santa claus tool kit for tackling christmas emergencies
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PoweringtheHolidays #CollectiveBias
We’ve all been there. The last-minute dash to wrap gifts, stuff stockings, and assemble alll the things. Inevitably, we find we’re one critical thingamajig away from ripping through the brick fortress of toy packaging. One set of batteries away from creating Christmas magic. One gift away from checking everyone off your list.
Since our family often travels around the holidays, we’ve learned to become efficient over the years. Traveling means we have to be ready in advance for any potential Christmas-day gift crisis. Not because we’ve got it all together. But, because we’ve learned the hard way.
Today, I’m going to share my list for creating a Christmas emergency kit. Plus, to build your own, you can click batteries to receive a $5 Walmart eGift card with your $15 Energizer® battery or lights purchase .*
Father’s Day has got to be one of the hardest holidays to shop for. You want to show your love for all that Dad does, but they can be down right impossible to shop for. All of the Dads in my life, from my own husband to my dad and fathers-in-law, are all manly men who need appropriately manly gifts. Hipster gifts need not apply. Therefore, this year I bring you: the Father’s Day Gift Guide for the Manly Man.
Everyone knows the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and that is especially true for for dads. This Father’s Day, skip the tie and give him grown-ups gift he can really appreciate.
Dads can be so hard to shop for, and all the dads in my life proclaim they “have everything they need.” So, this year year my husband is getting a DIY Man Crate designed to help create the recipe I whipped up just for him: Beer Cheese Burgers with a side of Cheese Fries.
High Impact Gifts that Mothers & Grandmothers Will Love
A big thanks to GiftsForYouNow for sponsoring my Homemade Mother’s Day Gifts. All opinions are my own.
Happy May Day! Can you believe in just a two short weeks, it will be Mother’s Day?
If you’re one of the many people who haven’t landed the perfect gift for the women in your life this Mother’s Day – don’t panic! I’ve pulled together three thoughtful and inexpensive gift ideas for moms and grandmas, that even the worst procrastinator can pull off at the last minute! Moms can attest: there’s nothing better than receiving a truly thoughtful gift that can be sentimental, pretty, AND useful.
DIY Gifting wine for the holidays? You’ll love these DIY ideas for stepping up your gift wrap game. A big thanks to GiftsForYouNow for sponsoring this post.
Wine. There’s a reason it’s a universal holiday gift. It can be inexpensive or pricey; red, white or sparkling. It works as a casual hostess gift, a super last-minute gift, or a more lavish gift for your bestie.
No matter who you’re giving to or what kind of wine, don’t skimp on presentation! Check out these DIY ideas for gift wrapping wine for the holidays.
Go Glam – This is my new favorite way to gift wine. Using a scrap of craft fur and an old brooch, I created a little shrug for my “chilled” bottle of wine. I’m always finding inexpensive brooches like this at the thrift store, and they are perfect for putting the finishing touches on any gift wrap. Continue reading →
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.#BigLotsHoliday #CollectiveBias
‘Tis the season for awkward social encounters…lots of them. In my world, a casual meet up with a friend or acquaintance can turn into a days-long internal debate about whether to bring a gift. What if they bring one? What if I bring one, but they don’t? In the past, you could just write me off as a hot mess, socially impaired mom during the whole month of December. However, this year I’m prepared. I got this.
This shop, DIY Cookie Decorating Kit, has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MerryAndBright #CollectiveBias
Need a gift for kids who love to frost and decorate? Or how about a parent or grandparent who wants a special activity to do with their kids or grandkids? This cookie decorating kit is the perfect gift to help them create something sprinkled with fun this holiday season. My girls and I recently made one for some very special little neighbors as part of our Random Acts of Kindness challenge this month.
We have been blessed with the most incredible neighbors. Our next door neighbors, in particular, have helped make our new(ish) house feel more like home.
The kids are always running back and forth between backyards to play, and living near them has meant hundreds of little acts of caring and kindness that mean the world to us.
A big thanks to the team at JORD Wood Watches for the wrist upgrade, and for sponsoring this post.
Halloween has come and gone,and the holiday season is officially here – according to retailers and advertisers. As a prequel to the holiday prep that is soon to come here on the blog and elsewhere, today I’m taking a moment to talk about the best gift we can give to each other, all year long: the gift of time.
You see, sometimes I get so focused on task lists, places to go, and whatever Google calendar says I need to get done, that I forget to slow down and savor the moments. Yes, even my #366 project, designed to help me stay in the moment, turns into a chore at times.
Case in point: A few weeks ago, my husband and I took the family to our favorite pumpkin patch. The weather was miserable, the ground was super muddy, and the place was crowded. I found myself rushing the kids through our traditions: running through the maze, picking out the perfect pumpkin, and of course, the requisite photos. When we got back to the car with our finds, I felt guilty. In my selfish effort to get past my own discomforts and cross the task off my checklist, I’d rushed everyone through the motions. I declared a do-over.
This year is our 12 year wedding anniversary. In those 12 years we’ve lived in two homes, had three kids and shared hundreds of laughs, tears and memories.
Today I’m bringing you Part II of my vintage dollhouse makeover.
I think that you’re supposed to leave the exterior for the final “big reveal”, but I’m a rule breaker that way. That, and it happened to be the one part I could tackle while I waited for the interior furnishings to appear in the mail.
As I mentioned in my introductory post, I put myself on a budget for this project, so I needed to DIY it as much as possible, using supplies I already had on hand. Still, this portion of the makeover was the most costly, since all the paint used in the house is accounted for in this portion.
This Christmas, I love the idea of offering interactive toys for the kids that will challenge their little minds and offer hours of continued independent play. I’ve curated my Top 10 STEAM Gift Guide and Stocking Stuffers, below:
I love exchanging “favorite things” with my girlfriends, and I love the idea of passing those things along here on the blog. I’ve tried all of these products personally, and my recommendations are not sponsored by any of the brands represented.
Here are just a few items I’ve been loving lately – I hope you find some new favorites!
Wet Brush I love this brush for my own hair, but I bought a second one when I realized it was the ONE way I could brush my daughter’s hair without tears. I even got the travel size! I wash and condition her hair in the bathtub in the evening, and then brush through it with this while it’s still wet. The next morning her hair is still mostly tangle-free, and I’m able to brush through it again easily. If she has any bad tangles when it’s dry, I’ll actually wet the brush or the area of hair to get the tangle out.
PopSugar Must Have BoxI just love opening presents, and with this service it’s like getting the most amazing box of gifts from my BFF who knows me SO well each month. Seriously, this is a little luxury subscription that has introduced me to so many fabulous things in the past. I’ve shared this with many friends who have subscribed and feel the same way! When you sign up here, you can use one of the following referral codes to get $10 off! ABX17YZ or B213YMZ. (PS The upcoming October box includes Mindy Kaling’s newest book, “Why Not Me?“!)
Here’s a look at one of the recent boxes I loved, valued at more than $100.
Gap 1969 Denim Sateen Jogger These are the most comfortable pants I own. I think I’ve been complimented on them every time I’ve worn them (and hurry, they’re on sale now!).
Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar Kit This one might seem a little random, but I love these Advent Calendars because they not only work great as a gift, but they also work great for inexpensive Star Wars party favors that are a HUGE hit each year (check them out here, along with more Star Wars favor ideas!). That’s just $1.66 for each favor that your party guests will actually use! Hurry though – these always sell out way before December!
Quick Pouch Lego Storage Bag Speaking of Legos, I love this storage solution. True story: my mother actually made this exact thing for my brother in the 70’s and we still use it for Dub to this day. For those who aren’t so lucky to get such an heirloom, there is this inexpensive, durable solution. I also bought a mini version for Dub to take on-the-go when we travel.
Roomba 880 Okay, so I definitely consider this a luxury item, but now that we live in a home with dark wood floors and three messy children, I don’t want to know a life without this little machine. We set it to run automatically overnight while we’re sleeping, and in the morning, our floors look great! That’s no small feat in our home, so we feel it’s been worth the price. Something to note for this vacuum though, when placed on a rug with bold black/white stripes/shapes as in this image, the vacuum gets confused. It uses variations in color like this to detect ledges and doesn’t work as effectively. If you have lots of rugs like this in your home. the Roomba isn’t going to perform as well for you.
Photo Triggers As a photography hobbiest, I’ve started realizing how few images I have with me in the shot. I want to remember myself as part of the family memories in this stage of life, so I’ve tried to get in the photo more. That means triggers. I have two:
HISY Trigger – This trigger works with your iPhone for on-the-go photos anywhere. It’s small, so tuck it in your purse or in your car so you have it when you need it.
Canon Wireless Remote – I use this with my Canon DLSR camera, but you can use this remote for your Nikon DSLR. I have an older model of this remote that I’ve used for years, and am just starting to get use out of.
So now, I’m getting more images like this. How else would I capture painting my baby’s piggies for the first time?
Expo Disc Speaking of photography, this thing has changed my photos for the better, and I wish I hadn’t waited so long to get it. I used to struggle with getting a good custom white balance I could trust, which lead to more time consuming post processing. With this, all I do is get my settings, place the Expo Disc over my lens and take a photo of the light source, then, remove the Disc, set my custom white balance as usual, and go! This company has lots of great video tutorials on the product to make it even easier. I highly recommend it!
Command Picture Hanging Strips Since moving to our new home, these babies have been a life saver. My husband hates hanging photos and leveling them. I “have trouble visualizing” which leads to more picture hanging…and holes in the wall. That’s not good for a marriage, folks. So, I buy these in the large packs and hang photos at my every whim. The best part is that If I don’t get it quite right, I just lift it off the wall and reposition it, as long as it still fits on the strip on the wall. If not, I just take them off the wall and start over again. Easy breezy. I’ve never had any trouble with these, but I use the strips that hold up to 16 lbs., just in case.
Photos hung in marital bliss thanks to Command strips.
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Our Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker gets used all. summer. long. We’ve tried and love nearly all the recipes that come with it, and also use it to whip up a few of our own exclusive homemade recipes, as well. Buy it along with the extra freezer bowl at Williams-Sonoma now for just $56 with the 20% discount!
While you’re at it, pick up one of these adorable functional Tovolo Ice Cream containers (that is, if you ever plan on having leftovers!).
On the topic of frozen treats, we’re big fans of these Sunsella Mighty Pops silicone popsicle molds. I like that I can make a healthy frozen smoothie that the kids can have in the car on the way to school or to pack in their lunch box. In the summers, we love to make popsicles and other frozen treats. One of our recent favorites is a refreshing Strawberries and Cream Lemonade Pops recipe that can be found here.
RMS Living Luminizer. This is the holy grail of fresh dewy luminizing makeup – perfect for your summer makeup routine.My skin is dry, and I find that when I stay hydrated and moisturized and use this product my skin looks its best. Just apply a small amount on your cheekbones, brow bones and temples.
Old Navy distressed RockStar denim. These are part of my summer uniform lately. They are the perfect blend of lightweight, stretchy denim that look great with a casual tee or dressed up for GNO – and the price can’t be beat. Remember to size up 1-2 sizes with these!
Last but not least is the Rosy Outlook Planner. No matter how advanced technology is, I still need a paper planner to map out my lists, meetings and reminders. Once I saw this planner I was smitten. It’s only July, but I’ve already pulled the trigger on this 2016 planner laced with inspirational messages, cute stickers and the week by week layout I prefer.
Thanks for stopping by to see what I’m loving lately!
Dress up a common paper lunch bag to be something extra special! EClaire needed to take favor bags to school for her half birthday (summer birthday problems!). I had a few awkwardly shaped items so I needed a decent-sized bag, but I didn’t want to spend much.
As usual, I headed to the Dollar Tree fro some paper lunch bags and doilies. Then, I secured them with these tiny craft clothespins that you can get at Hobby Lobby or here on Amazon. I love how these turned out, and you can make 40 for just $6. Next time, I love the idea of trying these for birthday party favors with colorful doilies and clothespins.
These would be great for Valentines, Birthday parties or even for quick and easy gift wrap for small gifts.
For Eve’s Princess Birthday Party, I was going for a generic princess feel rather than a Disney princess kind of feel. As part of that, I wanted to create some custom party favors. I didn’t really find anything out there I loved for purchase, so I went about creating my own.
You already saw the Candy Button Crown favors I made for the party. Today, I’m sharing the hit of the party – Candy Necklace Cards. I’d seen a super cute concept online, but nothing princess themed. So, I went about creating these myself in PhotoShop, using hair and dress colors that somewhat inspired by Disney princesses, but with look that still felt sweet and unbranded.