DIY Gift Baskets – Target Dollar Spot Diaries

My daughter is not a big princess fan. She likes them just fine but if given the choice she would rather play dinosaurs or make art than pretend to be a princess or fairy. But as a five-year-old kindergartener she has a lot of friends who do love princesses, fairies and basically all things Disney. Also, as a five-year-old kindergartener she gets invited to what seems like a never-ending stream of birthday parties. All these parties and party gifts add up, so what is a mom on a budget to do? Target Dollar Spot to the rescue!

For less than $10.00 we were able to load up on a bucket load of goodies fit for a princess, or a six-year-old who thinks she is a princess at the very least. You read that right, our fun Disney themed gifts were pulled together for $8.00! Thankfully Target has their bins stocked with a variety of Disney items right now, 101 Dalmatians  Princess, Lion King, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and more. 

Simple tips to make your own fantastic gift baskets from

Making an inexpensive, attractive, and fun gift basket is simple when you follow these tips. 

1. Pick a theme and feel and stick with it. Not everything we picked out for our girly bucket was Disney princess but everything fits in with out princess theme. It’s good to keep colors in mind too.

2. Choose a cute basket, tote or box to arrange your gifts in. It will help pull everything together and dress up the items in the basket. Luckily the Dollar Spot always seems to have a variety of items that fit this bill perfectly. 

3. Pick out all the items for your gift and then take a moment to arrange them in your chosen basket or box before leaving the Dollar Spot, this will give you the chance to grab one more little thing to fill things out or put something back if you’ve grabbed too many items. Taking a minute to do this could save you a trip back to the store.

What are your favorite gifts to give for children’s birthday parties?

Tips for hosting a fantastic Easter Brunch, the Easy Way

Hosting Easter brunch this year? The secret to a throwing  fantastic brunch all while saving time and your sanity is to keep it simple. I’ve scoured Pinterest to bring you  only list you’ll need to brunch with the best of them! 

Keep it simple! Menu and decor tips for a fantastic Easter brunch

First and foremost pick a simple menu. As a general guide try serve at least four or five dishes. Only serve one or two dishes that require cooking immediately before serving. Everything else should be easily thrown together before guests arrive or made the day before. If you want to make it even easier make it a potluck and delegate specific dishes or types of dishes for guests to bring.

Egg – Eggs are a brunch must. A quiche or fritatta are the best and easiest ways to serve eggs for a crowd. Denver mini fritattas and Greek fritattas are quick and easy to make and are sure to disappear before your eyes.


Fruit – A fresh fruit salad is easy and delicious. Plus it adds a beautiful spring pop of color to any buffet table. 


Vegetable – Of course there are always vegetable trays, which are easy to put together or buy, but a simple green salad or even asparagus topped with feta and almonds will fancy up your menu without much effort. 


Meat – Smoked salmon is an excellent way to serve an amazing meat without having to cook a thing. Ham is obviously an Easter favorite too, so if you and your crew are set on ham a simple glaze can dress up a plain old ham.


Bread – An easy quick bread such as hearty whole wheat banana bread, or mixed berry flax muffins can be made in advance and will be enjoyed by everyone. 


Cocktail – Celebrate the day with a simple and elegant cocktail. A Kir Royale is a step up from your average mimosa. Serve a selection of fresh fruit juices and coffee as non alcoholic options.

Source: viaCatherine on Pinterest

Sweet treat – Be sure to include at least one dessert like treat in your brunch line-up. Something fun such as Crispy Treats Easter Nests or a more traditional Wicked Easy Carrot Cake will add a perfectly sweet ending to your Easter festivities.

Source: viaCatherine on Pinterest

Secondly, set a lovely and simple table. A lovely table can set the mood for a gathering. The key is to keep it simple. By staying simple you’ll pull off a fun look all while saving time.

Add a table runner. A table runner adds a little oomph to a holiday table and instantly dresses everything up. Don’t have a table runner? Lay a length of 10-12 inch wide burlap or colored tulle down the center of the table letting it generously hang over the edge. If you want to take it a step further gather and tie a ribbon or piece of twine around the burlap or tulle 6-8 inches below the edge of the table. 


Flowers keep things fresh. Use a bright springy bouquet of tulips of daffodils as a main centerpiece. 


Add a bit of whimsy. These peep and jelly bean filled mason jars make for a fun touch. And best of all then the festivities are over you can send them home with guests!


With a little thought simple can be quite fantastic. And lovely. And very tasty!

What are your favorite brunch dishes to serve? Do you have any tips for hosting a fantastic brunch?

Entertaining Kids on the Go – Target Dollar Spot Diaries

As moms we do a lot of hurry up and wait – hurry to get to the pediatrician on time so you and your kids can wait for 30 minutes in the waiting room before the Doctor can actually see you. Hurry and rush to the restaurant because the kids simply must eat now only to find that the restaurant is not moving at your desired speed. The post office, the bank, the grocery store, The DMV. Hurry, hurry, hurry. Wait, wait, wait.

As adults we’ve become accustomed to this waiting game – we know how to wait patiently for our turn. As parents we know that our children are not always likely to wait patiently, let alone quietly  We all have tricks to keep our kids entertained during unexpected down times. Of course a snack or two tucked into your purse can help make waiting easier but I have a different trick up my sleeve – The Quiet  Bag – and thanks to the Target Dollar Spot I’ve reinforced my supplies.
Entertaining kids with quiet bags .

A quiet bag is a small bag filled with something to keep your children occupied. The bag itself should be small and fit in your handbag or diaper bag easily; most importantly an effective quiet bag can save you from having to play 73 consecutive games of I Spy.

Some moms like to do a single activity in a bag and rotate activities to keep things fresh, however I like to use my quiet bag to arm myself with a handful of items to use in different ways.  I like to keep a small pack of crayons, stickers, a small notebook, a pencil and a few small toys such as dinosaurs, mini Lego men or mini My Little Pony figures. These basic things make for lots of possible ways to keep my kiddo busy.

Easy way to entertain kids on the go

Thanks to a quick look in the Dollar Spot at Target recently, I scored a new mini notebook, a Find the Match Activity pad, a Hidden Pictures poster, and a couple of fun pens that show different riddles when you click the pen in and out. These things coupled with the other items already in my little blue pencil bag – or as I like to call it, my arsenal – will keep my 5-year-old busy even if the kitchen is taking its sweet time making our dinner or the 14 people in front of me at the DMV are attempting the most difficult drivers license changes known to man.

What do you keep on hand to entertain your kids when you’re on the go?

Reading When Extra Time is a Luxury

I have a sizable stack of books to be read on my nightstand. Next to it sits an even larger, slightly messy, pile of unread magazines. Slowly the number of magazines I subscribe to has grown to numbers I can’t seem to catch up with. Yet, I can’t bring myself to cancel a single subscription. What if I miss the most amazing chicken recipe Cooking Light has ever shared within it’s pages? What if Oprah has life changing advice and I decided to cancel my subscription? I collect books to be read at a rate I’m ashamed to admit. Cookbooks, fiction novels, non-fiction works, books about anything that catches my fancy.

When's a mom supposed to have time to read-

Once upon a time I was able to read all the books I wanted, I had time to read every article in every magazine that entered my mailbox.  Then I had a second baby and anything looking remotely like extra time flew out the window.  From early morning when the baby first wakes to bedtime I am on almost non-stop mom duty.   After bedtime is wrapped up, my husband and I set to work recovering the kitchen and living room from the dinnertime and after-school explosions.  Random laundry is folded or thrown in the washer and then I try to sneak in a bit of time to work.So, when is a mom supposed to find time to read?  I mean read a book, of her choosing, to herself.  It’s crazy, but my book club just keeps picking new books to read and I’m expected to actually read them. I thought book clubs were just cover stories for getting together with friends to drink wine without kids or husbands present?  Apparently not.Lately I’ve been working to peel myself away from the computer, smart phone or iPad at least a half hour before I should be in bed, this little chunk of time is all I need to read a couple of chapters in my new book or a handful of articles in one of those magazines. I’m slowly working my way through my towering nightstand piles. The extra-super bonus is I get a little down time to myself to relax and unwind at the end of the day. Now all I need to do is actually put the books down and not let myself read for hours after I should be sleeping.

How do you fit time to read in your day? 

Tell us in the comments and leave a recommendation for the next book I pick up!

Adorable Homemade Valentines – Target Dollar Spot Diaries

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but walking through stores you can easily find boxes and boxes of cheap valentines. I don’t mean cheap in the good sense of the word either – more like lame Batman or Barbie Valentine’s Day cards with perforated edges. By the time you’ve spent an hour in the Valentine’s day section of the store watching you child debate the merits of each type of cards and then argued over the $15 bag of treats they simply must get to hand out with their cards you’ve completely lost your mind. Not to mention you are now out $20 for some silly Bieber Fever cards and little bags of junk filled treats.

Cute, easy, and inexpensive homemade valentine's day cards

Target Dollar Spot to the rescue! For about $5 you and your child can join forces to make cute valentines complete with fun treat in less time than it would take them to decide on a lame pre-printed box of valentines.

What to grab from the Dollar Spot bins:

supplies need to make valentines

  • Valentine’s Day Pencils (they come in packs of 8)
  • 1 package of Acid Free Cardstock (comes in a pack of 12 sheets with 4 different Valentine’s day colors)
  • 1 package of Valentine’s Day Foam Stickers (These are optional but fun!)

The tools you’ll need:

supplies to make valentine's day cards

  • Black marker
  • Scissors or a paper-cutter
  • Hole punch
  • Pencil sharpener

Homemade Valentine Directions:

Easy creative homemade  valentines

Step 1: Cut the paper into roughly 1 1/2  to 2 inch wide strips. You’ll need one strip per valentine.
Step 2: Punch a hole in the top and bottom of the strips of paper, about an inch in from the ends.
Step 3: Write “I think you’re sharp!” and “From_______” using your child’s name on the paper strips, long ways. Add foam stickers if you like.

You're sharp valentines

Step 4: Sharpen the pencils.
Step 5: Feed the pencils through the holes of the paper strips so the message faces out.

Viola! Cute, inexpensive, easy and practical valentines thanks to the Dollar Spot at Target and about 20 minutes of your time.

The best part? If your kid can wield a pair of scissors and a pen on their own your home free to take a little break while they craft their cards!

Time, money and sanity saved.

Dollar Spot, will you be my Valentine?

Cute and easy homemade Valentine's Day cards

Have you figured out Valentine’s Day cards for your kids yet?

Getting Organized for a Few Bucks – Target Dollar Spot Diaries

The other day turned into a day of running errands. I pulled up in front of Target loaded the baby into a big red shopping cart, grabbed my purse, and the slippers I needed to return. Returning mens slippers is what happens when your husband doesn’t seem to know his own shoe size even though you called and asked just to be sure when you bought them in the first place. Obviously, that is neither here nor there. After finishing up my return at Customer service I had the opportunity to make one of two choices: Turn and walk back out the door, load the baby in the car, and head to our next destination, or just take a quick look around the Dollar Spot just a couple feet away. We all know it’s never just a quick look, right? This time was no different. My quick look turned into a few excellent finds in the Dollar Spot to help keep me organized. Of course just a quick walk around the rest of the store where I may or may not have ended up with a few other things in my cart followed.

To Do List and Schedule Notepads

Typing is great, but my first loves are good old pen and paper. Making a list on a piece of paper makes me feel like I’ve got my life together. Thanks to my Dollar Spot purchases I have a cute to do list pad of paper to help keep me motivated and a daily schedule pad to help me plan out my days more efficiently. Now I can schedule important things like:

  • 9:00-10:00am: Maybe the baby naps, if she feels like it
  • 3:30pm: Don’t forget to pick up the kindergartener, the school frowns on leaving them there
  • 6:30-7:00pm: Hope and wish and pray the husband is washing the dinner dishes.
  • 7:30pm: Kid’s bedtime, celebrate with lots of chocolate

To top it off I snapped up a few magazine file boxes to keep my five-year-old’s growing collection of Highlights magazines and self-written, drawn and stapled books neat and tidy. Piles of random papers spilling from bookshelves stress me out. Magazine file boxes to the rescue.

Magazine Files

I always leave the Dollar Spot feeling like I just found buried treasure.

Where do you find your best treasures?