3 Valentine’s Day gifts that show kids the LOVE

3 Valentine’s Day gifts that show kids the LOVE
3 Valentine’s Day gifts that show kids the LOVE
3 Valentine’s Day gifts that show kids the LOVE
3 Valentine’s Day gifts that show kids the LOVE
As Valentine’s Day looms, my mind shifts to all the candy and small plastic items my kid will get on Valentine’s Day. You know what – there’s nothing REALLY wrong with it and I see why it’s so common but where’s the love in that stuff?  Maybe it’s a good time for  unique (and fat free) gift options that will mark the day for that special child, niece, nephew, or godchild in your life, eh? I came up with a list of toys that can help develop a passion (of cooking, chemistry, or the fun of MAKING candy vs just buying it), show their love, or be the object of love.
Here 3 simple ideas I love to help kids of different age ranges develop or demonstrate feel the love.
Candy-Chemistry1. Candy Chemistry - The perfect kit for tween (10 and older) who can be described as ‘innovative / creative’ to explore chemistry as they cook up candies and chocolates! This yummy science kit allows kids to perform 25 sweet experiments and learn the importance of physical science principles related to cooking.Trust me, this gift rocks and will help bring out a love of cooking and provide a way for your favorite tween to share some love with his / her friends and family.
Candy-Flowers-Baby2. Corolle Candy Flowers: Shouldn’t children show their love on Valentine’s Day? Of course! So we present an enchanting first doll for newborns and up. This adorable baby is soft and light, dressed in plush velour pajamas. Designed by a team in the Loire Valley, France these dolls look and feel as real as possible with faces inspired by real children. This particular gal has an ultra-plush body that is made for hugging and cuddling and easy for tiny fingers to grasp and explore.
In short, everything about this baby says “love”.
ApplePark-TM003-A3. This sweet Picnic Pal by ApplePark will become your child, girlfriend, or even admin or co-worker’s best buddy! This line of plush animals are made for snuggling or playing – with their soft 100% organic cotton bodies, silk noses and naturally hypoallergenic filling. Since they are made with with eco-friendly materials and methods like 100% organic cotton, eyes that are hand sewn, and heirloom quality craftsmanship, they will be a loving companion for years to come.
Incidentally, they come packaged in a gorgeous round box that is to.die.for.
What do you think – are toys a good idea on Valentine’s Day or is it just getting too commercial altogether?
I’d love to hear what you think…
Cristina Sierra_14

Guarantee A Raving Thank You Note

Write your own thank you note - and get your message across

Write your own thank you note – and get your message across

Normally, I love getting a thank you in any form – a handwritten note, call, hug, offer to buy me coffee (Dunkin Donuts medium hazelnut with 2% milk + two sugars slightly cooled) – anything really, I’m not fussy.

But there is one unique  occasion when a – thank you note isn’t required, or even wanted.

Not only that, on this occasion it will pain me to receive a note requires a friend take time out of their day to write, address, and stick in the mail.

And that’s when there’s a new baby in town.

It’s probably because my memory of that time has never quite faded. As soon as I see a thank you note from a new mom I break into a sweat and experience a flashback of those days. I needed sleep. A shower. A lasagna. A mindreader who specialized in newborns. A stack of freshly cleaned laundry. Heck, I needed it put away, too.

What I didn’t need was the time sucking chore of writing the note, digging up an address, and trying to think of something thoughtful to say before tossing it in the mail. I could have been napping.

For years I quietly accepted thoughtful yet unnecessary notes from my friends and family and bit my lip. What  could I do?

But that  ended when a friend experienced a troubled delivery and spent weeks with the baby in ICU.

This time was different – I vowed there would be NO THANK YOU NOTE. Her baby was in the hospital and I wasn’t taking up her precious time. Not for a baby monitor – even if it was state of the art. I was going to get ahead of her sense of obligation, and here’s what I came up with:

Enclosed with the gift went the following note with a self addressed, stamped envelope to me:

Dear Cristina (me),

Thank you SO MUCH for the baby monitor – it’s incredible – not only does it have a great image, it swivels, zooms, and it looks beautiful in the baby’s room…all I can say is WOW.

You are truly the McGuyver of gift giving. No one could have sent such a cool yet practical gift. 

I’ll spend the rest of my days telling our child what a smart, generous friend / aunt / cousin you are. And I know looks aren’t everything, but you are looking AWESOME these days. And have you dropped a few pounds? How about those bangs you’re rocking? Love them.


(Hey, it’s my note you write whatever you feel comfortable with…)


A, B, and C

What do you think – if you received self written Thank You note (for you or on behalf or your child) would you appreciate it? Let me know!

Cristina Sierra_14

Awesome Toys for a 1 Year Old

Recently a friend posed the question, “What are some gifts you recommend for a one year old?”. Oh how I love that kind of question. There are so many incredibly fun toys out there that encourage development. But I’ll tell you what we DON’T want to develop, their love of obnoxious sounds with a toy that includes sirens, shrill screams, or loud honks – save that for their teen years.

Here are some of my favorites. The first year is such a year of discovery that I love the idea of toys that focus on developing motor skills and coordination.

Plus, I have a soft spot for classic toys that stand the test of time:

Update foreign-language

1. Blocks – every child needs a good set of blocks both for starting to see the elements of language. I love any that have pictures and letters and come in various colors.

The best wooden blocks by far are by Uncle Goose. 100% made in the USA (in Michigan, in fact) with innovative designs, several languages (Spanish, Chinese, Hebrew, French, etc. and unique art designs).


2. Push / Wheelie Toys – I love any toy that inspires a child to move – either by pushing an animal that is attached to a walking pole or pulling a toy towards them (a company called Moulin Roty makes some fabulous ones) or pull toys like little ducks / squirrels.

Both should make engaging sounds that don’t require power. Further, there is no need for them to light up as this may require batteries which are a pain to manage as a parent.



3. Toys that require manual manipulation / cognitive development – KidO makes a series of brightly colored nicely textured toys for kids that allow them to take on basic stacking and sorting. Great for that innovator that will eventually take apart your toaster in 10 years.

I love all of KidOs products for their innovative European design, colors, and quality.



WW City Beads

4. Speaking of cognitive development, another awesome toy is the Wonderworld City Beads Urban Themed Bead Maze – an ideal toy to help understand organization of objects and the cycle of movement. This toy is based on transportation in the city and comes equipped with the maneuvering possibility of train, car, helicopter and plane through both sky and tunnel.

Wonderworld’s stuff is made in Thailand which uses eco friendly manufacturing process, sustainable woods, and vegetable dyes.

In general, you can’t go wrong with toys that are age appropriate and are made using eco friendly development processes (i.e. use safe materials, don’t employ child labor, and adhere to safety standards which is the case in US, Europe, Thailand and other regions). You should also look for  interesting designs, and basically, anything that makes you want to touch / play with them.

If you need any recommendations, let me know or just let me know what you think of these items!


Cristina Sierra_14