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2018 Christmas Gift Guide: Gifts for Toddlers and Babies

My 2018 Christmas Gift Guide continues with this list of unique baby and toddler gifts for Christmas! This year, I am celebrating my son’s first Christmas and have been searching for babies first Christmas gift ideas. There are a tons of awesome Christmas gifts for babies under 1 year that I’m adding to my list. I’ve also made sure to add some options for older kids on in these gifts for toddlers and babies.

To be honest, this list could go on forever listing great baby and toddler Christmas gifts. If  you don’t see something you’re looking for on here, checkout the official toy guides from Target and Amazon.

Name Puzzle

Sometimes, the simplest gifts are the best gifts. This unique toddler gift will make a game out of your little tyke spelling their name. The pieces are all wooden and large enough that they cannot be swallowed. And the best part is, you can make the puzzle as custom as you want! Pick your child’s favorite colors and turn it into this sign. I suggest it as a stocking stuff or a cheap find for littlest family members.

Playskool Play Favorites Sit ‘n Spin Toy

toddle boy on sit and spin toy - Wonderful World of Bree

Apparently, this is a childhood classic. It’s been selling out online and in stores for years! This idea is so simple. The kids think they’re just having a great time spinning in circles, but they’re actually learning important motor skills. Teach your little one some coordination just by them laughing and playing. Depending on your child’s learning level, this item would be suitable for 12 months and older.

LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Words Book, Green

Here’s another useful gift for toddlers. This learning book helps teach babies and big kids  words. If you look inside, there are many photos associated with each of the words to help kids learn easily. And like most gifts for toddlers and babiesLeapFrog toys, it focuses on reading and speaking. Your little sponge will be talking and reading in no time!

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Stride-to-Ride Puppy

I’ve been searching for this little puppy for a while now. My son is just about ready to take off crawling and sits up pretty easily now. This cool seat has shapes and buttons to keep your baby entertained while sitting on the floor. Once they’re ready for a ride, they can sit on top and scoot themselves all around the room. Many companies have toys just like these, but this particular dog is an Amazon exclusive.

Step2 Play Ball Fun Climber With Slide For Toddlers

Why not bring the playground home? My nephews have something similar at their house and they love it. It’s perfect for a playroom or even a small backyard. The slide and staircase are just the right height for toddlers that are comfortable walking and climbing. There’s also a ball game on the side. The entire thing is perfect for solo or group play.

Character Furniture

gifts for toddlers and babiesFor Christmas, I really want to get my son his own mini furniture. I’ve been looking all over for something that’s big enough to grow with him. I found a boy version of this convertible couch. Basically, this little number pulls out into a lounging bed. This company also has a ton of different cartoons to choose from too.

PAW Patrol My Size Lookout Tower

Every where I go, there are Paw Patrol toys, clothes, books, backpacks – you name it! I found this cool race tower that features all of the characters. Although this toy mostly targets boys, it could be a fun item to use on a playdate with boys and girls.

Art Easel

gifts for toddlers and babies

Teaching my son to appreciate art is very important to me. He may not turn out to be a Michael Angelo, but he can at least develop the artistic side of his brain. This kid sized easel is perfect for toddlers, boys and girls, and can last for quite a long time. My oldest nephew is turning five in a few months and still plays with his.

Little Tikes Inflatable Jump ‘n Slide Bounce House

For Christmas, my motto is go big or go home. What kid wouldn’t want their very own inflatable bounce house? And just think about all awesome parties you could reuse this at! It’s obviously a little pricey, but would be perfect for a backyard playground.

What big gifts are you going to get your kids this year?

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2018 Christmas Gift Guide: Gifts Under $20

Shopping on a budget? This list of the best Christmas gifts under $20 is just for you. Everything on this list, as well as my entire 2018 Christmas Gift Guide, can help you find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. And with prices like these, you’ll want to treat yourself too! Here are some of my favorite finds.

Perfect Bake 2.0 Smart Scale

I don’t know about you, but I hate measuring. I’m always trying to hunt down the right bowl or spoon for the recipe. And then when I want to increase it proportionally, I’m forced to do all kinds of crazy math. I found this smart scale and luckily comes with a recipe conversion app. I literally just have to pour into the bowl on the scale and it tells me when I’m at the right amount. If I pour too much, the app recalculates the recipe. It’s a perfect gift for the beginning baker and the culinary mastermind on your list.

The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm: A Lexicon for Those of Us Who Are Better and Smarter Than the Rest of You

Gifts Under $20

You don’t actually have to like reading to appreciate this novel. As noted in the book, you just have to be of the rare breed who appreciates sarcasm. This hilarious dictionary redefines our most common words to help educate the sarcasm illiterate. My favorite example definitely resonates with my need to have a strong core. “ABS: A part of the human that can, apparently in only minutes a day as part of this exclusive TV offer, become rock hard.”

Adult Coloring Book

You’re never too old for a good ‘ol coloring session. I have this exact coloring book at home and I’ve barely made a dent in the pages. Each picture is really intricate so it takes a while to fill in. There are many of these adult coloring books to choose from. You could get a spiritual one, a gangsta rapper one, pet or literally whatever your gift receiver loves. And they’re all super inexpensive.

Coffee Mug

Gifts Under $20

Anyone that knows me, knows I don’t like foxes. BUT I saw this mug out shopping and I couldn’t stop laughing. I’m a sucker for a good coffee mug and that’s probably why I have more than I can use in a month! Coffee mugs are an easy gift for everyone. Get creative with a funny quote or image and you’re set. I bought my coworker the poop emoji cup and he about died he loved it so much.

Salt Lamp Diffuser

Essential oils are my favorite way to solve everyday issues like anxiety, pain and sleep. I currently have a diffuser just for my son to help him sleep. These salt diffusers are said to help purify the air and help you become more healthy overall. Add the option to diffuse with your favorite oil, and you’ve got a winning combination. I was actually really  surprised to find that this was just under $20. I thought for sure it would be $40 or more. A gift like this is can be used at home or at work so it’s virtually perfect for everyone!

Any other cheap, but awesome finds you’ve gifted?

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2018 Christmas Gift Guide: Best Christmas Gifts for pets and pet lovers

Let the shopping begin! As I mentioned in my previous post, I am doing a gift giving guide for 2018. Hopefully I’ll help you find something for everyone, and everything, on your list.

Whether you’re shopping for a pet owner or pet of your own, this pet gift guide is for you. Take a look at these unique pet gifts that are perfect for the furry friends on your list. Warning, some of these techy gifts are a little pricey no matter what brand you get.

Petnet SmartFeeder


This little gadget is perfect for gift for dog lovers and cat lovers. I’m sure you’ve seen at least one commercial for similar items. Basically, you can schedule your pet’s food to disperse right from your phone event when you’re not home. It’s a really simple way to make sure they’re fed and not have to rely on someone to stop by when you’re running late getting home.

Petcube Play Smart Pet Camera

Best Christmas Gifts for pets

Here’s another super cool pet Christmas gift to consider. Do you constantly think about your pets when you’re away from home? If you’re like me, the answer is yes! When I can’t bring my pups with me, I want to know exactly what they’re doing and talk to them. This little camera lets you virtually play with them using the attached laser and also see what they’re doing while you’re away.

Link AKC Smart Dog Collar

black dog with collar - Wonderful World of Bree

Your pet’s safety is probably one of your main priorities. If my dogs ever got lost, I don’t know what I’d do. This new collar from the American Kennel Club works not only as a GPS to help track your dog, but it also records their daily activities right into your phone. It’s an awesome option for an active person on your list. It even has safety sensors built-in for night walks and to alert you when it’s too hot or cold outside for your pet.

*This collar does not replace the importance of a microchip. When pets go missing, collars and tags can fall off. If your pet is not microchipped, schedule your appointment with The Animal Foundation. It’s only $20*

Dog Bowtie Collar

Dress your pup to impress with a cute bow tie collar. This little collar comes in multiple prints including flamingo, dogs, anchors and geometric. It also comes in multiple sizes for all sized dogs. It’s on sale right now for $10 as part of Amazon‘s pre-Black Friday deals.

UPSKY Cat Toy Roller

Some cats cannot stop playing, especially when everyone is trying to sleep at night. (My cat lovers know what I’m talking about.) When my parents youngest cat was a kitten, we got him a ton of cat toys including a single level roller like this. He loved it! Toys like these help stimulate pet’s minds to keep them active mentally and physically. Playing is a great part of overall pet health and this toy is super affordable at under $10.

Nylabone Dog Chew Ring

Best Christmas Gifts for pets

Whatever you choose to buy your pet for Christmas, you can’t forget the treats! I’m grabbing one of these for my big chewer Smokey. He can shred every toy I’ve purchased and not even think twice about it. For a little dog, he has powerful teeth. This cool chew bone is not only affordable, it’s said to last a while even for the biggest chewers. I’ve had the green and white Nylabone for Fiona for years and she’s barely chewed down one side.

Pet Bed

Pet beds really are my favorite pet gifts for Christmas. For several years, I’ve taken Fiona to the pet store and let her pick out her own. One year she picked a pink and black polka dot one. Another year, she chose a red and white Christmas patterned one. (We literally just got rid of this one because Smokey finally chewed through it). Like slippers for people, dogs love cozy beds and blankets to cuddle up in. This one is actually under $20 so it won’t break your bank.

Have you started shopping yet? What items are on your list?

Christmas gifts under tree - Wonderful World of Bree

2018 Christmas Gift Guide Preview

The holiday season has begun and so have the Black Friday previews! I’m subscribed to both Target and Amazon and my inbox has been blowing up! I even received the Christmas toy guide in the mail before Halloween! There are literally SO many gifts to choose from, even if you’re on a budget.

To make shopping easier for you, and me, I’m starting this 2018 gift giving guide to find the perfect item for everyone on your list. Here’s what you can look forward to:

My goal is to post at least one list a week to make sure we’re in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Keep an eye on my Instagram for limited time items and I share about at they come. I’m still kicking myself for not grabbing these wireless Beats headphones that were marked down over 50%.

How To: Baby Pumpkin Photos

It’s pumpkin season and you know what that means, baby photos! I’m sure you’ve seen all those beautiful baby in pumpkin photos floating around Pinterest and thought “How do I make my photo look like that?” Well, I tried it for myself and I’ve got some tips on how to get it just right.

baby in pumpkin - Wonderful World of Bree

First, start with a pumpkin that’s tall enough and wide enough for your baby. The perfect size allows them to sit comfortably without feeling squished or lost inside. Since my baby is already a giant, my sister grabbed a pretty large pumpkin.

Next, completely carve the inside out and remove all seeds and stringy pieces. When your baby is inside, they will probably try to eat it or pull pieces off at the least. My son is teething and his first instinct is to put EVERYTHING. in his mouth. My sister carved this one perfectly and no innards were left behind.

Carve two leg holes larger than your baby’s legs. You don’t want your baby to get stuck inside. Mostly likely, you will get one or two good photos before they throw a fit and start crying. Be prepared to remove them quickly.

Baby Pumpkin Photos - Wonderful World of BreeHere’s a trick I wish I would have done. Cut a removal-able panel in the back of the pumpkin so you can easily slide the baby in and out. It’s not easy trying to get a person out of a vegetable and we ended up laying him down just to slide him out.

I would also suggest laying some towels down inside of the pumpkin to protect the baby’s skin. Many babies have sensitive skin and something new may cause them to have reaction. Choose baby towels that you an also use for clean up later.

Leave the baby in their diaper inside the pumpkin. Unless you want your kid’s clothes dyed orange, save the cute outfits for another photo.

Biggest tip of all – snap those photos quickly. Plan your lighting and lay your props out before you put your baby inside. Like I mentioned before, your kid WILL throw a fit. And unless you want only crying photos, take them as soon as they sit down.

Hope these tips help you to have some Pinterest worthy baby pumpkin photos!

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Easy Recipes: Chicken Bacon Ranch Spaghetti Squash

I’m always on the hunt for quick, easy recipes to make for dinner. Balancing a full-time job and a growing baby keeps me very busy. I don’t always have a lot of time to prepare an intricate meal for dinner.

I love spaghetti squash and found a ripe one over at Gilcrease Orchard a few weekends ago. While I was searching on Pinterest for an easy recipe for it, I came across this Chicken, Bacon and ranch quick meal. It honestly took no time to prepare and fed four hungry adults. Here’s the recipe to give it a try!

Chicken bacon ranch spaghetti squash - Wonderful World of Bree

Chicken Bacon Ranch Spaghetti Squash

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients: (Recipe makes 4 servings)

    • 1  large spaghetti squash or two smaller ones
    • 2 large chicken breasts
    • 4 slices of bacon
    • 1 packet Ranch seasoning mix
    • 4 ounces cream cheese
    • 2 ounces cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Poke about 5-7 small holes into your spaghetti squash. Try to space them evenly around. *Note: You can put the squash in the microwave for 5 minutes to make it easier to slice open*

3. Cut the squash in half vertically and remove all the seed and stringy pieces.

5. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and place the squash cut side down.

6. On the same tray, place your chicken breast and season with a dash of the ranch seasoning mix. 

7. Bake for 30 minutes. *You may need a little more or less time depending on the size of your squash. Check periodically to make sure it is soft but not mushy. You want to easily shred the insides.*

8. While the squash is baking, cook your bacon and dice it into small pieces.

9. In a large bowl, mix the ranch seasoning and cream cheese.

10. Once your squash is complete, shred it using a fork and intermix with the cream cheese and ranch seasoning. Add 1/2 of the cheese and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to your liking.

11. Once the chicken is cooked, dice it into small pieces and add it to the squash mixture.

12. Add the squash mixture back into the skins and top with crumbled bacon and the remaining cheddar cheese.

13. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

14. Remove from oven and enjoy!

Family Halloween Costume Ideas

Halloween is just around the corner and if you’ve haven’t gotten your costume, there’s still time. My husband and I just took our first trip to the Halloween store and it was a little overwhelming. We tried to find something that would fit all three of us, but quickly discovered that there are limited options when dressing an infant. However, since we were shooting for the family themed costume, we came up with a few ideas.

Superheros

Incredibles Family Costumes

There’s a lot of different superheroes and families to choose from. Whether you’re a Marvel or DC family, there are tons of options. We actually tried on the Incredibles costumes mostly because there was a size for my son.

Disney/Pixar
Family Halloween Costume

Monsters Inc. Family

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I thought about doing a throw back to one of my favorite cartoons, but I could only find this Sulley Costume in 12+.

I do love the idea of a DIY Monster’s Inc. or Monster’s University costume set as well. I’ve seen a lot of cute ones online and I LOVE the idea of my son as Mike, but my husband isn’t quite sold on being Sulley (although he just happens to be a giant too).

Star Wars

Family Halloween Costume Star Wars basically had a reboot with these last few movies and everyone is a fan now. At the Halloween store, Star Wars costumes literally took up a full quarter of the store. The characters are endless and there’s pretty much a size for everyone. You can keep it classic and be Darth Vader, Obi Wan, R2D2, CP3PO and Leia. Or, try a few newbies like Rey, Fin, young Han and Kylo Ren.

I thought I’d wait until the baby could hold a light saber before doing this family Halloween costume.

Nickelodeon

Double Dare.jpg

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The one costume I wish I would have had the idea earlier was Nickelodeon game shows. As a kid, I constantly watched Legends of the Hidden Temple and Double Dare. I didn’t think they actually made costume like that, but we found them at the store! Of course, no baby sizes, but we could have easily had someone screen print a shirt for him and order ours online.

You literally can find all the supplies for the Halloween costume including the yellow helmet, team red and team blue shirts, knee pads and goggles.

TV Shows

Family Halloween Costume

The key to the best group costume is to pick a TV show with lots of characters. My friends actually did Bob’s Burgers last year and it was perfect. They were Linda and Bob and could have easily added Tina and Louise. Whether you’re an adult swim fan or not, their bound to be supplies for the show you love.

*The costume we actually decided on just happens to be from a TV show. No spoilers though. Pay attention to my Instagram on Halloween to find out what we chose!

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Best Wedding Registry

985266_awr_traffic-drivers_associate_120x600._V269730029_So 2018 has been the year of weddings. Since March, I’ve attended five weddings and have two more friends just engaged! It’s easy to say, I’ve seen a lot of different registries. Personally, I used Bed Bath and Beyond when I got married, but I might have thought twice about it if I knew that Amazon also offered a wedding registry.

It was cool at first walking through the store and scanning literally everything in sight, but their website was not very user-friendly. I had a hard time changing quantities or whole items. A few of my friends have used Amazon Wedding Registry and I wish I would have done it too.

I already have Amazon Prime and there are a ridiculous amount of items, including gift cards, that I can get for my friends. A few couples didn’t really need house items. So, date night gift cards were perfect for them. And guess who has a huge selection of those? Amazon.

This last couple, whose wedding is in a few weeks, is very outdoorsy. They love to hike and just got back from a summer long trip to Alaska! Amazon Wedding Registry really is the perfect option for them. They weren’t busy picking out China plates they’d probably never use (like I did), but instead have cool items like tents, a hammock and other camping supplies they actually want.

This whole registry/ wish list option Amazon has is pretty awesome. If you’re looking for an all-in-one place to find your items and don’t want the hassle of scanning in the store, definitely head here.

Best Wedding Registry

Kid-Friendly Places to Visit This Fall

Fall is in the air and Halloween is just around the corner. Las Vegas is buzzing with fun places to visit and seasonal things to do. It’s my little man’s first fall and I want him to experience EVERYTHING (even if he doesn’t remember it). Here are some hot kid-friendly places spots to add to your to-do list.

Pumpkin Patches

Kid-Friendly Places

There are a TON of pumpkin patches popping up all over the city. Most of them are free to enter and sell tickets for kids to participate in the rides and games. This year, we went to the Centennial Center pumpkin patch just off of the 95. It was pretty small but they had a ton of pumpkins and gourds to buy. They even had jumping houses, obstacles courses, a train, petting zoo and a bungee trampoline. Tivoli village also has a really great pumpkin patch that is pretty large. It’s just across the street from Rampart Casino.

Trunk or Treats

IMG_3501

There’s nothing like enjoying a good ‘ol harvest festival. Every year, we’ve gone to The International Church of Las Vegas’ Halloween harvest festival and always had a great time. Previously they had a petting zoo, rides and jumping houses, music, food and a photo booth! Check the schedule at your local school or park to see where the closest trunk or treat event is to you.

Gilcrease Orchard

Kid-Friendly Places

Okay, so this is my favorite thing to do during the fall. Gilcrease Orchard is known for their delicious apples and when it comes fall, they are flooded with pumpkin pickers. The orchard doesn’t seem like something you’d find in Las Vegas. There are rows and rows of vines with HUGE pumpkins and gourds. We always leave with a basket full.

Plan ahead because the orchard is only open Tuesday, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 7AM – 2PM.

Springs Preserve Haunted Harvest Festival

IMG_3419

Springs Preserve always does it big for the holidays. Their Harvest festival is Oct. 12-14, 19-21, and 26-28 from 5pm-9pm. Non-members are $8 and value members are $7. Silver State Pass, Gold and Platinum donor members receive free admission. Entry is free for children 2 and younger.

This year they’re also doing a social photo contest. Snap a photo with Monster Molly at Haunted Harvest and post it to your social media accounts using #HauntedSprings @SpringsPreserve for a chance to win a prize.

Downtown Summerlin Treat Street

Kid-Friendly Places

Treat Street at Downtown Summerlin is an awesome experience for kids and families that want to safely trick-or-treat. All of the stores in the mall pass out candy and the Las Vegas Metro Police Department hosts a Spooky Block Party! Food Allergy Research & Education’s (FARE’s) Teal Pumpkin Project has a pop-up featuring non-candy items for trick-or-treaters. Clark County Fire Department sets up a photo booth and The Animal Foundation even has a “Howl-O-Ween” dog costume contest benefitting their rescue pets! Last year, my husband entered with our dog Smokey as cholos!

They’re also showing “It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” movie every thirty minutes starting at 5:10PM. The best part is it’s totally FREE! We’re bring the baby down there for his first trick-or-treating.

Town Square’s Town Scary

Town Scary

Town Scary, AKA Town Square, transforms into a kid-friendly Halloween party on October 31. Participating stores and restaurants hand out candy to all the kids trick-or-treating. There is also a children’s costume contest (kids 0-10)! The Town Scary House will be open for photo-opps and everything is completely free!

Opportunity Village HalloVEEN

Kid-Friendly Places

Opportunity Village gets spooky just in time for Halloween. They have rides and attractions and proceeds benefit their cause! There are a ton of photo-ops, tasty treats and toys and a spooky display of Halloween-themed trees.

Their signature attractions are:

  • The Forest Express Ghost Train
  • Cheyenne’s Enchanted Carousel
  • The Avalanche Slide
  • The Blizzard Mini-Coaster

As well as these BRAND NEW attractions for 2018:

  • Wacky Worm Coaster
  • Samba Balloons
  • The Sizzler
  • Even More Carnival Midway Games
  • The Last Ride Coffin Experience

Tickets start at $10 and kids 3 and under are free.

Still looking for a costume? #sponsored

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Dogs and Pumpkin

Pet Halloween Costume Ideas

woman and dogs in costumeHalloween is just around the corner and time is limited to find the perfect costume for your dog! The sales have already begun and you need to decide what your pup will wear!

Every year, I try to pick a fun outfit that my dogs will actually wear. Since I’ve had Fiona the longest, she’s experienced many different wardrobe options. She has been a princess, a butterfly, and a unicorn (some years she refused to wear her costume).

For Smokey’s first Halloween last year, he was a Cholo! He even entered a costume contest with my husband at Downtown Summerlin!

Pet Halloween Costume

The choices are endless. Here are some pet Halloween costume options for your pup to wear!

 SuperheroesYou can’t go wrong with a superhero costume for your pup. Whether you’re into DC Comics or Marvel, there are endless pet Halloween costumes to fit your taste. Make it a family affair and dress the whole crew in matching outfits!

Movies

Pet Halloween CostumeNow, I may be a little biased as a huge Star Wars fan, but these pet Halloween costumes are adorable! Dress you pup as your favorite character – Han, Yoda, Darth Vader, Chewy – and be the hit of any party. This is another theme I think would work perfect as group costume.

Seasonal

It’s pumpkin season and we know what that means, Pumpkin Spice Lattes! Why not bring your pup in on the fun with a silly coffee inspired pet costume. You could go as the whole PSL crew if you really wanted to go big.

 Just Plain Funny
Pet Halloween CostumeGiddy-up to your nearest Halloween store and find the perfect conversation starter costume. Traditional pet costumes are always fun, but these out of the box ideas will really get you the trophy in a pet costume contest.

So what are you dressing your pet as?