Thursday, November 29, 2012

Life Lessons: Be a hugger

I hope you are a lot of things in life. One of those things? A hugger.

"He was one of those guys who'd pronouce I'm a hugger as he came at you neglecting to ask if the feeling was mutual." -Gillian Flynn

Yep, I want you to be one of those.

P.S. I originally found the picture of the hugging sock monkeys here, and edited it!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gift Guide for the Kiddos

Okay, we've covered the ladies and the gentlemen, but now it's time for the fun part. The kids! And let's be honest parents... holidays and birthdays are fun because you get to play with all the new stuff, too!

Here's a list of things that you won't find on all your "hottest toy" lists out there... enjoy!

1. The Little Prince Deluxe Pop-Up Book $23 
I can't tell you how much I LOVE The Little Prince. If you haven't read it... you must. And if you haven't read it to your child... well then, you must. Basically it's about the infinite wisdom that children have. And it's full of life lessons. And this is the pop-up version. Because pop-up of anything is better.

2. Kiwi Crate $59 (3-month gift subscription)
Kids love getting mail-- so they'll love when Kiwi crate arrives every month! Filled with materials and inspiration, Kiwi Crate will definitely cure a case of the "I'm bored"s. Pictured is a sample box-- this particular month was about color with materials to create tops, stained glass artwork and a tye-dyed bag. Gift 3, 6 or 12 month subscriptions.

3. Fish Bath Plug $12

This adorable stocking stuffer will definitely come in handy at bath time. Who wouldn't want to take a bath with this "stuck" little cutie!

4. Skip Hop Backpack and Lunchie $35

Every kid needs a way to carry all their very, very important toys, and these Skip Hop backpacks are the cutest way to go. Available in all kinds of animals like giraffe, elephant, puppy, ladybug, dinosaur, penguin, frog, zebra and more. The link above includes a matching lunch bag, but backpacks can be purchased alone for around $18. Also available are coordinating Melamine Plate and Bowl Sets!

5. Spoka LED Night Light $15

If you're anything like me, you LOVE IKEA. And that's where you'll find this adorable little night light that slowly changes color, or has a setting to stay one solid color. It's made of a softer silicone, so it can even be unplugged and tucked in with your little one-- it holds a five-hour charge. Available in two different color options (blue spectrum and pink spectrum.)

6. Easel $15
Ikea's easel also makes the list, because $15? You can't beat that! This easel has a whiteboard on one side and a chalkboard on the other-- it will also hold a roll of doodle paper (sold for $4.99) Also folds flat for storage.

7. Deglingos Plush Originals $20 and up
These are still my favorite stuffed animals. I think they are adorably goofy looking and they are each made out of a variety of different fabrics, making them that much more interesting. Find your favorite animal! Fox, hedgehog, pig, dog, cow...

8. Furby $54

Remember at the beginning of this post when I told you that I was going outside the normal "season's hottest toys" list? Well this is the only exception I'm making, because I LOVED my Furby when I was younger. So I want your kid to have one, too. And I totally won't tell if you play with it when your kids are at school. Just like I totally wouldn't judge you if you bought one for your 18 month old. What? He's totally old enough to love the Furbs.

9. Twas the Mouse Who Saved Christmas $30
We love the personalized book Following Featherbottom from Marblespark, so I have no doubt that Twas the Mouse Who Save Christmas is a must for every kid's library. You can even check out what the book would look like with your child's name before purchase!

10. Sock Monkey Jack in the Box $23
So it's true. I LOVE sock monkeys. And this jack-in-the-box just makes my day. Henry loves his. I've even had to hide it on occasion, a girl can only take so much of that song...

11. Melissa and Doug Puzzles $10
I was going to stop at number ten, so consider this a bonus. Melissa and Dough Puzzles are the best! I especially love the chunky puzzles for little hands. But they also have huge floor puzzles which are a lot of fun if your kids are a little older.

What are your kids getting this year that doesn't appear on the "hottest toys" lists? Did he/she surprise you by asking for something way out of the box?


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Giving Tuesday

Black Friday. Small Business Saturday. Cyber Monday. Do you even have anything left in your bank account after all that craziness? Well, if you do I'd like to introduce you to the most important day of all...
Giving Tuesday is a campaign to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations. You can find more information here. I'm always thinking that I need to donate a little here and there, and this day every year will serve as an easy way to remember to do it.

So why not donate $5 or $10, or whatever you can swing to your favorite charity?

Need some ideas? Donate to these charities that are near and dear to my heart!

The Special Olympics A place to play is vital for all children-- special needs or not. What started in the 1960's has since grown, and today the Special Olympics transforms athletes' lives through the joy of sport. Growing up sports was a huge part of my life, and taught me so many valuable life skills, which is why you should donate to the Special Olympics!

First Book When you think of children without books, you may think of villagers in places like Afganistan. But 42% of American children (more than 31 million!) grow up in families that lack the income to cover basic needs like rent, food and transportation-- and these families definitely aren't spending their money on books. With a $10 donation to First Book, you can provide 4 books for children in need. I think reading is a great outlet for children-- it can take them on so many adventures if a love for reading is developed at an early age!

Comment below with your favorite charity. I will choose one randomly to donate $10 to tomorrow!

Can't afford to spend another dollar? Check out the Giving Tuesday website for more ideas on how to give!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Gift Guide for the Guys

You've already seen my gift recommendations for the women in your life, and now I'm here to help you out with the really hard part-- the guys. Because seriously, boys are hard to shop for.

Here we go...

1.Green Soldier Bookends $18
For the book lover and kid at heart. These guys are the best bookends ever.

2. Man Candles $15
Fresh cut grass. Sawdust. Pizza. What man-cave doesn't deserve a man candle? Great stocking stuffer, too!

3. Wooden 6-pack Beer Tote $32
You know how sometimes you bring a bottle of wine to a friends get-together? Well, now your man can bring his favorite brews, too. All the other fellas will be jealous for sure. Bonus if you pack this with an assortment of his favorite beers.

4. Craft Beer Brewing Kit $28

For the do-it-yourselfer. Maybe he can bottle it and carry it around in his beer tote? (See #3!)

5.  The Walking Dead, Vol. 1 $10 each
If he's a fan of the Walking Dead on AMC then he'll appreciate this comic-- and the AMC series doesn't follow the comic exactly, so there'll still be some surprises. I think there's something like 100 volumes, too. Gifts for years!

6. Tervis Tumbler $10 and up

These tumblers are awesome-- great for hot or cold drinks. You can buy them with lids or without. And they come with a variety of images-- everything from his favorite sports teams to his alma mater. No bar is complete without Tervis.

7. HYPERtheticals: 50 Questions for Insane Conversations

These crazy questions make for great conversations. Perfect for a college student or your next road trip. Need an example? You have won a prize. The prize has two options, and you can choose either (but not both.) The first option is a year in Europe with a monthly stipend of $2000. The second is ten minutes on the moon. Which do you choose?

8. Sharper Image Robo-Bank $25
This fun little robot doubles as a piggy bank. He counts your deposits, and can keep you focused towards a goal. Also features a built in alarm clock displaying time, day, date and month.

9. Printstagram Calendar $40
Use your instagram photos to create a 2013 desk calendar. Choose from 3 styles. (This is an awesome websites, for all kinds of fun creations!)

10. Syma Helicopter $27
Because even grown men still love to play with remote control toys.

What's on your wish list this year? What's your go-to man gift?