3 Year Old Girl Gift Guide

3 year old girl gift guide from Sweet Maple Lane

December is here and that means gift guides!  Yesterday I shared my gift guide for 3 year old boys, and today I’m sharing one for 3 year old girls.  I have 3 year old twins, a boy and a girl, so these are real ideas from a mom with 3 year olds!

Affiliate links are included for your convenience.  This means I may earn a small amount if you purchase something through one of my links.  Of course, I only recommend things I do/would use myself. Thanks for supporting my blog! Read my full disclosure here.

Calico Critters Cat Family

My daughter loves anything little and cute, and these adorable kitties are both!  They also have a set of baby twin kittens that I know she would love.  We have a big wooden dollhouse with furniture but no people, so these would be perfect!

Doc McStuffins Vet Set

My daughter got this set for her birthday two weeks ago and both her and my son love it!  They tend to their stuffed animals with the vet tools, but also use them to play doctor with each other, so cute!

Play Kitchen

This play kitchen is big enough for two kids to play at the same time, and so adorable!  The doors to the appliances open, and it comes with a few pots and pans too!

Fairy Dress Up

My daughter is just starting to be interested in dressing up, and this set is so fun with the wings and flower crown!

Baby Bath Set

This set comes with the baby doll, the bath tub, and some accessories.  My daughter loves babies and accessories to go with them.

Reusable Sticker Set

Both my kids are really into stickers, but I hate how quickly they get used up!  This set comes with puffy reusable stickers and a book with different scenes.  Your little one can play with it over and over!

Tricycle

This looks like the perfect first “bike” for a 3 year old.  Bonus: it’s pink!

Princess Tent

My daughter is very into setting up blankets and pillows and making things “cozy”, so I think this cute tent would be great!

Disney Princess Tea Set

Perfect for pretend play!

Minnie Mouse Dream Lite

I got Dream Lites for my kids for their birthday two weeks ago and they are great!  They project stars and a shape (Minnie Mouse in this case) on the ceiling that lights the room just enough to not be “scary” but keeps it dark enough to sleep!  Little ones just press a button to turn it on and change the colors of the lights, and it automatically shuts off after 20 minutes!

T-Ball Set

For outdoor play in the spring–or now if you live in a warm climate!

Coloring and Activity Books

My daughter loves coloring and drawing, and all things Disney Jr.!

Play-Doh Sparkle Pack

How fun is sparkly Play-Doh?! Also comes with a few non-sparkly but still fun colors.

I hope you got some ideas for the 3 year old girl on your list!  Happy shopping!

 

3 Year Old Boy Gift Guide

3 year old boy gift guide from Sweet Maple Lane

I can’t believe it’s December!  Are you looking for gift ideas?  I put together a gift guide for 3 year old boys (aka my son’s wish list) for anyone out there shopping for a little boy this Christmas!

Affiliate links are included for your convenience.  This means I may earn a small amount if you purchase something through one of my links.  Of course, I only recommend things I do/would use myself. Thanks for supporting my blog! Read my full disclosure here.

Take-A-Part Truck

This truck comes with tools to take it apart and put it back together.  My son is very into trucks and tools, so this is perfect!

Fire Station Set

Even better than regular trucks are fire trucks!  This cute set comes with the fire station, the fire truck, and accessories.

Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs are also super popular at my house.  This set comes with 12 different dinosaurs and a book with information about each one.

Dinotrux

Dinos + trucks = Dinotrux!  This is Ty Rux from the Netflix show.  My son just got this for his birthday and loves it!

Tool Belt

My son also got a tool belt like this one for his birthday.  Once he opened it he refused to open the rest of his presents and only wanted to play with this!

Rescue Bots

I think I’ve seen every episode of this show 34,000 times.  And I permanently have the theme song stuck in my head on repeat.  But if there’s anything my son loves more than trucks, tools, and dinosaurs combined, it’s Rescue Bots.  This one is Heatwave (my son’s favorite), the fireman-robot-transformer-alien.

Firefighter Costume

For pretending to be Heatwave.

Train Table and Set

This train table looks super fun, and comes with the train set and built in storage too!

Reusable Sticker Book

We have two of these, and my kids love them.

Play Broom Set

For kids who are always asking to help clean up.  Encourage this behavior by buying them this broom set!

Play Doh

3 year olds love Play Doh, and this set has so many colors!

Tricycle

This adorable trike is the perfect first “bike” for a 3 year old.

Sports Balls

Soccer ball, basketball, football, and baseball.  These are foam, too, so safer for inside the house.

I hope you found something for the 3 year old on your list!  Happy shopping!

DIY Birthday Shirt Tutorial

DIY birthday shirt tutorial from Sweet Maple Lane

Hi friends!  My two little pumpkins turn 3 today!  We had a birthday party for them Saturday, and I made them some special birthday shirts to wear.  If you have a little one with a birthday coming up, these shirts are super cheap, super easy, and super adorable!

DIY birthday shirt tutorial from Sweet Maple Lane

DIY Birthday Shirt Tutorial

Affiliate links are included for your convenience.  Read my full disclosure here.

Materials

DIY birthday shirt tutorial from Sweet Maple Lane

Plain white or colored shirt ($3.88 at Walmart, or free if you have one already)

Small piece (6″x 8″) of fabric in a fun print ($4.92 at Walmart, with a lot left over)

Number outline (free, just google “number outline” and print)

Heat ‘n’ Bond iron-on adhesive ($5.30 from Amazon, with a lot left over)

Iron, scissors, pencil

Procedure

Following the directions for the Heat ‘n’ Bond, cut a piece about the same size as your number and iron to your shirt, paper side up.  One sheet of this Heat ‘n’ Bond product will last 6-8 projects, depending on the size of your shape.

DIY birthday shirt tutorial from Sweet Maple Lane

Cut out the number outline, trace onto fabric in pencil, and cut out the number in fabric.  You can see above that I traced onto to the back, so I flipped the number so it would be right when I cut it out.  You could do this or just trace onto the front.

DIY birthday shirt tutorial from Sweet Maple Lane

 

Peel the paper off, stick number to shirt, and iron to adhere the number to the shirt.  I did put a piece of cardboard in between the two layers of the shirt, just to be safe.  The Heat ‘n’ Bond directions do not say this is necessary.

DIY birthday shirt tutorial from Sweet Maple Lane

That’s it!  So easy, no sewing or fancy craft maneuvers necessary.  As you can see from the picture, I made one for each of my kids.  They looked adorable at their birthday party rocking these cute shirts!

This technique is so versatile, you could easily customize the fabric and shape for any holiday or special occasion.  Pumpkins for Halloween, turkeys for Thanksgiving, reindeer for Christmas, the possibilities are endless!  I have a Christmas design in mind that I’ll be sure to share with you as soon as it’s done!

Do you have any birthdays coming up?  Let me know if you try out this technique!

How to Save Money on Holiday Clothes for Kids

Find out how to save money on holiday clothes for kids at sweetmaplelane.com!

We all know kids clothes are expensive.  They grow so fast it seems like every season they need a whole new wardrobe! Around the holidays especially, it can really pinch financially, because we’re budgeting for entertaining and gifts on top of the expense of fancy clothes for holiday dinners, parties, church, etc.

What if I told you you could get those adorable Carter’s party dresses for your daughter or cute plaid button downs and sweaters for your son for a fraction of the price?  This tip will make it happen, my friends!

How to Save Money on Holiday Clothes for Kids

Shop second hand.

No, seriously.  It sounds so simple, and it is, but it works!  Especially for holiday clothes.  Think about it.  How many times does a child wear that adorable 40 dollar party dress?  Once? Twice? Then, next year, it’s too small!  These too small dresses end up in second hand stores both locally and online.  And you can get them for 75-90% off!  My daughter’s Carters Christmas dress last year cost 5 dollars. My son wore a Ralph Lauren button down that was $3.50 and a Gap sweater vest that I scored for 4 bucks.  They both looked adorable and I got to spend more money on Peppermint Mochas from Starbucks Christmas gifts.

Ok, so where to look?

Locally

We’re lucky in my area because there are some great second hand baby/kid stores.  There are two that I frequent in the next town over, and another one a little further away.  These types of stores are amazing, because they carry clothes, toys, gear (strollers, high chairs, etc.), and you can bring your own stuff to get cash or store credit.

In addition to these types of second hand stores, most areas have Salvation Army or other regular thrift stores.  You’ll have to dig a little at a place like this, but there are still fantastic deals to be had!

Online

Did you know you can also shop second hand right from your smartphone or computer?  ThredUp (referral link) is a second hand clothing website that I have found a ton of great stuff on.  You can search by size, gender, brand, and type of clothing, and they have baby, child, and adult sizes!  And, you can request a bag to send in clothes you or your kids no longer wear, and get credit to use to buy new stuff!  If you sign up through my link, you’ll get a $10 credit, and I’ll get $10 to spend too! (Valid for new customers only.)

Right now I’m checking my local second hand stores and ThredUp for holiday styles for my kids, and you should be too!  Do you shop second hand?  Tell me about the awesome deals you scored in the comments!

 

Fall Books for Toddlers

Fall books for toddlers roundup from Sweet Maple Lane

It’s officially fall!  Fall is my favorite season: the clothes, the food, the decorating, I love it all!  And nowhere is fall more magical than here in New England.  We’ve been reading a lot of fall-themed books around here, so I thought I’d share some of my favorites for toddlers.  Grab a cozy blanket and some warm apple cider and curl up with the little ones in your life with these fall books for toddlers.

Affiliate links are included below.  Read my full disclosure here.

 

old-lady-who-swallowed-some-leaves

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves

An autumn version of There Was and Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.

 

fletcher-and-the-falling-leaves

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves

Fletcher the fox learns about fall and winter in this sweet book.

 

fall-mixed-up

Fall Mixed Up

Everything is mixed up in this silly fall book.

 

going-on-a-leaf-hunt

We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt

A fall version of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.

 

biggest-pumpkin-surprise-ever

The Biggest Pumpkin Surprise Ever

A lift-the-flap style version of The Biggest Pumpkin Ever.

 

i-love-fall

I Love Fall!

A touch and feel board book.

 

duck-and-goose-find-a-pumpkin

Duck & Goose Find a Pumpkin

Little ones will love to go along on a search for Duck and Goose’s pumpkin!

 

mouses-first-fall

Mouse’s First Fall

Little Mouse learns all about what makes the fall season special.

 

busy-little-squirrel

The Busy Little Squirrel

Squirrel spends the fall season getting ready for winter.

 

Pin the image below to save these ideas for later:

Fall books for toddlers roundup from Sweet Maple Lane

My kids have a fall birthday, so a few of these are definitely going on my list! What are your favorite fall books for toddlers?

5 Things I Love About Having Twins

things-i-love-about-having-twinsWhen I was 9 weeks pregnant, I went in for a sonogram, and the doctor said I was having twins!

I was so, so shocked, but also immediately happy.

My husband is a twin, and has a very close relationship with his brother.  He was so happy he cried!

Having twins certainly comes with its own set of challenges, but I can honestly say that having twins is amazing, and I’m so happy that I get to be a twin mama!  Here are five things I love about having twins.

They play together

Now that my kids are toddlers and no longer babies (tears!), they play together, leaving more free time for mama.  With one, I imagine there’s more pressure to entertain, but with two, they can entertain each other.  Yay! Now, I don’t want you to think my kids are quietly playing and I’m relaxing in the hammock with a mojito (though that does sound fantastic).  Right now, it’s more like 5 minutes of nicely playing together before double toddler meltdowns and mama having to break up the wrestling match.  But, I can see how, as time goes by, they will learn to play nicely together for longer and longer time periods.

Built in friends

I can already see my kids’ understanding of ‘family’ forming, even at two years old.  When my son introduced himself to a girl at the playground the other day, he said, “I’m B, and this is my mommy, and my daddy, and my E.”  My mama heart melted.  He saw himself as an extension of our family, and it was the sweetest thing.  I see B and E forming a strong bond already, holding hands, comforting each other when they’re upset, sharing, explaining, helping.  They are twins and best friends, and it’s so, so wonderful.

Get to shop both boy and girl stuff

You know how when you’re in, say, the girls section of the store, looking at all the cute clothes, and then an adorable little boys’ outfit from across the aisle catches your eye?  With boy-girl twins, I’m not limited to one section of the store.  I can shop girls and boys stuff to my heart’s desire.  I get to buy the flower headband and the newsboy cap.  Clothes, gear, diapers, you name it, we had one in blue and one in pink.  There is just something super cute about boy-girl twins in almost matching outfits.

We each do half the work

This is one that I didn’t realize was a thing until recently, because it was just necessary for survival.  My husband does half.  All the time.  With two kids and two parents, it just evolved this way.  When the kids were infants, he held one baby and I held the other.  He fed one baby and I fed the other.  He changed one baby and I changed the other.  I realize now what a blessing this is.  I can see how if we had a single baby, I’d be the one to feed, change, console, etc.  I’m grateful for this equitable split of parenting duties, and it works for us.  Thanks, honey, for being such a great dad and husband!

Unique

This may sound a little weird, but I love that having twins is unique.  We’re not like everyone else, and I don’t mind it one bit.  Honestly, I feel a bit of pride when another parent says, “I don’t know how you did/do it with two.”  Yeah.  I am doing a good job.  I do rock this parenting twins thing.  And I love having twins.

Photography by Daniela Maria Photo

Top 10 Summer Must Haves for Toddlers

10-summer-must-haves-toddlers

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links.  This means that I may earn a small commission if you purchase through the link.  Please know that I only recommend products I have used and loved.  Read my full Disclaimer for more information.

Isn’t summer the best?  Swimming, barbecues, travel, and lots of time outside.  As a teacher, I’m on summer vacation, so I get to spend 10 wonderful weeks with my family.  Of course, without our normal schedule, things can get a little chaotic!  And with two year old twins, I’ve found that things are always a little easier if I have everything I need.  Here are my top ten summer must haves for toddlers.

Sweet Maple Lane's top ten summer must haves for toddlers.

Sunscreen

Obviously, sunscreen is a must.  I like to have multiple bottles in different places, to make sure I always have it when I need it!  I usually keep one in the diaper bag, one on the entryway table (to grab right before we go outside), and a travel size in my purse.  I’ve used all different kinds, and I’m really not that picky, but this summer I’m loving this sunscreen stick.  I use it on faces, necks, ears, and arms, and then spray my kids’ legs.  I think it’s supposed to be for faces, but it is so much easier to use this stick than a lotion or spray on their faces and arms.

Hats

Besides being adorable, hats provide another layer of protection against the sun.  We use both the bucket hat style and baseball caps.  I like the bucket hats a little more because they provide more sun protection.  This is the one my daughter has this year.

Sprinkler and Kiddie Pool

While it’s fun to go out and have adventures, sometimes you just want to stay home. And summer is hot.  A sprinkler and a kiddie pool will provide hours of entertainment for toddlers while keeping them cool.  We have a cheapo plastic kiddie pool from Walmart (I think it was 9 dollars!) and a sprinkler that has a few different spray options like this one.  My kids are fond of filling the kiddie pool with dirt to make mud.  Messy is normal with twin two year olds running around!

Multiple Bathing Suits and Swim Diapers

I like to have a few swimsuits for each kid so I don’t have to worry if one is wet or dirty.  I usually keep one in the diaper bag with a few swim diapers for impromptu swimming or sprinkler sessions if we’re out.  I’m a big fan of the sets with a rash guard top like this one because that’s less sunscreen I have to slather on a wiggling toddler.

Hooded Towels

I love hooded towels for little ones.  Not only are they super cute, but the hood helps keep the towel on and keeps their little heads warm.  There are so many adorable versions of hooded towels, but right now we have this one in a shark and a kitty.

Insulated Water Bottles

I just bought two of these fantastic insulated water bottles from Target, and I love, love, love them.  I can fill them in the morning with a few ice cubes, and it stays cold for 12 hours!  Perfect for summer days out.  Also, we’re trying to get rid of the binkies, so having water bottles instead is a good distraction.

Snack Cups

I know every mom probably already has one or two of these snack cups, but I think they’re amazing so I’m adding them to my list.  The tops allow little hands in, but stop the contents from spilling out!  Genius.  I fill them with Goldfish, Pirates Booty, pretzels, or other dry snacks for days out.  Just throw them in the diaper bag, and you’re all ready with a snack to perk up a hungry kiddo!

Mini Popsicles 

My mother discovered these mini Frozen popsicles, and they are awesome.  The perfect, mini size for a two year old!  My kids love popsicles, but they melt fast and the big ones are just too big!  These are perfect.  Also, they come in blue, white, purple, and pink–the perfect colors for my son and daughter (he loves blue, she loves pink — go figure)!

Multiple Changes of Clothes

Let’s be honest, with toddlers, back ups are a necessity.  I like to have at least two full changes of clothes all the time, but in the summer time, things just seem to get a little messier!  Watermelon, popsicles, icecream, mud, water, you name it!  I like to stock up on Garanimals separates at Walmart at the beginning of the season.  They go for $2.88 a piece (score!), and they come in super cute colors and styles.  Perfect for getting messy!  And when they get completely ruined (it’s inevitable, people), I don’t sweat it because of the price.  Here is a similar Gerber set.

Go Everywhere Shoes

Shoes that can be worn for wet and dry activities are the best.  One pair of shoes for the whole summer?  Yes, please! I just got these Stride Rite Phibians for my kids this summer.  They have a rubber base (kind of like Crocs) and a mesh part around the top to prevent chafing.  Also, they’re non-slip, so kiddos won’t fall down when running around on a splash pad or wherever.  Another plus: my kids can put them on and secure the velcro closure themselves.  They are amazing and I love them!

There it is–my top ten summer must haves for toddlers!  What would you add?  Let me know in the comments!