Archive for the ‘Crafts & Celebrations’ Category

5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops from MomAdvice.com.

5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops from MomAdvice.com.

5 Minute Treat: Shamrock Pretzel Pops from MomAdvice.com.

 

St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and today I wanted to share with you a sweet little treat idea that is no-bake, made in just five minutes, and can be customized to your child’s own dietary needs.

Do you know why we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Every year on March 17, the Irish and those of us that are Irish-at-heart across the world observe this day together, but many don’t know the origin of the holiday. What began as a religious feast day for the patron saint of Ireland has become an international festival celebrating Irish culture with parades, dancing, special foods and a lot of green food.

Each year I try to come up with a sweet treat for my kids to celebrate the holiday and I can’t wait to share this super easy and adorable treat with you. The best part? This one can be made gluten-free! Yay!

Head to the Kenmore Blog today to see this fun 5-minute St. Patrick’s Day treat tutorial!

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How to Make Chocolate Coffee Spoons

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

How to Make Chocolate Coffee Spoons from MomAdvice.com

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of ALDI.

Today I wanted to share an adorable gift idea for someone special in your life. Today’s tutorial is how to make beautiful chocolate coffee spoons that you can pair with a big basket of coffee for gift-giving. This gift is perfect for any occasion and can be made in less than 30 minutes. The inspiration for this project came along with the opportunity to try the new Barissimo line of premium coffee products that are available at your local ALDI store.  I’m so excited to be partnering with them again on this project.

In case you missed my Maple Coffee Bacon post from last week, I had the opportunity to try out all of the new coffees from ALDI and create some fun projects using this newly launched line at their store.

This line features nine bagged and single serve coffee items, along with additional seasonal and Special Buy items that will be available for a limited time. Pictured below are a few of the ones that I found on my store shelves this month.

How to Make Chocolate Coffee Spoons from MomAdvice.com

Nothing pictured here is over $5 (even the Fair Trade coffee) which means it is quite the steal. In the past, I have relied on these bags of coffee for easy hostess gifts and breakfast baskets for new homeowners. It is an excellent gift to give especially to a tired new mom or a new college student.  I thought it would be fun to dress these baskets up a bit with beautiful chocolate coffee covered spoons that you could package in your basket.

Let’s get started!

How to Make Chocolate Coffee Spoons from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed

1 bag Baker’s Corner Real Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Morsels

1 bag Baker’s Corner Milk Chocolate Baking Morsels

1 cup Baker’s Corner White Chocolate Baking Morsels

½ teaspoon Carlini Pure Vegetable Shortening (or more, if needed)

Edible sprinkles of your choice

Ribbon

Pastry/candy decorating bags

Candy wrappers

Antique spoons or plastic spoons (I got these six for $5 an antique store)

*Some of these items are Special Buy or Seasonal items that are only in stores for a limited time and may no longer be available.

How to Make Chocolate Coffee Spoons from MomAdvice.com

Directions

  1. Melt your semi-sweet chocolate chips (the whole bag) over a steam bath or in microwave. Melt chocolate slowing, stirring frequently. If chocolate clumps or doesn’t melt smoothly, add 1/2 teaspoon of shortening to help smooth it out.
  2. Dip your spoons into the chocolate and then rest them on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.

 

How to Make Chocolate Coffee Spoons from MomAdvice.com 3. Decorate with your choice of milk chocolate, white chocolate and/or various garnishes. Drizzle with melted white chocolate (using my pastry bag) and then shake on some edible pearls so they would stick. Let these set completely before placing into decorative bags and tying with beautiful ribbon.

How to Make Chocolate Coffee Spoons from MomAdvice.com

How to Make Chocolate Coffee Spoons from MomAdvice.com

We placed these beauties into a basket with a variety of our favorite Barissimo coffees, exclusively from ALDI. A pretty dishtowel on bottom pulls it all together and acts as bonus gift.

These spoons add another level of richness to your coffee giving you a rich chocolate flavor. These also would make a fun addition to your cocoa.

I hope you enjoyed our fun series with ALDI this month and that these ideas have inspired you to give their new coffee line-up a try! I promise that you won’t be disappointed, not just in the incredible taste, but the incredible amount of savings to be had for your family!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of ALDI.

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DIY Yarn Wrapped Letters Tutorial

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

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As I’ve gotten older, I’ve had the desire to store less and less seasonal décor in my home. You may have seen the changes in me just from this blog as we created an autumn wreath that could be used for the entire fall season, or the yarn pom-pom wreath I created to address the decorating needs of winter in my home, rather than just Christmas.

Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays you can find ways to show your love for without having decor that needs to be stored until next year. Although the Valentine’s Day Cupcake Liner Trees made their way out of storage for another year of display, I wanted to show you a cute way to honor the season all year long. After all, why does LOVE have to be a seasonal expression? My answer:

Yarn-wrapped letters.

DIY Yarn Wrapped Letters Tutorial from MomAdvice.com

As you can see from my giant display, I tend to go all out when I tackle projects like this, but you could definitely use smaller letters and thinner yarn to make this display of LOVE on a smaller scale. This is one of those projects that you can make all your own and I hope you share your interpretation with us!

Grab your yarn stash and let’s make DIY Yarn-Wrapped Letters over on the Kenmore Blog today!

How to Make the Perfect Prayer Shawl

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

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*This post is sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site! 

Many times in life I have felt like there is  so little I can do when hardships arise for those I love. The gift of learning to knit though has been one of those skills that I have been able to share with others in their time of need and always seems to be appreciated, particularly during those difficult moments in life. Although I have talked often of my chemo caps I have created,  one of the gifts I especially love to give is a knitted prayer shawl.

Have you heard of a prayer shawl before? It’s a special gift that you can knit or crochet that can be wrapped around the shoulders of someone who is need of comfort. As you knit or crochet it, you pray for the recipient…thus, its beautiful name.

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Each shawl I create has a special personal touch for each recipient and I spend a lot of time crafting, knitting, and selecting a prayer to make each of these uniquely special.  My patterns have come from an amazing book called THE PRAYER SHAWL COMPANION by Janet Bristow & Victoria A. Cole-Galo, who also happen to be the founders of the Prayer Shawl Ministry. Janet was kind enough to do an interview with me to help inspire you to create a shawl for someone in need.

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How did you find your passion in knitting/crocheting prayer shawls?

I started making prayer shawls with Vicky Galo after we graduated from the Women’s Leadership Institute at the Hartford Seminary in 1997. We were challenged to use what we had learned and apply those insights to our everyday lives. We felt that making a shawl for someone through the work of our hands and the thoughts and prayers from our hearts was a loving way to reach out to others in need of comfort.

What types of yarn are your favorite to use in creating your prayer shawls?

I have no favorite yarn and use what appeals to me.

I am sure that all the shawls you have created are so special, but do you have one in particular that you are most proud of creating and who was it for?

Each shawl is special; but the ones I made to send to Newtown, CT to be given to the families of the children that were lost stay in my heart because I knew the comfort they would bring; but I also drew a lot of comfort in making them.

I love to weave in trinkets and charms that people can clutch, like crosses or pictures of their children/grandchildren on the edge of my shawl. What are some unique personal touches that can make a prayer shawl even more special that you like to use?

I always make sure to attach a charm or medal to the fringe and encourage the receiver to do the same and add their own trinkets as a source of inspiration and meditation.

Do you have a favorite prayer that you like to include or say while creating your shawls?

Many times throughout the making of a shawl and upon completion, I say the “Prayer of Blessing” I wrote:

“May God’s grace be upon this shawl, warming, comforting, enfolding, and embracing,
May this mantle be a safe haven…a sacred place of security and well being,
Sustaining and embracing in good times as well as difficult ones.
May the one who receives this shawl be cradled in hope, kept in joy, graced with peace,
and wrapped in love.”

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prayer shawl wrapped

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Like Janet, I have made many prayer shawls over the years and I wanted to share some answers to some questions that I have been asked about my prayer shawls to help you if you might be considering making one of your own. 

What is your favorite type of yarn that you use for your shawls?

I am a big fan of the Lion Brand Homespun Yarn as my yarn of choice. I like the bulkiness of the yarn and that it has a lot of texture. The yarn is thick so it helps to knit the shawls quickly and I usually knit with size 15 needles so that I knit them quicker.

I always try to ask what the recipient’s favorite color is and weave that into the packaging in some way. I love a good neutral shawl that can be worn over everything, but if their favorite colors is purple, for example, I use ribbon to tie in that bolder color to attach my charms on the edge.

What types of charms do you love?

I try to be very personal with my gifts so I like to weave in an element of faith (usually a cross) and then a personal element. The other element I love to do is a photo element because it is a great visual for someone in their time of need. The jewelry section of your craft stores or the craft section of Walmart offer a variety of charms that you can use for photo storage. It depends on the person I am knitting it for though on what I choose to do.

When my grandfather passed away, I had the sweetest picture of him and put this in a charm for my mom & grandma as a gift for the holidays. For those that are fighting a battle of some kind (a miscarriage or cancer), I like to add a photo element that encourages them to keep fighting. Pictures of grandkids or their children offer a gentle reminder of all they have to fight for.

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What types of patterns do you recommend for creating a prayer shawl?

I feel like this is really a matter of preference, but since the object is to focus on the person you are creating it for through meditation or prayer, I love simple patterns and not anything too complex. As a busy mom, this is a project you will find me toting around back and forth from piano & dance lessons, so it needs to be one that I can pick up easily and come back to or be able to knit a quick row in the car while waiting for the kid’s bus.

My go-to pattern is in THE PRAYER SHAWL COMPANION and is called Alice’s Lace Shawl. I love it because there is just a single row of stitching (very easy to remember) and then the other two rows are a knitted row and a purl row.  If you are a crocheter, THE CROCHETED PRAYER SHAWL COMPANION is a great resource & Janet recently added THE NEW PRAYER SHAWL COMPANION which I can’t wait to check out too!

You can also check Ravelry (you need to get your free membership to view the patterns)  for a variety of shawl patterns.

How long does it take to knit a prayer shawl?

To be honest, many of the shawls I knit end up being needed urgently so I try to knit them quickly, often in a matter of three marathon knitting nights. Lately, with our family schedule,  it takes me several weeks to get these done. I try to remember that the true purpose of this is to be in prayerfulness  and to provide comfort, not be the quickest at knitting. The longer I have it in my possession, the more time I have to think on that person. Provided it isn’t an urgent situation, I can usually get these done in a few weeks!

If you have a special talent for knitting or crocheting, consider donating a little of your time to creating prayer shawls for others. Many of the people I have knitted these for, I have never met, but have discovered their struggles through mutual friends or family. This gift for people I know personally or not…  it is just never forgotten. I still have some of the most heartfelt teary-eyed chats with family members or recipients of these shawls years and years after the gift is given.

In a world where we are expected to rush, rush, rush and hurried text messages sometimes replace our real & true presence, a gift like this is impactful in ways you may never realize. 

Have you ever received or created a prayer shawl? Feel free to share your experience here! I’d love to hear your stories!

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Amy’s Notebook 01.21.15

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Lace Containers via Design Mom

Source: Design Mom

 

Gorgeous DIY containers with lace imprints.

Slow cooker enchilada quinoa bake- get in my belly.

No sew blanket cape- I feel inspired!

I was addicted to Serial- now what?

I like this secret trick!

10 things I have learned by downsizing my life- I love this and the commitment to smaller space living.

Thankfulness via A View From The Fridge

Source: A View From the Fridge

 

A great reminder to give thanks.

Bright & easy rope coaster DIY.

10 ways to cuff your jeans.

Potterhood. Made me laugh especially after just seeing Boyhood this week!

Lined faux fur infinity scarf- get in my closet.

Knuffle Bunny- Oh, snap!

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I hope you enjoyed our notebook, a collection of gathered links to DIY crafts, food projects, thrifty ways to spruce up your home, and thoughtful reads. Nothing brings me more joy then to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

How to Make a Breakfast Bar

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

How to Make a Breakfast Bar from MomAdvice.com

We have come to the age of slumber parties and epic sleepovers in our home. If you were anything like me when I was a child, you just couldn’t wait to wake up and find out what would be for breakfast.  Making a breakfast bar can be a fun way to serve a large group whether it is your child’s birthday or simply an easy way to entertain guests for the morning. I am partnering with Walmart today to show off a cute display for creating a breakfast bar in your home.

My favorite sleepover when I was a kid involved a huge display of toppings for our waffles and pancakes. I remember as a child delighting in all of the options and I still have that delight even as an adult.  Now as mom, I love creating a self-service bar of choices for our meals where everyone can customize their own meals to their own tastes.

Breakfast, in particular, as a buffet is a great idea so that guests can sleep in and then come and create their breakfast whenever they are ready, eliminating the need for you to all be around the table at the same exact time.

Even on busy school mornings, I find that this option would work beautifully since we all arrive at the table at different times. By prepping the toppings ahead, you can save time in the morning and really enjoy that cup of coffee.

Here are some of my suggestions for creating a beautiful and easy breakfast bar spread!

How to Make a Breakfast Bar from MomAdvice.com

Make Serving Easy With Scoops & Trifle Bowls

Ditch the cereal boxes for an elegant display utilizing clear glass trifle bowls and an inexpensive all-purpose scoop. Give your guests choices by providing more than one selection of cereal.

 

How to Make a Breakfast Bar from MomAdvice.com

Create a Simple Toppings Bar

I love to provide a variety of toppings so everyone can make their bowl their own. Fresh strawberries, blackberries, or blueberries can be a wonderful fresh topper. Dried fruits, slivered almonds, or crunchy walnuts can also add variety to your toppings bar. Make an easy batch of granola (I love this vanilla-scented granola or this easy honey nut granola) and add this to the mix for another crunchy layer. Remember to take advantage of what fruits are in-season to make sure you get the most bang for your buck.

How to Make a Breakfast Bar from MomAdvice.com

Add a Gluten-Free Option

As someone who is gluten-free, I love when there are options for me. Yogurt can be a delicious option and give your guests a chance to also create their own bowl utilizing the delicious toppings you have provided for your breakfast buffet. I like to keep small bowls handy to pour the yogurt out into and giving me room to really layer on the fruit, nut, and granola toppings, just as I would do with cereal. Make sure that you are using gluten-free oats if making your own granola or purchase gluten-free prepared granola if purchasing them.

How to Make a Breakfast Bar from MomAdvice.com

Make a Pretty Display

If there is one investment that I am glad I have made over the years, it has been in classic white dishes. Display your toppings in pretty bowls and add an inexpensive bouquet of flowers to the center of your breakfast bar. Even if the ingredients are not all homemade, you can still make things feel pretty and upscale with a few inexpensive additions and beautiful plating.

How to Make a Breakfast Bar from MomAdvice.com

I hope these ideas inspired you for your breakfast. Whether it is a weekday rush or a leisurely morning with out-of-town guests, the breakfast bar can be an easy way to serve a meal!

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DIY Holiday Mantel Decorating Ideas

Monday, December 8th, 2014

DIY Holiday Mantel Decorating Ideas

 

I can’t believe that the holidays are upon us and, if you are anything like me, the house is just begging you to decorate it for the season. I love beautiful holiday decorations, but I prefer simplicity, affordability, and smart investments that can be used over and over again. In our house, for example, we are decking it out with my favorite burlap wreath and my handmade yarn trees and we are even buying our first REAL Christmas tree this year (which I am awfully excited about).

I love to make handmade items that we can pull out from year to year so that is why I am excited to showcase some DIY Holiday Mantel Decorating Ideas from some of my favorite DIY bloggers.

Check out these amazing DIY Holiday Mantel Decorating Ideas on the Goodwill Tips blog today!

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How to Make a Watermelon Pirate Ship

Monday, December 1st, 2014

How to Make a Watermelon Pirate Ship from MomAdvice.com.

*This post is sponsored by Walmart

I have had my calendar booked forever for Peter Pan Live! ever since I heard it was the next live theater production to hit television. Did you hear that it is coming to NBC on Thursday, December 4 at 8/7c? The cast includes several of my favorites like Allison Williams, Christopher Walken, Christian Borle and Minnie Driver. In honor of the film, I have crafted up a watermelon boat that you can share with your kids for your family night together. This fun food craft can be created together, adding your own personal pirate touches, or you can create it to surprise the kids for your family night.

Not many people know this, but I did theatre for many years and my favorite type of shows to do were musicals. My love for this started in high school and I took a year off in between high school and college to do more shows. In fact, I even did a show when I was pregnant with my son.  Thankfully, it was of an era with empire waists and flowing Victorian clothing. I miss it a lot and that is, perhaps, why I appreciate the opportunity to catch any production that I can. I also appreciate any opportunity I can get to expose my children to the arts and it is why I put a big significance on this in our home. Not everyone can afford a ticket to see a show and I love that this is an affordable way to enjoy the arts as a family.

Without further adieu, let’s create a fun pirate ship for your family night!

Supplies Needed

1 watermelon

1 pint blueberries

1 pint strawberries

1 pound grapes

1 sharp knife

cutting board

1 piece of cardstock

5 paper straws (I found these in the party supplies aisle)

1 hole punch

1 pair of scissors

How to Make a Watermelon Pirate Ship from MomAdvice.com.

 

Directions for Watermelon Pirate Ship

1. To help your boat sit upright, slice very thinly the end off of the bottom of the watermelon, making sure not to puncture your watermelon so it can act as a boat for your fruit.

2.  Slice the top half of your watermelon off. Set aside.

3. Using a melon baller, remove the meat of your watermelon. If you do not have a melon baller, you can score the watermelon into chunks and glide your knife all around watermelon to help create the shape of your chunks. Use a spoon to then scoop out the squares of melon. Ideally though, a melon baller makes quick work for your fruit salad.

4. Once the melon is completely hollowed out, slice your fruit and place it inside of your bowl, weaving in your watermelon, to create your fruit salad.

How to Make a Watermelon Pirate Ship from MomAdvice.com.

5. Now we can make our sails for our ship. Cut out five squares from a single piece of cardstock, any size you wish. I just cut out one square and used it as a template to create the rest of my sails. These do not have to be perfect, in fact, if they are imperfect they look like they are waving a bit in the breeze.

6. Using a hole punch, punch out a punch near the top of the square and then near the bottom to create a place for our straws to slide through. I stacked them all together and then punched them all at once so they would look more uniform.

7.  You will then need to cut your straws are varying sizes. I did one long straw, two medium, and then two short.  Slide the straw through making sure that the straw is peeking out of the back and not the front of that pretty white sail.

How to Make a Watermelon Pirate Ship from MomAdvice.com.

We hope you love this craft we created in honor of  Peter Pan Live! and we hope you can catch the show with us!  You can learn more about this amazing production here! We can’t wait and hope this idea inspires you for your family night together!

xo

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Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com

If there is one thing this girl loves it is a good yarn pom-pom project. I have created everything from pom-pom Christmas trees to bouquets of flowers for gift-giving. Today I’m partnering with Walmart to show you a fun winter craft you (or your little ones) can create for the holidays to decorate a window, mantel, or pretty up a ledge in your home. The best part is that it doesn’t cost a lot to create and can be used year after year!

Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com

Supplies Needed

1 skein (or possibly two depending on your ledge size) Hometown USA Super Bulky Yarn in Los Angeles Tan ($2.97)

Package of 20 Mini Shatterproof Ornaments (in seasonal decor with the mini artificial trees) ($3.48)

Large Clover Pom-Pom Maker (use the blue one) ($6.61)

Scissors

Embroidery Needle

Scissors

Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com how-to-use-a-pom-pom-maker-4 Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com

Yarn Pom Pom & Mini-Ornament Garland Directions

1. Prepare yarn pom-poms as I have shown you in the step-by-step photo tutorial or follow directions on packaging to create your pom poms. Keep making pom-poms making sure to leave enough yarn to string your pom-pom garland.

2. Once all of your pom poms are made, thread them with the embroidery needle onto your yarn. Take the embroidery needle off (the needle head is too large to feed through the mini-ornaments) and then alternate it with a mini-ornament. Keep doing this until you have filled the entire garland leaving a little on each end to hang down. I ended mine with an ornament since it ends the garland securely without knotting.

Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com

Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com

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Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com
Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com
Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com

Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com
Yarn Pom-Pom & Ornament Garland from MomAdvice.com

Did you see that I got my first little fireplace? I decided to decorate it with this adorable garland. To tie it all together, I filled glass bowls ($1.97 each) with a package of mini ornaments ($3.48 each) and then stacked them on my little fake logs that I had bought for my fall decorating from the craft store. I found these adorable owls  for $4.98 in the seasonal decor and I love that I can leave these out even when it isn’t Christmas. This mini lighted tree was $9.98 and I finished her with a little pom-pom topper too. Since we took our painting down to decorate, I used the nails I had for hanging another shorter garland above the top to add a little interest to the wall.

This project took me about one hour and I look forward to enjoying it all Winter long and in the years to come.

I hope this frugal idea inspires you in your holiday decorating! Happy Holidays!

xo

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The MomAdvice Unique Holiday Gift Guide

Friday, November 28th, 2014

The MomAdvice Unique Holiday Gift Guide

 

I have been jotting down ideas for this holiday gift guide over the year since each year I aim to create a really useful gift guide that you really will use and love when selecting your gifts. This list is a compilation of my favorite things that have made me very happy and I believe they are the perfect gifts to share with someone you love.

I did not set a dollar limit this year on the gifts because I don’t get the opportunity to share some of the pricier things that I really have used and loved, but the list will offer a range of ideas for your own Christmas budget. I also try to share if I have found them somewhere cheaper or where to snag a coupon to make these gifts more affordable.

Magicbox Speaker

Magicbox Speaker ($29.99)

I absolutely love my Magicbox Speaker for listening to podcasts and music through my iPhone or iPad. This little guy is Bluetooth-enabled so it can connect with your device and charges with a little USB cable that it comes with. The sound is really good- not Sonos quality, but really perfect for my laundry/making dinner/cleaning house needs. I am one happy girl now that I don’t have to hold my phone to my ear to keep up with all my stories and to hear my music.  I really think this is a sweet little gift and I love the price tag.

Blanket Scarves

Blanket Scarves ($15 or less)

Blanket scarves are very trendy this year and are the perfect gift to give for the holiday season. These are also an ideal gift for someone who travels a lot since they fit perfectly in your carry-on luggage and can be wrapped around you when you get cold on the plane or at the airport.  I have an easy tutorial to create a blanket scarf  for gift-giving this year for the crafty and the not-so-crafty.  Head over here and check to see if flannel fabrics are on sale. If not, that same link will provide you a 40% off coupon. You will DEFINITELY want to use this because it makes these scarves budget-friendly for the holidays.

UGG Slippers

UGG Slippers ($55 on eBay)

I wish I could give everyone in the world a pair of UGG slippers because these make me that happy. Every year I buy a cheap pair of slippers from Target that I trash and then have to buy another pair, usually mid-season. I discovered that UGG makes slippers (I know, I am so behind on the times!) and I decided to hunt on eBay to see if I could find a pair of slippers for myself.  I wanted something that looked like a shoe and not yo grandma’s slippers. I found these Gray Suede Driving Moccasins that were brand-new (just missing their box) and bought them for $55. Considering I am probably spending that much on two cheap pairs every year, this is a worthy investment. The best part is that they have leather inserts for warm days and then they have that delightful furry insert for freezing days. UGG Slippers bought from UGG might be out of the budget, but checking eBay might be a great option for brand new slippers at a fraction of the price for someone you love!

Fitbit Flex

Fitbit Flex ($74.89)

I am one of those people that is slow to jump on the bandwagon when it comes to technology and gadgets. Before the Fitbit Flex even launched, my husband knew about it and wanted to buy it for me. Now that it has been enough time for the trend to pass, I figured I would look into getting one and I absolutely love it for motivating me to stay fit and hit the gym.

Several of my girlfriends have these and I tend to have an annoyingly competitive streak so being in a competition for the most steps has been pushing me to hit the gym and go on an evening walk so I can compete against my athletic friends.

The other thing that I love, not fitness related, is the silent alarm feature on the Fitbit Flex. I have to be the first one up in our house and when my alarm goes off, it triggers my husband to wake up and our cat to start the annoying meowing baby cry reserved for the morning alarm. You can set a silent alarm on the app and the bracelet vibrates to wake you in the morning.  I wake up happier,  my husband continues to sleep, and the cat doesn’t start her annoying meowing baby cry until she realizes I am up. Winning all around!

If you are gifting this, consider making a little DIY Fitbit Flex Leather Cuff to go with it- this has been one of my favorite things this year!

Logitech Keyboard

Logitech iPad Keyboard ($49.46)

I used to carry around my laptop when I traveled, but when I got my iPad, I knew that I wouldn’t need to carry that around with me anymore because HELLO…BROKEN BACK. How many pounds is a laptop? Ouch!

Unfortunately, I couldn’t stand trying to type on the touch screen, particularly when sending lengthy emails or trying to conduct anything for my business. I found this Logitech iPad Keyboard and it has been one of the best tech investments I have ever made. It instantly turns your iPad into a mini-laptop that you can carry in your purse. The battery life lasts forever before it requires a charge with a small cord, making it perfect for me to take to my conferences. The outside of it is metal and durable, helping protect your iPad screen and it latches together magnetically, as though they weren’t meant to be together from the start.

The best part is that it holds my iPad up for me while I am laying in my hotel bed watching Parenthood episodes so that I can hold my Kleenex and cry without having to hold the screen at the same time. Can you just imagine how hard that would be?

But it is also very important for business. Yes, for business.

This American Life

This American Life App ($2.99)

An iTunes gift card makes the perfect little stocking stuffer for the holidays and may I offer a suggestion on how to spend it?  I am an NPR junkie and if  you haven’t discovered it yet  This American Life is mostly true stories of everyday people, and the best way I can describe it is that the show is like listening to a movie about these people.  It is typically told in three acts that all interact around the same theme. It is the best kind of storytelling and usually leads to a beautiful discussion about your own viewpoints after the show. The app is wonderful for listening to all of the Staff Picks and the best of the best in This American Life offerings.

My husband and I sit in our respective chairs and hang on every word. Every. Word. It’s become one of our favorite things to do in the evenings, further solidifying the exciting type of senior life you might expect from us in the future.  If you aren’t listening to NPR, you are missing the boat. And I can say this because I missed the boat for years and now I can’t imagine my life without it.

Faux Fur Throws

Faux Fur Blankets ($15.88)

I was hoping these blankets would be back from Better Homes & Gardens and spotted these faux fur throws back on the shelves this week at Walmart. This is MY FAVORITE blanket and a great gift to give for the holidays.  It is cozy fleece on one side and then the other side is a glorious faux fur.  They even had a free Better Homes & Gardens Magazine subscription attached to it which made the deal even sweeter.  Who wouldn’t love a cozy throw with a gift card to select a few favorite books to read.

Barnes & Noble Collectible Edition Books

Barnes & Noble Collectible Editions ($18 or less)

Every year I ask for one Barnes & Noble Collectible Edition to read.  These books are so beautifully bound and I try to read one classic each year so these beautiful books add a lot of motivation to read them since they are such a treat to page through. This year I have my eye on this Ernest Hemingway collection or to dig into this Laura Ingalls Wilder collection to read with my favorite little girl in the evenings. You will never regret these purchases for our bookshelf. I love all of the Barnes & Noble Collectible editions and even treated myself to The Giver collection this year (which I can’t wait to read!) that I found in my local store. (PS- Check here for coupons!)

Sorel Boots

Sorel Boots ($110 or more)

Five years ago I got my first (and only) pair of Sorel Boots and they still look just like the day that I got them. They have a cozy layer of Thinsulate inside of them that keep my feet toasty and each year a little polishing and waterproof spraying helps them to go strong from year to year. I have never spent a lot on shoes, but after the fifth year of these going strong, I can honestly say that they are a worthwhile investment especially if you live in the Midwest. I am planning to ask for Sorel gift cards to put towards my next pair of boots from my family members so I can pool them together to get another pair.

Royal Fox Print

Royal Fox Print

Royal Fox Print ($45)

My brother is an artist in NOLA and when I came to visit we had the best time checking out all of the art that the street vendors offered as well as the galleries full of unique art. I only brought home one souvenir from my trip and it was this sweet little Royal Fox print that I found  at the Gallery Burguieres in NOLA. The artist was as sweet as could be and has recently had a little drama going on with this fox that has made him rather famous in the Taylor Swift world. This shop is a little NOLA treasure and was one of my favorite galleries we visited and this print makes me smile every time I see it.

Janet Hill Studios

Janet Hill Studios

Janet Hill Prints ($26 or more)

My home is filling quickly with Janet Hill prints and every single piece just speaks to my soul in a way no other artist has ever spoken to me. Each print tells such a beautiful and unique story that I think would resonate with just about anyone. These beautiful prints would be lovely to share with someone you love particularly if you frame them with an inexpensive frame. I took mine to Hobby Lobby to get a matte that would make each one stand out. Of course, Janet Hill is just one of many talented artists that share their wares on Etsy so you if you are unsure of your recipient’s taste, consider a gift card to Etsy to make gift-giving easy and unique.

Knitted Boot Cuffs

Knitted Boot Cuffs ($5)

Our most popular project on the site right now are these knitted boot cuffs that you can whip it up in a mere two hours. I gave these to my best friend Christmas last year and you can make them for about $5 in materials. These are such fun toppers to your boots and would also make a sweet little stocking stuffer. If you are new to cabling, this is an easy project to tackle to master cabling and you can’t beat that these can be created in such a short amount of time.

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of It’s the 3 Little Things for more happiness givers.

 

I hope this little list helps as you plan your holiday shopping. You can also find a great list of 54 handmade gifts you can make for those special people in your life!  What are your favorite gifts you have given or received?

 

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