A Toddler Pillow to Make EVERYONE Happy

Today is part two in my mini-craftinista* series and it starts with a little story…

Have you heard of sleep regression? Apparently it’s a wonderful time in a child’s life where after months of going right to sleep and sleeping through the night, suddenly they don’t like to sleep anymore.

For Jack, this happened a few weeks ago – after sleeping like a champ we had to coax him into bed with a tiring combination of reading, rocking, milk in a sippie cup, snuggling with mommy, snugging with daddy and some more rocking. He even ended up in bed with us for a couple nights, only to be kicked out when he kept KICKING ME in the back all night long. I mean, I’ll take that crap from an 8 pound rescue dog… but NOT a 30 pound little man!

It was exhausting.

Which is funny because JACK was exhausted and just would NOT go to sleep.

So in a fit of brilliance (or just overtired madness) I told Jack that I had a SPECIAL pillow only for Big Boys to use. This SPECIAL pillow would go into his crib, but ONLY if he was a Big Boy who would lay down on it and go to sleep.

Can you believe that this worked?

Suddenly Jack stopped fighting sleep and would go right into his crib to lie on his special Big Boy pillow.

I’m a genius. A parenting genius.

Send your checks today to get your very own SPECIAL Big Boy pillow. Also available in Big Girl…

Just kidding. The secret is that I grabbed the closest pillow I could find, which was an old accent pillow that I had made for our couch ages ago. After living on the couch for a while, it somehow ended up in Jack’s room on his rocking chair. It was so well-worn that it’s quite flat… which makes it perfect for Jack since he can’t smother himself on it.

After Jack slept on it contently for a couple weeks, I figured I should make a pillow case for it so that I can keep it clean. So I grabbed an old pillowcase that we’ve probably used for 10 years or so and made it fit:

Toddler-pillow-before-updatedCheck this out… it’s a magical pillow. Which is actually just a pillow I made a bunch of years ago from an old pillow case from Crate & Barrel.

First, I stuck the throw pillow in our old pillowcase and pinned around it with straight pins. I pulled it in and out a couple times to make sure that it wasn't too snug.First, I stuck the throw pillow in our old pillowcase and pinned around it with straight pins. I pulled it in and out a couple times to make sure that it wasn’t too snug.

I then removed the throw from the case and stitched around all three sides, removing the pins as I went so that I wouldn't stab myself and yell out bad words.I then removed the throw from the case and stitched around all three sides, removing the pins as I went so that I wouldn’t stab myself and yell out bad words.

Once I finished sewing, I cut off the extra fabric. You can use normal scissors or be all fancy like me with my pinking shears. Is it weird that I have no idea how pinking shears came to live in my house?

The finished magical SPECIAL Big Boy pillow. Mr. Bunny Rabbit approves.

Super cute, right?! And basically free.

And the best part is that I can sleep again!

* If TJ Maxx can call someone a Maxxinista… I can certainly call myself a craftinista!

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Toddler Painting: $6 Worth of Materials for $60 Worth of FUN

I think this is going to be another crafty week, because darn if I haven’t been feeling like a crafting QUEEN lately.

As most of you know, I was home for 16 days STRAIGHT for a sweet combo of work being closed (yay for working at a university) and a couple vacation days. SIXTEEN DAYS in a ROW. That’s kind of a lot.

And no, I’m not complaining because I loved having time off to hang out with Jack and Ollie. And yoga pants. And Christmas cookies. But mostly Jack and Ollie.

Keeping Jack entertained for that much time really forced me to be a little crafty, which is why I decided to do two different painting projects while I was home. The first project was from this month’s Citrus Lane box – it was supposed to be a handprint project, but turned more into abstract art. And I totally love it and hung it on my ‘Jack projects’ wall!

Our second painting project was inspired by some wooden snowflakes on clearance at JoAnn’s.

snowflake project - bare snowflakeThe snowflakes were on clearance for 50% off, which brought them to just $ .70 each. I also picked up a cheap paint pots kit for $1.50 and used some paintbrushes I already had at home. Then, I covered Jack’s little table with some kraft paper and stripped him down for some painting fun.

snowflake project - painting

snowflake project - painting close up

snowflake project - happy jackAnd it was SO MUCH FUN! I can’t believe how long Jack concentrated on painting the snowflakes… and believe me, doing anything for more than 15 minutes with a kid this age is impressive! When he was finished, I just threw the paper away and stuck Jack directly into a bath (the paint washed off easily).

Once the snowflakes dried, I stuck some thread through the holes and hung them up in my kitchen window. I also wrote the date on the back of one of the snowflakes so that 10 years down the road I remember when we made them.

snowflake project - finished

snowflake project - finished close upI really like my happy little snowflakes because they’re not “Christmassy” but more “wintery” so I can keep them up for the next couple months. This is especially nice since we took all our Christmas decorations down over the weekend and I’m totally going through withdrawal.

Do you have a super cheap and fun craft project for toddlers that I should try? Feel free to leave me a link below! Also, are you suffering from Christmas decorations withdrawal too? I kind of wanted to leave my tree up for another month…

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A few of my Favorite Things: 5 Awesome Toddler Gift Ideas

If you don’t actually have a toddler it can be REALLY HARD to figure out what to buy one for Christmas.

I can’t even tell you how many times I found myself in the toy aisle at Target or Toys R’ Us with nothing more to go on than the kid’s age and gender. Then, you add in the fact that if you choose poorly the kid may only play with the gift for 28 seconds before throwing it aside to play with the tape that peeled off the wrapping paper instead…

Since it’s the season for giving, I figured that I’d help you all out with some toys that have been played with, thrown, pounded on, licked, and played with again by my very own toddler. This isn’t a sponsored post, it’s just what my kid loves to play with.

#1. Little Tikes – Truck & Shopping Cart
I have never regretted spending money on anything from Little Tikes. Their products are made really well, they seem to KNOW what kids like and frankly, they’re pretty darn cute too. Jack has the Little Tikes Cozy Truck, which came with a bonus set of a construction helmet and toolbox (it’s from the Little Tikes website, but is currently sold out so I used a link to Amazon which has them in stock). He loves this truck so much that we’ve had it for 4 months and it’s never even made its way outside.

truck and tool box

We also have the Little Tikes Shopping Cart which I actually found at a thrift store for just a few dollars. Even being used by another kid hasn’t made a dent in this thing… it’s in perfect condition and Jack is NOT exactly gentle with it.

#2. Citrus Lane – Monthly Kids Subscription
We’ve been getting the monthly subscription from Citrus Lane since Jack was just one month old. Every single month, they somehow send us the perfect toys for his age. I’m not exaggerating when I say that of all the toys that we’ve gotten over the past (almost) two years, Citrus Lane consistently gives us the BEST ones that actually stay in heavy playing rotation.

See this table?


Almost EVERYTHING on it has come from a Citrus Lane box! If you’d like to give a subscription to a friend for Christmas, use this special code and you will get $10 off.

#3. Fisher Price Little People – Pirate Ship Set
We LOVE Little People! We were handed down a Little People Garage that is constantly being played with at our house. We also have a Little People Plane Set at my mom’s house and recently added the Little People Pirate Ship to our toy area.


Jack LOVES this set so much that he will carry it with him from room to room. It’s reasonably priced, the pirates are adorable and the songs are not even that annoying when you hear them 189 times each day.

#4. Green Toys – Everything!
I was first introduced to Green Toys through an early Citrus Lane box, but continue to buy them whenever I find them. Right now we have: the airplane, chef set, flatbed truck and race car, another race car, a submarine, and a twist teether. Yeah, you can say I’m a fan. I currently have my eye on the Green Toys dump truck, school bus and tractor…so it’s only a matter of time before they are added to our nifty collection.


#5. B.FunKeys – The BEST Kid’s Keys EVER
Kids love keys. Not those cheesy plastic keys that you buy for them to stick in their mouth and gnaw their teeth on, the ones that mom and dad use. The problem is that if you hand the kid your ACTUAL keys they will either set off  your truck alarm (Jack does this purposefully EVERY single time) or when you want to leave the house you’ll have to do a scavenger hunt to find them. Believe me, they’re ALWAYS in the most random place ever – I’ve found mine INSIDE a walking toy, in the Tupperware cabinet and behind books on the bookshelf. Jack is like a key-hiding NINJA. Anyways, I saw these B. FunKeys one day at Target and they are literally the BEST kid’s keys I’ve ever seen. The keys are like normal keys (but made a bit thicker) and the ‘alarm’ box plays realistic sounds, like the ‘beep’ of locking your car. They are AWESOME and they’re even on clearance right now for less than $10!


Bonus Idea: On Santa’s List… Step 2 – The Home Depot Big Builders Workshop
Anyone who follows me on Facebook knows that I have been stalking this workshop like prey. Jack LOVES playing with his little tool box, which came with a hammer, nails, wrench and screws. So I KNOW he’s going to lose his mind when he sees this under the Christmas tree.  It’s a little pricy for a gift, but it truly is the gift that will keep giving for years. It’s basically a ‘boy’ version of the typical pretend kitchen, if by ‘boy’ you mean FULL OF AWESOME. Ok, I’ll admit it… I’m pretty darn excited to play with this too!

I hope you found this list helpful! I’m hoping the new workshop and a couple other toys that will be opened under the Christmas tree are as big of a hit as the rest of the list. Tell me, are there any toys that your kid just keeps playing with over and over and over again? Let me know your child’s age and the toy they love in the comments and maybe you’ll help someone elses Christmas shopping go smoother!


Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored post and none of these companies have asked me to recommend their products. I’m recommending them because we have truly enjoyed them and I think that other kids would like them too. For the majority of links on this page, I do not benefit in any way. However, if you choose to click through the special Citrus Lane link, I will receive a referral credit if you purchase a subscription.

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