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16 Jun '17

Splendid Summer Boredom Busters

Posted by Annie Messing in Brimful Favorites, Gift Guides, Happy Friday


School has been out for three weeks now and while my four children have been swimming daily at our neighborhood pool and enjoying playdates with friends, they naturally hit moments in the day when boredom overcomes them.

I believe boredom is very normal and actually quite healthy! It gives children a chance to problem solve and work together, perhaps while also winding down from a high-energy activity they may have just finished. More often than not, I spend a few moments helping them think of something new to do - and off they go! I thought I'd share some of the things we have been enjoying this summer. Hopefully it will help when your children hit a rut in their summer playtime routine. For school age kids down to toddlers - there's something for everyone.

1) Explore outside with this basket and collect interesting finds along the way.

2) Write a play/story for these wooden peg dolls and perform it after dinner.

3) Read all about real life inventions that seem too weird to work.

4) Take craft and art time to the next level with these wonderful watercolor pencils.

5) Introduce puzzles to toddlers with this wooden elephant puzzle that is a stacking toy too.

6) This visual perception card game is great to play during an afternoon lull or in the evening before bedtime.

7) Encourage open play with this castle block set. Use with or without the base to create different types of block structures.

8) Use this rainbow silk for dress-up or playscape. My children have their rainbow silks out every single day!

9) Paper dolls like you've never seen before - with adjustable limbs and stunning outfits, this paper doll set is sure to be huge hit.

10) Learn to draw 135 varieties of trees, flowers, animals - this fantastic drawing book has become a go-to for my kids this summer.

11) Even little fingers can learn to loom with this child-sized weaving peg loom.

12) Babies will enjoy these colorful ice cream rattles - makes a great newborn gift for a summer arrival too.

07 Apr '17

Book Review: 9 Months by Courtney Adamo and Esther van de Paal

Posted by Annie Messing in Brimful Favorites, Happy Friday, Product Reviews

In just a week or two, we will be welcoming a new little one into our extended family - and so all things baby have been on my brain! In fact a few days ago, I was the plus-one on the hospital tour, the only woman in our group who wasn't sporting a ripe bump - ha. As we stopped to observe the sweet newborns in the hospital nursery, I couldn't help squeeze back a few sentimental tears as it reminded me of my own four delivery experiences.

Over the last several months, there's been much discussion in our house about what this new little family member will need, emotionally and physically. And of course we've talked about how the baby has been developing in utero, a topic I've always found very meaningful to discuss with my children.

With all this "babyness" going on in our family, receiving an advance copy of 9 Months: A month by month guide to pregnancy by Courtney Adamo and Esther van de Paal could not have arrived at a better time! The book is beautifully illustrated and portrays pregnancy with an accurate, straight forward approach on how a baby grows in his/her mama's belly. It's really wonderful how the ladies have pulled so much information (that you'd usually need to cull from pregnancy books, parenting websites, and hospital pamphlets) into one easy to read book.

When I sat down to read it with my children, my youngest (age 2) was drawn to the colorful pictures, while my eldest (age 10) enjoyed learning the tidbits on animal pregnancies that's also included. The topic of conception can often make children (and parents!) feel a little uneasy - but Courtney and Esther have brilliantly addressed it matter-of-factly while still leaving room for parents to skirt the topic of sex if they haven't yet had that discussion with their children.

Parents will appreciate having this resource to prepare their children for a new sibling, but I also think 9 Months is a book for every family to have - whether a new baby is on the way or not. You can find it in the shop here


06 Jun '14

Together Again

Posted by Annie Messing in Behind the Scenes, Happy Friday

Can it really have been a year since Kari and I (and our hoard of children) were together?! I am home in Portland, OR this month...and Kari and I have wasted no time in hanging out. We happily mix our wonderful friendship with Brimful business talk and tasks. Since I don't get the pleasure of being around our products, you can imagine how happy I've been "playing" and photographing our toy inventory.

It's a blessed thing to get along so well with one's business partner...and have six little children that love being around each other too. If you are a Portland area reader or will be visiting Portland with kids in tow, here are a few favorite places Kari and I like to take our families:

1) Powell's Books Store - As the largest independent used and new bookstore in the world, it's truly a treasure trove for book lovers young and old.

2) New Seasons - We love this local grocery store's fresh food buffet...it's perfect for lunch with kids.

3) Cannon Beach - While not always sunny and warm, this beach town has incredible ocean scenery, a cute downtown, and the best taffy shop.

4) Bi-Zi Farms - A great little farm stand with freshly picked berries that are washed and ready to buy.

5) Jameson Square - The tidal pool/fountain is gentle yet fun for school age kids and toddlers...and the water is treated, which of course every mother appreciates!

Hope wherever you are reading from, you have a wonderful summer weekend ahead of you!



P.S. The felt dress-up crowns that Sander and Mei-Mei are wearing in the photos above are available here.

07 Mar '14

Treasured Toys

Posted by Kari Spikkeland in Happy Friday
kari's mom's puppy


The above picture is of my mother with a stuffed dog. She received it for Christmas, oh some 50 years ago! A few months ago, my aunt (the other little girl in the photo) passed the dog down to me. It has to be the sweetest little stuffed poodle I have ever seen...and so well made too!

For so many reason, I'm thrilled and deeply touched to have this stuffed toy and picture of my mother, who passed away seven years ago. 

Holding on to things for the sake of a memory wasn't my thing - until a few years back. Maybe it was the baby effect, or tragedies of life that knock us off track and give new understanding. Whatever it was - I now want to hang on to and treasure everything. It still feels unfamiliar to tuck away simple items of sentimental value (like an outgrown newborn onesie), but it also feels so, so right.

One of the reasons Annie and I will always seek out high-quality toys for Brimful is because of longevity. We cherish the toys that have been passed down to us and we want to offer toys that with good care, can be passed down in your family.

Here’s to well crafted toys that can be enjoyed...forever!

xoxo - Kari  



01 Nov '13

Happy Friday!

Posted by Annie Messing in Happy Friday

Hope you all enjoyed a fun night of costumes and candy last night. Or maybe you eschew trick-or-treating and did a harvest festival instead? Either way, I hope you are enjoying a little more sugar than usual today! 

The weather here in New Mexico has turned decidedly chillier this week...we still have a wonderful blue sky overhead, but I've been digging out the down jackets and knit caps for me and my little ones. 

With frosty mornings and chilly temps in mind, here are a few of my cold-weather favorites as well as other links to check out over the weekend:

The World's Best Leggings - Wunder Under Pant by Lululemon (I live in mine!)

Thick Lotion for Chapped Hands - Vanilla and Bergamot Body Butter by Bliss

A Very Cool Graphic Novel - The Arrival by Shaun Tan

Best Movie I've Seen In A Long Time - Intouchables 

Something for the Little Ones - The Adorable World of Pip And Posy

Kari and I will be working hard over the weekend adding several new products to the shop, so check back next week!