The Winner of The Giveaway and Gift Ideas


The Winner of the $25 e-gift card to Anthropologie is Kate B. (the first person to enter!). Congratulations! I hope you get something fabulous!

All of your comments were so sweet. And there were so many of them! So fun! I was going to do a reply to each, but being that I desperately need to actually accomplish some housework today, I am going to generalize. Sorry. I hope you forgive me! Thank you everyone who entered! You guys are the best. Most of you are looking forward to seeing family and friends and spending the next few weeks enjoying the season. I hope it turns out to be everything you wish it to be.

This blog is my only creative outlet. I had not written anything in thirteen years when I started it. It was incredibly scary (still is). And, as I find my way, I am so grateful to all of you who read my blog. Either every day or once in a while.

Thank you!

Doing the giveaways is my favorite part of the blog. I love to spread some of the joy that is given to me through your comments and views each month. So, thank you so much for entering. January 10th, there will be a new one!

With the holiday season here and the pressure mounting, I thought I would share some items I think are great for the kiddos and the men and women in your lives.

Here are some of my ideas:

For the little boy:


The Zombie Slayer Z Curve Bow. My son got this for his birthday in August. He uses it every single day. I have never seen him play with a toy more. When we take him to the park, the foam arrows actually make a whooshing noise through the air. So cool! The brand also carries other models. I know I paid $25 for the bow in August. Prices go up and down on Amazon, so you might want to shop around.


I have something to say you might not want to hear. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back. And Lego is making some pretty coveted sets starring these guys. Definitely on my son’s wishlist this year.


This Lego Minifigure Book is not only sneaky in that it gets your little guy reading, it also provides hours of entertainment. Kids love staring at the pictures of older minifigures and trying to recreate them at home.

For the little girl:


My daughter loved The Dork Diaries when she was in elementary school. They now sell the books in sets. The link will take you to Amazon, but Costco might have them even cheaper.


We bought this for one of our nieces at Costco. She is very into Monster High. She can change the heads and create her own monster. In fact, the set is called, Create A Monster Skultimate Set. I like that it is imaginative and looks like it could provide hours of play vs. a standard doll.


For our other niece (with an older brother), we also shopped at Costco for her, but we got her the Nerf Rebelle Guardian Crossbow. I wish they would have carried these fashionable pink toys when my daughter was little.

Speaking of which, on to the teenager:

Oh. The teenager. There is never such a hard person to buy for. Since my teenager reads my blog, I will not be posting what I actually purchased her. You know, not ruining Christmas, and all of that. But I do have some ideas, besides the obvious gift cards.


I recently found and ordered from (and received my order) an online store called Jinx. They sell apparel and accessories from video games. They have World of War Craft, Minecraft, Call of Duty, etc. I pretty much know anything I order from this website will be well received in the teenage world.


For the girl who doesn’t play video games, Sephora has really cute make up sets. I know I would be happy with any of them, too. Last year, this eyeliner kit was a huge success.


The mom in me had to include this. Who doesn’t like to give books? The Maze Runner series is my daughter’s very favorite. I have read it, too, and I thought it was good. In fact, she is trying to get my son to read it. This is a highly recommended read from a teenager.

For all kids big and small:


Finally, Target. Hidden amongst the aisles, and never at the checkout, Target has a little secret. They have the most fabulous gift card holders or kits that come free with your gift card when you load money onto it. This year, I snatched up some of these Pez dispensers. Not only are you giving a gift card, but also a (free) treat.


And they even had Hex Pup Gift Cards. All you pay for is the amount loaded onto the gift card. The Hex Pup is a bonus. Did I ever tell you I love you, Target? ‘Cause I do.

The man:

Did I say the teenager was hard to buy for? Cross that out. Enter the man. He doesn’t want anything. He doesn’t need anything. Don’t get him anything. Heard that before? Ugh! So frustrating! It makes Christmas shopping a zillion times harder. Because there are a million ways this can go wrong.

My husband had a big career move fifteen years ago and I had no idea what to get him. “I don’t need anything,” he said. So, I went to a card shop. And there on the shelves was a glass globe. And sitting in the glass globe were those angelic freaky little children. I knew. I just knew that that is what I should get him. I gingerly held the globe in my hand.

What’s this?

It plays music, too.

Oh, yes it did.

It played, “I will always love you.”

I bought it.

I gave it to him.

Oh my gosh, the look on his face. Priceless. It still makes me cry…with laughter, every single time I think about it.

So, in regards to my husband, I could never get him a better gift than that snowglobe. Every present since then has been a struggle.

I set the bar too high.


Since he does my links, I cannot post what I actually bought him. But I can post what I got him last year. That still counts, right? He loves his Google Nexus from last year. There is a new version this year, but since he didn’t need it, he didn’t get it. Seriously though, he uses this every day.


The Jambox. This wireless little speaker punches a sound. My husband loves to hook his nexus up to it.


If all else fails, get him something you he has always wanted. Is it your fault he wants to remain a mystery? Take this gorgeous ice cream maker as an example. I know it has been on my his wishlist for years. So, this year I finally bought me him one. I cannot wait to see his face when he opens it! Just kidding. I am terrible at keeping secrets. Especially big, funny ones. He actually wrapped this for me himself. It was too heavy for me to wield.

He really is the best.

And, thankfully, he likes ice cream.

For the woman:


A vest. I don’t care what vest. Vests are in. Every woman wants one. Anthropologie has a huge selection of them. My favorite right now is the Ruffled Hem Sweater Vest. I get compliments every single time I wear it. It is easy to throw on and actually look pulled together. However, there are many comments in its reviews that state this vest is not as long as shown in the pictures. I decided to do an experiment. I can see from the embarrassing picture above that that is in fact true. The vest is much longer on the model. I can’t tell if it is because of my hips. I am wearing the largest size it comes in for reference.


Jewelry. Yes. Even if she says she doesn’t want it, she does. Okay, scratch that. Not all jewelry. Not dog collar jewelry. And that is my last word on that.

I love the Anthropologie Bird of Happiness Necklace. I think it is lovely. The price tag is nice. Love it! Hint. Hint.


I love Anthology Magazine. A subscription to this periodical is always appreciated.

For anyone:


The gift of feeding someone else. Heifer International is a wonderful organization that provides impoverished families with livestock to raise. I think what they do is amazing. They have a gift book on their site that includes gifts of chickens all the way up to gifting a woman empowerment through a herd of goats or an education in creating a business. Chills. I love this organization.


A television series on DVD. I bought three seasons of Downton Abbey for my husband and myself. We just finished watched season one last night. I love giving the gift of entertainment.

I hope this helps! And if not, just show your gift recipient what they could have been gifted (ie: a snowglobe). They will never complain again!

Trust me…

I know.


P.S. I actually like snowglobes. There is something romantic about them. Just maybe not the best gift. For a man. Getting a promotion.

Do you have any gift suggestions? Who do you think is the hardest to buy for?

It’s The Little Things: Advent Calendars


Oh my gosh! It’s December! It’s the holidays! How did this happen? I am beyond unprepared.

What better way to increase the panic than a countdown of days you have left until you implode into a falling pile of wrapping paper?

Awww, I love it.


Every year I do an advent calendar that ties on the little Christmas tree in my family room. I fill the small bags (I bought my darling Matryoshka Doll bags from Etsy many years ago) with random small items for the kids. If there is not a small item in the bag then it may contain a date with their dad and me (such as a note that says, “get your coat on. We’re going for ice cream.”). Don’t worry I keep track on my calendar as to what day they are going to open their little notes. This way I can switch them when their little heads are turned in case I need to change the dates.

Well, as of today, the fifth, I have not stuffed these advent bags. I am so behind. Oh well, it will just have to be us counting down the eighteen days until Christmas here.


I finally got them their chocolate advent calendars from World Market yesterday. I know Trader Joe’s makes them as well. They love opening the boxes and popping out a chocolate.


My son gets a Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar every year. It is considered an early Christmas present. I am not providing a link, because the prices for it are ridiculous right now. Check your local Target. I have always seen them there for the correct price each year (retail $40. I actually purchased mine months ago. Wha’?). My daughter gets an extra present to open on Christmas to make up for it. I was not quick enough to score Sephora’s advent calendar they produce every year. I wanted to surprise her. Next year! Next year I will be more on top of it. Do you believe me?

I love the holidays. I love counting down the days until Christmas. To say this is my favorite holiday is laughable. I love it so much I almost always cry when the twenty sixth arrives.

Do you do advent calendars at your house? Are you prepared for the holidays? I am 75% done with my shopping. I hope to finish by Friday. We will put our two real trees up this Sunday. I want wrapped presents under the tree. Now, I just need to get on that.


Do I look ready?

It’s the little things: making every day a mini holiday. Let the countdown begin!