This is For The Board Kids (It’s A Pun)

Sooo… We’re here in that not-so-fun part of winter. December is all about twinkle lights and hoping for snow and crackling fires and magic!! Come mid-January, however, we’re cooped up, rolling in muddy snow piles, we’re itching for spring and prolonged outdoor time that is still so far away and kids are getting “bored.”

But I have some game suggestions for those cooped up yucky days with bored preschoolers and toddlers. These are my favorite because they promote cooperation, creativity, and cognitive skills!

Most of all, these games are seriously so fun! And this not an ad, these are just games we all love playing together! Happy kids, happy parents, happy family time! I’ve shared Amazon links to my suggestions below, but look for these at your local toy store first!

Obstacles by Eeboo – Ages 5+ 

We’re all pretty much obsessed with this game. The premise is that you are trying to get home and there are path cards with obstacles on them. And you have “tool” cards that you use in creative ways to overcome an obstacle. We have so much fun being creative and very silly. My 5-year-old even made her own obstacle cards — a snow storm, leaf tower, and meteor shower.

Obstacles by EeBoo
“Oh no!! There is a lion in the path! I’ll use this giant fan to blow him out of the way!”

Stone Soup by Peaceable Kingdom – Ages 5+

It’s basically a memory game but cuter! You match soup ingredients and then put the matches in the soup pot to cook them up! The trick is to find all the matches before you overturn ten “fire out” cards. Once the fire is out, you can’t cook the soup anymore! The game also includes the story of stone soup. We like to  play the game and then read the story after.

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This game is on fire!

Melissa and Doug Wooden Board Puzzles – Ages 18mo+ 

Fun for my 2-year-old especially, but my 5-year-old joins in the fun too! And the puzzles are sturdy and made of wood, so they are easy for kids to manipulate. Puzzle play without the frustration of bent pieces. We’re game!

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Spending winter under the sea!

What games do you guys like to play? How else do you play/connect on these cooped up winter days? Tell me in the comments below or pop on over to @penandthimble on Instagram to tell me how you play indoors on these winter days.

Amazon Links: Obstacles,Stone Soup, Melissa And Doug Wood Puzzle

Kind of Like A Norman Rockwell

There was a moment last weekend, when things were nearly picture perfect. Like a Norman Rockwell illustration — real, a bit silly, a hint of chaos emerging or recently visited.

And having it come on the heels of a bit of a stressful week — starring visits from a few plumbers, sick kids, and a few additions to our house “need-to-get-done-ASAP” list — it was impossible not to feel so much joy and thanks for a nearly idyllic scene.

I had built a roaring fire, with the help of a YouTube tutorial. And at some point, before dinner but after the 50th plea for the 30th snack of the afternoon, I found myself sitting on the couch facing the fire reading (A Dragonfly in Amber), with my husband sitting beside me relaxing with his iPad, and our two girls playing independently on the floor in front of us. Our oldest was playing a very exciting game with seven DC Superhero figurines and a Fisher Price castle, and our youngest was putting George Pig to sleep inside of a bed she had built from Duplos.

I nudged my husband and we shared a smile at this rare and exciting scene — four humans happily pursuing their interests, independently but together near the active fireplace. It was excitingly peaceful. It was nice.

And, in all honesty, our full immersion in our individual pursuits didn’t last long. Maybe I read one more page after that shared smile and silent giggle of excitement.

And that was fine because I love the way my oldest squeezes between me and my husband for maximum snuggles. And I adore the way my youngest narrates her play to us to keep us in the loop!

And this is what I’m thankful for this week as Thanksgiving approaches. I’m so thankful, with an enormous heart, for my little immediate family. They are good and kind and silly and brighten my day.

And you shouldn’t listen to what I say when I’m tired and drained, I wouldn’t want to spend a single day or night without them right next to me!

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What are you thankful for? I know that blog comments are clumsy with having to prove you aren’t a robot and all that. So let me know on Instagram or my pen&thimble Facebook Page. I want to know! 

Also, in lieu of the typical holiday sales that roll around after Thanksgiving, I’ll be offering FREE SHIPPING IN THE US when you spend $40 or more November 20 – December 1 at pen&thimble on Etsy. No gimmicks, no coupon needed. My way of saying “thank you so much,” for being a customer and thank you for your support! I’ll be around –making and posting and chatting on social media — but I wanted to wish you very Happy Holidays now, before the overwhelm and hype starts.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays!!!

 

Snug As A Bug Making Snow Angels

Um… Did you see all the new kids infinity scarves in the shop? This seems totally biased to say, but… these are the best kids scarves! And I only say that because they totally are. But let me tell you why…

Whether you call it a tube scarf, cowl, infinity scarf, double loop scarf, I’m here to tell you that this scarf lasts for years; stays on while kids play; is bright and fun; and with that fleece lining–oh so warm and cozy! Real mom talk: It’s just nice to be able to shovel snow without having to stop every 2 minutes to re-wrap my kid in her scarf. And less scarf fussing means more play (for the kids) and quicker shoveling (hopefully) for me!

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Snug As A 4 Year-Old Bug Making Snow Angels!

There are seven fun prints of these cotton and warm fleece scarf blends: super heroes, black bears, foxes, mermaids, pandas, space, and sharks! Just $24! Shop cozy warmth today!

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My Creative Director wearing the same scarf 3 years prior. Also, I’m not kidding that these last!)

Color The Rainbow…Then Eat It!

Is it just me or do fall/winter meals take way longer to prepare? Suddenly I find myself serving dinner at 6:30 when I started chopping at 5:30, because I forgot that roasting all those brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and squash takes way longer than grilling up a protein to serve with a salad.

So instead of relaxing with my feet up sipping wine while the oven does all the work, I’m chopping carrots for snacks to stave off the “gungry” demands of my second girl. I’m answering, “not yet” on repeat to my first’s ever popular question, “Is dinner ready yet?” I’m trying dance-party distractions to keep my youngest away from the oven wondering… IS dinner ready yet?

WHAT IS A MOM TO DO?

Grab a bunch of markers, a NEW pen&thimble coloring placemat (and probably a few carrot sticks to be safe) and boom! Dinner wait magic! Let me explain…

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NEW IN THE SHOP!

This week we are welcoming a NEW and SUPER FUN line of pen&thimble coloring placemats! Oh my goodness! They are cute and functional as always but now entertaining!

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A placemat they can doodle on while they wait for dinner — at home, restaurant, museum!

PLACEMAT DETAILS

Placemats feature a 100% cotton upper with a soft waterproof backing.

I offer the placemats with or without Crayola Ultra-Clean Washable Markers*.

And you can pick your ideal placemat size! Toddlers are happy with our small 14×10″ placemat, but bigger kids may want to color and eat on our large 16×12″ placemat.

*I have tested a variety of “washable” markers, but so far have found that only Crayola Ultra-Clean Washable markers truly wash out all the way for a brand new coloring experience every time!

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I WANT THESE!

Small (14×10″) Placemat Without Markers: $12

Small Placemat With Markers: $17

Large (16×12″) Placemat Without Markers: $15

Large Placemat With Markers: $20

Sounds great, right? Shop quieter dinner prep here or check out our Coloring Placemats section at http://www.penandthimble.etsy.com.

Are You A pen&thimble Email Insider?

Check your inbox because I’m offering one FREE set of 8-count Crayola Ultra-Clean Washable markers when you include at least one of our new coloring placemats in your next order placed now through Thursday (11/9)! Not an insider but wish you got awesome deals like this? Sign up here and you will be able to get in on these deals too! If you sign up by Wednesday (11/8), you’ll get the reminder email with the code for free markers! Another way to sign up? Scroll up until you see the blue signup box under the header here at penandthimble.com!