free printable here). Different colours of blue and green balloons finished the decorating - hanging from the chandelier and on the posts outside that flank our front door.

The food disappeared quickly and I didn't have a chance to take pictures of the spread we had. But it was the classic party foods that we usually serve - cheese and crackers, veggies, spinach dip and hamburgers and hotdogs for lunch. I created some "food cards", and you can download the free printable here - PDF or JPG. I found blue cups, green and blue plates and napkins at the Dollar Store to continue with our blue and green theme. With all the leftover cake pieces (see below) I created some super delicious cake bonbons (I didn't have any skewers so they weren't cake pops), and I ended up eating most of them.... I think we had too much food!

For Austin's cake I wanted to go a little more simple, aka no fondant. So I went with the classic "1" cake and added some food colouring to the batter for some flare. I got the green and blue M & M's at the bulk food store, and got my husband to pick out all the blue and green ones from the large bag I took home. 

We were expecting some little ones at the party so I made up some special goody bags - wasn't that always the best part of going to a birthday party as a kid?! I hit up the dollar store and got some little toys, and then I got some gummi bears and worms from the bulk food store. I created the goody bag tags to fit over any standard sandwich bag - so I just stuffed each Ziploc bag and then stapled the Thank-You tag overtop. They turned out great! Kaylen brought hers to church in the morning ... before the party.... To download the free goody bag tags click here: PDF or JPG.

The night before I whipped up a special shirt and bib for the Aus-man. I had meant to do this with Kaylen's birthday and just ran out of time, so I made sure I had at least a couple of hours the night before Austin's party to complete this project. They turned out super cute (and then I forgot to give Austin a piece of cake to eat....so he didn't even get to use the bib!) Yep, I forgot the classic 1st birthday cake smash. Oh well, maybe I'll just make another cake and do a "faux" photo shoot on of these days with his bib.

It was a great day - super hot so I was quite thankful for our A/C. Austin got spoiled, food got eaten and we all had fun! Here are a few pictures of the birthday boy on his special day.

 Thanks to everyone who made my little man's first birthday special!