Tag Archives: ideas

Ideas for Everyone on Your List

16 Dec
Presents

Photo by DailyCraft, Flickr Creative Commons

No, really. Here’s a full list of affordable, wow-worthy ideas for everyone on your list.

It’s my gift to you, so you can put that research and shopping time toward a warm bath and good book.

Don’t believe me? This should about cover it, right?

  • Kids 3-8
  • Kids 9-12
  • Teenagers
  • Collegiates and Twenty-Somethings
  • Moms
  • Dads
  • Grandparents
  • Friends
  • Foodies and/or Party People
  • In Lieu of a $10-$20 Gift Card (Teachers, Babysitters, Coworkers, etc.)

MagnaTilesKids 3-8

Every time I ask my toddler what she wants for Christmas, it’s always the same thing: Magna-Tiles. And that’s coming from a girl who’s downright princess crazy right now, mind you.

Magnetic building sets are one of the most-loved toys at her preschool, and for good reason, too. Just try to play with them and not have fun.

While Magna-Tiles are the premium budget-busting option, the following brands give you a lot more pieces for your money:

Bonuses!

  • They’re fantastic for travel. Just stack them up, stick them together, and throw them in your bag.
  • If the kids already have tiles, they can always build more with more!
  • The tiles are well-built and gender-neutral, making for great hand-me-down toys in the future.
Why are we all wearing those shirts? We're holiday crazy, and that's all you need to know.

Why are we all wearing those shirts? We’re Xmas crazy, and that’s all you need to know.

Kids 9-12

You know what’s been one the all-time favorite toys from us, according to my nieces and nephews?

Stilts.

Seriously. There’s nothing high-tech about them, but the circus-fun factor just can’t be denied.

I like this particular set because it has several height adjustments, plus beginner and advanced bottom attachment options.

Teenagers

Unless you really know they’re likes and dislikes (which could change daily), I recommend a gift card. But that doesn’t mean it has to be boring.

Gift them an experience:

  • Movie theater passes for two, plus maybe a restaurant gift card
  • Local amusement park pass
  • Climbing wall passes (check your local fitness centers and even outfitters, like REI, who also host outdoor sports classes across the U.S.)
  • A hot air balloon or helicopter ride (again, check online for local options)
  • A plane ticket voucher to visit an out-of-town relative or friend

Show Me HowCollegiates and Twenty-Somethings

They’re getting to the age where they need to do stuff… on their own.

This hilarious, graphically brilliant book will make it much less of a chore:

Show Me How by Lauren Smith

Moms

They hear it over and over again: “It goes so fast! Remember every precious little moment.”

Really, how feasible is that?

OneLineADayWhat’s much more likely is that they’ll mark important revelations and milestones in this little book that allows for just one line a day—and not even every day, if they don’t have the time for it.

I have one, and as I round over into year two of using it, it’s so fun to look at my entries from last year at this time.

Plus, it’s under $20, well made, and prettily compact.

Dads

Sure, the tie is a classic, but let’s kick it up a notch. How about some cuff links customized with a photo, logo, initials, or even a caricature of your family? Granted, you might need to buy a French cuff shirt to go with it (if he doesn’t have one), but what guy doesn’t need an nice shirt every once in awhile? If you get a more casual (not white) French-cuff shirt, he can even sport it to work.

My sister used this site a couple of years ago to give Halo cufflinks to my husband, and they’re conversation starters every time he wears them.

CustomComicBookArtAnd if dressing up isn’t your dad’s thing, how one of these custom comic-book-type art pieces made with a photo of him?

Really, the site is worth checking out for the example pictures alone.

They’re downright hilarious.

Grandparents

Get a digital photo frame and an SD card. But here’s the key:

Load it with pictures for them.

Chances are most pictures of their grandkids are on your computer or Facebook, where they can’t see them. Or if they do have them, they may not know how to (or want to) transfer them themselves.

This way, they can have and display those fond photos with no fuss. And when Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or Grandparent’s Day rolls around, just send them a newly loaded SD card. Bam! Two gifts in one.

Friends

I have three words for you: Cards Against Humanity. Give it to them. Then play it will them, preferably with liquor involved. As a matter of fact, a nice bottle of wine would be the perfect accompaniment.

BeerInfuserFoodies and/or Party People

I saw this article earlier in the year and immediately saved the idea to my Creative Gifts board on Pinterest.

It’s a small affordable contraption that lets you experiment with flavoring your own beer. Have you seen how cumbersome and expensive the full beer-making kits can be? This is a nice option along those lines, so that can dabble. Then, if they have fun with it, they can invest in the real deal… and make you free, fine-crafted beers of course.

Cheers, all around!

In Lieu of a $10-$20 Gift Card

Sure, a gift card for coffee and a sandwich is nice and all, but wouldn’t you rather give something fun and unexpected? Anything by Keri Smith will do the trick:

Bonuses!

  • Wrap the books in paper decorated by the kids, for a nice touch that also fights the doldrums.
  • Decorate strips of paper, cover them in contact paper, and insert in books as personalized bookmarks.

I hope this helps make your week easier. And if you have your own ideas, please share them in the comments!

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Letter to a New Mom

11 Mar

Szaba Birth DayI recently wrote this to a friend, a new mom having a tough day. If any of you moms (or dads) find yourself in this situation, I’m writing to you now.

Letter to a New Mom

You’re going through an overwhelmingly incredible moment in your life right now. I don’t need to tell you about all the joys a new baby brings. You know all about those. And people love talking to you about those.

What you might not know (and people are less likely to talk about) are the valleys that come with peaks.

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10 Uses for Postcards and Travel Brochures

21 Feb
Photo courtesy of Robin Stubbs, Flickr Creative Commons

Photo courtesy of Robin Stubbs, Flickr Creative Commons

What do you do with all those postcards and travel brochures amassed on trips?

  • Store them, only to ditch them on a future organizational rampage?
  • Add them to that scrapbooking basket gathering dust on the shelf?
  • Hope they’ll magically transform into something amazing?

Well, it’s time to save them.

Here are 10 easy ways to put those treasures to good use:

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D&D Parenting, Part 1: The Supplies

6 Aug
Dungeon Master Maternity T-Shirt

D&D maternity wear. It exists.

Looking for Part 2? Read “The Players.”

Oh, yes. I’m going there. I’m bringing out the biggest, geekiest, and perhaps most endearing guns in nerdom: Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). Not a nerd? Don’t be scared. Hear me out.

At the risk of over-simplifying, D&D is a cooperative endeavor in which players use strategy and creativity to take on challenges. At the heart of it, isn’t that what families do every day?

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Wall Art

25 Jul

Want a conversation starter for some yawn of a wall in your house? Try this easy wall art idea.

An inspiring home begets inspiration, so first, pick a theme that inspires you.

For instance, when we remodeled our bathroom, we found a newspaper from 1930 layered among the floor boards, which gave me an idea …

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Sacred Place

20 Jul

Carve out a spot in your house or a time every day that’s all about you. It’s your “sacred place,” as Joseph Campbell put it. Your break to remember who you are, to listen to your gut, and to live the life entrusted to your soul.

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Grocery Adventure

17 Jul

I had a bored toddler, a rainy day, and an empty fridge. To the grocery store!

5 Ideas:

1. Let your toddler bring along a fellow adventurer: a favorite toy or stuffed animal.

2. Make it a game: Can you find something brown? Do you see an apple? Let’s look for something cold …

3. Point out and feel different textures. Szaba particularly liked the asparagus and kiwi.

4. Let your child pick something new to try. I was amazed by all the kid-themed items at her eye level that I’d never even noticed before.

5. Grab a store flyer and use the food pictures to create an “art” piece when you get home, commemorating your adventure.

How do you make the grocery store (or other errand spots) fun for your kids?

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