Momfari's favorite picks for Holiday 2014
A list of fun items for the season, whether travel-related, something to make parents' lives easier or just because.
Does your dining room resemble mine, a "temporary" storage spot for all of your kids' creative art projects and school papers? And by "temporary," I mean walking past the table for a year, thinking, "I will put that somewhere someday."
The sad truth is that I probably care more about the stuff than my two boys, but I just CAN'T THROW IT ALL AWAY. And that's why I was thrilled to discover Artkive, which aims to help overwhelmed moms like me organize kids' masterpieces. Here's how it works:
1. Receive a pre-paid shipping label and send your kids' artwork to Artkive.
2. Artwork is professionally photographed and digitized.
3. Hardcover 8.5 x 11" photo book printed and sent within two weeks of receiving your artwork.
Problem solved! Not only can I clear my dining-room table, but I also have a memory book the boys' artwork. Even better? It's a great gift idea, especially for the grandparent who has everything.
My boys have loved receiving packages from their "pen pals" Sam and Sophie, best friends who are traveling the world via magic scooter. From the first shipment containing a passport and mini suitcase to stash letters and mementos, the kids can't wait each month to open the envelope from a different country--Brazil, France and Japan so far--to see what magic it contains. Every time they complete the activities, inevitably they ask, "Mom! Where do we get to go next?" Guess you'll just have to wait until next month to find out, boys.
With subscriptions for ages 3 to 12, as well as a selection of travel-themed products like personalized lunchboxes and a World Coin Collection, Little Passports offers numerous holiday gift ideas to inspire the little adventurer in every child.
BLACK FRIDAY DEAL: Get 50% off New Monthly Plan Subscriptions with Code BLACK50. (Offer expires 11/30/14.) To order, click here.
Similar only in concept to Little Passports, I was drawn to this company's beautiful illustrations and in-depth curriculum to help inspire kids' love of travel and natural curiosity for other cultures. Geared toward kids approximately 8 to 12 years who love to read, The Adventurous Mailbox offers series of adventure books introducing world cultures--among them Finland, Taiwan and Thailand--delivered from abroad in fun packaging covered in foreigns stamps and postmarks, and a dynamic “top secret” online community for kids, as well as professionally developed lessons to accompany the books.
Through the characters' online presence--based around Crameye Junker and his world of talented, worldly friends--the idea is to provide a comprehensive resource for parents and teachers wanting their kids to learn about the world. Or, as its site states, "Inspiring kids to embrace the world and the people in it."
Exclusive Momfari Deal: Receive $10 off any subscription and a free Write Away Upgrade ($15 value), where the subscriber receives a top-secret writing mission in the mail from the main character, Crameye Junker, to be be published on one of the character's blogs.
Remember to select the "Write Away Upgrade" before checking out. Enter coupon code Momfari at checkout.
4. Pack-n-Go Girls books
After a miserable cross-country trip with small children and a limited selection of entertaining kids' travel books, she says, Colorado Springs mom Lisa Travis founded Pack-n-Go Girls and began writing her own. Alongside co-writer Janelle Diller, the women focus on creating stories for girls that deliver positive messages about adventure travel and global awareness, and inspire "curiosity about the world beyond herself."
The adventures begin with the "Mystery of the Ballerina Ghost," when Brooke Mason, a 9-year-old horse lover from Colorado, visits Austria with her mother. Staying at the 400-year-old Austrian castle Schloss Mueller as guests of Herr Mueller and his granddaughter, ballerina Eva, Brooke and her new friend discover the secret of the mysterious ghost.
Although I'm partial to boys, I enjoyed reading the book and its goal to share cultural and historic insights throughout. In fact, there's a glossary of German words, as well as advice on traveling to Austria, at the end of the book, further inspiring wanderlust in its young readers.
In addition to the Austria series, there are also adventures in Mexico and Thailand. For more information on the stories and characters, as well as travel tips and blog, visit the Pack-n-Go Girls site here.
Based on the idea of child-led, play-based activities, these simple yet stylish boxes are filled with fun for kids of all ages. Based on a particular theme--including Family Games & Activities, Paper Activities & Ideas, and Quiet Time--each box contains wooden tokens that suggest an activity on either side. While fairly simplistic to encourage imagination, my boys loved the novelty of drawing a coin at random and completing a task together. Momfari favorites: Airplane activities ($8.99), offering 30 tasks (15 coins) such as "I Spy/Scavenger Hunt w/ In-Flight magazine," and, "How long can you balance a snack on your nose, finger, etc." And Family Games & Activities ($17.99), including 30 coins worth of suggestions such as, "Inside basketball w/ laundry basket or bin," and "Have a treasure hunt w/ clues." And a perfect one for upcoming holiday break: Winter Holiday Ideas & Activities ($17.99). For more information, visit the idea box kids Etsy shop.
6. Tiny Travelers' Accessories by Free Like Birdie
Anyone who has traveled with kids understands JUST HOW MUCH STUFF they require. So Free Like Birdie products strive to make that process more organized and less overwhelming for parents.
This clever packing system is made of waterproof materials and divided into two sections: clean and dirty. Neatly organize your child's belongings in the "clean" compartment, then move items to the "dirty" one as they become soiled without worrying about odor or moisture.
Buy the complete Travel System, which includes On the Go Series Quick Change Diaper Pouch with Deluxe Diaper Pad, Quick Change Clothes bag and the Weekender bag. Or buy pieces separately. All products are eco-friendly and made with materials that are free of lead, BPA and PVC.
7. Wall decals by Tipit Designs
While initially I noticed the world map decal (with markers), I quickly fell in love with this company's other creative decals: travel quotes, kids-room decals and more. Even more fun? Tipit makes some of THE coolest "Ugly Christmas Sweaters," which--get this--light up! How Griswold is that?
8. Packing solutions by eBags
I don't know about you, but every time I travel, I find myself dragging mounds of clothing out of my luggage for smaller items like socks, bras and underwear. So I like the idea of using these mesh-covered packing cubes on my next trip. Good for undergarments, including delicate fabrics, use one on smaller trips or all three for a longer excursion. Add in the shoes sleeves to better organize your packing essentials.
9. Bolder Band
The brainchild of Colorado native Amy Crouse, a cross fitting/running mom of three, Bolder Band developed from her frustration at not finding the right product to hold back her hair during workouts. As she says on her site, "I got fed up with the interruption of fixing my headband every few burpees and decided there had to be a better alternative."
Since launching in August 2013, Bolder Bands has developed a full line of exercise headbands--even"Bro Bands" for men--as well as fancy styles and winter wear, "Colder Bands," neck warmers, outdoor/exercise accessories and more. My favorite? Showing my Colorado pride with the Colorado Colder Band, perfect for any cold-weather activity.
10. Get Ya Life Kits
I love browsing through Etsy shops for fun travel items. And these kits caught my eye because there's a bag full of goodies for every situation in life, including traveling.
From the Jetsetter Kit--complete with toiletries, sleeping mask and Shout wipes--to the Family Day Adventures Kit--filled with snacks and activities--these are great ideas to bring during holiday travel or to gift to your favorite adventurer. Buy from featured kits or customize your own. Vist the Etsy shop here, and be sure to say Momfari sent you.
Cyber Monday BONUS item - Helmet Huggers
Click here to view Cyber Monday Momfari Exclusive Deal!